FAQS/WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Before you travel to Greece, it is advisable to bear in mind the following:
- Call your bank or your credit card company to let them know that you will be using it in Greece.
- In order to have access to necessary health care it is wise to have all of the information with you about how to access your health care when travelling abroad and any emergency numbers required
- If you are considering using your cell phone while traveling internationally, it is a good idea to check with your cell provider concerning the accessibility and data charges for overseas calls, texting and emailing for your specific destination.
- Leave a copy of your tour itinerary at home with an emergency contact person as well as a copy of your passport. If there is an emergency at hotel and your family is not able to reach you at your hotel or ship, please direct them to call Aristotle travels emergency line at +30 210 8941417 and we will act swiftly to determine your whereabouts and ensure you are notified to call home immediately
- We recommend that you bring a photocopy of your passport, airline ticket, credit cards and driver’s license as well as the contact numbers for the credit card companies as this can help speed up replacements on those rare occasions when the originals are lost and also assist in cancelling credit cards if needed.
- We HIGHLY recommend you purchase Trip cancellation/Travel insurance to ensure peace of mind when travelling and we suggest that your policy should cover the following;
- Cancellation or curtailment of your vacation due to medical or other reasons
- Loss or damage to your property and baggage
- Loss of cash, credit cards etc.
- Medical costs and personal accidents.
**Also remember to bring a copy of your policy, contact phone numbers and details of how to claim with you.
Languages Spoken in Greece: Greek & English
Languages Spoken in Turkey: Turkish & English
Voltage: Electricity is 110 V straight / 220 V rounded. You will need to bring along the necessary converters/adaptors to operate any 120-volt appliances such as hair dryers, camera and cell phone chargers, etc.
- Please note, if your appliance has dual voltage you may still need an adaptor for the plug.
- When packing your electronic items for travel, please review the converter electric current level to make sure it is the same or greater than the items you are planning on using.
- If you plan on utilizing or transporting a sleep apnea machine, please remember to pack an extension cord and adapter plug to ensure proper function.
Time Zone: Greece is seven hours ahead of EST and two hours ahead of GMT.
Climate & average temperatures/rain fall
CLOTHING & PACKING TIPS
As you prepare to explore Greece, enjoy a casual dress style and be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes. It is recommended to bring clothing that may be worn in layers and may be added or removed as the temperature changes, especially during the spring and fall. For this sunny destination, we recommend bringing a hat and sunglasses. During the summer months, it is a good idea to pack very lightweight clothing. In the fall, pack light rainwear and a sweater or light jacket.
- When visiting monasteries or churches in Greece, knees and shoulders should be covered
- Locals tend to wear slightly dressier attire in local restaurants and hotel dining rooms.
FOR THE CRUISE: Casual, lightweight, resort wear clothing, swimwear and cover ups are recommended.
- A light jacket or sweater in case of a cool breeze or any unexpected rain. Depending on the time of year, the appropriate clothes will vary. Always remember to check the forecast in Greece before your departure from home.
- When in public areas or restaurants, swimsuits must be covered up with clothing. If, however, you wish to have lunch in your swim attire, you may enjoy a buffet meal on deck.
- Evening Wear: The shipboard daily program will inform you of the evening (after 6.00 p.m.) dress code onboard. The majority of evenings onboard are country club casual. You should feel comfortable and relaxed. Greek night – blue and white, the colors of the Greek flag!
- Comfortable pair of flat sneakers/shoes for walking are essential as you will be visiting archaeological sites with uneven terrain and cities with cobbled streets.
- If you bring a camera, don’t forget to have extra memory cards and batteries and be sure to bring enough photography supplies for your entire trip.
- Do not pack any articles of value in your checked luggage.
- Avoid over packing and leave room for souvenirs that you plan to take back home.
- If you are taking prescription medication, please be sure to take an adequate supply for your tour and a few additional days, in original prescription containers. Also, keep a copy of any prescriptions you may have for the medicine you are taking on your phone, or with you.
- Medication should be packed in your carry-on baggage. Do not place it in your checked luggage. You may want to carry an extra prescription in a separate bag in case your medication is lost.
- The local currency in Greece and on board the cruise ship is Euro and in Turkey USD & Euro. For your convenience, the cruise ship operates a cashless system. Your personal embarkation card allows you to charge to your shipboard account everything onboard except for transactions made at the casino. American Express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Debit cards or personal checks are not accepted. For those passengers not wishing to pay by credit card, payment can be made in cash.
- When planning how much money to bring, we suggest that you consider such things as spending money for meals that are not included e.g. lunches and beverages etc, as well as shopping, gratuities and any incidentals such as laundry or dry cleaning and so on.
- If you plan to purchase local currency before you travel, we suggest that you request notes of smaller denominations as many local stores and restaurants may not be willing to accept the higher ones. For example, if purchasing Euros, request denominations of €50, €20 and €10. That way, you will have the right amount to offer payment for anything from a cup of coffee to a three-course lunch!
Using Credit/Debit Cards
- When planning to use credit and debit cards in Europe we recommend that you notify your bank and Credit Card Company prior to your departure to provide them with information regarding where you are traveling and to obtain PIN codes if you do not already know them. This ensures that your provider will not deny payment because they think the transaction could be fraudulent. It is also good practice to have an overseas contact number for your bank and/or credit card company with you in the event that you need their assistance when traveling.
- Your personal bankcard should work at local ATM machines in the destination you are traveling to and will dispense local currency. This may be most convenient and offer the best available exchange rate especially since the availability of exchange houses and banks that will exchange money are decreasing. Please contact your bank to determine if this option is available, that your PIN number will be accepted, to inform them that you are traveling and to determine if any charges apply for each transaction. Most banks will charge a small fee for European ATM transactions.
- When using ATMs, please remember to only insert cards into machines bearing the logo of your particular card. Most machines have a maximum withdrawal limit and debit cards are preferable to credit cards as transaction fees are less.
- When making purchases with your credit card, you will be charged in local currency by the vendor and your credit card company will convert the charges based on the exchange rate that they implement. A fee is charged for this. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in most shops and restaurants. Please have identification with you for transactions
DEPARTURE FROM USA
Generally, check in times require guests to arrive at the airport a minimum of two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international flight. This allows you plenty of time to check in and pass through security to the boarding area. Online check-in means you can save time and fuss at the airport by checking in for your flight via the website prior to your arrival at the airport.
Please allow enough time to get to your flight – be aware that during busy travel periods or at airports with heightened security, you may experience longer queues. Boarding usually starts 30-45 minutes before departure and the gate generally closes 20-minutes prior to departure. Check with your airline to see what time check-in counters open.
AIRPORT CHECK IN
Everyone traveling, regardless of age, needs their own set of travel documents. All guests including children must have a machine-readable passport valid for six months after your trip return date along with any applicable visas. International travel doesn’t have to be tricky – just make sure your travel documents and required paperwork are in order. When you travel internationally, you are responsible for ensuring you have the correct documents to enter and pass through any countries during your trip, and then make your way back home.
Please note: Always use the information exactly as it appears on your passport (to book and complete any documents).
Please check your airline tickets carefully as many airlines have code share agreements with another airline. This means that you may travel from point of departure to point of destination using more than one carrier. If your ticket states “Flight operated by (airline)” you will need to check in with that airline and not the airline listed as the original carrier.
Traveling internationally may require you to change planes in major airports. Your airline will provide you with details of the minimum connection time required to transfer from one gate to another at each specific airport. We recommend that you check any connection times carefully and familiarize yourself with the airport layout prior to landing. When checking in for your flight, ensure you check in to your final destination so you do not need to claim luggage and re-check it during flight connections.
Before flying, you will go through airport security. These measures are in place to help maintain your safety, so familiarize yourself with the rules; this will help you pass through the security checks as quickly as possible. Restrictions on what you can take on board and in hand luggage varies from time to time and country to country, so we recommend you read the latest security advice before traveling. Please remember that although all airports must adhere to relevant aviation security requirements, security procedures may vary from airport to airport. More information can be found on the website of the airport you are flying from and usually from that of your airline or travel company.
CARRY ON LUGGAGE/LUGGAGE
Remember to check with the airlines for the limits on liquids/gels in carry on hand bags usually the maximum size per item allowed is 100ml that should be placed in a clear small plastic bag. Any liquids, including water bottles, that are larger than 100ml/3 oz. will be discarded by security. Common items that must comply with this rule include toothpaste, perfume, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. For a complete list of what is allowed and not allowed to bring on a plane, please check with your airline carrier.
Kindly note in Europe, coaches must comply with strict weight restrictions and laws regarding manual handling, therefore in order for your driver and the hotel porters to safely lift and transport your suitcase throughout your vacation, we strongly recommend that you have only 1 piece of check in luggage that does not exceed 23kg. Please label your luggage clearly.
Should your luggage be delayed by your airline, it is the airline’s responsibility to ensure that it is delivered to you while traveling. You must proceed to the lost and found desk in the arrival hall terminal and complete a claim form prior to exiting into the arrival hall area. You may wish to provide a copy of your hotel list so the baggage may be forwarded to you directly. Should your luggage be damaged – immediately go to the lost and found and complete a claim form prior to exiting in the arrival hall area.
PASSPORTS AND VISA REQUIREMENTS
Each guest must ensure that their passport is valid for at least six months beyond the conclusion of their trip and that all necessary visa and permits for the trip have been acquired.
In 2023, no visas are required for US passport holders to enter Greece, however this is subject to change in 2024. Please be sure to double check with the US Department of State for any updates to regulations:
Important note is that when visiting Turkey during a cruise, a visa is NOT required, as the cruise line has a special agreement with port authorities. (Since you will not stay overnight, your cruise ID card acts as a temporary visa).
HEALTH AND MEDICAL NEEDS
In order to ensure a healthy and enjoyable trip, we strongly suggest that you pack a plentiful supply of any medication that you may need while on vacation. All prescriptions should be filled, up-to-date and in their original packaging. Always pack prescriptions in your carry-on bag with copies of your prescription paperwork as your checked luggage may not always be easily accessible, particularly in the event of delays, lost luggage etc.
You might be concerned that enhanced airport security measures concerning the quantities of liquids that you can carry aboard an aircraft will prevent you from taking your medication on flights. You need not worry as provided your medication is accompanied by the relevant documentation from your doctor (a doctor’s note or letter should be fine), you are entitled to take it with you on board your flight.
Please also inform us of any health related issues that might affect you during your travels. For example, if you carry an Epipen auto-injector for nut or other allergies etc. or have a condition that requires special attention.
SPECIFIC DIETARY REQUESTS
Please inform us prior to your trip if you have any specific dietary needs (vegetarian, diabetic, gluten free, allergies etc.) so we can advise the hotel restaurant and ship restaurant in advance.
SAFETY AND SECURITY WHILE TRAVELING
Relaxing and being able to switch off from everyday concerns is all part of the vacation experience and we are here every step of the way to ensure that things run seamlessly. However, it is good to be aware of issues that could affect your enjoyment of your vacation and it is our job to remind you to take certain precautions when you are travelling.
Take a good look at the following guidance, as well as any other information that will be given to you throughout your trip.
Many of us carry the latest phones, cameras and tablets in our hands and pockets. Be wary of them in crowded or tourist places and never leave them alone on a table in restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies and public places (breakfast rooms).
BAGS (Backpacks & handbags)
Keep bags with you at all times and if possible wear the strap in front of/across your body. When visiting crowded places, ensure you keep your bag in mind. Never keep money or valuables in your suitcase.
Make sure your passport is always safe. Keep it in the hotel safe but be sure to reclaim them before checking out. Make a photocopy of your passport and important documents and keep them separately from the originals and make a note of emergency numbers for any credit/ bankcards that you use.
Conceal a few notes on your person for emergency funds should you misplace your purse/wallet or bag and avoid excessive displays of wealth (only carry sufficient cash for your daily needs).
when leaving your room securely shut all windows and make sure that the door closes behind you. On arrival at the hotel and on the cruise, familiarize yourself with escape routes and locate the nearest emergency exit to your room/cabin.
Please take care when crossing roads, before exiting the coach, please check the traffic direction, and note the drop from the last step of the coach to the ground. This can vary in depth at each stop and is especially important later in the day when the lights may be fading.
When traveling in Europe you can expect to enjoy a variety of hotel accommodations. Hotel room sizes, facilities and services may vary from country to country and region to region and are often local in style.
There may also be some slight differences between hotels in Europe and other parts of the world. These generally are as follows:
- In Europe, the first floor is often considered either one floor or two floors above ground level and the lobby considered level zero.
- Room size is generally slightly smaller than you may be used to. Space is a precious commodity in Europe and especially in its busiest cities. Many of the buildings have been in existence for hundreds of years and were not built with the modern traveler in mind.
- Bed sizes may also differ. In Europe, King and Queen-sized beds are very rare. Here Double beds are the norm and you may often find that a double room consists of two twin beds pushed together instead of a full bed, but made up with one set of linen. You may also find that twin beds will be placed very close together.
- Hotel accommodation usually consists of bathrooms with a combination bathtubs and showers. In place of a shower curtain, there will often be a door that extends half the length of the tub. Bathroom linens rarely include face cloths/wash cloths as an amenity. If you use a washcloth or a loofah, be sure to pack those and bring them with you.
- Electricity in Europe is mostly 220-240 voltage. You may wish to bring a travel adapter and a power converter with you. Items that normally require converters are mainly larger devices such as computers, hair dryers, sleep machines etc. In European bathrooms, the electrical sockets are usually just for shavers only.
- Europeans are very socially and environmentally conscious and air conditioning in Europe is often quite different from air conditioning in other parts of the world. Europeans generally have a different mind-set and are acutely aware of both the expense and potential damage to the environment. Some hotels enable you to control the temperature in your room manually, other hotels control the temperature automatically. Some unique, historic buildings cannot be retrofitted easily to allow for air conditioning at all. There are often local and national laws and regulations in place which prohibit use at night or in low season (October – May).
CHECKING IN TO YOUR ARRIVAL HOTEL
Official check-in times varies from hotel to hotel. Should your flight arrive in the early morning into the city where your trip begins, you may find yourself arriving at the hotel before noon and it could be early afternoon before your room is ready (3pm). The hotel will do their best to accommodate you but early check-in times cannot be guaranteed. Your luggage can be stored until your room is ready.
PRESENTATION OF PASSPORT/CREDIT CARD
Some hotels will request your passport upon check in which will be returned to you either immediately or shortly thereafter. Some hotels will also request a credit card upon check in as a guarantee for any extra expenses which may be incurred. If no expenses have occurred, no charges will be made to your card. If there are extra expenses you have the choice to allow the charge or pay by cash.
Most of the hotels & cruise lines use magnetic key cards. In many European hotels, key cards also operate the lighting and air-conditioning. The card is usually inserted into a slot or box located just inside the room in order for the electricity to function and it is a great way to save energy!
Always make a last-minute check of safe deposit boxes, drawers, wardrobe and bathroom before departing from the hotel and return your electronic key to the reception. If you have consumed any items from the mini bar or etc. you are responsible for ensuring that the expenses are paid for prior to departure by either paying by cash or charging the credit card on file.
MEALS AND BEVERAGES
Your trip itinerary will provide details of all included meals. Where included, there may be a table d’hôtel menu (set), buffet or a typical regional menu.
Please advise us prior to the tour if you have a special dietary requirement so we can make every effort to accommodate your request.
You and your traveling companions will generally dine together at a designated time. Tables will often vary in size and free seating enables you to dine with family members or new traveling companions each evening. Iced tap water will be provided during your meals. During the cruise you will have a selected drink package during your meals (wine/beer/soft drinks/coffee or tea). Any additional beverages including those not in the selected drink package may be purchased at your own cost and any bills settled at the end of the meal. Important- Please note that the bottles of water in your rooms & cabins are not complimentary and if consumed will be charged to you at the end of your stay. Also any items consumed from the minibar will also be charged to you at the end of your stay.
A breakfast buffet is included daily and will reflect the local region’s tastes and culture. Breakfast items may also include some familiar favorites such as eggs, bacon, bread, muffins cereals, fruit, yogurt and cold meats and cheese.
Lunches are included during the cruise only which provides a great opportunity for you to enjoy some free time to visit a local café, bar or restaurant and eat where the locals do. Your Guide or Tour Host will be able to provide you with a range of options to suit all tastes and preferences. Please refer to your itinerary for details of all included meals and planned dining experiences.
Please be advised that the average price for meal (not inclusive of tax and gratuity) is as follows: lunch 20 – 25 US dollars and dinner 30 to 40 US dollars according to your choice of items.
You’re in for a treat as you explore the divine Mediterranean paradise of Greece, where the cuisine is simple yet incredibly flavorful.
In Greece, meat is generally not served daily. When meat is part of the meal, it is typically roasted on a spit, grilled on skewers or chopped to be cooked with vegetables or pasta in a variety of dishes.
Cheese is a large part of the Grecian diet and makes up a large portion of their protein. The Greeks often begin their day with fresh bread and a piece of cheese, generally feta, along with a cup of strong black coffee.
You’ll find many fruits and vegetables on the menus in Greece, as these healthy items play a large role in the diet here.
As Greece is a Mediterranean island nation with a beautiful coastline, it is unsurprising to discover that fresh fish and seafood are popular here.
Moussaka, a beef and eggplant casserole, is a dish you must try while you are visiting Greece! Sample the delicious Souvlakia, a dish comprised of meat on skewers that is quite flavorful or pita gyros (pork or chicken & sometimes lamb) served in a pita with a yogurt & garlic dip, tomatoes, lettuce and onions.
For travelers with a sweet tooth, you’re in luck! You must try the baklava — very thin dough stacked to create flaky little pastries, often prepared with a mixture of nuts and honey. Another popular dessert is loukoumades fried honey balls, ‘Bougatsa’ – a semolina filled pastry with cinnamon or simply some yoghurt and honey.
Water is safe to drink in most areas of Greece and bottled water can be purchased at kiosks, mini markets and on the motor coach with a cost of about 50 cents (euro) per small bottle of water.
In order to enhance your experience on tour, local guides will accompany the group during the land tour. During the shore excursions you will have different local guides at each port of call
Complimentary Wi-Fi is available at the hotel and on the motor coach during your Athens tour but not during the cruise or during the shore excursions. During the cruise we suggest that you use the wifi at local cafes at each port as there is a charge on the ship but as the connection is through satellite it sometimes does not work very well.
Medical Assistance during the cruise:
A physician is available onboard 24 hours a day while at sea and during scheduled hours when the vessel is in port. Professional service, care and medication is offered by the ships’ physicians. A customary fee is charged for the services and medication and will be applied to your shipboard account.
Additional Information about your cruise:
Luggage: Your luggage will be delivered outside your cabin door. Please allow a maximum of two hours for delivery. If you have not received your luggage within this time period please check at the reception area where luggage that’s tags have fallen are stored or speak with the reception desk.
Daily Program: Each evening, a program detailing the following day’s activities will be delivered to your cabin. This will include arrival and departure times, excursion departure times, social activities, meal times, opening hours of the onboard services, evening dress code and other useful information. Please read carefully. Your tour escort will advise you of the meeting times for shore excursions and any other meeting that the group may have on board.
Conditions of carriage for Celestyal Cruises are available for review at Conditions of Carriage – Celestyal Cruises
Customary gratuities have been included in your package only for cruise ship personnel.
Hotel housekeeping staff, local sightseeing guides during the land tour and during shore excursions, transfer drivers, motor coach drivers and Tour Managers/Hosts/escorts have not been included and should be given in direct proportion to the level of professionalism and personal service extended to you.
TIPPING IN GREECE
Tips are generally given to tour guides, motor-coach drivers, escorts/reps, porters, and waiters. Please find the following tipping guideline below. These are only suggested minimum amounts. Please feel free to give any amount you believe corresponds to the quality of services provided.
- It will be good to collect the total tip amount in cash from each guest/customer/passenger before your arrival to your destination.
- You can separate the tips accordingly for each person in envelopes on a daily basis as you may have several tour guides, motor-coach drivers etc., during your trip. Tips are given directly to the staff or personnel themselves.
- Tips can be given in Euros or in local currency of destination.
- Please note that tips are not included in your package.
Suggested Daily Tips
TOUR GUIDE – 7-8 Euros per person / per day
MOTOR-COACH DRIVER – 5 Euros per person / per day
ESCORT/REP – 5 Euros per person / per day
HOTEL STAFF – 2 Euros per person / per day
HOTEL CHAMBER MAIDS – 2 Euro per person / per day
LUGGAGE PORTERS – 3 Euros per person / per check-in & check- out
RESTAURANT WAITERS – 30-40 Euros per meal
For Taxis usually rounding up the fare for gratuity for the driver is more than adequate in most countries. Always ask hotel or airport staff for recommended taxi companies and ensure that pricing is clearly indicated prior to departure. If possible, pre-negotiate any fares with the driver.
Thank you for choosing to travel with us and allowing us to guide you along this adventure! From the moment you step out your door, we strive to provide a comprehensive, stress-free, and unforgettable travel experience.