Because so much of what we think of when we think of Greece involves its thousands of islands, it's a place that requires multiple visits in order to get a sense of its diversity. To that end, Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) has a trip that will make accomplishing that much more doable with a slew of specials, including one that involves Athens and a three-day cruise on the Aegean Sea, with stops on the islands of Mykonos, Rhodes, and Patmos.
The package includes round-trip flights from New York City to Athens, five nights of accommodations, 11 meals and transfers, sightseeing per itinerary, and airline fuel surcharges. Airport taxes and fees, and the $60 port charge are not included. The package is priced from $1,299 for land and air; $649 for land only. Generally, the best prices are found for travel in early spring and late fall -- departures March 3, 17, and November 10 are the least expensive. The accommodations include two nights at Stanley Hotel in Athens, a large, tourist class facility that is close to the Acropolis and other attractions. Once you arrive you are able to balance your stay with a tour of Athens (including the ruins of the Temple of Zeus and the Acropolis), and time to yourself to explore the city itself. And then once you are on board your cruise, you'll stop in Mykonos and Rhodes, the latter of which is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with Patmos and a stop in the western Turkish seaside city of Kusadasi, which is also home to -- you guessed it -- ancient ruins, specifically, Temple of Artemis and Ephesus.
In terms of the cruise portion of the trip, the accommodations are a standard inside cabin, but you can upgrade for an additional fee. Likewise, you can opt for a different departure gate for an additional fee. There is no booking deadline, but as with most specials, the prices are based on availability.