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All Things SANTORINI – 4th November

Can there be anywhere in Greece as stunningly beautiful and enchanting as the island of Santorini?  One of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea., Santorini was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, forever shaping its rugged landscape. The whitewashed, blue domed houses of its 2 principal towns, Fira and Oia, cling to cliffs overlooking the sea and above an underwater caldera (crater).   It is one of the most iconic islands of Greece and continues to be a major attraction for cruise ships to visit.

However, instead of cruising to this stunning island by large ship, how about you sail in on one of the most romantic cruise ship in the world – the stunning 170 passenger Star Flyer!  This four masted barquentine ship is a modern cruise ship in every way, created for luxury-loving passengers who also love the traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships.  Life aboard is blissfully relaxed, much like traveling on a private yacht. You’ll never feel confined on Star Flyer.  Each ship offer spacious accommodations and expansive teak decks with ample space and not one, but two swimming pools. In fact, you’ll find that these ships offer more outdoor space per passenger than most conventional cruise ships.  It is a truely magical experience to arrive into Santorini, watching the envious eyes of other cruiseship passengers as they see this beautiful vessel gracefully sail into the caldera!  So let’s go to Santorini!…

Greece is known as the “Cradle of Western Civilization”, so what better place to start that the ancient capital city – Athens.  After the flight from Australia you will enjoy two night in a hotel within a stones throw at that magical Parthenon sitting on top of the Athenian Acropolis.  You’ll have plenty of time to climb the steps to enjoy this historic site, see the Temple of Zeus and enjoy an amazing Greek feast at one of the many tavernas in Plaka.

Athens, Capital of Greece

Make your way to the suburb of Pireaus and your four masted beauty awaits you.  Embarking the Star Flyer will fill you with a sense of adventure and excitement, and sailing out of the harbour at full sail will be one of the most magical experiences.

Your first day is a day at sea.  Use this to relax under the sails as you make your way south, passing the occasional Greek island on the way.

First up is the beautiful island of Rhodes (Island of Roses) which has a rich and varied history. The beach at Lindos is among the best on the island, whose capital, Rhodes Town is a bustling mecca for both sightseers and shoppers alike.  Explore the winding streets and enjoy this mesmerizing island.

Rhodes Town

Leaving Greece for a couple of days you arrive in Bodrum, Turkey.  Known in ancient times as Halicarnassus, this was the birthplace of Heredotus and the site of King Mausolu’s Tomb (4th century BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

At first glance, the Dalyan River in Turkey is a picture one hardly expects to see in Turkey – A lovely, unspoiled lake teeming with fish, a lush marshy delta, verdant farmlands, a lazy, reedfringed river meandering into the sea.  On shore, you can see ruins of the Lycian city of Caunos, with its basilica and fortifications looming over the green marsh where endangered Caretta loggerhead turtles hatch in the spring.

Caunos, Turkey

Your day in Santorini is here.  Walk the streets of Thira,  enjoy a glass of Santorini wine, take a ‘selfie’ by the blue domed houses…..whatever you want to do, just make sure you take an occasional moment to absorb how spectacular this island is.

One more island left, and this one is off the beaten track for most cruise ships – Hydra.  Hydra is a town of stately mansions all built around 1800 by blockade runners who had made fortunes outwitting the British during the Napoleonic Wars. As there are no cars, for the spectacular view from the Monastery of Ilias you’ll have to ride a donkey to the top.

Hydra, Greece

You sail back into Piraeus and make you way to Athens airport for your flight home….or maybe not – you can extend your stay in Athens, hop on a ferry to another island, or why not stay on for the next cruise (which goes to Mykonos, Patmos and Monemvasia).  The choice is endless.

Star Flyer

This is a very special fly, cruise and stay package, and one not to miss.  The flights from Australia, two nights in Athens and the cruise on the incredible Star Flyer  in an ocean view cabin is priced at just $5,995 per person,  and I have TWO dates to choose from – 8th or the 22nd August –  so grab that telephone and call the crew at Travel Masters on 1800 672988 to grab that sunbed under the sails!!!