Swan Hellenic Cruise Blog Day 2
This morning I was up and out of the cabin nice and early to catch breakfast in the Veranda before disembarking for my excursions to the ancient Roman town of Pompeii. Swan Hellenic include a large amount of excursions on every cruise. These are all pre-bookable and can be worth over £500 per person on a 15 day cruise.
The disembarkation of guests was smooth and took no longer than 5 minutes, guests are asked to disembark deck by deck which worked really well, and avoided lengthy queues and overcrowding at the gangway. When my deck was called for disembarkation I was off in a shot and boarded the coach. The coaches tend to leave on a ’when full basis’. This is much better, and again, avoids hanging around.
We pulled up right outside the main entrance to the ruins of Pompeii where our guide met us. The tour lasted approximately 2 hours and was packed with facts, our guide made sure we took in the best bits of the site. She was incredibly knowledgably and answered, in depth, any questions we had. The group was made up of about 15/20 guests.
After the tour I headed back to the coach and got transferred back to Minerva for lunch. This is served in the Veranda restaurant (self service) and the Swan Restaurant (table service). I opted for self-service, as time was limited.
After lunch I was back on the coach and on the way to Herculaneum, this is similar to Pompeii but on a much smaller scale. Again the guide was knowledgeable but I found her not as engaging as the guide we had in Pompeii.
On arrival back at the ship I quickly changed for dinner and managed to squeeze in a ’cocktail of the day’ with my group before dining in the elegant Swan Restaurant. This dining venue requires gentlemen to wear a jacket and tie in the evening, tables of all sizes are available and the maitre d will guide you to your seat. I found that the food onboard is generally very good. Being a British ship they do tend to stick to some classics like lamb shank, shepherds pie, steak and kidney pie, but also offer some delicious Mediterranean options and a few oriental dishes at times. Veggie options are always available, along with gluten free but they do not provide kosher meals.
After dinner my group and I headed up to the newly added Orpheus Lounge. This is located on one of the higher decks and is popular during the day as it is light and spacious with great panoramic views of whereever in the world you are. This evening a few other guests had decided to do the same as us and be up here for when we set sail. I was suprised not to see more guests up here but I suppose if they had done both excursions it had been quite a busy day. The sea was beautifully calm as we sailed away into the night. Fingers crossed for this to continue.