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Mykonos Island Cruising - Just Returned!

2 Jun 2009 ChrisSoll48 said

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Overall this is a great trip if your looking to have some time relaxing, see lots of sites and party as much (or as little) as you'd like.

Day 1 - Athens
We stayed in the Dorian Inn hotel which I thought was very nice. The area the hotel is in (Omnia square) is not the best, but definitely safe enough to walk around during the day. There is great shopping in the area if you have time before the tour meeting.
After meeting up with the tour, we had the optional Plaka dinner. This was a great way to meet everyone on the trip and have some good food. Also there is Greek dancers that come in after you eat, which is a good activity for your first night in Greece. There is wine included with the meal. I would definitely recommend doing this optional.
After dinner we taxied back to the Dorian and some of us went up to the hotel bar which is on the roof. There is an amazing view of the Acropolis from the roof bar. This is a good opportunity to get more drunk if you so wish.

Day 2 Athens to Mykonos
You may regret the amount of drinks from the roof bar, since there is a 530am wake up call to check out of the hotel and catch the ferry to Mykonos. The ferry is a decent size and with the tour you get an assigned seat you can sit/sleep in during the 5 hour trip. There is also an outside deck and several eating areas so you can roam the ferry as you please. Our trip was on a very windy day in May so a lot of us got sea sick. It probably didn't help that we woke up early and drank the night before. The ferry has two stops before Mykonos.

Upon getting off the ferry (I was never so happy to see land), there is a coach transfer to the resort. On the way our TM gave us some facts and information about the island. The trip is about 20 minutes so you get to see the general landscape, which is beautiful.

The resort we stayed in is right on the beach! There is a pool, a pool bar and two restaurants near by. The staff is friendly and it is a very homey place. There is internet there for 1euro every 15 minutes. Payphones are near by and there is a boutique if you need any essentials during your stay.

The first night is an included buffet dinner. The food is good and there is a lot to choose from. For us, we had a toga party at the pool bar the first night. There was another contiki tour staying at the resort so our TM and the other TM gave us a demonstration during dinner on several ways to make a toga. You can rent a sheet from the front desk for 2euro.

After dinner we had some time to get our togas ready and meet at the pool. They play lots of music and everyone dances and has a great time. The pool bar is very generous with pouring liquor so it turns into a crazy party. I had a blast on this first night.

Day 3 - Mykonos
No wake up call today! This morning was free to go to the beach, relax by the pool or just sleep in. In the afternoon we went to paradise beach. There was a happy hour at around 1pm before we left. This is an optional you cant miss out on. Its only 10euros for the coach transfer and everyone on our tour and the other contiki tour participated. Paradise beach is famous for booze, beach and partying non stop. Since we did go in May it was pretty empty but still really fun. There is so many good drinks and great service and food. At around 4 they start playing music and soliciting contikiers to come dance on the table at the bar. We spent all day dancing drinking eating and enjoying the sun until 8 when the bus leaves.
Dinner is not included tonight but you are brought back to the resort and you can eat there. If you eat at paradise beach you may not need to get dinner when you get back. Many people on the tour took it easy on this night since we were partying all day. There is of course is time to take a quick nap and head back to the pool bar for some more generous liquor pouring if thats what you want to do.

Day 4 Mykonos
Today is another day with no wake up call and its pretty much free to do whatever you want. There is a bus that picks up at the resort to go into town. Many of us went into town for the day and enjoyed the shops and food of Mykonos city. You can use this time to get Gyros and souvenirs.
Tonight was the optional dinner in Mykonos town. I highly recommended this optional- the food is great and you can go to the bars after dinner for an awesome time. The bars in Mykonos are a great time and there is plenty to hop around. Our TM took us to a few with great deals. We got late night food after hitting about 4 bars and then the coach took us back at about 2/3 am. This was another great night!

Day 5 Mykonos last day and get on the cruise ship
Today you have to check out of the hotel at about 11am but the tour stays there until about 6pm when we board the cruise ship. You can use this day to do watersports, go horse back riding, go back into town or just relax around the resort. We had access to one of the rooms if we needed to change or shower during the day.
At 6pm our TM explained to us everything about the cruise ship. We got onto a coach and took a 20 minute ride to the port. When you get on the cruise ship you can purchase a drink package for 28 euros a day. Its an all or nothing deal- you have to get it for everyone in your room and for all three days on the ship. It includes unlimited drinks. This is probably the only aspect of the tour I was personally disappointed in. It isn't contiki's fault, or maybe I was just used to free pour in Mykonos but the drinks on this cruise ship are WEAK. Also you have to wait for a server to get you a drink, which can be very slow and impossible to get drunk. I consume alcohol as much as physically possible and I wasn't able to get very drunk on this ship. I didn't think the package was worth it, but that's everyone personal choice.
The dinner tonight is included and you can go to the buffet or the restaurant. The restaurant is really nice you can have 5 or 6 courses. If you go to the restaurant first nothing is stopping you from dropping by the buffet after to see what food was offered there. So I highly recommended going to the restaurant to maximize your value.
After dinner tonight you are free to do whatever on the cruise ship. There isn't much to do. Some lame shows and a piano bar, plus the 'disco'. I spent the night trying my best to get drunk and realizing we definitely weren't in Mykonos anymore. After getting sick from a disproportionate consumption of sugar to alcohol I crashed in my cabin which was ended up being a very deep and peaceful sleep.

Day 6 Kusadasi (Turkey) and Patmos
Today starts the craziness and first quick paced day of life of on the Aeagan Pearl. There is two choices of optionals for Turkey. Choose wisely because you only have about 4-6 hours at this stop and there is a great bazaar your not going to want to miss out on. The first choice is to see the ancient civilization excavated at Ephesus. Everyone who went on this optional said it was really interesting and a must see. The only problem is you have to wake up really really to see it ( I think like 6am). The other optional choice is to get a Turkish bath. Basically you go in your bathing suits and get massaged and bathed by Turkish dudes who speak limited English. I went on this optional and really enjoyed it. It was relaxing and definitely something you can only experience in abroad! You can also choice to do neither of these optionals and wander about Kusadasi on your own while the ship is docked, as you can for any stop on the cruise ship. The ship leaves Turkey around noon and as it sails to Patmos you have about 4 hours to relax on the ship and do other various ship activities.
The optional I did in Patmos was visiting St Johns Monastery. This is where St. John wrote the book of Revelation. I didn't really enjoy this optional, it was pretty boring but I think it depends on what you are into. I think it was pretty expensive for some coach transfers and museums. Its up to you though. After this we went into town where there is great gelato and cheap internet access. This is a great time to use the pay phone or get some email in because the rate on the ship is 1euro a minute!!
Tonight at dinner we had a cocktail hour and a reserved dinner which is basically the night on the ship to get dressed up. The dinner was good and afterward we went up to the disco for some more techno music and attempts to get drunk. This night really depends on how close you are with your tour group. Compared to Mykonos the nights on the ship really weren't too exciting, but it;s all what you make of it.

Day 7 Crete and Santorini
This morning the optional I did for Crete was called "A Taste of Crete". I highly recommended this optional. You wake up early and go to a wine tasting at this cute place with really good prices. I picked up a lot of my last souvenirs here. After the wine tasting you are transferred to an outdoor restaurant for some greek breakfast and raki. Raki is like grain alcohol and they take shots of it. at 10 am. This is followed by some greek dancing and the dancers have you get up and dance with them. I enjoyed this morning very much. After getting back on the ship its the same routine as yesterday. Several hours to lounge around the ship while the ship moves to Santorini. I wasted this time eating off the buffet and laying out on the deck. Your luggage needs to be packed at midnight on this night so I would suggest doing it during this time between docks. When you get back from Santorini your going to want to go to dinner and enjoy your last night with your tourmates. I ended up being locked in my room when i got back packing all my things since my flight was early the next morning. But again, its up to you.
The view as the ship comes up to Santorini is a big site to see and everyone gets on the deck to take pictures. Santorini was my personal favorite of the whole trip. The island is absolutely stunning and I think the most beautiful place I've ever been in my life. This is the volcanic island with perfect white square architecture that you may have seen in pictures when you think of the greek islands. There are two optionals for the time on the island so choose wisely cause they are both really good experiences. For one you are taken to the most amazing views to get great pictures and see the most colorful beautiful areas of Santorini. The other gives you the chance to climb to the top and see the interior of the (active) volcano. Afterward you are taken to swim in the water near the hot springs! Both optionals end at the top of the island with some time to walk around town. There are great shops here and a chance to get your last gyro on tour!. You can pick up some jewelery made with lava from the volcano, which i thought was pretty cool. Well since you are at the very top of the island you get to choose how to get down. With a cable car or by riding donkeys!! I did the donkeys which was extremely dangerous and scary - I would recommended everyone do this! When else are you going to ride a donkey down the side of a volcanic island? Leaving the island was very sad but again an opportunity for some great pictures as the sun is setting!
Back on the ship for the last night is the same as every other night on the ship- not much to do. Most people took the time to pack their bags and get to bed as you leave the ship early in the morning. The disco is of course open for people who would prefer that.

Day 8 Back to Athens
This morning you leave the ship and get a coach transfer back into Athens. I scheduled my flight at about 11 that morning but most of the tour stayed in Athens on there own for a day or two. You need to stay a day after the tour or come a day before to be able to tour Athens.

The first half of the tour was much better for me but I wouldn't trade the second half for anything. I was able to get my relaxing in and then see so many places at the end of the week. I had limited time off work so this tour was a great way for me to get to Europe and see Greece. It's important to consider what you are paying and what you get out of it. There are always tradeoffs. Yes, the ship wasn't the most luxurious and fun experience of my life but I saw it as a means to and end. The ship got us to four places in two days at an affordable price. I didn't go on this trip expecting luxury or lots of time at each island. So I think if you keep your expectations in check you will really enjoy this trip. Contiki provides a great value and is really convenient. I traveled alone and had a great time and I think it;s because of the way contiki is structured.

Please respond on this subject if you have any other questions! There isn't much discussion on this board about this tour so I'd like to get as much information on here as I can. I know I was looking for something before I left and couldn't find much so I hope to help out other people in the same situation. Thanks!
  • 29 Jun 2009 tazza said

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    Hi, thanks for this great report! it sounds great and i am now seriously thinking about doing this in July next year!

  • 29 Jun 2009 jlucca33 said

    jlucca33

    Very thorough review. Thank you. i just booked my tour for July 26th, so I appreciate the updates about the ship tours especially. Wouldn’t want to waste time on tours that bored you.

  • 23 Aug 2009 Cassie0707 said

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    thanks for the review, im doing this tour in a few weeks time and its good to know about all the optionals!! cant wait!! Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 26 Oct 2009 AustraliaTravelExpo said

    AustraliaTravelExpo

    Post deleted as spam.

  • 25 Nov 2009 Nikcii said

    Nikcii

    I am planning this tour in june, and reading this review has just tripled my excitement! Awesome review Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 1 Jan 2010 Danki said

    Danki

    Can’t wait to do this on May 31!!! It looks so exciting! If anyone is doing the same trip, get in touch with me and Nikcii or follow my blog www.aussieeurotrip2010.blogspot.com

  • 11 Aug 2010 Explorer1201960 said

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    Danki, your blog was very helpful (as was your review chris)! I will be going on the 19th of Sept 2010 so I am trying to find out as much as possible. Danki what were the names of the hotels you stayed in Athens and Mykonos? How was the cruise ship? You’re sunset photo in Santorini is just beautiful, you should get it framed! Did you do all of the contiki optionals or find it cheaper to go on your own? Thanks so much I know its been a while since you went but I really appreciate your help!

  • 19 Aug 2010 Nikcii said

    Nikcii

    Hi, im nic, and i went with dank and wrote the blog aswell. The hotel we stayed at in Athens was the Plaka hotel. It was simple yet comfortable and had a fantastic rooftop viw or the acropolis! plus very close to the markets and resturants in the the plaka area. The resort we stayed at in mykonos i think was called aphrodites resort, it was about 15mins by bus out of mykonos town.
    As we had never been on a cruise ship before, it still met expectation. Tho again very basic, there was excellent food, a casio, disco, and several bars everywhere. the pool isnt worth mentioning, but for the money you pay, it was more then i expected and really enjoyed the cruise.
    The only options we didnt do were the ones in patmos and crete. If i could go back knowing what i no now, i would have done the option in patmos as there is not moch to see in the short time on shore, and we were both ready to go back to the ship 30 mins after a look around. May have saved afew bucks but if you are there may as well make the most of what the islands have to offer Smiler<!--graemlin::)--> All the other options were worth it. My personal favourites were the paradise beach option in mykonos and checkin out Ephesus in Turkey….Truly an amazing site.
    I hope this has helped. Greece is beautiful. You will have a fantastic time Smiler<!--graemlin::)-->

  • 19 Aug 2010 ChrisSoll48 said

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    Nic brought up a good point about the stops off the cruise ship. You really don’t have much time to try to organize the optionals on your own. It might be hard since you need to get back on the ship at a certain hour. So though it may be cheaper to do some of the day trips on your own, I’m not sure it’s possible to plan that ahead of time.

  • 2 Sep 2010 Explorer1201960 said

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    Thank you both Nic and Chris. Very helpful. I am so excited…one more question how many people were on your trips and were they considered full, or almost full? Thanks so much, Im just curious. peace from ny!

  • 3 Sep 2010 ChrisSoll48 said

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    My trip was the middle of May so one of the firsts available for the year. I think that is considered off season so it was a lower price. We had about 13 people; it was on the lighter side. That number is not considered almost full so I imagine other trips are much bigger. I ended up being the only single female traveler on the trip! There was a guy traveling alone too. We both got our own rooms because of the numbers working out that way.

  • 4 Jan 2011 Explorer1149606 said

    Explorer1149606

    Hey Chris!!

    Love your post and details about the trip!

    I have a few questions and was wondering if you could help me out…how much money did you take?! And how did you get from the airport to the hotel?! Is it dangerous if I arrive at night?!

    Thanks,

    Paula

  • 6 Jan 2011 ChrisSoll48 said

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    Hi Paula- glad I could help. I just looked at my bank statements from the trip and I spent $1000 US. This is very much on the high end because I spent about 300 on clothes and I also drink as much as possible. The food was so good and I wanted to try everything so I didn’t eat cheaply either. Also I had two days in a hostel before the tour. I used my debit card to get cash and charged what I could so that ended up costing about another 100 in service fees from my bank. Greece is one of the more affordable countries in Europe. I don’t think you’ll need more than $500 spending if your looking to stay on a budget and not splurge.
    When you get out of the airport there are a line of taxis. I took one to the downtown and that was safe. I can’t remember the cost but I split one with a girl I met on the plane. The contiki hotel isn’t in the best area but if you get a taxi to take you right to the front it should be fine.
    Let me know if you have any other questions. I’m so excited for you!

  • 18 Jul 2011 chowsays said

    chowsays

    Chris – this is so helpful, thanks for providing detail. im literally printing this out and bringing it with me when i go in august.

    i’ll definately set my expectations for the cruise – and appreciate you helping with that – but had a quick question – how many peolpe share a room on board?

    thanks again for your post – i can’t wait to go!
    sarah

  • 19 Jul 2011 ChrisSoll48 said

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    Hi Sarah. Glad I could be of help. On the ship you share a room with the same amount of people you did for the rest of the tour. Since I was in a single I had a single room to myself but everyone else was in groups of two. Let me know if you think of any other questions and have a great time!

  • 4 Aug 2011 Mana23 said

    Mana23

    Hi Chris!
    Thanks for the info above. it really helps. I am doing this trip at the end of the month! I am looking forward to it. this however is only a small part of my trip. Now do you have any recommendation/suggestions on must haves for the trip that I should bring?
    Thanks

  • 5 Aug 2011 Charlene said

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    Hey Chris
    I am thinking of doing this trip early September..your report was very useful.. thank you :-)
    I am looking forward to meet new people as it sounds quite fun

  • 19 Dec 2011 Reka803 said

    Reka803

    Do people just party and drink or are there people who actually want to see the sites, thanks!!

  • 25 Jul 2012 Rachelswim221 said

    Rachelswim221

    I’m trying to decide between this trip and the Aegean Classic. Seems this trip has an additional hotel & more options. The price difference is around 500. Do you think it’s worth it to pay extra and do this trip? Thanks!

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