Cruising The Mediterranean: 5 Tips For Success

Enhance your cruising experience with side trips

It's Greece and Turkey. Blue water and red wine. Cruising and culture. Longtime Islands contributor 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

  • An iPod (to control the music on board)
  • Good hiking shoes (for this cruise, yes)
  • A hard drive to back up photos (a must on any trip, but especially true here if you take the side trips mentioned below!)

Go Custom

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 Kalymnos 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;

Man sitting on steps
Man sitting on steps | Jon Whittle

Enlarge Photo

Photo by: Jon Whittle

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).

(+90) 252-316-2434;
_800-595-1003; www.tropicalsails.com_