Help! ports on Greece/Turkey cruise

Old May 27th, 2008, 04:10 PM
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Help! ports on Greece/Turkey cruise

We are booked on a cruise on the Seven Seas Voyager... need help deciding on excursions and sights. The ship's excursions are pricey..we are independent travellers. I am not familiar with the distance re the ports to where sites are..anyone with info please help. Also if you have names of guides/taxi drivers you have used , I would appreciate it.We will be in Venice 2 days before sailing...any hotel recommendations? also 2 days in Athens ...need hotel.

Scheduleept 27 .....Venice
Sep.28 .Dubrovnik 1p.m. - 11p.m.
Sep.29 Kotor 7a.m. - 3p.m.
Sep 30 Katakalon 12 p.m. - 5p.m.
Oct 1 Santorini 8a.m. - 6p.m.
Oct 2 Kos 8a.m. - 12 noon
Oct 2 Bodrum 2p.m. - 9.30p.m.
Oct 3 Lesvos 8a.m.- 4p.m.
Oct 4 Istanbul
Oct 5 Istanbul depart 4p.m.
Oct 6 Mykonos 12p.m.-7p.m.
Oct 7 Rhodes 8a.m. -6p.m.
Oct 8 Kusadasi 8a.m.-11 p.m.
Oct 9 Santorini 8 a.m. - 6p.m.
Oct 10 Nafplio 8a.m. -6p.m.
Oct 11 Athens arrive at 8a.m.

This is asking a lot and I will be grateful...Thanks
malaysia is offline  
Old May 27th, 2008, 05:30 PM
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We tend to like self-guided walking tours, and have done them in several of the cities you mentioned:
Dubrovnik: We loved walking the city walls with the audio guide
Santorini: Fabulous views, interesting chuches, good archeological miuseums, and lots of jewelry stores.
Mykonos: Small churches and museums, striking windmills, a famous pelican, very windy.
Rhodes: Great palace, sad Holocaust Memorial, interesting synagogue.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 07:33 AM
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Athens-Hotel Hermes. It's in the Plaka. Have stayed there 3,maybe 4 times. Close to metro, syntagma square, etc. It's either a 3 or 4 star hotel.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 08:52 AM
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From the port at Istanbul, it is a relatively short walk to the Tram stop. The fare it 1.30 YTL per person one way. (You can buy Jetons at a booth at the tram stop. You are almost certain to pass an ATM on the way to the tram stop.) If you go left from your walking direction you can get to the Sultanahmet district in a short period of time.

There you can visit the Blue Mosque (Women should bring their own head scarf, the loaners are washed every evening but not after use during the day.), the Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace. The English guided tour of the Harem at Topkapi begins at 10:00 a.m. There are many guides offering services at both the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia. We did not find them necessary, but if you choose to engage one, be certain to hire only a licensed guide, wearing the license on a lanyard around the neck.

Be certain to ask for directions to the Topkapi Palace, not Topkapi, as the Topkapi District is far from where you want to be. That mistake cost us a few hours one day this spring.

The tram stop is also just to the left of the entrance to the Grand Bazaar. If you work your way through the Bazaar downhill, you can exit through the Spice Bazaar and find another tram stop that will take you back to the ships.

If you go to your right on the tram, you will find it ends after one stop and then you can take the funicular (another fare) up to Taksim Square. From there you can walk in the Begolu district with its many shops, and restaurants (we were recommended a place called the Haji Baba. It is very much a local favorite and the food was very good.) We walked downhill, visited the tower, I can't remember the name, and then took a traditional tram back up the hill.

From Taksim you can walk or take a bus to the military museum. The parade is at 3:00 p.m. W-Sun. It is at the beginning of the upscale Nistansi district. There are several nice places for lunch in that area, and you may want to try one before going to the museum.
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Old May 28th, 2008, 02:57 PM
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Hi, in November my husband and I took a Princess cruise most of the ports you're going to. Here ya go...

Venice.. arrived two days early, stayed at the marriot (airport), took the city bus to venice (#5) accross the street from the hotel and was in the city of Venice in fifteen min.
From here you can walk into town or take a vaporetto 1/2 from San Marco Piazza.. The next day we visited Murano and went to the glass blowing factory. the one the ships charge an arm and a leg for. We got the tour for free and the demonstration. As you enter Murano from the port, the shop is large, it will be on the right side of the canal away from the ocean. No need to pay for an excursion. Very easy to do on your own.

Dubrovknik- You'll most likely be tendered. Once on the shore take a taxi (about $10.00) to the old fort and walk the old city walls. Croatia is not on the Euro but something are quite expensive. No need to pay for an excursion. Very easy to do on your own.

Katakalon... We grabbed a taxi and told him we wanted to go to Olympia and the Museum. The ride took about 1/2 hr and the entrance to the museum and the original Olympic site was about 15 uro's and the cab ride was 40 for the day. Once back into Katakalon have the taxi drop you off at the beginning of the town and wlk back to the ship (about a mile) there are various shops here and and a great little Greek eatery (right side of the sheet, on a corner, next to an ally entrance. No need to pay for an excursion. Very easy to do on your own.
Santorini... You will be tendered. once at the port you can either walk about two million stairs, take a donkey ride up or a funicular on a very, very, very,steep hill. We too the cable car up and the donkey down (lot of fun). There are tons of shops to stroll through and a wineries to visit. I would not pay for a shore excursion for this island.
Mykonos... Take the shuttle into town from the ship. The town is easily to walk and visit. We saw some of the largest pelicans I have ever seen in my life here. What a great place to visit. Easily walkable (once in town) and very laid back. Have fun
No need to pay for an excursion.
Rhodes... Rhodes has a very interesting vibe to it. It is half muslim and half greek orthodox. There are very interesting historical sites in the old fort. If you want to go where Paul preached, take an excursion, or simply visit the old tow,, which is very easy to do on your own, from the ship.
Kusadasi... We hired a taxi for about four hours and went to Ephusus. We did not go to Mary's house (to far). Ephesus was spectacular and worth every penny. It is considered the best ruins yet. Our driver to us to a leather shop and then a ceramics shop. Avoid the Grand Bazaar (large shopping swap meet like area). It is not worth the hassle. The merchants will haggle you fromt he time you step in to the time you leave. All in all we paid about $100.00 (including tickets into Ephesus)for the day which is lot for the turks. No need to pay for an excursion. Very easy to do on your own.
Naples... you can either co to Capri (50pp rt)or take the train to Pompeii ro take an excursion here. We took the bus to the train stain and the train to Pompeii. It was a lot to see and very facinating. If I were to do it again I would pay for a Pompeii excurion. For Capri the water speed boats will take to the island and cable car up. Do not take an excurion for Capri.
Athens... Athens is huge and Cruise critic recommended we take an excursion.. so we did. Our excursion was eight hours and we went to the Acropolis and on to Corinth. We paid about $80.00 for this excursion and this included lunch.

Have fun and I would really recommend you use cruise This site provides a lot of useful ideas.
Rocketdog is offline  
Old May 28th, 2008, 08:02 PM
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Venice you can do on your own easily. Guide not really needed. Same is true for Dubrovnik and Mykonos. On Santorini, we used a guide who took us all over the island. Full day and really enjoyed it. His name was Dimitrius - reach him at [email protected] In Athens, we used a driver (not a guide - they must be licensed there) who took us all over and even out to the Cape. [email protected] Very enjoyable. In Rhodes, we used Nick of Rhodes Private Tours and did a full day to include Lindos which we really enjoyed. Istanbul we walked around on our own and also used (we went early - our embarkation point) Transbalkan Travel and also Ekol Travel for tours. They both have websites. Enjoy your trip!
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Old May 29th, 2008, 09:35 AM
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Sorry for all of the spelling mistakes. I was at work and in a hurry!
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Old May 29th, 2008, 11:14 AM
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Thank you all so much for your help...still looking for hotels...but I really appreciate the infor re the ports. Anyone sailed on the Seven Seas Voyager???
malaysia is offline  
Old May 29th, 2008, 11:24 AM
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We liked the Athens Cypria vey much--convenient to the Plaka, clean, large rooms with modern bathrooms, helpful front desk staff, moderately piced. Ask for a room on the 6th floor with a view of the Acropolis.
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Old Jun 4th, 2008, 04:19 AM
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Regarding Rhodes:
As you leave the ship there will be a lot of taxi's offering to take you to Lindo's. It would be my advice to take one. Lindo's is beautiful (about 35-40 min drive) and the drivers are like tour guides. You're in Rhodes for a day, as we were, so you have time to go to Lindo's and return. The driver can drop you off at the Walls of the Old City where you can walk and explore and then walk back to your ship.
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Old Jun 4th, 2008, 05:46 PM
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I can highly recommend a few guides for you, all speaking perfect English and extremely knowledgeable.
In Istanbul, I would recommend a gal named Fatos . We spent an amazing 2 days with Fatos and she was wonderful. This is her email address: [email protected] or [email protected] You could hire her for a full day or partial day.

When we were Kusadasi, we went to Ephesus, and Mary's house. Our wonderful guide picked us up at the port and he was just great. His name is Levent Solmaz and his email address is

Feel free to use our names as a reference (Marcie & Tom Matassa).

In Athens, you may want to try
Vassilis Vassalos. His website with all the contact info is:

You can't go wrong with any of the above.

As for a hotel recommendation in Athens, Grande Bretagne is the place you want to be. You could probably redeem Starwood points for your stay there too.

Have a wonderful time!
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Old Jun 5th, 2008, 06:28 AM
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Everyone raves about Levent Solmaz. He has a website and also does tours/guides in Istanbul, not just Kusadasi. This is his website

Because he is so good and popular, you should contact him as early as possible.
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Old Jun 9th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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Hi All,

Thank you for all the info...and petlover and patsy120...I really appreciate your input re the guides and hotel....thank you, thank you
malaysia is offline  
Old Jun 12th, 2008, 05:47 AM
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We are a group of 20 sailing a similar itinerary late Sept. aboard the Grand Princess. I have booked independent tours for most ports and plann for us to explore on our own in others. I am reluctant to do that in Capri because of the ferry/hydrofoil situation. I know you can buy your return ticket to Naples as soon as you arrive on the island, but I have heard that it doesn't guarantee you passage on a particular sailing. The schedules show fewer sailings in the afternoon
when cruisers need to get back to the ship. Is it worth paying double for the same excursion to have peace of mind that you won't be left on the island as the ship sails away? Anyone done it?
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Old Jun 13th, 2008, 11:09 AM
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This is what I would suggest for Bodrum. I would really encourage you to go to a Turkish bath. I wanted to go but I was a little afraid I wouldn't like it or I would feel uncomfortable. I got a lot of encouragement to go from 3 couples we met on the ship. I am so glad I went, it was one of the best memories I have of our 2003 Windstar cruise. Istanbul to Athens. We went to the hamam in Bodrum. There website has a good description of a Turkish bath.

In the afternoon in Bodrum we and 2-3 couples from the cruise walked along the docks and negotiated a boat to go out in the bay and we swam and lazed for 2-3 hours.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2008, 11:36 AM
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You are smart to arrive early. Venice is such a wonderful city to explore. Here's a hint for Venice - look up the "Secret Itineraries" tour of the Doges Palace. You can buy your tickets in advance at and avoid the long, long lines in Venice. I believe that it is inaccessible to folks who are on the "general" tour of the Palace. It is guided and verrry interesting. (We stood at Casanova's jail cell and toured the attic......) Be sure that you schedule a tour in English (unless you are fluent in Italian). There are different tours for English and/or Italian. At the end of the "secret" tour, your ticket allows you to roam through the same areas that the general ticket admits you to. I suggest that when you arrive at Santori (the port town is Fira) that you spend some part of your day in Oia - another town on the other side of the island. It is accessible by local bus - a rather short ride (15-20 minutes) -and not expensive. It is here at Oia where the famous blue roofed church and bells are located. Oia (pronounced Eeee-a) is a much quieter, more laid back, less touristy area than you will find in Fira. Just be mindful of your sailaway time!! Also go to and try to locate other passengers on your cruise who would be willing to share a privately guided tour. We did this in Athens with four other folks we met online. Had a wonderful tour in a Mercedes mini-van for less than the cruiseline excursion - and we saw waaayyyy more!! (Spiros from We opted to spend the entire day in Athens as opposed to going to Cape Sounion. Enjoy your cruise - wish I were going with you!!
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Old Jul 17th, 2008, 10:51 AM
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Consider renting an apartment in Venice. We did that for 2 nights, and it was wonderful and spacious for our family of 5.
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Old Jul 27th, 2008, 02:25 PM
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My wife and I also took a Princess Med., Greek Island cruise that started in Venice on Nov. 9th of 07 and we stayed in the Hotel Dona' Palace just off San Marco Square for two nights and loved the hotel and spot. The Hotel is about two blocks from the square and is just down a calle from a couple very good places to eat. Just far enough off the square to not have that gottcha price tag and the food was very good. In all things the planning is the key, so if you don't do the ship's excursions make sure you plan well. Make friends with fellow passingers like one of the others suggestions said about on line and share the expences.Have a good cruise.
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