Last Cruise ∼ Turkey

Blog1blog5

Blog3blog7blog4blog6

After the stunning Santorini our next port of call on The Thompson Spirit was Marmaris in Turkey.  I hadn’t been there before and I must admit that my expectations were not that high. I had imagined a pleasant enough seaside resort, filled with budget bars, and shops in which you were hassled to buy stuff you had merely taken a passing glance at (my experience of Turkey years ago when every second shop sold handbags and if you dared to venture into a shop you would be lucky to get back out without buying anything).But I was in fact, very surprised at what I found.

The resort itself is gorgeous. There is a cosmopolitan feel to the place, with upmarket shops restaurants and very nice bars with clean toilets (another of my personal gripes from previous years). The area of the Datça Peninsula has a distinct lakes and mountain feel to it, which I had not expected, and it was really beautiful!

The town was quite vibrant, even for this early in the season, and had we had more time we would have visited the recently restored castle of Suleyman the Magnificent, which was only short bus ride away. I was on a bit of a shopping mission as the textiles in Turkey are amazing and the prices unbelievably low, and I bought a wonderful silk scarf a and cashmere pashmina; both of which are lovely.

Turkey is only a short flight away from us in Cyprus, so yes, I would definitely visit Marmaris or our second Turkish port, Alanya, which was also a very attractive seaside resort, with one of those cute miniature trains that transport you around areas of interest in the resort(for two euros amazingly!)

I would definitely recommend a boat trip from Alanya; ours cost only ten euros and for just over an hour on a very smart boat and it was wonderful experience in the sunshine, viewing the smugglers caves and a special “love cave” (heavens you would have to be desperate!) set deep into the cliff face, which a local young boy climbed up to, doing an extremely high dive back into the sea: to the delight of the tourists on board various sized boats, many of whom were having on board barbeques and having fun dancing.

It’s really sad that the Thompson Spirit will no longer be docking in Limassol, Cyprus, after the end of this season. The companies docking rites are due to expire. There have been rumours that the ship will dock at my own nearby town of Larnaca; but that was more of a case of wishful thinking on our part, unfortunately…∼∼∼

The last cruise from Limassol

P1000779
Haifer
P1000793
Haifer

P1000805

P1000810
Santorini

P1000841
Santorini

P1000834P1000827P1000904

Come this time of year the population of my Cypriot village, Oroklini, tends to diminish due to the Thompson cruise liner which lands for a day in the nearby port of Limassol. With no flights to buy, no weight restrictions on luggage (hurray!) and a mere 40 minute drive from the village this cruise is a definite favourite with many friends and village residents – some of whom manage to get really good last minute deals!

Me and my family climbed aboard for many years as the cruise fitted in with my daughters school holidays and it had great kids and teenager clubs, which seem to work brilliantly until your child decides they are far too cool for such organised activities…

The itinerary changes slightly from year to year, often depending on what is considered safe at the time. This year Egypt is off the menu, although we have had some really amazing trips out there the past. Israel is always interesting and this time we stopped at Haifer, before visiting the gorgeous Greek island of Santorini.

I had been to Mykonos many times before, but Santorini proved to be a real treat with its stunning cliff top views, sensational white washed stone buildings and cobbled alleyways of enticing little shops containing art, bronze sculpture and traditional handicrafts. We were lucky in having a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the views were amazing and we had lunch in a lovely little place with excellent Greek food and wine.

There was more fun to come, but this was certainly the highlight of the cruise for me!