Category Archives: Seabourn

posts about Seabourn cruises

Seabourn Day 14, Triluke Bay Croatia

Trilike Bay. There are no excursions for this island. There are no ruins, no city walls, just a sleepy fihsing village on one of the longest islands in the archipelego. We cruised up a channel surrounded by small and moderately sized islands. It reminds me of the San Juans, but the weather is fantastic. The San Juans are hit or miss, often miss.

For us, we had a liesurely breakfast, spent some time in our suite, and headed to the tender around 9:20. The tender took us to a long pier in a sheltered harbor. Across the narrow bay there were 14 identical sailboats all with a large number affixed at the bow. Later we learned that this was a flotilla of Australian bare boat cruisers who booked a cruise from Silt to Athens. We spoke at length with one captain who said this was his second tour with this outfit and that next time he would go it alone with his family. The islands in this area are close together and every inslet has a few houses, a restaurant, and a float or pier to tie onto. I’ll post the name of the company in the forum resources section.

When we first disembarked the tender, we headed toward the sail boat flotilla to check them out, but Ellen saw a narrow street that led straight up the hillside behind the town. Up we went. The steps (and there were very many) led up and into almond and fruit trees repleat with cicadas chirping away. As we approached the top, a randy rooster greeted the morning, the sun, the sky, the afternoon. He would not stop for the longest time. It made the morning’s walk special. We found a signpost a little further on thet pointed out a trail thorugh a park, a path to a botanical garden, and a lake. We headed toward the lake and botanical garden, through acres of planted gardens. There were corn plants, beans, onions, leeks, and a number of crops we could not identify. We found the “lake” a few hunder meters farther on. It was a man made circular wall that encased a natural spring. It is used for irrigation fot the gardens. It also housed a very active honey bee nest. We could see hundreds of bees just clearing the wall’s top and headed out to forrage and the same number of bees coming back laden with pollen. It was fascinating and I would have stayed to watch for a while, but Ellen is alergic to bee stings. We headed back the way we came; there’s no need to risk a medical emergency.

Back on the main road we found the town’s church and its adjoining graveyard. The church was locked (today is Friday), but the graveyard was open and festooned with flowers on marble tounbs dating back to the 1920’s. Oddly each toumbstone had at least two sometimes ten flower arrangements placed on the toumb. The Croats take their ancestry very seriously. I looked for graves from the war with Serbia and found a very few where the death might have been war related.

Moving right along we went further afield and found a steep path back down, but away from the town center. This path went past the poor section of the town then turned right and dropped past rows of planted lavender and potted begonia. The lavender blooms were covered in butterflys and bumble bees. As we descended, we saw that the houses become better cared for and larger. Around a corner, the street opened onto a sweeping panorama of a bay with a smattering of large houses on the surrounding hills. All along the shore there were finished cement decks for water access and sun tanning. In one corner of the bay there were a number of finshin boats in various states of repair. Some sported new paint. This was a boatswain of good quality.

I was quite concerned that we had passed over from one side of the island to the other and would have to hike back over the ridge when we came upon several couples from the Odyssey. After disembarking the tender, they had walked along the shore. I felt relieved that we could simply walk along a beautifully finished cement walkway back to the tenders.

We stopped for lunch at a cafe along the waterfront that was just ok. My swordfish was overcooked and Ellen’s mixed salad was uninspired. The tenders run every 30 minutes between the wharf and the Odyssey. We headed off to board a tender and ran into Rob, Roz, Jim, and Tina who hailed us to stop, chat and share some wine with them. Two tenders came and went while we chatted. At their recommendation we ordered a cheese, fig, and honey dish that was great. We were told later it was meant as a desert.

We’re back aboard now and packing. Seabourn offers a 5% discount for guests who book or make reservations for a future cruise before disembarking. The fee to place a reservation is modest and the 5% discount is good for up to 4 years. The deposit is fully refundable and so we placed a reservation and will book another Seabourn cruise in 2017 or 2018 depending on how other plans develop.

I’m about to pack the computer away. I expect with the excitement of Venice, we’ll be offline until late in the evening.

Until then, happy trails to you…

Ron & Ellen

Seabourn day 13, Dubrovnik

There is no getting around it, today Dubrovnik is a tourist destination. In the 1990’s the city was 60% destroyed in the Croatian-Serbian war. It has been stunningly rebuilt. There is one single museum that documents the horror of the war, the 400 dead, and the destruction. We did not visit the museum, not consciously, but because we wandered the city and did not stumble upon it. Jim, a fellow Seabourn guest, described the museum when we happened upon him during an epicurean pool side event. That Yugoslavia has fractured as it has, and that Scotland is pushing for secession, and Venice is pushing for secession from Italy, all these things portend trouble at best for Europe. Once fractured, petty differences can become cause bellum. Rather than seeing the causes that bind us, the world is seeking issues to differentiate us. Politicians use this tearing of the fabric of society to further their own ends and destroy what we, as humans, have in common.

That Greece may be thrown out of the EU, may make sense to some. If you cannot pay your loans, some punishment is due. But in leaving the EU, would not Greece turn to Russia or China? What then for geopolitical stability in the Eastern Europe?

Dubrovnik is a beautiful city. Ellen and I were standing at an intersection and I noticed the word uncial. I studied Russia and the Russian language and know enough of the language to recognize the similarities between Russian and Croat. In many instances the difference is in the alphabet only. Street, good evening, good morning are all identical phonetically (or nearly so). Ulitca is the Russian word for street, phonetically transcribed into the Roman alphabet. I mentioned to Ellen that the word was Russian and I had a local Croatian walk up to me and say, “NO. Not RUSSIAN, is CROATIAN word. We fought war over this.”

Did I feel one inch tall. I mean these people had just fought a war and this fellow could well be a survivor or perhaps had born arms against the Serbs. My sense of righteous indignation that the fellow did not see the similarity between Russian and Croatian did a 180. Even if I was correct, there was no reason to antagonize this fellow and no telling what he was capable of if I had chosen to “be correct”. I apologized as best; I could and fled the scene vowing not to speak Russian, talk of Russian or even think Russian for the nest 24 hours.

The old city does not have facilities for a cruise ship to dock, even a small one. Smaller ships anchor and ferry passengers ashore. With only two cruise ships in port, Dubrovnik was fun. The main street which is also the main shopping street was crowded, but walk one block off that street and you could be by yourself. I thought there were only two cruise ships in port. Jim (from above) also mentioned that there were two or three huge cruise ships docked in the new port in the new city and that a team of busses was ferrying some of them to the gates of the old city! I don’t know where they went, but I did not see hoards teeming in the streets. It could be that many were waking the town’s ramparts which are organized as a one way walk high above the city. Because it is one way, while walking the battlements you’ll only see the small group of people walking with you.

There are very many small taverns and restaurants all over the city, most are in narrow streets or alleyways just a block or two from the main street. The food is mild, not spicy, and quite good. Lamb, fish, and shell fish dominate the menus.

Dubrovnik’s main draw is the quaintness of the town. The medieval walls are mostly intact. Ruins of a much older city wall are visible from the western ramparts. We walked the ramparts all the way around the old city. That was fun though we took far too many photos. Dubrovnik, Mykonos, and Oia are among the most photogenic we have ever visited The walk around the city takes about two hours if you meander and enjoy the views. It can be done in half that time if you rush or twice that time if you have issues walking.

Dubrovnik sits at the base of a modest mountain. A tram runs from the back of the city to the top of the mountain and the view over Dubrovnik and out to the sea. This is well worth doing. I suggest going early in the morning ahead of the crowds. Jim said they took a taxi to the top which was less expensive and afforded better views of the city.

We are now off to a small fishing village for a taste of small town Croatia.


Seabourn, is it worth the price?

Really. If you have to ask, the answer is probably no. For you a low cost cruise is what you want. Go with the masses. Don’t leave the ship. Gamble in the casino. Struggle with the buffet. Embark with three or four other cruise ships and deal with 10 or 20 thousand tourists ashore. Save a few bucks. You’ll be happy you did.

If on the other hand, you enjoy being pampered. If you enjoy some ports of call where you will be the only cruise ship in port because the port is not on the hit list or is just too small for the bigger ships then consider Seabourn.

We had a very few things go haywire over 12 days aboard ship with two more days left (booooo) and those were minor. Things like the internet is pretty poor by silicon valley standards, or the weather did not cooperate. I must complain to Seabourn’s GOD connection to get the weather right next time. In reality we only missed the first day due to high winds and could not disembark. I’ve heard that the cruise the month earlier was rained out most of the cruise with cold weather and winds making disembarking difficult if not possible at all.

A cruise is a crap shoot. Most times you luck out, sometimes not. This time has gone smoothly. Our guest services department has warned us that there will be between ten and twenty THOUSAND cruise ship guests disembarking at Venice when we arrive. We will make plans not to take a vaporetto to get to zattere, but take a personal water taxi for a few dollars more. This is the kind of service you both expect and get from Seabourn.

Seabourn offers a discount to repeat customers if booked aboard. We’ll meet with Tony about his trip to Antarctica and may book that cruise in 2017, or book another cruise and change to another in time. I’m fine with going with Seabourn in the future if their destinations match our interests.

Be well, travel well, and enjoy life.


Seabourn Day 12, Corfu morning

We will not join a tour today, choosing to walk the city instead. Steaming into the harbor at sunrise was stunning, though there are two quite large cruise ships ahead of us. It will be busy ashore with at least 4500 newly arrived guests. The good news is Seabourn is usually an hour ahead arriving and the large ships depart an hour or two earlier.

I ran and did some weight training this morning before bringing cappuccinos down to our suite. We spend an hour at the bow as the Odyssey docked with the pilot driving the ship. Expecting some quiet time taking in the view, I was pleasantly surprised that we spent the whole time talking to a couple from Melbourne then a couple from Boston. Two weeks is long enough to go beyond recognizing fellow guests to getting to know them. We avoided “red sox” again this morning and hope to continue doing so. Apparently that couple was at the captain’s table for dinner after the reception and he talked through the entire meal At the end of the meal he said, “Boy you Aussies don’t talk very much, do you?” To which one of the guests at table responded,” We do, but we couldn’t get a word in edgewise.”

We’re off for breakfast just now. The buffet is glorious in the variety of fruit, grains, meet, cheese, and cooked delicacies.

Bon Chance


We’re back from a walk around the old fort and Corfu. It was very hot today starting around noon. The fort is a fortification with a moat and a causeway inside. On display are a few canon and mortars from the 1700’s. One French, one British, and one Venetian with two Venetian mortars. The Venetian canon was obvious in its workmanship. Where the other two canon were strictly functional, the Venetian canon was beautiful to behold. The two mortars shot 20 inch rounds around 600 meters. The French canon shot 3.6 inch rounds 1.9 miles. The British canon shot 5.5 inch balls 2.6 miles, but the Venetian canon shot 6 inch balls 2.7 miles. The views from the castle walls was very impressive. Corfu is a sailing destination with many marinas and a surrounding sea dotted with white sales against the deep blue sea. Corfu is also a tourist destination. On the busy main street the tourists and locals were evenly numbered, but that was with “only” three cruise ships in port. It can get much busier.

I recommend visiting the old fort and stopping at the cafe for a draught beer and some moussaka. Both are very good. The terrace is shaded with a wonderful view of the bay.

Corfu has a number of up-scale shops if you wander past the street facing the park across from the fort. You can find practically anything you want from a cheap bracelet to a Versache design. We walked the shopping district and found our way back to the cruise ship without taking a shuttle. It was hot. I recommend taking a shuttle as the walk back to port is not shaded.

We had a good day in Corfu, but without any ancient ruins or museums and without snorkel and mask.


Seabourn Day 11 evening

Tonight we are meeting with Rob, Roz, Tim, Tina, and Tony and his wife. We’ll meet in the Observation Lounge on deck 10 in the bow. The plan was to head to dinner, but Paul Adams is performing the the Grand Salon at 6:30. He is a very very funny comedian whom we will not miss. I expect we’ll go directly from the Observation Lounge to the Salon.

I’ve been considering tips lately since we’ll be going ashore “permanently” soon. Seabourn states that tips are not required in a number of places in their literature. They do not discourage tipping; rather suggesting that if service was extraordinary, a tip would be appreciated. I have already given a small token of my appreciation to Olivia, the gal who makes our cappuccino each morning. Maria runs through our suite at least twice a day making the suite look just like we stepped into it for the first time. She has done an amazing job. Jovan is our morning breakfast guy. Each morning we sit in his service area, talk about the port we will be visiting or about family and friends. Breakfast is buffet style; we get most of our breakfast foods ourselves, but Jovan gets my eggs each morning. Then there’s JP. JP knows everyone’s name, all 450 guests on the ship. We banter with JP about the food and enjoy his warm bubbly sense of humor. All the staff are outstanding in the way they make each guest feel at home, and provide personal attention for all. Olivia, Maria, Jovan, and JP stand out among a sea of outstanding people. We will reward them for their attention to us.

Seabourn is a one of a kind cruise line.


Seabourn Day 11, Nidri Greece

I was bummed yesterday and dropped into a funk, really. We received a disembarkture form asking what plans we have made or if we would like to make plans to have our luggage forwarded to an airline or hotel. Bummer. We’ll be getting off ship in a matter of days. This is a serious downer.

For years I poopooed cruises. Well “they” can take cruises, I’d rather make my own plans and perhaps do a bare boat sail through Greece. Or, a cruise is not for me, too many “old people”. Or, I’m not one of “them”. Well surprise, I AM one of “them”. WE are “THEM”.

This has been fabulous. The Greek Islands we visited are … incredible, beautiful, there are not sufficient superlatives to describe the experience. United States, founded 1776, Ephesus, founded who knows when, dating back to 500 BC at least. The statue that Michelangelo used as a model (one model) for the statue of David in 1600 Ad, located in Athens was sculpted from stone in 400 BC! This is (as our whale watching friends suggested when I overused the tag “awesome”), this is AFA! We will come back to some of the islands we visited to see sunrise and sunset without the cruise crowds. Bear in mind, we would not have discovered some of them if we had not taken a cruise. Darn cruise crowd, oh wait, that’s us!

Today was Nidri. Yes, Nidri. Not very well known. It’s a small port that cannot handle large cruise ships. The Seabourn Odyssey is a small ship by cruise line standards. It sails with 450 guests and 330 crew. Some cruise liners accommodate FIVE THOUSAND guests.

So Nidri. Nidri is a town close to Skorpios. Now Scorpios was made famous when Onassis wed Jackie Kennedy, becoming Jackie O.

We off loaded from the Odyssey and boarded a local charter that took us past the small islands and past Scorpios. We visited a sea cave large enough to house and hide our boat and big enough for it to turn around within the cave. We next visited a stone and pebble beach. Ellen and I had heard that we could get fins, snorkel, and mask from guest services if we asked ahead, which we did. Brilliant!

Not so brilliant for me was walking the length of this pebble beach bare footed. It hurt, really hurt. We walked to a semi-cave at the end of the beach, threw our gear down, and discovered it was covered in guano. Not so good, that idea. The clear cool water made up for any trouble we had before getting in.

Our captain is on the horn: 25 miles to open water water, then heading north past the east coast of Greece arriving at the port of Corfu around 6:45 Am tomorrow port side. We are starboard side and should get a view. High pressure is moving east, winds from NWN and 77 deg. Wonderful weather.

Our swim was refreshing, then back aboard to motor to Skorpios, Onassis’s Island. The island passed to Onassis’s daughter some years ago. She in turn leased it to a Russian tycoon who has closed the main port of the island. We were taken to a very private beach where Jackie O liked to swim. This was a sandy beach and much more “feet friendly”.

Getting out and about in a small boat and swimming some was the highlight of today’s adventures. It is remarkably beautiful in these islands. The water is very much the same temperature as San Diego’s water, perhaps warmer. It is cool getting in, but comfortable to be in the water for an hour or more.

We are now back board the Odyssey and will meet a few of our new Australian friends for drinks and dinner. We’ve met people from England, Walnut Creek, Lea Jolle, Australia, and New Zealand all of whom have been just tremendous.

We did meet one couple who I will not describe in detail less they find this site and recognize themselves. They are non-stop talkers, demanding, high maintenance, and thoroughly boring. At dinner a few nights ago, the hostess mentioned that there was a couple looking for guests to join them. I immediately thought, “Ah, this is “them”” and told the hostess that we would prefer a quiet dinner alone. There is no way in hell I would volunteer to spend an evening with those two. I’ll never know if it was that wanted the company, but it was not worth the risk IMO.

When embarking on a cruise, it is best to avoid getting attached to any group or clique to start. You can easily wind up with complainers or inconsiderate boors. Slow immersion and getting to know your guests while taking tours or over coffee in the morning is best. Most everyone is gracious, funny, witty, and accomplished on a Seabourn cruise. There are the occasional exception.

Tomorrow, in Corfu we are “own plans” though we may join a 4×4 tour of the island.


Seabourn day 10, Katakolon port and Olypmia

Last night’s dinner after the Captain’s reception was fabulous. I had foie gras Ellen had a beet salad and we both had veal tenderloin served over a square of potato with a wonderful wine reduction. The deserts were amazing.

This morning we awoke in the port of Katakolon in the Peleponnese. We spent the early morning working out, me running and lifting weights in the gym, Ellen stretching in our suite. I brought cappuccinos down to the suite, Ellen went to the Colonnade for breakfast and we headed out to the tour of Olympus at 8:15. The day was warm and growing hot already.

Our tour guide was well versed in Greek mythology and explained the lineage of many of the Greek gods and some of the Roman along the way. The entrance to Olympus opens into the palaestra, part of the gymnasium used for training wrestlers. It, like most of the site, lies in ruins. The temple of Zeus, the baths, and the temple of Hera are all in ruins. One column of the Temple of Zeus was rebuilt at a cost of $500,000 euro. The plan to rebuild the front six columns was abandoned. It was great fun walking from one ruin to another listening to our guide describe both the history and the mythology of the site. Women and children were not allowed in the Stadium during the month of training or the five days of the games under pain of death. One family won repeatedly, a woman’s farther won, her husband won 3 times, and she wanted to train her son. She dressed as a man and entered the Stadium as her son’s trainer and helped him train. Her son won his competition and in tears his mother ran to him, but her disguise dropped away and she was revealed as a woman.

She begged the judges for her life asking how they could condem a woman to death when she was following her own law and helping her son win. She was not put to death, but thereafter the trainers, and judges had to enter the Stadium naked. Nakedness was required of the athletes already.

This is historical fact.

We enjoyed our tour of the ruins, but the tour of the archeological museum was more fascinating. Unlike the Parthenon’s museum, each piece in the Olympic museum was original. Greece is seismicly active. The Temple of Hera was destroyed by an earthquake in the 4th century Ad. It is thought that earthquakes are responsible for most of the destruction of Olympia. The statue of Hermes with the baby Dionysyus which was damaged in an earthquake in 1983 which broke the baby’s left arm. This statue is thought to be the inspiration for Michelangelo’s David two thousand years later. There is an uncanny resemblance between the two statues.

We returned to the small town of Katakolon had a very Greek lunch of salad, tzaziki, bread, and Alpha beer. We met a newly wed couple who flew from Ft. Lauderdale to Oia, spent a few days in Oia before catching the Odyssey to Venice and a Boston attorney and his wife who embarked in Athens for the trip to Venice. The newlyweds were bubbly and very happy with Seabourn service. The attorney and his wife were fun. We discussed Boston, travel, nuclear energy, and electric cars though not in that order. After hardly eating a bite, we had to cut the conversation short to actually eat.

Later we returned to the cafe for fee wi-fi, but spend most of our time sorting photos and not actually uploading anything. After returning to the bad, some of the off-loading of photos is underway (but at a price!).

Seabourn Restaurant 2

We scored!

We have another dinner reservation on the 19th at Restaurant #2 on signature night. The restaurant is quite small, seating about 40 people, it might be able to seat 80 each evening. During the week there are two or three signature dinners which may be available to 160 to 240 people. Roughly half the guests will not sample the chef’s creations on any one week cruise.

Last week we dined at Restaurant 2, but not knowing about the “signature dinner” we missed out. Our waitress mentioned that, “If you enjoyed this, you must make reservations for one of our signature dinners next week”.

Our gal in Guest Services said that we could not make the reservation that night and that reservations would open after the next leg of the cruise started. If that happened we could easily not “get in”. She said she would take our reservation the morning that we arrived in Piraeus/Athens and submit it for us when reservations could be submitted. We would be on a tour in Athens at that time and would lose out if she did not do that for us. BUT SHE DID and on the 19th we will be in culinary heaven.


Seabourn Day 9, Monemvasia

Monemvasia is a medieval town on an island connected to the mainland by a causeway build over an ancient bridge to the island. Monemvasia is a charming sleepy town. We skipped the bus tour inland to Mystras, a UNESCO site, and chose to visit the town before the temperature built. The bus ride to Myrna was over an hour one way.

With two of Seabourn’s busses off to Mystras, there were relatively few Seabourn guests touring the town. The Odyssey was the single cruise ship anchored in the harbor.

The approach to the island is dramatic with numerous other islands to starboard as a singular large chunk of land came into view with high steep cliffs all around. A v-shaped softening of the cliffs just behind and above the town marks the cobble stone path to the ruins at the top. The old city walls are intact and the city looks to be intact, though Monemvasia has been overrun by numerous invaders in its past.

Monemvasia means literally one entrance. There is a single gate through the walls and into the city. The walk to the old town from the port was pleasant. The water in the Greek Islands is clear with beautiful turquoise and blue shades above the shallows. The bottom is visible and the water inviting.

Ellen and I really enjoyed walking the streets and getting away from the main street with its tourist shops. Refreshingly, there were no barkers saying “here please”. This was very low key with extremely friendly people.

We made several attempts to find a way to the ruins up high on the plateau, but the path to the top was closed. The ruins are under renovation. We did find a path that led up to a small chapel in a cave about half way up the cliff face. The path was cobble stone that became gravel and sand, then steps carved in stone, then stone bricks placed as steps getting a bit more difficult to navigate the further up we went. Toward the end, the locals had built a stone wall against the cliff with a narrow walkway barely wide enough for one person. The drop-off was dramatic and not for the faint of heart. The reward was a view over the city to the ocean with gleaming blue sky, azure sea, and the Odyssey sitting on anchor in blazing white. A small wooden gate sat against the cliff face, be coning to us. Inside was a chapel setup in a cave with a make-shift alter and icons. We lingered a while both outside the chapel and within before starting down. A New Zealand fellow arrived ahead of us and another fellow arrived after. Most people stopped at the first rocky area, opting not to risk a fall. Ellen was a trooper going up and scrambling down “effortlessly”.

Speaking of troopers, We have met some wonderful people. We have grown quite fond of two couples: Rob and Roz and Jim and Tina; all from Australia. Tina had a hip reconstruction two months ago and has a hard time walking. She uses those short crutches with grips at hand level and an extension that wraps around your forearm. She walked the entire Ephesus site in Rhodes and the Acropolis and the Museum at Athens.

We had a conversation with the New Zealand fellow atop stone wall to the chapel about travel and how travel changes people. We all agreed that traveling and experiencing other cultures makes us more tolerant of others and more critical of ourselves. It breeds an understanding of “other”. We hope to spend more time with Tim and his wife over a drink or two one evening. He sailed Seabourn to Antarctica and I want to pick his brain. He said, “I hope we don’t bore you with our photos from that trip.” We have experiences to hang his photos on and that give us a reference point. We’ll “get it” and not be bored.

We needed to restore our supply of toothpaste and other mundane “stuff”. Returning from the old city, we spend half an hour or so walking the new city in search of a “super market” and any hidden gems. We were at the outskirts of the city and asked a local if he spoke English. “Not very well, but my wife she speaks very good English. How can I help you?” He directed us to a market back the way we had come then to our left. These people are genuinely friendly. After turning left we found a sign that read “Super Market” and it was very much a super market, but scaled for the size of the population and very Greek. It was air conditioned, an extra bonus.

While Ellen was shopping, I found a truly amazing Greek bakery that had all kinds of baked goods from bread to baklava. When Ellen finished we bought two sesame squares and two walnut baklava pastries. They are scrumptious.

We are underway now, headed to Katakolon and another adventure. Amazingly each stop on our cruise has been so different than the last that each experience is new. Consider taking a week of individual one day vacations each to a different exotic island and stacking them back to back for two weeks. That is exactly what this trip is. It is also exotic eye candy for the mind.

Monemvasia is another destination I would gladly revisit for four days along with Mykonos and Oia. Ellen is warming to the idea of staying away traveling for a few months! Two for now, but I’ll be working on two to three as a possibility.

We are very pleased with our adventure as it unfolds. Tonight is our second captain’s formal dinner. Time to get my suite and bowtie out!


Seabourn Day 7, Piraeus and Athens

This morning we arrived at the port of Piraeus. Piraeus (Peray Us) is the commercial port of Athens where the Odyssey docked this morning. I was up a bit early and took two cappuccinos to our suite. The cappuccinos are really good aboard ship.

At dinner on restaurant #2 we were told to book a signature evening in the restaurant. There are two dinner “types”; one is a pre-arranged menu, the other is a “signature” menu. The pre-arranged dinner limits the chef’s creativity. We experienced this in that the first “cocktail” which was actually a fruit dish was excellent. The first course was even better, with very well combined flavors in unexpected ways. By comparison, the main course fell flat. It was good, but nowhere up to the quality of the earlier courses. Our waitress suggested that we book a signature dinner next week. Making longish story short, this morning we booked a signature meal at 7:30 mid-week.

Then it was off to a hurried breakfast (the fruit selection is amazing and varies day to day) and we shuffled aboard a bus for the ride to the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Athens has been over run so many times that little remains of the Greek ruins today. For the Parthenon, the worst transgression was perpetrated by a British gentleman, Elgin Marbles, who carted off 60% of the Parthenon to England. He hoped to become wealthy selling the massive stones he transported back over an eleven year period. England paid him thirty two thousand British pounds. A goodly sum, but not the wealth he expected. Worse, the stone carvings are priceless and now in the London Museum.

The tour of Athens was good. On the down side, very few of the original ruins or artifacts exist today. Much of what we viewed were reconstructions. Even the Parthenon is a reconstruction of the original that the Persians destroyed sometime in the first century AD. Granted, the reconstruction was an ancient one. The Parthenon was shelled by the Turks much later and one side of the Parthenon was destroyed.

The Odyssey left port and we are headed to Monemvasia. As we are continuing on to Venice, we are “in transit”. About half of the guests departed at Athens. There was a mandatory safety drill at 3:15, a spa raffle at 4:15, an “in transit” cocktail party at 5:00, a lecture on “what be a pirate” at 5:30, and a rundown of all the tours available on this leg of the cruise at 6:30. It has been a busy afternoon and evening. We’re off to a semi-formal dinner in the restaurant now. It’s 7:50 pm. Tomorrow we’ll be walking the streets of Monemvasia!

Dinner was fabulous this evening. I started with a beef carpaccio, which had a myriad of flavored sauces drizzled at the plate edges. Ellen had a duck breast appetizer that also had a wonderful sampling of flavors on the plate. My veal piccata Milanease was very good, but Ellen’s beat goat cheese ravioli was superb. Then there were the deserts. Sugar-free vanilla and chocolate mousse with sugar caramelized raspberries, mint, and sugar glassee.

This mornings excursion to the Acropolis was fun, though two couples stood out as trouble. One woman pigeon holed me as we headed to the bus and complained that she should not have booked the second week, she was bored, was I on my second week, she had not seen me last week, did I like her new red hat she purchased in Santorini, isn’t it just the perfect hat, oh and can I help her with her smart phone. Geez, complaining about what is for us a wonderful cruise visiting some very amazing places. I assume she was hanging out by the pool the entire time.

Later when we arrived at the Acropolis, we had to climb a series of stairs. Somehow she and Ellen wound up together ahead of our group. Ellen found her way back, to the group. We didn’t think anything about it until two hours later we exited the Acropolis and a head count showed that she was missing. Funny, her husband didn’t seem to know or care that she was gone! WTF? We waited for her to show up for a while, then we headed off the the Archeological Museum without her. I heard later that she turned up on the Odyssey. All of the guests we’ve met thus far are really wonderful and well traveled people. This gal is one to be avoided. There is another couple that loves to complain. As one fellow said to me, “I’d rather be happy than wealthy” I agree.

At dinner this evening just as the main course was placed on the table, the red-hated woman showed up at our table to apologize for holding up the bus and continued to regale us with tales, including statement that she was a beautiful woman. Like where did that come from. Geez, just let me enjoy our dinner together. Luckily this is unusual behavior. I’m hoping we can avoid her and her argyl socked husband in the future. Let them glom onto some other couple.

To night’s show was a comedian, Paul Adams, a British comedian. He was very funny and entertaining. The show was over far to quickly. Tomorrow we don’t have an excursion planned. We can have an unhurried breakfast and wander the streets of Monemvasia.