Here are a few reasons Greece should be at the top of your list: Friendly locals that are happy to speak English and share their enviable Greek-island lifestyle. Great roads that link amazing sights, including some of the world’s finest archeological treasures. Clean air and a glass-like sea. The food is local, fresh and healthy. The wine is light and refreshing.
Why haven’t your cycling friends flocked to Greece? Although numerous Greek Islands offer a perfect day of sights and cycling, getting from one to the next is a frustrating experience that typically wastes an entire day. Without a chartered yacht this great week of rides would take two weeks, and becomes too exhausting for a vacation.
Our chartered yacht-dimensioned cruise ship is the sublime solution. A luxurious “hotel” that cruises from one carefully-selected island to the next while we sleep. A week of Greek Island cycling—without a need for ferries or repacking.
Energetic cyclists will enjoy the morning climb from sea level, a chance to warm up while ascending out of a picturesque port. Others will opt for our morning boost, a short shuttle that gets you and your bike to the top of the ride’s tallest summit.
Our boost is a head start that gives you time to enjoy cultural exploration while providing a mostly downhill day of cycling. Both daily options are included as part of our cruise package, and you’re free to choose either on any day.
Our cruise starts and ends in Athens, the cradle of Western Civilization. Twice as old as Paris and half-again older than Rome, today’s Athens is safe, inviting and vibrant.
From our many weeks of scouting and cycling Greece, Jan’s favorite island is Kos, the birthplace of science and medicine.
We’ll learn about the island’s favorite son, Hippocrates, while enjoying guided tours of Asclepion and an ancient windmill.
My favorite island is Rhodes, where our ride starts from a fishing village, enjoys a scenic lunch at a local vineyard, and ends at the island’s oldest port.
Rhodes’ walled and gated capital has wondrous food and architecture, and was the site of one of the ancient wonders of the world.
On Santorini we worked with local cyclists to map out great rides, but their tip for a hike through villages that cling to the edge of the caldera is even better.
Whether you hike or bike, this day includes a luxurious cliff side sampling of Santorini’s wines.
Some days our ride will link two ports on one island. On one day we’ll explore two famous and adjacent islands—Mykonos and Delos—without moving the ship.
After a morning ride on the jet setters’ island of Mykonos, we’ll be ferried to a guided tour of Delos, the mythical birthplace of Apollo. This prime island for archaeology is also a Greek national park.
Our rides on the island of Paros glide past Greek windmills and reach a hidden hillside village. Jan’s favorite bakery has a resident chocolatier!
On Andros our ride through ferns, forests, orchards stops at a spring and ends at a seaside taverna. Today our distillery tour includes a tasting of Tsipouro, an un-aged Greek brandy.
Naxos, one of the larger islands, has smooth roads linking a castle, vineyards, an entertaining tour of an Ouzo distillery, quaint villages, and an unfinished 100-foot tall statue of Dionysus that has slumbered in a quarry for 2600 years.
La Belle de L’Adriatique
Greek Isles 2021
We’ve chartered the 110-meter (yacht-dimension) La Belle de L’Adriatique for our new Greek Cycling Odyssey. Equipped with advanced stabilization and ultra-green power plants, La Belle was the first cruise ship to use Z-drive propulsion. This unique capability allows her to operate out of our hand selected cycling-specific ports, including many that can’t be used by other cruise ships.
Launched by CroisiEurope in 2007 and renovated in 2017, this unique Belgian-flagged cruiser has 100 soundproofed staterooms in five categories.
All 5 categories have a private bath, spacious floor plan, king-width beds that can covert into separate full-width twins, individually-controlled A/C, and large view windows.
The cuisine is exceptional. Breakfast includes bountiful buffets created by our 5-star chef. Each evening your waiter will present a new four course menu—listing an array of choices for you to select from.
Is beer & wine included with dinner? Of course!
The main Lounge has seating for all our guests and is a great place to relax and mingle with your fellow cyclists. The quieter aft lounge is a great place to catch up on emails, or read a nice book. The bar, located on the Sun Deck, enjoys breathtaking 360-degree views.
Onboard wi-fi is included, as is expert wash-and-fold laundering of your valuable cycling wear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Greek Isles 2021
Q: What are the exact dates?
A: October 24 to November 1, 2021. 9-Days/8-Nights.
Q: Why October?
A: Greece is too hot and crowded in the summer. By October the crowds have thinned and the cycling weather is perfect. Mornings in the low 70’s and afternoons in the mid to high 70s. Plus, most of us reach peak cycling fitness in the early fall.
Q: What’s the cost?
A: Due to the current strength of the dollar our first-in per-person pricing for this 9-day cycling cruise starts at $3,699 per-person. Booking early is easy and RISK FREE. Our reservations page shows pricing of available staterooms.
Q: What about tipping?
A: Jan and I don’t accept tips. A comprehensive “cruise extras” fee of $450 per person includes a long list of port fees, off-ship activities, admissions, interpretive guides, sight fees, and ride support (gps route files, morning shuttles to give casual riders a head start, Sergio’s Coach for non-riders and riders who want a day off, and an SOS van driven by a pro mechanic). Note that this is less than the average cruise passenger pays for week of “deluxe excursions.” Shipboard gratuities of $150 per person includes wash & fold laundry and valet bike handling.
Q: Are all staterooms the same?
A: The efficiently-scaled La Belle de L’Adriatique has 100 double occupancy staterooms in five categories (sorry, no singles or triples). Launched in 2007 and refurbished in 2017, all rooms in all categories feature exterior view and private bath. Instead of suites and/or balconies La Belle has large public areas and lots of deck space. Four of the five categories have full-width twins that convert to a king width double.
Q: Traveling Solo?
A: We’d love to have you join us, and we won’t make you pay full pair of fares for a double occupancy room. A Single Supplement Fee is available for C & D Category Staterooms, and is 50% of the second passenger’s fare.
Q: How are staterooms assigned?
A: In any sub-category all rooms are identical. Using the PayPal timestamp, those who reserve earliest get the conveniently located staterooms closest to the front of the ship. If friends desire a pair of adjacent staterooms the timestamp of the first reservation determines the location of both rooms. In short, out of fairness to all our guests, we will not take requests for specific room numbers. Those who book early obtain prime positioning.
Q: Are rental bikes available?
A: Yes. If you own a nice bike that fits, however, bringing it with you is relatively easy and inexpensive. More info on this in Bill’s Travel Tips. Single bike rental rates are about $450 per person for the event, includes delivery and retrieval in Athens.
Q: How do we get to and from the tour?
A: Detailed info by November ’20. Those who arrive and leave on the embark and disembark days will receive FREE airport transfers from Athens’ ATH Airport at the start of our cruise, and FREE airport transfers to Athens’ ATH Airport at the end of our cruise.
Q: How many miles each day?
A: In addition to our daily pair of zero-mile options (cruising on the ship or grabbing a seat on our Panoramic-Window coach), every day has multiple cycling routes. Anyone who can ride 40 flat miles will be able to enjoy all seven days of cycling. If you prefer hills or want to ride up to 80 miles a day, we’ve got you covered. At each morning’s breakfast you’ll get a map charting the day’s cycling routes and recommended stops. During a brief route talk you’ll hear about each route’s grades and difficulty. Santana’s vets have learned to love and rely on their handlebar-mounted gps unit. Costing as little as $200, these touch-screen marvels prevent the age-old problem of getting lost or riding unplanned miles. Santana supplies free electronic mapping and route files. Simply select the route and follow the highlighted map.
Q: What’s the next step?
A: To lock-in availability and the lowest pricing on a RISK-FREE basis, reserve your space through our PayPal portal. PayPal’s secure website is open 24 hours per day, accepts all major credit cards, and automatically adjusts for remaining stateroom availability.
Q: What do you mean by RISK-FREE?
A: When you use your credit card and book through PayPal, we’ll give you 14 risk-free days to think it over and clear your schedule. If you change your mind, send an email to Matt@SantanaAdventures.com within two weeks to cancel the PayPal transaction and obtain a full refund. Here is a full listing of Santana Adventures’ Terms & Conditions.
Q: What if we change our minds after 14 days?
A: Because full-boat charters are binding, non-cancelable contracts, Jan and I will only enter into this charter based on your confirmed-through-PayPal commitment. In effect, we undertake a huge risk by guaranteeing full payment on your behalf. After entering into this obligation, we cannot afford for you to back out—for any reason. This is no different than the clear written policy that existed for all except one of Santana’s prior chartered-ship cruises (this charter will be our 65th!). While preparing for our 2009 Danube event I neglected to include the following proviso. That’s the year a group of friends, after verbally agreeing to pay in full and then stringing Jan along for many months, decided to cancel their plans. Lesson learned! Here it is (again) in writing:
Santana’s acceptance of your registration and non-refundable deposit for this event is subsequent to your agreement to pay the remaining balance in full. While Santana allows limited refunds on rallies and tours, Santana’s cruises are non-cancelable and non-transferable. When the possibility of paying yet not attending is unacceptable, Jan and I recommend Travel Guard trip insurance. For the past 20 years hundreds of our clients have relied on Travel Guard coverage without complaint. An informative application will be mailed with your invoice; and further information is available online. Here is a full listing of Santana Adventures’ Terms & Conditions.
Q: Have you ever relaxed your refund policy?
A: Jan and I have willingly resold a number of fully prepaid staterooms for a fee of $500 per person—which was waived when a vacating couple found someone to take their place. When there has been more than one pending resell request, those who paid-in-full earliest had their space resold next. Using this non-guaranteed method (which is grossly inferior to trip insurance) Jan and I have cheerfully refunded over $500,000 in otherwise non-refundable and non-transferable cruise fares. Here is a full listing of Santana Adventures’ Terms & Conditions.
Q: What’s the difference between a SAG-wagon and Santana’s SOS/treasure vans?
A: Most tour companies use SAG-wagons that haul luggage and “sweep” the route between overnight stops. The drivers refill water-bottles, fix flat tires, and retrieve riders who can’t manage the easiest route between the widely spaced hotels. The problem, of course, is that the roving vans tend to be annoying until you actually need help. At that point it’s common to wait for two or more hours until one shows up. Although SAG drivers can fix a flat, they don’t have the tools or know-how to handle serious mechanical problems. Instead, they drive you to a bike shop (which explains why SAG-wagons disappear for hours at a time). This tour’s SOS van is driven by a pro bike mechanic who brings tools and spares. When you phone him with the coordinates from your GPS, he’ll arrive in a flash to get you back in the saddle. Because Santana expects participants to fill their own bottles, fix their own flats, and choose a ride they can finish, our SOS drivers are underworked, and have time to retrieve your shopping treasures.
Q: Are beverages included?
A: Beer & Wine are included at dinner. Other alcohol is not included but can be charged to your room. Soft Drinks, Coffee, Espresso Drinks, and Juice are all complimentary at meal times.
Q: Which meals are included?
A: During Santana’s earlier charters of Croisi cruises the culinary staff appreciated our appetites as much as we appreciated their multi-course gourmet meals. Croisi’s 5-star chef will curate a new menu for each meal, and will always include a surprising selection of local fruits and produce, regional specialties, the freshest-possible seafood, vegetarian options, and grilled-to-order meats. A changing assortment of desserts and pastries are produced aboard each day. Breakfast and Lunch are served buffet style, perfect for active cyclists. Dinner is a plated multi-course menu with plenty of gourmet options for all of our participants.
Q: Does La Belle have free WiFi? Does the ship have an elevator?
Will there be menu selections for vegetarians, vegans and picky eaters?
A: Yes to all of the above.
Q: What if we have more questions?
A: The easiest way to get help is by phoning or emailing Matt, who is happy to help answer your questions.
+1 (949) 677-7896 Matt@SantanaAdventures.com
Q: What if I run into problems with Reservations or PayPal?
A: The easiest way to get help is by phoning or emailing Matt, who is happy to help guide you.
+1 (949) 677-7896 Matt@SantanaAdventures.com