11 night Eastern Mediterranean Cruise onboard the Celebrity Equinox.
Santorini, Piraeus, Istanbul – overnight, Kusadasi, Mykonos and Naples.
I started my journey in Jacksonville FL and boarded a US AIR flight bound for Rome.
With my Kindle loaded up and my iPod packed with my favorite tunes.
I was very excited for my first trip to the itinerary on this voyage especially Istanbul where I could be on two continents in the same city and see the blue domes of Santorini!
Flight, cruise line transfers and check in went off without a hitch even though I had to surrender my passport for the duration for port authorities to review.
I had a balcony cabin with a slightly unstructured view but not to worry I did not miss seeing anything and nothing can beat the views I saw from that balcony over the next 10 days. In fact the first morning I opened the curtains to a fabulous view of the volcanic island of Stromboli. And since this was a day at sea I was in no hurry to leave my cabin or my balcony. And I would not have missed the sail through the straits of Messina = where the boot kicks Sicily on the map!
I was sailing during the height of the season so the ship was full and the ports were exploding with visitors. The temperature was comfortable for July but then I realized I had left a heat wave across most East Coast states that had the heat levels well above 100 degrees. My visit to the village of Oia on Santorini was my most memorable because of the stark contrast of white washed buildings against the beautiful blue sea. This is where my favorite photo was taken. Athens was in the heart of heated protests but I never.
Saw any violence while visiting The Acropolis and enjoying the food and shops on The Plaka. I was in Istanbul for two days and was completely worn out and full of stories I knew nothing about, I must have missed that lesson in World History class, apparently!
I have to admit I was not impressed with the food or the city, I know shame on me. But moving down the coast to Kusadasi
Was a welcome surprise very upscale and resorty I was now very impressed and when I got to Ephesus I was floored, what an amazing set of ruins that when on and on and on and words can not describe the emotions taking place at that moment in time.
Mykonos is almost as fabulous as Santorini and I got to pet Petras II the Mascot Pelican of the Island and try some Ouzo.
I was supposedly to dock in Naples but we wound up in Salerno because the Naples port was overbooked but needless to say I made it to Pompeii so no disappointment on my part. This itinerary can be very active and strenuous if you take full advantage of all the ports have to offer.
I want to talk about the ship a bit:
The perfect place to indulge in all the pampering provided by the youngest and most stylish fleet in Europe.
Aqua Spa by Elemis, Martini Bar & Crush the ice bar, Sky Observation Lounge to name a few.
But let me talk about The Hot Glass Show put on by The Coring Museum of Glass, Master blowers put on demonstrations.
Throughout the cruise with time for Q & A and even auction off the pieces at the end of the voyage. This takes place up top.
Next to the Lawn Club. The Lawn Club (real growing grass) where I sat at sunset listening to the string quartet from my blanket with a bottle of wine and a platter of cheese and crackers while sailing away from Santorini, pinch me I must be dreaming!
Dining room and menu very diverse but a rather unique set up with the left side offering your classic favorites such as shrimp cocktail, french onion soup and strip steak. The right side has the chef and Aqua Spa suggestions as well.
Late dining was really too late for me, 845PM after a long day in town not good especially because I woke up almost every morning at 630AM for the Morning Stretch Class (30 minutes) Fab Abs (30 minutes) and then a 1 mile walk around the deck, I know it does not look like I'm a fitness buff! Solarium Pool was adult only and had piped in spa music while the outdoor pool area was very lively to say the least. Evening entertainment was typical: headliner show, comedian, signature musician: violinist / fiddle player and a rather exclusive acrobatic act.
I had ship transfers back to Rome which was VERY helpful! I have decided this is the was to go and will always suggest the ships transfers whenever the situation allows.