We are thinking of starting or ending a couple weeks on land in either Italy or Spain with a cruise through the Greek Islands. We would appreciate recommendations for which lines do the best job of visiting the most islands and capturing the Greek Island experience. Also, recommended length of cruise too. thanks!
We are thinking of starting or ending a couple weeks on land in either Italy or Spain with a cruise through the Greek Islands.
Most of the major cruise lines that have an established presence in Europe offer several itineraries in the Mediterranen with ports of call in the Greek Isles, typically including Mikonos, Santorini, and Rhodes. Most of these itineraries also include other ports of call in the vicinity of the Agean Sea such as Athens, Istanbul, and Kusadasi (pronounced "KUSH-a-Dah-see"), which is now the principal port for Ephesus. You'll have to compare specific itineraries to decide which specific itinerary best suits your purpose.
Above all else, I would stay as far away from the Greek ferries as possible, as they have gained much notoriety in the maritime world for their legacies of safety problems.
Also, recommended length of cruise too. thanks!
If you are spending the money to fly to Europe, it does not make sense to stay for less than two weeks or so. I would regard a cruise of about twelve nights to be an absolute minimum.
Let me also mention that each cruise line has its own style. The lines range from "bargain basement" to ultra-luxury and from quite wild to quite mellow. I highly recommend going to your friendly neighborhood bookstore (Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc.), buying a guide to cruise lines and cruise ships (Fodor's, Fommer's, and Stern's guides are very good), and reading the descriptions of the various lines to determine which lines would be a good match for your preferred lifestyle. There's no point in booking a cruise on a line that will make you miserable.
Norm gives you some great advice, because choosing the cruise line is definitely a matter of individual tastes/needs.
There are also some great books that cover just Europe and the Med, geared towards cruising.
I have 3 different ones and like them all. Insight Guides Mediterranean Cruises, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Europe & Mediterranean (this one is a very handy size for travel), and Mediterranean by Cruise Ship by Anne Vipond. All 3 of these guides have their strong points and have been very helpful to me.
I found one at a bookstore and the other 2 I ordered from Amazon.
I posted a reply over in the "suggestions" section with your first reques also (it's different though).
I have to agree with the other reply-er that made the suggestion about staying in Europe or on a cruise and post stay for about 2 weeks. I've watched airfare to Venice and Athens for the last 11 months and it rarely dipped below $1000pp, so if you're paying a huge amount for airfare, you may as well get the most enjoyment from your destination.