We recently went on a Norwegian Cruise Line trip through Greece and Turkey! It was truly the trip of a lifetime. We will give you the amazing, good, not so good, and bad.
Day 1-Arrival into Athens. We took a bus provided by NCL over to the cruise port. Keeping in mind we were hot and tried from an overnight flight in Economy. The bad part of the trip was simply getting onto the ship. The tent was hot, and only served water. We had a long wait, and it felt very disorderly. Lesson learned; we want VIP check in from now on! Once on the ship, we went to our room, unpacked, and headed out to dinner.
Day 2-Kushadasi, Turkey-Unfortunately, we suffered from some major jet lag and were up for a few hours in the middle of the night. We rallied as we did not want to miss out on the sites of Ephesus. Touring the ruins was the highlight of our dad's trip. It was so impressive to see the ruins, hear the history, and see the archeologists actively excavating. The history of Ephesus was incredible, and it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see one of the largest Roman archaeological sites in the eastern Mediterranean. After the tour, we explored Kushadasi. The beaches and water were gorgeous!
That evening we had an excellent dinner on board the ship. We also enjoyed the evening show Blazing Boots. It was a fun evening of country music, so we felt right at home!
Day 3 Istanbul, Turkey-This was one of our favorite days! We went on a Go Local tour, and it was a small group. We took a ferry over to the Asian side of Istanbul to explore the local area. Our first stop was a local cafe overlooking the water to enjoy tea and semit (a local bread).
The tour continued as we walked through the local area enjoying the scenery, and hearing about the culture. We then arrived at a restaurant to enjoy an authentic Turkish meal. After the tour, we still had quite a bit of time before we needed to head back to the ship. We decided to explore Old Town! What an amazing, vibrant area! We loved seeing the beautiful mosques lit up at night, sampling wine, enjoying a pizza in an outdoor cafe, and having the best dessert we have ever had in our lives. You may say that we ended up eating our way through Istanbul!
Day 4-Day at Sea-We ended up sleeping for a much needed 12 hours straight! We spent our day relaxing at the pool with all of the new people we had met on the ship. It was so fun getting to meet people from all over the world.
Day 5-Mykonos, Greece-We signed up for a tour that was supposed to take you around to all of the best places for photos. To say the least, this was a mistake! We had a rough day as our group was slow, and cranky! After the tour was over, we wanted to salvage our time in this beautiful island! We indulged in shopping, and a beautiful seaside outdoor lunch. The sites and beaches were absolutely breathtaking, and exactly how they look in all of the gorgeous pictures.
Day 6-Rhodes, Greece-We were not sure what to expect in Rhodes. We signed up for another Go Local tour. And, we were once again rewarded with a small fun group! We toured tiny local villages. It was a day once again packed with food! We had pastries at a local bakery on the beach, a traditional Greek snack (tomatoes, olives), dolmas (grape leaves stuffed with rice, spices and meat), and a meal and wine tasting at a local vineyard. After our tour, we took some time to explore the Medieval walled city, and of course indulged in more shopping!
Day 7-Santorini, Greece-We decided to not book a formal tour and see the island on our own! We took the cable car up to the top and started our day. First stop, of course, was for food and wine! We enjoyed an early lunch at a local restaurant, enjoying a local selection of cheese, grapes, meats, and olives. Deciding Fira was a little too crowded, we hopped on the bus ($1.60 Euro) to head over to Oia. Oia is the place for those stunning views of the blue roofs, white building, and turquoise water. After wandering through the maze of streets, we enjoyed a snack and drink at a rooftop restaurant. Deciding to enjoy all of our day to the fullest, we took the bus back to Fira for dinner. This time we had pizza on an outdoor patio overlooking the sea. The views were phenomenal, and it was hard for us to head back to get our tender back to the boat.
Day 8-All good things have to come to an end. We were up early for our departure back to the US!
Our dad was amazed that we were able to pack for a 7-night trip in carryon luggage. It can be done ladies! We each had 7 dresses, multiple other skirts/shirts, bathing suits, work out attire, and several pairs of shoes.
The great-The itinerary was amazing! We loved every stop, and we were able to see so much in such a short amount of time.
The good-Most of our tours were really good! The tour guides were informative, educational, and fun.
The not so good-Flying on NCL's schedule and in economy seating. We had a double connection on the way home, and it made for a long travel day! Our flight home on United in the Economy Plus cabin was much more enjoyable than our flight over with Delta in the Economy cabin. We did get lucky enough to have First Class on our last flight from Houston to Tulsa. Which was a little wasted on us, as we slept the entire flight.
The bad-Boarding the ship. It was hot, we were tired, and it was a little disorderly.
All in all, we would highly recommend this trip to any of our clients. It was such an amazing experience, value, and great way to see so many islands. Happy sailing friends!