Kathryn and Ken's European Vacation
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Day 24: Cruise Begins
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Day 22: Athens, Greece
Day 23: Athens, Greece
Day 24: Cruise Begins
Day 25: Cruise at Sea
Day 26: Varna, Bulagaria
Day 27: Odessa, Ukraine
Day 28: Constanta, Romania

Country

Greece


Hotel


MS Rotterdam


Temperature

Overcast with a high of 24C





Day 24: Thursday, September 28, 2006     Cruise Begins

Bon Voyage

We slept in a little and started the day with another great buffet breakfast at the hotel.  Ken was finally able to connect to his online banking again.  We toured the area around our hotel for awhile and then packed up to go to the cruise ship. 
 

Boarding was supposed to start at 1:00 pm but thought we should get there earlier so we ordered three cabs for 11:00 pm.  The Port of Piraeus is about 10 km from the city centre but the traffic was horrendous and so we didn't arrive until just before 12:00 noon.  To our surprise, they let us begin the boarding process immediately.  The line-up was not very long and we were soon ready to board the ship about 12:20 pm.  We had heard from several sources that cruise ships did no let you bring your own booze aboard the ship, that they even scanned your hand luggage like airports.  However, there was a duty free ship between where we cleared the boarding procedures and the dock so Ken decided to give it a try.  He bought a bottle of Bacardi rum for $11 and walked on board with it with no hassles.

Ken ready to board the ship.


Because we had boarded so early, our staterooms weren't ready yet so we went to the Lido Deck and had lunch with our friends by the indoor pool which has a retractable roof.  Kathryn and I then took the elevator to the top of the ship and walked our way down exploring everything as we had never been on the MS Rotterdam before.  At the very top of the ship on the Sky Deck, they had a fake volcanic jungle with a waterfall and hammocks called the Oasis.  The sign said it was for teens only but judging by the people who were already on

Kathryn by the indoor pool on the Lido Deck

the ship, there weren't going to be a lot of teenagers on board.   This was going to be a different cruise for us because we had always done the Caribbean at Spring Break and there were people of all ages.  We were probably in the youngest 10 % of the geezers on this ship.  Things were pretty dead after 11:00 pm on most nights.  We eventually made it back to our cabin and unpacked our clothes. 
 

We then went out on the back of the Lido Deck for the "Sail Away" party at 6:00 pm and watched Athens disappear as we set out to sea.  It had been overcast earlier but the sun came out as we set sail.
The eight of us were supposed to be at the same table but when we went for dinner, they had four of us at each of two different tables that weren't next to each other.  We put Kathryn on it and she went after the head maitre d'.  Soon an assistant came by a couple of times to assure us that if we stayed at our current tables for the night, they would put us all together at a large table for the rest of the cruise.  After dinner we had a nightcap and then crawled into bed for a good rest.

Al Russell, Al MacDonald, Arlene MacDonald, Carol Lunn, Donna Russell, Dave Lunn and Ken having a "Sail-away" cocktail on the Lido

Click here for a slide show of  a few more Day 24 photos.

Day 25

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