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Athens to Athens October 2018


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DW and I just got back from a terrific 10 night cruise on the Voyager for Athens to Athens. Our 14th Regent cruise was a lot of fun! From weather, ship, fellow cruisers, food, crew, entertainment, tours, and ports, everything was really enjoyable. I’ll post separately about the Regent pre-cruise tour as that is more complicated.

  

Weather: We had lots of sun with no rain interference and only rough seas near Mykonos. Day Hi’s in mid-70’s and nights were in mid-50’s and breezy.

 

Ship: Voyager showed the stern damage but looked beautiful inside – our cabin and the public areas looked pristine. We reconnected with Captain Felice P. who was affable but not seen by us much. We had sailed with many of the other Staff. We especially enjoyed David Niven (CD), Danielle of Food & Beverage, Bea (CC), and Caron, the Social Hostess.

 

Passengers: A full boat with more than half new to Regent. Much younger than what we have seen on our normally longer cruises. Only 44 GPT on board and only 12 of these attended the special GPT show (local folk dance tour in Malta). We dined with different new people every night and thoroughly enjoyed that. The casino was packed most nights but few people showed for afternoon tea time. About 60 to 70 attended daily Trivia.

 

 

Cabin: Our forward F718 cabin was very convenient to the 4 forward elevators (without any noise), and immaculately well cared for. Not much creaking, no vibration and very little pitch in heavy seas near Mykonos. Plenty of storage space in walk-in closet. Everything worked and was clean and tidy. The Cabin did need some extra adapters for use of U. S. appliances and storage space outside of walk-in closet was minimal (4 bedside drawers and a glass-fronted bin). Storage was adequate for us on a 10 day cruise because we do laundry frequently.

 

Crew: The crew is one of the main reasons we keep on cruising with Regent. We didn’t see many crew members that we have cruised with before. The Crew’s Capers Show was redone sine our February cruise and was even more enjoyable than our previous cruises.

Prior to the cruise, I was concerned about the special included laundry for all. I shouldn’t have worried; ours was handled just as lovely and efficiently as it had in recent cruises. My special thanks to the Voyager Laundry staff (I also told this to the GM) – as I spilled a full glass of tomato juice on me. Sweater, shirt, and slacks were returned the next afternoon SPOTLESS (for $22.10) – Way to go Regent!

 

Food and Drink: We thought the food (coffee being a notable exception) was good to superb in every restaurant venue but several times the service in CR was slow 9even for us who enjoy 2 hour meals) and also served cooler than appropriate. TIP: DW enjoyed OJ squeezed on order mornings at the Pool Grill.

The new Pool Grill offering for evening dining looked very nice (grill plus buffet “salads” and deserts). The evenings were cool and windy so not a lot of action there. Plenty of action at the Pool Bar during after 6 PM hours.

PS: I saw NO blatant breaking of the dress code throughout the cruise.

 

A “shout-out” to Danelle. She arranged two special dinner nights in La Verandah (not Sette Mare) – a Italian Buffet and a Mediterranean Buffet. Both were marvelous; DW found the veal dishes superb! I loved having “skillions” of different sumptuous vegetable dishes.

 

Ports/Tours: We loved almost all the ports and excursions; Not getting into Mykonos due to heavy seas was a disappointment but very understandable.

 Otherwise, Regent staff handled the tender ports very well during our excursions. The Voyager tender gangway and platform now feels very safe; was it modified during the last up-grade?

Highlights for us (we’ve been to Ephesus 3 previous times) were:

        Olympus – a great site and easy to maneuver on mostly flat paths.

Malta – the sail-in is magical - a photographers dream and St. John’s gilted church is a “must visit”.

 

A disappointment was Santorini. Yes, some picturesque views but villages were crowded; traffic was terrible; and cable car down involved an almost 1 hour wait in a chaotic queque.

 

Entertainment: In our opinions, the Regent on-board entertainment varied from great (pianist, lecturer and production cast) to spectacular (the David Nivens show with Nell (his fiancé) was unbelievably enjoyable – what a voice). 

 

Post-Cruise: We were one of the earlier (7:30) groups to disembark. It was very well organized. Took about a ½ hour from leaving the theater to the bus (new and comfortable) leaving and almost an hour from bus departure to arrival at Athens airport. Several “Regent” personnel met us with free dollys and clear instructions to our airlines’ check-ins.

 

Summary: Heartily recommend this itinerary in October as weather is beautiful, crowds are tolerable, and the things to see in the ports are breath-taking.

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Jim, how did you and Mary do in trivia?  Athens is one of my favorite ports and it is great to see that they now let cruises both start and end there; interested in hearing about your pre-cruise.

 

Marc

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Marc:

We finished 1st or 2nd most days. we had an all American team with 2 physicians. Mary nailed show tunes, fairy tales, and anything related to cooking. I held my own but went blank on a "peanut butter" answer - a item that I have every lunch at home; that cost us a 1st place. We almost enjoy the daily Mensa quiz more than Trivia although it's tough to work all of the 5 daily questions on such a port-intensive cruise.

I'll write up the pre-cruise tour in the next few days. It varied from "Magnificent!" to "Why did Regent select such a poor hotel?".

Jim

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DW and I just got back from a terrific 10 night cruise on the Voyager for Athens to Athens; our review was posted above. We came to Athens early; arrived October 1st to celebrate my birthday and stayed at the Athens Hilton for 2 nights on our own. This is the best Hilton we have ever stayed; really 5 star. Loved Athens for the five museums we visited and the Greek food. Used TripAdvisor to plan out our 3 days on our own.

 

 We subsequently joined the Regent pre-cruise titled “Pre-Sacred Treasures of Greece”; it is being offered again in 2019. It was terrific but had for us a major glitch the Regent Hotel, Divani Caravel, in Athens only 2 blocks from the Athens Hilton.

  

Weather: We had lots of sun with no rain. Day Hi’s in mid-70’s and nights were in mid-50’s and windy. I was surprised how crowded the venues were in October; I can’t imagine how it must be in summer.

 

Tour Guide: The Regent contractor tour guide was “Chrysisiss” (supposedly only two such first names in Greece. One is a famous romantic novel author; ours’ is the BEST tour guide DW and I have in 40 years of foreign travel. She was MAGNIFICENT!

 

Passengers: We enjoy the Regent pre-cruise tours including meeting some of our fellow cruisers before embarkation. Our tour was split between 2 very nice busses (but we were not allowed access to rest room on bus). Our group numbered 30; we had very little interaction with the other bus. DW and are 80ish with some minor mobility issues – we were far from the most agile members weren’t the slow pokes either.

 

 

Itinerary: Wonderful itinerary; every included venue was a WOW!  As advertised, the itinerary was fast-paced, strenuous with long walks and many steps and involved LONG bus rides (5 hours on last afternoon to ship). It would have been enjoyable even without Chrysisiss but with her guidance it was magical.

 

Food: Delicious food at every included meal with lots of Greek specialties. The special dinner in Pireaus at a Michelin-starred FISH restaurant was notable as DW, a committed CARNIVORE, cleaned her plate at each course (all fish but desert) and beamed in satisfaction.

 

 

The Hotel: Regent put the tour up at the Divani Caravel which was rated well on TripAdvisor – a major disappointment and not even close to other hotels that Regent had provided for us on our previous 13 cruises with Regent. It had a small bedroom without any connections for charging modern electronics, a small bathroom with a poorly designed shower; a weird (and I think dangerous) basement room used for tour breakfasts – AND over-run with other (Trafalgar, an Italian and a Japanese) tour groups. The hotel messed-up the luggage removal on departure day; that cost us an hour which resulted in our “lunch” being at 3 PM. Definitely NOT a “luxury” hotel – to me more like a 1980’s Holiday Inn.

 

Summary: Heartily recommend this tour in September or October as weather is beautiful, crowds are tolerable (just barely), and the things to see at the venues are awesome. I hope that Regent changes the Athens hotel; there are far better options than the Divani Caravel.

 

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