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Small inlets and harbors, rugged coastlines, sunny beaches, whitewashed villages atop hillsides glimpsed at from a distance, clear skies, and the fresh air are just some of the best features of a Greek Islands cruise. Cruising through the Greek Islands means visiting ancient cities and small towns, eating delicious cuisine both on board the cruise liner and on the side-trips that one book ahead of time. Once on board the ship, one has a comfortable home base, fun activities between stops, great food, and entertainment all without traveling in a car, worrying about a schedule or having to move from store to store or restaurant to restaurant to experience the islands and their culture. Most Greek Island cruises offer a mix of history and culture with beaches, sun, and fun.
The most popular islands to visit while cruising seems to be Mykonos, Santorini, and Rhodes. There are cruises that visit smaller, less popular islands, but one has to seek them out. Also, one needs to consider timing. Is it more important to get a small taste of each island, seeing them from the ship or perhaps to stop quickly or is it better to spend a longer period stopping and exploring an island and learning about its people, eating its cuisine, and enjoying the local ambiance?
Greek Island cruises often begin and end in other parts of Europe such as Italy or Turkey. Istanbul is a commonly included city on a Greek Island cruise itinerary. Cruises can include several European stops and only a few islands or may include predominantly the islands and little else. The itinerary is limited to what cruise lines have to offer but within those boundaries, there is quite a bit of diversity. One should first decide if the cruise is to be educational with many stops and a lot of culture or more of a relaxation trip where the islands are visited briefly or observed from the lounge chairs on the ship's deck.
Keeping in mind that the warmer months will be the best for island activities, one must also consider how much time will be devoted to cruising as Greek Island cruises can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. A cruise-tour is also a possibility, combining an island cruise with an extended tour of land which might be in Greece, Turkey or other parts of Europe. Making careful choices and planning ahead with careful consideration to a traveler's likes and dislikes will make cruising the Greek Islands a successful experience.