P&O Cruises' Aurora - 17 Day Mediterranean Cruise: Days 11 & 12
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Silver Travel Advisor Alan Fairfax writes his daily Blog from the deck of the P&O Cruises' Aurora on his 17 day Mediterranean cruise. He gives a day by day account of life on board this classic ocean-going vessel.
It was still early morning with the sun starting to rise above the Eastern mountains as we approached the delightful port of Katakolon set on the western side of mainland Greece. Katakolon is the port for Olympia the home of the Olympic Games.
I said Katakolon is delightful and that is just what it is. Comprising of one main shopping street which is only 230 metres long but filled with numerous shops where you can buy anything from bags with designer labels to expensive clothes in small boutiques.
There is a tourist train that for 6 Euro will take you on ride around the area. There are also several horse drawn carriages that will take you on trips around the area. Each carriage hold up to 12 people.
The sea shore is a line of small coffee bars and restaurants that are painted different colours. The one we chose had white director’s chairs with matching tables and drank coffee that arrived in designer shaped cups. With the sun shining down I was at peace with the world. This is the sort of place I could spend my days watching the various cruise ships arriving and leaving every day. Whilst there the cruise ship Zenith belonging to Pullmantur Cruises arrived and moored near to Aurora.
The wives wanted to spend time looking in the shops whereas I wanted to have a beer. Leaving the wives to explore the shops Dave and I went to a bar that I had found on our last visit. Situated at the end of a small shop lined alley it opens into a spacious stone built bar part of which is open to the elements and all that protects you from the sun is a large netting. It is called the Katakolon Epestrefe Bar. Here we enjoyed a few bottles of ‘Fix’ beer and it really is nice even at 5 Euro a bottle!!
Time to return to the ship for lunch and an afternoon on the sun lounger. Soon after 4.30pm the Captain informed us that all were on board and we were ready to sail. Soon after it was 3 long blasts from the ships whistle and Aurora began to go astern from our berth into deeper water where we did what the Captain described as a Pirouette as we turned into the main shipping channel. Even Zenith gave us long blasts from her whistle as a farewell salute. Down to the rear pool area of the ship where a sing along farewell was being lead by the Cruise Director. Soon we were picking up speed and leaving Katakolon behind us. For me definitely the nicest port we have visited.
It was then off to my second home to press the shirt and trousers ready for dinner. I have mentioned dinner several times but have omitted to mention the people who take our orders and serve it, our waiters. They are 2 of the nicest people you could wish to meet. Always smiling, polite and so very professional. A real credit to P&O Cruises.
After dinner it was off to see John Lenahan in the Curzon Theatre. He is described as a magician but he is also a great comedian. His show had me laughing all the way through which is something few acts achieve. Can’t wait for his next performance. It was then down to the other end of the ship to Carmen’s where there was a show put on by crew members. It was good if you like listening to a singing competition.
It was now time for bed and luckily the clocks went back by an hour so hopefully a full 8 hours sleep.
After the extra hours sleep it was up refreshed, shower and onto deck 13 to see what the weather was like. Pushing open the door to the deck it was warm, sunny and a beautiful blue sea. The day was set, breakfast and a relaxing day on a sun lounger.
The dining room was very busy and it was obvious that many people had the same idea. I ordered a healthy breakfast of Pineapple Juice followed by Fruit Compote. Don’t you think I’m being good? OK I also had the ‘English Breakfast’ of Bacon, Egg, Sausage, Sauté Potato’s, Fried Bread and Toast but I did give the Black and White Pudding a miss as I didn’t want to over do things!!!!
It was then time for my second visit to the gym. Unfortunately all the running machines, ski walkers etc. were in use so I decided to leave it for another day and make my way to deck 13 and a sun lounger. It really was delightful drifting along in the sunshine on a calm blue sea at 19 knots. The wind was coming from behind us so there was only the slightest of breezes. During the morning and early afternoon the coast of Sicilly was clearly visible on our starboard side and the island of Malta to the South but too far away to be visible. Later in the day the North African coast came into view on our port bow.
As we had missed out on lunch to lay in the sun a trip to the Orangery for afternoon snacks was needed. My initial idea was a sandwich and a cup of coffee but when I saw the Beef Curry and Rice I have to admit I succumbed. I’m glad I did as it was delicious.
Next stop was a visit to the library as the screen on my Kobo has given up the ghost, again. It did the same thing during our summer holiday and was only replaced a couple of weeks prior to the cruise. I selected the book ‘Edge’ by Jeffrey Deaver and returned to the cabin. After reading the first page I realised I had already read this book a few years ago. Guess who felt stupid returning it to the librarian so quickly.
Tonight is a formal night so once again it is an early visit to my second home to iron the dress shirt and press the trousers. It is an eye opener as to how many men iron their own shirts.
Dinner was excellent, served as usual by Sumanto and Sundeep our waiters. I had the steak which was very succulent with the usual vegetables plus roast Pumpkin. After dinner it was off to the Curzon Theatre for the show. Tonight it was the Headliners Theatre Company presentation of ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’. Another great performance by a very talented group of people. And so off to bed ready for a good nights sleep and another day in the sun tomorrow.
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