Boutique Cruising the Greek Islands

It comes as a surprise that anyone would ever dream of starting a new cruise venture considering the pandemic challenges faced by existing cruise lines, but Greece based Elixir Boutique Cruises has done just that. The company’s 25 cabin Elysium, is capturing the hearts of intrepid travelers on journeys of discovery visiting ancient mythical sites, charming islands and the blessed by nature beaches of Greece.

Avoiding the recent delays that have plagued new ship construction projects, Elixir Boutique Cruises has acquired an existing vessel and with bold imagination recreated it as a yacht like vessel that embraces a spirit of healthy wellbeing and a casual carefree lifestyle. The boutique cruising concept and small ship ambience results in a dose of luxury with a trendy but relaxing vibe.

Although technically correct, calling it a cruise might be an unfortunate misnomer. There are no specialty restaurants with emphasis on gourmet cuisine, no poolside games or extravagant shows and casino gaming. Instead, this journey of dreams focuses on engagement with the mosaic of stunning Greek islands that dot the blue waters of the Aegean Sea

The smaller size of the yacht permits privileged access to secluded islands and untouched beaches, graced with a magic that casts a spell on visitors.

Imagine dropping anchor in the mornings after breakfast for a swim and snorkel or kayaking and paddle boarding in the cobalt blue waters of an isolated cove only to sail onward to the harbor of a whitewashed village strategically perched on a towering cliff in the afternoon. 

The zig zag nautical maze through the Cycladic islands satisfies bucket list cravings for famed Mykonos and Santorini where iconic sights can be explored with overnight stays, but it’s the inclusion of lesser known ports such as Naxos and Folegandros that distinguish this experience from mainstream Greek cruising.

A drive around quaint Milos reveals the lunar landscape coastline and caves, a visual testament of nature’s profound effect on the Greek landscape. The island of Sifnos provides immersion into authenticity with traditional hillside villages and over 300 white, blue domed chapels scattered across the mountains and coastline promontories. Excursions ashore delve into the intrigue of ancient mythological temples, hiking volcanic craters and visiting UNESCO protected sites.

The overnight stays in these ports provide the bonus of an escape from summer’s daytime tourist crowds as well as opportunities for authentic shoreside dining. Nothing compares to enjoying a fresh seafood dinner in a typical shoreline taverna with a glass of Ouzo to celebrate the canopy of stars overhead. Opa!

The approach to healthy living is carried out with twice a day yoga and Pilates sessions on deck surrounded by the picturesque panorama of islands. Private consultations are available from the trained instructor with options to seek out specific workouts and healthy daily routines. The concept is supplemented by hearty but healthy food preparation with detox, power boost and other smoothies available from the bar.  For personal rejuvenation the onboard spa offers a selection of massages and treatments.

The outward aesthetic of the Elysium displays a seafaring maturity and the light grey and turquoise color theme of accoutrements in the indoor and outdoor lounges creates a semblance of thoughtful modern design. Technical innovation might be considered minimal but the comfort of spacious accommodations and the abundance of public area deck space is unexpected.

The endearing and contagious hospitality of the yacht’s staff is a trademark amenity. Imagine a pop up BBQ on deck with the bartender teaching an impromptu Greek dance lesson, the hotel manager grilling up a freshly caught octopus and the smiling owner of the vessel proudly serving free flowing Ouzo.

This isn’t just another cruise; this is enjoying life at your own pace in subtle luxury. Sipping a drink on deck at sunset with a handful of like-minded guests and visiting off the radar islands is what an Elixir Boutique Cruise is all about.

Eight day rotating itineraries between the islands of the Peloponnese and the Cyclades begin in early April and extend into the fall.

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