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2020 Reunion Cruise: Exploring Greece & Turkey

When I think ahead to our Reunion Cruise to Greece and Turkey next year, the image that first comes to mind is the sun shining on the water with a backdrop of the brilliant blues and whitewashed villages of Greece. It’s a striking vista with such dramatic colors and light that it gave us the beautiful new color palette for the re-inspired Martinis on our Regatta-Class ships. I can’t wait to get back to this inspired corner of the world with so many of you next June to enjoy all of its cultural – and culinary – treasures.

Eat Like a Greek
In all my years of traveling, I have to say that Greece continually pulls me back with the delicious food and friendly, genuine people. In Mykonos, the dishes are always delectable and fresh – whether it’s fish just pulled from the sea or a rustic dish accented with vegetables from the local farm. I tend to go for something simple like chicken breast stuffed with sundried tomatoes or sea bass with preserved lemon. I love the grilled octopus and calamari with a nice Greek salad and a bottle of local white wine at this family-owned spot in Mykonos called Caesar’s. It’s in a cozy little square and the sea breeze is usually just right for a leisurely al fresco lunch.

In Athens, I always gather up a group of good friends and head to Psaras and we make a meal out of all the small mezzes – meatballs, calamari, saganaki and my favorite, the crispy battered zucchini. I also have a penchant for tzatziki and basically put it on everything that’s not a dessert. What I love about Greek food is that it’s not overly complicated, it’s simple and fresh done well. Meals in Greece are also just as much about the company you share it with…so many of my favorite memories in the Greek Isles are gathered around a table with friends in a local restaurant or taverna enjoying that warm Greek hospitality that you experience everywhere you go.

Turkish Treasures
This already compelling itinerary is crowned with two coveted calls on Turkey – Ephesus and Istanbul. Ephesus is such an iconic and important ancient city. The key to really understanding this classical metropolis is to go on a tour with a great guide. We’ve carefully vetted all of our guides, and on one of our tour options here, “Discover Ephesus with an Expert,” you can even explore Ephesus accompanied by an archeologist. Our onboard lectures are also a great primer for experiencing this archeological wonder more deeply.

In Istanbul, the one thing I always make a special effort to do – and am never disappointed – is a visit to the Ottoman-era Spice Bazaar. The stalls full of fragrant spices and dried fruits and herbs pleasantly overwhelm your senses with all of the colors and scents. I’ve found some great culinary souvenirs and gifts there over the years. I’ve brought back exotic spices, including some I had never heard of before such as sumac, which is a dark purplish-red powder that’s harvested from the fruit of the sumac bush and has this really nice tangy and bright lemony flavor. Most recently, I left with deliciously sweet dried apricots and freshly roasted pistachios. Beyond the spice market, Istanbul is a city you can’t go wrong in exploring – whether you’ve been there a dozen times or it’s your first visit, there’s so much living history and fascinating culture around every corner.

I hope to see you aboard Riviera next June for our Reunion Cruise – I know it’s going to be an unforgettable voyage!

Timeless Creations | 10 Days
Riviera | June 19, 2020 | Athens to Venice

Hosted by President & CEO Bob Binder and Oceania Club Senior Manager Neli Arias