|Subject: Italy and Greek Isles Cruise Report|
A group of us took the Crown Odyssey (Orient Lines) cruise from Italy to the Greek Isles. The program was a very good one, and we were able to take advantage of their two-for-one offer. The ship is beautiful and clean as a pin; all cabins are 160' (except for deluxe categories). FOOD was excellent. The dining room is noisy because of the low ceiling. The waiters learned your name by the 2nd or 3rd day and the Philippino staff was lots of fun. Alternate dining is available in The Yacht Club which serves all 3 meals in a buffet style, so you don't have to go to the dining room if you don't want to. There is also an outdoor buffet. SHORE EXCURSIONS - the Cruise Talk person told us the Walk through Mykonos was a rip off at $45, so everyone cancelled and we just saw everything on our own. Some took the trip out of Mykonos, and liked it, especially the village of Oai (300 houses, each family having their own church.) On Sicily the trip to Mt. Etna was very good, but the walking tour of Taormina was not. You could do this on your own. Nauplia is very nice, and if you don't take one of the 5 excursions offered, it's a nice town to stay in, but I don't recommend going up to Palmidi Castle. A taxi costs $3 per cab to go up. Then you can walk down 999 steps. Everyone liked Santorini, but I'd recommend the cable car at $3.00 each way rather than the donkeys. Malta was so interesting but we only had 1/2 day there. We cruised past Stromboli late at night, and it is erupting every few minutes. Sorrento was nice or you could take the Amalfi Coast tour or go to the Isle of Capri. The full day tour to the island was not so good, and very expensive. This is another place you can go on your own, by taking the scheduled ferry over. There's really no need for a guide.
Orient Lines beautiful organization in getting everyone off and on the ship just fell apart on the last day. They didn't even schedule us to arrive at the Rome airport on time, and when we got inside that terminal you cannot imagine the chaos. No lines were delineated so everyone and their trolly were vying to get up to the agents for the security check. It was the worst check in experience we've had, except for Beijing. I didn't like Northwest's way of handling their check in at all. But the cruise, itinerary, ship, meals, were all great. Rosemary