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Visiting Greece in Oct via a cruise... opinions on excursions (ports listed)

Hello fellow travelers!
I am joining my mother on a 10 day cruise through Greece in October.. she is a spunky 75 and a "cruiser" now - and it's my first cruise!
While I have traveled quite a bit, I've never been to Greece and wonder if we should skip the expensive cruise ship planned excursions and do our own thing.. or fork out the $$ and do the excursions... I am sure it depends on what we want in terms of convenience/experience.... but your opinions are appreciated. Thanks!

Ports are:
Athens
Gythion
Katakolon
Sicily
Valletta (Malta)
Crete
Rhodes
Santorini
Patmos

Would greatly appreciate any tips/advice (or must see sites!)
Thanks
Joanne

Posted by
27454 posts

What port in Sicily? What port in Crete? Can we assume that those are all full-day port stops? Approximately how many hours can you be away from the ship? That can be important when there are key attractions some distance away.

Posted by
1399 posts

Joanne

I don’t know most of these but have been to Gythion a couple of times. It’s a nice enough little town but has nothing special: the island where (allegedly) Paris and Helen spent their first night on the trip to Troy and a small Roman site.

If you are offered an excursion from there I would guess it would be either to Mystra or to the Mani. Mystery is an interesting and beautiful site but is on a very steep hillside. Whether you choose it might depend on any mobility issues.

I’ve only been into the top of the Mani, to Aeropolis. The scenery is rugged but I can’t say we found the town particularly interesting. It might be more interesting if you go deeper into the Mani.

Alan

Posted by
6672 posts

This book, which you might find in your public library, covers several of the ports you mentioned. It's especially useful in deciding whether to use a ship's pricey excursion or do something else on your own.

The big selling point (and sometimes the only one) for ship's excursions is the guarantee that the ship won't sail till you get back. You and your mother might appreciate this peace of mind, given her age and your inexperience. That said, the local companies that run the excursions sponsored by the ship usually also run the same, or similar, tours on their own, for much lower prices. They are good at getting you back to the ship on time, otherwise they wouldn't stay in business. Your mother might have the best insight into this tradeoff between cost and peace of mind, since she's had cruising experience.