Trip log, day seven. Chania, Crete Greece.
8-Night Silver Anniversary at Sea Greek Isles Cruise from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Sunday, June 18, 2023
Guests Ashore: 7:00 am Guests Onboard: 3:00 pm
Personal Navigator – Day 7
Up early, and out on the upper decks to see what there was to see after walking Emily to the gym. Just happened to walk past the Goofy Golf poster which reminded me I was missing out on the morning round with the fellas back home. I’ve managed to get my cat fix on this cruise, but I’m missing my Sunday mornings with the fellas back home.
A weathered Welcome to Chania billboard greeted the ship on the starboard side.
This will be our final day seeing the Greece flag flying on the Disney Dream’s radar tower.
Breakfast was once again in Cabanas. This morning there were some mini breakfast wraps available.
Bon Voyage had some lovely flowers on the bar.
Admiral Donald was enjoying the 25th Anniversary decorations in the atrium.
All ashore time was 7:00AM, but we did not have any plans and were just going to head into town so we took our time to avoid the morning rush and departing Port Adventure groups. We had originally planned on heading to the beach, but changed our minds the night before. We headed ashore and picked up the complimentary shuttle bus around 9:45AM.
There are two port areas in Chania, we were docked at the Port of Souda. The Old Port about 20 minutes away is where we were headed for the day. There was another cruise ship tendering to the Old Port. Docking in Souda is better for Port Adventures since there is no tendering bottleneck. Given the bus was about 20 minutes you figure that’s about how long the tendering process would have taken to the Old Port.
The bus dropped us off at a bus stop a short walk from the Old Venitian Port area. The bus stop was easy to remember, just find the statue of ΔΑΕΚΑΛΟΓΤΑΝΝΗΣ (Daskalogiannis), a wealthy ship owner who led a Cretan revolt against Ottoman rule in the 18th century.
It was still relatively early and not all the shops were open yet on this Sunday morning. We were casually walking around and spotted the first cat of the day near… Are you kidding me, a Starbucks.
Perfect! Starbucks has restrooms! Think again, paying patrons only and the code is on receipt. Well, when needing to find a water closet, a long line is not the solution. Moving on.
To the second cat which found a cozy spot on the stoop of a clothing store.
Just down the walkway from fast food coffee, was a public water closet which was out of paper. Starbucks to the rescue, they have napkins… Adding wipes to our day bag from now on.
The Old Venetian Port in Chania is lovely. The east side of the port is crescent shaped with restaurants and cafés aplenty to sit back and enjoy the view.
Alternatively, sitting on the seawall is also an option, just watch out for the small chop that occasionally will offer a splash.
Hey look, another feline roaming the streets!
On the east side of the port, is the Küçük Hasan Mosque built in 1649 and used for worship until 1923. Presently, the mosque is used for art exhibitions and event space.
In the courtyard of the mosque was, I bet you already know, another cat!
The current Chania lighthouse was building in 1864 on base of the original lighthouse that was built centuries prior by the Venetians. You can walk out to the lighthouse, but we did not do that this time.
As we were walking around the port, we were making a short list of places to return for lunch. Smart advertising for those that are seeking gluten-free — right out on the big sign.
On the western end of the port, we found the Maritime Museum of Crete complete with some eye catching artifacts on display including an anchor, a propeller, and a NAPKH MK-6 underwater mine.
The museum was inside a cool fortified construct, Revellino del Porto which features some unique architecture. In fact, the building where the museum resides now was actually a fortress. Firkas Fortress was constructed in 1629 to protect the Venetian harbor entrance from raiders. The usage is much different in 2023, you can now book a stay in Revellino del Porto.
Near the museum artifacts, was a map of Chania.
You can download more detailed maps such as the two below from explorechania.gr if you have plans to visit Chania in the future and wish to do some research before you arrive.
Along one of the narrow walkways was a sleepy back cat.
What in the jurassic world is this!?!? I am not one to stop and window shop at jewelry stores, but out of the corner of my eye is spotted a cat carved out of amber. Part of me wanted to inquire if it was actually for sale, but I had a hunch it wouldn’t have been cheap.
We returned the waterfront area of the port and settled on a place to have lunch, Kalipso because who goes to Crete and doesn’t order a beer in a boot glass. Overall, lunch was great and we kinda ordered a few smaller plates to share since we had dinner reservations on the ship. This lighter lunch was one of the more costly of our lunches ashore, which was primarily driven by the waterfront location of this restaurant. After a few days eating lunch ashore, I am broken. Not sure how I am going to deal with tzatziki when I get home. I’ve never had tzatziki like we were served in Greece; it is so thick and the stuff is magical. I now am on a quest to figure out how to replicate this at home.
Following lunch, we sought out placed to buy souvenirs. Overall, the streets were not that crowded and casual shopping was dare I say, enjoyable. Nice to see local shops instead of global brands, even if there was a lot of repetition. For a day where we didn’t have any real plans, it was nice to talk around and see what there was to see.
Low and behold, an afternoon cat sighting!
I kinda went rogue and the aroma of fine leather goods pulled me down a street with a number of leather goods shops. I was intoxicated by the smell and lured into some sort of treat yo self trance. I found a really good looking laptop bag with multiple colored leathers: navy, red, and yellow that reminded me of a classic cruise ship palate.
The shop keeper offered a decent deal for two bags (I was also looking at another for a gift), but it was a EURO only deal and well, that was the end of it. Did I want the bag, you bet.. Did I NEED the bag, NOPE.
We walked back to the bus stop and boarded the 1:25 PM return bus. When out an about on our own, we tend to push the limit on getting back before all aboard time. However, when we are depending on their party transportation, we try to build in a buffer by not waiting for the last possible departure in the event we miss the departure, or there is a capacity issue. All aboard was 3pm.
We were back at the Port of Souda around 2 o’clock. The weather was lovely, so I took the opportunity to run up to the stateroom and grab another camera lens then headed back to the pier to take pictures of the Disney Dream.
It is crazy how fast the line of returning passengers grew in the short time I was out on the pier taking pictures.
The line to rebound was worth it; the sky was a beautiful blue and the sun was hitting the Dream just right.
Once back onboard, I met back up with Emily who used this time enjoy the quiet hot tub on deck. The Moon-Spinners with Haley Mills was not playing on Funnel Vision, it was Toy Story 4 if anyone was wondering.
Tee time! I mentioned earlier that I need a golf fix, and I made sure to get to the atrium early to get a spot in this afternoon’s session of Chip It Golf.
Captain Mickey even joined in the fun following his earlier meet and greet photo op.
Who needs their buddies and Oak Trail when you can chip in the ship’s atrium. Hitting a ping pong ball with velcro strips is not the same as a real golf ball. I went with the strategy of going for the wide open areas to avoid the negative spots. Well, that was great and all, but I landed all 3 in 1 point spots which was not close to earning a spot in the next round. Practice makes perfect, I’ve already purchased some ping pong balls to velcro to work on my game at home.
This was a perfect time to meet Goofy in his formal attire. He took over for Captain Mickey in the atrium when there was very little foot traffic with folks getting ready for dinner or the early show.
Our rotational dinner was going to be in Animator’s Palate with the Animation Magic menu, but we decided to try Palo since we haven’t been to dinner since October 2019 when they were testing a new way of doing things…
We checked in at the podium and took a seat at the Meridian bar ordering a mystery red and sparkling from the sommelier bin. For me, this is the only way to order glasses of wine onboard, $13 for a mystery wine unless for some reason they pull a bottle that is less than the menu price. However, we’ve never encountered a situation where this has occurred.
We just finished our wine as we were informed our table was ready. We both decided to order a-la-carte offerings rather than the pre-fixe option on the Palo menu.
Is it strange to appreciate a nice charger plate? Also, do you see what I see?
There are Hidden Mickeys around the perimeter, below is a closer look at one of the ºoº.
Service began with the amuse-bouche, a fried potato gnocchi on a mushroom sauce, was similar to the version served in 2019.
The bread service remains the same with a mix of seasoned flatbread, crisps, and grissini.
The salads were both underwhelming, especially the Baby Arugula. Our server was hesitant to even serve the balsamic – I kid you not, he said they had a provisioning issues, and the white balsamic they would normally serve was not available. If only they were close to Italy…… The Mesclun salad was oily and lacked any flavor. We would not get either again.
We shared the soft potato gnocchi which were soft pillows of joy, but the basil pesto in Prosecco wine sauce was mild and needed some pizazz; the extra grated Parmesan Reggiano help bring life to the dish, but was still lacking in overall flavor. The plating of the dish was pleasing to the eye, but fell short of the same dish served to us in 2019 due to the mellow sauce.
Emily’s seared jumbo scallops on a Pinot Grigio risotto were seared perfectly and the dish was overall flavorful, but the scallops were overcooked and chewy. She thinks perhaps they were sitting under a heat lamp too long. Underneath the scallops was a portion of perfectly cooked, lightly flavored risotto.
I was at a crossroads, it seems like I always order the Dover Sole – such an amazing dish. However, I was not sure what I wanted for an entrée this evening. I came really close to ordering one of the steaks since I do not ofter partake, but at the last minute I switched to the pan seared salmon. Similar to the scallops, the salmon had a wonderful sear and tasted great, but was also overcooked.
Coffee break. The Cappuccino and espresso in Palo are something special. Whoever is in the back pulling the shots could open a successful mom-and-pop café.
Amaretto Soufflé and vanilla sauce served with a scoop of espresso gelato. Looked great and baked nicely… Amaretto flavor was out to sea as it was 100% vanilla. Thankfully, the espresso gelato was excellent.
The star of the show, the warm orange almond cake! This was the highlight of the evening.
Some folks celebrate the month, some the week, some a few days. I’m the rare bird that can’t remember how old I am at times without asking Emily, or doing the math. Thankfully, there are wonderful people around to remind me when I circle the sun, and in this case it was Palo celebrating the milestone a few days after with a very merry unbirthday plate.
I am not sure about you, but all dinners should end with a nice digestif….
This was our first time back to Palo dinner since the introduction of fixed price and a-la-carte priced menu. Admittedly, expectations were higher thinking the change in pricing model would lead to a more refined experience. While the service and plating of the dishes was excellent, the food was just ok. We both agreed we should have let the Castaway Club discount go unused this cruise, and gone to Remy.
Tonight’s turndown service had a Father’s Day touch with themed chocolate coins.
Today was our final day of the cruise with a port stop, tomorrow we will be spending the day at sea as we make our way back to Civitavecchia. After 4 consecutive days exploring ports, the extra hour of sleep will be nice.