We chose a guided walking tour, taking us from the harbour, through the winding, maze-like paths of the pretty white houses of Little Venice to the famous windmills visible from the ship. After this, a short coach journey took us to a picturesque vineyard with an all-star cast of clucking chickens, fluffy rabbits, furry donkey and a very fat sausage dog, clearly expert at charming visitors. We tasted local red, white and dessert wines and fed much of the proffered selection of local meats and cheeses to the aforementioned dachsund.
The next day was spent wandering inside the medieval walls of the city of Rhodes, which has been colonized by just about everyone: Romans and Byzantines, Turks and Italians. After the honey hues of Rhodes, our final land excursion saw us drop anchor in the deep blue volcanic caldera of Santorini. From the yacht, the town, perched high on the mountaintop, resembles a tumble of sugar cubes. Access is via a cable car, or a questionable ride on a donkey, up to the town of Hira, and from there we travelled north to charming Oia, where the cobbled streets provide wonderful shopping opportunities, endless vistas of blue sea and those incredible Aegean blue domes.
Back on board, for the first time in the Captain’s 20-year history of sailing to the island, we were alone in the caldera. Without any other cruise ships around, we were able to swim – a heady experience knowing that we could have been swimming directly above the remains of cities and civilisations, lost long ago beneath the waves after the volcanic eruption.
Travelling solo can be challenging, but on SeaDream I I never felt alone unless I wanted to be. I made friends with three lovely ladies from Florida and we happily shared dinner and land excursions. In the piano bar one evening I got chatting to Karen and Bob, who have sailed more than 160 days with the cruise line. It’s the intimate atmosphere and attentive staff that keep them coming back and there’s rarely a trip where they don’t know at least a few other returning guests. SeaDream Yacht Club’s repeat customers often number more than 50 per cent of the passengers on any cruise, and I can see why.SeaDream I leaving Greece
As the yacht slipped into Athens, the crew gathered to say goodbye. After a week sailing on this little ship with the warmest atmosphere I have ever encountered at sea, I will look back on my journey with genuine affection. I’m still getting used to holding my own appletini.