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sooper

Review of Equinox E. Med. Cruise 5/11/12

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While I had an immensely memorable cruise, my memory is not very good so I thought I'd get the review out before I forget too much!

 

For those who like it short and quick: fantastic ship, service, food, and itinerary, with just a few complaints on the tendering process and spa. Would cruise again with Celebrity.

 

Want a lot more details - here they are...

 

Booking: Very painless to book the cruise via a TA website, and AQ gty became A1 one business day later. and was able to change our cabin choice to another within the same category.

 

Day 1 - Embarkation: Our train from Trastevere to Civitavecchia had a half hour delay, and then the blind was leading the blind...we followed a group and walked the long way to catch the port shuttle. Suffice it to say, there was no line! We made it to our cabin just 5 minutes before the muster drill announcement. The cabin was spacious, had enough drawers and storage - and I thought we overpacked too with a check-in and a carry-on each. Although we didn't spend a lot of time in it, really glad we had a balcony to look out, relax, and smell the sea. Even was able to connect to free Wi-Fi in one of the ports.

 

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The multiple showerheads helped ease the muscles after so much walking:

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After the muster drill we went to the Sunset Bar where a group of CCers met for the sailaway:

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We had a nice time meeting new friends, but then we were starving so we went to an early dinner at Blu:

 

Nightly appetizers - not my favorite so I had the waiter stop bringing them after the first night

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Seafood napoleon (I think that's the name) - good

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Blackened tuna - very dry, I only had a bite

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Filet that was supposed to be medium but came tough as leather

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After all I've read about Blu, it was not a good first impression (but it would improve later on). I know we could've sent back the entrees, but we were tired and didn't want to spend more time waiting. So we didn't even get dessert and went to check out the buffet. Surprisingly had good curry and tasty stir-fry noodles.

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It was great to eat outside with the beautiful sunset:

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After dinner we walked around and caught the first night's show. Enjoyed the singers, especially Kelly Broadway. Then we made some donations to the casino. I have to say, so far everywhere we went on the ship, staff were so nice and smiling, but for actually giving our money away, the casino staff were not the friendliest. (And yet we still went back...) :rolleyes: They could take a lesson or two from Vegas.

 

We headed back to our good looking made up bed to end the day:

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Day 2 - Messina: Woke up excited about the first day of tour.

 

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As it's the only day with a late start so we could have breakfast in Blu, we went there. The mango smoothie was delicious, but the salmon frittata, while the ingredients were fresh, was dry (sensing a theme??):

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I think I just chose the wrong item. We ate quickly and met our tour group, pre-arranged through our fantastic roll call. There were some miscommunication and too bad we were missing two members. (Learning lesson for future tour arrangements...)

 

First stop was Taormina, where we had free time to self tour. Most of us stayed together and went to the Greek theatre first - amazing views:

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After a quick bite of a delicious cannolo at the pastry shop near the main road, we continued on to Castelmola. Incredible views including the Greek theatre on the right:

 

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Lunch time:

 

tasty tomatoes

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the eggplant pasta was so good that I ate a few bites before remembering to take a picture, and eggplant was just great everywhere we ate this trip

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yummy beef rolls

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I could've easily finished this big cannolo myself, but showed restraint and shared with two others

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I was finished with Celebrity's S-Class ships, but you are reselling me with your photos and posts.

 

Even if it isn't perfect, maybe it can still be wonderful.

 

Thank you for your comments. Please keep writing.

 

Maris

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We saw cats everywhere, and one decided to pose for me:

 

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After another stop for more pictures we were dropped off back at the port. Still had time so we walked a little in the town of Messina.

 

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Somehow most shops were closed. But we still managed to find a place with great gelato just outside the port. We finally called it a day and headed back to the ship. Very relaxing laying out on the balcony.

 

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Then it was dinner time:

 

lovely fried cheese

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lobster/crab salad - soooooo good

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mushroom something - someone recommended it but I found it a tad greasy

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Nice Jill! By you doing this, I don't need to now! Ha!

 

No seriously, awesome to see one of our roll call members review... I will probably do a quick wrap-up with more detail to private excursions and photos... that is, whenever I finish the photos. End of June, perhaps! :rolleyes:

 

BTW, love the cat shot. Ben is groaning at the number of cat shots I took. :D

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Thanks pumpkin and Maris (why were you finished with S-class?).

 

 

I don't care for the S-Class ship design:

 

-too many decibels in Grand Foyer,

-too much emphasis on Grand Foyer as an entertainment area,

 

-the abbreviated promenade,

-minimal sea views from inside public areas,

 

-storage over the bed in cabins

 

-crowded MDR seating for Select,

-insufficient choices and service at the evening buffet

 

-crowded armless loungers in Solarium

-not enough tables in Aqua Cafe

 

Some become less important as you write and post photos.

Thank you for asking.... keep posting.

 

Maris

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quail with sweet potato - too sweet for my taste

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okay desserts - don't remember what they were

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We went outside for the Hot Glass Show - just amazing, really made me appreciate glass that much more. Was very windy though, so bring a jacket or a blanket!

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Day 3 - At Sea: We wanted to sleep in but the CC Meet & Greet was in the morning. Tried room service for breakfast, very disappointed:

 

first it didn't look appealing, the omelette was dry, terrible tasting sausage,

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and the highly praised waffles were so dense they were not tasty at all.

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Needless to say, we didn't try room service breakfast again. We learned to have a quick breakfast at the buffet, and found most items there fresh and good, especially the porridge with the not-dry scrambled eggs for breakfast.

 

The Meet & Greet was quick, and we had met most people at the sailaway already. We then had a cabin crawl, and that was a good experience seeing the various types of cabins and socializing with our new friends. It did take a while though.

 

Lunch at the Aqua Spa Cafe - hard sushi rice, tasty but a little tough pork chop. Perhaps they'd rather overcook to minimize the risk with raw food? Did hear a few people got sick eating steak tartare.

 

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Edited by sooper

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Nice Jill! By you doing this, I don't need to now! Ha!

 

No seriously, awesome to see one of our roll call members review... I will probably do a quick wrap-up with more detail to private excursions and photos... that is, whenever I finish the photos. End of June, perhaps! :rolleyes:

 

BTW, love the cat shot. Ben is groaning at the number of cat shots I took. :D

Thanks Robyn! No way - you need to do one too...look forward to hear your experience! :)

 

I'm already forgetting the details so I'm doing a quick review with just a few pictures sorted out. I'm sure you have tons more photos.

 

Never enough cats or dog shots! :D

Edited by sooper

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I don't care for the S-Class ship design:

 

-too many decibels in Grand Foyer,

-too much emphasis on Grand Foyer as an entertainment area,

 

-the abbreviated promenade,

-minimal sea views from inside public areas,

 

-storage over the bed in cabins

 

-crowded MDR seating for Select,

-insufficient choices and service at the evening buffet

 

-crowded armless loungers in Solarium

-not enough tables in Aqua Cafe

 

Some become less important as you write and post photos.

Thank you for asking.... keep posting.

 

Maris

I see what you mean on the noise and the crowdedness...though I think the good outweighs the bad overall.

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Sooper, you may say your memory is not very good but your photographs certainly are. I am enjoying reading your review. Keep it coming!

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After lunch we walked around, and rested in our cabin. While the other half watched a movie on demand (great feature), I decided to check out the Aqua Spa. I went to the spa front desk and asked to use the steam room. The attendant was not too friendly, he told me that it was not working and to go back the next day. O...K.

 

I took a nap and continued the eating marathon (apparently).

 

Good but a teeny tiny bit bland crab cakes

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Cooked just right rack of lamb, but the sauce was too salty. We would later became known as the couple who wanted sauce/dressing/everything on the side due to the saltiness.

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Juicy and flavorful grilled pork medallions - one of the very best dishes we had on the ship, they were so good that we requested them (and the crab cakes too) as our next night's dinner.

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Pear (?) tart - desserts are not a strong point on the ship, so we shared

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It was a nice gesture for the maitre d' to be handing out roses to the ladies for Mother's day.

 

After dinner we went to the Captain's welcome. Free champagne and chocolates were handed out as we walked into the theatre.

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We didn't stay for the show, and wrestled just a little with the casino and got some money back.

 

Turned in early to prepare for the full day to come. This cute little guy was waiting for us - although totally unexpected from Celebrity

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Edited by sooper

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Sooper, you may say your memory is not very good but your photographs certainly are. I am enjoying reading your review. Keep it coming!

Thank you dln929. I'm trying and learning. I try to shoot everything as I know I'll forget sooner than I thought I would! :p

Edited by sooper

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I am enjoying the photo's too and anything I can learn about the Equinox for my trip this year. Also might go Aqua class next year, so far the food does not look as good as have seen before. Thanks for doing the review.

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Day 4 - Athens: Way too early start but we had a tour to try to cover all the major sights. I'm not a morning person so I got up at the last minute possible and took a few quick bites of breakfast from the buffet.

 

Our first tour stop was Acropolis. We had a knowledgeable and well spoken guide who's also a Hugh Jackman doppelganger:

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If Messina was cat-occupied, then Athens was all about the dogs. They are seen everywhere, fed and vaccinated by the government. Good life.

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The Acropolis was grand:

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Temple of Zeus - wow:

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Quick stop at the Olympic Stadium - where once every sport played here for the games:

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We attempted to see the Agora:

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But everyone was a bit tired from the walking and climbing so we saw it from afar and went to lunch in the area just outside instead.

 

First, a nice cold espresso frappe to wake me up:

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Very good grilled octopus:

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More delicious eggplant - moussaka:

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And, what we're still talking and thinking about to this day, the absolutely superb gyros:

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Edited by sooper

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I am enjoying the photo's too and anything I can learn about the Equinox for my trip this year. Also might go Aqua class next year, so far the food does not look as good as have seen before. Thanks for doing the review.

Thank you ~ you'll have such a great time! Let me know if you have questions.

 

Great report!! Thank you. We will be following your trip June 22.

 

What tour did you do in Athens?

Thanks! Our wonderfully organized CCer Shooraq (Robyn) booked the tour with Private Greece Tours. She would have the details if you're interested.

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After the food fest we spent a few hours in the National Archaeological Museum, at least then some of us had an excuse for dozing off.

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Beware - we were scolded by the staff: NO POSING!!

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A quick stop at the Parliament Building:

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It was a great full day and we were wowed.

 

Back to Blu-

 

Mussels (?) cocktail - not memorable obviously:

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Very good short ribs (?):

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The waiter remembered to give us the pork medallions again, but it was drier this time around. So reserving the same item may not result in the same enjoyment.

 

Desserts were crepe suzette - which was overly sweet so had only a bite, and chocolate something cake:

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Edited by sooper

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What a SOOPER review!! :p Love the photos... thanks so much!

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Hi Jill, your photos are wonderful and we did have a great time, didn't

we:)

Not sure if I am even doing a review.....yours will be more than

sufficient:D

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I am also loving your review and pictures are GREAT I am so glad you are taking the time to post. thank you

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After our dinner we chatted the night away with our new friends at the Martini Bar.

 

The martini flight was a great deal and delicious too:

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We were naughty and stayed up a bit late, it was really hard to get up so early the next day! But this night was just the start of many... :p

 

Day 5 - Kusadasi:

 

Very festive morning start

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Ephesus was even more grand and amazing

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And, we're back to the cats

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The terrace houses were worth the extra fee

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Really great experience. But then it went flat from this point on. (For me and my husband at least. I think some others in my group felt differently as they loved this day more than the one before.)

 

We then went to the House of Mary, where I didn't care to go but it was a group thing so we went along. It was literally 3 minutes in and out. I didn't bother to take pictures. Bought some pashmina shawls, and then we went to lunch.

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What a SOOPER review!! :p Love the photos... thanks so much!

 

Hi Jill, your photos are wonderful and we did have a great time, didn't

we:)

Not sure if I am even doing a review.....yours will be more than

sufficient:D

 

I am also loving your review and pictures are GREAT I am so glad you are taking the time to post. thank you

Thanks all ~ I'm so glad you're enjoying this! :)

 

Hi Lois ~ yes you should definitely do a review too. I think we have different perspectives and would be interesting to see your pictures! We had a fabulous trip!

Edited by sooper

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Thanks all ~ I'm so glad you're enjoying this! :)

 

Hi Lois ~ yes you should definitely do a review too. I think we have different perspectives and would be interesting to see your pictures! We had a fabulous trip!

 

I posted my photos....click on the Flickr link in my signature and you will

see the EQUINOX To the Med Album.....there are just over 200 of them

but there are no captions.

It was really a pleasure meeting you and Joe. I think I only made it

to the Martini bar a couple of times over the whole cruise. I never

stayed up late the whole trip...guess I am getting old:rolleyes:

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Lunch:

 

Feta cheese with peppers

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Eggplant salad - the other super tasty dish from this trip that I'm still thinking about

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Lamb and beef dishes were OK...maybe we were still hung up on the wonderful gyros the day before. (But I'd heard from the others that their chicken dish was great.)

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I think most of us were still getting used to so much walking and waking up so early, and the late nights probably, so we decided against the museum after lunch. We had a quick stop at the Temple of Artemis. Most of us stayed in the van and only a few avid photographers got off for a few photos.

 

All that's left with a bird's nest on top:

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And then...that was the end. The guide proposed a carpet making tour and some people went with her, while the rest of us opted to go back to the port. We didn't go because we were tired, not interested in purchasing one (didn't have a mansion to house the expensive carpets), and thought it was a sales pitch too. It could be a good deal compared to what is being sold in the U.S., but we didn't know anything about carpets, so we wouldn't know a deal if we saw one.

 

Walked in the Grand Bazaar at the port, there were lots of shops and was a good place to get souvenirs, and you can get a good deal if you are a good haggler. Also found an internet cafe and a store. I bought some Turkish Delight candies, and our friends liked them.

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I never

stayed up late the whole trip...guess I am getting old:rolleyes:

Nah...you were just smart and have more restraint to conserve your energy. ;)

 

Meeting you and the others on our roll call was what made this cruise so memorable! Now I'm worried that our future cruises won't be as fun. :o

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Back to our balcony:

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We decided to meet some friends and try the Main Dining Room for dinner. Where we sat was in an area in the back and was quieter, but when we walked through the room it was really very very noisy. Service wise we had a great waiter, but then he told us he came from Blu, so can't compare there. The menu had a lot more choices than at Blu, and it was good timing as there were many seafood choices that looked delectable.

 

Crab cake to start

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Mushroom polenta - hmm hmm good but salty

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We shared a chicken curry - also good

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Fish

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Small portion of seafood pasta to try - very good, but a bit salty.

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I think the food was very good, with over salting being the same issue in both dining rooms. The ambiance was quite different and Blu really was very serene, being a smaller venue, but if there's a big price difference between Aqua and a regular room I could do without serenity at dinner time. Haha.

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Desserts - that was not as good as a Sicilian cannolo but I didn't mind:

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Spent some time with my friend Jack in the casino. Then we tried the Molecular Bar.

 

Cool looking drink:

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I like the rosy one - beautiful and delicious:

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We had self-tour the next day, so we could sleep in a little.

 

Day 6 - Rhodes:

 

Balcony view of the medieval city, cool looking

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Another city of cats

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A thirsty bird

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Very interesting looking but hard on our soles - how did the people walk and live on these roads?

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They sculpt their gelati here

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More gyros, and they were good, but not like the ones in Athens

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We then visited the Archaeological Museum, there were so much to see

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Edited by sooper

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We made it to the Palace of the Grandmaster before they closed at 3pm

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Walked around and browsed the shops. Found a great artisan gelateria, and yes we had a gelato. Then we saw the bus station, and right next to it was a good looking gyros place for just 2,30 euros each. We had to have one. And it was huge and tasty too.

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We walked behind the station and what did we find - gyros for 1,80 euros each. No, we laughed, could not eat any more; had to pass. There were spice shops so I bought a bunch of spices - a hit with friends who cook.

 

Back to the ship

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We were still full so went dinner later, admired the sunset first

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Great review and I love your pictures -- extremely balanced and beautiful. Oh to have a glass of this... my favorite also.

 

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Enjoyed the fried cheese

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Smoked salmon salad was, yes, salty

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Now 3 tables have warned us that it was really salty, but I wanted chicken broth, so I had the waiter bring me hot water to mix it in:

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Fish, very good with the skin, with sauce on the side

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Good pork chop

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Very rich chocolate dessert:

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Great review and I love your pictures -- extremely balanced and beautiful. Oh to have a glass of this... my favorite also.

 

Enjoying your review and photos.

Thank you.

 

Greece is a beautiful country.

Thank you ~ appreciate the compliments!

 

I've learned so much from this forum, so I hope my experience will help someone else. :)

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great review-love the pics! i felt like i was always busy but seems i missed so much, could have used another few days just to enjoy the ship :)

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