NCL Cruise – Athens and Kusadasi

As well as two port calls in Croatia our NCL Med cruise also stopped in Athens and Kusadasi; both places which I’d never visited before.


The ship docked in Athens with a very surreal view of office blocks.  It was certainly a change from the deep blue sea and pretty Croatian landscape we had got used to.  But, if you’re going to dock in a city, what do you expect???

balcony view

The surreal view of Athens from our balcony

There are tons of excursions which NCL run in Athens and when we got off the ship there were even more opportunities to join an organised excursion or hop onto a sightseeing bus.  We instead chose to get a taxi and head to Plaka, a district of Athens which is in the shadow of the Acropolis.  We had already been advised on the ship by a couple of the kids club staff that due to the high temperatures the Acropolis probably wasn’t a great idea to visit with the kids but going to Plaka ensured you at least saw it.

Our taxi driver was desperate for us to hire him for a half day tour and kept trying to barter with Mr ATWWAH who kept insisting that Mini ATWWAH wouldn’t be up for a four hour taxi journey around Athens sights.  He was already crawling all over me in the back of the car and eventually the driver relented and we agreed that he could pick us up later to take us back to the ship.  In fairness he was a nice enough guy and just trying to earn a living.

Plaka is a nice enough district, it feels quite village-y and has lots of shops and restaurants.  It’s definitely pretty touristy but if you can ignore that and some of the gift shop tat then it’s a nice enough place to wander around.

After we had wandered we headed to the Acropolis Museum, about a 10 minute walk from Plaka, located in Makriyianni, and about 300m from the Acropolis itself.  The museum was pretty busy, we hadn’t bought tickets in advance and it didn’t take too long to queue to get them.  They were 5 euros each.

The museum is very impressive and modern despite the age of its artefacts.  Some of the exhibition is below you in wide glass floored gallery houses which gives you a view of the archaeological exhibition.  Although he was mildly interested it was probably a bit beyond Master ATWWAH and we did have a look around but we couldn’t really spend too long in there as the galleries were very similar.  I’m sure if it was just Mr ATWWAH and I visiting we’d have had more of a look.


The Acropolis, Athens

After a stop in the gift shop and buying a book of Greek Myths For Kids we headed back to Plaka for lunch.  There are tons of restaurants and cafes in Plaka, lots with great people watching opportunities too.  If we didn’t have the kids with us I’m sure Mr ATWWAH and I would have sat ourselves down at a bar and watched the world go by.

But, we did have the kids, so we found a restaurant that had a highchair (we tried a couple of restaurants but they only had one highchair which was already in use and Mini ATWWAH is too messy an eater to be left in his pram)  The restaurant we found is called Sholarhio Tavern and is next to the sacred church of St Nikolaos.  The ordering process is unusual, once you are seated, you are offered a tray which has about 18 different dishes on it for you to choose from.  It was traditional Greek food, and delicious, seafood, meatballs, tzatziki, moussaka, cheeses and tons of bread.  Both of the kids loved it.  Sadly I’m not so sure our fellow diners loved us as Mini ATWWAH’s screams managed to shatter the peace.  There was no lingering over the food and drinks for us, we ate and we were out.


Select your dishes from this tray at Sholarhio Tavern, Athens
(Photo taken from website)

We then headed back to our meeting point with our trusty taxi driver waiting for us.  I must admit I definitely prefer the Greek islands to the mainland.


I’ve never visited Turkey before so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when the ship stopped at the port of Kusadasi.  It is a resort town and from the little bit of internet research I did it sounded like a bit of a party town too.  Cruise ships tend to stop in Kusadasi as it is close to the large archaeological site of Ephesus.

Again, we decided not to book on a sightseeing trip to Ephesus and instead we had a look around Kusadasi.  There were many shops, selling anything and everything, and being very honest about the fakes.

shop sign

Brilliant – ‘genuine’ fake watches

Wandering around the streets with a ginger haired husband and two small ginger haired boys made us quite the tourist attraction ourselves.  There are lots of guys sat outside their shops chatting and they were all very friendly but I did find it disconcerting as some came over to Master ATWWAH to touch his hair and make a fuss of him because he was ginger.  He seemed quite unfazed.

We headed down to the little beach and Master ATWWAH enjoyed a paddle while Mini ATWWAH slept.  The beach was disappointing though, it was pretty dirty with broken glass everywhere and rubbish.  I imagine there are bigger beaches elsewhere in the resort.


Master ATWWAH enjoying a paddle with the Norwegian Jade in the background

The promenade was kid friendly though with two small playgrounds which we spent quite a lot of time on.  If we ever go back we’ll probably make the trip to Ephesus next time or go and take a look at Pigeon Island which is connected to Kusadasi.  It was used for military purposes during the Ottoman Era and has a castle, known as Pirate Castle, which you can take a look around.


Pigeon Island and Pirate Castle as seen from our balcony

If you liked this post then give these a try:

NCL cruise – Dubrovnik and Split

Our Greek Island adventure

Things to do in Lanzarote with kids

A proper seaside holiday in the Isle of Wight

  1. I love the genuine fakes sign! Ephesus is somewhere I’d love to visit but I think a lot of ancient sites are just too hot and too dull for little ones. And I agree that I’d choose a Greek island over Athens too.

    • I’m definitely with you on the ancient sites and little ones. As much as I love when the sun shines on holiday sometimes I do utter the words ‘it’s too hot’. Can’t win.

  2. We haven’t cruised around Greece it looks great such a shame about the beach in Turkey though, We haven’t been on NCL before but keep looking, it does look very good x

    • NCL are great for families with what they dub ‘freestyle’ cruising. I’d been on a Royal Caribbean ship to the Canaries prior to NCL and find NCL more laidback.

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. You’ve seen a lot in Athens for a short time, how nice!!!
    I can’t wait to visit Greece someday, hopefully by next year! 😀
    I love the food photo!!

    Thank you so much for linking up with #MondayEscapes

  4. glad to see that you ate at a nice restaurant in Athens (and a nice location too)! And it’s good that you visited the museum vs. the Acropolis (although the Acropolis has killer views). To be honest, being and Athenian, I don’t know what would be interesting for kids in Athens…probably the National Garden which has a small petting zoo. Or run after the pigeons on Syntagma square (I did that as a child)! The islands have the beach…so it’s much better! #MondayEscapes P.S. the port is called Piraeus (and it’s a different city from Athens).

    • Hi Anna,

      Thanks for your comment and great tips on other places which kids might enjoy in Athens.

      And, many thanks, for correcting my geography with regards to the port and it not actually being Athens. Doh!

      Mrs ATWWAH

  5. What a fun way to the Mediterranean and no doubt more enjoyable with young kids.

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