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.
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!