We went with 30 other passengers that had gathered on CC and were treated to an a/c bus and visits to the Acropolis-Parthenon Site. It was a very challenging walk I don't know how anyone not fairly fit could do that climb, but it was worth it. At first we were surprised at the numbers of people there since we had arrived early as recommended on CC. It seemed very crowded, but then when we left, we saw how crowded it could really get. It seemed very dangerous and your need good footwear to avoid slipping on the smooth marble and stone. Well worth the visit. We loved it. Then we went to the Old palace, The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier in front of the Parliament and the Changing of The Guards, which was very interesting. The Temple of Zeus (OK), The Old Olympic stadium (the original stadium built in the 1863 for the first modern Olympic games in 1896)(another OK).
Some of us on the bus wanted to dine in an authentic greek restaurant and the tour guide arranged for us to go to one he was familiar with. It was interesting seeing the local and eating traditional greek food. Then the Plaka (old town. which I had looked forward to all day. Whoops, it was a big disappointment, most of the items there were not authentic or even greek. We were glad to go back to the ship after a long day. The cost of this trip was 28 euros plus a tip (we gave 3 euros pp for the tip). Good ideal to share a private tour.
This was quite a surprise, we enjoyed this port so much and didn't expect to. We had a private tour with Hello Ephesus. The cost for the day was only 450 euros for 8 hours. The price includes:
English speaking professional tour guide who was very good. The best we had, very knowledgeable.
Private A/C minibus just for our family group of 6!
Visit to Ephesus including the Odeon, temple of Hadrian, roman baths, Celsius library and the Theater.
House of the Virgin Mary. Here because we were just 6 our tour leader asked a large tour group to let us go ahead and we did not have to wait in the long tour bus lines that had developed when we arrived. It was worth the visit.
St Johnï¿½s Basilica. Loved this
The Temple of Artemis. Enjoyed this part of the tour
Terrace houses. This is a DON'T MISS, make sure to go.
Selcuk Museum. Nice but not enough time.
Lunch with Turkish starters, salads, kebabs from the grill, and fruits of the season. This was included and one of the best meals we had at any port. We did visit a carpet factory and my son got to work on a rug, but then we got the hard sell on the carpets, which were beautiful, but we already have antique ones here at home. After discussing that with the gentleman, he offered my husband his card and told him to contact them if we wanted to get rid of our old carpets, because he may want to purchase them...
We had made such good time, we were offered to stop at a leather company where we were greeted and our adult children participated in a leather fashion show. Again the hard sell to buy the coats but we didn't. They were lovely though and the time there was very enjoyable and fun.
We went to a pottery store, again my son was offered to chance to throw a pot which he tried and did pretty well. Then we were shown the area where you buy these same pottery items. My daughter brought a pretty small bowl, many of the items were very expensive. All entrance fees, Parking fees, there were no hidden charges. All in all a great day, we loved this tour more than any of the other private tours we booked. We highly recommend Hello Ephesus!
There was a $10 charge per person to take the shuttle bus to town which you purchase on the ship; this was one of the few things I didnï¿½t like I think this should be included in the cruise. I recommend you pay it though, the road is very narrow and steep and a waste of your valuable limited time on the island. You can walk, but itï¿½s about a mile or so.
We got off the shuttle and walked quite a while (almost an hour) before we found the bus station where we brought our tickets to the beach. We took the bus to Platis Gialos beach. It was a pleasant ride and we enjoyed the views. When we got to the beach, we walked and stopped at an area with umbrellas. The cost was 5 euros per person and included a bed and an umbrella. Then you got 5 euros off of any food you ate at the restaurant. We did eat there and it was OK, donï¿½t have the name of the restaurant, it wasnï¿½t very memorable. The beach was beautiful but we were constantly being asked to buy a massage or handbags. Beach was nice and sandy.
On the way back from the bus station, we got lost again trying to get back to the boat. If you are in a hurry I would suggest you take a cab to the drop off for the buses if you donï¿½t tender. As much as I hate to tender, it would have been cheaper to not have to pay the$10 per person for the bus transfer. we arrived we each got an umbrella and padded lounge chair at a restaurant that allowed the use of the bathrooms. The water was beautiful and the sun was shining, just like all the pictures you see of Mykonos. Again, no excursion needed.
We returned to the shuttle pick up and went back to the ship. It wasn't what I expected, but still a pretty little island.
Least favorite port. We followed CC information and decided to make it a beach day. We went to Faliraki Beach after negotiating with two cab drivers (we had 6 total). It was 50 euros round trip. We were dropped off at the beach and they came back to pick us up at the designated time. We didnï¿½t pay until they brought us back to the ship. We had some want to charge us 60 euros, so negotiate and make sure you are clear that you will pay when they bring you back to the ship. Taxis are hard to find at the beach sometimes. The beach again had umbrellas and chairs for rent, this time 3.6 euros per person. No discount at the little restaurant behind us. The beach was pretty but the sand got very hot very quickly. Also there were a few ladies who were topless on our section of the beach. Many germans vacationing there. The water was rocky and hard to walk on, you really needed shoes. But the rocks were rounded and beautiful. Not as nice as Mykonos beaches though. The Old Town was within walking distance of the port so easy to see. The shopping was typical tourist fare.
Beautiful, clean port and easy to navigate. We were dropped off by our Rome Cabs driver almost at the front door.
We arrived a day early and transfered the airport to our Rome hotel for 50 euros for three of us plus luggage. Highly recommend. From Rome hotel to the port we used Rome Cabs again but this time with 6 plus luggage. It was 140 euros for the transfer to the ship from Rome. Same cost (140) to return to the airport from the ship. Liked the driver taking us but the driver at the end of the cruise was distracted and even texting and talking on his cell phone during the transfer. We were not happy with that.
We stayed at the HOTEL CAMPO DE' FIORI, VIA DEL BISCIONE, 6 00186 - ROMA - ITALIA, we stayed in one of their apartments because we had four of us. The cost was 290 euros but the apartment we were promised was exchanged for a lovely apartment, unfortunately it was on the third floor of an old Rome building. Great location but noisy even on the third floor. Luckily they allowed us to store all our large luggage at the hotel location and just take over what we needed for the evening. I can't imagine having to carry 10 days worth of luggage up three flights of very slippery stairs. The apartment was great and if you were staying for a while, with a large family would be ideal. The apartment we ended up staying in would have slept 6. We had plenty of room.
We met the rest of our group after freshening up from our overnight flight. I took an Ambien so was able to sleep pretty well on the plane and was able to stay up easily all day. It rained but we were able to see The Vatican/Sistine Chapel (no wait) around 3:00 p.m. We took the side tour exit after the Sistine Chapel viewing (which by the way was a bit of a let down). The cathedral was breathtaking and I'm not even catholic. I recommend going to see that while you are there.
We walked from the hotel to the Vatican then we took a small bus back to the hotel area, it was quite fun to drive thru those crowded streets. The drivers are crazy but you never seen any beat up vehicles. So they must be good.
The rain began in ernest so we went to dinner at a restaurant close to the apartment in the Campo Fiori, it was OK, nothing to write home about. Then to see the Trevi Fountain which was so crowded even on a rainy Thursday evening. We walked everywhere and it was nice even in the rain. When we arrived at the Pantheon it was closed (we were never able to figure out why) but returned the next day to see it in all its glory. The roads were very slippery so make sure to wear the proper footwear.
Went to the apartment and immediately went to sleep. The bar below us was pretty loud, but I had earplugs and that helped it. We woke up early the next morning walked to a nice little restaurant and ate a lovely little breakfast outside our hotel lobby. We then walked to the bus stop to catch a bus to the Colisseum. We didn't have any coin on us, and we ended up riding for free everywhere that day. The weather was beautiful and it continued to be so during our entire stay. We were so lucky.
Arriving at the Colesseum,we were accosted by one of the Roman soldiers who grabbed my 22 year old daughter and encouraged us to take pictures of him playing around with her. Then he tried to get us to give him money for that. We gave him a few euro but it was clear he wanted more. Beware.
The line was very long for tickets but because of these message boards, I knew there was really no need to wait. We walked to the Palatine ticket office and purchase our tickets there walked back to the Colisseum and walked right in. We didn't get a tour guide, but think that one would have been a great idea. No need to buy the Colosseum ticket ahead of time. We enjoyed it.
We then took a bus to another location near the Pantheon, and walked over. It was beautiful, one of the most fabulous places I have ever been. The light coming in and the structure itself was lovely. We then stopped for a sandwich for lunch which was cheap and inexpensive, shopped at a lovely little farmer's market, then went back to the hotel to get our luggage and be picked up by Rome Cabs for our trip to the port.
Two - half days is not enough to see Rome, if you are going, make sure to allow at least 3 or more days just to see the highlights. Beautiful city, I recommend it to everyone.
We took Rome Cabs to the port and arrived there around 4:00 p.m. It was about an hour ride from Rome to the port.
Wow this was one of our favorite ports. We loved the tour we took. It was with a gentleman's brother who we had heard about on CC. His name was Ignazio Astone his brother's name was Mario. Complementary snacks and cold beverages for all passengers inside vehicle. We went to one winery which was wonderful. They fed us cheese and fresh bread and gave us a tasting. Then allowed us to purchase a bottle of wine for 10 euros, we didn't have to pay for the tour. We did that and successfully smuggled our bottle on the ship to enjoy later.
We had historical and geographical explanation of all sites visited. We had 11 of us in a huge a/c bus and the cost for the entire day was only 40 euros. It was very nice. I do recommend him, even though his accent was fairly heavy and we did have to strain to understand him at times. We saw Mt. Etna during the drive as well.
Then we were escorted to the funicular to Taormina and I recommend this location for a visit highly. It was beautiful. Our guide paid for the cost of the funicular and the ride up was breathtaking. We then had a tour of the town before returning and seeing the astrological clock. We were gone all day. Don't miss this trip.