Celestyal Olympia Cruise: Visiting Patmos cave where St. John wrote Book of Revelation

The dreaded Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The terrifying Beast with Seven Heads. The scary opening of the Seven Seals. The Final Judgement with its brimstone vision of hell. How could all these horrific things detailed in the Book of Revelation have been written in such a beautiful place? Although our Celestyal Olympia cruise ship stopped for less than six hours on the island of Patmos, I was eager to visit the cave where St. John the …

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Celestyal Olympia Cruise: Ruins of ancient Ephesus filled with historic treasures

The statue of a large ball with a foot atop it might not seem unusual. But it certainly is. Touring ancient Ephesus, we came across remnants of a statue honoring Emperior Trajan who ruled the Roman Empire in the 2nd century. “You see that his right foot is on the ball, the globe. That means he ruled the world,” said tour guide Nevin. It also means that those ancient Ephesus folks knew the world was round long …

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Celestyal Olympia Cruise: Mesmerizing Mykonos a major mecca for travelers

Very busy day. Checked out of InterContinental Hotel in Athens. Took shuttle ride to Piraeus. Boarded Celestyal Olympia. Met ship captain Stathis Romeos. Did mandatory safety drill aboard ship. Ate lunch at ship’s Aegean Restaurant (yummy!). Arrived at Mykonos Island about 6 p.m. Whew! No way was I going to miss Mykonos. Mesmerizing Mykonos is definitely one of the most popular and most-visited Greek isles. The first cruise ship docked here in the 1920s.  But jet setters …

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Celestyal Olympia Cruise: Arriving in Athens for night before cruise

If I could give one piece of advice to fellow cruisers, it would be to arrive in your cruise departure city at least a day ahead of the cruise. As Geoffrey Chaucer said, “Time and tide wait for no man.” Or woman. Flights can be delayed or cancelled so it is best not to plan to arrive the day of a cruise, especially when it is an international flight to board a cruise ship. I’ve been on …

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Celestyal Olympia Cruise: Heading to Greece for ‘Iconic Aegean’ cruise

When I was in grade school, my favorite class was Greek & Roman mythology. I eagerly awaited hearing the teacher share stories about those ancient gods and goddesses. Athena – the goddess of wisdom – was my favorite. Her tale was enthralling. The daughter of Zeus, Athena didn’t have a mother. Instead, she sprang full grown and clad in armor from the forehand of Zeus. Naturally, the Greek city named after Athena was a place I always …

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Celestyal Crystal Cuba Cruise: Discovering Love Garden at Hotel Nacional de Cuba

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – I was the only person in the Love Garden. It is a bit out of the way at the famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana. Seemed like most people were walking through the hotel’s historic halls or heading down to enjoy the beautiful view of the sea. In truth, I discovered the garden because I was looking for a public restroom. Stepping around the corner, I saw the Love Garden sign …

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Celestyal Crystal Cuba Cruise: Skimpy costumes, beautiful showgirls & guys at Tropicana cabaret show

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – I don’t know where they sat. Probably not where I did. But such rich and famous folks as Jack Nicholson, Marlon Brando, Rita Hayworth, JFK, Ernest Hemingway and Lucky Luciano once attended the famous Tropicana show in Havana. Now I have, too, on a late-night excursion from my Celestyal Crystal cruise. The optional four-hour activity cost $149 for adults. Children under 18 not allowed. That price includes a glass of sparkling wine, …

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Celestyal Crystal Cuba Cruise: 1950s American cars still cruising in Cuba

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – Eisenhower was president. The New York Yankees won their fifth world series in a row. Frank Sinatra was drawing movie goers with his film “From Here to Eternity.” A 26-year-old Fidel Castro launched his failed attempt to overthrow Cuban dictator Batista on July 26. The first Corvette went on sale. And the pink Chevy that I’m settling into for a ride through Havana first took to the streets. The year was 1953. …

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Celestyal Crystal Cuba Cruise: Statue honors ‘crazy’ man

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – Cuba is a country of statues and monuments, many of them dedicated to heroes of the revolution. But one unusual bronze figure in Havana is the only one in the world I have seen for a certifiably crazy person. On a walking tour of Havana, we stopped in front of a church. However, what caught my attention was a statue outside the church of a man whose beard, left index finger and …

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Celestyal Crystal Cruise: Learning about Cuban flag, anthem and coat of arms

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – Walk by a Cuban school on an early weekday morning and you’ll probably hear the Cuban National Anthem being sung by the students, including an additional “dun tada dun” at the end. “That’s just how we end the song,” Dr. Jorge Arocha said, giving a demonstration. “I can’t sing,” he said with a laugh. “But I’ll try to show you how it goes.” A highlight of my People to People cruise has …

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