Celebrity Reflection Greek Island Cruise

Old Aug 24th, 2016, 07:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 69
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Celebrity Reflection Greek Island Cruise

Hello everyone,

we are trying to put the final touches on our first Celebrity cruise through the Greek Islands. It's the 10 day trip out of Rome and returning back to Rome. We are visiting Messina, Mykonos, Ephesus, Rhodes, Santorini, Athens and Naples.

We are really looking for your advice regarding land excursions to these islands and if there are excursion that are really worth going to and ones that are not worth taking. Some the excursions are pretty expensive and are quite lengthy. As this our first Med cruise I was hoping to avoid the costly excursion traps and only sign up for the ones that are worth the time and effort...

Could you please provide the benefit of your experiences with these excursions...


peterh is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2016, 07:49 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,091
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am guessing it's your first time in all these ports?

I did an identical itinerary in Nov 2009 on the Solstice. I would absolutely arrange a guided tour in Sicily, Athens and Ephesus. Probably Naples too. How comfortable are you navigating on your own in Europe -- i.e., local public transportation or regional trains?

Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini you can easily DIY.

Have you searched for non-Celebrity tours which would pick you up from your ship for the day?
GinnyJo is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2016, 07:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,792
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As for Santorini, you can lose lots of time if you take the tender boat ashore for DIY exploration, especially if there is more than one cruise ship arriving that same day. First you have to stand in line for the cable car up the cliff to get to Fira. There's no road so taxis can't pick up passengers there. Then when you return to Fira you have to find the cable car building and stand in another line for your trip back down the cliff.

Ship's passengers signing up for one of the organized land tours are given priority to debark first and are taken to a different dock where buses are waiting for your tour. It's a lot easier and faster. I believe most of these tours are broken down into 2 categories, one that takes you to a black beach and a winery and one that takes you to an archaeological site and the village of Oia......or some combination of these activities, but both with time for shopping and souvenier hunting.

If Oia is on your 'must-see' list but you prefer to do it at your own pace you can take the tender boat ashore and catch the water taxi to Oia without needing to waste time with the cable car. The price of this ticket is €15 and includes a shuttle van up the cliff into the village and a bus ticket back to Fira where you will still need to stand in line for the cable car back down the cliff to the tender dock. Taxis will also be available in Oia to take you back to Fira for around €18-20. PLEASE DON'T RIDE THE POOR ABUSED DONKEYS!
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2016, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,091
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Have you looked on cruise critic for others with whom to share "private" non-ship excursions? I don't know your sailing date, but here is a link to the "roll call" to one of the September sailings:

GinnyJo is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2016, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,601
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To some extent, it depends on how comfortable you are getting around on your own and your travel style - tick all the boxes? or meander?

We have done several Celebrity Med. cruises - I think you are in for a great trip.

IMO - Mykonos, very easy on your own. Santorini - nice to do on your own but getting up from the tender dock can be time consuming. Besides the cable car, you can walk up a fairly steep hill or take donkeys. Athens, bit of a PIA getting from port into town. Many taxis will aggressively try to get you to take a day tour with them, not just take you into city. You can take bus and metro into the city center. Naples is similar taxi situation - getting to Capri by hydofoil is easy as the big ship docks very near the ferry boarding points.

Ephesus, most folks want a tour there to the crumbles. Messina also is a port you probably want a tour. As earlier poster said, go to cruise critic. More info on the ports and on your roll call there are probably folks organizing private tours that are much less expensive than the ship's tours.

One more thing - check out Rick Steve's guide to Med. ports - much info there esp. for DIY's. Enjoy!
suec1 is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2016, 11:52 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,558
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Besides the cable car, you can walk up a fairly steep hill or take donkeys.

RE the donkeys at the tender port on Santorini: apart from the mistreatment of these animals, there have been many reports of riders being injured. Here is one example:

I would opt for a ship's tour that tenders to the ferry port, where buses meet the passengers.
Heimdall is online now  
Old Aug 25th, 2016, 03:19 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts

The tours are not very efficient. You lose precious time for visiting a "carpet factory" (where you are supposed to buy a carpet) and for lunch in a mediocre restaurant. The tour guides gets commission for both.

We rather rented a car from AVIS (in close walking distance from the pier, dirt cheap) and drove on our own. We saw

- Ephesus
- Temple of Artemis
- St. John's Basilica
- the excellent museum in Selcuk
- the picturesque wine village Sirence (after a scenic drive with a roadside picnic)

Also, we had time for a swim at one of the wonderful beaches north of Kusadaci. In sum, we saw twice as much for a fraction of the cost.


Yon can visit the Old Town very easily on your own. Just walk - you will be docked in walking distance. The Old Town will be enough for a day.

We, however, rented a car and drove to Lindos, a beautiful historic town with the ruins of an acropolis. We drove to the beautiful cove where St. Paul anchored and, on the way back, to hot springs for a swim in the sea. In the afternoon, we parked the car at the pier (the returning procedure: "just park the car, put the key behind the sun shade and leave it open" - who steals a car on an island?) and explored the Old Town on foot.
traveller1959 is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2016, 04:21 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1,413
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We've done three different Med cruises and loved them, here are my suggestions:

Santorini: we rented a car at Fira and drove first to Oia and explored for a couple of hours before the tour buses got there. Then a stop at the Santo Winery to take in one of the best views of the caldera, also sample the local wines. We then drove back to Fira, returned our car and had a late lunch before taking the cable car down to the docks around 5ish.

Several people used the water taxi to Oia option and were very happy, you see the vendors as you get off the tender.

Ephesus: booked the full deluxe tour with Hello Ephesus, to visit the ancient site, including the terrace houses, also St John's Basilica and Virgin Mary's house. Lunch was included, we paid 50 euros for a group of 16. I specifically asked not to be taken to a carpet factory, which they respected.

Naples & Athens: we teamed up with others from the RC for private tours

Messina: we were there this May and booked a taxi to take us to Mt Etna, then Taormina. Climbing up to the Etna crater was very exciting, but Taormina very crowded and a disappointment IMO.

Mykonos: DIY, take the ferry to Delos, then back to Mykonos. There are some good beaches if you are interested, though we climbed up to the windmills and wandered around the old chora.
geetika is online now  
Old Aug 25th, 2016, 04:24 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,530
Received 22 Likes on 4 Posts
There are tours in Ephesus without any carpet sales visits.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2016, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,792
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Please don't ride the poor abused donkeys. If you want to see what happens to some of them look here: http://tinyurl.com/hkl2y2c
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2016, 12:52 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 17,530
Received 22 Likes on 4 Posts
Naples has flat rates for taxis to the various destinations in the city You can find them online. Just tell the driver the location you want to go to and the flat rate. We were never hassled by drivers trying to give us tours during our stay in the city.
Perhaps they target cruise ahip passengers so just tell them you know the flat rate.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Mar 5th, 2017 06:58 PM
Mar 3rd, 2016 07:33 AM
Sep 1st, 2009 06:53 AM
Jul 22nd, 2009 03:37 PM
Apr 15th, 2007 10:06 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -