Athenian Marios Andreopoulos works for Celeystal Cruises in its Athens headquarters, and is well placed to offer advice for cruisers planning their own Greek odyssey. Here are some of his tips:
Wander the picturesque alleyways of Mykonos. Climb as high as you can for views of the famous windmills and the old port. Drink in the sunset with a cocktail at 180 Degrees Sunset Bar.
Dive off spectacular hidden beaches on the island of Milos. This volcanic island is one of the most beautiful places on earth while one of my favourite beaches – Sarakiniko – looks like the moon with its landmark smooth white rocks.
Head for the hills on Patmos. One of the most peaceful places in the Greek Islands is the working Monastery of St John, which overlooks the island. Stop for tapas and ouzo at the charming Giagkos Pantheon taverna or visit Pleiades Bar Restaurant for an amazing view.
Santorini's wines surprise and seduce. After walking from Fira to Imerovigli, the village at the highest point of the island, head to Oia for a glass of Assyrtiko white wine. I recommend Santo Wines, Venetsanos Winery and Artspace Santorini.
Sample Cretan cuisine. My family comes from southern Crete and at any dinner table, you'll enjoy amazing Greek hospitality – we call it "philoxenia" (treating strangers like family). Cretan cheese and cheese pies are a must, as well as appetisers such as dakos and loukoumades (doughnuts).
Celestyal Cruises' seven-night Eclectic Aegean cruise launches in November, adding Gallipoli and Istanbul to the Greek Islands itinerary. See www.celestyalcruises.com
Just under a year before it is due to set sail, Silversea's newest ship, Silver Moon, has been floated out at the Fincantieri shipyard in Ancona, Italy. Work has now started on creating elegant interiors in the style of flagship Silver Muse, with some additional new features. A few spots are still available on Silver Moon's maiden voyage from Trieste to Civitavecchia on August 6, 2020; to experience Silversea's ultra-luxury style of cruising closer to home, Silver Muse arrives in Australia in November 2019 for four months. See www.silversea.com
ALL ABOUT U
U River Cruises, the "new generation" offshoot of upmarket river-cruise company Uniworld, is offering three new seven-night itineraries on its hip ships The A and The B in 2020. The A will sail Vienna Vibe, Amsterdam & Brussels Bound and Eastern European Escape, while The B will sail Amsterdam & Brussels Bound and an updated Rolling on the Rhine itinerary. U Cruises include select shore excursions, Wi-Fi, complimentary happy hour every day, on-board gratuities and activities such as mixology classes and rooftop yoga. Fares start at $3799. See www.ubyuniworld.com
MELBOURNE CUP 2020
P&O's 50th anniversary cruises to the Melbourne Cup this November are so popular they've already sold out, so if you're keen to go next year, now's the time to book. The line's 2020 Melbourne Cup program is also shaping up as a major event. Its latest ship, the 2636-passenger Pacific Adventure, will be there for the first time, offering a great choice of on-board events, dining, relaxation and entertainment. Pacific Adventure's six-night cruise to the Cup, round-trip from Sydney, departs on October 31, 2020. See www.pocruises.com.au
Holland America Line will have two ships sailing Down Under this summer. How many ships are in the whole fleet – four, 12 or 14? Last week's answer: five
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EVE AND PETER SMITH, MAROUBRA, NSW
NUMBER OF CRUISES TAKEN 20-plus
LAST CRUISE We are not long off a 21-night Alaska and North West Pacific cruise on Holland America Line's Maasdam, from San Francisco to Yokohama. After visiting the regular cruise ports of Victoria Island, Seattle and Ketchikan, we also called at Sitka, Kodiak, Dutch Harbour, Nome, Petroplavosk and Kushiro. So many highlights!
NEXT CRUISE A 16-night Webjet package to Antarctica cruising with Hurtigruten, accompanied by our extended family. We are all looking forward to zodiac landings on the shores of Antarctica.
DREAM SHIP The now defunct MV Discovery, a lovely, small English ship that took us to Myanmar, the Andaman Islands, Goa, Cochin, Mumbai, several ports in Egypt, Jordan and other interesting ports.
DREAM CRUISE It was on MV Discovery, mentioned above. This was our first overseas cruise, leaving from Singapore, and may have been our last, as a bomb threat was received before embarkation began at 2pm, so the passengers had to sit in the terminal till the all-clear was given just after midnight (the sniffer dogs needed regular breaks!).
DREAM PORT Dutch Harbour/Unalaska. The scenery is magnificent as you walk the four kilometres between Dutch Harbour along the waterfront path to Unalaska. There are so many eagles it is simply breathtaking.
BEST CRUISE TIP We cruise for the ports, not the ship. The smaller cruise ships offer some amazing worldwide ports, and not all small cruise ships are expensive.
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