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Eastern Mediterranean Cruising --- a Review
- blue mosque
- church of the nativity
- egyptian museum
- middle east
- topkapi palace
- travel advice
- 21 responses so far
Thanks for your detailed description! I’m taking this tour on Aug. 11 and was wondering how it was going to work. I’ve been on two other Contiki trips, but never on a cruise. I have a couple of questions if its okay with you. 1) What is the dress code for Turkey, Israel & Egypt? 2)Did you get to interact with the other people on the tour? 3)Do you leave your luggage on the cabin when you go to the day trips? 4) What is the weather like? On the boat? 5) When you arrived in Athens, How far was the airport to the hotel? Did you take a taxi?
-I know it’s a lot of questions…Sorry
Ask away!! I wish someone had written a review/answered questions for me before I went! I was not sure what I was getting into and I over packed and didn’t bring enough books.
1. You need to have your knees and shoulders covered in both Israel and Turkey. In Egypt you may want to follow this dress code too but it’s not as strick. Some of the girls had form fitting clothes on and they were forced to cover up and others had V necks or scoop neck t-shirts and they were made to cover up. It depended on the whim of the person doing the ‘checking’ so just wear some capri and a loose t-shirt.
GUYS are not allowed to wear SHORTS in Israel so make sure you have pants.
Sidenote: People didn’t dress up on the boat other than the Captain’s Party so don’t overpack!
2. This tour is very different from the land tour. Other than the first night dinner in Athens there is no group activity. Everyone meets in the lounge to go on the optionals together but that’s it. You have to make the effort to get to know the others on the tour. We had about 53 people and I didn’t know half of the people by name or face.
3. You only have to take a bag with you for the day trips—camera, sunscreen hat, water, money. Everything else stays on the boat and depending on where you get off the bus on the day trips you are told to leave stuff on the bus (i.e. big pick pocket problem in Cairo so they suggest you leave everything on the bus and just take your camera with you.)
** Side note: They do try to scare you in Egypt about safety. This is my 2x time in Egypt and you are SAFE so don’t get intimidated by the armed guards and all the warnings they give you.
4. We had good hot weather for the whole trip. It was realllllly hot in Athens (they were having a heat wave) and everywhere else as well. I think Cairo was 103/40 degrees depending on whether you are C/F. On the boat you get a great breeze so even it its hot you don’t really feel it.
5. I got to Athens early and stayed at another hotel before checking in to the President Hotel but I think it is about 30-40 minutes depending on the traffic.
Euros for Boat, Athens, Crete and Mykonos
You can use US$ OR Euro in Israel, Turkey and Egypt—US seemed to be quoted more than Euro but they took either … just make sure you get the change back in whatever form you gave it to them (i.e. you give US so your change should be US)
There is no wifi on the boat at all. Internet is 15Euro for one hour.
I was wishing for my portable DVD player a few times during the trip.
They do have board games on board and there is TV but I think only the sports and BBC was in English.
Thanks for your review…It helped a lot seeing as how I am leaving in 5 days!!! As a teacher, I am looking to bring some interesting things back to my classroom. Did you have enough time to do souvenier shopping?
Yes and No.
You will have time to do shopping in Mykonos and Crete as its free time if you don’t do the optionals.
In Istanbul you have about 1.5 hours in the Grand Bazaar.
Everywhere else its a quick stop at some not so great souvenir stores but there are stalls at the port in Egypt and the duty free store at the port in Israel
Great review! One quick question…how much spending money did you need???
You really don’t need money on the boat (your food is taken care of and you can put a credit card on account and charge all of your drinks)
You do have some souvenir opportunities but not really I think I spent maybe 500—but I bought a rug
Your posts are so incredibly helpful. If you don’t mind, I have a few questions as well. Are long skirts/dresses appropriate for Turkey, Israel, and Egypt? Also, did you find that you had time to unwind with a few cocktails with your fellow travelers after all of the site seeing was over for the day? Thanks so much for your help! And- if I read correctly, you only spent $500 (us dollars) for the 10 days that you were there?
Yes many girls had on the long skirts/dresses (especially with the heat). You just have to make sure you have an appropriate top on
what was appropriate depended on the man ‘checking’ (i.e. some though V-necks were too revealing, others thought sleeves were too short and others thought the tops were too tight and thus inappropriate). I had a cheap scarf with me in my bag that I could throw on just in case…. the ones that they give you to put on are dirty and smelly.
There was alot of time on the boat and even after long days of ‘touring’ many people ended up at the pool deck or the ‘dance club (the dj does not know good music and does not take requests and I felt I was in the 90’s most nights I went in there—lots of Michael Jackson songs)for drinks/unwinding.
This is VERY different from the land tour in that it’s up to you to make friends/socialize/meet-greet the other people on the Contiki tour.
Yup I spent about $500 for souvenirs but I bought a $300 dollar rug.
Remember, food is taken care of (you can buy snacks if you wanted to at the duty free shop but that was unnecessary) and the drinks you get have to be put on the boat’s card (which you either leave a cash deposit or you can put your credit card on account)
I really do NOT recommend the drink plan …. no one can drink as much as is necessary to break even and if you want a coffee/water/soda etc before 10am you need to buy it
even though you have the drink plan
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your review with us. I’m definitely going to encourage my travel buddies to read this before we leave for our trip!
This is so helpful! Thank you so much.
I also just have one question – are there plug ins on the boat? If so, what kind of converter would I need?
The European Style (see link above which has a picture)
There is one plug that takes the American style plug (see link below which has a picture)
Thanks again for answering all these questions. This might sound dumb, but do they have an alarm clock in the room. Last year, when my husband and I did the “European Discovery”, our cell phones didn’t work so we had to buy a old cheap alarm clock in order to wake us up and know what time it was. It was nerve wrecking since we didn’t want to get left behind. So I was thinking of taking a little digital alarm clock my brother has for his dorm room. What do you think?
Now that I think about it there was NO clock at all in the room. I know that my cell kept getting confused on our location (it thought it was in Iceland alot) so an alarm clock maybe helpful on the days you have shore excursions. I know a few people used the wake call system but they said it was a pain.
Thank you SO much for your helpful tips. If you don’t mind- I have a few quick questions. Just to confirm, American appliances will not work in outlets onboard? Second question- would you mind sharing how much the drink plan was? Did the duty free shop sell alcohol or wine? Myself and the two other ladies I am going with would very much like to drink onboard but are worried drink prices will be too high. Do they check bags as you board daily? Any chance of bringing some liquor onboard from the mainland? Thank you SO much again!
found a review on the cruise ship. somebody was asking about the drink plan. according to this review, its $28 euros per day or basically $35 american per day.
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