A Day In Athens Helps Define Viking Star Passengers

Winding down our Viking Cruises sailing of new Viking Star, we stopped at the Greek port of Athens for a day.  Choosing the included orientation tour of Athens, we enjoyed a lively local guide who made the tour interesting as well as abundant free time to explore on our own.  Interestingly, in a city known for its art and architecture, prominent thinkers, the original Olympic Games and more, an unexpected moment on the tour bus served as a good example of the sort of people who travel with Viking.  At least on our trip.


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The day began as many others on our Empires of the Mediterranean itinerary.  Walking off the ship at the Port of Piraeus Cruise Terminal, we found the anticipated Viking fleet of motorcoaches waiting and settled in for what was to be a three and a half hour tour.


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Stopping by the site of the first Olympic games, a museum and a shopping area, each came with free time to explore on our own.  For us, that meant coffee here and beer there as we enjoyed the pleasant day.


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High above us sat the Acropolis, a building complex located on a rocky outcrop and home to the remains of several ancient buildings including the Parthenon.    This was not to be a stop on the included tour although it was easy enough to get to walking, via public transportation or on an optional tour.  We knew this far in advance via the online tour booking site provided us by Viking Cruises to help organize our time during the voyage.   Again we were reminded on the tour tickets that were waiting for us in our stateroom upon arrival.  Still, near the end of our included tour, one passenger along for the ride became irate with our guide, absolutely not understanding how any tour to Athens could not include a visit to the Acropolis.


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Olga apologized profusely to the unhappy group member and was quite upset that she was not able to grant his request.  Back on the bus, Olga went on to apologize to the group for the upsetting moment on an otherwise stellar tour; probably the best one of the trip because of Olga’s wonderful command of the English language and her quick wit.  It was then that I saw/heard/experienced something happen on a tour that I have never seen before.


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Nearly in unison, most passengers on that motorcoach called out for Olga to forget about it, noting ‘we knew we were not going to the Acropolis’, ‘don’t worry about it’, ‘that guy is a jerk’ and similar sentiments.  The rousing show of support for the really good guide was a pleasure to see and highlighted the notion that we were in the company of (mostly) like-minded travelers.  It was the level of agreement one might expect from close friends and family, not a bunch of people we had known for a matter of days.


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Over, done, taken care of, we moved along and enjoyed Olga’s interesting commentary, often aligning events in the history of Athens and Greece with the timeline of political events in the United States.  A brilliant strategy, the aligned information imparted by Olga somehow made more sense.  An event in the history of Greece aligned with the birth of the United States. A past Greek leader was said to be like ‘the George Washington of our land’. There was no dozing off on the tour bus with Olga around, that’s for sure.


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