Santorini is perhaps the most amazing cruise port of the Greek islands. Anchored in the ancient caldera, ships leisurely drift in the breezes while passengers are tendered ashore by Greek boats. Arriving on the island at Fira, you have the choice of a 5 minute vernacular ride, or a slightly longer donkey ride, or you can climb the 700+ steps alongside the donkeys.
We opted for a new, unique travel mode, a boat/bus combination to Oia, returning to Fira. Departing from right next to the ship’s tenders, the boat ride to the lower fishing village took about 15 minutes. The shuttle bus is awaiting our arrival for the quick trip up to central Oia. Here, you select what time you’d like to return to Fira via the same shuttle bus. All this for only $15! After a delicious authentic Greek lunch at Oia, we meet the shuttle for the 20 minute trip back to Fira where we find a quiet restaurant balcony overlooking the 3 ships in the harbor below.
After a relaxing evening onboard MS Sirena, we’ve arrived in the port city of Heraklion on the island of Crete. Our excursion today takes us to the ancient Palace of Knossos constructed around 1900 BC. Destroyed by an earthquake some 200 years later, it was rebuilt on an even grander scale. Once again destroyed by the Santorini volcano around 1500 BC and then again by fire around 1400 BC, it takes some imagination to visualize this once magnificent example of Minoan civilization.