I have to say that I have the best job in the world! I work for Morris Murdock Travel and we specialize in making our client’s vacation dreams come true. So yes, I get to travel and see the world as well. I think one of the best ways to experience the beauty and culture of other countries is by taking a cruise.
I have cruised a lot! I won’t tell you the exact number of the cruises I have taken as it might sound boastful, but let’s just say “my cup runneth over”! So, when I say that my wife and I just returned from one of the best cruises we have even taken, this really means something! I have always wanted to visit the Greek Isles and surrounding area and we decided 2015 would be the year. We booked a 7-day cruise on the Celebrity Equinox and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it! There were two reasons our trip was so special: Celebrity Cruise Lines and the destination.
Let’s first talk about Celebrity Cruise Lines. All I can say is wow! We were on the Celebrity Equinox which exceeded our expectations. I think one of the most important aspects of a cruise ship is the staff, and they were warm and welcoming. We always had great service wherever we went on the ship. The food was amazing. Not only in the main dining areas, but also in the specialty restaurants. We really enjoyed every meal we had on the ship. The entertainment was also very good. From the Broadway production shows to the comedians and singers, I found myself always looking forward to the nightly entertainment. My wife also enjoyed the spa treatments and I loved the fitness center. The Equinox had something for everyone and there was never a dull moment.
The cruise itinerary was also amazing! We started out in Athens, Greece. Some thought we should be worried about visiting Greece because of the financial crisis in this country, but we had a wonderful time in this city. Everything was business as usual and since Athens thrives on tourism, we had no problems with money issues. The highlight here for me was certainly the Acropolis. Our next port of call was Rhoades, which is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands. We were able to walk the medieval streets of Old Rhoades, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Then it was on to Mykonos. We enjoyed seeing the white painted villages, the hundreds of little churches, windmills, and the most extraordinary golden sandy beaches. Of course there was also plenty of shopping to be had. There is a section of the city called “Little Venice”, a charming area of old Mykonion buildings built into the sea front with amazing views.
Although I enjoyed each port of call, our trip felt like it was getting better and better every day. I absolutely loved our stop in Santorini! For those who love adventure, walk up the path to the city of Fira instead of taking the cable car. Or better yet, hop on a Donkey for a ride to the top. Talk about amazing views at the top! The highlight for us was the short bus ride to the city of Oia. We had lunch overlooking all of the white and blue cliff top homes with an amazing view of the sea.
Our Greek Isles Cruise also included two stops in Turkey. Talk about an mind-blowing country with fascinating ruins and a diverse culture. Our fist port of call in Turkey was at Kusadasi where we were able to visit the ancient city of Ephesus. Ephesus is the showplace of Aegean archaeology and was colonized by the Ionians in the 10th Century B.C. We were truly “wowed” by all of the ruins and could have spent all day gawking at these “wonders of ancient history and civilization.” The city was famed for the Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World.
Our last port of call was Istanbul, Turkey. Again, talk about an amazing city with a diverse culture. Istanbul is the only city in the world that actually sits on two different continents – Asia and Europe. The highlights for us here were the Topkapi Palace, the Hagia Sophia Museum, and the Blue Mosque. The Grand Bazaar is also a “Grand” and “Bazaar” experience for those who love shopping. Practice your “haggling” skills before you go or you’ll overpay for the things you want to buy.
This was definitely a cruise of a life time and I would go back again in a minute!