By Daniela Harrison
In September I embarked on my first-ever Seabourn cruise, sailing from Venice to Athens on the Seabourn Odyssey, with stops in Croatia and the Greek Isles.
The ship, crew and itinerary were amazing, and Seabourn offered a wide array of activities, ports and excursions.
Among the highlights, we kayaked in Primosten – definitely a must-do, if you ever get the chance. After a 30-minute bus ride from the port we arrived at our starting point in the Croatian countryside, paired up, piled into kayaks and paddled around the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trogir. It was a unique way to explore this site without intruding on it.
In Dubrovnik, we opted for the mountain-bike tour. As we tendered into port I wasn’t quite sure of our decision, since the port is lined with very steep hills and crowded switchback roads. Luckily for us, the biking happened in a nearby valley. We rode past old churches, vast gardens and vineyards. We even hiked a bit to discover waterfalls and enjoy a refreshing taste of pure spring water. It was magical, though we definitely worked up a sweat.
We didn’t do any excursions in Corfu, but we explored on foot and found a beautiful local neighborhood with a great restaurant to people-watch. We did some shopping and had a nice leisurely day.
Nydri was one of my favorites. We went ashore with our own snorkel equipment in search of the perfect beach. As we were walking through the port we found a little place that rented bicycles for the day (only €4 for the whole day) and made our way along the coastline. We found some great beaches for snorkeling and enjoyed a great meal on our way back to the ship.
In Katakolon (Olympia) we opted to hire a private car for the day to take us around. Of course we went up to Olympia to see the ruins and the museum, but from there we took the scenic route through the mountains and visited a small monastery with stunning views of the island. It was absolutely magnificent! Once back in port we found a beautiful little restaurant by the ocean and sampled the local ouzo, tzatziki and more. YUM!
Next up was Monemvasia, which offers stunning beaches. We snorkeled and tanned, had a relaxing lunch and finally walked up to the old fortress town. It’s a beautiful place you definitely have to explore.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore Athens, since we had to fly out the same day.
The ship itself is so stunning that it was one of the few times I really missed having a sea day. It has multiple pools, bars, restaurants, and lounges, a huge spa and gym, a casino, and a theater. We tried to explore everything, but a week is just not long enough to enjoy all the ship has to offer.
We stayed in a lead-in-category cabin (which still has an ocean view). There’s plenty of space for two people, with a large sitting area, mini-fridge, minibar, king-size bed, a walk-in closet and a good-sized bathroom. Our cabin stewardess made sure our cabin was always ready and looked its best. She surprised us with chocolates, flowers, handmade soaps and more. I wish I could have brought her home with me.
The food was consistently excellent at all the restaurants, but Restaurant 2 was by far the best. I highly recommend making dinner reservations for every evening meal as soon as you come on board. At times it was challenging to get a table reservation for the dining time we wanted, especially since we didn’t eat alone most nights.
All the great food and wonderful amenities on a cruise don’t mean much if the crew is not up to par, but I’m pleased to report the crew of the Seabourn Odyssey was amazing – outstanding service with a big smile at all times, no matter what the request. All the crew members made us feel right at home and we had so much fun getting to know all of them. I can’t wait to go back and see them all again!
Daniela Harrison is a Travel Consultant for Avenues of the World Travel in Flagstaff. For questions, or to make reservations, contact her at Daniela@avenuesoftheworld.com or 928.556.0853.