The Greek peninsula is surrounded by almost 1,400 islands, making it one of the best island-hopping cruise destinations in the world. Greece is prized for both its world-class historical sites and for its breathtaking scenery.
- Find a cruise line. Cruise lines vary widely in both price and level of services offered. The cruise line that you choose should be one that is within your budget and should offer the amenities you want. This will include the amount and type of shore excursions that are offered. Shore excursions are day trips from the ship to various tourist areas or to events, etc. You should also decide which islands you want to visit and make sure the cruise line you choose visits those islands. Some popular islands for tourists include Mykonos and Santorini.
- Pick a boat. Even within cruise lines, there are different boats that will vary in price and services. Some boats will not be available at certain times of the year. The boat you choose will have to be sailing at the time you want to visit the Greek Isles. May through November is the typical Greek cruise season because of its lovely weather then.
- Make sure that all of your documents are in order. You will need a passport, but depending on which country you are coming from, you may need a visa as well. Americans are not required to have a visa to enter Greece and may stay for up to three months.
- Sign up for day trips. If the cruise line does not allow booking shore excursions in advance, then sign up for them on the boat as soon as possible. Most day trips have a maximum number of people allowed for each trip and the most popular ones will fill up fast.
- Soak up the culture. Use the shore excursions as time to get to know the Greek Isles. If you have been unable to book excursions, you can still strike out on your own to see the sights. The most popular things to see are the many archaeological wonders that Greece has to offer. The Parthenon and the Acropolis in Athens are the top sites for tourists, and almost as popular is the National Archaeological Museum. There are also countless lesser-known sites of ancient buildings and burials, and more are being discovered every year.
- Shop! In addition to distinctive restaurants, Greece is a great place to shop, as most stores allow bargaining to lower their prices. Greece is especially known for its fine jewelry, and most stores do accept credit and debit cards. You will need to have Euros as well in order to shop in Greece. You can exchange currency online before you arrive or at the airport or other currency exchange office.
- Stay safe. There are a few frauds that are perpetrated on tourists, one being the sale of fake antiquities. It is illegal to take ancient items out of Greece without a special permit, so if an item does turn out to be real, it still should not be purchased. Besides scams of this type, Greece is a very safe country, and Athens is one of the safest major capitals in the world. Crime is usually relegated to pickpocketing and petty theft. One thing tourists do have to worry about in the summer is the intense heat. It is not uncommon for the temperature to reach 110 degrees or higher at the height of the summer. If you are traveling in Greece during that time, make sure you have plenty of water with you or can easily get to a place where water is available. And, never forget the time and place that you will be meeting your cruise ship at the end of the day. The ship will announce the sailing time at every port, and if you miss that time, you may very well be left behind.