Embarkation: Smooth, completed in 20 minutes.
Cabin: Bigger than we expected, especially the bathroom and shower.
The partially obstructed 2C didn't obstructed at all unless you want to look to the bottom of the sea, then you will see the top of the life boat. Enough storage room for an 11 day cruise and we have 2 big suit case and 2 small ones.
Dinning: MDR is excellent, we didn't even bother with the speciality dinning. Our waiter is particular good and read our mind. first seating at 6:15, second seating at 8:45, so the staff is not rushed and have more time to take care of passengers.
Buffet: We used it mostly for breakfast and lunch, enough variety for both and services is very quick. Don't expect they have the dinner menu items in the buffet for dinner as they don't.
Entertainment: didn't see all, just a few. 'The Show' at the last at sea day is a must, how in the world do they do that in a moving ship?
Kids program: Assume it is excellent as we didn't see our daughter until dinner when it's at sea day.
Ship clearing was delay by custom (work to rule ?).
Although DIYable, but our guide help us cut through the line for tickets.
quite a hike to the top of the Acropolis and Partheon. Wear good shoes, uneven and slippery.
Too many tourist, better come back in winter.
Change of guards, the Agora and the Plaka are more interesting. Try out the real Greek Yogurt and Pita wrap for lunch, a real treat.
Can't do Athens in 1 day (or 7 hours), must come back for longer stay.
We booked private excursion with fellow cruisecritics members.
The standard sites are covered by the tour. For the DIY, it's perfectly doable as the sites are very close to each other. the problem is lining up for tickets. Our guide has his short cut though.
All guide will like to take you to some kind of carpet demo/shopping, it is a sales pitch and take up time, best avoid them if you are not interested at all. We went to one, almost about to test the limit of my AMEX card. Have to say that the Turkish carpet is really work of art.
Back to ship for dinner and walk to Galada bridge afterward, about 20 minutes walk. Street is safe and full of cafes.
Take the tram to the Spice Barzzar next morning, 2 Lira each way, 3 stops and only one line, can't get lost.
IMHO, the Spice Barzzar is much better than the Grand Barzzar, easier to navigate and much interesting to see.
Outside the Spice Barzzar there's a few 'fishing boat' selling local fish sandwiches, try this. It's pan-fried fish on a bun and a pinch of salt.
Super friendly people (some don't speak English), aggressive sales people try to sell you anything.
Private tour to Ephesus.
Too hot and too many tourist for the site. Must see the Terrace, cost extra but shaded and less people.
Went to the ancient village of Sirince for lunch, take a bit of hiking but well worth it. Still cooking the 'very old' way (coal and wood grill).
Carpet again but this time comes with a demo how they harvest silk thread from the silk worm, plus hands on experiences to tie a double knot Turkish carpet, very interesting.
Leather sales: good price (per wife) and quality. good a front row sit of a fashion shop cat-walk.
Ship docked instead of tender. $7 for bus transfer (valid for the whole stay).
Lots of picture. Beautiful white washed houses.
Hit Pompeii before the 8:30 opening, have whole site for our group of 11 before the mass came.
Very interesting site.
Drive on the Amafi coast to Positano. Beautiful but tourist and super expensive, but the scenery along the way is very beautiful.
Late lunch and shopping stop at Sorrento. Guide took us to a local restaurant, best Vongule and grilled Octopus!
Ship dock at 2 ports, 1st to let ship excursion off as the port has buses. You must book an excursion to use this port.
2nd port is for all others (DIY). We have priority tender pass so we got off on the first tender. Other people didn't get off until much later.
2nd port has only cable car, donkey ride or walk up. Take the cable car please.
Timing of ship arrival is good at 2 pm and most passengers from other ships are already on shore. By the time we leave, the other ships are gone and we are the only ship that's still there to use the cable car. Still there's line up for cable car for about 20 minutes.
Went to town of Oia for 3 - 4 hours by local bus and back to Fira for shopping.
We are able to see the sunset from the tender boat.
Wish we could have stay there for another 2-3 hours so we can have dinner up on the cliff with the sunset.