This was only the ships second voyage so everything was brand spanking new. With only 1250 passengers and 800+ crew the service was amazing. In addition to the standard buffet restaurant, snack cafe and the main dining room there were four speciality restaurants that featured, Steak, Italian, French and Japanese cuisine. Our only regret is that we did not have sufficient time to enjoy the ship. At each of the fabulous ports we did tours lasting between four and twelve hours, so our time on the ship was limited.
- Riviera: Debuted in 2012
- Tonnage: 66,084
- Length: 785 feet
- Beam: 106 feet
- Maximum Draught: 24 feet
- Stabilizers: Yes
- Cruising Speed: 20 knots
- Guest Decks: 11
- Total Decks: 15
After leaving Sklithrou we headed to Thessaloniki with Peter & Mary, the second largest city in Greece. We spent four wonderful days exploring the area and going on many long drives to explore the beautiful coastal areas and beaches. Lionel actually went for a swim in the Aegean Sea at Kassandra and it was not as cold as he had feared. Big surprise – although it was an absolutely lovely hot day, the others did not join him.
We visited the local markets and as usual ate many wonderful meals. Mary & Winsome were happy to discover that there was a great shopping mall only ten minutes from the hotel – Peter & Lionel were not quite as enthusiastic.
One of the highlights was a visit to the village of Nea Iraklia where Peter was trying to find his house which he had not visited in almost ten years. We killed ourselves laughing as Peter drove up and down lane ways for almost two hours. Some were so narrow that sometimes there was less than a finger width on either side of the car. Peter certainly earned his drivers merit badge on this trip. On at least three occasions, people came out of their houses to ask if they could help and then looked at us in amazement when Peter said he was trying to find his house! One couple even invited us in for coffee. I am sure that they once we had driven off they also killed themselves laughing at us! Peter even drove into the town to the bakery to ask the lady working there if she knew the lady who Peter knows next door to their house – but to no avail & once again we are sure that she thought we were crazy! We eventually found what Peter & Mary thought was their house but then the key could not open the gate. After all of us tried several times Peter somehow got the gate to open. There was great relief when we went inside and saw pictures of Peter & Mary’s family, which proved we were at the right house! We now have pictorial references to aid in finding the house in the future.
Just outside the village was an amazing bar called Crystal Life which was established by a few local business men. It is situated on a lovely long stretch of beach with over a thousand lounge chairs on the sand – some with thatched roofs over them. All they serve is coffee, booze, hot dogs & pizza. On their May long weekend they had 9,500 people attend a concert. This place is a gold mine and as Winsome says all it take is someone with an idea! The only part that puzzled us was that they only had 2 ladies & 2 mens washrooms. Peter did an exceptional job acting as our local tour guide & we enjoyed ourselves immensely visiting all the different areas.
While in Thessalonki we celebrated Peter’s fifty something birthday with a delicious Greek dinner! Better you than me pal!
On May 25, Lionel & Winsome flew to Athens where we spent the night in a hotel before boarding our cruise the following day. We left Peter & Mary behind for a love week-end!!!
More pictures are posted in a Thessaloniki gallery.
We spent a wonderful four days with Peter’s family in the village of Sklithrou and the surrounding areas of Florina, etc. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting them all: –
Bobby, Koula, Constadina & Bella (puppy)
Nikos, Georgia, Stavroula & Vangelio
Kosta, Avloyitsa & George
Theo Anesto & Thea Vangelio
& of course Bobby’s dad, Kosta
A very special thanks to Nikos, Georgia, Stavroula & Vangelio who gave up their lovely home to us while we were in the village. Efharisto.
More pictures will be posted at a later date when I have greater access to internet!