Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
abbydancer

Live report from the Reflection

Recommended Posts

Ahem... You've got me reading this excellent daily serial and suddenly we've gone two days without a post. :cool:

 

Sorry! After Rhodes it was too vary busy port days, with a very early start in Athens. It takes an hour or so to do each one, especially with inlining the photos. Because of the start time in Athens, we went to bed very early the last two nights.

 

I do have detailed notes from Rhodes and Santorini, and right now I'm sitting on the balcony with a nice cooling breeze (it's been very hot until today) writing Rhodes. I may finish a day or two post live, but I will finish - I promise!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Today was Rhodes, and we were docked. It was the second of the two ports we didn't have tours in.

 

 

 

We agreed that we'd meet our friends at the Passport Bar at the not too early time of 10:00 am. We headed down to breakfast, and then back to the room to get our stuff. (Since the restaurant closes at 9, we knew we'd have time. Glen had a couple of things to do in the room, so I went down. When I got to the bar I got a text from JoEllen telling me to go to Cafe Al Bacio instead. Up I went. Alan forgot his hat, and so she was waiting while enjoying a coffee. I figured in a few minutes, I'd go down and get Glen, but he found us. Alan soon joined us. Our other friends overslept and had to work on hurricane preparations for their kids, (they would text when they were ready), so the four of us set out.

 

 

 

One of the things we'd wanted to do was visit the synagogue and the holocaust memorial. JoEllen read it was by the Seahorse statue. We asked in a shop as you entered the walled old city and she sent us to the right down the main street of the old city. She also told us to take the second left. It was little hard to determine what a left was - road or path. We found the statue, and the memorial for the Jews of Rhodes who were deported and killed. There were, if memory serves, 1600 people, 1450 who died. Some came back and JoEllen said she read that there were 31 Jewish people with one active synagogue in Rhodes.

 

 

 

89a7280729edfd6909b915b6576b5d81.jpg

 

After taking pictures of the memorial, we tried to find the Synagogue. Google Maps said we'd arrived. We asked in a few places, and people kept pointing us in the right general direction. Finally we found the street that we knew it was on, and soon found it. We found a door, but it was locked. JoEllen had apparently booked a tour, but the guide was sick, and she thought maybe that was the only way you could see the Synagogue. However Glen found the actual entrance, it was open.

 

 

 

The entrance went into a nice courtyard, with the gift shop ahead and the synagogue to the left. It's an old Sephardic synagogue, meaning the bema (equivalent to a pulpit) in the center of the room, surrounded by pews on 3 sides. A docent was there greeting people. He told us he spoke Greek, Spanish, Italian and French, but his English wasn't good. He did show us the tattoo on his arm indicating he is a Holocaust survivor. He gave us a handout with the history of the Synagogue in English, and suggested we sit and read it.

 

 

 

8bba5d4dce06f611cb70d9b72dcd22bd.jpg

 

After reading it, we entered the courtyard on the other side of the Synagogue, which was where the locked door was. To the side, is the entrance to the museum, so we went through that, learning about the history of the Jewish people of Rhodes. As mentioned earlier, the was a thriving community in a (mostly) tolerant greater community until the **** occupation of Greece.

 

 

 

d431ad62c15566d6fa1d1dea396a2043.jpg

 

The families that perished. Nor that cruisecritic bleeped out the N word. Think National Socialists of Germany.

 

After visiting the synagogue and stopping by the gift shop, we decided to have a drink in one of the many restaurants. We chose the nearest one called The Orange Bar (I think). Alan and Glen asked for a local beer, and JoEllen and I wanted a mixed local cocktail. The server asked what size we wanted and we all said small.

 

 

 

So what came out was two boots of beer (literally a glass shaped like a boot, and a full size small boot) and two mixed drink with the drink part the size of a soup bowl. I can't imagine what their large size is. After getting partway through the drinks, we decided food was a good idea, so we ordered dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). JoEllen tried Octopus, and we shared a greek salad. The rice in the Dolmas was very, very good, and more like a risotto.

 

 

 

8c23c01c9393f4e1474dd80719f2b4fb.jpg

 

Glen and Alan did very well in finishing their drinks, we did not. So, when we were ready to leave, the server brought us to go cups (coffee to go cups, actually). Poured the remainder of our drinks in, and away we went. JoEllen and Alan went straight back to the ship, but we decided to wander a bit outside of the old city to find an ATM. Outside of the gates, we saw a bunch of what are probably feral cats. Apparently a lot in this part of the world.

 

 

 

 

01f11d44a6872284c0b3e50d03c5dfdf.jpgWe walked to what looked like a commercial part of any city, with a gas station, restaurants, and a park area to walk in. No banks, though. I thought I'd ask Siri, but she was of no help, so I used Google maps. Turns out there was a ATM back in the old City, a bit further than we'd gone. So back in we went, went to the ATM and then back to the ship.

 

 

 

It was about 1pm, and we weren't quite hungry, so back to the ship to do basically nothing. After an hour or so, we decided we were a bit hungry, so we went to the mast grill to get some hotdogs. It was way too windy to eat up there, so we went to the buffet. On the Equinox I wasn't too impressed with the burger, here I wasn't too impressed with the hotdog. Oh well, we had a nice dinner planned.

 

 

 

Next we decided to practice our dance choreography. First stop was the Sky Lounge - nope an event going on these. Next was the studio below - a couple practicing there too. So we went to what they call the entertainment or activity foyer on deck 4, and practiced there for a bit. Following that, we went to Cafe Al Bacio for a coffee, then back to room, then to Michael's club for a while. While there, I asked about using priority tendering for our group of 6 going to Santorini together. They said just bring everyone to them. I let the group know to meet in Ensemble at 8:15 (We were meeting the guide around 9 am).

 

 

 

The show tonight was the cast singing broadway, so we went to that. It was good, not great - basically just the leads and two others singing songs from various broadway shows. I think the most recent was from Dream Girls.

 

 

 

After that back to the room to prepare for dinner at 8:30 in Tuscan Grill. There, a problem developed - the toilet wouldn't flush, so I tried calling Guest Relations. No answer, so I called the concierges in Michaels club. They, of course answered the phone, and said they'd forward the message.

 

 

 

We left a bit early for dinner (and to use the restrooms downstairs), and ran into JoEllen and friends on our way to Tuscan.

 

 

 

The dinner in Tuscan was very good. I'd heard some not good things about it on the Equinox, and when I was on the Equinox they were offering discounts like crazy. I had the beef Carpaccio, burrata salad and filet mignon. I think Glen had a calamari, a caesar salad and the ribeye. We, for reasons I'm not clear on, also had the Antipasta board. (Next time I'll just ask for the gorgonzola and fig jam). For dessert we shared a strawberry shortcake type thing.

 

 

 

fea262293e7b58fdfb3557010f5d805c.jpg

 

While there, we noticed two things. First, Rick Steves and his gang at a table across the room, and plumbers working frantically in the area between the specialty restaurants and the Ensemble lounge.

 

 

 

After dinner, we watched a little bit of the Myst show that the singers and dancers do in the Atrium. We had a tour the next day, so went back to the room after trying to dance a bit in the stair bank on deck 7. Got back the room, the toilet worked, but only for a while, then it stopped again. This time I called guest relations because our concierges were gone for the day.

 

 

 

Went to bed hoping to have a flushing toilet by morning.

Edited by abbydancer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My I. Imp

Today was Rhodes, and we were docked. It was the second of the two ports we didn't have tours in.

 

 

 

We agreed that we'd meet our friends at the Passport Bar at the not too early time of 10:00 am. We headed down to breakfast, and then back to the room to get our stuff. (Since the restaurant closes at 9, we knew we'd have time. Glen had a couple of things to do in the room, so I went down. When I got to the bar I got a text from JoEllen telling me to go to Cafe Al Bacio instead. Up I went. Alan forgot his hat, and so she was waiting while enjoying a coffee. I figured in a few minutes, I'd go down and get Glen, but he found us. Alan soon joined us. Our other friends overslept and had to work on hurricane preparations for their kids, (they would text when they were ready), so the four of us set out.

 

 

 

One of the things we'd wanted to do was visit the synagogue and the holocaust memorial. JoEllen read it was by the Seahorse statue. We asked in a shop as you entered the walled old city and she sent us to the right down the main street of the old city. She also told us to take the second left. It was little hard to determine what a left was - road or path. We found the statue, and the memorial for the Jews of Rhodes who were deported and killed. There were, if memory serves, 1600 people, 1450 who died. Some came back and JoEllen said she read that there were 31 Jewish people with one active synagogue in Rhodes.

 

 

 

89a7280729edfd6909b915b6576b5d81.jpg

 

After taking pictures of the memorial, we tried to find the Synagogue. Google Maps said we'd arrived. We asked in a few places, and people kept pointing us in the right general direction. Finally we found the street that we knew it was on, and soon found it. We found a door, but it was locked. JoEllen had apparently booked a tour, but the guide was sick, and she thought maybe that was the only way you could see the Synagogue. However Glen found the actual entrance, it was open.

 

 

 

The entrance went into a nice courtyard, with the gift shop ahead and the synagogue to the left. It's an old Sephardic synagogue, meaning the bema (equivalent to a pulpit) in the center of the room, surrounded by pews on 3 sides. A docent was there greeting people. He told us he spoke Greek, Spanish, Italian and French, but his English wasn't good. He did show us the tattoo on his arm indicating he is a Holocaust survivor. He gave us a handout with the history of the Synagogue in English, and suggested we sit and read it.

 

 

 

8bba5d4dce06f611cb70d9b72dcd22bd.jpg

 

After reading it, we entered the courtyard on the other side of the Synagogue, which was where the locked door was. To the side, is the entrance to the museum, so we went through that, learning about the history of the Jewish people of Rhodes. As mentioned earlier, the was a thriving community in a (mostly) tolerant greater community until the **** occupation of Greece.

 

 

 

d431ad62c15566d6fa1d1dea396a2043.jpg

 

The families that perished. Nor that cruisecritic bleeped out the N word. Think National Socialists of Germany.

 

After visiting the synagogue and stopping by the gift shop, we decided to have a drink in one of the many restaurants. We chose the nearest one called The Orange Bar (I think). Alan and Glen asked for a local beer, and JoEllen and I wanted a mixed local cocktail. The server asked what size we wanted and we all said small.

 

 

 

So what came out was two boots of beer (literally a glass shaped like a boot, and a full size small boot) and two mixed drink with the drink part the size of a soup bowl. I can't imagine what their large size is. After getting partway through the drinks, we decided food was a good idea, so we ordered dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). JoEllen tried Octopus, and we shared a greek salad. The rice in the Dolmas was very, very good, and more like a risotto.

 

 

 

8c23c01c9393f4e1474dd80719f2b4fb.jpg

 

Glen and Alan did very well in finishing their drinks, we did not. So, when we were ready to leave, the server brought us to go cups (coffee to go cups, actually). Poured the remainder of our drinks in, and away we went. JoEllen and Alan went straight back to the ship, but we decided to wander a bit outside of the old city to find an ATM. Outside of the gates, we saw a bunch of what are probably feral cats. Apparently a lot in this part of the world.

 

 

 

 

01f11d44a6872284c0b3e50d03c5dfdf.jpgWe walked to what looked like a commercial part of any city, with a gas station, restaurants, and a park area to walk in. No banks, though. I thought I'd ask Siri, but she was of no help, so I used Google maps. Turns out there was a ATM back in the old City, a bit further than we'd gone. So back in we went, went to the ATM and then back to the ship.

 

 

 

It was about 1pm, and we weren't quite hungry, so back to the ship to do basically nothing. After an hour or so, we decided we were a bit hungry, so we went to the mast grill to get some hotdogs. It was way too windy to eat up there, so we went to the buffet. On the Equinox I wasn't too impressed with the burger, here I wasn't too impressed with the hotdog. Oh well, we had a nice dinner planned.

 

 

 

Next we decided to practice our dance choreography. First stop was the Sky Lounge - nope an event going on these. Next was the studio below - a couple practicing there too. So we went to what they call the entertainment or activity foyer on deck 4, and practiced there for a bit. Following that, we went to Cafe Al Bacio for a coffee, then back to room, then to Michael's club for a while. While there, I asked about using priority tendering for our group of 6 going to Santorini together. They said just bring everyone to them. I let the group know to meet in Ensemble at 8:15 (We were meeting the guide around 9 am).

 

 

 

The show tonight was the cast singing broadway, so we went to that. It was good, not great - basically just the leads and two others singing songs from various broadway shows. I think the most recent was from Dream Girls.

 

 

 

After that back to the room to prepare for dinner at 8:30 in Tuscan Grill. There, a problem developed - the toilet wouldn't flush, so I tried calling Guest Relations. No answer, so I called the concierges in Michaels club. They, of course answered the phone, and said they'd forward the message.

 

 

 

We left a bit early for dinner (and to use the restrooms downstairs), and ran into JoEllen and friends on our way to Tuscan.

 

 

 

The dinner in Tuscan was very good. I'd heard some not good things about it on the Equinox, and when I was on the Equinox they were offering discounts like crazy. I had the beef Carpaccio, burrata salad and filet mignon. I think Glen had a calamari, a caesar salad and the ribeye. We, for reasons I'm not clear on, also had the Antipasta board. (Next time I'll just ask for the gorgonzola and fig jam). For dessert we shared a strawberry shortcake type thing.

 

 

 

fea262293e7b58fdfb3557010f5d805c.jpg

 

While there, we noticed two things. First, Rick Steves and his gang at a table across the room, and plumbers working frantically in the area between the specialty restaurants and the Ensemble lounge.

 

 

 

After dinner, we watched a little bit of the Myst show that the singers and dancers do in the Atrium. We had a tour the next day, so went back to the room after trying to dance a bit in the stair bank on deck 7. Got back the room, the toilet worked, but only for a while, then it stopped again. This time I called guest relations because our concierges were gone for the day.

 

 

 

Went to bed hoping to have a flushing toilet by morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My I. Imp

 

Today was Rhodes, and we were docked. It was the second of the two ports we didn't have tours in.

 

 

 

We agreed that we'd meet our friends at the Passport Bar at the not too early time of 10:00 am. We headed down to breakfast, and then back to the room to get our stuff. (Since the restaurant closes at 9, we knew we'd have time. Glen had a couple of things to do in the room, so I went down. When I got to the bar I got a text from JoEllen telling me to go to Cafe Al Bacio instead. Up I went. Alan forgot his hat, and so she was waiting while enjoying a coffee. I figured in a few minutes, I'd go down and get Glen, but he found us. Alan soon joined us. Our other friends overslept and had to work on hurricane preparations for their kids, (they would text when they were ready), so the four of us set out.

 

 

 

One of the things we'd wanted to do was visit the synagogue and the holocaust memorial. JoEllen read it was by the Seahorse statue. We asked in a shop as you entered the walled old city and she sent us to the right down the main street of the old city. She also told us to take the second left. It was little hard to determine what a left was - road or path. We found the statue, and the memorial for the Jews of Rhodes who were deported and killed. There were, if memory serves, 1600 people, 1450 who died. Some came back and JoEllen said she read that there were 31 Jewish people with one active synagogue in Rhodes.

 

 

 

89a7280729edfd6909b915b6576b5d81.jpg

 

After taking pictures of the memorial, we tried to find the Synagogue. Google Maps said we'd arrived. We asked in a few places, and people kept pointing us in the right general direction. Finally we found the street that we knew it was on, and soon found it. We found a door, but it was locked. JoEllen had apparently booked a tour, but the guide was sick, and she thought maybe that was the only way you could see the Synagogue. However Glen found the actual entrance, it was open.

 

 

 

The entrance went into a nice courtyard, with the gift shop ahead and the synagogue to the left. It's an old Sephardic synagogue, meaning the bema (equivalent to a pulpit) in the center of the room, surrounded by pews on 3 sides. A docent was there greeting people. He told us he spoke Greek, Spanish, Italian and French, but his English wasn't good. He did show us the tattoo on his arm indicating he is a Holocaust survivor. He gave us a handout with the history of the Synagogue in English, and suggested we sit and read it.

 

 

 

8bba5d4dce06f611cb70d9b72dcd22bd.jpg

 

After reading it, we entered the courtyard on the other side of the Synagogue, which was where the locked door was. To the side, is the entrance to the museum, so we went through that, learning about the history of the Jewish people of Rhodes. As mentioned earlier, the was a thriving community in a (mostly) tolerant greater community until the **** occupation of Greece.

 

 

 

d431ad62c15566d6fa1d1dea396a2043.jpg

 

The families that perished. Nor that cruisecritic bleeped out the N word. Think National Socialists of Germany.

 

After visiting the synagogue and stopping by the gift shop, we decided to have a drink in one of the many restaurants. We chose the nearest one called The Orange Bar (I think). Alan and Glen asked for a local beer, and JoEllen and I wanted a mixed local cocktail. The server asked what size we wanted and we all said small.

 

 

 

So what came out was two boots of beer (literally a glass shaped like a boot, and a full size small boot) and two mixed drink with the drink part the size of a soup bowl. I can't imagine what their large size is. After getting partway through the drinks, we decided food was a good idea, so we ordered dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). JoEllen tried Octopus, and we shared a greek salad. The rice in the Dolmas was very, very good, and more like a risotto.

 

 

 

8c23c01c9393f4e1474dd80719f2b4fb.jpg

 

Glen and Alan did very well in finishing their drinks, we did not. So, when we were ready to leave, the server brought us to go cups (coffee to go cups, actually). Poured the remainder of our drinks in, and away we went. JoEllen and Alan went straight back to the ship, but we decided to wander a bit outside of the old city to find an ATM. Outside of the gates, we saw a bunch of what are probably feral cats. Apparently a lot in this part of the world.

 

 

 

 

01f11d44a6872284c0b3e50d03c5dfdf.jpgWe walked to what looked like a commercial part of any city, with a gas station, restaurants, and a park area to walk in. No banks, though. I thought I'd ask Siri, but she was of no help, so I used Google maps. Turns out there was a ATM back in the old City, a bit further than we'd gone. So back in we went, went to the ATM and then back to the ship.

 

 

 

It was about 1pm, and we weren't quite hungry, so back to the ship to do basically nothing. After an hour or so, we decided we were a bit hungry, so we went to the mast grill to get some hotdogs. It was way too windy to eat up there, so we went to the buffet. On the Equinox I wasn't too impressed with the burger, here I wasn't too impressed with the hotdog. Oh well, we had a nice dinner planned.

 

 

 

Next we decided to practice our dance choreography. First stop was the Sky Lounge - nope an event going on these. Next was the studio below - a couple practicing there too. So we went to what they call the entertainment or activity foyer on deck 4, and practiced there for a bit. Following that, we went to Cafe Al Bacio for a coffee, then back to room, then to Michael's club for a while. While there, I asked about using priority tendering for our group of 6 going to Santorini together. They said just bring everyone to them. I let the group know to meet in Ensemble at 8:15 (We were meeting the guide around 9 am).

 

 

 

The show tonight was the cast singing broadway, so we went to that. It was good, not great - basically just the leads and two others singing songs from various broadway shows. I think the most recent was from Dream Girls.

 

 

 

After that back to the room to prepare for dinner at 8:30 in Tuscan Grill. There, a problem developed - the toilet wouldn't flush, so I tried calling Guest Relations. No answer, so I called the concierges in Michaels club. They, of course answered the phone, and said they'd forward the message.

 

 

 

We left a bit early for dinner (and to use the restrooms downstairs), and ran into JoEllen and friends on our way to Tuscan.

 

 

 

The dinner in Tuscan was very good. I'd heard some not good things about it on the Equinox, and when I was on the Equinox they were offering discounts like crazy. I had the beef Carpaccio, burrata salad and filet mignon. I think Glen had a calamari, a caesar salad and the ribeye. We, for reasons I'm not clear on, also had the Antipasta board. (Next time I'll just ask for the gorgonzola and fig jam). For dessert we shared a strawberry shortcake type thing.

 

 

 

fea262293e7b58fdfb3557010f5d805c.jpg

 

While there, we noticed two things. First, Rick Steves and his gang at a table across the room, and plumbers working frantically in the area between the specialty restaurants and the Ensemble lounge.

 

 

 

After dinner, we watched a little bit of the Myst show that the singers and dancers do in the Atrium. We had a tour the next day, so went back to the room after trying to dance a bit in the stair bank on deck 7. Got back the room, the toilet worked, but only for a while, then it stopped again. This time I called guest relations because our concierges were gone for the day.

 

 

 

Went to bed hoping to have a flushing toilet by morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So next cruise director is Sara, coming over from the Equinox. She was very good. You are lucky.

Thanks for asking, it's appreciated. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for asking, it's appreciated. :)

You're welcome.

 

By the way, I have written the post for Athens, and will post after I write and post Santorini. I'll probably get caught up flying to London on Monday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sending words of encouragement to continue your report...

No worries - we've been in transit and are just about to board our last flight. When the entertainment system on the flight from London to LA crapped out, I worked on the report. I'll have Rhodes and Athens up tomorrow sometime, and the sea day, Naples and return in the next few days. I've written most of Naples offline, and both Rhodes and Athens are done.

 

I will finish - I promise!

 

Oh, and Damian is on for one more cruise. He leaves later this month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, and Damian is on for one more cruise. He leaves later this month.

 

I read somewhere else that Sara had left Equinox due to a family issue so that may explain why Damian is staying on for the current cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoying your report; we have this cruised booked for the second time next year and then onto Cinque Terre once again. The Reflection has been my favorite ship.

Can you explain why the perks are so much better on Princess, as I am just curious. I am elite on Celebrity. Many thanks! I hope you are enjoying your cruise...

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
So since today was a sea day, I finished up yesterdays post. By the way, I'm now putting pictures into the blog version as well. Here are pictures from my phone. The blog has pictures from Glen's camera.

 

www.abbydancer2003.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

Today was Valetta, Malta. First thing, find out where Malta is. Oh wait, I don't need to know - I'm not driving. Next, find the falcon, or the puppy or the Cross, or the malted milk. Never mind.

 

 

 

We'd joined a tour a fellow cruisecritic member had organized for 4 of us. They had to cancel, but fortunately, Adele and Frank stepped it. Once again, we met at the Passport bar to meet for finding our guide.

 

 

 

Disembarkation was fast, and we walked out of the pier area. One other ship was the there - the Mein Schiff 2 (Mein Schiff is a joint venture between RCI and TUI shipping - a German company). I subsequently learned that the ship was originally the Celebrity Mercury.

 

 

 

We were to meet our guide, Therese at a bar at the end of the pier. After getting directions, we arrived at the bar and her at at exactly our meeting time 8:30. We jumped into her 7 seater car, and away we went.

 

 

 

The first part was a quick drive around Valletta, with a stop at the old looking walls of the harbor. (Pictures coming - promise!). We looked some churches that are getting ready for a feast or festival or something - the neighborhood was decorated, and it was all very festive. Therese started us off learning about Maltese food with some puffed pasteries - one stuffed with ricotta and the other with mushy peas. Both good.

 

 

 

Following that, we went to a fishing village and took some pictures. In addition to fishermen selling fish, there were a lot of local vendors selling purses, clothes, toys and the ubiquitous fidget spinners. Yes, they have made it even to small fishing villages.

 

 

 

Following that, and driving through other villages (Malta is made up of a couple of cities and a lot of villages) we arrived along the coast at the Blue Grotto - a rock formation where the water is very, very blue. We watched the tourist boats come and go for a bit.

 

 

 

We then stopped at a bar in a village called, I believe, Siggiewi for a tasting. I tried a local wine - a light wine made from Cabernet grapes, Glen & Adele had beer, and Frank a soda. The proprietress also served us some dip that was a cross between hummus and bean dip, a vegetable and egg dish that was roughly a quiche and maybe a sweet - neither of remember. We bid a warm farewell and headed to our next destination - Mdina.

 

 

 

Mdina is an old walled city in Malta. It was the capital of Malta on and off under different names, and it's history goes back over 1000 years. There are only a limited number of cars allowed, so we marked out side and walked in. The architecture is a mix of medieval and byzantine. It was a fascinating walk through the inner city.

 

 

 

From Mdina, we went to Therese's general home area for lunch in a restaurant that's known for it's local food. It was packed since it was lunch time on Sunday, so we decided to finish the north part of the tour, and eat on the way back. So we headed to the north of Malta.

 

 

 

On the way to the far point of our tour, we were quite surprised to see what looked like a New England building at the top of a ravine. When we got to the ravine, there was an entire little New England village! Turns out that was the exterior set for the 1980's movie Popeye. Malta agreed to let them film there, provided they leave the set intact. It was then turned into a theme park. We could see a stage in the middle where Popeye and Olive Oyl were leading the guests in a line dance or something.

 

 

 

From there, we drove towards the ferry to Gozo, but took a side road to the view instead. Therese said she liked that because the cruiseship busses couldn't get there. We drove to the end of the road, hopped out and took some pictures of Goza. We also watched the ferry heading to it's dock in Malta.

 

 

 

Back into the car, and back down to lunch. It was still busy in the restaurant, but there was a table for us. Lunch was included in the cost of our tour, and was very filling and good. There was bread with tomatoes and olives, rolled stuffed beef, stuffed eggplant, pork chop and stewed rabbit. I tried one bit of that. Not my thing. There were also roasted potatoes and fries. For dessert, there was a pastry stuffed with almond paste, but since almond is expensive here it was fake almond. She also gave us some halvah.

 

 

 

We went back to the car and then she stopped to run into a small grocery store. She gave each couple a jar of honey and some halvah. She also bought some prickly pear fruit to try. Not bad if you can get past all the seeds.

 

 

 

We drove back to Valletta stopping at the village of Mosta to look at their cathedral. A few more views of Valletta and back to the ship.

 

 

 

Tonight was our night for our first specialty dining at Qsine. We had a couple of hours before dinner, and we wanted to see the Beatles tribute show at 7:00 so we went up to the room to drop our stuff, relax and prepare for dinner. I took advantage of the time to call my mom and sister, who are still in France. This would be my last chance to talk to them in the same time zone. While I was chatting with my sister and explaining the differences between the Reflection and the Equinox, Arun came in to explain a few things about tomorrow night. (We get reserved seats at the show). We asked about making sure the laundry was out by 9:00 and he said just leave it and they'll get it when they make up the room.

 

 

 

We had a bottle of champagne that came with the room chilling in the fridge and thought we'd bring it to dinner. The issue was keeping it cold. At first we thought we'd drop at the restaurant on our way to the show, but we both ran out of time to drop and explain, and we weren't sure they would get it. So then we decided that since there wasn't time to go back to the room, we'd have our butler bring it down. No time to call him, so on our way to dinner, we stopped in Michaels club to ask them to call him. Apparently that was successful because the champagne did arrive.

 

 

 

We met Adele on our way to the restaurant and quickly got seated at a window table. Qsine is a tapas style restaurant, although not your mother's tapas. Our waiter said they recommend 6-8 things, and let them pick the order. He also said that he would do a few as a started, bring a "main", followed by the favorite tower of middle eastern treats and then we could decide what else we wanted.

 

 

 

We got through the main and the tower and then decided to go straight to dessert. I guess that happens a lot. Next time on a ship with Qsine, we'll go twice. For the food details, see the pictures that will follow at the end of the rather large catch up set following this.

 

 

 

After dinner we walked around on the outside promenade deck, and up on top for a bit, and called it a night. We'd been up early, so after that off to bed, and I decided to write this on the sea day. Pictures next!

 

 

 

Will be in Valletta in a couple of weeks and still don't have a tour planned. Can you tell me how to contact the person you used?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Will be in Valletta in a couple of weeks and still don't have a tour planned. Can you tell me how to contact the person you used?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

The company is called Karlitos way. I wasn't the original person who booked it, but they have a website. Let me know if you can't find it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Enjoying your report; we have this cruised booked for the second time next year and then onto Cinque Terre once again. The Reflection has been my favorite ship.

Can you explain why the perks are so much better on Princess, as I am just curious. I am elite on Celebrity. Many thanks! I hope you are enjoying your cruise...

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Home now.

 

On Princess after 50 days or 5 cruises you get priority boarding, a disembarkation lounge, a nightly lounge with a nice spread of cheese/crackers, veggies and an appetizer of the day, plus reduced price drinks, and free internet based on the length of the cruise (starts at at 150 minutes).

 

Once you hit 15 cruises or 150 days, it adds free laundry (no limit), 10% discount in stores, a wine tasting, priority tendering and a free minibar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Santorini! We had a tour booked with some of our cruise critic friends - there would be 6 of in a van taking a tour of the whole island. It was, however a tender port, and we had to meet our guide at 9 am. I'd asked the concierge at Michaels if there was a way to use priority tendering, and they said to just bring the other four with us. So, our original plan was to meet in the lobby, so we changed it to the Ensemble lounge, just outside Michaels. We got up in time to grab breakfast, and then headed to the lounge. One couple, Joe and Ruth were there, and JoEllen and Alan arrived soon after us. Manuala was taking a couple down to the tender area, so she just had us follow.

 

 

 

When we arrived, the tender wasn't there, so some of us went up a deck to get water, and came back down. Soon, we were on the tender, and docked below Fira, the main town on Santorini. There are three ways to get there. The first, and easiest is the cable car. The lines can get long, since it holds only 36 people at a time. There is a trail up, and you can walk (way 2) or take a donkey ride (way 3). Note that walkers share the trail with the donkeys so have to be very careful. We opted for the cable car. Fortunately, going up there wasn't a line - so we got on the first available car. (There are two of them, one goes up as the other goes down - a very common layout. We reached the top right on time, and there was Spriros waiting for us. After introductions, he told us where to wait, and went to get the car. Apparently, parking near the cable car is not possible, as, like many Greek Islands, Santorini's main town is full of very narrow streets pre-dating cars, so parking was impossible near the cable car exit.

 

 

 

Our first stop was the town of Thira (I think) simply for the view, and to give the big buses from the ships time to leave Oia. Spiros took us part way, talking about some things about the island. He left us to wander to a point where he could leave the car, so we walked for about 10 minutes, admiring the spectacular view of the caldera. He also told us that it was too deep for the ships to anchor, so they have to keep the engines going to avoid drifting. We also had the Costa Classica with us down there.

 

 

 

94049fb4819733ee462409a7292cdebd.jpg

 

Our next stop was the town of Oia, most photographed of Santorini. On the way, we stopped to learn about the geography of the island. The soil is volcanic, and there’s lots of pumice. We also learned a little bit about our fabulous guide. Apparently, he has a PhD in Archeology, and worked as an archeologist in the middle east, but it wasn’t a good way to make a living, so he became a tour guide.

 

 

 

We arrived in Oia, and Spriros gave us an orientation to the town. Part of his advice was not to do our shopping here, but to wait for Athens. Apparently there’s a lot of competition there, and things are fairly inexpensive. He took us to a square in the middle of the town, where there was, of course, the obligatory small cathedral. There was some sort of thing going on with bells ringing, and priests walkings. He gave us an hour to wander, visit the fort at the end of the street, or get a snack.

 

 

 

27a5913cd71aa647fd2c0b94447e1c73.jpg

 

We joined JoEllen and Alan at a cafe overlooking the water and had coffee and desserts. That pretty much ate the entire time, so we headed back to meet Spiros. Joe and Ruth arrived at the same time we did and we headed to the car. Among the things we noticed was venders selling roasted street corn. He recommended that we have some if we found it in Athens (we didn’t).

 

 

 

We then drove across the entire island to a monastery that’s the highest point on the island. There are still a few monks there. The view was spectacular. You can’t go into the monastery itself, but you can go to the chapel. It’s in a lovely courtyard. Apparently, in Greece, they only show the Virgin Mary with Jesus, to indicate she’s not a dirty. Also, the pictures of their saints are fairly unadorned.

 

 

 

Our last stop was a nearby winery. JoEllen had read about one, but Spiros said it was about 50.00 to taste, so we opted to go to the one he’d selected. The tasting table was down some steps outside, so we had a beautiful view. There were a few price points - you could get full glasses, or two types of tastings - 3 and 5 wines. The tasting for 5 was 10 euros. Each couple opted to share one 5 wine tasting. They have grape that’s special to Santorini, so we tasted two different varietals for those, a rose, a red and a dessert wine. Generally the group liked the rose and the dessert wine the best. Glen and I decided to buy a bottle of the dessert wine. I found out later that when he bought it, they applied the cost of the tasting to the bottle, just as they do in Napa.

 

 

 

24b24f5feaea5fdb5dde81fa993f3fe4.jpg

 

Following that, we drove back to Firo. When Spiros dropped us, he gave us a couple of restaurant recommendations. JoEllen had seen one on the travel channel, but it was in Oia, and thus too far to just go to. We select Argo, one that offered a wide array of greek dishes with a view of the Caldera. JoEllen found the Octopus she wanted, Joe and Ruth split a cheese stuffed burger, Alan also had that, and Glen and I each had something we don’t see at home - stuffed rolled beef. It was very good.

 

 

 

Following that, we headed to the cable car. We followed the signs, and soon encountered a line snaking around a square with shops along the side. We joined the end of the line and snaked along with everyone else. The wait ended up being about 30 minutes. The ride down was about 5, and then there was about a 15 minute wait for the tender. The crew was out in the line with cold water and cold towels.

 

 

 

One interesting fact about the tenders in both tender ports - the ship tenders were not used. Instead, they were local boats with a lot of seating. Glen’s guess was the unions in the area required their boats.

 

 

 

Once back on the ship we dropped our stuff in our room, and headed down for our nightly drink in Michaels club. Following that, Glen went back to the room for a bit and I went

 

down to the shops to find out if they were planning to sell Kipling (I wanted a small backpack) and how the vat works. I did get different information than last time. Prior, I’d been told to just save my receipts from onboard purchases, and at the end of the cruise bring them to a shop. Today I was told they all had to be purchased on the same day. Earlier, Glen had purchased an adapter for the iPad, and now apparently that couldn’t be included. Apparently, the iLounge purchases could never be included even if purchased the same day. Oh well. I also learned the Kipling would be out on the last sea day when they did their sales.

 

 

 

We'd been invited to the helipad for sailaway, so at the appointed time we headed up. Nobody was there (at the meeting point) but someone sitting on the stairs said that the group had headed down the hall, so we went there. The line onto the helipad moved slowly but we were on the helipad before sailaway. We chatted with some of our friends as we sailed off.

 

 

 

f520e89713587639bfa646c39612ebd4.jpg

 

We went to dinner at around 8:30, and after dinner tried to dance to one of the musicians. The floor is small to begin with, and they’ve put a statue on it. We gave up, went up a couple of decks and tried to dance in the hall. It’s hard on carpet so we gave up and headed up to the room. Relaxed for a bit, and then went to a reasonably early bed, since we had a very early start in Athens.

Edited by abbydancer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha! You all probably thought I'd abandoned this. Nope, I promised to finish and I will, it's just been crazy since I got back - the last weekend I was home was the 26-27 of August. I'm home for a while, and so will try to get the rest of the trip out this week - most is written, but I need to be able to go to my phone to add pictures, so I'll post when I have the time.

 

 

 

So without further ado .... Athens!

 

 

 

 

 

Today was Athens, and our final port in Greece. We docked early, and we had a 7:15 group meeting time. We decided to skip breakfast, and just get a coffee and a pastry at Bacio. So, up at 6:30, dressed and out at 7:10. It was a little tight on time but I did have just enough time to grab a latte to go. Down two decks, to find the rest of our group of 10 waiting. We were with people we knew - Adele and Frank, Beth and her Aunts and our occasional dinner companions Claude and Carolyn. After introductions were made, we headed off the ship. Just off the ship we found a young woman holding a sign with Adele's name on it. She introduced hereself as our guide Georgia, and then introduced Mario, our driver. We headed to our van to explore Athens. Our first stop was to be the centerpiece and bucket list item - the Acropolis.

 

 

 

On the way, Georgia let us know about a potential problem for our schedule - the French President was visiting for the day, and roads in Athens would be closed periodically.

 

 

 

We arrived at the base of the Acropolis. It's on a hill, and the only way to get there is up the hill on foot. A couple of people in our group decided not to go up. I understand that the lines can be terrible, so our guide and driver pre purchased our tickets for us.

 

 

 

We headed up the hill, and then entered the site. We first looked at a small temple of Athena Nike, (meaning victory not Athena of the shoe company). It's a small temple just to the side of the Propylaea, the gateway to the acropolis. We then we to the Propylaea, and watched the end of the daily ceremony where soldiers go up the Acropolis to place the flag, and then head down. There march was an interesting variant of a goose step, for lack of a better term. To see it, look at soldiers at acropolis on you tube.

 

 

 

d514f7abf4712570aa8c4676b8b3522b.jpg

 

From there, after some very good explanations by our guide, we headed up to to the top of the Propylaea (the gate) and saw the Parthenon. Bucklist checkoff! They are in the process of doing a restoration, so the Parthenon was covered with scaffolding, but still pretty impressive. Next to it is the Erechtheum (makes me giggle), originally a temple to both Athena and Poseiden. One of the most impressive features was the 6 statues of maidens holding up one corner. Here on the hill the statues are replicas. Five of the originals are in the Acropolis museum, and one is in the British museum, as it was stolen by Lord Elgin and then sold to the British museum. The British museum says they bought it legally, so it's theirs. The Greeks, of course, want it back. We also saw the remains of the Odeon of Herodes (theatre) as well as some others.

 

 

 

6a95c7072f8a0c9d23a90a8ecf17f1ac.jpg

 

We wandered around there for a while, and then decided to head to the center of Athens. However, the French President had other ideas, and we were blocked on various roads. So Georgia decided we should go to the Acropolis museum first. We went there, and once again a couple of people decided not to go. Georgia gave them some shopping ideas, and they went off. We all purchased our tickets, and she lead us through the museum. There were both many items taken off the hill, and some replicas showing how they would have been during ancient times. The two most impressive things for very different reasons were the 5 maidens, with an empty pedestal for the empty one (one other is in pieces, but held together)

c0cbaea40a394fcd5984912d7b576227.jpg

and the lego replica of the entire hill. It has 120,000 pieces and took 300 hours to build. While it's pretty accurate in showing what the hill looked like, there are a few interesting figures along with the ancient Greeks. Performing in the Odeon is Elton John, and Gandalf in his wagon is heading in.

 

 

 

46786a8547e60dadce153bbac87715fa.jpg

After the museum, we again tried to get our city tour. No luck, president still there. So instead, we headed to Monastiraki Square - the remains of an old monastery. It's a center of stores, restaurants and the Athens flea Market. When we got there, Georgia told us we had two hours, which seemed like a lot. Oh well.

 

 

 

We joined Claude and Carolyn for lunch at one of the restaurants on the square. Georgia had warned us that the portions were huge. We got one order each of Tiropitakia (cheese turnovers) - we should have shared one. Glen and I shared a kabob with yoghurt sauce, and they shared a mixed grill. Both were a lot of food and we were glad we shared. Also, all of us were going to specialty restaurants this night. We then still had an hour and a half to kill so we wandered some of the streets. First we walked up one and found a church. In the courtyard was a status of the Archbishop of Greece during the second world war - he was apparently a great humanitarian. We then turned and went through the Plaka old part of Athens. We saw the oldest house in Athens, and looked at the Roman Agora and the Library of Hadrian sets of ruins, but we were a little ruined out, so opted not to pay to go in.

 

 

 

We eventually made our back to the square via different streets, and found the local Starbucks. When we got back to the square, we found Claude and Carolyn sitting on the steps of the metro - they'd seen all they wanted to. We hung out with them for a bit and then went to a bakery for some coffee. I also got a baklava, which I tried back on the ship. (I can get just as good at home). They then came over to the bakery - apparently where they were sitting was a haven for pigeons and they were doing their business all over our friends. We could find nowhere to sit in the shade that wasn't going to be a pigeon haven, so we just stood and waited until the rest of the group showed up and Georgia came to get us.

 

 

 

After that, we headed to the Temple of Zeus ruin and the Hadrian's Arch. The temple was started by the Greeks and completed by the Romans. Pretty impressive, lots of standing columns still, and ruins of homes and bath houses.

 

 

 

By that time, supposedly the French President had gone home, so we could continue our tour. We saw the city hall, the olympic stadiums, and a great view from a high point above the city.

 

 

 

We finished at the Parliament building, in by the tomb of the unknown soldier. Georgia explained about the two army guards who are there. They don't move at all for the hour they are there and if there's some sort of problem they can bang their bayonet on the ground to attract the attention of the regular army guy that's with them. They wear traditional mountain wear. Every hour there's a changing of the guard. We got there at 3:50, so waited for the 4 pm changing. It was fascinating. I actually did a video, but don't know how to post it, so you'll have to find that on you tube. Apparently the elaborate leg and foot motion is representative of what they did in mountains, and requires special training (ballet would help if that's a gig you'd want). It looked a little like a Lindy hop basic to me. Also, from what I see on YouTube, the dress changes by season.

 

2779de7fedd3d6e96850ecac22f606f5.jpg

 

While watching this, they closed the road, since apparently the French hadn't left yet. Mario, our driver (dubbed super Mario based on his ability to get around stopped traffic) went across 4 lanes of traffic to make a u turn before the road closure. We drove to the port, and got back to the ship around 4:45. Perfect timing.

 

 

 

Glen and I dropped our stuff and went down to Michaels club. I took advantage of my Verizon travel pass and called my mother and sister. I also watched the gangway - I watched a few people, between 5:15 and 5:28 running towards the ship. They were fine, though since the passenger back on time was 5:30. However, the gangway stayed down for about 45 minutes. There were several police cars there (one the concierges told me it was probably port police and they're always there when a ship doesn't leave). People kept coming and going. Finally a few people got off with suitcases, got into both the police and regular cars, and drove off. Then we left. We never found out why, but Manuala (concierge) said she heard that there was a family emergency of some sort.

 

 

 

Tonight we had dinner at Murano planned. Our reservation was at 8:30 and we were so hot and sweaty that we decided to take showers. We went back to the room, and our laundry that we'd sent out was back. I noticed the dry cleaning wasn't there, so we called Arun. He said he'd bring it shortly and he did. Between when we called and he arrived, we counted our items and a shirt of mine was missing. Panic set in, since the last time we had missing laundry was in 2010, and I'm still waiting for it to show up. Arun said he'd take care of it. I figured the shirt was lost for good - oh well.

 

 

 

At 8:30 we headed down to Murano. They gave us a nice table by the window, but the restaurant was pretty loud due to a couple of large parties. The service was good, but a lot of people helping. I had the what they called a forest mushroom carpaccio aka mushroom soup, and Glen had the pear in philo dough to start. We also shared a spinach salad. 65ea39c0a6231ab63e41671a39cb1515.jpg

All were good. We split the Chateaubriand for two, and it was very good. We both had the Grand Marnier souffles. While waiting for this the brought some small cookies and such, mostly chocolate.

 

 

 

After dinner, we went back to the room, and pretty much went to bed early since it was a very early and long day.

Edited by abbydancer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was on this cruise with a pre-cruise in Florence and Rome. The Cinque Terre was the best day of our entire trip. I think just as lovely as Amalfi Coast. And pretty fun to hop to each one by boat.

 

Enjoying your report; we have this cruised booked for the second time next year and then onto Cinque Terre once again. The Reflection has been my favorite ship.

Can you explain why the perks are so much better on Princess, as I am just curious. I am elite on Celebrity. Many thanks! I hope you are enjoying your cruise...

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"A guest came down to complain about her room. She said she'd paid for an ocean view, and now didn't have one. The agent asked if she'd moved rooms, and the guest said no. She said that yesterday she'd had an ocean view, but now she just had a view of the port."

 

Ha ha!!!! This made me actually laugh out loud!! Love it.

 

Your review is great, thank you :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Been checking daily. I never gave up hope.

Please don't - I do promise to finish it. Naples is written, I just have to do a brief write up of the sea day after this.

 

 

"A guest came down to complain about her room. She said she'd paid for an ocean view, and now didn't have one. The agent asked if she'd moved rooms, and the guest said no. She said that yesterday she'd had an ocean view, but now she just had a view of the port."

 

Ha ha!!!! This made me actually laugh out loud!! Love it.

 

Your review is great, thank you :)

Thank you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If anyone is still reading this - I have the posts written and will finish updating this by the end of next weekend. Thanks for hanging in.

 

Abby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha you should post the whole blog in future dates of this itinerary!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Holiday Exchange - Jingle and Mingle 2019
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...