Last summer, the greek isles had what might be called their best charter season ever — for the people smart enough to book a yacht. News reports around the world blared headlines about the debt crisis and the lines for locals at ATMs on the mainland, but out in the islands, much of life was business as usual. Fishermen still hauled in fresh catch. Restaurants still cooked it. And in the harbors, the scenery remained just as stunning as ever, only less crowded than usual because some people panicked and canceled their charter plans at the last minute.
Those who stuck with their itineraries enjoyed what I can only imagine was a rare treat: a week spent cruising one of the most popular places on Earth with hardly anybody else around.
It’s tough to conceive of Mykonos or Hydra or Symi or any of my favorite Greek islands as anything other than bustling. Cruising into each of them is breathtaking, with colorful homes and shops climbing the hillsides around each harbor.
Reflections cascade down into an Impressionist-style work of natural art on the water’s surface. The sounds of dockmasters tossing lines, fishing boats clanking their way in and children playing on the quay are all part of the magic. Cruising past other forlorn yachts on the hook and scoring a coveted berth in the heart of the action, alongside some of the other luckiest charter guests alive, is as memorable a jolt of adrenaline for the ego as any I have experienced on yachts anywhere else on the planet.
I suppose I could get used to walking down the passerelle and stepping ashore onto a Greek island beset with more drama than action, but it just would not feel the same. And, luckily, it does not seem to be the case for this coming season. Demand is rising as the summer approaches. Charter yachts are booking.
The islands are full of charm, ancient statues and temples — and all of it awaits, just as it always has for centuries. News of the day can’t change that, no matter what the headlines say. Thank goodness for us all.
40-Plus Knots: Pegasus has a top speed of more than 40 knots, which makes her a great choice for exploring the Cyclades archipelago. She bases at Mykonos, one of the most popular of all the Greek Isles.
A New Option: Starting next month, the new Moorings 434 power catamaran will charter from Zea, Greece. A 474 powercat just became available from the same hub beginning last month.
High, Low, Peak: The Pershing 72 T2 has three charter rates: standard low season, high season and what her management company calls “peak season,” August 1-20.
Well-Connected: A charter in the Greek Isles can feel remote, but Geosand is outfitted to let charter guests stay in touch. A business center, Wi-Fi and satellite TV are just some of the communications options on board.
Bring Friends: O’ceanos can accommodate as many as 16 guests in seven staterooms, including an owner’s deck that offers privacy and spaciousness nearly unparalleled in the Greek charter fleet.