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Home > Member Reviews > tennisbets's Port Reviews of Malta (Valletta), Bari, Kotor, Split, Corfu, Dubrovnik

tennisbets's Port Reviews of Malta (Valletta), Bari, Kotor, Split, Corfu, Dubrovnik
Celebrity Silhouette cruise in October 2012
Member Name: tennisbets
Cruise Date: October 2012
Embarkation: other
Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
Member Review: tennisbets's Celebrity Silhouette Review
Malta (Valletta)
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
It was a Sunday and many sights, including St. Johns co-cathedral, which we have visited before (and loved) were closed. We pre-booked the Hypogeum and shared a taxi with some others from our roll call. It was very interesting and well done, although somewhat pricey. Afterwards we went to Tarxien Temples to round out our understanding of the very early settlers on the island. Then we caught another taxi to M'dina, which was just beautiful, a great place to take photos. I was amazed at how pristine it was. It felt as if it was recently built to look really old, kind of like Disneyworld. We were in town the day they were running a Grand Prix for antique cars and we could watch the race from the back walls of the town. We had lunch and cake at the nearby Fontanella Tea room where we thoroughly enjoyed the reasonably priced food and stunning views of the island. Our taxi driver brought us back to Valletta where he dropped us at Upper Barraka Gardens for some great photo ops before we wandered back down to the ship. Malta is supposed to be an easy place to catch the bus, but given that we had an ambitious agenda and were there on a Sunday, we didn't mind springing for a taxi, shared between four of us wasn't too bad. This is a fantastic, scenic port with lots to do. One that I have visited twice and wouldn't mind going to again..........

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Bari
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Bari was one of my favorite ports. Some people who just wander into old town give this port mediocre ratings, although I met several cruisers who did just that and loved it. A group of us from roll call decided that we wanted to venture inland to Matera, and see the Sassi district, something I knew nothing about until I started checking out what to do on cruise critic. What a find! We had a little difficulty figuring out transportation, although I've heard it can be done by train and I heard of another group that managed to rent a car, I'm glad we found a driver. We used a company called Best Airport Transfers and they drove 8 of us there and back (leaving at 8:15, returning at 4:45) for 118 euro a couple. It was expensive but soooo worth it. I can't possibly describe the Sassi to do it justice, but it is unlike any other sight we have visited in Europe to date. We had a gorgeous day, and fun loving group, but the place itself is very unique and special. Do the research and if this appeals to you, go for it, you won't be sorry. It is still undiscovered and not at all touristy, but I predict it may not be long before all that changes.
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Kotor
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Again, we were blessed with a gorgeous day. It would be a real shame to be here in the rain as everything is so scenic. We started the day with the hike to the fortress. I had read that it made sense to go up using the (harder to find and lesser known) mule path as it is not only free, but a long yet easier climb to the top, so that's what we did. Fantastic advice! To find the path, walk through the front walls of the town and head straight to the back, left corner (old town is compact). Exit out the gate (it's called the North Gate) and cross the small bridge. Continue walking across a second small bridge and then turn immediately right and walk toward the mountain. The base of the path starts there and is marked the entire way with red and white painted circles. It was such a pleasant climb and we had it all to ourselves. About 2/3 of the way up, we found the ancient chapel and then were able to see the "hole in the wall" where others climbed through from the traditional steep stairs route to the top. We joined up with the stairs and went to the top and then took the stairs back down for a change of scenery. The mule track was so much nicer and easier. The stairs were crowded and would have been treacherous in inclement weather. We passed people wearing flip flops, heels, wedges and all kinds of inappropriate footwear. I don't know how they did it. If you'd like to make the climb, don't hesitate to do the mule path and wear good walking shoes, you'll be fine. My DH had his favorite meal at a little restaurant called Scorpio's in one of the squares. He ordered fresh squid stuffed with ham and cheese and then grilled. It really was to die for. They had a guitarist that played American folk rock like the Eagles and Jimmy Buffet, hardly what I was expecting in Montenegro, too funny! We did not wake up early for the sail-in as we figured the sail-out would be just as beautiful..........and it was!

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Split
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
I was pleasantly surprised how much I liked Split. I know Dubrovnik is the shining star of Croatia, and it was, but we really enjoyed Split too. After quickly perusing old town, we decided to head out first, and then end the day there, hoping some crowds had returned to the ship. We walked along the Riva (waterfront) to the right as you face the harbor. We looked for signs to Marjan Hill and climbed our way up through the park for some outstanding views of Split, the harbor and the mountains behind. I mistakenly believed the Ivan Mestrovic sculpture gallery was on the hill, but in fact it is below it, on a street, named after the sculptor, which runs along the water.

The hill is definitely worth a climb on a pretty day, just for the views and photo ops, but if you want to see the gallery too, it's a lot of walking. We loved the gallery and enjoyed the walk there just as much. We wandered past stately homes and a very nice city park (with a few small public beaches). Both places were full of Croatians with very few tourists in sight, always a pleasure.........We ate lunch outside the walls on the way back to town in a place filled with locals. Old town Split is fun, lots of yummy pastry shops and cute places to buy souvenirs. The square near the cathedral is great for people watching...there was a Croatian bridal couple doing photos there, the brides wear pink in that country, so pretty! Popped down to Diocletian's basement and no one was manning the door, so I took a quick look around and snapped a few pics. From what I hear the city was pretty packed all day since there were quite a few ships in town but still seemed like a worthwhile visit.

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Corfu
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Despite the rainy weather we had a fun day in Corfu. Rented a car (reserve in advance on-line)from Sunrise car rental, right outside the port. Only 42 Euro (cash) for an automatic, not even a credit card or deposit required.Amazing! Drove to Paleokastritsa, following the signs and it only took around 25 minutes. The place is gorgeous although we couldn't really enjoy it on this cold, windy day. We did snap some photos and toured the monastery at the end of the beach area, which was very pretty. Afterward we drove up to Lakones for the views and stopped to have lunch at a new restaurant called Veranda right outside Lakones on the road to the next town Makrades. It definitely felt like off season in Paleo and many places were closed. We were pleased to find this place open. The six of us were the only ones there, they treated us very well. We had a lovely, leisurely lunch and even enjoyed some amazing views between the clouds when the sun poked out. At the end of the meal, we were given yummy fruit plates for dessert and then offered a glass of local liquor but we had run out of time and needed to hit the road. Our biggest mistake was putting too much gas in the car (it was given to us only 1/4 full) which we didn't end up using due to the inclement weather. Had it been gorgeous, I'm sure we would have spent more time driving and less time at the monastery and in the restaurant. Either way, it was a wonderful day!

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Dubrovnik
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Everyone loves Dubrovnik, and for good reason, it's a phenomenal place to visit, even just for one day. I wanted to do the cable car ride first, to get some good photos in the morning light, and then do the wall after some of the hordes had already finished. For some reason, the taxis to the Plosje gate (closer to the cable car) were 15 euro instead of 12, as I had read on-line, so we ended up doing the ship shuttle to the Pile gate and then walking to the cable car outside the walls (it was only around 10 minutes up a slight hill, not too bad). I had heard you could walk part of the wall, exit for the cable car and then re-enter, but I'm not sure that's true anymore, the walls are pretty strictly policed. If you want to do the whole wall, do it all at once or you will most likely pay twice. The cable car ride itself is not a big deal but the views up top are spectacular. Be sure to leave the cable car station and even walk past the fort ruins (which house the war museum) and wander around the surrounding area a bit. We came across war trenches, a grave marked with a cross, a wild donkey and had even more spectacular views of the rest of the harbor including the other side of Dubrovnik where the ship docks. When we went to climb the wall at the Plosje gate, we had some trouble finding it. I expected the entrance to be outside or right at the wall. You actually have to go through the gate down a street or two to find the entrance, it isn't particularly well marked, it's just a set of stairs with a ticket taker at the top. Walking the wall is fabulous, unless you have extremely limited mobility, you should try to do some of it. Just wear good shoes and take your time. We also enjoyed the streets of old town, particularly those off the main drag. It's touristy for sure, but so charming.

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