Guests awoke to a beautiful rainbow arching over the ancient site of Delos in the early morning sunrise. A spectacle of columns and ancient stacked-stone walls greeted us as we entered the former commercial port of the city, near the foundations of merchant and residential buildings. Led by our Greek guides Kriton and Roula, we wound our way along cobblestone streets and learned about this important religious and cultural center of the ancient Greek world. Highlights included a replica mosaic floor for the god Dionysius, the impressively deep freshwater storage cisterns, and the well-preserved amphitheater. Next we visited the sacred sites of Delos, including temples to twins Apollo and Artemis, as well as their mortal mother. The latter is the only known temple made for a mortal woman, as she was a mother of two gods. Guests had free time to explore — many took advantage by climbing 400 feet up to get a panoramic view of Sea Cloud and the surrounding isles.

Our Captain and deck team surprised the hot hikers when they returned to the ship with a delightful swim call. Thirty-one guests enjoyed bringing their bodies back to a cool resting temperature before lunch on deck. The crew “hit the rig” to bring us under sail for the afternoon, and guests enjoyed lounging about the decks and taking photos of the hardworking crew. Certified photo instructor Linda Burback taught guests some neat tricks for using their “phones that can also take pictures!&rdquo

Captain Svendsen’s Welcoming Cocktails were celebrated in windy style, and guests applauded the Sea Cloud-Lindblad-National Geographic alliance. Caviar and champagne were enjoyed during the beautiful golden hour, and the officers raised a glass to welcome many new shipmates on board.