Cruise #7 : 6/21/04 -
|12 Days Grand Mediterranean ( Venice to Barcelona ) on Star Princess.
Cruise Monday, June 21, 2004 through Saturday July 3, 2004
Saturday 6/19 Fly to Venice
Sunday 6/20 Jet lag day, some minor touring.
Monday 6/21 Board ship
1 Monday June 21 Venice, Italy Stay overnight)
2 Tuesday June 22 Venice, Italy 6:00 PM (Depart)
3 Wednesday June 23 At Sea
4 Thursday June 24 At Sea
5 Friday June 25 Kusadasi (for Ephesus), Turkey 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
6 Saturday June 26 Athens (Piraeus), Greece 6:00 AM 5:45 PM
7 Sunday June 27 At Sea
8 Monday June 28 Naples/Capri, Italy 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
9 Tuesday June 29 Rome, Italy 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
10 Wednesday June 30 Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
11 Thursday July 1 Monte Carlo, Monaco 7:00 AM 6:00 PM
12 Friday July 2 Barcelona, Spain 12:00 PM (Arrive) Stay overnight)
13 Saturday July 3 Barcelona, Spain 6:00 AM
Saturday 7/3 Disembark ship 8:15 AM. Spend day in
7/4 Sunday Fly home.
|21 Jun 2004
|Well off to a tough start. The airline lost our
luggage! KLM says they will deliver it today. Actually about 15
on our flight were in the same boat. Rainy and cold on Sunday, some
thunder, and us in sandals and no coats! But still we braved the train
system and Grand Canal boats to get to San Marco and wander around.
That was great fun. Went to hotel restaurant looking for fancy dinner
(Lou in shorts!) and ended up being served set dinner for old folks on tour!
Still tasty, but hard to explain why we needed a bill at the end of the
meal. Cross your fingers for us that the luggage arrives b4 we
checkout at noon!
|22 Jun 2004
|Things are looking up!
Our luggage arrived on
Monday 10 minutes before
we left the hotel for the ship.
All 4 suitcases thank God.
Got to the ship okay and then wandered into Venice for the afternoon.
We walked from San Marco to Rialto and back, and Karen bought some stuff.
Went back to the ship for dinner and did not really like our dinner
Today was fantastic. Awoke to the gentle knock of room service
delivering coffee. Rushed off to a morning walking tour of San Marco,
Doges Palace, St Mark's Basilica, and a glass factory where Lou fell in love
with some Venetian Red stuff, which will arrive via UPS in 4 weeks.
Terrible rush trying to get back to the ship for our second excursion.
Ended up grabbing granola bars and banana and peanuts (leftover snacks for
plane trip) and scarfing them as lunch while waiting in lounge to go on next
Spent the afternoon on a narrated walking tour of hidden
areas, university, etc. Really fun.
Feets hurt! Went in
Jacuzzi, ate in buffet restaurant to avoid dinner
companions, ready for bed...
On that first tour, the tour guide got embroiled in several ongoing
arguments with other tour guides over territory and speed and not standing
too close to each other while speaking.
They were practically shouting in Italian. It was fun.
The Doges Palace was filled with gold and paintings and was very impressive.
It burned down in whole or part 3 times. They just kept rebuilding,
and now there are fire extinguishers etc all about. The thing is,
since venice is built on mud islands, they have to make the buildings light
-- and that means at least some wood.
We heard all about the process of driving wood pilings into the clay where
they petrify and are the base under the rock foundations.
We heard a
lot about the system of government -- various councils that elect and
control the Doge (Duke). Plus the violent history of venice.
We did not see the wall of gold in the church. It was beautiful
though. No picture taking, unfortunately,
|23 Jun 2004
|Relaxing day today. Spent most of the day in the shade by the pool.
Ate too much. Saw a funny comedian tonight. It's almost 1:00 AM
now and we're headed to the night club.
Another day at sea tomorrow, then we are in Turkey.
Say hi to the puppies for us. We had pizza today, and Lou was saving
his crusts for Molly and Sam... :^)
|26 Jun 2004
|Yesterday, we were in Turkey and saw St. John's Basilica,
the Virgin Mary's house, and then we walked thru the ancient town of
Ephesus. Our guide was Nil. Ephesus was over 2 thousand years
old. We saw the library (which Mark Anthony emptied of books -- he
gave them to Cleopatra!), we saw homes, a huge stadium, a
shopping plaza, etc
The brothel was across the street from the library, so a guy could say to
his wife, "Honey, I'm going to the library..."
Today we were in Athens! Talk about OLD. We saw the Acropolis,
Parthenon, Athena's Temple, Agora, and Plaka (modern shopping plaza).
Near the end, when we were dead beat, the guide gave us 25 minutes to either
collapse in the shade or climb a hill to get a better look at Vulcan's
Temple. Guess which option we took? Thank you, YMCA, we went up
the hill. Vulcan was the blacksmith of the gods. His temple is
the best preserved. All the columns are still standing, as are the
exterior and interior walls. The roof is partly gone. It was
built 500 BC, which is mind boggling.
After all that work, I sure deserve dessert, so that's where we are headed
Hope all is well at home.
|28 Jun 2004
||Today we were in Napoli.
(Naples) We went on a 10 hour tour to Pompeii, Sorrento, and the island of
Capri. We were a bit disappointed with the whole morning (Capri and
Sorrento) because there was too much travelling and shopping and not
enough actual sightseeing.
Capri is really lovely, with the cliffs you see in The Guns Of Navarone.
Pompeii was phenomenal. 2000 year old city,
preserved by the 20 feet of volcanic ash from a surprise eruption of Mt
Vesuvius. We saw the remains (walls) of homes, a brothel again, a main
square, and some great roads. Lou was really surprised to see the "bodies"
-- well, plaster casts of actual bodies.
|29 Jun 2004
|Today we were in Rome. Loved every minute of it and
want to come back.
We started at the Coliseum, which has only 30% of the building remaining
because the rest was plundered as raw materials for like the St Peter's
Square in Vatican City! Luckily, somewhere along the line, a Pope
decided that because a bunch of Christians were eaten at the Coliseum, that
it was a sacred place and ought not to be dismantled further!
Then we went to Vatican City and toured St Peter's
Basilica while a Cardinal
said Mass, because today was the Feast of St Peter and St Paul. We saw
a statue of St Peter dressed in red and gold robes like a Pope, and they
said the statue only comes out once a year, for this feast. I got
really choked up in the Basilica and felt very Catholic.
Lou bought me a medal blessed by the Pope. Of course, then he had to
make a bunch of snide anti-religion comments. It was fun.
Our guide today was brilliant, and we both enjoyed everything he talked
about. We were on a much smaller personal tour.
We saw a whole list of amazing sites, like an arch for Titus, a mausoleum
for Hadrian, the first Jewish Synagogue in Rome, et cetera. We'll have
to consult the tour description to remember what else we saw. That is
We ended the day at the Capitolone Museum, which houses a huge collection of
ancient statues, mosaics, and chunks of buildings. Our guide dragged
us thru there for an hour and a half, and the time just flew.
We also visited the Trevi Fountain, where you throw a coin in to insure that
you come back to Rome someday. We were not going to do it, till the
guide explained that the money goes to the Red Cross.
There was a lot of talk about pickpockets everywhere, especially at the
Vatican! "Not everyone is here to pray," said Hugo, our guide.
|30 Jun 2004
|Florence. Leaning tower of Pisa really is leaning.
Long bus ride into Florence (Firenze) where we saw two copies of
Michaerlangelo's David. Lots of expensive designer stores -- Florence
is for the rich. Got Patsy a present!
26 US universities send students here to study art, including Harvard.
We walked all over town looking at churches, towers, statues, domes...
and watching out for maniacs on scooters who will run you down.
Had a tasty lunch in a very posh hotel. Never saw so much marble in a
Spent the afternoon in the Uffizi Museum, which houses the art collection of
the Medici family. The paintings were sort of muted and dark but our
guide explained a lot about techniques and the development of the various
We climbed four long flights of stairs, while the other 3/4 of the tour
waited for the elevator! No treadmill needed tonight.
Tomorrow Monte Carlo, where the cruise director assures us we will feel
Hope all is well with you and the puppies.
|01 Jul 2004
|Just had a wonderful dinner with 3 other couples, one a set
of honeymooners. It was a hoot.
We forgot to mention Camp Darby, outside Florence. It's a US military
base housing 4000 US Servicemen, and it is supposed to become a NATO base.
Or it already is a NATO base. The tour guide was not that easy to
Monaco is 1/3 the size of Central Park in New York! We went on a
walking tour thru the old section (13th century buildings). We had an
audio tour of the Palace, which was very cool. The furniture and
artwork was very impressive. Lots about Princess Grace -- plus we saw
her tomb in the Catholic Church there.
We wanted to see the changing of the guard, but even though we were there 30
minutes early, we didn't get such a good spot. We were first against
the chain, but sort of further down the line so it made the actual changing
of the guard hard to see. I ended up giving my spot to these 4 tiny
ladies, like 4 foot tall, who were ooooh and ahhhing behind me. They
were Italian and very excited.
Monaco is stinking rich and bizarre. In the 12th century, this rich
family, the Grimaldis, BOUGHT a prince title and got the "principality" of
Monaco created for them. It was sort of pathetic. They weren't
even like really royal or anything, just made a good investment. So
why should we care? Compare that to Rome -- which changed the world!
So Monaco was sort of a lame port. We did enjoy ourselves and I guess
we are just being very American.
Foreigners are welcome to live here, but you must have an annual income of 4
million euro to become citizens. The up side is that there is no
taxes. That would be pretty attractive if you were stinking rich.
We are getting sad because the end of the cruise is close at hand.
|02 Jul 2004
||We had a 4 hour walking tour of Barcelona today. We
saw the Gothic quarter of the town, including a big church. The church
has an old crucifix where the Jesus is sort of hanging off the the side.
The first explanation was that the wood warped, but the second explanation
was that Jesus was dodging a bullet during a war!
Karen was totally pooped and uninspired. Just heard too much
historical stuff to care at all.
The bus took us up a big hill overlooking
the city. It was pretty.
The 1992 Olympics were in Barcelona, so we saw some venues for that.
We will be going out tomorrow night for Lou's favorite -- paella -- at
a restaurant our guide today recommended.
We are sad because we have to leave, but also really looking forward to
from: Lou and Karen, signing off from The Star Princess!