Dinner on MS ‘Odysseus’ is a very special occasion

Following a trip ashore for a walk over the ancient site of Cnidus, I took a snooze on the forward deck, woke up and enjoyed tea and home-made cake.

Cnidus was a once civilised city which existed for a thousand years. Even Julius Caesar had been a visitor, our stimulating guide explained. We encountered very few people on the site in the cooler part of the afternoon, so we roamed at will, discovering things for ourselves and ruminating on how far the great had fallen.

One last dip in the inviting, crystal blue sea before I went to my cabin for a shower to prepare for the evening. How quiet the boat seemed, moored in a small creek, when later I nipped up to the bar in the saloon for a drink. Oh decisions, decisions! Gin and tonic or a White Lady? The cocktail was skilfully made and offered by the steward, compliments of ‘Odysseus’.

Sitting quietly on the divan under the awning on the quarterdeck, I chatted with my friends about our long and tireless day. We had done so much and yet I felt completely relaxed. The stewards Ali and Turgay laid the highly polished dining table with precision, placing each piece correctly. The ship’s bell rang, and everyone gathered for the excellent meal ahead.

The great orange sun sank faster and faster to the horizon, leaving a pinkish light touching the nearby limestone cliffs which glimmered through the pale green pines as the ship’s lights came on.

First came the Turkish meze, a remarkable range of deliciously tasty and popular dishes. Wine was expertly served by the stewards and then came the main course, red mullet, surely the tastiest of all sea fish, which I had noticed being bought from a passing fisherman earlier on in the day. On another evening earlier in week we had eaten small lamb chops with herbs on board, prepared to perfection. Finally, came an array of carefully prepared fruit with creamy yoghurt followed by coffee, Turkish or filter.

On the fore deck seating, under the star speckled, yet incredibly clear sky, I fell to musing on life in the ancient world 2-3000 years ago, when many busy boats sailed down this stretch of coast. But surely only a famous Greek politician or a Roman senator on a visit would have enjoyed what we have experienced today. I said to myself, I shall sleep on the thought.

Posted by Dargan Bullivant, Partner, Odysseus Cruising, 15 April 2010