Harmony G Cruise Review by kwbts124
- Sail Date: June 2016
- Destination: Greece
The Harmony G is operated by Variety staff and crew but charted by Vantage for this voyage. The Variety staff and crew are all very professional and provided excellent service. The Cruise Director, Laura Giannola, was employed by Vantage - she made the trip so special with her love and passion for Greece and it's rich history. She really loves to travel on the Harmony G and that meant a lot to us (my husband is a boat captain).
The ship was decorated nicely and appeared to have been recently renovated. The lounge was roomy and the bar was staffed at appropriate time. Drinks were reasonable and available upon request if no one was behind the bar. The dining area was a bit on the small side but Thanos made it work. Topside was my favorite place and had plenty of fresh air, beautiful views, lounge chairs and cushioned seating - it was never off limits.
All meals onboard were excellent and the service was fast and courteous thanks to Thanos, the manager.
The port of embarkation was Athens (Port of Pireaus). The first night was at a hotel with a beautiful rooftop pool and view of the Acropolis in the center of Athens (Divani Caravel); dinner at the hotel was included.
The next morning we toured the Acropolis Museum and the Plaka district before boarding the Harmony G around 2pm. Vantage provided a lovely coach and luggage assistance.
After time to unpack we had our safety briefing in the lounge followed by a port talk & history lecture by Laura. Afterward, we ate our first of many fabulous dinners by Thanos and staff in the "cozy" dinning room.
Port-of-call #1 - Nafplion. The breakfast was lovely and ample. We visited the archaeological site of Mycenae (very interesting); stopped at a pottery shop and learned how to make clay men; then back to the town of Nafplion where we had lot's of time to explore. We rode the ship's bicycles to the beach for a swim in the crystal clear Aegean Sea. Later that afternoon, my husband rented a scooter and I climbed the 1,000 steps to the Palamidi Castle (I enter as I didn't have the 8 euro in cash) - spectacular views of the town just the same. We ate an elegant dinner then went back into town and strolled around.
Port #2 - Monemvasia. The Gibraltar of Greece - or so they say. Right out of a fairy tale. The old city is one of the most picturesque places I have been. We took a trip to a family-owned olive orchard. We learned the process of making olive oil and had a traditional Greek lunch outside. We returned to ship and captain allowed us to swim from the back of the ship - it was perfect conditions. My husband and I took the bikes again and rode all over Monemvasia. Breakfast and dinner onboard - fabulous as usual. We left early because it was a long sail to Crete.
Port #3 - Rethimnon, Crete. Early breakfast then we took a 90-minute coach ride to the town of Chania. I had been before so we walked out to the lighthouse instead of shopping. We had until 3am to return to the ship so we rented a scooter drove all over this charming beach town and finally chose to dine at a local restaurant. We ate at the restaurant Alana; recommended by the scooter rental agent - it was frequented by a lot of tourists but still very good. Back onboard around midnight.
Port #4 - Heraklion, Crete. Breakfast then a trip to Knossoss Palace - this day it was very hot and there was little shade so my memories aren't as pleasant. This night was the Greek dance show onboard - it was a lot of fun but Heraklion itself was a larger city with large cruise ships. I wasn't thrilled because it didn't have the charm of the other ports.
Port #5 - Santorini. We anchored here. Breakfast onboard then we all hopped on a tender to shore. It was a bit windy but nothing bad. We visited Fira then took the optional tour to Oia - Wow! This is not to be missed. The optional tour included a tour & lunch at a local winery in Fira before continuing on to Oia - oh for more time in Oia. I'm glad I opted into this - Oia is where all the famous photographs of Greece are taken. It was magical. We took the cable car back down to the landing and the tender back to the ship for another great dinner onboard.
Port #6 - Mykonos. We were in Mykonos for only a few hours and the captain remained in port despite growing wind conditions. The town of Mykonos is a lively town with a lot of young tourists. We were there very early so there was little evidence of the night before party. The island is just as picturesque as Santorini but it is flatter and has it's own personality. The trip out of Mykonos (left at noon) and back to Athens was rough so we were rock'n & roll'n for several hours - passengers & crew were ill until it calmed down. Only of few of us were up and about - but still a bit lethargic. The Harmony G only makes about 10 knots so she can't outrun the weather very well. It didn't last too long and dinner was served on calm seas.
Final port - Back in Athens (Pireaus). Last night onboard was in Athens. After breakfast we packed up and headed out to the Acropolis very early to beat the crowds & the heat (good idea). Laura gave the premium tour and then we headed back to the Plaka district for more shopping. We checked back into the Divani Caravel for the last night of the base cruise package. We opted for the Athens extension so we explored the city for two more nights.
My experience was OUTSTANDING and a trip that will stand out as one of my favorites.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
AcropolisAwesome but go early! Not to be missed sight.View All 331 Acropolis Reviews
Archeological MuseumThis was a great tour. Our Vantage cruise director doubled as our local tour guide and she was so knowledgeable about Greek history.View All 55 Archeological Museum Reviews
City TourJust a tour by bus going from one location to the next, not bad but prolonged bus time.View All 154 City Tour Reviews
Temple of Olympian ZeusJust something to see while at other sites.View All 25 Temple of Olympian Zeus Reviews
The Plaka Walking TourMy favorite part of Athens aside from the Microlimina area of Pireaus.View All 56 The Plaka Walking Tour Reviews
Chania City TourActually we took this tour from Rethimnon port not Heraklion. It was worth it from Rethimnon - not sure if I would do it from Heraklion (too far).View All 5 Chania City Tour Reviews
Heraklion TownJust so-so. It was Sunday so everything was closed and it was a large city without it's own personality.View All 11 Heraklion Town Reviews
Knossos PalaceGreat archaeological site but prepare for crowds and a lot of standing in hot conditions.View All 48 Knossos Palace Reviews
MykonosThis is an excellent port of call even though we only stayed a few hours. We rented a scooter and saw as much as possible in a short time.View All 1,035 Mykonos Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Mykonos Cruise Port Review
SantoriniFira winery tour w/lunch. This was an excellent tour but was combined with our time in Oia which detracts from the Oia experience. Should choose one or the others. Oia is hard walking and the winery is very relaxing.View All 12,810 Santorini Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Santorini Cruise Port Review
Fira Walking TourVery nice town. A lot of things to see and places to eat.View All 33 Fira Walking Tour Reviews
Oia VillageBEST STOP ON THE CRUISE. DO NOT MISS.View All 213 Oia Village Reviews