Barbara and I do lots of honeymoons and anniversary celebrations. We always ask what the couple would imagine was the most romantic setting possible. More often than not the imagination brings words like “ sunset”, “beach”, “Infinity patio”, and “White” in the same description. More than most other places, Santorini, in the Greek Islands, has become the standard to which other locations strive. At one time, the playground of the rich and famous European elite, today that dream is reachable by all.
There are 2 main ways to enjoy the romance of Santorini, by Cruise, and by Land. We will talk about the Cruise approach first. An entire industry of pleasure sailing vessels has evolved in the Greek Islands. Luxury Yachts abound that cater to every whim. On board helicopters pick clients up at airports on the mainland, and wisk them directly onto the sailing yacht. Gourmet Chefs prepare both healthful and sumptuous dishes, served on fine china and accompanied by the best of local wines. Evenings are dedicated to slow sailings from Island to Island, while couples luxuriate in hammocks to take in that special Greek Atmosphere with every breath. Days are spent on guided tours covering the best and least known spots on every Island. For those who would like to be a little more practical, there are Cruise Lines that take passengers to many of the better known Islands. Most also visit Ephesus Turkey during the voyage. Cruise ships of every size and description ply these waters weekly during tourist season. Some Cruise Lines that are well known in America as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Seabourne have weekly schedules that often include the Greek Islands. European Cruise Lines like Costa Cruises also have regular schedules in these islands. All of these ships have large cabins and suites, dining included in the pricing, entertainment on board, local sourced menu options, spas, and even Butler Service. They can visit as many as 4 Greek Islands in 1 week, and some even include the shore excursions in pricing. For those who want to choose stops and times at each, there are regularly scheduled ferries that ply the Islands daily. Some are Hi Speed, jet powered, and many are Hydrofoils. All of the ferries, and many of the Cruise ships, leave from Piraeus Greece. This is the port for Athens, and is a 30 minute ride from an Athens Hotel, or the international airport, ATH. That airport is readily accessible from many international airports on non stop flights, while other international airports like Charlotte will require 1 stop at least. Check back next week for part 2.