Celebrity Equinox: Day 6- Mykonos, Greece

WE LOVE MYKONOS.

Glad we got that out of the way!

We arrived in Mykonos, Greece around 7 am. I have to start by telling you that we were originally supposed to tender into Mykonos, however, we were able to secure a dock (HOOOORAY!) This made exiting the ship, so much easier. We were a group of 6 (originally a group of 10, but 2 of the couples didn’t want to join us the day of)

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View of The Equinox from Mykonos

Our tour guide is an artist named Brian. He moved to Mykonos in the 70s from Canada and never looked back. He showed us around the island. Our first stop was the lighthouse. I say “The Lighthouse” because if you mention a lighthouse, everyone in Mykonos knows what you are talking about. We saw several ATVs and scooters as we ascended up the coast.

Once we left the lighthouse we ventured to the popular beaches of the island. Brian mentioned that the water is still pretty frigid this time of year (May) so the beaches were pretty deserted. It was also early morning. We were able to get out and walk on Kalafatis Beach. The sand is made up of tiny pebbles. It was beautiful and I enjoyed looking for sea glass. Watching the waves go over the pebbles was peaceful and made them shine like gemstones.

Once we left the beaches we went into the town of Ano Mera. It is a definite must. The food was incredible and there is free wi-fi at most of the restaurants. We had dolmas (my favourite) and so much other food. TOO MUCH food! Never order hungry. I also failed to snap photos of all the food as I was too busy stuffing my face and chasing stray cats around our dining area.

We wrapped up our meal and drove into the main part of Mykonos. Brian explained the history of Mykonos and why all the streets are so windy. Mykonos men were out fishing often, so the women and children were often left at home. Due to the lack of men on the island, it was often raided. The layout and design of the streets gave the women and children the ability to flee their homes and turn out on completely different side streets. It was a great diversion tactic. There are also churches everywhere.

Brian pointed out the walls still present in the town from the Medieval castles of the 13th Century. One notable castle was the Gyzi/Ghizi/Gizi (many spellings) Castle. Which was from a Venetian Family that ruled the area. The castle was deserted and fell apart.

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We were able to see the windmills, Pelican Pete (Petros the Pelican) and we took a water taxi back to the ship. Mykonos was fun! They say it is, even more, fun at night when the clubs get going. We saw several.

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Celebrity Equinox: Day 3-5- Sea Day + Athens, Greece

I will be quick with our Day 3, Day at Sea. We knew Friday night we could have fun, stay up late and check out everything the ship has to offer. Soooo we did! Joey and I participated in the “Marriage Game” and entertained the ships audiences. We proceeded to close the bar/club down at the Sky Observation Lounge. I definitely was told to get off the couch, but Beyonce was playing…so I had to dance!

We slept late Saturday, ate a leisurely breakfast in the dining room, roamed the ship, spent some time at the pool, checked out the Glass Show and generally just relaxed. We knew we needed to save our energy to enjoy Athens the next day.

Day 4.

We arrived in the Port of Piraeus around 6am. Our tour didn’t start until 8am, so we had plenty of time to enjoy our breakfast. We also grabbed our signature caramel macchiatos at Cafe Al Bacio on deck 4. When you dock in Athens you are shuttled by bus to the terminals (either A or B) for cruises. We took the bus to A to meet up with our tour group from Cruise Critic. We were a group of 12, so we had a larger shuttle bus. Our tour was through Private Greece Tours and Nikos was our driver.

Our first stop was The Acropolis so we could beat the crowds. We purchased the 30 euro multipass so we wouldn’t worry about getting tickets at each site. It includes the following:

The Acropolis
North & South Slope of the Acropolis
Ancient Agora
Hadrian’s Library
Roman Agora
Kerameikos
Olympieion

There wasn’t a line for tickets when we arrived at the Acropolis entrance, we were able to get through extremely quick. Our one regret from this tour is that we didn’t have a guide to show us exactly what we were looking at. There are feral cats all over the ruins. Nicole and I spent our time snapping many photos of the cats in various places around the ruins, we joked about creating a Cats of Greece calendar, or Cats & Ruins. It was kind of a joke, but I think we are going to make it happen.

Let me tell you about the crowds at the ruins, they are MASSIVE! We started our journey with barely anyone there, and by the time we walked down it was crowded and uncomfortable, the line for tickets was extremely long as well, so thankfully we arrived earlier.

We left the Acropolis and our tour guide informed us that due to it being Sunday, there was a much larger changing of the guards to be seen. Since this was more of a special event than what was typical, our group decided to check it out. The four of us that were on the cruise together had concerns. We were told to stay away from The Parliment building by Celebrity in a flyer just the day before. Celebrity cautioned that there would be protests around Parliment and it could be dangerous. We were not exactly thrilled about going, but since we were the minority, we didn’t have a choice. We stood in the back of the crowd and laughed at the many people holding up iPads and various other tablets to snap photos. Travel Tip :DON’T USE TABLETS FOR PHOTOS, IT IS SUPER RUDE! I made sure to photograph the offenders…we found it hilarious!

While the soldiers were marching, everyone was to the sides of the street. Apparently, we missed some type of signal, but when the marching ended and the changing was about to take place, a HUGE crowd of people began running towards Parliment. We didn’t know what happened, but we ran the opposite direction. We decided we would much rather sit on the bus.Once the rest of the group returned we continued on our journey.

We passed The National Garden, you could see many Jacaranda trees blooming, they were absolutely beautiful. I would have loved to walk the grounds, but the group wanted to see more ruins.

We made a stop at the Temple of Zeus. We all had to go to the restroom and we are SOOO happy we did. See…I love cats, especially kittens, and there was a box of kittens by the restrooms! I mean…something interesting about The Temple of Zeus.

Obviously, we have kittens and cats in the states, but what a nice treat! We left the Temple of Zeus and drove briefly to the Panathenaic Stadium. It is completely marbled and very well preserved. I believe the guide stated that the stadium went through a renovation for the 2004 Olympics.

We drove past the National Library of Greece, The University of Athens and finally stopped for lunch in the area surrounding Ancient Agora, I believe it is called Monastiraki. There were several flea markets and restaurants serving all sorts of food. We decided to grab some Gyros. We walked over to the entrance of the Ancient Agora site and wandered through the Stoa of Attalos, I was asked not to touch the statues. LOL. One thing I will point out is the view of the Acropolis from Ancient Agora is really interesting! The pictures never do it any justice, but it is truly beautiful.IMG_8345

We again met up with our tour group and journeyed to our last stop of the day. The Acropolis Museum. This is where you can see all of the interesting things that were found at the site. The floors are see through, and when you walk in you are actually walking over more ruins. So make sure to look down. They kept the glass floor theme throughout the museum, so make sure not to look up when you walk through because you may be an accidental pervert….There is also FREE WIFI in the cafe section of the museum.

We made our way back to the ship after the museum. We were pretty tired from running around Athens so we were happy to grab a drink and watch the Sunset from the appropriately named Sunset Bar onboard.

We grabbed dinner and enjoyed that evening’s entertainment.

Day 5. Athens AGAIN

I will go ahead and ruin the SURPRISE. We went out in Athens for about 2 hours and returned back to the ship. Do you ever get anxiety for absolutely NO REASON? It sometimes happens to me, and sometimes I get this crazy feeling in my gut and I don’t know what to do other than listen to it. OVER and OVER again something was telling me not to go out. I fought against that feeling and soon we were on our way through Athens. This time, we decided to go out of Port B. Actually a lot closer, but it was only open due to the new Carnival Vista being in port. We joked about trying to get Vista to give us a tour of their ship. Who doesn’t love New Ship smell? Anyways, we continued past Carnival and out their port. Our original plan was to jump on the Hop on-Hop Off bus. However, a taxi saw us walking out and asked us if we wanted a tour of the city. (Looking back, this may be what triggered my anxiety) Anyways, we all agreed to a flat fare to be driven around to a few spots we missed ( National Archeological Museum, Lyccabetus, Plaka, National Garden, etc) Our first stop was the National Archeological Museum. If you are interested in ancient jewelry, accessories, pottery, burial shrouds etc…this is the place for you. I LOVE the small things, I could look at all of the tiny treasures found in archeological digs ALL DAY. This was much more interesting of a museum than the Acropolis Museum (no offense). If you are debating which museums to see, definitely make sure this one takes the cake. Anyways there we were, wandering casually through the museum when out of nowhere a wave of panic took over. I don’t know what stirred it (maybe the burial shrouds?) I just started feeling queasy and my heart was pounding and all I wanted to do was get back on the ship. Anxiety attacks are crippling, I wouldn’t wish this nonsense on anyone. So instead of continuing our journey through the museum, I went to the cafe, tried drinking water and getting my heart to stop racing. I thought maybe it was mild dehydration. Anyways our wonderful friends Nicole and Geoff were super supportive of me basically ruining the day. LOL. I offered to take a cab back to the ship solo (everyone immediately nixed this) So when our cab driver returned we let him know we would actually prefer to go back to the Port. It was about midday, and much to our surprise it seemed many of the passengers had decided to stay aboard. I went back to the room and slept for a few hours (my go-to remedy for anxiety) and then when I woke up. I felt normal, and we were able to enjoy the rest of the day.

We set sail early (on account of most of the passengers already onboard for the day) and I enjoyed watching Athens dissappear in the distance.

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Greece Preview

I MUST begin this post by mentioning that Greece has been quite prevalent in our social circles over the past month!

One of my closest friends just spent a week there, another friend is on a 2-week honeymoon as I type this, and finally, my old company is currently on their annual incentive trip in G-R-E-E-C-E! Crazy right? It is one of those scenarios where I wonder, would I have noticed all of these people going to Greece had I not known we too would be going soon?

We will never know!

This will be the first time to Greece for both of us. We LOVE history and architecture and are really looking forward to seeing the main landmarks! The itinerary allows us to visit Athens (2 days) Mykonos, Crete and Santorini (in that order). We will be overnighting in Athens, which as I mentioned previously, is a first for both of us!

We are doing a whirlwind tour our first day in Athens with 10 others from the ship. Thanks to the community on CruiseCritic we were able to join a small group. The tour is through Private Greece Tours and is an 8-hour excursion. We dock in Athens around 6am, we will meet with our tour at 8am. Joey and I plan to order room service for breakfast on our port days. We are hoping to be on the side of the ship with views of the coastline so we can sit on our deck and soak it in!

I plan to put together a post about our experience with the tour group, the sites we see and our overall experience. We plan to try and get off the ship for dinner and drinks while in Athens since we are overnighting. We are in the process of coordinating with other couples on the cruise. It will be nice to leisurely tour without worrying about the time constraints of returning to the ship. Our second day in Athens we are going to take it easy and walk the city using an audio tour provided by Rick Steves, if you are planning to visit Athens, you should check it out!

We will be in Athens Sunday, May 22nd-Monday May 23rd, 2016.

Our 2nd stop in Greece will be Mykonos. This is a tendering port, for those of you who may not know, tendering is when you take small boats from the ship to the port. They typically use the lifeboats, hopefully, it is the only time you have to ride on a lifeboat

 

Tendering to Cannes 10/2014

 

 

We will be on a 4-hour excursion in Mykonos with Mykonos Tours. We coordinated this tour and have 4 other couples joining us. The tour will consist of walking through the main points of Mykonos, Little Venice, Windmills, Petros the Pelican,  driving to the famous beaches, Ano Mera, Panagia Tourliani and Kalafatis Beach. Mykonos is known for its beaches. We arrive in port at 7am, our tour does not begin until 10:30am. We will have to coordinate our tender to make sure we arrive by the 10:15am pick up. We will wrap our tour up around 2:30 giving us plenty of time to check out Mykonos before our ship departs at 6pm.

We will be in Mykonos Tuesday, May 24th

 

Our 3rd stop in Greece will be Crete. Many on cruises choose to make Crete their beach day, it is the halfway point of our trip, so it makes sense. However, we have decided to do an offroading tour through the mountains and gorge with Safari Club. We are looking forward to this excursion since it is completely different than the others! It is also incredibly affordable! We dock in Crete at 7am and depart at 5pm. Our excursion is an all day event, departing at 7:30am and returning at 3:30pm. We like to have an hour to hour 1/2 of wiggle room to make it back to the ship. We will definitely utilize the GoPros on this excursion. This and Mt Etna (cruise day 10) will be our most adventurous.

Our final stop in Greece will be Santorini. We arrive in Santorini at 9am, our excursion begins at 10:30am, like Mykonos, Santorini is a tendering port. The other interesting feature is the cable car we have to take to the top of Santorini. The cable car puts you right in Fira (the capital of Santorini) Our excursion will go through Fira, Oia, we will see the FAMOUS Blue Dome (Firostefani) and visit a winery. This will be one of our relaxing excursions! There are 2 other couples on this trip with us and we are going through Santorini Tour Guides.

We are excited about our 5 days in Greece! I can’t wait to experience each of the islands, capture photos, videos etc. I am also looking forward to the jewelry! We leave in 5 days, and set sail in 6!

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