Ephesus is a must do and depending on the time of year can be extremely hot and very crowded, go as early as you can. The ships tours are good and not overly expensive but the local taxi drivers at the port gates give good service but sort out the price first then enjoy the day. Some taxi groups will do a tour that includes food just in case you feel that you can't get enough on board. You might also try Googling Taxi Kusadasi and Ephesus and you will get some very interesting and worthwhile results. I Google evry port I intend to visit because not only do they give you the good points but also the ones to be wary of Neil Dow.
We found that there were plenty of taxis waiting just outside the port gates. we negotiated a price and he took us there and waited at the exit to take us back. We insisted he took us direct to Ephesus as he suggested a visit to a carpet shop. Ephesus is only about 6 miles from the port. Our taxi cost 50 Euro.
Sue again, Santorini, the boat anchors in the volcano and uses tenders to take you ashore, a quick cable car ride up and you are in the town. Pireas for Athens, there is an underground station just near the port gates, the train goes direct to the square where all the coaches drop of for the trips at a fraction of the cost of the coach. We used the coach to take us to the city and it took 1.5 hours with all the traffic, we seemed to be driving past all the sights on the one way routes it was very frustrating and didnt leave long enough to see all we wanted. We found out about the train later, from a Greek couple who were on the cruise.
When getting off the ship at Kusadasi, walk stright to the town, only a couple of 100 yards, and get a taxi there. We had one at £20 for 4 people. At the quayside they were asking £20 each.
Just go ashore and agree a price with one of the numerous taxi drivers.what you need to agree is that you will pay him the agreed amount when he comes to pick you up at an agreed time for the return journey.e.g in 3 or 4 hours time.
Just retruned from the greek islands on Emerald. This is our 9th cruise. Had a great time although will say the ship is very tired particuarly the cabins (sanitary wear, bedding, carpets etc). Thomson really do have to address this if they are going to keep ahead of the market. the ship is very friendly and the staff are nice. The food wasn't the best we have ever had but acceptable ( never used the self service). The ports of call are lovely. We ALWAYS on any cruise ship make our own way - the trips are way overpriced and waiting for a coach of people is not my idea of a holiday. For santorini go up on the donkey and down on the cable car. The view is great. There is a beach (black sand) and its a short taxi ride away. Ephesus is easily reached by taxi (but walk away from the town to find one - much cheaper). Our driver dropped us at the gate ( a guide book was 3 euros) and we walked through ( he waited a the other end). It was quite impressive but we didn't need as much time they as suggested. I think 1-2 hours is fine, particuarly as you get so hot. Better to return and have some time shopping and barttering in Kusadasi. Go to Ephesus early. Pireaus is not a nice port - busy, noisy, dusty. Its a means to get to Athens. Walk off the ship to the metro (about 15 mins) anyone will direct you. Buy a return ticket to Monastiri (16 euros). Ask anyone where to get off. Walk up though the town of Plaka - its very quaint with unusual shops. The acroplolis can be seen as you make your way up. 12 euros to visit all the sites. Again go as early as possible to miss the coaches. Much better to do under you own steam. Those that went to Ephesus and Athens from the ship were complaining at cost and time. Thomson will do everyting in their port talks to put you off going alone - don't listen you are perfectly safe!! We were back on ship by 3pm with no problems and had seen everything we wanted to. Cephalonia, Zakynthos, Rhodes are really down to choice. I just googled the beaches before I went and we met up with another couple to share a taxi. All the beaches are nice - particuarly if you avoid the crowds. Rhodes old town is a must - if you want a great traditional lunch go into the town and ask for RUSTICOS. Suggest you order the tradittional seafood (we had prawns). A great change from the cruise ship food and well worth it. If you plan to do this don't have breakfast on the ship - you have to be backon board by 2.30 in Rhodes so need to have an early lunch. Sure you will have a great time. Finally take some ear plugs especially if you in cabin 282 - as the ship is tiny it is very noisy at night!!!! We did have a great holiday but you need to look beyond the age of the ship. Enjoy!