We awake to grey skies and rain in Piraeus. Not what we had expected. The captains announcement the evening before had said clear skies and 75 degrees. Anyway we showered and headed to the Oceanview cafe for breakfast. Reflection is docked at the far end of the passenger port. Piraeus seems to be divided into two ports. One for passenger vessels such as ferrys, jetcats, hydrofoils and cruise liners and then the cargo/tanker port in the distance. Whilst eating breakfast we spot a large plume of black smoke rise up in the distance in the vicinity of the cargo port. We see little fire boats race out and start dousing it with water. It is too far to make out exactly what ‘it’ is but the smoke soon subsides.
Reflection is docked much further out than we had anticipated. Our plan was to walk to the metro station and catch this to the centre of Athens and explore the old Plaka district as we had a few years previously. Distance from ship to station was 2.2 miles. We hear an announcement that the hoho reps are on board if we wanted to purchase bus tickets that would take us into the centre and so we opt to do that. We wait in the foyer before heading out to join the open top bus. The clouds have cleared and replaced with blue skies just as the captain has said. The bus is busy but we get two seats upstairs. The journey into Athens is a blustery affair as the bus hurtles down one of the main highways, the driver seemingly unaware that his vehicle is open topped. Refreshed we arrive at the Parthenon mid morning.
Having visited the ancient site on a previous visit we hop another another bus that takes s toward the Plaka district. We alight near the Temple of Zeus where we take some snaps before heading into the Plaka proper. Athens has some significant historical and architectural gems but those aside it’s not the prettiest of cities. The Plaka is a quaint area in the midst of the sprawling metropolis. There are streets filled with shops and tavernas and you forget you are in the midst of the capital. After some shopping and coffee we decide to lunch. Byzantine is the taverna of choice (another tripadvisor recommendation). This time we opt for lamb and chicken kebabs instead of Greek salad but when the waiter asks if we want that too we say yes.
After lunch we walk back to the bus stop skirting around the Acropolis perched high above us. There are lots of artists selling their creations as well as the obligatory selfie stick sellers. The area around the bus pick up point is crowded with tourists. We find a shaded spot beneath some olive trees and wait patiently. Once boarded we whizz through the Athenian streets towards the port.
Back onboard we can’t resist have a look at the future cruise options as you can often get some good deals. None are to be had for the period were are looking at…2019 and so will look again when we are on Eclipse later in the year. We do get an offer of 10% of excursions for that trip and there are a couple in Boston that take our fancy as well as Bermuda.
At 5.30 we are invited to join a select few fellow guests for sail away on the helipad at the very front of the ship. This area is normally out of bounds for guests so it’s a nice opportunity to view the ship from a different perspective and meet some off the officers and staff. We are greeted with champagne. Some dark clouds have rolled in and we can feel a few specks of rain and fear the worst but it moves off quickly and the sunshine returns. Reflection sounds her horns and she manoeuvres out of the very busy port of Piraeus and initially heads south before she will follow the coastline around the Peloponnese.
Early evening cocktails in the Martini Bar we then move up to the Sunset Bar where we witness a lovely sunset. Dinner is in Opus again and it’s much nicer than the previous evening. We are sat close to another couple who don’t seem to speak English and don’t engage with us at all until the end of the meal when they ask if we would take a photo of them. We learn they are Peruvian and on honeymoon and actually speak quite good English.
We attempt to attend a Motown Party at the pool on deck 14. Some people are bravely trying to dance but it’s far too windy to enjoy so we head into the Sky Bar where they are playing soul/Motown tunes. It’s well attended and people are dancing and enjoying themselves. We are content to sit and watch. We finish the evening with a couple on Baileys down in the Passport Bar. Tell a lie we finish in the Oceanview cafe with some pizza justifying this by saying we won’t be able to do it when back home.