Magical moments on idyllic islands

Sailing to the Greek islands this summer? What a wonderful idea! As long as it isn’t Santorini or Mykonos! “Unless you want to jostle up against 5,000 other people as you make your way through the villages on these islands” says Petra Quasdorf, who has been planning sea journeys to the Aegean Islands for 20 years.

A tour around the ship with the Zodiac boats promises fascinating photo opportunities.

Small is mighty. This is true for many islands in the Aegean, as well as many of the villages and harbour cities on the mainland coast. Spetses, the island of spices; Nauplia, the first seat of government for modern Greece; Syros, the tenth largest of the Cycladic islands and seat of theCycladic capital Emoupoli; Kavala on the shoreof the ThracianSea, where Philippi, the first Christian settlement on Europeansoil was built – the list can becontinued as you wish. The images we associate with these places are just as idyllic as the locales themselves: small villages, snug white houses, swimming in gorgeous coves, and friendly people. What you do not see on the pictures are huge passenger ships carrying thousands of guests. “We don’t have that here”, laughs Petra Quasdorf: “Small islands only have space for small ships, after all”.

Amorgos, the eastern-most pearl in the Cyclades Island chain, with its white houses.
Surrounded by impressive cliff formations: Milos, the island of colour.

The number of large, truly huge passenger ships setting a course through the Mediterranean continues to grow. This growth has consequences: “There are only a limited number of harbours and islands that can handle these ships” explains the expert on sea voyages. The giants end up tightly packed into these areas. This means that guests from these ships crowd into islands like Mykonos and Santorini, when it is time to go ashore. “It is certainly possible that you would have to stand in a line with 1000 other people in front of the cableway to the edge of the Fira crater on Santorini”.

Because of this, Petra Quasdorf chose another approach to planning her sea voyages through the Aegean islands: “The SEA CLOUDS are the ideal ships for this territory, she says decisively. Thanks to their small number of passengers, they can dock especially at the smaller islands, that don’t have the infrastructure needed for large ships. This has a certain charm, as island dwellers are happy to provide the local school bus for SEA CLOUD guests to come on shore. Besides this, the Aegean islands are the perfect destination for the classic windjammers owned by Hamburg’s SEA CLOUD CRUISES: “The distances are perfect for a relaxed cruise that follows only the rhythms of nature” the expert concludes, based on her extensive experience. 

Tranquillity meets sophistication: Spetses, the car-free society island far away from mass tourism destinations.

Because it is so beautiful among the islands, the SEA CLOUD II will be taking four trips there in July and August. Cruises between Athens and Istanbul offer a perfect blend of unique shore trips in small, charming Cyclades harbours, visits to interesting cultural destinations like Mykene and Philippi, and excursions to the interior. However, guests will be inspired by more than the beauty of the islands: “The captain of the SEA CLOUD II will be dropping anchor for a refreshing stop to bathe in the Aegean Sea whenever possible” promises Petra Quasdorf. There is also another feature in line with the unique character of these sailing voyages: “We have designed our trips so that our guests experience the best possible moments on land and on sea” emphasises Petra Quasdorf. There is simply no better way to enjoy a relaxing summer vacation. 

Skiathos, the smallest island in the Sporades, with its long beaches and turquoise water.
Pastel-coloured, classicist villas line the tranquil harbour on Syros.
Like a swallow’s nest set among the rocks: the cliff-top monastery of Panagia Hozovitissa on Amorgos.

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