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Old 01-18-2007, 05:42 PM
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My husband and I are considering an eastern Med cruise on the NCL Jewel in May 07. We have never cruised before and canít decide if a cruise is the right way to go for us. We became interested in the NCL cruise when we saw the price/length of the NCL cruise and the interesting ports they are visiting.

Day Port Arrive Depart
Thu Athens (Piraeus) - 6:00 PM
Fri Katakolon 9:00 AM 2:30 PM
Sat Corfu 8:00 AM 4:00 PM
Sun At Sea - -
Mon Alexandria 7:00 AM -
Tue Overnight 6:00 PM
Wed At Sea - -
Thu Iraklion 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
Fri Santorini 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
Sat Mykonos 8:00 AM 9:30 PM
Sun Ephesus (Izmir) 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
Mon Istanbul 12:30 PM Ė
Tue Istanbul 6:00 AM -

We also liked the cruise idea from the unpack one time aspect and to make it easier to get around in the Greek islands since we have read that the ferries can be unreliable. I would say that we are thinking of this cruise more as a floating hotel where we wake up each day in a new exciting place than going the vacation for the ďcruise experienceĒ. Our concern is the time spent in port appears to rather short if you figure in that you donít get off the boat right at 9 AM (itís more like 10 AM or later so Iíve read at least) and you have to be back at the boat an hour before departure. So your time in port appears to be more along the lines of 10 AM to 5 PM. I think we are more likely to try and do our own excursions rather than book the excursions through the cruise line. My question is will we have enough time to see the sites of each port or are we going to feel rushed that we have to race through the sites in order to get back to the boat on time? (for example will we be able to get to Ephesus without feeling rushed) Has anyone been on this cruise with NCL? What did you think of the ports/time in port? Also how would you classify the breakdown of ages on the cruise? We are a couple in our early 30s are we going to feel out of place? Any advice you can offer would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-18-2007, 06:44 PM
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Hello Klab04 and welcome to cruise-chat;
I have not cruised on NCL and have only been to three of the ports on your itinerary so I will leave those specifics to someone else to address.
But in your post you have hit on cruisings biggest advantage and biggest disadvantage;
on the plus side, your ship is your hotel, as you noted. You unpack once and move effortlessly from port to port.
On the down side, you don't have enough time to get into any one place in any depth.
On our first Mediterranean cruise my wife and I tried to do as much as possible; we had a wonderful time but came home exhausted. We know now to set a more leisurely pace.
I think you will have a wonderful time as long as you keep your perspective; by that, I mean look at your cruise as a "sampler", a chance to taste a lot of different cultures but understand that you can only do so much in the few hours you have. And afterwards you'll have a better idea of the places you would like to return to and spend some time.
From your post I sense you intuitively know this already.
Have a wonderful time and stay in touch.
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Old 03-22-2007, 08:57 AM
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My husband and I are booked on this cruise. Very excited it is our first cruise. I am not planning on booking excursions with the ship for any of the Greek isles but definitely will in Egypt.
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Old 03-22-2007, 01:44 PM
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We are going on this cruise on May 31 and booked it because of the itinerary and length of time in port. This will be our 5th Med cruise in the last 3 years and most of these ports are easy on you own. The excursion into Cairo is the only one we booked through NCL and we have done that excursion through another cruise line previously. In Alexandria we hired a taxi driver to show us around for the day and we will probably do that again. If you want to go to Ephesus it is about 60 or so miles away and if you went on your own you would probably have to hire a taxi. Istanbul is easy on your own and the islands are all easy too. Do your homework on what you want to see and how to get around, and people on the cruise will also give you ideas on what to see and how to get there. If you want any more info, let me know.
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Old 03-24-2007, 09:54 AM
 
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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.

Hank
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Old 03-24-2007, 06:24 PM
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Thank you Hank,
Your post was very informative and helpful.
Peter
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