Ship boat

Shape of the ship: 10 reasons why a cruise to the Greek islands is the perfect getaway

Embarking on the Greek Isles isn’t a tough decision, but if you’re on the fence about cruising, Evie Farrell has 10 reasons you’re sure to become a convert.

If our open borders mean one thing this winter, it’s that it’s time for a long-awaited European summer. The Greek Isles, with their sparkling clear waters, blue-domed churches and whitewashed villages, are the perfect antidote for winter-hating Antipodians. Swimming and sunbathing, sailing days on Greek fishing boats and long lazy lunches in tiny beachside tavernas – we are ready for it.

And if planning an island-hopping adventure seems a bit daunting after years at home, then exploring from the ocean may be for you. I have just returned from nine nights on Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas, exploring the Greek islands – as well as stops in Turkey and Italy – and was surprised at how quickly I adjusted to the life at sea. Here are 10 reasons why.

Easy travel

Remember – as I did – how exhausting a flight to Europe can be. I was no longer fit for long haul, and after my flight it was a relief to board the Odyssey of the Seas and let Captain Kristoffersen and his crew take over. First stop, Naples, then the Aegean Sea.

Onboard restaurants range from fine dining to casual dining.  Photo / Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
Onboard restaurants range from fine dining to casual dining. Photo / Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

The thrill of unboxing once

Exploring without having to do and undo bags at each stop was a revelation. Having the ship as a base meant I could unpack properly, and I loved using the drawers and cabinets rather than living in a suitcase. And with a private balcony and handy room service, my cabin was a space I really enjoyed.

An assortment from island to island

If you’re happy to dip your toes into the islands, this style of travel is for you. One-day stops in Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, and Crete—plus Kusadasi in Turkey and Naples, Italy—gave me plenty of time to dive into each destination. I booked tours through Royal Caribbean and spent a few days wandering around.

Spectacular Santorini was one of the most popular stops.  Photo/Evie Farrell.
Spectacular Santorini was one of the most popular stops. Photo/Evie Farrell.

Maximize your exploration time

In nine nights, we visited six destinations and took advantage of every minute, as travel time between ports is one night while customers sleep. We set off at sunset and arrived at our next destination early the next morning, ready for another full day of exploring. Waking up at sunrise as the Odyssey sailed silently towards Mykonos and past Stromboli on the way up the Italian coast made the trip more exotic than boring.

It’s a holiday within a holiday

During our two days at sea, I participated in as many onboard activities as possible. There may have been plenty of times sitting in hot tubs with cocktails, but I also found time for silent disco, line dancing, winning a quiz, riding in the bumper cars and try iFLY indoor skydiving and North Star attractions. I even went to the gym for a stretching class and a bike class, and of course there was plenty to eat.

The solarium reserved for adults.  Photo / Royal Caribbean
The solarium reserved for adults. Photo / Royal Caribbean

Watch large-scale entertainment productions every night

I had heard that entertainment on board Royal Caribbean cruise ships was special, but I wasn’t ready to give a standing ovation to stunning performances. With dazzling shows featuring cutting-edge technology, music and acrobatics, comedy, musicals, Latin dancing and even karaoke at the many bars around the ship, there’s always something going on. see.

With a range of shows and productions, there are plenty of onboard entertainment options.  Photo / Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
With a range of shows and productions, there are plenty of onboard entertainment options. Photo / Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Holidays your way

Whether it’s fine dining and live entertainment, or a 3 a.m. party and pizza, you can make your cruise whatever you want it to be. Spend the evening at a theater performance and in the morning leave the ship early for a full day of sightseeing. Or spend the night singing and dancing in the ship’s bars and spend the next day recuperating at one of Mykonos’ famous beach clubs. The choice is yours.

There is entertainment for children

With the Flow Rider surf and iFLY, plus pools, splash zones, entertainment centers, bumper cars, games and rock climbing walls, kids never had it better. Take them to the Ocean Adventure Kids Club and relax – or even take a kid-free excursion around the harbor while they have a blast with new friends. Ocean Adventure is aimed at children up to 11 years old, while Social180 is a teen-only area with its own outdoor terrace called The Patio.

The pool deck aboard the Odyssey of the Seas.  Photo / Royal Caribbean
The pool deck aboard the Odyssey of the Seas. Photo / Royal Caribbean

Enjoy the adventure with the extended family

The cruise is perfect for multi-generational travel, and even better – you can enjoy an unforgettable vacation in Europe with your grandparents and also have space for your own time. Get together for meals and activities and plan your days – everyone can hang out or do their own thing on board as you’re never far from each other.

It’s an affordable way to see the islands

Although there are different packages that you can purchase when booking, everything you need is included. You can eat à la carte in the main dining room or dine at the buffet, and there are cafes with delicious lunches and coffees. It also includes onboard activities and the Kids Club, as well as evening performances and shows.

There is something so joyful about cruising. It’s a sort of suspended reality where everyone is having a good time. But beware, you may be booking your next cruise before you have completed the first.

If you want to sail Australia, New Zealand or the Pacific Islands, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas will return to Sydney from October 2022, and Quantum of the Seas will begin sailing from Brisbane in November 2022.

For more information, visit royalcaribbean.com, 0800 102 123