Image: Crete
Aris Messinis  /  AFP - Getty Images file
A carriage horse waits for tourists at the Venetian harbour in the old port of Chania on the island of Crete in southern Greece.
updated 3/18/2009 10:04:57 AM ET 2009-03-18T14:04:57

The deal
Mainstream cruise lines have been launching massive new ships full of enticing amenities, but the bigger they are, the fewer places they’ll sail. Variety Cruises’ fleet consists of smaller ships, allowing them to visit lesser-known areas where other lines simply cannot fit.

Although smaller ships often mean larger prices, the cruise line just announced some deeply discounted Greek Island voyages, totaling up to $750 per person (or $1,500 per cabin). Our editors have found a top-notch mega-yacht sailing jam-packed with these incredible deals starting from just $1,540 per person.

Plus, this sweet offer also includes two free nights at a 4-star Athens hotel, and a free half-day sightseeing tour around the city, for a combined savings of up to 79 percent.

Classical Greece cruise from $1,540
This classical seven-night cruise onboard the Harmony V, or Harmony G, kick starts on day one by sailing the Aegean Sea to the beautiful beaches surrounding the island of Kea. From there, take an optional tour of Delos, en route to the more popular tourist destination of Mykonos.

While in Mykonos, take a full day to explore this sophisticated city before heading to the small volcanic island of Santorini. During their stay here, passengers can opt to take a tour of the archaeological sites and villages throughout this iconic area, before sailing on to the island of Crete later that evening.

It's A Snap! Readers' best shotsAfter wandering through bustling Heraklion, take some time to visit the ancient city of Knossos. Legend has it that King Minos, the minotaur once lived below the 4,000 year-old ruins in a massive labyrinth.

After a stop in Crete’s popular town of Rethymnon, with an optional tour of the old town, you will continue on to the Byzantine village of Monemvassia. The final leg of the journey finds you in Nafplion, the original capital of Greece, where you’ll stay overnight. Before departing Nafplion, be sure to tour Mycenae, the historic palace of Agamemnon, the Achaean king. Later that afternoon you will arrive at the car-free island of Spetses — the perfect way to wrap up your cruise.

The following morning you'll depart from Marina Zeas, Piraeus after a final breakfast. Rates start at $1,540 per person, (after the discount) with sailing dates from April 24 to Oct. 30. The tours and free hotel stays in Athens are available before or after your cruise, but must be used consecutively. Some of the centrally-located hotel choices include Royal Olympic, Electra Palace Hotel, and The Athens Gate Hotel.

The dollars
All prices are per person and based on double occupancy. Accommodations, meals, some beverages, entertainment, 2-night hotel stays, a half-day tour, and port charges are covered in the cost. Government fees and taxes, as well as off-boat expenditures are extra.

The catch
In order to get the free 4-star Athens hotel and half-day sightseeing tour, you must book a category A or B cabin.

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