Day 8-9: Sea Days on the Norwegian Spirit
If you ever book a cruise that says it leaves out of Rome, know that Rome does not technically have a cruise port. You will be leaving out of Civitavecchia, which is about an hour’s train ride away from Rome. It’s not a big deal, as long as you are 100% positive you’re getting onto the right train. That’s a long story, but hey, we made it! So there we were, about to board our second cruise in a month, headed for the Greek Isles and Mediterranean!
As former employees of Norwegian Cruise Line, we were especially excited to actually be passengers on one of their ships. We spent the first couple of sea days exploring the public areas, enjoying the dining hall, and taking advantage of our insider knowledge (i.e., the dining halls don’t get busy at breakfast until a few days into the cruise).
Day 10: Crete (Iraklion)
At last we arrived at our first port, Iraklion in Crete. Whenever we go on cruises, we tend not to book any excursions, instead opting to put together our own free walking tour. In this particular port, there wasn’t too much to walk to, but we did get to explore some cool sights!
Our first stop was to check out the fort we spotted from onboard the ship, known as the Koules Fortress or Castello a Mare. The interior was restored and set up as an exhibit with history of Iraklion.
After that, we explored the city, saw what we could see, and eventually returned to the ship. It wasn’t the most exciting port, but it was a nice first stop to walk around and explore a bit.
Day 11: Rhodes
The next morning we arrived in Rhodes, one of Connor’s favorite ports! Once again, we got off the ship and immediately started walking around, following a map we found near the port.
We walked along the city walls, explored the Archeological Museum, looked around the Palace of the Grand Master, and wandered the Street of the Knights. For a port that we hadn’t planned much for, there was a lot to see! In the Palace of the Grand Master, the floors were covered in intricate mosaics, like the one of medusa pictured below. It also held a copy of Laocoön and His Sons, a famous ancient sculpture originally carved in Rhodes.
We were finally torn away from Rhodes when it started to rain, but we had certainly seen our fair share of archeological artifacts from Ancient Greece. Rhodes holds quite a history, and we got to witness a fair amount of it in half a day! We returned to the ship and prepared for the next day: Athens!