The Greek Islands, Irresistible magic to make the sanest man go mad!
Homer was writing about the heat of love, but what passengers on a cruise have not felt that love, that magic, the first time they sailed into the caldera of Santorini in the island group of the Cyclades, and beheld the old city of Thira rising a thousand feet above them on the lip of the volcano? The magic would increase when they heard the story that, when this volcano blew in the 16th century before Christ, the tsunami that followed destroyed the Minoan civilization in Crete and this very city on the volcano island itself, Atlantis, now called Santorini.
Wow! What island needs a marketing or public relations consultant with a history or mythology like that?
Sailing serenely into Santorini is a mystical experience not unlike navigating into New York Harbor and, appropriately humbled, gazing upon the Statue of Liberty. There are, of course, other places in the world with signature landmarks that thrill visitors, Niagara Falls, for example, and Machu Picchu and the Eiffel Tower and maybe even London Bridge, but there’s a particular tranquility in reaching this Greek Treasure Island easily on a placid sea. You don’t arrive exhausted, bombarded with noise as you might if you are there to see the Pyramids.
Let’s talk about cruising the Greek islands for a moment. It was complicated even before amateur politicians in charge of Greece really started to lose their way. The cruise lines have not had a proper grip on what the public really wants which is: cruise lines not building huge ships that would dominate any island visited and destroy the essence, the charm, the very identity of the island itself. This concern is not unique to Greece cruising. We see it in the Caribbean where ships too large for the Panama Canal are also essentially too large for the harbors of the Caribbean islands so the cruise lines with those gargantuan ships have constructed places to tie down, artificial islands, if you will, where shore excursions don’t bring cash to Mom and Pop island shops selling straw hats and native crafts but to retail stores owned by the cruise line. As is said, “Follow the money!”