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What a wonderful trip! If you like ruins, antiquities and museums, you'll love this. BUT it can be a very strenuous experience - take good shoes. My niece and I did not use any ship excursions - we hired local taxis for more flexibility and less money than Princess offered in 5 ports, plus we had private transfers and hotels on each end of the voyage. Our Venice hotel was less than a block from San Marcos Square and our Rome hotel was less than a block from the Vatican.
Venice is small and easily walked IF you have a good map. The water taxis are easy and cheap to use.
Dubrovnik - walk the wall - 2 hours slow walking and picture taking - lots of up and down stairs - great views.
Corfu - Corfu town is interesting to walk, see both the Old and New Fortresses and the archaeological museum.
Katakolon - hire a local taxi to tour Olympia. Don't miss the museum at the site. Katakolon is a charming small village.
Athens - we walked to the train station, rode the train, and walked to the Acropolis. There are several other sites besides the Acropolis - one ticket allows entry to all.
Mykonos - a walking town. Three museums, all closed as it was too early in the season in April. It is pleasant to wander the winding streets and have a drink in a beachfront cafe.
Kusadasi - Hire a local taxi to Ephesus, which is very large. It was old before St. John came there and is very interesting.
Rhodes - we hired a local taxi and our driver, Dominic, was exceptional. He loved his island and it was apparent. Lindos has an archaeological site and is also a pleasant town to explore. In Rhodes Town the Fortress of the Knights is interesting but be aware the Palace closes at 3:00 p.m.
Santorini - ride the donkeys or cable car to town. Akrotiri (Minoan archaeological site) and the museum are both closed Monday, which is the day we were there and that was disappointing. But the town is charming in the style of Mykonos.
Naples - hire a local taxi to Pompeii and/or Herculaneum. Naples also has a large and interesting museum. Traffic in Naples is fierce!
Rome - use the local city buses. The bus routes are clearly marked and 4 Euros will buy an all-day bus pass.
In all these places, try to obtain a GOOD map. The maps in the Princess port literature are grossly inadequate.
Thanks for the review. We're booked on the Grand, Sept. 2005, Venice to Rome. Have some questions, if you would be kind enough to answer... Were you happy with your choice of hotel in Venice? If so, would you share the name and a bit about it. How did you get to Rome after the cruise? I've heard it's at least an hour and a half ride from the dock to the center of Rome. We're staying in Rome a few days, so the ship transfers aren't an option. Would love to find the name of a private transportation company. And, did you stay in Rome? If so, would you share that name, too. Thanks for the input...
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Venice is small and easily walked IF you have a good map. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Where did you get the map? Will be there 2 extra days before cruise and plan on walking and seeing as much as possible.
May 04 Amsterdam
Sept. 04 StarPrincess x 2
Jan. 05 Diamond Princess
July 05 StarPrincess
Aug. 05 Star Pincess
04 Dawn Princess x 2
Royal Princess x 2,Island Princess
01 Ryndam x 2
00 Sky Princess
79 Sitmar's Fairwind
I didn't mean this to be a review so much as a "preview" of the ports, as I found the CC and Princess information too sketchy or nonexistent on some places.
My terrific TA from AAA subbed with TravelBound for transfers and hotels and we saved nearly $800 over Pricess offers. In Venice we had private water taxis from airport to hotel and from hotel to ship. In Rome we had private cars from ship to hotel and hotel to airport.
Venice hotel was the Kette, old and the room was crowded with furniture - 3 beds, 2 tables, 3 chairs BUT a super bathtub. It was a little shabby, but the public areas were very nice. Rome hotel was the Columbus, again old and the room showed its age but the public rooms were lovely. Both hotels gave us maps.
Sprinkles - Rome needs a lot of time, just pick the highlights you want to see. The area by St. Peter's seems to close at 6 p.m., so if you want nightlife, stay closer to the Spanish Steps. The maps are well marked with all kinds of attractions - the Pantheon is the oldest complete structure from the 1st Century A.D. and well worth a visit.
Vivienne-j - You can buy the bus pass from machines on the street or in cafes by the bus stops. Ask waiters - they usually speak enough English to help you.
Cruisin' Chris - you're right, I did mean the water bus, not taxi. Sorry for the confusion.
Loved this itinerary, but again I say it was very strenuous for me, an overweight, out-of-shape 64 year-old female. Wear good shoes - the stones at the Acropolis (and other places) are slippery.
In Corfu we took a taxi to the Akhelion (sp?) Palace but I did not mention it originally as I did not feel it was worth the time and money. Just my opinion.
Thanks for the "preview"! I completely agree with getting a good map! We have been to Venice and Rome and it helps sooo much to have a good map! We were with a tour group at the time but the hotels had the best maps!
Hi JJones, I just saw this post and really want to know more about the taxi you took to Olympia from Katakolon. How much was it? How long did it take to get there? How long do you feel is adequate to see the site? Did the taxi driver stay at Olympia and wait for you or did you get a different driver for the ride back to Katakolon? Thanks!
Nidwaldner: The taxi to Olympia cost 40 Euros as I recall, the drive was less than an hour. Our driver waited for us and we spent about 2 hours on the site and museum. We arrived early and had the place pretty much to ourselves for nearly an hour before the bus tours came. Our driver, George, spoke English quite well and was helpful and informative. The museum is excellent and the site is very interesting.
Woodspines: We booked last June - very far in advance because the itinerary and the date were perfect for us. I don't know which is better because I have not yet booked a "last minute" cruise. I get so much enjoyment looking forward to a known vacation and reading as much about the ports as I can before leaving home.