My husband and I are going on our first cruise on Royal Caribbean's Slendour of the Seas on August 20, 2006. It leaves Venice and then goes to Athens, Rhodes, Mykonos, Dubrovnik and back to Venice. Any advice, info would be appreciated, especially on the shore excursions.
S, my first piece of advice is to arrive in Venice at least a couple of days early, so you can explore that wonderful city before you sail. That will also let you adjust a bit to Italy time so you're not wiped out on your first day onboard the Splendour.
We were on the Splendour about 5 years ago, although on a different itinerary that included Athens but also Turkey and Corfu. I agree about Venice; well worth spending several days there. You might want to try the Monaco & Grand Canal Hotel, which we found to be extremely affordable (most Venice hotels are prohibitive) and well situated. In Athens I'd suggest taking a tour, as you must see the ancient sights. On the islands, You might want to do what we did In Corfu: we negotiated with a cab driver and for $50 our family of 4 spent several hours seeing the sights. He hardly spoke English, but the tour was incredible just the same. The highlight was when he took us into a small mountain village where friends of his fed us plates of native fruits and vegetables, cheeses and, of course, Uzo (sp?). My children still talk about that as one of the most special experiences we've had. Hope you enjoy your visit as much as we did!
My partner and I rented a car in Corfu and went to one of the beaches on the other side of the island - great fun! HOWEVER, when we got back in the car for the return to Corfu, the road signs pointed to Kerkira! Naturally, we thought we were lost so we followed the sun hoping we were heading in the right direction and if we saw someone we would ask "Corfu?" and they would point and respond "Kerkira". Long story short, the greeks call the port Kerkira and "we" call it Corfu. We made it to the ship (Wind Surf) but it was "pucker" time for a while.
But you know what? Our philosophy when traveling is "its an adventure!" and if we had missed the boat, we would have flown to the next port to meet it - or the port after that!