Athens & 7 Day Greek Isles Cruise

Athens, then a 7 day cruise of the Greek Isles plus Kusadasi for Ephesus; independent travel with flights & hotel included. Optional Classical Greece extension.

Overview

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Style Independent PackageThese un-escorted packages have no set schedule or guides, so you have the freedom and flexibility to explore on your own from your centrally-located hotel. More of these packages
Freedom to explore at your own pace; unescorted
Departures
Themes Small Ship Cruises
Activity Level Recreational
What to Expect This is a moderately-paced, independent package. Excursions with local tour guides include a reasonable amount of walking and requires and average level of physical fitness.
Already booked? Find everything you need to know before you go, including information about passport & visa requirements, flights, luggage, and more.

Package includes

  • Flights
  • Cruise
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Round trip flights from New York (JFK) or Newark (EWR) via scheduled carriers, including fuel surcharges and taxes and fees, with other gateways available on request
  • 3 nights in Deluxe accommodations at the Royal Olympic Hotel in Athens
  • 7 nights standard inside cabin (cat. IB) aboard the Celestyal Crystal
  • Port Charges of $289 per person included
  • Cruise Tips of $10 per person per day included
  • 23 Meals: 10 buffet breakfasts, 6 lunches, and 7 dinners
  • On-board all-inclusive alcoholic drink package
  • 3 Shore excursions: Minoan Palace of Knossos, Santorini Oia village, ancient Ephesus
  • Sightseeing in Athens
  • All group transfers

Optional add-ons

  • Optional tour of Cape Sounion
  • Optional Classical Greece Extension (Value Vacation)

Why you'll love it

  • Explore Mykonos independently
  • Spend an afternoon on the island of Milos
  • Half day tour Oia Village during two days in Santorini
  • Visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the first European civilization
  • Discover ancient Epheseus
  • Sightseeing tour of Athens
Athens & 7 Day Greek Isles Cruise itinerary

Join us for an amazing journey of discovery to the most important classical sites of western civilization aboard the Celestyal Crystal. You'll experience the great treasures of Greece and the Aegean Sea without ever having to pack and unpack as you sail from port to port, visiting such world treasures as the Acropolis in Athens, ancient Ephesus – a UNESCO World Heritage site, sparkling Greek Islands, and so much more by day. All of this, plus airfare from New York and many other cities, is yours for an incredible price. We're excited about this new program and we know you will be too, but don't wait too long to book, as space is sure to sell out quickly!

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Itinerary

Day 1: Depart USA

  • Your exciting journey to Greece begins this evening as you check in for your overnight flight.

Day 2: Athens

Accommodations: 2 nights Royal Olympic Hotel, Athens or similar.

  • Arrive in Athens and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure

Cafe in Plaka, AthensFull Day Itinerary: You’ll be met by our representative and then escorted to your hotel, centrally located near Constitution Square and the famous Plaka (Old Town). Athens, the birthplace of western civilization, once hailed as the Paris of the Mediterranean, is now a bustling modern city, a colorful tapestry of eastern and western influences, full of outdoor cafes, pedestrian streets, parks and gardens, street bazaars, dilapidated mansions and ancient ruins.

Day 3: Athens

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Morning tour of Athens, including the Acropolis
  • Afternoon at leisure to explore Athens, or join an optional tour

Full Day Itinerary: This morning, enjoy tParthenon, Athenshe striking contrast between breathtaking monuments of a glorious past and modern elegant structures during your tour of Athens. Visit the Acropolis, the crowning beauty and glory of Ancient Athens, with its many monuments atop its rocky base, including the awesome Parthenon, the Propylea, the temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheion, with its Porch of Maidens. Drive to the Roman Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Panathinaikon Stadium (site of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896), and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of the Parliament House on Constitution Square. See views of government buildings and elegant structures of the 19th century. Drive along Panepistimiou Avenue and view the Catholic Cathedral, the Academy, University, and National Library. In contrast, conclude your tour with a visit to the new Acropolis Museum, a marvel of architecture with a full exhibition of the glory of Ancient Athens.

Poseidon Temple, Cape SounionOptional Excursion: Cape Sounion, €49 per person (purchased locally). Drive along the coastal road past countless coves and the beautiful beaches of Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, and Varkiza to Cape Sounion. Dominated by the spectacular Temple of Poseidon, the sanctuary at Sounion is one of the most important archeological sites in Attica. Although evidence suggests that the site dates back to the prehistoric period, the sanctuary is first mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, as the place where Menelaos stopped during his return from Troy to bury his helmsman, Phrontes Onetorides. Learn about the rich history of this area as you take in stunning views of the Aegean on this fascinating optional excursion.

Day 4: Athens & Piraeus

Accommodations: 7 nights Celestyal Crystal. Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.

  • Embark on your cruise ship and set sail to the Greek Isles

Full Day Itinerary: Transfer to Piraeus port in the afternoon to board your cruise ship, Celestyal Crystal. Enjoy the shipboard facilities as the ship sails in the evening.

Day 5: Mykonos

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Full day to explore Mykonos

Full Day Itinerary:Little Venice, MykonosThis morning, arrive at the gorgeous island of Mykonos and transfer from the port via complimentary shuttle. Enjoy an independent stroll through Mykonos town with its labyrinth of winding alleyways and whitewashed buildings, basket-laden donkeys, cascading geraniums and upscale shops and cafés.

Day 6: Mykonos & Milos

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Half day at leisure in Milos

Full Day Itinerary:Plaka, MilosDepart Mykonos this morning and set sail for the mesmerizing island of Milos. Dramatically emerging from the Aegean Sea before you, you’ll be spellbound by Milos’ volcanic landscape, juxtaposed with quaint white stone fishing villages. Spend the day relaxing on one of the many beaches, swimming in serene sea caves, and discovering the colorful boathouses that magically emerge from the sea.

Return to the ship and sail overnight to Santorini.

Day 7: Santorini

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Full day in Santorini
  • Half day sightseeing tour of Oia Village in Santorini

Full Day Itinerary:Sunset on SantoriniArrive this morning to the striking island of Santorini, which is a volcanic crater immersed in the sea. The island is famous for its breathtaking and rugged landscapes, whitewashed houses, open-air cafes and glittering boutiques which cling to steep cliffs, accessible by foot, cable car or mule. Enjoy an included half day of sightseeing which will begin with a scenic drive where you will have the unique opportunity to admire the panoramic view of the Aegean Sea and the neighboring islands. Built on the Caldera rim, Oia Village is an excellent example of Cycladic architecture. Explore the village walking along the cobble-stone streets and the white washed houses with blue shutters where one gets the impression that they are a beautiful travel poster. Your coach will bring you back to the port of Athinios, where you will embark your tender boat to return to the ship.

Day 8: Santorini

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Full day at leisure in Santorini

Full Day Itinerary: Spend today exploring Santorini independently, or join an optional shore excursion.

Return to the ship late this evening and sail overnight to Heraklion.

Day 9: Heraklion (Crete)

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Half day sightseeing tour of the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the first European civilization
  • Afternoon at leisure

Knossos ruins, Crete © www.heraklion.grFull Day Itinerary: Arrive in Heraklion early this morning. Crete is the largest and the most rugged of the Greek islands. It is also the home of the great Minoan Civilization and the mythological home of Zeus. The palace at Knossos was an intricate collection of over 1,000 interlocking rooms, including the Hall of the Royal Guard, the Hall of the Double Axes, the King's Chamber with the alabaster throne, the Queen's Apartment, as well as beautiful courtyards and shrines. The palace was used as a religious and administrative center, as well as for workshops for artisans and food processing. The ruins have largely been excavated and much of them colorfully painted and restored, decorated with frescoes and shields.

Back in Heraklion the open air market is a must-see, where a boisterous crowd buys and sells everything from goats and sheep to huge cauldrons of fresh yogurt. Other points of interest here include the Archaeological Museum, one of the finest in Greece, housing exquisite findings from Knossos and other Minoan ruins, numerous Venetian fortresses, fountains and loggias scattered throughout the city and the Historical Museum of Crete, with its Byzantine and folklore collections. Return to your ship this evening to sail overnight to Kusadasi.

Walking in the archaeological site of Knossos will be on uneven gravel surfaces. Passengers may not be allowed to enter the site with big bags or backpacks.

Day 10: Kusadasi, Turkey

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.

  • Half day tour of ancient Ephesus

Library of Celsus, EphesusFull Day Itinerary: Arrive in Kusadasi, Turkey this morning. Just ten kilometers from the port is the ancient city of Ephesus, where you will find immortal relics of the Hellenistic, Roman and Early Christian era. At the archaeological site you will be given a guided tour among the Agora, the Odeon, the Library of Celsus, the marble-paved main Street of Kouretes, the Baths of Scholastica, Trajan’s Fountain, the Public Latrines, the Residences of the Patricians, the Prytaneum, and the Temple of Hadrian.

The Great Theatre, built in the 4th century B.C. could accommodate 24,000 spectators and is famous even today for its acoustics. The finds from the excavations, which have yet brought to light only 13% of ancient Ephesus, reside in the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus, in the city of Seljuk.

During the excursion you will have the opportunity to ramble, bargain for jewelry, cosmetics or leather products at small shops.

Return to the ship for dinner and overnight.

Day 11: Piraeus & Athens

Accommodations: 1 night Royal Olympic Hotel, Athens or similar. Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Disembark ship and transfer to your hotel
  • Remainder of the day at leisure to explore Athens

Athens at nightFull Day Itinerary: Disembark from your ship at Piraeus and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy a full day to explore Athens. Your hotel is ideally located in the heart of the city, within short distance of many major attractions, as well as the best shopping and dining. Our Athens representatives will offer you some exclusive optional shore excursions to the city’s highlights (see descriptions on Day 3 above).

Day 12: Athens/USA

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Bid farewell to Athens as you’re escorted to the airport to board your return flight
  • Your journey comes to an end as your arrive in the USA later today
  • Or take advantage of your included flight and continue on our Classical Greece Extension

 

Classical Greece Optional Extension

Classical Greece Extension itineraryWhy not take advantage of your already-included international airfare and visit the classical cities of Corinth, Mycenae, Olympia, and Delphi? Your extension includes superior hotels, most meals and guided touring of the most fascinating sites, including entrance fees to places visited. This extension is part of our Value Vacation, and groups may be larger than our small group tours.

Day 12: Athens, Mycenae & Olympia

Accommodations: 1 night Hotel Amalia Olympia or similar.  Included meals: Breakfast and dinner.

  • Drive across the Corinth Canal to Olympia, en route visit the famous theatre of Epidaurus
  • Evening at leisure in Olympia

Corinth CanalFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast this morning, board your touring coach and begin a tour of the classical cities of Greece. Drive across the Corinth Canal, which connects the Ionian Sea with the Aegean, to the Peloponnesian Peninsula, where 4,000 years of history are more fully and comprehensibly illustrated than anywhere else in Europe.

Here we'll visit the famous theater of Epidaurus, the best preserved in Greece, which reached the height of its fame in the 5th & 4th centuries B.C. The acoustics are so perfect that even from the last of the 55 tiers, every word can be heard. Continue to ancient Mycenae, which, according to the poets, was founded by Perseus and built with the aid of the mythological Cyclops. Drive on to Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic games, for dinner and overnight.

DAY 13: Olympia, Nafpaktos & Delphi

Accommodations: 1 night Hotel Amalia Delphi or similar. Included meals: Breakfast & dinner.

  • Morning tour of the archeological site and museum at Olympia
  • Afternoon drive via Patras to Rion, Antirion and picturesque Nafpaktos
  • Evening at leisure in Delphi

Nafpaktos, Greece © GNTO & F. DesilasFull Day Itinerary: This morning we'll tour the archeological site and museum at Olympia, where the Olympic games were conceived as a tribute to Hercules, son of Zeus. These games were the most important international event in the Hellenic world from 776 B.C. to 393 A.D. and continue today, with the lighting of the Olympic flame that is carried by runners throughout the world. Visit the Sanctuary of the Olympian Zeus and the Museum.

This afternoon we drive via Patras to Rion, Antirion and picturesque Nafpaktos, where according to mythology, Hercules slew the Erymanthine boar and where we'll view the lovely circular Venetian harbor. Continue our drive to Delphi for dinner and overnight.

DAY 14: Delphi & Kalambaka

Accommodations: 1 night Hotel Amalia Kalambaka or similar.   Included meals: Breakfast and dinner.

  • Morning tour of Delphi
  • Evening at leisure in Kalambaka

Ruins of DelphiFull Day Itinerary: After breakfast we'll explore the ancient site of Delphi, located on the slopes of the breathtaking Mount Parnassus, in a landscape of unparalleled beauty and majesty. Here lie the ruins of the Sanctuary of Apollo Pythios, the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and the museum, which contains masterpieces of ancient Greek sculpture including the famous bronze Charioteer. The site had been sacred since at least the Bronze Age. According to legend, the shrine was originally guarded by the she-dragon Pytho. She was killed by Apollo who then took over the oracle. In antiquity, Delphi was regarded as the center of the world.

Later, we'll depart for the small town of Kalambaka, built at the foot of the majestic gray rocks, at the point where the river Pinios leaves the Pindos Mountain.

DAY 15: Meteora & Athens

Accommodations: 1 night Royal Olympic Hotel, Athens or similar.   Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Morning tour of Meteora monasteries
  • Afternoon drive back to Athens via Thermopylae
  • Evening at leisure in Athens

Monastery in MeteoraFull Day Itinerary: This morning we will visit the spectacular Meteora monasteries, perched upon the summits of some precipitous and isolated rocky pinnacles, which rise above the almost flat valley of the Pinios river, 5.5 miles beyond Kalambaka. The monastic history of Meteora goes back to the 11th century AD, when the monks constructed inaccessible eagle's nests in the crannies of these rocks and today, four are still occupied.

Later this afternoon we'll drive back to Athens, via Thermopylae, famous battleground from the Persian wars. Arrive in Athens and check in at our hotel.

DAY 16: Athens/USA

Included meals: Breakfast.

  • Today you'll be escorted to the airport and bid farewell to Athens as you board your flight back home
  • Your exciting journey comes to an end as you arrive in the USA later today

Hotels

Amalia Hotel Delphi

Amalia Hotel Delphi

First Class

Superbly located on a mountain slope at the foot of Mount Parnassus, the Amalia Hotel Delphi enjoys a breathtaking view of the green valley below stretching all the way down to the sea and the picturesque ports of Itea and Galaxidi. The Amalia Hotel is also conveniently located near the museum and archaeological sites of Delphi, considered by the ancient Greeks to be the center of the world.

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Amalia Hotel Kalambaka

Amalia Hotel Kalambaka

First Class

Located on a 14-acre property just a few minutes away from the town of Kalambaka, the Amalia Hotel Kalambaka boasts extensive gardens and beautiful views of the Meteora Rocks. 

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Royal Olympic

Royal Olympic

Deluxe

The family run hotel is located directly opposite the Temple of Zeus and the National Garden, overlooking the Acropolis and a short walk to the new Acropolis Museum.

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In the unlikely event that a particular hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.

Cruise Ship

Celestyal Crystal

Celestyal Crystal

If you've taken a few cruises before, you may be accustomed to large, luxurious ships appointed with every possible amenity. Celestyal Cruise ships are generally smaller and more agile, better suited for navigating the shallow waters and small ports of the Mediterranean, Aegean & Caribbean Seas. These mid-sized ships are practical, comfortable, and equipped with all necessary modern conveniences but offer more basic cabin amenities, less on-board entertainment, and fewer dining options than larger ocean liners. Some restaurants may feature buffet style service and limited a la carte selections.

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