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RCL Greece/Turkey- Right trip for us??

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Interested in going to Greece for my parents 50th with kids ages 4-12. Is this the right ship for us and is Turkey advisable right now with the recent attacks?? The July sailing only goes to Kusadasi, Turkey and I know nothing about it. Also, RCL seems great for kids but will it be too crowded for my parents? Have ready many reviews that indicate that the Jewel of the Seas has become quite dated.

Any and all thoughts welcome!

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    Some reassurance.

    Kusadasi is a long ways from Istanbul, so I wouldn't worry at all about events in Istanbul. Ephesus is the major sight near Kusadasi and the real reason cruises stop there. It is a huge, amazing, archeological site. You will never forget it. It is worth going just to see the streets, library and large, mostly intact, amphitheater.

    The Jewel of the Seas, is scheduled for dry dock and refurbishment next month, so should be new and shinning by time for your trip. If it had the itinerary I wanted, I would take it in a heartbeat.

    Have you cruised before? Experience? Have your parents?
    Where did you look for reviews, cruises, etc.?
    Are you limited to July? Is that for this summer?
    Are you limited to 7 days?
    Must you go and return from the same port? It might not cost much more to do multi-city or multi-destination tickets (not talking two one way).

    There are lots of good websites for cruising, but these are a good start. for all reviews and information about ships, destinations, to ask questions, etc. Once you book, join the roll call for your cruise and join up with others for excursions. Save a bundle over ships excursions. for cruises everywhere, and generally showing best rates, plus ship photos, deck plans, etc.

    Look very, very carefully at time in ports. One criticism I have is the Jewel's itinerary.
    Some itineraries look great until you see they are arriving someplace at 7:00 am (before things are even open) and departing at 1:00 pm (back on ship by noon), giving you only a few useful hours. If you have to drive or travel even a half hour to the place you want to see, it will be very rushed.
    If you are at a port where you must be tendered, that will take time, sometimes a wait to get on the tender, so you would want as long as possible at that port.

    It will be miserably hot in July, especially for sight seeing in places like Ephesus or Athens or Santorini. It might be more pleasant earlier or later in the year. You need lots of water, sunscreen, etc. because there is no shade and you will be in most places in the middle of the day.

    If you can do the multi-city or a longer cruise (11 or 12 days), you will have many more choices. On vacationstogo, there are several cruises that might interest you.
    I would not be afraid to land and start in Athens or depart from Istanbul.

    Hope this helps.

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    Dear Sassafrass,
    What a helpful reply- thank you!! We did end up booking with RCL in the end because we were limited with our dates. Plus, for my parents 50th Anniversary, we splurged on a suite and adjoining rooms so our set up is pretty ideal. I realize it will be very hot though!

    Can you recommend any good websites for arranging shore excursions outside of RCL?

    Also, we wanted to travel after we arrive back in Rome but this time, are hoping to move away from the heat if possible. Do you have any experience with traveling at this time in Italy? Do you know where, in Italy (or nearby Italy), might be a good spot to travel to with better weather?

    Thanks so much for sharing your vast knowledge with me!

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    We used this co. Twice so I highly recommend them. We had a wonderful private tour of Ephesus and another time we saw the village of Sirinje and the house where Mary spent her last days.

    Have them take you to lunch at this wonderful restaurant full of all organic homemade food Called Bizem ev. It's around there and we ate there twice and you won't be disappointed

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    You are welcome. Some people can be negative about cruises, and it is a different experience from being in European villages and cities in the evening, but there are so many pros for a cruise, especially multi-generational, and the one you are taking visits some amazing archeological sites and beautiful places. If the refurbishing goes as planned, the ship should look beautiful, sail-a-ways will have magical sunsets and evenings will be cool on the water.

    We do tours on our own, cheaper and exactly what we want. DIY will certainly be cheaper with six people. Join cruisecritic and the roll call for your ship. You will find many people planning their own tours and looking for people to join them, or they can suggest tours and guides they like. Post your port stops here in the cruise forum and ask for advice. There are several cruisers who have been to most of your stops and always hire guides ahead of time, so can give good recs.

    For Athens, you can get public transport, but we decided with only a few hours, not to mess around with it, and took a taxi, sharing it with another couple. With your group of six, including older people and a young child, I suggest doing the same. Have the taxi take you to the Acropolis. If you want a tour, there are many guides right there. Hire one that speaks English well. We did lots of walking and had lunch before getting a taxi back to the ship. Take water and sunscreen. That being said, my main interest was the Acropolis, but there are many other things to see in Athens and nearby, and a guide would be very useful for that. Have the guide pick you up at the port and take you around for the day. The money you would have spent for taxis both ways could be applied to the tour. That is where reviews from here, cruisecritic or TripAdviser will be useful.

    For Ephesus, walk off the ship, through the little shops and tourist stands, to the taxi stand. Hire a van (the driver charges for the day) to take you to the archeological sites, Ephesus, Mary's House, etc. There are several and you can see all of them easily in a day. You can hire a local guide right at the entrance to Ephesus. Include the Terrace Houses. I didn't and was sorry. The taxi should drop you off at one side of Ephesus and pick you up at the other. It is a longish walk. Again, lots of water, snacks and sunscreen, hats, etc. if you find another couple to share costs, that works too because some of the vans hold 9-12 people. You can do this whole tour in your own for probably 20% of what the ship would charge. Don't be afraid to do it. It is really easy.

    Santorini. You will be tendered, which takes some time. Allow for that. You can take the funicular to the top, walk or take a donkey. Take the funicular! We saw another couple who looked unsure of what to do. We invited them to join us and share cost. We hailed a taxi and asked the driver to give us a personal tour. It was excellent and he shared a lot of his thoughts on life there. OTOH, there are boat or sailing tours where you can swim in areas with warm water and have great views. If I was even a decent swimmer, I would strongly consider that. I will see if I can find the website for one of those tours.

    I have read tons about Crete, but not been, so I can't make any recs for a day there.

    After cruise. Will you have time in Rome before the cruise? I hope you are planning to arrive a couple of days before. You want to be rested and ready to enjoy the cruise. Yes, I have been to Italy twice in July, from Venice to Rome to the AC, even spent an entire day in Pompeii in July (I am crazy for ruins). There are so many places I love, I am struggling to come up with what I think would be the best suggestions. Post a question on the Europe forum for suggestions of a few days in Italy after Rome with kids and older people. Hope Sandralist will see your post there and respond. There are others too who are very knowledgeable.

    Also have some questions.
    How many days will you have after the cruise? Have you already purchased RT tickets into Rome? If so then stay in Italy and make it work.

    However, If you have 3-4 days and have not done the RT Rome, you could consider multi-city or multi-destination tickets and go to another place in Northern Europe. Not knowing where else you have been, or your interests, I will throw out a couple of ideas.
    Fly to Amsterdam - great food, beautiful architecture, art, museums and a wonderful contrast with the Greek Islands. Fun for kids too.
    Fly to London - another great contrast with the islands - castles, towers, bridges, shows, a fun place for the kids and adults.
    San Sebastián, Northern Spain for some beach time and great food.

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    I see Jacketwatch just posted. He is so well traveled, trust 100% any advice he gives about cruises, guides, ships or ports. He is a reliable food critic too. So if you want to be done with it, not worry about DIY, go with his recs. You will be happy.

    Hey, Jacket, how many cruises have you taken now, or have you lost track?

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    You've been to some pretty exciting places too. I would like to say we are catching up, but since GD started traveling with us, we keep going to the Caribbean, not much new, so they shouldn't even count. It is so easy, cheap and fun for her though, and always new as she learns new things. Don't want to hi-jack Kay's thread, should do a quick trip report instead.

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