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  #1 (permalink)  
Old December 12th, 2004, 02:31 PM
Karen Adelman
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We are going on the Galaxy this summer...July 25th sailing. We have been to the Med. before, but Never the Eastern med. We are going to Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Istanbul, Kusadasr, Athnes and Naples. We have been to Pompeii and Capri before. I would value any input that you have out there. We have taken ship tours before and have found them crowded and overpriced. I have already inquiede about transfers from Leonardo airport to the Excelsior hotle. I have received quoted from Bob's limo service, Positano Taxi andMax Leotta. Any thoughts on that? I seem to like Max and Positano, but am open to suggestions. If anyone is going to be on the ship with us, I have no problem sharing... Let me know! Thanks for all the help that I KNOW you will provide. I know I have plenty of time, but I like to o my homework!
Ciao for now!
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Old December 12th, 2004, 06:37 PM
Andee
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Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini were easy to do on our own.

In Naples, we went to Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano and Ravello with Giovanni from www.tourofitaly.com. It cost 6 of us 50 Euros each, including tip, for a full day.

In Athens we used Spiros Taxi.
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Old January 4th, 2005, 02:13 AM
KayC
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We rented a car in Santorini and drove around the whole place ourselves. Had a great time and saw more than anyone else. We don't read Greek either but that didn't stop us, and it was definitely cheaper than any other option, perhaps, except walking? :-)
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Old January 14th, 2005, 11:45 AM
Karen Adelman
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I definately enjoy renting a car in Europe...we have driven through France and Italy before. I was concerned about the time constraints of being in port for only a few hours. When we drove we were staying on land!
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Old January 31st, 2005, 09:38 AM
Karen Adelman
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Any other suggestions...we have already visited Amalfi,Capri and Pompeii. Thinking about Herculium>
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Old September 4th, 2005, 08:07 AM
Paul Goldstein
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Could you give me suggestions on what to do in Rhodes. Thank you.

paul goldstein
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Old December 10th, 2005, 06:47 PM
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Turkey Tours, Tours to Turkey providing cultural, religious, special package tours for groups and individuals, VIP services, online reservations, accommodation, travel programmes in Turkey and Greece.
Turkey Tours
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Old January 24th, 2006, 06:11 AM
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Send a message via ICQ to BULENT Send a message via MSN to BULENT Send a message via Yahoo to BULENT
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if u want a private guided tour in istanbul, u can contact with me..
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Old January 24th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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In Istanbul, last year, we used shrex and they sent Tanner. an excellent guide and we shared the cost with another cople and found it was very worthwhile and reasonably priced. We got to see what we wanted to see and what Tanner recommended. Don't miss the Spice Market.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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Drive Amalfi also visit Herculaneum and Vesuvius if you want to cahne your itinerary info@driveamalfi.com
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Old February 14th, 2006, 02:36 AM
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Just got back from 7 the Amalfi Coast. We too were trying to find a reputable company to book some tours with. We were highly recommended to Benvenutolimos on the Amalfi Coast. Giovanni benvenuto made everything very simple for us. We sent a request through his website and within 24 hours we had a reply from him. He gve us the best advice as to what we should do and in the end we booked a fantastic tour with him for the full day out of Naples. He took us around the Amalfi Coast and we saw almost everything in a day. He was extremely knowledgabel and a lot of fun. If you are looking for the best in the area I recommed Benvenutolimos. Giovanni was a joy to work with!
www.benvenutolimos.com They also organise tours all over Italy so you can book him for each port stop!
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Old February 14th, 2006, 07:33 AM
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We just reurned from a cruise in the Meditterean and had a wonderful experince with driverinrome.com.
E- mailing with Monia was very easy considering the time difference.They are very fast with replies.The booking process was very easy too.This gave me a good impression.I was a little worried of giving them my cc by e mail at first but they told me it would not be charged.
The tours were the highlites of our european trip.
I will definetly contact driverinrome.com when i return to Italy.
Neil glass
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Old April 13th, 2006, 07:52 PM
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Hi Karen:

Just saw your post and wanted to say "HI". Still planning our cruise on the Jewel of the Seas to the Baltics. We leave on August 27 for 3 days in London pre-cruise.

When is your cruise?

Regards,

Marion
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Old April 23rd, 2006, 09:42 AM
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Hi Karen,
any room left for Rhodes, Santorini and Athens ?
costs ?
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Old May 4th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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Hi.
if you want catch good driver English speaking call Luigi.
www.sorrentoprivatedriver.com is extraordinary
bye bye.............to have a good vacation,
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Old May 4th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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Hi.
if you want catch good driver English speaking call Luigi.
www.sorrentoprivatedriver.com is extraordinary
bye bye.............to have a good vacation,
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Old May 9th, 2006, 09:00 PM
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Hello, we used benvenuto limos for italy and they were fantastic. They made our trip a very memorable one. Good luck with your travels.
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Old June 30th, 2006, 03:09 PM
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You should not be missing Herculenium It is the most well preserved ancient site I have ever been.
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Old August 24th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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My husband and I had two wonderful tours by private guide and driver in Istanbul and Ephesus from Tours Istanbul at www.toursistanbul.com We found them very professional in all their emails and arrangements.

In Istanbul we had Gurkan as our guide - he was really courteous and knowledgeable about the places we saw and gave us a great insight into the modern Turkish life and changing traditions. He also made our introduction to freshly prepared homemade Turkish food at a local authentic restaurant away from the rest of the cruise ship crowds. All this we would have missed on a group tour.

In Kusadasi, we had a similar experience with the same company - we had an excellent guide who brought us to Ephesus and a traditional little village up in the hills with beautiful wooden houses and villagers still in traditional dress! the star of the tour - and great for our pictures!
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Old October 16th, 2006, 02:37 AM
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Hi everyone,

Just got from Med. cruise.
Below find detailed info. about the port of calls and the tours.

Kusadasi and Ephesus
Here we arranged our own tour through a local tourist agency, Shorex Turkey, reached through website: www.shorexturkey.co.nr
I can't say enough good things about our guide in Kusadasi. Her knowledge of the sites and her sense of humor make the tour very enjoyable. She took us to all the main sites.

Kusadasi is a fairly modern port city into the country side towards Ephesus. This is an archeological site of great significance dating as far back as 1500-1000 B.C. The harbor, which was the reason for its existence, started filling with silt shortly after the Christian era began and the city was abandoned by 550 A.D. On a hill nearby there is a small stone house set in a quiet hillside cypress and pine grove which was purportedly the home of Mary, where she was brought by the Apostle John after the Crucifixion. The evidence of this is not conclusive, but circumstantial. If true, John found a lovely place for her. It was quite crowded with tourists even though we got an early start. We then visited a ceramic factory; a small place where they were making bowls, cups etc. by hand. One of our group bought a large bowl and had it shipped home. We had lunch at a local restaurant and then went to Ephesus proper. The ruins are fairly extensive and contain marvelous examples of various stages in Greco-Roman-Persian architecture. There is a well preserved amphitheater which holds probably 20,000 people and was actually used for concerts in recent years until the crowds caused too much wear and tear.

Rhodes
Here we used Sarantis Travel, reached through website: www.pytheas-travel.gr . There was a little confusion over credit card information but it all worked out. We were met a little late by our driver in a Passat. She spoke rudimentary English. We traveled with a couple we had contacted on the net. We stopped briefly at a small, but pretty beach along the southern coast. We then arrived in Lindos, about 40 miles from Rhodes City. This had been the original port city but, like Ephesus, lost its ability to dock ships through silt filling the harbor. The principal, and very striking feature of the town was its Acropolis - a smaller but well preserved version on the one in Athens. It took some serious climbing to reach the top, but the views were marvelous. We went back through the town and had an excellent gelato at a small shop for a very reasonable price. The town itself has no real hotels, only a number of homes converted into pensions. We then drove over to the north side of the island. There were only a few farms in between and the countryside surrounding Lindos reminded us of the Big Rez the Navajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona - very dry with brown hills. As we got over the mountains running down the center of the island the land greened up a little. We drove back to Rhodes City through this northern section, and past the airport and a lot of tourist hotels as we got closer to town. We then were dropped off near the old walled medieval city and met our tour guide; a very bright young lady who spoke not only very fine English, but Spanish, Italian, French and Turkish. She pointed out that Rhodes is a forty minute ferry ride to Turkey, but a sixteen hour ride to Athens. She led us around the old city pointing out and describing the buildings built by the Knights of St. John [officially named: The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta]: when they controlled the island from 1309 to 1522. They were forced out by the Ottomans and found their way to Malta where they reestablished their order, controlling that island until Napoleon took it over. While mostly French, the order had English, German, Spanish and Italian members, and each country had its own headquarters building. The city was restored by the Italians when they occupied the island from about 1912 to the end of WWII, when it was returned to Greek control. Rhodes is an altogether fascinating island, and the medieval old city a marvelous place.

Delos and Mykonos
Delos is a very small island. It was considered a holy sanctuary and no one was permitted to be born or to die there. Now, no one lives there or stays overnight. The ruins are extensive and some are quite attractive. It is reached by tender. We were there on a Monday when no regular tours were offered and with no ferries arriving from other islands, so special arrangements were made for Nautica. Edith and I had not signed up for a tour so we wandered away and started to climb Mt. Kithnos to get an overall view. We were chased away by a rude tour guide who told us we had to remain with the regular tour; at that point nowhere near us. We did some looking around on our own however; although this was an aggravating experience.

There is not much point in staying on Delos for more than a few hours, so we sailed to Mykonos at noon, arriving about and hour and a half later. This is a small but busy town, with a pretty semi-circular harbor and gleaming white buildings. There were four other cruise ships with us, all tendering in. These were Grand Princess, Regent Seven Seas Navigator, and the Louis Cruise Lines ships Perla and Sea Diamond. We enjoyed ourselves walking behind the stores in the residential neighborhoods. We rode back to the ship with our Cruise Director. The ship did not sail until 11:00 P.M., but we doubt if any of our fellow passengers were able to enjoy Mykonos fabled party-party night life since all had to be back on board by 10:30 and the evening does not begin on the islands until that time.


Santorini
As you can see from the Google Earth satellite photo below; Santorini is a unique island. It actually is the crater [caldera] of a volcano which exploded around 1500 B.C. We had been there before and followed the same routine. I went up the cable car and Edith, who does not like heights, rode up on a donkey. We missed connections and wandered around for a while looking for each other. I found an ATM and then went to the bus station where she showed up. We took the bus to Oia at the north end of the island for 1.10 Euros, up from the 0.85 we paid in 2003. The bus was newer and larger though, and very crowded as before The return bus trip involved much maneuvering by the crowds waiting to get on it as it backed and turned several times before opening its doors. Edith got on through the back door and saved me a seat. We returned to Thira by going down the hill from Oia and proceeding along the flat area occupying the eastern portion of the island. We had not seen this part of the island before and there was a fair amount of agriculture, especially grape arbors for Santorinis own wine. Thira is about 40% of the way south down the island, approximately opposite the southern tip of the small island occupying the northwest quadrant of the caldera. We bought some rather expensive wine at 18 Euros, in town and returned to the ship, walking down the hill from Thira to where the tenders picked us up. The tenders this time were not ships boats, but provided by a tender service, which could have learned a lot about customer service from Oceania. The crew was pretty obnoxious, pulling away from the dock when half full, and then returning after backing around the dock area for a few minutes to no apparent purpose.

We noted that mules were still going up the hill at 5:54, shortly before we sailed, perhaps because twoother cruise ships, Regents Seven Seas Navigator and Ibis, unknown cruise line, were still anchored in the caldera.


Katakolon and Olympia
Katakolon is a small port serving primarily as a sea gateway to Olympia, the site of the original Olympic games. We docked at 11:00 and arranged a round trip taxi ride for four of us for a total of 90 Euros; pretty much the going rate. The charge for a very nice museum combined with the Olympic grounds adjoining the museum was 9.00 Euros. One should allow about 45-60 minutes for the museum, which was designed to let in natural light, making non-flash photography possible. A relatively complete tour of the stadium grounds will take a little more than an hour, so 3 hours would enable you to see everything and take detailed notes. It started to get crowded in the museum, but the grounds were easy to see, although as we left there were many buses from Costa Victoria (which had not been there when we docked) arriving. Be advised to wear a good sun hat as it is quite warm.

Our driver picked us up at the museum entrance on time as promised and we returned to Nautica, about a 20 minute ride, by 2:30. We had a snack at the Waves Grill outside the Terrace Grill, and went back into town to buy Edith a bottle of Greek wine at a less expensive price than the Santorini wine, to use on the ship; since she was saving the good wine for home.

Corfu
We docked at 8:00 and looked for our car rental people. They never showed up, but there was a rental agency in the pier building, so we picked up a small, cute red Nissan Micra. It has air conditioning, a stick shift and four doors, with no trunk, its size being very handy on Corfus narrow, winding roads. We drove to the north shore over some hills. The coast was beautiful, but the water too cold and the air too windy for swimming. We had lunch at a seaside café in a town called Roda, surrounded by Brits on vacation. We were provided with two substantial Greek crepes, quite good; wine for Edith and tea for me; all for 12 Euros; a fine meal. We then drove over to the Adriatic side and up to the striking Castle San Angelo, several hundred feet above the water and with a view back across the island. Corfu is very hilly, green and attractive, with much new condo type construction for European visitors. We returned in time for tea, having spent 10 Euros for 9 liters of gas or about $5.40 US per gallon. However, this was enough for the whole trip. When we returned to Corfu City, or Kerkyra as it is spelled in the Roman alphabet (road signs fortunately used this alphabet as well as the unintelligible Greek alphabet); there were two ships in the harbor. Our instructions on returning the rental car were to leave it in a parking space at the dock, be certain not to lock the door, and to put the keys under the floor mat. I suppose there is not much future in stealing a car on a fairly small Greek island.

By getting to Corfu (as well as Katakolon) early our Captain had secured preferential docking rights. One of these ships in Corfu was Golden Princess, which carries from 2600 to 3100 passengers. The other was a ship called Blue Dream operated by Pullmantur Cruise Lines. At tea I chatted with Paula King, the British singer and she told me that this ship was actually our sister ship, originally Renaissance 5 , and bought out of bankruptcy by Pullmantur, a Spanish cruise line, along with Renaissance 6, now called Blue Star . When I looked at it through my binoculars I could see the furnishings on deck seemed to be plain white plastic on the Terrace Lounge area. There did not appear to be any penthouse suites on Deck 8, and overall it probably was nowhere close to Oceanias three former Renaissance vessels, Nautica, Insignia and Regatta. The Pullmantur website has a photo of Blue Star and Regatta side by side in Dubrovnik; the Spanish ship painted dark blue and Regatta gleaming white.

Dubrovnik
Once again we arrived early, and with no other cruise ship in sight, which meant we were able to dock. The Pullmantur site had showed Blue Dream docked there, with Golden Princess barely squeezing in behind it and another cruise ship in the harbor. We had been able to dock when we were last there on Millennium in 2003 but recent postings on some boards have noted that Celebritys ships were scheduled to tender on their arrival in Dubrovnik.

As we noted above, we were left pretty much on our own to find our way to the Old Town, which was not easy since there was little information provided at the pier. We walked into town a little way to change Euros into Kuna and caught a city bus to the Old City. This time we did not walk the wall, but covered a lot of this charming little city. It was quite crowded with tourists who obviously arrived by land. We noted that the prices for pastries and coffee had gone up quite a bit since our prior visit three years ago, but still were reasonable by European standards. We returned to the ship by 3:00 and lazed around a little. I went into the pool, which was cool but nice, and was easily able to find a comfortable deck chair for a short while before tea. Altogether a very relaxed day once we were able to work out the bus system.

Piraeus and Delphi
Here again we had arranged for a rental car, which was a little late showing up. We drove our rental agent partly out of Piraeus and dropped him off within sight of the main freeway to Delphi. We had been to the Acropolis and to Poseidons temple in Sounion on our 2003 cruise. The trip was relatively easy. We traveled on a main freeway, mostly through flat countryside with much agriculture, until we approached the mountains and could see Mount Parnassus with snow still near the top. We then left the highway and started climbing on a country road into the hills eventually arriving at Delphi. It was fairly well crowded with visitors, although none from any cruise ships since we were the only ship in the harbor and there were no ships tours of Delphi. We had anticipated that there would only be one temple building housing the Oracle and were surprised at the extent of the town and the number of buildings as well as a substantial arena. The main temple used by the Oracle still had several large pillars intact. We marveled at how they could have gotten all the pillars and building blocks up the side of what is a very steep and high hill. The site overlooks a long and very pretty valley and is certainly a striking location for what was basically an area of worship. There is an extensive and excellent museum and, as at Olympia, you can get a single ticket for both museum and ruins for 9.00 Euros. Greece has an amazing array of ruins from its Golden Age, from the Parthenon on the Acropolis Hill in Athens to Poseidons Temple at Sounion, to Delos, the Acropolis in Lindos on Rhodes to Olympia and Delphi. They are all amazingly beautiful in their individual styles and locations, and worth the effort to get there in all cases.

After we left, we stopped at a small town about ten miles away called Arachova for lunch. The restaurant we chose was occupied entirely by local residents, although the waitress found a menu written in somewhat imaginative English. The food was substantial and tasty, if not exactly gourmet, and the atmosphere very pleasant. The trip back was without incident, although we had to buy a calling card to contact our rental car agent so he could come and pick it up at the pier. This also involved a considerable wait since all the telephones were occupied by crew members making lengthy calls home. Back on board we packed and went to dinner, retiring immediately thereafter due to our extremely early rising the following day.

Hope it helps !



Quote:
Originally Posted by Karen Adelman
We are going on the Galaxy this summer...July 25th sailing. We have been to the Med. before, but Never the Eastern med. We are going to Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Istanbul, Kusadasr, Athnes and Naples. We have been to Pompeii and Capri before. I would value any input that you have out there. We have taken ship tours before and have found them crowded and overpriced. I have already inquiede about transfers from Leonardo airport to the Excelsior hotle. I have received quoted from Bob's limo service, Positano Taxi andMax Leotta. Any thoughts on that? I seem to like Max and Positano, but am open to suggestions. If anyone is going to be on the ship with us, I have no problem sharing... Let me know! Thanks for all the help that I KNOW you will provide. I know I have plenty of time, but I like to o my homework!
Ciao for now!
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 01:19 PM
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For Naples we used benvenutolimos.com and they were truly awesome.
Good luck.
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Old December 15th, 2006, 06:34 AM
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Of all the tours that we took, in Istanbul, Kusadasi, Athens, Rhodes, Naples, Rome and Venice - it was Sammy's Travel that FAR EXCEEDED our expectations and provided super customer service, quality arrangements and VALUE for the price paid. Not only did Sammy's Travel deliver everything that was promised, but everyone went out of their way to ensure we had a terrific experience. I would recommend Sammy's Travel to anybody visiting Turkey. Memed gave me quick and promt answers while I was planing either my Istanbul or Kusadasi trips. The cleanliness of the van provided, the professionalism of the driver and the knowledge and personality of our guide were OUTSTANDING!!!

www.sammystravel.com/tours/ephesusguide.htm
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Old December 21st, 2006, 06:25 PM
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Definately www.romeinlimo.com
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Old April 19th, 2007, 05:34 AM
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We recommend Pepe of sorrentotopcar for your private tour in Italy.
The Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. You can contact him at www.sorrentotopcar.com
He can help you for any problem in Italy
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