Friday, August 30, 2013

The Rucksack Honeymoon Adventure: Life Aboard the Panorama

Oh hive, I've missed you so! Mr. Rucksack and I had an amazing and (mostly) internet free honeymoon, but you can be sure that every time we were able to nab some free wi-fi, I was checking in on the Bee.

It'll still be a couple of weeks before our pro-pics come back, so in the meantime do you guys want to take a peek into our honeymoon trip? Honeymoon recaps are always some of my favorite posts. I love seeing all of the cool places that the bees head to for their honeymoons and planning future trips in my head. It's like travel window shopping!

Way back in February, Mr. Rucksack and I grew very tired of the snowy scene outside our windows. After a bottle of wine on Valentine's Day we snagged up a 7 Day Adriatic Cruise through Gilt's travel site, Jetsetter. It was a total whim and a crap shoot since we hadn't found many reviews, but man are we glad we went with our guts!

On August 16th, Mr. Rucksack and I traveled to Corfu, Greece to set sail on a 7 day cruise through Greece, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania. But first we had a lot of flying to do! Armed with just a carry-on duffel bag and a beach bag (I'm still impressed with myself!) we flew over the Atlantic ocean landing in Dusseldorf and Zurich before finally making it to Corfu.

If 2 years ago you had told me I would be able to travel to Europe for 12 days with just a duffel bag, I would have laughed right in your face.

Jetsetter Mrs. Rucksack has no shame
After a night in Corfu, we got to board our ship: The Panorama from Variety Cruises. It's a 177 foot long sailboat that carries roughly 40 passengers at a time. While the ship itself was beautiful, the interior has seen better days. Everything was clean, but it was a little dated as you can see from the pictures below. It didn't bother us at all though. Having just seen For Your Eyes Only in preparation for our trip (the film takes place in Corfu) we were psyched to pretend we were in a late 70's  Bond film!
Top three rows: Personal; Bottom Row via Variety Cruises
We loved life aboard the ship and had a blast with the other guests and the crew.We had been a little worried that we'd be the youngest people on board (the brochures featured many retirement aged European couples) but because of the Jetsetter flash sale we lucked out with 4 additional American couples that had purchased through the site too! The trip would have been fabulous no matter what, but being around other young Americans definitely changed the atmosphere.

The Jetsetters out in Paxos, Greece
I wish I had a photo of the amazing Panorama crew. Unlike larger cruises, we got to know every staff member personally. In addition to making life on the ship easy and fun for us, we also got to hang out with them after hours. Some of my best memories are late night talks with our Cruise Coordinator, Dietmar; after hours salsa lessons with the bartender; and dance parties out on the town with the crew.
Food on the ship was decent, with our favorite meals being breakfast (greek yoghurt, yum!) and the lunch buffets. Dinner was hit or miss. The Greek themed nights were excellent, but the other meals were just so-so.

These were our accommodations for 7 days. It was tight, but we were cool with it. We still like each other after all these 3 weeks of marriage! ;-)
We chose not to upgrade to the deck level based on both budget and reviews. We had read that the upper levels could be loud because they're on the main floors by the bar and lounge, so we went with a port hole view on the lower level. It worked out great and after being rather noisy during a late night piano sing-along in the lounge, I'm quite happy I wasn't one of the people trying to sleep on the main level of the ship!

Of course even though it was great, the ship wasn't the main attraction at all. Next up, I'll walk you through our Adriatic Itinerary including stops in Saranda, Albania; Kotor, Montenegro; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Korcula, Croatia; Bar, Montenegro; and Paxos, Greece!

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