Cruising The Greek Islands
A Couple Of Aussie's going on an European cruise
My first cruise happened to be on an European cruise ship leaving from Venice.
What an trip this was. 3500 people on one boat , this is more than the town I grew up in.
My first holiday overseas , first a stopover in Singapore and then 3 days in Paris, want to go back for sure , then of to Venice to embark onto our Costa Victoria cruise ship for a seven day cruise around the Greek Islands.
Arriving into Venice at night is not recommended , would certainly make sure i arrived during the day next time. We had to catch a water taxi to arrive at our hotel for the night, sounds easy , well it is not if you do not know your way around The nice guy at the airport did give us a map to show where our hotel was but you can get lost easy.
This is the result , we get of the boat and if you know anything about Venice it contains a lot of stairs crossing over the waterways so up and down all the way and all the eating places were busy so weaving in and out off people up and down stairs with suitcases is not any easy task. I pity anyone with a sore leg , arm or any other body part. Down the waterfront we walked, up and down the stairs we go back and forward, yes you guessed it we were lost. So we stop to get our bearings. We finally make our way to the place we are staying which was so close to where we were standing it was not funny. Tired , grumpy and fed up we get into our room, well what a huge disappointment this event was, ripped towels, broken shower door and right above a noisy cafe so we could not open the window.So do your research on this.
I must say i am still not sure if i liked Venice , i think i would give it another go when i win lotto , i did enjoy walking around but you have to be ready for the heat, it is so hot in August and very busy.
I learnt that everything in Venice is a challenge for the people who work there, from deliveries by boat, getting rid of rubbish by boat , the laundry for the hotels going in and out , wow what a challenge. Could you imagine deliveries on sack trucks going up and down all the steps in the heat, they are not lazy.
There is plenty of eating places and shops to wonder around and if you go with your loved one you need to go on a gondola ride , just we careful about prices for water taxis etc you will be over charged if you let them and they love cash.
Back on a water taxi to the cruise ship we go , how confusing this was when we arrived at the dock. Three Cruise ships waiting for passengers to embark and all the baggage goes to one area. Not enough signage at all , a very strange system they had but all you have to do is ask, it is the only way, this applies for airports as well do not be scared to go and ask the staff.
Cruising is a very exciting way to travel, embarking on to a beautiful ship for the first time, everything is shiny and perfect, the staff are well presented and discovering all the different areas of the ship i must say is lots of fun.
Going straight to the pool area to wait for our baggage to be boarded was the plan , the food was out , people swimming what a great vibe.
I went of to discover where are room is and we found out you could have went straight there as they leave the door cards in, this is a good thing to know so you can freshen up a bit.
One thing i would suggest to anyone is to check out how things work on the cruise website before you go, we found out you can book your day trips at each port, we had no idea you could do this or needed to do this.
Watch out for drink packages as well and do your research when you book a cruise what is included as far as food and drink goes.
Also we had a cabin that did not have a window so your perception of time is all mixed up. I would suggest paying a little extra for at least a window if not go for a balcony so you can have an area to sit outside away from the crowds.
Being only one of 21 english speaking guests on board was interesting ,although we know for fact that the Italians can speak english so be careful what you say.
At dinner time you sit at the same table at the same time with the same people each night , we did have the option of eating at the buffet or the pizza bar but why would you pas up a 3 course meal each night with fantastic service and most of the nights some sort of fun put on by the staff.
The guys we had looking after us where really nice, and you must know these people stay on these ships for months on end without a break so treat them with some kindness , they work hard.
They put on so many shows and a choice of different classes for you , you should not get bored.
Our first port of call
If going to Ancona on a sunday be ready for most of the places to be shut , they do not work on sundays. We booked a Frasassi cave tour , it is about an hours bus trip away so it was nice to see a bit of this island.
Walking down the cave was well worth it , how interesting we found this , it is hard to believe this was found underground just all formed in a huge cave. They spent years putting in walkways and lights , you can not take photos down here.
We also stopped at a church and a winery on the way back.
A Day At Sea, Our second day was spent at sea with no land
Spending a whole day at sea was a great way to get some vitamin D , nothing to do but eat , drink and relax in the sun. It is very hot so i am not sure how the europeans can lay in the sun for so many hours at a time.
Traveling on a cruise ship in another country is an experience , you have to have patience lining up for lunch and be ready for people to be pushy and a little rude. It is not as though the food will run out.
Do not be to worried about your body shape either as anything goes.
Some of the things we did learn is you need to pack heals and some dressy clothes for all the formal dinners.
Happy hour is great each night 2 for 1 cocktails , and I must say they were good.
Santorini, Day 3 At Santorini
How nice is this place, after disembarking and reaching this island buy a smaller boat , in rough seas, we had to catch a cable car up the step cliff face or you could go up by donkey.
It was nice and early when we arrived so we could walk around a little before the crowds from the other ships arrived.
So many shops to look at we did not know where to start.
A warning to everyone this an island that is not flat so be ready to work on your fitness. Stairs , stairs and more stairs also step walkways. It is worth it believe me. so pretty . We are spending 5 days here after our cruise so it was good to know we were coming back to be able to browse the many different shops here.
This is an islands full of australian travelers and very friendly shop workers.
Be ready to part with some money in the shops on Santorini.
If you are game do the donkey ride down the cliff, it is very step so we gave it a miss.
Mykonos Another day , another island
Mykonos was meant to be a watch the sun set stop but we were behind schedule so we arrived 2 hours late, it was a little disappointing but never mind. No tour is needed here since you can catch the bus to the town and walk around the main area on your own.It was night so we sat facing the water having our calamari which is what the fishermen catch here.
Would have liked more time here so i would recommend a few days stop here.
Lots of cafes and shops here as well , very pretty streets with overhanging flowering vines just set the mood.
This is a popular place for Australians as well the gay community , it is well worth the stop.
What can I say
Arriving at the port of Athens was not our most exciting day , we should have booked a tour but never mind.
An attempt was made to leave the ship and venture of on our own, this was a not a good experience.As soon as we walked out we had about 30 odd taxi drivers in our face trying to get us to go with them on a tour. Charging 120 euros for us we said no, We decided to spend the day on the boat. Not a very interesting place for us so we just enjoyed the nice quiet ship with not many people left on board.
The thing with a European cruise you need to be ready for the smoking on board, you really can not escape it.
Also be careful with the food , you will put on the weight if you don't watch it. There is plenty of fruit on offer so take advantage of this.We did get sick of pasta and bread.
This is one amazing place and a big surprise for us, was not expecting such a nice area. We had a boat tour booked to go to 2 other islands. I do want to go back here i found it to have a nice calming feel about it. it is not something i can explain in words. We found out the some of the big name stars have started going here so that would explain some of the nice boats in port.
Cvat would be the island to stay on , the water is so clear and blue. A great place to stay and relax , you would feel refreshed after a holiday here.
Lokum island is only a wildlife island but a popular stop to go swimming, the water is warm and clear so you just walk down one of the little cliff ledges drop your towel and in you go.
It does have a cafe and ice creams so you could have lunch there.
Money of choice is kroner but some shops will take euros so just be ready for this.
It was very hot and humid here, We had a bus trip booked on this day and i am glad we did. We went from one end to the other so we were lucky enough to see a lot more than we would have by foot.
Starting of by going to a look out heading to the left we could not help but notice how run down the buildings are or how dirty the cars are, also a lot of rubbish laying around.
Heading over to the other side up and up we go, some of the road leading to the monk's monastery was only wide enough for one lane of traffic, in the bus it was a bit scary.
Up the top you could not fit anymore buses if you tried, for them to turn around they had to have 3 guys directing them and some amazing driving skills.
This is the side you would want to stay with the coves and the beaches, very relaxing and pretty.