Originally Posted by You
Thank you for your response. It seems like very reasonable advice. The ports for this cruise are as follows:
Sicily (Messina), Italy, Athens (Piraeus), Greece, Mykonos, Greece, Ephesus (Kusadasi), Turkey, Rhodes, Greece, Santorini, Greece, Naples/Capri, Italy... to and from Civitavechia.
We will keep your advice in mind for Athens, Capri and Kusadasi... wondering if you can comment on Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes.
Okay, now that I know where you are going, I'll gladly get more specific. FWIW, that's a fantastic itinerary!
>> I have not been to Messina
so I won't purport to offer specific advice there.
>> The port of Pireaus
actually is only about ten miles from downtown Athens
, and it's possible to go back and forth via the metro system, but I don't know where the metro stops in relation to the piers where the cruise ships dock. Celebrity's tour of the Acropolis is very good, and it offers the option of drop-off at the Platka, which is the main downtown shopping district, rather than returning to the ship on the tour bus. Ensure that you know how to get back to the pier from the metro station if you elect to use this option. If you have been to the Acropolis before, the tour that goes to Corinth
via canal boat is a good choice.
>> In Mikonos
, the cruise ship may dock in the bay next to the bay where the main town is. It's quite easy to take the ship's shuttle service from the pier to the town which you can explore on your own. The town itself is imminently walkable. In fact, vehicles are not allowed on the narrow walkways (not really streets) of the old section.
>> The port city of Kusadasi
is the gateway to the archeological excavations of the ancient Roman city of Ephesus
. Here, I highly recommend one or another of the tours that visits the archeological excavations if you have not already done so. The walk through the excavations is, quite literally, downhill all the way (the tour bus will drop you off at the top of the hill and pick you up at the bottom), so it is quite easy. There are several tours that combine the ruins with other attractions in which your interest may vary. There's also a nice bazaar right outside of the cruise terminal where you can get all kinds of Turkish souvenirs.
>> The main town of the Greek isle of Rhodes
is right at the end of the tender pier, so you can explore it on your own quite easily.
>> Likewise, the main town on the Greek isle of Santorini
is right at the top of the hill overlooking the tender pier, so you can explore it quite easily on your own. There are three ways to go up and down -- ride the funicular, walk, or ride on a burro. Alas, the burros use the same walkway as the people so you'll be dodging their droppings and you can expect it to be slimy if it's wet from a recent rain. There were five cruise ships in port on the day of my visit, so lines for the funicular were quite long, but you might have better luck. As it was, we chose to take the funicular up and then to walk down.
>> The port of Naples
really is the gateway to three destinations -- Capri
, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast
, and Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii
-- rather than a destination in its own right. Realistically, each of these destinations requires a full day so you'll do best to choose one and do it well rather than trying to cram in two or three and having a very limited amount of time at each. Fortunately, Naples is a port of call on many Mediterranean itineraries so you probably will have an opportunity to see another of these destinations when you visit it again. In any case, I strongly recommend using the ship's excursion to whichever of the three destinations you decide to visit for the reasons that I stated in my earlier reply.
Finally, I hope that your cruise booking includes either a pre-cruise stay or a post-cruise stay in Rome. I have found the Crowne Plaza St. Peter's, one of the hotels where Celebrity will book you, to be a nice hotel situated in a basically residential neighborhood, where there are shops and restaurants that serve the local population within easy walking distance. This hotel also offers a complimentary shuttle to a convenient location right near the main attractions in the center of town and, if you stay there after your cruise, a complimentary shuttle to the airport timed for flights departing to North America. Thus, you won't need to pay for transfers to the airport if you book a post-cruise package and you book your flights on your own.
Have a great cruise!