Katakolon Greece port was a “lessons learned” of unforeseen events.
For all our tours that we planned during this trip, making the arrangement over the internet, sight unseen, the tours requested to be paid at the end of the excursion. Most respectable tour guides know that there is a risk that the ship may not show up, or be late which is what happened at Katakolon. We had planned on doing a private tour to Olympia in this port with a tour guide over the internet. But the person we dealt with wanted a deposit up front. So not feeling comfortable about this arrangement we decided to rent a car for the day, much to this tour operator’s dismay. We have never had to give a deposit up front before a tour as you never know if something will happen, especially when cruising. That day something did happen. We were delayed getting into the port and did not arrive until after 10 a.m., several hours late due to high winds and swells. We could see the wind driving the waves over the complete width of the pier. As for the ship’s delay to arrive late in port we knew this was a wise choice.
Regardless of our late arrival to the port of Katakolon, the ship was still departing at 3:30pm, which limited our previously planned activities. Since we were late getting in, we opted to stay at the port and shop. Because of the delayed arrival, vendors were selling bus transportation, scooters and car rental at reduced rates. The port is located very close to town. It was an easy walk to the main shops of Katakolon from the cruise ship.
It was probably one of the closest ports during the cruise. As we walked into town from the cruise ship, the tour operators were anxious to capture the people coming off the ship to try to sell those tours at a reduced rate as most of their money is made off the cruise ship passengers.
It’s about a 30 minute ride to Olympia and 30 minutes back. This did allow much time to explore. They needed to fill up the bus before they went to make it worth their while. So if the bus is not filled, you would have sit and wait. Due to the delay, you did not have much time to spend at Olympia since we had to be back on board before the ship departed at 3:30pm. No worries, there were plenty of shops to wander in and out of, enough to fill the few hours that we had at this port.
There were several restaurants along the waterfront offering free Wi-Fi.
We decided to enjoy lunch, use the free Wi-Fi, and partake in drinking cheaper beer and wine than from what you pay on board. We had a delicious Greek salad with bread, wine, and beer. We had a beautiful view of the ship, good food and catching up on emails made for a perfect way to spend our time in port.
After lunch we walked around some more and then went back to the ship. This was a low key day allowing us to rest up for our next port “Athens”.
If we had paid in advance for this tour, we would have been given a limited tour in order to return to the ship on time and probably would not have been given a reduction in price. A lesson learned is do not pay in advance for a tour. Be flexible to make changes at the last minute and you will enjoy your day. Have you ever been delayed getting into a port and still had to pay full price for the tour?