Setting sail into the sunset on this beautiful ship. The first thing we did was explore all the decks, finding some favorite spots. There were five swimming pools. My favorite was the Sanctuary Pool. They had the cushiest lounges.
Our first port-of-call was Livorno. There had been severe storms in northern Italy, so this port was substituted for Genoa. Our tour of the Cinque Terre was canceled. A mudslide had divided one of the towns in two up there! We took a lovely tour to the center of Tuscany.
We explored San Gimignano, and walked through the village up to an old fort, where the views of the countryside were spectacular. It was drizzling just a little, so I bought an umbrella (cost three euros).
We had lunch at a winery where the owner’s niece told of their history and explained wine-making over the centuries.
Our tour took us to Pisa and Livorno.
The following day, we were scheduled for Toulon, France (Provence), but the storms were too bad to put into port, so we got an additional day at sea. I loved our sea days!
There were nice teak chairs with cushions on the Promenade deck. We enjoyed being outside even when it was a bit chilly!
Sunshine and warm in Barcelona!
Our tour took us up the hillside where the Olympics took place, then down through avenues in town, past historical and beautiful buildings.
Getting off at the top of Las Ramblas, we learned we had to find a place to eat in order to take advantage of the water closets. We bypassed Starbucks and McDonalds and found a fantastic little restaurant serving tapas.
We rambled down Las Ramblas, admiring the flower stalls and shops.
There were people dressed up like statues. And the best find of all:
We bought a delicious coconut strawberry smoothie in the market for one euro!
We met our bus, to get to our cruise shuttle, at the bottom of Las Ramblas.
Passing by the Rock of Gibraltar, we enjoyed three lovely sea days before arriving at the Azores.
The first day was a bit rocky. Denis wore his sea bands and was just fine. I love to be rocked to sleep, so I liked it. At dinner, you couldn’t even tell it was rough (no sloshing in the water glasses!); there are such good stabilizing systems on these cruise ships.
Because it was a bit rough, the pool and hot tubs were covered with netting.
The beautiful Azores! Instead of crossing these lovely islands off my bucket list, I’ve added “I want to go back!”
We wound up the hills to an overlook of the Furnas Valley.
Then we drove to the bottom of the valley, where we walked through a botanical garden and then went to a geothermal area, with bubbling pots and steaming hot springs.
Goodbye….. or should we say “until we return?!”
Six fantastic sea days. Wonderful to settle into shipboard life!
The first day, the captain announced we would be experiencing some ‘rocking and pitching’. Again, it was not bad (in my opinion), but they emptied the pools! Oh well, only a day, then we headed directly southwest, with the weather warming up day by day. The pools and hot tubs were refilled, and I’d love to do this again!
We enjoyed the entertainment in the evening, in the theater and movies-under-the-stars. Sometimes, we just relaxed in our stateroom too!
Our last day at sea, we decided to treat each other to a half day in this special place. So we were there, bright and early at 8 a.m. and enjoyed the chaise lounges, lemon water, sauna, hot tub, and pool until noon.
Our fourteen-day crossing came to an end in Fort Lauderdale, where we had the day to enjoy before flying to Orlando, getting our van, and driving home.
As always, we love our return home too!
And we had to get home by Thanksgiving, where we enjoyed family time with Denis’ cousins in Denver.