LOUIS CRUISE LINES m/s Calypso by Vasilis A.P. Metaxas Eastern Mediterranean August 9, 2002
LOUIS CRUISE LINES BEIROUTH HOP: Hard to beat!
This cruise departs Limassol, Cyprus, on Friday evening, arrives in Beirouth, Lebanon, on Saturday dawn, departs Beirouth at midnight and docks back at Limassol on Sunday at 11:00 hrs. A mini cruise it is, but there's nothing mini about it except the price.
The ship is the first joy: MS CALYPSO has ample public places. Surprising for a boat this small, it sports eight decks. The top 3 offer satisfactory open-air walking space. There is no wrap-around but the sideways promenades are quite spacious. Nicely wooden-panelled too. The sun deck features two baskeball courts! At its front, on top of the bridge, there is a rather secluded roomy side-to-side balcony, perfect for quiet sunbathing during the day and star gazing in the night.
The Tropical Bar at the stern overlooks the pool, two decks down, which is small, more of a dip really. Adjacent to it is the Sunshine Bar, which doubles as a self-service buffet during meals. At the main restaurant you are waiter-served. The main lounge is called Festival; here shows are held every evening. There are two more lounges which offer dancing music and Disco after hours. There is also a Library, but I think it should be called 'Reading area' as there are no books on the shelves... Enough nitpicking, nothing is really missing or amiss, what with Children's Playroom, Gym, Sauna, Hairdresser, Duty-Free Shops and a nice little Casino. One could argue for a Cinema theater or an Internet Cafe but on cruises this short their absense is inconsequential.
Our cabin was another pleasant surprise. Not excessively roomy, but certainly not cramped. Closet space is adequate and the shower box will accomodate anyone under 1.9m. Furniture and fittings seemed recently refit and the bedlinen were clean (as was the whole of this ship, in fact). There was a TV set, hairdryer and telephone - I'm told this is standard equipment in all cabin classes. Wake-up/reminder service is available. Neat. Lastly, I've never been on a quieter cruise, not even engine noise was discernible.
On to food: Almost five stars (see below)! Mediterranean-style cuisine, plentiful and tasty. Multi-ethnic staff was attentive and eager to please. Same can be said of all personnel, like when I enquired after a bridge tour. The entertainers too seemed eager to please, no sea-sick looking bunch this one! We thoroughly enjoyed the evening shows (different on every night) comprised of singers, stand-up comedy, dancers and a magician. On Sunday morning, while we were having a Bingo game, the magician held a show especially for children.
The one thing I cannot commend on is the Lebanon day trip. We didn't take it, opting instead to stroll around Beirouth. The passengers who did take the trip, however, commented highly on it.
So there you have it: if you are in Cyprus you could do a lot worse than taking this cruise (like taking a trip to the Turkish-occupied North of the island, for example). And for the money, it's an absolute winner! We certainly plan to board more 'Louis' cruises next year. Because, in the end, our only grieviance was that the bacon was unchewable...