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HOT GREEK ISLANDS MED CRUISE
Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
We travelled as a family of four, one daughter aged 14 and son aged 10. We sailed from Venice after spending our first night on board. Princess laid on shuttle water taxis, which you could use as many times as you needed for the price of one ticket - ideal if like us you wanted to visit Venice in the evening, and then I took the opportunity to go back the next morning on my own to have a wander around in peace - no children!
First impressions of the ship were very good, huge, clean, lots of bars and dining rooms and good kids clubs. We were in an inside cabin, enough space for 4 so long as you all didn't want to get ready at the same time, but to be honest we don't spend a lot of time in it, just sleeping. Only downside was their was no kettle/tea/coffee - bit of a let down for the Brit's! I think it's so princess can charge you for a coffee card - which we didn't purchase but did take advantage of the soft drinks package - very good value at $50 for as much cola/sprite/cherry More
drink as you could get down you.
We ate in the main dining rooms 10 nights out of 12 - never waited long for a table, so long as you didn't mind sharing, which is a good way to meet other people and share cruising experiences. Went to movies under the stars a few times, the blankets/popcorn/cookies all nice extras.
Didn't do many of the shows, not our thing but most people we spoke to seemed to enjoy them. Photography was very good and lots of pictures were bought, I would particularly recommend Dominic, he was very good at putting you at ease.
Our cruise was very port intensive - only one sea day, but the ports in the greek islands are a delight and would highly recommend a cruise to the eastern end of the Med. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We had planned to get a metro to Athens but the line was down so took a taxi for 30 euro instead. Got dropped at the heart of the city, however the queue to get in took forever, one tiny booth to process 100 plus tourists - not very impressed! Having visited the Acropolis (which was well worth the wait) we came out of the site a different way and came across the main entrance which i guess would process people a whole lot quicker. We had a wander around the Plaka and then caught the bus back to port - nightmare journey, packed bus, no air conditioning and we heard of one woman from our cruise who had her purse taken. Wouldn't recommend it and suggest a tour or taxi both ways.
We took the princess shuttle into the centre of town and walked straight through the other side to get to a reasonable size sandy beach. After that we went up onto the city walls, fantastic views, but quite a long walk. Then we had a wander around the town centre, lots of nice bars/cafes/shops to linger in. Only problem was when we tried to get out of Pile gate - the main way into/out of the city - a tour from MSC cruises was trying to come in and it was unbearably hot, crowded and in danger of turning into a major crush. I would suggest you leave the city by a different route if there is more than one cruise ship in.
We had tried to find a definite time for trains from katakolon to olympia - differing times on various websites so were at the train station at 8.10 for 8.30 train, only to find the first train was at 9.25. We headed back to the taxi rank and got a taxi to take us and wait for 2 hours and then return. 90 euros, you may be able to get it for less but probably not much. Loved the site - go to the musueum first to see all the statues etc that have been removed - and the stadium is not to be missed. Again, lots of shops/bars etc to while away a couple of hours.
Loved Mykonos, really pretty harbour area/shops/bars etc. Not many taxi's about so if you plan to go further than the local beach perhaps do a tour or pre-arrange a taxi. We walked out beyond the windmills and there is a really pretty sandy beach about 10mins walk out of town. Had the best kebab there, and bargain prices too. Where the boat docks there is no pavement to walk into town so suggest you take the shuttle, and it is then another 5 mins walk to harbour.
We were tendered into the town of Fira, and took the cable car to the top - bit hair-raising but then i dont like heights so not too much fun for me, but my family seemed to enjoy the ride. Really pretty town and stunning views from the many bars/cafes on the waterfront. When we came to leave about mid-day the queues for the cable car were about 1.5hrs long. So we decided to brave the zig-zag path down - fine if you don't mind donkey poo and dodging the animals who are on their way up and are very single minded - just keep out of their way! Took about 30 mins to walk down and needed a stiff drink when we got back on board.