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Greek Island Cruises

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Romance and culture await on a Greek Island cruise

It’s no wonder the Greek Islands have always been a perennial favorite of travelers. Greece is a magical, romantic destination where you can wander alongside stunning coastlines, explore the ruins of ancient cultures, and dine on fresh Mediterranean cuisine all in one vacation.

On one of our luxury Greek Island cruises, explore far-flung beaches, drift out to sea on catamarans and kayaks, and duck into tiny tavernas where you can eat and drink like a local. From the sun-soaked stone buildings in Santorini to the white-sand beaches that beckon in Mykonos, a Greece cruise is the best way to experience the captivating Greek Islands.

Greek Island Cruise Highlights

Once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

There is no shortage of unforgettable experiences to be had in Greece. Its seascapes and cityscapes are wondrous, from the mighty ruins of the Acropolis to the buzzing, modern city center of Athens. Visit an olive farm in Crete, or embark on a tour of Mykonos Town’s organic wineries. Or, take an intimate, exclusive cooking lesson on how to make local favorites in Santorini’s main square, right in the middle of it all.

Ancient History

Greece is a world-renowned destination for history buffs. Stroll through the Acropolis and marvel at human achievement, or visit the Museum of Cycladic Art to study Aegean and Cypriot artifacts. Examine the 400-year-old remains of a town buried under volcanic ash outside of Santorini. Explore the historic forts of Corfu, or hop on a boat ride to Delos, said to be the birthplace of Apollo.

Natural Wonders

Discover Elafonisi Beach, a paradise of pink, powdery sand and shallow waters off the island of Crete. Take an unforgettable cruise through the impressive Corinth Canal on a shore excursion in Athens. Stand in awe at the base of Mount Olympus, Greece’s highest mountain and the fabled home of the Greek gods. In Zakynthos, don’t miss a visit to the awe-inspiring Shipwreck Beach, which often tops best-of lists.

Featured Ports

Santorini, Greece

Travelers flock to Santorini for its cobalt-roofed homes, friendly locals, and fine local wine. On this crescent-shaped island, soak up the sun at black-sand beaches like Perissa, or spend a day at the Santorini Caldera, one of the only places in the world to see submerged remnants of an erupted volcano. Sample Greek wines at family-owned wineries dotting the Aegean coast, and take the time to marvel at the incredible panoramas all around you.

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos is the quintessential Mediterranean beach destination. Choose your favorite to spend the day on, or book a sailing excursion to go beach hopping. Take a day trip beyond Mykonos to the nearby island of Delos, an uninhabited archeological site said to be the birthplace of Greek gods. Experience an authentic side of the island with a home-cooking class, where you’ll sample and prepare delicious local specialties.

Athens, Greece

To visit the capital of Greece is to take a trip back in time, whether you’re exploring the narrow streets of the Plaka District or hiking the Acropolis for well-earned views of the Parthenon. After a day of exploration, pop into a taverna for Mediterranean meze and a cold beer.

Greek Island Cruise Itineraries

Explore the wonders of Greece on 7- to 12-night itineraries available year round. Along with ports of call in the country’s best destinations, our cruises to Greece also include stops in Turkey, Italy, Malta, and beyond. You’ll depart from Rome, Athens, or Barcelona, making it easy to extend your vacation in one of these stunning cities before or after your cruise.


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Corfu, Greece

Chania (Souda), Crete, Greece

Olympia (Katakolon), Greece

Rhodes, Greece

Hydra, Greece

Set Sail on a Greek Island Cruise with Celebrity

Before you ride a donkey to the top of Santorini Island, before you stare in awe at the Acropolis, and before you lose track of time on a warm Mediterranean beach with a cocktail in hand, your journey on board one of our luxury cruise ships is all part of the unforgettable experience. 

Your vacation begins the moment you step on board. Discover the unparalleled service, delectable culinary creations, innovative venues, thrilling performances, and indulgent wellness treatments that take your vacation from good to extraordinary. You’ve never seen Greece like this before.

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best island cruise in greece

Our top picks for exploring the best of Greece by cruise


Recently updated on October 13th, 2023 at 01:46 pm

The best cruise in Greece? It’s the stuff of legend. 

We know how difficult it is to choose only a precious few Greek islands to visit. You’ll be tempted to jet off to Naxos, swing over to Rhodes, stop in Crete, and sail to Milos, but such an ambitious adventure can be a logistical nightmare.

Instead, let us take care of the practicals so all you need to worry about are the photos on your holiday in the Greek islands.

Related content: Where to travel each month in 2023

A Greek Island-Hopping Holiday

Aerial view of greek islands and cruise ship, Greece

Our top picks for exploring the best of Greece by cruise weren’t chosen at random. No matter if you’re planning a family cruise of the Greek islands, setting your sights on an epic honeymoon, or just want to use your PTO to its fullest potential, we believe the three main features should be:

  • Ample leisure time with instant accessibility
  • A wealth of cultural, historical, and contemporary experiences
  • A perfect mix of must-see attractions and lesser-known sites

And that’s why we think the one of the best cruises you can take in Greece has Mykonos, Santorini, and Delos as its ports of call.

Cafe and windmills on Green island Mykonos

If an Ancient Greek god created Mykonos as the epitome of what an island vacation should be, we’d believe it. You’ll know you’re on holiday immediately when you arrive in Mykonos: if the sun-kissed bodies on the sand don’t lure you over to a beach towel, the bass blaring out of the swanky bars will tempt you to party until sunrise. 

Nightlife aside, you’ll have every reason to lose sleep as you pack your day with visits to the stunning Windmills of Kato Mili, pour over the exhibits at the Aegean Maritime and Archaeological Museums, and treat your sweet tooth to melopita pies filled with cheese, cinnamon, and tirovolia . And when all else fails, you’re never more than an arm’s length away from a bottle of ouzo and a few new friends to dance the night away with. 

Golden sunset behind church, Santorini, Greece

We don’t want to spread rumors, but we heard that even Paris is jealous of Santorini’s romantic prowess. Yes, gazing at the Blue Dome churches and whitewashed buildings are magnificent, particularly at sunset, but you needn’t set foot on the island to fall in love. Once you see the multicolored cliffs rising up from the Aegean, you’ll be smitten with Thira’s rugged yet delicate beauty. 

It’s not all seafood, selfies, and suntanning, though. As much as you’ll want to indulge in the laid-back lavishness of the island, there’s more to explore beyond the shops and bars of Fira and Oia. Ancient Thera and the Bronze Age Akrotiri archaeological sites give you a glimpse into the lives of those that called Santorini home as far back as the 16th-century BC. 

Aerial view of Ancient amphitheater on Delos Island, Greece

While your social media friends head to Crete, you’ll post pics of Delos and have followers wondering how they missed this cool Cyclades spot. Greek myth says the god Apollo and his sister Artemis were born in Delos. 

Surrounded by other ruins, the Temple of Apollo is yours to explore, as is the island’s museum which features artifacts from Roman and Hellenistic times. You won’t find hotels on this archaeological site, making it a perfect day trip destination to fill your Greek cruise with another memorable port of call. 

Our Greek Island Hopper tour takes you to all three islands with ease. High speed ferries cut your time in transit and give you more time to shop, dine, and actually explore each island to your liking. This 10-day trip around Greece’s famous islands starts and ends at Piraeus Port of Athens, ensuring that even your first and final days of your holiday aren’t wasted or waterlogged.

Destination inspiration: 8 iconic places in Europe to spend your summer

One secret you’ll want to tell the world about…

If you’re feeling a bit wishy-washy about committing to a cruise around the Greek Islands, we get it. 

Cruising isn’t for everyone, just as some people prefer not to rely on trains, buses, or flights to get from place to place on holiday. Which is why you’ll appreciate a chance to merely dip your toe into the world of cruising. 

Check out: 5 ancient towns in Greece you’ll love

Trafalgar’s Secrets of Greece tour offers a chance to see the best sights on mainland Greece, plus a short ferry trip to Corfu and an option to visit dreamy Santorini. 

Panoramic view of Kerkyra, capital of Corfu Island, Greece

You’ll want to spend hours people-watching in Spianada, one of Greece’s most impressive squares, though you can just as easily fill your day exploring the winding medieval streets of Old Town. Stroll through the arcades and admire the architecture, each colorful townhouse and opulent palace flourished with the British, French, or Venetian aesthetic of its time. 

When you’re not roaming through the grand Achilleion Palace and the regal Venetian Castle, sites like the 13th-century Paleokastritsa Monastery balance historic charm and drool-worthy backdrops where the rugged mountains meet the sea. 

white houses and blue domes on greek island Santorini

Two days in Santorini is plenty of time to snap a selfie in front of the Blue Dome churches. This volcanic island is exceptionally accessible, giving you options to swim in hot springs by day and hike to unforgettable panoramas for sunsets every evening. 

“Island time” can’t even describe Santorini’s chill pace; you’re welcome to while away the day at a winery, on a catamaran, or with a good book on the beach. Just find a moment to pop into a restaurant for a plate of the chewiest octopus you’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.

It’s all Greek on land & sea

Are you a bit of a landlubber? Don’t worry, we weren’t born with sea legs, either. Thankfully, the Ancient Greeks were kind enough to leave heaps of their culture on the mainland. 

Trafalgar’s Best of Greece tour gives you 8-days worth of overland adventure. You’ll check off the bucket list stops in Athens like the Acropolis and the site of the first modern Olympics. Then it’s off to Corinth, Nafplion, and the site of the ancient Olympics. Between Patras and a return to Athens, you’ll see more ruins, monasteries, and museums.  

Whether you fancy riding the waves on a high speed ferry or keeping your trainers planted firmly on solid ground, we’ve got multiple ways to get you around Greece with your desired level of comfort and convenience. Explore Trafalgar’s best Greek island cruises and overland experiences to find your perfect Greek holiday itinerary.

Read next: These travelers met their new best friends on a group tour

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Ellie's Travel Tips

Greek Island Cruises: Best Itineraries, Ports & Cruise Lines!

Posted on Last updated: March 18, 2024

This guide is your ultimate compass to Greek Island cruises, filled with expert tips and tricks to ensure your cruise of the Greek Islands is nothing short of legendary.

Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or a first-timer eager to feel the embrace of the Mediterranean sun, grab your cruise planner and let’s set sail together into the heart of the Aegean.

Cruise of the Greek Islands

Why Choose a Greek Islands Cruise?

Cruising might often be seen as a luxurious escape, a retreat from the world where your every need is catered to.

However, when it comes to the Greek Islands, cruising becomes more than just luxury; it’s a gateway to a mosaic of experiences that no other form of travel can parallel.

Here’s why a cruise of the Greek Islands should be your next holiday choice:

  • Diverse Island Cultures in One Trip: Each Greek island has its own unique flavor. From the cosmopolitan vibes of Mykonos to the tranquility of Hydra, a cruise allows you to experience a range of cultures, histories, and landscapes within a short time span. Why limit yourself to one, when you can savor many?
  • Convenience and Comfort: Imagine visiting multiple picturesque islands without the hassle of repacking, catching ferries, or checking in and out of hotels. Your cruise ship is not just your transportation but also your comfortable hotel, floating from one paradise to another.
  • Endless Exploration: With scheduled stops, travelers get ample time to explore each island’s gems at their own pace. Whether you prefer organized excursions or wandering around on your own, you’re guaranteed rich experiences at every port of call.
  • Unparalleled Views: There’s nothing like witnessing the majesty of the Greek Islands from the sea. Whether you’re sipping a cocktail during a golden sunset or waking up to the breathtaking coastline, cruising offers views that land-based holidays simply can’t match.
  • All-Inclusive Luxury: Most cruises offer all-inclusive packages that include meals, accommodation, entertainment, and sometimes even excursions. This not only provides great value for money but also ensures a hassle-free vacation.
  • Meet Like-minded Travelers: A cruise is a melting pot of cultures and personalities. It offers a unique opportunity to forge new friendships, share experiences, and create memories with fellow travelers from around the globe.
  • Tailored Experiences: Today’s cruises cater to a wide array of interests. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or an adrenaline-fueled adventure, there’s a Greek Islands cruise tailor-made for you.

In essence, choosing a cruise of the Greek Islands is opting for a blend of discovery, relaxation, and luxury. It’s about embracing the magic of the Mediterranean, where every sunrise brings a new island to explore and every sunset seals the memories of a day well spent.

If the Greek Islands are the jewels of the Aegean, then cruising is your treasure chest, waiting to be opened.

Greek Islands cruise

Choosing the Right Cruise for You

The journey on a cruise of the Greek Islands is sure to be mesmerizing, but the experience can vary greatly depending on the type of cruise you opt for.

Your perfect cruise choice depends on your personal preferences, budget, and what you want to get out of your journey. Let’s navigate the waters and help you find the best fit:

Budget Cruises:

  • Pros: These cruises offer an affordable gateway to the Greek Islands. They generally have basic amenities but still provide a comfortable experience.
  • Cons: Limited onboard activities, fewer dining options, and perhaps fewer stops or shorter times at each port.
  • What to Expect: A no-frills journey that covers popular islands and offers basic onboard entertainment.

Luxury Cruises:

  • Pros: Premium services, gourmet dining experiences, spacious cabins, a plethora of onboard activities, and often exclusive or less crowded ports of call.
  • Cons: A heftier price tag. However, the level of luxury and personal attention can make it worth the investment.
  • What to Expect: A lavish experience with meticulous attention to detail, from room service to curated shore excursions.

Adventure/Specialty Cruises:

  • Pros: Tailored experiences such as sailing adventures, diving expeditions, or historical and cultural tours. Ideal for those with specific interests.
  • Cons: Might not cover all the mainstream islands or activities if they focus on niche experiences.
  • What to Expect: A unique, focused journey catering to a particular interest or theme. For instance, a cruise emphasizing Greek mythology might delve deep into the tales of each island, visiting significant historical sites.

cruising the greek islands

Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Cruise:

  • Duration: From short weekend getaways to extended voyages, how long do you wish to sail?
  • Onboard Facilities: Prioritize your needs, be it spas, fitness centers, gourmet dining, or entertainment options.
  • Ports of Call: Which islands are on your must-visit list? Check the itinerary to ensure your desired destinations are covered.
  • Travel Dates: Some islands are best visited during specific times of the year. Also, consider peak tourist seasons if you prefer a quieter experience.
  • Size of the Ship: Larger ships offer more amenities but might not access smaller ports. Smaller ships provide a more intimate experience and can sail to less frequented islands.
  • Reviews and Recommendations: Past travelers’ experiences can offer invaluable insights. Check reviews, ask for recommendations, and maybe even join online cruise forums.

Remember Your Why:

At the heart of it all, why are you taking this cruise? For relaxation? Adventure? Cultural immersion? Ensure your chosen cruise aligns with your primary reason for traveling.

Selecting the right cruise is akin to setting the stage for your Greek Island adventure. By ensuring the backdrop fits your dream, the ensuing journey can unfold like a well-scripted play, with each day being a scene of awe, wonder, and cherished memories.

Whether you’re cruising on a budget, in the lap of luxury, or on a thematic voyage, a cruise of the Greek Islands will always welcome you with their timeless charm. Just make sure your vessel of choice complements the magic!

greek cruise destinations

Top Greek Islands to Visit

The Greek archipelago is studded with over 6,000 islands and islets, each with its own tale to tell. While it’s impossible to visit them all in a single journey, some islands stand out as must-visit destinations.

Here’s a look at the crème de la crème of the Greek Islands that double as cruise ports , waiting to capture your heart:


  • Highlight: Famed for its spellbinding sunsets, caldera views, and iconic blue-domed churches.
  • What to Do: Wander through the charming streets of Oia, visit the ancient ruins of Akrotiri, and sample local wines at cliffside vineyards.


  • Highlight: Known as the party capital of the Greek Islands, it boasts beautiful beaches and a buzzing nightlife.
  • What to Do: Explore the winding streets of Mykonos Town, visit the iconic windmills, and dance the night away at world-renowned beach clubs.
  • Check out our Mykonos cruise port guide !


  • Highlight: The largest of the Greek Islands, Crete offers a rich tapestry of experiences from history to nature.
  • What to Do: Visit the ancient Minoan palace of Knossos, hike the Samaria Gorge, and relish the island’s culinary delights in traditional tavernas.


  • Highlight: Steeped in history, the island is home to the medieval Old Town of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • What to Do: Stroll the Street of the Knights, explore the Palace of the Grand Master, and relax on the many sun-kissed beaches.


  • Highlight: Lush landscapes meet Venetian influence on this Ionian island.
  • What to Do: Roam the charming streets of Corfu Town, visit the Achilleion Palace, and enjoy the vistas from Mount Pantokrator.


  • Highlight: A perfect blend of ancient ruins, sandy beaches, and traditional villages.
  • What to Do: Visit the Temple of Apollo’s Portara, explore the old Kastro district, and savor the island’s unique Kitron liqueur.

the cheapest greek island paros

  • Highlight: A balanced mix of traditional Greek charm and modern attractions.
  • What to Do: Visit the Church of Ekatontapiliani in Parikia, explore the picturesque village of Naoussa, and windsurf at the Golden Beach.
  • Check out our Paros guide !


  • Highlight: Known for its unique volcanic landscapes and myriad of beaches.
  • What to Do: Take a boat tour around the island to discover hidden caves, visit the ancient theater near Tripiti, and relax at the Sarakiniko beach with its moon-like landscapes.


  • Highlight: A car-free island that offers an authentic Greek experience.
  • What to Do: Wander through Hydra town, visit historical mansions, and enjoy local art at various galleries.


  • Highlight: Rich in history with Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman influences.
  • What to Do: Explore the ancient ruins of Agora, visit the Asclepieion sanctuary, and cycle around this bike-friendly island.

Embarking on a cruise through the Greek Islands is akin to opening a book with countless stories. Each island, with its distinct character and allure, offers a new chapter of adventures, awaiting to be etched in your travel memoirs. Whether you’re seeking romance, history, adventure, or relaxation, these islands ensure that your Greek odyssey is nothing short of epic.


Different Types of Greek Island Itineraries

The enchanting Greek Islands beckon with their rich history, stunning landscapes, and crystal-clear waters. With over 200 inhabited islands to explore, cruising is one of the best ways to soak in their allure. But where do you start? There’s an itinerary tailored to every traveler’s desires. Here’s a breakdown of the various cruise of the Greek Islands options to help you navigate your choices:

Iconic Cyclades Circuit:

  • Duration: Typically 7-10 days.
  • Key Stops: Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, and Delos.
  • Highlights: Whitewashed buildings, famous sunsets, vibrant nightlife, and archaeological sites like the Sanctuary of Delos.

Historical and Mythological Odyssey:

  • Duration: 7-12 days.
  • Key Stops: Crete, Rhodes, Kos, Delos, and Patmos.
  • Highlights: Visit the ancient Minoan Palace of Knossos, explore the medieval Old Town of Rhodes, and uncover the Cave of the Apocalypse on Patmos.

Dodecanese Delight:

  • Duration: 7 days.
  • Key Stops: Rhodes, Kos, Patmos, Leros, and Symi.
  • Highlights: Rich history, medieval architecture, and azure beaches. Symi’s Neo-Classical mansions and Patmos’ monasteries are a must-see.

Saronic Jewels:

  • Duration: 3-7 days.
  • Key Stops: Hydra, Poros, Aegina, and Spetses.
  • Highlights: Close to Athens, offering quaint towns, car-free Hydra, and the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina.

Ionian Exploration:

  • Duration: 7-10 days.
  • Key Stops: Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Lefkada.
  • Highlights: Lush landscapes, Venetian architecture in Corfu, and the famed Navagio Beach in Zakynthos.

Northern Aegean Adventure:

  • Key Stops: Lesbos, Chios, Samos, and Lemnos.
  • Highlights: Petrified forests, mastic villages in Chios, and rich historical sites.

Relaxed Small-Ship Cruising:

  • Duration: 5-14 days.
  • Key Stops: Varies, but may include lesser-known islands like Folegandros, Sifnos, or Ikaria.
  • Highlights: Smaller vessels allow for a more intimate experience, accessing secluded coves and hidden harbors.

Luxury Yacht Charter:

  • Duration: Customizable, from a weekend to several weeks.
  • Key Stops: Tailored to your preferences.
  • Highlights: A personalized itinerary, private crew, and the luxury of choosing your pace and destinations.

Theme-Based Cruises:

  • Duration: Varies, typically 7-10 days.
  • Key Stops: Depends on the theme, e.g., culinary cruises might focus on islands known for gastronomy.
  • Highlights: Dive deep into specific interests such as Greek mythology, culinary delights, or water sports.

Combination Cruises:

  • Duration: 10-21 days.
  • Key Stops: A mix of Greek Islands with other destinations like Turkey’s coastline.
  • Highlights: Experience a blend of cultures, landscapes, and historical sites, combining the best of multiple regions.

Choosing the right Greek Islands cruise itinerary is all about aligning with your interests, travel style, and duration preferences. Whether you’re looking for history, relaxation, adventure, or gourmet delights, there’s a cruise that’s just right for your odyssey on a cruise of the Greek Islands.

Mediterranean Small Ship Cruises

Small Ship vs. Large Ship

The Greek Islands, with their charming villages, rich history, and shimmering waters, are a paradise for cruise enthusiasts. As you decide on the type of ship to embark on, you’ll notice the choices range from intimate small vessels to grand floating cities. Each has its distinct charm, advantages, and limitations. Here’s a comprehensive comparison to help you make an informed choice:

Small Ship Cruises


  • Intimate Experience: Smaller guest numbers allow for a more personalized onboard atmosphere.
  • Access to Secluded Ports: Navigate into smaller harbors, anchor in hidden coves, and visit lesser-known islands that large ships can’t reach.
  • Onboard Community: It’s easier to get to know fellow passengers, fostering a sense of camaraderie.
  • Shorter Embarkation/Disembarkation: With fewer passengers, getting on and off the ship is often more streamlined and quicker.
  • Close to Nature: Many small ships have open decks, allowing passengers to be closer to the sea and landscapes.
  • Local and Authentic Experiences: Excursions from small ships often focus on authentic local experiences, diving deeper into the culture and history of places.


  • Fewer Amenities: Smaller ships may not have multiple dining options, theaters, or expansive fitness centers.
  • Varied Stability: They might be more affected by rough seas, which could be an issue for those prone to seasickness.
  • Lesser Entertainment Options: The onboard entertainment may be limited compared to larger vessels.

cruise port st thomas

Large Ship Cruises

  • Abundance of Amenities: From expansive spas, multiple dining options, theaters, and even climbing walls, there’s always something to do.
  • Stability: Larger ships often provide a smoother ride, especially beneficial in rougher waters.
  • Diverse Entertainment: Nightly shows, themed parties, workshops, and more ensure passengers are never bored.
  • Variety of Accommodations: Guests can choose from a range of cabin types, from inside rooms to expansive suites with private balconies.
  • All-Inclusive Packages: Many large ships offer packages that include drinks, Wi-Fi, and even shore excursions.
  • Crowds: Popular activities, dining venues, or excursions can get crowded.
  • Impersonal Experience: With thousands of passengers, the experience might feel less intimate.
  • Limited Access to Smaller Ports: Due to their size, they often dock at larger ports, requiring additional transport or longer travel times to reach specific destinations.
  • Environmental Impact: Larger ships can have a more significant environmental footprint.

Your ideal Greek Islands cruise largely depends on your travel preferences:

  • If you value intimacy, the chance to explore hidden gems, and a close-knit onboard community, small ship cruising might be your best bet.
  • However, if you’re looking for a plethora of onboard activities, entertainment options, and the grandeur of a floating resort, a large ship cruise could be the right choice.

Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Whether aboard a quaint sailing yacht or a majestic cruise liner, a cruise of the Greek Islands promise an unforgettable adventure.

greek cruises

Top Cruise Lines for Greek Island Cruises

The Greek Islands are a perennial favorite among travelers, and numerous cruise lines offer voyages through this iconic archipelago. When choosing a cruise line, it’s important to consider the type of experience you’re seeking, be it luxury, adventure, family-focused, or a more intimate sailing. Here’s a comprehensive list of top cruise lines that sail the Greek waters, with a brief overview of what each one offers:

Celebrity Cruises

  • Renowned for its modern luxury, Celebrity offers a blend of stylish staterooms, gourmet cuisine, and a diverse range of excursions. Their ships often feature innovative amenities like the Magic Carpet and rooftop gardens while offering premium upgrades like AquaClass suites !

Royal Caribbean

  • One of the biggest names in cruising, Royal Caribbean boasts a fleet of mega-ships packed with activities, from surf simulators to Broadway-style shows. They have plenty of options to customize your experience from drinking packages to shore excursions. Their itineraries cover popular Greek destinations and offer fun for all ages.
  • Embodying luxury at sea, Seabourn offers all-suite accommodations, fine dining, and personalized service. Their smaller ships provide access to lesser-known Greek locales, ensuring a more intimate experience.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL)

  • NCL is known for its “Freestyle Cruising,” allowing guests flexibility in dining, entertainment, and onboard activities. Their ships frequent major Greek ports, with a range of shore excursions.

Viking Ocean Cruises

  • Focusing on destination immersion, Viking offers culturally enriching itineraries that delve deep into the history and heritage of the Greek Islands. Their all-inclusive pricing and adult-only policy ensure a serene journey.

MSC Cruises

  • MSC combines Mediterranean flair with modern amenities. Their ships, often featuring Swarovski staircases and expansive pool areas, offer diverse itineraries covering Greece’s major highlights.
  • A boutique cruise line, Azamara is known for its extended port stays and “AzAmazing Evenings”—exclusive cultural events crafted for their guests. They focus on immersive local experiences in the Greek Islands.

Oceania Cruises

  • Catering to the discerning traveler, Oceania offers gourmet culinary programs inspired by Master Chef Jacques Pépin and itineraries that balance well-known and off-the-beaten-path ports.

Windstar Cruises

  • Embracing the charm of yacht cruising, Windstar’s smaller vessels navigate secluded harbors and coves, offering an intimate Greek Island experience. Sail-powered and motorized yachts provide unique voyages.

Celestyal Cruises

  • Specializing in the Aegean, Celestyal offers authentic Greek experiences, from local cuisine onboard to immersive shore excursions. They pride themselves on showcasing the true essence of Greece.

Disney Cruise Line

  • Perfect for families, Disney offers magical experiences onboard, with beloved characters and themed entertainment. Their Greek itineraries ensure adventure and fun for kids and adults alike.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

  • The epitome of luxury, Regent offers all-inclusive cruises with lavish suites, gourmet dining, and curated excursions. Their approach is to provide unmatched elegance at sea.

Whichever line you choose, cruising the Greek Islands is bound to be an unforgettable experience. Consider your preferences—whether they lie in luxury, adventure, family fun, or cultural immersion—and select the cruise line that aligns best with your dream Greek voyage.

cruise packing tips

Packing and Preparation

Embarking on a cruise to the Greek Islands is undeniably thrilling, but it also demands careful planning and preparation. Packing appropriately not only enhances your comfort but also ensures you make the most out of every moment. Let’s help you chart your course to a well-prepared voyage:

Luggage Basics

  • Soft-sided Bags: Many cabins on cruise ships, especially smaller ones, have limited space. Soft-sided bags can be more flexible and easier to store.
  • Luggage Tags: Clearly label your luggage with your name, ship name, cabin number, and contact details. Many cruise lines offer printable luggage tags on their websites.

Clothing Essentials

  • Day Wear: Lightweight and breathable clothing like shorts, t-shirts, sundresses, and tank tops. Remember, the Greek Islands can be warm!
  • Evening Wear: Most cruises have casual dinners, but there might be formal nights. Pack a nice dress or suit for such occasions as some of the top cruise essentials .
  • Swimwear: You’ll be hopping between beaches and the ship’s pool, so multiple swimsuits are essential.
  • Footwear: Comfortable walking shoes for exploring, flip-flops for the beach, and a dressy pair for evenings.
  • Layers: A light sweater or jacket for cooler evenings or breezy boat rides.

packing for a cold cruise

Gadgets and Gear

  • Power Adapter: Greece uses the Europlug (Type C), so ensure you have the right adapter for charging your devices.
  • Portable Charger: Keep your devices powered during long days of exploration.
  • Waterproof Camera/Phone Case: Capture memories without worrying about water damage.
  • Binoculars: Enhance those breathtaking views from the ship’s deck.

Health and Wellness

  • Medication: Pack all essential medications in their original packaging along with a copy of prescriptions. Also, consider a basic first-aid kit.
  • Sun Protection: High SPF sunscreen, lip balm with sunblock, and wide-brimmed hats to protect against the Mediterranean sun.
  • Motion Sickness Remedies: If you’re prone to seasickness, pack remedies like wristbands or over-the-counter medication.

Documents and Essentials

  • Passport and Visas: Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your return date. Check visa requirements if necessary.
  • Cruise Documentation: Print out any tickets, boarding passes, or reservation confirmations.
  • Travel Insurance: Always a good idea, especially for overseas trips. Ensure it covers cruise-specific incidents.

Personal Comfort

  • Beach Bag: For your excursions to the islands, pack a lightweight beach bag with essentials like water, sunscreen, and a good book.
  • Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste.
  • Snorkel Gear: If you’re keen on snorkeling, bring your own gear for a snug fit and hygiene.

cruise accessories


  • Local Currency: While many places accept credit cards, it’s wise to have some Euros for smaller establishments or tips.
  • Language Guide: A few basic Greek phrases can enrich your interaction with locals.
  • Guidebook: Dive deeper into the history and attractions of each island with a detailed guidebook.

Remember the Ship’s Etiquette

  • Dress Codes: Some cruise ships have specific dress codes for dining rooms or certain events. Check in advance.
  • Scheduled Activities: If you’ve booked any onboard classes or spa treatments, pack accordingly.

Preparing for your Greek Island cruise might seem daunting, but with a well-thought-out list and a sprinkle of excitement, you’ll be deck-ready in no time. After all, the promise of azure waters, historical wonders, and sun-soaked shores makes every ounce of preparation worth it.

greek cruises

Onboard Tips and Tricks

Stepping aboard a cruise ship, especially if it’s your first time, can feel like entering a new world. There’s a rhythm to life on the waves that’s distinct from any other type of travel. To help you sail smoothly and make the most of your journey, here are some onboard tips and tricks that seasoned cruisers swear by:

Familiarize Yourself with the Ship

  • Ship Map: Upon boarding, you’ll typically be given a map of the ship. Spend some time exploring the vessel, noting the locations of main venues, eateries, and emergency stations.
  • Ship’s Daily Newsletter: Most cruises offer a daily newsletter highlighting the day’s events, special offers, and essential information. Make it your morning read!

Optimize Your Cabin Experience

  • Storage Hacks: Space can be at a premium in cruise cabins. Make use of under-bed storage for luggage, and don’t forget about vertical space with hanging organizers.
  • Magnet Power: Most cabin walls are metal. Bring some magnets to hang daily schedules, reservations, or even photos.
  • Keep it Fresh: Pack a small air freshener or dryer sheets to keep your cabin smelling pleasant.

Titanic vs. Modern cruise ships food

Dining Delights

  • Reservations: If your ship has specialty restaurants, consider booking them early, especially for popular dining times.
  • Room Service: Many cruisers don’t realize that room service is often included in their fare. Enjoy breakfast on your balcony or a midnight snack.

Stay Connected, But Wisely

  • Wi-Fi Packages: If you need internet, check for package deals on day one. However, remember that ship Wi-Fi can be slower and pricier than on land.
  • Offline Apps: Download movies, books, or podcasts for entertainment without needing a constant connection.

Maximize Onboard Entertainment

  • Book in Advance: For popular shows or experiences, it’s wise to reserve a spot early.
  • Check Out Lesser-Known Offerings: Aside from the headline acts, there might be smaller workshops, classes, or performances that can enrich your journey.

Stay Fit and Relaxed

  • Gym at Off-Peak: The ship’s fitness center can get crowded, especially in mornings. Consider working out during port days or in the late afternoon.
  • Spa Deals: Spas often run promotions, especially on port days. Keep an eye out for discounted packages or treatments.

Be Money Smart

  • Monitor Your Account: Most cruises operate on a cashless system, with expenses charged to your room. Regularly review your onboard account to avoid any surprises.
  • Tipping: While many cruises include gratuities in the fare, some don’t. Be aware of the ship’s tipping policy and set aside funds accordingly.

Join Onboard Activities

  • Trivia, Games, and Classes: Participate in onboard activities, from dance classes to art auctions. It’s a great way to meet fellow travelers and have fun.
  • Theme Nights: Many cruises have theme nights like “White Night” or “Pirate Night”. Pack accordingly to join the festivities.
  • Attend the Muster Drill: This mandatory safety drill is crucial. Pay attention and know where your muster station is.
  • Balcony Safety: If you have a balcony cabin, never climb or sit on the railing. Always lock balcony doors when not in use, especially if traveling with children.

Make Friends with the Crew

  • Foster Relationships: The ship’s crew can enhance your journey. From insider tips to exceptional service, a friendly chat can go a long way.
  • Feedback Matters: If someone goes above and beyond, note their name to mention in feedback. Positive reviews can benefit crew members in their careers.

Being on a cruise ship is a blend of relaxation and adventure, all set against the backdrop of the vast sea and exciting ports of call. With these onboard tips and tricks, you’re not just setting sail; you’re embarking on a voyage where every day holds the promise of new delights and discoveries.

greek shore excursions

Greek Island Shore Excursion Tips

Sailing through the Greek Islands is a dreamlike journey, and each port of call holds the promise of new discoveries. Shore excursions are your gateway to these enchanting locales. But how do you make the most of these short visits? Here’s your guide to maximizing and savoring every moment ashore:

Research Before You Dock

  • Itinerary Insight: Familiarize yourself with the islands on your itinerary. Know their highlights, histories, and any unique offerings.
  • Local Events: Festivals, local markets, or special events can greatly enhance your visit. Look up the local calendar before you arrive.

Choosing the Right Excursion

  • Ship-sponsored vs. Independent Tours: Ship-sponsored tours can be pricier but offer the assurance of getting you back on time. Independent tours are often more customizable and might offer a more personal experience.
  • Activity Level: Always check the activity level of an excursion. Whether you’re up for hiking, snorkeling, or a relaxed city tour, pick something that aligns with your energy and interest.

Time Management

  • Know Your Docking Time: Familiarize yourself with the time the ship docks and the departure time.
  • Buffer Time: If you’re on an independent tour, ensure you return to the ship at least an hour before the departure time.

Pack a Day Bag

  • Essentials Only: Pack light with just the essentials – a bottle of water, sunscreen, local currency, a map, and any necessary medications.
  • Documentation: Always carry a photo ID, a copy of your passport, and your cruise ship card.

Local Etiquette and Safety

  • Dress Code: Some religious sites may require modest clothing. Always carry a scarf or a shawl, and wear appropriate attire when visiting monasteries or churches.
  • Stay Alert: Just like any tourist spot, be wary of pickpockets. Keep valuables secure and be cautious in crowded areas.

Savor Local Flavors

  • Local Eateries: Bypass the touristy restaurants and seek out local tavernas or street food joints to experience authentic Greek cuisine.
  • Local Produce: From olives to honey and wine, consider buying local produce as souvenirs.

Consider Mobility

  • Rental Options: If you want to explore at your own pace, consider renting a car, scooter, or bicycle. Ensure you have the required licenses and insurance.
  • Public Transport: Some islands have reliable public transport. Familiarize yourself with bus or ferry schedules.

Stay Connected

  • Wi-Fi Spots: Local cafes or restaurants often offer free Wi-Fi. If staying connected is crucial, research Wi-Fi spots beforehand or consider buying a local SIM card.
  • Emergency Contacts: Always have a list of emergency contacts, including the local embassy, if applicable.

Capture Memories, Respectfully

  • Photography: Always ask for permission before photographing locals. Respect off-limit areas in museums or sacred sites.
  • Engage with Locals: Taking a moment to chat, share, or even just smile can turn a sightseeing tour into a memorable cultural exchange.

Environmental Respect

  • Leave No Trace: Keep the pristine beauty of the Greek Islands intact. Don’t litter, and try to reduce plastic waste by carrying a reusable water bottle.
  • Respect Wildlife: If engaging in marine activities, be mindful of the marine life. Avoid touching or disturbing the natural habitat.

Each Greek island, with its own charm and character, offers a unique world waiting to be explored. Whether you’re meandering through ancient ruins, lounging on sun-kissed beaches, or savoring delectable Greek cuisine, these shore excursion tips ensure that your island adventures are both enjoyable and enriching.

greek food cruise

Greek Cuisine On and Off-Board

Traditional Greek dishes , with their vibrant flavors, fresh ingredients, and rich history, are undoubtedly one of the many highlights of a cruise around the islands. Whether you’re indulging onboard or savoring delicacies ashore, Greek food promises to be an unforgettable part of your journey. Let’s delve into the world of Greek culinary delights:

Foundations of Greek Cuisine

  • Fresh Ingredients: Olive oil, fresh vegetables, herbs, fish, and meats are staples.
  • Mediterranean Diet: Recognized for its health benefits, it emphasizes fresh produce, grains, and lean proteins.

Must-Try Dishes

  • Moussaka: A delectable layered dish made of eggplant, minced meat, and béchamel sauce.
  • Pastitsio: Often referred to as Greek lasagna, it comprises layers of pasta, meat, and creamy sauce.
  • Dolmadakia: Grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs.
  • Spanakopita: Spinach pie made of phyllo pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese.

Savoring Seafood

  • Grilled Octopus: A favorite appetizer, often served with olive oil and vinegar.
  • Calamari: Fried squid rings, best enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon.
  • Saganaki Shrimp: Shrimp cooked in a tomato-based sauce with feta cheese.

Sweet Temptations

  • Baklava: Sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with nuts and sweetened with syrup.
  • Loukoumades: Deep-fried dough balls drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon.
  • Koulourakia: Butter cookies often twisted in various shapes, perfect with Greek coffee.

Drink Like a Local

  • Ouzo: An iconic anise-flavored liqueur, often served with a splash of water.
  • Retsina: A unique white or rosé wine with a distinct pine flavor.
  • Metaxa: A blended wine and brandy with a sweet taste.

Street Food and Casual Bites

  • Souvlaki: Skewered and grilled meat, often wrapped in pita with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce.
  • Gyros: Rotisserie meat, typically pork or chicken, served in pita bread with toppings.
  • Tiropita: Cheese pie made with phyllo pastry and a variety of cheeses.

Exploring Local Tavernas Off the Ship

  • Ambience: Experience the genuine warmth and hospitality of the Greek people in traditional family-run tavernas.
  • Fresh Produce: Look for places that emphasize local and seasonal ingredients. The closer to the sea, the fresher the seafood!

Tips for Dining Ashore

  • Meal Times: Greeks typically have lunch between 2-4 pm and dinner after 9 pm. Adjust your schedule to enjoy a bustling local ambiance.
  • Tipping: It’s customary to leave a tip of around 5-10% in restaurants, rounded up to the nearest Euro for smaller bills.

Culinary Experiences to Seek

  • Cooking Classes: Learn the art of Greek cooking firsthand. Many islands offer classes where you can cook and then savor your creations.
  • Wine Tastings: Explore local vineyards or wine bars to taste the rich variety of Greek wines.
  • Olive Oil Tours: Dive deep into the world of olive oil, from tree to bottle.

Greek cuisine is a tapestry of flavors, textures, and aromas, reflecting the country’s rich history and cultural influences. Whether you’re indulging in a feast onboard or exploring the culinary landscape ashore, every bite tells a story. So, let your palate set sail on its own Greek odyssey, and “Kali Orexi” (Bon Appétit)!

Messina cruise ship

Potential Challenges on Greek Islands Cruises

Every adventure comes with its set of challenges, and cruising the Greek Islands is no exception. While the allure of the Aegean’s shimmering waters and the rich tapestry of Greek culture are undeniable, it’s essential to be prepared for any hiccups along the way. Here’s a guide to potential challenges and expert advice to navigate them smoothly:

  • Preventative Measures: Consider over-the-counter motion sickness medications or patches. Consult your doctor before your trip.
  • Cabin Selection: Cabins in the middle of the ship at a lower level tend to feel less movement.
  • Ginger and Green Apples: These natural remedies are known to help alleviate nausea.
  • Off-Peak Visits: Plan your shore excursions early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid peak tourist times.
  • Explore Lesser-Known Gems: Instead of the main attractions, delve into hidden spots or less-visited islands for a more authentic experience.
  • Learn Basic Phrases: A few Greek words like “Efharisto” (Thank you) can go a long way.
  • Translation Apps: Modern translation apps can assist in real-time conversations.
  • Sun Protection: Always wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Reapply sunscreen regularly.
  • Stay Hydrated: Carry a water bottle and drink frequently, especially if indulging in local wines or spirits.
  • Research in Advance: Familiarize yourself with local transportation options and schedules.
  • Rent Wisely: If renting a car or scooter, ensure you’re comfortable with local driving habits and have the necessary licenses.
  • Stay Flexible: Weather or other unforeseen circumstances might lead to changes. Embrace the new plan, and explore alternative activities.
  • Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers cancellations or changes.
  • Respect Local Customs: Dress modestly at religious sites and be aware of local customs or traditions.
  • Stay Informed: Research or ask onboard staff about any cultural norms for each island.
  • Wi-Fi Access: While the ship might offer Wi-Fi, it could be slower or pricier. Some ports might have cafes with free Wi-Fi.
  • Offline Mode: Download maps, guides, or translation apps for offline use.
  • Local Currency: While many places accept credit cards, it’s always good to have some Euros on hand, especially for small purchases.
  • Notify Your Bank: Inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any card blockages due to suspicious international activity.
  • Overpacking:
  • Pack Smart: Focus on versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched. Remember, cruise cabins can be compact.
  • Laundry Services: Many cruise ships offer laundry services, allowing you to pack lighter and freshen up your clothes during the trip.

Every journey comes with its own set of challenges, but they’re often the stories we remember and laugh about later. Embracing these challenges and being prepared can enrich your experience. With these tips in hand, you’re not just prepared for your Greek Islands cruise; you’re ready to make it an adventure of a lifetime!

Setting Sail on a Cruise of the Greek Islands

The sun-kissed shores of the Greek Islands have beckoned travelers for centuries. From the mesmerizing sunsets of Santorini to the historical wonders of Crete, and from the glamorous nightlife of Mykonos to the tranquil beaches of Ikaria, these islands promise a diverse and unforgettable experience.

Choosing to explore this archipelago by sea is, without a doubt, a decision filled with the promise of adventure. Whether you sail aboard a luxurious mega-ship equipped with every conceivable amenity or opt for the intimate charm of a small vessel, the essence of the islands remains unchanged. They offer a perfect blend of history, culture, gastronomy, and natural beauty.

Our comprehensive guide on cruises of the Greek Islands has aimed to equip you with insights, from selecting the right itinerary and ship to diving into the delectable Greek cuisine and embracing sustainable tourism. But remember, beyond the preparation and planning, the heart of travel lies in the unexpected moments: a serendipitous encounter with a local, the first bite of a freshly baked spanakopita, or the gentle rhythm of waves lapping against a secluded shore.

As you set sail on your fun cruise , let the winds of the Aegean guide you. Allow yourself to be immersed in the stories, flavors, and landscapes of the Greek Islands. Every island has a tale to tell, a song to sing, and a dance to share.

So, hoist the sails, chart your course, and embark on a journey of discovery. The cruise of the Greek Islands await, timeless and enchanting. May your voyage be filled with sunlit days, starry nights, and memories that last a lifetime. Safe travels and happy cruising! 🚢

FAQs on Cruise of the Greek Islands

Embarking on a cruise to the Greek Islands is an exciting adventure, and naturally, many questions may arise as you prepare for your voyage. To aid in your planning, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and their answers:

When is the best time to cruise the Greek Islands?

  • The ideal time is during the shoulder seasons of late spring (May and early June) and early fall (September and early October) when the weather is pleasant, the crowds are fewer, and the seas are calm.

Do I need a visa to cruise the Greek Islands?

  • Depending on your nationality, you might need a Schengen visa to enter Greece. However, many cruise lines often handle the process for their passengers during port stops. It’s essential to check with your cruise operator and the official Greek consulate website.

What currency is used in the Greek Islands?

  • Greece uses the Euro (€). While most places accept credit cards, it’s a good idea to have some cash on hand, especially in smaller villages.

Is English widely spoken?

  • Yes, English is widely spoken in tourist areas, and cruise staff are typically multilingual. However, it’s always appreciated when visitors learn a few basic Greek phrases.

How much should I budget for shore excursions?

  • Costs can vary widely based on the type of activity, duration, and exclusivity. Budgeting between €50 to €200 per excursion is a good starting point, but always check with your cruise operator for specific prices.

Is Wi-Fi available onboard?

  • Most modern cruise ships offer Wi-Fi, but the speed, reliability, and costs can vary. Some luxury cruises may include it in their package, while others might charge extra.

Is the water safe to drink?

  • Onboard the cruise, the tap water is generally safe to drink. On the islands, it’s advisable to drink bottled water, especially on smaller or more remote islands.

Can I customize my shore excursions?

  • While many cruise lines offer a range of excursions, some travelers opt for private tours or self-guided adventures. It’s essential to ensure you return to the ship on time, as the ship won’t wait for latecomers.

What type of power outlets are used on the ship?

  • This varies by cruise line. Many ships use North American standard 110V outlets, while others might have European 220V outlets. It’s advisable to bring a universal adapter.

What’s the dress code onboard?

  • During the day, casual attire is acceptable. In the evenings, especially for dinners and events, a smart-casual dress code is typical. Some cruises may have gala nights where formal attire is expected.

Do I need to tip onboard?

  • Many cruise lines include gratuities in their fare, distributing them among the crew. However, if you receive exceptional service, additional tipping is at your discretion. Always check your cruise’s specific tipping policy.

Are the Greek Islands safe for travelers?

  • Yes, the Greek Islands are generally safe for travelers. As with any destination, it’s essential to stay aware of your surroundings and exercise standard precautions, especially in crowded areas.

How do I handle seasickness?

  • While modern cruise ships are designed for stability, if you’re prone to seasickness, it’s advisable to book a cabin in the middle of the ship and on a lower deck. Over-the-counter medications, wristbands, and ginger supplements can also help. If you’re feeling unwell, contact the ship’s medical center.

Are cruises suitable for families with children?

  • Absolutely! Many cruise lines cater to families and offer kid-friendly activities, clubs, and babysitting services. However, it’s essential to check the ship’s amenities and age-appropriate activities beforehand.

Are there any age or mobility restrictions for shore excursions?

  • Some excursions may have age, health, or mobility restrictions, especially those that involve physical activities like hiking or water sports. It’s crucial to check with the cruise line before booking.

Can I bring my own alcohol onboard?

  • Most cruise lines have policies regarding bringing alcohol onboard. Some allow a limited quantity, while others may charge a corkage fee. Always consult the cruise line’s alcohol policy before departure.

Do I need travel insurance?

  • While not always mandatory, travel insurance is highly recommended. It can cover unexpected incidents, medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost baggage.

How can I stay connected with home while cruising?

  • Aside from onboard Wi-Fi, many ports and cities in the Greek Islands offer local SIM cards or mobile hotspots. Remember to check roaming charges with your home carrier.

What’s the food like onboard? Can they cater to dietary restrictions?

  • Cruise ships typically offer a wide range of cuisines, from local Greek dishes to international favorites. Most ships can cater to dietary restrictions, but it’s best to notify the cruise line in advance.

Are there onboard medical facilities?

  • Yes, larger cruise ships are equipped with medical facilities and staffed with qualified medical professionals to handle emergencies and general health concerns.

Do I need to bring any specific documentation?

  • Aside from your passport and any necessary visas, bring your cruise tickets, travel insurance documents, and any other relevant travel or medical documentation.

Can I extend my stay in Greece after the cruise?

  • Certainly! Many travelers choose to extend their vacation either before or after the cruise. Ensure you have the necessary visa allowances and accommodations booked.

What if I miss the ship at a port?

  • It’s crucial to return to the ship on time, as they adhere to tight schedules. If you miss the departure, you’ll be responsible for your own transportation to the next port or back home.

Is there a limit to how much I can shop or bring back from the islands?

  • Each country has its customs regulations. It’s essential to be aware of any duty-free allowances or restricted items when shopping abroad.

Remember, preparation is the key to a stress-free vacation. While the above FAQs should help answer most queries, it’s always a good idea to consult with your chosen cruise line or a travel agent for specific details tailored to your trip. Enjoy the enchanting world of the Greek Islands and happy cruising! 🌊🌺🛳️

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Cliff Greece Village and Beach Santorini


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Discover idyllic beaches and ancient ruins in the birthplace of poetry and art with a cruise to Greece and the Greek Isles.

Cruise to Greece and Greek Isles where temples, amphitheaters and villages preserved in volcanic ash still reveal the mysteries of the past. Enjoy dramatic sunsets across translucent waters while exploring the white cliffs of Milos, or transport yourself to the ancient past at ruins found on nearly every Greek island. The Temple of Aphaia looms over Aegina, while Delos Island hosts the incredible Terrace of the Lions. You'll find the world-famous Acropolis on Rhodes Island and the Akrotiri on Santorini. But don't forget to watch the sun rise over the Aegean while visiting the renowned windmills of Mykonos. Discover the magic with a Greece and Greek Isles cruise.

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Get in touch with traditional customs and soak in the Mediterranean waves on the sun-soaked Greek Isles onboard the best Greece and Greek Isles cruises. 

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Santorini only has villages, not towns, and these diverse areas provide a firsthand glimpse into Greek life. Because the whole island is less than 28 square miles, it's not difficult to take in most of the sights from the looming cliffs and still have time for shopping, eating and some down time on the Aegean Sea.

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Greece's underwater worlds complete with seahorses, eels and plenty of fish are almost too perfect not to grab your scuba gear and take the plunge. Santorini has an excellent dive center that will get you into the water fast with instructors who will guide you through the warm Mediterranean waters.

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Another great thing to do while in Greece are the daily tours of the volcano Nea Kameni, which is located on an uninhabited island close to Santorini, begin with a short boat ride, followed by a climb up to the volcanic craters that takes just over an hour. The tour then takes in hot springs and mud baths, where you can recharge your batteries.

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Go on an archaeological exploration of the ancient world's most renowned sites, from Bronze Age excavations to temples dedicated to the Greek gods with your cruise to Greece and Greek Isles. 

Greek Isles Ancient Ruins


The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is both a beach paradise and home to some of the country's premier archaeological finds and attractions. Visit Greece and tour the Palace at Knossos, built by the Minoans more than 4,000 years ago, before exploring the Archaeological Museum, where the treasures of Knossos — including sculptures, jewelry and mosaics — are exhibited.

Akrotiri Historical Site Santorini Greece

Excavations of Akrotiri on Santorini Island date back to the Manoan Bronze Age, where the settlement was preserved in ash following a volcanic eruption in 1627 B.C. The site is still being excavated today, and you can witness history firsthand by exploring the vast settlement and the enormous ongoing archaeological dig.

Ancient Greece Ruins Delos Apollo and Artemis


Delos is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, and it's also the mythological birthplace of the sun god, Apollo, and his twin, Artemis, goddess of the moon and the hunt. You can spend hours exploring the ruins and learning about Greek history on the most sacred place of worship in Ancient Greece. Even the nearby old port has its own charm, with an amphitheater, sanctuary and various dwellings waiting to be explored.

Beach Cave in Greece


This is not your average summer vacation in Europe — it’s an all-out culture trip you’ll never forget. Offering longer stays in port, Odyssey of the Seas℠ takes you deeper into the culture, history and natural beauty of some of Europe’s most incredible destinations. Cruise to Greece and explore the most beautiful isles in the Aegean.

Sunset in Santorini, Greece


There’s nothing like spending a summer in Greece, and an adventure on Odyssey of the Seas℠ , is the perfect way to experience it. Scope picture-perfect sunsets in Santorini. Tour a local vineyard in Crete. And spend a day soaking up the sun on a golden-sand beach in Mykonos . You’re in for adventure no matter how you choose to isle away the time.


The ancient city of Ephesus Selcuk Izmir Turkey


Experience the journey of a lifetime on a 12-night cruise on Odyssey of the Seas℠. Explore the stunning landscapes and rich history of Greece, Turkey, and Italy. Indulge in exquisite cuisine, relax in luxury, and embark on unforgettable shore excursions, all while enjoying the world-class amenities of our cruise ship.


WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO Greece and Greek Isles Cruises Insider

You'll find excellent weather on the Greek islands throughout the year, but the best time to visit is between April and October, when temperatures range from the low 70s to the mid 80s, and the sun is nearly guaranteed.

Countless ruins like the Acropolis and the Akrotiri overlook the world-class beaches that are around nearly every corner on the islands. Whether you're more interested in a private cove on Zakynthos or a central beach with a party scene on Mykonos, the options are limitless.

While you will have no difficulty finding a wealth of fish and seafood on the islands, the history of trade on the islands create amazing international cuisine.

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Santorini is known for one-day yacht tours that give you a unique view of the island and its neighbors.

Ftelia Beach, on the northern side of Mykonos, is the place for watersports and windsurfing, as well as those sunsets everyone dreams about.


The Greek islands are known for famous foods like feta cheese, but the location is also home to a slew of other delicacies. Olive oil plays a big part in the local cuisine, as does local produce such as tomatoes and other Mediterranean vegetables. Feast on feta me meli, baked feta wrapped in filo, or choriatiki, greek salad with tons of vegetables. While meat such as lamb, pork and veal are found everywhere, especially in gyros or keftethes (meatballs), fish and seafood are the undisputed stars, due to proximity to the sea.

Greek Feta Cheese and Kalamata Olives


Kefalonia is home to the legendary tiropita cheese puff, which is basically cheese baked in cheese, although you'll also find puffs filled with vegetables, particularly spinach, and even sometimes meat. You can also find local cheeses like feta, manuri or kefalotiri everywhere.

Greek Kreatopita Meat Pie


Meat pies filled with lamb, veal or sometimes pork are called kreatopita, and they are cooked with wine and tomatoes, garlic, cinnamon and nutmeg, creating a medley of flavors. There's also a variety called pastitsio that combines pasta and meat.

Greek Fresh Seafood Platter


Your choices are endless when it comes to fresh seafood prepared according to local tradition. Try a simple shrimp and pasta dish, or go wild with octapodi kokkinisto, octopus in tomato sauce during your Greece cruise.


The beautiful Greece and Greek Isles cruise ports, from the in-progress archaeological digs at Delos to the Old Towns of Crete and Rhodes, the Greek Islands are brimming with history. And while it's wonderful to explore the past, the beaches of Mykonos and the architecture of Santorini and Athens are just a few of the many pleasures that await you.

Argostoli, Greece Kalamia Beach

Argostoli, Greece

Mykonos, Greece Windmills From Restaurant

Mykonos, Greece

Santorini, Greece Oia White Blue

Santorini, Greece

Chania, Crete Pristine Beach

Chania (Souda), Crete

Katakolon, Greece, Ancient Pilar Ruins

Olympia (Katakolon), Greece

Athens (Piraeus), Greece, View of city and Acropolis

Athens (Piraeus), Greece

Rhodes, Greece, Beach

Rhodes, Greece

Corfu, Greece, Paleokastritsa Beach

Corfu, Greece

Aerial view of Porto Zorro Azzurro beach in Zakynthos (Zante) island, in Greece

Zakynthos, Greece

Saint Paul cathedral in Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki, Greece

Skiathos Old Port with a Blue Sky, Skiathos, Greece

Skiathos, Greece

Street view of Pirgi, a village in Chios, Greece

Chios, Greece

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17 of the best Greek island cruises

Whether you’re after luxury, a touch of romance or non-stop family fun, there are plenty of voyages to the greek islands to choose from.

best island cruise in greece

D reamy archaeological sites steeped in mythology, idyllic beaches and an authentic welcome are just three reasons to explore Greece by sea. But there are plenty more. Fresh seafood in a waterfront taverna and sundowners in a cool clifftop bar on Santorini. Wandering around the sugar-cube villages of the Cyclades, or marvelling at medieval architecture in Rhodes. A Greek islands cruise is the perfect way to experience this magical country, whether you’re island-hopping in the Aegean or delving deep into history as you sail around the rocky fingers of the Peloponnese, the scent of wild herbs in the air. There’s no end of choice, from a luxury cruise with free-flowing champagne to the simpler pleasures of a small ship, where the destination itself is the star.

Main photo: a Norwegian Cruise Line ship in Santorini

A Silversea ship in Santorini

1. Silversea Cruises

Expect the last word in luxury on Silversea’s sleek, Italian-designed ships, all gleaming marble, sparkling chandeliers and plush suites with private balconies. Everything is included, from drinks to fine dining, tips and shore excursions. Greek island itineraries tend to focus on popular ports such as Rhodes, Patmos, Santorini and Mykonos , as well as Syros, Agios Nikolaos on Crete and Nafplio on the mainland. As well as round-trip cruises from Athens , look out for one-way itineraries between Athens and Venice , which call at Katakolon, for Olympia, and Corfu . Ashore, Silversea focuses on immersive itineraries, often with a culinary theme, be it wine tasting or visits to olive-oil growers and cheese makers. The 728-passenger Silver Ray will sail on Greek itineraries after its launch in summer 2024.

Best suited to Adults Price £££ Family-friendly Older children only

Celebrity Beyond

2. Celebrity Cruises

The 3,260-passenger Celebrity Beyond starts sailing in Greece in 2023. Celebrity’s contemporary ships are a good choice if you’re looking for stylish design, classy dining, all-inclusive pricing and buzzing nightlife. Kids’ clubs cater for all ages, making these great family or multi-generational cruises. Greek island itineraries focus on big-hitting ports including Rhodes , Santorini, Mykonos and Katakolon, with cruises ranging from seven to ten nights. Most voyages incorporate other countries — for example, there’s a cruise that visits Rome and Malta as well as Greek ports, or an 11-night round-trip from Rome, heading through the Greek isles as far east as Istanbul .


Best suited to All ages Price ££ Family-friendly Yes

Hydra (Alamy)

3. Variety Cruises

Family-owned and based in Athens, Variety Cruises offers a wide choice of small ship cruises with a focus on off-the-beaten-track itineraries. So while a typical week might include Mykonos and Santorini, you’ll also visit the ancient fortified town of Monemvasia, arty Hydra and sleepy Kythira, its port guarded by a medieval castle. Ports in the Cyclades include Antiparos, Folegandros and Syros, while other itineraries circle the long fingers of the Peloponnese, visiting classical sights like Delphi, Epidaurus and the Corinth Canal. Life on board is relaxed, with regular stops for swimming off the ship. Most days are half-board, so you can try out local restaurants ashore, with late nights in port.


Celestyal Cruises sails around the Greek islands and the eastern Mediterranean

4. Celestyal Cruises

Based in Athens, Celestyal operates two comfortable, mid-sized cruise ships around the Greek islands and the eastern Mediterranean, ranging as far as Egypt and Israel . This is the line to pick for short-break cruises, with a regular series of three and four-night voyages from the capital, whisking you to Mykonos, Patmos, Kusadasi, Santorini and Heraklion in a long weekend. Expect everything from Greek dance lessons to craft classes to keep you busy between sailings. Drinks and a selection of excursions are included, making these cruises exceptional value. With many Greek specialities featured on the menu, Celestyal also provides a truly authentic taste of its homeland.

Best suited to All ages Price £ Family-friendly Yes

Holy Trinity Monastery on Meteora (Getty Images)

5. Noble Caledonia

Noble Caledonia is best known for its luxurious small ships, which have a friendly, country-house vibe. Its generally highbrow audience includes many regulars who love the immersive, culturally orientated itineraries. Several voyages explore the antiquities of Greece, including places few other ships visit: Volos, for the extraordinary rock monasteries of Meteora; the lovely old city of Nafplio, for an in-depth visit to Epidaurus; Skyros in the Sporades; and dramatic Ikaria, with high cliffs, deep ravines and hidden coves. All excursions are included, as well as wine with meals. On board, the pace is gentle, with guest speakers and quizzes setting the tone in the evenings.

Best suited to 40-plus Price £££ Family-friendly No


Kastraki beach, Naxos (Alamy)

6. Elixir Cruises

Elixir operates just one ship, the 50-passenger Elysium, with a focus on wellness and experiential cruising in the Cyclades, the Peloponnese and the Ionian sea. There’s a wellness coach on board, with options of yoga on the beach, as well as meditation sessions and Pilates. Activities ashore include hiking, Greek cookery classes and wine tasting, while farm-to-table Greek fusion cuisine is promised on board. Most nights are spent in port, where you’re encouraged to have dinner and enjoy the atmosphere after dark in places like Santorini, Naxos and Hydra. During the day, there are regular swimming stops as the ship moves from one port to the next.

Best suited to Adults Price ££ Family-friendly No


Oceania Cruises’ Insignia

7. Oceania Cruises

Oceania’s elegant, mid-sized ships roam all over the Mediterranean in summer. You’ll find lots of options to explore Greece, from one-week hops between Athens and Rome to an 18-day odyssey from Jerusalem to Istanbul. All the big-hitting destinations are featured, as well as smaller spots where you may be the only ship in port, including the quaint old Venetian town of Chania; Gythion, on the remote Mani peninsula of the Peloponnese; and stately Syros, capital of the Cyclades. On board, dining is the line’s big selling point, with all speciality restaurants included in the price. The culinary theme is extended ashore with excursions that include visiting local markets for ingredients and learning to prepare them in an on-board cookery class and a foraging tour on Cephalonia.

Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas

8. Royal Caribbean

Families love Royal Caribbean’s big, bright vessels — they often choose the trip as much for the ship as the destination. Odyssey of the Seas, one of the line’s newest ships, is among the Royal Caribbean vessels that visit the Greek islands, and sails from Rome. Days between ports such as Santorini, Mykonos and Chania are filled with distractions such as a surf simulator, VR games, a skydiving simulator, dodgems and a vast pool deck complete with hammocks and oversized Jacuzzis. As well as week-long itineraries, there are shorter four-night sailings.

Norwegian Jade in Santorini

9. Norwegian Cruise Line

You’ve got plenty of choice if you want to explore Greece on one of Norwegian’s colourful, activity-filled ships, several of which spend summer in the Mediterranean. Cruises depart from Athens, Rome, Venice and Barcelona, offering from seven to ten-night holidays, visiting popular ports including Santorini, Athens, Mykonos and Corfu, as well as other destinations. Some voyages head to Istanbul, while others call at Malta. One of the standout features of Norwegian is its superb entertainment, which includes full-production Broadway shows, sizzling dance performance Burn The Floor and live music in a replica of the Cavern Club. Shore excursions, including riding, kayaking and mountain biking, are among the different ways to explore destinations.

Skopelos (Alamy)

10. Star Clippers

Sailing doesn’t come any more romantic than a voyage on one of Star Clippers’ stirring tall ships, exploring sun-drenched Greek islands under 36,000 sq ft of billowing sail. Star Flyer spends the summer in the Greek islands, carried by the wind to the Sporades. Stops include the pretty Mamma Mia! location of Skopelos, as well as the Cyclades and, on voyages from Athens to Istanbul, the Dodecanese. Life on board is as relaxed as it comes; you can bask in the hammock-like bowsprit nets and climb the mast to the crow’s nest for striking views down over the deck. It’s guaranteed you’ll always be on the most head-turning vessel in port.

Best suited to All ages Price ££ Family-friendly Older children only

Ermoupoli, Syros (Getty Images)

11. Windstar Cruises

Windstar’s small, luxurious ships offer some wonderfully creative itineraries around the Greek islands, with time to lose yourself among the ancient ruins of the Acropolis one day and kick back on soft sand beaches in the Cyclades the next. Visit medieval Monemvasia, squeeze through the narrow chasm of the Corinth Canal, or spend a day in Ermoupoli on Syros, where former sea captains’ mansions in ochre and terracotta cling to the hillside. There are overland tour options, too, combining Delphi’s exquisite Temple of Apollo and the mountain monasteries of Meteora with a cruise. Windstar has several ships in the Greek islands in summer and your home at sea could be the five-masted sailing ship Wind Surf, or the all-suite megayacht Star Pride.

On board with SeaDream Yacht Club

12. SeaDream Yacht Club

SeaDream’s petite, 112-passenger ships are as close as you’ll get to a private yacht, with stupendously good food, all-inclusive drinks and personal, intuitive service. Embrace the yachtie lifestyle, whether it’s plunging off the back of the ship into the sparkling blue Aegean sea or lounging by the pool while a waiter tops up your champagne. Greece itineraries vary from seven to 11 nights — some round-trip from Athens, others sail from Athens to Istanbul or Venice. Some of the most tempting ports of call include Milos; Skopelos; Hydra; the fortress town of Monemvasia; Gythio; and on Cephalonia, dreamy Fiskardo — where pastel-coloured houses are backed by pine-scented hills.

Best suited to Adults Price £££ Family-friendly No

Windmills in Amorgos (Getty Images)

13. Azamara Club Cruises

Cultural immersion is the goal of Azamara, which operates a fleet of four comfortable, mid-sized ships, several of which cruise the Greek islands in summer. You’ll often be the last ship in port, staying in Santorini long after the sun has set in a blaze of scarlet, or docked in Rhodes as the medieval streets come alive in the cool of the evening. As well as the big-hitting ports, there are plenty of smaller surprises, including pretty Amorgos, Thessaloniki, Venetian Chania and Argostoli on Cephalonia, Captain Corelli country. Shore excursions include pottery and cookery classes, plus culinary walks through towns and villages stopping to taste local delicacies along the way. Life on board is informal — but pack something white for the weekly Bright Night deck party, an event for which Azamara is justifiably renowned.

Sea Cloud II explores the Greek islands all summer

14. Sea Cloud

This German-owned line’s graceful windjammers, Sea Cloud and Sea Cloud II, explore the Greek islands all summer, and their itineraries mix mainstream ports with off-the-beaten-track spots such as Spetses, Nafplio, Syros and the walled city of Kavala, founded in the seventh century BC. The ships evoke a nostalgic era of glamour with their gleaming wood and polished brass. The original Sea Cloud was built in 1931 and even has a decorative marble fireplace in its master suite. While days are relaxed, with swimming off the ship’s water sports platform, evenings on board tend to dial things up a notch. A lot of the passengers are Germans who enjoy the sense of occasion and like to dress up.


Marella Cruises’ Dining Club

15. Marella Cruises

Marella’s cheery, all-inclusive cruises are designed with a British audience in mind; expect stand-up, tribute bands and stacks of bacon at breakfast. Voyages range from adult-only cruises on the swish Marella Explorer 2, to family-friendly on Marella Discovery. Mediterranean cruises include the Greek islands and depart from Dubrovnik or Corfu , both served by Tui charter flights from a wide range of regional UK airports. Ports include Santorini, Mykonos, Heraklion, Chania and Katalolon. Cruise-and-stay options can be bolted on, so you can plump for a week in Corfu bookended by a seven-night cruise. Marella is the only cruise line to have a partnership with Champneys, so make time on board for the spa.

Best suited to All ages, depending on the ship Price £ Family-friendly Yes, depending on the ship

16. Crystal

Luxe-lovers will welcome the return of the Crystal name. In 2022 the A&K Travel Group acquired the Crystal brand and relaunched its pair of ocean ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. The former will spend the summer of 2023 on itineraries taking in big-name Greek islands including Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete and Patmos. To usher in a new era, the ship has undergone an extensive facelift which has seen cabins enlarged and passenger numbers reduced from 848 to 606. However, some things stay the same, including Crystal’s standout service which includes butler service to every suite.

Emerald Azzurra

17. Emerald Cruises

When it launched in 2022 the 100-passenger Emerald Azzurra marked river line Emerald Cruises’ move into the world of ocean cruising. Now joined by sister ship Sakara, the sleek vessels provide a swish superyacht experience without the price tag of more expensive lines. Both ships sail in the Greek islands and while there’s plenty of time for lazing and sunbathing, Emerald will appeal to anyone keen to keep active on holiday with excursions such as guided hikes, kayaking and diving. Gentler pursuits include a mosaic-making workshop on Mykonos and a glimpse into monastic life on Patmos. Itineraries also visit the lesser-known Amorgos, the most easterly isle in the Cyclades.

When is the best time to cruise the Greek islands?

It depends on what you’re looking for. Attractions will be quieter in spring and autumn during the shoulder months, but you’ll get the best weather (both for exploring ports and relaxing with a cocktail on deck) in July and August.

How much does it cost to cruise the Greek islands?

Again, it depends. The duration and cruise line — among other factors — will have a big influence on the price. If you’re looking to save money, consider choosing a shorter cruise and adding time at the end — you can base yourself on an island and catch a Blue Star ferry to see others.

• Best Greek islands

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best island cruise in greece

  • Cruise Tips

10 Best Ports For Greek Islands And Eastern Mediterranean Cruises

by Gary Bembridge · May 3, 2022

gary Athens Greece

I am going to look at and suggest 10 best things to see and do if you’re on Adriatic and Greek islands cruise. It’s a magnificent part of the world and most of the cruises will start at either Venice or in Athens and travel between them. It means you take in parts of mainland Greece, the Greek islands and a couple of stops on the Adriatic coast.

If you’re looking at booking a need to make sure are on your itinerary to have the best way of seeing and doing this part of the world. Make sure you don’t miss any of these incredible places.

best island cruise in greece

Let’s start in Athens, a firm favourite on a Greek islands cruise. You’re either going to embark or disembark in Athens and make sure that you go to the Acropolis. This is an outcrop overlooking the city and on the top are the ruins of most magnificent temples, the most famous of which being the Parthenon which is a temple which was created and built in the honour of the goddess Athena – who is seen as the patron of Athens and really where they got their name from. Also, nearby the Acropolis is the new Acropolis museum, a massive complex with remarkable artefacts.

If you’re going on a cruise that starts or ends in Athens, make sure you build in time to go to the Acropolis.

Since we’ve been talking about important archaeological areas what I’m going to do is talk about some of the really other great and important archaeological sites to see.

best island cruise in greece

Katakolon (Olympia)

One of these is in Katakolon, and the place you go to is Olympia. It’s about an hour or so from Katakolon. If you go on a cruise that’s going to Katakolon make sure you go to Olympia.

Olympia is the site of the original Olympic Games and many of the buildings were built in the honour of the god Zeus, and it is a huge sprawling complex including the huge big stadium where many of the races were run. It’s a fascinating complex and there are two museums nearby.

The one that I would really make sure you get to, which is not far from the entrance into Olympia, is the museum which tells you the whole history of Olympia. Make sure you go to Olympia it is absolutely magnificent. This is another popular stop on Greek Islands cruises.

best island cruise in greece

Crete (Knossos)

Another great place to go if you are interested in culture and art is make sure that your cruise is stopping in Crete and ideally calling at the port of Heraklion. It’s the closest to what’s known as the Palace of Knossos.

The Palace of Knossos is again another big sprawling complex. Some of it has she been reconstructed and it ready was deserted at the end of the Bronze Age. It was the centre of the Minoans and it became very famous for a legend about the Minotaur which allegedly lived in the labyrinth underneath the Palace of Knossos.

But it’s a beautiful place to visit, with history and story. It’s not known why it was deserted when it was such a major structure, but it’s felt that was probably there’s lots of volcanic activity and also lots of battles which probably drove the people out.

So those are some really important historical sites if you’re interested in that side of the Greek islands. My next two suggestions are round two really famous and iconic islands. The first of which is Santorini.

best island cruise in greece

Santorini is absolutely fascinating because it is created by a lot of volcanic activity, and so you have these massive 300-meter-high cliffs and perched across the top of them are the towns.

When you actually call into Santorini you are likely to be docked outside the main town which is known as Fira and you can then either walk up or get a donkey ride up or you can wait for the cable car and when lots of cruise ships are in it can be very busy. But I really recommend you head to the other town which is called Oia.

Oia is a much more beautiful town. The very easy way of doing that is when you get onto the dockside, you’ll find a number of boats there which will do a shuttle service. So, they will take you from the dockside in Fira about a 15-minute drive to Oia, they’ll have a bus which takes you up the hill into Oia.

This is where you’re going to get those famous and classical scenes of Santorini. If you want the classic pictures of Santorini, this is the place to go.

From there they normally include a bus which will take you back to the town of Fira, which you can then explore, get the cable car down or walk down or get a donkey ride down. We actually walked down. It’s about 800 something steps and it’s not a bad walk down.

best island cruise in greece

The second really famous and iconic island is that of Mykonos and Mykonos Town. One of the great things to do in Mykonos town is to stroll through the little winding streets. There’s lots of complex little winding streets and it’s full of little boutiques and shops and restaurants and bars and it really is quite magnificent.

Many people walk through the old town to head towards the windmills, which are the famous and iconic sight and picture that everyone wants to get.

Mykonos is really fascinating. In the 70s and 80s it was a really important and vibrant place and attracted lots of celebrities. It reportedly caught on because Onassis took Jackie there and they really loved it there and it also then became a big centre for gay culture and gay holidays. It sort of waned a little bit in the 90s and the early 2000s, but it’s really come back and it’s again a very vibrant and trendy place to go.

best island cruise in greece

Santorini and Mykonos are great places to go but can be very busy if there’s lots of cruise ships in. Now two slightly more unusual islands that I really loved, and I would recommend when you’re looking at a cruise, try and make sure that these are included. The first of which is Patmos.

Patmos is a quiet island and you normally tender in, and only the smaller ships come in and then you can head from Skala which is a town on the bottom and head up the hill to Hora. If you’re really energetic you can walk although I recommend it’s much better to get a taxi up there because it’s really steep.

You can then go to the Monastery of St. John. Inside there they have some original scrolls from the Bible, but it’s also really well known for the cave of St John further down the hill. Although a lot of people like to go there, many are disappointed when they go there. The cave is where John had the revelation and saw Jesus and he wrote the book of Revelations which is the last book in the New Testament. So, it’s a very popular place to come for pilgrimages.

It’s a very beautiful place and the town is very lovely. The island of Patmos is a great one to include.

best island cruise in greece

Another Greek island which is very fascinating is Gythion. Again, the smaller ships tend to cruise here. They normally will tender you in although sometimes one of the ships can dock. Gythion has a very beautiful town. They have lots of dockside and Harborside restaurants, fantastic bakeries and its really great place to hang out.

But the thing I recommend you do is head out to the Glyfada cave at Dira. It’s about a 40-minute drive, so you may want to book an excursion through your cruise line. These caves are absolutely fascinating. They were only discovered in 1949 and are vast underground caves. You go a little boat trip, which will take about half an hour, winding its way through the caves. It’s quite an enclosed space so if you’re claustrophobic not the best thing to do! It is absolutely fascinating.

best island cruise in greece

Another great place to go to is Corfu. Corfu is much more of a land-based tourist island, but it’s a great place to go. Get the hop-on hop-off bus and you can head out and explore the island particularly head away from the old town more towards the beach areas and some great places where you can go swimming. For example, we went swimming at the base of the old fortress with magnificent views. Really quite something.

If you are going on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise which either end or start in Venice, you will also call on other ports along the Adriatic coast. The two most famous of which are Kotor Montenegro and Dubrovnik in Croatia.

best island cruise in greece

Kotor is a magnificent and beautiful place to call on, so when you look at your itinerary, I really recommend you include one that has Kotor on. It’s a bit like cruising into the Norwegian Fjords with beautiful mountains on either side of a beautiful bay. You sail quite a long way inland and the old town of Kotor is very charming. It’s quite small. It’s a walled city and very easy to stroll around. Lots of interesting shops but one of the things I recommend you do, if you’ve got a bit of energy and fitness, is to climb up the massive mountain behind Kotor.

It’s over a thousand steps so it you need to be relatively fit to head up there, but the views are absolute magnificent looking back across the bay.

best island cruise in greece

Dubrovnik is of course a very famous city and, in some ways, it’s becoming almost over busy with tourists. Fans of Game of Thrones will know Dubrovnik from early parts of the series Dubrovnik was used for some of Game of Thrones. The old walled city is very beautiful, and you can walk right along the old walls. Really magnificent.

You can head up on the cable car and get great views of Dubrovnik. Spend time around the Old City and go on a walking tour and find out about all the different churches and the stories of Dubrovnik. Absolutely fascinating.

best island cruise in greece

Of course, if you’re starting or ending in Venice (although the ports now used are 2 hours away) make sure that you do spend time in Venice, and have whole videos dedicated to finding out things about Venice.

If you’re heading on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise or a cruise that includes the Greek islands these are the things and places that I strongly recommend you consider when you look at an itinerary. Make sure that all of or many of these places are included.

A lot of the cruises will only call on the really big islands, so Mykonos and Santorini, and they will miss out some of the other islands which are much more fascinating, and you won’t get the true Greek experience.

Whatever you do and wherever you go, enjoy your Greek Island holiday to the fullest.

ABOUT TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS —————————————– Gary Bembridge’s Tips For Travellers aims to help you make more of your precious travel time and money on land and when cruising the oceans or rivers of the world. To help you, in every video I draw on my first-hand tips and advice from travelling every month for over 20 years and average of 10 cruises a year.

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Tags: Adriatic cruise cruise tips cruising Eastern Mediterranean greek islands greek islands cruise island life Mediterranean tips for travelers tips for travellers travel tips

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Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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Hi Gary you’re British and so am I in fact most of your followers probably are so please give your prices in pounds instead of dollars. Thank you

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75% are my followers are USA !

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Great timing! As you heard from me on your live chat, we’re visiting several of the sites you mention here on our Viking Adriatic cruise soon. Good to know that our planning is on target. Thanks for a great post!

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The Best Greek Island Cruise Itinerary (9 Cruises You Can’t Resist)

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

Greece is one of the most popular travel destinations from tourists all over the world. There is no shortage of amazing things to see and experience, including exploring the ancient ruins, relaxing by the stunning beaches, dining on fresh Mediterranean dishes, and so much more. The Greek islands are especially unique in their beauty. Each island has its own unique landscape and scenery, and going on a Greek Island cruise is the best way to experience everything that this magical country has to offer. This Greek island cruise itinerary covers the best and most popular spots.

This post contains affiliate links. This means we make a small commission at no cost to you if you click through and make a purchase. All prices listed are accurate at time of publication. 

Greek Island Cruise Itinerary

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

Day 1 – Athens

Your Greek island cruise will most likely start in Athens. Greece’s capital, the birthplace of democracy, has much to offer for the curious traveler. Once the seat of the powerful empire, Athens is dotted with many landmarks dating back as far as the 5th century BC. Take a guided tour of the Acropolis , one of the most iconic sights in the world., and stop at the Acropolis Museum afterwards. See the Parthenon, dating back to 447 BC. Join a mythological tour . The tales of heroes and gods are captivating to say the least! If you are a fan of Greek mythology, don’t miss seeing the Temple of Poseidon . Explore the Erechtheion, a temple dedicated to Athena and Poseidon. The Temple of of Hephaestus and the Temple of Athena Nike shouldn’t be missed. There are also numerous fantastic museums to be discovered. The Museum of Cycladic Art, the National Archaeological Museum, the Benaki Museum, and many more are a great way to escape the heat and learn a thing or two about the ancient world. There’s so much to do and see, it’s well worth to spend a day or two in this ancient city before you head off to your Greek island cruise. If you are pressed on time, a half day sightseeing tour ensures you’ll hit most major sights. A a visit to Athens in winter is a good idea to escape the summer crowds, and many cruises run year round.

Day 2 – Thessaloniki

While Thessaloniki is part of the mainland, you will find that most every Greek island cruise itinerary includes Greece’s second largest city as a port of call. And there are many good reasons for that. Greece’s cultural capital has it all: a vibrant cultural life, with plenty of festivals and events, as well as must-see ancient ruins. On top of that, Thessaloniki features the most amazing street food! Plan to include the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in your shore excursions. Thessaloniki has a whooping 15 of them! The area around Tsimiski Street provides ample opportunity for shopping, no matter if you are looking for famous brands or local handicrafts. Keep your eyes open for bags, clothing, and jewelry from independent Greek designers. Those are unique souvenirs that’ll always remind you of your adventures in the Aegean Sea. Explore the ancient world in one of the many museums. Literally every single period in history is represented in a museum. While cruise ships generally offer everything from a 24 hour pizza buffet to fine dining, save some room for Thessaloniki’s famous street food.  Put a Pita Gyro sandwich on the menu, followed by kataifi or baklava. If you want to go all out, book an open markets food tasting tour . City sightseeing is made easy by the hop on hop off bus . Another great option to hit all the major sights is a classic city private tour . Looking for adventure? Head to the home of the Gods for an Olympus canyoning course !

Day 3 – Mykonos

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

It’s day 3 and finally the cruise ships are venturing out into the open waters of the Aegean Sea! Mykonos is widely known as a party island, but there’s more to it. For one, it’s an excellent spot to go scuba diving. Find out if that’s one of the shore excursions your cruise ship offers, or book your own scuba diving adventure . Santorini and Mykonos both have fantastic beaches. Psarou beach, Ornos beach, Platys Gialos beach, Paraga beach, and Elia beach are just a few of the available options. The seven white windmills, Mykonos’ landmark, are not to be missed and can be reached with a short walk. Matogianni Street is the place to go for shopping and dining. If you feel like visiting another UNESCO World Heritage Site, take a half day Delos tour . This little island is knows as the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis, and it is perfect for immersing yourself in mythology on your Greek island cruise. One day is a short time to explore everything Mykonos has to offer, but you definitely need to check out Alefkandra, known as Little Venice. Small alleys, paved with dark marble, are flanked by the typical white houses you see everywhere on your Greek island hopping cruises. The waterfront is lined with beautiful little restaurants where you can dine seaside with stunning views of the Aegean Sea, witnessing a Mediterranean sunset over the famous windmills. If doing this all by yourself sounds like too much work, book a private tour of the island ! Another very relaxing option would be to book a tour and wine tasting in Mykonian Land .

Day 4 – Rhodes

Rhodes is one of the most popular islands and will most certainly be part of any Greece cruise you book. Known as ‘Knights’ island’, it boasts incredible medieval architecture and is especially famous for it’s Old Town, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. While booking shore excursions is fun, on Rhodes you can easily venture out on your own and have a good time. Spend the day strolling through Old Town, Europe’s largest medieval city, and once upon a time home to one of the seven wonders of ancient times: the Colossus of Rhodes. Enjoy the architectural beauty, visit one of the many churches, and eat tasty Greek food. The highlight of Old Town is the Palace of the Grand Master, built in the 14th century. One can never get enough of the architecture of ancient times. We count the Acropolis of Lindos among the places you have to include in your Greek islands itinerary. It’s easy to book a day trip to Lindos , or take a high speed boat to get there and explore on your own. In need of R&R? Agios Pavlos Beach and Saint Paul’s Bay are the ideal places. One very special thing to see on Rhodes is the Petaloudes, the Valley of the Butterflies . The best time to visit is between June and August. One unique on the water activity is the 3 hour yellow semi submarine swimming cruise with drinks included ! If you prefer taking a tour, but the shore excursions were sold out, book a this 1 day Rhodes Island tour with olive oil, honey, wine tasting experience & lunch .

Day 5 – Santorini

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

Depending on which Greek island cruise itinerary you choose, your next port of call could be Santorini. Known for its volcanic beaches and renowned wine making, it’s a Greek island that should be part of every Greece cruise. Its rugged landscape, caused by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, holds a special kind of beauty. Around the main islands lie several volcanic islets, and Nea Kameni even has an active volcano. Book a boat tour of the volcano , visit two islets only accessible by boat, with a chance to hike to the crater of the active volcano. A walk to Skaros Rock is also great exercise. It’s a popular spot for hiking and taking Insta-worthy pics! Walk along the edge of the caldera, all the way from  Oia to Imerovigli to Fira and enjoy mesmerizing views of the Aegean Sea. The small village of Oia is most famous for sunset watchers, but it’s beautiful and extremely photogenic during the daytime, too. See a Venetian Castle! The castle of Akrotiri, located in the village of Akrotiri, is well-preserved. You could even book a full day Santorini highlights and Venetian castles tour . Cliff jumping at Ammoudi Bay is ideal for those seeking the ultimate adrenaline rush. Last but not least, go wine tasting ! Be aware that both Santorini and Mykonos can get very crowded during the high season.

Day 6 – Crete

Crete can lay claims to many titles: it’s the largest of the Greek islands, it was home to Europe’s first advanced civilization, the Minoan, which led it to be known as ‘the cradle of Western civilization’, and it has more archaeological sites than you can possibly see during a one day stop on your Greece cruise. So – what should you do with the limited time you have? If you do one thing on Crete, it should be a visit to Knossos and the Cave of Zeus . Knossos is not just the name of a palace, but also of the city surrounding it. It is Crete’s most important site. The cave of Zeus is a Minoan sacred cave, dating back to ancient times. For those seeking to gain a deeper understanding of those long ago civilizations, a stop at Heraklion Archaeological Museum is recommended. Depending on your fitness level, the 8.9 mile hike at Samaria Gorge is fun and rewarding. Chania’s Venetian Harbour is one of Crete’s most significant historical landmarks, and absolutely stunning. Sense a theme on this Greek islands itinerary? A lot of Venetian influences! It’s a beautiful area for a stroll, and you can go see the restored lighthouse and the Firka Fortress. Going to the beach in Crete is an experience you’ll never forget, because as it so happens, Elafonisi Beach is one of the top 10 beaches in the world! The sand is a mind-blowing pink, and the hue of the color changes depending on weather and tides. After all this activity you will surely be hungry. Go on a food tasting tour and stuff yourself with all the Greek delicacies. Or take a full day wine and olive oil tour and discover Crete’s specialties.

Day 7 – Hydra

Hydra is car free! No clogged roads, no traffic, no angry drivers honking… sounds like paradise. There are little tours available on this Greek island, so make sure to check and see if your cruise ships offer shore excursions. If they do not, don’t worry. There’s still plenty to do. It’s an amazing place to go scuba diving. Underwater caves and reefs can be seen in the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea. Hiking is also a very popular activity, and there are several trails of varying difficulty which are generally well marked. Itching to see the sights? Visit the Bastions, the Monastery of Prophet Elias, the Monastery of Agia Efpraxia, the Church of the Assumption, or one of the museums.

Day 8 – Corfu

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

The luscious Greek island of Corfu is mostly known for its beaches. Because it is so tiny it got the nickname ‘Mouse Island’, but it makes up for it with an abundance of vegetation. Olive trees and cypresses abound, and the lush vegetation creates a home for many small animals. The most beautiful area is undoubtedly Paleokastritsa Beach. The views are stunning, the waters cool and crystal clear, and there are many shops and restaurants to entertain you throughout the day. Unfortunately none of this is a secret, and Paleokastritsa Beach can get VERY busy. Avoiding the crowds is simply not an option. The good news? There’s a number of beaches on this Greek island that are more hidden and thus more quiet. Try Rovinia, Arkoudilas, Giali, Kerasia, or Gialiskari for a more serene experience. For the full experience, book a private and customizable half-day or full-day Corfu tour . Another great option covering all important sights is a hop on hop off bus tour . Other excellent tours available are a full-day boat tour of Paxos Antipaxos Blue Caves , an adventure quad ATV safari for an added adrenaline kick, The Governor Olive mill tour with olive oil tasting , and mini cruise around the coastline of Corfu town with a pirate ship .

Best Greek Island Cruises

Girls Who Travel | Greek island cruise itinerary

Now that you know the best places to visit and what makes each Greek island unique, you need to find out how to get there. Here we feature cruise lines offering a Greek island cruise itinerary. We’ll point out what they offer, where they go, and how much each cruise costs.

1. Norwegian Cruise Lines

Norwegian offers several fantastic options to cruise the Greek islands . Leaving from Athens you can combine your Greek island cruise with a quick visit to Turkey and Italy, or even France. Some of their cruises even spend additional days in Egypt! On board their ships you have the options to go basic and save your $$$ for fun at the ports of call, or indulge and book a stateroom with 24-hour butler service, exclusive sundeck, private hot tub, and many, many more extras. Once you made yourself at home, explore the ships. Onboard shopping generally includes gift shops, duty free shops, and even an art gallery! And you won’t go hungry, either. There are many complimentary restaurants, ranging from an Irish Pub (which comes highly recommended) to an Asian restaurant. If you want a little extra, there are several restaurants who serve food a la carte, and, of course, room service for a cozy evening in your stateroom. And talking about cozy: book a well deserved spa treatment at the on board spa! During time spent sailing to one of the next ports of call, enjoy activities on board: Perspectives Photography Studio, a basketball/volleyball/tennis court, a fitness center, the pool, the spa thermal suite, a card room, jade casino, the video arcade, a cigar lounge, the Entourage Teen Club, Splash Academy for kids, an internet café, a jogging and walking track, a library, and a chapel. After a relaxing day at one of the beautiful Greek island beaches, get ready for entertainment. The Norwegian Jade features everything from magical evenings to comedy shows and breathtaking acrobatics. Shore excursions are offered for every stop, including exploring a village in Crete, a trip to Knossos, wine tasting in Crete, an outing to see the innovative solar and wind installations on Tilos, Rhodes, highlights of Bodrum, and many more. Note that this cruise is port intensive, with no sea days in between to relax. While there is plenty of entertainment and activity on board, there’s a good chance that in the evening you’ll just want some R&R, which the pool and spa are perfect for.

2. Windstar Cruises

Windstar Cruises offers small ship cruises with all the amenities. There are several advantages to small ship cruises: they are a lot less crowded, offering a more intimate experience. If you are traveling solo, you will easily make friends. They offer a unique onboard experience, and smaller cruise ships can go places off limits to big ones, which is reflected in the following 9 day itinerary. This Windstar Cruises experience is also geared towards those wanting to see more than just Greece. Some of their cruises cover Greece exclusively, while others also stop in Italy, France, and even Spain. Their small ships will make this a much more relaxed experience. The Star Pride, for example, only carries 312 guests and is all about luxury. All accommodations are suites, and your only choice is to go all inclusive or not. The suites all have ocean view, queen or twin beds, a full-size bath tub, and they offer bathrobes and slippers, as well as fresh fruit bowls and fresh flowers to make you feel comfy and at home. These private yacht style cruises will not disappoint. There’s a fitness center and a spa, and a whirlpool to relax in, but since you are on the Aegean Sea, why not try out water sports? You have the choice between kayaking, sail-boarding, even water skiing, and, of course, swimming, and it’s all included. Also included are all meals, and all non-alcoholic beverages. Live music is provided in the lounge after dinner. Best of all? Because this is a private yachts style cruise, you are more than welcome to visit the captain on the bridge! Get the best views and learn a thing or two about operating a ship. Well thought out shore excursions are provided at every port of call on your Italy and Greece cruise.

3. Holland America Line

The Holland America Line offers a fabulous cruises that include not just Greece, but also Croatia ! Split in particular is a must for all fans of Game of Thrones. Dining options on board the Oosterdam included in your fare are the Dining Room, the Lido Market, the Dive-In, and…drum rolls please…. 24 hour room service! No need to hang with the crowds if you don’t feel like it after a long day in your port of call. If those don’t hit the spot, you’ll find 3 more options at an additional cost. There’s plenty of entertainment on board to keep you occupied, either after a day of sightseeing or on your days at sea. Work out in the fitness center, win a buck at the casino, enjoy R&R at the spa, listen to music on the World Stage, or get competitive in the family game room. Club Hal is great fun for kids. A variety of shore excursions is available, and you’ll receive all that information once you booked your Greece cruise.

4. Star Clipper

For the most unique of all Greek island hopping cruises , you need to look at Star Clipper and its beautiful ships. They are modern clipper ships, beautifully designed to safely sail 166 passengers through the Aegean Sea and beyond. Leave from the world’s most romantic city (Venice) to explore Croatia, Montenegro, and finally Greece. A cruise on the Star Clipper ships is unique in many ways. You’ll get plenty of time for rest and relaxation, and an authentic experience sailing the Aegean Sea, powered by nothing but the wind. And you will do this in utter comfort. Staterooms are available in 6 categories, plus an owners cabin. Category 1 is a deluxe deck cabin, featuring your own whirlpool and a minibar. Category 2 is a large outside cabin. Category 3 is a regular outside cabin. Category 4 is an outside cabin with an extra fold down bunk with a ladder. Category 5 can be an inside or outside cabin and features an extra fold down bunk with a ladder. Category 6 is an inside cabin, which is much smaller than the other options. The owners cabin is the crème de la crème of accommodations on all Star Clipper ships. It’s a deluxe outside cabin, featuring a sitting area, minibar, and a whirlpool. It’s also the largest available cabin. Rather than having a large assortment of restaurants like the big cruise ships, there’s one place to eat. But do not be concerned, food is treated as a culinary art on the Star Clipper ships! Feel free to dress casually. Another thing that’s simply amazing on this cruise is the entertainment. Local performers are invited onto the ship to give you the most authentic experience. if you are so inclined you can even pick up a few basic nautical skills! Climb the mast up to the crow’s nest for the best views, or relax in the netting at the bow, watching the waves and looking for dolphins. Water sports of all kinds are available for you to try out.

5. Disney Cruise Line

Dream about a Greece cruise onboard a Disney ship . It doesn’t matter if you have kids or not, a Disney cruise is magical for all ages. In its 2021 World’s Best Awards, Travel and Leisure voted Disney Cruise Line the No. 1 mega-ship ocean cruise line. What better way to explore Santorini and Mykonos, and other exciting ports of call? Leave from the eternal city, Rome, stop in Naples, and head over to the Greek islands. The Disney ships can make your accommodation dreams come true. You can choose a standard or deluxe inside stateroom. Staterooms with ocean view include the deluxe or the deluxe family options. Staterooms with a balcony are also available: a deluxe family ocean view stateroom with verandah, a deluxe ocean view stateroom with verandah, or a deluxe ocean view stateroom with navigator’s verandah (a smaller verandah than the regular one). If you want to go all out and have the most luxurious Greece cruise possible, book one of the available suites. The concierge royal suite with verandah, the concierge one bedroom suite with verandah, or the concierge family ocean view stateroom with verandah will leave you wanting for nothing. Ah, the dining. There’s magic to be had everywhere on a Disney cruise, and the dining is no exception. Included in the price of your cruise are the Animator’s Palate, the Royal Palace, the Enchanted Garden, Cabanas, Flo’s Café, and room service. On top of that you can get complimentary soft serve ice cream at Eye Scream Treats and Frozone Treats. For extra $$$ you can eat Italian food at Palo, French Cuisine at Remy, have coffee and pastries at Vista Café, get popcorn and candy at Preludes, or smoothies and specialty drinks at Eye Scream Treats and Frozone Treats. Onboard shopping is available and includes everything from a photo studio to a gallery, a sweets shop, and a boutique. The Disney ships offer so much entertainment, you might be hard pressed to pry yourself away from it all and go to shore. There are bars, clubs, and lounges, even a teen club and a video game arcade. There’s a spa for adults and even a special spa for teens! Get your hair style all freshened up at the barber shop and hair salon. Stay in shape at the fitness center, join an exercise class, walk on the outdoor walking and jogging track, or book an hour with a personal trainer. But wait, there’s more, a whole sports deck (Goofy’s sports deck!), and there’s so much fun to be had: there’s a basketball court, a mini-soccer pitch, ping pong and foosball, a digital sports simulator, Goofy’s mini golf, a golf simulator and packages for an additional fee, and shuffleboard. Oh, and don’t forget the 5 different pools, with lots of water fun, and four infinity hot tubs. In case this wasn’t enough leisure for you yet, there are plenty of shows you can see, from Broadway style shows to comedy and magicians, and there are two movie theaters, one of which is poolside. There are parties and theme nights, live music and dancing, contests and tournaments. And all this doesn’t even include all the entertainment and activities for kids. Boredom is not an option. Shore excursions, known as port adventures at Disney, are available at all ports of call. You can not go wrong with a Disney cruise.

9. Princess Cruises

For those who would like to combine their Greece cruise with the best the Mediterranean has to offer, a cruise on a Princess ship is a great deal. With Princess Cruises, you can count on modern amenities for a very affordable price. They offer several options from different exciting European ports. Just like on most other big cruise ships, accommodations include inside staterooms, ocean view staterooms, staterooms with a balcony, and suites. To ensure the ultimate comfort, Princess has invested in luxury beds on this ship, making sure you get the rest you need for your busy schedule. There are plenty of dining options available. Included in the price of your cruise are Dine My Way, World Fresh Marketplace, International Café, Slice Pizzeria, Gigi’s Pizzeria, and Salty Dog Grill. Specialty dining is available at Crown Grill, Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria, The Salty Dog Gastropub, Gelato. and Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar. Your sea days can be filled with rest and relaxation, or a variety of activities. From the top deck, you can indulge in stargazing. Other activities are inspired by Discovery Channel hit shows, such as Shark Week, Finding Bigfoot, Deadliest Catch and others. The crew of the Enchanted Princess also puts on a festival from the region you are sailing to, and offers other destination themed activities. Princess, in partnership with Discovery, offers very special shore excursions. They are all small group tours, focused on immersive once in a lifetime experiences.

Are you excited for your trip? Pick up one of our 25 best books about Greece before you go!

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Jenny grew up in Germany. All she ever wanted out of life was to leave and have adventures. Jenny always traveled as much as the budget would allow, and when she met her husband traveling became a full-time thing. You can follow Jenny on her blog and Facebook.

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Greece Cruises

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  • Santorini : Rising from the remnants of a volcanic crater, Santorini's beaches, breathtaking vistas, and iconic sunsets embody quintessential Greek charm. Home to the village of Oia, renowned for its whitewashed buildings and blue-domed churches.
  • Mykonos : Nestled in the Cyclades, Mykono’s labyrinthine streets, whitewashed abodes, and lively beach parties are framed by 16th-century windmills. Remember to explore the historic district of Little Venice.
  • Delos : Steeped in mythology as the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, Delos reveals an archaeological trove of ruins that tell ancient tales. Its Sacred Way and Terrace of Lions are must-see highlights.
  • Corfu : Known as the emerald jewel of the Greek Isles, Corfu welcomes cruisers from international routes. Discover its Venetian architecture in the Old Town and stroll through Spianada Square.
  • Tinos: Nestled among terraced hills and marble quarries, Tinos hosts Greece's holiest sanctuary, Panagia Evangelistria. The island is famed for its intricate dovecotes.
  • Rhodes : Rich in historical grandeur, Rhodes features archaeological sites and coastal resorts that echo bygone eras. Its medieval Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Crete : Explore the legend of the Minotaur in the ancient city of Knossos near Rethymnon . Then, uncover Kythira's emerging allure and Chania's vibrant Venetian Harbor.
  • Naxos: As the largest of the Cyclades, Naxos captivates with diverse landscapes. Don't miss the monumental Portara, a massive marble doorway from an ancient temple.
  • Paros : With white-marble villages and traditional charm, Paros invites exploration of cobblestone alleys and historic churches. Delve into its history at ancient marble quarries.
  • Skiathos: Embrace Skiathos' blend of pine forests and golden beaches, harmonizing natural beauty and nightlife. Visit the iconic Evangelistria Monastery.
  • Patmos : A spiritual haven where the Book of Revelation was authored, Patmos beckons reflection at the Monastery of Saint John. Its Cave of the Apocalypse is UNESCO-listed.
  • Symi: Exuding elegance through pastel neoclassical architecture, Symi's harbor town offers tranquility. Explore the Panormitis Monastery's intricate frescoes.

Greece Overview

  • Athens : A testament to Ancient Greece's glory, Athens brims with historical significance. Unearth intriguing archaeological sites, from the iconic Parthenon atop the Acropolis to the vibrant Agora. Wander through the historic Plaka district to embrace its rich heritage.
  • Nafplion : Embraced by the Argolic Gulf, Nafplion holds both ancient myths and modern charm. Its captivating port town, believed to be founded by Poseidon's son, boasts cobbled streets adorned with quaint shops, inviting cafes, and enlightening museums. Explore the Palamidi Fortress gracing the skyline.
  • Katakolon : A gateway to Olympia's archaeological marvel, Katakolo unveils the origins of the Olympic Games. Delve into history at the archaeological site and museum, immersing yourself in the sacred past of this hallowed ground.
  • Heraklion: The capital of Crete, Heraklion seamlessly merges history and modernity. Discover the renowned Heraklion Archaeological Museum and delve into the ancient Minoan palace of Knossos, where myths take shape.
  • Kavala: This coastal haven invites leisurely strolls along its scenic harbor, adorned with neoclassical buildings and vibrant cafes. Ascend to Kavala Castle for panoramic vistas of the city and the Aegean Sea.
  • Volos: In the heart of Thessaly, Volos strikes a balance between tradition and innovation. Embrace the allure of Portaria village on Mount Pelion, with its cobblestone streets and charming guesthouses.
  • Rhodes Town: Beyond its island allure, Rhodes Town offers a passage through history. Traverse the medieval UNESCO-listed Old Town and glimpse the storied past at the Palace of the Grand Master.
  • Thessaloniki: As Greece's second-largest city, Thessaloniki is a melting pot of cultures and history. Byzantine walls, diverse architecture, and the iconic White Tower invite exploration into its myriad layers.
  • Croatia & the Dalmatian Coast: Setting sail on this captivating journey, you'll explore the maritime wonders of the Adriatic. Your adventure begins with the iconic city of Athens, and as you sail northward, you'll encounter the birthplace of the Olympic Games in Olympia and the legendary realm of Ithaca. Further enriching your experience, the voyage continues to unveil the hidden gems of Albania and Montenegro , inviting you to explore their cultures and history. Croatia's rugged beauty takes center stage as you dock at the famed Dubrovnik on the Adriatic Sea . Gaze upon the historic walls that have witnessed centuries of maritime history, a testament to the region's enduring charm.
  • Southern Cyclades & Turkey: The allure of this journey lies in its blend of enchanting Greek isles and the Turkish mystique. Rhodes, with its medieval marvels, sets the stage as you journey through history. Hydra beckons with its timeless elegance, followed by Athens, a city that marries ancient legacies with modern energy. The mesmerizing vistas of Santorini unfold, captivating all who visit. The Turkish port of Bodrum awaits, offering a glimpse into a culture where east meets west, as you indulge in the art, history, and maritime allure that define this enchanting region.
  • Italy , Greek Isles, Turkey & Athens: Departing from the eternal city of Rome, your voyage traverses the Mediterranean's most captivating destinations. Crete's archaeological treasures and Santorini's awe-inspiring caldera views set the stage for an unforgettable journey. As you approach the Turkish coast, Kusadasi emerges, offering a gateway to ancient Ephesus and a taste of Turkey's coastal allure. 

How to Choose a Mediterranean Cruise

  • Exquisite Itineraries: Mediterranean cruises are carefully crafted to present the best of Greece and its neighboring gems. Explore iconic cities like Athens, traverse the Greek Isles, and set foot in coastal treasures across Turkey.
  • Luxurious Accommodation: Cruise ships are designed to provide utmost comfort. Enjoy spacious cabins, luxurious amenities, and breathtaking views right from your accommodation.
  • Variety of Cruise Lines: Whether you seek opulent luxury or family-friendly experiences, numerous cruise lines cater to different preferences, ensuring a personalized journey.
  • World Cruises on Your Doorstep: Greece serves as a gateway to world cruises. Embark on extended voyages that span continents, offering an unparalleled exploration of global destinations.
  • Expertly Crafted Shore Excursions: Discover the region's highlights through meticulously planned shore excursions. Explore archaeological wonders, cultural landmarks, and natural beauty with knowledgeable guides.
  • Private Tours: Indulge in the ultimate luxury by opting for private tours. Tailor your experience to your interests, with personalized attention and flexible schedules.
  • Special Offers: Mediterranean cruise packages often come with special offers, making your journey even more enticing. Look out for deals that offer added value and savings.
  • Cultural Immersion: Immerse yourself in the Mediterranean's diverse cultures. From ancient history to modern vibrancy, each destination unveils a unique facet of this captivating region.
  • Stress-Free Travel: A Mediterranean cruise simplifies travel logistics. Unpack once and let the cruise ship transport you effortlessly between ports.
  • Breathtaking Scenery: Revel in the ever-changing views of the Mediterranean coast. Whether you're on deck or in your cabin, the stunning scenery will be your constant companion.
  • Acropolis of Athens: This iconic site showcases the architectural wonders of Ancient Greece, including the Parthenon and other ancient structures, perched atop the Acropolis hill overlooking Athens.
  • Medieval City of Rhodes: The medieval Old Town of Rhodes, with its well-preserved fortifications and historical architecture, is a testament to the island's medieval past and the influences of different civilizations.
  • Archaeological Site of Olympia: As the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Olympia features ancient ruins and temples that offer a glimpse into the origins of this celebrated sporting event.
  • Archaeological Sites of Mycenae and Tiryns: These archaeological sites reveal the impressive remains of ancient Mycenaean civilizations, including fortifications, tombs, and palaces.
  • Archaeological Site of Delphi: Delphi was considered the center of the world in ancient Greek mythology and is home to the Temple of Apollo, the Oracle of Delphi, and other important structures.
  • Archaeological Site of Delos: T his uninhabited island near Mykonos is an archaeological treasure trove, featuring ruins of temples, houses, and monuments from various periods.
  • Meteora Monasteries: Although not directly visited through Greek cruises, the Meteora monasteries are often included in extended land tours. These monasteries are perched atop towering rock formations and offer breathtaking views.
  • Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus: This ancient healing center is renowned for its well-preserved theater and other structures that exemplify the architectural and medical achievements of the ancient Greeks.
  • Archaeological Site of Mystras: Mystras is a medieval town with well-preserved ruins, including palaces, churches, and fortifications, providing insight into Byzantine history and culture.
  • Archaeological Site of Knossos: Located on the island of Crete, Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on the island, showcasing the Minoan civilization's advanced architecture and art.

Best Greece Small Ship Cruise Lines for 2024-2025

  • Ponant  - has voyages that include transfers to and from the ship, talks and discussions aboard ship by world-class Smithsonian experts, and a shore excursion in each port of call that immerses guests in the sights and sounds of their destination. Journey to the very heart of the Mediterranean on a cruise to Greece and the Cyclades on the  Le Bellot . 
  • Silversea Cruises  -  lets you discover the spellbinding beauty of Greece on an all-inclusive luxury cruise aboard the 254 guest  Silver Cloud . Stroll through labyrinthine streets gaze at iconic windmills and beaches with turquoise waters.
  • Lindblad Expeditions  -  visits some places largely unknown to all but residents and discerning travelers. Discover the romance and exhilaration of a tall ship sailing the Mediterranean aboard the legendary  Sea Cloud . Guests will have ample opportunities to stand on deck and watch the orchestrated frenzy of crew members going high aloft in the riggings to handset 30 sails.
  • Star Clippers Americas   - immerse travelers in the thrill of a true tall ship by delivering innovative itineraries and distinctive ports throughout the Mediterranean. The 379 feet long  Star Clipper  carries 166 guests in pampered comfort, over 36,000 square feet of sails. 
  • Variety Cruises  -  is a privately owned yacht cruise line based in Athens, Greece. Embark on the 72 guest  Variety Voyager  to explore the stunning Greek Islands of Athens, the Acropolis, Cyclades, Kea, Santorini, Mykonos, Delos, Crete, Kythira, Peloponnese, Nafplion, and Hydra. 
  • Emerald Waterways   - has a fleet of Star-Ships that cater from just 84 to a maximum of 186 guests, letting you meet like-minded travelers in a more intimate group. So much is included in the price of your holiday so you can have complete peace of mind while you travel. The attentive onboard crew, expert cruise directors, and knowledgeable onshore guides help to make your Greek island holiday truly memorable.
  • Sea Cloud Cruises  - has always preserved the true value of windjammers, where the beat of the wind and waves determines the rhythm and direction of life on board.  Sea Cloud II  perfectly combines spaciousness for up to 94 passengers with the lifestyle of a private yacht.
  • CroisiEurope   -   has been a French independent family business for 45 years. Venturing on a cruise on the Mediterranean coast aboard  MV La Belle de L'Adriatique  is always an excellent way to escape the dreariness of winter or to enjoy the summer fully.

Greek Cruise Video - Athens & Cyclades

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best island cruise in greece

How to island hop in Greece with Virgin Voyages.

We’ve compiled the best islands in greece to visit on your next seafaring vacation..

Saying you’re going to the “Greek islands” is kind of like saying you’re going to “the Caribbean.” While the generalization certainly paints a vague picture in people’s minds, it doesn’t really do much else. There are over 100 inhabited islands in Greece, each of which has a distinct character, aesthetic, and culture.

The best Greek island to visit no matter what kind of traveler you are

From the whitewashed walls of Santorini to the glitzy club scene of Mykonos and the relaxing beaches of Corfu, there’s something for every kind of traveler in the Greek islands. The best part? You don’t have to choose just one. When you cruise the Greek islands , you get a taste of everything the Aegean has to offer on one voyage. These are the best islands to visit in Greece.

Corfu - Best island for beaches

Corfu’s unique geography lends itself to having some of the best beaches in the Greek islands. The cove-lined coastline is defined by a tranquil sheltered bay and narrow strips of land full of trees and plants. This means you can bask in the sun while also enjoying the shade. Beaches vary in character, too, from pebbled strands like Paleokastritsa Beach to sandy stretches of coastline like Canal d’Amour, famous for its hidden coves and caves.

Santorini - Best island for photo-ops

Santorini is an island that needs no introduction, because it’s probably already all over your Instagram feed. Famous for its whitewashed Cycladian architecture, this island was built to be in front of a camera. From the blue-domed churches and white rooftops of Oia, to cliffside views of the caldera islands from Imerovigli Village, it’s tough to find a place in Santorini that doesn’t make for an epic photo-op .

Crete - Best island for food

While you can find great traditional Greek food all over the country, Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, has one of the richest and most distinct culinary scenes. It all starts with raki , the traditional welcome drink that accompanies most meals on Crete. After a shot (or three) to tickle your palate, try a plate of dakos , Crete’s popular appetizer made with a twice-baked barley rusk and topped with olive oil and local cheese. Then indulge in kleftiko (baked lamb) or ahinosalata (sea urchin), a Cretan specialty.

Rhodes - Best island for culture

The Colossus of Rhodes might not have stood on the island for many centuries, but Rhodes is still one of the best Greek islands to visit for culture. The center of it all is the medieval citadel in Rhodes Old Town, where you can walk along the battlements with a view of Byzantine churches, synagogues, minarets, and Roman ruins. Check out the Archaeological Museum for a crash course in the island’s ancient history, or visit the Modern Greek Art Museum to get a sense of how the Greek artistic tradition is still going strong today.

Mykonos - Best island for nightlife

Mykonos could be semi-accurately called the Ibiza of the Greek islands. Sure, it has beautiful beaches and plenty of photo-worthy architecture, but where the island really shines is its nightlife and party scene. The heart of the action is in Mykonos Town, home to the island’s most popping bars and nightclubs, and beaches like Elia Beach, Psarou Beach, and Super Paradise Beach, are home to lively outdoor parties both day and night.

Walk in Odysseus’ footsteps…but with Virgin Voyages

The best part about visiting the Greek islands via cruise is that you don’t need to pick and choose which ones to visit, which to skip, and figure out how to get between them. Our 7-night Greek Island Glow voyage is the best Greek islands tour on the Aegean, starting in Piraeus (Athens) and visiting picturesque Santorini, the historic hub of Rhodes, Bodrum in Turkey, and overnighting on lively Mykonos before heading back to Athens. From the Byzantine ruins of Rhodes to the bucolic hills of Santorini and the epic nightlife of Mykonos, you’ll see more of Greece in a week than you ever thought possible. To visit Crete, Greece’s largest island, check out our Modern Med to Ancient Aegean trip. This 11-night odyssey sails from Barcelona to Cannes, Ajaccio, Cagliari, Sardinia, Sicily, Valletta, Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, and ends in Athens. If you think it sounds like a whirlwind journey, you’re right. If you think it sounds like the island-hopping trip of a lifetime, you’re also right. 

Go island-hopping in Greece on our Greek island voyage .

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A Greek Island Cruise With The Best Cruise Line

Take a holiday, cruise to Greece, and experience the beauty and magnificence of the Mediterranean for an unforgettable holiday. Explore the mainland and witness ancient history, or travel to the Greek Isles for rich culture and picturesque sun-drenched beaches of the once-powerful empire. Experience lively Santorini as you stroll through its picturesque, winding streets. Explore the island of Mykonos and its famed whitewashed homes and beautiful beaches. Or lose yourself in the deep blue waters of Corfu and its collection of quaint cafes. Historic ruins, Greek Gods and relaxation await you on your Greek cruise with Norwegian.

^Buy an air ticket and the 2nd guest flies for free. *View for full terms and conditions.

New Greek Isles Cruises

WE'RE BACK! Norwegian is Cruising to Greece this Summer

Sail aboard Norwegian Jade as we get ready break free this summer. As part of our first available sailings, experience a 7-day Greek Isles cruise from Athens (Piraeus) to Santorini and its famed blue-domed villages, Corfu’s rolling vineyards, and the islands’ breathtakingly beautiful coastlines. Explore the best of the Greek Isles on this port-intensive itinerary.

New Europe Cruises

NEW! Meet the All-New Norwegian Spirit, Cruising to Greece & Turkey

Every curve. Every view. Every single space — completely reimagined. Our most extensive ship renovation ever, harmonized to offer the best of Norwegian Cruise Line’s exceptional fleet. Every stateroom modernized. Every bar and lounge redesigned. Every dining experience elevated, featuring our new fine Italian restaurant Onda by Scarpetta.

Greek Isles Cruises

Greek Island Cruises From Venice, Athens & Rome

Take in the best of the Greek Isles on a cruise with Norwegian. Sip a glass of ouzo at a charming hillside tavern in Santorini , admiring the whitewashed houses and signature brilliant blue trim that matches perfectly with the Aegean Sea. Witness the one-and-only Acropolis in Athens , a citadel more than 2,500 years old and still a fixture of the city’s skyline. Or simply amble the narrow winding streets of picturesque Mykonos , famous for its scenic beauty. Feel free to go Greek with Norwegian. Opa!

Greek Island Cruises

What to Do on a Cruise to Greece

See dramatic blue waters and tranquil hillside villages in Corfu, Greece . Travel through the volcanic island of Santorini and take pictures of the villages clinging to the sides of the sea cliffs. Work on your tan at the beautiful beaches in Mykonos. Explore the oldest city in Europe and take in art, culture, cuisine, and shopping in Athens. Or experience daily life like a local on our new "Go Local" excursions , where authentic experiences await. It's all Greek on your cruise holiday with Norwegian.

Greek Isles Cruise Image Gallery

  • Corfu, Greece
  • Argostoli, Greece
  • Santorini, Greece
  • Mykonos, Greece
  • The Parthenon, Athens
  • Palaiokastritsa Bay, Corfu, Greece
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia
  • Patmos, Greece
  • Oia Village, Santorini, Greece

Corfu, Greece

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Best Greek Isles EXCURSIONS

Cruise to Santorini, Greece and Explore Like a Local with Norwegian

We know the destinations you'll be visiting and what there is to see, do and experience. We offer you a variety of excursions to choose from, in every port you'll visit.

best island cruise in greece

Go Local - Cretan Village Of Krousonas

Explore the village of Krousonas and engage in activities that will provide an authentic glimpse into daily life....

best island cruise in greece

Go Local - Traditional Sunday Lunch on the Athenian Riviera

Experience a hands-on lamb roasting class in Kalyvia. Learn techniques, prepare side dishes, and savor a classic Greek meal....

best island cruise in greece

Go Local - Rhodes Traditional Inland Villages

Soak up the rural atmosphere in several inland villages while tasting classic Greek specialties such as sourdough bread, stuffed grape leaves and ouzo....

best island cruise in greece

Go Local - A Day in the Country Life of a Corfiot Family

Experience a day on a Corfu farm in Alevropari, learn about country life, tour the farm, pick produce, and enjoy a family lunch....

Greek Isles HOTELS

best island cruise in greece

Grand Hyatt Athens

Located on the famous Syngrou Avenue, between the cultural centre of the historic city of Athens and the cosmopolitan Athenian Riviera, Grand Hyatt Athens offers the ultimate hospitality experience in a city with a heady mix of history and edginess. Explore the vibrant city of Athens, discover the narrow streets and small buildings of Plaka, and merge into 3.000 years of Greek history whilst visiting the Acropolis Hill.

Amenities include 2 restaurants, an outdoor rooftop pool (seasonal), a spa, a gym, a business centre, and event space for up to 1,000 people. Breakfast, an airport shuttle and valet parking are available.

The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to the airport. You're also walking distance to the rail station, where it's only 20 minutes to Venice by train.

Distance/ Airport: 25 miles Distance/ Pier: 10 miles

Package includes: Room and room tax Breakfast Bellman gratuities Transfers between Hotel and Pier

Important Note: Accommodations are based on double occupancy per room. Some accommodation will allow triple and quad guests in a room and are subject to availability and surcharge will apply. Additional hotel rooms to accommodate triple and quads may be required, and surcharge will apply.

Read THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT Greek Isles Cruises

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Best Cruises for Singles

From Corfu to Croatia, Santorini and Mykonos, Feel Free to sail along your own path with our best cruises for solo travellers.

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The Best of Mykonos

There's no shortage of things to see and do in Mykonos. Explore our top 10.

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Stroll Through Santorini

Wander through Santorini's iconic blue-domes and white stairs.

Protect Your Trip »

16 top adults-only cruises for 2024.

Pack your bags and leave the kids behind for your next cruise adventure.

Top Adults-Only Cruises

Six adults, drinking and laughing, at the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat on Carnival Cruise Line's Mardi Gras

Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Gather the grown-ups and set sail on an ocean, river or expedition cruise around the world.

If your idea of getting away from it all includes a vacation without the kids, consider booking an adults-only or adults-oriented cruise . While some lines provide a fully adults-only experience (i.e., children are not allowed on board), others offer adult-focused venues and activities on the ship to keep you separate from younger patrons.

When you're ready to plan your adventure on the high seas, the following cruise lines provide upscale amenities, immersive excursions, sophisticated dining options, lively nighttime entertainment and time for relaxation among like-minded – and similarly aged – travelers.

Find your perfect cruise

Viking Ocean Cruises

Viking Star Explorers' Lounge at night

Courtesy of Viking

Travelers 18 and older are welcome aboard Viking 's adults-only ships, which feature destination-focused itineraries around the world. The line's nine oceangoing 930-passenger ships offer luxurious, Scandinavian-style accommodations and comfortable spaces to relax with a book or gaze out at the ocean. Viking's exploration program boasts special access to behind-the-scenes experiences curated for travelers interested in history, food or science. Immerse yourself in local culture with a visit to a traditional farm near Bergen, Norway, or spend an evening dining on Caribbean Creole cuisine prepared by renowned chefs in a mansion in Cartagena, Colombia.

In addition to these off-the-beaten-path excursions, guests can visit iconic sites like the ancient city of Ephesus (Kuşadasi) in Turkey and the Acropolis in Athens, Greece . Viking also hosts onboard enrichment programs like destination-themed performances, cooking classes and lectures by historians. Cruise fares include stateroom accommodations with a private veranda, all meals (including specialty dining venues), wine and beer at lunch and dinner, one free excursion per port, complimentary Wi-Fi, and access to onboard amenities such as the Nordic Spa.

In addition to its ocean vessels, Viking offers river cruises in destinations around the world – including the U.S. – on the new Viking Mississippi, a ship purpose-built for Mississippi River cruises . The line also has two Polar Class 6 expedition ships, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, which traverse waterways from Canada to the Caribbean to remote destinations in Antarctica .

Explore Viking cruise deals on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.

Virgin Voyages

Terrace jacuzzi on Virgin Voyages cruise

Courtesy of Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages offers an adults-only retreat for guests ages 18 and older. The line currently has two sister ships: Scarlet Lady – the first in the fleet – and Valiant Lady. The line's third ship, Resilient Lady, is set to debut in May 2023 in Athens. Brilliant Lady, Virgin's fourth vessel, is scheduled to launch by the end of 2023.

All the ships in this adults-only cruise line feature 1,330 cabins (most with balconies) and 78 RockStar Quarters suites, where guests have access to Richard's Rooftop, an exclusive outdoor deck space. The superyacht-inspired vessels boast 20-plus eateries, including restaurants by Michelin-starred chefs, and a variety of onboard fitness and wellness spaces. At Redemption Spa, relax and recharge in the mud room or salt therapy chamber. You can even order a bottle of bubbly anywhere on the ship via the Virgin Voyages Sailor app's secret "Shake for Champagne" feature.

Itineraries span destinations in the Caribbean , Europe and trans-Atlantic crossings, as well as Australia, Asia and the Middle East during repositioning cruises. Cruise fares cover meals at all the dining venues; basic beverages such as water, tea and coffee; gratuities for the crew; Wi-Fi; and unlimited fitness classes. While on board, be sure to indulge in a swanky dinner at The Wake and an immersive show at The Red Room, the first multiform theater at sea.

Book a Virgin Voyages cruise on GoToSea.

Saga Ocean Cruises

Exterior of Saga Spirit of Adventure cruise ship at night

Courtesy of Saga Cruises

Hop across the pond to sail on U.K.-based Saga Cruises, which specifically caters to guests 50 and older (though travelers may bring a companion as young as 40). Saga's boutique luxury ocean cruise ships carry a maximum of 987 passengers each. The line's two ships, Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure, feature all-balcony cabins and depart from the Dover, Portsmouth and Tilbury cruise ports in England.

The British-inspired sailings are all-inclusive: Fares cover meals at all onboard restaurants as well as access to entertainment venues, Wi-Fi, and unlimited alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Prices also include excursions in certain ports of call, gratuities and chauffeur service from locations in the U.K. to the embarkation port. Guests can enjoy wellness-focused activities on the ship, such as yoga classes, spa treatments and customized fitness programs.

The company offers itineraries in Europe, the Caribbean, the U.S. and Canada , in addition to Greenland, Iceland, the Canary Islands and West Africa. On Spirit of Adventure, Saga's newest ship, passengers can spend evenings indulging in Italian cuisine at Amalfi, sampling Nepalese dishes at Khukuri House, or settling in for drinks and dinner at the Supper Club, which features jazz music and cabaret-style entertainment.

Read: Cruise Packing List

P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises ship at port at sunset

Courtesy of P&O Cruises

Two ships in P&O Cruises' U.K.-based fleet – Arcadia and Aurora – are exclusively for adults 18 and older. Arcadia, the slightly newer of the two ships since it debuted in 2005, carries 2,094 guests and 866 crew. The ship departs from Southampton in the U.K. and sails to the Canary Islands , Spain and Portugal; the British Isles; Norway and Iceland; and the U.S., Caribbean and Canada.

Arcadia's five restaurants and 10 bars and cafes include Indian offerings with a British twist at Sindhu as well as steaks and seafood by renowned British chef Marco Pierre White at Ocean Grill. Passengers can sip Champagne at Intermezzo, the ship's cocktail and Champagne venue, or enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif at the yacht-inspired Spinnaker. After exploring exciting ports of call, head back on board to enjoy Arcadia's elegant interiors and top-notch service. You can splurge on a stone therapy treatment at the Oasis Spa for some extra pampering, followed by a live show at the three-tiered theater, The Palladium. Then, finish off the evening dancing the night away at The Globe.

Aurora is a slightly more intimate ship, carrying 1,874 passengers and 850 crew members. A four-level atrium gallery sits at the heart of Aurora. Itineraries include destinations in the Mediterranean, the Baltic region, Spain and Portugal, and the U.S. and Canada, plus a world cruise. There are seven dining venues as well as 11 bars and cafes on the ship. Dine at the same time every evening at club-style restaurant Alexandria, or opt for a more flexible schedule at The Beach House or Medina. Cruisers can also sit down for a tasty meal at The Glass House, which serves casual bites paired with wines from around the world. After dinner, live entertainment and dancing await you at the show lounge Carmen's, as do larger productions at the ritzy 652-seat Curzon Theatre.

Read: The Best Cruise Insurance Plans

Top Cruises Designed for Adults

While many all-inclusive – or mostly all-inclusive – boutique and luxury cruise lines are family-friendly, many of the onboard venues and activities are adult-by-design. Since there are few (or no) activities geared toward younger cruisers and no babysitting services, you typically won't find parents with young children on these ships.

Aerial shot of the Azamara ship sailing into the sunset

Courtesy of Azamara

Azamara's four upscale boutique ships provide immersive travel experiences geared toward adults. These smaller ships – accommodating a maximum of 702 guests – sail waterways and rivers larger ships can't access, docking in city centers and unique ports of call around the globe.

Many Azamara voyages also offer longer stays and overnights in port not found on many other itineraries, including wine and culture itineraries. Some even feature special events, such as a voyage to the Monaco Grand Prix in May 2023 and 2024, or a 12-night round-trip cruise from Buenos Aires, Argentina , to attend Carnival in Rio de Janeiro . In addition, the line is extending its offerings on Country Intensive voyages in 2023 and 2024 with itineraries in destinations like various European countries, South Africa, Australia and Japan.

On board you'll find a wide selection of casual and formal dining options ranging from Windows Cafe to the main dining room, Discoveries Restaurant. Specialty restaurant offerings include top-notch steak and seafood at Prime C or, if you prefer, Italian fare at Aqualina. First offered on Azamara Onward (the newest ship) before being expanded to the whole fleet, Atlas Bar serves innovative craft cocktails like the London Fog Martini or Tuscan Delight. Discoveries Lounge is another guest favorite for mingling with fellow cruisers at the end of the day. Wine aficionados will enjoy pairing limited-production and rare vintages from the Wine Cellar with dinner in the evenings.

Cruise fares include stateroom accommodations; select spirits, wine and beer; gratuities; and nonalcoholic beverages like bottled water, specialty coffees and tea. You'll also get access to complimentary AzAmazing Celebrations with special evening and daytime events ashore and on the ship. Additional amenities like a complimentary internet package, free specialty dining, butler service and other perks come with suite accommodations.

Find an Azamara cruise on GoToSea.

Lumière restaurant on Scenic Eclipse

Courtesy of Scenic

Scenic Eclipse, touted as "The World's First Discovery Yacht," offers an all-inclusive, ultra-luxurious experience for just 228 guests (with 172 crew). The ship's Polar Class 6 rating enables it to sail to destinations like Antarctica. On these expedition-style voyages, the ship will carry only 200 guests and a total of 192 crew. All suite accommodations include a private veranda or terrace; butler service; state-of-the-art amenities; Egyptian cotton linens; and an in-suite minibar stocked with Champagne, wine and other personally selected beverages. You'll also find indulgences like onboard helicopters for intimate excursions and Scenic Neptune, an underwater submarine.

Guests can enjoy up to 10 dining experiences on the ship, including fine dining at Lumière. This elegant French restaurant seats just 35 guests and features a multicourse degustation menu and a Champagne bar. For a less formal option, check out the Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern specialties – and the intimate teppanyaki grill experience – at Night Market @ Koko's. When it's time for an after-dinner drink, sample one (or several) of 100-plus whiskeys available at Scenic Lounge Bar. Other onboard activities include taking a culinary class at Scenic Épicure, getting an invigorating treatment at Senses Spa, or just relaxing with spectacular sea views and Champagne on deck 10 at the Panorama Bar.

The line's second luxury yacht, Scenic Eclipse II, set sail on its inaugural voyage from Lisbon, Portugal , in mid-April 2023. The new ship is 550 feet in length and nearly identical to its sister ship, Scenic Eclipse. One addition to the vessel is the new Sky Deck. This space boasts 270-degree views, a bar with indoor and outdoor seating, and six private cabanas. What's more, the oval-shaped Sky Deck pool is the perfect place to kick back – and it's the place to be during the sail-away deck party, especially as the sun sets over the ocean.

Read: The Best Travel Insurance for Seniors and Retirees

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Deluxe Suite on Regent Seven Seas Cruises® ship

Courtesy of Regent Seven Seas Cruises

This cruise line has five luxury vessels in its fleet – with the sixth ship, Seven Seas Grandeur, set to launch in November 2023. The all-inclusive fares on Regent Seven Seas Cruises include perks like round-trip business class or coach airfare (depending on the destination); complimentary pre-cruise hotel stays; two- or three-night land packages; all meals and beverages; free shore excursions; and more. Seven Seas Splendor , christened in February 2020, is the line's newest vessel at sea. This elegant ship boasts 373 luxurious all-balcony suites and a ratio of 548 crew members to just 746 guests.

In the evenings, diners can choose between French cuisine at Chartreuse; creative Asian fare at Pacific Rim; aged steaks at Prime 7; Italian dishes at Sette Mari at La Veranda; or design-your-own-entree options at Compass Rose. For a casual evening, plan to dine alfresco at the Pool Grill. Adults can also enjoy pre-dinner cocktails in one of the lounges and nightly entertainment at the Constellation Theater. For a nightcap, sip a fine cognac in one of the ship's favorite hideaways, Connoisseur Club. There are also plenty of options for exercise, fitness and relaxation at Serene Spa & Wellness.

If you're planning a once-in-a-lifetime adventure on the high seas, consider booking the Regent Suite. Situated on deck 14 – and boasting more than 4,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space – this luxurious accommodation features one of the largest balconies at sea with a Treesse minipool, in addition to two bedrooms and a private in-suite spa. Cruise fare for the suite also includes a long list of high-end amenities such as access to a private dining room called The Study, a personal car and driver in port, free in-suite spa services, a private butler, and more.

Explore Regent Seven Seas Cruises on GoToSea.

Silversea Cruises

Veranda Suite on Silversea Cruises ship

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

Silversea's all-inclusive luxury ocean and expedition cruises offer voyages to more than 900 destinations across the seven continents. The line's 10 ultra-luxury ships and expedition vessels range in size from 51 to 364 suites and boast spacious ocean view accommodations – most with private verandas. Cruise fares cover door-to-door transfers from home to the ship, including airfare (business class in some destinations) and pre- and post-cruise hotel stays. On board, guests will have butler service, a nearly one-to-one ratio of guests to staff, 24-hour gourmet dining, premium alcoholic beverages, one complimentary shore excursion in each port, gratuities and more.

Silversea 's newest ship, Silver Nova, is set to debut in summer 2023. The luxury flagship of the line boasts an even more upscale guest experience in the suites with butler service for every accommodation, an impressive crew-to-guest ratio, more open spaces and top-notch cuisine. Silver Nova is also the first vessel in the fleet to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is billed as a more sustainable cruise ship. Silver Nova will begin sailing in the Mediterranean before repositioning to the Caribbean and South America for the winter.

The second-newest ship in the fleet, Silver Endeavour, was regarded as one of the most luxurious expedition ships at sea when it launched in July 2022. With its Polar Class 6 rating, the ship visits the far ends of the Earth in the remote polar regions of Antarctica and the Arctic.

Endeavour's features include state-of-the-art technology for navigation and exploration – and what Silversea bills as industry-leading ratios of Zodiac boats and experts to guests. Passengers also enjoy luxurious amenities among the ship's eight public decks, from the various dining and drinking venues to a two-story solarium with a swimming pool and whirlpool tub; cruisers can also take advantage of indoor and outdoor observation areas and a spa. You'll receive Silversea's high level of service with just 200 guests and 200 crew, providing an immersive and personalized experience aboard.

Compare Silversea Cruises on GoToSea.

Seabourn Cruise Line

The Retreat on Seabourn ship

Courtesy of Seabourn

Seabourn also features an all-inclusive adult-focused experience on its five luxury ocean vessels and two expedition ships. The line's newest ship, Seabourn Venture, is an ultra-luxury Polar Class 6 purpose-built vessel with 132 ocean-front veranda suites. Seabourn Pursuit, the second expedition vessel, is scheduled to debut in fall 2023. The ships are equipped with two submarines for underwater exploration, kayaks and 24 Zodiacs. They will also each have a 24-person expedition team to explore far-reaching destinations like Antarctica, the Arctic and the Kimberley region of Australia, as well as places closer to home such as Iceland, South America and the British Isles.

Seabourn Ovation , the line's newest luxury cruise ship, accommodates up to 600 guests and offers amenities found on most of Seabourn 's ships: well-appointed oceanfront suites, living areas with dining tables, verandas, a nearly one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio and a Personal Suite Host to cater to your every need. World-class dining options are in partnership with renowned chef Thomas Keller, such as The Grill, Seabourn's signature restaurant. You'll also find health and wellness programs curated by Dr. Andrew Weil.

The "Seabourn Conversations" program is another highlight, where accomplished experts host adventures ashore, participate in meals and chat with guests on board the ship. For a special treat during your cruise, don't miss "Caviar in the Surf" beach party. This event in select destinations includes chilled Champagne, caviar, music and a barbecue set against the backdrop of white sand beaches and turquoise waters in beautiful locales around the world.

Book a Seabourn Cruise Line cruise on GoToSea.

Windstar Cruises

Star Grill dining are on Star Breeze by Windstar Cruises

Michel Verdure | Courtesy of Windstar Cruises

Windstar's six intimate ships offer two styles of yachting that accommodate between 148 and 342 guests. Passengers can choose between cruising on one of the line's three masted Wind Class vessels or one of its three Star Plus Class ships. Windstar's adult-focused and casual – but still elegant – onboard experiences feature locally inspired top-notch dining (in partnership with the James Beard Foundation), guest lecturers, a water sports platform on all the ships, an open bridge policy and an engaging social environment.

If you're looking for a romantic getaway , Windstar is also regarded as one of the most romantic cruise lines for a wedding, honeymoon , vow renewal or anniversary trip, especially in magical destinations like the South Pacific, Cinque Terre along Italy's Ligurian coast and Monte Carlo in Monaco . Windstar's smaller ships can reach small ports, coves, harbors and villages not accessible by larger vessels. They also offer more than 2,000 immersive cultural experiences in port, many with small groups. You'll find late evenings and overnights in the ports of call where you can experience the local culture and cuisine after dark.

New itineraries for 2023 and 2024 include Australia and New Zealand sailings as well as intensive voyages to the Holy Lands that explore Arabia and the Red Sea. You can also travel to the Central American coast or book a 10-day sailing from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. If the Middle East is on your must-see list, the 10-day Sparkling Sands & Cities of the Persian Gulf itinerary checks all the boxes with stops in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and other ports of call.

Read: Bucket List Cruises for Seniors and Retirees

Other Top Adults-Only Cruise Options

While these larger ships are kid-friendly – and offer activities for families and children of all ages – adults can also find hidden retreats and dining and bar venues just for grown-ups. These spaces are typically quieter and away from the crowds. If you're traveling with (or without) children on one of these lines, you'll want to know the adults-only venues to plan your afternoon or evening out – sans kids.

Celebrity Cruises

Aerial of pool and deck on a Celebrity Cruises ship

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises offers spaces created with adults in mind. On Celebrity Beyond and the new Celebrity Ascent (debuting in December 2023), guests can have a unique adults-only dining experience at Le Voyage by Daniel Boulud. The world-renowned Global Culinary Ambassador for the line, Daniel Boulud, created the menu at this elegant venue, incorporating dishes inspired by his travels. You'll also find an impressive wine list to accompany your dining experience at the restaurant.

When it's time to relax, The Solarium is a popular adults-only area that's found on the Resort Deck of all Celebrity ships, including Celebrity Beyond and Celebrity Apex . This light-filled pool area encased by a glass dome is the perfect quiet space for reading a book or taking a nap. While there, you can also grab a light breakfast or lunch at the Spa Cafe and Juice Bar – or order your favorite adult beverage while lounging in the hot tub.

Other adult-focused venues to check out on Celebrity Beyond and Apex and are the new elevated bar spaces. The Edge series World Class Bar – a popular spot on other Celebrity ships – features craft cocktails in a beautiful setting. And don't miss the two-story Sunset Bar on Celebrity Beyond, reimagined by interior designer and TV personality Nate Berkus. The aft location of the bar offers almost twice the space as previous iterations – plus beautiful wake views.

Compare Celebrity Cruises on GoToSea.

Princess Cruises

Lounging area on a Princess Cruises ship

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

The Sanctuary, an adults-only retreat (for ages 18 and older), offers cruisers an escape from bustling public spaces on your ship. The relaxing top-deck venue is available on all Princess Cruises ships and features plush lounge chairs, a spa-like setting and Serenity Stewards, who serve light bites, spa cuisine and other refreshments. To fully unwind, consider reserving a private cabana, where you can book an open-air massage. The child-free venue varies from ship to ship. On six ships – Sky Princess , Majestic Princess , Regal Princess , Royal Princess , Enchanted Princess and Discovery Princess – adults can also enjoy an exclusive Retreat pool, cabanas and bar area. On the newer vessels – Discovery Princess, Enchanted Princess and Sky Princess – The Sanctuary also offers an expanded space with more cabanas.

If you're heading off the ship for an excursion to Princess Cays (the cruise line's private island in the Bahamas), plan to chill out for the day in an adults-only Sanctuary Bungalow. Located just minutes from the ocean and beach, the rentals accommodate four people, and the price includes two complimentary float rentals. You can also order a gourmet picnic to enjoy while lounging on shore.

Back on the ship, adults can reserve a spot for the line's new Winemaker Dinners in partnership with Napa Valley's Caymus Vineyards. These special evenings are offered fleetwide, two to three times during each cruise, for just 12 guests in the Crown Grill specialty restaurant. Winemaker Chuck Wagner personally selected the wines from the notable Napa Valley winery to pair with the elevated five-course menu.

Explore Princess Cruises deals on GoToSea.

Carnival Cruise Line

Serenity Adult-Only Retreat on a Carnival Cruise Line ship

Located on all of Carnival Cruise Line 's cruise ships , Serenity Adult-Only Retreat is a tranquil oasis hidden away from bustling venues and family-friendly areas. Access to the space is complimentary for passengers 21 and older; while there, guests can enjoy relaxing loungers, daybeds and whirlpools. Take in the warm sun and ocean breeze with a signature sangria in hand, or stop for a healthy meal at Fresh Creations Salad outlet (available on select ships) for an alfresco lunch. Passengers can make the most of some alone time with a quick nap and a good book – or simply kick back and relax before heading back into the high-energy environment elsewhere on the ship.

Book a Carnival Cruise Line cruise on GoToSea.

Disney Cruise Line

Lounge area on a Disney Cruise Line ship

Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Though Disney Cruise Line tends to attract families and younger travelers, it also offers multiple spaces and activities for adults 18 and older. Disney's newest ship, Disney Wish , even boasts several adults-only luxurious venues featuring characters and scenes from "Beauty and the Beast."

For top-notch steaks, contemporary Italian cuisine and panoramic ocean views, make a reservation at the Cogsworth-inspired Palo Steakhouse. If you prefer French-style fare and world-class wines served in an elegant and shimmering setting (think Lumiere), Enchanté by three-Michelin-starred chef Arnaud Lallement is the perfect place for a romantic dinner for two. Before dinner at either venue, enjoy a signature cocktail at The Rose. After dinner, you won't want to miss the galactic libations and ever-changing views of faraway galaxies at the adults-only Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge bar.

Depending on the ship, adult travelers can also dance the night away in a trendy club, watch live entertainment or a cabaret show, catch a sports game on satellite TV, or relax with an after-dinner cocktail at a bar or lounge. Outdoors, Quiet Cove Pool is a tranquil place to relax on all the ships. For even more pampering, Senses Spa & Salon boasts treatment rooms with ocean views, luxurious spa villas and other amenities. On Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line 's private island, adults can head to Serenity Bay – a scenic, adults-only stretch of the beach.

Find a Disney Cruise Line deal on GoToSea.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Spice H2O beach club on Norwegian Cruise Line ship

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line has three adults-only outdoor venues for guests 18 and older (though specific spaces vary by ship). The venues feature ocean views, bars, plush seating and other amenities. On Norwegian 's Bliss , Joy , Escape , Getaway and Breakaway ships, the Vibe Beach Club sun deck invites guests to relax in oversized hot tubs and enjoy perks like a full-service bar and chilled towels. Norwegian Encore , one of the line's newest ships, boasts an impressive two-level beach club. On Norwegian Prima and soon-to-launch Norwegian Viva, an elevated beach club experience includes the line's first infinity hot tubs. You can purchase a multiday pass in advance for Vibe Beach Club, and cabana rentals are available for more privacy.

At Norwegian Epic 's Posh Beach Club, complimentary perks include fruit skewers, cold water spritzers and a snack menu. Single- or multiday passes are available to all adult cruisers, while travelers who book a Haven suite can access Posh Beach Club for free. Spice H2O is another adults-only venue on the Norwegian Bliss, Joy, Escape, Getaway, Breakaway, Epic, Star and Spirit vessels; access is complimentary. At night, the space becomes an open-air dance club where you can spend the evening partying under the stars.

Compare Norwegian Cruise Line cruises on GoToSea.

Royal Caribbean International

The Solarium on the Spectrum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International

Michel Verdure | Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Solarium is Royal Caribbean International 's complimentary, child-free space open to guests 16 and older. Located at the front of every ship in the fleet, this indoor-outdoor oasis (or indoors-only on Quantum Class ships) offers impressive vistas and endless views of the sea. Thanks to a full glass canopy over the interior space, adult passengers can enjoy quiet lounging areas, swimming pools and whirlpool tubs with a view, no matter the weather. On top of that, select ships feature a cascading lagoon for further relaxation. Be sure to grab a tropical cocktail or zero-proof drink at Solarium Bar (or Sunshine Bar, on Quantum ships) to sip poolside while enjoying the ocean vistas.

Find a Royal Caribbean cruise on GoToSea.

Adults-only cruises are designed with adults in mind. From the staterooms, dining venues and lounges to the onboard entertainment and excursions ashore, adults-only cruises cater to adults 18 to 21 years of age and older. What you won't find on board are water or theme parks, climbing walls, game rooms and restaurants serving kid-friendly foods.

If you're looking for a relaxing, fun and romantic vacation without the kids in tow – and you don't want to deal with the other passengers' children on your getaway – consider booking a sailing specifically for cruisers at least 18 years or older. Alternatively, select a cruise line or ship that caters to mostly adults and doesn't offer any services, kids clubs, babysitting or activities for children.

You don't have to be a kid to be a Disney Cruise Line fan. While the line does not have an adults-only vessel within the fleet, there are plenty of kid-free spaces for adults only. Adults can enjoy cocktails, dinner and entertainment in several venues and relax at designated pool areas on the ship. There's also private stretch of beach on the line's private island, Castaway Way – sans kids.

In addition, Disney offers one of the best programs to keep youngsters entertained at sea, so you'll find that many of the children hang out in the kids club during the day and in the evening. These club spaces are divided by age groups, and they're typically open until midnight or 1 a.m. so parents – and even adults without kids – can enjoy a kid-free night out on the ship.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi has been an avid cruiser since her early 20s. She has sailed on nearly every type of cruise ship built, including the newest megaships, luxury yachts, classic paddlewheels, and an 18-stateroom ship on the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia. Most recently, she traveled on a small luxury expedition vessel in Antarctica and crossed the notorious Drake Passage twice. She covers the travel and culinary industries, specializing in cruises, for major publications including U.S. News & World Report.

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A deserted sandy cove with one small boat in the clear turquoise sea.

Europe’s best beach holidays: Donoussa, Greece

This quiet island in the Small Cyclades has one small town, several wild sandy bays and a plethora of panoramic walking and running trails More beach holidays | Spain | France | Portugal | Italy

E lias, quiet and unassuming, meets us at the tiny harbour and says he could drive us to the house but it would be quicker on foot. He directs us up a narrow alley past a bustling kafeneio , where people are debating the news of the day over coffee.

One of a little cluster of houses, ours has a pergola of rough-hewn logs and bamboo, and looks out to sea across a garden of rosemary and agave, a vegetable patch and composter, and the pen that is home to a donkey called Yolanda. Inside there is restored wooden furniture and textiles woven on a loom by Elias’s partner, Ploumitsa, who waves as she returns from feeding the chickens. The young couple’s passion for preserving the unspoilt landscape of their island makes Argalios guesthouse an inspiring place.

One of the Small Cyclades, just five square miles in area, diminutive Donoussa feels reassuringly low-key and relaxed. Most of the 150 permanent residents – and visitors like us – are in Stavros, where houses sit among palms and prickly pear and nothing is more than five minutes’ walk from the village beach. There is a bakery, a music bar, and half a dozen places to eat, with traditional dishes such as fava (split pea dip) and goat with potatoes. The shop in the back of the bar is open every day, and the other minimarket sells gloriously misshapen lumps of goat’s cheese, xinotyro , from neighbouring Naxos.

White houses with coloured shutters, a domed church and bit of sandy beach.

Elias, bringing fresh bread from his grandmother’s wood-fired oven, recommends Kedros beach, south-east across a headland, where his family has a cafe-bar serving organic local produce. After a 20-minute walk we find a gorgeous sweep of pale sand fringing sapphire sea amid gentle hills dotted with low shrub. I swim into the bay and look down through clear water to rippled patterns and wispy sea grass.

Apart from the guesthouse and taverna, Elias’s main occupation is maintaining and promoting the trails for walking and running. Over the following days on these paths we explore the rugged south coast with its old windmills and farmhouses and an ancient settlement.

Bathed in late afternoon light, bright white rock glows and blue sea shimmers. Goatherds call to their goats. From the spring at Mersini, a path of pale ochre stone leads down a valley to Livadi beach, another breathtaking sweep of soft sand, natural and unadulterated, and pale turquoise sea.

Most spectacular is the route to the north of the island, skirting the almost 400-metre peak of Papas. After a hike to the ridge, we look down at Kalotaritissa, a handful of cottages on a deep blue bay encircled by hills. At the end of the zigzagging trail, chickens and goats wander as the priest finishes his weekly call to the oldest resident.

A footpath continues around the edge of the bay to a perfect place for a swim, then we settle on the taverna terrace for a platter of grilled biftekia with a tomato salad, rough-cut slabs of feta drizzled with olive oil and oregano, and dense tzatziki streaked with garlic.

The owners offer a shot of something strong for the walk back. “Come back any time!” As we return to Stavros, the setting sun lights the hillsides like switching on an electric element, and stars pierce the fading blue sky.

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Aerial view of the Greek Isles

Greek Cruises

Greek Isle cruises deliver ancient wonders and once-in-a-lifetime excursions along with some of the bluest water on earth. See ruins from the dawn of democracy, wind down on a beach, and then indulge in fresh Mediterranean fare, all in one day. Our Greek Isle cruises offer a striking balance between popular attractions and seldom-visited ports. Whether you have 7 days, 12 days, or more, you’ll find just the right itinerary in our wide selection. Wander a brilliant-white maze of shops, restaurants, and homes to a breathtaking overlook. Stand in the same place as the greatest thinkers of all time. Sample flavorful cuisine at a taverna you’ll talk about for years to come. From ancient Athens to sun-dappled Mykonos, colorful Chania to the incredible Olympia, find the best Greek Isle cruises right here.

Europe Cruises    |    Mediterranean Cruises    |    Greece Cruises    |    Cruises from Athens

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The best greek isle cruises.

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History & Culture

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Greek Isle Beauty

Explore greek isle ports.

Piraeus (Athens), Greece

Step back in time on your cruise to Greece. Visit the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike, and other ancient ruins. Follow your tour with an open-air dinner in the Plaka neighborhood.

Crete (Souda), Greece

On the northwest coast of the island of Crete, Souda beckons with a romantic Venetian harbor, Old Town’s tangle of streets, and a 500-year-old lighthouse.

Katakolon (Olympia), Greece

The region reveals what it means to be Greek: traditions that go back thousands of years, simple but delicious and healthy cuisine, towering mountains, and crystal blue seas.

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos is a top choice among the glamourous. Chic tavernas with open terraces line the sea and after the sun dips down, the island sizzles with youthful energy.

Kerkira (Corfu), Greece

Come ashore to Corfu on your Greek Islands cruise, a muse for some of history’s most notable writers. Be inspired with a swim in its azure waters or wander verdant, cypress-dotted hills.

Rhodes, Greece

Even without its immense Helios statue, Rhodes remains one of the most-visited Greek islands with its white-sand beaches, glittering coves and fascinating ruins.

Thira (Santorini), Greece

Santorini has a dizzying array of archeological treasures, sun-bleached villages and world-renowned wines. To top it all, it’s home to one of the most beautiful volcanic calderas in the world.

Gythion (Sparta), Greece

Once the port of ancient Sparta, this lovely fishing town draws its name from gi theon, which means “land of the gods” in Greek. It’s the entryway to the rugged, mountainous realm of the Spartans—the fiercely independent people who rejected foreign rule time and time again.

Kavala (Neapolis), Greece

Northern Greece is often overlooked as a Greek Isle cruise destination, and many will not even have heard of the Macedonian port of Kavála. But the city, and the region it opens into, are both picturesque and culturally important, with a history that encompasses classical times as well as the more modern era.

Mytilene, Nisos Lesbos

Lesbos, Greece is well known for olives and ouzo production, and visitors can see evidence of both everywhere. The island's charms extend beyond those pleasures, though: It’s a beautiful place of open plains, sweeping hills, and sandy beaches with views of Turkey across the water.

Pylos, Greece

Pine-covered hills wrap around the lovely town of Pylos (often referred to as Navarino, its Italian name), in the Messenia region of Greece's Peloponnese. Cobblestoned streets lead down to the harbor, where outdoor cafés overlook the bay. This pleasant scene, however, belies a turbulent history.

Featured Greek Isle Shore Excursions

View of the Archaeological Museum of Olympia

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8 best Italy cruises for a Mediterranean vacation

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You don’t have to search all that hard to find the best Italy cruises — most leading cruise lines offer dozens of itineraries that visit Italian ports, often in conjunction with neighboring countries France, Greece and Croatia.

The reason? Italy has it all: coastlines on both the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, historic port cities (Rome, Venice and Naples among them) and spectacular islands (including Sicily, Sardinia, Capri and Elba).

For more cruise guides, news and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter .

Plus, with a cruise season that runs from early April through late October (and even year-round for a few cruise lines), Italy offers something for everyone. Travel here to find an alluring mix of impeccably preserved historic sites, renowned regional cuisines and natural wonders waiting to be discovered.

Here are eight of the best Italy cruises for every type of traveler.

Best Italy cruises for cultural immersion: Azamara

Azamara pioneered the concept of single-country itineraries, which allow for greater cultural immersion and even overnight stays in select ports. The cruise line’s 11-night voyage in October 2024 is one of its most comprehensive.

The sailing begins in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and ends in Rome (Civitavecchia), with visits to seven more Italian ports and Tunis, Tunisia. You’ll explore Genoa, Livorno (overnight for Florence/Pisa), Porto Santo Stefano (on the Tuscan coast), Cagliari (on Sardinia), Trapani (on Sicily), Amalfi and Sorrento.

This voyage is aboard the 684-passenger Azamara Onward, one of the cruise line’s four virtually identical ships. (All are former Renaissance R-class ships built in the early 2000s and renovated over the past several years.) The vessels’ intimate size and Azamara’s focus on cultural experiences and shore excursions emphasizing history and food (including cooking classes and market tours) make for an immersive cruise itinerary.

Other Italy-Intensive voyages in 2023 and 2024 include the following: a 10-night voyage in October 2023 aboard Azamara Quest, a 10-night voyage in April 2024 aboard Azamara Pursuit, and a seven-night voyage in May 2024 aboard Azamara Quest.

Best Italy cruises for small-ship lovers: Windstar Cruises

It’s rare to find a cruise itinerary so fully focused on one specific region of Italy, but Windstar Cruises ’ small ships — three classic sailing yachts and three all-suite motor yachts, which accommodate 148 to 342 guests — allow it to offer cruises to less-frequented ports.

Windstar’s 10-day Sicilian Splendors , aboard its 342-passenger sailing yacht Wind Surf, is available on multiple dates in 2023, 2024 and 2025. The ship will cruise round-trip from Rome and call on six Italian ports: Catania (for Mount Etna), Porto Empedocle (for the ancient ruins at Agrigento) and Trapani (for its signature colored salts and Marsala wines), all in Sicily; the island of Lipari (the largest of seven Aeolian Islands); and Sorrento and Amalfi on the stunning Amalfi Coast. The cruise also visits the neighboring islands of Malta and Gozo.

Five-masted Wind Surf is the world’s largest sailing ship. It manages to be intimate without feeling claustrophobic, although it is worth noting that none of its staterooms or suites has a balcony. There is, however, ample deck space for relaxation, with a pool and two hot tubs, as well as inviting alfresco bars and dining areas.

Related: The 2 classes of Windstar ships, explained

Indoors, the ship’s restaurants and social spaces, such as the Veranda Restaurant, Stella Bistro and the Compass Rose Bar, are light-filled, with elegant neutral decor refreshed in 2019.

Musical entertainment takes place in the Wind Surf Lounge and Compass Rose Bar, and Windstar’s excellent dining program reflects an ongoing partnership with the James Beard Foundation. In select tender ports, passengers can enjoy a watersports platform and take out sea kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.

Best Italy cruises for onboard pampering: Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection

If enjoying yacht-style indulgence as you explore Southern Italy is on your cruise wish list, consider the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s 10-night Rome to Valletta itinerary in May 2024. This cruise visits scenic hot spots such as Sorrento and Amalfi on the Amalfi Coast, history-rich Siracusa in Sicily and three ports (Gallipoli, Taranto and Otranto) in lesser-known Puglia, located on the heel of boot-shaped Italy, before passengers disembark in Malta.

Ritz-Carlton, which entered the cruise realm in 2021 with its 298-passenger luxury yacht, Evrima , offers an all-inclusive “yachting lifestyle” experience. This leisurely sailing features overnights in Sorrento and Taranto and two sea days with ample ways to enjoy onboard pampering. The ship’s spacious suites are designed with a contemporary residential feel and range in size from 300 square feet with an 81-square-foot terrace to 1,091 square feet with a 635-square-foot terrace.

Evrima also offers nine bars and dining venues featuring menus created to reflect the ports visited. For culinary indulgence, guests can book a table at S.E.A., a specialty dining experience designed by Chef Sven Elverfeld of Aqua, the Michelin three-starred restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg, Germany.

The ship also features chicly designed spaces for relaxing and socializing, such as the Pool House lounge overlooking an aft infinity pool, a second pool located next to the alfresco restaurant Mistral, a panoramic Observation Lounge and a full-service Ritz-Carlton Spa.

Related: The best luxury cruise lines for elegance and exclusivity

Best Italy cruises for foodies: Silversea Cruises

The three newest ships in the Silversea Cruises fleet — Silver Moon, Silver Dawn and 2023’s first-in-class Silver Nova — all feature the cruise line’s immersive culinary program known as S.A.L.T. (Sea and Land Taste). When Silversea’s next ship, the 728-passenger Silver Ray, debuts in 2024, it will also take its guests on culinary-focused journeys — among them an 11-day Rome to Venice itinerary in June 2024.

The itinerary includes calls on seven ports in Italy: Rome, Naples, Sorrento, Palermo, Siracusa, Trieste and Venice. The sailing also visits ports in Malta, Montenegro and Croatia.

Silversea’s sailings blend food-centric excursions — such as a visit to a family farm for a tasting of fresh cheese, salami and olive oil in Sorrento — with the onboard S.A.L.T. program to make sampling local cuisine a natural part of the cruise experience. The day-to-day menus at S.A.L.T. Kitchen are all inspired by the ports visited. The Terrain menu focuses on that day’s port while the Voyage menu draws from the best flavors of the entire itinerary.

Passengers aboard Silver Ray should definitely pack an appetite — in addition to S.A.L.T. Kitchen, the ship features seven other restaurants. They are La Dame for haute French cuisine, Atlantide for signature fine dining (think caviar and lobster), Kaiseki for Japanese sushi and teppanyaki (as well as pan-Asian dishes), Silver Note for tapas-style dining and live music, The Grill for casual burgers and salads, La Terrazza for handmade pasta and other Italian specialties, and Spaccanapoli for thin-crusted Naples-style pizza. With 11 nights aboard, there’s time to sample all of them.

Related: The ultimate guide to cruise ship food and dining

Best Italy cruises for families: Norwegian Cruise Line

 If an Italy adventure with the entire family sounds like the perfect cruise vacation in 2024, Norwegian Cruise Line ’s new Norwegian Viva, launching in August 2023 as the sister ship to 2022’s Norwegian Prima, is an ideal playground for guests of all ages.

The most Italy-focused itinerary? The 10-day Mediterranean: Italy, Greece & Croatia cruise (offered aboard 3,099-guest Viva in late June and late September 2024) calls on six ports in Italy — Rome, Livorno, Naples, Messina, Siracusa and Trieste — as well as the islands of Corfu and Malta; Koper, Slovenia; and Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia.

This itinerary is rich in history and culture, including the ancient landmarks of Rome, the archeological wonders of Pompeii and the Leaning Tower of Pisa near Livorno, plus the beauty and culinary treats (sweet cannoli and savory arancini) of Sicily, where Viva makes two port calls. Though the cruise ends in Trieste, the wonders of Venice are just 90 minutes away, so adding a few extra nights to explore its colorful, canal-laced islands is a must.

Onboard Viva, you’ll enjoy more than a dozen dining options (five of them complimentary, including the casual and family-friendly Indulge Food Hall), 16 bars and lounges and all the fun activities/entertainment (including a production of the Broadway hit “Beetlejuice: The Musical”) that the line offers.

Related: Best cruise lines for families

Top amenities include the three-deck Viva Speedway for exhilarating go-kart racing, three thrilling slides (two of them 10-story corkscrew dry slides and one tidal-wave-style waterslide), virtual-reality gaming in the Galaxy Pavilion, tech-enhanced minigolf and more. Also, Viva’s generous outside deck space — especially Deck 8’s Ocean Boulevard with its lively Indulge Outdoor Lounge and sleek Infinity Beach pools — is ideal for scenic cruising in the Mediterranean and Adriatic.

Best Italy cruises for couples: Oceania Cruises

The sophisticated onboard ambiance and a romantic itinerary are a lovely combination, and couples can enjoy both on the 12-night Mediterranean Tapestry sailing offered in June 2024 aboard Oceania Cruises ’ newest vessel, Oceania Vista.

The 1,200-passenger ship, which debuted in May 2023, will visit four top ports in Italy — Venice/Trieste in Northern Italy, Taormina in Sicily, Amalfi/Positano in Southern Italy and Civitavecchia for a day in Rome.

Beyond Italy, this itinerary offers a sampling of scenic locales in six other Adriatic and Mediterranean countries with a possible pre-cruise stay in Venice. You’ll visit Korcula and Split in Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; Igoumanitsa and Katakolon in Greece; Ajaccio, Corsica; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Marseille, France; and Barcelona, Spain.

Oceania caters to couples seeking an upscale cruise experience with a culinary focus. Onboard Vista, the atmosphere is sleek and polished, with interior decor awash in elegant neutrals of varying patterns and textures, all woven together into a soothing mosaic (in some cases, literally, as tiled vignettes are used throughout the ship). Vista’s bars and lounges, especially the Martini Bar and the Grand Lounge, are so chic you’ll want to get dressed up every night to enjoy one of the craft cocktails on their newly enhanced menus.

All specialty dining is included in the cruise fare, and stand-out meals at Polo Grill (for an excellent steakhouse menu), Toscana (for authentic Italian, including recipes by Vista’s godmother Giada De Laurentiis) and Red Ginger (for flavorful pan-Asian) are just a reservation away. Two new eateries, Aquamar Kitchen and Ember, serve wellness-focused cuisine and casual American comfort food, respectively, and an expanded Culinary Arts Center lets guests who love to cook take hands-on classes.

Best of all, Vista is an all-balcony ship, so every stateroom features access to fresh air (French Veranda Staterooms don’t have an outdoor sitting area, however). Veranda Staterooms and Concierge Level Veranda Staterooms offer a spacious 290 square feet of indoor space — and some of the best standard bathrooms at sea with roomy walk-in showers and ample storage.

Related: The best cruises for couples seeking romance and together time at sea

Best Italy cruises for travelers on a budget: Royal Caribbean

To score a budget cruise fare in the Mediterranean, it helps to look for sailings aboard a cruise line’s older ships. If Italy is your main focus for a future cruise, it’s hard to beat the seven-night Western Mediterranean itinerary in September 2024 aboard Royal Caribbean ’s Voyager of the Seas.

It visits five Italian ports: Venice/Ravenna, Messina in Sicily, Naples, Rome and Livorno (for Florence and Pisa). The ship also calls on Marseille and Barcelona. Voyager’s Italy-focused cruise is a jam-packed itinerary with just one sea day.

Ideal for both couples and multi-generational families, the 3,600-passenger Voyager of the Seas (which debuted in 1999 and was last refurbished in 2019) features seven restaurants (including three complimentary dining venues and specialty restaurant favorites Chops Grille and Giovanni’s Table) and eight bars/lounges.

The ship has been “amped-up” so guests can enjoy features found on Royal Caribbean’s newer ships: Perfect Storm waterslides, FlowRider simulated surfing, Battle for Planet Z laser tag, Voyager Dunes minigolf, Studio B ice-skating shows and reimagined spaces for kids and teens.

Nights aboard Voyager of the Seas will be filled with complimentary entertainment options: production shows in the Royal Theater, pub performances by guest entertainers and bands, game-show competitions, pool parties, outdoor movie nights and a ‘70s disco party.

Best Italy cruises for adults-only ambiance: Viking

 Is Venice at the top of your wish list? Does an adults-only cruise on a ship with serene, Scandinavian-inspired interior decor and complimentary wine or beer with lunch and dinner sound ideal?

If so, check out Viking ’s 15-night Italy, the Adriatic and Greece itinerary , which sails from Athens to Rome and visits six Italian ports — Venice/Chioggia, Bari, Crotone, Messina, Naples and Rome — with three days spent in Venice. As a bonus, you’ll also visit ports in Greece (Katakolon and Corfu), Croatia (Dubrovnik, Split and Sibenik) and Montenegro (Kotor).

Offered on multiple dates in fall 2023, 2024 and 2025, this itinerary is chock full of port experiences; there are no sea days, and a total of 13 cities are visited. Viking includes one free guided shore excursion in each port, usually a panoramic bus tour or historic walking tour. Use that as an overview and then explore on your own or book one of the cruise line’s longer or more specialized excursions. Onboard guest speakers also offer insight into the ports visited and the cultural landscape.

The cruise line’s nine ocean ships are all identical and accommodate 930 passengers, most of whom are couples over age 55. Onboard dining is available in eight restaurants, including the main venue, The Restaurant and the buffet-style World Cafe, the casual Pool Grill and the Norwegian-focused Mamsen’s. Guests can also reserve dinner at two specialty restaurants (at no extra charge): Manfredi’s for Italian cuisine and The Chef’s Table for multi-course, wine-paired menus that rotate throughout the cruise.

Afternoon tea is served in the elegant Wintergarden. The Aquavit Terrace overlooking the aft infinity pool is a sunny spot to enjoy alfresco dining.

If you’re willing to come back early from port, Viking’s ocean ships offer plenty of ways to relax on board. All passengers enjoy complimentary access to the ship’s thermal suite in the LivNordic Spa. It features a thalassotherapy pool, steam room, sauna and snow room. The Main Pool has a retractable roof and can be enjoyed no matter what the weather. However, if you want to live it up at night, note that the ship does not have an onboard casino.

Bottom line

The best Italy cruises offer access to some of the country’s most-loved cities, as well as a chance to explore some of its sunny islands and lesser-known coastal ports. No matter the itinerary, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the splendid landscapes, treasured antiquities and, of course, the incredible gelato.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • 15 ways cruisers waste money
  • 15 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise

SPONSORED:  With states reopening, enjoying a meal from a restaurant no longer just means curbside pickup.

And when you do spend on dining, you should use a credit card that will maximize your rewards and potentially even score special discounts. Thanks to temporary card bonuses and changes due to coronavirus, you may even be able to score a meal at your favorite restaurant for free. 

These are the best credit cards for dining out, taking out, and ordering in to maximize every meal purchase.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

8 best Italy cruises for a Mediterranean vacation


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