Friday, September 16, 2022

Greek Isles Cruise Part 1 - Getting to Athens

 Greek Isles September 2022


After a two year delay due to the Covid pandemic, we are finally in the air and headed to Athens.  After two days in Athens, with a trip to the Oracle at Delphi, we board Seabourn Encore for a two week voyage touching many of the famous Greek Isles and several stops on the Turkish coast, including Istanbul.


We are joined on this cruise by three other couples from three separate orbits in our lives.  One couple from Virginia we met on our first Seabourn cruise to Antarctica, one from Houston, Texas we met during the build and delivery and Alaska cruises on our Selene trawler and one from Bellevue we have known for more than 30 years through our church membership.  It is a diverse group, but one that should have a lot of fun as we enjoy the shoulder season weather in the Greek Isles.


The weather is reported to be 90 degrees when we land in Athens, but that is after a 6 hour layover in London Heathrow.  The connecting flight is purported to be full.


After takeoff, we proceeded right to 39000 feet  and the meal service started.  Miriam indulged on the mushroom ravioli and Patrick had the braised short ribs.  After dinner and drinks we all retired for a few hours sleep before our arrival in London Heathrow before 0700.


The wheelchair service lacked something when we arrived, we had to wait until everyone had disembarked and then stood in long lines with no fast track, until we said something.  Security was tighter than SEA, and it took some time to get Miriam through and into the British Airways First lounge.


Kent and Melody were unable to join us, they were in the business lounge, also nice.


The lounges were busy, the main terminal was very crowded and few masks were seen.  Apparently the pandemic is over in the UK.


After a 6 hour wait we finally headed to the gate for the Athens flight, now delayed by 30 minutes.  After boarding and with the doors closed we were informed by the pilot of an additional 30 minute delay due to a French Air Traffic Control strike which affected all European flights.  We finally departed from the gate more than one hour late for the 4 hour flight to Athens.  With the 2 hour time zone change we did not land until nearly 9 PM.  After getting our bags and exiting baggage claim the driver was waiting and we arrived at the hotel at 10PM, finding that Seabourn had screwed up the room reservation, which took phone calls to Seattle to straighten out.


Frank and Cathy were in the lobby and we joined them for a late drink at the rooftop bar/restaurant with spectacular views of the Parthenon, lit with impressive lights.  The sky was clear and the temperature still warm.


Kent and Melody, meanwhile were still in London, hit with the same ATC strike issues as us.  We don’t know what time they will arrive.








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