My husband and I just turned 40, so we decided to celebrate by booking a Mediterranean Cruise! We had a great Alaskan cruise with Holland America a few years ago, so we decided to go with them again. And we're glad we did! We also really liked the itinerary: a 12 day cruise starting from Rome, traveling to a variety of Greek islands, and then arriving back in Venice.
The Oosterdam was a lovely ship! Everything was very clean (public spaces and cabin). We stayed in an interior room, and we thought the room had plenty of space. With such a port heavy itinerary, it didn't seem to make a lot of sense to pay extra for a balcony as we weren't on the ship during the day. Plus, there were plenty of sun beds available, and the Lido and the Crow's Nest were great places to relax and watch the sea.
The food was good! It was easy to find something to eat for breakfast in the Lido, and we also really enjoyed ordering room service. The servers in the main dining room were also personable and provided fantastic service - we enjoyed the variety of options for dinner, especially dessert. The baristas in the Crow's Nest also made a pretty good latte.
The room was clean and had plenty of space for all of our clothes, bags, etc. I didn't miss having a balcony as we weren't on the ship during the day, and there were plenty of chairs/places to relax and enjoy the sea.
The port is a little hard to get to (take a train from Rome and then either walk to the port or take a taxi). It wasn't too bad of a trip, though.
Easy place to explore - the walled city was steps from the ship. We walked around Old Town. To avoid the crowds and for the best views of fortifications, battlements, and walls, walk on the outside of Old Town in the moat (the moat doesn't have water; instead, it has green grass and paths through them). It takes about an hour, and we saw maybe 5 people on the walk. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water. We also visited the Archaeological Museum and The Palace of the Grandmaster. Really fun city!
We just stayed in Heraklion as we wanted a break from ruins and museums. We walked around the city, and while parts of it were really pretty, overall we weren't that impressed. However, we did enjoy visiting Koules fort and walking on the seawall.
We packed in a lot on this very hot day! We visited the Herakleidon Museum (small, but good exhibits), had an excellent lunch and the best Greek salad of my life, and then headed over to the Acropolis Museum (which has air conditioning! and ice cream!). We next visited the Temple of Zeus and the National Garden, went back to shop for souvenirs at the Acropolis Museum (and enjoy the air conditioning), and then around 5:30pm we headed over to the Acropolis and Parthenon. There weren't any lines, and it was a bit cooler. We were glad we waited until the evening to go. Afterwards, we were super tired, so after a bit of walking around the Plaka we headed back to the ship.
Nafplion is a beautiful town! We did part of the Headland Walk, which is a lovely, short walk which takes you from the harbor front to the town beach. From there, we continued to walk towards Karathona beach. We didn't make it all the way to Karathona, but instead stopped at Neraki Beach. It is a small, rocky beach, but the water is crystal clear and there were only about 20 people at the beach (and for most of the time, there were 5 of us). Perfect water temperature for snorkeling! No lifeguard on duty.
We did a kayaking tour through Holland America, and it was a really fun experience! The guides were friendly and personable; we went through sea caves, stopped off at a small beach to swim, and then ended our trip at a local beach bar. it was a great trip and worth every penny!
So, we want to retire here some day! We hiked part of the Ladder of Kotor Trail to the Castle (I recommend this route if you want to avoid the crowds). The trailhead is outside old town (look up the directions online) and is very easy to follow with red and white arrows painted on the rocks. About 30-45 minutes into the walk, the trail breaks off to the right to go to the Castle of San Giovanni. You literally have to climb through a window on the wall to get into the fortress.The view of the top of the Castle is amazing! You can take the stairs down, which will put you into the middle of Old Town. Beautiful city! I would have loved to stay here for much longer to go hiking!
We had already been here before, so we just walked around and enjoyed the sights.