Saturday, 29 August 2009

Pearls of the Aegean

I'm cold. Tired. Absolutely shattered in fact. But mostly cold.

And I'm putting that down to the fact that we've just got back from a week's cruise on Thomson's Celebration cruise ship.

We did the Pearls of the Aegean cruise from Corfu around the Greek islands and Turkey.

The ship was excellent and we were reluctant to leave her yesterday! We joined and left her in exactly the same spot that our cruise on the Ocean Village II had berthed at when we sailed into Corfu.

But we'll look at the ports of call in the days or weeks to come, so for now, what did we think of the ship? It was smaller than OVII and probably our smallest since the tiny Carousel that we sailed round the Canaries with in 2004 and 2005.

It had ten decks - with the tenth being a tiny space where topless sunbathing was allowed. I didn't do any topless so we didn't go higher than deck nine...

Deck six, pictured, was the Promenade Deck where you could walk all the way round the ship - five times around was one mile. We did it several times over the course of the week. One times round on the Saturday, 3 on the Sunday, two on the Monday, 3 on the Tuesday and two each on Wednesday and Thursday...

It was an excellent spot to admire the sunsets of the Aegean!

The food was plentiful and wonderful, though we found ourselves forsaking our usual testing of all the different eateries on board for the self-service Lido Restaurant. The staff were great and after just a couple of visits knew our names and tastes and we almost had our own table in the corner by the window!

Our favourite bar was the stunning Horizon bar which had the same view as the bridge, which was on the deck below. This was the first ship I've been on that had this view from a bar. You could sit up there and have exactly the same view as the Captain as we sailed into or out of a port. The bar staff, the lovely Karen and Raquel were brilliant and we discovered a non-alcoholic cocktail called a Virgin Emotion (a sort of cross between anticipation and nerves) that we made a regular thirst quencher.

The entertainment on board was... well... well it wasn't this chap anyway! The nightly shows were superb and one afternoon the show team put on a farce - a short production of The Amorous Prawn which was excellent. There was a 3-piece band playing Shadows hits and similar treatments of more modern songs and they were very good.

So where did we go? What can you expect to see over the next few days? The sites of two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World: the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in modern Turkey and the temple that housed the statue of Zeus at Olympia. We also had a day in Crete, saw a steam engine museum in Turkey, climbed to the Parthenon at Athens, had an unscheduled stop on Samos and got extermely hot in Corfu! More later...!

All the photos will end up in a set at Flickr, but give me a chance! We've only just got back and it's been a busy day!

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