We arrived at the cruise port around 9am knowing that we would have to be bused to Trieste. Our AirBnB host was nice enough to call us a minivan taxi and we all rode together. It was about 40 euros with tip. It was a pretty quick process on arrival to Venice cruise port. We dropped our luggage there, got tickets for the buses, checked in and all we had to do after our 2 hour journey to Trieste was get on the ship!
We ended up booking balcony rooms this cruise because we were able to get one right next to my parents. I’ve been getting insides and portholes lately, but the balcony was a welcome addition. It was pretty affordable still at $2000 for the 4 of us for the week. We probably could have gotten off the ship a bit to explore but none of us were feeling overly adventurous to get off and figure out how to get back on.
I didn’t take a lot of ship photos since we cruised her last Thanksgiving. The kids also didn’t go to the kids club much, it was really crowded and my daughter who usually really enjoys the clubs didn’t like the crowds and my son wanted to go since there were more kids but he doesn’t like to go alone. It was also just jammed pack with no sea days and with Grandma and Grandpa on board we chose to just spend our time together mostly. I did make a few of the shows and enjoyed them though. Dinners were good, only one night that we couldn’t really find anything we liked (Thanksgiving night, midway they offered us a traditional Thanksgiving meal though).
Bari felt pretty much like it was only on the itinerary to pick up other guests. The weather wasn’t good at all that day and I realized I didn’t take a single photo. My husband separated from us and walked a couple miles to a beer store he’d been to in the past when he was in the area for work. We went to the Basilica and saw where St Nicholas is said to be buried. We then did a little shopping in the rain and headed back to the ship. My kids did enjoy the Disney store though and picked up a Forky plush from the Toy Story 4 movie.
We had a great tour guide in Olympia. The kids really enjoyed it and they also really enjoyed the stop at Klio’s Honey and the bee farm. It was definitely worth the private tour to not be with the mass of crowds that we saw coming in after us. I would definitely book again. https://www.katakolotaxi.gr
It’s not huge secret that Santorini is one of my favorite places anywhere. It’s so beautiful to me and I knew since I first saw that we could book a photoshoot that I wanted some photos done professionally there… one little thing they left out is that the sun would be in your eyes the WHOLE time! Haha. We still managed to get a few good professional ones and lots of good ones on our own also. The kids loved the cats and tolerated the photos decently.
In case you didn’t know MSC status matches to other cruise lines. I know I’ve mentioned this in the past but will again (they also match to hotel statuses). Anyways, point is that because I’m Gold we were able to easily get on the first tender crazy early in the morning. Definitely worth getting off early as we were also able to get onto the cable car easily. We also left early enough to avoid lines on the way back down. No walking in donkey poop! We got a few pics in before walking to Gold Street Travel (which was a bit difficult to find, thankfully our phones GPS worked fine). Our taxi driver was definitely that… a driver. He didn’t have a ton of history or info, but he was really friendly and helpful. http://www.goldstreetsostistravel.com.gr and here is our photographers Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lifestylephotographysantorini/
The previous Thanksgiving when we did our 12 night cruise we stopped in Athens and I booked with PK Travel. They’re great. We paid again for the tour guide in addition to the driver. We didn’t want to do the museum tour again so we added on a couple other things and headed back a little earlier. This was Thanksgiving day for us and we had an amazing meal at my favorite restaurant near the museum called Arcadia. https://www.pktravelgreece.com
Since I did a taxi tour last year I just wanted a more relaxing day. We chose to walk into town from the ship instead of using the bus (the shuttle seems expensive and the walk was nice). It’s not too far, maybe 30 minutes to the shopping area. The town was super cute and we enjoyed the fort also.
This was definitely the surprise of the trip! We did a big Croatia trip in 2018 with my cousin and her family and while similar it was totally different too. The town was super cute and the people were SUPER friendly. We enjoyed just walking around. The walled area is huge and much bigger than I expected. I’m sure some of the boat trips would be nicer in warmer weather but not so much the end of November. My kids were obsessed with the cats… I think we counted over 100.
Disembarkation, Last Day in Mestre
The cruise ended in Trieste instead of Venice, we didn’t find out for sure until a couple days before we were getting off. We wanted to take the bus to the Mestre train station instead of back to the port of Venice since our hotel (Staycity which was great) was near the train station. After a bit of confusion at guest services they helped us get the right luggage tags the night prior to do so. Disembarkation was pretty smooth, the normal chaos that happens on MSC honestly. It’s the one area that I feel like MSC lacks… communication. People don’t ever know what’s going on and if they do they don’t tell guests.
We chose to go to the Christmas market in Mestre and have dinner and just relax after an intense week of sightseeing. We had an amazing cruise overall and I wouldn’t hesitate to book the same cruise again. So much to see that we didn’t do. I still really enjoy MSC and they still have so many itineraries going to places I haven’t been yet.