Trip Planning History Itinerary Photos

Trip Planning

Cocktails - Queen Mary II! Virginia and Chuck on the Queen Mary II on their Transatlantic cruise from South Hampton to New York City.

We thought we might go to Santorini for a quick trip after the COVID-19 pandemic!

Board the Viking Sea on August 20th, 2021 - Tour Malta. Then cruise from the island of Malta to Kalamata and then on to Athens, both on the main land of Greece.

Then cruise to the islands of Santorini and on to Rhodes and finally Crete. Then back to Malta.

I already have been to Sicily and Sardinia on a previous cruise with Virginia in 2018 for my 78th birthday!

I always wanted to go to Santorini and see the cities on the hill sides overlooking the seas.

   Brief Overview of Santorini and a Map


Santorini is one of the top destinations in Greece and is located in the southern Aegean Sea. It belongs to Cyclades, the most well-known Greek group of islands with the characteristic whitewashed villages near the blue sea.

Map of Santorini As a volcanic island which was separated after volcano eruptions, Santorini has many unique characteristics. The capital of the island, Fira, as well as many villages, are located at the edge of the cliffs offering unique views to the volcano and Aegean Sea.

The picturesque small streets in Fira and Oia (pedestrian areas) invite you to get lost in them and discover every little corner of the white painted small houses and alleys, most of which are carved into the cliffs. The atmosphere of the island pulls you like a magnet and makes it hard to let go…

The beaches of Santorini are unique too, with their black colored sand, their clear waters and their diversity, some suitable for those who want to spend a busy day at the beach and others for those seeking calmness and relaxation.


During the Bronze Age, between 2000 and 1650 BC, the island was known as Strongili, which means "rounded" in Greek. The settlement of Akrotiri was one of the Aegean's major ports, mainly because of its strategic position and the trade relationships it had established with other cultures in the Aegean. At that time Akrotiri which was greatly affected by the Minoan civilization of Crete, was a settlement with paved streets, an extensive drainage system, public buildings and market place that produced high quality pottery and art.

Around 1650 BC, the island was heavily affected by one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history, known as the Minoan eruption. The volcano eruption resulted to the sinking of the center big part of the island into the sea and a large caldera surrounded by ash deposits hundreds of meters deep was formed. Three different islands, the one today known as Santorini, Nea Kameni and Thirassia were created.

The island was inhabited again in 13th century BC by the Phoenicians. According to Herodotus, the Phoenicians were so enthrilled by the beauty of Santorini that they settled there and gave it the name "Kallisti" meaning "The most beautiful".

In 8th century BC Santorini was occupied by Lacedaemonians who named it Thera, after the name of their king.

Between 1200 AC and 1579 AC the island was under Byzantine rule. In 1204 AC Santorini was surrendered to the Venetians and in 1207 AC became part of the Duchy of Naxos (also known as Duke of the Aegean). It was during this time that the island was named Santorini as a reference to the Basilica of Agia Irini (Saint Irene - Santa Irini) at the base of the mountain Mesa Vouno.

From 1579 to 1821 the island was under the Turkish rule. It was finally annexed to Greece in 1912.

The most recent earthquake in 1956 destroyed a big part of the island and forced many of its inhabitants to leave. Santorini has started to develop again in the late 1970s with the introduction of the tourism industry.

   The "in" place to eat - the Chef's Table

Chef's Table Dining

Virginia told me she read the Chef's Table was a must for fine dining on the ship and one should make reservations to ensure one got a table. She made an request for us to dine there one evening after I came back from a tour. Read about our not so exciting evening of eating dishes with herbs from the West Indies! Buyer be ware!

Read More about the Chef's Table and our critique.......

Viking Star Chef's Table

This was a taste of our first course, a small glass of purred carrots? And wine of course!

  Itinerary - Day 7

Journey to Santorini's highest peak and explore one of its prettiest towns and an early 18th-century monastery. From our anchorage, you will tender to the island's main port at Athinios. Meet your local guide here for a scenic drive to the cliffside town of Oia, where you will have an opportunity to stroll its narrow, cobblestone streets. Renowned for its whitewashed houses hugging the hills, azure-blue domes and triple bell towers, Oia is a sight to behold. On a clear day, you may see spectacular views of the volcano of Palea and Nea Kameni and the island of Thírassia. Afterward, travel to the Prophet Elias Monastery, a massive 18th-century stone church. One of the oldest churches on Santorini, it sits at the island's highest point and offers the sweeping views of the countryside, from green valleys to the blue sea. Later, return to the tender pier and your awaiting ship.

 Photos of Santorini

High Light of Day

Santorini Tour

Ports of Calls on the Cruise

Cruise Ship - Viking Sea

Santorini Tour

Sailing into the caldera!

Santorini Tour

Check out the road to the top of the cliffs!

Santorini Tour

A tender traking us to the buses.

Santorini Tour

View from the top of the cliffs!

Santorini Tour

There was an earthquake around 1950 and all the buildings were damaged.

Santorini Tour

All the buildings one sees now are brand new!

Santorini Tour

Steep steps.

Santorini Tour

Greek Orthodocs Church added blue to the domes of churches.

Santorini Tour

Clinging to the cliffs!

Santorini Tour

High end shops.

Santorini Tour

Chanel and so on!

Santorini Tour

Houses to look like the old windmills!

Santorini Tour

View of the island, highest point on the island.

Santorini Tour

A monastary on the top.

Interesting facts about water: I believe only Crete has a small river and small lake. A few islands might have a spring or so but they are mostly bone dry. We were told Santorini has terrible winds in the winter, ships and planes might not be able to land here. The winds dry everything out. A few months of rain in the winter must be stored but until recently, water was shipped to the island. Trucks still deliver water to residence. They have started to salinate the sea water, 80 percent of the electricty goes to the salinaiton plant. 20 percent to the locals and businesses. Average cost for water a month, 140 Euros. The island is mostly desert.

Interesting facts about crops: Only two plants are cultivated as there isn't any water to irrigate. A man found out if one takes a grape vine and twist the vine into a basket and the leaves and grapes grow inside, it helps the plant exist from the heat and wind. The only water the plants get is from the morning dew that comes from the sea, the sun comes up and the dew drops fall onto the soil. The plants look about three feet across and one or two feet high! The other plant that can exist is the cherry tomatoe. Also feeds off the morning dew!

Santorini Tour

View from the Explorer Bar!

Santorini Tour

Enjoying a White Lady as we leave Santorini!

White Lady (also known as a Delilah, or Chelsea Side-car is a classic cocktail that is made with gin, cointreau or Triple Sec, fresh lemon juice and an optional egg white. It belongs to the sidecar family, made with gin in place of brandy. The cocktail sometimes also includes additional ingredients, for example egg white, sugar, cream, or creme de menthe.

The classic concoction is most commonly served in a Martini cocktail glass. When an egg white is added a champagne coupe is preferable; the silky foam clings more pleasingly to the curved glass.

Virginia wanted to have the White Lady as the gin might be from Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey was filmed!

In keeping with Highclere Castle's grand tradition of entertaining the most prestigious of guests, we would like to invite you to taste the world's finest Estate Gin. Highclere Castle symbolises a legacy of elegance, hard work, passion and a reputation for perfection and Highclere Castle Gin was designed to reflect this ethos and celebrate the beauty of a by gone era, where elegance reigned supreme.

Created on: 2021.05.17
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Updated on: 2021.09.03