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Old 06-08-2014, 05:28 PM   #1
DUBL URX
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Default Greek Isles Cruise: any OT tips or tricks?

I'm going on a Holland America Lines cruise in July for 11 days.

I'll arrive with my family a day or two early in Venice, so we can see that city. Then board the ship from Venice.

From Venice we visit:

Katakolon, Greece
Nafplion, Greece
Piraeus (Athens), Greece
Mykonos, Greece
Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey
Rhodes, Greece
Thira (Santorini), Greece
Naples, Italy
And finally Rome, Italy, where we will stay for an extra day or so.

Does anyone have any specific cruise tips? What to bring, not to bring, etc? Shore excursions?

Has anyone ever visited any of these cities? What are the best things to do? Are there any good SCUBA diving spots?

Please feel free to go into heavy detail (especially if you have specifically cruised with HAL and especially if it was on their ms Noordam ship).

Pics and videos are cool, too. Especially if you went diving. (I had a family friend tell me that the diving in Greece was "meh" (paraphrased).)

Any and all help is greatly appreciated! Can't wait! In dire need of a real vacation over here.
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Last edited by DUBL URX; 06-08-2014 at 07:27 PM. Reason: Added a stop in Santorini that I had forgotten
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:36 PM   #2
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All I can tell you is that Piraeus is pretty scuzzy and everything you'd want to see in Athens is a pretty decent bus ride from the port. I spent 4 days in Athens and 3 on Santorini a couple years ago, but none of the places you mention. July is going to be crowded.
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:51 PM   #3
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most cruise ships have access to diy laundry, or laundry service. Meaning, you can bring a little bit less clothing than you think you'll need. our last cruise I brought 3 or 4 pair of shorts, but really only wore one or two...similar with socks/underwear/shirts. brng enough for a few days, wash once or whatever and you'll save a bit of room in luggage.

also, check out cruisecritic forum. It's vbulletin, so the format is sort of familiar
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=171
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:59 PM   #4
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Venice has become the Chuck E Cheeze of Europe.
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Old 06-08-2014, 06:06 PM   #5
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Make sure you read up on your Greek history (Thucydides anyone?). It will make sailing in those waters much more meaningful.
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Old 06-08-2014, 06:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meat Supply View Post
most cruise ships have access to diy laundry, or laundry service. Meaning, you can bring a little bit less clothing than you think you'll need. our last cruise I brought 3 or 4 pair of shorts, but really only wore one or two...similar with socks/underwear/shirts. brng enough for a few days, wash once or whatever and you'll save a bit of room in luggage.

also, check out cruisecritic forum. It's vbulletin, so the format is sort of familiar
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=171
That's good advice lol. I was gonna vacuum bag my clothes, too, leaving me more room for other stuff.

Quote:
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Make sure you read up on your Greek history (Thucydides anyone?). It will make sailing in those waters much more meaningful.
makes sense. Any particular movies that will help? Lmfao Troy? Wrath of the Titans?
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Old 06-08-2014, 06:39 PM   #7
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Learn to do it in the Greek style...


And I don't mean add feta either...
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Old 06-08-2014, 06:48 PM   #8
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I went on a Greece cruise awhile back. Mykonos and Santorini are beautiful. I didn't really like Naples. Read up on Greek history and visit all those sites in Rome.

Do vacuum bag your clothes, it does free up a little more room.
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:02 PM   #9
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Venice is awesome - a day or two isn't really enough time to see it all. One thing I should have done in hindsight it to mark on a map all the streets you walk down with a highlighter or something. Too bad you're with a cruise, because those ****ers were the most annoying groups.

Haven't been to Naples, but everything I've read about it describes it as rather...gritty. Food's supposed to be great, though.
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:20 PM   #10
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That's a damn good idea. Mark roads on a map.

It's the small things that really help lol.
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Old 06-08-2014, 07:20 PM   #11
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Venice isn't that bad.

Naples has a lot of history and good pizza and seafood, was there for a few days since my wife has relatives there. It's fairly dirty and smelly however, don't understand how kids there can spray graffiti all over statues and whatnot many centuries old. Don't keep your wallet in your back pocket. You will see lots of tourists walking around with their backpacks in front...

There are other nice places near Naples but you probably won't have much time.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:49 PM   #12
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I've been to Piraeus, Kusadasi, Thira, Naples and Rome.

Piraeus: The cruise ship terminal has a good duty free store. There some good restaurants but you'll want to spend most of your time in Athens. Be careful around the old monuments. Many of the stones are very smooth and have a thin coat of dust. I nearly slipped a few times.

Kusadasi: The shopping district is fairly small and only 2 blocks from where you're ship will pull in. The first market you'll see is overpriced and touristy. Go past it.

Thira: Take a mud bath at the natural spring. Thira has 3 ways to get up to the city. By donkey, by gondola or by foot up what I remember being more than 800 stairs. Beware if you are in Thira late the gondola and donkeys are not an option to come down. Ask how late they run before you go up.

Naples: Big **** hole. Depending on how much time you have you can hit up the train station. Super easy to use and cheap. Otherwise find a cafe and get drunk on wine.

Rome: Do the tourist thing. And avoid the ******* gladiator guys. Near the coliseum there is usually a couple artists selling original paintings. Pick a couple up and bring them home to frame.

Have a great trip!
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DUBL URX View Post
makes sense. Any particular movies that will help? Lmfao Troy? Wrath of the Titans?
Movies obviously gloss over the details so books are much better. If you were just going to watch a movie I'd watch 300: Rise of an Empire. The naval battles mostly happened in the bay in front of Athens.

As I hinted to above - Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War is a great book, and very easy to read. It mentions many of the places you'll be going to or sailing past.
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Old 06-09-2014, 03:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howl View Post
Movies obviously gloss over the details so books are much better. If you were just going to watch a movie I'd watch 300: Rise of an Empire. The naval battles mostly happened in the bay in front of Athens.

As I hinted to above - Thucydides' The History of the Peloponnesian War is a great book, and very easy to read. It mentions many of the places you'll be going to or sailing past.
excellent. I'll see if it's on the iTunes book store and read it on the boat.
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Old 06-09-2014, 04:02 PM   #15
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I did a Windstar Cruise from Istanbul to Athens. Stopped at Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes.

I rented a car on Rhodes and drove around the entire island. So fun -- it's bordered by three seas, so I made it a point to swim in all three in one day.

Mykonos, we just hung in the bay and watched the pelicans. Relaxing, but not much to see beyond the windmills.

Santorini - postcard perfect. Watched a sunset, had Ouzo, rode a donkey. It was gorgeous.

Kusadasi - Total cruise ship tourist trap.

Athens - ****hole. And I say that having lived in Detroit. You couldn't put toilet tissue into the toilets in Athens, so when I say ****hole, I'm not joking. People were also really rude. I couldn't wait to leave. The Plaza was nice, but that was it.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DUBL URX View Post
excellent. I'll see if it's on the iTunes book store and read it on the boat.
It available for free from Wikisource: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Histor...oponnesian_War
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:32 PM   #17
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Just did a Mediterranean Cruise in September which included Athens, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Naples, Rome, and Venice. Naples is a bit rough in town but do yourself a favor and take the train down to Sorrento and then maybe hit up Pompeii on your way back. We easily did both during our stop. Sorrento is absolutely incredible!!! Public transport in the areas I mentioned is very good and everything you'll want to see is usually accessed best by train or metro.

Its good you are staying an extra day for Rome. So much to see and we saw most of it in one day but could definitely have used an extra day or two.

Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey - Since you're on a cruise you'll almost definitely want to book the Ephesus excursion... there isn't much else to do and the port is pretty far from any city life. I will say that its completely worth it and found it to be much more interesting than the acropolis in greece... My wife is part greek and she would almost agree with me haha.

One of the best ways to plan for each port is to look up the top attractions in tripadvisor and then plan accordingly based around what you want to see. The crappy part about being on a cruise is that you don't have near enough time to see everything and you essentially miss the night life.

I'll add more when I get a chance.

Last edited by 02blueru; 06-09-2014 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:09 PM   #18
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If you want locals, I can hook you up with the Subaru crew in Athens.

Naples is home to the world's best suiting if you have a thick wallet. Kiton and Brioni are two that come to mind. Even if you only get a tie it will be something special. And for the ladies in your life, Naples is a great spot to pick up a cameo as some famous cameo maker is housed there.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:08 AM   #19
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Cruise ship?

Charter a sail boat and be a participant instead of one of 2,000 detached observers.

If you get the opportunity at Mykonos to take a side trip to Delos, do it; walk through uncountable 2000+ year old ruins. Mykonos proper is best if you are single or alone with your girlfriend -- party central. Dancing until dawn. If you want to take it a step farther, visit Super-Paradise beach: (o)(o) On the downside, there are usually a lot of Euro-douches visiting Mikonos...
Especially in July.

Piraeus is useless, but if you walk the 1/4 mile across the peninsula to Microlimano (ex Turkolimano) you can walk around the yacht harbor and enjoy one of the dozens of excellent dock-side tavernas serving seafood specialties.

A 20-minute cab ride south-east lands you in Vouliagmeni which has nice Riviera-style beaches where they bring you drinks. It's where the richer Athenians go to the beach.

July is going to be hot and crowded. My favorite non-alcohol drink is iced coffee with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (Nescafe krio me pagoto vanilia)
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:17 AM   #20
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. Mykonos proper is best if you are single or alone with your girlfriend -- party central.
You mean, best if you are single and gay.
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:11 PM   #21
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Thanks for all the tips and such, OT!
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:26 PM   #22
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Never been to Greece, but I've visited Italy a few times.

Venice - as has been said, you won't have enough time to explore everything. You can't really go wrong here, so just go for it. Piazza San Marco is a little touristy, but has some great cafes. Really good dueling piano bars if you're into that sort of thing.

Naples - just as dirty and crime ridden as people are saying. If you have the time, get a driver to take you down to the Amalfi coast. Absolutely gorgeous scenery, small towns, great limoncello, and lots of ceramic shops so you can bring home something special to remember the trip. It is a little over an hour drive from Naples. If you go, I recommend getting lunch at Cumpa' Cosimo in Ravello. No menu, just the little old lady who runs it to tell you what shes making that day, take it or leave it. Easily the best meals I've had in Italy. My parents have gone their every time they've visited.

Rome - I can give you two great tour guides, PM me. One will take you around to different sites throughout the city like the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, etc. He'll take you to the best local restaurants, and tons of knowledge of the best/worst times to hit different tourist spots. The other would be for tours of the museums in and around Vatican City. It's a bit pricey, but you will see every museum in the Vatican, skip the lines, and even go behind the ropes in quite a few spots where you couldn't otherwise go. You can hit all of them in one day, as opposed to spending most of the day waiting in line for just one museum.
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:28 PM   #23
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Piazza San Marco is a little touristy
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:32 PM   #24
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Some people are into the whole "ZOMG a pack of pigeons" kinda thing. Me personally? Just keep the vino and limoncello coming, I'll watch the pigeons from the bar
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Old 06-11-2014, 02:35 PM   #25
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Some people are into the whole "ZOMG a pack of pigeons" kinda thing. Me personally? Just keep the vino and limoncello coming, I'll watch the pigeons from the bar
You missed the point.

It's not a "little" touristy. It's one of the most crowded, touristy places in all of EUROPE.
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