Jan 21st, 2001, 05:17 PM
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We would like to take a Greek Isles cruise this fall, but we're confused by all the choices. We are experienced travelers (mid-40s) but new to crusing. Any advice on cruise lines and related shore excursions would be GREATLY appreciated.
Jan 22nd, 2001, 08:15 AM
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Yes, there're so many possibilities.

My first cruise was on the Stella Solaris, cruising the Grek Islands. She was an old, small ship, the itinerary was very port intensive, the crew is all Greek, and I loved it. It's not a luxury cruise, but it's such an amazing experience. I've cruised that region many times after that, including on Seabourn and Crystal, but there's nothing comparable in autenticity and warmth to that first experience.
If you're not fussy, and you're interested in the Greek Islands as a destination above all, I'd reccommend you Royal Olympic Cruises.
Jan 25th, 2001, 07:46 AM
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Paul, we sailed on Orient Lines in late October a few years ago starting in Athens, to Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos/Delos, Kusadasi (Ephesus) and Istanbul. I was surprised that I enjoyed the Turkish ports more than the Greek ports, both Istanbul and Kusadasi were wonderful.

Athens didn't do much for me (although I understand they've been giving the city a facelift), I thought Rhodes was interesting, Santorini and Mykonos were a little quiet as it was after the season was over.

I liked the fact that part of the cruise package was an extra couple of days in Istanbul. They put us up at a very nice hotel, although it was near the airport which was a bit inconvenient.
Jan 26th, 2001, 07:22 AM
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You can always up grade for the hotels, if the stateroom you're purchasing from Orient Cruise Line gives you a poor hotels choice.
Jan 30th, 2001, 10:58 AM
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We just got back from our 2nd Greek Isle Cruise. This time on Princess. It was fabulous. Crete was amazing, as was Rhodes (Rodos), our favorite as always is Santorini.

I highly recommend renting a car in any of the islands. You'll get around and see more than on a tour. We paid US $12 for a car in Santorini for an all day tour.

It always makes me laugh when folks say Santorini or Rhodes is slow in the off season. There is so much to do there, and no crowds in your way.

On our last trip (December), just in Santorini we saw or toured:

The top of Mt. Elijia (great view),
(forgot the name)of the little churches on the hill,
Akrotiri (3800 year old Minoan civilization),
Red sands beach,
Perissa - black sands beach (had a wonderful greek lunch right there on the beach)
and the local shops and frescoe museum in Fira.

email if you want any more info.
Feb 23rd, 2001, 06:53 PM
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We cruised the Greek Isles and Turkey last year with Royal Olympic cruise lines on their Royal Countess ship (I think that's the name...). It was our 5th cruise. We chose the ship because it had a very intensive (too intensive as we found out) itinerary and was the best price point.
Well, you get what you pay for. The cabins had tissue paper thin walls, the entertainment was lame, and the worst part was the food. It was HORRID. We both lost weight on the cruise. It's a greek ship and I expected the greek food to be good, but it was a dismal disappointment too.
We saw Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Mykonos, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Patmos, and Athens. We loved Santorini best. We were in the off season and had the entire town to ourselves. It was breathtaking, as one passenger said "it's as if it was invented by Disney to be the quintessential greek island". Unfortunately, our itinerary was so intensive that we were only there from 7am to 11am, and then off to Crete from 2pm to 6pm. People were getting sick by the end of the week from the ragged schedule.
Istanbul was beautiful and fascinating. Lots to see and do. The Grand Bazaar is a must. Kusadasi was amazing. The ruins are immense and made the Palace of Knossos in Crete pale in comparison. The vendors outside the ruins were selling beautifully ornate glazed pottery. I held off buying more because I expected to see the same in Istanbul, but I didn't.
Mykonos was charming and picturesque. The winding cobblestone streets were picture postcard, as were the windmills set against the bay.
Rhodes was beautiful as well. Lots of great shopping. Very picturesque old town. Went to the Acropolis at Lindos (an excursion outside of Rhodes). Beware, unless you're fairly fit it's quite a walk and the stones are very slippery (and true to form for all the attractions I found in Greece, no handrails).
Athens was okay. The plaka (old town section) was interesting, as was the Acropolis, but it wasn't worthy of a very long stay.
I could have done without Crete and Patmos if I could have had more time on the other destinations. Crete had little charm in itself. The Palace of Knossos is fairly interesting, but pales in comparison to Kusadasi. Patmos was a small, uncommercialized, sleepy island, which made it fairly charming in comparison, but nothing noteworthy.
We went the end of October into early November and found the timing ideal. We're from the Northwest and not used to hot temperatures and the weather was sunny and in the mid 60's all week. Warm enough to be pleasant, but cool enough to walk all over town and not feel exhausted. The crowds were few, and the vendors were more agreeable to bargain since there would be no more cruise business after November.
Feb 25th, 2001, 03:11 PM
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I cruised this area on the Radisson Seven Seas Diamond. This is the most stable ship available(double hull design). I loved this ship. It has only 350 passengers. It started in Istanbul and stopped at Dikili, Kusadasi, Patmos, Samos, Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos and ended in Athens. I also was surprised how much I enjoyed the Turkish stops. Ephesus is one of the most stunning places I've ever seen, as was Santorini.

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