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11 hours in Rhodes - can we access a resort close to the port?

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Nov 21st, 2010, 05:56 PM
  #1
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11 hours in Rhodes - can we access a resort close to the port?

Our group of 41 students (aged 15 - 18) and 7 adult chaperones will be stopping at Rhodes on Wednesday, March 23 from 7:00 hrs until 18:00 hrs. I suspect that we will have seen loads of historic sites by the time we get to Rhodes and my enthusiasm for "things from the past" may be wearing a little thin with my young travellers.

I would like to offer an alternative to staying on our cruise ship or taking a costly ship sponsored shore excursion.

Since our time in Rhodes is during late March and the beaches will likely not be too warm, I was wondering if there was a nice resort with a couple of heated pools nearby that we could invade for about 5 hours during the day. This group is exceptionally well-behaved and I am comfortable taking them anywhere. I notice there is a Hilton nearby (4 km from the port). Anyone have any experience with this hotel? I know there are others too. I understand we might have to pay a "day use" fee to access facilities, but if it is not prohibitive, we could do that.

If this works, how would you suggest we transfer ourselves from the port ... is there reliable public transit? would public taxis work better? ... would we need to charter a coach? Does anyone have an idea of the costs attached to any of these options?

tC
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Nov 21st, 2010, 06:40 PM
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Are you traveling with a tour director? If so, he/she could probably get a deal to charter a bus. With a group that size, the cost will probably be the same or less per person than with cabs. AND the benefit is that you know that the bus will be there for you when you decide. Normally I would say that you could do it by cb, but you are talking 12 cabs, and that is alot on a cruise day. DO NOT RELY ON PUBLIC BUSES IF YOUR GROUP IS THE SIZE YOU REPORT.

Bear in mind that typically pools are not heated by anything but the sun in Greece (exceptions would be indoor spa pools). And also it would be important to check whether they would even be open at that time of year-you could email them.

There is a hamaam in the medieval town. Also, it great for wandering and shopping and--perish the thought--you could sleep in then explore. I have done this cruise several times and a free-form day is nice idea, but the town is worth seeing. Also, if the weather is nice, why not dip into the sea? It will be refreshing but it IS the Aegean after all!
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Nov 21st, 2010, 07:16 PM
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I must emphasize that the medieval city of Rhodes is really worth spending some time visiting. The Palace of the Knights and the environs are fascinating. I appreciate that you are with a group of teenagers, but it would be a shame for you, and them, to spend the short stopover in Rhodos in a pool. You'll be leaving the historic port area to get to a modern hotel strip. I encourage you to get those kids to visit the amazing history in old town. Everything is in walking distance. Plus, besides the amazing palace and street of the knights, there are lots of shops, cafes, squares, tavernas the hamman, and back alleys to explore.
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Nov 21st, 2010, 09:39 PM
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Palindroma - Yes, we will be with a tour director. I do think it is reasonable for him/her to work with the charter bus - but I wondered if we had options (ie. cabs). Yes, our group size is 48. In my research, there is no indication that the nearby resorts are not open in late March, but I can certainly email them to find out. Do you know if there is a "day use fee" for resorts in the area? ... or if it is even possible for us to visit a resort in these circumstances?

parosblue - thank you for reminding me that Rhodes is steeped in history. That does not escape me. I am also very aware that I am travelling with 41 teenagers that have spent the previous 2 weeks learning of the history of Paris, Florence, Rome, Pompeii, Athens, Ephesus, Crete, Mykonos and many other "history worthy" sites. I know I have to cut them some slack somewhere. They will be tired of "famous buildings". Many of them will have never had the opportunity to visit a 4 star resort - and (if it works) this too can be a learning experience for them. I suspect we will have time for both activities.

If you (or anyone else) has any experience with the resorts near to Rhodes, please let me know whether you think one is better than another. Thanks very much.

tC
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Nov 21st, 2010, 10:30 PM
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I'd think you will be out of luck. At many resorts, the pool won't be open in March -- and for others it is VERY unlikely they would welcome nearly 50 non-residential visitors. Posh resorts try to promote a certain atmosphere/experience and wouldn't court teenagers on bus tours.

I'd just turn things over to the tour director to find something for you all to do. He/she might surprise you.
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 04:27 AM
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Sorry to be negative, but I would be surprised if any "resort" on Rhodes is open in March. If you are confident enough to turn them loose for a few hours, it might be a good opportunity for them to explore Rhodes Town on their own. The teenagers will probably appreciate that more than any activity you can organize for them.
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 07:22 AM
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teacher, on your list of "history worthy" sites you include Mykonos ... I'm assuming that you actually are referring to a visit to the adjoining sacred isle of Delos. Mykonos itself, while its port town is beautifully photographic, is not actually "history-worthy" but in fact the most touristic place on your entire list. Rhodes Old Town is far more "history-worthy". If you want a place to let the kiddies just wander around ... or find a beach ... why not Mykonos instead. (However I share the others' skepticism that any resort -- heated pool or no -- would welcome a day visit by 41 teenagers).
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 08:05 AM
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The suggestion of a visit to a hamman is a good idea - hopefully most would enjoy it and find it an interesting "out of their culture" experience. It takes several hours so they could do that and then some wandering thru the old town. I think there is a beach near the old town where they could hang out a bit if the day is pleasant. But it might be good to have the tour director broker the visit to the hamman - not sure they would want 50 students showing up all at once.
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 08:10 AM
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I agree with Jan and Paros Blue - let those teenagers loose in Medieval Rhodes town. I've been five times and I'm always discovering something new. If you have a bus hired, a trip to Lindos is also excellent.
Even though Rhodes would be warmer than the other places you are going, the water is still cool and I don't think being on a beach would be the best bet in March.
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 02:36 PM
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Another vote for letting them wander Rhodes Old Town. It will be unlike any of the other history they see. I can understand your point about them being guided round so many sites, many visually 'ruins', but Rhodes has a whole lived in mediaeval town to explore, complete with the walls & gates, lots of narrow cobblestone alleys, leading to small squares. It can be a 'free day' as those that want to explore the history of the town can do, those that want to shop have that choice, or just to sit people watching & chatting over coffees.
Some photos of the town
http://www.flickr.com/photos/yiassas...7622599457095/
I live in Greece & agree with the comments that you will be unlikely to find the resort idea will work. Very few places open, & the ones that are would probably be smaller places that couldn't take a day party that size, larger ones that won't. Another major point is that heated pools anywhere in Greece is rare, most of them will still be empty until the season starts, so it would probably need to be somewhere with an indoor pool, even rarer to find.
Just as a guide, a hotel near us lets people in to use the facilities for the day if they pay one nights accommodation for the cheapest room. Another more upmarket exclusive resort lets you in for lunch or dinner, but you can't use the other facilities such as the pool. Obviously each place has their own rules, but just trying to let you know it's not that easy.
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 03:53 PM
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Well, it seems like the overwhelming mood is to toss the idea of a resort visit. I can accept that - I just needed to float the idea of visiting a pool on the island. You never know until you ask.

janisj - you are probably correct that few places would be open and even fewer would allow us access to their facilities (even if we paid).

Heimdall - I appreciate your candor. Since Rhodes was the only port stop with more than 6 hours this was really the only one we could really try this sort of activity. I will need to do some more research before I feel comfortable releasing them from my watchful eye to stroll around the old town.

travelerjan - thanks for your comments. I am unsure whether any beach in the Aegean will provide enough warmth in March. That is why the thought of a large, protected pool seemed a better possibility. Sadly, I don't think we will be going to Delos. Our stop in Mykonos is for only a few hours.

suec1 - thank you for the second vote for the visit to the hamman. We'll see if we can stagger the visit so we won't overwhelm.

mes2525 - thanks for your comments. Is there something in Lindos that would be especially important to visit? I agree that the beach may not be as welcoming as we might think.

yiassas - your experience of local issues is appreciated. Thank you. It doesn't sound like many (if any) of the resort hotels will have their pools available to their own guests, let alone our group. Thanks for the photo link.

Thank you everyone for your comments. We leave in 107 days. If I am able to keep my sanity, I will let you all know what happened.

tC
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 04:01 PM
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As a tour director myself, I must agree with all of the above. In my experience, the kids would love to have some free time in the medieval town.

Maybe your TD could do a walking tour of the town in the morning and then break up for lunch (some could return to the ship as lunch is included-literally a 10 minute walk between port and entrance to city). Afternoon could be: walk to Ely Beach and swim for the brave, wander medieval town and shop/people watch/photograph, hamaam, walk city walls, visit Grand Master's Palace. They could make their own way back to the ship depending on their energy level. If you are willing to give them the freedom (and if they warrant it), they will appreciate it and feel like they had a superb day.

The rest of the cruise (if they are paticipating in the excursions (there is not one in Mykonos)) is quite structured.

If you are set on the resort thing and actually find one that will accept your group, I caution you that 5 star in Greece does not translate into 5 star in N America. They WILL be open. The question is: will the pool (if that is what you are convinced you want to do).

When I have done something similar, my groups have done a morning excursion so they visit the medieval town as well as other things and then I've chartered a bus to a public beach after lunch (so that passengers could take advantage of the included lunch and save cash if they so chose).

I agree that Lindos is beautiful (with a great nearby beach). It is, though, a 1-hour drive each way and it will be full of cruisers. You could charter a bus to go there for a half day and then have the other half for the medieval town. Your decision.

Good luck. You are paying your tour director. Use him/her!!
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 04:14 PM
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One thing to consider: Go into town together for a walk-around, establish a check-in place (cafe where you can put your feet up) and let the kids loose in groups of (you pick the number) for (you pick the amount of time--maybe 2-4 hours).

You could always come up with an "assignment" (ie, photograph the following...) if you are concerned about how they will use their time; it gives them a goal. The ship usually provies a city map but you could download one(JUST of medieval city is necessary).

Also, Jewish area is interesting in addition to street of Knights/walls & moats/Grand Master's Palace/mosques/etc. All this is within the walls
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 04:17 PM
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Palindroma - thanks for your detailed response. I have learned after planning several trips never to be "set" on anything. I certainly appreciate the options you have outlined for our group. We will have a dedicated TD with us on the cruise. Our two escorted (and included) on-shore tours are Kusadasi (Ephesus) and Crete. The other four stops are whatever we make happen.

After viewing yiassas' photos I think we could easily spend time in the old town. If the weather forecast is truly grand, we could charter a coach and take a run to Lindos for some beach time. Do you think we could make it back and forth to Lindos in an afternoon. I think the sailing time for the ship is 18:00 hrs. What time would we have to be back to the ship? From your experience, what would be the approximate cost of a charter coach running from Rhodes to Lindos and return, using the coach for 5 hours?

Thanks again,

tC
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 05:09 PM
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I personally wouldn't go to Lindos only for beach--I would go to a closer one: Kalithea, Afandou, or almost any on west coast (sandy/not rough seas). Lindos is a charming village which HAPPENS to have a nearby beach.

Pro of doing it in morning is that you do not have to worry about time. Pro of afternoon is that it will be less crowded. You can certainly fit it in. I recommend when I have student groups that the intention be to be onboard 30 minutes before all aboard time (in case of Rhodes, I believe that this is 15 minutes before sailing). That night is Captain's cocktail/formal night (you are sailing with Royal Olympic, right?), so usually people like to spend time getting ready.

However, just as wonderful in a different way would be to use the time in the med town (you are already there) and go to a closer beach. If you think that maybe not all would want beach (often this is case) decide to suggest Ely Beach (rough sand/water shoes recommended) 20-25 minute walk OR to hire cabs to further beaches for the FEW (have a chaperone go along)(this is riskier as you have to trust that they will come back--schedule so that you have AMPLE time in case you need plan B).

Re: coach cost, it is hard to say because the economy is in flux and this is 1/3 of a year away. Also, I have a certain relationship with coach companies that is different from that of your TD. Easiest thing to do (and safest time/money-wise)would be to do the med town and for those who want a beach experience, suggest Ely for the afternoon.

With which company are you travelling? I know that with some, teachers are in touch with their TDs in advance. Yours might have suggestions that are different from mine...
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Nov 22nd, 2010, 07:38 PM
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Palindroma - thank you again for your valuable information. We might suggest to our TD to do as you have mentioned. It sounds like a good plan - to walk locally in the morning and try a local beach spot when the temperature goes up. You are right, we would need a chaperone to be with students at all times if they were near the water. That is one reason a pool is appealing, they are all within my range of vision if they are in the water.

Our travel company is relatively small and works out of western Canada. We live in Ontario. I doubt you would have heard of them. They do have some regular TD's and we will have to assume they will serve us well.

We are travelling with Louis Cruises. Their website and brochure are appealing, but they don't seem to score well on travel reviews. We are not after luxury, really just transportation, so I am sure we will be fine.

I will certainly try to make contact with our Greece TD prior to leaving. We already know our France TD (we have already met) and I think I know who our contact will be in Italy.

Thanks again for your patience and input as we try to arrange the best possible educational experience for out student travellers.

tC
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Nov 26th, 2010, 02:24 PM
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Hi tC.
Louis is the old Royal Olympic--sorry about my error in writing. Consider it a floating hotel. Nothing fancy. A way to see many sights in a short period of time without having to pack and unpack. If you do not go with the expectation of the QEII or some fancy ship, you will be fine. They are adding new ship for next year which I hear is nice, so the reviews that you are reading might not apply.
Good luck!
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Nov 26th, 2010, 04:41 PM
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Yes, we have had access to some of the reviews on cruisecritic and they are not too flattering. I realize that a website called "cruisecritic" is more likely to get negative reviews, but it was interesting reading. We really don't expect "cruise ship" standards. What a treat for us if we were able to be on the new ship.

I believe Louis Cruise was the owner of the cruise ship that sank at Santorini a few years ago. I hope we have better luck than that group.

tC
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Dec 1st, 2010, 07:56 PM
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At this point in time I think we will arrange to spend the morning walking the old town of Rhodes. We'll try to get back to the ship for lunch (it will be included) - but if we get some street meat, that's ok. Our travel company has a connection with a downtown hotel with a pool. We will try to arrange time there in the afternoon when the temp will be higher. We haven't heard what it will cost, but I'll be sure to let you know. Thanks for all your help.

tC
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Dec 1st, 2010, 08:37 PM
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I'm willing to collect a fund -- to pay €5 to the first student who is able to stay in the water for 10 minutes. on March 23. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
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