Citadel of Mont-Louis, France

Archaeological Area of Herculaneum, Italy

Historic Center of Berat, Albania

  An epic voyage across the Mediterranean and the Black Seas, this was a trip I've been wanting to do for a long time. Starting in Barcelona, Spain, (which I hadn't visited in 40 years[!]), I gave myself a couple of days there including a day trip to tiny Andorra in the Pyrennes Mountains. The four week cruise was on Holland America's M/S Prinsendam, the oldest and smallest of their ships. I like the ship, having sailed on her once before. With only 835 passengers, life on board is calm and laid back; but I found the food to be distinctly diminished in quality and variety.

  The cruise included port calls at a very interesting assortment of destinations in nine different countries—something for everyone. We were prevented from a stop on the island of Sardinia by weather and so had an additional day in Civitavecchia, Italy, which was great if one wanted to go into Rome...which I didn't because I found a really good restaurant in Civitavecchia and spent my time gorging on great Italian food. Rather than re-visiting nearby sites, I spent my days in Katakolon (Olympia), Piraeus (Athens), Thessaloniki, and Patmos, Greece, wandering aimlessly around the port cities and enjoying the atmosphere of those places; likewise in Kusadasi (Ephesus) and Trabzon, Turkey. Ship excursions took me to Greek and Roman ruins in Georgia and Romania, and an independent excursion in Istanbul had me shuttling by taxi between various old Greek Orthodox churches. In Sochi, Russia, I stayed on board because my ship excursion had been cancelled and Russia otherwise wouldn't let people off the ship without a visa: afraid they might stay??  

  The highlight of the cruise was our stop in Canakkale, Turkey; while most people went off to see the ruins of Troy, I did an excursion to Gallipoli, the site of a disasterous World War I battle. The Gallipoli Campaign is not well known in the U.S., but it was a defining event for Australia and New Zealand as their first major military action as independent dominions.

  All in all, this was a relaxing and enjoyable cruise to a multitude of new ports for me.

24 Sep     Pittsburgh  PIT — Chicago  ORD — Istanbul  IST

25 Sep     Istanbul  IST — Barcelona  BCN

26 Sep     Barcelona – Gaudi Tour

27 Sep     Andorra

28 Sep   Barcelona – Embark M/S Prinsendam

29 Sep     Toulon, France

30 Sep     Calvi, Corsica

1 Oct     Civitavecchia, Italy

2 Oct     Civitavecchia, Italy

3 Oct     Naples, Italy – Herculaneum

4 Oct     Day at Sea

5 Oct     Durres, Albania – Berat

6 Oct     Igoumenitsa, Greece – Nikopolis

7 Oct     Itea, Greece – Ossios Loucas Monastery

8 Oct     Katakolon, Greece

9 Oct     At Sea

10 Oct     Kusadasi, Turkey

11 Oct     Patmos, Greece

12 Oct     Piraeus, Greece

13 Oct     Thessaloniki, Greece

14 Oct     Canakkale, Turkey – Gallipoli

15 Oct     Cruising the Dardanelles & Bosporus

16 Oct     Sinop, Turkey

17 Oct     Trabzon, Turkey

18 Oct     Batumi, Georgia – Gonio Fortress

19 Oct     Sochi, Russia

20 Oct     At Sea

21 Oct     Constanta, Romania – Histria

22 Oct     Varna, Bulgaria

23 Oct     Istanbul, Turkey

24 Oct     Istanbul, Turkey

25 Oct     Kusadasi, Turkey – Miletus

26 Oct     Piraeus, Greece

26 Oct     Athens, Greece  ATH — Istanbul   IST — Washington Dulles  IAD — Pittsburgh  PIT

Antonio Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia and Parque Guell, Barcelona, Spain


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Monastery of Hosios Loukas, Distomo, Greece