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jvz

PK travel - private tour guide necessary?

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For those who have used PK Travel, is a private tour guide necessary for Athens?  Thank you!

Edited by jvz

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Depends what you want to get out of your tour. The driver can't accompany you into the sites. They may provide some info, but not like you'd get from a licensed guide.

 

For me, I'd choose 10 times out of 10 to do my own transportation and hire a private guide rather than the other way around. Athens is easy and not that far from port. There are several easy options to get there. Once there, the historic area is small and some areas are pedestrian-only anyway.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

Depends what you want to get out of your tour. The driver can't accompany you into the sites. They may provide some info, but not like you'd get from a licensed guide.

 

For me, I'd choose 10 times out of 10 to do my own transportation and hire a private guide rather than the other way around. Athens is easy and not that far from port. There are several easy options to get there. Once there, the historic area is small and some areas are pedestrian-only anyway.

 

 

 

Thank you!  I am sure we will need a guide for the acropolis but do we need it for these other sites? 

 

Temple of Zeus, Panathenaic Stadium, Hill of Lycabettus, Old Palace, Tomb of The Unknown Soldier & Changing of The Guards, Catholic Cathedral, Neoclassical Trilogy

 

I have the option of getting acropolis only or full day.  

 

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We just did a full day Athens tour with PK Travel.....Our driver and guide were just amazing...So glad I took the recommendation of several on this board to book with this company. 

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we have used PK Travel twice and if you want to get out of the centre of Athens their transport option is great

 

if you are just going to the Acropolis then as cruisemom says would be better to make own way there and hire guide there.

 

PK cant accompany into the sites but can give general info and perhaps lend you guide book

 

our first trip we were dropped off at Acropolis and driver purchased our tickets which also covered other sites in centre

we had a couple hours free time there and then driven around Athens including stop for changing of guard

a drive up to a viewpoint to get views of Athens-think that was Lycabeccus hill[?spelling] 

 

we filled a minivan with people from our roll call so worked out well cost wise

 

second time we went further afield to Corinth and so more use out of transport

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Has anybody tried using the X80 bus from terminal B to Athens - Acropolis?

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21 hours ago, jvz said:

 

Thank you!  I am sure we will need a guide for the acropolis but do we need it for these other sites? 

 

Temple of Zeus, Panathenaic Stadium, Hill of Lycabettus, Old Palace, Tomb of The Unknown Soldier & Changing of The Guards, Catholic Cathedral, Neoclassical Trilogy

 

I have the option of getting acropolis only or full day.  

 

 

If you bring a guidebook or do a little reading in advance, I think having a guide just at the Acropolis would be fine. I am surprised at some of the sights being offered -- never even heard of "Neoclassical Trilogy" (???). And what about the Acropolis Museum, or the Greek Agora -- two sights I'd rank very highly. (As well as the Temple of the Winds which is a must see.

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1 hour ago, Jesseslola said:

Has anybody tried using the X80 bus from terminal B to Athens - Acropolis?

Yes, it is quite easy and efficient.

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18 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

If you bring a guidebook or do a little reading in advance, I think having a guide just at the Acropolis would be fine. I am surprised at some of the sights being offered -- never even heard of "Neoclassical Trilogy" (???). And what about the Acropolis Museum, or the Greek Agora -- two sights I'd rank very highly. (As well as the Temple of the Winds which is a must see.

 

Neoclassical Trilogy is Academy, National Library, First University of Athens.  Acropolis Museum is part of the tour but I didn't include it here because I thought wouldn't need a guide for that.  

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1 minute ago, jvz said:

 

Neoclassical Trilogy is Academy, National Library, First University of Athens.  Acropolis Museum is part of the tour but I didn't include it here because I thought wouldn't need a guide for that.  

 

Ah, okay. :classic_smile:

 

If you have any ability to customize, I would just ask them to drive by the Tower of the Winds for a brief stop. Shouldn't take more than a few minutes but it is a very unique monument:

 

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/tower-of-the-winds

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Thanks cruisemom42!

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Thank you cruisemom42. 

 

Did you use it lately (2019?) I read somewhere to make sure that they are running 2019.  I cannot find any site to confirm that.  Most sites are from 2016.

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18 hours ago, Jesseslola said:

Thank you cruisemom42. 

 

Did you use it lately (2019?) I read somewhere to make sure that they are running 2019.  I cannot find any site to confirm that.  Most sites are from 2016.

 

They are running; the bus only runs during the main tourist season and the issue seems to be that they never announce definitively in advance when they will start running and when they will stop (usually some time in October I think), so you have to watch their website for announcements:  http://www.oasa.gr/news.php?id=funk98&lang=en

 

There was one year during the height of the Greek financial crisis where they either didn't run or ran for a shortened period. That may be why you are finding older questions about whether they will be up and running.

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We booked the Full day in Athens tour via PK on our Celebrity Eclipse Oct '18 cruise. Our guide was very knowledgable and she was with our group at all stops EXCEPT for the couple hours she set us free shopping at Plaka. She did an excellent job in historic narration at the Acropolis, the New Acropolis Museum, the old Olympic stadium and the changing of the guards.

 

Unless something changed in the last year, the PK guide went in to every historic site with us. I would email PK travel to get the latest info on where their guides can go.

 

We signed up for the tour via our rollcall group. We made reservations with PK as instructed by our roll call group. There were two small bus groups on tour (2 buses and 2 tour guides). Buses held maybe 20 people each. They were very clean buses. I learned a lot from our guide. BTW, both groups post tours gave kudos to each guide. Each group traveled independently which actually was nice as it kept the groups small and very manageable, 

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One more question regarding PK Travel.   I booked 3 tours with them.  They told me to meet the driver at 7:30am when the ship is scheduled to dock at 8am.  I assume the earliest I can get off will be 8:30am.  I emailed them about this and then they told me to meet at 8am.  What has everyone's experience been?  

 

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On ‎7‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 10:14 PM, Ashland said:

We just did a full day Athens tour with PK Travel.....Our driver and guide were just amazing...So glad I took the recommendation of several on this board to book with this company. 

YES! I second this - I used PK Travel due to a recommendation from this board and I must say it was one of my favorite tours we did on this cruise. Great driver, great tour guide, saw sites I didn't know we were going to see. Truly wonderful!

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You have only one or two days in Athens. How much time do you want to waste trying to find your own way around? I have been to Athens three times and have used PK Travel each time. I will use them again when I visit in May, 2020. They're THAT good!

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4 hours ago, TV Dad said:

You have only one or two days in Athens. How much time do you want to waste trying to find your own way around? I have been to Athens three times and have used PK Travel each time. I will use them again when I visit in May, 2020. They're THAT good!

 

You don't have to "waste time" if you do some planning and research in advance...

 

The historic area of Athens is very small and navigable on foot. The very first time I went, I took the metro from the port into town, walked to the Acropolis (the new museum wasn't open yet...), walked to the Greek and Roman agoras, theater of Dionysus, and temple of Olympic Zeus, and took a taxi to the Archaeological museum, then the metro back to Piraeus. Even had time for souvlaki. 

 

Now it is even easier, with the express bus that picks up and drops off directly at the port and takes you into Athens with a drop-off point near the walkway to the Acropolis. 

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On 7/21/2019 at 11:21 AM, jvz said:

One more question regarding PK Travel.   I booked 3 tours with them.  They told me to meet the driver at 7:30am when the ship is scheduled to dock at 8am.  I assume the earliest I can get off will be 8:30am.  I emailed them about this and then they told me to meet at 8am.  What has everyone's experience been?  

 

Don’t worry! Your guide will wait for you! They understand, there can be delays. The big reason they want to start early is to beat the morning traffic! But with a private guide, show up when you want to. The day is yours. 

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50 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

You don't have to "waste time" if you do some planning and research in advance...

 

The historic area of Athens is very small and navigable on foot. The very first time I went, I took the metro from the port into town, walked to the Acropolis (the new museum wasn't open yet...), walked to the Greek and Roman agoras, theater of Dionysus, and temple of Olympic Zeus, and took a taxi to the Archaeological museum, then the metro back to Piraeus. Even had time for souvlaki. 

 

Now it is even easier, with the express bus that picks up and drops off directly at the port and takes you into Athens with a drop-off point near the walkway to the Acropolis. 

You sort of made my point, with your post cruisemom42. While you were waiting for buses, walking between attractions and taking the train. I was sitting in an air conditioned BMW while my guide told me all kinds of interesting facts about Athens. He dropped me off exactly where I needed to be for every place I visited. That includes places outside the historic area. The Olympic Stadium, changing of the guard at the prime minister’s home,  scenic overview of the Acropolis, etc. 

 

Your way way is a great way to get the flavor of the city and save some money. But if you spend 20% of your day on public transportation and  walking between attractions, that’s time you don’t spend doing the things you want to do.

 

And what happens to tourists who aren’t as smart and confident as you are? What if  they get lost or take the wrong bus? That won’t happen with a guide like PK. 

 

You and and I can agree to disagree and let our fellow cruise critics decide what’s best for them. We will both be right for someone out there!  Safe travels everyone!

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28 minutes ago, TV Dad said:

You sort of made my point, with your post cruisemom42. While you were waiting for buses, walking between attractions and taking the train. I was sitting in an air conditioned BMW while my guide told me all kinds of interesting facts about Athens. He dropped me off exactly where I needed to be for every place I visited. That includes places outside the historic area. The Olympic Stadium, changing of the guard at the prime minister’s home,  scenic overview of the Acropolis, etc. 

 

Your way way is a great way to get the flavor of the city and save some money. But if you spend 20% of your day on public transportation and  walking between attractions, that’s time you don’t spend doing the things you want to do.

 

And what happens to tourists who aren’t as smart and confident as you are? What if  they get lost or take the wrong bus? That won’t happen with a guide like PK. 

 

You and and I can agree to disagree and let our fellow cruise critics decide what’s best for them. We will both be right for someone out there!  Safe travels everyone!

 

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with doing it your way, I'm just trying to keep it honest and avoid the bombastic statements.  

 

I have done Athens many times, all ways. The traffic in and around the historic sites is awful, and much of the historic center is pedestrian only, meaning that buses (and cars) cannot drive there, so they have to take roundabout routes. I do not think I wasted any time by being on foot, in fact, I think I may have gained time. 

 

The same holds true for the center of Rome, although it is a bit more spread out, and even for Istanbul. Very often people who don't do the navigating themselves don't realize how much they are backtracking and navigating around things rather than taking a direct route on foot. I have literally beat buses stuck in traffic in Rome by walking. 100% true.

 

(By the way, the sites you mention are all within the historic center. The changing of the guard at Syntagma is just one short metro ride from the Akropoli (Acropolis) stop. I could have easily done it and the other sites you list had they been priorities for me...)

 

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We just used PK travel for our Athens tour with a guide and driver. Very helpful especially getting our tickets into the Acropolis ahead of time and not needing to wait in line. Our guide was "Bobbie" and he was very informative and he also was with us all day except when we had free time to walk in the Plaka. I would recommend a guide along with the driver.

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We used PK Travel for our Athens tour last week. We did the full day tour. The tour guide was with us all day and came up to the Acropolis with us. We also did the Acropolis museum and she guided us through that. As mentioned above, the only time our guide was not with us was our short free time in Plaka.

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