By Stacey Zable
When sailing out of Piraeus (Athens) with Celestyal Cruises, a home-port cruise line in Greece, guests can embrace the locale both on board and in port. Though offerings may differ by ship or itinerary, here are five ways to experience Greek culture with Celestyal Cruises on its Greek Island-intensive itineraries.
More Time and More Ports
On Celestyal’s 2020 7-night Idyllic Aegean itinerary as well as its 3- and 4-night Iconic Aegean itineraries, guests visit an impressive six or seven destinations. The ship is in port every day, enabling an expansive amount of time spent exploring the Greek Islands (plus one stop in Kusadasi, Turkey). Depending on the sailing, Celestyal’s two ships’ Greek Island-focused itineraries can include the bonus of overnights in Mykonos and Santorini, two of the most popular Greek Islands, plus late-night stays in Heraklion, Crete, as well as access to islands not on most large cruise ship itineraries including Milos and Patmos.
2. Included and Optional Excursions
Celestyal’s all-inclusive rate includes three group shore excursions on the 7-night itinerary and two on the shorter itineraries at no extra charge. It also offers an abundance of choice when it comes to add-on shore excursions for purchase offering guests the chance to see lesser known as well as the top attractions in the destinations. For example, choices for optional group shore excursions can get guests taking a jeep safari adventure to the southwestern part of Santorini or tasting wines at a local winery on Santorini or while in the countryside of Crete. The shore excursion department also can create customizable private excursions with private guide and transfers depending on guests’ interests.
3. Onboard Cultural Activities
Greek language or Greek dance lessons, lectures on Greek philosophy and a start of science, and Greek wine tasting are among the activities that offer a glimpse into the Greek culture while onboard. A local artisans shopping area onboard gives guests the chance to bring a bit of the local culture home with them.
4. Onboard Entertainment
Greek mythology themes and/or Greek music paired with acrobatics, dance numbers and an international cast of singers are included in many of the nightly shows performed in the onboard theater. A Greek music trio can be heard playing on the ship’s pool deck or in one of the lounges throughout the cruise. When stopped in Patmos (and sometimes in Heraklion), a group of local dancers and musicians perform a Cretan dance show onboard.
Food and Beverage
Though the onboard dining room and buffet offer an international menu, Greek favorites such as Greek salad, pasticcio, moussaka and even Greek yogurt for breakfast and Greek pastries bring the taste of Greece onto guests’ plates. Local products are offered at an onboard Greek deli and a Greek barbecue may be offered one night where guests get to dine on such regional delights as kabobs, pitas and Greek salads. Dinner at the Fish Tavern specialty restaurant is available for an additional cost and features a selection of fresh seafood from the Aegean. Greek wines, Mythos beer, and Greek liqueurs such as ouzo and tsipouro are also offered as part of the all-inclusive rate. The included bar menu lists such “Aegean cocktails” as Mykonos Gold, Santorini Sunrise and Greek Mama as well.
Whatever you choose to eat or drink, get in the spirit of the culture and raise your glass, saying the Greek toast, ya mas, which means “to our health.”
MEMBERS SAVE! AAA Members receive free onboard Wi-Fi (up to 6 hours per stateroom, per cruise).
Contact your local AAA Travel Agent for more details about Celestyal itineraries and other cruises with AAA preferred travel partners.