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Old 8th June 2013, 14:34   #31
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Default Re: 'Cruise Ship Holiday' for Dummies...and my European Travelogue!

Originally Posted by Ramanjit View Post
Excellent travelogue with some really good pics.If you can, could you please include small details of the costs of entry fees to various tourist attractions ,cab fares ,meals etc etc ,just to give a fair idea.Thanks for opening up the whole new world of cruising.There are many I am sure who are planning but are yet to take that final step ,I know I am one of them.
Im glad you are liking the travelogue.

The entries to most monuments are withing the range of 3-15 Euros. If you want to go inside the Olympic stadium, it is 2 or 3 Euro per person. Otherwise standing outside and seeing it is free. So Also when going to the Acropolis you get a six place visit ticket at 12 Euro i think per person and that ticket works for all the specified places. Actually it depends on where you are going and how large the exhibit is, in that case the entry can be a few Euros more. Children are exempt almost everywhere or at least have a subsidized fee but the definition of children varies, some take it till 12 and some till 17 so ask around. Also in almost all places Senior Citizen fees are also minimal.

Food can range from cheap to expensive. While getting a Diner Kebab on the street may cost you between 3-6 Euros, i would say that a street meal would be worth 10 Euros per head with a soft drink. In a cafe or a taverna that would be around 20-255 higher and in a proper restaurant even higher, so all depending on what you want to eat, where. On a holiday budget for at least 15 Euros per meal, including a soft drink or juice, minimum per person wherever you eat.

As i go along the travelogue ill try to recollect the prices and mention them.

Originally Posted by MotoNanu View Post
Thanks for sharing! I recollect my sweet memories from Athens. Some of the best days ever!
I remember being so excited about visiting the original Olympic stadium, The Partheneon, the Acropolis. But, at the end of the trip, Plaka was the one which had stolen my heart. If you had time, you should visit Plaka in the evening when the fun begins. The food is obviously amazing and you also get to experience Greek music and dance which is so extraordinary! The Acropolis at night is a stunner and there will be some or the other plays going on at the huge auditorium. I am seriously missing this place
Yes it is an infectious place.
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Old 14th June 2013, 20:37   #32
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The morning bought us to Izmir in Turkey. as we disembarked the ship we were headed towards the two single most important sites of Izmir. The Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary.

Ephesus was an ancient Greek city, and later a major Roman city in the present day Izmir in Turkey. In the Roman period, Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which made it one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean world of that era.

Ephesus is also believed to be the city of the Seven Sleepers. The story of the Seven Sleepers, whose story is also mentioned in the Qur'an and who are considered saints by Catholics and Orthodox Christians tells that they were persecuted because of their belief in God and that they slept in a cave around Ephesus for centuries.

Ephesus contains the largest collection of Roman ruins in the eastern Mediterranean out of which only an estimated 15% has been excavated till date.

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We first visited the House of the Virgin Mary

On the right side is a smaller room, which is believed to be the actual room where the Virgin Mary is believed to have slept. It is believed that some form of running water used to flow like a canal in the smaller room where the Virgin Mary slept and rested, leading to the present drinking fountain outside the building structure. The water is believed by some pilgrims to have miraculous powers of healing or fertility.

The beautiful statue of the Virgin Mother welcoming all.

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The House of the Virgin Mary known as Meryem ana or Meryem Ana Evi, ("Mother Mary's House") in Turkish is a Catholic and Muslim shrine. Pilgrims visit the house based on the belief that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was taken to this stone house by Saint John and lived there until her Assumption. St. Jhon also wished that he be buried there after his death. The shrine is a small stone structure. One enters into a single large room where there is an an altar along with a large statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary displayed in the center.

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No pictures are allowed to be taken in the house itself. One may offer some candles in the house as well as in this pace outside the house.

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The water from the springs is considered holy with healing powers and while i had a refreshing drink of this water, others took little juglets of it home.

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The "Wishing Wall" is just outside the shrine next to the water fountain on which, pilgrims tie their personal intentions on paper or fabric as a wish.

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We drove to Ephesus the ancient city and right at the gates were greeted with this unusual board, an Oxymoron of sorts.

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Right at the entrance we were greeted by some trees bearing White Mulberries

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The Terrace houses were built on ine side, perhaps only the rich and affluent would be living in these houses as is depicted by the carvings, architecture and most of all mosaic flooring immaculately intact even in this day.

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Old 14th June 2013, 21:09   #33
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Default Re: 'Cruise Ship Holiday' for Dummies...and my European Travelogue!

More Ephesus

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The Library of Celsus:

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This unusual and spectacular ancient Roman building in Ephesus,deserves a special mention not onoy because of its beauty but also because of the history it narrates. It was built in honor of the Roman Senator Julius Celsus by his son. Celsus a wealthy and popular local citizen, paid for the construction of the library with his own personal wealth. He was also the consul and enjoyed a good social and political status. He was a Greek by Origin and the first to become a consul in the Roman Empire therefore, is honored both as a Greek and a Roman on the library itself.

The library was built to store important scrolls and also to serve as a monumental tomb for Celsus. Celsus is buried in a sarcophagus beneath the library, in the main entrance. In those days one was only buried inthe grave yards which were not within the city limits , so it was unusual to be buried within a library or even within city limits. This was a special honor for Celsus.


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It was extremely hot and sunny this day and we were exhausted. We could not bear to see another ruin. So we headed to the ship

The Turk In Stone

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Stopping for a little bite along the way at the Grand Bazaar. Yes there's one here too but much smaller as compared to the one in Istanbul

Food Time

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Wash the rich food down with a glass of cool Ayran or Buttermilk. The national drink of Turkey, Turks have it all the tie with every meal. I simply loved it and got addicted to this Turkish" Chass".

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The beautiful city we were departing now.

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On board, as we sailed off i watched this majestic Gull flying by us almost in ballet of orchestrated flaps of its wings..... it was flying to its home i guess and we were sailing to our next destination.....!!

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Old 15th June 2013, 17:04   #34
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Default Re: 'Cruise Ship Holiday' for Dummies...and my European Travelogue!

This was going to be a day at Sea as we moved towards our final destination before we turned back to Venice....Split this time, again in Croatia.

We had a full next day at sea. This is time well spent with family to bond. I think a cruise is a great idea of a family holiday.

We decided to gather at the Haven, the garden just outside just to spend some time and probably have a snack before we decided on where we would be dining for the night.

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......While we sailed the beautiful, Blue sea

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The private pool of the Haven:

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Sit outs, similar layouts on wither side of the pool

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The well lit area up ahead is the entrance to the steam room, changing room and fitness club only restricted to this floor. Far right the hot tub and Jacuzzi

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Retractable roof making this area an ideal place for sunbathing

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We sat and chatted about almost everything under the sun and proceeded for dinner.

A special mention about maintaining the hygiene standards on board. At every possible place on every entrance and on every exit these sanitizers are paced. As if thats not enough, they had staff armed with sanitizer bottles spraying every hand that came across them, encouraging one to keep the surroundings germ free and clean as was possible. The smiling staff was present at every entrance to a restaurant or eating place, greeting you with "Washy-Washy...Happy-Happy" After a few days this almost became a routine.

The Sanitizers at the entrance to every eating house, every entrance and exit and at every elevator

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Split Bean Soup

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Lamb Kebabs with Philo rolled with Feta Cheese

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Braised Lamb Shanks

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Grilled Cheese Burger

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Sushi and Shashimi

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We then took a stroll around the ship and the open deck, taking in some fresh sea breeze, and gazing at the clear black sky with a smiling crescent atop, finally retiring to the room for a good nights sleep.

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Old 1st July 2013, 15:24   #35
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Default Re: 'Cruise Ship Holiday' for Dummies...and my European Travelogue!

Split is a city situated in the eastern shores of the Adriatic Sea and the harbour is built around its main attraction, the ancient Roman Palace of the Emperor Diocletian. It is the largest Dalmatian city and the second-largest city of Croatia. Split is fast becoming a popular tourist destination.

Split is also one of the oldest cities in the area. It is considered to be just over 1,700 years old, if counting from the construction of Diocletian's Palace in AD 305 but archaeological research of the city as a Greek colony in the 6th century BC, establishes it as being several centuries older. While the construction of Diocletian's Palace is supposed to be establishing factor of the existence of the city, the city was founded earlier as a Greek colony, as mentioned above. Diocletian's Palace still forms the core of the city and is the main attraction when you get off at the port.

After he nearly died of an illness, the Roman Emperor Diocletian was seen as a great reformer of the Roman Empire, and built this palace when he decided to retire early from politics. He chose the harbour near Salona for the location as this was close to the area where he hailed from. The palace was built as a Roman military fortress structure. It is a walled palace and faces the sea on its south side, with its walls almost 700 feet long, and 15 to 50 to 70 feet high, enclosing 9 acres. At that time, it was populated by around 8,000 to 10,000 people. The palace is complete with churches, public areas, parks etc. Diocletian was the first Roman Emperor to voluntarily remove himself from office Though he was approached many a times after that to return to Rome and active politics, Diocletian refused and remained bound by his word to leave political life.

In 1979, the historic center of Split was included into the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Diocletian's Palace: One enters the Palace through a small gate leading to an alley which has numerous souvenir shops.

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Outside the alley there is a chapel and a square from where there are different paths leading to various parts of the palace city.

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One can see people sitting on the steps having tea coffee and snacks provided by a nearby restaurant. Reminds me of a Dhaba style of seating, a plank for a table and cushions provided for sitting on the steps.

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Inside the city it was the day for the Farmer's market. Vegtables, dry and fresh fruit and local cheeses were for display, taste and sale.

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Some parts of the have been reconstructed, i was told some old parts were damaged beyond repair due to some damage or the other, so were reconstructed rather than recreated. The old co-exists with the new.

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A maze of narrow alleys lead to various sections of the city which houses mainly shops and restaurants, cafes, with a few residences, those too on the higher floors.

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Couldn't resist this E21 316 or 318 parked there as it struck a chord. I had a similar one in Fire Engine red with chrome and gold BBS wheels. Wish i had that vehicle today, can think of 1000 ways of modding it.....SIGH!!!!!with.!!??

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We visited the Old restaurant which was established way back. It is housed in one of the areas of the Palace which is a heritage structure. We enjoyed a quick bite of a local Vegetable Soup, Chicken with fries and mushrooms, a sandwich in a super bread which was hard and crusty on the out and super soft in the inside finishing off with an espresso and some Millefeuille of Custard and a local dense chocolate cake.


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On the outside, the city lies divided from the harbour by a walkers promenade and a string of cafes and restaurants. One goes to the small cafes and buys the stuff one wants to eat, pays for it and points out where one is sitting, withing minutes someone will trot along serving your order to you. Just like in a hawker center.

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Old 1st July 2013, 17:26   #36
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Default Re: 'Cruise Ship Holiday' for Dummies...and my European Travelogue!

This is a brilliant account of being on a cruise topped up with wonderfull photographs.

Having done 250+ cruises myself in over 5 years (well I worked on a cruise liner ) if I had to do something differently would be just one thing and that is I would book the cheapest cabin in the ship and the money I save from that I would spend in entertainment.

IMO a ships cabin is a worthless place to spend time. Most of the time is spent on the decks, so why spend extra money on something where i would be hardly spending time.

Last edited by deky : 1st July 2013 at 17:28.
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Old 3rd July 2013, 17:44   #37
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Default Re: 'Cruise Ship Holiday' for Dummies...and my European Travelogue!

Very detailed and enriching account Gogiji. The pics of the dishes you ate had me salivating in the office.

I couldn't agree more with your observations about the foul smelling canals in Venice. Gondola rides appears all romantic in films/photos but for me those minutes were spent praying for it to get over fast.

Last edited by lsp : 3rd July 2013 at 17:46.
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Old 6th July 2013, 13:27   #38
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Default Re: 'Cruise Ship Holiday' for Dummies...and my European Travelogue!

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Gogi, thanks a ton for the awesome information! I'm planning an Alaskan cruise in July - August and this thread comes as a Godsend.

Agreed that a balcony room is a must-have

From your research, would you be able to share recommendations on cruise companies?
I am also planning Alaskan cruise next yr same, time frame,would be looking forward to your input.All the best for your trip.
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Old 24th September 2013, 13:56   #39
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So, carrying on once more.....sorry for updating after a while..!!

This is right outside the walled palace city which is as beautiful as it is on the inside a few steps away from the harbour, bustling with tourist activity. So much for our CRZ regulations....BAH!!

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The entire promenade is divided into two by the line of Palm trees, separating the cafes from the pedestrian area.

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One can enter and exit the Palace city from various points

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The opera house

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A novel way to see the city, Segaway tours or just take a rickshaw, an electric one!!

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There are many places to see in Split besides the palace and its surrounds, there is a beautiful waterfall but the drive from this place was around 1.25 hours one way by taxi so it was not wise to go there because it is housed in a National park and one needs at least a day to see that kind of natures wonder. Next time for sure.

We boarded our tenders. Tenders are the Orange sea craft you see in the pic which take you from the ship to the harbour and back. This is done in some ports of call due to lack of depth or some other official reason by virtue pf which a large sized cruise ship has to dock a specific distance away from the harbour

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sorry but will have to upload 10 pics at a time, theres some problem which is not letting me upload more than 10 pics at once.......
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