This is the fifth in a series that reflects the itinerary of Oceania’s “Grecian Glory” cruise, which will take place in May 2011 in the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas. The vessel will be Oceania’s soon-to-be-christened new ship, Marina. (To see my updated version, with photos and diary from our time in Zakynthos on the cruise, click here.)
During this series I’ve been sharing photos of the Marina, and here are some showing a couple of her dining rooms: the Jacques Dining Room and the Grand Dining Room, respectively. (All photos of Marina from OceaniaCruises.com. Due to technical issues, the Jacques photopraph may show up at the very end of the post.)
So far this series has covered Venice (the city of embarkation); Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kotor, Montenegro; and Corfu, Greece. Now we come to Zakynthos, Greece, the southernmost of the Ionian Islands and, with an area of 158 square miles, the third largest.
The major commerce on the island is agriculture (citrus, olives and raisins) and, not surprisingly, tourism. Visitors flock to enjoy Zakynthos’s warm, Mediterranean climate; its miles of beaches on the north, south and east of the island; and its sheer cliffs, arches and sea caves–such as the famous Blue Caves–in the west of the island.
Perhaps best of all is that it’s surrounded by turquoise waters that are crystal clear. It must be an absolutely amazing experience to cruise the Greek Islands. I saw a photo of boats that appeared to be almost suspended above the water, due to the water’s clarity.
While in Zakynthos, one may be able to see some endangered Caretta-Caretta (Loggerhead) sea turtles. The island is famous for being a nesting place for the turtles; eggs are laid in the soft sand of the beaches.
Per a very much documented article in Wikipedia, “The loggerhead sea turtle is the world's largest hard-shelled turtle. Adult loggerheads have an average weight range of ...180 to 440 lb and a length range of ...28 to 37 in. The maximum reported weight is ...1,200 lb and the maximum carapace length is ...84 in.” [By comparison, a male Asian elephant weighs an average of 5,100 pounds.]
“Greece is the most popular nesting site along the Mediterranean with more than 3,000 nests per year. Because of this, Greek authorities do not allow planes to take off or land at night in Zakynthos due to the nesting turtles."
Probably the most photographed spot on Zakynthos is Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach—also called Smuggler’s Cove—on the northwest side of the island. A smuggler ship, wrecked in 1983, lies imbedded in the beach, which is only accessible by boat.
Villa Deep Blue is a Zakynthian style villa of almost 2700 sq. ft., with sleeping accommodations for up to 9 people. It has a private pool and spa, an amazing view, and a foot path that leads directly to the sea. The four bedrooms include a separate, 538 sq. ft. guesthouse.
The next stop on Oceania’s “Grecian Glory” cruise is “The Gibraltar of the East,” Monemvasia, Greece. We’ll “visit” there next week!
Addendum: a subsequent Zakynthos post chronicles our visit there.