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Star - 9 Night Greek Isles Review

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Well if the shuttles are free, then it is a no-brainer.  However it sounds as if it is walkable for us.  DH has retired and spends his days walking to Spain and back.  I have to do a bit of training the few weeks before the trip!!

 

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On ‎6‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 6:54 PM, ollienbertsmum said:

 

I feel a little awkward.  I knew the environmental problems caused by cruise ships.  2020 was supposed to be the end of the ships cruising the Grand Canal so I booked for this September.  I am looking forward to it and was worried that the MSC thing speeded up the use of the new port.  I would still love it though.  

 

I am not planning a James Bond arrival - my husband would be furious at $110, but we will be using the Vaporetti and want to do an evening trip down the Grand Canal.  PArt of me thinks we will not be using the boats very much but I would like one of our days to include Murano, Burano, and Torcella.  

 

But now Tides - please spill the beans about the ports.  I am particularly interested in how Santorini worked out.  I think I may take a ship tour to Oia  because it will get us there sooner than relying on the cable car and bus.  Not sure.  

 

 

Alilaguna which is the other company that does water bus services has a 3 island semi guided tour to Murano Burano and Torcello

leaves from a few hundred yeards to right of St Marks as you face Guidecca canal

was about 20 euro a few years ago

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23 hours ago, ollienbertsmum said:

That is one heck of a vacation!!!    I would find packing a bit of a challenge, but layers is always the way to go.  I hope that you have lots of memory in your camera.  

I agree packing is going to be a challenge especially as there's  no laundry on either ship.

Our trip is a package booked here in Australia. The furthest we have flown is to the US so this will all be new to us both😀

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2 hours ago, joejoe 59 said:

I agree packing is going to be a challenge especially as there's  no laundry on either ship.

Our trip is a package booked here in Australia. The furthest we have flown is to the US so this will all be new to us both😀

Both Getaway and Escape will have at least 1 laundry bag special for $20.  You can roll a lot of clothes into the bag - it is a good deal.

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7 hours ago, herdingdogmom said:

Both Getaway and Escape will have at least 1 laundry bag special for $20.  You can roll a lot of clothes into the bag - it is a good deal.

 

The Star offered it 2x.   I believe on the 3rd day and the 6th day.  So in theory you can have your clothes washed and folded 2x for 50 bucks.  Pretty amazing deal if you ask me

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Following too.  I leave for Venice in less than 20 days.

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Thanks for all the great info Tides!  I am sailing on an 11 day cruise of similar itinerary on Star in early July. Have been on NCL many times, but not Star, so it’s so much fun to follow along. The only thing that would make this more perfect is if you said Lars was the captain!  Ha!

 

I’m wondering if you are finding most vendors,  restaurants and shops take credit cards or if they require cash. I really don’t like carrying cash and already have to bring more than I’d like for a few external tours. Any info would be very helpful!

 

Many thanks for your time!

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Main places will take cards, but I have found they will offer more deals if you pay in cash. Smaller mom and pop places only take cash-theirs not US.

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Sorry for the long hiatus, crazy weekend!  Onto the main attractions: SANTORINI!

 

Well we woke up to hear an announcement from the hallway, saying that due to a medical emergency, we would be arriving to Santorini earlier than planned, (11:30 instead of 2:00). While our prayers go out to anyone effected by this, we were excited to have a few extra hours in this place everyone raves about.  To be honest, I was concerned that it would not live up to the hype.  And after being there, I am sure with 4-6 cruise ships docked it would be a fairly unpleasant experience.  But we only had two ships, us included, and it was really just perfect.  

 

Since we arrived early, they were opening up tender tickets at 11.  I was there around 10:40, and was on tender 7.  Now since the excursions were still scheduled to go at 2, the tender process was extremely efficient, and they were calling for free tender roughly 40 minutes after the ship was cleared.  It did seem as if everyone was on an excursion, and while I wouldn’t say do not do an excursion, I must say Santorini and the majority of these ports are extremely easy to do yourself and avoid the crowds.  We hopped off the boat and headed to buy our tickets to Oia.  For those who are not as familiar, there are two towns to focus on in Santorini, Oia and Fira.  Fira is where the ships disembark, still beautiful, but Oia is the town that you see in all the post cards.  In our opinion both are extremely doable in a day.  We took the speed boat from the dock to Oia, roughly 20 minutes, then began the long walk up to the town.  If I have any advice here, it would be to just get lost.  It is a blast to meander through the small alleys and vistas. The ticket to Oia to Fira was included in our ferry ticket which if I recall was 16 dollars, so we then hopped the bus and headed to Fira, where we wandered the town again getting lost, and ate a wonderful sunset dinner at the Metropolis before making the mad dash back to the boat before 9:30 last call!  I have to say having these late port stays are so wonderful, and really help you have a good feel of the town as a whole.  Also, I cannot stress enough the beauty of enjoying both of these charming villages slowly.  The vistas and views you will discover will be worth the trip alone!  

 

After hopping back on the boat, we decided to enjoy desserts in Aqua before headed to bed. Next day.... Athens at 7!  

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Loving your review! Did you happen to get any pics of the MDR menus? We're on the Star in August and want to have an idea on what days we want to eat there and what days we want to do specialty dining.

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Thanks for the review.  How far of a walk was it from the restaurant to the cable car, concerned my mother will have trouble walking and climbing lots of stairs.  We have hired a car to bring us around the island but wondering if we can easily be dropped at the restaurant and walk to the cable car.  At that time of night was there still a line for the cable car?  Thanks!

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On 6/14/2019 at 1:33 PM, bearette said:

Main places will take cards, but I have found they will offer more deals if you pay in cash. Smaller mom and pop places only take cash-theirs not US.

I found the opposite and our one regret was not having enough cash.   Croatia and Montenegro took credit abundantly, but we just had a really had time using cards.

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By chance, do you have pictures of the Main Dining Room menus for nights 8 & 9?    We will be doing a 9 day cruise and want to plan our reservations.   Although we know they can mix the menus up, most reviews have the same menus for nights 1-7 so we have a pretty good idea of those.  

 

We really love your review and these beautiful pictures!    Thanks for sharing with us😎

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Following, as this will be (very similar to) our honeymoon cruise in May 2020! We as well will be doing the Getaway with a slightly different itinerary. Can't wait - loving your review!

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So sorry I do not have the MDR menus. We only ate here for dinner one evening. The rest we spent at the specialty dining!  Our one meal there was pretty good though!  Enjoy

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 I know its Freestyle but was there anyone in formal attire?

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13 hours ago, queenL said:

 I know its Freestyle but was there anyone in formal attire?

Thats a great question, and to be honest we were surprised how formal this group was!  NCL offered two dress up “or not” nights, but we felt like we were the most underdressed just wearing casual dresses and dress shirts.  

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This is a great review!  Thanks for taking the time to do this.

This itinerary will be next on our bucket list.

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Athens: The Birthplace of Democracy!

 

I cannot recommend our tour strong enough. We used PK tours for a full day Athens tour.  We had a group of nine in a mini-bus, plus our tour guide and driver.  We arrived at 7:00, and left the dock at 7:30 onto Athens.  We started with the Acropolis, then stopped to watch the changing of the guards, Temple of Zeus, the hill, Olympic stadium, Plaka, and the Acropolis museum.  We truly felt like we left with a firm grasp of Athens when we left.  Even though we had a brief amount of time at each location (which you have to move fast if you want to see it all) with our tour guide, we were able to understand 2x what we could have on our own.  I also felt like our tour guide was able to help us grasp a better understanding of the city in general.  For example, we explored part of the subway line, as the station has thousands of years of ruins exposed for all to see.  When you are in Europe things are hundreds of years old. In Ancient Greek monuments are thousands of years old. 

 

We ended up spending 400 bucks on the day. 50 bucks pp for the driver+guide, then 50 pp for entry fees for the sites.  Coming back, I think we would have grabbed a cab and head straight to the Acropolis, then relax and wander around the Plaka.  Last idea would be the hop-on hop-off bus.  A lot of people did this and had a great experience.  But i think the first time its best to go its a guided tour. 

 

At the end of the day, we headed back about 5 exhausted to enjoy sail-away.  The front hot tub is the perfect place for this.  After this we headed to Aqua (our favorite MDR) and had a really good meal.  As our experience in the MDR, everything could be hit or miss, but we had more hits than misses. The Sole was actually one of our favorite dishes the entire trip.  The service was fantastic as well.  After a late dinner off to bed as we head towards Rhodes!

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Rhodes:

 

Rhodes was such a unique port for me.  In case you were curious, Rhodes was under occupation by the Ottoman Empire for over 400 years, so there is a large influence of East meets West in this beautiful kept UNESCO world heritage site. If you wanted to you could easily walk off the ship and spend the day around the seaport and the old town.  We took a tour first walking through the town, then making a few stops along the way until ending up in Lindos.  Lindos is beautiful, and where the acropolis is located, as well as where Paul was shipwrecked in one of his journeys.  There is a beautiful beach here in a protected cove where you can rent chairs for 25 for 2+umbrella, and a fun small town to explore.  While there are multiple tours offered here, to be honest, our tour guide didn’t prove that much useful information that added to our experience.  We also spent too much time just driving around to see a few “views’ or a potters shop.  What I am trying to say is for your first time to Rhodes, I would see what you find important to you:  Old town, Acropolis, or Lindos.  (I’m sure there are more but here are I feel the top 3), and you can probably do 2 of the three, or really enjoy one.  If I were to do it again, I would take a cab directly to Lindos (70 euro) and enjoy this small town, the beach, and just relax, then head back to town around 2 to spend the last hour or so exploring old town.  

 

That evening we enjoyed sail-away from Ginza with a few appetizers and decided to enjoy Greek night at the buffet, since we were captivated by such a stunning sunset over Turkey.  We ended the night enjoying the one comedy show of the trip, a few drinks and desserts in Osheehans, then back to bed to be ready for Mykonos at 7 am!

 

 

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Mykonos. Love this place!  We had plans to off-road throughout the island, but we decided to sleep in.  We tendered here as well, but honestly, the process was seamless, and the costa ship that was docked people had to shuttle downtown, while we docked our tender right in town.  Once again, like every other small town in Greece, just have fun wandering around and getting lost.  The town of Mykonos is tiny, and is full of charm.  We headed towards little Venice, the windmills, then up and down the streets.  We were only here from 7-4 I believe, which as perfect for our time here.  I wish I could tell you more, but just get lost and enjoy the small alleyways, street food, and these great people.  

 

Tonight was Teppanyaki. It was good not great.  Extremely slow dinner... started at 9, ended at 11:30.  One of the table mates was GF, which slowed the meal down even more.  No worries at all of course, but it also shouldn’t take 45 minutes to serve a salad and miso soup.  Once again food was good, but when I asked for extra veggies, they said they give plenty of veggies... which i know is not true.   And of course I had one slice of carrot, one onion, and one slice of zucchini.  NCL is not trying to help you eat your veggies.  Nor will they give you extra haha. If you were to skip a specialty, skip this one.  Food tasted like butter and garlic. All in all fantastic day.  Next day: Argostoli!  

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