Our Greek adventure

One of the reasons we chose to go on our recent cruise holiday was to visit different Greek islands.  For anyone who has never been to a Greek island you’re missing a treat – they have something for everyone including picture postcard views, history and culture, great food, nightlife into the early hours and a choice of accommodation ranging from modest apartments to luxury boutique hotels.  They are definitely worth a visit and the places we went to on our cruise are no exception.

Corfu Town was the first stop and despite the fact we arrived during a downpour the views were still spectacular on the approach.  I’ve stayed in Corfu before although two weeks of partying in Kavos staying in a grim little apartment over a bar is slightly different to the holidays I now go on.  We never made it to Corfu Town on that holiday so I was looking forward to seeing what it had to offer.  The rain soon cleared and the sun was shining although it was a reminder that the Greek drainage system still had a way to go.  There was definitely a whiff in the air as we made our way down the main road to the centre of the town.  We told ourselves it was ‘authentic Greek’ but I’m glad I had my trainers on instead of my flip flops.  Master ATWWAH was dying to get into the ‘muddy puddles’ (thanks Peppa Pig) but we distracted him with all the mopeds whizzing past instead.

The centre of Corfu Town is lovely though and we headed for the main square with the cricket pitch in the middle of it which is surrounded by shops and restaurants.

Corfu Town

Corfu Town

Master ATWWAH has a bit of a guitar obsession and loads of the gift shops sold little ornamental guitars so we spent a lot of time hearing the phase ‘I want….’ Where do toddlers learn that from?  He did however get a new pair of sandals as his Croc rip offs had given him a blister mainly as they were too small for him and we’d taken him for a jog around the ship’s running track the day before, completing a mile before lunchtime to guarantee an afternoon nap.

But Corfu Town is definitely the stop for you if you like a bit of shopping and history.

Santorini was the next place we stopped and our first experience of leaving the ship whilst it was in the middle of a bay.  It was quite exciting being put on a smaller boat and heading to the shore.  However this excitement was short lived when we saw the queue for the cable car which was the only way to get up to the town.  But being the good English people we are we queued patiently and tutted in the right places as other people jumped the queue.  Master ATWWAH loved the cable car.  The older I get the less adventurous I’ve become and I forced smiles as he bounced around shouting ‘more’ as it shuddered and juddered its way up the cliff face.  There is a donkey option but it felt very cruel and I’d also read in a guidebook that this was fine if you wanted to smell like donkey the rest of the day.

shopping

Master ATWWAH doing a spot of Santorini shopping

Santorini is the poster island of the Greek tourist board and it definitely lived up to the pics.  It was beautiful.  Pram friendly it isn’t though.  The cobbled streets are narrow, busy and steep.  We didn’t venture too far as it was so hot and frankly neither of us had the energy.  I can see why you wouldn’t go there with a toddler for a longer break unless all you fancied doing was lounging around a pool.  But for a romantic break it is perfect.  Just don’t forget your camera.  And flat shoes.

My favourite Greek island is Mykonos.  Mr ATWWAH and I spent a week there not long after we were married in an amazing hotel which I would recommend to anyone looking for a child free holiday.  So when I found out that the ship stopped in Mykonos I was excited.  Would it live up to my memories?  The port is a little bit out of the main town but NCL provided free buses which ran regularly.  Master ATWWAH fell asleep as we got off the ship and stayed that way for a good couple of hours so we got to wander the streets, like Santorini’s they are narrow and busy but not as cobbled so easier to get a pram around.  They’re full of cute shops and random bars.  Mykonos is one of the most expensive of the Greek islands but it’s definitely worth a visit.

We did however spend a ridiculous amount of time wandering around looking for somewhere for Master ATWWAH to eat when he woke up.  And he wasn’t nearly as interested in the windmills that I thought he would be.  Whenever we’re on the M1 in the car he loves the wind turbines we drive past so I thought he’d be well into the bona fide windmills of Mykonos, but it would seem not.  He was much more interested in the giant ice-cream which we later worked out was a bin.  My only disappointment with Mykonos was that the ship was setting sail in the afternoon and we couldn’t stay longer.

Big bin

Is it a giant ice cream or a bin?

And, our final Greek stop was to Katakolon, on the Greek mainland.  Neither me or Mr ATWWAH have been to the Greek mainland before so we weren’t sure what to expect but we weren’t disappointed.  As the ship approached the port it was clear that this wasn’t a dirty city or somewhere dull that the cruise company added to the itinerary to use as a fuel stop.  It was a pretty little town with a promenade of restaurants although the one we ate at was really disappointing.  We decided they don’t really need to impress the cruise travellers as you’re only there for a little while and aren’t going to be looking to eat there the next day.  There was a little train which took you to a winery and a secluded beach which definitely filled the time while we were there.  Master ATWWAH loved the train, so much in fact that it inspired a tantrum when the journey ended about how he ‘needed’ to get back on the train.  Much like ‘ I want…’, ‘I need….’ is a new addition to his vocabulary, not a welcome one either.

katakolon

Secluded Katakolon beach

Although I must admit as we sailed away from Katakolon and headed back to Venice via a day at sea I was very tempted myself to have my own ‘I need…’ tantrum mainly along the lines of ‘I need to stay here….’

 

 

9 Comments
  1. Hi there,

    Very useful article, thanks. We will be taking the same cruise on the 4th of October and we have a 2 year old and a 4 year old. We are wondering whether we should take any shore excursions or whether we should just walk around with the children and explore at our own pace. Please can you give us some ideas – most appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Praveen

    • Hi Praveen,
      Thanks for getting in touch and I’m glad you found the post useful.
      I’m so jealous you are doing that cruise as it is great and the ship is such a nice size, not too big but big enough.
      We didn’t do any of the excursions as Master ATWWAH was two and most of the excursions are for a minimum of four hours and we weren’t sure he would have the stamina. It also means you have to get off the ship at specific times and we preferred to do stuff in our own time.
      Corfu Town is easy to get to by foot and there is loads to see and do in your own time. Mykonos is the same, it is nice to wander around on your own, definitely head to the windmills.
      Santorini is more difficult as you have to get on a tender to the shore and it may be worth waiting for the crowds to leave first. Also when you get there you then queue for a cable car or can do a donkey ride to the top. Definitely take water and sun hats as the queue is pretty long, we went in Sept and were surprised how busy it was. Another ship was there too so it was busy. Santorini is really cobbled if you have a pram so be warned. I’ve had a look at the excursion and personally I wouldn’t take young kids on it as there was a lot of walking. The best thing to do in Santorini is have a wander and enjoy the views.
      Katakolon has an excursion to ancient Olympia which looks interesting but may not appeal to little ones. Instead the little train in the town takes you on a elite which stops at a lovely beach and a vineyard which didn’t seem to mind kids roaming about.
      So, if I was you I’d do your own thing. I didn’t see any kids on any of the excursions we went past, they were generally lots of middle aged people.
      One thing that isn’t mentioned in the post is the evening entertainment on board. Each night there are two shows and the early one is definitely worth a try with the kids. I think it is 7pm it starts, we used to go for an early dinner and then to the show and Master ATWWAH was ready for bed after it.
      Have a great time and please get in touch when you get back to let me know what you thought.

  2. Hi Mrs. Atwwah,

    Many thanks for your feedback. I didn’t see your reply until today (thought that I would receive an email alerting me to your reply). In the meantime, I did my own research and came to pretty much the same conclusion regarding the tours except for Santorini where we are taking a private tour (pretty much the same cost as what the ship would charge for a group tour). Have checked the feedback on the tour operator on trip advisor and it is promising.

    Thanks for the tip on the shows – will certainly try them out.

    I will certainly get in touch once I am back. Many thanks for your help again.

    Regards,
    Praveen

    • Sounds great and apologies about the lack of email alerting you to a reply, I’ll look into it.
      Have a great holiday, look forward to hearing from you soon,
      Mrs ATWWAH

  3. Hello Mrs. ATWWAH,

    How did you get along in the cabin? The hubby and I thought about taking a cruise with our 14 month old sometime this summer, but we don’t want to be stuck in a dark cabin without being able to do much after we put him down for bed. I am a stickler for keeping his sleep routine once we arrive at our destination, so he’s not completely exhausted throughout the day. He goes to bed at 7:15PM the latest. Our lil guy has done some extensive travel in his 14 months (and on one trip we got stuck eating in the bathroom of the hotel in order not to wake him (I cringe every time I think about it). The monitor for some odd reason didn’t reach the outside of our hotel room door, so we were stuck!
    From my experience on cruising the Caribbean in our pre-baby days, the cabins (even the bigger ones) are tight quarters….can you give us some advise on the cabin/room situation? Did you take turns taking care of the lil one or did you both call it a night after putting him down for bed?

    • Hi,

      Thanks for your comment. We were a bit decadent and booked a suite (we got a late deal through NCL) so there was more than enough room. We were all in the same room but there was a handy curtain you could pull across to divide the bedroom and living room areas. We were very spoilt for room.

      We don’t tend to use babysitting services etc, so if we can, do stretch to a bigger room so we still have an evening once Master ATWWAH is asleep, even more important now we have Mini ATWWAH too. Which cruise line were you thinking of? There are some which definitely cater more for families than others. I agree you don’t want to be stuck in a tiny cabin once your little boy is asleep.

      Let me know how you get on. Cruises are great holidays with kids. We are off to Croatia this year on a cruise.

      Thanks
      Mrs ATWWAH

  4. What a detailed and well-written summary of your Greek adventure. I have never done a cruise before, but I have started leaning more towards the idea – as there’s such good facilities for children. And you get to see a lot without the stress of travelling to airports! I love the Greek Islands, I’ve stayed in all the above you’ve mentioned except for Katakolon, which looks really pretty. I bet you were sad to be leaving! Thanks so much for linking up with #MondayEscapes

  5. I’ve only been to Mykonos which was lovely but Santorini always sounds fabulous (although not quite so much with a toddler!)

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