Hi my Husband and I have just returned from a week away on the MSC Musica. Overall it was a positive experience but wanted to alert and share some wisdom that we gained from our trip.
I will go through it port by port:
Firstly we did not do any of the ships prearranged excursions and managed to find much much much cheaper options once off the ship.
1. Venice- from the port you can catch the people mover (maritime station) into venice for one euro per way. The walk from where Musica is docked to people mover is about 10-15 mins and people mover has you at Plze De Roma within a few minutes. From there you can walk through to St Mark's square, etc in about an hour, etc. Or you can purchase tickets for the water bus, etc and sail along the canals to your desired destinations. So please do not fall for MSC's pricey excursions. There is also a left luggage service downstairs from the people mover where you could leave your bags for a small fee and collect them after exploring Venice. This will give you more transport options for travelling to the airport instead of having to return to the port to collect your luggage and pay high cab fees like we had to:-( There are buses to the airport regularly from piazza de Roma, etc.
2.Santorini: Once you disembark from the free boat ride from the ship you can catch a cable car or walk up to Santorini. We caught a public transport but to Oia- was fairly easy to find and not too far from the main square when you arrive. This cost us about Â£3 each return. The bus does take fairly long (about 30 mins to get to Oia but it is a lovely drive and nice little village well worth visiting) and can get full quickly so try get in the queue early on. The queue back down to catch the cable car took us over 90 mins wait so on busy days give yourself plenty of time to return to the ship- unless you are up for a walk down the steep steps which takes about 30 mins down I believe.
3. Corfu: There is a free shuttle to the port exit. Once @ port exit turn left and there is a public bus #16 that takes you to the old town. This was a lot cheaper than the Â£10 that Music wanted to charge for a shuttle into the old town. There are two forts on either side of the town and if you have time try to explore both. Many cafes offer free wifi in the old town. Travel into the old time is only about 5 mins from the port exit at the most.
4. Bari- the port exit is a short walk from where the ship births. It is a pleasant walk into the old town and a lovely day exploring the narrow streets. If you exit the port and follow the path along the beach front on the left (if your back is to the port exit)and walk for about 10 mins you will reach an archway leading you to the old town. There is a tourist 'train' that offers trips from the port exit for about Â£10 each. It stops at three stops and may be a good option if your not up for too much walking. Don't forget to leave time for the Castle- really lovely.
5. Athens- there is a free bus shuttle to the port exit. Once you leave the port exit turn left and follow the main road to find hop on hop off bus tours. They only start at about 8.15 am. They are about Â£18 each and take you into Athens and around and return to the port. There is audio information in various languages on board and really good value. We caught the red one as they had a direct bus back to the port without having to change the bus, etc. People with disabilities can catch a small elevator up to the Acropolis to save them taking all the steps up. You will need to ask when you buy your tickets.
6. Olympia- Katakolon: As you leave the port there are a number of taxis that will drive you to Olympia for about Â£60 per car full. We grouped up with another couple and saved on our cab fare this way. The driver leaves you at Olympia for about 60-90 mins depending on what you want to negotiate with him. Much cheaper than ships excursion.
7. Dubrovnik: There is a free shuttle bus to the port exit. Once you reach port exit make sure you get local currency from the cash converters if you don't have Cuna. Then go to the news stand near the bus stops and purchase bus tickets to the old town. Buy return tickets at the same time. There is a bus company, Liberty/Liberta, which offers direct transport to entrance of old town and back again for about Â£2 each each way. It is really easy to do this and if you are unsure ask other people around the port exit for help or the customs officials where you should wait for the bus. Once in Dubrovnik old town it is recommended to climb the town wall- spectacular views. Not too many steps but if you have mobility difficulties you will need to consider how doable this is for you. Ice creams in Croatia are awesome!!
I hope you enjoy your cruise. Be careful as drinks are pricey and a 15% bar service charge is slapped on your bill each night.
The only free drink station is on Deck 13, where the daily buffets are held. They have coffee and water at these stations. We took a small travel kettle and instant coffee sachets with us and are glad that we had this option in our room.
The gym is fantastic. But gets full quickly.
Dress code for formal evenings is not as strict as we thought and my hubby got away without having to wear a tie and formal jacket.