DAY 3: May 8, 2008 - Greek Island Cruise Departure from Piraeus & Arrival in Aegina
On the train ride to Piraeus, we realized that we did not have any tickets printed off for our cruise. We started to get worried…we'd been so focused on figuring out how to get there that we did not pay any attention to what we'd need to do when we got there. We tried to check our E-mail from the middle of a square in Piraeus but that did not work so we decided we'd just see what happened when we arrived.
Mr. Compass had printed off a map and thought that it would be a walkable distance even though the directions said we should catch the 409 bus after getting off the train. We were near a port so Mr. Compass thought we could just follow the water around until we found our ship. Luckily when we asked someone where the Marina Zea was, they too pointed us to the 409 bus. We purchased tickets from a newspaper stand for .80 euro each and climbed on the crowded bus. That was definitely a good investment - about 20 minutes later (yes, 20 minutes by bus) we were dropped off on pretty much the complete opposite side of town at the Marina Zea. The bus ride itself was not too enjoyable since we were pretty much the only ones with HUGE suitcases, there was nowhere to sit and we were basically in everyone's way. Luckily we saw a man on the bus looking at the same printed map that we had that gave directions to "EasyCruiseOne," so we followed his lead to get off.
The port had a lot of big and shiny yachts. Danny said he and his dad would have a field day checking them out. We saw this one yacht that was black and silver that looked like a futuristic Batman-Boat. All we needed to board the boat was our passport, but the security was very strict - we walked through a shabby metal detector that went off and no one checked us. The person who checked our passports asked us if we had liquor in our bags (which we actually did not, although we should have), and Danny thought it be funny to say, "No, but are we allowed to?" The guy didn't understand the humor, but still didn't check our bags. We were given our keys at the reception desk, not as glamorous as our spring break cruise, but the boat was clean and surpassed our expectations.
The boat holds 218 guests in 108 cabins with 57 crew members. There are 6 decks, a hot-tub in the back and a "wellness zone" on the front of the 6th deck that is comprised of a treadmill from the 1970's, two bikes, and a bucket of 5 lb dumbbells (it's not like we would actually workout anyways on this cruise). Our room was actually a lot bigger than we thought it would be. It's pretty plain without any furniture or nightstands, but that allows for more open space. After putting our luggage in our room and taking a quick nap, we went to the welcoming information session where we were told about the ports and excursions (which we decided not to buy because an elderly woman that traveled here 30 years ago told us that you can walk around the town instead of taking the bus that they tried to sell us) and we heard about happy hour (actually happy hour and a half: half off drinks from 19:30-20:30 and 0:00-0:30). We took many pictures as we left the port and ordered drinks during happy hour and watched the sunset. We tried two new types of beer during happy hour, Amstel Pulse and Carib. After taking a sip of each we decided that the Carib tasted the way marajana "smelled like it would taste" and that the Amstel Pulse tasted like meat. We nicknamed the Amstel "Amstel Hamburger" for that reason.
We arrived at Aegina at 21:00, only 2 hours after departing from Marina Zea. After getting our free glass of wine from the ship (our welcoming gift) we headed out to get a bite to eat and hopefully find the fun nightlife that we read about. Unfortunately we never found this "exciting nightlife" but we did find a nice restaurant near the port. I had chicken kebab and Danny had spaghetti w/ meat sauce (he claimed it was almost Greek food because Greece is close to Italy) and we ordered a kilo of wine (if you look at the pics, it's 2 of the small pitchers that I'm holding), which seemed like a good idea for only 4 euros but it ended up being a lot of volume. Instead of dancing the night away we headed back to the ship and slept the night away…I guess we'll check out the nightlife in Mykonos, afterall we will be there from 11:00-7:00, nearly 24 hours!