A Trip Not to Be Mythed; MARION McMULLEN Sets Sail on Her First Cruise to Go Islandhopping in Greece in Search of the Truth Behind the Myths

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), July 22, 2017 | Go to article overview

A Trip Not to Be Mythed; MARION McMULLEN Sets Sail on Her First Cruise to Go Islandhopping in Greece in Search of the Truth Behind the Myths


Byline: MARION McMULLEN

THE sound of Celine Dion belting out the Titanic film theme My Heart Will Go On at full volume is not really what I expected to hear on boarding a cruise ship.

But I was quickly assured that it was a hugely popular song choice among passengers and, well, the chances of encountering an iceberg in the sunny Med are about as unlikely as Trump winning a CNN popularity contest.

The Celestyal Crystal leaves from Athens and sails the heavenly blue seas between the Greek islands during the holiday season. It's a great way to get a taste of island life and to whet your appetite for a longer stay in the future.

Childhood memories of being violently seasick on a rough ferry trip to the Isle of Man have always stopped me from opting for a cruise before and my only reference point for holidays afloat comes from old British comedy Carry On Cruising.

Funny, but maybe not the best real-life guide.

So my bag was packed with every cure for travel sickness known to man - just in case - because a bilious green pallor is not an easy colour to pull off at any time.

My trip began from Heathrow and I spent the night before the flight at one of the new Travelodge superooms. It was sheer bliss to unwind in its relaxing and calming decor and the Lavazza coffee machine and Hansgrohe power shower were a welcome bit of luxury to the start of my travels.

Then it was a quick flight to Athens and time to fit in an evening meal at The Zillers restaurant, which boasts one of the best views of the Acropolis and shares a square with one of the main cathedrals.

"Is the cathedral old?" I asked one of my Greek dining companions.

"It's about 800 years, so not old at all," she shrugged with a smile.

It makes you realise anything less than a few thousand years old in Greece is considered rather modern.

So, as a cruise novice, I also asked the Olympian god of the sea Poseidon to be kind and to let me find my sea legs quickly as I headed to Piraeus Port to board the Celestyal Olympia. My prayers were answered.

Travelling is mainly done at night when you are tucked up in bed asleep or enjoying one of the many bars, casino or night-time entertainment. Each morning you wake to find yourself in a new destination with a new adventure awaiting you.

It's easy to believe this is a land of gods and superheroes that gave us strong man Hercules and winged messenger Hermes, who was always popping up when least expected to cause a spot of mischief.

Each island offers new places to explore, myths and culture to enjoy and local delicacies to try.

So where can you visit? The beauty of Mykonos is breathtaking and a wonderful starting point.

I admit all thoughts of diets vanished when faced with the beautiful food at the Vegera Restaurant, where I tried my best to eat my bodyweight in olives.

Santorini - with its famous blue and white buildings - is also picturepostcard perfect, although the crowds that can gather to watch the spectacular sunsets can be a bit overwhelming. …

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