Review of the Royal Caribbean Cruise: 7 Night Greece & Croatia Cruise

Ship at Argostoli

Rick and I are no strangers to cruising, but most of our cruising has taken place in the Caribbean as we head to the Bahamas or Mexico. We’ve been discussing cruising in different places and an opportunity presented itself this summer.

Unfortunately, Go Ahead Tours canceled a trip we were planning with our friends to Croatia two months before the trip was scheduled to go, so we had the time off work but nowhere to spend it. I still had Croatia on my mind so I started looking up if we could do it on our own or still visit it.

We were getting our money back from Go Ahead and then we thought about cruising as it’s relatively affordable and I happened to find this 7 Night Greece & Croatia Cruise through Royal Caribbean – who we normally cruise with – and over the dates we had off already. The cruise was set to depart from Venice, Italy (really Ravenna which is two hours away) on Sunday, July 2 and return to Italy on Sunday, July 9. We already had June 29 – July 10 off. Perfect!

We decided to spend a day and a half in Venice before the cruise as we’ve learned it’s always better to get there early than have something happen to your flights and freak out about missing the boat!

So, here’s what we thought of our first European cruising adventure with Royal Caribbean.

Cruise itinerary

  • Day 1: Venice, Italy (Ravenna port)
  • Day 2: Split, Croatia
  • Day 3: Cruising
  • Day 4: Athens, Greece
  • Day 5: Santorini, Greece
  • Day 6: Kefalonia, Greece (Originally it was Olympia)
  • Day 7: Cruising
  • Day 8: Venice, Italy (Ravenna)

The itinerary was perfect for what we were looking for as it included a stop in Croatia! I’ve wanted to visit Greece over the years but I wasn’t sure about my comfort level with planning a full trip in Greece on our own. This was a great way to visit iconic travel destinations in Greece without worrying about transportation or accommodations.

Stephanie and Rick in Athens, Greece


We booked several shore excursions during our cruise but did leave our last stop open just for wandering and enjoying the port city. We booked our excursions through Royal Caribbean, but many were operated by third-party vendors.

Our tickets for our excursions were in our stateroom when we arrived on the ship and most of the check-ins take place in the theater. The only one we didn’t meet on-board was our first excursion in Split.

Split, Croatia

Split by Open Air Sightseeing Bus with Walking Tour

This tour was fantastic and the most affordable! I will say the pictures of the tour were a bit misleading as it said we’d get views above the city, which we did not, but whatever.

It started with a bus tour of the more modern parts of Split before dropping us off at the Riva, waterfront walkway, for a walking tour of the city and Diocletian’s Palace. Our guide was great and is a Split local and talked about the changes the city’s gone through as well as regular life, such as pointing out the square where his parents met.

The only thing I wish we had known was that the bus pulled up right in front of the ship. We got off the ship and wandered to the parking lot where we saw buses but that’s not what we needed to do. We literally could have just walked off the ship at the meeting time and gotten right on board.

Tour info:

  • Tour time: 10:15 a.m.
  • Tour duration: 4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Price: $158 (for two people)
Athens, Greece

Explore Athens and Ancient Acropolis

I had no interest in waiting in long lines to get tickets for the Acropolis or figuring out how to get there on our own, which was a good decision as we actually dock in Pireaus and have to drive to get to Athens.

This was a pretty good tour as we were picked up right from the ship and then took a bus tour of Athens before heading to the Acropolis. Our tour guide was great and shared the history of the sites we were visiting and guided us to the top of the Acropolis.

We did have like 30 minutes to explore on our own and I really wish we had had more time to really appreciate the historic landmarks, read all the signs, and just enjoy our time there. I felt rushed and would have liked a bit more time, but it is what it is.

After our exploration it was back on the bus to head back to the ship. We had debated staying in Athens on our own just to see more but we were also hot and tired and decided to take the bus back to the ship. I think if we do this itinerary again we’ll look up how to get a cab back to the ports so we can spend more time in Athens.

Tour info:

  • Tour time: 8:30 a.m.
  • Tour duration: 4 hours and 15 min
  • Price: $238 (for two people)
Santorini, Greece

Selfie Tour of the Best of Santorini

The name of the tour was kind of cringe, but we forged ahead as I thought we’d get a neat photography tour of Santorini and this was the most disappointing excursion we booked as it was not really a photography or even selfie tour.

We took a tender boat to Santorini and then boarded a bus and drove to Oia and on the way one of the guides handed out selfie sticks… Okay… And then our guide led us to the drop-off point and Oia and told us where to go.


For what we paid, we might as well have booked the simple Oia tour and saved money. I expected a guided tour of the city and “hidden” spots to snag the best photos. I’m still glad we got to visit Oia as it’s cute, but honestly, Rick and I snapped a few pictures and then went to a wine bar to escape the crowds.

Oia is small with narrow alleys and the crowds were ridiculous. We had like an hour at this stop to take pictures and you’re waiting at least 5-10 minutes to get a good spot to get some photos.

I’d love to return to Oia but stay at a hotel there to fully enjoy the city and wait for the cruise crowds to head back to the ships, and then enjoy a gorgeous sunset!

This tour included stops in Oia and Fira and we really loved our time in Fira! The tour does state that you have to get back to the ship on your own, but many people apparently didn’t read the tour description. You can either pay six euros and take a cable car down to the port and board a tender boat there, or there is the Donkey Trail which you can walk that also leads you back to the port and tender boats.

Rick and I opted to walk the Donkey Trail and it is steep and the trail is rocky, so if you want to walk it, wear good shoes with good traction or tread!

Tour info:

  • Tour time: 8:15 am
  • Duration: 4 hours 15 min
  • Price: $278 (for two people)

Check-in & check-out & transportation

Rick and I were both surprised at how much more streamlined the boarding process was in Italy compared to our times getting on cruises in Florida. Once we got off the bus, we got in a line for security. They scanned our boarding passes, checked our carry-on bags, asked us a few health-related questions, and then we were good to get on the ship and get to our room.

Check-out was also easy, at least for us, as we opt to carry our own bags off the ship. So, we bypass the whole bag collection and waiting for your group to be called to disembark. We did have to visit guest services to let them know how we wanted to get off the ship and how we were getting back to the airport, but otherwise we docked at 6:30 a.m. and walked off the ship at 6:45 with our own bags and met our driver right there at the dock.

We had booked bus transportation from Venice to Ravenna via Royal Caribbean and it was pretty easy to figure out, it was just a lot of waiting around. We arrived at the Tronchetto around 10:30 a.m., waited at least an hour and a half, in the sun, before boarding our bus. It is a two-hour drive from Venice to Ravenna (without traffic). The bus ride did include one stop for bathrooms and it cost about €1.50.

We did book a private car to get us back to Venice for our flight home as we have had issues in the past with the group transportation back to the airport. Like, one time we sat on the bust for over an hour before leaving for the airport and we had a flight to catch! We weren’t chancing that with an international flight so we booked our own car service back to Marco Polo airport.

The Explorer of the Seas

We were on the Explorer of the Seas for this cruise and you could tell the ship was older but it was still well-maintained. It had all the same amenities and dining and bars we expected to find, such as the theater, lounges, casino, pool deck, and dining.

It felt exactly like the other ships we’ve sailed on in the Caribbean.


We have learned to spring for a stateroom with a balcony when we cruise and we definitely wanted one for this adventure as we pulled into the different ports. Our room was spacious enough for our needs and had a Queen-sized bed, couch, desk, closet, and bathroom.

The bedding was cozy but I think the pillows could have been a bit better, but we made do. For how often we were in our room, it worked for the two of us. When we were in our room we were most often on the balcony, enjoying a drink and the exceptional views of the Greek islands.


Our attendant, Iwayan, was fantastic! He took great care of our room, provided us with anything we needed (like a corkscrew to open our wine), and was often around to let us back into our room if we were carrying souvenirs or cocktails back to our room.

He also checked in with us on the first day on-board to ask what time we would like our room cleaned and so we got to pick 9:30 a.m. as we knew we’d be out of the room by that time each day.

Dining room at the Windjammer

Dining & bars

The ship had the typical dining options we expect onboard a Royal Caribbean ship, such as:

  • The Windjammer (buffet)
  • The Promenade (pizza, sandwiches, light bites)
  • The dining room (which we did not visit during this trip)
  • Specialty restaurants (which we also did not visit)

We opted to just eat at the Windjammer buffet so we could eat on our own schedule. I know, we’re boring like that.

We did visit plenty of the bars though! We both loved the British pub, the Schooner Bar, and The R, plus we visited the pool bars a few times while soaking up the sun. Each bar has its own menu of specialty drinks, plus they all serve the cocktail of the day, and you can get standard bar drinks too.

We mostly stuck with prosecco but we did try a few specialty cocktails. I absolutely loved the rum punch at The R and ordered two of those and I also made some return trips to the British pub to get this beer-based cocktail that had jam and honey.

We also made sure to bring our own wine on board as you’re allowed to bring one bottle of wine per person on the ship. We feel this is a great way to save money at the bars and not buy a full drinks package. But, we also do have Diamond status so we also get four drink coupons each every day. So that also makes it easier to not buy a drinks package when we cruise.

Diamond Lounge balcony

Diamond Lounge

Royal Caribbean changed up its loyalty rewards program a bit. Rick and I have Diamond status and that used to mean that we could make great use of the Diamond Lounge for its happy hour where it was all-you-could-drink from 4-8. Now, your SeaPass card is loaded with four drink coupons to use throughout the day.

So, this was the first cruise we’ve been on where the Diamond Lounge is kind of dead. I think we only ever saw at most five other people in the lounge with us at any given time. We did pop in a few mornings to get some breakfast, served from 7-10 a.m., and enjoyed the breakfast breads and pastries, fresh fruit, and yogurt parfaits, plus some lattes!

We still visited the Diamond Lounge in the evening as it offered a great and quiet place to relax, have a glass of prosecco, and watch the sunset.


We enjoyed the entertainment on the show and felt the cruise directors and entertainers were engaging. We checked out the ice skating show, battle of the sexes, trivia nights, the comedians, the dancing shows, live music, and so much more.

We really love the audience participation games, like Battle of the Sexes, The Newlywed Game, and so on as every single show is different. I’d seen a few online reviews that said the entertainment wasn’t good on this ship but I would disagree. Sure, it’s your standard cruise entertainment, but it wasn’t bad by any means.

The Spa


Since we had two days at sea, Rick and I knew we’d be paying a visit to the spa! I booked a 100-minute hot stone massage and Rick chose a traditional 100-minute Swedish massage treatment.

Both of our treatments were fantastic and we’re so glad we waited until the last day of the trip and last day at sea to book our appointments. It was the perfect way to tend the trip and relax after days of walking and exploring.

It’s good to note that gratuities are already included in your fee for any massage treatment!


With our Diamond status we do get one free day of internet, which worked wonders on on our last day to check in for our flight home. But, I will say the internet is not great. I would not be happy if I paid almost $30 per day for it. I could not use the internet in our room and had to go to a main area to be able to check in on the United app.

It worked okay out about on the ship but it became super slow, like I was having flashbacks to the internet of 1999 as soon as we were in our room.

Celebrating the 4th of July

Royal Caribbean app

You definitely want to download the Royal Caribbean app before your trip so you can view the ship’s deck maps, activities, and discover what’s open for eating and drinking. It also loads your booked activities so we knew what time we had to be ready to go for our excursions and where to meet.

All in, we had a great experience with our first European cruise! We love this type of travel, cruising and guided tours, as it allows us to get a taste of certain travel destinations and understand if we want to come back or we’ve seen it and are ready for new adventures.

We weren’t sure what to expect with Royal Caribbean in Europe, but honestly, it felt the exact same as departing from Florida. So, if you’ve cruised before it’ll feel so familiar.

Now that we’ve done it, I’m already looking up other options for future European cruises as we really enjoyed our experience!

What other destinations do you recommend we check out on a European cruise? Let us know your favorite cruising destinations in the comments below!

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Hey, I'm Stephanie! I'm a copywriter living in beautiful Denver with my husband Rick, and our dog Rocco. I love traveling, writing, reading, and being outside as much as possible - unless I'm on the couch binge watching Stranger Things with a glass of wine! Thanks for reading and being a part of the adventure with Back to the Passport! ❤️


  1. Glad you had a great European cruise. 😊

    Check out a Baltic itineary for your next European cruise adventure. It’s a great way to visit Northern Europe!

    A cruise to Norway and around Iceland is also filled with amazing scenery. Highly recommend!

  2. Do they speak English on the excursions in the foreign countries(Greece, Croatia etc)? On board- are there any announcements in English from the captain or the activity planner?

    • Hey Julie, yes to both! They do offer excursions in other languages but they also have English-speaking options and it will be clearly labeled what language the tour is in. And all the announcements are made in English, plus a few other languages. The Cruise Compass (the printed schedule of the day’s activities) is also in English.

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