Ten Reasons to take a Cruise

Ten Reasons to take a Cruise

I thought I’d be well into my seventies before I went on a cruise but, as is often the case, life proved me wrong. I took my first cruise in my forties, to the Mediterranean, and surprised myself by loving it. I’ve been on another cruise since and enjoyed it just as much.

Both were on huge ships so next time I’d like to try cruising on smaller vessels. A river cruise through Europe is on the wish list and a wildlife cruise to the Galapagos islands is another dream. If you’re on the fence about setting sail here are my ten reasons to take a cruise.

 

Bay of Kotor

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How to spend a day in Mykonos

How to spend a day in Mykonos

It’s not difficult to see why Mykonos is one of the most photgraphed destinations in the Greek Islands. Spend a day in Mykonos exploring ancient windmills, swimming in crystal clear waters, discovering pretty churches and losing yourself in winding alleyways lined with white-washed houses adorned with blue-shuttered windows. Mykonos is stunning.

 

Mykonos, Greece

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Celebrity Cruises – A Mini-Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity Cruises – A Mini-Cruise on Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity-cruises- Eclipse

Celebrity Eclipse – Credit: Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises’ luxury ship Eclipse has just had a revamp. She’s spent nine days in sunny Florida in dry-dock having a bit of a break and indulging in some primping and pampering. She arrived in Southampton this month refreshed, revitalised and ready for the big reveal of her new bars, Luminae Restaurant and Suite Class accommodation. Mr Jones and I went on a voyage of discovery to check out Eclipse’s stylish design and ‘Taste of Modern Luxury’ on a two night mini-cruise from Southampton to Le Havre in France.

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A day trip to Delos Island, Mykonos

A day trip to Delos Island, Mykonos

Delos, a tiny uninhabited island, near Mykonos lies in the sparkling Aegean Sea. It’s the stunning centrepiece of a circle of beautiful Greek islands called the Cyclades and makes a perfect day trip from Mykonos town just across the water.

 

Pillars at Delos, GreeceDelos, Greece

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Memories of Mykonos

Memories of Mykonos

Mykonos is the epitome of Greek prettiness. The island is part of the Cyclades archipelago, adjacent to tiny Delos in the Aegean Sea. Pristine white buildings with azure blue doors and windows are set against the bluest sky. Winding alleyways lined with boutique shops, bars and restaurants festooned with fuschia pink Bougainvillea lead to tiny churches and heavenly  courtyards.  The sun shines and cats laze in doorways soaking up the heat.  And then there are the iconic Mykonos windmills looking down over Chora (Mykonos Town), Little Venice and the clearest, bluest seas ever.

Boats in the Bay in Mykonos Town

The Bay in Mykonos Town

What to see in Mykonos Town (Chora)

You’ll probably arrive into Chora by the harbour in the main area of town which has a little bay busy with restaurants, shops and little sugar-cube houses tumbling down the hillside. Colourful fishing boats bob around in the bay and Agios Nikolaos Church with its blue dome sits right by the water. You’d think it couldn’t get any prettier but, actually, it does.

Agios Nikolaos, Mykonos

Agios Nikolaos, Mykonos

 

Paraportiani Church

Head to the right and up the hill and you’ll soon see.  First you’ll come to the gorgeous Paraportiani Church, the most famous church of 400 on Mykonos.  It’s a cute little pyramid-shaped building made up of  a conglomeration of four churches built asymmetrically together. White-washed to within an inch of its life it has a little bell-tower, dome and is topped with crucifixes which stand out against the cloudless blue sky.

Paraportiani Church, Mykonos

Paraportiani Church, Mykonos

Little Venice

There’s exploring and shopping to be done here in the tiny alleyways but first we’re going to visit the Mykonos windmills. Keep close to the waterside and you’ll pass through Little Venice. Bars and restaurants sit right next to the water, with little wooden balconies hanging over the sea. The crystal clear waves gently lap against the walls and it’s a lovely place to stop for a beer and from my shady little balcony the view over the water to the windmills was gorgeous.

Little Venice, Mykonos

Little Venice, Mykonos

The Mykonos Windmills

As you emerge from the slatted shadiness of Little Venice you can’t fail to spot the iconic Mykonos windmills (Kato Mili) standing sentry at the top of the hill. They’re old, built by the Venetians in the 16th century, for milling flour.  They have wooden sails, white-washed walls and are capped with straw hats.  One is now a museum and there are around a dozen on the island but these are the most famous and very photogenic!

Where to eat in Mykonos Town

Feeling hungry?  Then carry on to the top of the hill,past the windmills, through the car park and meander down to a quiet little bay and the golden sands of Megali Ammos beach. It’s a ten minute walk, sometimes with no pavement, but you’ll find a lovely, chilled restaurant on the beach. Joanna’s Niko’s Place Taverna. Recommended by Elle, from A Bird in the Hand, we stopped here for a fabulous lunch of fresh, crisp Greek salad, perfect in the heat, and little marinated fish which were full of flavour and deliciously tender.

A Wander through Mykonos Town

After a late lunch I had an hour or two to wander which really is the best way to get a feel for Mykonos Town.  Art galleries, hip boutiques selling artisan jewellery, cute cafes and cobblestone alleyways were explored.   I’d have loved to have seen those windmills as the sun set behind the hill but we’d sailed off into a crimson sunset long before the sky turned pink.  Mykonos, I’ll be back.

 

Crystal Clear Mykonos Sea

Crystal Clear Mykonos Sea

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Mykonos windmill

Many thanks to Celebrity Cruises for sending me on this fabulous cruise.  All views, opinions and new-found love for Mykonos is, as always, entirely my own.

 

Views from a Cruise

Views from a Cruise

It’s impossible to ignore the excitement and buzz on board a Celebrity Cruise ship when it’s about to arrive into a new port. Or leave one for that matter. People congregate on deck seeking out the best viewpoint – starboard or port?  Music plays and there’s waving to other ships, boats and passing vessels.

‘Istanbul not Constantinople’ added to the atmosphere when we sailed down the Bosphorus. As the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia shimmered into view it changed to a Turkish lilting eastern-style music completely putting us in the mood for our time in Istanbul.

The Blue Mosque from The Bosphorus

The Blue Mosque

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