Saturday, September 5, 2009


Friday 4th – Saturday 5th September
We arrived early in the morning at Naples. Since we had nothing in particular planned we took it easy and after breakfast etc., we took a stroll into town. Boy, is the traffic chaotic here. Traffic lights don’t seem to mean much. You just watch the locals and follow them to cross the roads. Of course you take your life in your hands doing it but the alternative is to stand on the corner and go nowhere. We made a couple a purchases and bought a few cards then headed back to the Ship for lunch. We decided to take an easy tour of Naples in the afternoon just to see what there was to see in Naples itself. One would really need a few days here to explore the surrounding area so, who knows, we may pass this way again one day and make Naples the base for a little while. We were late leaving port as someone took very ill and needed to go to a hospital shortly before we were due to leave.

Saturday: Today was supposed to be a full day at sea, however we found ourselves cruising into a harbour at Mesina, Sardinia. Another passenger had taken ill during the night and we had to make and unscheduled stop to send them off to hospital. We are now running about a half a day behind. This will be most inconvenient for those who were booked for a tour in the morning. We were due to arrive in Athens about 6am tomorrow. The ship will try to make up some time and they are trying to re-arrange tours. Greece would have to work a little more efficiently than Italy for that to happen successfully. We found the ports in Italy lacking in cleanliness. At some of the more popular tourist spots they appear to be cleaning up their act a little, but have a long way to go compared with other places we have docked. I expect the afternoon will be pretty much as the “Princess Patter” (the ships newspaper) indicates. Did I mention we get abbreviated versions of western newspapers, including an Australian version? It contains just enough information for us to know that down under is still there and what the weather, and for those who are interested, the sports outcomes. The weather has been terrific but unfortunately, yesterday we couldn’t get a good look at Mt Vesuvius as it was shrouded in a haze and clouds. After today we have about 8 ports in a row which takes us to Safaga, Egypt, on the other side of the Suez Canal. Hope we can stand the pace.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday 2nd September
Monaco seems like days ago already. Today we arrived in Livorno the port for Pisa and Florence. We spent the morning on board ship and booked for a tour for Pisa in the afternoon. It was nice just to take our time over breakfast, spend a little time on the computer, settle the ship board account, write a few postcards, then have an early lunch and a nap before joining our tour to Pisa at 1.30. Livarno is a busy port oriented city and nothing of interest to see. Florence was only included in the full day tour and a bit much for us oldies. It was about a ½ and hour bus ride to Pisa then on arrival we hopped on a trolley train to the garden of miracles where the leaning tower is where we had refreshments, complimentary (a vino or a beer), then a walk to the tower and the cathedral. We didn’t walk to the top. Once again, we’re glad we made the effort to take the tour. The history of it is fascinating, particularly for the engineering minded. They knew it was sinking before it was finished and took steps to try and counterbalance the building as it went upwards. A few centuries ago Pisa was a sea port but now it’s miles from the sea. This is all as a result of natural reclamation of the sea. We arrived back on board in time to shower and dress for dinner. Tomorrow morning we will wake up in the port of Civitavecchia (Rome).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday 1st September
Spring in the Med. The forecast was for 23 degrees but I think it was more like late 20’s. We didn’t book any tours today since the Principality is rather small and the cost of tours from the ship is rather inflated. We opted to walk a little way from the ship, up about 60 steps (a bit of a struggle for me) and then take the escalators up to the top where the Palace and the Old town are. We got to the top just as a little trolley train was about to take off on a tour for half an hour. It was free. It took us from one end of the principality to the other and back again. There were on board recorded players telling you were you were at each important place of interest. There is not one little bit of space not utilized in the area. There’s tunnel roads and roads through buildings or at least they seem to go through, parks running onto roves and busy. When the trolley tour finished, we found a restaurant in one of the very narrow streets (no cars allowed here) in the old town and had a pizza and a salad, water and a bottle of vino. We then took a tour through the Palace for a small entry fee. The rooms that are open to the public are rather small, including the throne room. The harbour is full of millionaires water toys. A great little spot on the map but apart from being a tax free location I don’t think we’d be in the category to spend much time here – one brief visit will do us nicely

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Monday 31st August
Another month has gone by and our first ports of call seem so far in the past. When we awoke this morning we were docking in Barcelona, Spain. After reading up on the place this morning we decided it was too much to take in on our own, particularly as we don’t speak or understand Spanish, so we booked a couple of spare seats on a tour of the highlights of Barcelona. Glad we did, because not a lot of people got to see the inside of La Sagrada Familia (the Sacred Family), designed by Gaudi , which is still under construction after about 127 years. When it’s finished it will seat several thousand people. It should be finished in about 2025. It really was worth the visit. It is quite an interesting city. We have just watched a show with 2 fellows playing several instruments in a south American style. The same ones we watched a couple of nights ago, then to the Wheelhouse bar for a little bit of dance music before returning to our cabin to turn in. Tomorrow morning we will be in Monaco.

Saturday 29th – Sunday 30th August
Saturday was a sea day like any other sea day, that is, up to 2pm when we arrived in Gibraltar. We opted for a look around the old town, full of shops and bargains and interesting old colonial town buildings and narrow streets, rather than take the cable car up to the top of the rock. Talk about the monkeys up there and their inquisitive nature kind of put us off going up on the cable car. It was also cloudy most of the day and no guarantee that you would see anything anyway. We sat in the town square and had a couple of cold ones before making our way back to the ship. We left port about 10pm.
Sunday: We are now headed for Barcelona where we expect to arrive about 7am tomorrow morning. We’ve done our Bridge, computer trivia bit and the GD suggested we try a Pizza for lunch. We’ve been going to try them since coming aboard in Sydney but only just got round to it. The comical waiter seated us at the window looking out at the condolers (the lifeboats) as he put it. The Pizzas were A1, washed down with desalinated sea water and a bottle of Rosemont Cabernet Merlot. We’ll do that again. Usual afternoon activities…… Not sure when I will get back to the next installment as we now have 5 ports in a row coming up. See you then.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Text to be posted later, internet problems again