Travel: Planning Tour of the Greek Islands Online Can Send You Hopping Mad; EXPERT TIPS

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Byline: Doc Holiday

Q MY boyfriend and I would like to spend a fortnight island-hopping in Greece this September. We can't make up our minds whether to just jump on a ferry at Athens or do something a bit more organised. What would you suggest?

Rachel Rankin, via email

A Booking a berth on a Greek ferry online can be time consuming and confusing. As an exercise, I've just tried to book a cabin for two on a Blue Star overnight ferry from Piraeus - the main port in Athens - to Rhodes in September, returning two weeks later, on the website www.ferries.gr as well as on the shipping agency website www.danae.gr This is a good route because most of the ferries call at Mykonos, Naxos, Paros and Santorini - so you can use your ticket to hop on and off again at different islands, as long as you use the same ferry company.

However, it was not very clear what standard of accommodation I was booking on board (I think I might have booked an inside cabin for two or, then again, I might have booked two single cabins).

Either way, the total cost was pounds 298 for two people, which isn't bad, I suppose, but, of course, you'd have to add on airfares to Athens (try www.easyjet.com) as well as the cost of a transfer across Athens to Piraeus.

There are a host of Greek ferry websites and it is probably worth persevering, even though it might take you hours to finally come up with the right deal.

If you'd rather let someone else organise your trip for you, Seafarer Cruises is offering a seven-night allinclusive deal on board its Grecian Delights cruise.

For just pounds 249 per person, you get a relaxed style of cruising on board the motor sailer Viking Star, which caters to a maximum of 48 guests. The price is for full board, including drinks with meals, as well as free use of snorkelling and fishing equipment.

All the 24 cabins are air-conditioned and the cruise takes in Rhodes, Kalymnos (a beach where a BBQ will be served) and Symi, which is one of the most beautiful harbours in Greece.

Other calls include Nissiros, Halki and Kos, while flights from the UK and transfers can be added at an extra cost of pounds 250 per person. …