Cruising / Greece / Port Days / etc.

Channeling Game of Thrones in Rhodes, Greece

When we were scheduled to debark from Venice on our latest Med Cruise, gale-forced winds picked up and closed the port.  We left eight hours late and were not able to visit our first scheduled port of Dubrovnik, Croatia.  It had been years since my last Dubrovnik visit, and I had wanted to wander around the medieval city and see if I could recognize filming locations for the TV Series Game of Thrones.  We had two sea days before we arrived in Rhodes, Greece. It was a perfect Greek island day with sun and temps in the low 70s. 

Award travel / Cruising / Delta / etc.

Our Recent Mediterranean Cruise in Miles, Points, and Cash

Mediterranean cruise

  Back in August I found this Mediterranean cruise itinerary for a great price.  We were looking forward to several months of intense daily babysitting and decided that we would need a relaxing break during our next travel opportunity.  We just took this cruise over Thanksgiving and this is how we put it together using airline miles, hotel points, and unfortunately, cash. The Cruise We decided to book a 7-day round-trip out of Venice on Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas.  There were two reasons we chose this cruise–great itinerary and great price.  Bruce had not been to Venice

American Airlines / Award travel / Delta / etc.

The Year So Far in Miles, Points, and Trips

Here’s how we’ve used our miles and points so far this year: ♦ January—Crete–120K United miles in Economy for two round trip Atlanta to Heraklion.  Killer 5 legs on the outbound. Thankful for Star Alliance lounge access!  Used 20K IHG points for Holiday Inn in Vienna on layover back to Atlanta. ♦ January–25K American Airlines miles round trip in Economy for one plus a lap infant Montreal to Atlanta.  Flew my grandson and his mom for a visit to see us. ♦ February–Road trip Atlanta to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to carry grandson, his mom, and their dog, who had been

Award travel / Credit and Debit Cards / Cruising / etc.

I’m in the Process of Dropping the Ball on my Chase Free Night

I have a free night certificate with IHG hotels that I need to use by the end of next month.  The free night is a perk of the IHG MasterCard issued by Chase.  Several years ago when I was applying for every travel rewards credit card under the sun, I got this one for myself and  my husband. The bonus points are long gone (actually we got 80K bonus points), but I pay an annual fee of $49 to keep the card because I get a free night at any IHG property, even the swanky InterContinentals.  So it really

Credit and Debit Cards / Cruising / Greece / etc.

Athens Greece Hotels Using Points

Staying in central Athens will position you for seeing the major sites easily.  If you are in Athens to meet a cruise, it is always a good idea to fly in at least a day ahead of time.  My mantra for flying to meet cruises is one day ahead for domestic departures, and two days ahead for overseas embarkations. If you fly in two days ahead, you can take advantage of my two suggested itineraries found here.  If you have a choice of staying before or after your cruise, I am recommending that you do your stay pre-cruise.  This

Cruising / General travel / Greece / etc.

Port Day in Athens Itineraries

Athens makes a wonderful port day, because the main sites are easily accessible from the port of Piraeus, and all the main sites are clustered within walking distance in the city center.  I will propose a couple of one-day itineraries that you can use if you are here on a cruise-ship stop.  If you are staying here pre- or post- cruise and have some extra days, you can do the two itineraries back-to-back. I will offer you two itineraries–the jam-packed high energy, outdoor, see-it all day, or a more reflective, indoor, lazy day itinerary. 1.  See-It-All Itinerary The Acropolis

Cruising / General travel / Greece

The Great Greek Port of Piraeus

Whether you are meeting your cruise ship for a Greek island cruise, or you are vacationing anywhere in the Greek islands, you will most like find yourself in the port city of Piraeus. Piraeus also makes a wonderful cruise ship port day.  All the main historical sites are in the central part of the city, which you can reach by bus or metro, and you can walk from site to site. Piraeus is located about 7 miles southwest of Athens, and was settled in the early 5th century BC. It has served as the main port of Athens since

Award travel / Credit and Debit Cards / Greece / etc.

Do It Yourself Greek Islands Cruise–Part 8–Flying Economy on Star Alliance— Thessaloniki–Frankfurt–Atlanta

I had booked our award tickets for the return flight home back in January on the United website.  At the time, I only had enough miles in my United account for economy class tickets, so we used 60,000 miles for two one-way economy tickets.  Details of how I booked the flights can be found on this blog entry from April.  We were to fly Aegean Air from Thessaloniki to Athens in the afternoon, and Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Atlanta the next morning. As I mentioned in my post about our last day in Greece, we spent some time at

General travel / Greece

Do It Yourself Greek Islands Cruise–Part 7–Thessaloniki

We got off the ferry from Samothrace at about 9:30 in the morning.  There was no compelling reason to hang around Alexandroupoli.  Alex, as the locals sometimes call it, has the look of many towns and cities that you see in the Mediterranean–concrete buildings about 5-6 stories tall, and streets clogged with cars. The 5 hour bus ride landed us right in the center of Thessaloniki (usually called Saloniki by Greeks) , where we had reserved the Hotel Kastoria.  The Kastoria, at 25E a night with shared bath, was once an elegant hotel, but now has the aura of

Cruising / General travel / Greece

Do It Yourself Greek Islands Cruise–Part 6–Samothrace

Somehow the northernmost island of our trip, Samothrace, had positioned itself as the goal of our trip.  This mountainous island, famous for the site where the Winged Victory of Samothrace (now in the Louvre) was uncovered, would be the least touristed island that we visited.  It was also the most logistically difficult island to reach. At Myrina, Lemnos we boarded the Hellenic Seaways Mikinos (for the second time on this trip) for our trip to Kavala on the mainland.  Deck class tickets were 15E each for the 3 hour trip.  We had about three hours to explore Kavala before