Undiscovered Aegean Cruise Day 1 - Marmaris

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June 1st 2015
Published: June 11th 2015
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Ugh, our earliest start yet. The alarm was set for 3.45am this morning so that we would be ready to be picked up by the mini-cab at 4.30am in order to be at Manchester Airport in time to do the check-in for our flight to Turkey at 7.00am. We weren't active enough yesterday to work up a sweat so we didn't bother showering this morning, just cleaned our teeth and dressed and stuffed our toilet bags into our travelling bags ready for the next instalment of our holiday - cruising the 'Undiscovered Aegean' with Kath and Albert.

Because we were going on a cruise we didn't have to join the ridiculously long check-in queue, we were fast-tracked through the 'Premium' queue which was virtually empty. Our bags all came in under 20kg, thank goodness. Kath and Albert had weighed their bags at home so knew that theirs were OK. We were fairly confident that ours would be - on the basis of items we had decided to leave in Stalybridge. It's always a relief to have the weight accepted by the airline though! Because our bags are soft, we had to take them off the scales/conveyor belt thingy and take them to a separate drop off point for soft bags. I'm sure that this is a farce though; I am absolutely convinced that once the soft bags are out of sight of their owners they are treated exactly the same as the hard cases!!

Bags all checked in we proceeded to security. It took our party of four a-g-e-s to clear security at Manchester Airport! First Kath was subjected to every check possible. She was asked to go through the full body scanner and then, as if that wasn't enough, she was given a pat down by one of the security personnel. While that was happening her carry-on bag was sent through the scanner twice. That might have been because she had wrapped the bacon butties in foil??!

Albert made it through the X-ray scanner, but his carry-on bag didn't pass muster. Nothing had actually caught the X-ray operator's interest, Albert's bag had been selected for the bomb sniffer test! They ran the probe around his bag and then put the test patch in the machine which gave the 'all clear' so that Albert could be reunited with his bag.

Like Albert, Bernie also made it through the X-ray scanner, but his carry-on bag had been set aside for further investigation. When opened, the operator said straight away that it would be his large camera that was the problem and this was one of the electrical items that should have been removed from the bag and sent through the X-ray scanner in a separate bucket. That was a first, the laptop and iPad are always taken out to be scanned separately, but the camera usually goes through OK in its camera bag. Bernie's bag and camera were sent back through the scanner, separately this time, and made it through. For once me and my bag passed through without a second glance. This was despite the fact that my bag contained a camera almost as large as Bernie's!!?

We had a smooth flight to Turkey and landed at Dalaman Airport only a few minutes later than scheduled. Phew, the weather was certainly much warmer - and sunnier - than what we had left behind in Stalybridge! Kath and Bernie had purchased our Turkish visas on-line so we didn't have to queue up to purchase our visas, we were able to queue just the once to clear immigration. Ha, it wouldn't have mattered if we had taken longer in the immigration hall because it took ages for our bags to appear on the baggage carousel. And maybe it was worth depositing our soft bags in a separate place because our bags popped out well ahead of Kath and Albert's!

Reunited with all of our bags, we made our way out to the busses that would take us down to the port at Marmaris to board our cruise ship - the Thomson Spirit. What followed was a pretty horrendous 1 1/2 hour journey on a bus with woefully inadequate air conditioning. This bus trip has been put in third place on my 'Worst Bus Journeys Of All Time' list. Number one remains the express bus trip between Melbourne and Brisbane - undertaken as a teenager. That was truly awful and also involved problems with the bus's a/c ... and it took us days to reach our destination! In second place is the journey between North and South Vietnam over the Hài Vân (Ocean Cloud) Pass. This trip was also undertaken on a hot and humid day in a bus without air conditioning. This trip edges out today's journey for second place because the aisle of the bus was crammed full of luggage which added a truly claustrophobic element to an already uncomfortable journey!!

What a relief it was to disembark port-side in Marmaris where Thomson's have the check-in procedure well and truly honed after years of offering these types of cruises to English tourists. Before we knew it we were boarding the Thomson Spirit which was lovely and cool, thank goodness! As seasoned cruisers Kath and Albert had packed flip flops in their carry on bags and were able to change into cool shoes before going to look for food and drink at one of the ships many bars and restaurants. While we were waiting for our bags to be delivered to our cabin, Bernie and I had to keep our shoes and socks on our hot feet!

The ship's compulsory life boat drill was scheduled for 8.30pm so we decided to eat after the drill rather than before. We didn't want to have our dinner interrupted by the drill if we didn't manage to finish eating before 8.30pm. The life boat drill went smoothly, but we sincerely hope that we won't have to put it into practice!! With the drill out of the way we went to dinner in the Compass Rose Dining Room. Bloody hell, no wonder people complain about gaining weight on cruises - even opting for a modest three courses instead of the five on offer (yes, there are five courses on offer: appetiser, soup, salad, main course and dessert!) Bernie and I were stuffed.

After dinner we sat overlooking the Lido Pool Deck - with drinks in hand - until we set sail about half an hour late at 11.00pm. Kath purchased us drinks packages months ago when they were being offered at half price. To get our money's worth we need to have a drink in hand at all times!! Only joking, but I'm sure a fair amount of alcohol will be consumed by the four of us in the next seven days.

Steps for the day 8,841 (6.02 kms)


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