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An Aegean Odyssey in Greece

A Second Helping

Following Monday’s arrival of Celestyal Odyssey at Lavrion and our visit to the Temple of Poseidon, we boarded Celestyal Crystal for the second part of our program. The Greek island of Syros was today’s destination, where we began with a guided tour of historic and highly photogenic Ermoupoli, capital city of the Cyclades Islands and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we visited the landmark Anastasi Church and enjoyed panoramic views of nearby islands before transferring to the charming resort village of Kini for a seaside dinner. 

Cesme, Turkey, is a resort community of contrasts, boasting an upscale harbor area filled with luxury yachts from myriad countries, even the United States, plus an extended, visitor-oriented shopping arcade adjacent. Just a few blocks away, however, a bustling market and colorful commercial area was filled with scurrying locals of considerably lesser means. Although an excursion was offered to Izmir, Turkey, we headed instead to the exclusive Sole Mare Beach Club on Aya Yorgi Bay for sunning, swimming and lunch.

Kos is the Greek island of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, as well as Asklepion, one of the first healing centers of the ancient world. Here we visited vineyards and a local winery at the foot of Mount Dikeos, a family of beekeepers and producer of Greek honey, and then enjoyed exploring the splendid mountain village of Zia and its unique, small “cathedral.”

Ios is truly a lovely, uncrowded and wonderfully serene island. Our tour here included the site of Skarkos, a prehistoric settlement that dates from the early Cycladic period, free time for relaxation and swimming at magnificent Manganari Beach, plus splendid panoramic views made possible by climbing the village hill overlooking the picturesque community of Chora, the Port of Ios and Ormos Harbor.

Celestyal Cruises does not compete with “big name” cruise lines like Holland America, Princess, Norwegian or Celebrity, to say nothing of vessels on the luxury end of the scale. Instead, it provides an authentic Greek cultural experience combined with a choice of very port-intensive itineraries, sometimes two in one day combined with no days “at sea,” during which guests are likely to spend little time aboard ship other than to sleep, eat and, possibly, take in an evening show. Consequently, the line’s shipboard facilities and amenities cannot compare with those found aboard the latest megaliners, nor are they needed.

If you want to do the Greek islands efficiently, affordably and in depth, this is the way to go, and also why shorter Celestyal sailings are incorporated within numerous Greece vacation programs that are sold by top tour operators.

For more information contact Celestyal Cruises at 877-337-4665 or go to