Ferry from Hell: Athens to Santorini

June 28, 2009 in Travel by pacejmiller

The Superjet boat scheduled from Athens to Santorini

The Superjet boat scheduled from Athens to Santorini

Most people who visit Greece will find an opportunity to visit at least one of the Greek islands, most probably in the Cyclades.  Flights can be rather expensive and can sell out quickly (especially during peak season), so venturing out by sea is generally the preferred choice.  There are plenty of ferry companies competing for your services, so shop around and make an informed choice.  The following is a true short story of sorts chronicling the nightmarish trip we took from Piraeus (the Athens port) to the beautiful island of Santorini by Superjet (of the Sea Jet company), supposedly the fastest way there by water.

Or so we thought…

Ferry from Athens (Piraeus) to Santorini (Thira)

Flights from Athens to Santorini only take 30-45 minutes, but each ticket costs around 115-120 Euros.   On the other hand, the fastest ferry, Superjet, takes only 5 hours (whereas the slower ones can take as long as 8 or 9 hours) and less than half the price.  Factor in the time for check-in at the airport and immigration and collecting luggage, we thought that a flight would not save that much time compared to a fast ferry, so we went with the cheaper option.  We booked online and got the tickets mailed to us in advance.

[Note that Santorini is also known as Thira and the main town on the island is called Fira, so don't get confused!]

An ominous start

Our departure time was 7:15am, but its’s a good idea to get there around an hour earlier because there is very limited luggage space, and there’s also another very important reason which I explain below.  So we departed our hotel by 6am by taxi.  Things did not get off to a great start when the taxi driver got lost at the port of Piraeus, and directions requested from ground staff were not exactly accurate.  Nevertheless we got there, still relatively early and towards the front of the queue that was already forming by the smallish, pink and white ferry.

We got on board and stashed our luggage by the back door and found our seats at the very first row, right in the centre.  As it turned out, the Superjet was no luxury cruise for passengers to enjoy.  It was simply a speedy mode of transportation.  There were just rows and rows of seats and not much else.  No tables, no common area to chill out, only one mini-bar on the ground floor.  The upper deck was for smokers.  No one would be allowed to go outside to catch some sea breeze or enjoy the views.  It was going to be a long 5 hours.

Before long, crowds were flocking in and the seats soon filled up.  It became clear that there was not enough space for people to put their luggage, as the bags and suitcases began flooding into the isles and every empty space passengers came across.  Here’s a photo of the emergency exit, situated right in front of where we sat.

Superjet

Safety first

That wasn’t all.

Minutes before departure, a worried-looking, slim, curly-haired lady stood in front of us and told us that we were sitting in her seat.  We told her she was wrong, but somehow she just kept standing there.  When her friend arrived, she told us again, and we asked her to show us her ticket.  Turns out she got the ticket number confused with the seat number (it was all in Greek, so it was pretty confusing), which we pointed out to her.  Embarrassed, she moved on to the seats beside us, but oddly enough, they were also occupied.

Then some quiet bickering commenced, which started to turn heads when it got loud.  The girls sped off with their luggage, and the remaining group told everyone that the girls had gotten on the wrong boat!  However, the girls soon returned with an attendant.  Actually, they were on the right boat, and those were their seats, but the seats had been double-booked.  The ferry company screwed up.  The girls had to be moved upstairs, among the smokers.

See what I meant when I said it was a good idea to get there early?

The Ferry from Hell

We were scheduled to arrive at Santorini at 12 noon.  Even though the ferry left slightly late (around 7:30), I wasn’t concerned at all.  Not yet anyway.

The first few hours passed quite smoothly, and by about 10am, we were already wondering what we were going to do for the afternoon in Santorini.

Then, the boat started to rock.  A lot.  So much so that I was starting to feel nauseous.  My mother vomited into a bag beside me.  So did dozens of people by the sound of things behind me.  I didn’t dare look back as I was close to joining them myself.  I was very proud actually, as I considered myself the King of Vomit (having once literally exhausted all the vomit bags on a long haul flight – this was before I discovered the miracle drug that is Xanax – now it’s all smooth flying).

It was awful.  Think Lardass and the pie-eating contest from Stand By Me.  The attendant lady was busy running around dishing out more vomit bags, almost tripping over the luggage piled up where they shouldn’t be.

My dad, who fancies himself as a bit of a pressure point master, started to tap his fingers on the top of my head, kind of like a massage.  Surprisingly, it really helped with the nausea.  Within a few minutes everyone on the boat was doing it!

It was around 11:30am (just 20 minutes from the scheduled arrival time) when a poor English speaker announced that we were going to arrive 20 minutes late at the island of Melos (or Milos).  It wasn’t until after we arrived at Melos that we were told that we had to turn around because of poor weather, and we wouldn’t be leaving the dock for another hour and a half (ie 1:30pm).  And as it turned out, Melos was another 2 hours from Santorini, so the earliest we would be getting there is 3:30pm.  Seeing that there wasn’t much we could do, we decided to make the best of it and go grab a bite to eat near the pier.

The Waiting Game

After a hasty lunch with our eyes fixated on the boat in the distance, we hurried back and crowded around the attendant lady who announced (with a barely audible voice) that the weather was still no good and the boat would not be leaving until 3:30pm now.  After much of the crowd dispersed, she spoke to the captain again and changed her tune, saying that 2:30pm was a possibility.  But what about all those people that heard 3:30 and wouldn’t be back until then?  I guess it would be bad luck if the boat took off without them.

So we went back out, sitting by the water, grabbing an ice cream and waiting for the time to tick by.  By now we just wanted to get to Santorini before dinner.  We could still catch the sunset!

Melos 1

The island of Milos (or Melos)

At 2:30pm, we went back, and fair enough, the wait was now until 3:30.  At 3:30, we went back and were told that it would now be 5:30.  And if at 5:30 it wasn’t ready to go then the boat would head back to Athens.  Frustrated, we headed back to the boat.  Given how unpredictable things were, we decided to stick close to base.  A nap, some light reading and sudoku passed the time.

WTF?

Just when we thought things could not get much worse, at about 5pm we heard a commotion at the back of the boat.

My wife and I raced there to see an attendant surrounded by people (by now more like an angry mob).  We were fortunate to squeeze into a space beside her, and heard her say that the boat was about to head back to Athens!  There was another big boat departing Melos at 9:30pm tonight to Santorini, and another at midnight – these would not be affected by the waves like our small Superjet.  Otherwise we’d have to wait and catch the 10:20am Superjet the next morning.  There were mixed messages and rumours floating around about whether the company was going to pay for the night of accommodation.  We’d have to sort everything out ourselves at the ticket office in Melos.  Truthfully, we were just glad that unlike 60-70% of the rest of the boat, we heard what we did.

We split up.  My wife would grab my parents and I would race to the ticket office near the pier to arrange new tickets.  Upon exiting the back door, I was caught up in a frenzied crowd.  Dozens of people who didn’t want to go back to Athens were trying to get on the boat, while those who didn’t were trying to get off, creating a massive logjam at the bridge connecting the boat with land.  The boat’s captain was stuck in the middle, trying to explain to dozens of others (without the aid of a loud speaker) what was happening.

It was one of the most chaotic scenes I had ever witnessed in my life.

Quick thinking ensued and I literally jumped off the boat.  It was the only way I could avoid being crushed by the crowd swarming in from both ends, neither side willing to budge.  I raced up to the ticket office, and fortunately, I was only third in line, and there were two people helping at the counter.

About 10 minutes later, I was still third in line, and the line behind me had now extended far into the streets.  There was a lot of confusion, and the ticket office really didn’t have a clue, the staff arguing amongst themselves over whether a refund would be granted, whether they would issue tickets on the spot or they’d get the tickets from somewhere else, and whether they’d gather everyone’s tickets in one go or do it individually.

Furthermore, there was no ferry at 9:30pm.  It was either the slow midnight ferry which would arrive at Santorini by 6am, or the 10:20am fast ferry the next morning, which would arrive by noon.

Needless to say, some people were now hanging by a thread, emotionally speaking.  People behind us complained that they had booked expensive, non-refundable tours in Santorini for that day or early next morning.  Some girls said they had to get to Santorini that night to attend a wedding.  One guy said he had been trying to get home for 3 days.  Another little dude pushed to the front and began slapping the counter with one hand while holding his tickets in the other.  His voice was breaking and it seemed like he would burst into tears any second.  He may have been the groom.  Us losing a night of accommodation in Santorini didn’t seem so bad in comparison.

Anyway, after another 20 minutes, it was finally my turn.  We opted for the midnight snail ferry that would take 6 hours.  We had no choice, considering that would be our only day in Santorini and we didn’t want to waste any more time.  As I grabbed my replacement tickets and headed out the door of the travel agency, the line had gotten even longer.  At this rate there was no guarantee people at the back would even make it to the front of the counter by midnight!  Naturally, I was swarmed by people wanting to know what the deal was.

Oh, and by the way, according to the travel agency, there was apparently another big ferry which docked next to us at around 4pm that could have taken us to Santorini by that day (though this was refuted by some).  Unfortunately the staff on our Superjet boat forgot to mention it.

Conclusion

With another 6 hours on our hands, we decided it was time to tour the island of Melos.  The tourism office was open and the lady there was very friendly and helpful.  We took a cab up to the village of Plaka, with its traditional narrow pathways and pretty white and blue buildings.  It only took about 30 minutes but it was well worth it.  We followed that up with a hearty dinner, some more icecream and then a leisurely stroll along the banks.  Melos wasn’t anything special but at least we got to experience another island.

Melos Plaka

Plaka in Milos is full of buildings like this

Given everything that had happened, we weren’t going to relax until we got on that boat.  And it did come, eventually, after several false alarms, at just after midnight.  We were crammed into the lower deck, with rows of wide seats that were slightly more comfortable than what you would get on a Business Class flight.  Good enough for us.  We were exhausted and we needed to get some sleep.  After all, we needed to cram a day and a half of activities in Santorini into one.

We finally arrived at Santorini at around 6:30am, roughly 23 hours after departing Athens and 18.5 hours after the scheduled arrival.

If you’ve read this far, then I don’t really need to say it, but I will, just in case.  Avoid taking small boats when island hopping in Greece.  Chances are, you won’t be as unlucky as we were, but apparently our experience was not uncommon.  Play it safe.  The larger ferries may be slower, but at least you’re more or less guaranteed to get there on time.  And they’re cheaper too.

Thoughts on Oscars doubling Best Picture nominations to 10

June 27, 2009 in Entertainment by pacejmiller

Academy-Award-Oscar

The first time I saw this reported in the news I thought it was a hoax, but I’ve seen the headline too many times now to know it’s for real: the Oscars are doubling their nominations for Best Picture from 5 to 10.

This begs the question: why?

This is not a new invention.  I wasn’t aware of this before, but the Academy used to have 10 Best Picture nominees all the time back in the 30s and 40s.

I’m not sure this is such a great idea though.

According to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Sid Ganis, “Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going to allow Academy voters to recognise and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize.”

I guess that means it will allow more animated, foreign and documentary films to make the Best Picture list, but is that really necessary?  The whole point of having separate categories for different types of films is to recognise the fact that there are different types of films.  And if an animated, foreign or documentary film is truly good enough, then it ought to be nominated in the Best Picture category as well (and there are precedents for this, such as Life is Beautiful and Beauty and the Beast).  But doesn’t this just dilute the prestige of the Best Picture category?

Sure, there are controversies every year, such as when The Dark Knight missed out on a nomination this year.  However, doubling the nominees won’t do much to help because there will always be films on the fringe that just miss out.  And let’s be honest – what are the genuine odds of an animated or documentary (and to a lesser extent, foreign) film actually winning the Best Picture category?  Yes, nomination equals recognition but personally I prefer to see a field of nominees where ALL have a chance of winning.  I suppose the counter argument is that we already have the problem of there being 1 or 2 ‘favourites’ every year out of the 5 that almost always end up taking out the award, so simply adding a further 5 nominees with no chance won’t make much of a difference.  But you see where I’m coming from.

the_dark_knight_quad_poster

Was The Dark Knight's Best Picture snub the reason?

This also potentially increases another problem – if an animated, foreign or documentary film gets nominated for Best Picture, how does that affect the animated, foreign and documentary film categories?  Does it mean the film will automatically win the award for that category?  It wouldn’t quite make sense if a film is considered a candidate for ‘Best Picture’ overall and yet fail to take out its own category, would it?  Note this problem already exists now, but doubling the number of nominees means we’re more likely to see it occur.

I’m sure studio executives would welcome the move, because it essentially doubles the odds of being able to put ‘Best Picture Oscar Nominee’ on a movie poster or DVD cover, which certainly wouldn’t harm sales.  But from the perspective of the casual (or avid) movie fan, this change feels somewhat puzzling.

Graduation and Reflection

June 26, 2009 in Blogging, Novel, On Writing by pacejmiller

Well, today I graduated, obtaining a Master of Law from the University of Cambridge (their 800th year!).

The usual group photo was taken in the morning (according to college rather than course), which was especially unbearable because of the heat (unusual for UK, even in the summer) and the fact that we were suited up and draped in gowns and hoods didn’t help.  It was brutal, and they were really slow and disorganised.  One would have thought that after taking such photos literally thousands of times over a hundred years a decent system could have been devised…

We then dispersed and returned after lunch for a brief rehearsal, when the sky opened up and rain began pouring down, though fortunately it cleared up again before we made our march down to the graduation hall.  We were treated like celebrities, with people gawking, photographing and clapping all the way there.  It was weird.

The ceremony itself was quick and sweet.  As the more ‘senior’ members of the graduating group (the majority were undergraduates), we were up first.  Nothing against tradition, but it felt a little pretentious to me with all the gowns and funny hats and men carrying metal staffs, the master sitting on the throne, having to grasp the finger of the praelector (seriously, we did) and lots of phrases thrown around purely in Latin which no one understood (they could have been saying anything!).  I should have been prouder but I just wanted to escape from the stuffy heat!

What did I feel?  Surprisingly, not much.  Quite empty, really.  Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the entire degree only took 9 months (or to be more specific, 24 weeks, or 3 terms of 8 weeks each).  Or maybe because my mind was preoccupied with other more interesting aspects of my life for the majority of the time (though make no mistake, I studied as hard as I could (maybe…) for the exams).

I think rather than securing my LLM, I will remember this year more for the amazing places we visited in Europe, starting this blog, and finally getting serious about my novel, which I fully intend to continue pursuing and finish.  Whether it gets published or not in the end is no longer that important to me anymore.

I’m really more disappointed that this long vacation is over and I’ll be heading back to work before the end of the year.  Oh well…

Review: the Peloponnese and Delphi by Taxi!

June 25, 2009 in Travel by pacejmiller

The Temple of Apollo at Delphi

The Temple of Apollo at Delphi

For those visiting Athens in small groups or are willing to dish out a little extra cash, you may want to consider hiring a taxi for a day or two to visit places outside the capital.  As a sucker for ancient ruins and Greek mythology, my family of 4 (parents, wife and myself) took two separate day trips by taxi to the east side of the Peloponnese (Corinth, Mycenae and Nafplio) and Delphi, some of the most amazing and fascinating places in all of Greece.  Here’s what I thought of it.

Why taxi?

All-day taxi hire prices in Greece are generally quite reasonable, and there are plenty of services around that specialize in such tours.  We went with Greece Taxi (which was the cheapest by a slim margin) but there are lots of others such as Greek Taxi and George the Famous Taxi Driver of Greece

The only con I can think of is of course the lack of a knowledgeable tour guide.  Your taxi driver may know a little general information, but they are not experienced guides who will be able to answer all your questions.  However, if you are like me and like to read things up for yourself in your own time (either before or after), or if you are or are with people who just like to see things and know some basic stuff without going into the intricate details (such as my parents and my wife) then it might not make much of a difference.  Most of the sites provide a short outline and have information boards anyway.

My experience

Booking online in advance with Greece Taxi was easy and straightforward.  They were very fast in responding to inquiries and wrote and spoke excellent English.

Both tours were also pleasant, though if I were to pick one I would go for Delphi (which I’m told is the msot popular one-day tour).  Before I arrived in Greece, I was most looking forward to the Peloponnese trip, but if you were going to visit just one place outside of Athens, I would recommend Delphi.

The Peloponnese (Corinth, Mycenae, Nafplio)

Corinth Canal

The spectacular Corinth Canal

Our driver Bill arrived a little late due to traffic, but when we called up the office to check they were very apologetic and good about it.  Bill was pretty funny, and spoke enough English to communicate and tell us a bit about the places we were going to.  The funniest thing was that he printed off info off the web for us and added his own comments and corrections to them.

Bill drove like an absolute demon, going up to 160-180 km/h, but for the most part he was in control.  The first stop was Corinth Canal, which was spectacular to look for a little while.   Then we headed to the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth (at one time one of the 3 major powers in Greece), where we got to see the majestic Temple of Apollo (there seemed to be quite a few of these in Greece).  Much of the place was in ruins but there was enough to see (including a small museum) to get your money’s worth.  Entry was 7 Euros per person (free for EU students!).  About 60-90 minutes was sufficient for us.

Ancient Corinth

The Temple of Apollo at Ancient Corinth

Next we headed to the ancient city of Mycenae, also worth a look but probably the one place I would personally skip if there was something else better (and there probably was, read on).  The Mycenean acropolis is perched on a hill and you have to walk up to see the various archaelogical finds.  The highlights include the Lion Gate at the entry and Grave Circle A, which dates back to 16th Century BC.  Roughly 45 minutes to an hour is ample time.  Entry is 8 Euros each (students free).

Mycenae

The Mycenaean acropolis

The third stop was the beautiful seaside town of Nafplio, we we had a lengthy albeit expensive lunch, while Bill went to visit his cousin and grandmother.  After lunch we went to visit Palamidi Castle up on the hill, one of the most underrated attractions on the Peloponnese.  The castle was most probably our highlight of the day, and we spent about 2 hours there as there was much to see and explore.  You can go right in and see the well-preserved bastions (as it was built in the early 19th Century) – it was a true architectural masterpiece, and the views overlooking the sea were magnificent.  Entry is 4 Euros (students free).  We had a feeling that you can easily spend a couple of days in Nafplio.

Palamidi 1

The very underrated Palamidi Castle in Nafplio

Unfortunately, Bill told us that time had run out and it was time to head back to Athens.  Here’s an important tip: make sure you know what’s on your itinerary.  We didn’t, so we didn’t know that we were supposed to visit Epidavros (or Epidaurus) and its famous theatre on the way back.  We did inquire about it but Bill told us there wasn’t enough time to fit it in the schedule (even though we stuck to his time recommendations at each location).  I had a feeling Bill was trying to get home early for the day, as we arrived back at our hotel an hour earlier (so our trip was 9 hours instead of the 10 we paid for).  So it was a little disappointing because I was really looking forward to seeing the theatre, and we actually did have time to go see it but were kind of tricked out of it.  Apart from that bitter pill the rest of the trip was awesome.

Palamidi 2

Some views from the top of Palamidi Castle

Delphi

Our driver today was David, who spoke perfect English (as he was originally living in Melbourne).  David also drove like a demon, but he maxed out at around 160 km/h.  It took a little while but we eventually reached the town of Levadia, where we stopped to take some photos.  There wasn’t enough time to see the Castle there but we did get to see the water wheel, some running water, stone bridges and a nymph statue – all very pretty.

Levadia

The Nymph at Levadia

We had another short stop (for coffee) just before reaching the town of Arachova (popular in the winter for skiiers), where we took some fantastic shots of the little houses perched on the hill.  Then we drove through the town’s narrow streets and eventually reached the brilliant, must-see archaelogical site of Delphi.  In my opinion if you see Delphi then you can live not seeing any other archaelogical sites in Greece.  It’s not only huge but also extraordinarily well preserved and there was so much to see (including a small museum).  It was, after all, considered by ancient Greeks as the centre of the world, and was where the Oracle once sat and delivered advice from the gods.

Arachova

The bustling town of Arachova

The combined entry ticket (site and museum) is 9 Euros (students free again!).  For me, the highlights were of course the Temple of Apollo, the Theatre (to make up for the one missed in Epidavros) and the Hall of the Knidians right at the top.  The view was amazing and only got better and better as you walked up.

Note that the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaea is literally just down the road, but as we didn’t see any signs pointing towards it we missed it.  Make sure you don’t!

We actually spent a little too much time at Delphi (like 3 hours) because we liked it so much, and consequently decided to skip lunch and head back to Athens early.  We arrived only a few minutes to the 9-hour limit we paid for due to traffic.

The Theatre and Temple at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi

The Temple and Theatre at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi

Conclusion

I would definitely recommend getting a taxi for day trips from Athens (or even a couple of days to go further inland like Sparta and Oympia in the Peloponnese or Meteora).  The price is reasonable if you have 3 or more people, you save a great deal of time and the drivers are friendly but don’t get in your way.  Particularly in the summer it can be great getting back to a nicely air-conditioned car.  Just be smart and be aware of your itinerary and the places you want to visit so you don’t miss out on anything like we did.  If there are changes you would like to make then it’s best to discuss them up front with your driver.

PS: Due to a request I have enlarged the photos by, wait for it, 2%…seriously, I’m working on it.

Review: Day Cruise to Hydra, Poros, Aegina (Greece)

June 24, 2009 in Travel by pacejmiller

Beautiful Hydra

Beautiful Hydra

One of the more popular tours available from Athens is the day cruise to the Greek islands of Hydra, Poros and Aegina off the Saronic gulf.  If you have a look around on the net for day cruises around Athens this will be the one that pops up the most, and there are plenty of companies to choose from.

Last week we (my wife, parents and myself) went on this cruise as part of our stay in Athens.  Was it any good?

Well, overall I’d say it was pretty good.  Not great, but if you have limited time and want to see some islands, then it could be worthwhile.

Details

For starters, it is a little pricey.  If you book online in advance (which we didn’t), you can probably save roughly 10 Euros or so, but we booked at our hotel and it cost 98 Euros per person (392 Euros all up).  That’s rather steep for a day, even if lunch is included.  Note we went in mid-June, which is nearing peak season, but I’m not aware of price fluctuations according to time of year.

The good thing about this tour is that there is pick-up from and drop-off to your hotel (or at least nearby), particularly important because (1) departure time is an early 8:00am; and (2) Piraeus port, from which the ship departs (about 30 minutes in morning traffic from Syntagma Square), can be darn confusing if you make your own way there.  You can expect to arrive back at Piraeus around 7:30pm, just in time to return to your hotel for dinner.

The ship

The ship we took was decent, with 3 spacious floors and lots of tables and chairs and counters selling snacks and beverages.  The bottom floor was where you would go for inquiries and where everyone has lunch.  It’s cooler but darker than the other floors.  The second floor was where we hung out, air conditioned inside but you can go outside when you wanted some sun.  There was also a little gift shop at the far end.  The third (and top_ floor was predominantly without shade, for those who want to get maximum sun exposure.  There is plenty of space and we had no trouble getting our own tables and seats.

The only time we had to share a table was during lunch, when everyone crammed into the bottom floor.  The lunch, by the way, was well organised, with 3 courses but, as expected, had very average food.

To me, it was important that the ship was comfortable, considering that we would spend most of our time on it (rather than the islands).

The islands

All that's left of the Temple of Apollo on Aegina All that’s left of the Temple of Apollo on Aegina

Different cruises take different routes.  Our one went to Hydra first, then Poros and lastly Aegina.  Others I’ve seen go the opposite way.  Hydra is hands down the best of the 3 in my humble opinion, and it’s a bit of a shame we went there first because it made the remaining islands a little disappointing in comparison (or at least too similar).  But make no mistake, all 3 islands are very beautiful (though not as spectacular as say Santorini).  The waters and the architecture are simply exquisite.

Time spent on the islands is rather limited.  We had 1 and a half hours for Hydra, 45 minutes for Poros and 1 hour and 45 minutes for Aegina (all up that equals 4 hours and 15 minutes on the islands, meaning around 7 hours on the boat).  Consequently, don’t expect to go very far inland (except for Aegina if you take the optional tour), and realistically all you have time to do is explore the coastline around the ship, taking a few happy snaps along the way.  Maybe have a drink or an ice cream.

On Aegina, you have the opportunity to pay extra to go on optional tours.  We didn’t so I don’t know if it was worth it, but it was 25 Euros for the ‘attractions’ tour (which includes the famous Temple of Athena Aphaia) and 22 Euros for the ‘scenic’ tour.  While it would have been great to see the Temple, the price was a bit too much in my opinion so we decided to walk around instead, and we even had time to walk to the ruins of the Temple of Apollo, which wasn’t much to be honest.  If we wanted to we probably could have taken a local taxi to check out those same sights for a fraction of the price (as we had 4 people).

Conclusion

All up, it was a good, albeit long day, but given the price I kind of expected a little more.  They could have at least included the Aegina tour in the package.  If you are going to the other more famous  islands such as Mykonos or Santorini then you probably don’t need to see these islands if you think the cruise is too expensive or if you prefer using the day for a trip to the Peloponnese or Delphi (which is a lot more worthwhile). 

In my opinion it probably would have been better to skip Poros and allow more time on Aegina and in particular Hydra.  Or perhaps you may prefer to make your own way to those islands to spend a bit more time there (like a day or two), because you really don’t get more than just a tiny taste of them on this cruise.

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