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Windstar Aug 7th ATH/ATH


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Hi Everyone,

We are booked on the Windstar Aug7th, and we are super excited to be finally 

cruising again.

There isn't a lot of info out there so if there are anyone seeing tis and you are booked or going soon please reach out with any 

updated info.

We plan on booking our own excursions for most stops since we are now allowed to. 

Thanks 

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Hi flygirl! We're going that week too... Our third time on that itinerary and it really is wonderful. Don't know about you but we are getting conflicting information about doing our own excursions. Please let me know what you know. Cheers.

 

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Yes I saw that and thanks! But when I called and spoke to a rep he said that was only for the June sailings. I'm going to try to get more info today or Monday...I think we'll know more when the first cruises set out!

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I think the agent said that because Greece can change their policy. I'm hoping that all goes well and they stick with it. We are on an October Athens to Athens to Barcelona Star Collector so very interested to hear how your July cruises go.

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23 hours ago, new_cruiser said:

I think the agent said that because Greece can change their policy. I'm hoping that all goes well and they stick with it. We are on an October Athens to Athens to Barcelona Star Collector so very interested to hear how your July cruises go.

Thanks all! Yes called the office yesterday and it looks good for "on your own" re: the Greek cruises. Rep said Greek officials are allowing this "every two weeks" as they extend the "free roaming." Can't wait...

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Thanks , I got an email today clarifying that we can book our own excursions but really there is not much out there. I'm on Viator etc but was hoping for a local guide and local car in some of the ports. It is always a win win that way. If anyone has any old posts or info to share it would be greatly appreciated.

Stopping in Mykonos, Patmos, Santorini , Monevasia and Nafplio.

Thanks 

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In Santorini, ride the donkeys up the hill, and take a bus to Oia.  It is a beautiful city to just walk around.  In Mykknos, we took a short boat trip to the island of Delos to see the archeological site.

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5 hours ago, a flygirl said:

Thanks , I got an email today clarifying that we can book our own excursions but really there is not much out there. I'm on Viator etc but was hoping for a local guide and local car in some of the ports. It is always a win win that way. If anyone has any old posts or info to share it would be greatly appreciated.

Stopping in Mykonos, Patmos, Santorini , Monevasia and Nafplio.

Thanks 

Consider "Tours By Locals"  An outstanding group of independent tour guides, as part of a very hands-on operation out of BC, Canada.  You can often find exactly what you are looking for, and sometimes you can find a guide offering something similar to your ideal preference, who will be able to converse with you by email to customize what you want.  The details are really a one-on-one discussion, with the guide you have chosen.  I have used them in Italy, Portugal and Japan.  Try them for Greece.  Their link is https://www.toursbylocals.com.
 

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I also recommend toursbylocals.  Paying the price for a private tour, I always work with the guide to customize the itinerary to exactly what I want (along with the guide's good local advice).  You can also get the names of good local guides in the Rick Steves books.

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We were on the June 19th inaugural Wind Star cruise and didn't go on any ship excursions. Organised excursions are just not our thing. We did the following:

 

Mykonos - took 10am ferry to Delos (it leaves right next to where tender drops you off) and then did a self-guided tour. Spent the afternoon on a beach not far from the port.

 

Syros (instead of Kusadasi) - walked up to the church at the top of the hill, browsed around the little streets in the town and then swam off a local 'concrete beach'. 

 

Patmos - walked up to the Cave of the Revelation and the monastery (perfectly feasible if you're reasonably fit though we were told we would need a taxi if not taking the tour) Returned to ship and swam off watersports platform.

 

Santorini - took cable car up to Fira then walked along the ridge to Oia. It's a long walk and was tough because it was so hot. We noticed that we're 10 years older than when we last did it! When we got to Oia we went to a cafe with a pool where we could use the pool for the price of a drink. There were also sun loungers there for a couple of euros. We took a local bus back to Fira

 

Monevasio - walked along the causeway and then explored the fortress. This is well worth doing as there's a whole little town behind the walls! Swam from the watersports platform when we got back to the ship but we wished we'd taken swimming things ashore as there were plenty of places to swim there.

 

Nafplio - lovely walk along the coastal path (not quite a boardwalk but easy and mainly flat) to the furthest sandy beach (about 3-4 miles?) but there was another quite busy beach less than halfway. We stayed at the beach for a couple of hours (sun-loungers available for the price of a drink) then beach-hopped back, swimming in 3 different places. The watersports platform was also available when we got back to the ship.

 

Hope that helps a little. We ARE keen walkers as we like to get some exercise to compensate for the yummy food on Wind Star! But the ports were great and you could have a good time just poking around the little streets in most of them. Hope you have as good a time as we did.  We loved our cruise - apart from some of stroppy fellow guests who refused to comply with Covid requirements! Politically motivated it seemed and was the only downside of the cruise for us.

 

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Agree that Fira to Oia walk is much harder than it looks!  We even took a taxi to the viewpoints between Fira and the little church of Profitis Ilias, which cut the hike down to 4 miles. 

 

In the future we would make sure to get off the ship early enough for the ferry from Fira port to Ammoudi port, which includes a bus up to Oia and later the bus back to Fira.  Getting to Oia early would minimize crowds there, and being in Fira in the afternoon you could monitor the cablecar line for getting back to the ship.

 

I really wish some cruise line would schedule an overnight in Santorini, so you could watch the famous sunset from a café in Oia!

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I think we actually had the best possible experience for a cruise day in Santorini. We were the only cruise ship there!! And that was the same at all our ports!! So we went up the cable car on our own!! Literally we were the only 2 people on it!! I did ask about the ferry (as I'd read about it) but it didn't seem to be running - probably not enough passengers? Oia was busier than Fira but we were still the first people at the cafe with the pool and while we were there another half dozen couples turned up but no more than that! There were NO lines at the cable car for going back and the ship didn't leave Santorini until after sunset so we watched it as we enjoyed the deck BBQ and then cruised out with the music. It couldn't have been more perfect!

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1 hour ago, Mocamps said:

I think we actually had the best possible experience for a cruise day in Santorini. We were the only cruise ship there!! And that was the same at all our ports!! So we went up the cable car on our own!! Literally we were the only 2 people on it!! I did ask about the ferry (as I'd read about it) but it didn't seem to be running - probably not enough passengers? Oia was busier than Fira but we were still the first people at the cafe with the pool and while we were there another half dozen couples turned up but no more than that! There were NO lines at the cable car for going back and the ship didn't leave Santorini until after sunset so we watched it as we enjoyed the deck BBQ and then cruised out with the music. It couldn't have been more perfect!

 

 

I agree, this must have been a glorious deck BBQ. Sailing out of Santorini at dusk, icing on the cake.  On another note, there are also many great vineyards to visit in Santorini, most of which produce an amazing Vinsanto.  Thanks for the feedback on this inaugural cruise.  Sounds like it was pretty close to normal.

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2 hours ago, Mocamps said:

I think we actually had the best possible experience for a cruise day in Santorini. We were the only cruise ship there!! And that was the same at all our ports!! So we went up the cable car on our own!! Literally we were the only 2 people on it!! I did ask about the ferry (as I'd read about it) but it didn't seem to be running - probably not enough passengers? Oia was busier than Fira but we were still the first people at the cafe with the pool and while we were there another half dozen couples turned up but no more than that! There were NO lines at the cable car for going back and the ship didn't leave Santorini until after sunset so we watched it as we enjoyed the deck BBQ and then cruised out with the music. It couldn't have been more perfect!

Nothing better than a deck BBQ in the caldera of Santorini!  It was one of the highlights of of trip.  We rode the donkeys up the hill though, so we could have bragging rights.

 

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Not meaning to be political and Host J please delete if you see so.

 

But from an animal lovers point of view, please think twice about doing the donkey run up/down the hill in Santorini. If you look at those poor beasts you see bored, ridden and driven beasts. Equines are intelligent animals and need stimulation besides being ridden up and down the same well trodden horribly steep path hour after hour day after day. From what I’ve read it doesn’t sound like these creatures get much more than that. Donkeys have been work animals for thousands of years but doesn’t mean they can’t be well treated. I feel these guys aren’t. 

 

Not quite PETA here, but watching those poor donkeys pains me. Everybody’s got to make a living but heck, take the tram.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Petoonya said:

Not meaning to be political and Host J please delete if you see so.

 

But from an animal lovers point of view, please think twice about doing the donkey run up/down the hill in Santorini. If you look at those poor beasts you see bored, ridden and driven beasts. Equines are intelligent animals and need stimulation besides being ridden up and down the same well trodden horribly steep path hour after hour day after day. From what I’ve read it doesn’t sound like these creatures get much more than that. Donkeys have been work animals for thousands of years but doesn’t mean they can’t be well treated. I feel these guys aren’t. 

 

Not quite PETA here, but watching those poor donkeys pains me. Everybody’s got to make a living but heck, take the tram.

 

 

I totally agree. This is a misuse of animals that is totally for the "pleasure" of tourists.  There must be other means in which to visit the hill in Santorini.

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My wife and I will be there! We're sticking with the ship's tours, even thought we can 'free roam' now.

 

Does anyone know if the Rug Dealers will be open in Kusadasi? I've actually bought rugs there years ago...and they still look like new!

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We weren’t able to go to Kusadasi. I doubt that has changed? Probably best to check if it’s important for you. We were actually delighted with the change as I’d been to Kusadasi twice before!! And we enjoyed seeing Syros.

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Hi Mocamps,

Thanks so much for the information on your cruise.

I have a few additional questions if you don't mind...

In Delos, What time was the return ferry? Is 2 hours enough?

Also did you download a self tour? Are there guides there for hire?

 

We also plan to be off the ship as early as possible in Santorini. After we take the cable car does  the hike start pretty much from there?  We were planning 4 hrs for the hike so 9-1 or so? What hotel did you swim at? Would love the name. We were planning on going back to ship to shower and change and come back to Santorini to walk the town... does that seem feasible? 

 

I think Kusadasi we will book a half day tour... How did you get to Syros? Was it worth it?

Is that where we do the dinner that night(Kusadasi ) and what time does that start? 

 

Is the fitness center open on the ship?

Also are taxi's readily available in Patmos to go to the cave and monastery? I'd prefer to walk but the group I'm with will probably want a Taxi.

 

In all the water platform was open 3 days? Patmos, Monevasia and Nafplio?

Thanks so much you can pm me too. 

We are excited to sail again. Thanks for all your info.

 

 

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Hi,

 

We took the 10 am ferry to Delos and caught the 12,00 ferry back. I think there was also a 1pm or 1.30 one? But my husband has a short attention span when it comes to ancient cultural sites so we rather rushed it and definitely didn't see everything I would have looked at if I was on my own!! He also likes to get a lot of exercise so we went all the way to the top! I did download a self guide but didn't follow it absolutely but it was useful for info on some of the things we saw. There is a very basic leaflet which also gives info and there are a few plaques around. My husband definitely does NOT have the temperament for a guided tour but you could book one with the ferry ticket and that was half the cost of the ship excursion.

 

I also downloaded a guide for the walk in Santorini and that was useful but it is also reasonably well marked. You join the path pretty well from the top of the cable car. Turn left and I don't think you can go far wrong!! But I'll try to find a link to the guide I used and post it here later today. The name of the cafe with pool was also on that guide but be prepared to walk to the other side of Oia if you want to use it. That was hard work at the end of the hike!! But we decided it was worth it as we could swim and shower there and then took the bus back to Fira. The woman at the cafe/bar pointed us in the direction of the bus station and the buses went every half hour. It cost less than 2 euros each! Note that Santorini is the island. The town is Fira. make sure you get the right tender from the ship as the excursion tenders went to a different port. By the time you have walked from the bus station back to the cable car you have pretty well seen Fira so you may change your plan to go back - but I think it's feasible if you don't.

 

As I've explained in my other post, Syros was INSTEAD of Kusadasi! So you don't get to do Ephesus but this may be different for you. And maybe they are waiting to make decisions based on the political situation as we were not allowed into Turkish waters and that may have changed.

 

The fitness centre was open but we didn't use it. We got enough exercise ashore!! And I HATE fitness centres, especially poky ones like on the Wind Star!

 

I believe there were taxis readily available in Patmos but we didn't use one. There is also a local bus but it went VERY infrequently!! But you could possibly get the bus in one direction? I do love a local experience so for us, taxis and organised excursions are cheating!!

 

The water platform was open on 3 days as you say. There were kayaks and SUPs available and people did use them on this cruise, unlike our previous one with Windstar. In fact, generally this cruise seemed to attract a younger more active crowd than our previous one - though we don't count ourselves in that group!! But even so, the vast majority seemed to use the ship excursions which surprised me. Maybe this was Covid related? But we felt perfectly safe doing our own thing - and we weren't then up against the no-mask brigade!!

 

Hope this helps

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