Port stop was actually at Messina. Upon arrival, I booked this tour 10 minutes prior to its departure. We were put in large, air conditioned busses. After a half hour ride through some windy roads we arrived at Taormina. This city is amazing and beautiful. It is one of the nicest cities that I have visited on a cruise. The city is easily toured and could be done without the excursion if you knew you would be back on time. Messina and mountain traffic can be congested. Great food and snack. The city is basically a walled old city with one or two main cobble stone streets. Try the Brioche ice cream sandwiches and the arancini. Our guide was knowledgeable but the city is very straight forward.
Teatro Greco Rating:
Royal Caribbean bus took us to Taormina. After a short walk, we paid for admission to the theatre. Great views from the theatre.
We decided to walk to the metro station and head to Athens on our own. Unfortunately the ship berth was one of the farthest and the port bus was not running yet. We turned down a couple of taxis which was dumb. Make sure you know where the ship is going to be at the port if you decide to do the Athens trip on your own. After the poor start, we made it to the metro and simply bought all day metro passes and went 6 stops to Thessio and made the beautiful walk to the Acropolis. It is a hike so you should be in decent shape. We were easily able to see the Acropolis, the changing of the Greek guards, Olympic Zeus, Agora, and Platka on our own. We had a great lunch at a location recommend in our Frommers book. Athens exceeded all expectations. Metro and city bus (included on the transport pass) and we were back to the ship with plenty of time to spare.
Took city bus into the port city of Chania. Beautiful Venice like city with nice shops and good restaurants. I would have liked more time to spend in the city. Our ship arrived early but many of the shops and restaurant don't open until mid day. Our restaurant food was great but because it took a while to cook we almost missed the last bus to the cruise port.