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Old 08-09-2010, 06:47 AM
 
Location: Florida -
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We're taking a month cruise to the Mediterranean and have never been there before (Spain, Turkey, Italy, Greece .. then Egypt and Israel) - What are the most important things we need to know before we go?
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:08 AM
 
Location: on an island
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What are your ports of call?
I was under the impression that cruisers are pretty much shepherded through their journey, but perhaps you get some time on your own?
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:30 AM
 
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I assume in Israel that the boat stops in Haifa. The most famous attraction in Haifa is the Bahai Headquarters with its beautiful gardens: The Bahá'í Gardens .
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Old 08-09-2010, 05:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
We're taking a month cruise to the Mediterranean and have never been there before (Spain, Turkey, Italy, Greece .. then Egypt and Israel) - What are the most important things we need to know before we go?
First of all, hope you have a great time!

There is a very good book called "Cruising the Mediterranean: A Guide to the Ports of Call" which we found to be quite useful. It may not have all of your ports of call but probably has most. It will give you a lot of good info about the ports, what to do and see, etc.

Then there is spending money. Spain, Italy & Greece all use the Euro which simplifies matters. We found that we spent relatively little cash when we were on a Mediterranean cruise. But then, we are not shoppers. Also, we were on a smaller cruise ship so it was quite easy to go back to the boat for lunch and then go out again. It depends on the itinerary and on the ship and where it docks. So, do not change too much money and, for larger purchases, use credit cards as you get a better exchange rate. More info on your itinerary would help me give better advice.

Time of year is also important. For example, in April/May, the weather is pleasant but not hot. Also, Cairo will be hotter than Barcelona. So you need to think about average temperatures and pack accordingly.

Check out cruise critic dot com where you can get very good info and maybe even chat to folks who will be on the same cruise as you.
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Old 08-09-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWillowPlate View Post
What are your ports of call?
I was under the impression that cruisers are pretty much shepherded through their journey, but perhaps you get some time on your own?
It depends and it is really up to you. If you take (and pay for) excursions then you are shepherded. We tend to take relatively few excursions and do our own thing so no shepherding.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:46 PM
 
Location: Florida -
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Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
It depends and it is really up to you. If you take (and pay for) excursions then you are shepherded. We tend to take relatively few excursions and do our own thing so no shepherding.
Thanks - From prior cruises, we've learned that the shipboard excursions run about 50-75% more (for security/shepherding, I suppose). We like to go on our own, but, having not been to the Med before, don't know where that is advisable or not. Major Ports of call include: Amsterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona, Istanbul, Rome, Athens (2-3 days), Cairo, Haifa, Jerusalem, Ephesus. Others include Monaco, Brest (FR), Olympia (Gr); Others include Cartehegna, Antalya (Turkey), Iskenderum (Turkey),
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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Wow!like to cruise there also,I want to experience and discover a new things....


Joyce

-------
Virtual-Tours.com
Interactive virtual Tour Specialist
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
Thanks - From prior cruises, we've learned that the shipboard excursions run about 50-75% more (for security/shepherding, I suppose). We like to go on our own, but, having not been to the Med before, don't know where that is advisable or not. Major Ports of call include: Amsterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona, Istanbul, Rome, Athens (2-3 days), Cairo, Haifa, Jerusalem, Ephesus. Others include Monaco, Brest (FR), Olympia (Gr); Others include Cartehegna, Antalya (Turkey), Iskenderum (Turkey),
Wow ... what a great cruise.

I don't know all the ports but I know a few .....

Amsterdam ... you do not need to pay for tours. Use the internet to build your own visit or just wander around the city. The canal cruises are well worth doing and you do not need the ship to organize that for you.

Lisbon. There are three "must sees" in Lisbon. The old town from the cathedral to the castle, Belem and Sintra. Both Belem and Sintra are a little bit out of the city. Belem is a fairly cheap taxi ride from the city. In fact, I think the cruise ships dock about half way between the city and Belem. Sintra can be reached by train or by taxi. If you are there for just one day I would recommend the old town and Belem and neither require a tour. If you really want to see Sintra and time is an issue then take a tour.

Barcelona ... No tour needed. Get into town, walk up the Ramblas and visit the old town. Continue on through Placa Catalunya and on up to the Paseo de Gracia where there is an excellent examples of Gaudi architecture (an apartment building). At the top of the Paseo de Gracia turn right and walk down the Diagonal to the Gaudi cathedral. Lots of walking so wear the right shoes. Use taxis if you get tired ... they are still cheaper than paying for tours. Be "street smart" on the Ramblas as pickpockets frequent it.

Rome .. the issue here is getting from Civitavechia (the port) into Rome. Some cruises run busses and then you can do your own thing. There are also trains. If there are no shuttle busses, I would be tempted to do a tour.

Athens ... the "must see" is the Acropolis and associated sights. You can use public transport or a taxi to get from the Piraeus (the port) up to the Acropolis area. They sell a combo ticket that gives you access to all the major sites around the Acropolis. From there it is very walkable. The Acropolis (up by the Parthenon) itself gets very crowded and, personally, I felt it was a disappointment. The whole is "doable" in one day. I note you are there 2-3 days. If there is a tour to Delphi then I would do that.

Ephesus ... a tour is worthwhile to get the history and archaeology of this amazing site. We had an excellent Turkish guide when I was there.

Monaco ... no tour needed. Just wander around, visit the old town, don't lose too much money in the casino and enjoy the high end boutiques.

Olympia ... the ship will dock in Katakolon which is a small, uninteresting but very touristy town. I strongly recommend a tour. Olympia with a knowledgeable guide is amazing. make sure the tour includes the museum which will take your breath away.

Unfortunately, I have not been to the other stops. Generally, I would look to see if the main sites are in town and, if so, do my own thing. I tend to use tours if the sites i want to see are out of town and when a knowledgeable local guide is an advantage (e.g. Ephesus and Olympia). In the larger cities, the major sites are often pretty self-explanatory or you can buy a good guide book a lot cheaper than paying for a tour.

Hope this helps. We are on a Mediterranean cruise in October with some, but not all, of the ports you go to.

Last edited by Jaggy001; 08-10-2010 at 10:01 AM..
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:42 PM
 
32,149 posts, read 33,059,143 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jghorton View Post
Thanks - From prior cruises, we've learned that the shipboard excursions run about 50-75% more (for security/shepherding, I suppose). We like to go on our own, but, having not been to the Med before, don't know where that is advisable or not. Major Ports of call include: Amsterdam, Lisbon, Barcelona, Istanbul, Rome, Athens (2-3 days), Cairo, Haifa, Jerusalem, Ephesus. Others include Monaco, Brest (FR), Olympia (Gr); Others include Cartehegna, Antalya (Turkey), Iskenderum (Turkey),
Since Jerusalem doesn't have a port as it doesn't have access to the ocean/sea, I assume the boat just stops at the Haifa and from there you can take a day trip or something to Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, I think seeing the Old City is the best thing and the Israel Museum is another good choice there.
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Old 08-10-2010, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Florida -
8,771 posts, read 10,873,820 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
Wow ... what a great cruise.

I don't know all the ports but I know a few .....

Amsterdam ... you do not need to pay for tours. Use the internet to build your own visit or just wander around the city. The canal cruises are well worth doing and you do not need the ship to organize that for you.

Lisbon. There are three "must sees" in Lisbon. The old town from the cathedral to the castle, Belem and Sintra. Both Belem and Sintra are a little bit out of the city. Belem is a fairly cheap taxi ride from the city. In fact, I think the cruise ships dock about half way between the city and Belem. Sintra can be reached by train or by taxi. If you are there for just one day I would recommend the old town and Belem and neither require a tour. If you really want to see Sintra and time is an issue then take a tour.

Barcelona ... No tour needed. Get into town, walk up the Ramblas and visit the old town. Continue on through Placa Catalunya and on up to the Paseo de Gracia where there is an excellent examples of Gaudi architecture (an apartment building). At the top of the Paseo de Gracia turn right and walk down the Diagonal to the Gaudi cathedral. Lots of walking so wear the right shoes. Use taxis if you get tired ... they are still cheaper than paying for tours. Be "street smart" on the Ramblas as pickpockets frequent it.

Rome .. the issue here is getting from Civitavechia (the port) into Rome. Some cruises run busses and then you can do your own thing. There are also trains. If there are no shuttle busses, I would be tempted to do a tour.

Athens ... the "must see" is the Acropolis and associated sights. You can use public transport or a taxi to get from the Piraeus (the port) up to the Acropolis area. They sell a combo ticket that gives you access to all the major sites around the Acropolis. From there it is very walkable. The Acropolis (up by the Parthenon) itself gets very crowded and, personally, I felt it was a disappointment. The whole is "doable" in one day. I note you are there 2-3 days. If there is a tour to Delphi then I would do that.

Ephesus ... a tour is worthwhile to get the history and archaeology of this amazing site. We had an excellent Turkish guide when I was there.

Monaco ... no tour needed. Just wander around, visit the old town, don't lose too much money in the casino and enjoy the high end boutiques.

Olympia ... the ship will dock in Katakolon which is a small, uninteresting but very touristy town. I strongly recommend a tour. Olympia with a knowledgeable guide is amazing. make sure the tour includes the museum which will take your breath away.

Unfortunately, I have not been to the other stops. Generally, I would look to see if the main sites are in town and, if so, do my own thing. I tend to use tours if the sites i want to see are out of town and when a knowledgeable local guide is an advantage (e.g. Ephesus and Olympia). In the larger cities, the major sites are often pretty self-explanatory or you can buy a good guide book a lot cheaper than paying for a tour.

Hope this helps. We are on a Mediterranean cruise in October with some, but not all, of the ports you go to.
That is really helpful; Thanks for your input!
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