Cruise to the Adriatic Sea and Greek Islands, 2018

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  • CRUISER(S): Anna & Gary
  • Created: September 23, 2018 8:53 pm
  • Last updated: September 12, 2021 3:03 am
Cruise Types:
Cruise Region: Europe – Eastern Mediterranean
Cruise Line and Ship: Norwegian Star
Cruise Year: 2018
Cruise Month: October
Cruise Duration: 6-8 days
  • Distance 9,975,193.57 ft
  • Time 760 h 0 min
  • Speed 2 mph
  • Min altitude -2,894 ft
  • Peak 5,289 ft
  • Climb 92,037 ft
  • Descent 92,070 ft

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  • Distance Instructions
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1. Venice Italy

Altitude: 20 ft
Address: Unnamed Road, Venezia VE, Italy
Port Rating
5/5

Venice is pure magic! We had been here before but anyone who hasn't should take a few days to discover this incredible Italian city on water before boarding their cruise ship. One particular highlight, however, which we did not expect was cruising out of Venice past the city center and main sights. Looking at the red-coloured roofs, canals, churches and Piazza San Marco as the massive oversized cruise liner made its way through the narrow waterway around Venice while the ships sound system was playing "Time to Say Goodbye" was a sight to behold. A truly breathtaking and unforgettable experience.  

2. Kotor Montenegro

Altitude: 4 ft
Address: Kotorska luka, Kotor, Montenegro
Port Rating
4/5
Cruising into Kotor from the Adriatic coast was an incredible experience that at times felt like we were going into a Norwegian Fjord. The scenery is dramatic and we watched in awe as the ship made its way deep into the calm Bay of Kotor, passing steep mountains, lush greenery and beautiful small town with tiny Orthodox churches. One of the highlights was Our Lady of the Rocks, a small islet off the coast of the town of Perast near the he limestone cliffs of Mt. Lovćen. This tiny man-made piece of land in the middle of the bright blue bay waters houses the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rocks, an extraordinarily beautiful holy site that takes up the entire space of the islet and is made even more impressive by its spectacular surroundings. 
The ship anchored in the bay outside Kotor and we tendered to reach the port. Once we got off, we got a tourist map, entered the fortified town and strolled along its winding streets and squares. The beautiful medieval Old Town is well maintained and a UNESCO Heritage site practically made for exploration on foot. We passed by some of the main sights like the Kotor cathedral, a beautiful Romanesque church in the town center, as well as the Maritime Museum, which explores local seafaring history. We ate some ice cream and played with some Montenegrin Street cats. The city is very small but beautiful and pleasant to walk around in. For those more ambitious and in impeccable physical shape, there is an option to climb the city walls of Kotor up to the St. John's fortress. The walls looks a bit like the Great Wall of China and goes high up into the steep mountains, exposing one of the best views over the Bay of Kotor, but you have to earn it: it’ll take a steep climb of almost 1400 steps to get there. 
In the darkness of the night just before our ship left we saw the city walls all lit up and reflecting beautifully into the calm waters. 

3. Corfu Greece

Altitude: 0 ft
Address: Unnamed Road, Greece
Port Rating
4/5
Corfu is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, so its best to research before you get here what you wish to do. We had planned to go to Sidari but with only 6 hours to spend in port and a 1 hour+ drive to get there we ultimately decided against it. 
Taxis were surprisingly expensive so we rented a car from Hertz inside the terminal which turned out to be less. We drove around the island and through many villages inland. Corfu one of the more rural, sleepy islands away from the touristic honeypots and it was fascinating to see a real slice of Greek life. 
We drove to Palaiokastritsa beach, a tourist area where sunny rocks frame the bays filled with turquoise blue water. It’s not an ideal place to swim due to lots of pebbles and rocks in the water but a nice place to relax. It’s also possible to explore the caves from here or other beaches only reachable by boat. There were two lovely taverns right by the water so we sat down and ate some lovely Greek fish and fed the leftovers to a tiny Greek kitten begging for food at the foot of our table. 
It was a lovely, low-key and enjoyable visit. 

4. Santorini Greece

Altitude: 0 ft
Address: Unnamed Road, Greece
Port Rating
5/5
Writing about Santorini is hard. This island is so uniquely beautiful, it has left a lasting imprint in my head, a mental picture that’s almost impossible to put in words. Pictures don’t do it justice either, just must visit! 
Santorini was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC, forever shaping its rugged landscape. Looking at it from the cruise ship is like seeing a large and imposing rock with small human settlements way up top. The whitewashed, cubiform houses of its 2 principal towns, Fira and Oia, cling to cliffs above an underwater caldera (crater). They overlook the sea, small islands to the west and beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles.
Cruise ships have to tender in Santorini so waiting to get off can be nerve-wrecking, especially if (like in our case) the whole ship is excited to see the island. 
Once off the tender boat we lined up to take the cable car up to the capital Fira. (For the hardcore hikers there is an option to walk of an extremely steep zig zag road.) The cable car ride to the top took about 3 min and was truly breathtaking with stunning views of the caldera, the sea and the volcano from a 220 meters altitude so the ride is totally worth it just for that reason. 
In Fira, we rented a car for the day at the local Spiridakos rental agency. The rate was fantastic, the staff was lovely and gave us great advice about about the island. We proceeded to explore Santorini and drove all over the island. First we went to Black beach in Perissa, a long stretch of beautiful oceanfront with dark volcanic sand, breathtaking scenery and a few nice beach bars and food shacks around. 
 
Afterwards we drove to red beach, a unique beach famed for its titular red-hued sand located steps away from the ancient site of Akrotiri. It’s takes a few min hike around the cliff to get there but the sight of the high, bright-red cliffs makes it well worth it. 
We continued driving all over Santorini and eventually went up to Oia to watch the famous Santorini sunset. We had made dinner reservations at Ombra at Esperas Santorini hotel, one of the most romantic hotels in Santorini, offers a diverse Mediterranean cuisine with the perfect view of the sunset. The food was divine, the atmosphere and the sunset truly unforgettable. Here comes the part where I run out of ways to describe our experiences. Sufficient to say that our hearts were full when we returned to the ship at 10 pm that evening. We are determined to return to Santorini for a weeklong vacation.  

5. Mykonos, Greece

Altitude: 0 ft
Address: Tourlos new port, Tourlos, Greece
Port Rating
5/5
Even though it was extremely windy we had a wonderful day in Mykonos. Arguably Greece’s most famous island, Mykonos is a great glamour spot and happily flaunts its sizzling St-Tropez-meets-Ibiza style and party-hard reputation. In October, when peak tourist season is done, this part of Mykonos is still pronounced just without the massive crowds that are said to roam the island in July and August. 
We took a us to Paradise beach, one of the main party beaches at night, and chilled in a beach bar with nice food and great music. The vibe was relaxing and the water beautiful. 
Outside of the beach perhaps the most enjoyable part of the island was walking through Mykonos town, or Hora as the locals call it. I could have strolled around endlessly through this paradise of whitewashed alleyways, blue windows and stuccoed roofs.  But before we knew it we had to hop back on the “sea bus” - a boat shuttle taking people back from the town to the cruise ship.  

6. Dubrovnik, Croatia

Altitude: 5 ft
Address: Dubrovnik, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Port Rating
4/5
Dubrovnik tends to be a highlight for many cruisers obsessed with Games of Thrones. We had never watched the series and thought it would be much more boring for us. We were surprised to find a beautiful, charming, pleasant and polished city with great vibe, weather and people. 
When we got off the ship we took a taxi to the top of the mountain, to a spot right where the cable car takes you. From the top we had gorgeous views of the Old Town and Elaphiti Islands. Due to Croatia’s unique map we saw all the way to Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. 
After this we asked the taxi driver to drop us at Banje Beach. This essentially urban beach is located right outside the Old town Banje Beach, just beyond the 17th-century Lazareti (a former quarantine station) outside Ploče Gate. It’s a lovely pebble/sand beach with calm and crystal blue Adriatic waters. We lingered here for a bit and just enjoyed the beautiful scenery. 
Afterwards we walked into the Old Town, encircled with massive stone walls completed in the 16th century. Its well-preserved buildings range from baroque St. Blaise Church to Renaissance Sponza Palace and Gothic Rector’s Palace, now a history museum. Paved with limestone, the pedestrianized Stradun (or Placa) - Dubrovnik’s Main Street and thoroughfare is lined with many sights, shops and restaurants. It’s a gorgeous town center but unfortunately the hordes of tourist plowing through make it a much less pleasant experience. We hadn’t planned on it but once we were back outside the Old Town we walked all the way back to the cruise ship, a lovely and scenic 40 min walk that was totally worth it. 

7. Venice Italy

Altitude: -37 ft
Address: Unnamed Road, Italy
Port Rating
5/5

Venice was just as beautiful as a week ago when we had left. Onward transportation is bit of a challenge here due to it uniquely beim build on water. To get to the train station located extremely close to the terminal we had to shlepp our suitcases over hilly walkways and then up and down a bridge. From Venice we took a 12.5 hour train ride back to Berlin. It was long but passing through the Italian countryside and even more so the alpes was an amazing experience.