Why You Need an Aegean Cruise

Louis Cruises sails on the Aegean

Louis Cruises’ ship, Louis Cristal, docked in the Aegean near Santorini

This is part 2 in Caitlin Martin’s recap of her 7-day Aegean adventure with Louis Cruises. Check out part 1 here, and part 3 here.

Are you a cultural junkie but yearning for some relaxation? Do you want to experience some local off-the-beaten path spots in addition to the hot spots but don’t want to spend time planning it? If so, a cruise could be a great option for you.

Not just any cruise.

I’m not talking about the booze cruise you took over college Spring Break (however, I bet I just took you back to some epic memories). I’m talking about a cruise across the Aegean Sea that lets you experience ancient history and the beauty of countries like Greece and Turkey. Cruise companies are coming out with unique cruise itineraries to lure that cultural seeking, off-the-beaten-path traveler to cruising and it’s catching on.

Mykonos

A few minutes away from docking at Mykonos

I thought planning a trip to see hidden Greek isles meant spending a lot of time researching everything from transportation to restaurants and hotels. However, taking the right cruise seems to take away the need for all of that research while still giving you access to lesser-known spots. You only have to worry about getting yourself to the ship each night and unpacking once!

Below, I’ll tell you about my experience with one cruise line, Louis Cruises, its cozy ship the Louis Cristal and why they have a good thing going. As you know from reading my post on Greece, I was invited by Louis Cruises on this journey but my opinions are my own.

Blue and white houses full of beauty in Chora, Ios

Blue and white houses full of beauty in Chora, Ios

1. Access to lesser-known islands
Smaller cruise ships like the Louis Cristal can dock in smaller ports. Smaller port access means hello to hidden islands, like my favorite little gem, Ios!

I grabbed this sunset shot just before sitting down to dinner!

Go to bed in Greece and wake up in Turkey refreshed and ready to explore

2. Maximize your travel time
Sleeping time equals transportation time! You’ll maximize your time in Greece and Turkey because the ship typically travels at night to the next port. I felt relaxed when I woke up instead of worried about getting to the next island.

Deck five of Louis Cristal—jacuzzi and a view leaving Athens

Deck five of Louis Cristal—jacuzzi and a view leaving Athens

3. Charming ship
The Louis Cristal has character and charm. It’s a floating full-service hotel with all the amenities. The ship has restaurants, cafes, a buffet, lounges, bars, shops, a casino, a pool, a gym, a salon, a conference room, and an internet area with computers. All of this was plenty to keep busy with when I was on the ship in the evenings.

Sisioun delivering our table the biggest block of feta cheese I have ever seen! I couldn't get enough of that fresh feta cheese and olives the entire journey.

In the Olympus restaurant, Sozon delivers our table the biggest block of feta cheese I have ever seen

4. Greek hospitality
With a total of 1,200 passengers aboard the ship in 480 cabins, I didn’t feel like a number. The employees were well-trained, knowledgeable and downright nice people. Every day, Sozon (our waiter pictured above) would bring our favorite food without us having to ask. I spoke with other travelers and they had similar stories of employees going the extra mile.

CAPTION HERE

Santorini caldera rock formations with vibrant hues of red, brown and yellow

5. Diverse itineraries
The idyllic Aegean 7-day cruise was perfect because it combined off-the-beaten-path excursions with iconic historical experiences. For those that want one or the other, Louis Cruises has itineraries for that too.

Greek dancing lessons during the day

Greek dancing lessons during the day

Passengers dancing the night away as we watched with our delicious drinks!

Passengers dance the night away as we sipped on our delicious drinks

6. Top deck dancing
Traditional Greek dancing lessons are offered during the day and the nightclub on the ship’s top deck comes alive at night. On ost nights the dance floor was filled by midnight. Opa!

The chef prepared shellfish for us. I also noticed the chef cooking during BBQ day in the café. He was personally grilling the kebabs himself in the center of the cafe!

The chef prepares fresh shrimp for us

7. Greek culinary experience
The ship served a yummy Greek cuisine and I recommend eating lunch and dinner in the Olympus restaurant on deck five. Each port stop, the chef goes out to buy more fresh items to develop special dishes that appear on the menu here. I also noticed the chef grilling during BBQ day. He was personally flipping the kebabs himself in the center of the cafe!

Tip: Greeks love their long meals so just allow for extra time because it’s not a quick meal but it’s a very delicious meal!

The first day on the ship, I got to watch as the captain docked the ship in Mykonos

The first day on the ship, I watched as the captain docked the ship in Mykonos

8. Expertise with their sea
Louis Cruises is the only home-porting cruise line in Greece so these guys know the sea better than anyone. There was only one night I had trouble sleeping due to the ship rocking.

Relaxation and wind in your hair!

Relaxation and wind in your hair!

9. You get to do this (above) on the ship… 

Eggplant Imam was extra fabulous topped with onion ragout and feta

Eggplant Imam was extra fabulous topped with onion ragout and feta

…and eat (as much) as you want on the ship…

View from the ship docked in Kos

View from the ship docked in Kos

…see this view from your lounge chair on the ship…

Manganari beach, Ios (guess if I EVER wanted to leave?)

Manganari beach, Ios (guess if I EVER wanted to leave?)

…and wander off for this little gem.

Before you sail away:

  • Best rooms: In speaking with a few travelers aboard, they preferred the SB balcony suite for the fresh sea breeze. I stayed in an XF outside cabin ocean view room and it worked for me. I was barely in my room and I was right next to the outdoor deck on deck seven. However, I checked out a balcony suite and I agree if you can splurge, do so!
SB balcony suite aboard Louis Cristal

SB balcony suite aboard Louis Cristal

XF outside cabin room aboard Louis Cristal

XF outside cabin room aboard Louis Cristal

  • Wi-Fi: The Wi-Fi on aboard is available in common areas and dining areas when the ship is docked. I recommend going to the top deck for the best signal if you want to use your own device. When the ship is moving, you can always check your email and social channels from computers in the lobby.
The top deck was my favorite spot for Wi-Fi when docked

The top deck was my favorite spot for Wi-Fi when docked

  • Before and after cruise: Do yourself a favor and don’t fly into Athens on the same day as you board the cruise ship. There could be flight delays, and imagine the benefits of resting after a long travel day. I loved the Athenaeum InterContinental Athens and stayed there a day before and after my cruise. Request a north-facing room and the Acropolis view you’ll get from your room is amazing during the day—and lit up at night!
A perfect Acropolis view from my room at Athenaeum InterContinental

A perfect Acropolis view from my room at Athenaeum InterContinental

How to book:
Louis Cruises recently announced plans to launch a new brand. Starting in 2015, the Louis Cristal will be sailing under a new brand of Louis Cruises called Celestyal Cruises, but booking will remain the same. Louis Cruises can be booked online at louiscruises.com or through most major tour operators in the U.S. and Canada. For more information call (877) 568-4787 or email cruising@louiscruises.com.

Kusadasi, Turkey and Louis Cristal

Kusadasi, Turkey and Louis Cristal

Returning home:
When I returned home, a frown swept upon my face as I opened my refrigerator to see the tiny green plastic container of Athenos feta cheese sitting in my frig. No fresh Greek feta!? Needless to say, I had dreams of the big feta cheese block in front of Sozon.

This is part 2 in Caitlin Martin’s recap of her 7-day Aegean adventure with Louis Cruises. Check out part 1 here, and tune in next week for part 3!

Caitlin Martin About Caitlin Martin

Taking the path less traveled has been Caitlin's mantra and now it describes her travels as a contributor for Johnny Jet. From representing her dream clients in travel and hospitality at a top global marketing and PR agency and spending 10 years on the agency side, she's uncovering inspiration on the other side of the table. She's an east coaster at heart but enjoys living the beach life in Los Angeles, laughing loudly and singing in her Mini convertible. Follow Caitlin as she chronicles inspirational places and faces she meets along the way. She can be found on Twitter at @caitlinlmartin or email caitwrites@gmail.com.

Comments

  1. Marian Jankiebwicz says:

    I am enjoying following you on this cruise you make it sound like it is a vacation that I have always dreamed of.

    • Caitlin Martin Caitlin Martin says:

      Thank you! The cruise was definitely the perfect combination of hidden gems and iconic history! Check back soon for part 3!

  2. Great job on the 2nd part as well, Caitlin!

    Athenos feta? LOL, that stuff is inedible! It’s not even greek. It’s an industrial product that tries to deceive customers by playing on the brand name, which suspiciously sounds like “Athens”. It tastes like crap, too. :)

  3. miss miss says:

    If you are traveling alone is there a single supplement? Is wifi free?

    • Caitlin Martin Caitlin Martin says:

      Hi! There is a charge for wifi. The cost is 7 € per hour of wifi use on your own device. Wifi can only be accessed in some public areas. (I seemed to have the best luck on the top deck). There is also an internet corner with computers that guests may use for 0,25 € per minute of use. I’m told though they are working on new wifi options in the future. There is no single supplement.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Caitlin Martin’s recap of her 7-day Aegean adventure with Louis Cruises. Check out part 2 here and part 3 […]

  2. […] This is part 3 in Caitlin Martin’s recap of her 7-day Aegean adventure with Louis Cruises. Read part one on Greece here and part two on Louis Cruises here. […]

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