istanbul/athens cruise excursions

My husband and I have traveled the "rick steve's" way all through western europe. We are taking a departure and a bit of luxury and taking the windstar cruise through the greek islands. We start in Istanbul and cruise to Athens. I'm apprehensive about the excursions the boat sets up because they are (on other cruise ships) very "canned" and typical. The positive push is the transportation to and from the boat before it disembarks. Since Rick doesn't have a book on this area, does anyone have advice for the day in any of the following cities? Kusadasi, Rhodes, Bodrum, Santorini,Mykonos? I have Istanbul and Athens taken care of. Thanks
Cathy

Posted by Rick
Chicago, IL, USA
468 posts

Considering the number of places that you'll be visiting, a guidebook or two would be a very worthwhile investment. We found Frommers book on Greece to be full of very good information, especially for the islands in that area. The Frommers Turkey guidebook has been very informative for our upcoming Turkey trip.

Posted by Katharine
Seattle, WA, USA
46 posts

Lonely Planet has a great (recently updated) guide on the Greek Islands and Turkey.
My in-laws just went on a similar cruise so here's the same advice that I gave them. No Turkey time yet (T-3 months!) so no advice yet.
Rhodes: just enjoy the walled city. There are several musuems, a crusades-era castle to explore, beautiful views all around the city both outside the walls & w/in. There are also linen shops and tasty restaurants, an easy place to spend a day. For an overview:http://www.helios.gr/rhodes/
Santorini-You'll probably be in Fira so check out the archeological museum for some amazing Minoan fresocoes. If you craving a beach there are local busses to the black or red sand beaches (RS has a show on them) but be sure to try the wine and take some time to enjoy the caldera view!
Mykonos-the beaches are nice on the other side of the island but the real gem is Delos, the ancient sacred island a 20 min. boat ride away. Amazing! Also see the windmills, pelicans & windy lanes! Enjoy!