Treasures of the Aegean



  • Sealord
    The subject of changing money came up on another thread. You don’t want to buy any Turkish Lira either.

    The place where we had lunch on Ephesus day gave us a lecture and demonstration of carpet weaving. Whadya know, they sell carpets too and will take any legal tender if you buy one!!!! :D The staff put on quite a choreographed carpet show/sales pitch. There was one couple in our group who had just purchased a new house- they bought several carpets for it!$!$!$!$!$!$ :o

  • The carpets puchased in Turkey are delivered in the United States by a salesman with a truck full of carpets. My traveling companion ending up buying additional carpets to match the one she bought in Turkey! Beware. :-)

  • Doing Treasures of the Aegean in late September. A friend just returned from a similar trip with Viking. She said that the sea was so rough near Mykonos that the tenders could not ferry the passengers to the island. They just skipped the whole island and stayed on the ship. Does that happen with Windstar? Does Tauck substitute anything? I certainly realize that Tauck does not control the weather, but I'd like to be mentally prepared for disappointments.

  • edited August 2023

    Once you are aboard Wind Star you go wherever the ship and Windstar take you since there are as many or more non-Tauck passengers as there are Tauck passengers. I don't believe Tauck has much of a say.

    Due to a dispute between Greece and Turkey several late 2021 departures did not stop at Kusadasi port/Ephesus in Turkey. I believe a stop at some other island was substituted. Also, it is not uncommon for the seas to be too heavy, even if the tenders can take people ashore in Mykonos, the excursion to Delos is sometimes cancelled. I don't think there is any set alternatives and don't know if Tauck will reimburse you any amount for missed ports- "Tauck reserves the right to modify . . . . . "

    FYI, while looking to see where Wind Star went when Ephesus was not included (it was Milos, where the Louvre's Venus de Milo was discovered), I found a nice blog of the Wind Star visit that happened a few months after we went in 2022. The blogger was not with Tauck.

    Here is a 2022 Tauck thread about Treasures of the Aegean, including discussions of Ephesus, fires/smoke, temperature, heavy seas, etc.

  • Recompense depends on what is missed.

    We were on a Tauck Ponant trip in the Mediterranean Sea several years ago. The seas were extremely rough. I believe it was the western end of a cyclone in the Adratic (my friend was in Greece at the same time and had torrential rains, etc.) We missed several ports and were air lifted out of Malta on a corporate jet to get on the ship in Sicily. The ship had not replenished its kitchen since it could not get to Malta so we had a slim, cold dinner. We were glad to be underway! One moring, the Captain said that "he did not drive too well" as the ship had left the sea one evenng. Our breakfast and tables landed in the ocean one morning! Quite an adventure. The weeks before and after I understand had excellent weather. Tauck offered $1000 each to be used on a future trip.

    Ship was smaller than the Windstar, most rooms very similar to the Windstar. We were midship and slept like a baby!

    On another trip, the Colosseum was flooded and we could not visit. We got a popup book of the Collesseum instead! We had been there before and it was a cute book.

  • I almost never say this, but the Delos excursion was as Alan explained, mostly pieces of stone and excavation. I was there on an extremely hot morning and by the second hour, everyone had seen enough. Our guide would point to a stone on the ground and talk for 20 minutes about what once stood there. I realize Delos was once the epicenter of Greek culture, however, very little is left. There is no shade at all, so beware of that. Would I recommend seeing it? I am not sure. I never want to miss anything I could experience, so I suppose I am glad I went, but really not so sure.

  • I can tell you how I would have felt and it wouldn’t be to stand in extreme for any length of time. I have experienced that in many places around the world and it’s not a pleasant experience. I would be wishing I were somewhere else and consequently not listening to the guide very well. I understand exactly what you are saying about standing in the spot of an ancient civilization. In a situation like that, I personally would learn more by watching an excellent documentary on Delos than suffering with the temperature.

  • There is a simple answer, chose a date when it is a cooler time of year.

  • Good Morning! We are on the Treasures of the Aegean on September 20th. Can anyone tell me how the air quality is in and around Athens from the wild fires?

  • Hi, you can google any questions like this and find a website with current details. The iPad I am using appears to be on private browsing mode right now and so I can’t copy and paste an example website and don’t want to mess with any settings until I can gain help from a sleeping husband

    Athens Air Pollution:
    Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI)

    I would also ask Alexa but that would wake him
    We have to remember these days that we have wonderful online resources for just about any question
    Your main challenge right now could be heat and floods.
    Have a great time and please post a review on your return.

  • We leave for this trip on Tuesday. Athens has cooled off a bit … temps in the low to mid 80’s in the day time and 70’s at night.

  • Sealord - Have you done this tour before? I know you're one of the Windstar Super-Elite, Platinum, 5-Star I've sailed a billion times members.

  • edited September 2023

    No Sam. We’ve not done the Aegean cruise. We have been to Ephesus before, and to Athens a number of times. Our daughter did her semester abroad in Athens. London to Athens was the last leg of my DC-8 Captain upgrade, and when we got on the elevator at the Caravel hotel we found ourselves nose to nose with John and Bo Derek. Later that day Bo bought drinks for all of our flight attendants in the lobby bar. I don’t know where I was, but I missed out on that one. And, yes we have been on the Wind Star before on a trip to Central America. It’s a small boat but lots of fun, and they serve very good food. The Chef normally buys food at the local markets, and that sometimes becomes a shore excursion with passengers tagging along. We would probably be five star in the Yacht Club, but four star is their top tier. The benefits are quite good. We missed doing a Windstar trip last year, but we will be on the Wind Star next week, and then we cruise for two weeks on the Wind Surf in January.

  • Sealord - I couldn't remember all the details, but I knew you have travelled with WindStar a lot.

    I think you'll love the tour. That said, I think it was a much better tour back when it included Istanbul.

    Enjoy your trip. Look forward to your comments and pictures.

  • We have done Athens, and Ephesus, and Istanbul, so any more repeats would possibly reduce the experience. I do a lot of ‘repeats’, but Istanbul is not on the list. I enjoyed our one visit. We were traveling with a couple who loved to negotiate. They would get right up to the payment point and say, no .. we don’t want it. We got thrown out of one ‘carpet’ place, and one ‘leather’ place. I’m sure the salesmen were looking at big dollar signs and suddenly … poof. We still travel with them, but we don’t shop with them. At shopping time, we go our separate ways.

  • A comment about food on Wind Star- one night we had a cookout buffet aft on the bar/pool deck- it was amazing- great food, unbelievable variety and selections- literally something for every taste, and large quantities of everything. It was many times better than any Tauck buffet we have ever had!

  • edited September 2023

    Yes … the cookout buffets are a signature item on a Windstar cruise. It can get pretty exciting when it rains. I’ve seen them move the whole shabang indoors in a matter of minutes. Of course, the cooks and the stoves stay outside in the rain.

    I might add, that in the Caribbean they do a beach barbecue also, which is equally impressive. They bring in all of the ‘beach’ toys from the sports platform, and put on a spectacular beach barbecue. We always go in on the first boats to get chairs in the shade. Our favorite one is on Pigeon island.

  • Sealord -  Their website states a drink package and you pay for excursions separately.  When travelling with Tauck and Windstar I assume this is not the case.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.  I don't like nickel and dime stuff.

  • Noreen - When we did this tour with Tauck it had the typical Tauck pricing and inclusions - drinks and excursions were included.

  • edited September 2023

    Noreen: There will be non-Tauck guests on the ship in addition to our people. The drinks and excursions are included for the Tauck guests, as is the Wifi. The Windstar guests must pay for those things. Tauck will give you a pin to wear that identifies you as a Tauck guest, but in about a day all of the ship people will know you are Tauck, they will probably know you by name, and they will likely know what you like to drink. Except for the dinner at the library the Tauck excursions will be different than the Windstar excursions. The Windstar guests will not be on the Tauck excursions.

  • Gettin serious now. I’m a last minute packer. Eloise, of Plaza Hotel fame, has.been packing for a week.

  • Sealord and Smiling Sam - Thank you!

  • Actually, it just occurred to me that it might be interesting to do a Windstar cruise as a Windstar guest when Tauck is also aboard. This will only be our second Tauck trip on Windstar, but we have been aboard Windstar I think eighteen times. The Windstar’s crew get moved from ship to ship depending on when they end their ‘vacation’ period, so they get scattered around. We normally know around ten or twelve of the crew from previous cruises. They of course meet thousands of people, but they always remember us. People from the Philippines in particular are amazing with faces and names … and music.

  • Sealord and Smiling Sam - Thank you!

  • Sealord - When you go on Windstar cruises how is the payment for excursions handled? Also, they have a drink package. How does that work? We haven't travelled with them as I was wondering how they compared to Tauck and Silversea?

  • You need to let your fingers do the walking a little. It is all clearly described on the Windstar webstie.

  • Sealord - we leave two weeks from today for the Sept 28 tour. If something arises on your trip that you can share to help us out on ours (changes, heads-up, anything) please let us know if you can. I love learning from people's experiences, successes, mistakes, observations).

  • Now In Athens after suffering an ugly flight combo. 6:15 am out of SFO … 2:15 wake-up. Arrived in Athens early after about 15 hours flying and a three hour JFK layover. NY based AA crew was awful. I will avoid JFK in the future travels. I flew for AA and I never saw a crew this bad.

  • edited September 2023

    For those who might be interested in the pool bar menue at the Hotel Grande Bretagne.

  • Sealord - Nice menu at the GB Pool. It's not exactly a cheap place to eat.

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