18 Aug 2021 | Vash Patel – Travel Expert
Trip details – 7-nights fly-cruise from Limassol, aboard Jewel of the Seas
Day 1 – Off To A Flying Start
It had been well over a year since we had been out of the country, so fair to say I was a little nervous. Our Greek Islands cruise was roundtrip from Limassol, Cyprus, so we needed to fly out to Larnaca.
Manchester Airport was relatively quiet, and we arrived 3 hours prior to departure to ensure we had time to go through all the checks – it was ample time.
Upon check-in proof of your COVID-19 Vaccine was required and the Cyprus Pass. (Paper versions or digital).
The flight was a third empty and aisle seats were left vacant on purpose. (I guess this was so staff could maintain a little distancing as they move through the aisles.)
Everyone was wearing a mask.
On arrival in Larnaca we were met by the Royal Caribbean rep and guided to our coach. We all sat socially distanced.
After an hour’s drive, we arrived at Limassol Port, where the coaches disembarked one at a time.
We had to produce our pre-booked (through Royal Caribbean) Covid test QR code at check in via email (on smart device) or printed copy. I should add that you could actually register for this on arrival if you didn’t do it prior to arrival.
A sticker with your name, barcode, swab and number were given. Fully protected medics took a nasal swab and we patiently waited for our results to display on the screen to proceed. After a short 20-minute wait, we breathed a sigh of relief that we were clear to go!
We got on board and headed straight to our cabin as the keys were already on the door. Wrapped masks and antibacterial gel were ready and waiting. There were only 420 passengers on board, compared to over 2000.
A mask had to be always worn except at dining and by the pool area.
As there were limited guests, anytime dining was available to all, as well as set dining for the evenings. The buffet was available for breakfast and lunch, but waiters served you the food at each station.
Three specialty restaurants were available at a supplement.
You could also purchase a drinks package (if you hadn’t already done so). Alternatively, you could just add drinks to your bill throughout he cruise – a soft drink was around $4 and a glass of wine $12.
The theatre only allows vaccinated guests in the main seating area and all unvaccinated guests had to sit on the upper levels (mainly families as it was unlikely under 18’s had received the vaccine)
Day 2 – Athens (Piraeus)
Excursions were available to be booked on board or you could venture out yourself.
In Athens we booked a tour, however in 38 degrees we couldn’t wait to get back!
You had to always carry photo ID and proof of vaccination with you.
Day 3 – Mykonos
Access to Mykonos was via tender.
The New Port was near shops, bars, the famous windmills and near a small local beach.
Temperature checks were made as you got off the tender.
Day 4 – Santorini
We disembarked our tender in Santorini and weighed up our options for how to reach the heady heights of Fira… a cable car ride, climb a lot of steps or a donkey ride. We took the easy way – the 3-minute cable car for €6.
Here we decided to head straight for Oia… the home of the famous blue domes. A taxi
was €25, or a bus would be €3. In Oia we just relaxed, enjoyed a drink, and took dozens of photos of the beautiful views. There were not many taxis, so we braved the bus back to Fira and soaked up the incredible scenery along the way. We didn’t spend much time back in Fira, as once you’ve visited Oia it somehow doesn’t look quite as picturesque.
Day 5 – Chania, Crete
At Chania port a shuttle bus was ready to take us to the city centre … a 30-minute
drive costing just €3.40.
Here we spent time browsing the shops along the cobbled streets and walked towards the Venetian Harbour which was about 15- to 20-minute walk. If you fancy a swim there’s a beach here; or you could check out the local sea life by catching a glass-bottomed boat for €10.
Here we finally got a taste of the famous Gyros! 😋
Back on the ship and it was time to take the PCR test (required for our return to the UK).
One nasal swab later, and we were happy to say our test was negative. The results were available within an hour and emailed to us. A hard copy is also delivered to the cabin.
Day 6 – Rhodes
Our final port of call was Rhodes, where we docked at the Old Port, which is beautifully surrounded by the old town walls. A 20-minute walk took us to a nearby beach, where we spent the majority of the day relaxing. Rhodes Town wasn’t as crowded as we’d expected for August, but then that’s the knock-on effect of the pandemic I guess. This was also evident in the enthusiasm of all the local attractions and vendors, who were eager to get our business. We finished off our cruise sightseeing very nicely with a speedboat tour around the Old Town.
Day 7 – At sea
We sailed back to Limassol overnight, and relaxed onboard.
Day 8 – The Return Journey
Disembarkation times were allocated and we were required to remain in our cabins until called. Once back ashore in Limassol, we were offered a complimentary tour of the city prior to our late afternoon flight, however most of us were happy to have a drink and make the most of the sunshine.
Before arriving at the airport, we had to have filled out the passenger locator form with
the day 2 test details, vaccination records and negative PCR test results that was taken 72 hours before departure. This was all reviewed when we checked in for the flight.
Overall this was a well organised holiday, with the reassurance that Royal Caribbean were there for us every step of the way.
The Antigen test on arrival before embarking and the PCR test 72 hours before departing were all included. The conference room on board has been transformed into a testing centre not only for guests but for all staff as well so there’s always help on board should you need it!
The staff on this cruise couldn’t wait to serve you. Nothing was too much for them, and they were all just happy to be back doing their daily jobs after nearly a year and a half off! Unfortunately, due to the tight protocols staff are not allowed to leave the ship at any port, so they were delighted to be able to have a chat at any time.
There’s still time to book a Greek Isles cruise holiday for Summer 2021! Call us on 0800 810 8481 or send us your details: