We wanted to cruise the Mediterranean and this ship was visiting the places we wanted to see. I have to say though, we didn’t really compare it to any other cruise lines and it was our first cruise. Still, I’m sure I will visit Greece and Italy again, I just won’t cruise.
A few things I noted while onboard:
Malta- The very best part is the view from the ship in port. It’s breathtaking. BEWARE, if, like us, you arrive on Sunday. NOTHING IS OPEN! So don’t waste your money on an excursion. Hardly worth the hop on hop off fee either but at least it was something to do. There is a piazza at the port with a few restaurants and souvenir places plus a Starbucks so you can grab a meal off of the boat. Best cell phone connection of the whole trip!
Crete- we were in port for 4 hours. It wasn’t enough. There is a small shopping area but we arrived so early and left so quickly that nothing was really open yet. The food was so-so and the baked goods were stale. It was the least memorable stop but I suspect that if we had more time it might have been different.
Rhodes - loved the old town! It was quaint, clean and full of shops and restaurants. Exactly what you picture when you think of Greece. The food was was good. We probably bought more souvenirs here than anywhere else, Before returning to our ship I spent some time swimming in the marina. It was beautiful! The water was crystal clear and there is a small beach to keep a towel. And you are right by the ship so it was convenient.
Mykonos. What a bust! I purchased the 4 hour excursion for $44 which ultimately was for a bus ride to and from the beach. We left late and, at the end, waited over an hour for our return bus. (An hour we could have spent on the beach!) The beach was nice but the sand is rocky so wear water shoes. The water was colder than expected and chairs cost 30eu for the pair. The escort was rude and the experience ruined our day. After all 45 people complained, the ship refunded a portion of the excursion fee. PS. The excursion people were, at first, not at all accommodating and basically blamed us. It was infuriating to say the least! They ultimately apologized.
Athens - the Acropolis is magical! As long as you don’t mind crowds, this is THE spot when you are in Athens. The hop on, hop off tour was ok. The city is smelly and filthy and the piazza where you can buy souvenirs is full of beggars and thieves. BEWARE- 2 people from our cruise were robbed. One man at the piazza had his pouch ripped right from his neck and a woman had her purse stolen while she was on the hop on, hop off bus.
Santorini - Probably my favorite place in Greece overall. Interesting and beautiful and the food was the very best Greek food I have ever eaten! And it was alfresco dining at the Black Beach! While the people struggle financially with a corrupt government and failing banks, they are proud of their land and heritage and, for the most part, friendly. Make your way to the Monastery for a prayer and some home made olive oil. Visit “Symposiun”, tucked away in a quaint village, for some music and Greek mythology and delicious homemade honey wine. Take the cable car up the mountain, and if you can, walk down. (Trust when you hear that the line to get down by the cable car is LONG!) The trek is harrowing and difficult but it’s so worth it just to say that you did it! (My feet are still recovering!)
Messina Sicily. I liked Messina. Hop on hop off was decent and really showed the best parts of the area. Something that I wish that I had known to do was to prepare for some beach time. The Red Line of the bus tour stops at Paradise beach where you can swim for a bit then hop back on the bus for the rest of the tour. BEWARE. They say the bus comes every 20 minutes but it’s more like 45.
Rome. I have a crush on Rome. I loved everything about this city. The people are wonderful. The history is rich and on full display. I want to go back and do it again and again. We hired an amazing private tour guide who escorted us through the Vatican tour one day and a city architecture and ruins tour the next. She is a native Roman who was so proud of her home and was worth every penny! Look for the Scavi tour on line. It’s a semi private tour of the excavated portion of the ancient city under the alter of the Vatican. They believe the bones of St. Peter are there. It’s small groups and a hard ticket to get. Book months in advance. BEWARE It’s very warm and damp under ground and if you are claustrophobic, maybe skip this one. And definitely don’t do it in the summer!
Florence was also breathtaking! The statue of David is a must see. It was moving. The architecture and the history and the beauty of it all made me sad to leave. We hired our own tour guide and driver so we really saw everything!
Naples/ The Amalfi coast. Sigh. Again, we had a private driver and tour guide and it made all of the difference. We drove the Positano coast, stopped in Revallo for sightseeing and pizza and limoncello straight from the tiny factory. Then stopped in Pompei before heading back. It was magical!
Cruise mates - It’s fun meeting people from all over the world but living with them is another story. Some have no sense of personal space. Some don’t know (or care) that their cabin is not sound proof. Some believe that they are entitled to just about everything before someone else. Our next door neighbors were loud and the more than drank, the louder they became. At one point the we’re screaming the words to YMCA and pounding on the walls. Not fun.
Casino- accepts US dollars only! So, if you have euros, you’ll have to exchange them at the cashier. BEWARE, when you are finished, if you want to cash out your ticket at the cashier and it is a smaller amount than you originally exchanged, they won’t give you euros back and you’ll be stuck with US dollars. For example I exchanged 100eu for $102 American. I cashed out of my machine with $52 and the cashier would only give me American currency because it was less than the original 100 eu. You could take your American currency to the exchange office but it’s at 83%!! Just be careful.
Finally, when we disembarked on the last day, my luggage handle was broken sometime between the time I left it in the hallway the night before and when I went to retrieve it on the port. When I brought it to the attention of the guys on the dock they shrugged and said file a claim. I purchased insurance through the cruise line but they wanted some sort of official document from the police or some other official. Seriously? So I reached out to Customer Service at NCL and they basically offered me $100 towards my next cruise. Please! No thanks. Trust me. Customer Service at NCL ends when you make your final payment.
Anyway, would I visit Greece an Italy again? Absolutely. Would I do it buy cruise ship? Probably not. If I did would I cruise with Norwegian? Nope.
The cabin was a nice. Clean, upgraded and more spacious than I thought it would be. The real jewel though was having a balcony. Pulling into ports from the 11th floor was breathtaking! Meanwhile, being on the 11th floor, you are right below the 12th which was the public area (is there a better name for it?) . Basically we heard all of the moving of the carts and lounge chairs all night long....for 11 nights It took a little getting used to. I would recommend the 10th floor. I do have to say, Adonis, the guy who was responsible for cleaning our room, was incredible!
We stayed for 3 days and had a private guide not affiliated with NCL. She was a local with a degree in Roman architecture and so incredibly proud and knowledgeable. We saw it all and then some. The Pantheon during a rain shower was particularly memorable.
Love this island. Again, we had a private tour guide not affiliated with NCL. He was funny and charming and had a fabulous lunch with us at a restaurant at the Black Beach. You have never tasted Greek yogurt until you’ve eaten it here! We went on to the momentary where we tasted olive oil made by the monks. And walked through a village and stopped at a place where we drink honey wine and listed to music and stories about Greek mythology. Lie everyone says, the cable cars are PACKED! Heading back to port, we took the steps down the mountain. It was long and smelly (donkey droppings) and painful in the wrong shoes but I’m so glad I got to experience it! If you’re not into it, donkey rides down cost 6 euros.
Very good only for the acropolis. It was magnificent and worth the trek and crowds. The rest of the city is dirty and smelly and there are thieves everywhere. Literally. 2 people from our ship were robbed there.
Nice beach but the excursion was a nightmare. We left late. Our guide was rude. We were told to meet at 12:00 for the return trip. The bus did not come until after 1 pm. Many of us tried to call NCL but no one answered. The guide told us he was going to stop listening because he didn't care anymore. I finally called my husband on the ship and he went down to Customer Service but no one from Excursions was available. Finally someone called him and said to tell us that if we missed the bus it was our fault. You can't miss a bus that never came! Then later he left a message on my answering machine that said we were well aware that the bus would be late. Nope! Finally, after all 45 people complain, they gave us partial refunds. All around a nightmare.View All 28 Kalafatis Beach Reviews
Loved it here! Old City is so nice. Great shops. Great food. Great people. Clean and an easy walk from the ship and I swam in the crystal clear marina before we had to board. It was a great day!
Ugh. What a waste. We pull into port on a Sunday and the entire city is CLOSED! If NCL knew that, why would they bring us here? I’m still baffled.
Nice. We did not take the 2 hour trip to Taormina but stayed close to port and took one of the hop on hop off buses. Again, we heard from a local that there was a beach along one of the bus routes but we missed it. I wish NCL would have better information like that for us. The bell tower at noon at the Cathedral of Messina is not to be missed and probably the hi-light of the day. We would never have know about it if a local didn’t tell us.
I loved this day! We had a private car and tour guide take us through the Amalfi coast and we ended up in Revallo for pizza and limoncello and a magnificent view. Then we made our way to Pompei and ended the day in a small cafe. Perfect!View All 284 Amalfi Coast Reviews
See aboveView All 504 Pompeii Walking Tour Reviews
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Perfect day walking through an amazing city with the most beautiful art and architecture.View All 83 City Tour Reviews
As moving as you think it would be. I'll never forget it.View All 38 Statue of David Reviews