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CruiseCat99

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  1. Last day/night in Athens before we head home tomorrow. We had “skip the line” tickets for the Acropolis and we were there by 8:11am this morning. Perfect timing as much of the tours hadn’t begun. The light was perfect for photographs and the temperature light with a nice breeze. It was breathtaking. We had contemplated not going up, but that would have been a huge mistake. The walk is not at all difficult. From the South entrance, the walk is pleasant. One area was paved but a little steep. It was maybe 30 yards long. There are benches and shade everywhere and plenty to look at on the way up. The views and sites to behold are truly amazing. After a few hours we walked down and found a cafe for a coffee and crepe. We found a shoe store and replaced the horrid shoes that I had bought that had been giving me problems all trip. I didn’t mention it, but my feet have been killing me because BOTH pair of shoes I bought for this trip (and yes, they were supposed to be sensible walking shoes) did not have thick enough soles for the types of walking we did on this trip. My feet felt 100% better with better shoes. We explored more of the Plaka and found a cafe for a light lunch. I don’t remember the name, but it was just to the North of the place we ate last night. We had mussels in wine and garlic sauce. We explored some more and then went back to the room for a rest before dinner. Dinner was at Athens Gate Hotel Reataurant. I knew the food reviews were terrible, but we did not go here for the food, we went for the view. We had a reservation right at sunset. We stayed until it was fully dark and the Acropolis was gleaming. I took some pretty good photos with my DSLR camera. The food was truly terrible, but the wine was good and the views were worth the €70 dinner we didn’t eat!! As much as we felt mixed about Athens, we had some amazing moments and saw things that my husband and I have learned about, dreamed about, and studied since we were both children. We don’t regret this trip at all! It is a shame that Athens is having the troubles it is having. Without the graffiti everywhere, it would be even more of a beautiful place. Without the rudeness people might stay longer or be willing to come back. We will probably come back to Greece, but not this area. We have fulfilled our bucket list in this area and feel we have seen what we came to see, ate what we wanted to eat, and experienced what we wanted to experience. We may include Kalamata or Nafplion in future travels, maybe different islands. If a cruise includes Greece, then all the better. Once we are home and settled, I may post some pictures if I can figure out how to work it. Good night!!!
  2. Yes. Our cruise started in Venice, then to Koper, Slovenia. Havr Croatia, Kalamata Greece, Santorini, Mykonos, Kusadasi Turkey, Chios Greece, Nafplion Greece, and ended in Athens.
  3. On my recent Silversea cruise, our passports were take. Upon checkin a d returned when we disembarked. We visited Italy, Solvenia, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, and ended in Greece. No passport the whole time....
  4. We had a lovely time in Kalamata and Nafplion, and loved Santorini. There are aspects of Greece we enjoyed on this trip. However, not enjoying Athens outside of the amazing historical sites and museums. We didn’t really like Turkey, again except for the historical sites, and were just discussing last night that Turkey felt safer than Athens (the part we were in). We did not care for Mykonos, and would have like Chios better if we had booked a different tour. It appeared beautiful from our bus view...
  5. We are staying in the heart of the Plaka, and this is where we feel the most comfortable. It is actually up by the square and heavy vehicle traffic areas that we are not enjoying at all.
  6. We looked for this and did not see it offered, however we did not ask specifically.
  7. Terry, We are mixed on our enjoyment of Athens. We enjoy being in the Plaka, not so much anywhere else. Yesterday we walked to Constitution Square and watched the noon changing of the guards. It was so hot and so crowded. There were police everywhere, but we did not feel safe. My husband is retired law enforcement with over 50 years in the field. He was very on edge. We kept waiting for someone to drive a car into a crowd or something else awful to happen. We left before it was finished. We don’t speak Greek, but both of us are trained in reading body language. (I’m a psychologist, with a forensics specialty.) The police here are on edge, and it is not a good sign. They walk and drive in 3’s, and military are also always around and heavily armed. There is anti-state, anti-police grafiti everywhere. There are people sending their children begging everywhere. Most likely refugees. They send their small children into bars and restaurants, even in the heart of the Plaka. It is sad, but also unnerving. I would call Athens anything but safe and comfortable right now. We will both be glad to get home in 2 days. This morning we walked to the New Acropolis Museum. It is beautiful and definitely worth spending a few hours. It houses the originals from the Acropolis, as much of what you see at the top is replicas. We were amazed at how close you can get to everything. After that, we took a taxi to the Archaeological museum. Again, amazed at the experience. This place is huge. I’m afraid my feet wore out before my eyes did. After, we tried to get a taxi back, and several drivers turned us down! Finally we found someone to take us. Traffic is awful! We have found people outside of the Plaka area to be very rude, pushy, and dismissive. We try not to be “tourist“ despite what we are, we even greet people in Greek and ask if they speak English.... Anyway, after we got back, we rested our feet and then wondered around to find the place to get tickets and enter the Acropolis tomorrow. We had dinner at Estia Taverna. It was lovely, right across the street from the rooftop theater. After, we bought water and beer, “supplies”, as the hubby says, just seconds from the apartment. We enjoyed olives and wine on our balcony. We discussed how different this part of Athens is from 3 streets over. We are both glad we have come and have seen these wonderful artifacts of important world history, but we both agreed that we won’t come back to Athens again.
  8. Overall impressions: The ship has some signs of age, but it is scheduled for dry dock soon. Nothing took away from the experience. We had a vista suite, the first time I have ever cruised without a veranda. Honestly, I didn’t miss it. I wondered if I would, but with the port intensive cruise and not utilizing it at all on my last cruise, our suite was just fine. The money we didn’t spend on the veranda was well spent on the excursions and the experiences we had instead. Some nice touches to note in the suite: The alarm clock had a wireless charging pad on the top that was compatible with my iPhone 8, and that freed up a plug. Plenty of hangers in the closet. The on demand movies were nice, but there was a distinct lack of television programming unless you wanted news channels. We prefer to unwind with a tv show or comedy at night, so we did miss that a bit. The Complementary WiFi was sufficient for my needs. Mostly I was posting here, or checking maps and weather. The entertainment on board was not good. After the first few nights, we stopped staying up for the shows. Even the resident pianists were lacking in talent. Again, I am biased because of my musical training, but there was just no enthusiasm or passion in any of the music on board. Also a lack of depth and phrasing from all the performers. Phrasing is something that makes music tell a story, and it wasn’t present. Anyway, again, not a reason we cruise, so didn’t detract from our enjoyment. The food was very good. Surprisingly, one of the best meals was in the Restaurant. The 34 day dry aged beef was wonderful when it was offered. My only wish was that the menus changed more frequently in La Terraza. We never ventured out of the suite for breakfast, having coffee and a light breakfast is preferred for us, especially since we almost always had an early morning tour. The Spa: I had a massage that was three times as expensive as at home, and not really as well done. You pay for the experience and location. I always am a sucker for this, and always feel let down after. I guess I need to learn this lesson a few times! The hard sell is annoying, even when I made it clear I wasn’t interested. After the initial bumps and adjustment, service onboard improved dramatically. The CD was Adam, and he was always around and doing a fine job making sure everyone was having a good time. Will we book Silversea again? Most likely. We are not sure when or where, but there are several new itineraries that appeal to us. Any questions, and I will be happy to try to answer.
  9. Yes, was there on September 11th, and we took the cable car up and found Skyline Travel. Amazing day and less than half the price of our quotes for a pre-arranged tour that we declined before leaving home. We saw more too! See my full review on the Silversea boards under “Live from the Whisper”. Recommend Panos as a driver. He was fun and informative.
  10. We made it off the ship and had no trouble getting a taxi into Athens today. We have rented an apartment looking up to the Acropolis in the Plaka neighborhood. We will be here for 4 nights. Disembarkation was easy. We had coffee in our room this morning. My only complaint was they turned off the TV at 7:00am and WiFi at 9:00am, but we did not have to leave our rooms until 8:39 am and were not called to exit the ship until 9:3am. I’ll post over all impressions a little while later. We are just settling into our apartment.
  11. Thanks JP! Enjoying your report as well. We are usually very independent and book our own tours, but this was the first time in Europe, so we felt a little out of our league. Now that we are more experienced, we will know for next time.
  12. Nafpilon, Greece Today was another early start. We were tendered, and met for our tour in the show lounge. We boarded the bus to the Theater of Epidurious. This was a spectacular theater to see. Then we went in to the citidal of Mycenaean, and under the famous Lions Gate. Again, too much time standing, listening to the guide, and not enough time to actually enjoy the sites. If we ever come back, we will book private tours or go on our own. Again, we had taken extensive courses to study the history and information of each site we visited on this cruise, so we may be biased by this. In Mycenae, we ditched the guide halfway and went to the top on our own. We wouldn’t have been able to do that if we had stayed with the tour. We did make it back down and rejoin the tour without being disruptive or late, as we were the first back on the bus! We just didn’t need to stand at one spot for 20 minutes in the sun to hear infomation we had studied extensively. The tour also stopped at the dome tomb which is impressive. On the way back, we had a 30 minute stop at a lovely hotel for drinks. The port town is beautiful. We enjoyed the shops and beautiful streets. We had an authentic Greek lunch with the locals. The man seemed surprised I didn’t speak Greek! We found an Ozuo shop and bought a small bottle that we enjoyed back at the ship. We slowly made our way back to the ship, and made the sad effort to pack. Our vacation doesn’t end, as we have 4 days in Athens. However, it is always sad when the cruise ends.
  13. We had a pretty awful tour yesterday in Chios, Greece. Several others on the tour were also displeased, and we heard one man giving the shore concierge desk a tongue lashing!! We have already voiced our displeasure, but feel what we paid for the tour was way too much for what we received, and when we complained, the girl at the desk looked at us with a blank stare.... Any advice? We leave the ship tomorrow. Everything else has been great, and on a 10 day cruise we had one really bad tour. All the others were great. We spent over $2000 on tours alone..... :confused:
  14. If you go with Skyline, build yourself a bit of extra time. The rate is about 50€ per hour, and if traffic is bad, factor in a bit more time than you think. It will be worth the extra cost. Then if you decide to stay somewhere a little longer, you will be fine. I got the impression the drivers cannot just “add time” on a whim. Our time was perfect but when I asked about extending time at one stop, it seemed to make the driver a bit nervous about sticking to the first agreed upon schedule.
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