Hey there! My name is Amanda from Amanda Castleberry Photography!
So excited to be guest posting on Traveling Triplets.

I recently got back from a Mediterranean Cruise to Greece, Turkey, Spain, Italy, and Monaco! It was an absolute dream and I can’t wait to share some of my photos as well as some highlights. We saw so much and did so many different things that it’s hard to really narrow this post down. 
If you want to see more you can access my photos here

The details: Cruise Ship, Ruby Princess

Itinerary: Board in Venice Italy 

At Sea: Athens, Greece / Ephesus, Turkey / Istanbul, Turkey / Mykonos, Greece / 
Sorrento, Italy / Pompeii, Italy / Rome, Italy / Florence, Italy / 
Monte Carlo, Monaco / Barcelona, Spain

Ephesus Turkey: House of the Virgin Mary, Ruins of Ephesus (It will blow your mind), Temple of Artemis, Library of Celsus, Gate of Augustus, Tomb of John the Apostle, 44,000 seat theatre 
(largest in ancient world)

Istanbul Turkey: Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Grand Baazar

Mykonos Greece: Wandering the streets is the best thing here. So clean and perfect. Go see the famous pink pelican, rent four wheelers and tour the island, visit the windmills, swim in the ocean and eat an octopus tentacle (I admit, I wasn’t brave enough).

Sorrento Italy: Mt. Vesuvius, Pompeii, Watch the cameo artists, Sorrento Coast

Florence Italy: Shopping, The David, Gelato, If you want a piece of hand made art…
this is your place, Ponte Vecchio Bridge, Uffizi Gallery, Duomo, Baptistry, Academia

Venice Italy: Bell Tower in San Marco Square, Take Water Taxi out to Burano Island, Watch the glass blowers, Gelato in San Marco Square, Rialto Bridge, Dodge Palace, Get Lost…Seriously. If you just wander you will not be disappointed. Every corner of Venice has it’s own unique charm.

Monte Carlo Monaco: Hotel of Paris, Monte Carlo Casino, Yachts, Princes Palace, Monaco Cathedral, Jardin Extotique, Old Town Monaco

 My number one “bit” of advice…Save all of your pennies to see these places on a cruise! Cruises are expensive, but so SO worth it. We were able to wake up and be in a completely different place. The countries literally come to you while you are eating, swimming, partying and relaxing. It is PERFECT. Plus, I am going to give you a few pointers on how to save some $$ that some cruisers may not know. 

First, don’t book tours through the ship. Most people don’t realize that there will always be a group of hungry tour guides right off the ship for nearly ¼ of the price. Many assume booking tours through the cruise is the only way to go. 

Second, take the train or taxi. It’s safe! And reliable. You don’t need to take an expensive bus to get to the good stuff. Now just good tips for the cruiser. We flew in two days early to Venice, and stayed two days after the cruise in Madrid. Again, many people went home not even realizing that the cruise itinerary doesn’t give you time in the beginning and end ports. If you are comfortable enough to not book a tour at all once you are in the city, don’t. We saw so much and did so many things every day because we hopped in a cab and we were off to every single site we could squeeze in. 

Third, Don’t stress about language. 
Everyone near ports knows English. 
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  1. If visiting Istanbul and residing near Sultanahmet then you will be hounded by several tour guides offering you a hop-on hop-off tour of the Bhosphorus. I strongly recommend arranging tours through your hotel with I opted for the full day tour of the Bosphorus (on a boat) and Dolmabahce Palace Package Bear in mind that Dolmabahce Palace is closed on Monday and Thursday, and you cannot enter the palace without a guide.

    The agency will collect you from your hotel in the morning and you will be taken on a slow private boat cruise through the Golden Horn and along the Bosphorus. This is an amazing experience which enables you to take in the Ottoman architecture (including Topakapi Palace), the old city and the new city from a wonderful angle, and because the cruise begins at the Golden Horn you can view the entire peninsula and see Istanbul properly (utterly breathtaking). Additionally, a guide will explain all the buildings and their significance throughout which adds that little bit more. The cruise is followed by a drive and short walk towards Pierre Loti Hill and a cable car ride down the hill so you can view Istanbuls real skyline and amazing beauty. Subsequently, you are given a three-course meal (covered in the price of the tour) and en-route to lunch you will pass Constantinople's city walls which guidance throughout. Post-lunch you will spend 2.5 hours going through the Palace. The Palace is huge and not all rooms are open to view, but the tour takes your through the main quarters and each aspect is explained. You cannot take pictures inside the palace but the gardens are beautiful and you will have ample oppurtunity to snap away outside the garden. Finally, the tour drives you over the famous Bosphorus Bridge taking you from Europe into Asia and leading you towards Camlica Hill (highest peak in Istanbul). The view here is beyond description and you will be in utter amazement.

    The best thing about the experience was having a tour guide who was passionate about his history and culture.

    1. thank you so much for sharing! lots of great info here.

  2. wow amazing, and lovely photos. i must go there. yes yes yes!

  3. Beautiful photos. It looks like you had an amazing time on your trip.


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