Very nice experience as we did it ourselves viewing the huge Diocletian Palace; it was interesting- went to local Bacvice Beach for a noon swim and we inadvertently got in an area where some serious Saturday Croatian men were having a water ball tournament and we were severely reprimanded. Chalk one up for a need to know more about Croatia customs. Highlight of day was the fear of capsizing on the tender back to the ship mid afternoon. The several tenders including ours started floating adrift and lining up 500 yards out and then started rolling enough to elicit screams and terror from most as we were not told what was going on while we reached for our life vests. It all ended good, we did notice the Ruby repositioned itself 30 minutes later to cut down on the current/ tide problems.
Rented a car in advance that had mechanical noise 30 miles from port that worried us the remainder of the afternoon enough to cut our trip short an hour or 2. The beaches on the North were murky and disappointing, but the beaches and scenery in and near Paleokastritsa were very nice as we got there early before the buses and crowds. Corfu was hot that day but the green scenery made us feel a little cooler.
Rented another car (this one had problems not going into reverse gear) and drove to Olympia. Years of experience driving all over USA and other countries were of no use with a poor map and directions from the rental company and believing Board Members that it was easy to find your way. Missed the turn 6 kilos up the highway (on the way back found out it was obscured by construction crews) ended up temporarily lost in polluted Pyrgos and finally to Olympia. We enjoyed the ancient site, including a personal 200 meter foot race on the hallowed track, until heat drove us to the museum which was very nice. We waited in Olympia until we found a Princess bus (otherwise I would have guessed wrong on the turns back to the ship) on the way back to the ship. 100 kilometers an hour and we were back in Katakolon which was a nice little port town with plenty of shops and sea side restaurants.
Took the Princess excursion which was excellent with big, new, beautiful AC bus and easy to understand local guide with microphone and headsets to see Ephesus ruins and house of Virgin Mary's. Landscape and scenery was great- the oppressive heat at the Ephesus site was not. Even half enjoyed the carpet demo in town afterward. Definitely recommend the Princess one based on price and clarity. I saw many small groups of higher priced guides for hire where the passengers were straining to hear and understand- so I disagree with the Critic Board members who tout some of these other private excursions here. I rate the general Princess shore excursions a 4 (as I think most are overpriced like other ships) instead of this one a 5+.
Did our own walking tour of Old Town and enjoyed the Street of Knights and the Palace of the Grand Masters along with taking in the local flavor. We had plans to go to the famous town beach just 1 kilo north of town but the heat had gotten to us just as it did in Athens after the Acropolis, Mykonos and even Santorini (where our rental car, which I encourage one to do, had zero gasoline in it and when we finally found a station near Oia- it was closed! we found out what time it opened by asking a shop in Oia and stayed there until then) We went to the southern beaches in Santorini which my daughter and I enjoyed but we again had trouble with the road signs around the island as we noticed other tourist drivers seemed to keep driving in circles sometimes like us even with maps.
Naples is huge but we found the hydrofoil docks by asking questions and then finding the right ship shuttle to the right pier. Capri was a bit rain drizzling sometimes, but at last cool! The funicular took us right up to town and then a little walk around the beauty and a breathtaking short bus ride to Marina Piccola was outstanding. Great pizza place in town for lunch (pizza was great in Rome and Venice too) and back to the hydrofoil- for what turned out to be a gut wrenching, barf bag for some ride back to Naples. We heard later that the ship was delayed awhile because some later Capri hydrofoil passengers were tardy due to the elements and the rough sea.