The next port of call was Heraklion, the largest city in Crete. Though we did not spend much time in Heraklion as we went to Knossos, Europe’s oldest city which was once home to the Minoan civilization. Unlike many  of the ruins we had seen before, these ruins were not from the Greek or Roman era, but from a civilization that predates that. You ever hear of the Minotaur? The legend states that he resided in the labyrinth beneath the city. Seeing the remains of the labyrinth is one of those special moments. We also got to see the world’s first paved road. We also marveled at the beautiful frescoes that adorned some of the walls. Have you ever heard the expression, take the bull by the horns? That saying is believed to be based on the Minoans sport of bull-flipping which required a brave person to literally take the bull by the horns.

Following some brief self-exploring and shopping time, we returned to our coaches to head to Arolithos, a traditional Greek village which featured weaving, cooking, and mosaic demonstrations. We were welcomed with a drink and had some time to explore the village. We then were ushered to a family-style lunch featuring Greek salad, an array of appetizers, and meats. For dessert they offered cheese pies. At the beginning of our dinning experience the Junior Adventurers participated in a Tsaziki-Making demonstration, which is the cucumber-based sauce that we had been enjoying during our whole adventure. They did a very good job, as it was quite delicious.

We then had more free-time, which was unnecessary as the shopping in the village was limited. They then offered us hot coffee or tea, which seemed like an odd choice due to the heat. Some guests chose to order an iced-coffee, but they had to pay for that out of their pocket. (Note: The Adventure Guides were not present for this, and if they were there I doubt that the iced coffee would have required a fee). We then were ushered in to make komboloi, the traditional decorative item known as worry beads. They explained the history of the komboloi to us, and then we were free to make our own. Once everyone was done, we were then taught how to use them. Since this experience I have used my komboloi quite a lot, even though I have no worries during my Disney Cruise.

We then went back to the bus to return to Heraklion. We received our pin of the day, and those wishing to stop in the village were welcome to.  Most of us, beaten down by the heat, decided to return to the beautifully reimagined Disney Magic.

After a visit to the gym to burn off lunch, it was showtime. The show of the day was Once Upon a Song. This show features the singers of the Disney Magic in a concert-style performance. The staging is limited, and the focus is on the vocal performances. The sang some Disney classics such as tunes from Mary Poppins and some lesser known songs like Age of Not Believing from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Their vocals were good, but the pacing of the show, could have been improved. One variation from the edition that I saw last year was that they sang some lines in Spanish. So when they performed Bella Notte, they ended up singing three languages.

Following show-time, I attended a presentation by the ship’s historian about Santorini. The massive volcano eruption of that island changed the geography and history of that region forever. Our “historian” was actually a geologist, so this particular topic was right in his wheel house. He should computer simulations of the eruption and ensuing tsunami and showed how it changed that landscape, flooding many of the ports of call that we had already visited. It is quite amazing when you see how one singular natural disaster can have such an impact.

The menu for tonight was Master Chef. The concept is that it featured dishes from the chef’s in the Disney family. For example, my fish was based off a recipe used at the Flying Fish restaurant at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort.  But at this point, everyone was exhausted, so it was a relief when dinner was done and we could go to bed. Tomorrow is going to be a relaxing beach day, which I think everyone will enjoy.