Sunday, August 20, 2023

Interested in our Greece Trip/Ship

Nearly everyone we have shared the Greece trip with has asked how I found it.  I honestly am not really sure.  I know I wanted a cruise, after getting Andy to abandon the notion of a chartered sailboat trip with a captain and cook.  And then I know I wanted a small ship as we are spoiled on other low ratio trips where we get to know staff and staff us.  I wanted some inclusive aspects, again me not cooking was part of my argument for not doing the charter.  I think I just Googled and Goggled and stumbled across ....

We flipped through their trips.  And wound up reaching out to them regarding three:

The kids and we quickly dismissed Bali after having spent the last sabbatical in Thailand, Cambobia, & Vietnam.  And after speaking with the agents we decided the second Greek cruise fellow passenger demographics might pose to too large of an age gap to our kids.  So we settled on the Signature Greece Cruise.

We were nervous as we didn't know much about the company, so we read reviews, read through all their policies, and placed our deposit.  We felt a little better when we received a big glossy magazine filled with all their trips and I was able to reach out several times to Nora, who is the travel specialist for this trip to work through cabin selections and ask other questions about amenities.

The trip would include wonderfully appointed rooms (ok they could be a little more generous on the bath shampoo and conditioner, but that is truly our only "even better if")), 2 meals a day on board (generally buffet, except the special ones), lots of free on-board amenities (samba lessons, pilates, cooking lessons as well as hot tub, kayaks, snorkel gear, and more), and transfers.  Additional out of pocket included of course the bar (pricing published upfront), spa (yes there were services on board), guided excusions (but our activities crew was always ready to recommend do it ourself instructions), and gratuity (also recommendations made upfront and really quite affordable).  We added an additional transfer and hotel on for when we landed in Greece before boarding the ship that they booked as well.

We would spend the months ahead researching photos of the ship, passenger reviews, and down right getting excited.  We would find later that Unforgettable Travel was a middle man for The Elysium, the Ship of Elixir Luxury Cruises  The pictures are pretty spot on of the ship.  Here's their Facebook too with videos and more.  The only thing perhaps slightly askew of all their claims was the gym....was very tiny and minimally appointed (notice there are not pictures of it), but Alec still used it a few times and didn't complain.

In regards to service again everything was pretty spot on.  Only two things to note... 1) GMT (Greece Mean Time) means things may or may not happen per the schedule.  Be flexible.  And us being used to "Island Time" in Jamaica this was no problem.  And 2) was the beach party beverages.  We really should have known they were not included, but there were two meals where a cocktail or two were included that were more special set-ups, so we thought this was the same.  Our bartender was usually very diligent about getting our charges right, but on this day our 6 beers became 11 on our tab, but really in the grand scheme of things it wasn't a big deal.

We loved the vibe and energy on the ship.  Our fellow shipmates were a big part of this and this is not always the case as the staff remarked time and time again how we were the best energy all year.  With 6 teens on board and a total of 8 nearly life-long fraternity friends and wives (our two from Purdue and the other 6 from ASU) well we brought the party for sure.  And the staff was incredibly friendly, on it, and always, I mean always, making sure we were taken care of...

We were super happy with this trip.  It was a chunk of change, but felt very much worth it.  Would we recommend it to others - YES!  We might suggest you look into booking straight with Elixir as it appears they give discounts for your 3rd and 4th persons.  I haven't done the math exactly, but it appears at first glance it would save some money.

Here's links to two videos we did of a "ship tour."
And after our 7AM pick-up including the same driver we had when we arrived we were off with the Jarnac family to the Athens Airport and our next adventure - a couple day layover in Paris

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Overall, it sounds like you had a great time spent with Family and Friends. ❤️