Family taking a quick island cruise for a first-time overview of islands. Visiting Mykonos, Ephesus/Kusadasi, Patmos/Rhodes, Crete/Heraklion and Santorini. Time in port 5 hours at each stop--enough to see a very small amount of geography. Would welcome any advice--transportation, planning, restaurants, to use or not to use the ship's excursions, etc. Sailing the Louis Olympia, and yes, we know it's a "humble" line. :) Thank you in advance!
You really don't have enough time ashore at any of your stops to do anything but sign up for the ship' excursions. They're all planned out and take the best advantage of your time ashore.
The exception to this would be if you had one specific place on the island you wanted to see in depth. If that were the case you can rent a car and head there straightaway. In the long run this would be less-expensive than paying for an excursion you weren't interested in anyway. If you think you might want to do this there will be cars to rent where you come ashore, but at least in the case of Santorini you will lose some time because the excursion takers get first priority for disembarking, and you will have to stand in line to ride the cable car up the cliff. (Please don't ride the poor abused donkeys!) Also, you'll need to go to your local AAA office (CAA if you're in Canada) to pick up an International Driving Permit, no test or membership required.
Thank you so much, Lee! If we just wanted to get into town--like into Santorini--still take the excursion? They seem sooo overpriced!
When you wrote, "get into town--like into Santorini", did you mean into Fira, the main town on the island Santorini?
If yes, Fira is at the top of the cable car, so you'll be right there when you get up the cliff. But if you have some other part of the island in mind then you'll either have to rent a car or take a taxi to conserve as much time as possible during such a short visit. If you opt for a car try Tony's. They have a website. They're close by the cable car building and will most likely send someone to collect you. If you want a taxi just make your way away from the cliff, to the left as you exit the cable car building, downhill to the main road. They'll be passing by. Oia is uphill to the left. The beaches and Akrotiri are downhill to the right.
Yes, of course, into Fira--thanks for catching that. That was exactly what I meant. Thank you for your good advice, Lee!