Friday, 18 October 2013
LOUIS AURA (ex-ORIENT QUEEN) Part 5
Wednesday 18th September 2013
We were on the Bridge early this morning ready for arrival in Rhodes.
It was another hot day and there was time for deck breakfast before we set off for the Port Gate for 8.30 a.m. We are booked on a Land Rover Safari Tour for the day, which sounded good fun. Their website promised an exciting itinerary and that is what it proved to be. Our driver collected 4 more people locally and we headed south to Cape Prasonisi first, where the Aegean meets the Mediterranean. It was amazing to see the landscape and the windsurfers enjoying their sport – a lovely place for a coffee break and walk.
Next it was back in the Land Rover to head up the south western coastline, which included many miles of off-road driving – an uncomfortable ride at such a speed, but the end result was Margaritaville. This was a unique castaway style of bar set amongst 26 miles of deserted beach. We could relax, beach-comb, write the date in the sand and enjoy a wonderful beach picnic under the shade of the beach hut.
Then it was on to the village of Siana, to sample the locally made honey. We could also try the local ‘firewater’ called Suma, which proved memorable!
After another dirt-track and road journey we were glad to arrive in the Embona wine region, to visit a distillery, which again proved fascinating. The samples were generous and ensured many sales in the family-owned winery.
Then it was down to sea level and around the Rhodes island coastline back to our port, after the exciting day that had been promised.
On the walk back to the ship from the port gate I could see a familiar sight: ORIENT QUEEN II. She was previously the VISTAMAR, which I sailed on in 2011 from Bergen south to Cuxhaven, and really enjoyed, so I walked across the quayside for another look. I was able to go to Reception and have a chat with someone there, who had previously worked on LOUIS AURA ex-ORIENT QUEEN, but I was not allowed to go and visit the Music Salon again for security reasons of course. I was given a couple of brochures for Abou Merhi Cruises, as Mr Merhi now owns this second ORIENT QUEEN; he had chartered and then sold our ORIENT QUEEN to Louis Cruises, but apparently liked the name and used it again on the VISTAMAR after he acquired that.
Back on board we could watch LOUIS OLYMPIA sail, and then go and prepare for Gala Night on board our LOUIS AURA.
Wearing our Gala Night attire on the Bridge seemed a bit unusual but the Captain was doing the same, ready for his Captain’s Cocktail party. We left Rhodes and enjoyed the departure, then went below to prepare for the evening ahead.
We queued with many other passengers for the ‘Meet the Captain for a photo’ and then continued into the Stars Show Lounge for the Captain’s official Introduction to his senior Officers and Department Heads.
This was followed by another wonderful dinner in the Mermaid Restaurant with numerous courses of delicious Greek food.
Ships seen: Blue Horizon, Orient Queen II, Marmaris Express (with the 2-minute Pilot), Panagia Skiadeni of Dodekanisos Seaways
To be continued....