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