Sails in the sun
Greek Wine Cruise
6 - 13 June 2009
“SAILING THE WINE DARK SEA”
This was a superb Wine Cruise in June 2009 on the magnificent Star Clipper in Greece.
Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours and Andante Travels – leading specialists in Wine Tours and Archaeology holidays made a special journey, with our own wine guides and archaeology guides, leading experts in their fields. We discovered the ‘new wave’ wines of Greece and enjoyed tastings with many of the top producers in southern Greece and the Aegean Islands. We visited many of the great sites of antiquity, including Athens, Delos, Mycenae and Knossos.
Each day you will awake to new landscapes and fresh discoveries – early risers may even see a school of dolphins playing in the bow wave. We have put together a really flexible programme so that you can mix and match each day as you wish – winery visits, archaeology, idle people-watching on the harbour-side with an ouzo and a meze; a day of swimming and snorkelling… a buffet lunch will be included on board should you wish to return for a siesta.
We witnessed the re-emergence of Greece as a serious wine-producing country where the dramatic changes in Greek wines and the advances in quality over the last 20 years are perhaps un-equaled anywhere in the world.. The Wine Guides presented a panoply of wines in tutored tastings in the relaxing setting of the open air Tropical Deck and over dinner each evening.
Every evening, as we sailed out of the harbour, a gourmet dinner is served and conversation flowed, enhanced by the selection of wines chosen to complement the meal. After dinner upstairs we enjoy the warm night air sitting in a deck chair and watched the billowing sails against the night sky.
Just like the finest private yachts, The Star Clipper combines style, detail and nautical tradition.
The ship is generally spoken of as four-star (although sailing ships of this nature are not officially classified). We believe that the overall experience on a small ship is vastly superior to larger cruise ships, however you should note that the cabins are not as big as one would find on larger cruise ships of a similar rating and there is no “room service” to the cabins.
There is a small pool, a spa pool, an outdoor tropical bar, a piano bar, a library, a dining room and a small shop onboard.
The ship is crewed by a Captain and sailors who love to sail, and whenever wind conditions are favourable, as many sails as possible on this magnificent ship will be hoisted. It is a wonderful sight! There is an open-bridge policy and you are welcome to chat to the Captain and 1st Officer at any time. There will be a maximum of 136 passengers.
Below is a ‘menu’ of choices from which you can build your own personal itinerary. This is not just a special interest cruise, you can tailor the itinerary to your special interests. Each day, choose from visits to leading wineries and/or fabulous sites of the ancient world, just laze in the sun, swim or snorkel from nearby beaches… or find a taverna on the harbourside.
The archaeological story of Ancient Greece unfolds as we travel: a series of talks by our experts prepares you for the themes of the day, and each visit builds on the last. We will be sailing the waters in the wake of Cycladic artists, Minoan traders, Homer’s heroes, the warrior kings of the Trojan wars, Greek warships of the days of Pericles, Roman colonists and Byzantine traders.
At the same time we follow another theme – that of the history and development of wines in the Aegean. On most evenings there will be a tutored wine tasting and on shore we will be visiting some of the leading wineries at the cutting edge of modern wine making. Together, these make a wonderfully exciting story.
Please first book your cabin to assure your passage on this special journey. We will then send final prices and further details of the excursions below as soon as they are available, tailoring each trip according to demand. *Excursions marked *£ carry a charge of between £15 and £65 (where a special lunch is included).
Optional Pre Cruise Day – Athens
The city of Athens is regarded as the birthplace of democracy and western civilisation. Spend some time settling into the Greek way of life and
discovering the treasures of the National Museum, the artistic expression of thousands of years, gathered from the sites you will be visiting during your voyage. A private coach meets our included flight to drive to our excellently located 4-star hotel below the Acropolis and close to the bustling old-town Plaka area of tavernas and bazaars. Continue to the National Archaeological Museum after checking into our hotel. Meet the archaeologists who will be accompanying you on the cruise before an independent dinner.
Day One – Piraeus
If you choose the Pre-cruise option, this morning there will be a walking tour to introduce you to the ancient city of Athens, including the Acropolis, where the exciting new museum should be open in time for our visit. There are lots of tavernas and restaurants from which to choose your own lunch in central Athens.
Drive from the hotel to the Naval Museum at Piraeus for the history of sailing to and from this ancient harbour. Check onto the ship.
If you choose to arrive today on one of our included flights, our private coach and tour manager will meet you to drive to the ship for check-in. Sail overnight from Piraeus to Nafplion on the Peloponnese. On Board – Check in, welcome drink and dinner with wines
Day Two – Nafplion
Nafplion itself is an attractive harbour town overlooked by a Medieval/Venetian fortress. For us it is the entrance to the land of Homer’s heroes, the wild and beautiful interior of the Peloponnese with its craggy mountains, vineyards and the most important Mycenean Bronze Age sites.
Explore Mycenae, capital of King Agamemnon, with our archaeologists (free visit). Return for late lunch on board. This afternoon relax on the boat or explore the delightful harbour-town of Nafplion.
Morning guided visit to Mycenae (free of charge). Continue to the stateof-the-art Chateau Helios for lunch in the stunning vineyards at Nemea where the top local producers will join us to present their wines (lunch and wine-tasting at additional cost). *£
On Board – Introductory talk – The Chronology of Ancient Greece, wine tasting before dinner, dinner with wines from the Peloponnese.
Sail south overnight to Monemvasia.
Day Three – Monemvasia
Spend morning/afternoon or all day relaxing on board, or exploring Monemvasia – quite simply one of the most beautiful small towns of Greece with a lovingly restored lower town and ruined citadel on a small peninsula. OR…
Walk up to explore the Byzantine Fortress with our archaeologists and return for lunch on board.
This morning visit the winery responsible for the resurgence of the wines of Monemvasia. Return for lunch on board. *£
An afternoon visit to the winery as above. *£
Spend the afternoon on a good swimming beach.
On Board – Morning talk – Byzantine Greece, wine tasting before dinner, dinner with wines.
Sail overnight to Crete.
Day Four – Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos
Either disembark at Heraklion, the capital of Crete, and take one of the options below, or stay on board and sail east to berth at Agios Nikolaos.
Walk to the National Archaeological Museum to see the exhibition of “Highlights” (main museum may be being refurbished). Drive to the palace attributed to King Minos at Knossos, the most famous site of the Minoan world. Lunch at one of the top wineries of Crete, before rejoining our ship at Agios Nikolaos. We set sail late tonight, so there will be time for an aperitif on the harbour before the sun goes down. *£
: Morning free in Heraklion, join party for lunch at winery as above. *£
On Board – Early evening talk – Cycladic Culture, Art and Seafaring, dinner with wines.
Sail overnight to Santorini (where we will drop anchor in the volcanic crater).
Day Five – Santorini
There will be tenders to the shore. Set off to explore on your own, OR…
Explore Ancient Thira and the museum in modern Fira where the finds are displayed, return to ship for lunch. *£
+Option 2: +As above, then drive to the pretty, clifftop village of Oia for a lazy lunch in one of the many tavernas – there is a lovely view down over the caldera and our ship below. *£
Morning visit to a winery on the beach and return to the ship for lunch. *£
Winery visit as above and free time in Oia over lunch. *£
Explore Thira in the morning with free time in Oia over lunch and visit a winery for a tasting in the afternoon. *£
On Board – The Greek Gods and Temple Architecture evening talk before dinner, dinner with wines.
Sail overnight to Samos.
Day Six – Samos
Lying close to the Turkish coastline, Samos is a large, mountainous and verdant island, well known for its sweet wine and as the home of
Pythagoras. We berth here, so it will be easy to explore Pythagoria on foot and return for lunch on board.
Morning visit to Samos museum where the finds and statuary from the famous Heraion are housed. Back to ship for lunch on board. *£
Wine – we are planning into the beautiful interior to vineyards, followed by a fascinating these delicious wines. *£
Afternoon short drive Heraion, elaborate temple complex Goddess Hera. *£
On Board – Pre-dinner tutored wine tasting. Captains Dinner.
Sail overnight to Delos.
Day Seven – Delos and Paros
Early arrival to drop anchor by the sacred island of Delos, with its famous temple sanctuaries which take up much of the surface area of this tiny island. By tender to explore on foot. Return to ship and set sail for Paros, taking lunch whilst under way. Paros boasts the most famous church in the Cyclades – Panagia Ekatontapyliani – Our Lady of the Hundred Gates, actually three churches in one, dating from AD326.
This afternoon you may wish to relax on board, explore Paros town OR…
Late afternoon winery visit to Moraitis, the top producer in Paros, in Naoussa. *£
Visit the famous church.
On Board – “Blind tasting” before dinner, dinner with wines from Macedonia.
Sail westwards overnight back to Piraeus on the Greek mainland.
Day Eight – Piraeus
Coaches await us on the harbourside when we berth in Piraeus this morning to transport us either to Thorikos and Cape Sounion or for a brief
time in Athens.
Our final lunch together (unless you have chosen to leave the party earlier) will be a grand send-off, as we have been invited by Anne and George Kokotos for lunch at their Chateau Semeli, one of Greece’s premier wine estates. From here we will be driven back to Athens airport for flights home, or to leave the party.
Flights home or onward journey.
Please contact us ugently as cabins are now limited, although there is still availability in most classes.
Visit the Download Centre to download the Wine Cruise Brochure now!
This Ship has literally sailed so please refer to our 2010 itinerary for our 2010 Wine Cruise on
The Sailing Cruiser Panorama.
Athens to Malta Wine Cruise.