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Norwegian Jade Cruise Review - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise

Ports of Call - Rome, Athens, and Ephesus

By Jason

The Ports - Rome/Civitavecchia
After much consideration, we decided to book a private full day tour in Rome visiting some of the familiar places and including a few new ones. After researching companies to use, we decided on LimoinRome - Claudio Caponera (www.limoinrome.com) as our driver/guide for the day. We shared this tour with 3 couples from our roll call.

Our itinerary included The Roman Forum, Coliseum, Mouth of Truth, Circus Maximums, the Key Hole (Sov Mil Ordine Di Malta), Palatine Hill, Baths of Caracalla, The Catacombs, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Capitol Hill, and Gianicolo (great views of Rome from this spot) and Borghese Gallery.

Claudio arranged for our lunch stop at Ristorante Massenzio. Good meal. If we could have eliminated one thing in the itinerary it would, in our opinion, have been the Borghese Gallery. After a full day of sightseeing, I for one was on "information overload". I would suggest that the Borghese Gallery be done by itself or perhaps along with a walk through the garden areas.

The Ports - Athens.
We hired a taxi driver from Spiros at for the day (8:30-2:00). This ended up being a boon – it costs 25 euros each way from Piraeus on the meter anyway, and saved us hundreds of steps in the heat. He parked at the back side of the Acropolis (it is not necessary to climb the hundreds of steps from the Plaka) and waited for us, then took us to the old Olympic stadium (actually pretty impressive), the Temple of Zeus, to the President’s house in time for the changing of the guard (actually worth the stop), the Parliament building, the Roman Agora, and then the Greek Agora and Plaka. We zipped through it all – again because we got out early I think, and were driving instead of walking – and were back on board by 2, exhausted.

The Ports - Ephesus.
We hired a private tour guide for this port -- Denizhan at . We combined with another family I met on our Roll Call. I joined the list of Cruise Critic people that highly recommend him. He was knowledgeable, personable, proud of his country, and completely professional.

We started early and were through most of Ephesus by the time the first tour bus arrived. Since it reached 105 degrees that day, we were EXTREMELY grateful to have gotten to see it before the hottest part of the day. Be sure to also see the ruins of St. John’s Basilica. Denizhan also took us inside a local and historic mosque and explained a lot about Islam and Turkish politics. Lunch was the best of the trip. We also visited the museum in Selcuk, which was fine, although it is hard to compete with the Vatican, the Egyptian Museum, and others on this trip. Definitely try apple tea if you can – hot or cold, it’s delicious. All in all, a great stop.

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