Athena is a small ship, and all the public areas are on the main deck. In the paneled entry, a library of books on the region (and cases displaying jackets, caps and shirts bearing the ship's emblem) is found behind the reception desk. Old maps of the area are on the walls along with color photos of Dubrovnik and Corfu to whet you appetite for what is to come. A basket of umbrellas is beside the door, just in case.
The salon, the center of all activity, is furnished on each side with three congenial seating areas around coffee tables. Wood paneling and dark shutters, wicker chairs and plush leather sofas create a warm ambience. Chairs are covered in a bright regional floral print, with the red picked up through other pieces in coordinated stripes and checks. In the center is a circle of leather seats, which are moved aside when the room is used for entertainment. One end of the room holds a cozy circular bar, the other a large-screen TV. Near the bar is a machine always ready with coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Walls are hung with black and white photos of everyday life in the region, part of the set specially commissioned for the ship.
Beyond is the dining room described above, and at the end of the ship, there are two floor-to-ceiling glass doors offering vistas of the sea. These doors are open when passengers are swimming off the boat, and on our cruise, we used the area for debarking on the one occasion when we boarded tenders to visit a small island outside of Kotor (in Montenegro).
Rows of tables, chairs and loungers are set under a wide canopy on the Sun Deck. During fine weather, this area is well used. Meals are served here regularly, and one night the crew offered a special regional drink, local cheeses and hors d'oeuvres on deck.
There is no elevator on Athena, and no smoking is allowed anywhere inside the ship.