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BLYTH - Answered a Question by ROGER AUSTIN (02 Feb 09 15:06)

I forgot to menation Pireaus which is the port for Athens, we found the cheapest for good cigarette brands here, but if you don't smoke then irrevalent !! .... Bill.

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BLYTH - Answered a Question by ROGER AUSTIN (02 Feb 09 15:04)

On the Santorini, the ship uses tenders to get you onto the island and then the cable car or the donkey ride to the top. Some lovely shops many jewellery but others as well but worth seeing, very cobbly though to walk on. Again at Mykonos we were taken in by tender did a bit of shopping not a big island but was nice to see nevertheless. In Istanbul we took the cruise excursion and went from Europe to Asia in a matter of minutes just crossing a bridge and you are taken up to a high point with lovely views over Istanbul a few more views to see then the Casba. My wife loved it miles of shops to the left/right etc she has never bought any leather goods before but she got a lovely leather jacket which she still loves and when we got home we asked a friend who was a seamstress how good it was and she found no problems with it so some bargains here. The others not a lot to say on perhaps other will comment.

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morris - Answered a Question by ROGER AUSTIN (02 Feb 09 15:55)

Naples - we did an excursion to Pompeii which was well worth it....I think some people do their own trip to Pompeii but we felt it was worth paying for the guides knowledge!! Mykonos we docked here and got the shuttle into was a Sunday and not all open but very pretty streets to wander and had a coffee on the harbourside. Istanbul - we did a trip to Topkapis Palace, the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar which was also well worth the cost. Athens - we did a trip but apparently it is quite easy to get into Athens from the port (I think instructions are elsewhere on this site). Santorini - as Bill says there is a cable car or donkey up to the top of the cliff where the village is. We got the cable car up and walked down (which took 45 minutes!) avoiding donkeys on the way!! We haven't actually done Ephesus but explored a bit of Kusadasi instead walking along the seafront to an adjacent 'island' . Hope this helps a bit.

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Brown - Answered a Question by ROGER AUSTIN (02 Feb 09 16:05)

Hi, you have chosen a cruise with some amazing destinations. You will truely enjoy them . We have been to them all with the exception of Naples. Santorini is a beautiful island and Thira is breath taking.We were there on a Sunday sopublic transport was scant.We did an organised tour, which took in the major attractions of the island. We normally do our own thing, but on this occasion we are glad we did a tour, as the island is diverse and it was a wonderful way to see as much as was possible in one day. Mykannos is a lovely little island.We did our own thing, as we was not interested in going to see the 'Shirley Valentine Beach!!!!'We strolled around,saw the Pelican and ate local specialities at one of the smallback street restaurants. They are wonderful and if as in any resort you eat were the locals eat, you will not go wrong, but a word of warning,keep off the beachfront cafes etc, as they can be extortionate.Istanbl, do your own thing, do not be intimidated by stupid storeies, we have been five times,all without incident or trouble. You simply walk off the dock, turn left,over the bridge and head for the BlueMosque,you cannot miss it, then the Topkapi Palce,the Aga Sophia and the Grand Bazaar are all within walking.If you prefer the taxis on the quay side are good value, negotiate a tour,include shopping in the bazaar, and pay only upon your return to the ship. Athens (the port of Piraeus) Once again it is well worth jumping on the train to the Acroplolis, (Don't forget Athens had the Olympics so everything including public transport is easy.) Ephesus we did an organised trip. Enjoy.

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Wilba - Answered a Question by ROGER AUSTIN (02 Feb 09 16:24)

One of the favourite trips in Santorini is Oia village. Not done it myself but it's well reported as being excellent. Be advised waiting for the Cable Car can be a long queue if 3 cruise ships all arrive at once. Naples also has The Isle of Capri or our personal favourite, Sorrento which is across the bay. Both are normally reached by Hydrofoil which is next to the Cruise ship berths. Sorrento is also reachable by road or rail. Just a bit of further info on Mykonos, some ships dock around the Island & then shuttle bus into town, & some anchor in the bay & tender boat straight into town. Nice itinerary!!!....Wilba .

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Humphreys - replied to Wilba (02 Feb 09 17:13)

We wanted to use the hydrofoil at Naples to get to Capri or Sorrento but it was total CHAOS around the ticket offices, and we had to give up - and we don't give up easily! We'll take an excursion next time. On the other hand, trip to Pompeii is easy on your own- and you might not have to stop at the over-priced, boring cameo factory! There are guided tours round the town if you time it right or you can hire headphones and listen as you walk. Santorini is very pretty. We took the cable car, avoiding the VERY smelly donkeys. We also weren't interested in buying jewellery so had a lovely walk along the cliff-top, stopping at a quiet little restaurant for lunch - stunning views - then wandered through all the little back street. Very relaxing day. We met people who took local bus or taxi to Oia, and liked it too.

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Wilba - replied to Humphreys (02 Feb 09 17:55)

Hi. We've never had a problem at the Hydrofoil, we download the timetable, grab early brekkie & get out there for about 0800am....Wilba.

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Neil & Ida Down - Answered a Question by ROGER AUSTIN (02 Feb 09 16:44)

I'm putting this in again as it didn't come up first time round so if you get it twice i'm sorry...... Santorini: The lovely village at the top of the cliff is worth strolling over and enjoying a coffee and 5 star Metaxa, but the main problem is actually getting up to the top as the queue for the cable car stretches on for ages and it can take a while to get up and to get back. Walking up is quite dangerous as the donkey drivers don’t care too much for you and riding a donkey has its hazards too. You can if you’ve been before get a taxi around the island or if you are adventurous get the local bus which is cheap and an experience…………. Mykonos: my advice here is to take the free shuttle to the town and just wander around this place, visit the windmills and enjoy a beer and people watch. Oh and watch out for the town’s mascot….. a tame pelican. ……. Istanbul: So much to see here, this is the way we have done it: Afternoon of Day 1 The Blue Mosque, The Cisterns, The Grand Bazaar then Morning of Day 2 The Hagia Sophia, Topkapi. There is a lot more you can doo but these are the main sites. Watch out for the “Taxi Driver Switch” where you hand your fare to the taxi driver and quick as a flash he shows you that you have given him Turkish Lira and not Euros, when you haven’t. Be firm and say no, if you still have difficulty get out and call Police. That works. Always haggle. ……… Ephesus, (Kusadasi): If you haven’t been to Ephesus before then you ought to go. A taxi will drop you off at the entrance and pick you up at the end for a much less cost than the ship’s tour and you can always listen to someone’s tour guide. If you have3 done that then there are other sites to visit but the town is very interesting and worth shopping in. …… Athens: Get the train from Piraeus to Monastirion and enjoy the Plaka, just strolling around is good, go up the hill to the Acropolis then come down and see The Roman Agora & the Tower of Winds You can then go back or go on to other attractions. Watch out for pickpockets………. Naples: My favourite place is Herculaneum, much better than Pompeii, and it is just a train ride away on the Circumvesuvia Line, cheap and efficient. You can get a hydrofoil to Sorrento but I would avoid Capri as it is overdone, oversubscribed and overcharged.. Just a few ideas. ……Neil.

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WILLIAMS - Answered a Question by ROGER AUSTIN (03 Feb 09 00:25)

I have been to most of them several times and have done it on my own and by excursion. For what it is worth I disagree with many of the contributors who seem far more interested in saving a few pounds than optimising the experience and reducing the hassle. For example Santorini is a no brainer.... you take the ships trip to Oia that gets you to Oia early... as early in the morning it is fabulous .... by late morning it is like Oxford Street. For Mykonos and Pireaus take Neil Down's advice but for Ephesus take the ships tour with your own guide and don't act like a pikey ( as Neil regretably suggests) and tag onto someone else's guide..... this is pure bad manners and you have to be desperate to save a few quid to do this... (Neil you have gone down considerably in my estimation!!). Istanbul is my least favourite place for though there are some great sights to see there are also a lot of people out to rook you or steal from you and for this reason I would take the ships tour.

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butler - Answered a Question by ROGER AUSTIN (26 May 09 10:39)

We are going on the same trip in August. I would appreciate your comments in due course - and on the boat!

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