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View 2014 VOYAGE TO ANTIQUITY - AEGEAN & BLACK SEA on hasbeen's travel map.

Only half an hour from the hotel to the ship docked at Pireaus & getting on board was a snap. I noticed the Swan-Hellenic cruise ship Minerva just leaving as I arrived. I will be on that ship in January. Pity I did not see a bit more of it.

My cabin is the cheapest I could find & it shows, but it is adequate for me. Two small single beds that cannot be combined to make one. First time I have come across that. The Air Con is roaring and freezing & I cannot find a regulator until much later. It is on the ceiling. Even with it off the room is still very cold. Under the duvet it is too warm. I never did get used to the temperature on this ship. I was either too hot or too cold unless I was outdoors.

It did not take long to find the casual restaurant aft. Turn left at the entrance & there is a line up of about eight young fellas ready to help the passengers, all with big grins & 'Welcome aboard'. One tells me the special of the day & points me to my tray already with a plate. I circle the circular buffet. A selection of breads, salady stuff, then a guy making a salad to order, a soup guy, a carvery guy, another guy serving hot veggies and stuff, then the grill guy.
All Philipino behind buffet.

Coming to the end another guy takes the tray off the counter & hands it to yet another guy to take my plate to whatever table takes my fancy. Lots of tables to choose from indoors but I head to the door taking me outdoors, passing more food laid out on a large table.

Deserts - later.

Outside there are collapsible, canvas chairs set at tables for two four & eight. Some under cover, some in the sun. More food out here too. A tapas table & a grill station. I take a seat & meet my first booze waitress. Kadeck. Easy to remember. I remember that wine is complimentary with meals but only the evening meal. This is lunch.

Enough time before the abandon ship drill for a stroll around the ship. No frills & pretty basic. Not luxurious by any means but quite comfortable looking.

After the safety drill where we actually went to the lifeboat, there was the welcome aboard meeting. The Cruise director introduced members of staff, described what we could expect aboard etc. He thinks himself very funny but is a bit of a plank.

After dinner, again out on deck we have already set sail & it's an early night to be ready for the island of Syros


All the passengers have been allocated a colour coded excursion 'group'. There are Road Scholars & AHI - two American travel groups, and a few V2A groups. Mine is pink.. The daily journal has directed which lounge & at what time the various colours should assemble.

This is going to be a half day walking tour of Empouli. Everyone has the same tour except that Road Scholars & AHI people will retain the same tour guide at each stop. At least in Greece but I may be wrong about that.

My pink group of about 30 people is led through the town .....


by a young lady, up hill to visit this church ......





And more street walking ...


for a visit inside a very old theater. Still used by the locals & our guide performs here ...



into another church ...


where there is a 'discovered' El Greco painting that I did not manage to get a photo of.

After this , the guide escorts us towards the ship. We can either board for lunch of stay in town for the afternoon.

She had been keeping a running commentary on our radio headphones. Suppled by V2A, A great feature this. Plug them in overnight in the cabin.

I choose to sit by the sea and try an Ouzo. I am joined by Randy from BC & Tom from the US. I had met these two at the hotel in Athens.

Then we split & I head off to the back streets to find a bit of lunch in this restaurant, complete with lucky black cat ...


Lunch was some fried Cheese - very squeeky. Mussles & bread & a Greek beer.

Greek is not the easiest of languages to read as there are non-english characters. This ad in the restaurant gives an example of the translation for Asprin ....


Evening meal was again on the terrace but as I had eaten not long before at lunch, I had a slice of all the cheeses available. The Tapas table is close by & the 'Snack Boy' - that was really his title - delivered some of his morsels for me.

That became something of a routine for me, only having dinner in the more formal downstairs restaurant twice the entire cruise. And eating a larger lunch than diner.

Cheese on this ship was excellent, unlike most cruises I have been on where it is mostly tasteless & can be used as a bouncy ball.

At dinner I also meet more booze waitresses. Kadeck has gone awol and been replaced by the lovelies, Grace, Lorraine and Andrea. The girls do not keep count of what you are drinking & offer White. Red - beer or soda all through meal time - 7:00 to 9:00

After dinner some quiet time in the lounge listening to the girl on violin who sings like Edith Piaf and her piano accompanist.

A before bed cup of camomile tea from Irish - yet another Philipino waitress and it's the island of Santorini tomorrow.

Posted by hasbeen 02:58 Archived in Greece

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