Greek Isles Yacht Cruising

MV Elysium-Seven Day Cruise through the Aegean aboard an intimately-sized yacht

I’m excited to announce a 7-day Greek isles cruise on the Elysium, an expedition class luxury ship operated by Elixir Cruises.  Our seven nights aboard this 50-passenger ship will begin in the port of Lavrion (Athens) with stops in seven uniquely different islands in the Cyclades chain. Click on the links below to see a snapshot of each place.  This island hopping tour will offer swimming, exploring, sunning, fine dining, history, wine, architecture, and more. If you have experienced one of the recent Croatia yacht excursions offered by Northwest Travel, this tour is very similar. The Elysium is much larger and more spacious than previous vessels in Croatia. Week 2 of this offer is a reversed itinerary of Week 1. Week 1 is scheduled for April 25th to May 2nd, 2025. Week 2 is May 2nd to 9th, 2025.

I am making a concerted effort to keep availability updated in real time. This tour has proven to be as popular as I expected. At this time (March 6), all categories are available for the April 25th Departure. Categories B and B+ are currently sold out for the May 2nd sailing.


Itinerary | Getting There | Pricing | Reserve

Transiting Corinth Canal
Transiting Corinth Canal

The Elysium is a truly boutique cruise ship featuring only 25 spacious and elegantly decorated cabins.  Ship Video here

Your time on board the Elysium will be nothing short of unique, nothing like you have ever experienced before on a cruise. A balanced fusion of relaxation, wellness, discovery and fun.

Visit pristine coves and beaches only accessible by small boat, discover ancient civilizations, learn a new craft, have a massage, meditate at sunset, enjoy a chilled drink, hike a volcano, fish with locals, snorkel, stargaze, read a book. You decide. The Elysium awaits to soothe your soul and excite your senses.

With large interior and exterior spaces, a spa suite, a mini gym, deliciously healthy Mediterranean cuisine, personalized service and an array of daily activities, the Elysium will pamper you, spoil you and captivate you forever.

I visited the Elysium in drydock for a winter overhaul in the Greek port of Perama last December.  I wanted to be certain the ship measured up to the hype and I was impressed. 

On the technical side, Elysium is just under 210 feet in length and 41 feet wide.  It has an indoor lounge and dining area, abundant open deck space and 25 cabins on two upper decks.  There is a swim/sports deck at the rear of the ship, a spa, and a small exercise room.

We’ve got seven days on the water and each day presents a different island and experience. 

Elysium Ship Accommodation

Deck location and cabin size are specified here:

Category A+ 182-215 sq. ft | Astra Deck

Category A 170-185 sq. ft | Astra Deck

Cagtegory B+ 170-185 sq. ft | Ammon Deck

Category B 150 sq. ft. | Ammos Deck

Category C – 135-150 sq. ft | Ammos Deck

Category C-Single 110 sq. ft | Ammos Deck

Categories A+ and A have picture windows. Other categories offer portholes.

Deck 4, the near-1,000 square-foot spa features an infrared sauna, a pool, hot tubs and a deck solarium. Deck 4 is also where you’ll find the well-equipped fitness studio.

In the evening, the lounges are a popular choice with guests looking for a pre-dinner cocktail, with the Atlas Lounge a great option thanks to its stunning decor and large picture windows. After dinner, the Don Henrique Auditorium hosts occasional guest entertainment performances. Likewise, The Dome Observation Lounge provides a laid-back atmosphere, perfect for a nightcap or to discuss the day’s adventures with fellow travelers.

What’s included:

  • Seven nights aboard Elysium
  • Breakfast each morning on-board
  • A daily swim stop in the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea
  • Seven lunches or dinners on-board, based on daily schedule.
  • Access to optional shore tours
  • port charges

We’re in port on uniquely different island every day. Dress code is relaxed. If a meal is not served on board, you’ll have many options to find an excellent dinner or lunch ashore. Shore tours, including hiking, biking, wine, cuisine, and more are coming soon. You can do your own thing in each of these ports or participate in any of the shore tours that will be offered. 

Getting There

Flights: Airlines publish flight schedules 330 days in advance, so you’ll be able to start your flight booking in mid-May 2024. This may not necessarily be the best time to buy. Generally the end of summer/early autumn brings some lower pricing. Google Flights and Kayak.com have features that will notify you if fares are going up or down, trends, and will advise as to whether you should buy now. You need to create an account, which costs nothing, for this service. You’ll get an email when fares are trending up or down. It’s a nice feature which I use often. Based on previous tours there, I anticipate round trip fares to be in the $1400 ballpark from Seattle.

When you search for fares, you’ll want to select Athens (ATH) as your arrival city and Santorini (JTR) as your departure city to come home. Reverse these city pairs for the second week, which begins in Santorini and ends in Athens. Whether or not you participate in the pre-cruise or post cruise, I strongly suggest that you come in at least a day early so that you don’t run into a flight delay on the way over.

Our Scheduled Ports of Call

The Islands

We begin the week in Lavrion, a picturesque port located just 30 minutes from Athens International Airport. This itinerary is specific to Week 1, April 25-May 2nd from Lavrion (Athens) to Santorini. The ship will reverse the itinerary on the return for May 2-May 9.

Day 1           Lavrion to kea The island of Kea (aka Tzia) is a famous and charming Cycladic island with age-old traditions and interesting history. Its landscape will catch your attention with its green fields, high hills, vineyards, olive groves, ravines, coves and secluded beaches. Visit the largest oak forest in the Cyclades and keep an eye out for the rich bird fauna.  Explore its numerous caves (Trypospilies Cave at Kalamos, Agios Timotheos Cave, and Agios Panteleimonas Cave) and the mining area at Orkou. Follow the 81 km paths and discover four ancient city-states of the island (Ioulida – Karthaia – Korissia – Poieessa).
 
Kea is a famous sailing destination mainly due to its proximity to Attica. Its waters are great for divers as a large number of shipwrecks reside on the sea bottom.

Day 2           Syros Syros Island combines culture, entertainment and religion in the most harmonious way.  It used to be one of the most significant islands in cycladic civilisation. Nowadays, the island is world-renowned for its rich cultural tradition with events that take place in Ermoupolis, the island’s capital, such as the International Classical Music Festival of CycladesANIMASYROS International Animation FestivalErmoupoleia Cultural Festival etc that offer a range of options for every visitor to experience.

The island has a large number of sea activities, beaches you can enjoy as well as a rich and delicious cuisine. The famous halvadopita (nougat pie), the finger-licking loukoumia – small cubes made of a mixture of sugar, water and starch that are offered in a number of scents and flavours – the cold meats louza and maratholoukanika, as well as the PDO cheese San Michali will tempt the most demanding palate.

Day 3           Mykonos Mykonos has been known as the island of the winds, and it’s located in the heart of the Cyclades group. Its fame has spread across the world, as a cosmopolitan and luxurious holiday destination.  Bathed in the bright sunlight of the Aegean by day, she dresses in charm and mystery by night, beckoning its visitors to dance and have fun in the beach bars and clubs, go for a shopping spree in luxury stores, visit its art venues, and -in short- have a truly memorable stay!

There are, however, two faces to this island that not many people know of. The first one is the obviously intense, shiny and cosmopolitan aspect of it, and the other one is particularly picturesque, with stone-paved alleys, whitewashed houses, country chapels and windmills, that ooze calm and peace. What makes this island special is that it can cover a variety of demands: you can visit it for its archaeological sites;  get to know the local traditions in its picture-perfect villages; and you can explore its amazing beaches, considered by many as the top ones in the Aegean Sea. Chora is quite an impressive and picturesque Cycladic town. You will find top hotels and resorts, designer clothes and goldsmiths boutiques, art galleries, and some of the most famous restaurants and bars in Greece. For a taste of culture and history, take a boat trip to nearby Delos Island; it’s a big and impressive archaeological site.

Day 4           Naxos Naxos is the biggest and most fertile island in the group, located right in the centre of it. It offers a host of choices to visitors about activities they can try, as well as other entertainment and relaxation options. The whitewashed Chora town welcomes travellers at its harbour. Portara, Naxos’ most popular landmark, lies on the neighbouring Palatia Islet; it is the marble gate of an unfinished ancient Greek temple dedicated to god Apollo.

Chora’s built landscape is marked by numerous fortified palaces, which date to the island’s Venetian Period, as Naxos was the seat of the Duchy of the Aegean. Make sure you visit the Bazaios Tower, off Sagri village, the Glezos-Crispi Tower in Chora, the Belonia Tower in Galanado and the Della Rocca-Barozzi Tower in Chora.    

Day 5           Paros High on the list of top Greek holiday destinations, Paros Ιsland welcomes its visitors at the centre of the Cyclades group and invites them to explore its great beauty, the long beaches with crystal-clear waters and its impressive landscapes. There is a well-developed tourist infrastructure, too, to make your holidays truly memorable.

Day 6           SifnosMilos Sifnos is an island of exquisite flavours, time-honoured customs and traditional villages. Its numerous chapels, windmills, lovely beaches, crystal clear waters and leisurely pace of life makes this destination ideal to explore. Located in the southwest part of the Cyclades island group, Sifnos is popular for its architecture, local delicacies, pottery and ceramic art as well as its nightlife during summer.

Throughout antiquity the island went through a period of prosperity as a result of its gold and silver mining, and its local quarries that extracted stones such as sandstone, granite and limestone.

Day 7           Folegrandos One of the westerly Cyclades Islands, Folegandros is a place that will steal your heart away the moment you set foot on it. Stroll along the stone-paved streets of Chora and the alleys in the Castle, reach the top of Panagia Rock and enjoy the panoramic view of the Aegean Sea, go swimming in secluded or busy beaches, and admire the local traditional architecture of its villages: these are all part of a breathtaking setting – the ideal one for your holidays – that will place Folegandros on your must-visit list, more than once in your life.
During your walks in the neighbourhoods, you will be impressed by the contrast of the vivid-coloured doors and windows of houses against their bright white walls. The stone-paved streets will lead your footsteps to picturesque squares shaded by tall plane trees. There, under the thick canopy of leaves, you will find the perfect spot to sit and rest for a while.

Day 8           Santorini Santorini, known since ancient times as Thira, is one of the most famous islands in the world. The fact that you can sit in front of the caldera, enjoy local dishes, a drink or a coffee while gazing at the remarkable beauty of an active volcano is priceless!

The island is actually a group of islands consisting of Thira, Thirassia, Aspronissi, Palea and Nea Kameni in the southernmost part of the Cyclades.

Weather

Highs typically average 70 with low averages about 61. April/May is a great time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds and the heat. March is a little too chilly and June is when the crowds start to come.

Travel Insurance

Tour and cruise payments are generally non-refundable. If you need to cancel, and I am able to fill the vacancy from a waitlist, I’ll be able to process a refund to you. If I’m unable to resell a canceled reservation, payments are non-refundable. If you’d like to receive a no-obligation quote for travel insurance, fill in the blanks at the bottom of the page at this link: https://nwtravel.com/about/ or visit the Generali Insurance site.

I’ve just started mapping out tour options for guests before and after this cruise. Here are a few ideas so far. More details coming soon…

Pre-cruise option 1

Three nights in and around Athens. See the Acropolis. Tour the Plaka. Visit any of the many archaeological museums in the city. More to come.

Pre-cruise option 2

Spend three nights in Santorini perched high above the sea in a white-washed cave hotel. Visit the Akrotiri Archaeological site or one of the many pristine beaches on the island. More to come soon

Pricing for this cruise event

Pricing is based on double occupancy

Reservations made before April 30th will earn a $200 per person credit for shore tours, bar tabs, or spa treatments onboard Elysium.

Pricing by category

 Category A+                  $5545 Per person

Category A (5)               $4945 per person

Category B+ (5)             $4045 per person (Currently sold out for week 2)

Category B (4)               $3445 per person (Currently sold out for week 2)

Category C (1)               $3095 per person

Category C-Single (3)   $4095

These prices include port taxes.  Prices posted are for credit card (visa/mastercard) payment.  Guests paying by check can deduct $125 per person from the final payment. 

Initial deposit of $1500 per person. The balance of your tour is due by November 15th, 2024.

Questions? Comments? Contact me, preferably by email at brad@nwtravel.com, or by phone at 425 375 2676.