Travel: An Aegean adventure to remember

View of Oia the most beautiful village of Santorini island in Greece.

I’D never been on a cruise before. As a frequent sufferer of sea sickness and loather of organised fun, the idea of being stuck on a floating city never quite appealed.

So a three-day cruise, travelling to two countries and stopping at four Greek Islands, seemed like the perfect opportunity to challenge my preconceptions.

As I arrive in Athens to board the 1,664-passenger Celestyal Olympia liner, I feel anxious. What if I get claustrophobic? What if I succumb to sea sickness?

Luckily, as soon as I’m shown my cabin, I feel at ease. While my room, equipped with two single beds and a shower, is little more than a cubby, it’s cosy.

Exploring the ship, I quickly discover boredom isn’t going to be an option – there are several restaurants, bars and shops, a disco, theatre, spa and swimming pools. Most importantly, the sprawling ship is impeccably clean throughout.

Our first island stop is the party island of the Greek Isles, Mykonos.

Two of the famous windmills in Mykonos, Greece during a clear and bright summer sunny day

Walking down the maze of stone streets littered with high-end bars and boutiques, it’s easy to see why this island has an ultra-glam reputation.

I enjoy gin cocktails sitting in an al fresco bar, while trendy revellers dance to thumping Eurobeats.

And although a 10.30pm curfew sends me scurrying back to the ship, there’s still plenty of opportunities to party on-board with a lively karaoke session.

Come morning, we’re in another country – Turkey.

Disembarking at Kusadasi, I head out for a guided tour of Ephesus, an Ancient Greek city dating back to the 10th Century BC.

Impressive ruins include an ancient theatre that once seated up to 25,000 and even the remains of brothel. Just be prepared to meet many surprisingly friendly stray cats!

With a few hours to spare back on board before our next stop, I have time for an invigorating massage at the spa, followed by a sun tanning session on the top deck.

Our next stop is Patmos, a Greek island with a very spiritual atmosphere.

View of Monastery of St. John. Unesco heritage site.

Climbing the steep steps of the 11th Century Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, I’m blown away by views of far-reaching farmland, dotted with pink island flowers.

Another unforgettable site is the Cave of Apocalpyse, where John of Patmos received the visions which he recorded in the Book of Revelation.

With a heavy heart I leave this haven of tranquillity and am thrown into something quite different – night-time cruise entertainment.

Sitting on a velvet armchair in front of a stage, I’m transported back to Vegas showrooms of the ’50s and although the cabaret entertainment is cheesy, it’s also hilarious.

Next stop is Crete, which includes a tour of the Minoan Palace of Knossos (built at the beginning of the Middle Minoan period from 2000-1580 BC), where the legend of the Minotaur was born.

Our penultimate stop is the picturesque island of Santorini. It’s crowded, but you can easily dodge the masses by wandering the labyrinth of gleaming white streets.

The wines cultivated here are excellent and served at many of the bars. I sip several glasses while watching the sun set into a deep blue ocean.

If you’d rather go it alone, the Greek Archipelago is ideal for creating your own island-hopping experience.

Regular ferries run between some of the most popular and several mainland ports, while many companies offer tailor-made packages that take the hassle out of booking several departures.

To create your own island-hopping experience, visit or for inspiration.

As for my own mini-cruise adventure, as we prepare to disembark at Piraeus on the mainland, I can’t help but marvel about how wrong I was.

Cruises are terribly good fun and the best part – not one bout of seasickness!


The three-day Iconic Aegean Cruise with Celestyal Cruises starts from €539 (approx £475) per person.

British Airways, EasyJet and Lufthansa fly from Scottish airports to Athens, starting at £150pp return.