All ashore

Cruis­ing the Greek is­lands on half-board means plenty of leisurely meals ashore, per­fect for soak­ing up the Mediter­ranean am­bi­ence, writes Sue Bryant.

Cruise Passenger - - PUBLISHER’S LETTER -

Cruis­ing Greece on half-board means plenty of leisurely meals ashore.

There’s a full moon ris­ing over the sleepy Io­nian is­land of Kythira, throw­ing sil­very light over the clifftop Cas­tle of Chora. My part­ner, David, and I are sit­ting in a beach­front tav­erna, toes in the sand, tuck­ing into fresh sea bream, Greek salad and a carafe of chilled rose, gaz­ing out at the dark sea. All around us, the lively chat­ter is in Greek. This is an is­land the lo­cals like to keep for them­selves.

Kythira is just one of sev­eral overnights in port where we eat ashore, which is the gen­eral idea of this cruise. I can’t think why other lines haven’t caught onto the idea of of­fer­ing half board in the Greek is­lands, where whiling away happy evenings and long, retsina-soaked lunches in beach­front tav­er­nas is all part of the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Pere­grine Ad­ven­tures, though, does this on most of its Greek voy­ages. On this week­long odyssey around the Pelo­pon­nese and the Cy­clades, we start the day on board with Greek yo­ghurt and chopped fruit and nuts, driz­zled with fra­grant lo­cal honey, but for ei­ther lunch or din­ner, we’re on our own. For David and I, this varies from a full pig-out of sword­fish, sou­vlaki, sal­ads and dips in a vine-shaded al­ley in Sy­ros to a picnic of cheese pies, still warm from the vil­lage bak­ery, on the beach in Kea.

Har­mony G, our home for the week, re­ally is a very tiny ship, tak­ing just 42 pas­sen­gers. The ship’s pe­tite size means you’re more likely to be tied up in smart mari­nas, or along­side at lo­cal town jet­ties, than sand­wiched in be­tween mega­ships in more com­mer­cial ports. The ex­pe­ri­ence is cer­tainly akin to that of a pri­vate yacht. You get a com­fort­able cabin, ex­cur­sions and su­perb food, but you can for­get about wa­ter­slides, spas and Broad­way shows. In­stead, there’s just a sun­deck, restau­rant, a bar and a swim­ming plat­form.

Har­mony G is a speck in the blue Aegean off the vol­canic is­land of San­torini

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