For its size, Monemvasia is blessed with more than its fair share of churches: beautiful 12th century Agia Sofia stands out amongst the ruins of the Upper Town, where breathtaking views reward those more nimble of foot than me. Instead I find myself lingering in the graceful Church of Christ in Chains (Christos Elkomenos), a Byzantine gem down in the town square containing wonderfully ornate chandeliers and a superb icon of the Crucifixition – as a lover of icons it has me spellbound.
Back on board and the magic continues with our sail away, when the unexpected strains of Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World fill the air. Rarely has familiarising myself with a ship been such a pleasurable process, but I am now playing house in my stateroom and don’t want to leave. It’s stylish and sumptuous, yet still manages to be cosy, and the library contains an impressive number of current films to enjoy on DVD (there is a proper cinema too if you prefer the full Pearl & Dean experience). As most food and drink on board is inclusive, I sit surveying the plump jumbo prawns and half lobster that have just arrived, wondering how on earth I’ll manage dinner if these are just the canapés.
Our next port of call is Katakolon, a busy Greek seaside town overlooking the Ionian Sea, most notable for its accessibility to ancient Olympia and the original Olympic Games stadium. Inspired, I decide to get in shape (I did manage dinner).Port of Katakolon – Greece
At 7.30am I meet Fitness Director Claire, who kits me out in a Walkvest, tailor-made for Crystal’s exercise programme. Designed to tone muscles and maximise the health benefits of walking, it’s a lightweight cotton vest with pockets around the waist to hold varying weights, and it does make me work – and walk – harder, as well as improving my posture.