Monday, 12 November 2012

Aegean Odyssey: Dancing on the Queen Elizabeth

The Queens Room dance floor
The Yacht Club dance floor
There are two awesome dance floors on this ship. The main ballroom floor is in the Queens Room, on deck two midship. The easiest access in by stairway B. Most evenings music is by the Queens Room orchestra but on other evenings either the band Changez, or the combined orchestras of the Queens Room and the Royal Court Theatre play. In between sets there is excellent strict tempo precorded ballroom and Latin music so one can dance A LOT if you have the energy!

Upon deck 10, the Yacht Club has a gorgeous circular dance floor.  Mostly the music there is played by a DJ although the band plays there as well. So this is an excellent ship for a dance cruise.
On this particular voyage there are four dance hosts on board for ladies without a dance partner.

Mykonos and Delos

Ruins at Delos
The first port of call on this Aegean Odyssey cruise was at the stunningly beautiful island of Mykonos. It is one of five major islands in the Cyclades, lying between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. Nearby is the island of Delos, possibly the most important Greek island in classical times. Venerated in the 7th century BC as the birthplace of the God, Apollo and his twin sister, Artemis or Diana, it later became a major trading and commercial center before it was destroyed by the Romans.
After returning on the boat from Delos, I walked round the old harbour of Mykonos, to the shuttle bus which took us back to the ship in the new port area.
Opting for the early dinner seating at six, by 7:45 we were in the Queens Room where strict tempo Ballroom and Latin music was playing. At 9:30 the Queens Room orchestra  under the musical direction of Maurice Williams, with vocalist Paul Christopher, played more Ballroom and Latin music. Lots of quicksteps - my cardiovascular capacity is improving rapidly!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Aegean Odyssey. Embarcation day.

about to board the Queen Elizabeth in Piraeus
Athens, Monday morning, the first day of the transit strike. My priority other than getting to the Port of Piraeus was to buy some Greek stamps so I could mail postcards. So I found my way to the Post Office a few blocks down from the hotel.
When I entered, there were two counters open and one customer at one, two at the other.
I went to wait behind the single customer. Suddenly there was a shout that sounded like "numeraki, numeraki", and everyone was staring at me. I realized I had committed the sin of not taking a number. Looked around- could not see any machine with numbers. Then a lady beckoned to me  from the corner, and showed me this box tucked inconspicuously away. I retrieved a number, and by that time there were no other customers and the number I had just drawn was flashing! So I went back to where I was standing and bought my stamps. That's bureaucracy at work.
Our transport to the Port ended up being in a mini-bus with  several other folk going to board the QE and other cruise ships. Embarkation was quick and efficient, and by the time we had gone up to the Lido buffet on deck 9 for a light lunch and I had returned to my cabin, my suitcase was already outside my door. The Queen Elizabeth was looking better and better by the minute.
After unpacking I went on an exploration of the ship.  I will post pictures in my reviewfromthehouse travelblogue when I get time to write it.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Aegean Odyssey Day 1. Athens Exploration

Me about to get on the Red Bus
The weather in Athens has been unseasonably warm and dry so when i woke with the sun streaming through the hotel window I anticipated a very pleasant day exploring the city. After walking through some of the the narrow streets in the Plaka, and picking up almonds and walnuts from one of the stores, we decided to take a Hop-On Hop-Off Red Bus and tour the city.
The Acropolis was on winter hours and closed at 3, so at the Acropolis stop we got off the bus.  For reasons that were unclear, admission was free today. Lucky us!
We walked around the Parthenon, which is still undergoing restoration work, and also visited the Erecthion.  From the summit  the panoramic view of Athens was amazing - the city stretches out for miles in every direction. I believe the population is around 6 million people.
From the Acropolis you can look down on the oldest theatre in existence. This ancient open air theatre in Athens is where Greek drama originated and is really the birthplace of the modern theatre that we enjoy today.
We got back on the bus to complete the city tour and then wandered up to Adrianou Street which is restaurant row. It was jam packed with people dining. No sign of a failing economy and people saving their euros.
We had dinner at Kuzina, which had been recommended to us. Enjoyed a good meal and then wandered back down the hill to the hotel. It was already dark by 6:30 but Greece is already on daylight savings time unlike North America which has just changed this weekend.
With the transit strike we have to figure out how we are getting to the cruise ship. Another adventure.

Aegean and Adriatic Odyssey 2012

View from rooftop patio at my hotel in Athens
Just arrived in Athens for start of a cruise round the Greek Islands, to Istanbul and Dubrovnik.  The full stories will be posted in but as I am so busy "living it" that the "writing it" gets behind, this will be a brief daily log of my travels to update you all about where this journey is taking me.

This picture was taken last night from the rooftop patio agt the hotel where I am staying before heading to Piraeus to get on the cruise ship.

Today I plan to walk around Athens, a city I last visited more than 20 years ago. Tomorrow when I leave for the port, a two day transport strike is in the works so getting there will be an "interesting" experience.