January 16, 2020 Turkey Middle East

Cruising the Greek Islands; Onboard The Lebanese ORIENT QUEEN

Our next “Mechwar”, takes us to Greece onboard the Orient Queen, Abou Merhi’s cruise, taking passengers from Lebanon to discover the Mediterranean. This big ship is 145 meters long and can host more than 250 passengers, pampered by 150 crew members. From Beirut to the world, a cruise onboard a Lebanese-owned ship handled by a Lebanese captain.


(First draft for the shooting plan prepared one week before boarding:)

Sunday, June 24: Day at Sea

  • Embarkation starting 10 AM
  • Sail Away Party 12:00 PM
  • Lunch 12:30 PM
  • Safety Drills 2:00 PM
  • Bingo Between 2 PM and 6 PM
  • Latin Dance 2 PM and 6 PM
  • Life Oud Music 2 PM and 6 PM
  • Dinner 8:00 PM
  • Night Show from 10 pm till 1 am

Monday, June 25: Alanya – Turkey

  • Breakfast at 7:00 AM
  • Arrival at 11:00 AM 
  • Traditional Turkish Snacks at the port
  • Alanya Food Festival – Ornan Place Park (Alanya traditional breakfast and oven cooked Lamb)
  • Alanya Red Castle with Panoramic View/Sultan Sulaiman Mosque
  • Departure at 6:00 PM
  • Sail away party and music entertainment between 6 PM and 8 PM
  • Dinner on board at 8:00 PM
  • Captain Cocktail Party from 10 PM till 1 AM

Tuesday, June 26: Rhodes – Greece

  • Breakfast at 7:00 AM
  • Arrival at 10:30 AM
  • Romeo Restaurant (Greek Food) at Grand Master Palace
  • Meza Lebanese restaurant at Lindos Village and Lindos Acropolis (7 Springs – Kallithea Springs)
  • Walkthrough Old Town inside the Ancient Castle
  • Try Olive Products and Honey Jars sold on streets
  • Departure at 6:00 PM
  • Sail Away Party between 6:00 PM
  • Dinner on board at 8:00 PM
  • Show 10:00 PM till 1 AM

Wednesday, June 27: Mykonos – Greece

  • Breakfast at 7:00 AM
  • Arrival at 8:00 AM
  • Winery visit with wine tasting
  • Mykonos Old Town walk
  • Pasta restaurant with Fresh live made pasta
  • Mykonos Nightlife
  • Departure at 05:00 AM

Thursday, June 28: Santorini – Greece

  • Breakfast at 7:00 AM
  • Shuttle boat to Santorini Island
  • Ride on Donkey up to the village
  • Panoramic View
  • Traditional Winery
  • Volcano – Caldera Hot Springs – Oia Village
  • Cable Car back to Port
  • Shuttle boat back to Orient Queen
  • Departure at 7:00 PM
  • Dinner on board at 8:00 PM
  • Show at 10:00 PM

Friday, June 29: Marmaris - Turkey

  • Breakfast at 7:00 AM
  • Arrival 9:00 AM
  • Nusrat Restaurant
  • Turkish Bazaar with traditional Turkish sweets/tea/spices
  • Street Food: Turkish Shawarma/Borak/Ayran/etc.
  • Turkish Night Life
  • Departure at 11:30 PM

Saturday, June 30: Day at Sea

  • Breakfast at 7:00 AM
  • BBQ at the pool at 12:00 PM
  • Fruit Carving demonstration
  • Towel folding demonstration
  • Bingo Game 2:00 PM and 5 PM
  • Music Competition 2:00 PM and 5 PM
  • Life Oud Music between 5:00 PM and 7 PM
  • Private tour at Engine Room with Chief Engineer 5:00 PM
  • Dinner with the Captain at Gala 8:00 PM
  • Farewell Show at 10:00 PM


Seven-night, eight days, a memorable trip I’ll try to describe in the best way possible while you watch the video and live the experience with me.

All aboard... the ship is ready to depart; The Orient Queen leaves Beirut on Sunday at 12pm and returns one week after at 8am. Few minutes after departures, lunch is served in the main restaurant.

Lunch on the Orient Queen is served on the fifth deck at the Mermaid restaurant. This big restaurant can host all the passengers at the same time handled by a professional crew from Eastern Europe. A five-course meal you’ll enjoy on a table set the fine-dining way. Two forks, two knives, a spoon with a water glass and a bread plate. Every day is a special day, every day a different menu is proposed.

Lunch 01: 


  • Fried breaded calamari
  • Soup Cream of pumpkin
  • Caprese salad

First dish:

  • Spaghetti “Aglio & Olio” 
  • Chicken fajitas
  • Sweet and sour fish

Always available:

  • Beef and chicken burger
  • French fries and salad
  • Chicken and fish finger

Vegetarian dish: vegetable curry with basmati rice


  • Cinnamon honey crème brûlée
  • Selection of seasonal fruits 

Three calamari, deep-fried and served with a drizzle of mayonnaise. A light crunch: a moist heart, fresh lettuce and a crispy batter. A soup followed, and I loved it; creamy pumpkin soup with ginger paste, cinnamon and croutons. Enjoyably watery and lightly creamy, the soup satisfied my senses. 

Afterward things started to become more serious; slices of mozzarella stuffed in between slices of tomatoes and drizzled with a balsamic reduction which adds a mint of sweetness to the salad. Fish cubes with sweet&sour sauce and a side of rice. Chicken fajita with fries and fried taco chips. 

What made this lunch special and all others as well is the Pasta experience. Serving garlic spaghetti during lunch, the chef insisted to prepare something special for me and it worked; The chef impressed me with an olive oil and cheese spaghetti I was not expecting to enjoy. This made me want to visit him in the kitchen and thank him for his efforts. I was happy to enjoy food onboard and excited to try all the choices proposed by the chefs for the upcoming week.

Abiding by international laws, a security drill is a must before the ship departs. Gathered on deck 5, the crew explains the procedure, followed by the intervention of the cruise manager who shows a presentation of the week’s events and a variety of touristic stops.

On this beautiful afternoon, I discovered the ship: the casino, the duty-free, the cafe and the hairdresser who cut all my hair, for me to walk around the islands in style. At sunset, I sat on the balcony, opened the complimentary bottle of champagne, grabbed an apple and enjoyed the beautiful wind. Time passed so quickly... Dinner is served at 8 pm.

Let me tell you about the Royal Suite, my room for this trip. The Royal Suite is all about luxury and relaxation; a wide room with a saloon, a huge bathroom, a walk-in closet, a balcony, and its jacuzzi. Sit and relax, walk on the balcony, take a shower, relax on a king-size bed while the ship cruises. I spent half the time onboard at the Royal Suite, ordered a bucket of ice for my Diet Coke moments.

Dinner 01:


  • Chicken lollipop
  • Sunset cream soup
  • Panache salad

First dish:

  • Cajun seafood pasta

Main course:

  • Agneau grillé
  • Pan-fried fish filet
  • Vegetarian Samosa with cucumber raita 


  • Black Forest
  • Seasonal fruits

Two fried chicken wings wrapped in aluminum foil and decorated with sweet and chili sauce. A mise-en-bouche before the soup and salad arrived. Fresh crisp vegetables mixed together in a balanced sauce and a soup, some Lebanese chefs don’t know how to do: a base of yogurt topped with a soup of orange and carrots. Balanced, smooth and lightly sweet, the zesty soup is one I recommend.

Afterward landed the linguini plate: pasta, red sauce, and seafood. Even though I prefer them a bit more al-dente, the taste of love is felt in every bite. Passionately cooked pasta, where the tomato sauce, the seafood, and the spices remind you of trattorias in Milano.

Allow me to express my happiness, the enjoyment I’m feeling during every meal prepared by skilled chefs, which made my excitement build to meet them all, inside their kitchen. Fish followed, lamb chops and a super juicy chocolate cake.

After a long night's sleep in a relaxing bed, I woke up to a shower, a varied breakfast while we docked to discover Alanya.

Our tour of Alanya started at 11am; being onboard the first cruise ship that docks in Alanya this season, the city welcomed us in style. A market opened its door facing the port loaded with Viking style ships who take tourists on a soap party around the bay. Then a car was at our disposal to take us up to the fortress and the vibrant souks. I will remember lunch, delicious local cuisine prepared with a load of love. “Yoresel” cooks turkish passion; I enjoyed the rice, the fatty lamb, the dolma, the chicken and the stuffed intestines tasting like Fawaregh. Fresh and fluffy bread, wara2 3enab and cooked vegetables on a bed of fresh yogurt. I loved the food, I really loved the food!

Back on board after an exciting afternoon, I was ready to enjoy dinner. Before that, allow me to share with you my experience from the bridge, a 360 degrees view on the beautiful sea. Computers, screens and machines managed by a skilled crew of three officers, two seamen, and the captain. 


Dinner 02:


  • Smoked salmon
  • Homard bisque
  • Cesar salad

First dish:

  • farfalle alla campognola

Main course:

  • Tenderloin beef
  • Grilled jumbo shrimp
  • Vegetarian Tunisian dish with couscous 
  • Orient Queen loved boat dream cake

Bisque de Hommard, one of the tastiest I’ve ever had, a unique bread fluffy to the utmost extremes, good quality smoked salmon, a crips caesar salad followed by a plate of pasta I loved, a tender tenderloin beef and juicy shrimp. All good, I enjoyed dinner and went to sleep with a smile on my face.

On this calm evening, the captain welcomed everyone on the sixth level and introduced his team, hard-working men and women, working hand in hand to make things happen.

Hello Rhodes... today is a special day, a day of discoveries, of tasty food and an hour I spent with Micha and Tony, two Lebanese from Zahle living happy moments in Rhodes; meet them, join them at their Mezze restaurant and taste their unique hummus, exceptional tabbouleh and one-of-a-kind puff pastry meat rolls.

What to do in Rhodes: visit Mezze the Lebanese restaurant, the old town, take a photo with the parrot, drink beer in the glass shoe and shop till you drop.

Back onboard: One of my best adventures was below deck, in the engine room; the chief captain and his crew work day and night, monitoring their screens were three engines, two propellers, a cleaning station, and an air condition unit work 24/7 for six long months. Yes, the boat is on for the whole season and their job is to make it run smoothly.

Dinner 03:


  • Spring rolls
  • Tomato and apple soup
  • Mediterranean salad

Main course:

  • Tagliatelle with shrimp and pesto sauce
  • oven roast chicken
  • Grilled fish filet


  • Tiramisu

Allow me to tell you about the chef’s soups; he’s a soup genius, impressing us more and more every night. Tonight’s tomato sauce with caramelized apples is outstanding. Acidity, balance, flavor, smoothness and chewy caramelized apple cubes.

Mykonos here we come! With a delay of five hours due to bad weather, we docked in Mykonos, our second stop in Greece. White houses, tight roads and a load of tourists, it’s not an island you want to relax on. I flew my drone, walked the old souk and experienced two restaurants of which one is outstanding. Casa Di Giorgio, an Italian eatery serving fresh pasta is a restaurant I’ll recommend to all my friends visiting Mykonos. Fresh pasta prepared a-la-minute, spaghetti cooked al dente and the night’s star: the penne with salmon and truffle. 

Afterward we visited another place, a restaurant open for the last forty years “Barkia” where pasta is overcooked, lacks salt and where white cream is sweet. I’m honestly not sure how it lasted forty years anyway.

Good night Mykonos, back onboard, a relaxing night sleep, a tour around the boat the next morning while lunch is being prepared.


Lunch 04:


  • Eggplant parmigiana
  • Hungarian soup goulash
  • Mixed green Salad

First dish:

  • Penne with tuna fish

Main course:

  • Turkey escalope
  • Seafood paella


  • Apple and peach crumble

Al I said is “chef, please can you keep the pasta al dente...”! Today, I experienced penne cooked al dente like you have it in Italy. I enjoyed my lunch, the turkey breast and mouthwatering apple peach crumble, making sure to go back to the kitchen and thank the chef in person.

Thursday, June 28th. Today, the sea is high, very high in fact that we had to cancel Santorini. I woke up moving in bed from side to side, on the sounds of clapping doors. Due to an agitated sea, the captain decided to pick up the needed papers from Santorini and continue to Marmaris. A quick breakfast, Labneh and white cheese while the decision is being taken. I was so excited to fly over Santorini... 

Unfortunately or probably fortunately, we ended up staying onboard. Today was amazing, one of the most beautiful I had, an hour with the chef, I cooked for him a burger, spent time with the baker then had lunch with the team below deck.

A great day where I enjoyed an amazing philippino Asian rice with soy sauce chicken specially prepared for me by the chef after service hours. Then, I went down shopping -choosing my ingredients- to cook back a burger my way. Double patty, emmental cheese, fried battered cheddar, pan fried pineapple, fried bacon, tomato, honey mustard and ketchup stuffed between two slices of bread prepared that same morning. Buttered and heated, they hosted the filling which impressed the chef and my team. 

Meet the baker, a passionate man from Istanbul, the second generation of bakers based in Turkey. He has been working on ships for the last ten years. I love bread and baking, the aromas, fluffiness, and the bread; bravo!

Dinner 05:


  • Shrimp tempura
  • Mushroom soup
  • Steak salad

First dish:

  • Spaghetti Bolognesi

Main course:

  • Beef stroganoff
  • Grilled fish fillet
  • Vegan moussaka (vegetarian dish)


  • Milles feuilles 

Tonight’s dinner was as good as all the rest; fried shrimp tempura, spaghetti bolognese and Russian stroganoff followed by a creamy Mille feuille.

Hello Marmaris! The ship docked at midnight, the guys went out to party and I went to sleep. Waking up to a beautiful view of ships and sailing boats, I went out to discover this beautiful city, so why not have breakfast.

All I can tell you is that I fell in love with Marmaris; the food, the restaurants, the people, the old town, the villages surrounding it, the touristic stops among others. I already planned my next trip, a weekend with the family one hour away from Beirut.

On Saturday, things became serious and exciting. I was surprised by a breakfast in the room, eggs Benedict on the balcony prepared meticulously by the chef. Sauce hollandaise up to the standard of fine dining restaurants, I will be remembering for long. I spent the day meeting the staff; a tour with the safety officer, a show prepared by the bartender, barbecue pool party and a special lunch also courtesy of the chef. Tortellini carbonara, cooked al dente without cream; all I can say is bravo, bravo chef, you’re impressing me more and more every day.


Sunday morning... we docked in a Beirut. It feels so good to see the land...

A great experience I will be remembering for long: to thank the crew, I made sure to have manakish delivered to the shop on our arrival date, manakish from Aley for the crew to enjoy the taste of Lebanon during the two hours docked while they prepare for their next journey.

Good food, great people, a relaxing bed and endless discoveries; watch the video and plan your next holiday trip.

Categories: Travel & Tourism





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