This is a great question and it should be on the mind of anyone cruising in the Med. We have been on more than 20 Med and European cruises as well as having spent many months simply driving ourselves around Europe. A Med cruise is simply a compromise. It will allow you to get a very short-time sampling of many places at a reasonable cost (especially when you factor in the the value of the dollar against the Euro). Will you have enough time to see all the sites? Or course not! But, you will get a nice sample of each area and it might help you determine regions you might want to visit in the future. As to your ports, we have always found Katakolon a bit of a waste, but you might enjoy a tour to Olympia. Corfu is a wonderful island with a nice town (within walking distance of the pier) and some excellent beaches. Its a major home port for many yachters and is the heart of the amazing Ionian Islands which can only be seen on a small boat (we once spent a week cruising the small islands on a 20 passenger vessel). Alexandria is not a great port (we just spent 2 weeks in Egypt this past Oct) but it does give you good access to Cairo and the Great Pyramid and Spinx at Giza. Keep in mind that its about a 2 1/2 hour drive each way to Cairo and you will need a tour from the ship or you should hire a private tour guide/driver. Iraklion is the largest city on Crete which is a very large island (you cannot see this island in a day or a week). However, a tour to the nearby minoan ruins at Knossos is a "no brainer." We have done this by renting our own car, but most first time visitors prefer a tour. Iraklions docking postion does allow you to explore the city (and its excellent museum) on foot. Santorini and Mykonos are both beautiful Greek Islands with shopping and beaches (much better beaches on Mykonos). Both of these islands can be done on your own with a little pre trip homework. Izmir is quite a distance from Ephesusu (Kusadasi is a much closer port) but Ephesus is simply one of the most amazing sites in the world. Take the cruise ship tour since its a long bus ride. Istanbul is one of our favorite cities and worth a post cruise hotel stay for 2 or 3 days. We have explored this city (been there 3 times) on our own and its fun if you like to walk. The main attractions of Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, and the old church of Sofia can be done on your own (all within walking distance or each other). The Covered (Grand) Bazaar is an amazing and fun experience and should be visited on your own with comfortable walking shoes. Istanbul has great shopping, many good restaurants, and really is the fusion of both the East and the West. This is a great itinerary,,,but you would really benefit by doing both pre and post cruise hotel extensions.