We stayed overnight in the Jerusalem YMCA in order to maximize our limited time in Israel. The reserved ticket Western Wall Tunnel tour is a must. Our private tour guide took us to the Dead Sea (it was just too hot to climb Masada) and then back to the old city of Jerusalem for a Western Wall visit and shopping in the 4 quarters of the city.
You have no control over when the cruise ship stops in Jerusalem but if it is a Friday (as it was for us) everything starts to shut down in Jerusalem for shabbat (day of rest). If you want to shop on Friday you need to get it done before 2 or 3pm in the afternoon.
We opted for a private taxi and he took us to all the necessary Athens sights. Of course the Acropolis is a must. He also took us to another set of ruins that are part of your Acropolis tickets. By the way, you must buy your Acropolis tour tickets at the bottom of the ruins and then you go to the entrance at another location a bit further up the hill. Kids 15 and under are free.
After the second ruins we went to the Plaka. A popular shopping destination.
A complete and pleasant surprise stop! We had no expectations for this stop and we opted to walk within the walled inner city by the harbor. Despite the heat once again, we walked pretty much from one end of the harbor to the other stopping to see ruins, enjoy the shops and mosques. We stumbled upon a clock tower near the end of our walk and for 5 Euros you got to climb the tower, get a 360 degree view of Rhodes and get a free drink at the cafe below. Kids 15 and under are free. This was one of the highlights of our whole cruise!
I guess unless you have a shore excursion or a taxi ride (taxis were on strike at this stop)this stop was the least interesting. It was also the shortest time-wise. We opted to walk into the harbor town and back. For a fee you can take a shuttle to the shopping center but we opted not to.
I would have preferred to see the Greece pictured in the movies like "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" or "My Life in Ruins." The terraced white stuccoed buildings with blue roofs.