Cruise to Greek Islands

Cruise ship on a clear ocean, framed by bright white Greek buildings tipped with blue roofs

Greek Islands Cruises: Your guide to island hopping in paradise

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  • Cruise ship on a clear ocean, framed by bright white Greek buildings
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Frequently asked questions

There are endless islands to explore in Greece and your ports of call will largely depend on the size of your ship. The most popular ports include Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes, and Corfu. Many Greek Island cruises also include a stop in Turkey, either at Bodrum or Kusadasi. 

 

Most Greek islands cruises depart from the port of Piraeus, just outside of Athens. It’s the largest port in Greece and one of the largest in the Mediterranean. It’s an ideal starting point for those who want to explore the Greek capital before or after their cruise. 

Picture-perfect Santorini is known for its stunning sunsets, white-washed buildings, and blue-domed churches. Shore excursions usually include a tour to the island's capital, Fira, or a trip to the volcanic beaches. 

In magnificent Mykonos, swim at the beautiful Elia Beach or Platis Gialos Beach, wander the narrow laneways dotted with brightly coloured doors and pink bougainvillea, or visit the sacred Island of Delos. 

There are two ports in Crete – Heraklion, close to the ancient ruins of Knossos and home to the excellent Heraklion Archaeological Museum or the pretty town of Chania, with its Venetian and Florentine architecture. 

Rhodes, located close to the coast of Turkey, has a unique blend of modern and traditional Greek culture and the well-preserved medieval city is a must-see. 

The lush, green island of Corfu offers beautiful beaches, Venetian fortresses and a UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town. Make sure you visit the largest square in the Balkans, Spianada, and take a beautiful nature trail to Cape Drastis.  

Patmos is known as the site where the Book of Revelation was written. The Cave of the Apocalypse and St. John's Monastery are popular tourist attractions.


Greece is part of the Schengen Area, a group of 27 nations in Europe that allow travellers from various nations to travel without a visa. This includes travellers from the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Citizens of other nations will need to check with their relevant government authority. If you have a stop in Turkey, a non-Schengen country, you may need a visa for entry and can apply online before you travel. Always check with your relevant government authority to ensure you know which visas you need to apply for in advance.


Larger cruise ships sailing in the Greek Islands offer a jam-packed schedule of entertainment with live music, Broadway-style shows, theatre, comedy and more. Some will tailor this to their destination, so you can be immersed in the lively atmosphere and culture of Greece on your cruise. That could include Greek-themed nights, live music, dance performances, and cultural lectures. Boutique cruise line Celestyal Cruises even offers language lessons so you can pick up some new phrases to use at the next port. 

Many cruise ships provide a range of onboard activities specifically designed for children too. These might include kids' clubs, game rooms, swimming pools, and even water parks. 


Most modern cruise ships offer Wi-Fi — the quality and cost will vary depending on the cruise line. If you are using your own mobile phone or device on board, remember that international roaming prices can be very high. To avoid unexpected costs, it's recommended to check with your cruise line about their specific internet policies and packages before you embark on your journey.


Nope! Almost all cruise lines operate in English, so you’ll have no trouble on board. Many of the major port cities are also used to international visitors, so tour guides, waitstaff and people working in shops will probably have some basic English. However, having a few words of Greek yourself will only enhance your travel experience at stopovers. For example, learn the basics like Hello: Γεια σου (Yia sou) and Goodbye: Αντίο (Adio) 

Why not try a language app or an online language course before you embark on your cruise? 


Greek Island cruises vary in length, but they range from whirlwind three- to four-day trips to extended 14-day journeys. A seven-day cruise will give you time to visit a few of the main islands, like Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes. Longer cruises may also take in smaller islands like Naxos, Hydra and Limnos, as well as one or two ports along the Turkish coastline.


The main cruise season in the Greek Islands runs from May to late October. The months of May, June, September and October are popular due to the pleasant warm weather, which is not quite as hot as the peak summer months of July and August. Be aware that some islands, especially Santorini and Mykonos, will be very busy during July and August.


Most Greek Island cruises include meals in your fare. Where there are multiple restaurants on board, the main dining room and buffet will be included though there may be an additional fee for specialty restaurants. Some cruise ships will even offer local Greek dishes. Renowned for its incredible flavours and healthy ingredients, some of the most popular Greek dishes are moussaka, a baked dish made with layers of eggplant, potatoes, and a spiced meat filling, along with souvlaki, simple skewers of grilled meat and vegetables.


Yes, several cruise lines offer adults’ only trips for a peaceful, child-free experience. ​Virgin Voyages is an adults’ only cruise line and has one of its ships, Radiant Lady, homeported in Piraeus, sailing seven- and 10-night Greek Island itineraries. The whole experience is tailored just for the grown ups, with top-quality dining, buzzing bars and plenty of spaces to relax. Viking Cruises is another adults’ only line that sails regularly around the Greek Islands. Many of the luxury cruise lines, such as Scenic, Regent Cruise Lines, Seabourn, Ponant and Silversea, also attract a more mature crowd due to their higher prices, minimal facilities for children and longer, port-intensive itineraries. 


While most cruise lines offer shore excursions, you’re free to explore on your own or book your own tours through local operators. Many of the ports in the Greek Islands are quite small and you’ll dock or take a tender to the centre of town, so you can easily explore picturesque streets, whitewashed homes and beautiful beaches.  

Outdoor activities are popular at many of the islands, like beach visits, snorkelling and hiking. Many ports have ancient ruins to explore, excellent museums and significant religious monuments. Set off on a guided cultural walking tour in Athens, including the Acropolis and Museum. Or take a tour of Santorini, which could include wine tastings, guided walks in Fira, or even hiking the volcano. 

Travellers who prefer a more off-the-beaten-path approach, might like to create their own itineraries. Why not deep dive into the local culture of different islands? You can take time in each port of call to shop for handicrafts in artisan markets, dine in Greek restaurants and savour local delicacies.  


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