Saturday, July 22, 2023


We went on a Mediterranean cruise in mid-June, and I am still on cloud nine about it! I will not review the whole thing, because that would bore people to tears, but I did want to say a few words about a few specific places. I’ll also drop a link that the Engineer might appreciate, stating that in fact, for a year, the ship would anchor near Venice and provide tender boats to Piazza San Marco. However, we got a notice two days before sailing that this no longer worked and that we would be docking in Trieste instead. We made the best of it, but had I known, I would have made plans to spend a day or two in Venice after the cruise and would have enjoyed Trieste while we were there instead of using it as a stepping stone for a few hours in Venice. Anyway… 

First, the most beautiful surprise was Kotor, in Montenegro. I did not know much about the city before we went, so I was very pleasantly surprised! The setting is absolutely beautiful, the city itself was interesting, and it had the bonus of having a tourist information kiosk at the gates, so we got a map with a lot of information about things to see. Plus, there are cats everywhere, so our kids were very happy. I really loved our visit there! 

Then, in Santorini, I really wanted to see the village of Oia (pronounced EE-ya), but the excursions offered by the cruise line didn’t work for me. (For example, there was a $200-per-person outing to go taste wine in Oia. Neither the Engineer nor I drink much, and we have two kids, so we weren’t about to drop $800 to go not-drink-wine in Oia!) So the Engineer found a great company called Santorini Road Trips, with whom we booked a Private Oia Panoramic Scenes tour. It was given in English by a very knowledgeable and friendly guide (shout-out to Panagiota!), and it was just the four of us on this tour. We saw all the essential things we wanted to see and then some, the tour was personalized and affordable, and I am so happy with how this trip turned out! 

We met the guide at the top of the cable car in Fira. If you do something similar, keep in mind that you will need to factor in a few things before booking your start time. The cruise line used tender boats to take passengers to shore, and we had to book tickets to reserve our departure. They started handing out the tickets at 7:30am, so I got in line at 6:00am and was the fifth one there. I got tickets for the 7th boat, since boats 1 through 6 were reserved for elite passengers. Then, once you’re on shore, there will be a line-up for the cable car, so plan for that too! The first tender boat left our cruise ship at 1:30pm, and we made it to the top of the hill around 2:45pm for our 3-hour tour. Keep in mind that there will be a line-up for the cable car on the way down as well – walking down should take about 45 minutes, but we didn’t attempt it, given how tired our youngest was. 

We also really enjoyed Dubrovnik, and were glad that we booked a panoramic tour. This allowed us to have beautiful views of the city, then a self-guided walk in the historic center and a return on a shuttle that went by every 20 minutes. You couldn’t get to the views from the city on foot, but depending on the number of people in your party, a cab might be doable (I didn’t check the bus routes).

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