With my forgiveness to Dave Loggins, Joan Baez and others, I would (once again) strongly recommend the Athens Ledra hotel -- if only as a base. I am here two days on a pre-cruise stay on points (believe it or not this is a CAT 5 hotel). As before, everyone in the hotel has been amazing, and while I chose points as a Platinum gift, I had a letter offering me a free bottle of wine if I had lunch or dinner in the Zephyros Restaurant. I did a short time ago and certainly didn't drink the whole bottle, but they told me in advance I could just take the rest of the bottle to my room (which I have done).
This hotel does everything right. Here are the Exec Lounge hours:
UPGRADED CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST DAILY: 6am-10am
TEATIME DAILY 2:30-500pm
COCKTAIL HOURS DAILY Beverages (5-9 pm) and Hors d'oeuvres 5-7pm; desserts 7-9pm.
My room has a balcony with a view of the acropolis and everything has been wonderful.
Sure there are strikes in Greece, but most of you won't want to spend all your time in downtown Athens (the Acropolis, its museum, and the agora area are the only points of great interest). The Ledra is not downtown, but has a shuttle service.
There are also great deals to be had in Greece. Besides my cruise (with single supplement, less than $900 for everything, including tours of the Palace of KNossos on Crete, Oia Village in Santorini, Patmos Monastery and Cave), Ephesus, and Mykonos), today I had an almost all day private taxi tour to ancient Corinth and Akrocorinth. Ancient Corinth is a mere village, so tours only offer M and F and no bus is ever going to reach it to the top of the Akrocorinth. I had a super driver who spoke perfect English and let me spend as much time as I wanted wandering the ruins of the ancient Greek, Roman and (naughty) Christian community. If you go, don't miss Glauke, where Medea supposedly drowned Jason's other wife.
So don't let all the hype scare you. While there is a constant demonstration in Syntagma Square (with tents), which we passed on the way back, everything was perfectly peaceful, and it truly was people from all walks of life. There was also a short group of bankers demonstrating a few streets away. Anyway, the Ledra is well away from it and nothing caused any traffic problems for my driver.
Off to the islands. I can't send photos from the ship or my netbook, so it will have to await my return.
This one's for you (and anyone else who's interested. After the wine, magnificent Greek food and appetizers etc in the Executive Lounge -- it's night here now) I came back to my room and decided to take a bath, especially as they'd provided bath salts. I did my ten minute hot water shower sanitizing then inspected all the tub parts mentioned in your thread -- the tub itself, the handles, the soap dish, the sides, the shower mat I didn't use [which looked brand new] and all was immaculate. Then I took my copy of ATHENS magazine and the rest of the bottle of wine from lunch :). I opened it to read:
Spring has come to town, trying desperately to also enter our hearts, doing what it knows best better than anyone; changing us. Filling us with optimism. Making us smile in the face of all the bad things marking the tumultuous times we live in, on the aftermath [ProfC:alas not, for Greece] of the financial crisis, of every crisis haunting our lives. Spring is making its own revolution, inviting us to participate. (Katarima Karakizi)
And I thought after my day in old Corinth that I had never thought I'd be in Greece again after two years ago July. But then unexpectedly both my college and my publisher wanted me to work more on ancient sources and places.
So tomorrow, while I will look forward to the first stop in 'beautiful people' Mykonos, what I really relish is the idea of seeing the Palace of the Minotaur, slain by Theseus for Athens at Knossos on Crete;the ancient volcanic ash sand at Santorini/Thira, the Monastery and Cave of St John at Patmos, etc. Maybe I'll visit the pools, but not the casinos on board (just not my thing). We're also docking at Kusadaki, Turkey, but I was to all the Ephesus sites in November so may just relax.
But I learned an important lesson: a bucket list is a guide rather than a glass filled with sand. (I guess what I'm saying is that the sand can go back up and you can revisit places that mean something to you.) Or for that matter, just turn the glass of sand over and start again. For me, since it was my sabbatical year, this has been one of the most extraordinary of my life and I feel like one of the luckiest, happiest people I know.
By the way I sometimes omit a 2nd "a" in your name please forgive. It is so good to hear you are enjoying Greece especially ancient Corinth. Sally and I did the same a couple of years ago...hired a taxi went to ancient Corinth from Athens and it was an adventure. We also stayed in the Marriott in Athens. We just got back from Prague night before last and it was super. I posted about it on the Insiders. It is always nice to read your postings and view your pictures keep posting and enjoy...Bill
Sounds like you are living the life you deserve. The trip sounds as good as the "Bathing" experience. Just out of curiosity, maybe you could find out how many "King" rooms actually have "Bathtubs" at your hotel.
Keep us informed and remember the folks like me who go in one week from the Marriott Zurich to the Super 8, in rural Missouri. I guess you have to be flexible in this world!
How very true, Professor!
So glad to hear that you are enjoying your trip. I found a tiny ancient church in the middle of a sidewalk (not kidding!) in Athens, it was about 9 x 12 with the city built around it... it was my favorite church in Athens! Imagine walking down a sidewalk to find a church right in front of you... you had to walk around it to continue down the sidewalk!
Have a wonderful cruise!
Looking forward to your trip report and lots of photos!