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Home > Member Reviews > house_elf's Port Reviews of Dubrovnik, Athens (Piraeus), Izmir, Split

house_elf's Port Reviews of Dubrovnik, Athens (Piraeus), Izmir, Split
Norwegian Jade cruise in October 2012
Member Name: house_elf
Cruise Date: October 2012
Embarkation: Venice
Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
Member Review: house_elf's Norwegian Jade Review
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Dubrovnik is such a beautiful city. NCL docks at Port Gruz, which is about a 10 minute drive from the Old (walled) City; they offer a ship-sponsored shuttle that drops you off right outside the main gate of the Old City, which is convenient, but costs $10 per person (which is not money well spent in my opinion). We had planned before our trip to take the city bus to the Old City (the bus stop is right outside the cruise terminal building), which would have only cost us about $2 per person (10 kuna), but on our way out of the cruise terminal, we met another couple who informed us that it was only about a 35 minute walk to the Old City, so we decided to walk since walking is free! The path to the Old City is clearly marked with signs and there is more than enough time in port to walk to the Old City and back if all you want to see is the Old City and the immediately surrounding area. The Old City is incredible. For 70 kuna per person, you can climb up to the city walls and walk all the way around the city (they do NOT accept Euros!), which offers spectacular views of the city and the sea. There are multiple restaurants and gelato shops within the city and everything in Dubrovnik is inexpensive, which was refreshing.

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Athens (Piraeus)
Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
The cruise ships dock in Piraeus, which is a port city about 7 miles away from Athens. We did Athens on our own; regardless, there is no ship-sponsored shuttle to the heart of Athens in this port. From the port in Piraeus, you can either take a taxi to Athens (which is probably expensive), take the city bus, or take the metro (kind of like a cross between the subway and lightrail). We opted to take the metro, which is about a 20 minute ride to Athens; we walked from the port to the metro station, which took us about 20 minutes. After we arrived in Athens, we visited (in the following order) the Ancient Agora, Aeropogus Hill (Mars' Hill), the Acropolis, the Church of the Metamorphosis, the Temple of Zeus, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and then we walked along Ermou Street (which is a pedestrian-only street with tons of shopping). The Acropolis ticket costs 12 Euro and includes all the other sites I listed, plus some others that we decided not to visit. If you buy your Acropolis ticket from a site other than the Acropolis, make sure you still go to the ticket booth at the Acropolis to receive the electronic ticket to gain entrance to the Acropolis (it's free, you just show them your already purchased ticket). Be prepared for lots of scaffolding, cranes, and construction workers at the Acropolis as it is going through restoration. Also be aware that the paths of the site are very steep in places and either made of slippery marble or gravel/dirt -- wear appropriate footwear! We had more than enough time to see everything we wanted to see and get back to the ship.
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Archaeological Site of Ephesus Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Turkey was the reason we picked this particular itinerary -- we've always wanted to see Ephesus. We docked in Izmir, which over an hour away from Ephesus, so decided to do a ship-sponsored shore excursion. We did the "Magnificent Ephesus" shore excursion which provided a comfortable bus, an excellent tour guide, admission to Ephesus (which includes the Library of Celsus), and a stop at a traditional hand-made Turkish carpet shop; there was plenty of time to shop on this excursion. Ephesus is beautiful and it is a must see if you're going to Turkey for the first time!

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Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
What a gem of a port! NCL tenders into Split -- did you know that the tenders are some of the ship's lifeboats?! We were completely unaware of this, but were excited to see the inside of one in a non-emergency situation. [Sidenote: Get in line for your tender ticket early! The line started building an hour before the start time -- thankfully, we thought of this and got in the first tender group.] We tendered right into the harbor of the Split, just a stones-throw away from Diocletian's palace. We entered the walls of the city and visited the Cathedral of St. Domnius (15 kuna, which included admission to the crypt under the cathedral) and climbed the bell tower (10 kuna, well worth it for amazing views of the entire city and the harbor). The market in Split was probably my favorite part of the whole city -- there is a flower market, produce market, fish market, butcher shops, and dry goods stands, along with souvenir stands for tourists. We found a great restaurant with outside seating (not hard to find a great restaurant with outside seating in Split), and just like Dubrovnik, prices were all very reasonable. We walked along the Riva (the "boardwalk" along the harbor). This was definitely our favorite port on the entire trip!

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