A 5 Star Holiday that is not 5 Star!
Wanting to tick off something on our bucket list, my rather elderly mum (in her eighties), my reluctant sister who likes her comforts and myself, a keen sailor travelled in June 2022 on a Southern Ionian flotilla holiday with SailingHolidays.com on the recommendation of a friend who travels every year with the company.
And what a holiday it w From the getgo Sailing Holidays were professional. The reservation team were very helpful and knowledgeable planning our holiday which, given the profile, was challenging. I have fond memories of arriving at Sivota, the most beautiful little harbour I had ever seen, to be greeted by the team who took our bags and escorted us to our boat which was moored up on the quayside in front of a few beautiful Greek tavernas. What a way to start a holiday! The following morning the team went to each boat individually to demonstrate the various workings of the boat, pointed us to the nearest supermarket, a quick briefing in the local taverna and we were off.
And this is how it continues! A relaxed friendly atmosphere, no pressure ethos is SailingHolidays.com. Each day a simple briefing, with lunch stop suggestions along our route and then on arrival at our new port the crew were there ready to guide us to our berth and tend to our needs. They booked restaurants, ordered bread fuel and water for us if needed.
Sailing the Ionian can only be described as heaven on earth when it comes to tiny isolated ports, easy line of sight sailing, scenery and amazing fresh Greek food. There are countless isolated little lunch stops along the way for easy anchorage, a long swim and alfresco lunch. As the flotilla is small and intimate, you always have the option of dining with the other flotilla members and the SailingHolidays.com crew or doing your own thing. You can socialise as little or as much as you wish. The crew are young and enthusiastic and so there is fun to be had at every port!
The boats were in great condition. There were no wine glasses – my only complaint and I noticed some returners had brought their own! We had no issues with our boat during the trip but if we did the engineer, who was very knowledgeable was on hand to help. We had an issue in Nidri when our anchor got fouled on an old cement mooring. The engineer organised a diver to retrieve it while we watched on and we were off on our way again the next day - no time lost.
Unfortunately, after too many cocktails on Kalamos (the most beautiful small island I have ever seen) my mother fell and badly bruised her ribs. The hostess was quick into action with painkillers and an offer of a doctor at the next port (none in Kalamos). She organised airport assist for mum for the journey home which was a god send!
The crew were so chilled and friendly they created an atmosphere of fun and relaxation. So much so, some of us guests are still in contact! I bumped into Jamie, the flotilla skipper last summer, while windsurfing in Vassiliki and we had a drink and a chat recalling many great memories.
My sister aptly described the holiday as a 5 star holiday that is not 5 star! She is converted and we are returning next summer with friends.