Just got back from Athens - Rome Cruise.
Here are my impressions of our trip:
Arrived in Athens two days early and very glad we did. It took me a full day to shake the jet lag and I would not have wanted to go directly to the ship from the airport. In any case, the airline "misplaced" one of my bags and the extra time in Athens allowed me to get the bag back before we sailed. We booked the pre cruise hotel thru the cruise line and stayed at the Intercontinental. Nice, clean hotel but a bit of a distance from everything we wanted to see. There was a Metro station about 0.3 miles away but we ended up using the tram which was only about 1 1/2 blocks away. It was cheap, clean, and easy to use. We felt very safe on both the Metro & tram and even rode them late at night. The transfers from the airport were smooth and the only hassle was my lost bag.
We did a lot of sightseeing and exploring on our own in Athens. We also booked a "dinner theatre" tour thru the cruise line for the last night. They bussed us to a restaurant near the port. The food was so-so but the entertainment was fun and varied.
This is the reason we chose this trip & this ship. The itinerary was exactly what we wanted. Our port of calls are listed below and I'd be happy to answer any questions about any of the ports we visited. We generally explored on our own and used one private tour and one ship's tour. Here's where we went:
Mykonos : explored on our own w/ motor scooters
Rhodes : explored on our own and rented a car for Lindos
Santorini explored on our own w/ motor scooters
Malta rented a taxi for the AM, walked around on our own in the PM
Sicily took ship's tour to Mt Etna and had a great lunch in the port town
Sorrento took the train to Pompeii on our own
Civitivecchia own our own for transport to Rome
Rome We did all this on our own.
Kusadasi : We toured with Shorex Turkey. I found them very courteous, professional, and very quick to respond to my emails. There are many wonderful reviews about this company. They were first class and the guides were helpful, informative and very flexible. The website is http://www.shorexturkey.co.nr
Amalfi/Naples : I had booked a day's tour of the Amalfi Coast with Salvatore months before our cruise. He was personally booked but assured us we would enjoy Adriano. He was right. This tour was the highlight of our cruise. We were scheduled to tender in to Amalfi but weather forced the ship to divert to Naples. Salvatore had stayed in touch thru e mail and in fact I got an email from him that we would probably be diverted before the ship informed us. He assured us Adriano would pick us up in Naples. Drive Amalfi at firstname.lastname@example.org
Great time, great ship, great people. We completely enjoyed ourselves, but we're also pretty easy to please. In my mind there is no sense in ruining your day over minor inconveniences.