USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Crew members aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) recently enjoyed the opportunity to relax and experience some Greek culture and food during a port visit to Souda Bay, Crete, Dec. 3-6.
Sailors and Marines were able to participate in several functions and tours organized by Harry S. Truman's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Division, such as shopping and wine-tasting tours in Chania, hiking in the Gorge of Imbros and trips to Knossos palace and the "White Mountains" of Omalos.
"Greece was hands-down my favorite port and had the most beautiful scenery," said Operations Specialist 3rd Class (AW) Andi Lubera, whose grandmother is Greek. "The whole port was like looking at a series of postcards. I went on the hiking in the Gorge of Imbros and Greek dinner MWR tours. The food was great - I loved the stuffed peppers and spinach."
Aviation Electrician's Mate 2nd Class (AW/SW) Jelissa Broadbelt first visited Crete 10 years ago as an Airman on board USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and enjoyed the chance to see and explore new places.
"MWR's tours were not even available last time I visited Crete," said Broadbelt, who visited Knossos palace and a Chanian winery. "Signing up for the tours allowed me to see great scenery and wander away from the local area for a true Greek experience. Greece was definitely a great country to visit as an ending to a successful 2010 deployment."
Sailors were also able to purchase unique Christmas gifts for loved ones back home.
"I did loads of shopping," said Lubera. "I bought a set of mythological plates and jewelry for all of my siblings."
"I was able to buy a bracelet with the eternity Greek sign for my Mom which is exclusive to this region and a winter jacket for myself," said Yeoman 3rd Class (SW) Jason Leach.
In addition to MWR tours, a wide variety of community relations projects and sports were also offered. Crew members had the option to compete in friendly games of basketball, softball, flag football, kickball and soccer with Sailors from Naval Support Activity Souda Bay.
"I signed up to play flag football while in Crete," said Seaman Sebastian Rivera, of Air Department's V-3 Division. "Sports are one of my passions, and it was nice to enjoy the off-time playing sports with my Shipmates while in Greece."
Listed as their favorite port visit by several crew members, most appreciated the chance to relax with their friends and interact with the locals.
"I really enjoyed eating gelato and spending time with my friends away from the work environment in Crete," added Machinist's Mate 1st Class (SW) Leslie Grant, of Reactor Training Division. "A lot of time we, as Americans, are naive about different cultures and countries. By visiting all the ports, we have the opportunity to open our eyes and take in a new experience away from home."
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.