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Old 09-06-2009, 07:58 AM
Hank Hank is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 751
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I agree with the previous post that you should hire a private guide in Kusadasi. I do strongly recommend EKOL (they have several web sites) despite the fact that they require a deposit. There is a new tour operator "Hello Ephesus" who seems to be getting very positive reviews and does not require deposits. Either of these companies will have a private car/van, driver and professional guide meet you right at the port terminal. You should make sure that your Ephesus tour includes the newly opened Terrrace Houses (absolutely amazing). As to the rest of your ports, the key to a tight budget is doing things on your own and not paying the high cost of tours, drivers, etc. For example, in Dubrovnik you can take the local bus into town for less than $1.50 per person vs. the ships shuttle which often costs about $12 per person. In Civitavecchia, you can buy a BIRG pass for 9 Euros that includes round trip train to Rome and all day use of the trains and metro. With a guide book, you can handle things on your own in Rome or just about anywhere else. Its the same throughout much of Europe. Another example is Athens. You can take the local bus (or make the flat mile walk) from port to the Pireaus train station where for about 1 Euro you can take the train/subway right into Athens. In Naples, you can take the train to Pompeii for a few dollars, pay the admission fee (less than 12 Euros) and see the ruins. Doing these things on your own will save your party thousands of dollars over the course of your cruise, and assuming you do your pre-trip homework you will actually see and do more than the tours.

Hank