For the 2013 Eastern Mediterranean sailing season, LOUIS CRUISES is pleased to unveil an innovative new itinerary 8-day/-7night “Greece and Turkey” cruise program, introducing two new destinations in the Aegean, the island of Chios and the island of Symi. This unique itinerary demonstrates Louis Cruises’ enhanced focus on its Greek heritage with a change in product positioning that gives travelers the opportunity to visit off-the-beaten-path islands for an even greater and more in-depth perspective of the diverse Greek Islands.

“The introduction of this novel itinerary furthers our goal to give clients a more well-rounded Greek experience, not just entree to the big islands that everyone knows by name,” said Kyriakos Anastassiadis, CEO of Louis Cruises. “We are committed growing by innovation and by providing differentiated experiences and are pleased to provide the opportunity for guests to really come and experience our area, our region, and more of its distinctive ports and islands.”

The new Greece and Turkey program presents cruise travelers with a full day in Istanbul, Aghios Nicolaos (Crete), Santorini and an extended stay in Mykonos.  Scheduled to operate from April 26 to October 25 of 2013, the cruise will depart weekly and will take travelers to experience the exotic and distinctive islands of Chios – known for its sweet, aromatic Mastic trees and Symi – with its postcard-picture panorama.

Additionally, Louis Cruises is introducing a new port of embarkation for the 8 day/7 night itinerary, which will be Athens’ port of Lavrion (Attica), conveniently located close to Athens International Airport.  By implementing Lavrion as the new embarkation port in Athens, sailing time to Istanbul is reduced – providing guests more time to enjoy a full day to partake in the shore excursion program with the best of Istanbul highlights.  For further flexibility, embarkation / disembarkation will also be possible from Istanbul and Kusadasi in Turkey, Aghios Nicholaos (Crete), and Rhodes.           

About Chios

Chios is known as the fragrant flower of the Aegean. This sweet-scented Aegean island owes its fame to its near-endless mastic (a kind of gum) trees, only found on this isle.  Its charming medieval villages are called “Mastihochoria” (Mastic Villages) by the locals because there inhabitants used to produce and export big quantities of mastic from the area’s trees. Relatively unknown to most tourists, this beautiful wooded island offers a traditional culture, golden sand and pebble beaches, hiking trails, extraordinary caves and medieval stone villages, to remote mountains, unusual museums and a thoroughly Hellenic nightlife.  Some of the most popular sites include, The Castle of Chios, the Archaeological and Byzantine museum, The Monastery of Nea Moni, and the Library of Korais.

About Symi

When it comes to revealing the treasures of the Greek Islands, Symi stands out as a gem of an island.  Symi’s picturesque settings beckon…from its perfectly preserved Venetian port and mosaic of colorful houses steeped up the hillside along the harbor, to its 85 kilometers of coastline and azure seas as far as the eye can see.   A small island with a big history, Symi was actually the capital of the Dodecanese and supported a population of 30,000 inhabitants in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Today, the island’s population is about 2,500 residents who welcome visitors with their warm hospitality to enjoy this cosmopolitan port town’s spectacular vistas, stunning architecture filled with 18th and 19th century houses and mansions, lively restaurants and bars, plus a variety of monuments attesting to historical moments of Symi’s past.

With 25 time-honored years in cruising throughout the Mediterranean and 75 years of award winning history in tourism, Louis Cruises offers an unparalleled cruise experience onboard its celebrated fleet of destination-friendly cruise ships, featuring LOUIS CRISTAL and LOUIS OLYMPIA as the vessels for its Eastern Mediterranean programs.  As part of the line’s enhanced focus on showcasing its Aegean identity, guests sailing onboard these vessels can now more fully experience the sights, sounds and tastes of Greece and the picturesque Greek islands on their next Mediterranean journey.

Louis Cruises takes extra care to design itineraries that include the best ports in their best seasons allowing ample time to enjoy their uniquely individual charms coupled with meticulously planned shore excursions for a truly insightful look into each destination. The line’s vessels transport passengers, both literally and figuratively, to the lands of philosophers and dreamers -- from the grandeur of Ancient Greece and the legendary Greek Isles to the treasures of Turkey and beyond! Sailing with Louis Cruises, travelers can expect a complete destination experience, timely arrivals, flexible and imaginative itineraries, smooth embarkation and disembarkation, fascinating shore excursions, and unparalleled Greek hospitality for a lifetime of enriching memories.