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Greece has a long and fascinating history, a reputation for year-round sun and a wealth of enticing beaches, which makes it a natural choice for holidaymakers. The country is made up of 6,000 islands which are scattered in the Ionian and Aegean Seas, many of which are accessible by cruise ship.
The best cruises in this region are Greek island-hopping cruises which enable you to visit many different islands during your cruise. On Greek Island cruises, small ships can access some of the smaller ports which larger ships cannot, so you may wish to look for smaller cruise ships for the best itineraries.
Due to the distance and the speed at which cruise ships travel, cruising from the UK to Greece takes about two weeks. For this reason, some of the cruises to Greece from the UK are one-way cruises or part of longer World cruise itineraries.
No-fly cruises from the UK to the Greek Islands are possible. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offers a 25-night round-trip cruise from Southampton which calls at Crete, Rhodes, Syros, Patras, Katakolon, and Kefalonia as well as ports in Spain, Portugal and Malta. P&O Cruises offers a 19-night round-trip cruise from Southampton to Santorini, Athens, Zakynthos and Corfu.
Greek Islands cruises from Athens, Dubrovnik, Barcelona or Venice offer a convenient way to see the Greek Isles in a week or two. You can fly from your local UK airport to join your cruise ship in Greece, Croatia, Spain or Italy.
Crete is a key destination for Greek Isles cruises, with the old harbour town Chania and capital Heraklion both being popular ports of call. Chania's Venetian Harbour offers plenty of old-world charm and is home to the Botanical Park of Crete, a wonderfully verdant public space. Heraklion features a number of fascinating museums in which you can unearth the island's past, and is also the city from where you'll be able to visit Crete's most celebrated archaeological attraction - the captivating Palace of Knossos.
Rhodes is the fourth largest of the Greek Islands and offers the perfect blend of beach bliss and ancient attractions. Popular St Paul's Bay is a beautiful place to relax in the sun, while the island's medieval city, the ruins of ancient Rhodes and The Acropolis of Lindos all have a rich and interesting history.
The most popular of the Ionian islands, Corfu is an enticing blend of old and new which wears its colonial influences on its sleeve. Cruises dock at the port of Kerkyra which is a great base from which to explore the island. Paleokastritsa Beach is the island's most popular sandy escape, while Kassiopi is a beautiful Roman village where you're assured of a warm welcome as you revel in its ancient charm. Located in Corfu's old town, The Church of Saint Spiridon is a key architectural attraction and is home to many rare religious relics.
One of the Cyclades, Santorini is an eclectic and enticing mix of all things Mediterranean. Its volcanic black sand beaches, such as Perissa Beach, are always popular with holidaymakers, while Oia is the perfect place to enjoy some amazing scenery and a sunset to remember. For a movie experience with a difference, don't miss the Open Air Cinema Kamari, where you can enjoy a cocktail with your popcorn!
A popular cruise ship destination, Mykonos is the most well-known of the Cyclades Islands and offers something for everyone. Its reputation as a place to party is justified through its cosmopolitan nightlife and lively atmosphere on its south beaches by day, but the picturesque and maze-like town of Mykonos itself is full of architectural delights and potential bargains.
Kefalonia (also spelt as Cephalonia) is the largest of the Ionian islands, though has only 30,000 inhabitants and remains an unspoiled idyll which offers a truly authentic taste of Greece. Cruise ships visiting Kefalonia dock in Argostoli which is the capital of the island. With its beautiful bay, Sami is a popular place to visit, whilst Antisamos Beach offers a truly blissful experience as you relax on the sand or take a dip in the clear blue waters.
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