Venice, Dubrovnik, Istanbul and Athens recs?

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#1
Boston, DC, and Scottsdale
195 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We're going to be on the Pacific Princess Adriadic/Eastern Med cruise leaving Venice on August 31. We've never been to any of the ports and we're wondering if folks have any particular recommendations in Venice, Dubrovnik, Istanbul, and Athens? Thanks in advance for any input/thoughts! -- Ed and Rich
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#2
Sarasota, Florida
996 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
for Istanbul, Goggle Best taxi driver and you should come to Ishan's web page. Great guy & guide, had him for 2 days. We asked to have lunch at an off the beaten path place, took us to a place by his home. Tell him , Ron and Stan, the 2 tall guys with the short lady from 3 years ago ( he dropped his new camera )
Dubrovick, will be HOT. I pity you if there is another ship in port at the same time. We went last May, old city ( which is THE must do ) can be very crowded. We took the local bus to there & cab it back.
Athens & Venice, just way too much to say about both places, how much time in each port ?
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#3
Boston, DC, and Scottsdale
195 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Thanks for the info, guys. We start in Venice and overnight there, so have 2 days there. We end in Athens, but fly out that night at 7, so we're looking for a tour for the day.
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#4
Brooklyn
1,671 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Great ports! I have a detailed review with pictures in my signature - the Grand Mediterranean cruise - from last year. I cover Venice, Athens, and Istanbul in my review. It's a bit long, but have gotten good feedback about the tips from others. Have a great time!
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#5
Boston, DC, and Scottsdale
195 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Thanks so much, Atilla - that was a fun read! Glad to hear we're going to your two favorite ports. I know from you're review that you're interested in Dubrovnik, so we'll give your our tips when we return.
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#6
Brooklyn
1,671 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by brightonguys
Thanks so much, Atilla - that was a fun read! Glad to hear we're going to your two favorite ports. I know from you're review that you're interested in Dubrovnik, so we'll give your our tips when we return.
That would be great! I'd love to return to Venice and stop in Dubrovnik and maybe hit some of the Greek islands.
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#7
Atlanta, GA
305 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Brightonguys, don't know if you've already picked a place to stay in Venice, but we like the Luna Baglioni a lot. The hotel and staff are really nice (the hotel itself is decorated with antiques and Venetian chandeliers), and I can't imagine a more convenient location. It's steps from St. Mark's Square and has a private boat landing right outside it's front door - so no dragging your luggage through Venetian streets to get to your hotel. In terms of restaurants, be sure to make a reservation at Al Covo. It's a wonderful little place run by a husband and wife team serving traditional Venetian meals of locally sourced ingredients. We've tried many times to find a restaurant we like better in Venice, but haven't been able to yet.

We'll be back in Venice again next month - and you can bet we're staying at the Luna Baglioni and will be eating at Al Covo.
#8
9,153 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by brightonguys
Thanks for the info, guys. We start in Venice and overnight there, so have 2 days there. We end in Athens, but fly out that night at 7, so we're looking for a tour for the day.
Too bad your time in Athens will be limited. With the caveat that it's been a few years since we used them (altho I see they still get good reviews here on CC, do check the Ports of Call board, re Paul and other options*), I highly recommend Paul's Athens Taxi.

https://www.athensbytaxi.com/

You'll get a driver for the day (likely Paul or one of his sons) who will meet you at the ship and know exactly where to take you (or where you want to go). They are not licensed tour guides, so they can't accompany you onto the historic sites, but they worth checking out. We had a wonderful, whirlwind day with Paul's son Jimmy....

Have a great trip!

*here, for example:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1473969
#9
Houston, TX
4,812 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
For Venice, I recommend Gio e Gio Bed and Breakfast...nice room, eh breakfast, but great location. Mike and I took a gondoliering lesson and it was the highlight of our two week Italian trip. Check out row venice dot com....HIGHLY recommend. Neither of us are in shape and are both in our fifites but we were able to handle it and had a wonderful time.

We were in Istanbul five years ago but were very pleased with Nejat Nicedon tour. Since you only have one day there you are unlikely to have time to take the ferry up the Bosphorus but if you can, it is a wonderful couple of hours. I had Nejat set it up for us and six others from our roll call to pick us up at the ship with our luggage, drop us at the ferry, he rode with us, the driver rode up river meeting us at the other end then he drove us back to our hotels to drop luggage and then to the Grand Bazzaar....I suspect he could work out something similar but ending at the airport. Speaking of which, be advised that in 2008 at least, you had to go security twice - once before entering the terminal and then a second time to get to the gates. So leave yourself plenty of time to make your flight - the airport is also a little bit out of town.

Dubrovnik is wonderful. We had an enjoyable day on our own. We took a taxi from the port (if you tender here you are lucky, they drop you right in town). Taxis were 10 euros (all shops took either credit cards or euros, no need for Kunas unless you dont' want to use your credit card). We walked the walls first thing before it got too hot, still pretty intensive...lots of stairs but lots of views too. We ended our day with a delicious piece of krempita - the local dessert - sorta a neopolitan with only the top and bottom crust and LOTS of custard and a piece of chocolate macroni pie. Imagine taking really thick chocolate, mixing with big elbows and then putting in a pie shell...interesting, sorta tasty but I won't feel the need to have it again

We had our two days precruise in Athens so we did everything on our own. I think if I was going back, I would plan on taking the metro (I think that is what they call it) from the port to the closest stop to the Parthnon and doing it on my own. Be sure to have some Raki while in Greece....so much better than Ouzo IMHO. Especially true if you can have some warm with cinnamon.
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Clay

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#10
9,153 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Clay Clayton
We had our two days precruise in Athens so we did everything on our own. I think if I was going back, I would plan on taking the metro (I think that is what they call it) from the port to the closest stop to the Parthnon and doing it on my own. Be sure to have some Raki while in Greece....so much better than Ouzo IMHO. Especially true if you can have some warm with cinnamon.
Sounds like the OP will be ending the cruise in Athens (Piraeus) and thus have all their luggage with them, so in this case, I don't think the metro will be a good idea. Plus they have to leave time to get to the airport that same afternoon, putting a premium on getting around quickly. Having a driver/guide would help enormously in this particular situation.
#11
Boston, DC, and Scottsdale
195 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Thanks so much for the continued tips everyone - we really appreciate it! We do end in Athens with a 7:30 PM flight out, so it sounds like athensbytaxi would be perfect. And we spend an overnight and 2 days in Istanbul, so if it's worth going up the Bosphorus, that sounds good, too. Because we're flying in morning of the first of two days in Venice, we'll just be sleeping on the ship this time - but it's good to know about Luna Baglioni for next time.

Another question, as best I can tell, none of these ports is particularly unfriendly to gay couples, right? I know Turkey is maybe borderline, but in Istanbul and Ephesus, I'm assuming it's pretty much okay?
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#12
Brooklyn
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Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by brightonguys
Another question, as best I can tell, none of these ports is particularly unfriendly to gay couples, right? I know Turkey is maybe borderline, but in Istanbul and Ephesus, I'm assuming it's pretty much okay?
I would recommend avoiding public displays of affection in any of the ports, just to be safe. I haven't heard of any negative incidents against gay couples, but just be careful.
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#13
San Francisco
1,712 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Ishan is one crazy guy and a really good driver, he comes very well recommended we have signed his book as well.
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#14
London, Ontario, Canada
447 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
We have spent quite a bit of time in Istanbul and Athens and I can tell you that being gay does not seem to be an issue. I would not say that Istanbul is borderline at all - being a secular country they don't let religion get in the way of making money.

But - as always - PDA's (for any gender combination) is not kosher - it is not acceptable in many cutlures.
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#15
13 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Dubrovnik has a great gay beach. It's actually a rocky cliff like coast on a small island off the coast of Dubrovnik. There is a small ferry boat that takes you from the city center. The island itself is a nature preserve and very beautiful. The gay section is to the left from where the boat lets off. Keep walking and it's quite a hike. There is first a nude section, then a gay section. We saw quite a bit of crew from our ship there. It's a beautiful spot and we still had time to enjoy all the attractions of the city during our one day port of call.
#16
Boston, DC, and Scottsdale
195 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Thanks for the beach tip - never woulda thought about going to the beach, but that sounds like it could be a fun thing to do for a couple hours before we go into the old town. We're in port til midnight, so we should have plenty of time for both.
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#17
139 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
We had a similar itinerary with Cunard in October 2011.
I'd recommend the cable car in Dubrovnik - reasonably priced, and great views of the walled city below
http://www.dubrovnikcablecar.com/
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