06 Jul 2014 - 11 Jul 2014
I am literally taking a moment out my extended Europe adventure to have a coffee at a Swiss cafe' and write this review. Not only did this trip introduce me to some of the most adventurous, genuine and fun loving people I have ever met, but it also subjected me to the least enthusiastic tour operator imaginable, the most tediously generic optional activities and a level of organisational service that left each and every one of us wondering... On what exactly was contiki spending all of our money? I can sum it up like this:
1: I paid (top dollar) for a 6 day contiki adventure, and received a 4 day Louis cruise through Greece, which if booked directly, would have cost myself and my partner less than half of what we paid.
2: The ship, on average, spent less than 4 hours in each port, which allowed for little more than tacky souvenir shopping or...
3: 55 euro bus transfers (Tours), which (if purchased directly whilst at port) cost little more than 10 euro a pop.
4: The tour guides tried their best, and were decent, but certainly not worth the top dollar we paid.
All in all our tour operator was absent 90% of the time, and distracted/ uninterested for the other 10%, which actually proved to be a blessing as the group had more fun exploring, haggling and dancing at our own pace anyway.
After some research, it was clear that contiki, at least in my experience, acted as little more than a (Grossly overpriced) social introduction service, but honestly, there is no metric scale for the magnitude of fun we managed to have all on our own.
Review written Jul 2014event 0.3
04 May 2014 - 09 May 2014
A whirlwind of entertainment. The onboard activities are great. The excursions are excellent. The downfall is staying up late in the dancehall and waking early for breakfast and exploration. The trip is not long enough to get exhausted so it's very doable as long as you stay hydrated and take a break from the sun. I had a great time and it was all made possible by my lovely tour guide Stacey :)
Review written May 2014event 0.3
11 May 2014 - 16 May 2014
I recently went on this tour and I have to say it was better than expected!
the Tour Manager, Nicole, was always very helpful and knowledgeable.
I did most of the optional extras, bear in mine these will cost you an extra €220 (approx) and I would also highly recommend the drinks package, which is €80.00 extra.
The wake up calls were very early, 6am, but totally worth it! Every stop was breathtaking, and there was a lot to do and see.
This tour will be a little harder to get to know people as you are on a cruise ship and you wont be forced to hang around each other as much as other Contiki tours, but its just an opportunity to make an effort, and I certainly met some awesome people on this trip! :)
My favourite places i would say were Mykonos and Santorini, I wish I had more time there, just another reason to go back! :)
The cruise ship was very nice, cabins were small but that wasn't really a big deal, good entertainment on board and we even had a toga party which was really fun!
The food, was AMAZING, I couldn't stop eating, it was so much better than expected, you wont go hungry!
Only downside is that if you get sea sick you might not want to choose this tour, the last 2 nights were pretty rough and my friend travelling with me got quite sick from it.
Also, its a very exhausting tour, you wont get much downtime, but as I said its totally worth it anyway :)
Review written May 2014event 0.3
13 Oct 2013 - 18 Oct 2013
This was my first contiki on my first big trip. My tour manager Caroline was awesome, she knew the answers to our questions before we even knew what our questions were. She knew her way around, and made it her sole priority to organise the best time we could have. The people I met were awesome.
Pros: All meals included, choices of buffet or restaurant setting. Choice to get unlimited drinks tab for 80 Euros I think it was. Good crew on the ship
Cons: Shared giant cruise ship with old folks, not enough time to completely explore each place we went to. That being said, I looked at this trip in terms of a taste tester. I didn't know where I wanted to go, but now I've been to them, I know where I want to go back and discover more of.
If you're planning on partying hard, and turning every stone this isn't the tour for you, but if you want to experience a bit of everything, this is perfect. It really does take the hassle out of organising the trip yourself. The optionals are a little pricey, but you won't want to do all of them or else you wont have any free time because the boat's got to go between islands at a certain time.
Review written Feb 2014event 0.3
17 Aug 2013 - 23 Aug 2013
The tour manager Caroline was great in showing us around the islands and what tours to do. I was not too happy about being able to spend only about 4 hours in places, I wanted a lot more time on the islands. I was surprised that the cruise ship was a massive cruise ship that included families and elderly people. I chose to do Contiki because I wanted to be with my age group (18-35s), and not children and pushy old people. Based on a previous cruising trip with Contiki in Croatia, we had a boat just for Contiki that was awesome, and that was what I was expecting for this trip. Also, don't bother paying the higher price for an outer cabin, it's not what it sounds like, an outer cabin means a tiny little window and the only time you're in your cabin is when you're sleeping. The food on the ship was not great, the service on the cruise ship was slow and annoying. If you're into partying, the partying is clubbing on the cruise ship at night with children dancing around you, FYI. The tours that I did as optionals were good, and I'm glad I saw what I did, keep in mind, the optionals are expensive. I recommed doing your research about cost to do the tours on your own. If you're looking for a means to do the Greek Islands, look for another tour, I would not recommend this one, but I would do a Contiki again, just not this tour.
Review written Aug 2013event 0.3
13 Apr 2013 - 19 Apr 2013
Hi I did this tour in April 2013. It was a great experience! I travelled solo from Canada this was my first contiki tour and first real trip to Europe on my own. Everything went well! I managed to get my self around Athens on my own as I flew in a day early to do some sight seeing on my own. I met up with the 13 other travellers from the contiki group the following evening for dinner. Majority were all solo so I was not ever left alone. I opted for a single room and it worked great. We all met up for dinners in the evening and were together during the day on excursions or just hanging out. Our group was great we all got along well! Tour manger rocked and had everything planned out! The boat we were on was OK..food OK also. I have cruised before so I would not say this cruise line was top notch but I went to see Greece and meet new ppl and that part was great so It did not totally matter about the boat. Excursions were nice. It would have been nice to stay in santorini a bit longer. I did not purchase the alcohol package on the boat and every port we stopped in I just purchased my own beer and brought it on and had no issues. This was way cheaper than the 100 euro drink pack! I would recommend this tour nice way to visit Greece.
Review written May 2013event 0.3
03 Sep 2011 - 09 Sep 2011
I went on Aegean Classic in September 2011. This was my second Contiki Tour (European Magic, 2006 was my first) and I would have to say compared to my previous tour this one seemed a little harder to meet and bond with folks as you are on a larger cruise ship as opposed to a coach bus, so it will take a little more effort to make friends especially if you are travelling alone. I was not, but this is what I observed. This review was written mainly about the cruise and the activities while on board and on land. Anyway, here is my review. Enjoy!
Pre-night Athens - the dinner in Athens the night before was a good time and the only time you will get to meet as a full Contiki group (outside of meetings). I would recommend making an effort to attend this if you can.
I went on the Louis Majesty cruise to Crete, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Patmos and Kusadasi Turkey from September 5-September 8th 2011 with a friend of mine. This was actually my very first cruise and I was impressed with the fact that it was international and I had a good time.
Embarking – You will need to turn in your passport for a passport receipt and boarding card which will then serve as your identification and you will need to use it to embark and disembark at the remaining ports.
Food – The food on the cruise is pretty decent. We dined at the Four Seasons, Café Royale and mainly and at the top of the deck. The desserts are a little subpar in the dining rooms, and the food is usually culturally aligned by night (greek, Italian, etc).
Bar- everyday there is a cocktail of the day for about 4 or 5 euros so I would recommend taking advantage of that. The cocktails were pretty good! In addition to the drink of the day, they also had happy hour specials (2 for 1) that I took advantage of. So combined with the drink of the day, happy hours and the option to purchase liquor at the cruise ship store, I did not see a value in the all you can drink option.
All you can drink purchaes plans – I did not take advantage of this special and I consider myself an avid drinker. The bottles of liquor on the ship are actually VERY well priced considering the convenience, so I took advantage of this and had a mini-bar in the room. They will not let you bring your own drinks in the disco but otherwise, I didn’t have a problem walking around with my own drinks. You will have plenty of opportunities to purchase the all you can drink option in the first couple of days while on the ship, so I would recommend waiting it out the first day to gauge your drinking level. Also, everyone in a cabin must sign up for the all you can drink package so make sure to confer with your partner first. You are not allowed to purchase by day and from whatever day you begin your cabin will have the feature from the day you leave. Does not include premium liquor, however you can purchase a premium liquor upgrade. You can also purchase a non-alcoholic all inclusive drinks package that includes soft drinks, fruit juices, coffees and teas, non-alcoholic cocktails, alcoholic free beer and mineral and sparkling water by the bottle.
Prices: Non-Alcoholic Package: 3 days – 44.85; 4-days – 59.80 Alcoholic Package: 3 days – 83.85 4-days -111.80 (euros). The drinks unlimited package averages about 27.95 per day and the non-alcoholic about 14.95 per day. ALL PRICES IN EUROS. If you wait to purchase on the second day, the prices will be reduced by about 15% of the prices stated above.
Ship Activities – I did not participate in any activities (except karaoke at the disco) but I wish I had. They had greek language lessons, salsa lessons, arts and crafts, bingo, yoga, trivia, casino, etc.
Islands – Crete was the most disappointing and Mykonos was the best, wish we had a longer time her. Once in Mykonos, you have to try the crepes, they are AMAZING! The best I have ever had. Patmos and Santorini are beautiful. A lot of biblical history in Patmos which made it very exciting.
Kusadasi – I recommend trying the Turkish apple tea. Very good. While shopping, bargain, bargain bargain! They also accept US dollars at the shops here, so I would recommend using those if possible. Of course you can’t go to turkey without browsing the fine carpets and rugs! There are plenty of shops in this area. I went on the Ephesus and House of Virgin Mary tour. It was a great tour, however, make sure to bring a hat as the sun is very strong and you are in open area for a couple of hours with no shade.
Internet – Very expensive! I would recommend leaving your electronics at home. 20 euros for one hour on board the ship.
Cash – Excursions are paid with cash on board the ship. Each island has an ATM, so I would recommend getting cash once you arrive on the island.
Patmos – In Patmos, we did the Scenic Island Tour, however, if I could change it up, I would select the Monastery of St. John tour instead. The Scenic Island Tour was ok and a majority of it was going around Patmos via coach bus.
Shopping – DO NOT SHOP UNTIL YOU GET TO RHODES! I was very disappointed in myself for accumulating so many souvenirs before I got here! The best island for shopping in my opinion. Pretty good variety and unique souvenirs.
Settling your Onboard account – I chose to settle my account with cash which worked great. The lines were surprisingly short and the transaction went quickly. If you choose to settle with a card, you will need to have a credit card on file and they will give you the bill before arrival in Athens. Once your account has been settled, you will need to pay cash from then on because they will not take credit on the last day.
Disembarking – There will be an announcement to pick up your passport before arrival into Athens. You will need to leave your suitcase outside of your door the last night on the ship so it can be picked up by staff. I made sure to purchase locks on my suitcase prior to leaving it out. Since we traveled in a group, our group leader brought colored ribbons so we could all identify our bags more quickly as a group. Pack an overnight bag with essentials and use this for the last night.
CABINS - Cabins are pretty small. We had a view of the ocean in our cabin and I couldn't imagine being totally enclosed. It was nice to look out of the window to get a sense of the weather when disembarking. However, housekeeping did a good job and always left the room spotless.
SHIP TOILETS: It is recommended in Greece not to flush toilet paper down the toilet, due to the fact that the drainage system is very narrow. You will see a mini trash in your room and this is for disposal of toilet paper, rather than putting it down the toilet. Interesting...
Excursions – If you book an excursion at a specific port, you will have to disembark usually very early. Passengers with excursion tickets are usually the first to disembark at each port by group. You will need to decide and pay for the tours by 4 p.m. the day of arrival on ship. Your contiki tour manager will provide more details regarding the excursions.
Athens – Avoid the Athens City Tour that will be presented as an excursion once you arrive back in Athens. This is a waste of money and you can easily get a good view of Athens from the double decker bus tours for half the price. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Athens pre or post days, try the Plaka Hotel, great views of the Parthenon and reasonably priced! Great shoping on Ermou street and Monastraiki
Review written Sep 2012event 0.3
14 Jul 2012 - 20 Jul 2012
I would definitely recommend this tour. I went with my sister and was a little nervous because I'm not huge into partying and I don't drink, so I didn't know if there would be much to do besides sight-seeing that I'd enjoy. But my fellow travelers were excellent, my tour guide Jon James (like him on facebook!) made the trip even more enjoyable, and I had a great time. The ship was nice, definitely not the nicest cruise ship I've been on, but still excellent. The staff was incredibly friendly, and though the rooms were almost impossibly tiny, they were cleaned several times a day which really helped with the clutter the two of us would have created otherwise.
My sister did miss the boat in Mykonos- so I can't stress enough to wear a watch and be mindful of meeting times! She met up with us two days later in Rhodes, and Contiki officials and our tour guide both made the whole experience MUCH less stressful for both of us. My favorite part was probably Kusadasi, Turkey, since Ancient Ephesus was amazing and the shopping at the Grand Bazaar can't be beat. As anxious as I was about bartering, I ended up with some great deals and a lot of purchases I'm very happy with. Just don't get hassled! Say no if you aren't interested. I was sexually harassed by a shopkeeper because I was too polite to just refuse and walk out, don't make the same mistake!
If you're considering this trip, don't hesitate!
Review written Jul 2012event 0.3
20 Aug 2011 - 26 Aug 2011
It was exhausting, but had LOTS OF FUN!! Only tiring cuz I partied (everynight till 4ish) and had to wake up @ 6AM (everyday) for the excursions - to which I signed up for most if not all. Hey you only live once and b'cuz I wanted to take in ALL the Greece and Turkey culture, history, food and liquors. Thankful that our team manager, Tom, was informative in doing those. The only things on the trip that I didn't like were: I didn't experience their nightlife on the islands, as boarding times were around 8pm-1030pm (I should've checked the Hellenic cruise docking times on those places). Also that there were young kids on the dancefloor due to the fact the ship only had 1 club/disco. I would recommend this to anyone whose interested in doing something new while taking in culture, history, food and drinking in Greece and Turkey. I have NO regrets, I was exhausted throughout the trip, but had LOTS OF FUN and certainly made the most of it. FYI NAPS ARE A MUST during downtimes (between stops) to which I got my tan on =)
Review written Aug 2011event 0.3