Guest post by karenj
Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.
This trip was a 12-night cruise on Princess Cruises to Italy, Greece, and Croatia (beginning in Rome and ending in Venice). The cruise was a great way to see a lot of cities in a short period of time, without having to worry about transportation. We started the cruise with 3 extra days in Rome, and ended with an extra day in Venice.
Day 1: Arrival in Rome
Took a hop-on/hop-off bus tour to get they lay of the land. Our hotel was Hotel Smeraldo, which, while the rooms were tiny, was in a great locations and had nice restaurants right across the street (alley).
Day 2: Rome
- Roman Forum
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
We fit a lot of site-seeing into day 1! We visited the Pantheon, walked around the Roman Forum, and took a tour of the Colosseum. In retrospect I wish we would have done a guided tour of the Roman Forum. The tour of the Colosseum is definitely worth the money. Really enjoyed the Trevi Fountain, but did not see the appeal of the Spanish Steps.
Day 3: Vatican City
Our guided tour of the Vatican was phenomenal. It was led by a nun who was knowledgeable and funny. Easy to spend an entire day here!
Next day was spent at sea, so there’s a day between Rome and Florence.
Day 4: Pisa and Florence, Italy
Each day we did a group excursion from the cruise. The first day was Pisa and Florence. After a quick stop in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower we took a rather long bus ride to Florence. Once in Florence we didn’t have time to go to the Uffizi, so we went to the nearby courtyard that had replicas of some of the famous statues. We then went to the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio. There was also a nice international festival going on in Sante Croce square, so we enjoyed some German doughnuts!
Day 5: Southern Italy excursion
Our excursion on this day was to Pompeii, Sorrento, and Capri. Pompeii, while definitely ‘touristy’ was fascinating. We only had a couple of hours in Sorrento for lunch and some shopping, and then we took a boat ride to Capri, where we saw the Garden of Augustus and the famous rock formation.
Day 6: Santorini, Greece
This day of the cruise was my favorite – we went to Santorini! We visited a local winery for some wine and snacks, and then we were off to the town of Oia to see the beautiful white houses. I could have spent hours there. To get back to the boat you have an option of walking, taking a mule, or taking a cable car. We opted for the cable car.
Day 7: Athens, Greece
The day we were supposed to spend in Athens got cut short because of demonstrations happening in the city. We saw the Olympic Stadium and went to the top of the Acropolis.
Day 8: Mykonos, Greece
Our day in Mykonos started with a tour of the Island of Delos. Not sure if I would do this part of the excursion again. Not much to see. Fascinating history, but mostly ruins where you have to picture what used to be there. We had a traditional Greek lunch in Mykonos, and then saw Little Venice and the famous Windmills. Could have used more time in Mykonos instead of Delos.
Day 9: Olympia, Greece
Our day in Olympia started at the Archaeological Museum. Not very memorable. The Olympic Ruins, however, were definitely worth visiting, as was the Olympic Museum. I enjoyed our stop in town to try some baklava.
Day 10: Corfu, Greece
Corfu is a small Greek island. The Achilleon Palace was gorgeous but in obvious disrepair because of the state of the Greek government. Visiting a monastery on Corfu was a great experience!
Day 11: Croatia
Our next stop was Croatia! We docked in the city of Split. First we went to the Town of Trogir and saw the Cathedral of St. Lawrence. When we got back to Split it was raining a lot, so we did a bus tour of the city but nothing else.
Day 12: Venice, Italy
- St. Mark’s Square
- Doge’s Palace
- Rialto Bridge
Our final port of call was Venice. First we took an excursion of Murano and Burano to see the colorful houses and glass-blowing factories. These islands are a must-see if in Venice! Next we visited St. Mark’s Square, went through Doge’s Palace, and walked to the Rialto Bridge.
We had one more day after this in Venice. We wandered the streets and took a water taxi ride through the canals. A wonderful last day of the trip.
Traveled in September 2013