If there’s one cruise destination that offers something for everyone—be it history buffs, shopping enthusiasts, photography enthusiasts, adventure seekers, or beach bums—it’s the Greek Isles. And the best time to go, for many, is after summer draws to a close. Read on for five reasons why a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Greek Isles this fall should be on your wish list.
1. The Weather Is Perfect
Cruise season in the Greek Isles runs from May until late October, and temperatures can top 100 degrees in July and August. Though hot temperatures in September and October are not uncommon in the Aegean region, it’s comfortably cooler in fall. Throughout the season, the Mediterranean waters are still warm and at their best for swimming, and the pleasant atmosphere makes shore excursions—where you might tour ancient ruins, wander quaint seaside villages, snap envy-inducing panoramics from the peak of a cliff, and finish it all with an ouzo tasting—even more unforgettable.
2. Crowds Are Smaller
The summer months typically lure the most vacationers, both American and European. Come September, most kids are back in school and the crowds have thinned out, so you’ll have space when you browse the cafés and shops along the narrow streets in Crete’s historic quarter. A fall cruise is ideal for everyone, when brilliant blue water, gleaming white buildings, and breathtaking sunsets create an especially picturesque backdrop without any distractions.
3. Things Are More Relaxed
Not only is it more temperate with fewer travelers overall, many local business owners and residents are just returning from their own month-long holiday in August—a traditional vacation period for most of Europe—and things are moving at a leisurely, pleasant pace. You’ll also have the chance to engage more with the locals at the piers and tavernas you visit as you immerse yourself in each port of call you explore.
4. It’s Sort Of A ‘Sample Season’
For the enterprising traveler, cruising is an irresistibly convenient way to sample the varied experiences offered throughout the Greek Isles. On Royal Caribbean, itineraries may go to Athens, Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, Argostoli, or Katakolon, and can include stops in Italy, Turkey, Montenegro, or Croatia. The trip spares you from a dizzying exercise in planning logistics, freeing you up to dive into the rich cultural experiences each port offers.
Imagine it: in Corfu, you can hop on a 4-wheel-drive vehicle for a high-octane trek through the area’s northern back roads and villages; in Katakalon, archaeological buffs can go on a guided excursion in Ancient Olympia. Gourmands won’t want to miss walking the narrow streets of Mykonos Town, popping into charming shops along the way, before departing for Assimomitis Winery & Vineyards, where they’ll meet the owner and taste several wines. And in each island’s villages, opportunities to sample freshly caught seafood at traditional eateries are ample. You can do all of this—and more—in the span of a week.
5. Shoulder Season Perks
The later in the season you’re willing to travel, the better value you’re apt to find, and this goes for overall pricing, from airfare to expenses on the islands themselves. Keep an eye out for special offers for travel in mid- to late-October this year—and don’t forget that planning as far in advance as possible will net you the best results all-around.
There’s hardly a bad time to cruise the Greek Isles, but the fall brings with it several added bonuses that can make the experience that much sweeter. Check out Royal Caribbean’s Mediterranean cruise itineraries and get ready for your next vacation.