We absolutely love Greece so it’s no surprise we find ourselves traveling back every summer. After visiting over 15 Greek islands on our own, we were so excited to experience the country a different way with Celestyal Cruises! In early May, we boarded a 4 night Celestyal Cruise which would take us to 6 different ports. We even made a brief stop in Turkey before continuing on to Patmos! Here’s everything you need to know about our Greek Islands cruise. From the delicious food to shore excursions, and so much more!
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Preparing For Our 4 Night Celestyal Cruise
As we mentioned, we sailed with Celestyal Cruises at the end of Spring. May to mid-June is our favorite time of year to visit Greece. This is when the weather is starting to warm up, crowds are fewer, and there are great deals on flights and accommodations.
We should point out that we’ve been on cruises in the Caribbean before. We’ve also become semi-experts on the Greek ferry system. However, this would be our first real cruise through the islands in Greece!
After living the digital nomad life in Croatia for one month, we flew into Athens and booked a hotel near the beach the night before. There’s no way we were heading into the craziness of Athens with an early start the next morning.
While there are three major ports around Greece’s capital, our boat left out of Lavrion. There are only a handful of accommodations in this area but know you can stay nearby at places like NJ Apartments or KD Vintage Home. This is the best option if you want to be close to the ferry port the night before.
The first thing about this Celestyal Cruise route that caught our attention was that two of the days had more than one stop. This fast paced route is a great way to get a feel for the different islands with limited time.
Our official route was called the “Iconic Aegean” as it went to some of the most famous islands in the Cyclades. Below is our full 4 night cruise itinerary on the Celestyal Olympia! It took off from Athens in the early afternoon and returned 4 days later to the same port in the morning.
4 Night Celestyal Cruise Route
- Day 1 – Mykonos – 18:00 to 23:00
- Day 2 – Kusadasi, Turkey – 7:00 to 13:00
- Day 2 – Patmos – 16:30 to 21:30
- Day 3 – Rhodes 07:00 to 18:00
- Day 4 – Heraklion, Crete 07:00 to 12:00
- Day 4 – Santorini 16:30 to 21:30
→ Check Out More Celestyal Cruises in Greece Here!
Boarding the Celestyal Olympia
We got out of our taxi just after 10am and started the boarding process for the boat. With our passports checked and boarding cards printed, we made our way onboard!
As we sailed away on the Celestyal Olympia, we saw a new ship in the Celestyal fleet. The Celestyal Journey looked primed to take off and will do so in Fall of 2023.
Our cabin was on deck 6 in a double room, with a window that overlooked the sea. Some of the larger cabins can sleep 4 people and have bunk bends. The new Celestyal Journey ship will have beautiful balcony staterooms which will definitely be a popular option.
Settling Into Our Celestyal Cruise Room
Immediately, we unpacked our bags and got our room organized. Something we thought was great was that there was the special 15 Euro offer where you could get a large bag of clothing pressed. We fit everything we needed for the both of us and had it back that night.
We highly recommend this, especially if you’ve been traveling from afar with your luggage! There was a dress code at night for the Aegean restaurant on Celestyal Cruise so this came in handy for us.
Keep an eye out for little surprises like this around the boat. When we checked in, we were handed a ticket for a spa raffle. Some lucky traveler won a massage later on during our voyage!
After we got settled it was time for lunch. One of the big draws to Celestyal Cruises is the food and different dining options. For our first meal, we filled our plates at the buffet. We went with a mix of fruit, Greek salad, and other fresh starters. We also had hearty piece of Moussaka which is one of our favorite Greek dishes.
Exploring the Celestyal Cruise Ship
If you’ve never been on a cruise, one of the most exciting moments is first walking around the boat. We made our way right up to the Celestyal Cruise pool deck where we could take in the view!
We really liked that the Celestyal Olympia wasn’t massive like other ships we’d seen in the Caribbean. However, it still had so much to keep us entertained. The larger ships can be overwhelming when it’s only a few days so it seemed like the perfect sized boat.
Our Celestyal Cruise had plenty of spacious public areas, multiple bars & restaurants, and a small casino. There were even fun sports activities like basketball and ping pong on one of the outdoor decks. Our favorite places to hang out were on the top deck sun beds during the day, and the different lounges at night.
→ 12 Fun Reasons to Jump on a Greece Cruise This Summer
Celestyal Cruise Day One
Mykonos Tour & Local Dinner
By the time we unpacked and ate lunch we were already cruising into Mykonos! It was at this moment that we realized how fast the stops were. Since we had just a few hours on Mykonos we decided to sign up for one of the Celestyal Cruise shore excursions.
At each port, there are several excursions offered that you can join for an extra fee. They are great options if you want to see more than the main town where the boat docks, and do so with a local guide or expert. We opted for the walking tour and Myconian dinner.
Another advantage to doing these tours is being the first travelers off the Celestyal Olympia. They did a great job making sure we had enough time to get our tours completed, and many of them included free time in the port towns afterward.
Wandering through the backstreets, we followed our group as we learned about the history of this popular destination. To be honest, an hour isn’t nearly enough to truly take in Mykonos Old Town! Still, it was a fun way to get a small taste of the island.
After taking in the sunset from the famous windmills, we jumped back on the bus and made our way up to a mountain village. Dinner was held at a local taverna and included a massive spread of traditional dips, fresh Greek Salad, and delicious roasted chicken with rice and potatoes.
We ate our meals with new friends we made from the Celestyal Cruise and even watched a Myconian dance performance. What a great start to our trip!
Celestyal Cruises Day Two
Morning in Kusadasi Turkey
The second day was an adventure to say the least. We not only visited two ports, but two completely different countries! While it is officially a cruise through the Greek islands, we did spend one morning in Kusadasi, Turkey. Here we would take another Celestyal Cruises excursion to the legendary Ephesus ruins.
We had spent two weeks traveling along the Turkish Rivera the summer before and were beyond excited to be back. Needless to say, going to these 2,000 year old Roman ruins had been high on the list for our return! The guide was so informative and the highlight was walking through the Library of Celsus.
After the tour, we still had around two hours before our boat was taking off. Instead of heading back onto the ship we decided to take our time exploring the town. We walked on our own through Kusadasi before getting a Turkish coffee overlooking the Aegean Sea.
All our meals may have been included with Celestyal Cruises, but we couldn’t help stopping for a quick kebab before heading back! I mean… Who knows the next time we will be in Turkey?
Patmos & the Cave of the Apocolypse
Honestly, we couldn’t believe we a 2nd stop that day after such a fun morning in Turkey. Luckily, Patmos is a small and relaxing Greek island that is known for its local villages and religious history. Here we took a walking tour of the area surrounding the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian
We would wind our way through the maze of streets, around the fortress walls, and take in amazing views from the Patmos windmills. Our day finished at the Cave of the Apocalypse where St. John famously wrote the Book of Revelations in 95 AD.
Patmos was different than other islands we would visit on our Celestyal Cruise in Greece. We appreciated the quiet nature of it in comparison to Mykonos and Santorini. This is truly a special place, and somewhere we hadn’t yet been in the Greek Cyclades.
→ 12 Stunning Cyclades Islands to See On Your Greece Vacation
Celestyal Cruise Day Three
Full Day in Rhodes Greece
Rhodes is one of our favorite places in Greece and somewhere we never grow tired of. Since it was our 3rd trip to the island, it allowed us to explore at our own pace after the long day with two stops.
To be clear, the Medieval Old Town of Rhodes has enough to keep you occupied for an entire day! Yet, if this is your first time visiting Rhodes know that there is so much more to do and see.
Celestyal Cruises ran an excursion to the magical village of Lindos which we highly recommend. You could also rent a car from the port, or simply spend your day inside the historic old town like us.
Something we loved about having an entire day on Rhodes was that we were able to wake up and enjoy the boat instead of rushing off. We grabbed breakfast on the 9th floor which is the perfect spot if you’re feeling casual. From the ferry port it’s less than 10 minutes to the ancient walls of old town.
We walked the Street of the Knights, took in the views from the city walls, grabbed a Gyro, and headed to the beach. Elli is a pebbly beach about 10 minutes walk from the port. It’s almost unbelievable that the crystal clear water and fun beach clubs are just steps from the town walls!
→ Looking for more epic things to do in Rhodes? Make sure to check out all our posts about this remarkable Greek Island.
Eclipse Bar & À la Carte Dining
Once back on the ship that night we headed straight for the Eclipse Bar. Set on the 12th floor, this 360 panoramic bar ended up being our go-to stop for evening drinks.
It was especially nice when we were arriving or leaving a new port so we could get a surreal view from above. You can order drinks by the glass, or opt for an all-inclusive drink package like we had.
Another thing we appreciated about our 4 night cruise was all the incredible dining options. If we wanted something informal, we would hit the Leda buffet or head to the more casual 9th floor restaurant.
However, some of our favorite nights were ordering à la carte at the Aegean Restaurant. Celestyal Cruises combined their Mediterranean menu with a great mix of traditional Greek food and international cuisine. There was truly something for every foodie on our Celestyal Cruise in Greece.
Celestyal Cruises Day Four
Crete Excursion to Knossos Palace
The final day of our Celestyal Cruise was again going to have 2 stops. One part that’s tough about cruise life is only having limited time in each port.
When traveling in Greece, we are so used to immersing ourselves in the culture for days and weeks at a time. So as you can guess, it was a much different experience only having a few hours on the largest Greek Island of Crete.
All of that was quickly forgotten though when Jake found out there was an excursion to Knossos Palace. While he was interested in visiting the historical sites, I wanted to really relax and enjoy the boat. This is what makes Celestyal Cruise Greece a great time for every kind of traveler!
Our other group of friends were dropped off in Heraklion to do their own thing in the capital city. There wasn’t enough time here to rent a vehicle and see more of the island as we’d done on past Crete trips. Yet, the tour of the old Minoan palace was something Jake really enjoyed.
Final Stop in Magical Santorini
There is no better way to end a cruise than on the island of Santorini. We were thrilled when we found out it would be our last stop on the Celestyal Olympia. There was only one problem… It was raining!
Still, we were determined to make the best of it. It is Santorini after all! Being the first off the ship on this island is super important. Santorini was the only port where they utilized the smaller tender boats to take passengers over. From there, we would take the cable car up the mountainside to the cliffs of Santorini.
We spent our time walking the streets of Fira and taking in the spectacular views. Our favorite moment was stopping for delicious glass of wine at Kaliya Reimagined and watching the sunset over the Cyclades Islands.
Even though we didn’t have much time on Santorini, we will never turn down an opportunity to visit. Being there without the summer crowds was also ideal in early May.
→ Be sure to check out our wide range of articles on Santorini before your first trip.
Specialty 6 Course Dinner
For the last night of our cruise we had a special dinner planned. It was a 6 course Greek table experience with Diane Kochilas that you can book if you are looking for something unique.
This was a fun way to end our trip as we sampled a variety of plates prepared by an international chef. Our favorites were the octopus carpaccio, beef plate, and local cheese tasting.
We had to be out of our stateroom bright and early the next morning. Yet, we couldn’t help but stay up until the late evening after dinner! We listened live music on the 5th floor and tried some of the speciality cocktails.
Is Celestyal Cruises Right For You?
Cruising through Greece is an excellent way to see multiple islands in one trip. Your time may be short in each port, but we loved experiencing so many beautiful places at once!
Celestyal has many affordable cruises that cater to every type of traveler. In addition all the stuff we mentioned already, here were some of our favorite parts about sailing on the Celestyal Olympia:
- Getting our daily program & towel animals
- Comfortable Cabins
- Friendly staff members & attentive service
- Certified guides who spoke different languages
- Delicious meals & food options
- Variety of onboard activities
- Iconic & famous destinations
The 4 night cruise is great for people who love to stay active and don’t mind a fast paced schedule. Sailing with Celestyal Cruises really set off a spark of excitement for us and this type of travel! For our next cruise, we would look into longer itineraries so we could have more time to spend on the boat and enjoy the amenities.
Have any questions about our route or want to share your own Celestyal Cruise story? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
This experience was made possible in partnership with Celestyal Cruises. As always, any opinions and recommendations remain our own.
Greece Travel Planning
For island hopping use FerriesinGreece to compare different routes, prices, and companies. The fast ferries like Sea Jets will cost more but often takes half the time of slower ferries like Blue Star.
Flights: We always check Skyscanner and Kayak to search for cheap flights. That’s how we got from Athens to Santorini for under $50 USD!
Accommodation: Always compare multiple sites to get the best deal. We search both Booking.com and Agoda! Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to source if you’re traveling on a budget.
Rental Car: You can book a rental car for as little as $20 a day in Greece! We use Discover Cars to explore the larger islands with a vehicle.
Tours: Go to Get Your Guide for hundreds of activities in Santorini. You can find everything from group sailing tours to private catamaran cruises. Go wine tasting around the island, horseback riding down the beach, or even jump on an ATV tour!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without insurance. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
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