11th November, 2021
The 11th of November – Remembrance Day – by some poignant planning saw us cruising the Dardanelles Strait, then pass the Gallipoli peninsula and ANZAC Bay. We held a moving service in the Britannia Lounge as we passed the beaches and over the very waters where so many lost their lives back in WW1. A guest on board made it known to us just beforehand, that her grandfather had miraculously escaped one of the British warships which rapidly foundered in the middle of this Strait.
We cruised back down into the Aegean Sea that afternoon and early the next morning approached the second most chaotic of ports this cruise: Pireaus. The second busiest passenger port in the world always throws a few surprises up upon arrival, and today was no different. The tugboat crews had decided to strike, for some reason or another, and this was causing delays in the port. Fortunately, as we did not require a tugboat to assist us, we made it in only about 45 minutes behind schedule, with no impact to our tour operations having asked my teams to pre-plan for an inevitable delay.
It was a gloriously sunny day, and once we had dispatched the morning tours off it was time to drill our crews in their emergency duties; a once-weekly event to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind. The organised tours all spread off to far too many places to list here, (never mind the ones which I can’t pronounce or spell…) but to give you an idea, the Acropolis, Corinth, Epidaurus and Temples of both Zeus & Apollo all appeared on various visit lists.
With only a limited time free from work, I invited my regular dining companion chief engineer Mark, along with our cruise director Tracy (for Mark’s stories of engines and greasing were beginning to wear a little thin) off for a sunset drink & supper. I’m not sure how it happened, perhaps because none of us is particularly proficient at the local lingo, but we somehow between the 3 of us we ended up ordering a Greek meat feast for 8 people…
A few hours later, and after a concerted effort to finish the mountain of inadvertently-ordered food, the 3 of us waddled back up the gangway – for Mark and I thankfully our working day was over; but Tracy had to squeeze into a dress and perform her evening duties whilst lugging her Greek meat baby around.
The following day brought more sunshine along with many more options to be whisked off to see the local sights, prior to our departure at sunset on Saturday evening. Staff Captain Simon drove the ship out of harbour that evening, and so commenced a 3 day passage westwards across the Mediterranean sea back towards Spain. These days at sea, although action-packed entertainment-wise, allow for some breathing space after a busy string of fascinating ports.
Captain Kim Tanner
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