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Close up of wine tasting session with two glasses of wine and grapes in a plate
30 Aug 2024
8 days
From €4700 / per person
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All inclusive cruise hosted by Tim Clarke
Variety Cruises are pleased to announce the first of our new Wine Cruises of Greece. This journey takes us to many of the Greek wine hotspots including Nemea, Santorini, and Tinos. Wine and the making of it is central to this voyage, but as we follow its trail we’ll also discover the limestone crags and wild mountains of the Peloponnese, the breathtaking views of Santorini, and the quieter villages of the Cyclades and Eastern Aegean islands.
We’ll meet leading winemakers, taste at top wineries, and enjoy dinners paired with a specially chosen selection of wines - each exploring the superb native grape varieties of Greece’s many diverse regions.
This exploration will illustrate how the wines of Greece have emerged as some of the most interesting and exciting in the world over the past 25 years, with changes at least as profound as those that have taken place in Chile and New Zealand.
Our on board chef will design classic and regional fare, matching intense local flavours with the unique and varied wines.
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The Wine Cruise celebrates everything that is wonderful and alluring about Greece; the passion of its people, the evening light on the hillsides, remote swim spots in turquoise seas. We’ll call upon quiet harbours, see ancient sites, and discover hidden yet exquisite corners of the country.
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A panoramic view of a port
Day 1 | Friday
Marina Zeas, Athens (3-4 PM) to Spetses:
Begin as you mean to go on with a welcome glass of sparkling wine while you meet your crew and fellow passengers. Evening sail to Spetses and dinner served with wines from the Ionian Sea. Overnight at Spetses.
Gaia Wines, a renowned winery in Santorini, Greece, part of Variety Cruises' wine-themed cruises
Day 2 | Saturday
After a morning arrival into Nafplio, we’ll visit the ancient site of Mycenae. Then on to Nemea - the leading red wine appellation in Southern Greece - to visit the pioneering, top-quality estate, Gaia. Our next visit is also our lunch stop; at Semeli where we’ll taste their range of fine wines from Nemea and Mantineia. Enjoy some free time in Nafplio, one of the most attractive towns in mainland Greece, before we sail south along the coast of Arcadia, letting the anchor down for a swim stop as soon as possible. Dinner on board, paired with select wines from the Peloponnese.
A view of Monemvasia from the sea
Day 3 | Sunday
Monemvasia’s wealth came from its Malvasia (also known as Malmsey), so it’s safe to say wine meant a lot to the mediaeval town. Visit the vineyards with Monemvasia Winery who are re-establishing the island's wine fame. Lunch ashore with freetime in the afternoon; exploration of the old town and taking a dip in the cooling waters are recommended. Tonight’s dinner is on board where we welcome the Tsimbidis family of Monemvasia Winery to dine with us.
View of Serifos island in Greece
Day 4 | Monday
This beautiful, out of the way island, was one a major wine producer. Two interesting estates are leading a revival here using the island's rare indigenous grape varieties. Serifos promises to be the next big thing in the Cyclades after Santorini and Tinos. Free time in the morning to explore the island or go for a swim. After lunch, we will visit the Chrysolora Winery, in the northern part of the island. In the afternoon we will return to our boat for dinner. Late night departure to Santorini.
The picturesque village of Oia in Santorini, Greece, with its iconic white houses and blue domes
Day 5 | Tuesday
Santorini is rightfully known as one of the top spots for white wine in Greece, and has local grape varieties of extraordinary quality. We’ll visit the top winery, Argyros, with century-old vines. Setting sail in the afternoon, we’ll enjoy wines from the Santorini grapes as we cruise through the Cyclades to the Eastern Aegean islands.
A selection of fine wines from Vakakis Winery in Samos, Greece, part of Variety Cruises' wine-themed cruises
Day 6 | Wednesday
This morning we’ll moor in the sleepy fishing village of Ormos before heading inland to visit the inspiring Vakakis winery. Then on to Platanos, its steep vineyard terraces seeded with White Muscat. Over an idyllic lunch we’ll taste a range of Samian wines. Our afternoon sail takes us to the Fourni Isles, rarely visited by tourists and an ideal spot for swimming thanks to its largely untouched beaches. Dinner tonight is paired with wines from Chios and Ikaria, both prized wines in ancient times.
The beautiful interior of Panagia Evangelistria, a famous Greek Orthodox church on the island of Tinos
Day 7 | Thursday
Tinos is a holy island, said to be home to more than 700 churches. It’s also another wine hotspot, known for its Assyrtiko grape; one with extraordinary quality when grown in soils rich with volcanic ash, such as those on Tinos. In the morning we’ll visit emerging star winery, Volacus, before we set sail and moor near Andros for lunch, swimming, and a tasting of Greek wines from international grape varieties. In the afternoon we sail to Piraeus.
A view of a port and a town during sunset
Day 8 | Friday
Breakfast and disembarkation. For those not arranging their own onward transport this morning, we offer an optional tour of Athens including wine tasting and lunch at Kokotos Estate, followed by a transfer to Athens Airport.
Map of Wine tasting Cruise in Greece

In case of severe weather conditions our expertly designed routes are adjusted ensuring your safety & comfort by applying our rich marine knowledge, garnered since 1949. Stay flexible – Adventure on.

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    Tim Liastos, a renowned winemaker in Samos, Greece, showing his vineyard to guests of Variety Cruises
    This carefully curated itinerary was designed by wine expert and wine tourism guru, Tim Clarke. Tim accompanies the cruise as our on-board wine guide and expert. With his wife Lynette Arblaster, he cofounded Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours, which they ran together for nearly 30 years. He has also been engaged in winemaking himself, on the island of Samos. We’re sure you’ll find his enthusiasm for Greece and its wines infectious. We know we do. On this specialty cruise, expect Tim to cover the wine scene from the classical age through to the modern era, and to give you an exceptional insight into the country.
    View of Serifos island.
    This beautiful, out of the way island, was one a major wine producer. Two interesting estates are leading a revival here using the island's rare indigenous grape varieties. Serifos promises to be the next big thing in the Cyclades after Santorini and Tinos.
    Traditional greek white houses and church in greek islands
    This religious centre and agricultural island is the antithesis of the busy, neighbouring tourist island of Mykonos. Tinos' church Panagia Megalochari is one of the most visited churches in Greece. People from all over Greece and the world visit it every year to venerate the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary and make vows.
    Wherever we sail, we do so with purpose. Our mission is to create life-enriching experiences at sea for our guests, and a better world for us all. We’re transparent about carbon emissions, always aiming to improve our footprint. Our journeys are designed to get you closer to the things that matter: whether that’s an island reachable only by boat, or by ensuring your adventure honours and gives back to local communities. We always have fun at sea, but we do it responsibly.
    Winery with barrels
    Bio of wine ambassador Tim Clarke
    Tim Clarke is one of the pioneers of global wine tourism. With his wife Lynette Arblaster, he co-founded Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours, which they ran together for nearly 30 years. At Arblaster & Clarke, Tim was responsible for developing the programme and marketing. Under their ownership, it became the world’s leading wine tours company.
    In the early 1980s, Tim worked in wine-retail in London and saw how fascinated people were by Champagne and the many newly emerging wine regions. In 1986, Tim & Lynette invented the concept of the ‘Champagne Weekend’ and then pioneered wine tours around the world. Tim led the first international consumer wine tours to diverse locations around the world including Australia, Sicily, Ribera del Duero, Uruguay, The Republic of Georgia, and Greece. Indeed, Tim was one of the earliest international commentators to take the Greek wine renaissance seriously.
    After selling Arblaster & Clarke Wine Tours, Tim has been busy with other projects, including making a ‘passito-style’ Muscat wine on the island of Samos, planting a vineyard in Hampshire, and the Wine Routes wine tourism consultancy.
    Tim returned to wine tours in 2019 and has developed superb up-to-the minute tours and wine holidays. He is now very happy to be the Wine Ambassador for Variety Cruises.
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