Sunday, December 26, 2010

Oceania Cruise: Zakynthos, Greece

This is the fifth in a series that reflects the itinerary of Oceania’s “Grecian Glory” cruise, which will take place in May 2011 in the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas. The vessel will be Oceania’s soon-to-be-christened new ship, Marina.  (To see my updated version, with photos and diary from our time in Zakynthos on the cruise, click here.)

During this series I’ve been sharing photos of the Marina, and here are some showing a couple of her dining rooms: the Jacques Dining Room and the Grand Dining Room, respectively.  (All photos of Marina from  Due to technical issues, the Jacques photopraph may show up at the very end of the post.)

So far this series has covered Venice (the city of embarkation); Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; and Corfu, Greece. Now we come to Zakynthos, Greece, the southernmost of the Ionian Islands and, with an area of 158 square miles, the third largest.

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Panaroma of Zakynthos  

The major commerce on the island is agriculture (citrus, olives and raisins) and, not surprisingly, tourism. Visitors flock to enjoy Zakynthos’s warm, Mediterranean climate; its miles of beaches on the north, south and east of the island; and its sheer cliffs, arches and sea cavessuch as the famous Blue Cavesin the west of the island.

Perhaps best of all is that it’s surrounded by turquoise waters that are crystal clear. It must be an absolutely amazing experience to cruise the Greek Islands. I saw a photo of boats that appeared to be almost suspended above the water, due to the water’s clarity.

While in Zakynthos, one may be able to see some endangered Caretta-Caretta (Loggerhead) sea turtles. The island is famous for being a nesting place for the turtles; eggs are laid in the soft sand of the beaches.

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia) 

Per a very much documented article in Wikipedia, “The loggerhead sea turtle is the world's largest hard-shelled turtle. Adult loggerheads have an average weight range of ...180 to 440 lb and a length range of ...28 to 37 in. The maximum reported weight is ...1,200 lb and the maximum carapace length is ...84 in.” [By comparison, a male Asian elephant weighs an average of 5,100 pounds.]

“Greece is the most popular nesting site along the Mediterranean with more than 3,000 nests per year. Because of this, Greek authorities do not allow planes to take off or land at night in Zakynthos due to the nesting turtles."

Probably the most photographed spot on Zakynthos is Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach—also called Smuggler’s Cove—on the northwest side of the island. A smuggler ship, wrecked in 1983, lies imbedded in the beach, which is only accessible by boat.

(Photo from
Another popular sight, mentioned above, is Blue Caves area in western Zakynthos.

A window in Volimes
Volimes is a traditional mountain village that is famous for products such as handicrafts, rugs, embroideries, china, honey and pure olive oil, all displayed along the roadside.”



The ScheckTrek pick for accommodations on the island of Zakynthian is: Blue Caves Villas.

This is a collection of four villas: Villa Deep Blue, Villa Purple, Villa Crystal and Villa Palace, each with 3-5 bedrooms. Villa Deep Blue includes a 2-3 person guesthouse that can be rented separately. The minimum stay at any of the four is 7 nights, and car rental is “warmly recommended.”

My favorites were Villa Deep Blue and Villa Purple. (All photos of Blue Caves Villas from

Villa Deep Blue

Villa Deep Blue is a Zakynthian style villa of almost 2700 sq. ft., with sleeping accommodations for up to 9 people. It has a private pool and spa, an amazing view, and a foot path that leads directly to the sea. The four bedrooms include a separate, 538 sq. ft. guesthouse.

Villa Purple

Villa Purple has 3 bedrooms, with just under 1200 sq. ft. It can accommodate 6 to 7 people and has a private pool and spa, and a veranda with panoramic sea view.

Outdoor shower?  From a jug?

Do you think you could take being there for a week?  ;)

The next stop on Oceania’s “Grecian Glory” cruise is “The Gibraltar of the East,” Monemvasia, Greece. We’ll “visit” there next week!

Addendum: a subsequent Zakynthos post chronicles our visit there.


  1. Waao! How a nice site you have created. I think you have been full dedicated for your site that so you have made a success site. These pictures are so nice and beautiful with multi color. I want to visit this place any time in my life. Please give some instruction about Oceania Cruise. Thanks a lot..........

    Best Mediterranean Cruises

  2. Hello Mitja,

    Thank you so much for your kind comments. Oceania Cruises is an almost-luxury-level cruise line (it may be that their newest ship, Marina, will be categorized as luxury-level). They're known for offering good value for the price, wonderful port-rich itineraries, and having some of the top cuisine at sea (with no extra charges for premium restaurants). I would be happy to answer any questions for you; please feel free to email me at