Thursday, August 01, 2019

Making the Most of Embarkation Day

People often ask the Direct Line Cruises'  consultants what time they should get to the port on embarkation day.  They unanimously answer, “As early as possible! Arrive by noon to settle in and enjoy lunch onboard!”  Its good advice that I, myself follow…sometimes!  If I’m cruising out of a U.S. port, particularly one that’s driving distance from my home, I often arrive at the pier by noon.  However, if the ship is leaving from a foreign port, I rarely arrive before the mandatory time that the cruise line requires for guests to check-in.

At a minimum, I land in a overseas port the day before sailing.  When there are so few hours in a foreign port it’s important to make the most of every minute. I check into my hotel and then “hit the ground running, trying to see and experience as much as I can without it feeling too crazy.  Then after a good night sleep I’m ready to head out again bright and early.

My plan to make the most out of embarkation day is to book a private half-day tour that picks me up at my hotel at 8 AM.  With all my luggage loaded in the car I now have 4-5 hours to sightsee before being dropped off at the pier in the early afternoon.

Last year my ship left from Piraeus (Athens) and my friends and I were able to enjoy an excursion to Ancient Corinth on the morning of embarkation. We headed to the Corinth Canal, an engineering marvel with breathtaking views. Shortly after that we reach the ancient town of Corinth where St. Paul lived and preached for two years. At that time Corinth was amongst the richest city-states which is quite evident by its architectural remains. It was so worth the trip!  By 2 PM I was sipping a chilled glass of white wine on the back deck of the Azamara Pursuit.

I will follow the same plan next month, when once again my ship leaves Piraeus. This time our driver / guide will be taking us to Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon. This ancient temple was built during 444–440 BC, and is one of the major monuments of the Golden Age of Athens. The drive is a bit long compared to the time we will have there, but the ride along the coast will be a lovely way to spend the morning.  Best of all, our driver assures me there will be time to enjoy a slice of baklava and coffee at a beachside café before boarding time!

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