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  #1  
Old August 7th, 2006, 12:46 AM
KOCHAN KOCHAN is offline
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Default need help august 11 nautica lots of questions?

Hi, my husband and I first time cruisers on oceania need info if we can bring our own alcohol on board (wines vodka etc,) also we would like to tour Athens any suggestions on tour guides? and exchanging money better at airport in the states or in Europe?
any help very much appreciated
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  #2  
Old August 7th, 2006, 09:10 AM
Andee Andee is offline
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Oceania permits passengers to bring alcohol onboard.

We were very satified with Spiros of ***************.

In our experience, getting local currency works better than exchanging money in the airport.
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  #3  
Old August 7th, 2006, 11:11 AM
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loum140 loum140 is offline
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Since we did 3 days in Athens post-cruise, I booked two full-day bus tours -- to Delphi and environs and to the Peleponese -- in advance via the Internet. However, the hotel lobby also had brochures for these trips. The bus picked us up at the hotel in the a.m. and dropped us off there in the p.m. The prices are pretty standard. On the third day, we just walked around on our own, seeing the Acropolis, the Museum, the changing of the guard and the Plaka.

Also, US dollars were accepted in many places in Athens, but we had Euros too.
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  #4  
Old August 7th, 2006, 01:59 PM
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Bruin Steve Bruin Steve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KOCHAN
Hi, my husband and I first time cruisers on oceania need info if we can bring our own alcohol on board (wines vodka etc,) also we would like to tour Athens any suggestions on tour guides? and exchanging money better at airport in the states or in Europe?
any help very much appreciated
You'll be able to bring alcohol onboard for consumption in your cabin. Bringing a bottle to dinner with you will result in a $20 corkage fee.

We also booked Spiros, but due to a change in dates in Athens, were reassigned to his colleague, Fotios. Spiros had assured us, by E-Mail, that he, himself, would be with us for our tour. Brian_uk, who was also on our cruise, says he booked Spiros as well (interesting, huh?) and was also reassigned to a colleague.

For money exchange, I've found the best rates to be from local ATMs in Europe...but my bank, Wells Fargo, tacks on a $5 foreign ATM charge--so the larger the amount charged, the more reasonable. Money exchange at airport banks usually has the fee figured in by playing with the exchange rate. For example, if the published market rate is $1.25 = 1 euro, that airport bank may be selling euros for $1.33 and buying them at $1.17. American Express does pretty much the same thing here. I always like to buy some Euros before I leave home, just to avoid the hassle of dealing with it on arrival, especially if I'm on my own from airport to ship.

But really, the best advice is to do what is most convenient to you and not worry about the exchange rate. A $5 fee or a few percent charge on a few hundred euros for a several thousand dollar vacation should be of minimal concern. Remember, by cruising, MOST of your vacation cost is prepaid and in US $.
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  #5  
Old August 8th, 2006, 03:41 AM
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drwong drwong is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KOCHAN
Hi, my husband and I first time cruisers on oceania need info if we can bring our own alcohol on board (wines vodka etc,) also we would like to tour Athens any suggestions on tour guides? and exchanging money better at airport in the states or in Europe?
any help very much appreciated
Unlike other cruise lines that confiscate your alcohol as soon as you board, Oceania treats you like adults, expecting you to behave as adults. The $20 corkage fee includes storing your wine in Oceania's climate-controlled "cellar" if you don't consume the entire bottle during one meal.

As far as whether to exchange money at an airport in the States or in Europe? NEITHER! Not only are you likely to buy your Euros at a higher price than the going exchange rate, you're also going to be hit with a transaction fee which will eat into the number of Euros you receive.

Steve gave the best advice, which it to make ATM withdrawls once you arrive. Not only did I get a better exchange rate, Citibank only charged me a 1% transaction fee. Or if you're an AmEx Platinum member, you can exchange dollars for Euros at any AmEx branch in Europe without incurring the usual transaction fee. You should print off a listing of the local branches for the ports you intend to visit before you leave home.

Concerning Athens tour guides, you can find a host of recommendations on the Europe board. On our cruise immediately precedent to Steve and Brian's, we had also booked Spiros, who amazingly called us the night before and said that he had a previous engagement and handed us off to a "colleague." The colleague was nowhere as interesting as Spiros was described on these boards and we were disappointed by the experience (which may explain why CruiseCritic doesn't encourage posters to list Spiros' website or email address).

Depending on your level of adventure, you can book a cruise tour or a Gray Line bus tour of the city or its environs, or at the other extreme, you can buy a Lonely Planet or Rick Steves book and a pair of comfortable walking shoes and see Athens on your own! It's a surprisingly small town for its size, and most of the interesting sites are pretty close to each other. (We were shocked at the site called the Acropolis - the place is falling apart!).
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