Thanks to the popularity of cruises, and the fact that many of us love to travel, there is a lot of competition for the most desirable cruisers. As a result, many of the “high end” cruise lines have gone bankrupt and are no longer in the business. However, we still have many of the lines from the halcyon days of yesteryear. The lines that have survived and are now thriving are ones that have made a concerted effort to cater to the niche market of people who want a much more personalized experience.

After spending much of the summer at sea, we’re finally back on dry land and ready to share with you what it’s like cruising our favorite part of the Greek Isles right now. Once a year, we like to take a break from our travels and spend a few days at our favorite Greek island, Hydra. It’s a great place to enjoy a peaceful break from the craziness of our life as travelers, and it’s one of the few places where we can eat both a traditional Greek meal and a traditional American meal.

I’m an anxious person by nature. So while I was looking forward to the trip to the Greek islands aboard Celestyal Cruises’ Celestyal Crystal, I was still concerned about the terms of entry into Greece and the cruise itself.

For me, the most disturbing thing was the fear of the unknown. Although I have traveled to Europe countless times, I have never had to deal with a pandemic.

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Before we move on to the first. When I left JFK airport in July to go to Greece, I had a lot of things to check off my list of requirements.

Santorini. (Photo via Claudette Covey)

What It’s Like Cruising the Greek Isles Right Now

Travelers from the U.S. must present one of the following documents to enter the country: a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test performed within 72 hours prior to travel, or a negative RAPID antigen test performed within 48 hours prior to travel.

Travelers must also submit an online passenger location form to enter Greece, as well as a paper version to present at check-in at the airport of departure.

Upon arrival at Athens International Airport, they must look for an email on their mobile phone with a QR code that they must scan to enter the country.

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What It’s Like Cruising the Greek Isles Right Now

Celestyal requires a PCR test for cruise participation, which must be completed no later than 72 hours prior to departure, as well as a printout of the Public Health Questionnaire and Passenger Tracking Form, which must be completed no earlier than 24 hours prior to departure.

Not only did I have to meet the requirements for the trip, but I was also concerned that the travel experience would be tainted by the protocols related to COVID on land and at sea.

These fears were quickly dispelled.

Although the Celestyal requires guests to wear masks in all enclosed public areas except when eating or drinking, I didn’t mind at all.

I felt free to be among fellow travelers again. I even discovered that I had forgotten to put on my mask and had to go back to my cabin to get it.

I also felt that the staff and crew of the Celestyal Crystal went out of their way to make sure that guests were not only safe, but happy.

The ship was about 60% full, with 1,200 passengers on board, which was another plus for me.

The destinations we visited were also much less crowded than in the peak season before the pandemic.

Mykonos. (Photo via Claudette Covey)

What It’s Like Cruising the Greek Isles Right Now

In the past I’ve been to places like Santorini and Mykonos where travelers stood shoulder to shoulder in the streets.

Yes, there were a few tourists on the islands, but their numbers were nowhere near what they were before the pandemic.

Even better: This trip made me feel like I had conquered a pandemic.

For example, as I sat on a picturesque beach on the island of Marathi, east of Patmos, one of my fellow travelers remarked that not a single person in our group had mentioned the pandemic.

And that’s because we haven’t thought about it – which is a real gift.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Greek cruises open?

Greek cruises are open.

What is the best time of year to cruise the Greek islands?

The best time to cruise the Greek islands is during the summer months.

What is the best cruise line for the Greek islands?

The best cruise line for the Greek islands is Celebrity Cruises.

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