A Week of Cruising the Greek Islands by Motor Yacht

Article excerpt

Cruising the Greek islands aboard a yacht would be a dream come true for many travelers: to weave through the Cyclades, that circle of islands in the southern Aegean . . . to stroll the streets of an idyllic whitewashed village clinging to a mountaintop, gleaming in the morning light . . . to stoop to enter a tiny blue-domed cruciform church punctuating the brown, rocky countryside . . . then, under azure skies, to watch the transparent waters change from turquoise to cobalt as you head off to your next moorage.

There are several ways to see these lovely islands. Large 200- to 700-passenger cruise ships cover a lot of territory quickly. A chartered yacht gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace. Interisland ferry travel is inexpensive.

Another alternative is to join a regularly scheduled tour on a motor yachts go on week-long cruises to such famed islands as Mykonos and Santorini, but also pause at less well known isles off the main tourist route. Every day you'll have time ashore to explore on your own.

The style is informal, the atmosphere low-key and unpressured, and first-name friendships tend to blossom quickly.

It's not luxury travel. You'll sleep in narrow banks, usually two to hour to a compartment, with a small porthole. You may wake briefly to the sound of engines; yachts often slip out of port in the early morning hours when seas are calm.

Bathing facilities are minuscule, and showers require a bit of advance preparation; remove everything you don't want dampened as the bathroom may become drenched. Marine toilets are flushed by vigorous pumping. Dress is casual; there is little cabin storage for clothes or purchases. (But bring appropriate attire for visiting churches.)

At sea. Once ready to start each day, you'll climb up ladder-like stairs to the main lounge where a continental breakfast is served. During the next few hours, activities include sunbathing, board games, and often fishing and water sports, including boardsailing and snorkeling.

Most days you'll stop at a picturesque cove for a preluncheon swim. Lunch from the tiny galley is likely to include a Greek salad with olives, tomatoes, feta, and cucumber followed by fish, chicken, or spaghetti, along with crusty bread and retsina. …