I am looking for the website that people recommend when booking a tour outside of the cruise ship. We are headed to Athens and I remember reading about private tours on this chat, but I can't seem to find the address.
I am also open to any recommendations for tours in Athens -
Hi Amy, welcome to Cruise-Chat. I don't recall seeing anything like that, but I'm sure if you google it, there will be a ton. We normally stick to cruise ship tours if we've not been to a port before, for two reasons: 1. they've usualy checked out the vendor., 2. we know the ship will wait for us if something unexpected happens and we're late returning. I know a lot of people feel confident enough to do tours on their own. One of our moderators wrote up a very complete write up on taking the train in our FAQ section. Hopefully, you will receive some advice from those on our board that have been to Athens. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them, one day we'll get there. I did want to welcome you aboard! Best wishes.
I am a new member, like you, and looking at the posts I saw your message. I agree that the one advantage of cruise ship tours is that they will wait for you if you are late. After extensive research organizing our tour, I realized that serious private tour providers work a lot with cruise passengers. If you tell them when you want to be back, they organize your tour so as to see the most without any risk of being late.
On the other hand, cruise ship’s itineraries usually are so common, inflexible and crowded that they become tiring. Not to mention, that there will always be someone who will be late and make the whole group wait for him because he knows that they can’t leave him behind!
My family and I were in Athens in April 2009 (3 adults and 3 children.) We chose a private tour and greatly enjoyed it. We used a van and avoided the crowds, and we saw extraordinary cultural sites that we wouldn’t have seen with big tour buses. Sometimes we were even dropped off at the entrance of the sites. As we had our kids and my mother-in-law with us, we were able to make changes in our itinerary according to our needs. Although some say that private tours are very costly, for the six of us it was less expensive than the ship’s tour.
So, if you are still looking for a private tour in Athens, you might want to check out the following website: www.privategreecetours.com. We had Nikos Loukas as our private driver guide. He was deeply knowledgeable, very informative and always eager to help. We strongly recommend him.
I wish you a great time and I hope that I was helpful.
The way I see it is if you are going to be wanting to see a historial site (or whatever) that is not next door to the port, and depending on the time of year that you are cruising, hands down I would take the ship tour. On an organized ship tour, the ship will wait for your return. Also, with regards to stragglers on the tours (people who think they are more important that the rest and operate on their own time), we took a tour to Ephesus and a tour to the Acropolis (on both tours, we were given time to explore with a definite meeting time) and were given walkie talkies and we were told that if we did not return within the alloted time, the tour would not hold up the rest of the guests on the tour, and that the bus would leave without us. That is a pretty good incentive for people to return on time. We were all told to check our watches). Summer is hot in Europe, traffic is snarly, if you rent a car or rely on public transportation to get to where you are going, give yourself lots of extra time to get back to the ship, because the ship will definitely not wait if you go it alone. I have seen many a times a ship leave and people are running up the plank. Once it leaves, that is it, it don't turn back. Also, the way we see it, is if you can afford to get to Europe and get on that ship, why spend your time trying go check train schedules and worry about this and that. We also put money into our budget for tours. That is part of the cost. Instead of wasting it at the casino and drinking up a storm, we use that same cash for our tours - no hassle, air conditioned buses and just a great experience overall. Have a great holiday.
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