The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, three nights' accommodations, most meals, transfers, and a four-night cruise, from $1,679 per person—plus taxes of $282.
When: Through March 29, 2008; add $130 for Nov. 1, 6-8; $400 for Apr. 3-26; $450 for Oct. 23-25, 30, 31, 2008; additional departure dates available.
Gateways: New York City; additional cities available at higher prices.
The fine print: Thursday through Saturday departures only. Breakfast daily, all meals during the cruise, a fuel surcharge of $150, airport-ship and ship-hotel transfers, airport assistance by a Homeric representative, hotel taxes and service charges, and a sightseeing tour in Athens are included. Government taxes and fees, port taxes, and cruise fuel charges are an additional $282. Based on double occupancy; single supplement starts at $640. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Contact: Homeric Tours, 800/223-5570, homerictours.com.
Why it's a deal: For comparison purposes, according to a recent Kayak search on Thursday through Saturday departures in late March, the lowest round-trip fares between New York and Athens start at $913 (Continental; fare includes airport taxes and fees of $115). For about an additional $1,048, which breaks down to about $262 per night, Homeric Tours covers three nights' hotel including breakfast and taxes, an all-inclusive island cruise for four nights, a sightseeing tour in Athens, and all transfers.
Trip details: The includes round-trip airfare between New York and Athens and seven nights' accommodations split between a hotel in Athens and a cruise ship.
The tour starts in Athens. You'll be greeted at the airport by a Homeric Tours staff member and taken to your hotel, where you'll stay for three nights. The starting rate for the package includes a choice of three hotels: the 115-room Grand O', the 84-room Athenian Callirhoe, or the 99-room Athens Gate.
In the morning, you'll go on a guided sightseeing tour of the city, including a visit to the landmark of classical Greek civilizations, the Acropolis.
For the remainder of your stay in the city, you'll be free to explore its treasures on your own. Places of interest include the Agora, an ancient commercial and civic center at the foot of the Acropolis: the National Archaeological Museum; the Byzantine churches, mosques, and mansions that line the narrow streets of the old-town section of Plaka; and Constitution Square, where you can view the changing of the guards ceremony at the symbolic Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Then you'll transfer to Athens's bustling port, Piraeus, to embark on your Greek isle cruise. The first stop of the four-day cruise is Mykonos, one of the smallest islands of the Cyclades—but also the most famous. You'll have about a day to independently explore the island's golden beaches or take a stroll down the streets of the port town of Chora, the island's capital.
Next on the itinerary are Kusadasi, a resort town on the Aegean coast of Turkey, and Patmos, a 13-square-mile Greek isle. Explore each island on your own. Optional excursions (at additional cost) include trips to the ancient city of Ephesus on Kusadasi and to the monastery and cave on Patmos, where the St. John the Apostle is said to have written the Book of Revelation.
Other day stops include Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands; Iráklion, the capital of Crete; and Santorini in the Cyclades, the quintessential picture of white-walled Greek villages perched on tall cliffs.
While no activities are included in the package, optional add-on tours include an excursion to the city of Rhodes, with a side trip to the Acropolis of Lindos to visit the Doric Temple of Athena Lindia; a guided tour of the city of Iráklion, with a stop at the museum and palace of King Minos at Knossos; and a jaunt to Akrotiri, which is an excavation site of a Minoan settlement on Santorini.
After four days of cruising, you'll return to Piraeus and transfer to the airport to catch your flight home. Need more time to explore Greece? Additional nights in Athens start from $99 per night in March at these properties: Grand O', Athenian Callirhoe, and Athens Gate.
For more tips on what to do in the area, visit the Web site of the Greek National Tourism Organization. You can find the latest and the at .
Temperatures tend to be on the cooler side on the water in April, typically in the mid-50s and 60s. Before you go, check the .