My first ever Blog from the Port of Piraeus on board the Queen Victoria
The weather is hot and sunny with not a cloud in the sky.
I promised I would not disappoint my followers - so here goes.
Today Thursday we docked in Piraeus, which is ten miles from the Greek capital of Athens. We have done Athens a number of times now and decided to just potter around this very busy port this morning. There are three other cruise ships in town today - the Star Princess, MSC Musica and the Brilliance of the Seas. The latter docked alongside us this morning and as always amazed us that the Captain performed his parking task without a single tug to help. Piraeus is the gateway to the Greek islands and ferry boats hustle in and out all day long. After a leisurely lunch I have worked hard this afternoon doing absolutely very little until composing this blog.
Our cruise began on Monday when we flew from a manic Heathrow Airport to Rome which was equally manic but in Italian. A short coach transfer saw us board the magnificent Queen Victoria. Normally on most cruises the first day is at sea but on this occasion we found ourselves in the Port of Naples. Now if I said the airports were manic then I am short of words to describe Naples. This is another port where we have covered the wide range of excursions from Pompeii, to Vesuvius, to Sorrento and the amazing Amalfi Coast. So again it was a Heaton do your own thing day. Our first visit to Naples was in the 70's when I had got myself in the habit of taking school parties on cruises. We had some pretty successful ones as well. I remember then telling the group before heading down the gangplank into the hustle and bustle of Naples to watch out for two things. Firstly the traffic - getting across any road in Naples required great bravery. It still does believe me. Secondly I warned them about being approached by people trying to sell them watches etc.The good lady and myself had not been ashore on Tuesday more than a couple of minutes when a gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and thrust a fistful of watches in my face. He was a little puzzled as we both burst out laughing.
Yesterday was spent at sea before our arrival in Greece today. I would not wish to bore you with the weather details but it was again hot and sunny all day.
We did have a mission to perform in Piraeus today. We needed a Tesco store or the existence of a duty free establishment. I am pleased to say we were successful with a duty free shop slap bang at the pick up point for the shuttle bus kindly arranged by Cunard. The Heaton family have developed a tradition over many, many years for a daily dose of "tiffin". This is not quite the old colonial style of tea and cucumber sandwiches. It is in fact a glass of scotch (or whatever tickles your fancy) prior to dinner. Best consumed whilst leaning on the cabin balcony gazing out at the sea. Our supplies were getting low but today I am pleased to say that we are replenished. Cunard are still happy to allow passengers to take on board limited supplies for personal consumption. Those on board the other ships in port today would not have been as fortunate.
Tomorrow we will be in Kusadasi, Turkey. This is the nearest port to the ruins of Ephesus. Having done that one we will instead have a serious day taking on the might of the Turkish salesmen as we try to make the most of what is a shoppers paradise - or sort of. We will be faced with every kind of designer names you could think of. The trick is convincing yourself that the product you are considering is really a Gucci bag even allowing for the ridiculaously cheap price. My son once swopped an old two seater pram in which Sophie and Tom were sitting for two Gucci watches whilst on a cruise in Marmaris. The kids were a little miffed at being turfed out of their pram but convinced that no one else would have Gucci watches back home. The watches stopped working within days of getting back to the UK.
Following Kusadasi we have another day at sea before getting to the real reason for choosing this itinerary which has been titled the Holy Land Explorer.
Before then however we have to continue doing our very best to cope with all the food from the Princess Grill Restaurant, the drinks in the Golden Lion Pub and all that is going on in and around the ship.
I will be back with more in a few days.
If I have bored some of my readers - tough.