Cruise!

Trip Start Dec 27, 2012
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Trip End Mar 26, 2013


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Flag of Greece  , Attica,
Monday, March 18, 2013

Today we had our wake up call just after 6am as we had to be on the bus just after 7 and heading off to meet our ship. I had breakfast with Sheena, Grant and Alyssa and then we all met in reception. The brothers looked a little tired and Gavin was late but we all made it onto our mini bus ok. On the bus Courtney gave us a brief run down on the process that would take place on board, so just that she would always organise our tours and our transport off the boat or around town and what was on each deck. We were also presented with our day song, Summer of 69 which we sleepily sang along to. She explained we would play this whenever possible but its not as easy on a boat as it is on a tour bus.

When we arrived at the port our correctly labelled bags were loaded onto the boat (the Orient Queen) while we got our documents sorted. We were given these cards which will be used when we sign on and off the ship, to open our rooms and to charge all things to our accounts. They took our passports (to make entering Turkey a lot easier and quicker) and we had our photos taken to make sure people weren't sneaking on the boat with our cards.

On board we headed to the Star Shows Lounge. This would be our meeting point every morning and whenever we were disembarking and is where the entertainment will be on each night. Here we were given leaflets on all the optional tours we could do throughout the tour. Courtney gave us more information on each tour and she told us which ones were her favourites. Most of us signed up for the same three tours, while the boys went all out and signed up for everything. It is probably best to introduce Harlen from Canada at this stage too. He was a cruise ship passenger that wasn't in a tour group and he decided he would tag along to our contiki. We found him a little odd initially and were a little annoyed that he asked why we would pay to be in a group and then proceeded to illegally join ours but he ended up being an insane individual who kept us amused for most of the trip so he needs mentioning! He did jokingly chat to Courtney about her marital status after our meeting as she joked about Santorini being the perfect proposal place and this was our first funny encounter with Harlen.

We arranged to meet for lunch in the restaurant and then we were able to check into our rooms and explore the boat. I struggled to find my room initially but eventually got there and when my bag arrived I unpacked a bit and did some washing. Before we had a chance to explore we had a life boat drill and so we all had to put our vests on and troop up to the appropriate meeting point on deck where we would board life boats in a real emergency. At this stage we were just leaving port and so once I had ditched the life vest I had a bit of a wander around before lunch. We saw the Reflections Lounge (another stage, bar and seating area), the two restaurants, the disco/bar on the top deck and the two pools. I also added my credit card to my card which means when I disembark all my charges will automatically be charged to my card without me having to line up and pay for anything. I also attended the big ship welcome but it was all stuff courtney had already told us so it was a bit pointless. I also decided to get a drinks package, which meant I would pay one fee to have free drinks (water, soft drink and alcohol) for the whole cruise.

We met for lunch then which was a buffet with both Greek and western style foods and we had a slow lunch and chatted for ages as we weren't due in Mykonos until 4ish. Conversation topics included Harlen approaching Courtney after the meeting this morning until he came to lunch and joined our table. After this I went back to the room and had a nap, did some more washing and got freshened up. We then met in the Reflections Lounge before disembarking and it was funny to catch up with the brothers at this point as they had already sampled most of the drinks on the menu (taking full advantage of the drinks package). I decided it wouldn't hurt to have a cocktail and so we had a couple of drinks and a chat until we were called to disembark. We did have to listen to Harlen singing in a music quiz while we relaxed but the upside of this was he won and offered to share his bottle of champagne with us.

Mykonos looked like the Greek island I expected even before we got into the centre of town as we could see the whitewashed buildings and the blue roofs. It is a Cycladic island and this group is actually the only one that actually has these classic Greek looking buildings. The white is used elsewhere as it helps to keep the buildings cool but the blue is a Cycladic thing. Mykonos town was not right at the port and so we got buses from the boat to the town (once we were swiped off the boat) and we had to remember back onboard time was 830 and so we had to catch the last bus at 815 if we wanted awhile here. We didn't have a tour here and so Courtney led us around and pointed out a few sights to us. The town basically had a waterfront restaurant section and one main Street so it was very small and cute. We walked along the water taking heaps of photos and we passed by a gorgeous little church dedicated to Saint Nicholas and so many cute little buildings as we walked past the small docks and beaches. We then curved around a corner and there was the impressive Church of Panagia Paraportiani. Tis is one of the most photographed things on Mykonos as it is actual 4-5 little churches that have been added together over the years so the architecture of it is all different styles. We also saw the area known as little venice, where the houses have balconies out over the water. Not far from here we came across the famous pelicans of the island. Many years ago a pelican named Petros was saved by a fisherman and brought up on the island and so today there are three pelicans that are sort of tame and one has been named Petros in honour of the original one from about 60 years ago. We had lots of photos with the two that we found and the drunk boys found them especially interesting. From here we walked up to the windmills, that while beautiful are not still used today. They were originally used to mill wheat but perched up on the hills behind the town they are now just a landmark. We had now looped around to the top of the main street so we headed down here back to the main waterfront area. We then needed to hit all the souvenir shops so about 6 of us did exactly the same lap we had just done but stopped at the shops not the sights. I didn't see anything I needed and so once we were done we went to a restaurant with wifi (as the Internet onboard is shit and expensive) and here. Tried some of this yummy cheesy dish called saganaki. From here we headed back to the bus and the boat!

We went back to our rooms before dinner and were surprised to find that our bed lamps were on, our beds turned down and our towels were arranged as two swans kissing. We also had all our maps for tomorrow, details of what times we had to meet Courtney and a copy of the Cruise News which is the newsletter that tells you what time we arrive and depart from the various islands, meal times and what events are on when. We then went to dinner as a group and had a few more cocktails with our meals. We then went to watch one of the shows which was kind of funny really. The dancers were alright but the singing in English was obvious that the performers didn't actually speak English. From here we went upstairs to check out the bar area but it was pretty quiet and we had our toga party the next night so we decided to call it a day and head to bed.
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