What to Expect in Greece

What to Expect in Greece

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The sights, the sounds, the history — there’s so much we can’t wait to explore again. And, of course, we’re delighted that you’ll be joining us on this adventure! 

Our return to Greece is just over the horizon, and we couldn’t be more excited. As you know, the world has changed since the last time we set sail. While you can still expect the same Azamara experience you know and love, we’ve set new protocols in place as part of our healthy return to sail. Azamara’s current policy requires all crew and guests ages 12 and older to be fully vaccinated in order to sail with us. Starting March 1st, 2022, all guests must be vaccinated in order to sail with Azamara. The new protocols onboard ensure our guests and crew’s health and safety so that we can get back to exploring new destinations. Beyond onboard changes, we know you are probably wondering what to expect in Greece, so we reached out to our local crew for an inside scoop. Here’s what they had to say.

Traveling to Greece in 2021 

Framed view of the Parthenon at the Acropolis viewed from Filopappou Hill in Athens, Greece.

The citizens of Greece are excited to open their arms and their hearts to visitors, showing them once again the warmheartedness of Greek Philoxenia. The country has completed all preparations and set health and safety measures to make it possible for tourists to once again discover the wonder of ancient monuments, stroll beautiful beaches, and indulge in local cuisine. 

Captain Filippos, a Greek local himself, believes that now and more than ever, the people of Greece are doing their utmost for each and every traveler to ensure they leave Greece with the best memories ever. 

The government has set a huge focus on how Greece can ensure a safe holiday for foreigners and keep their citizens safe. Locals are very cautious about COVID-19, and while masks aren’t mandatory outside, they’re still required indoors. Our very own Heike Berdos says that now is a beautiful time to visit Greece. The cities feel much cleaner with more consciousness of keeping everything clean for the safety of the community. The amount of tourists is not as high as usual during this time, which means you’ll have more intimate interactions with locals, and the opportunity to deeply immerse into the culture. 

The COVID-19 guidelines have allowed most attractions, including museums, galleries, and historic sites, to reopen and operate at reduced capacity. This means you’ll have more space to explore all Greece has to offer, but it also means you’ll need to plan ahead — especially if you’re going ashore on your own.

Knossos palace ruins at Crete island, Greece

Fully vaccinated guests visiting Athens, Mykonos, Heraklion, Santorini, Rhodes, and Cyprus will be able to go ashore either on an Azamara shore excursion or independently, at their leisure. That said, we do encourage you to join us on our fantastic shore excursions. These carefully curated experiences will help you see this tremendous nation in a whole new light. On our shore excursions, you can sample the local wines of Santorini or discover the fascinating history of the legendary Minotaur at Knossos Palace. You can kayak in Cyprus or unearth the lost city of Akrotiri. Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer, a connoisseur of fine wines, a history buff, or simply eager to take in all that Greece has to offer, our excursions provide the perfect opportunity to make unforgettable memories at every port. 

Perhaps best of all, we take care of everything, all you have to do is join the adventure and let us handle the details. Rest assured, our shore excursions follow local health and safety requirements — as well as our own standards — so you can focus on the experiences at hand. 

You might be wondering, what constitutes a "Fully vacinated guest"? These are guests that have received vaccines that are fully approved or authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization. We consider guests who have received a mixed vaccination series consisting of doses from different manufacturers fully vaccinated, as long as their vaccine series meets the following requirements:

  • Must consist of at least two doses of vaccines that are fully approved or authorized for emergency use by the U.S. FDA or the World Health Organization 
  • The 2 doses must be administered at least 28 days apart
  • The final dose must be completed at least 14 days before sailing

Mixed vaccines may not be accepted at all ports of call. Guests who are vaccinated with a mixed series may not be allowed to go ashore at these ports, or may need to undergo additional testing if they wish to go ashore. 

Dining in Greece

Greek salad served by the water in Santorini, Greece

One of our favorite parts of visiting Greece is the food — and we know we’re not the only ones! There’s so much to sample here. In fact, we just shared a closer look at Greek olives and olive oils here on our blog. If you’re hoping to dig into dining during your cruise to Greece with us, here’s what you need to know. 

Currently, cafes, bars, and restaurants that can accommodate patrons for outdoor seating areas are open throughout Greece. Because these venues are currently operating at reduced capacities, you’re sure to enjoy an intimate meal. As for outdoor dining, well, the only thing better than great food is a breathtaking view to go along with it. It won’t take much to get lost in a daydream when it involves picturing yourself enjoying the sunset over Santorini and a delicious meal. 

If you’re looking for local suggestions, our own Captain Filippos recommends Ammoudi Fish Tavern in Santorini, Nikolas Taverna in Mykonos, or Peskesi in Crete. 

What dish are you most excited to try on your cruise to Greece with us?  

Exploring Indoors 

Museums, galleries, and historic sites have reopened their doors to visitors, and their wealth of history is once again ready for you to peruse. When visiting indoor museums and attractions, local health guidelines and procedures require guests to wear approved face coverings. 

At the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, you can lose yourself in one of the most revered museums on Earth. Here, you’ll find the largest collection of Greek artifacts on the planet, including sculptures dating back to the 7th Century BC. There’s also the Egyptian antiquities collection, holding approximately 550 terracotta figurines, a vast jewelry collection, and more. While here, keep your eyes peeled for the Capitoline Venus, the Mask of Agamemnon, and the Antikythera mechanism — the oldest example of an analog computer.  

Entrance of the illuminated modern architecture Acropolis Museum from the Dionisiou Areopagitou Promenade up to the Acropolis at Twilight. Athens, Greece.

There’s also the iconic Acropolis Museum, which holds findings from the Acropolis of Athens archeological site. There are over 4,000 artifacts in the museum’s collection, including the Angelitos Athena, and the Kritios Boy. In addition to the collection, the building the museum calls home is also quite impressive. Much of the building is built over the extensive Acropolis archaeological site, so the floors are often made of thick, transparent glass — allowing visitors to see the excavations below them. It makes for a truly fascinating day of exploration!

Exploring Outdoors 

Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece

Whether you want to roam through ruins or go for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea, around each corner and over every hill (or, in the case of the Acropolis, at the top of the hill), there’s something new to uncover in Greece. 

Our embarkation port, Piraeus, offers the perfect opportunity to explore the wonders of Athens. Heike’s favorite thing to do here is visit the ancient Greek temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion. The temple is located on a hill, overlooking the sea. The scenic drive to the temple is along the Athens Riviera, with plenty of great taverns and beaches you can stop at along the way. 

If you’re feeling adventurous during your time in Limassol, Heike suggests taking the 4x4 Jeep Adventure. You’ll be able to take in all the beauty and nature of the city, driving right through several towns and seeing some waterfalls along the way.  

When exploring the outdoors in Greece, travelers are encouraged to social distance in outdoor spaces and wear masks in circumstances where social distancing is not possible.  

Beaches in Greece

Perissa Beach in Santorini Greece

You’ll find countless of beautiful beaches all across Greece. With social distancing measures in effect, beachgoers will enjoy a little added peace and quiet as they dig their toes in the sand or swim out in the brilliant blue waters.

Some of the crew’s favorite beaches are in Santorini. A drive around the island will show the diverse landscape it has to offer, with both black and red sand beaches along the coast.

We’ll Keep You Informed, Greece Will Keep You Enamored

Acropolis Parthenon Temple,Athens,Greece

When you travel with us, our crew will go above and beyond to keep you informed. If circumstances, guidelines, and local policies change, we’ll make sure you have all the information you need to Explore Well at Sea

Planning on joining us on our return to Greece? Check out this helpful look at the protocols we’ve implemented to make your experience an unforgettable one.

Book your cruise to Greece today.

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