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Louis Cruises

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Long Island, NY
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Louis Cruises

Well I'm back from our trip to Greece and let me tell you all who responded to my original "Louis Cruises Help" page that it was wonderful. I would travel on the Perla again in a heartbeat. I will repeat what I was told by my son and by Biloxi Girl: If you're looking for the 'love boat' or a destination ship, you will HATE the Perla. BUT, if you're looking for a Greek experience with spectacular ports of call, you will love it! Here are some details:\

Rooms: We upgraded to a deluxe cabin on the Atlantic Deck. It wasn't a lot of money and was well worth it. The room has twin beds, a large closet, three drawers in the closet and three drawers in the desk. The bathroom is small but there was always hot water! The shower is smaller than most closets, but somehow it wasn't unmanageable unless you're a person of size, or unless you drop the soap! The cabin service was great....fresh linens daily and twice a day clean up (they even hung up my clothes if I left them on the bed and when we returned from Crete dripping wet from a monsoon like rain, she took my wet jeans and hung them on a hook so they would dry!

Food: Not fiv e star restaurant but certainly more than adequate. If you go try some of the cold soups at lunch. They were to die for! All food (except beef and we were told "Greeks don't do beef") was fresh, tasty and attractively presented. Breakfast buffet was up on deck or dining room and had plenty of fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal and scrambled eggs. Only complaint is eggs cool every day. Dinner is by assigned seating most nights and food was again very good.

Ship: Plenty of outside deck space and deck chairs. Live music every afternoon by the pool. If there are five people in the pool, it's full! Seriously, I've seen bigger jacouzzis in hotels. The ship is old and looks it but it's clean, freshly painted and has a personality and charm of its own, unlike the SS Behemoth of the Seas.

Entertainment: Cast very enthusiastic. Think high school review. Grab a drink at the bar and sit back. We only went once and that was Greek Night.

Ports of call: Mykonos, Istanb ul, Santorini, Oh, my! Each was wonderful although if I were in charge I'd drop Patmos and spend less time in Mykonos and more time in Santorini.

If you've booked on Louis and read some of the responses to my initial Louis Cruise Help page and now you're in panic mode, relax. Don't expect the love boat and you'll have a great time.

Excursions: we took one in almost every port! I'm only reviewing the ones we took.

Crete: Knossos Palace and Archaeological Museum: excellent, not to be missed and you'll never find it on your own.

Highlights of Istanbul, without lunch: Fabulous. You will have to be escorted to survive Istanbul. I live in NYC and I've been to LA; Boston; Phoenix, London and Rome and I have NEVER seen traffic anywhere in the world that can compare to Istanbul. There are no rules, apparently no traffic laws, and the traffic lights and signs are merely suggestions. the lines for the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace can be incredibly long and if you're with an organized group you get right in with no waiting.

Kusadasi: Ancient Ephesus is NOT TO BE MISSED. Seriously if you can only afford one shore excursion this is the one. House of the Virgin Mary is no longer standing. there is a chapel on it's foundation and whether the BVM actually lived there is open to debate, so skip it for extra time at Ephesus.

Mykonos: Don't take a shore excursion. There's nothing to see except the windmills and there about a 1/2 mile walk from the ship. everything else is walking through the labyrinth of shops, which is fun but doesn't require a paid tour. they do offer a Delos tour but most of the time it's cancelled due to weather or lack of interest.

Patmos: Again Grotto of the Apocalypse as the place where St. John actually wrote the Book of Revelations is in dispute. all agree he wrote it on Patmos so who knows. Anyway, Scenic tour not worth the money adn the only reason to visit the Monastery (which requires one "helluva" hike up hill) would be if you've never been to one.

Rhodes: we took Old City and Philerimos because Rhodes & Lindos did not include the Palace of the Grand Masters. but, both tours are only 1/2 day so you could choose either tour and have plenty of time to do the Palace and shop.

Santorini: Ahhhhhh Santorini. What a beautiful place. Take the Thira (Fira) and Oia village tours. You'll drive the entire island, see spectacular views. spend an hour in Oia and the rest of the time (not enough) in Fira. Take the cable car down. Do not try to walk down. It's very winding, steep and is the same path the donkeys use so you have to watch your feet. Don't take the donkey because the donkey master will take you 1/2 to 3/4 down and then make you get off and walk the rest of the way because he'll have someone at the top waiting. If you refuse to get off or demand a refund he gets downright nasty and quite intimidating. Besides you get a magnificent view from the cable car. Skip the sailing & Volcano swim. Not worth the money and they drop you off several yard from the volcano and you have to swim on your own the rest of the way in water that is barely above freezing!! And, they don't supply any towels so if you really want to do this make sure you bring your own.

food all over Greece was great. Water is safe to drink on the ship, at all the major hotels. I wouldn't drink from a street fountain or bathroom sink except in the hotel or on board the ship.

I did a 7 day land tour of Greece before the cruise which included Athens, Nauplion, Olympia, Delfi, Kalambaka. anyone who wants more info on these places can respond to this post and I'll answer you. I appreciate all the help everyone gave me and I will return the favor!

Hydrokitty

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1. Re: Louis Cruises

Welcome back, Hydrokitty....and so glad your trip went wonderfully! It appears you got allot out of it and got into the 'mode' (even if you didn't drop your soap in the shower!)....Keep Enjoyin'!

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2. Re: Louis Cruises

Hi Hydrokitty,

Just read your post about your trip! (Sorry it took so long to read it, we've been traveling non-stop since we got back from our Greece trip in Sept.)

I am so glad that you had a great time in Greece and the PERLA worked out for you. Your trip report was great! It sounds like the exact itinerary we had. What tour group did you book with? We traveled with Cosmos.

Now aren't you glad you didn't cancel or change your trip because of the Perla?!?!?!

Again, great trip report!!

Biloxigirl

(By the way, we just returned yesterday from an NCL cruise to the Mexican Riviera - in Acapulco we went to watch the Cliff Divers at night and you'll never believe the name of the restaurant/bar they took us to for us to sit and watch the divers.......it was called "La Perla" !!). Made me wish I was back in Santorini again! (or anywhere in Greece for that matter!).

Long Island, NY
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3. Re: Louis Cruises

Hi Biloxigirl...don't apologize, I just checked to see if you'd responded and it's December already! We were with Trafalgar but we kept running into a Cosmos group everywhere we went so I imagine Trafalgar, Cosmos and Globus run the same itinerary. Our on ship tour director was George...good looking bald guy from south Africa who was terrific. Glad you enjoyed Mexico...haven't done that yet...our next cruise will be France on a river cruise, but I really enjoyed "small boat cruising". Have a wonderful holiday season and happy trails.....hopefully we'll run into each other on the road somewhere. And, yes, I wish I were in Santorini too!!!!

Virginia
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4. Re: Louis Cruises

Hydrokitty, we are planning to take the 7 day Greek Island Louis Cruise in Jun 2007 but the ship will be the Orient Queen. Do you have any knowledge of this ship? It looks very nice from the pictures in the Louis Cruises brochure. I assume the food and entertainment will be similar to what you experienced on the Perla.

We planned to take the excursions which are offered at each port, and your trip report is a trermendous help in selecting those that will provide the most bang for the time available. Thanks.

We also planned about a week in Greece prior to the cruise in order to experience as much of Greece as possible. We planned to spend a few days in Athens, and rent a car for 5 days or to visit the major attractions.. Our tour agency has pretty much recommended the same places which you visited. Any feedback concerning your experiences, hotels and restaurants at each location would be appreciated. Any suggestions for other locations to include on tour would also be appreciated. Thanks.

buckala

Long Island, NY
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5. Re: Louis Cruises

Hi Buckala...glad to be of help since so many people (mostly Biloxigirl though) gave me such good info. Here's where we went, although we were escorted all the way:

Athens: Acropolis and the Parthenon are of course not to be missed, why else would you be going? Plan at least 1/2 day at the site, bring plenty of water and wear very comfortable shoes and clothing. On the way down stop at the Plaka which is where you should have lunch at one of the outdoor cafes. Then depending on where your hotel is walk or hail a metered taxi back. Don't get into an unmetered taxi without negotiating a price first! Also in Athens the Archaelogical Museum is wonderful and you really only need a few hours to see it.

Athens to Nauplia: You will cross the Corinth Canal (if you're a fan of the Amazing Race be sure to notice the bridge they bungeed off) Don't spend much time here, but do get out and walk onto the bridge. WATCH OUT FOR PICKPOCKETS. If you have lots of time visit the ruins of Ancient Corinth for 2 hours. Next go to Mycenae and visit the reamins of Agamemnon's Royal Palace and the Beehive Tomb. These will also take about 1/2 a day. If you wish to stay in Nauplia, which is a very pretty seaside town, I can only recommehnd the Amalia Hotel which has a pool and lovely rooms and grounds. They have their own restaurant and cater to tour groups.

Nauplia to Olympia: Olympia is a must and be sure to visit the museum either before or after. This can easily eat up a day. We stayed at the Amalia Hotel in Olympia as well. also had a pool and rooms were comfortable. NOTE: amalia hotels do not provide tissues in their rooms so if you're an allergy sufferer be prepared to bring them from Athens (or from home).

Olympia to Delphi: Cross the bridge and go to Delphi. again be sure to visit the museum either before or after the ruins, which are amazing. You will be walking up hill on a rocky dirt road, keep telling yourself the Greeks walked this road to visit the Oracle! This is another full day place. Stayed at the Amalia Delphi.

Delphi to Kalambaka: This drive will take you tjhrough the mountains to Kalambaka, which is a lovely town with many great restaurants for lunch. We stayed at the Amalia Kalambaka, but I noticed many other hotels in Kalambaka. Another don't miss is the monasteries at Meteora. This is an absolutely mind-blowing place. I don't recommend driving a car up there, but I turn many shades of green adn white when driving on mountain roads. If that doesn't bother you, then full speed ahead. The monasteries are fantastic and you really only need to go into one or two. I don't remember the names of the two we visited but one had a huge collection of Byzantine frescoes and the other was a convent. NOTE: YOU WILL NEED TO WEAR A SKIRT WITH YOUR SHOLDERS COVERED OR THEY WILL NOT LET YOU IN. If you don't have a skirt they will lend you one. ALSO NOTE; GO TO THE BATHROOM BEFORE YOU GO UP....THE BATHROOMS ARE HOLES IN THE GROUND AND UNLESS YOU'RE A MAN, YOU'RE ALREADY GASPING FOR AIR!!! You will also see the monastery where a James Bond movie was filmed, don't ask, I'm not a Bond fan. Do not be put off by the 100 steps to the monastery. the steps were wide and shallow and very easy to climb. For me going up was easy, coming down took my husband and another man to form a sandwich and walk me down.

Don't know much about the ship you're going on but it has to be newer than the Perla, which was fine. Of all the shore excursions these are an absolute must ranked in order of importance:

1. Istanbul without lunch, you already paid for it and you'll need the break.

2. Ephesus: NOT TO BE MISSED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

3. Crete: Knossos Palace. Wonderful place and you'll never find it on your own.

4. Santorini: Take the Oia & Thira tour and ride the cable car down.

5. Mykonos, Rhodes you can skip the tours and save the money. Not necessary. Mykonos you walk along the harbor to the windmills then find your own way through the labyrinth of shops. it's more fun and you really don't get lost. If you do, just head for the sea, you can't miss it. Rhodes the Grand Palace and walled city are fantastic but you can do it on your own. You'll either have a free shuttle or you'll be able to walk from the ship.

Patmos: If you really must see the Cave of the Apocolypse by all means take a tour (or a taxi). Same for the monastery, which I didn't do but I understand was one H--- of a hike!

Hope that helps. any jother questions you can e-mail me directly at Ashkitty564@aol.com.

You're going to love it!

Virginia
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6. Re: Louis Cruises

Hydrokitty, we cannot thank you enough for sharing all of the information from your trip. Hopefully we will avoid some of the common tourist pitfalls such as the donkey master on Santorini. Our next challenge is to check out the hotels. The Amalia hotels will be a good start. We've been reserching various sources such as Frommers for good recommendations but this forum seems to be the best. I will also try to return the favor and provide a trip report. But its going to be hard to match the quality of what you provided.

Buckala

Long Island, NY
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7. Re: Louis Cruises

Ahhh, you're so nice! I'm glad to help. We're spending such a lot of money on these trips and it's scary if all you have is a tourist agent, who loves everyplace, and a travel book which doesn't always give you all the info you need. Frommer's is my favorite, in fact I brought it with us. Buy a good map of Greece and make sure it's in English AND Greek. Most of the road signs are in both languages but every now and again we'd pass one that wasn't and it would really be handy if you could at least match the sign to your map! (Our map was on discount from a map store in Asheville and it was only in greek! at least we were on a bus) One other side trip we took from Athens was to Cape Sounion, which is the ruin of Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. (These Gods had temples all over the place so don't think there's only one temple of Zeus, Apollo, etc.) Anyway, it was very nice for an afternoon but only if it fits in. Weather in June can be uncomfortable in Athens. Sort of like NY: hazy, hot and humid! Cannot stress enough the importance of shoes. All the Amalia hotels have pools and restaurants on site with good food and clean water. I would fill my water bottle at the hotel and drink only from it all day. NEVER drink from a restroom sink, public fountain or archeaological site, always wash fresh fruit in your hotel before eating it and get used to room temperature drinks. they don't put ice in anything and you can't trust the water it's made from anyway. Where else have you been?

Hydrokitty

Virginia
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8. Re: Louis Cruises

Hydrokitty, last year we travelled around Italy for several weeks. We had a great time even though there were crowds everyplace, and major lines at all big attractions primarily due to security. We were there when Italy won the World Cup and helped the Italians to celebrate. We definitely love the country and people and hope to return. We thought our next trip might be back to Italy but when we started to review our options and did some research on potential places to visit , we quickly concluded that Greece would definitely be exciting and fun to visit.

Buckala

Long Island, NY
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9. Re: Louis Cruises

Buckala: You will love Greece and Istanbul!!! That was one of the best surprises of the trip. Athens was disappointing in that it was very dirty and grungy looking. You would think with all the wonderful antiquities that people would pay more attention about where they dump their garbage. The Greeks really need some anti-littering laws and they need to enforce them. Istanbul on the other hand was beautifully landscaped and clean as can be. Unfortunately the traffic is terrible and crossing the streets is next to impossible. But the people are delightful and very greatful that you've come. Make no mistake they will rip you off royally but always with a wink and a smile!

We were in Rome when the Pope died so I can appreciate what it must have been like at the World Cup, without the celebrating of course. we loved Italy too. The food was the best I've ever had anywhere. Greek food is good too. they do stuff with vegetables that defies description. I hope you like eggplant. If you do it will be like you've died and gone to heaven. Oh and while you're in Istanbul try the apple tea....you can buy it in Kusadasi at the bazaar there only go to the supermarket it's only 1 euro and it travels well. Ev eryone I serve it to here absolutely loves it.

We went to Iceland too. That was a neat trip. Our next one is France. Have you been there? Any tips?

anytime you want to talk about trips one on one you can e-mail me at Ashkitty564@aol.com or chydro564@yahoo.com. I promise to answer. You too biloxi girl. Hydrokitty

Long Island, NY
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10. Re: Louis Cruises

Hey again buckala I just read your post on Cruise to Greece 2007 where you wondered if you should get an upgrade or stay in the "D" cabins. It's true you will not spend most of your time in the cabin BUT you will be sleeping in the cabin and your sleep is going to be vital if you want to do all the things you need to. I would recommend upgrading to the TA or TB on the Louis Cruise. None of the rooms have balconies, all have twin beds (some have doubles but only a few). the difference is the location and like in real estate, location is everything! The upper decks are quieter and the double window is really nice. there really isn't room to sit except on the beds or at the desk. B eds were very comfortable though. Of course if you're going on a bigger ship that's a different story. Having never been on one of the big cruise ships I couldn't offer an opinion.

Re: Delos....Litsa was right it's not to be missed, unfortunately the trips to Delos are cancelled 85% of the time due to weather or lack of interest. That's why I didn't mention it. Also Akrotiki is still listed in the brochures but has been closed to the public for several years and continues to be closed. Hydrokitty