An overnight crossing took us to Kusadasi. I chose an early-morning excursion to the ancient kingdom of Ephesus, once the trade centre of the world.
More than 150 years of excavation have revealed marvellous structures dating back nearly 2,000 years, including the Library of Celsus, mighty temples and a huge theatre, as well as extraordinary homes and public bathrooms.
Back in the city, we bagged bargains at the bazaar before boarding for our next destination, Patmos, the island of Saint John, where the Book of Revelation was written.
Known as the Holy Island, it was where the apostle John spent his final years as a prisoner. The Monastery of St John in Chora is today home to priceless icons and rare manuscripts.
It was the smallest island we visited, with a population of just 3,000 – served by 400 churches.
Another overnight crossing and we woke up in Rhodes where, after exploring Rhodes town by foot and in 9D, we drove for an hour to the pretty hillside town of Lindos, climbed up to its acropolis to gaze down at breathtaking views of the coastline, before spending a pleasant couple of hours on the beach.
Next stop, the following morning, was at Heraklion on Crete, the largest of more than 3,000 Greek islands.
Here we visited nearby Knossos, a vast Minoan palace first built in 1900BC and rebuilt 200 years later. There was a brief shopping stop in the city before the short sea crossing to scenic Santorini, where a tender took us to the harbour of Athinios.
There our guide met us for a tour of Oia, the island’s most beautiful village, famous for its phenomenal sunsets.
A quick drive took us to the port of Old Fira, where the Odyssey was patiently waiting for our return – this time by cable car, which awarded us more spectacular views.
Sadly, the next morning was disembarkation day. But not only had we had a taste of the culture of Greece, we’d still had time between ports to enjoy all that the ship had to offer – Greek and salsa dance lessons, paper flower making, napkin folding, origami, basketball shootouts, ping pong tournaments, trivia contests, nightly shows, bands and singers.
As for the amazing food – I ate so much I could have served as the ship’s anchor.