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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 2012Read more reviews » Write a review