Saturday, November 9, 2013

Celebrity Equinox Mediterranean cruise: Mykonos and Ephesus

By Jane Feehan
Check labels for additional Celebrity posts on this blog.

Two days back to back, two ports, two countries ...

We stopped at the Greek island of Mykonos where it was warm for November - about 75 degrees. This port caters to tourists so there's plenty of shopping. Friendly "Aegean" cats abound. The island is small so there is no need for a paid excursion. We passed up the stores in favor of a leisurely stroll to the end of the island where there are picturesque windmills used to grind wheat. Mykonos is quite windy throughout the year. We decided to lunch back on the ship. This island, though beautiful, does not appear very clean. 

We docked at Kusadasi, Turkey the next day where we took an excursion to Ephesus,  an important port
Library at Ephesus
city of about 200,000 residents  from 300 BC until about 700 AD. River silt has since eliminated water access but what a booming place this once was. 

Apostles Paul and John visited Ephesus to preach about their new religion (letters of St. Paul to the Ephesians). Some Christians believe the Virgin Mary lived out her days in this ancient city. A shrine on a mountain top marks that site. We took an excursion (about $94 each) to that shrine and to the marvelous ruins. The hoards of tourists arriving on buses at the shrine diminished prospects of a religious experience. The ruins were far more interesting with what was once the third largest library in the world. Only 15 percent of the city's ruins have been excavated (money issues, Turkey is a poor country).

We lunched at the Pine Bay resort, a Double Tree property. They presented a fantastic buffet with local dishes galore. The trip ended at a Turkish carpet retailer where they tried their best (but failed), to make a few big sales. It was a bit of a turnoff.

Cruise tips and info:

Celebrity does a great job organizing disembarkation and embarkation at their port stops; there is very little waiting. The best dollar value is in Kusadasi and Ephesus, so shopping is worth the time. Beware of the hard sell here. Turkey may be going on the Euro and our tour guide told us residents hope it does not come to pass. The Celebrity crew does their shopping in Kusadasi so they also hope the Euro does not come to pass.

Don't fear a virus outbreak on the Celebrity. Attendants stand at dining room entrances with bottles of disinfectant. They also greet us at the gangway with hand wash when we return from shore. The ship's stores stop business transactions every 30 minutes to wipe down counters and cash registers. Bartenders use tongs for fruit and anything else they add to drinks.  Impressive.Check labels for additional Celebrity posts on this blog.

Tags: Celebrity Equinox Mediterranean cruise, Ephesus, Kusadasi, 

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