Windstar – Greek Isles

Why take a Windstar Greek Isles cruise?

Accommodations

Our Greek isles cruise, Treasures of the Greek Isles, was aboard Windstar’s Star Pride, a 212-passenger power yacht added to the cruise line’s fleet in 2014, along with two other similar-sized ships formerly owned by Seabourn.

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Beginning in May 2017 and continuing through early October 2017, multiple sailings of the same itinerary will be offered on the 148-passenger Wind Star, one of three motorized ships with computer-operated sails that complete Windstar’s fleet.

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Our Pre-Cruise Hotel: St. George Lycabettus

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Rooftop terrace at St. George Lycabettus. (Photo: St. George Lycabettus)

Our Post-Cruise Hotel: Central Hotel Athens

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Night-time view of the Acropolis from the rooftop garden at Central Hotel Athens.                                   (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Activities

We spent the majority of our time off the ship exploring the ports, but Windstar offers multiple choices for onboard activities. Book a massage in WindSpa after returning from a shore excursion. I got in plenty of walking off the ship, but for those who enjoy a traditional workout, visit the Fitness Center. Even better, why not both? There is a Watersports Platform off the yacht’s stern for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and other watersports. Sun yourself on deck, take a dip in the whirlpool, then catch up on email or grab a DVD for your stateroom or suite in the Library. After dinner, try your luck in the Casino and dance to live music in the Lounge. Passengers are also welcome to visit the Bridge, where the Captain and officers will share charts, routes, and vistas with you.

A wide variety of excellent shore excursions are offered in all ports of call, or explore on your own. (We booked a private tour on Santorini with Private Santorini Tours, since we were meeting up with friends staying on the island.)

Beaches

Even though we were sailing on the Aegean Sea, beach time was not a part of this itinerary. There were beaches on some of the islands visited, of course, but with so much history and culture to immerse ourselves in, there was no time or interest in spending time on a beach.

Food and Drink

On the ship:
Breakfast and lunch are served full service or buffet-style; multi-course evening meals offer several choices and are ordered from the menu. Open seating and casual dress (no jackets, ties or evening wear required; no shorts or flip-flops). A full selection of wines and spirits is available. Partially consumed bottles can be re-corked and served the next evening. If wine purchased locally is brought aboard, a corkage fee is added.

Food on the ship   salmononship  dessertonshipweb  lambonshipweb

One of the highlights of each week’s Windstar cruise is a barbecue on top deck, featuring lots of interaction with the crew and lively entertainment.

Off the ship:
We were always off the ship for lunch, either as part of a shore excursion that included food, or spending time in port after the shore excursion ended. This gave us the chance to sample many of amazing Greek foods and wines. Don’t miss the opportunity!

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Getting There

Our cruise began and ended in Athens, Greece. Direct connections to Athens (ATH) are currently available on several airlines from New York (JFK) and Philadelphia (PHL) in the U.S.

Location

greekislesmapwebGreece is located in the southeastern part of Europe. Besides the mainland, Greece includes hundreds of islands located in the Mediterranean, Ionian Sea, and Aegean Seas. Greece shares its international boundaries with Turkey in the east and with Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Albania in the north. (The itinerary of the Treasures of the Greek Isles cruise is pictured.)

Vibe

One definition of vibe is “a distinctive emotional atmosphere; sensed intuitively.” The vibe we experienced was one of warmth, welcome, and a willingness to be of assistance with any question or request. The Greeks are proud of their ancient heritage and while the country is currently undergoing economic struggles, they are ready to share their knowledge and their love of their native land.

 

If you go, don’t miss:

Athens

We spent one night before and one night after the cruise in our departure city, Athens. The Acropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the Acropolis Museum are must-sees. Also recommended: the Cyclades Museum, the Plaka district, Syntagma Square and Parliament for changing of the guard.

Acropolis

Acropolis, site of the Parthenon and other fifth century sanctuaries dedicated to the goddess Athena. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Me at the Erechtheion

The Erechtheion, also on the Acropolis, is known for its “Porch of the Maidens.” The originals are in the Acropolis Museum.

Acropolis Museum Exterior

Exterior of the Acropolis Museum, where most of the artifacts found on the 10-acre rock and surrounding slopes are housed. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Acropolis Museum Interior

Inside the Acropolis Museum, view artifacts like these Porch of the Maidens, found on the 10-acre rock and surrounding slopes. Exact replicas now replace the originals at the temple on the Acropolis. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Nafplio

Epidaurus, the best-preserved ancient Greek Theatre, built in the 4th century B.C. and known for its superb acoustics.

Epidaurus, Greek theatre dating to the 12th century

Epidaurus, Greek theatre dating to the 12th century (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Palamidi Castle

Walk the 913 steps from the top of Palamidi Fortress to the town of Nafplio. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Mykonos

View the thatch-roofed windmills, walk through one of the Greek Orthodox churches, take a drive through the countryside to taste wines at organic winery, Vioma, then return for meze and lively Greek music at a taverna.

The thatched roof windmills of Mykonos with our ship in the distance.

The thatched roof windmills of Mykonos with our ship in the distance. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Mykonos windmills

Mykonos windmills (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Mykonos church

Greek Orthodox Church on Mykonos (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Entrance to Vioma organic winery on Mykonos

Entrance to Vioma organic winery on Mykonos (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

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Wines at Vioma organic winery (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Kusadasi/Ephesus

While in Kusadasi, Turkey, visit the ancient Greek city of Ephesus. Walk down the Marble Road, one of the greatest outdoor museums in the world, then tour the Terrace Houses before marveling at the Celsus Library. On this cruise, you’ll be returning to enjoy a four-course dinner in front of the facade of the Celsus Library as the sun sets on a memorable day.

Visit the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Visit the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

The special private event on this cruise is an Evening in Ephesus, which includes a five-course dinner served in front of the remaining facade of the Celsus Library.

The special private event on this cruise is an Evening in Ephesus, which includes a five-course dinner served in front of the remaining facade of the Celsus Library. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Mary's house, the house believed to have been the last residence of the Virgin Mary.

Mary’s house, the house believed to have been the last residence of the Virgin Mary. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Patmos

The small island of Patmos is known worldwide as the sacred island where St. John wrote the Book of Revelation. Highlights of Patmos include the Cave of the Apocalypse and the Holy Monastery of the Apocalypse. We also visited a taverna for meze and Greek folk dancing.

The small island of Patmos is a special port of call not featured on many cruise itineraries.

The small island of Patmos is a special port of call not featured on many cruise itineraries. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Ceramic mural at the entrance to the Cave of the Apocalypse, depicting John and his scribe in the cave.

Ceramic mural at the entrance to the Cave of the Apocalypse, depicting St. John and his scribe in the cave. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Greek folk dancers in Patmos demonstrated the traditional syrtos dance, and then we got to join in!

Greek folk dancers in Patmos demonstrated the traditional syrtos dance, and then we got to join in! (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Meze platter at the taverna on Patmos.

Meze platter at the taverna on Patmos. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Santorini

Visit the village of Oia and see the iconic Santorini blue domes, then go to the island’s highest point, Profit Ilias Monastery. On our tour of the island with Private Santorini Tours, we also visited the black sand beach where we lunched at Forty One restaurant, located in a former tomato factory.

The iconic blue-domed church dominates the foreground in the oft photographed village of Oia.

The iconic blue-domed church dominates the foreground in the village of Oia. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Santorini (www.workingwithlight.com)

Santorini, Andreas Habermehl,www.workingwithlight.com

Profit Ilias Monastery

Profit Ilias Monastery (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Icons inside the church at the Profit Ilias Monastery.

Icons inside the church at the Profit Ilias Monastery. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Black sand beach on Santorini (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

Black sand beach on Santorini (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

For a special treat, book a private photo shoot with Studio Kristo.

Debbra Dunning Brouillette, Tropical Travel Girl, Santorini photo shoot, StudioKristo.com

Debbra Dunning Brouillette, Tropical Travel Girl, Santorini photo shoot, StudioKristo.com

Monemvasia

A Gibraltar-like town tied to the mainland by a single thread of causeway holds treasures that are old even by Mediterranean standards, with town walls and several churches dating to the 12th century. Climb to the upper town for an up-close look at the castle and Agia Sophia, a Byzantine church. Our excursion also took us through the countryside where we spent time at an olive farm, learning about olive oil production.

Visit the ruins of a Masada-like medieval city built entirely upon a rock.

Visit the ruins of a Masada-like medieval city built entirely upon a rock. (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

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Monemvasia (Photo: Debbra Dunning Brouillette)

 

Published article:

My article on our Greek isles cruise, beginning and ending in Athens, was published in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Here is a link to the online version:

Online Version: Iconic sites keep tourists coming to Greece and its islands

A PDF of the article as it appeared in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram’s Sunday Travel section can be opened here:

Newspaper Version: Greece Article-FWST.pdf

Greece article page

Check out Greek Isles on the blog:

Ah, Athens! Must-see sites: Acropolis and Acropolis Museum

Debbra : November 2, 2016 12:37 am : Blog, Europe, Greece, Greek Isles, History and Culture, Home news, Homepage, slider, Uncategorized, Windstar - Greek Isles

Thinking of booking a cruise of the Greek Isles that leaves from Athens? If so, you should plan to arrive a day before the ship departs from Piraeus port for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, you don’t want to miss the ship, due to unforeseen circumstances, like a flight delay or cancellation. And you don’t want to miss experiencing the high points of this amazing ancient city.

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6 Comments »

Serendipity in Santorini: A Day to Remember

Debbra : October 10, 2016 1:18 pm : Blog, Europe, Greece, Greek Isles, Home news, Homepage, Island Destinations, slider, Uncategorized, Windstar - Greek Isles

Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

What were the chances… “You’re going to Santorini when?” My husband and I had booked our Windstar cruise of the Greek Isles and two weeks before we were to leave, I found out that a couple from my hometown — very good friends that I’d known most of my life — were going to be staying on Santorini the same week we would be visiting from our ship.

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19 Comments »

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2 Comments on “Windstar – Greek Isles

  1. Oh, Debbra, what a beautiful trip! You visited the Greek Isles in style. Windstar’s Star Pride is one of those small and intimate cruise ships that make you feel like you are on a yacht. I bet this was a great experience. Patmos must have been especially interesting, given the fact that is where the Book of Revelation was written. Santorini looks beautiful too, especially those perfectly white buildings with blue roofs, but I am not a great fan of the black sand beaches. So beautiful!

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