Author: Jimbo

We love cruising and specifically we love cruising with Cunard. These blogs are intended for my own consumption, but they can also act as a repository of useful cruising knowledge for people wanting to cruise with Cunard.

October 17th – Sarande, Albania

Yet another early start today. This time we are both on a shore excursion. At least the early start was softened by the clocks going back an hour last night when we moved from Greece to Albania. After the usual run, I headed back to the stateroom for a shower and to chivvie along Jane into going to the MDR for breakfast, I did this with the promise that we’d have a table for two rather than sharing. I ordered up figs and prunes as did Jane and followed that with smoked haddock and poached eggs.

We went straight from the MDR to the Royal Cort to get our badges and headed on to the tender as we’d anchored at Sarande. We then had an interesting drive through the mountains to the picturesque market town of Gjiroskara, I use the word interesting, Jane said it was bloody terrifying!

We visited the castle, before getting some free time in the bazaar, and then onto the coach for the interesting drive back. From our journey to Gjiroskara, Albania itself hasn’t got a great deal going for it, it’s fairly run down and littered with waste and detritus.

We didn’t eat while out, as we never really had the opportunity, so when we arrived back, we popped up to the Lido for a quick snack and waited for 17.00 and the cocktail hour in the Commodore Club. 

 The cocktail of the day was a Cosmopolitan again!

October 16th – Departing Katakolon

Lunch was massive, we had ordered two Greek salads, a small fish platter and a small meat platter to share between the four of us. The small platters turned out to not be very small, so by the time we had finished we were all stuffed, with a lot of food left over. After posting the postcards, I waddled my way back to the ship, leaving Giana and Jane to look around the port shops.

I headed to the stateroom for a little rest, I must have nodded off for a minute, because we ended up missing Commodore o’clock. So we watched a film on the TV before getting ready for dinner. It was another informal evening. Not feeling particularly hungry both Jane and myself started with a pear and baby spinach salad. I had fillet steak for a main and Jane had spinach and feta strudel. We both managed a dessert, chocolate soufflĂ© and blueberry cream tart.

We didn’t bother with the show, opting for an early night instead.

October 16th – Katakolon

It was a slightly earlier start for me this morning, as I had a shore excursion booked. I was in the gym for 06.45 and did my morning run. I went straight from the gym to the Lido buffet to get some breakfast and a cup of tea, and the headed back to the room to eat it. Jane wasn’t coming on the excursion today so she had ordered breakfast from room service for 8am. When I got back to the room Jane was still in bed and decided to steal my cup of tea.

I had arranged to meet Pat and Giana in the Queen’s Room at 08.10, where I got my “yellow 12” and we headed off to the coach to Olympia.

Many ruins later and the obligatory pose on the starting line we headed to the museum. All of this was very interesting, made much better by our guide, Helen, who was very informative and brought the whole Olympic spirit to life.

After stopping at a tat shop, we were back in the coach for Katakolon where I had arranged to meet Jane for lunch.

Our guide had recommended a restaurant, so we headed there. We ordered a platter of small fish and a platter of small meats to share between the four of us. Good job we’re on a diet.

October 15th – Evening

Jane’s second cocktail was another old favorite, the Breakfast Martini, while I had a very nice pint of Marston’s Pedigree. We sat and chatted to Pat and Giana far beyond the 18.00 dress code cut-off, so didn’t get much of a rest back in the room before dinner.

We were back up to 10 for dinner, as expected Peter and Linda had had a tiring day yesterday and retired early. For dinner I had had chicken livers to start followed by roast turkey, nice but not a massive portion, so I supplemented my dessert with cheese and biscuits. Jane and Giana wanted to see the show, The Troubadours, a male quartet. They very much enjoyed it, so I may go and see them when they return on Monday.

October 15th – Heraklion

I’m back on it, even though I hated the alarm going off at 06.50, I dragged my carcass out of my pit and up to the gym for my morning’s run. I came back to the room with a cup of tea from the Lido for Jane. She’s not well, apparently her gills are up, which I think means she has a sore throat. We’d shared a lunch table with a lady who was complaining about the “Cunard cough”, so maybe she had caught it from her. After a shower I breakfasted alone in the Lido, assuming that I would read my book while eating. It wasn’t to be, the Lido was packed with people going off on shore excursions, so I sat with Sarah fom the forum and her husband before returning to the stateroom bearing a second cuppa and a banana.

Jane was up and feeling better, so we decided to get a early start and head into Heraklion for a frappe and to get postcards. We had a complimentary shuttle to he dock gates and it was about 20 minutes stroll from there into town. It’s not a very picturesque place Heraklion, although the Venetian Harbour is pretty enough. After posting the postcards we headed back to the ship for lunch. It was still too early to eat, and I fancied Giros, but we were struggling to find something to fill the time before eating, so back to the ship it was. We’d decided to take time to do the laundry. It’s amazing how much we are creating, some days I’m having four changes: running kit; fencing kit; day wear and evening wear. The standard wash takes 45 minutes, so we sat in the sun on the balcony, before sticking the now clean clothes in the dryer and heading for lunch.

Once lunch was done, the washing was nice and dry. It was time to head up to deck 9 for a little lounging around in the sun. We snagged a couple of beds and it wasn’t very long before Jane saw one of our table companions, Gina, so I plugged myself into music while they sat around chatting. A couple of hours of that and it’s time for tea and a slice of cake.

It was soon Commodore o’clock and the call to deck 10 was overwhelming. Janes cocktail of the day is a return to the Cosmopolitan, while I had a refreshing Red Apple Fizz.

October 14th – Departing Athens

We.returned to the ship at about 15.30 travelling back from the marina at Faliro by trolly bus into the centre of Piraeus, and then walking back the rest of the way, proper little adventurers. Greece may be on it’s uppers, but there’s still plenty of money about looking at some of the yachts in the two marinas that we passed on our travels.

We timed getting back on board quite well, normally there are several returning coaches, pulling in when we get back to the ship, but this time there were none, so we breezed through security, dropped our postcards off with the Purser’s desk, and retired to our stateroom for a rest. We’d not found a postbox and since we were still in Greece tomorrow, seemed sensible to let the Purser post them for us, rather than forgetting about them and probably having to deliver them by hand.

Rested we then decided we were in desperate need of a nice cuppa. So we sat in the Lido, with a tea and slice of cake watching the world go by for half an hour, and then did the same by in the comfy chairs by the pool.

It was an informal night tonight for dinner, so getting ready didn’t take too long. We were down to eight again tonight, I can only assume this was because Peter and Linda’s excursion to the Corinth Canal took it out of them, it was a long one. Dinner was the usual standard, I started with Antipasto and had an excellent Pepper Steak for a main course finished off with a double helping of Lemon Meringue pie!

We seen Lorraine Brown before and as Jane seemed to be coming down with something we trotted off to bed.

October 13th – Evening

We only had one in the Commodore Club, before heading back to the room for a nap, apparently it’s the done thing when you are our age ?

Nap over and it was off to dinner, it was a Formal night tonight, so Jane was looking extra smart in the new gown. There was a minor issue with half the beads on the neckline were falling off, but not having a sewing kit and that it still didn’t look too bad, she went with it. It will be going back to the shop when we return. Dinner was another success with too many choices that I would happily order, in the end I chose Salmon Roulade and Halibut with an extra portion of Lobster. Well, the rest of the table were asking for it so I thought, why not!

We went to the show tonight, it was a Singer/Comedian Allan Stewart and was a good night out. Well, off to bed ready for Athens tomorrow.

October 14th – Menus Page

I’ve updated the daily menus page with the latest scans. The quality isn’t brilliant I’m afraid, and I’m missing a couple, last night I forgot my camera and a couple of lunches we’ve eaten out. I have requested a copy of all the menus when we leave, I will scan them properly and repost at a later date.

October 14th – Ashore in Athens

Lazy, lazy, lazy, the alarm went off as usual, at 06.50 and being a bad person I just rolled over and went back to sleep for half an hour. My first day off from running. We have arrived in Piraeus, and I now have internet access on my MIFI, so I did some housekeeping on the blog. It has really eaten up my free minutes on the ship’s internet. 

Breakfast was taken before leaving the ship and heading off for the Piraeus Metro station. It was a simple operation to get a day ticket (4.50 Euro) and since there is only one line at Piraeus, impossible to go wrong. With the ticket validated for travel, we headed into Athens, getting off at Monastiraki. A bit of a stroll, and a stop at a cafe for a frappe, we headed into Plaka. 

We took a leisurely stroll though Plaka, where we bought the obligatory postcards and headed back to the Metro. We were going to head off back towards Faliro and the marina for lunch at Salty, a fish restaurant on the seafront. Lunch was a Greek Salad, Calamari and Sardines. Lovely!

October 13th – At Sea, towards Athens.

I’ve just turned on the ships TV channel to see where we are on the map, we’ve transited the Straits of Messina during the night, and rounded the toe of Italy, we have travelled exactly 2400 nautical miles. The clocks went forward another hour last night, so getting out of bed for my 7am run was difficult. (It’s actually 04.50 in real money). The run was hard, really hard but I managed to grind out 5km, stretch out, and do a few weights, before heading back to the room with a cup of tea for Jane.

On our way down to breakfast we met Gina and Pat, our dinner companions. So we had a table for four. Pat seems to be Jinxed with service, if anyone isn’t getting what they asked for it has invariably been Pat, this morning his prunes didn’t arrive, it was soon sorted though. I was back on the good stuff, kippers and poached eggs. Once that was finished, it was off to the Queen’s Room for Jane’s line dancing class. My fencing class followed, much better attended today, there were five of us, so managed to get several bouts in.

I followed this with the last of Nigel Vardy’s insights lectures, this time it was about him finally completing climbing the highest mountains on the world’s seven largest islands. This one was in Madagascar, again, very interesting.Lunch followed, I had a goat’s cheese salad, followed by Moroccan vegetable Tagine, all very tasty. Once lunch was over we made our way to deck 9 and the sun beds by the Lido pool. We were steaming at 20 kts with a headwind of 15kts, so we had a breezy time on deck, with an apparent wind of 35kts. Still, it was sunny and warm and we had a couple of hours snoozing in the sun before having tea and biccies on the balcony. The homemade biscuits were very good.

And so to our usual five o’clock haunt, the Commodore Club where Jane’s cocktail of the day was a Watermelon Martini, cruiseluvva recommended it, and it was indeed delicious. I had another mocktail, Red Apple Fizz, I just fancied a refresher rather than a beer to start.