I could keep it short: Best cruise ever on a REAL ship. But why REAL in capital letters?
In Kusadasi there was NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS at the same time in town. I posted the pictures of NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS on RCI's Facebook chronicle and somebody answered that I should come over to NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS because it is a REAL ship.
Well - I had no need anymore to see NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS nor RCI.
RYNDAM is a total feel-well-ship.
The right size - you never had long walks. Of course you did not have ice-skating, wall-climbing, Royal Promenade etc. But it was large enough to have great shows, you had wonderful variety of lounges with differenty kind of music played (incl. classical).
The ship is of 1994 and in a great condition. They were working everywhere to maintain the ship. There were minor spots which attracted our attention like the lock of our balcony door or our bathroom door. But nothing which really impacted the pleasure to be on board.
The crew was as usual - outstanding with a professional distance. But I appreciated since I have a difficult realtionship to the Hotel Director that I got a personal letter and invited to contact the Hotel Director for any problem I had. Our cabin stewards were wonderful. The concierges (Vincent and Rose) true treasures. And the team in the Pinnacle Grill under the management of Roger worked with the precision of a Swiss watch. There were so many to mention but best would be to see my blog:
Here you can see in details how we experienced the ship and the whole itinerary.
Captain Werner Timmers did really a great job - I have never felt more welcome but on this HAL ships (I know EURODAM, WESTERDAM, ZAANDAM - in total 5 of 60 cruises with HAL).
The Neptune Suite: Due to a great TA and mulitiple Upsell-Offers we landed for peanuts in a Neptune Suite. As you have free laundry, access to the Concierge, Neptune Lounge, Breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill it was worth the money.
The food: as usual the problem with HAL: high grade qualitity but sometimes seasoning... but it was always good but one night. And that is the general problem of HAL: What they are doing good they are doing really good. But if there is a minor problem (like we did not like something) they cannot handle it in a proper way and it always ends in a disaster. But we had luck as it was only 1 1/2 times it happened and as all other things went extremely well we can ignore it in the aftermath - but we have not forgotten it and we are sure it will happen on the next cruise again. HAL makes addict.
The shows just wonderful. Normally things I do no like (like Bollywood Music) I started to learn to honor it. Wonderful voices.
You can say that we had the best time of any of our 60 cruises so far.
We are lucky to have friends who are taxi-driver in Athens. So at the day of debarkation we spent the morning in Corinth to see the Canal. On the way back to the airport we had coffee in the beach district and traditional lamb roast.
It was nice in Paleokatsriza. We only wanted a 2-hours-Taxi-Tour but in the relationship how much we saw and how long we were driven I am not sure if I would do it again. But a nice touch-down for first time in Corfu. We later wanted to see the Old Town. But as there were 5 ships in town and cloud looked more grey but white we decided to return earlier to the ship. And it was good as it started to rain once we arrived the tender.
As we are coming again in January 2014 with more family we decided only to do some researches. So we took the train to Olympia just to see if the route is scenic - it was not as much as we expected and it was too cold. For the return journey not all guests found a seat. Furthermore we stayed to have coffee with Jimmys Taverna which was nice to have Souvlaki for 1.50 EUR.
Great port with great infrastructure: shopping, shopping, shopping, WiFi, ATM, Cafés. But only one foot-step from city center.
We went to a Hamam and get a great treatment for 50 USD.
Furthermore we met our tour operator and guides for our January 2014-cruise and they arranged a wonderful view over the city of Kusadasi.
They are transforming the dock to a tourist port (years before it was half ferry terminal). Short walk to New Town and Old Town. We used the place to order pictures for the crew and buying a SIM-Card for mobile internet.
My friend loves vulcanos and I love shipspotting. So we had the perfect tour: vulacano crusie. While I tried to rest on the boat while all other were on the vulcano, many boats came after us but left earlie. So they were very lucky with our tour operator Dakoutros as they provided a really good guide who took time how a vulcano works etc. - the hot springs are totally different to Blue Lagoon in Iceland. You need to jump from the boat and to swim over and return by swimming. So start exercises! Lunch break on the Island of Thirassia. So we had no time to see Oia or Fira. Saved for the next time. Santorini is worth to return.