Yacht Week Athens - Greek Gods and Goddesses
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Oh, The Yacht Week – I’m honestly not even sure how else to explain this week of my life other than simply outstanding. In fact, it was so great the first time in Croatia that we decided to go back. As much as we loved Croatia, we wanted to try something new and went with Greece. We went in on a 9 person boat with only four of us fully committed and chose to use TYW’s system to find 4-5 guys to join us. Why not 4-5 more girls? Please – 9 girls in an enclosed space for 7 days? No thanks - I’ll pass on that drama.
I’d break down the discussion on TYW into a few categories:
1. Choosing your boat
2. Choosing your crew
4. The first day
5. The parties
6. The sightseeing
7. The Food
8. TYW Clichés
9. The costs you may not already know about
So here goes…
1. Choosing your boat – our first time around we went with a cheaper monohaul (AKA a sailboat). It didn’t have air conditioning and was about 750 euro per person (there were 8 of us). That price also doesn’t include the skipper fee which is another 800 euro split between you all. The second time around, we got a bit smarter. We chose a more expensive monohaul, but luckily the exchange rate change made it about the same price (~$1000/person). We ended up with 8 people on the boat plus our skipper, even though the boat technically slept 10 total. So, while we paid a bit more each, no one had to sleep on the couch. Or think of it as there was always one extra bed in case a roommate kicks you out J.
Air conditioning – MUST HAVE
Four double bed rooms all the same size
Larger living room with more seating than the last one
Skipper had his own “room” (rather than sleeping on the couch)
Same pros as the previous boat (stereo system, cooler, etc.)
It wasn’t as big as some of the other monohauls or the cats – literally had a rich girl come in and act like she’d never seen something so small in her life *cue the eye role*
Doesn’t have great space for laying out and tanning. You probably need a cat for that
2. Choosing your crew
As mentioned previously, we had four girls in for sure and then we posted on TYW’s page called CrewFinder. I can tell you that we had a LOT of people from all over the world contact us. Some were singles, some were two friends, and some were groups of four or five guys. We were a bit uncomfortable with adding single guys so we passed on those usually. It took us about 3 or 4 different groups to officially nail down the guys that would commit to going for sure. We were lucky enough to be able to meet at least one person from each group we chatted with due to our travel schedules and where we live which made us more comfortable in our decision.
My only advice here is I’d probably avoid doing this on your first yacht week. It helped a lot that we’d gone before and knew what we wanted in crew-mates. I think it would probably be fine if you and your friends are looking to go and want to join someone else’s boat, but I’d probably hesitate to get the boat myself without a full crew the first time around. Also just remember that Australians REALLY like to party so know what you’re getting yourself into J.
First and most importantly, you have no room for hard suitcases/normal rolling bags so avoid those – go for duffles that you can flatten. Another option, especially if you’re spending a lot of time traveling before or after YW is to pack a large suitcase, bring a duffle, and then check your large suitcase with whatever you don’t need in a locker at the marina. TYW can usually tell you whether or not your marina has storage.
Here’s a packing list that we got from Marcus (our skipper in Croatia) and our thoughts on each thing (in italics):
Dramamine (non drowsy) – absolute must
Sleeping mask + ear plugs – not a bad idea depending on how easily you sleep
Floaties – another must (check Nordstrom, amazon, target, kohls, Showpo, etc.)
Costumes for the regatta on the last day –come up with a theme. Bae-watch is way overdone
Sunscreen -- duh
Flags – it will help you identify the boat – bring a bunch. And bring big ones – we underestimated how small ours would look
Sharpie Marker – to help mark your belongings – never needed this
Aux cable – for music to play through the boat speakers
12 Volt USB car charger – while not in the marina, this is your only source of power - to connect your phone to the car (would recommend getting one with a few usb slots so you can charge multiple phones at one)
External Rechargeable USB Battery Charger – yes. Keep in mind if you get a big one, you might blow a fuse. There’s plugs in every room so probably just get a few small ones
Deck of cards – just in case it rains or for drinking games
Boat shoes, sneakers and flip flops – girls please leave the heels at home! – agreed. Don’t bother with heels
Sweatshirt – it may get windy at night -- yep
Beach towel – yep although if you don’t have room for it, just buy a cheap one when you get there and throw it away before you leave
Bluetooth speakers – yep – sometimes annoying to have to change your song when the phone’s plugged in downstairs
Go Pro/waterproof camera/disposable waterproof camera – try your best to capture the most amazing week!! -- yep
Glowsticks, body paint, glitter -- yep
Battery powered Christmas lights for the boat – DEFINITELY. There is no light on the boat and you’ll come back on a taxi boat and have no clue which one is yours. The more unique the lights, the better. Zip ties to attach them to things also helps.
Bug Spray! -- ehhhhh
Sunglasses – bring a couple of pairs as you may break or lose a pair during the week – true, and you lose them because they go overboard so don’t bring expensive ones out during the day while sailing
White outfit for the white party – they call it something else now, Riviera chic or something stupid, but it’ll always be white party to us
Here’s what we brought that he missed:
Waterproof phone case
A hat to block out the sun some days
One of the other things that we did the first time around was pack a box full of Costco stuff as a checked bag. Two of our friends were flying directly there from SF and they filled a box with liquor, paper plates, solo cups, peanut butter, plastic silverware, paper towels, and sunscreen from Costco because it was SO much cheaper to do it that way. Then at the end of the week they just tossed whatever was left and had no checked bag on the rest of their flights on low-cost airlines.
4. The First Day
In Greece we went out of the Alimos marina and the other half of the route went out of a different marina. Don’t get there on the early end of check-in – you’ll be sitting around for a while. The bar that we met/checked-in at did not have air con and it was HOT.
Obviously remember that the marinas are on the coast, and the airport is not, so you’ll need to take a taxi or an uber out there so build in time for that drive for sure. The Athens airport DOES have ubers although they make you fill out this form thing to prove you took them. You pick them up in the parking lot across the way from departures to the right of the Sofitel.
One other thing to do that day is stop at an ATM and get cash (see #9 for what you’ll need it for). I’d recommend probably 500 euro each just to be safe.
Once you get through check-in your skipper will take one of you out to get the boat. You’ll most likely have to pay out a security deposit on the yacht. With our rental company, we were offered either a flat rate that covered anything we could possibly do to damage the boat or we could pay a smaller amount but then we’d have to cover the damage. We went with the flat rate. Apparently toilets are a major recurring issue and you don’t want to pay to replace a shitter. It was not cheap, but it eased our minds. Also, it had to be paid in cash whereas the insurance option could be paid with card. In the end we didn’t do any damage, but I think that’s pretty rare.
After you get the boat paid for, the skipper will check it out to ensure it’s all in working order. Make sure either they take pictures of everything or you do, especially if you don’t do the flat rate deposit. You don’t want them to blame you at the end of the week for something that was already there.
One major piece of advice: Plan for the worst. You don’t want to miss the first day of TYW, so if you’re coming in from somewhere else in Europe I’d recommend being in Athens the night before. See our blog about Yacht Week #1 to hear a horror story. If you’re coming in from Santorini or one of the Greek islands, be aware that even if you have the first flight out, the winds are unpredictable out there and you can get delayed without warning for hours.
5. The parties
First piece of advice – go for the table/bottle service everywhere. You’ll get an email about signing up for tables before TYW starts, and have someone ready to refresh constantly that day. The tables go QUICKLY. They’re nothing close to the cost of a Vegas table and they’re completely worth it. We only did it once in Croatia and I regret not doing it more because a lot of the party venues don’t have places to put stuff or sit down, so without a table you’re just standing in the middle of the dance floor the entire time.
Greece Route Parties:
The first party – this for us was at a club in Alimos. A lot of people skip this party, but we had fun. It’s a good way to meet the other boats early on. There’s no option for bottle service. We also heard from the other half of the route that leaves from the other marina that their first night party was a way cooler spot and it definitely looked like it from the pictures.
Love Bay – it’s meh. There’s families there when you first show up because it’s technically a public beach but they tend to peace out after a while. The chairs say they cost money, but I think for TYW people they’re free. The drinks come in buckets with 50 straws and they had good fries. This is/was, when we were there, the tropical retro party so have a bathing suit with that theme. The water is the perfect temp and they have a fun water volleyball game going.
Malibu – This is a fun little bar on Poros. The owner, is super friendly and loves Fireball and TYW. It also has barrels you can get up and dance on if you’re feeling adventurous.
White Party/Riviera Chic – This is one of the only 2 day parties on the Greece route. Would highly recommend getting a table on the edge of the room for this one. Gives you amazing views of the sunset and you’re on the edge of the dance floor.
Nikki Beach – Favorite party of the week. This one is the most like the Croatia parties. It’s literally a hotel in the middle of nowhere on an island and TYW has full run of the pool area. For this one we got a cabana but they sit pretty far back off of the pool. Would probably recommend a pool-side table instead.
You do have the option to book a room at the hotel that night to get off the boat for a while if you want to. The night ends with a rooftop party on top of the hotel. More than likely, if you do dinner at the hotel, you won’t have time to change between the pool and dinner/rooftop, so either bring your change of clothes or make sure your skipper brings in the dingy and can ferry at least a few people back to the boat to grab them.
Hydra – The island is known for being the spot for the best sunsets in the Med, and I wouldn’t disagree. The party that night is one I would also say get a table for and make sure it’s outside. Otherwise it’s tight and you’ll probably have to stay inside the whole night and it’s hot in there.
The final night –It’s a cool beach club that’s almost too big – the place felt empty regardless of the entire YW crew being there. They did have huge bean bags to sit on and hang out that we loved.
6. The sightseeing
The Greece route was very different in this aspect from Croatia. It felt a lot more culture-focused. The islands you visit are much smaller and way less touristy than in Croatia.
Things we’d recommend:
Take advantage of being in Athens – go a day early or stay a day late and see the Acropolis
Poros and Ermioni – Wander around the islands. In general they’re tiny and you won’t get lost. The locals are super friendly and the photo ops are phenomenal
Hydra – Keep in mind this island is SUPER small. From what we hear, it’s pretty common that the boats can’t actually dock in the Hydra harbor, so you’ll probably dock on Poros and get ferried in and out. They’ll offer 3 ferries. Do not take the first one. You’ll be there for the entire day and you’ll be bored after an hour. There’s a kind-of secret bar attached to the very back of the place where you’ll end up for dinner that has amazing cocktails, big restrooms with plugs where you can change and get ready, and incredible views right down by the water. You’ll essentially have to walk straight through the restaurant to get to it but you’ll see the bathrooms at the back and then a set of stairs to go down to the bar. A lot of TYW crew/staff go here so it’ll be their “secret spot.”
7. The Food
TYW provides transportation on day one to a grocery store in Greece that you can go to, order, and then they deliver it to your yacht. Take advantage of this and keep an eye on their timeline. You’ll have to be inside the store by a specific time. Also only send one or two people to shop with a list. No sense in everyone going.
There’s also a grocery service that one YW alumni started and she may contact you about it prior to your week. Usually she’s more expensive than the stores, but she has things like solo cups that the stores may not have.
Here’s our recommended grocery list:
Alcohol (survey your boat and figure out what people will and won’t drink and what they’re willing to pay especially if you have guys and girls and tanks and lightweights)
Fruit – it’s always fresh there.
Breakfast croissants or cinnamon rolls (anything that doesn’t need to be refrigerated)
Eggs and breakfast meats – you can definitely make breakfast for real one day, just remember how many people you’re feeding and how many eggs people eat in one sitting. Also remember how hot it is and how you don’t want to be downstairs doing dishes.
Stuff for sandwiches – grab salami or ham or whatever the local meat is, some bread, and some spreads (mustard or mayo or tzatziki) and whatever else you might want. Sandwiches and chips are the easiest lunch to have while sailing. They don’t do turkey as a lunchmeat so don’t be surprised.
Plan for two dinners on the boat – go with something easy. Salad, pasta, grilled cheese, etc. Keep in mind you probably have two pots/pans maximum and a tiny stove
Paper plates, silverware, and plastic cups. Again, no one wants to be down in the boat doing dishes.
Paper towels – trust me you want a lot of this
Nutella – it’s better in Europe
For those of you that haven’t been to Europe before, they do not have ranch or peanut butter. If they do have it, it’ll be a tiny jar and it’ll be super expensive.
One word of advice, ask your skipper to leave Nikki Beach early in the morning so you can stop at the dock nearby to get gas and go refresh on food. There’s a pretty good market there where you can stock back up on food and drinks. There’s also a patisserie/bakery next door that makes incredible Greek breakfast pastries.
TYW Promoted/Organized Dinners:
The first night – everyone goes, just go to it.
Nikki Beach - Dinner will either be on your boat that night or at Nikki Beach’s restaurant. Apparently they’re known for their sushi but you have to call and order it in advance, which TYW won’t tell you. Otherwise their food wasn’t great and it was expensive as heck for small portions. My boat was not happy.
Hydra - Would absolutely recommend paying for the dinner on Hydra. It’s beautiful and pretty much everyone does it. Also they covered the cost for us since we couldn’t park in the harbor.
Dinners on the islands:
What to ask for at all of the local island restaurants - family style dinner. Everything just comes out on large plates and you pass them around the table. It’s the easiest way to do things, and you’ll get all of the restaurant’s specialties. The two things you cannot miss in Greece on the islands is honey-baked-feta and moussaka. I think most places have house wines that they make there that I’d also recommend. You cannot go wrong with Greek food – it’s all amazing.
If there’s one place on the whole trip we’d say you have to go to, it’s Nalu on the last night. It was the recommended restaurant in TYW app and we made reservations. It’s a beach club during the day, so it’s pretty full of people drinking and hanging out but don’t be deterred by that. You’ll have to eat earlier than the normal Greek people because you’ll want to get back to the boat for the buses to the final party. The food, though, was phenomenal. The service was fantastic. The view was stellar. We ate perfectly cooked steaks right next to the sand while we watched the sun set. It was perfect.
8. TYW Clichés
These are the things you see in the YouTube videos that make yacht week so unique. All of these other companies that also do circle floats absolutely copied it from TYW.
Circle Float: This was our favorite part of Croatia but it rained on circle float day in Greece so it sucked. On a good day, you whip out your floaties and they tie all of the boats together and you party all afternoon boat hopping and making new friends.
Line Float Night with Dingy Racing: Basically for this one they’ll just tie all of the boats together in one long line in front of a deserted island. You’ll make dinner on the boat, so plan for that. Then they’ll do dingy racing and other amusing activities.
Regatta Day: One of the days you’ll get all decked out in your themed gear and all of the boats will race (aka have a regatta) to the next location. The staff will sail around trying to get pictures and videos of all of the different themes, so be ready to show off your creativity. Greek gods and Bae-Watch themes are way overdone. We saw some cool themes like penguins, Titanic, Top Gun, the Croatian Bobsled team, etc.
Awards Night: They didn’t do this in Croatia, but in Greece we had an awards night on Hydra. The staff gets together earlier in the day and votes for the best regatta theme among other goofy awards that they come up with. Not every boat gets one so don’t be surprised or disappointed. Some awards go to individual people, some go to boats.
9. The costs you may not already know about
You buy all of your skipper’s meals and drinks. They have full access to your kitchen. Don’t be awkward about it at dinners where they’re with you. Just split everything evenly. Splitwise is your friend but don’t use multiple currencies. Convert everything to or leave it all in EUR/Kuna.
Skipper Tip – this is usually about 10-20% of the total cost of your boat. Give it to them on the last day as you leave the boat.
Hostesses – they’re a blast and they buy all of your groceries for you so you never have to shop, but they’re expensive. They also take up a spot on your boat, so keep that in mind. It means that you’re splitting the cost of the boat with one less person AND you pay an extra 600 euro on top of that to have her plus all of her meals and her tip at the end of the week. It adds up quickly.
The Kitty – when you first get on the boat, the skipper will ask you for kitty money. It’ll cover your gas, your taxi fees, and your docking fees. I think we did 150 euro each in Greece. Our skippers always made sure to keep receipts for everything so we had them if we wanted them.
The bottle/table service – There will be staff members that come around onto your boat before the parties and ask you for the cash for the tables you booked. I think that happened at White party and Hvar but maybe not Nikki Beach. Just be ready for it. You’ll also have to give them your order for alcohol at that time.
That’s Yacht Week Greece in a nutshell…or maybe more than a nutshell. Our last words of advice on TYW:
It’s going to be one of the best weeks of your life – embrace the insanity
If your skip hits on you, which we’ve heard stories about, talk to someone in a crew tshirt. That’s not cool.
Try not to hit on your skipper. That being said, if it happens and it’s mutual….oops?
The skippers do not get paid the same amount – there’s a survey at the end of the week and their salaries are based on their survey results
Don’t let your skip get too drunk. Someone has to sail the boat in the morning.
If you’re American and you’ve never had Somersby – find some.
If you can come up with something fun to introduce yourself around on either float day, do it. For example, we had shots of rose with rubber duckies in them that we call Ducky Rose and people loved it
Don’t be that asshole that brings a floating barge as a floatie that fits 8 people. You’ll take up too much space and everyone will hate you
Full cans of beer/cider float. Do with that what you will.
Once you pick your ratio when you’re booking your boat, it’s hard to change it. Especially if you want to take a girl off and add a guy in, so try to know your ratio before you book.
Make friends with the photographer – they might just end up on your boat for the day and then you could end up in their Instagram posts on Thanksgiving!
You may think going on YW over an American holiday like Labor Day is a great idea, but so does every other American. You’ll end up on a week with 10 boats from Jersey.
The boats and flights are most expensive mid-june through early August. You’re better off going one of the later weeks in August.
No shitting where you sleep! DO NOT go #2 on the boat. Just trust us. It’s gross and everyone will know you did it. Tell everyone else on your boat that’s a rule. SOS - Shit on-shore.
If you're looking for more info on other spots we stopped in Greece outside of yacht week, check out these posts too!