This new adventure started last October 8th in Civitavecchia (Rome) and ended eight days later in Athens (Greece). Indeed it was too short a time to be able to experience fully all the many amazing things you find and see in each visited port but also there is not enough time to properly get to know and fully enjoy this fantastic vessel, the Regent Seven Seas Voyager!
We left our home country Canada on Oct.6th from Ottawa via Toronto to Rome. A very long leg for sure but we did so one day early to compensate. Our choice of hotel in Civitavecchia was a complete flop! The San Giorgio regardless its impressive entrance, the two level room had the bedroom upstairs and the bathroom downstairs!!! With a miserable and dangerous staircase – very disappointing as it all looked so wonderful on the website. We ended up sleeping on the lower level in a very unusual sofa bed in very poor shape. The staff at the reception were not very helpful and the included breakfast was more than complete but poorly staffed, as a matter of fact only one person going from one end to other and not even saying good morning. Local room tax was only 1 euro each, a ridiculous amount but appreciated when compared to our last European stay in Amsterdam where they charged 20 euros per person per day.
The best aspect of the hotel was the shuttle @ 10 euros each, right up to the ship; first time this happened to us because with previous cruise lines the shuttle would leave you on a corner where you had to switch over to another bus to get to the ship.
After enjoying our delicious lunch, we went straight to our suite on Deck 9; for your knowledge, a week prior the cruise, we received an offer for an upgrade, something we took right away and what a great decision that was! Great bathroom, only one sink though (another surprise), very nice and plentiful toiletries (L’Occitane, Guerlain, Mistral), good sized shower stall (it could have done with a ceiling light) and a separate bathtub, ample storage all around, large walk-in, innumerable wooden hangers but with a lack of drawers and not enough space to store shoes giving too much wall area for ties and belts, something that nowadays are not in much use, a safe placed at the right height and, surprise!!! two large bottles of premium liquor (chosen by us after upgrade was accepted) and of course the service of a Butler, afternoon canapes (from an extensive menu), etc. Something poor or ridiculous was a miserable espresso machine only able to give two mini size espressos; a complete waste of space. Beds were comfortable but duvet was quite heavy so we asked the suite attendant (flawless Edel) to change it to regular blankets. A good sized dining table and….I could keep going and going but the suite and all the perks were outstanding for a PH considering others we’ve been in. Our Butler, Christopher was very efficient but not much needed except for simple breakfasts set ups with large cappuccinos and a dinner the night before disembarkation. We ordered from the Compass Rose ‘menu of the day’ and were efficiently serve dish by dish by our butler. Where are you going to find anything better than this?
* Kusadasi - We had been in this port before, so we planned on going on shore just to walk around and revisit that known locale. Well, we docked, went ashore and were very surprised to see that everything had changed so much! Before it was more “Turkish”, a bit rugged but very exciting, while today's Kusadasi has lost all its enchantment and intrigue very orderly but tasteless. The change was akin to how Roatan lost its charm when new ‘big’ ship docks and shops were pushed on the small quaint port. So, please avoid walking that port and take any tour! After a very short abortive walk, we went right back to the ship and enjoyed its almost empty peacefulness!
* After disembarking and sorting out our luggage with the porter, we went outside looking for our pre-arranged transport to our downtown Athens hotel. The driver was there waiting for us and off we went. We were staying at the Athens Status Suites Hotel at 28 Petraki, a small side street in the Plaka area; the hotel has been fully renovated looking very modern and quite well decorated, the room was very ample with very high ceilings and the bathroom was also large but with some issues peculiar to the Greek hotel industry so there is no reason to write about it; on the top floor there is a restaurant, where breakfast (incl.) was served, with an splendid view of the Acropolis and a roof top bar one level higher. Regardless all this glowing description we still do not recommend this hotel because 1) it was on a small, narrow side street, 2) the only elevator was too small and 3) the staff at the reception although polite and eager did not provide good advice or information, such that it was very clear they didn’t know their city well at all. The best area (we found out ourselves) to look for a hotel is in the New Archeological Museum district and near the subway as that is the best transport to use to move around the city and avoid wasting time finding directions etc. A visit to that Museum is a must (10 euros pp) and you can have lunch in its restaurant that has expansive windows looking up to the nearby Acropolis hilltop. The center of Athens is in complete chaos with a huge number of people (tourists), cars, vans, bicycles and motorcycles, coming, going, crossing, honking etc. and all this happening on narrow and uneven streets; a completely disorganized city. This was a real surprise because the last time in Athens (a couple of years ago) it was a completely different and more manageable place to visit and enjoy.