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Home > Member Reviews > Autumn72's Port Reviews of Venice, Athens (Piraeus), Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos

Autumn72's Port Reviews of Venice, Athens (Piraeus), Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos
Royal Princess cruise in September 2013
Member Name: Autumn72
Cruise Date: September 2013
Embarkation: Venice
Destination: Mediterranean
Member Review: Autumn72's Royal Princess Review
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+

Venice is wonderful. We stayed overnight in a great hotel next to St. Marks square and were able to walk everywhere. Very easy to navigate and the food and shops are excellent. For Murano glass, the pricing is better away from the Rialto bridge and St. Mark's square. We had an overnight in Venice to start our trip, so we checked out of the hotel and onto the Royal Princess and used the Princess water shuttle to get back to Venice for dinner and more exploring. Sailaway the next morning was a beautiful ride through Venice and past St. Mark's square. Can't wait to go back!

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Athens (Piraeus)
City Tour Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

We went to the old Olympic stadium, the Acropolis, the Acropolis museum and the Plaka. Our guide was not the best. We did have enough time at the Acropolis, but not as much at the museum. Included in this tour was lunch at an ancient Greek theme restaurant. The food was good and it was mildly interesting. Time allowed for shopping at the Plaka was too much - it would have been nicer to be able to see more at the museum. I would book independently next time.

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Ephesus Rating: 3.0 out of 5+

It is a very brief stop at Kusadasi so the tour was rushed. This was not a tour for those with any mobility issues. We raced through the ruins at Ephesus literally taking pictures as you moved. It was very crowded and it was difficult to keep up with the guide (not the best) if you stopped for a second to look around. The lines were very long at the Virgin Mary shrine and eliminated any chance of stopping in Kusadasi to see the actual town as was supposed to happen at the end. Another stop was made at the ruins of St. John's basilica where he is buried. I would recommend skipping the Virgin Mary shrine and St. John's and taking more time in the ruins of Ephesus and seeing a bit of Kusadasi.

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City Tour Rating: 4.0 out of 5+

We did an excursion that included St. Sophia, the Blue Mosque, St. Irene's and the Topkapi palace. The guide was excellent and gave a lot of background information that was missing in our other tours. A ship endorsed carpet weaving demo is included and while the carpets are beautiful (and very expensive), the salesmen latch on to you like leeches and are hard to get rid of at the end. They were just the beginning - there is a lot of pressure to buy in Instanbul - the carpet sellers were just the first. As you walk down the street you are harassed by pashmina sellers, perfume sellers. bag sellers, even kids selling socks - all before you get into the grand bazaar. Be prepared to say no and keep walking. Do not engage in polite conversation or they will follow you for blocks. If you do want to buy something you must haggle over the price. If you are comfortable with that you can deal away. We did OK with the few things we bought.
The Hagia Sophia is beautiful but very dark inside and has (currently) lots of scaffolding making it hard to get good pictures. The tile work in the Blue Mosque and Topkapi palace is amazing.

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City Tour Rating: 2.0 out of 5+

There is no need to take a tour on Mykonos. It is a small island with handy beach areas and shops and restaurants. Our tour took us to a resort where we looked at the water for half an hour and to a little deserted village where some movie we never heard of was filmed. We did see a nice monastery with an interesting icon, but honestly you will enjoy it more wandering around exploring on your own. The ship uses tenders to bring you into Mykonos and the dock is very centrally located.

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