Mar 25, 2013

Just 'Cruising' In...

Hi friends. It's Monday again. My weekends are flying by much too fast these days. Are yours? I feel like we should petition for an extra day between Sunday and Monday. Call it 'Gruntday,' maybe? Because that's all I do on Sundays anymore. Grunt and grumble that the weekend's almost over and the start of another all-too-long week is staring me in the face. I'd happily be the first signature on that petition. But until 'Gruntday' is instated, I guess I'll just settle for having ho-hum Mondays. Precisely like the one I'm having today.

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D and I spent ALL DAY yesterday researching excursions and tours for our Mediterranean cruise coming up in just a little over a month. I feel like it's consuming my mind here lately. Sorry if you're sick of seeing my laments on Twitter...but I like to vent via social media. I swear I'll stop talking about it...some day. ;) Truth be told, this cruise has totally gotten away from me. I knew it was coming and we needed to start pinning down some concrete plans, but going back to the states for those 2.5 weeks totally threw me off. Thankfully, back in January we locked in our flights and hotel in Rome (where the ship departs from), otherwise we'd be paying out the butt for those things now. 

That being said, we are going cross-eyed from scouring the internet for the best options for tours in all the ports we stop in. So far, we've only got our stops in Ephesus (THANK YOU, JESS!) and Mykonos locked in, but Istanbul, Naples, Athens, and Santorini are proving to be much harder to plan. Mostly because there are SO. MANY. OPTIONS. I think my first mistake was logging into the Cruise Critic forums for advice. We're first time cruisers, so I felt like I needed to do some extra research into what the heck we'd gotten ourselves into booking a 12 day cruise our first time out the gate. Had I just went with my first thought of booking all of our excursions through our ship, our vacation planning would be done. But, alas, I wanted second, and third, and fourth opinions...and now I'm so far in I don't know what to do with myself! I've hit an information wall the size of Mt. Vesuvius (a sight we'll actually see on this cruise, yay!) and this is by far the hardest trip I've ever planned. I know, you're playing the world's tiniest violin for me right now...life could be worse. But I've played travel agent for over 1.5 years now and it's become exhausting. I long for those all-inclusive Caribbean vacations my stateside friends are all taking this summer! Grass is always greener, folks.

So, for the rest of the week, I've devoted my life to finalizing every detail of this darn cruise. The cruise D and I have been waiting all our lives to take, no less. I might not show up around blog land much in the process (because one can only look at a computer screen for so long in a days time), but you can expect a scheduled post from me tomorrow...and maybe Friday. I promise to be back to our regularly scheduled programming (to include some posts on life in Germany that are LONG overdue) next week.

Till then, time for me to get back to business. It's cruise crunch time.

*FYI-I proobbably shouldn't be asking you this since I've already got too much info to siphon through, but if you've got any stellar recommendations for day tours in Athens (including the Acropolis & Cape Sounion), Istanbul, Naples (specifically Pomepii, Capri, & the Amalfi Coast), or Santorini (to include the villages of Oia and Fira) then send them my way!!!! If you've ever been on a Med cruise with any of these stops, email me. I NEED to pick your brain!*

19 comments:

  1. That cruise sounds amazing! Def one of my dream vacas. And I am so so with you on the Gruntday. Will Monday's get any better? Ever?

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  2. This trip will be amazing! Always wanted to take a Mediterranean cruise. Until I do, I will just live through the amazing pictures that are soon to follow!

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  3. girllll i can totally relate.

    spent all day yesterday planning my august trip to iceland and then to turkey. im going with my sister + friend (third annual trip!) but they let me plan everything...which i dont really mind but it is work!! ive looked at so many flights i should be working for an airline at this point! haha!

    but the cruise is gonna be aweesommee!!
    (we're doing a sail turkey trip for a week! can't wait!)

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  4. gruntday- love it!

    so jealous of this Mediterranean cruise! that would be consuming my mind too!

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  5. wow! lovely post..
    Have you entered for my giveaway?
    http://fashionwithfitness.blogspot.com/2013/03/giveaway-win-iris-latte-mug.html

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  6. I take it Jess gave you the private tour info that I gave her for Ephesus? You won't regret that - it was great! We didn't do a tour in Athens - we walked the Acropolis and all around downtown by ourselves. We just got on the train (walked there from the boat) and then followed Rick Steve's directions to get to the Acropolis and it was great. Saved us a bunch of money too. In Santorini we hiked on the volcano and then swam in the hot springs and then took the cable car up to Santorini for a little while. Santorini was my favorite stop. I've heard Oia is even prettier and friends of ours rented a moped to drive over there and said it was great. If you go to the Amalfi Coast, go to Positano. It was my favorite town along the coast (we drove though, not on a cruise) and if you go to Capri, the boat ride all the way around it is fun, and the Blue Grotto is a must see!! I loved the Med cruise we went on - one of my favorite trips of our three years in Europe! Have fun! Who are you cruising on?

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  7. For Athens, we just booked a simple tour through our boat. They hiked us up the Acropolis and dropped us in Plaka for a couple hours of free time. I had researched the area ahead of time and mapped out where we had to walk from there. We really don't like guided tours so it was perfect for us.

    Also, when you get on board they should have presentations on each stop. GO TO THEM! They told us which ports were within walking distance. They didn't tell us ahead of time, but they also offered shuttles which were much cheaper than booking a taxi or other ride. They also gave us maps of the sightseeing points and best places to shop and eat.

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  8. Sounion is a pretty long trip from Athens by bus. It's a cool site but if you've only got a day you'd probably not have time. I'd recommend a bus tour to get you to everything you want to see in Athens and definitely don't miss out on shopping in the Plaka. Visit Poet the sandlemaker and have him custom make you a pair of grecian sandals. Mine are by far my favorite souvenier from Athens. Santorini was my favorite of the Greek Islands. If you have time the Spa of the Gods is Ah-mazing. Otherwise rent a four wheeler and tour the island yourself. The black beach is a fun place to visit (wear good sandals it gets HOT). Enjoy! My Greece/Italy trip was by far my favorite.

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  9. I may be a BIT jealous of your Med cruise! I've always wanted to do one of those. Maybe one day!

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  10. ummm can I be your husband for a week and go with you?!!?! I've always wanted to go to Turkey... my mom lived there in college and talks about how beautiful the sea is!

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  11. I am so jealous!! Have fun! :)

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  12. I say the SAME thing about the weekend-- it needs an extra day. OR have a 5 day weekend and 2 day week. Even better!

    Also, I want to be playing travel agent right now! Sure beats doing homework! :)

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  13. All that planning is going to pay off - should be amazing!!

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  14. Oh. I. Hear. Ya. Been up to my eyeballs in details for our trip too! It'll all work out. It'll all work out. Well, at least that's what I've been telling myself :-). Hang in there lady! If you need a Skype break from all the review reading, just let me know ;-) Hope your day has been a good one - however "grunt"ish it may be.

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  15. I would really love going on such a cruise it sounds like so much fun.

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  16. I wish I was in cruise crunch time right now! I'm sure it's going to be amazing once you get it all sorted :)

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  17. Hi, I'm Bon's (Life of Bon) older sister and I'm stationed in Stuttgart Germany with my army hubbie. And no, I don't think you're going to get too much sympathy from your readers over the woes of planning a Mediterranean cruise :) I have no experience in this field yet, (though we do hope to go at some point during our tour) but based on our experience in the caribbean we didn't have to plan ANY excursions. Basically, we got off the boat and there were people lining up to take us on tours. They were all competing against each other so they were offering reasonable prices (that were negotiable) and they had legit tour guide licenses or whatever. And least they looked legit! And you could basically ask them to take you to all the cool places and they would.. they knew where to go since they were locals! We just told them what we were interested in... beach or shopping or eating or sites...I know they received kickbacks from taking you to certain beaches or sites... but we didn't plan anything ahead of time and it worked out great. I don't know if that's the case with the Med cruises, but you might could ask someone who has done it... I imagine it would be similar. They are just waiting with dollar signs in their eyes for those cruise ships to dock... I don't think you'd have a hard time finding someone to take you around and show you a good time.

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  18. We've been on a 12 day Mediterranean cruise, so I feel you on this one. The good news is that it is hard to go terribly wrong, and you will thank yourself for doing research ahead of time. We did a mix of cruise sponsored and independent excursions and they were all pretty great. What are you guys doing in Ephesus? I am so excited to see photos of everything!!!

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I appreciate your feedback, friends! I read every comment and try my hardest to respond to each one, but if your email address isn't attached to your blogger profile, you might find my response in the comment thread instead. As always, thanks for reading!

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