Day 3: Monday, June 17, 2013, Ithaca, Greece & Fiskardo, Greece
Today, The Moana calls at two ports—Ithaca and Fiskardo. The legendary home of Odysseus, Ithaca was the capital of Kefalonia, an island in the Ionian Sea, at the time of the Trojan War (around 1500 BC) and later was conquered by the Romans, the Byzantines, the Turks, the Venetians, the French, and the British.
Breakfast in La Veranda was an expansive display of pastries, yogurt, smoked salmon, cheeses, and breads, along with hot items—bacon, sausage, French toast, pancakes, eggs, and Mediterranean specialty dishes. In addition to this, a chef at an omelet station was available to make you a custom omelet, and there was a display of a glass canisters filled with a variety of nuts and dried fruits to sprinkle in yogurt, oatmeal, or cereals.
After breakfast and an espresso, I wandered out of the ship and noted how beautiful Ithaca was in the morning light.
The Moana was docked in Vathay, the largest village on the island and the capital and main harbor since the 16th century. Vathay was built amphitheatrically around a deep and sheltered bay.
In the bay, there was a small island with marble steps and trees.
I joined the Ithaca Island Tour shore excursion. We traveled from the ship in an air-conditioned Mercedes mini-coach to the top of the island as the guide provided information on the history, culture, and landscapes of Ithaca.
Great views of the bay, the charming village, and The Moana could be had. Our first stop was the Byzantine-style Monastery of Katharon, the religious center of Ithaca. It is also renowned for its protector saint—Panagia Kathariotissa. The monastery is situated at the center of the island, at an elevation of approximately 2,000 feet (610 meters).
Inside the monastery, an ornate chandelier hung from the ceiling.
The walls and ceilings were painted with religious icons and symbols.
We then visited the Greek village of Stavros, which means cross.
Colorful restaurants, cafés, and shops lined the streets.
A church was located across from the main square.
A statue of Odysseus stood in the park.
From there, we drove down to the picturesque seaside village of Kioni. Small fishing boats docked in the bay. Shops surrounded the harbor, selling delicate gold and silver jewelry, scarves, sculptures, artwork, and upscale apparel.
Each street we walked was strewn with vibrant flowers, palm, and olive trees.
Tile-roofed white houses were nestled in hill slopes. Outdoor cafés offered fresh fish, pasta, gelato, sweets, and coffee on the menu.
After the excursion, we returned to The Moana. In La Veranda, a French-themed lunch was being served before the ship departed Ithaca for Fiskardo, Greece, approximately 17 nautical miles away.
As The Moana sailed to Fiskardo, stunning views of island landscapes could be had from the ship’s Soleil Deck.
The fishing village of Fiskardo is located at the northern tip of Kefalonia. The largest of the seven Ionian islands, Kefalonia remains one of the less developed, offering many pockets of authentic culture. The island’s patron saint is Saint Gerasimos, who arrived in the mid-16th century. Many endangered species make their home on Kefalonia, including loggerhead turtles—the only turtle known to nest in Greece—and the critically endangered Mediterranean monk seal.
As The Moana sailed into the harbor, I could see many of the well-preserved historic buildings that Fiskardo is famous for and passed a fortress surrounded by trees and shrubs.
Fiskardo has a bustling waterfront with charming cafés and shops.
One of the attractions is Melissani Lake. On the Kefalonia Island Tour, you ride through the village of Agia Efinia en route to it.
In Greek mythology, Melissani was the cave of the nymphs.
You can board a small boat for an enchanting boat ride on crystal-clear waters to the cave while listening to the legends of the lake.
After visiting Fiskardo, I took the Zodiac® back to The Moana.
In early evening, there was a sail-away cocktail party by the pool before dinner in La Veranda.
Tonight’s La Veranda menu featured selected culinary creations of Jean-Pierre Vigato, Chef Propriétaire of the world-renowned, two-star Michelin-rated Restaurant Apicius in Paris.
To start, I dined on crispy Oriental spring rolls served with a Thai chili sauce.
Then, I savored a mouth-watering Sea Bass with white truffle sabayon and mushroom compote.
After dinner, it was time for karaoke and cocktails in the Le Salon.