Family Abroad

16-hour Ferry Ride from Rhodes to Crete

The Ferry Ride

At 5 in the morning, we started our journey to the Rhode’s port where we would board the ferry that would take us to Crete, Greece. As we started our walk-through Old Town, we noticed that many young people were barely leaving the clubs and bars! Amazed at how safe they felt to be wandering the streets at 5 am, we continued to walk to the port.

Entering Ferry with Three Minutes to Spare!

Somewhere along the way we lost Nathan, Natalie, and Edith! This was understandable since Old Town has so many streets and turns, it is easy to get confused. We called each other and set a meeting point close to the port. Once we reunited, it was close to 5:30 am so we kept walking to make it to the ferry. There are two main port areas and, of course, our ferry connections was at the furthest point from where we were. 😫 The one we needed to be at was about a 15-minute walk!

Between the stress due to the possibility of missing our ferry and having to speed walk for half a mile with our luggage, we were overwhelmed. Thankfully, a kind man from Qatar was also heading to the same ferry and he helped with our suitcases. We made it to the ferry with 3 minutes to spare! We definitely learned our lesson to make sure we leave to the port at least 1 hour and a half before the departure time, and to make sure what port we are going to.

Our Cabins

Cabin Life

Once on the ship, we got our cabin room keys and since we were 6 people, we got 2 rooms. One was a room with 4 beds and the other had 2 beds. The kids were in one, and Edith and I were in the other. The kid’s room was a bit hot and they initially decided to leave the door open as the hallway was somewhat cooler. After running in the humidity, all we all wanted was some good AC! Frustrated and tired, we tried our best to get some rest during this 16-hour ferry ride. After being in the cabins for a few hours and a few stops later, the kids got up and went to the café on board to get some food and some cooler air. They enjoyed their ham and cheese sandwiches and the views of the vast blue Mediterranean. With 10 hours left to go, they went back to their cabins to get some more rest, and I got some work done.

A Great Cafeteria!

Later, as a family, we went to the self-service restaurant to eat lunch. They had plenty of choices for meals. They had chicken and rice, chicken and spaghetti, spaghetti and meatballs, porkchops and rice, some beans, and more. I decided to try some huge Lima beans that they had, and they were delicious! In fact, all of the food was better than expected! After lunch, we tried to get some work done in our cabin with the kids, but the air-conditioner could not handle 6 people in our room. In addition, the WiFi was incredibly slow! So, we decided it was best for the kids to go to their cabin and get some more rest or just hang out with each other. While the kids were in their cabin, Edith, Bethany, and I got some more rest. After a few hours had passed it was now around 8pm and the kids messaged us and told us they were heading to dinner. I woke up Edith and we headed down to meet them for dinner. The food was pretty much the same selection that we had for lunch, but still very delicious. With only an hour or so until we arrived at Heraklion, we went to the cabins to pack up our stuff.

Our New Friend, Ggeery!

Making a New Friend

We heard an announcement that told us to return our cabin keys to reception since we were getting close to our destination. Excited to finally get off the ferry, we quickly returned the keys and waited to be able to get our luggage. While waiting in the lobby area, the same man who helped us get to the ferry on-time stopped by to chat. It turns out that he had a very interesting story about why he was in Rhodes. It turns out that he was initially traveling with friends from Athens to Crete, but he slept through the stop in Heraklion, Crete (this is something I could do myself)! I love how he (Ggeery) didn’t let this situation upset him. Instead, he explored Rhodes on his own and now was in the process of catching back up with his friends who were now in Athens. We enjoyed talking with him about Qatar, religion, the World Cup, his work and especially about his family. If there is one common thread that we are learning as we are meeting people from all over the world, it is that we are more alike than we are different. This is a good lesson to remember during these tumultuous times.

Disembarkation

We waited for about 30 minutes before we entered the Port of Heraklion and were able to head downstairs. We were not prepared for how hectic it was to get off a ferry in Greece. It was around 10:30pm, it was so hot and humid, and everyone was desperate to get their luggage and get off the boat. We finally got our bags, got off the boat and met our car rental man.

Driving to Chania

After thoroughly inspecting the van, we headed off on our 2-hour road trip to Chania where our Airbnb was. It was quite scary driving at night due to the lack of streetlights on the highway, and the number of curves in the mountainous region. All of us were tired, ready for a nice shower, getting some rest, and getting a lot of AC! One thing we really enjoyed about the road trip was seeing the coastline at night. Seeing all of the city lights reflecting on the sea was breathtaking. Finally, we arrived at our Airbnb, which was beautiful, and had AC all around. What more could we ask for?! Overall, the ferry ride went by pretty fast and was definitely doable, but I would say that the key to having a good voyage during a long ferry ride is to get a cabin (and pray for some good AC). Stay tuned for our next blog where we talk about our adventures about what we did in Chania, and what we did during our stay.

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