It’s Greece and Turkey. Blue water and red wine. Cruising and culture. Long-time ISLANDS traveler Amanda Jones found the only way to experience all of the above: On an eight-day cruise aboard the Southern Cross Timer. Here’s her most valuable advice.
What to Pack
I asked for a cruise with a flexible itinerary, meaning I didn’t want to be pressured into a mega-cruise company’s pre-set plan. Little did I know that I’d actually be calling some of the shots of where we’d go. When I asked the captain to run me ashore on Kalimnos with the dinghy so I could visit a taverna, he obliged, even as the five other boat passengers stayed put on the gullet.
Best Side Trip
After the cruise, I drove up to see Ephesus, one of the world’s most spectacular Greco-Roman ruins and once the second largest city in the world. The marble grandeur and newly unearthed mosaics are well worth the 2.5-hour drive from Bodrum. It’s worth paying a private guide who knows the history and brings the place to life. Arrangements should be made ahead of time. I recommend Curio Travel, one of the most reliable agents in Turkey.
(+ 90) 256-618-3375; curiotravel.com
Second-Best Side Trip
Continue on to Athens by taking a flight from Kos, a Greek island 10 miles off the coast of Bodrum. Flights from Kos to Athens aren’t as costly as I thought they’d be. In Athens I stayed at the fabulous Hotel Grand Bretagne.
How to Book
In the U.S., I booked through Tropical Sails. They arranged a boat through Southern Cross Blue Cruises out of Bodrum, Turkey. Southern Cross has a fleet of 35 boats in various classes of luxury. Prices start from $1,140 per person, per week (price does not include food and alcohol, which can run another $60-100 per person, per day).