If you are looking for a yacht-style experience in a small ship with excellent food and service, we think we have the thing for you. Running on Waves took us on a week-long tour of the Greek islands under the Aegean Cruise banner, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
In August 2021, after a delay caused by the pandemic, we flew to Athens to explore the city a few days before we were scheduled to join the crew of Running on Waves. From Piraeus port, we went on an island-hopping experience between Mykonos, Santorini and few other gorgeous greek isles.
This is our Running on Waves review of the Aegean Cruise, coming from a couple of people that were never on a cruise before. So, bear with us.
A bit of Running on Waves, the Ship
For those that like ships, Running on Waves is a three-mast sailing vessel, also called a barquentine, and one of the biggest sailing yachts in the world. It’s a gorgeous ship, and we had the pleasure of climbing one of its masts to see the view from the top, and it was one of the highlights of our time onboard.
Running on Waves came after a five-year development project involving shipyards across northern Europe, Poland, Germany, and Russia. When it was all done, the ship was launched in 2011 and refitted a couple of years later, in 2013.
Even though this is a small ship, it feels surprisingly stable. Many people asked us about it on Instagram during our trip, and we can say that we felt the boat moving, but it was pretty stable. But, be aware that you will feel the motion of the sea more than you would if you were in a larger boat. If you start feeling seasick, ask for help, and you will get some seasickness pills. It happened to us in the last couple of days since the wind was more substantial than before.
Inside the ship, the decoration is retro, keeping up with the maritime heritage of barquentines of the past. The walls are decorated with nautical paintings, and there are brass details everywhere. The walls are covered in mahogany, and everything looks beautiful. And makes you immerse even more in the experience that you are a part of.
The main feature of the ship is the Sun Deck with sunbathing space, lounge chairs and a freshwater jacuzzi pool that was our favourite spot to watch the sunsets onboard. The deck is open to all, accessible to everyone on the ship at any time.
Premium comfort in the style of a floating hotel with a small fridge to keep cool drinks. Our cabin was big enough for everything we needed on board. As you can see on the 360 photography above. Including a state of the art air-conditioning system that made the Greek summer feel a bit better while indoors.
Even though this was our first cruise, our time on Running on Waves felt more like a yacht trip among friends. After exploring the Greek islands during the day, we enjoyed the dining room and the bar inside the ship. And it made everything feel more personal, cosier somehow.
This is not your regular cruise experience since Running on Waves carries less than 50 people. During our Aegean Cruise, we believe less than 40 passengers were on board. This was great for us because you get to know your fellow passengers and have exciting conversations during dinner.
And what can we say about the food there besides the fact that it was outstanding. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served on board in a buffet style that surprised us each day with something tastier than the day before. In the evenings, we also had the pleasure of enjoying some fantastic pasta that was cooked by Robert, the ship’s hotel manager. His dishes were so incredible that we still dream about the carbonara pasta he cooked for us during the trip.
Everyone that works at the ship is friendly, helpful and we can’t say enough good things about them. Service at the vessel is beyond this world. Fast, efficient and, from time to time, it felt like they were reading my mind since our coffee and orange juice was at our table even before we asked for it. We couldn’t be happier about it.
The Aegean Cruise with Running on Waves
The Aegean cruise took us around the Cyclades and the Dodecanese islands in Greece, and it was one of the most fantastic times of our lives. Each day, we were going around, taking pictures, swimming and exploring a different greek island.
Syros, the gateway to the South Aegean
The first island that we visited was Syros, and we arrived in its largest town, Ermoupoli. This felt more “urban” somehow since the city is the capital of the South Aegean region. The city was founded during the Greek Revolution in the 1820s. It became one of the industrial centres of Greece and the time. The Greek Steamship Company was founded in the city, and thousands of ships were built around Syros.
The Church of the Resurrection of Christ was the first place we visited on the island. It towers over Ermoupoli on a hill, and the view from there is gorgeous. We took our drone there as flew it even higher so we could capture this beautiful island.
Later in the day, we explored the area around Miaouli Square. We found a fantastic fish restaurant where we had lunch. At Seariani, we had some of the best fish we ever had and some fried squid that was magical.
In Syros, we didn’t go long to find a beach to cool down after a long day walking. We went straight into Asteria beach. There we swam under the shadow of the Church of Agios Nikolaos, which was quite a surreal experience to us.
Delos, one of the most important mythological and archaeological sites in Greece
While researching the islands where we would go on Running on Waves, Delos quickly became the highlight of it all. Mainly because, for the Greek mythology, this was a sacred place where Artemis and Apollo were born.
There are too many landmarks to mention in Delos. From the oldest synagogue known today to the Terrace of the Lions. From the Agora of the Competaliasts to the House of Dionysus… This island is covered in history to a decree that we had to buy a book about its sights before leaving it.
Delos is a magnificent place recognized by Unesco on its World Heritage List, and you shouldn’t miss it.
Skipping the glamour of Mykonos
Everyone knows Mykonos’s reputation, and we wanted to avoid the island glamour since this isn’t our thing at all. We were looking for the Islands of the Winds that we read about before, which we were looking for in Chora.
The white streets and alleys that we saw in postcards before came to fruition in Mykonos. Chora is one of these towns where it’s great to get lost among the streets, seeing something new in every turn.
The Mykonos windmills were one of the highlights of the afternoon we spent walking around the island. If you look long enough, you will find some of them spread around the hills, not just the Kato Mili that you see close to the water. Also, Little Venice is a beautiful place to go on with your camera since the rows of fishing villages on the waterfront almost feel unreal.
The Holy Island of Patmos
John of Patmos was exiled on the island when he was given a vision of Jesus. Because of that, Patmos became a pilgrimage place for Christians. You can even visit the cave where the Revelation is said to have happened. It’s a surreal place to enter, knowing its history.
Most of the island population lives in two central communities: Skala and Chora. The port town is called Skala, and the capital up the hill is called Chora. It’s there that you will find the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian, which was built around the year 300.
The historic centre of Chora, the Monastery of Saint John and the Cave of the Apocalypse was declared a part of the World Heritage Sites by Unesco in 1999.
Kos, the island of endless treasures
From Running on Waves, we could see Turkey when the ship stopped in Kos. This made the island even more attractive since we knew it might be a crossroad of different cultures. And this was what we saw there.
Kos was an island where we saw a more significant number of different historical sites. From the harbour, you can already see a fortress that protects the old town. From there, you can walk along with the Ancient Agora of Kos, one of the largest of the ancient world. Next to it, we visited the Casa Romana, an ancient Roma vila restored to show the different ways the residence was used through the years.
Another exciting thing about Kos was that Hippocrates is known to have lived and taught in the city. There you can even visit the Plane Tree of Hippocrates, where, according to legend, Hippocrates of Kos taught his pupils everything about medicine around 400 BC.
Santorini, the island of the largest sea volcano in the world
From Running on Waves, you can see the volcanic caldera covered with white houses. Houses and buildings were so white that they could, almost, pass by snow-covered mountains. This is Santorini, one of the most picturesque places in Greece.
We knew how beautiful and famous Santorini is, so we decided to go a bit out of the beaten path. After taking the funicular to Fira, we headed to the south of the island. There we found Megalochori, a village with whitewashed houses and beautiful alleys, where we had one of the best greek lunches ever at Feggera. Next to it, we found the Chapel of Agios Nikolaos that overlooks the cliff over the water.
Back in Fira, it’s easy to understand why Santorini is so famous among travellers and tourists. This is a beautiful island with blue roofs, whitewashed houses, and thrilling views of the sea and sky merging together. You have to go there to see it with your own eyes.
The colourful landscape of Milos
For us, Milos was the island where the Venus de Milo was found. But, after we visited the island, we discovered more about it, and we fell in love.
We toured the island looking for the best places to take pictures, and we found a gorgeous island. From the natural beauty of Sarakiniko beach to the lovely old town of Plaka, Milos was our last island in the Aegean Cruise on Running on Waves, and we will never forget it.
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Running on Waves Review: Sailing on an Aegean Cruise
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