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Little Nell

Recommendations for excursions please

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Hi folks.

We are going on the Majesty doing the Aegean and Adriatic and would appreciate your advice on which excursions to do. We are not averse to doing things on our own, but sometimes that is not the best bet. We are a party of 4 so taxis are not out of the question. We have never been to Greece before, nor to most of the Adriatic stops, excepting Italy.

I have taken a good look at the excursions but from previous experience it is hard to tell which are the good ones. I will definitely take a tour in Athens as i enjoy hearing what the guides have to say. Ephesus is a must but can't decide between the full day or half day. From previous experience of full day excursions, including a searingly hot afternoon in Pompeii, my instinct is to go for the half day one here but if we do will the tour at Ephesus be shortened or is the half day adequate? Looks like Dubrovnik may be a little way from the ship therefore transport may be required. I was thinking of doing the walking tours in Dubrovnik and Split but how arduous are they? What about Santorini? Any recommendations? Is it possible to make your own way into Venice from the port as the transport provided seems very expensive when multiplied by 4.

I do believe Thomson are now better at giving advice to independent travellers but I like to do my research before I go.

All advice will be gratefully appreciated.

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Hi folks.

We are going on the Majesty doing the Aegean and Adriatic and would appreciate your advice on which excursions to do. We are not averse to doing things on our own, but sometimes that is not the best bet. We are a party of 4 so taxis are not out of the question. We have never been to Greece before, nor to most of the Adriatic stops, excepting Italy.

I have taken a good look at the excursions but from previous experience it is hard to tell which are the good ones. I will definitely take a tour in Athens as i enjoy hearing what the guides have to say. Ephesus is a must but can't decide between the full day or half day. From previous experience of full day excursions, including a searingly hot afternoon in Pompeii, my instinct is to go for the half day one here but if we do will the tour at Ephesus be shortened or is the half day adequate? Looks like Dubrovnik may be a little way from the ship therefore transport may be required. I was thinking of doing the walking tours in Dubrovnik and Split but how arduous are they? What about Santorini? Any recommendations? Is it possible to make your own way into Venice from the port as the transport provided seems very expensive when multiplied by 4.

I do believe Thomson are now better at giving advice to independent travellers but I like to do my research before I go.

 

All advice will be gratefully appreciated.

 

Here is a copy of a review I did when we went on a similar itinerary although it sounds like some of the ports have changed, it might help! Great itinerary!

 

 

B2B Thomson Spirit Pearls of the Aegean and Adriatic Explorer Cruise in August 2010.

 

We were very pleased with the ship. I will just highlight the ports of call we visited and what we did to maybe help others. I am happy to answer any other questions about the ship / tours etc if necessary!

 

Koper

 

Pretty town within 5 minutes walk from the port. My husband did the Panoramic Bike Ride which was approx 15 km very easy cycle ride along an old railway path to Potoroz. Minimum child age was 12 which was a shame - we have a 10 year old and my husband said that he could easily have managed the trip so we could all have done it! Good morning out with lovely scenery. Upon arrival just outside the port, you are met by market stalls, people with tourist information & a free land train which takes you around Koper. In the afternoon, we wandered around the pretty old town & climbed the Church Tower to see the impressive views of the surrounding countryside. We were quayside coming back to the ship when a large cargo ship decided to get a bit too close to the Spirit & unfortunately bumped into her and tipped her to one side into the dock-side. Once on-board, we all had to report to our inside Muster Stations with life-jackets for roll-call then were allowed to go about our usual evening. I cannot fault how professionally this was all handled by the staff & passengers and we were kept informed at all times by the cruise director or Captain as to what was happening – the ship had to be inspected inside & out including underwater divers and although late leaving that evening, we actually arrived early into our next port of call…..

 

Venice

 

Up at 6am to go on deck to watch the sail-in – well worth doing. It was an amazing sight sailing into Venice as the sun was rising with little traffic on the waters! We were followed into Venice by 2 big cruise ships; an MSC and the Costa Fortuna – it was good to get there first!

 

We did our own thing in Venice. Walked then caught the “People Mover” into the Plazza Roma then Vaporetto down the Giudecca Canal where we stopped off at San Giorgio & took the lift to the top of the church tower with magnificent views overlooking the whole of Venice – no queue to do this unlike the huge queues for the tower at St Mark’s Square. We then caught another Vaporetto to St Mark’s Square. Enjoyed a lovely day and then to get back to the ship, we caught a Vaporetto up the Grand Canal where we got off after Plaza Roma and walked to the dock. This is a must – you cannot visit Venice without going up the Grand Canal!

 

Don’t miss the departure from Venice – we were out on deck and were serenaded by Pavrotti!!

 

Korcula

 

Tender port. We stayed on the ship in the morning and enjoyed the quiet of the ship. When people started arriving back for lunch, we got off to explore the beautiful walled town of Korcula – so pretty & unspoilt with lots of little alleyways, restaurants, bars, churches & Marco Polo’s tower to explore. I see that Thomson are not going to Korcula next year which is a real shame - one of my favourite spots!

 

Dubrovnik

 

Had a fantastic day here and did the Thomson “Elaphite Island with Music” trip. Got off the ship and straight onto a good sized boat which took us for a guided sail around the walls of Dubrovnik – lovely to see them from the sea. We then stopped off at 3 unspoilt islands of Kolocep, Sipan and Lopud where we had time at each stop to look around or swim in the beautiful clear waters. An excellent fish lunch was included washed down with wine (or water!) as was “live” entertainment of a superb 2 piece band – 2 very entertaining Croatians playing & singing both traditional folk music & English songs. Excellent full, fun day out.

 

Kotor

 

Up early (5.30am!) for the sail-in to Kotor – another must-do. It was stunning, Fjord-like scenery. Did a half-day Thomson “Coastal Charms” tour here which took us to the pretty village of Perast, onto a little boat across to the pretty “Lady of the Rock” Island. We then continued by coach and across a car ferry and onto Budva, a large tourist resort which has a lovely old walled town. Here you have the option of freetime or a guided tour around. We weren't that impressed with the tourist area of Budva itself but the walled town was lovely. Back to Kotor and again the chance of a guided tour around the old walled town.

 

 

Corfu Town

 

Here from the port, we caught a local bus into the old town where we had a look around and then bartered for a horse-drawn carriage ride around the town which was lovely in the heat!

 

Athens

 

I have to admit that we stayed on the ship that day! Many late nights dancing & early starts had got the better of us so we actually enjoyed the peace & quiet of the ship (& pools virtually to ourselves!) whilst everyone else hit Athens.

 

Patmos

 

Our visit to Santorini was “abandoned” due to gale force winds – the cable cars and tenders were closed for the day. The larger cruise lines apparently had to spend a day at sea whereas our Greek Captain arranged for us to call into Patmos – a very pretty little Greek Island. This was a tender port. Thomson did offer two 2 ½ hour tours of the island and it’s Monastery but we opted for a day on the town beach which was lovely – such warm water. It was a stony/gravel type beach but to cool off & swim was just great! Disapointed to miss Santorini but a bonus to get a beach day!

 

Marmaris

 

Another very hot but superb day in Turkey. We opted for the Thomson “Jeep Adventure” which was a 5 hour trip with a convoy of about 12 jeeps of all shapes & sizes up into the mountains, off-roading, into villages and down to a beautiful beach for a swim & drink stop. This was followed by a visit to a shaded water-fall where again we were able to swim in very refreshing (but welcome) water. The temperatures hit 40+ this day so being on a jeep was a good option – the warm air cooled us off to a certain extent. We finished in a pretty village in the mountains with a drink & snack then a wander around the village. A really good, fun day and with excellent drivers. The tour leaders here really did make it fun.

 

Crete

 

Here we did the Thomson “Spinalonga” trip which again was another excellent trip. We were taken by coach to Elounda where we caught a boat across to the old Leper Colony of Spinalonga. The guide was really interesting and informative giving us the history of the Island and really bringing it to life. (If you get chance, read the novel "The Island" first.) We were the first boat to arrive on the Island at about 9.30am (a big advantage of booking a Thomson trip). As we were leaving, there were lots of boats and hundreds of people arriving onto the island which would have spoilt it for me if I have been with them! The boat sailed all around the island then headed back to Elounda where they had arranged for a wonderful lunch of Greek Meze in a restaurant overlooking the seafront. We then had 1 ½ hours freetime to head for the beach at Elounda before being taken back to Ag Nik.

 

Kefalonia

 

Another very hot day. Did our own thing today. Argostoli didn’t look very exciting nor was there a beach so we got a taxi to a beautiful, white sandy beach at Lassi and spent the afternoon there. Sunbeds available to hire or half the beach was for people who didn’t want a sunbed. We spent the afternoon in the warm, clear blue sea to cool down. Very easy getting taxi to and from. We paid 8 euros each way (approx 10 minute drive) for 4 of us.

 

 

Summary

 

The tours we did with Thomson were well-worth the money. The tour guides in each destination were really knowlegable, informative and friendly. The good thing about going on a booked trip is although to some, it may be considered an early start 8.30-9.15am, we always seemed to get to places before other tours – always “one step ahead” before it got too crowded anywhere. (Bearing in mind this was peak season mid-August). A fantastic cruise with some beautiful places - we would do it all again!

Edited by Julessmiles

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Hi folks.

We are going on the Majesty doing the Aegean and Adriatic and would appreciate your advice on which excursions to do. We are not averse to doing things on our own, but sometimes that is not the best bet. We are a party of 4 so taxis are not out of the question. We have never been to Greece before, nor to most of the Adriatic stops, excepting Italy.

I have taken a good look at the excursions but from previous experience it is hard to tell which are the good ones. I will definitely take a tour in Athens as i enjoy hearing what the guides have to say. Ephesus is a must but can't decide between the full day or half day. From previous experience of full day excursions, including a searingly hot afternoon in Pompeii, my instinct is to go for the half day one here but if we do will the tour at Ephesus be shortened or is the half day adequate? Looks like Dubrovnik may be a little way from the ship therefore transport may be required. I was thinking of doing the walking tours in Dubrovnik and Split but how arduous are they? What about Santorini? Any recommendations? Is it possible to make your own way into Venice from the port as the transport provided seems very expensive when multiplied by 4.

I do believe Thomson are now better at giving advice to independent travellers but I like to do my research before I go.

 

All advice will be gratefully appreciated.

 

Hello Little Nell,

 

Ephesus/Kusadasi: First of all I'd definitely recommend doing Ephesus and we found the half day trip was very good. I suspect you would probably spend only about the same amount of time at Ephesus whether it was the half or full day - I guess there will be more included elsewhere for the longer trip. It is a magnificent site but we felt we'd had plenty of time to appreciate it plus some free time to wander from the Library to the Forum and Amphitheatre meeting up with the rest of the group at an agreed time. You are right to be wary of the temperatures too - the marble pavers reflect the heat and beware too that they are rather slippery so sandals/shoes with a good, grippy sole are a good idea. It's worth a wander in Kusadsi for an hour or so in the afternoon too. There is a good bazaar ('Genuine Fakes'! :D ) but good fun. If you are looking for souvenirs especially lots of little bits and pieces (embroidered book marks, jewelled pens, key or phone cases and knick knacks etc. etc) there is a guy with a shop just as the road rises up at the top end of the bazaar - he has a notice outside saying 'No hassle' and he's as good as his word - lets you go round, examining things and never bothers you at all. We bought lots of little things there (some to put in home made crackers at Christmas - they are great and usually only a few Euros).

 

At Dubrovnik they berth a little out of the town but just outside the port entrance is a taxi point and the fixed price fare to Pile Gate (the entrance to the old part of Dubrovnik) was 10E when we last went - that's for 4 people. If you are up to walking then do the walls - and I'd say get off the ship early, beat the crowds and walk the walls before all the tour groups arrive. It's brilliant. Once you have climbed the steps it probably takes the best part of an hour to walk all the way round and it undulates a bit but especially if you set off early before it's too hot you will find it more comfortable. You can get down at various points so itf you were finding it a bit much, you could get off at the opposite side to Pile Gate at the Harbour and eithe give up on the walls or just have a rest and drink then carry on (save your ticket!). We had to pay with Kuna for the walls - I'm not sure whether they now take other currencies or CC but perhaps if you did some research you could find out before you go if that's the case and take some Croatian currency with you. Other than that, I think Euro is fine everywhere else - even in Dubrovnik, cafes and shops take Euros - it's just the walls which were an issue. Dubrovnik is an enclosed town and not too big so I think it's easy for you to DiY. The taxis are lined up outside Pile Gate for the return trip to the ship so absolutely no problem at all. (It's walkable but quite a long way and tiring - best use the time in Dubrovnik itself)

 

Split: It depends on whether you really want to benefit of the guide of course, but again at Split it's really easy to DiY. the tender drops you right across from Diocletian's Palace which is free to go in - here is some info on it.

http://w3.mrki.info/split/diokl.html

http://www.croatiatraveller.com/Heritage_Sites/Diocletian%27sPalace.htm

You can walk to the right from the tender stop around the headland and that's where the locals swim. It's not a beach - its a wide concrete slope into the sea but apparently popular by the number of people there. But the rest of the town around the Palace is easy to explore and there are numerous waterside cafes along the attractive promenade- a real cafe culture here.

 

Koper: is also a 'walk-off'. If you want to go to Piran, I'll look up a review I did before on how to get to Piran on the local bus - cheap, easy and again with a fairly early start (we caught a bus between 9 - 9.30) you can be back quite comfortably by 2pm with time to look around Koper itself. Let me know if you want details. Alternatively if you want a trip we did the Ljubljana half day trip from here and thought it was very good.

 

Venice - DiY! Get a decent map - we found one of the 'Pop-up' maps good. With that you can walk all the way into the centre - over the fly-over to the right as you leave the port down the steps on the right once you've got over the fly-over and follow your map. You WILL get lost in Venice but it's all part of the fun - there are so many alleyways that's it's almost impossible not to get a bit lost - but you will always find somewhere recognisable again - look for the names of the squares and churches in them when you arrive at an open space and then you'll find it on your map - you will have an idea of the area you're in - it's just pin-pointing it. You can also get the people carrier out of the port to Piazzale Roma where you can get the vaporetto to St Mark's. Make sure you're getting on one which goes via the Grand Canal as this has all the fabulous views of the mansions along the canal and also goes under the Rialto Bridge. Once at St Mark's Square - many of the main sites are around her. If you want a drink though and don't fancy paying a small fortune go to cafes off the main square where our friends paid £40 for a drink and cake for two! There are lots of sign-posts pointing towards the Rialto Br and to St Marks so you will find your way around. It's a great city to explore - don't worry you can't go too far wrong and it's walkable back to the ship if necessary so as long as you leave yourself time to get back I wouldn't dream of being tied down to a group tour - just walk around, soak it up - it's fab!

 

Sorry know nothing about Brindisi - it's a new one to Thomson.

 

Santorini - I'd Diy too - but the first time we did the Thomson trip to Oia which for me is THE place to go on Santorini and is superb. It's a half day trip and they drop you off in Thira (main town) at the end of the trip and give you your cable car ticket to get down to the harbour where the tenders take you back to the ship. So you have plenty of time to have a look around Thira itself (sometimes referred to as Santorini) before making your way back independently. Having done this trip with Thomson the next time we went to Oia ourselves by local bus as it gave us more time there. If you want to do that, get back and I'll post how we did it with the bus timetable link.

 

Corfu on your middle day I'd say walk left from the port around the waterfront until you arrive in the old town which I think is lovely - cafes, tourist shops, narrow streets, a fort you can go into for a few euro.

 

Bodrum is a gem! There's a free water taxi from the berth into the Harbour - but you can walk it. There's an amphitheatre to explore - free to get in - not far with great views across the bay but a short, steep climb at the end to get there. Again good tourist infrastructure - the Castle is supposed to be something special but we didn't go in.

http://www.bodrum-museum.com/

Again, no need to go on a trip here - it's a lovely place in it's own right!

 

Katakolon; I'd probably say it's worth doing the Olympia trip with Thomson though - it was possible to do it by train - but then there were problems and it stopped - not sure whether it's running or not now. But there weren't many trains so it's perhaps safer to go with an organised trip. Taxis outside the ship seemed pricey to me for Olympia trips and this was one place I really did think having a guide made all the difference. I didn't think we'd really like Olympia but we thought it was very good indeed. Katakolon is literally a one street town - pretty waterfront and cafes, good touristy shops a wide expnse of damp, compacted beach to walk on, a small very pebbly beach to swim from - but you can 'do' it in a hour or two which includes having a drink at the cafes/bars.

 

Hope that helps - if you want to know any more or have any questions after anything I've said, get back and I'll try to help. As I said, there are some old reviews which you may find helpful. I'll chase them up if you want me to.

 

Happy planning - it's a fantastic itinerary! ;)

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Brilliant.....good news at last:). Thank you Little Nell for asking the question I originally came on Cruise Critic to ask and read that "The Destiny has gone".

 

And thank you Julessmiles and Kruzseeka for the detailed recommendations for excursions. They reminded me of the main reason for choosing this cruise....the ports of call. Will print these off for later.

 

We are doing a cruise and stay 31.8.12. Anybody stayed at the Thomas Bay, Agious Stefanos, NW Corfu? We are wanting a totally relaxing time after a busy cruise week.

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Here is a copy of a review I did when we went on a similar itinerary although it sounds like some of the ports have changed, it might help! Great itinerary!

 

 

B2B Thomson Spirit Pearls of the Aegean and Adriatic Explorer Cruise in August 2010.

 

We were very pleased with the ship. I will just highlight the ports of call we visited and what we did to maybe help others. I am happy to answer any other questions about the ship / tours etc if necessary!

 

Koper

 

Pretty town within 5 minutes walk from the port. My husband did the Panoramic Bike Ride which was approx 15 km very easy cycle ride along an old railway path to Potoroz. Minimum child age was 12 which was a shame - we have a 10 year old and my husband said that he could easily have managed the trip so we could all have done it! Good morning out with lovely scenery. Upon arrival just outside the port, you are met by market stalls, people with tourist information & a free land train which takes you around Koper. In the afternoon, we wandered around the pretty old town & climbed the Church Tower to see the impressive views of the surrounding countryside. We were quayside coming back to the ship when a large cargo ship decided to get a bit too close to the Spirit & unfortunately bumped into her and tipped her to one side into the dock-side. Once on-board, we all had to report to our inside Muster Stations with life-jackets for roll-call then were allowed to go about our usual evening. I cannot fault how professionally this was all handled by the staff & passengers and we were kept informed at all times by the cruise director or Captain as to what was happening – the ship had to be inspected inside & out including underwater divers and although late leaving that evening, we actually arrived early into our next port of call…..

 

Venice

 

Up at 6am to go on deck to watch the sail-in – well worth doing. It was an amazing sight sailing into Venice as the sun was rising with little traffic on the waters! We were followed into Venice by 2 big cruise ships; an MSC and the Costa Fortuna – it was good to get there first!

 

We did our own thing in Venice. Walked then caught the “People Mover” into the Plazza Roma then Vaporetto down the Giudecca Canal where we stopped off at San Giorgio & took the lift to the top of the church tower with magnificent views overlooking the whole of Venice – no queue to do this unlike the huge queues for the tower at St Mark’s Square. We then caught another Vaporetto to St Mark’s Square. Enjoyed a lovely day and then to get back to the ship, we caught a Vaporetto up the Grand Canal where we got off after Plaza Roma and walked to the dock. This is a must – you cannot visit Venice without going up the Grand Canal!

 

Don’t miss the departure from Venice – we were out on deck and were serenaded by Pavrotti!!

 

Korcula

 

Tender port. We stayed on the ship in the morning and enjoyed the quiet of the ship. When people started arriving back for lunch, we got off to explore the beautiful walled town of Korcula – so pretty & unspoilt with lots of little alleyways, restaurants, bars, churches & Marco Polo’s tower to explore. I see that Thomson are not going to Korcula next year which is a real shame - one of my favourite spots!

 

Dubrovnik

 

Had a fantastic day here and did the Thomson “Elaphite Island with Music” trip. Got off the ship and straight onto a good sized boat which took us for a guided sail around the walls of Dubrovnik – lovely to see them from the sea. We then stopped off at 3 unspoilt islands of Kolocep, Sipan and Lopud where we had time at each stop to look around or swim in the beautiful clear waters. An excellent fish lunch was included washed down with wine (or water!) as was “live” entertainment of a superb 2 piece band – 2 very entertaining Croatians playing & singing both traditional folk music & English songs. Excellent full, fun day out.

 

Kotor

 

Up early (5.30am!) for the sail-in to Kotor – another must-do. It was stunning, Fjord-like scenery. Did a half-day Thomson “Coastal Charms” tour here which took us to the pretty village of Perast, onto a little boat across to the pretty “Lady of the Rock” Island. We then continued by coach and across a car ferry and onto Budva, a large tourist resort which has a lovely old walled town. Here you have the option of freetime or a guided tour around. We weren't that impressed with the tourist area of Budva itself but the walled town was lovely. Back to Kotor and again the chance of a guided tour around the old walled town.

 

 

Corfu Town

 

Here from the port, we caught a local bus into the old town where we had a look around and then bartered for a horse-drawn carriage ride around the town which was lovely in the heat!

 

Athens

 

I have to admit that we stayed on the ship that day! Many late nights dancing & early starts had got the better of us so we actually enjoyed the peace & quiet of the ship (& pools virtually to ourselves!) whilst everyone else hit Athens.

 

Patmos

 

Our visit to Santorini was “abandoned” due to gale force winds – the cable cars and tenders were closed for the day. The larger cruise lines apparently had to spend a day at sea whereas our Greek Captain arranged for us to call into Patmos – a very pretty little Greek Island. This was a tender port. Thomson did offer two 2 ½ hour tours of the island and it’s Monastery but we opted for a day on the town beach which was lovely – such warm water. It was a stony/gravel type beach but to cool off & swim was just great! Disapointed to miss Santorini but a bonus to get a beach day!

 

Marmaris

 

Another very hot but superb day in Turkey. We opted for the Thomson “Jeep Adventure” which was a 5 hour trip with a convoy of about 12 jeeps of all shapes & sizes up into the mountains, off-roading, into villages and down to a beautiful beach for a swim & drink stop. This was followed by a visit to a shaded water-fall where again we were able to swim in very refreshing (but welcome) water. The temperatures hit 40+ this day so being on a jeep was a good option – the warm air cooled us off to a certain extent. We finished in a pretty village in the mountains with a drink & snack then a wander around the village. A really good, fun day and with excellent drivers. The tour leaders here really did make it fun.

 

Crete

 

Here we did the Thomson “Spinalonga” trip which again was another excellent trip. We were taken by coach to Elounda where we caught a boat across to the old Leper Colony of Spinalonga. The guide was really interesting and informative giving us the history of the Island and really bringing it to life. (If you get chance, read the novel "The Island" first.) We were the first boat to arrive on the Island at about 9.30am (a big advantage of booking a Thomson trip). As we were leaving, there were lots of boats and hundreds of people arriving onto the island which would have spoilt it for me if I have been with them! The boat sailed all around the island then headed back to Elounda where they had arranged for a wonderful lunch of Greek Meze in a restaurant overlooking the seafront. We then had 1 ½ hours freetime to head for the beach at Elounda before being taken back to Ag Nik.

 

Kefalonia

 

Another very hot day. Did our own thing today. Argostoli didn’t look very exciting nor was there a beach so we got a taxi to a beautiful, white sandy beach at Lassi and spent the afternoon there. Sunbeds available to hire or half the beach was for people who didn’t want a sunbed. We spent the afternoon in the warm, clear blue sea to cool down. Very easy getting taxi to and from. We paid 8 euros each way (approx 10 minute drive) for 4 of us.

 

 

Summary

 

The tours we did with Thomson were well-worth the money. The tour guides in each destination were really knowlegable, informative and friendly. The good thing about going on a booked trip is although to some, it may be considered an early start 8.30-9.15am, we always seemed to get to places before other tours – always “one step ahead” before it got too crowded anywhere. (Bearing in mind this was peak season mid-August). A fantastic cruise with some beautiful places - we would do it all again!

 

Thank you so much, Julessmiles, that was very kind of you and really useful info for us. I suspect there will be a day for us too where we need to chill out and take advantage of the peace on the ship

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Hello Little Nell,

 

Ephesus/Kusadasi: First of all I'd definitely recommend doing Ephesus and we found the half day trip was very good. I suspect you would probably spend only about the same amount of time at Ephesus whether it was the half or full day - I guess there will be more included elsewhere for the longer trip. It is a magnificent site but we felt we'd had plenty of time to appreciate it plus some free time to wander from the Library to the Forum and Amphitheatre meeting up with the rest of the group at an agreed time. You are right to be wary of the temperatures too - the marble pavers reflect the heat and beware too that they are rather slippery so sandals/shoes with a good, grippy sole are a good idea. It's worth a wander in Kusadsi for an hour or so in the afternoon too. There is a good bazaar ('Genuine Fakes'! :D ) but good fun. If you are looking for souvenirs especially lots of little bits and pieces (embroidered book marks, jewelled pens, key or phone cases and knick knacks etc. etc) there is a guy with a shop just as the road rises up at the top end of the bazaar - he has a notice outside saying 'No hassle' and he's as good as his word - lets you go round, examining things and never bothers you at all. We bought lots of little things there (some to put in home made crackers at Christmas - they are great and usually only a few Euros).

 

At Dubrovnik they berth a little out of the town but just outside the port entrance is a taxi point and the fixed price fare to Pile Gate (the entrance to the old part of Dubrovnik) was 10E when we last went - that's for 4 people. If you are up to walking then do the walls - and I'd say get off the ship early, beat the crowds and walk the walls before all the tour groups arrive. It's brilliant. Once you have climbed the steps it probably takes the best part of an hour to walk all the way round and it undulates a bit but especially if you set off early before it's too hot you will find it more comfortable. You can get down at various points so itf you were finding it a bit much, you could get off at the opposite side to Pile Gate at the Harbour and eithe give up on the walls or just have a rest and drink then carry on (save your ticket!). We had to pay with Kuna for the walls - I'm not sure whether they now take other currencies or CC but perhaps if you did some research you could find out before you go if that's the case and take some Croatian currency with you. Other than that, I think Euro is fine everywhere else - even in Dubrovnik, cafes and shops take Euros - it's just the walls which were an issue. Dubrovnik is an enclosed town and not too big so I think it's easy for you to DiY. The taxis are lined up outside Pile Gate for the return trip to the ship so absolutely no problem at all. (It's walkable but quite a long way and tiring - best use the time in Dubrovnik itself)

 

Split: It depends on whether you really want to benefit of the guide of course, but again at Split it's really easy to DiY. the tender drops you right across from Diocletian's Palace which is free to go in - here is some info on it.

http://w3.mrki.info/split/diokl.html

http://www.croatiatraveller.com/Heritage_Sites/Diocletian%27sPalace.htm

You can walk to the right from the tender stop around the headland and that's where the locals swim. It's not a beach - its a wide concrete slope into the sea but apparently popular by the number of people there. But the rest of the town around the Palace is easy to explore and there are numerous waterside cafes along the attractive promenade- a real cafe culture here.

 

Koper: is also a 'walk-off'. If you want to go to Piran, I'll look up a review I did before on how to get to Piran on the local bus - cheap, easy and again with a fairly early start (we caught a bus between 9 - 9.30) you can be back quite comfortably by 2pm with time to look around Koper itself. Let me know if you want details. Alternatively if you want a trip we did the Ljubljana half day trip from here and thought it was very good.

 

Venice - DiY! Get a decent map - we found one of the 'Pop-up' maps good. With that you can walk all the way into the centre - over the fly-over to the right as you leave the port down the steps on the right once you've got over the fly-over and follow your map. You WILL get lost in Venice but it's all part of the fun - there are so many alleyways that's it's almost impossible not to get a bit lost - but you will always find somewhere recognisable again - look for the names of the squares and churches in them when you arrive at an open space and then you'll find it on your map - you will have an idea of the area you're in - it's just pin-pointing it. You can also get the people carrier out of the port to Piazzale Roma where you can get the vaporetto to St Mark's. Make sure you're getting on one which goes via the Grand Canal as this has all the fabulous views of the mansions along the canal and also goes under the Rialto Bridge. Once at St Mark's Square - many of the main sites are around her. If you want a drink though and don't fancy paying a small fortune go to cafes off the main square where our friends paid £40 for a drink and cake for two! There are lots of sign-posts pointing towards the Rialto Br and to St Marks so you will find your way around. It's a great city to explore - don't worry you can't go too far wrong and it's walkable back to the ship if necessary so as long as you leave yourself time to get back I wouldn't dream of being tied down to a group tour - just walk around, soak it up - it's fab!

 

Sorry know nothing about Brindisi - it's a new one to Thomson.

 

Santorini - I'd Diy too - but the first time we did the Thomson trip to Oia which for me is THE place to go on Santorini and is superb. It's a half day trip and they drop you off in Thira (main town) at the end of the trip and give you your cable car ticket to get down to the harbour where the tenders take you back to the ship. So you have plenty of time to have a look around Thira itself (sometimes referred to as Santorini) before making your way back independently. Having done this trip with Thomson the next time we went to Oia ourselves by local bus as it gave us more time there. If you want to do that, get back and I'll post how we did it with the bus timetable link.

 

Corfu on your middle day I'd say walk left from the port around the waterfront until you arrive in the old town which I think is lovely - cafes, tourist shops, narrow streets, a fort you can go into for a few euro.

 

Bodrum is a gem! There's a free water taxi from the berth into the Harbour - but you can walk it. There's an amphitheatre to explore - free to get in - not far with great views across the bay but a short, steep climb at the end to get there. Again good tourist infrastructure - the Castle is supposed to be something special but we didn't go in.

http://www.bodrum-museum.com/

Again, no need to go on a trip here - it's a lovely place in it's own right!

 

Katakolon; I'd probably say it's worth doing the Olympia trip with Thomson though - it was possible to do it by train - but then there were problems and it stopped - not sure whether it's running or not now. But there weren't many trains so it's perhaps safer to go with an organised trip. Taxis outside the ship seemed pricey to me for Olympia trips and this was one place I really did think having a guide made all the difference. I didn't think we'd really like Olympia but we thought it was very good indeed. Katakolon is literally a one street town - pretty waterfront and cafes, good touristy shops a wide expnse of damp, compacted beach to walk on, a small very pebbly beach to swim from - but you can 'do' it in a hour or two which includes having a drink at the cafes/bars.

 

Hope that helps - if you want to know any more or have any questions after anything I've said, get back and I'll try to help. As I said, there are some old reviews which you may find helpful. I'll chase them up if you want me to.

 

Happy planning - it's a fantastic itinerary! ;)

 

I agree this is a fantastic itinerary and can't wait to go. The information you provided is superb. I was hopeful of being able to get a feel for the places by wandering about, people watching, shopping etc and you have shown me that it will suit us fine. I was unsure which trip to take in Santorini and Ephesus and I will take your advice there. Thanks for the advice on which boat to take in Venice, I wouldnt have thought of that despite having been there a number of times, but never from a cruise ship. Thank you so much

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We did the adriatic, did our own thing in dubrovnik, walked the walls and went up on the cable car, both were very well worth it

Loved venice so much we've booked a city break there for next month

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Agree with everyone that's given advice on here already. The sail into Venice in the morning is stunning and really is the highlight to the cruise. Dubrovnik is a great city but I would avoid walking from Port Gruz into the Old Town. We did it and it took us about 45 minutes to 1 hour but it was in 45+ degrees. Think we nearly fainted on the way back! :) The buses were very busy too, with people crammed in. Would probably share a taxi with someone from the port.

 

Oia in Santorini is a must. Like kruzseeka we did the Oia & Winery excursion - was definitely worth the money, but it is easy to do it by yourself. Oia is such a beautiful village at the top of the island. The views are stunning.

 

I'd definitely recommend a visit to Ephesus from Kusadasi. The amount that is preserved is excellent, and there's plenty to see here. We did it on the Thomson excursion as it is quite a drive from Kusadasi (around 20 minutes by coach). Everyone always seems impressed who go to visit Ephesus. There is the full day option, but I'd say that the half-day trip is probably enough, mainly due to the heat.

 

Pearls of the Aegean and Adriatic Explorer in my opinion are probably the best itineraries that Thomson offer. Both go to beautiful places!

 

When are you sailing? When you come back, please let us know what Majesty is like. Hopefully, if reviews are good, we may consider it next year as would love to do Adriatic Explorer again. Such a good itinerary! :D

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Agree with everyone that's given advice on here already. The sail into Venice in the morning is stunning and really is the highlight to the cruise. Dubrovnik is a great city but I would avoid walking from Port Gruz into the Old Town. We did it and it took us about 45 minutes to 1 hour but it was in 45+ degrees. Think we nearly fainted on the way back! :) The buses were very busy too, with people crammed in. Would probably share a taxi with someone from the port.

 

Oia in Santorini is a must. Like kruzseeka we did the Oia & Winery excursion - was definitely worth the money, but it is easy to do it by yourself. Oia is such a beautiful village at the top of the island. The views are stunning.

 

I'd definitely recommend a visit to Ephesus from Kusadasi. The amount that is preserved is excellent, and there's plenty to see here. We did it on the Thomson excursion as it is quite a drive from Kusadasi (around 20 minutes by coach). Everyone always seems impressed who go to visit Ephesus. There is the full day option, but I'd say that the half-day trip is probably enough, mainly due to the heat.

 

Pearls of the Aegean and Adriatic Explorer in my opinion are probably the best itineraries that Thomson offer. Both go to beautiful places!

 

When are you sailing? When you come back, please let us know what Majesty is like. Hopefully, if reviews are good, we may consider it next year as would love to do Adriatic Explorer again. Such a good itinerary! :D

 

Very interesting! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

 

Was thinking of taking a taxi into Dubrovnik as my parents in law are going with us (don't think they would thank me for giving away their age).

 

Will definitely get up for the sail into Venice as were advised one trip not to miss the sail into Menorca and that was stunning. Great thing is you see it twice.

 

Will definitely do the Oia trip now.

 

Will give a very honest review when I return, just hope it goes well and people are not constantly comparing things to the Destiny. We are going on 25th May so it shouldn't be too hot, in fact if we are unlucky it may be rather cool. Thomson must be praying for really good weather :D

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We did the adriatic, did our own thing in dubrovnik, walked the walls and went up on the cable car, both were very well worth it

Loved venice so much we've booked a city break there for next month

 

Thanks for that. Have visited Venice a number of times and we love it. Remember not to drink or eat in St Marks Square. It cost my friend and I £11 for 2 very small whisky sours in 1976! Just off the Square prices are reasonable.

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This cruise sounds amazing. Love the write up for your trips. Its an absolute must for me now, another one on the list to do.

Sweby

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Thanks for that. Have visited Venice a number of times and we love it. Remember not to drink or eat in St Marks Square. It cost my friend and I £11 for 2 very small whisky sours in 1976! Just off the Square prices are reasonable.

 

We were there about 5 years ago, and it cost about £26 for a coffee and a hot chocolate, most of that being the charge to just sit down, which to be fair they did point out at the start, however i had just finished chemo, and needed to rest. I enjoyed listening to the music and soaked up the atmosphere, but next time I'll just find a spot nearby and sit on the floor!

sweby

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