Cruising in the Beautiful Mediterranean
Our 7-day Greek Isles cruise on the Norwegian Star was leaving from Venice. We took a train from Switzerland to the Venice train station where we had reserved a motoscafo water taxi to take us to our pre-cruise hotel, the Danieli, located near the San Marco square. The motoscafo is pricey, but it's an unforgettable experience and you won't have to push your luggage around to get to your hotel.
We have been to Venice more than a dozen times, but it was our first stay at the Danieli, one of Venice's legendary hotels. Our room was very small, the staff excellent and the view from the rooftop bar/restaurant is breathtaking.
Our cruise left a couple of days later. We took a motoscafo again to the port of Venice where our cruise originated.
Boarding the ship took no time and our cabin was available right after lunch. We were supposed to sail at 5:00PM, but we left at around 8:00PM due to new security reasons in the port of Venice after a cruise ship crashed into a tour ship. Because of that delay we had to skip our first stop in Kotor, Montenegro. Everybody was very disappointed on the ship. No real explanations were given by NCL staff.
Our first stop was now the island of Corfu, where we took a taxi to visit the run down Achilleion palace, which was built for the Empress Elizabeth (Sissi) of Austria. We were there early, but it was already crowded by tour groups. The place is in dire need of renovations. We went back to Kerkira, the capital of the island, where we had lunch in the old town before going back to the ship.
The next day we tendered in Santorini, the highlight of our trip. We took a small boat from Thera to go to Oia, a bus to go up the hill to the village, a taxi back to Thera, a cable car to go down the hill, then we tendered back to the ship. The village of Oia has breathtaking views, great shops, restaurants and hotels. We really want to go back to spend more time there, but we will avoid the high season.
Our next stop was Mykonos, another iconic Greek island. We docked in Chora (Mykonos Old Town and main city). We visited the old town, the port and took photos next to the famous windmills. The shops are very nice. The Old Town has busy narrow streets where small delivery trucks are trying to move around in order to deliver their goods.
Our last stop in Greece was in Argostoli, a town on the island of Kefalonia (Cephalonia). The island was devastated by the 1953 earthquake. We took a taxi and visited two very small monasteries. It's a large island, but there is not that much you can see in the few hours we are docked.
Dubrovnik in southern Croatia was our last port of call. We visited the Old City and we walked the walls (a 29 Euro charge per person in 2019). The Old City is a Unesco World Heritage site. We definitely want to come back to spend more time when it's not so busy.