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Old January 17th, 2010, 02:48 PM
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Default Dubrovnik,Kudiashi,Santorini,Cofu.. What should we do in port?

This will be our 12th cruise, but first in Europe. Does anyone have and comments about these ports? What to do? What NOT to do? We are in our 40's and active. We sail May 1st 2010 so the weather should be nice. Are there any beaches worth going to? Any comments would be appreciated!

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ps-We want to find a guided tour to Ephesus that doesn't include being stuck in a high pressure rug sales pitch....we have heard nightmare stories....
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Old March 31st, 2010, 05:39 PM
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Getting close to cruise time....anyone have any ideas?
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Old April 7th, 2010, 10:18 PM
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We did a ships tour to Ephesus which included a rug stop. They explain how they make the rugs and show some examples and off you go. They gave us an apple tea to drink which was very good. Those who are interested can shop around. Those who are not can leave. It was actually quite interesting and not a nightmare by any means. I would not avoid a cruise tour because of that.
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Old April 7th, 2010, 11:44 PM
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In Santorini ride the donkey's either up or down the stairs to the town. From there we rented a car and toured and had no problems.

Cofu we got a guide at the pier, negotiated a price for the day and enjoyed it.

Kusdasi DEFINATELY to a tour to Ephesus. You can book a private guide if you like, but a guide of some sort is a must to make the most of it.

Dubrovnik.. I haven't been yet, but my son tells me you can spend the entire day walking the wall and around the old city.
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Old April 9th, 2010, 10:42 PM
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Kuki - We have read about the donkeys not being treated very well and that they smell poorly.... Any comment? Were there any beaches in Corfu or Santorini worth a look?

22 Days to go!!!!
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Old April 10th, 2010, 03:37 PM
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Hi there!

First of all, congratulations on your upcoming Med cruise! You're gonna love it.
Here are some tips that might help you with planning your days in port.

Dubrovnik- this is a beautiful port and for many people ends up being the absolute highlight of the whole cruise. It is very easy to get to the Old Town on your own so this is the port where you can definitely save some money on shore excursions. Find more details on getting downtown here: Getting to Dubrovnik from the port of Dubrovnik

One of the top activities to do is walk the walls of the Old Town, it will give you a chance to enjoy unforgettable views! Take your camera! It's $10 per person; entrance on your left as you enter Stradun, the main street of the Old Town.

There are plenty of monasteries, churches, palaces to see, all of them on Stradun...so you cannot miss them. The beautiful sunny Stradun and little narrow streets on its side are great for strolling around, souvenir shopping, sitting at one of the numerous cafe terraces (coffee here is even better than in Italy!) and tasting some sea food.

Food in Croatia is organic and surprises us with tastes we have long forgotten, having a lunch here is a must. Our favourite place to eat is Proto restaurant (half way down Stradun and then to the right, ask for the Post office). Down at the street level you can have a simpler menu, while up at the terrace it's all about really treating yourself...sea bas that melts in your mouth is our favourite.

One of our favourite spots in Dubrovnik is the Green market (walk to the end of Stradun, turn right to the Cathedral and then right again). It's unbelievably colourful and lively; get some dried figs or candied orange peels to snack on or take home!

The most unique and unforgettable place to have a cold drink at is the famous Buza bar which is outside the walls facing the sea. It's a bit hard to find but definitely try: enter the old town through the Pile gate, walk half way down Stradun, chose any street to the right, walk ALL THE WAY UP until you face the walls and ask the locals for it (there is just a little board saying "Cold Drinks" by a hole in the wall indicating it).

This is definitely not the day to go to the beach, you would regret it!

KUSADASI- this is gonna be one of the most eventful days of your cruise. Definitely book a tour to Ephesus through your cruise line. Everyone is going to Ephesus on that day!
Do not risk by just taking a taxi driver as the official guides are very, very informative! Even if you don't buy a tour in any other port, we recomend it here.

After the tour you will most probably be taken to one of the carpet stores. They give amazing, informative and entertaining carpet presentations and often times offer you some cheese pastry, turkish coffee and turkish tea.

Having been to those many times i am a proud owner of 3 turkish rugs myself and really learnt to appreciate them.
No matter what your budget is, i'm sure you will find a carpet for yourself! They ship them home (shipping included in the price)!
Don't take the first price, you're expected to haggle! If you get 30% off, that's great!
Tell them your budget and they will work around it.
If you're not interested in buying a rug AT ALL, simply walk out the store and don't get involved into any haggling. Once you do, chances are you will walk out with something

Our favourite place to eat is where the locals eat: a little place called Yuvvam; it's also one of Lonely Planet recommedations for authentic Turkish food. Love their meat balls, bean soup, aubergine stew...Ask anyone in Kusadasi to direct you, all the locals know it.

Although, be very careful when asking for any directions in Kusadasi: competition is so tough that business owners often lie that their place is exactly the one you are looking for. Don't trust them until you see the name sign you're looking for above the door.

Another thing...merchants here are very, very, very aggressive, ignore them if you're not interested in their goods.

I do not recomend buying gold or precious stones in Turkey. I will just say...get it in Greece if it's on your shopping list.

SANTORINI- been there only twice so I'm not a big expert but i know this: either be one of the first ones to get off the ship (tendering involved) or one of the last ones. If there are a few ships in port, lines for the cable car can be waaaay too long. If you're walking up, be ready to be sweaty and stinky when you get there.
Enjoy walking around, there are many restaurants and the shops. If you have time, you might also be able to visit Oia, a charming village 10-15 min ride away. There are car rentals at the village exit.
There are very long lines for the cable car going back so don't miss your ship!

CORFU- You've mentioned you're interested in a beach. I think Corfu is a perfect day to do it!
If you want to go both to the beach and downtown after that, if were you I would probably hire a taxi. One of the most famous beaches is Paleokastriza. There are a few beautiful secluded bays there, make sure your taxi driver takes you there.
Go downtown for a late lunch before returning to the ship. Restaurant Rex is one of the oldest and most reputable ones, just behind the colonade building on the Liston square. Try their greek salad and saganaki (fried cheese) for a starter, soft and succulent lamb for the main course (my husband would kill to have some righ now ), and baklava or fresh fruits for desert. Yummm!

Hope this helps!
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Old April 11th, 2010, 08:50 PM
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Thanks MC!

Good info. I checked a couple youtube videos from the beaches of Paleokastriza on Corfu. Looks like fun! What do you know about riding the donkeys in Santorini?
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Old April 21st, 2010, 10:10 AM
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Regarding a guided tour to Ephesus, it would be our pleasure to be in service to you. We have been in service since 1963. Licensed by the Turkish Ministry of Culture. License No. A776. We provide custom made private tours and excursions to Ephesus. To get more information about ourselves please visit our web site: Trans Balkan Tours : Ephesus Tours, Ephesus excursions and Private Ephesus Tours - Ephesus, Turkey
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Old April 21st, 2010, 12:00 PM
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Only done Dubrovnik out of those, we just walked about the old town, P&O had a free shutttle bus to the gate, you must walk the walls & I guarantee that however fit you think you are after scaling the steps up the wall you will realise you aren't!! Lots of shops & places to eat & drink, we were recommended a little place down an alley (lots of alley's) Taj Mahal, not Indian at all but served either Bosnian or Serbian food, whatever it was it was the opposite of the ethnic majority. We liked Dubrovnik.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 12:20 PM
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Dubrovnik?

You need 30 minutes to see the whole old town.
There is one main street 70-150 m long.

one of the most boring towns I ever was.

There are some shops there with unnesesary China stuff (kitch) for west tourist.

There are a lot of restoarants there maybe the meal is OK.

I think any USA supermarkt is bigger then the whole old town .

Last edited by sergej; April 21st, 2010 at 12:30 PM.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 12:28 PM
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Disagree, you can spend ages walking around the walls, & the town has a great many side streets off the main one.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 12:39 PM
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>> great many side streets

Yes it is correct - there are a lot of narrow side sreets with boring
buildings with restoarants in them.

All what one can do there is to eat.

As I was there I get only one feeling - the whole town is a cheap
attraction for west toursits.
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Old April 23rd, 2010, 12:11 AM
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I did this same itinerary in 07. Dubrovnik was beautiful; the water is pure green; the old city with the walls around it has a lot of history and shopping; santorini is one of the most beautiful islands in greece, the houses are all pastel colors; we went to Oia, and also fira; which is where the cruise ships dock. In Corfu we visited Acheillion palace and a Greek Monestary; the palace was no big deal the monestary was great; In Ephasus, I agree with the other people; u need to go to see the ancient ruins; if you are a christian you will know that the apostle Paul preached and taught in ephasus for three years; it was wonderful. the splendour is a great ship; great food and yes May is the perfect weather; I have a good friend who is going on the ship for the may 5th cruise. have fun.
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Old May 15th, 2010, 11:14 PM
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Thanks for all the great advise! It really helped.

The Splendor of the Seas is a smaller and older ship, but still very nice. The food was wonderful and the crew was great.

We had a great day walking the wall and having lunch in Dubrovnik. Took a great tour of Ephesus, St. John's Basilica, the Ephesus museum, and what they say was Mary's home. The tour included a wonderful lunch at a really nice sea side resort between Ephesus and Kusadasi. The rug demo wasn't as bad as I expected... Santorini was fun....we decided to walk to the top...what a workout! We were soaked with sweat by the time we made it...just made the beer at Fira taste better... Rented a car in Corfu...Paleokitrits beach was beautiful! I totally suggest getting a car and driving around the island....it is very pretty.

Almost forgot about Venice. We wish we had at least one more day to see the sights. I really enjoyed walking around getting lost in the allies and canals.

This was my first trip to Europe. I think the cruise was a really great way to see a lot of different cultures in a short amount of time. I'm already planning my next trip over.

Thanks again everyone.

S
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