The Port of Patmos
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Patmos Island Greece

The cruise port of Patmos tends to be included as a port of call on a limited number of cruiseline itineraries that sail through the Greek Islands. Mega ships normally do not stop at this island which is a shame as it contains something for the history buff and beach lovers too.

The larger ships that do visit anchor in the bay and passengers are tendered into the port located in the town of Skala.

Most of the main attractions of Patmos are located 3 miles away in Chora. The village of Skala is an easy walk from the port. To reach Chora, there are public buses available which stop in Grikos and also Kambos.

There is a taxi rank outside of the port and this is the best way to travel on your own. Cruise ships do offer extensive tours to each or all of the main sites.

Patmos is perhaps best known for its religious heritage as, according to legend, this is where St. John wrote the famous book the Apocalypse. To this day, the book is shrouded in mystery and its contents are debated. Several major religious sites on the island attract thousands of pilgrimages each year.

Cave of Apocalypse

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Cave of Apocalypse is perhaps the most visited site in Patmos. Located roughly halfway between the Port and Patmos Town, this cave at one time served as the home of Saint John during his exile from the Roman emperor Domitia.

It was also where he wrote The Book of Apocalypse, otherwise known as Revelations. Today, the cave is protected by a sanctuary and travelling down its dark passageway is an enlightening experience.

The Cave of the Apocalypse

The Folklore Museum

The Folklore Museum is located at the Simantiri Family mansion and is very extensive. The mansion was constructed in in 1625 and still retains its elegance. It is still inhabited to this day and, although the museum is small, it has enough to keep you intrigued.

Some of the items on display include statues of Russian religious icons, oil paintings, early photographs and even family heirlooms hailing from Odessa. Most of the items date back from the 14th to the 19th century and shows how opulent the Dodecanese Islands were.

Ecclesiastical Museum

Located nearby the Monastery of Saint John visitors should include the Ecclesiastical Museum of Patmos as part of their Patmos experience. Witness treasures of wonders in this museum by sacred relics and the entirety of the monastery’s treasury.

Some of the treasures contained within include valuable manuscripts, authentic items used in Holy Mass, ancient and the 11th century icon of Saint Nicholas which has its hand outstretched as if to bless passers by. There is also an extensive archive section dedicated to Byzantine era documents.

Monastery of Saint John

The most notable feature on the island is the Monastery of Saint John, which is visible from virtually all sides and is located at the top of the hill above Chora. Dating back to 1088, this monastery is a beauty to behold, not only in its creative Byzantine designs but also the treasures that are inside.

The monastery boasts riches such as marble floors, elaborate wood carvings and rich decorations. Located next to the monastery is an ancient library with almost 10 thousand religious documents.

Monastery of St John Patmos

The Beaches

There are several beaches on the island, all fantastic for swimming. Kámpos is ideal for families because of its shallow water plus there are many special facilities for aquatic sports such as paddleboats and canoes to rent. Water skiing adventures can be arranged too.

Psili Ammos offers a quieter experience as it can only be reached by boat. The precious stones of Lámpi are worth collecting for a memento, whilst Maráthi boasts crystal clear waters and a lovely sandy beach.

Meloï offers decent snorkeling opportunities and the Greeks love their grilled fresh fish which you can sample some at any of the beach restaurants here.

The following cruise lines will visit Patmos during the summer/autumn seasons in 2015 and 2016.

Azamara, Celestyal, Holland America, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea, Star Clippers and The Yachts of Seabourn.

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Reflection and Remembrance on a Cruise Holiday
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normandy

During 2014, several cruise lines are offering sailings for the recollection and understanding of two of the most significant events that took place in the 20th century. The waterways and seas of Europe are flowing to commemorate 100 years since the start of World War I and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The following cruise lines have added commemorative sailings.

Azamara Club Cruises

The ‘Memories of WWII Voyage’ will last for eleven days, will be held on the ship Azamara Journey and is due to start on June 3rd. Beginning out of Lisbon and finishing in Hamburg, the Azamara Journey will take passengers to see some of the most moving and historic parts of the war such as Cherbourg to see the D-Day Landing Beaches.

Amsterdam is also on the agenda and there is a ‘The North of France WWII’ experience tour offered, that takes visitors through graveyards and museums as well as the landing beaches. In the evening, there will be a D-Day Party complete with fine suits and big band music.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines

UK based cruise line Fred. Olsen are honouring the 70th anniversary of D-Day as well. They plan on focusing on the sacrifices made during the war effort. The Braemar is the ship assigned for this once in a lifetime sailing and commences on June 1st. ‘The New Squadronaires’ with their ‘Big Band’ sound and considered the “RAF Number One Dance Band” are the headliners for this sailing. Tony Harris, Official Ambassador for the Help for Heroes charity will also be onboard.

Saling from Harwich, passengers will visit sights such as the Tyne Cot Cemetery and the D-Day Museum. While in Le Havre overnight, passengers get the opportunity to view the Allied Landing Areas the next day, June 6th which is designated as the ‘Day of Remembrance’.

The last port of call is Dunkirk where passengers will visit the Battle of Dunkirk Museum as well as the Town Cemetery which honours those Commonwealth soldiers fallen in both WWI and WWII. There is also a memorial set up to pay homage to the British Expeditionary Force. During the period of 1939 to 1940, there were 4500 casualties here who were left with unmarked graves.

Silversea

The ten day cruise aboard the Silvercloud offered by Silversea in partnership with The National WWII Museum, who have arranged tours to Normandy for years. The ship cruises from Lisbon to Hamburg and begins on May 30th with some of the top historians on-board including Lord David Montgomery, Dr. Donald L. Miller and Rick Atkinson, amongst others.

They will be offering lectures and Q&As. The ship will spend five nights going through the Caen Canal where it will visit the landing bases as well as the Abbey de Caen, the Airborne Museum and Hill 314 where firsthand accounts of D-Day will be told by local citizens and veterans alike. A series of ceremonies honouring the anniversary will be held in the American Cemetery and late night receptions can be found in the Utah Beach Museum and the Memorial de Caen.

Swan Hellenic

Swan Hellenic’s cruise ship, the ‘Minerva’, will mark the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day landings and the centennial of World War I with a 13-day expedition. Departing from Portsmouth, the Minerva will sail to Dunkirk and Ypres, France to Flanders Fields.

A special 70th Anniversary service of remembrance will be held on the sixth of June on board and in full view of the beaches of Normandy. The Swan Hellenic cruise line has always been known for its lecture series and this ‘Reflections of France’ sailing will have several historians sailing with the guests.

A cruise holiday will provide a tranquil way to reflect on the history during this period. Many passengers may have a personal tie to these events in which they have lost a family member and can now get a chance to pay respect to those lost in either war. For history buffs, they can gain a deeper understanding of what transpired during these volatile times.

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A Review of Azamara Club Cruises
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When seeking a luxurious cruise without a lot of formality and one that still has the ability to remain casual, Azamara cruises have the answer. Read the review below.

This line has become famous for offering excellent service whilst still not having that large influx of crowds. Azamara has also become the latest to introduce innovative services that make a cruise holiday comfortable and memorable.

Azamara Cruises – The Beginning

Azamara Club Cruises was the brainstorm of Royal Caribbean Cruises, their parent company. RCCL believed that they had an opportunity on their hands to create a more upscale experience than what was being offered elsewhere and did so with much success.

Azamara Quest

The ships were originally purchased for their Celebrity Cruise Line division in 2007. The two ships in their fleet, the Journey and Quest, have a low passenger count and there will never be any more than 694 onboard. The ships contain inside, ocean view and suite cabins. Of the ocean view accommodations, 75% have verandas.

Destinations

An Azamara cruise places the emphasis on destinations with many having overnights in port to experience the destination at night. Azamara offers knock out destinations that are truly extraordinary and consist of the Mediterranean including the Greek islands, the Black Sea, the Panama Canal, the Caribbean, Mexico, the Amazon, Asia, Northern and Western Europe. The Azamara Journey even dares to venture to the bottom of the Earth in Antarctica.

greek islands santorini

Dining

There are a series of restaurants to pick and choose from with the dining venues following an open seating policy. The main dining venue, Discoveries, serves a wide variety of foods with an extensive wine list of nearly 8000+ bottles on-hand. The Windows Café is a buffet that offers everything from pastries to sushi and the Mosaic Café, a relaxing place with plenty of coffee and pastries to enjoy.

There are two specialty restaurants Aqualina, a Mediterranean inspired seafood restaurant and Prime C, a traditional steakhouse. They do levy a fee to dine but this is complimentary to any passengers who have booked a suite. Room service is available 24-hours a day and dining on a private balcony makes for a nice change.

prime c restaurant

Dress code in the evening is called “casual elegance”, while day wear is resort style. There are no set formal nights, however, a jacket for men and after 5 dress for women for meals taken in the alternative dining venues is commonplace, although not mandatory.

Spa and Wellbeing

The ships of Azamara Club Cruises also serve up a great spa menu that is sure to leave a passenger refreshed and pampered. Services in the Astral spa include a relaxing thalassotherapy bath, a series of massages including hot stone therapy, deep tissue massage and Swedish massages amongst others, seaweed wraps, body sculpting and much more. There is also a fitness centre that offers in-depth and personal workouts as well as a salon that offers hair, pedicures and manicures services.

azamara astral spa

Entertainment

There is also top class entertainment on board the ships. The Looking Glass Lounge has a wide variety of DJ’s that are sure to get you grooving and music can also be found in the Cabaret Lounge which features live artists and amazing shows. Other entertainment possibilities include the Casino Luxe, which features casino classics of slot machines, poker and roulette wheels.

Azamara’s newest signature feature named ‘AzAmazing Evenings’ is offered on every voyage. It is a complimentary adventure ashore to see some of the port of calls sights in a new perspective and to finalise the adventure with cocktails and live entertainment back on-board.

azamazing evenings

Both ships contain self service laundry and complimentary shuttles are available in most port of calls. Suite passengers do get their own private butlers and for all passengers, beverages are complimentary including house wines, spirits, beer and soft drinks amongst others.

The excellent skills in dining and hospitality of this cruiseline have not gone unnoticed for their efforts in the industry. Consider Azamara for your next cruise holiday. There will be plenty of adventures and enjoyment ahead.

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