THE BEST WAY TO SARANDE AND BUTRINT The only daily cruises to Albania sail from the northern Greek island of Corfu. Communications are quirky in Corfu; my ATT cellphone, with a built-in GSM chip for Europe, worked perfectly in Athens and Santorini but not at all in Corfu. The safest way to buy tickets is to visit the head office of Ionian Cruises, a 15-minute walk from the heart of Corfu, and buy them with cash. Credit-card fraud is rampant throughout Greece. Seats are available even during the peak summer season a day in advance and often on the morning of the cruise.
TELEPHONES To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 30 (country code for Greece) and the 10-digit phone number.
HOW TO BUY TICKETS Ionian Cruises, 4 Ethnikos Antistaseos, New Port, Corfu; 26610-38690 or 26610-31649; www.ionian-cruises.com. The safest way to buy tickets is to visit the main office of Ionian Cruises, a 15-minute walk from the heart of Corfu, and pay cash. (Credit-card fraud is rampant throughout Greece.) Seats are available even during the peak summer season a day in advance and often on the morning of the cruise. The cruise costs about $55 per person, $27 more for the bus tour and lunch.
Online reservations are available from 30 days to 48 hours before sailing at www.ionian-cruises.com/tickets.php?salepoint=cruiseonline, with a 30% discount and free bus transportation to the docks. You must supply a cellphone number, and your cellphone must be enabled to make and receive calls to and from Europe.
Weather on Albania's Gold Coast is warm and sunny except in the winter. Cruises operate daily from April through October.