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On to Crusing, Part II.

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Aboard the Star Flyer (Rhodes, Bodrum, Dalyan River, Santorini, Hydra)

August 3 and on

The cabins are little, but very efficient. The bathroom has a poor drainage system when the ship lists and the shower doesn’t drain. We arrived in Piraeus and waited a couple of hours in the customs area. Everyone looked old. In our area, there was our cruise group and another area for a bigger boat. All the young, fun, English speaking people seemed to be headed to what we termed the “fun boat.” On our ship, there are 4 levels-commodore, clipper, main deck and upper deck. It has 4 big masts and is called a tall ship (ya!). There are lots of Europeans on this cruise. There were drinks and snacks upon arrival. Food is pretty steady. No $ on board is nice. But the tip system is irritating—pay one big tip at the end to be split by all the staff. We would prefer to have the tips just included in the price at the beginning and not have to tip at all or even worry about it.

The open dining is nice if a little lonely at first—we were stuck with a table of Germans at the first dinner. The ship has about 170-180 passengers. It is very nicely kept and quite beautiful. The crew is friendly and professional. The ship is 365 feet long and has a library, piano bar, two mini pools (for dipping only, not really for swimming around), and lots of deck space. They like to play the music from 1492 while they are sailing, it is kind of their theme. There are all kinds of water sports available, but we didn’t do any of them.

People we met:
Lori and Denise, who were sisters from N and S Carolina. They were nice and friendly and drank and partied the whole time. They called themselves the Hell’s Angels. Dmitri pretty much avoided them. They hung out with Lori and Elyse who were kind of annoying.
Jan (who is Swedish) and his wife Stephanie (French, from Monaco) Jan had a big smile on his face most of the time. He is a big friendly happy Swede. Stephanie is a magistrate living in Paris, a good conversationalist who has strong opinions and does not like Algerians. We talked travel with them, and politics and found out that Stephanie thinks “Swedish girls are very sporty.”
Keith—an American who is in the Peace Corps in Khazakstan who was traveling with his mother who kept him on a pretty short leash; he is probably cool solo but needs to lose Mom
Lynn and Jim who wore matching baseball caps with a picture of them together and the caption, The Perfect Pair, very cute couple, FL retirees, well-traveled, he lived in Bora Bora during WWII, they have been married 55 years
Other assorted retirees—mostly friendly
A big heavy German woman with a little skinny argyle socks man
Monnie and Steve—nice couple from St. Louis, Steve was a little dull and Monnie is a super outdoorsy type woman who is a teacher
There were a few bored young kids who were underfoot that started palling around

Here's a view of our boat from the shore later on in the cruise. As you can tell, it's primarily sail-powered. This is great for looks and for speed, but it also means the boat tilts at about 10 degrees when it's zipping along. Try sleeping at 10 degrees.

And here's the glossy promo shot of their big ship and ours off in the distance. They really do look this beautiful in person. Here's the Star Clipper web site so you can see better photography than ours, deck plans, etc. I wouldn't recommend it to everybody since it's not what we think of as a typical cruise, but it was worthwhile to be sure.

We sailed from Piraeus to Rhodes. It was a bumpy ride and was hard to get used to. I was queasy and skipped dinner. We sailed the whole first night and day and while we were sailing we relaxed on the deck and enjoyed the peace and the sun. On Monday, we arrived in Rhodes and walked around the medieval city. We went to the Palace of the Grand Master. Mosaics aplenty. The home of the Knights of Malta. Crusaders. Rich history, most of which we ignored. We did some museum hopping and then stopped at this café at a square and were amused by the Greek waiter trying to get people to come and sit down and have something to drink. Dmitri got a massive beer and we headed back to the ship. The ship had excursions to choose from at all of the ports—museums trips and water activities and such. We opted out of most of these.

Previously, I'd thought of Rhodes as just a place Romans came and kicked ass occasionally, and place with a colossus. But they've got castles and some fascinating medieval history as well. This is the courtyard of the Palace of the Grand Master-- clearly a case of someone overcompensating.

And for some reason, I ordered and drank this very large beer. Rhodes seemed very funny to me after that. Not sure why.

On Tuesday, we were in Bodrum, Turkey. Another hot day. We took the tender over from the ship and walked around the bazaar. We went to Bodrum Castle and saw tons of amphorae. There were neat towers there and we took some good pictures of our ship. We also went to the Underwater Archaelogy Museum. It was kind of lame, even though it is supposed to be the biggest one in the world. This must mean it is the only one in the world. Turkish lira is worthless. 1 million lira is slightly less than $1. We found an internet café but there was a power failure. We had lunch on a waterfront terrace.

This is from the top of the castle in Bodrum, Turkey. Boy, you can tell we're still having a good time, but Cindy's about had it with keeping a journal at this point. I don't blame her. At this point I was just promising to be doing "web stuff."

Ah, yes, the Underwater Archaeology Museum. How many jokes can you crack at that title? 2 million Turkish lira to get in. Wow, that's like a buck fifty!

This is like 50 cents. Seriously. You think they'd switch to scientific notation . . .

On to Cruising, Part II.