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Monday, 27 April 2015

Black Sea Empires on Swan Hellenic Minerva - Just arrived!

Well - where did we start? At home of course. We drove from home to the Mercure Hotel near Heathrow a couple of nights ago, (Sunday). A nice hotel, and we were able to leave our car parked in the hotel car park for the two weeks we will be away. Monday morning we were up and out at 8.45, ready for the 9.15 Hoppa Bus to take us to Terminal 2.

Our Aegean flight was scheduled for boarding at 12.15, but due to the normal queuing process that goes on at Heathrow, we didn't take off until 1pm. Then it was a relatively uneventful flight to Athens landing at 6.15 pm Greek time (2 hours ahead of England). At Athens we were met by Swan Hellenic reps who organised our bags and put us on a bus. By 7.30 we were on the Minerva. 

So........... First impressions?

It's a very nice ship. Small but perfectly formed. Well...... not quite, I still prefer decks that go all the way around the ship, and I'm not entirely sure about the multitude of carpet pattens, but to be honest, there's not a lot to fault. There is more than enough lounge space for the relatively small number of passengers, the staff are very attentive and again, there are more than enough of them to look after us. We were very pleased with the cabin. It doesn't seem much bigger than any we've had in the past, but it is much better fitted out, and the bathroom has obviously been refurbished in the past few years.
Our Cabin on Minerva
The meal on the first night was very good. The Veranda Restaurant has a buffet service, but it is very definitely a restaurant, with tablecloths, wine glasses - the works. All in all, a little more upmarket than anything we've been on before, and for those of you who are interested, here are the pictures.
The Veranda Restaurant
The Library

The Shackleton Bar.  A very pleasant atmosphere
The Swan Restaurant
The rear deck.  We found it very pleasant and not to windy to eat here on our first evening in Piraeus.  
Looking down on the rear deck from above.  
Last but not least, the Orpheous Lounge, Peter will be holding his classes here.  It looks a really nice space. 
Yep.  So far so good.  We really like this ship.

Tomorrow the ship stays in Piraeus until 1pm.  Most of the passengers will take a tour to Athens.  We've decided to be lazy and take it easy on board, with maybe a short walk from the port just to have a quick look at Piraeus.  And then it will be onward to the Black Sea.  I am really going to enjoy this cruise. 

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