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  #1  
Old February 13th, 2005, 08:42 AM
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Marie-Claude Marie-Claude is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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Red face Just returned from Costa Magica - ask away

Hi all!

We have just returned from our 12-day cruise on the Costa Magica to Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey and Greece. I will be posting a full review soon, but in the meantime, if you have any questions regarding ship or itinerary, ask away!!

First, let me say that the weather was not cooperating at all - It was colder on this cruise than it was in Alaska last May!! But that, we can't control and have to make the best of - just make sure to bring a few sweaters if you're going soon, just in case! Actually, a lot of Europeans were wearing their fur coats, and I wished I had mine.

Secondly, the itinerary is great. We loved Egypt and Rhodes, Marmaris was interesting, even if it's not a great representation of Turkey, Athens was too short and Olympia was surprisingly interesting.

As for the ship, it's brand new, very clean, cabins are spacious (ours anyway - cat.8 balcony). The food is by a good length the worst we've ever had on a cruise, including a previous Costa cruise which was wonderful. Being a new ship you expect to be dazzled with little details and special attentions, forget that. Service is cold and not attentive. No more bathrobes in the cabin, no more chocolate on your pillow... but I will give more details on the good, the bad and the ugly in my review.

Overall, we had a good vacation, but we will reconsider carefully before cruising with Costa again.

But the itinerary was great, and we met some wonderful people - that's all that counts in the end!
__________________
Looking forward to:
12/12/2013 Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean 10 days
04/27/2014 Ruby Princess - Transatlantic
07/15/2014 Celebrity Silhouette - Greek Isles
10/14/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Black Sea
10/25/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Holy Land
02/02/2015 Celebrity Infinity - Antartica

Great memories of 296 days at sea on :
27) 10/24/2013 Celebrity Infinity - Transatlantic Harwich to Miami
26) 07/2013 Celebrity Summit - Bermuda
25) 03/2013 Celebrity Infinity - South America and Canal crossing
24) 10/2012 Brilliance of the Seas - Canada and St-Pierre Miquelon
23) 05/2012 Celebrity Silhouette - Mediterranean & Adriatic
22) 10/2011 Celebrity Silhouette - Holy Land
21) 12/2010 Emerald Princess - Southern Carribbean
20) 10/2010 Celebrity Equinox - Transatlantic
19) 06/2010 Azamara Journey - Norwegian Fjords
18) 10/2009 Azamara Quest - Ancient Empires
17) 01/2009 Azamara Quest - Asia, Hong Kong to Tianjin
16) 08/2008 Sea Princess - Iceland, Greenland Transatlantic
15) 04/2008 Navigator of the Seas - Eastbound Transatlantic FLL to Barcelona
14) 12/2007 Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean
13) 10/2007 Serenade of the Seas - Circle Hawaii
12) 02/2007 Golden Princess - South America & Cape Horn, Strait of Magellan
11) 08/2006 Golden Princess - British Isles
10) 11/2005 NCL Star - Mexican Riviera
9) 05/2005 HAL Rotterdam - Mediterranean:Venice, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy
8) 01/2005 Costa Magica - Mediterranean (Egypt,Turkey, Cyprus, Greece)
7) 08/2004 HAL Zuiderdam - Hurricane Frances Eastern Caribbean
6) 05/2004 Sun Princess - Alaska Southbound
5) 05/2003 Regal Princess - Baltics Russia
4) 12/2002 Celebrity Constellation - Southern Caribbean
3) 10/2001 Golden Princess - Eastern Caribbean
2) 03/2001 Carnival Sensation - Western Caribbean
1) 04/1999 Costa Romantica - Western Caribbean


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  #2  
Old February 13th, 2005, 09:23 AM
FrenchyPati FrenchyPati is offline
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Hi Marie-Claude,


I'm very interesting by your post, of course!!!

I hope that you''ll do the same in french!!!!!

I have so lot of questions.

I'm already afraid by what you say on the food and he service!


I wait impatiently your full review
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  #3  
Old February 13th, 2005, 07:38 PM
lapp lapp is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: New York, NY
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Your quick review was disappointing to read.
We are on the March 5th cruise: Savona, Naples, Messina, Rhodes, Olympia, Malta and Tunis. We are in a grand suite.

A few questions:

What nights were the formal nights?
Was there a Toga night as they have on the Caribbean cruises?
How was the food in the specialty resturant?
What primary nationality were the resturant staff?

You mentioned that the food was the worst you have had on a cruise. What cruise lines are you comparing to?

Looking forward to your more in-depth review.
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  #4  
Old February 14th, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Marie-Claude Marie-Claude is offline
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Don't be discouraged by my post... we still had a wonderful vacation even if the food was not exactly great... like I said to someone else, I'm sure they will fix it soon as many people complained about it.

As for your questions:

What nights were the formal nights? DAY 3 (AT SEA), DAY7 (RHODES) AND DAY 10 (KATAKOLON)
Was there a Toga night as they have on the Caribbean cruises? NO
How was the food in the specialty resturant? WE DIDN'T GO
What primary nationality were the resturant staff? IT WAS A MIXTURE OF SOUTH AMERICAN, PHILIPPINE, EASTERN EUROPE AND ITALIAN (HEAD STAFF)

You mentioned that the food was the worst you have had on a cruise. What cruise lines are you comparing to? PREVIOUS COSTA, CARNIVAL, PRINCESS, HOLLAND AMERICA AND CELEBRITY

I hope this answers some of your questions - again, we really enjoyed the itinerary and met some wonderful people. So I'm sure you will have a good trip, and by March, the weather will be much warmer.

Don't hesitate to ask more questions, I don't mind!
__________________
Looking forward to:
12/12/2013 Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean 10 days
04/27/2014 Ruby Princess - Transatlantic
07/15/2014 Celebrity Silhouette - Greek Isles
10/14/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Black Sea
10/25/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Holy Land
02/02/2015 Celebrity Infinity - Antartica

Great memories of 296 days at sea on :
27) 10/24/2013 Celebrity Infinity - Transatlantic Harwich to Miami
26) 07/2013 Celebrity Summit - Bermuda
25) 03/2013 Celebrity Infinity - South America and Canal crossing
24) 10/2012 Brilliance of the Seas - Canada and St-Pierre Miquelon
23) 05/2012 Celebrity Silhouette - Mediterranean & Adriatic
22) 10/2011 Celebrity Silhouette - Holy Land
21) 12/2010 Emerald Princess - Southern Carribbean
20) 10/2010 Celebrity Equinox - Transatlantic
19) 06/2010 Azamara Journey - Norwegian Fjords
18) 10/2009 Azamara Quest - Ancient Empires
17) 01/2009 Azamara Quest - Asia, Hong Kong to Tianjin
16) 08/2008 Sea Princess - Iceland, Greenland Transatlantic
15) 04/2008 Navigator of the Seas - Eastbound Transatlantic FLL to Barcelona
14) 12/2007 Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean
13) 10/2007 Serenade of the Seas - Circle Hawaii
12) 02/2007 Golden Princess - South America & Cape Horn, Strait of Magellan
11) 08/2006 Golden Princess - British Isles
10) 11/2005 NCL Star - Mexican Riviera
9) 05/2005 HAL Rotterdam - Mediterranean:Venice, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy
8) 01/2005 Costa Magica - Mediterranean (Egypt,Turkey, Cyprus, Greece)
7) 08/2004 HAL Zuiderdam - Hurricane Frances Eastern Caribbean
6) 05/2004 Sun Princess - Alaska Southbound
5) 05/2003 Regal Princess - Baltics Russia
4) 12/2002 Celebrity Constellation - Southern Caribbean
3) 10/2001 Golden Princess - Eastern Caribbean
2) 03/2001 Carnival Sensation - Western Caribbean
1) 04/1999 Costa Romantica - Western Caribbean


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  #5  
Old February 16th, 2005, 10:35 AM
smith6806 smith6806 is offline
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Hi Marie-Claude!
Thank you for the quick review. It sounds like, except for the itinerary, it was not the greatest cruise. Fortunately, it is the itinerary that has me sailing on the Magica on April 15, 2005.
In preparation of the cruise, I have a few questions;
Do you have any tips on getting to the ship, in Savona, from Genoa Airport or Genoa?
Is there a self-service laundry facility on the ship?
Is there Wi-Fi interenet access anywhere on board? Is there internet access available in the staterooms?
Were the internet charges in the Internet Cafe reasonable and was the transmission speed acceptable? Are you able to use your own laptop in the Internet Cafe?
What excursion did you take in Egypt? Do you have any feedback on the Egyptian Museum/ Giza Pyramid excursion? Did you learn of any non-ship organized tours from Alexandria that allowed you to spend more time at the pyramids, sphinx, museum etc., and less at the Papayrus Institute?
Are the ship tours of Limassol and Rhodes worthwhile or do you think you would see and learn more hiring a cab at the dock?
You indicated that your time was too short in Athens, would you recommend hiring a cab rather than the ship tour, inorder to see more?
Thank you very much for your anticipated response.
Dave Smith
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  #6  
Old February 16th, 2005, 11:11 AM
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Marie-Claude Marie-Claude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smith6806
It sounds like, except for the itinerary, it was not the greatest cruise.
Hi Dave!

First let me say that except for food and weather not cooperating, it was a great cruise - I like to stay positive, and for us too, it is the itinerary that took us onto the Magica!!

As for your questions, I'll do my best here:
1) Transfers from Genoa:
We got to Savona from Nice, and had transfers with Costa. But I know that some people also flew in Genoa and managed to hop on the Costa transfer - I guess they lucked out and got to the airport while a transfer bus was there. Other people took a cab to the train station and took a train to Savona. I don't know how much it cost, but they said it was relatively easy.

2) There are no self-service laundry on board the ship, but dry-clean and laundry service is available from your cabin steward but not cheap. It's OK I guess for one or two pieces, but the average price was about 8 Euros.

3) There is an internet café, but I have not used it, nor have I checked the prices.

4) Egypt - first, I don't think going on your own to Cairo is either feasible or a good idea. All buses drive to Cairo in a convoy, with armed militaries on board - this a a government requirement for tourist excursions.
The drive from Alexandria is 3 hours - which go by quickly as the guides are really good at talking about history, culture etc. We choose the Giza, Saqqara and Memphis Tour because it gave us more time at each site since we didn't go to a restaurant for lunch, but the ship gave us a lunch bag. I will post my full review of this excursion on a following post. I have no regret taking this excursion. Some of our friends did the museum one, and they said they had to run through the museum (only there for 1 hour in all). THey had lunch in a very nice hotel but ended up spending close to 2 hours getting there, eating etc. We followed the French hostess recommendation: she told us, if you want to see the most things, take the luchbox excursion! That's what we did and we loved it. As for the papyrus institure, all excursions end up there as it is the meeting point for the convoy to regroup. We only spend 40 minutes there, which is not bad.

In Limassol, we didn't take a ship's tour, and I regret it. Only a few cabs were there, and the drivers didn't speak a language we were comfortable with for a whole excursion. So we went exploring the city on our own - we took the ship's shuttle. Not much to see, and on Saturday, everything was close. We visited the castle and that was it. Also remember that you only dock there for a few hours - 1h30 til 5h00.

In Rhodes, we did the half day tour of Rhodes, which was great. Friends did the full day, Rhodes and Lindos and enjoyed it - as long as you are in good shape and can easily climb the 300 steps to Lindos Acropolis. Older passengers thought it was way too strenuous. One guy hired a cab to climb up!!

By the time we got to Athens, we were tired, and everyone had a cold... We had to be back by 4h30, which is early. So we took a half-day tour to the Acropolis. We had a shared tour - half French, half Italian, which wasn't really a problem as we had 2 separate guides. It was a good tour, but they won't let you off the bus in town. You have to go back to Pireus, and then take your own transport back into town. We were too exhausted, and we got back to the pier at 2pm - which didn't give us enough time to go back. The only full day tour is the Acropolis and Cap Sounion. THose of went enjoyed it.

I hope this answers a few questions!
I will post the beginning of my review below - and hopefully I will finish it soon, and will post the rest then!
__________________
Looking forward to:
12/12/2013 Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean 10 days
04/27/2014 Ruby Princess - Transatlantic
07/15/2014 Celebrity Silhouette - Greek Isles
10/14/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Black Sea
10/25/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Holy Land
02/02/2015 Celebrity Infinity - Antartica

Great memories of 296 days at sea on :
27) 10/24/2013 Celebrity Infinity - Transatlantic Harwich to Miami
26) 07/2013 Celebrity Summit - Bermuda
25) 03/2013 Celebrity Infinity - South America and Canal crossing
24) 10/2012 Brilliance of the Seas - Canada and St-Pierre Miquelon
23) 05/2012 Celebrity Silhouette - Mediterranean & Adriatic
22) 10/2011 Celebrity Silhouette - Holy Land
21) 12/2010 Emerald Princess - Southern Carribbean
20) 10/2010 Celebrity Equinox - Transatlantic
19) 06/2010 Azamara Journey - Norwegian Fjords
18) 10/2009 Azamara Quest - Ancient Empires
17) 01/2009 Azamara Quest - Asia, Hong Kong to Tianjin
16) 08/2008 Sea Princess - Iceland, Greenland Transatlantic
15) 04/2008 Navigator of the Seas - Eastbound Transatlantic FLL to Barcelona
14) 12/2007 Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean
13) 10/2007 Serenade of the Seas - Circle Hawaii
12) 02/2007 Golden Princess - South America & Cape Horn, Strait of Magellan
11) 08/2006 Golden Princess - British Isles
10) 11/2005 NCL Star - Mexican Riviera
9) 05/2005 HAL Rotterdam - Mediterranean:Venice, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy
8) 01/2005 Costa Magica - Mediterranean (Egypt,Turkey, Cyprus, Greece)
7) 08/2004 HAL Zuiderdam - Hurricane Frances Eastern Caribbean
6) 05/2004 Sun Princess - Alaska Southbound
5) 05/2003 Regal Princess - Baltics Russia
4) 12/2002 Celebrity Constellation - Southern Caribbean
3) 10/2001 Golden Princess - Eastern Caribbean
2) 03/2001 Carnival Sensation - Western Caribbean
1) 04/1999 Costa Romantica - Western Caribbean


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  #7  
Old February 16th, 2005, 11:16 AM
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Marie-Claude Marie-Claude is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Montreal
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Default Full Review Part 1

Here is a part of my review... this is taking a long time!

PART 1 COSTA MAGICA – January 31, 2005

SUMMARY – In a nutshell
Cabin and service: 5/5
Food and service: 1/5
Itinerary: 4/5
Ship activities: 2/5
Entertainment: 3/5

Overall experience: 3/5

The good, the bad and the ugly….

The good:
- Itinerary was wonderful: Egypt was the highlight, and many more nice surprises such as Rhodes.
- We met some wonderful people on the cruise, we enjoyed the international crowd.
- The ship being so new it’s very clean, and it is well kept.
- There is a well defined smoking side on the ship, and other than in the casino, you don’t really get bothered by smoke – there are no ashtrays near elevators which is a good deterrent for people since no one smoked in these areas.
- Tea in the Bellagio Buffet restaurant has a good selection of whole-leaf teas of good quality that they put into a sachet. You also get real porcelain cups which is a nice contrast from the picnic plastic mug you usually get at the buffet… as for the food, it was not great, and the dessert were the same ones everyday.

The bad:
- No more chocolate on your pillows… not essential, but a nice touch before going to bed
- No more bathrobes… had I known I would have brought one
- No more toiletries

The ugly:
- Food: quality, variety… it’s just the worst food we’ve ever had on a cruise. I’m sure this will change soon as everyone was complaining.
- No other dining option than the restaurant. They say the buffet is open but all there is, and this is true for all 12 nights we were there was a plate of iceberg lettuce, one with radicchio, olives, cold cooked cauliflower and carrots, 1 kind of cold cuts, and 1 kind of cheese. They also have pizza available til 1am.
- Embarkation in ports was a nightmare… it took up to 1 hour to get back on the ship when we returned from some excursion, especially in Egypt, when 7 buses all returned at once… this was not pretty. People were upset, yelled and pushed.


EMBARKATION

Costa Crociere just opened in 2004 their new cruise ship terminal in Savona. It’s a beautiful building well designed to wait for embarkation. It has a great outdoor patio where you can sip a beer or cocktail watching the harbour activity, while waiting for you number to be called. Since most passengers come with Costa transfers from either the Nice airport or Genoa airport, a Costa rep comes onboard the buses and give everyone a number. The luggage are automatically transferred from the bus to the terminal. Then, we proceeded to the terminal where there are many comfortable seats to wait for your turn. It was a bit long, over 1.5 hour wait, but at least is was comfortable. Then we cleared security fairly rapidly and proceeded immediately onboard. Everyone was asked to immediately go to the theatre to hand their passports. They keep them for Egyptian immigration processing.

Then we went straight to our stateroom where we found our Costa Cards on the desk. No need to wait in line to get your card. Also, the luggage was already in the cabin when we got there, which is always a great relief!!

The buffet was only opened til 4pm, which was a bit tight. We had not eaten lunch so we ran upstairs, and just managed to put a few things on our plates before they closed off all the buffet lines.

So overall, the process was very smooth even if it was a bit lengthy.


OUR CABIN

We had reserved cabin 7401, a category 8 balcony cabin. The cabin is very spacious. It has a 3-door wardrobe with 2 separate hanging closets, and one with shelves with a full length mirror. The vanity has 3 drawers, and a small cabinet unit for smaller object storage. There is a small fridge, as well as a safe that uses a magnetic card for locking (any card with a magnetic strip works).

The bed was comfortable. There is also a very wide couch that can probably transform into a bed – it’s not a pull-out couch, but the width of the couch is the length of a bed. There is also a small table that is adjustable to either be used as a dining table for breakfast, or as a coffee table. The bathroom is large enough, with the usual amenities, but no toiletries. There is one bar of soap, and for the 12 days we were there, we never got another one! No shampoo, or lotion. You can get lotion and showers caps on request only. Also, there are no bathrobes available either. Had I known this, I would have brought a bathrobe.

Our cabin steward was extremely discreet and polite but very efficient. He did not speak much Italian nor French (which is what 80% of the people on the ship spoke) but we managed to communicate in English. The room was promptly done as soon as we left in the morning. The cabin service was great.


DINING ROOM SERVICE and FOOD

We had a table for 6 on the upper section of the Portofino restaurant, situated at midship. The ship has two dining rooms and the galley is in between. Because of that, you cannot go to the front of the ship on deck 3 and 4. Since our room was aft, we always had to go down to Deck 5, then walk forward, and down again to Deck 3 or 4 from there. Not a big issue, but it is confusing at first.
For the first time, we dined at the first sitting which was at 6h30 PM. This was a bit early since we were gone on excursions most days, and didn’t return until 5 or 5h30. That didn’t leave us enough time to unwind and get ready for diner. We were always rushed to shower and go down to the dining room. The second sitting was at 8h45 or 9 PM depending on the night. Knowing what I know now, I would choose the second sitting, even if it’s a bit late just to have a bit more time after returning from excursions.

The food was definitely sub-standards. The menu offered a variety of dishes, but the preparation was not well done. Meat were never cooked properly, were tough and flavourless. The fish was often fishy tasting. We never once had a baked potato, we had most often boiled potatoes, and once we had mashed that were so gluey that needed to be cut with a knife. The vegetables were always frozen. We had shrimp once at the first gala dinner as a shrimp cocktail, and on the last gala menu, there was a langouste thermidor, which was not good at all, very tough. Filet mignon? Never to be seen.
On the first night, we asked for dressing for our salad. We were offered 4 different kinds, and asked for blue cheese. The dressing we receive tasted really odd. Every other night, the only dressing available was Thousand Islands… this is odd.
I must say that the pasta dishes were always tasty, and our server told me at some point that many people ordered two pasta plates as dinner instead of the meat dishes – I did that a couple times and was happy about my decision.

Our server Paolo was Colombian and his assistant George was from the Philippines. They were both very friendly. We communicated with them in English, which was a problem for many passengers as most spoke either Italian or French. The Maitre D’, Dario was friendly and very helpful. On many nights the dining room was extremely hot, and as soon as I mentioned it to him he got on the phone with the engineers and we immediately felt the AC turned on. We also requested on one night a table at the second sitting and he obliged us very gracefully. The service was slightly chaotic on the first 2-3 nights, and we had to wait more than 45 minutes between our appetizer and soup, but after the first gala dinner, things smoothed themselves out, and service became more organized.

We had lunch in the dining room once, and the nice thing is that you can sit wherever you want. They don’t ‘fill’ tables. The menu was limited, but the service was efficient.

Breakfast in the dining room only had a cold offering – continental breakfast: breads, cold cereals, juice. If you’re longing for eggs Benedict, fill up before you leave…


BELLAGIO BUFFET

Breakfast was the same every morning. We had a variety of freshly baked goods, croissants, chocolatine, brioche, Danishes etc. that were very good. Fresh fruits, berries and cream, muesli, cold cereals and yogurt completed the cold buffet. The hot buffet had hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, beans, waffle and French toast. There was also a selection of marinated fish, cold cuts and cheese. This was fine even if the selection became boring after a while.

Lunch was served at two central sections which had a more conventional offer, and on two side stations that had a ‘theme’ menu everyday. The food was average at best. IT was always very crowded and the best bet was to find a seat on the mezzanine level which usually a bit quieter. The grills by the pools offered hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and lamb chops.

After 2h30, the only food available was the salad bar which consisted of iceberg lettuce, radicchio, quartered tomatoes, olives, a mix of cold cooked cauliflower and carrots, one cold cut, one cheese and buns. There is also pizza available until late in the evening. If you didn’t feel like going to the dining room, you really had no options.

Tea was the highlight of our food (or beverage) experience. They had a nice selection of whole-leaf teas of good quality that they put into a sachet. The cherry tea and the blackcurrant were particularly good. You also get real porcelain cups which is a nice contrast from the picnic plastic mug you usually get at the buffet.
The sandwiches were always dried, and the few pastries served were the same one everyday…
Soft serve ice cream was available almost all the time, depending on the days, sometime the machine was on, sometimes it was off.


EXCURSIONS

Naples:
We didn’t take a ship’s excursion as we had been to Naples 3 times already. We wanted to go to the Museum of Archaeology, but since we were there on a Tuesday, it was closed. So we opted to go on our own. We walked from the ship to the Castel Nuovo, which is just across the street – a 5 minute walk from the cruise ship terminal. Since it was raining, we opted to take a city tour bus for €18. Then, we went to visit the Castel Nuovo. The entrance fee was €5 for me, and it was free for my mom. There was a few exhibits of 16-19th century paintings.

Alexandria:
This was to be the highlight of the trip and it was. We chose the Pyramid, Saqqara and Memphis tour (€99 per person) and really enjoyed it. As opposed to all other tours that included a meal in a restaurant, we had a lunch bag that we picked up as we debarked the ship in the morning. It was certainly not a gastronomical feast, but it allowed us to spend more time at the various sites.
The excursion started with a 3 hour bus ride to Cairo. On the bus, our guide talked about the ancient Egyptian civilizations, the most important pharaohs, etc. Because of our limited time in the city, and very little shopping opportunities, she offered to take orders for cartouche jewellery and t-shirts. Upon our arrival in Cairo, she called in the orders, and we were able to pick them up at the end of the day. They offered various size of cartouches in either silver, gold or silver with gold symbols. I ordered the most expensive one and it was $95 US. The small one made of silver was about $25 US. Once at the store, you could pay in €, dollars or with a credit card.

Our first stop was the Pyramids. We first went to the high plateau where we had a view of all three pyramids. We had about 15 minutes to take a few pictures. This stop had several merchants selling statuettes, pyramids, brass plates, post cards etc. This is one of the better shopping opportunity – so if you want some souvenirs, make sure to get them there. We bought 3 small pyramids in engraved brass for 1 Euro. Be wary of camel drivers… they will let you hop on their camel for free, but will charge you whatever they want to let you off… this happened to one of our friend…
They will also charge you just to take a picture, so pretend you shoot something else! And watch out for camel pooh…

Then we drove to a parking lot located between the Kheops and Kephren pyramids. There, we had about 30 minutes to walk around. Those who wanted could go inside the Kephren pyramid. Those who went said it was not worth it, as you walked in a very small and dark tunnel that is about 5 feet tall, and ended in a room that was completely bare. All objects and wall painting were removed. You also have the opportunity to go visit the royal barque, but again time is very limited, if you choose to do this, you have to run. We chose to walk up to the pyramid and just sink in the magnitude of the work… it’s even more impressive that what can be expected.

Our next stop was at the Sphinx. We had some time to wander on our own, and then we were able to eat our lunch at the restaurant terrace. We were given a coupon for a drink. The view was spectacular… We had 1.5 hour to walk around, and take in the sight. This was great.

Then, on to Saqqara. As we got there the wind started to blow and we witnessed a sand storm!! We went into a mastaba which was the tomb of Mererouka. There, we were able to see several rooms with unbelievable wall drawings and hieroglyphs. Once we got out, the storm had receded and we went on to the pyramid of Djoser, the step pyramid. We had about 30 minutes to walk around.

Next stop was in the ancient site of Memphis. The ancient city is no longer there. Palm trees cover most of what was once the capital of Egypt. But there is a small outdoor museum with the famous alabaster sphinx, a few sarcophagus, and the colossal statue of Ramses II. Even if there isn’t much to see there, it was a nice addition to the whole trip. It was very pleasant to see the lush palm trees covering this site – a nice contrast with all the sand surrounding this area.

Last stop – Papyrus Institute. This is the last stop of all tours. They show you how papyrus is made in a 5 minute demonstration. Then you have time to shop for your papyrus and then you can walk up to the jewellery store, where you can pick up your cartouche, and then shop for other jewellery. The papyrus are relatively inexpensive. You can get small ones for €8-10. We were looking at a large one but found it a bit expensive – it was €75. The salesman told us ‘How much do you want to pay for it…’ we didn’t think we could or should barter in a shop like this, but I guess you could… I offered him 50 and he accepted. When I went to the cashier to pay, the credit card machine didn’t work. All I had was €40, and he gladly took it!

MORE TO COME SOON...
__________________
Looking forward to:
12/12/2013 Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean 10 days
04/27/2014 Ruby Princess - Transatlantic
07/15/2014 Celebrity Silhouette - Greek Isles
10/14/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Black Sea
10/25/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Holy Land
02/02/2015 Celebrity Infinity - Antartica

Great memories of 296 days at sea on :
27) 10/24/2013 Celebrity Infinity - Transatlantic Harwich to Miami
26) 07/2013 Celebrity Summit - Bermuda
25) 03/2013 Celebrity Infinity - South America and Canal crossing
24) 10/2012 Brilliance of the Seas - Canada and St-Pierre Miquelon
23) 05/2012 Celebrity Silhouette - Mediterranean & Adriatic
22) 10/2011 Celebrity Silhouette - Holy Land
21) 12/2010 Emerald Princess - Southern Carribbean
20) 10/2010 Celebrity Equinox - Transatlantic
19) 06/2010 Azamara Journey - Norwegian Fjords
18) 10/2009 Azamara Quest - Ancient Empires
17) 01/2009 Azamara Quest - Asia, Hong Kong to Tianjin
16) 08/2008 Sea Princess - Iceland, Greenland Transatlantic
15) 04/2008 Navigator of the Seas - Eastbound Transatlantic FLL to Barcelona
14) 12/2007 Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean
13) 10/2007 Serenade of the Seas - Circle Hawaii
12) 02/2007 Golden Princess - South America & Cape Horn, Strait of Magellan
11) 08/2006 Golden Princess - British Isles
10) 11/2005 NCL Star - Mexican Riviera
9) 05/2005 HAL Rotterdam - Mediterranean:Venice, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy
8) 01/2005 Costa Magica - Mediterranean (Egypt,Turkey, Cyprus, Greece)
7) 08/2004 HAL Zuiderdam - Hurricane Frances Eastern Caribbean
6) 05/2004 Sun Princess - Alaska Southbound
5) 05/2003 Regal Princess - Baltics Russia
4) 12/2002 Celebrity Constellation - Southern Caribbean
3) 10/2001 Golden Princess - Eastern Caribbean
2) 03/2001 Carnival Sensation - Western Caribbean
1) 04/1999 Costa Romantica - Western Caribbean


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  #8  
Old February 17th, 2005, 01:52 PM
gacomeau gacomeau is offline
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Question No Toiletries?

Excellent review, I can't wait to read the rest of it.

No toiletries?? Do you mean there was no soap or shampoo? I'm going on this cruise on April 4th, I assumed it would be like a hotel where they provide the soap and shampoo? Are there towels?
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  #9  
Old February 18th, 2005, 08:14 AM
lesleyfb lesleyfb is offline
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Yes, that got me puzzled as well. Usually if they don't have little individual type toiletries they at least have a container distribuing gel which can be used as soap, shampoo or body wash. I can't believe we have to drag all that stuff with us.
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  #10  
Old February 18th, 2005, 09:17 AM
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Marie-Claude Marie-Claude is offline
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Default RE toiletries...

Let me clarify this: There was one soap upon our arrival, and we never got another one for the cruise, which is fine really. There is a dispenser of body wash in the shower. There was no shampoo, cond, shower cap or lotion. I tried to wash my hair with the body wash, but it's a bit harsh.
There was a small card stating that if you needed lotion or cap they would provide upon request. But no shampoo. I had not brought shampoo or conditionner, so I had to buy some.

It's not a big deal, just another sign that makes you feel like they are cutting back on the little details that made cruising a bit more special!
__________________
Looking forward to:
12/12/2013 Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean 10 days
04/27/2014 Ruby Princess - Transatlantic
07/15/2014 Celebrity Silhouette - Greek Isles
10/14/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Black Sea
10/25/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Holy Land
02/02/2015 Celebrity Infinity - Antartica

Great memories of 296 days at sea on :
27) 10/24/2013 Celebrity Infinity - Transatlantic Harwich to Miami
26) 07/2013 Celebrity Summit - Bermuda
25) 03/2013 Celebrity Infinity - South America and Canal crossing
24) 10/2012 Brilliance of the Seas - Canada and St-Pierre Miquelon
23) 05/2012 Celebrity Silhouette - Mediterranean & Adriatic
22) 10/2011 Celebrity Silhouette - Holy Land
21) 12/2010 Emerald Princess - Southern Carribbean
20) 10/2010 Celebrity Equinox - Transatlantic
19) 06/2010 Azamara Journey - Norwegian Fjords
18) 10/2009 Azamara Quest - Ancient Empires
17) 01/2009 Azamara Quest - Asia, Hong Kong to Tianjin
16) 08/2008 Sea Princess - Iceland, Greenland Transatlantic
15) 04/2008 Navigator of the Seas - Eastbound Transatlantic FLL to Barcelona
14) 12/2007 Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean
13) 10/2007 Serenade of the Seas - Circle Hawaii
12) 02/2007 Golden Princess - South America & Cape Horn, Strait of Magellan
11) 08/2006 Golden Princess - British Isles
10) 11/2005 NCL Star - Mexican Riviera
9) 05/2005 HAL Rotterdam - Mediterranean:Venice, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy
8) 01/2005 Costa Magica - Mediterranean (Egypt,Turkey, Cyprus, Greece)
7) 08/2004 HAL Zuiderdam - Hurricane Frances Eastern Caribbean
6) 05/2004 Sun Princess - Alaska Southbound
5) 05/2003 Regal Princess - Baltics Russia
4) 12/2002 Celebrity Constellation - Southern Caribbean
3) 10/2001 Golden Princess - Eastern Caribbean
2) 03/2001 Carnival Sensation - Western Caribbean
1) 04/1999 Costa Romantica - Western Caribbean


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  #11  
Old February 21st, 2005, 08:18 PM
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Marie-Claude Marie-Claude is offline
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Smile Last of review - Excursion and Debarkation

EXCURSIONS

Naples:
We didn’t take a ship’s excursion as we had been to Naples 3 times already. We wanted to go to the Museum of Archaeology, but since we were there on a Tuesday, it was closed. So we opted to go on our own. We walked from the ship to the Castel Nuovo, which is just across the street – a 5 minute walk from the cruise ship terminal. Since it was raining, we opted to take a city tour bus for €18. Then, we went to visit the Castel Nuovo. The entrance fee was €5 for me, and it was free for my mom. There was a few exhibits of 16-19th century paintings.

Alexandria:
This was to be the highlight of the trip and it was. We chose the Pyramid, Saqqara and Memphis tour (€99 per person) and really enjoyed it. As opposed to all other tours that included a meal in a restaurant, we had a lunch bag that we picked up as we debarked the ship in the morning. It was certainly not a gastronomical feast, but it allowed us to spend more time at the various sites.
The excursion started with a 3 hour bus ride to Cairo. On the bus, our guide talked about the ancient Egyptian civilizations, the most important pharaohs, etc. Because of our limited time in the city, and very little shopping opportunities, she offered to take orders for cartouche jewellery and t-shirts. Upon our arrival in Cairo, she called in the orders, and we were able to pick them up at the end of the day. They offered various size of cartouches in either silver, gold or silver with gold symbols. I ordered the most expensive one and it was $95 US. The small one made of silver was about $25 US. Once at the store, you could pay in €, dollars or with a credit card.

Our first stop was the Pyramids. We first went to the high plateau where we had a view of all three pyramids. We had about 15 minutes to take a few pictures. This stop had several merchants selling statuettes, pyramids, brass plates, post cards etc. This is one of the better shopping opportunity – so if you want some souvenirs, make sure to get them there. We bought 3 small pyramids in engraved brass for 1 Euro. Be wary of camel drivers… they will let you hop on their camel for free, but will charge you whatever they want to let you off… this happened to one of our friend…
They will also charge you just to take a picture, so pretend you shoot something else! And watch out for camel pooh…

Then we drove to a parking lot located between the Kheops and Kephren pyramids. There, we had about 30 minutes to walk around. Those who wanted could go inside the Kephren pyramid. Those who went said it was not worth it, as you walked in a very small and dark tunnel that is about 5 feet tall, and ended in a room that was completely bare. All objects and wall painting were removed. You also have the opportunity to go visit the royal barque, but again time is very limited, if you choose to do this, you have to run. We chose to walk up to the pyramid and just sink in the magnitude of the work… it’s even more impressive that what can be expected.

Our next stop was at the Sphinx. We had some time to wander on our own, and then we were able to eat our lunch at the restaurant terrace. We were given a coupon for a drink. The view was spectacular… We had 1.5 hour to walk around, and take in the sight. This was great.

Then, on to Saqqara. As we got there the wind started to blow and we witnessed a sand storm!! We went into a mastaba which was the tomb of Mererouka. There, we were able to see several rooms with unbelievable wall drawings and hieroglyphs. Once we got out, the storm had receded and we went on to the pyramid of Djoser, the step pyramid. We had about 30 minutes to walk around.

Next stop was in the ancient site of Memphis. The ancient city is no longer there. Palm trees cover most of what was once the capital of Egypt. But there is a small outdoor museum with the famous alabaster sphinx, a few sarcophagus, and the colossal statue of Ramses II. Even if there isn’t much to see there, it was a nice addition to the whole trip. It was very pleasant to see the lush palm trees covering this site – a nice contrast with all the sand surrounding this area.

Last stop – Papyrus Institute. This is the last stop of all tours. They show you how papyrus is made in a 5 minute demonstration. Then you have time to shop for your papyrus and then you can walk up to the jewellery store, where you can pick up your cartouche, and then shop for other jewellery. The papyrus are relatively inexpensive. You can get small ones for €8-10. We were looking at a large one but found it a bit expensive – it was €75. The salesman told us ‘How much do you want to pay for it…’ we didn’t think we could or should barter in a shop like this, but I guess you could… I offered him 50 and he accepted. When I went to the cashier to pay, the credit card machine didn’t work. All I had was €40, and he gladly took it!

Limassol:
We have not booked a ship excursion here, and I wished we had. We were in Limassol on a Saturday, and most stores were closed. Also, we were in town only for a few hours, which didn’t give us a lot of time to do things on our own. We took the ship’s shuttle into town (€5 per person return) and walked around the town. We went to the Castle which dates to the 12th c. This castle served as a prison up until 1950. It has a good exhibition of household potteries and ceramics dating from the 4th-18th c., as well as some weapons, and many interesting engraved tombs covers. At €4 per person, it’s a short but interesting visit. There is also a rooftop terrace from which you have a great view of the city, and of the ship in port! There’s a lovely garden with various artefacts, olive press and citrus trees that were all filled with bright lemons and oranges. Other than the castle, there isn’t much to see in Limassol. We walked around a bit, then took the last shuttle back to the ship at 5pm.

Rhodes:
Rhodes City Tour (€39) a half day tour that started out by a short drive up to the ancient acropolis of Rhodes. Unfortunately, there isn’t much left of the temple that once stood there but three columns. We drove past that and then went to the ancient stadium, still in very good shape. There is also a small theatre that was redone in the last century. After that stop the bus drove us to one of the door to the medieval city, and we did the rest of the tour by foot. We walked to the Grand Master Palace which we visited with the guide. Even if this former house of the Head of the Knights was completely redone in the last century, it contained very well preserved mosaics from the island of Kos, and restoration work was interesting to see. We walked down the streets of Knights where each nation had a hostel, according to the language spoken during the time of the crusades. The tour ended in the old city, near the port. A that time we had an hour to walk around, shop etc. At 12h30, we could either get back to the ship with the bus, or stay in town and walked back to the ship – a 15 minute walk at the most. We truly enjoyed this day in Rhodes. Most shops were opened in the walled city, as well as bars and restaurant.

Also, the day before, we received a sign-up sheet offering the possibility of going to a jewel factory in the afternoon in Rhodes. You need to sign-up but it’s free – they just need to know how many people would go to get buses. Since we were back on the ship, I decided to go for the ride. The store is about 15 minutes out of the city. They had opened the store just for us. There’s a small museum with antique gold pieces. They have a lot of silver and gold jewellery. From what I could see, not many people have made purchases. The gold prices were very high – unless you absolutely fell in love with something, it wasn’t worth it. As for silver, the prices were more reasonable and I found a nice bracelet with the Greek meander pattern for €25.

Those who chose the full day excursion went to Lindos in the morning, ate in a hotel (buffet style) and then did the Rhodes tour in the afternoon. Some of our friends did that tour and enjoyed it. However, some people found the 300 steps to go to the top of the Lindos acropolis a bit strenuous. One guy hired a cab to get up there… From what I understand, if you have lots of energy, do the full day tour, and if you have to choose one of the half-day tour, stay in Rhodes, it would be a shame to not at least walk through the old city.

Marmaris:
Dalyan and Caunos Express (€52)
Only two choices of excursion here and both see the same sights. The only difference is that the full day tour includes lunch at a local fish restaurant (€74). We opted for the ‘express tour’ in order to have some time in Marmaris for some shopping. The excursion was very pleasant. We had an amazing guide, Bekir, from Istanbul. Because of a snow storm in Istanbul the guides could not fly in, so they had to drive for 10 hours to meet the ship. The drive to Dalyan was just over an hour. There, we embarked on tarp-covered boats to go along the river and view the temple-tombs of ancient kings carved into the rocky cliffs. Then, we arrive at the archaeological site of Caunos with the Roman Theatre, the Roman Bath and the streets of this city founded in 5th Century B.C. After the visit, the boat takes you back to the village and to the bus. We were dropped off at the pier at around 2:15pm. We could either take the ship shuttle into town (€5 per person return) or cabs were waiting there also. Cabs were €5 each way for up to 4 persons. We went into town. I was expecting a typical ‘turkish’ market, but found more or an outdoor mall. In fact it’s a labyrinth of streets covered with a glass roof, with all kinds of shops selling jewellery, ceramics, leather goods, clothing. Some are nice, some are shadier. We were told Turks were the master of counterfeiting – I’ve never seen so many fake Louis Vuitton and Gucci in my life!! But contrary to what we often see, these were really good copies, made of good leather with good finish (not all though, you have to be careful). You can get purses and shoes at very very good prices. From what we’ve seen, they will cut the prices in 4 from their original asking price. This was really our only shopping occasion so we bought a few things.

Athens:
Acropole and Museum (€63)
By the time we got to Athens, we were tired, and everyone had a cold... We had to be back on the ship by 4h30, which is early. So we took a half-day tour to the Acropolis and the Archaeological Museum. We had a shared tour - half French, half Italian, which wasn't really a problem as we had 2 separate guides. After touring the main monuments and building of the city, we stopped at the Museum. Our guide Effie brought us to the most significant pieces of the museum, giving us detailed information on Greek history, architecture and art. We saw the gold mask of Agamemnon, the bronze Poseidon and Young jockey of Artemision, and the statue of Athena Nike, just to name a few. After the museum, we drove past the parliament house and saw the guards dressed in their traditional costume. Today, they had to wear a thick woollen cap as it was only 3 degrees Celsius, with a light snow! Then we stopped at the original Olympic stadium where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896. Finally we arrived at the Acropolis. We slowly went up to the top with our guide. We stopped by the theatre. The temple of Athena Nike was gone!! I couldn’t believe it… when we got to the entrance, there was a sign saying that the temple had become unstable, and was dismantled piece by piece. ‘The aim of the current restoration project, in process since 2000, is to correct the inadequacies of all the previous restoration projects and to reinstate the building’s original geometry.’ The Propylaia is also under restoration. The wind was blowing so cold at the top, it was incredible! But the magnificence of the Parthenon made it very endurable. We had about 30 minutes of free time to explore on our own the top of the Acropolis, Parthenon, Erechtheum and its caryatides. We all met back on the bus and went straight to Pireus. It was a good tour, but they won't let you off the bus in town. You have to go back to Pireus, and then take your own transport back into town. We were too exhausted, and we got back to the pier at 2pm - which didn't give us enough time to go back into the city. The only full day tour is the Acropolis and Cap Sounion. Those of went enjoyed it.

Katakolon:
Olympia and Museum (€52)
I didn’t have too much expectation for this tour, but I was positively surprised. It was a cold but sunny day. We first started by driving to the site of Olympia – about a 30-40 minute drive. Our guide Katia was extremely interesting. We walked the site with her in about 1 hour. The site is lovely, with lots of trees. We saw the temple of Hera, the place where they light the Olympic flame, the stadium, the temple of Zeus, the palestra and gymnasium. Then we had about 30 minutes free time. We then walked to the museum which is just off the site. We had a guided tour of the museum again with our guide. It was very interesting. We saw the Hermes of Praxiteles and the Nike of Paionios. Then, we returned to the ship, just in time for sail away at 1h30. The small town of Katakolon is not too far, maybe a 15-20 minute walk from the pier. Some excursions stopped there to allow people a bit of time to shop. One other excursion combined the site of Olympia and a stop in a restaurant in Katakolon where they were served tapas, ouzo and a local band entertained them. Apparently this was lots of fun.

Well this concludes the excursions we enjoyed during this great cruise. Our last day was at sea, and allowed us to pack our bags without too much stress.

DEBARKATION

Debarkation was very smooth. Our meeting point was at 9h15 in the theatre, which was pretty good! Then we quickly proceeded outside in the new terminal, and were able to quickly recuperate our luggage. Buses were waiting outside, and were clearly identified for the various transfers available. By 10h00, our bus was en route toward Nice, where we had a 1 night post-cruise before returning to Montreal!

Well that's it for now... I know I haven't talked about everything, like entertainment etc. but I'd be more than happy to answer any other questions you may have!
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Looking forward to:
12/12/2013 Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean 10 days
04/27/2014 Ruby Princess - Transatlantic
07/15/2014 Celebrity Silhouette - Greek Isles
10/14/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Black Sea
10/25/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Holy Land
02/02/2015 Celebrity Infinity - Antartica

Great memories of 296 days at sea on :
27) 10/24/2013 Celebrity Infinity - Transatlantic Harwich to Miami
26) 07/2013 Celebrity Summit - Bermuda
25) 03/2013 Celebrity Infinity - South America and Canal crossing
24) 10/2012 Brilliance of the Seas - Canada and St-Pierre Miquelon
23) 05/2012 Celebrity Silhouette - Mediterranean & Adriatic
22) 10/2011 Celebrity Silhouette - Holy Land
21) 12/2010 Emerald Princess - Southern Carribbean
20) 10/2010 Celebrity Equinox - Transatlantic
19) 06/2010 Azamara Journey - Norwegian Fjords
18) 10/2009 Azamara Quest - Ancient Empires
17) 01/2009 Azamara Quest - Asia, Hong Kong to Tianjin
16) 08/2008 Sea Princess - Iceland, Greenland Transatlantic
15) 04/2008 Navigator of the Seas - Eastbound Transatlantic FLL to Barcelona
14) 12/2007 Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean
13) 10/2007 Serenade of the Seas - Circle Hawaii
12) 02/2007 Golden Princess - South America & Cape Horn, Strait of Magellan
11) 08/2006 Golden Princess - British Isles
10) 11/2005 NCL Star - Mexican Riviera
9) 05/2005 HAL Rotterdam - Mediterranean:Venice, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy
8) 01/2005 Costa Magica - Mediterranean (Egypt,Turkey, Cyprus, Greece)
7) 08/2004 HAL Zuiderdam - Hurricane Frances Eastern Caribbean
6) 05/2004 Sun Princess - Alaska Southbound
5) 05/2003 Regal Princess - Baltics Russia
4) 12/2002 Celebrity Constellation - Southern Caribbean
3) 10/2001 Golden Princess - Eastern Caribbean
2) 03/2001 Carnival Sensation - Western Caribbean
1) 04/1999 Costa Romantica - Western Caribbean


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  #12  
Old February 21st, 2005, 10:17 PM
smith6806 smith6806 is offline
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Hi Marie-Claude!
Thank you for the excellent reviews and for specifically addressing my questions. Your information will make our trip that much more enjoyable.
Happy cruising in the future.
Dave Smith
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  #13  
Old March 2nd, 2005, 05:20 PM
Candlestick Candlestick is offline
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Hi Marie-Claude,



Again thanks for the useful information. We are going on the 4th April so your information is invaluable in helping us to decide what excursions to go on.



We're trying to save some money - so at the moment we are undecided about what to do in Athens - do you think it's possible to do the Parthenon and Museum on your own without taking the excursion? (We don't mind the walking – is it easy to get to?)



Thanks
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  #14  
Old March 2nd, 2005, 08:13 PM
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Marie-Claude Marie-Claude is offline
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Hi Candlestick!

I think that it can be done. You can walk to the subway station which is about 20-30 minute walk from where the ship docks. We were told the subway ride is about 30 minutes. I know there is a subway station right close to the museum, but I think you have to transfer to a different line. And there is also a stop at the Acropolis. I'm sure you can easily find a subway or metro (as they call it) map on the internet - just google it - so that you can plan your trip. The ship docks early in the morning and the all aboard is at 4h00, so if you leave early, you'll have plenty of time to do both.

The ticket to the Museum is 6 Euros. The ticket to the Acropolis is 12 Euros, and it will also get you access to the Ancient Agora, the Theatre of Dyonisos, the Roma Agora, the Kerameikos and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.

Plan at least 1.5 hr to 2 hours for the museum, and as much for the Acropolis.
If you want to have a guided tour, there are guides at the entrance of the Acropolis that you can hire. I don't know the price, as we went on the ship's tour and had a guide with us.

I don't know if you are familiar with frommers, but it has a wealth of information that I'm sure would help you plan your excursions... here is a link on Athens... have fun, and I'd be happy to answer any other questions!
http://www.frommers.com/destinations/athens/
__________________
Looking forward to:
12/12/2013 Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean 10 days
04/27/2014 Ruby Princess - Transatlantic
07/15/2014 Celebrity Silhouette - Greek Isles
10/14/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Black Sea
10/25/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Holy Land
02/02/2015 Celebrity Infinity - Antartica

Great memories of 296 days at sea on :
27) 10/24/2013 Celebrity Infinity - Transatlantic Harwich to Miami
26) 07/2013 Celebrity Summit - Bermuda
25) 03/2013 Celebrity Infinity - South America and Canal crossing
24) 10/2012 Brilliance of the Seas - Canada and St-Pierre Miquelon
23) 05/2012 Celebrity Silhouette - Mediterranean & Adriatic
22) 10/2011 Celebrity Silhouette - Holy Land
21) 12/2010 Emerald Princess - Southern Carribbean
20) 10/2010 Celebrity Equinox - Transatlantic
19) 06/2010 Azamara Journey - Norwegian Fjords
18) 10/2009 Azamara Quest - Ancient Empires
17) 01/2009 Azamara Quest - Asia, Hong Kong to Tianjin
16) 08/2008 Sea Princess - Iceland, Greenland Transatlantic
15) 04/2008 Navigator of the Seas - Eastbound Transatlantic FLL to Barcelona
14) 12/2007 Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean
13) 10/2007 Serenade of the Seas - Circle Hawaii
12) 02/2007 Golden Princess - South America & Cape Horn, Strait of Magellan
11) 08/2006 Golden Princess - British Isles
10) 11/2005 NCL Star - Mexican Riviera
9) 05/2005 HAL Rotterdam - Mediterranean:Venice, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy
8) 01/2005 Costa Magica - Mediterranean (Egypt,Turkey, Cyprus, Greece)
7) 08/2004 HAL Zuiderdam - Hurricane Frances Eastern Caribbean
6) 05/2004 Sun Princess - Alaska Southbound
5) 05/2003 Regal Princess - Baltics Russia
4) 12/2002 Celebrity Constellation - Southern Caribbean
3) 10/2001 Golden Princess - Eastern Caribbean
2) 03/2001 Carnival Sensation - Western Caribbean
1) 04/1999 Costa Romantica - Western Caribbean


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  #15  
Old March 3rd, 2005, 05:07 PM
karinete karinete is offline
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Hello,

I am french and I speak a bad english. we ll go to the magica on april 15, 2005. It's our first cruise with my husband and our childrens (2 boys: 6 and 8 years old).

Where do you live? We are living in Lyon in france.

See you soon.

Karinete
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  #16  
Old March 3rd, 2005, 05:15 PM
Candlestick Candlestick is offline
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Thanks Marie-Claude for the detailed information. Looks like it's possible - I'll do some further investigation.
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  #17  
Old March 7th, 2005, 09:27 PM
gacomeau gacomeau is offline
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Default Which Ports Can Be Visited Without a Ship Excursion?

I noticed that you took a ship excursion in a lot of the ports. Are there some ports that could have been visited without a ship excursion without missing out on too much? Are there some that you think a ship excursion is a "must"?

Also, did you book your excursions in advance or on the ship?

Thanks for taking the time to answer all our questions.
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  #18  
Old March 8th, 2005, 09:34 AM
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Marie-Claude Marie-Claude is offline
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Default ...Depends on what you like to do...

Hi there gacomeau!

We booked all excursions while on board. We couldn't do it from the web as we had a group booking from a travel agency in Montreal.
On your own or ship excursion: Well, it all depends on what you want to do, and whether it's your first visit at this port.

Naples: if you've never been, you probably want to visit Pompei - and because of time constraint, I would highly recommend doing it with the ship. If you had all day, you probably do it on your own, but half a day is a bit tight.
Having been there, we opted to simply go on our own to the city which is right where the ship docks.

Alexandria: No other option than taking a ship excursion.

Limassol: We went on our own to the city, and as I said earlier, I wish we had taken a ship's tous. Again, you only have half a day here, so I know some people have taken the shuttle to the city, and then found a cab to go to Kourion, but we thought it a bit tight for time. I hate having to rush, and run for a cab etc. This is a vacation after all...

Rhodes: Easily done on your own. Again, the ship docks right in the old city. If you have a good travel guide, you can visit the Palais des grands maîtres, and the Knight Street, or simply stroll in the old city. We chose the excursion because we wanted to have a guide.

Marmaris: unless you simply want to stay in the city and do a bit of shopping, not a whole lot to see there, you should take the ship's tour. They take you to Dalyan and Caunos which is a good 45-60 minute drive from Marmaris.

Athens: good subway system, 20 minute walk to the station, but if you know where to go and what you want to see, go for it on your own. Especially for archaeological site, we find a visit to be a lot more interesting when you have a good guide, and again that's why we opted wfor ship's tour.

Katakolon: you can stay in town, there are a few stores on the main road, about 15-20 minute walk from the ship. But if you want to go to Olympia, you should take the ship's tour.

Overall, in my opinion, I think Naples, Limassol, Rhodes and even Athens can be managed on your own fairly easily, but again it depends on what you like to see and do - if you're happy with strolling around or want more information and history, maybe not. As for Alexandria and Marmaris, I wouldn't even try, unless you plan on staying close to port.

I hope this helps a bit more!
When are you leaving??
__________________
Looking forward to:
12/12/2013 Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean 10 days
04/27/2014 Ruby Princess - Transatlantic
07/15/2014 Celebrity Silhouette - Greek Isles
10/14/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Black Sea
10/25/2014 Celebrity Constellation - Holy Land
02/02/2015 Celebrity Infinity - Antartica

Great memories of 296 days at sea on :
27) 10/24/2013 Celebrity Infinity - Transatlantic Harwich to Miami
26) 07/2013 Celebrity Summit - Bermuda
25) 03/2013 Celebrity Infinity - South America and Canal crossing
24) 10/2012 Brilliance of the Seas - Canada and St-Pierre Miquelon
23) 05/2012 Celebrity Silhouette - Mediterranean & Adriatic
22) 10/2011 Celebrity Silhouette - Holy Land
21) 12/2010 Emerald Princess - Southern Carribbean
20) 10/2010 Celebrity Equinox - Transatlantic
19) 06/2010 Azamara Journey - Norwegian Fjords
18) 10/2009 Azamara Quest - Ancient Empires
17) 01/2009 Azamara Quest - Asia, Hong Kong to Tianjin
16) 08/2008 Sea Princess - Iceland, Greenland Transatlantic
15) 04/2008 Navigator of the Seas - Eastbound Transatlantic FLL to Barcelona
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  #19  
Old March 8th, 2005, 06:33 PM
gacomeau gacomeau is offline
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We are leaving on April 4th and we're counting down the days. I hope the weather warms up a bit. I know they've had a very cold winter in Europe this year.

If I could afford to, I would take all the ship excursions because I like having a guide too. But some of the excursions seem to be quite expensive for what you're getting.

Did you hear of anyone on board not being able to book the excursion they wanted? My girlfriend thinks we should book in advance.

My travel agent mentioned that in some ports, there are local guides who offer pretty much the same excursions as the ship but they are a lot less expensive. Did you notice that anywhere?
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  #20  
Old March 10th, 2005, 06:15 PM
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Marie-Claude Marie-Claude is offline
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We pretty much booked every excursion day by day - on some days, they even were selling excursion the morning of (for half day port-of-call). So I would not worry about not having what you want - and just to reassure you, our cruise was sold out (fully booked).

And since they offer excursion in 4 different languages, if they don't have enough to fill a bus with 1 language, they'll put you with another group and split the group. That's what happened to us in Athens, and while we were anxious when we saw we would share the tour with Italians (nothing wrong with that, but we were afraid since they were more numerous than french speaking that we would have less information) it was very good as we had two separate guides, one French speaking, one Italian.

I think that the main reason why the price seem high is that most excursion involve a fair amount of transportation - for the most part, we dock far from where the excursion take you. That might be why. Just as a reference, we paid about 300 Euros each for all excursion, which is not that bad.

As for local guides, the only place I saw them was in Athens at the entrance of the Acropolis. Usually, it's true that we see guides and taxis offering services, but on this itinerary we didn't see any.

Hope this will help reassure your girlfriend!!
MC
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12/12/2013 Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean 10 days
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19) 06/2010 Azamara Journey - Norwegian Fjords
18) 10/2009 Azamara Quest - Ancient Empires
17) 01/2009 Azamara Quest - Asia, Hong Kong to Tianjin
16) 08/2008 Sea Princess - Iceland, Greenland Transatlantic
15) 04/2008 Navigator of the Seas - Eastbound Transatlantic FLL to Barcelona
14) 12/2007 Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean
13) 10/2007 Serenade of the Seas - Circle Hawaii
12) 02/2007 Golden Princess - South America & Cape Horn, Strait of Magellan
11) 08/2006 Golden Princess - British Isles
10) 11/2005 NCL Star - Mexican Riviera
9) 05/2005 HAL Rotterdam - Mediterranean:Venice, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy
8) 01/2005 Costa Magica - Mediterranean (Egypt,Turkey, Cyprus, Greece)
7) 08/2004 HAL Zuiderdam - Hurricane Frances Eastern Caribbean
6) 05/2004 Sun Princess - Alaska Southbound
5) 05/2003 Regal Princess - Baltics Russia
4) 12/2002 Celebrity Constellation - Southern Caribbean
3) 10/2001 Golden Princess - Eastern Caribbean
2) 03/2001 Carnival Sensation - Western Caribbean
1) 04/1999 Costa Romantica - Western Caribbean


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