I haven’t been to many cruises, mainly due to sea sickness. I would say that I am mostly an ‘air person’ rather than a ‘water person’. This shows in my zodiac sign: I was born on the Aquarius-Aquarius cusp after all!
So, although I prefer air travel, every now and then I like to get a taste of other means of transportation and given that I live on an island, a ship is the only alternative really. I therefore chose to make the short trip to Israel on Salamis Filoxenia; this is a cruiser that has been travelling Cypriots for years now, offering dream vacations at the Greek islands and beyond. I welcome you to the magic world that is Salamis Filoxenia!
Welcome aboard my friends!
The Salamis Filoxenia
The Salamis Filoxenia belongs to Salamis Cruises and is stationed at the port of Limassol in Cyprus. It was built in 1975 for another company, but was auctioned to Salamis Cruises in 2009. She is 157 meters long and has a capacity of 800 passengers. In comparison, the biggest ship in the world has a capacity of 6,200! It is easy to understand then, that this ship is not as big as some may think. There are 9 decks, however passengers can only access 7 of those. There are 11 different cabin types, ranging from inside rooms with no window to the outside, to suites that can accommodate 4 people. Prices vary according to the cabin type one picks, exactly as is the case in hotels. Besides, this is a hotel at sea!
I got to the port about two hours prior departure to Haifa and opted to leave my car at the port parking for €9 per day. I wouldn’t be away for long anyway, since this was a really short vacation. After customs and passport check, I boarded the ship. I was one of the first on the ship, so when I reached the reception, the entire crew was there, ready to serve me. I got my boarding pass and my room key, and a crew member informed me that during my stay on the ship, I would be taking breakfast and dinner on table 24 at the Salaminia restaurant, situated on the 6th deck. The reception was on the 5th deck, as was my cabin.
Considering I had a long, long trip ahead, I wished to take advantage of the comforts provided by the Salamis Filoxenia! So, I found my way around the ship! This led me to a number of discoveries: I found out there was a discoteque, an amphitheatric theatre showing classic movies, a pool for children and adults – which was not operating for this trip – a pool bar, a casino, a gym, a kids’ playground, a room with computers and a small library! There was also five luxurious restaurants and bars, and duty free shops. How would anyone feel bored when they are aboard this cruise ship then?!
You do not need luxury when travelling by ship. So, the basics sufficed for me, namely an outside, type F cabin. I chose this type because it was in the middle of the ship, meaning that in case of heavy sea, I would not have felt particularly nauseous and dizzy. Besides the comfy bunks, the cabin included a small desk, closets that could fit one’s belongings, and a small bathroom. You can take a peek at my cabin, by visiting the video at the end of this review.
9 things you should know in case you choose the Salamis Filoxenia for your vacation
1) You can register your credit card at the reception and take advantage of the «Cashless System»; this means that every time you’d pay for drinks and food, you would be using your boarding pass in lieu. You could even use it at the casino!
2) Wi-Fi is available; unfortunately, there is a charge for it. You could however use the computers room on the 6th deck. I was informed that the Wi-Fi malfunctioned, while on the 5th deck, where my cabin was, there was no signal whatsoever.
3) The ship crew is incredibly friendly and eager to attend to your every need. The only negative thing is that most crew members do not speak Greek. This is challenging for people who cannot communicate in English. You could however always ask to be served by a Greek-speaking crew member in case you cannot communicate in another language.
4) I’m not going to lie to you. The ship is relatively small and no matter how peaceful the sea is, it is very possible that you get seasick. If you are like myself, you can follow one of the tips on how to cope with seasickness, here.
5) Stay clear of low decks for your accommodation, since you may find that the noise levels of the engines can be quite disturbing. Prefer a cabin on deck 5 upwards.
6) If you are one to pay attention to the décor and ambience, you will probably be disappointed by the old-fashioned style of the cabins and of communal areas. I would liken that to a typical 3* hotel in Cyprus.
7) I got an issue with smoking and I do consider it unacceptable that smoking is allowed in closed, communal areas. I cannot refrain from commenting that every time I got out of my cabin, I could immediately know that people smoked, which was disturbing myself and a bunch of other passengers. I hope that this is prohibited in the future, since nausea + smoke = disaster.
8) If you would like to observe the ship’s departure process, take your position early at the stern, before it gets crowded. You won’t be the only ones wishing to do so. Should you like to avoid the overall chaos but would still like to watch the whole thing, there is a solution for you too. You can go to the reception when everyone else is at the stern, and you can watch the cruiser’s departure on the screen at the small living room area there.
9) Food served at the Salaminia restaurant is free and is served at specific times. It is always a buffet and on an ‘all-you-can-eat’ basis. All the other restaurants though will incur charges.
This was certainly a different experience! I unreservedly recommend this and I’m looking forward to hear your opinion on the unique Salamis Filoxenia! Until then! xoxo