On the last leg of our journey, we went from Kusadasi, Turkey to Civitaecchia, Italy, via Souda, Crete - and we even had another full day at sea between Souda and Civitaecchia. The actual destination for the passengers on the island of Crete was Chania, roughly 6 kilometers (3,7 miles) outside of Souda. But the port in Chania is not big enough to accommodate the Navigator of the Seas, so it had to dock in Souda.
In Souda/Chania, Anniken and I decided to do nothing. Partly because she’d been to Chania before and didn’t think too much of it, and partly because laying on deck, sipping drinks and reading our books sounded like an awesome idea. It was hot has hell, but there was a breeze coming in from the sea that cooled us. I finished reading Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game", which I must say is one of the finest novels I’ve ever read, regardless of the genre. Having finished Ender’s Game, I realized I’d brought too few books with me and had a look in the Navigator’s library for an intellectual refill. Yes, it had a library, perhaps not the best stocked one, but it had a fair selection of books. I settled for Tom Clancy’s “Dead or Alive", which turned out to be fairly entertaining but the novel fell through after a while and I doubt that I’ll buy the book to finish it.
In terms of the cruise, there’s not much more to tell, because very little happened on the last leg. We simply relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. My personal highlight was the emergency evacuation drill the crew did in Souda, complete with lowering of the life boats, which they rode around in the bay for about half an hour before hoisting them back up again. It’s reassuring that the crew actually does this from time to time, even though it’s very unlikely the captain ever has to give the order to abandon ship. But it’s not impossible that it might happen, just ask the passengers of the Costa Concordia. Anniken’s highlight of the last few days was probably the impressive Mediterranean sunset we saw on the last evening of the Navigator’s journey back to its final port of call in Italy. It was so fast that if you blinked, you’d miss it.
Would I recommend cruising? Hell, yeah. Is it for everyone? I’d be frank enough to say that it is. The passengers of the Navigator of the Seas were made up of a perfect average of the population of most industrialized nations. Young, ridiculously old, intelligent, amazingly stupid, polite and embarrassingly rude. The only telltale that revealed that the Navigator of the Seas was in fact not a small country was that people of 70+ different nationalities were able to live together without trying to kill each other. But I guess that’s what happens when you give people enough food and booze and make sure they are thoroughly occupied with activities not to be sidetracked with questions of ethnic, political and religious differences.
All in all, the cruise was a great experience, and if you consider going on one yourself, I wholeheartedly recommend cruising with Royal Caribbean International and their MS Navigator of the Seas.