Published: November 27th 2011October 4th 2011
We left the UK for Rome on Sept 20th treating ourselves to a 13 night cruise before heading out to the Far East.
Our first port of call was Chania, Crete (one of the many Greek Islands we have yet to visit). Whilst it had a picturesque harbour, the main thing we will remember it for is the flash flooding!
We were much luckier on arriving at Rhodes – lots of blue skies and a perfect temperature in the late 20’s. As we had been here before we just ambled around the old town before heading off to the nearest beach for a cold drink and quick dip.
Next stop was Kusadasi, Turkey. We were here earlier in the year visiting the ancient city of Ephesus, so this time we just had a relaxing time exploring the harbour front area.
The main reason for the cruise was to visit Jerusalem & Bethlehem. (We tried visiting on a previous visit some years ago which was aborted arising from security concerns due to the beginning of the Iraq war). This really was the highlight for us – managing to visit the Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Nativity, The
A view of our cruise ship from the beach in Kusadasi.
Wailing Wall, the Via Dolorosa & The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. A memorable experience. A second stop in Israel was Haifa, where trips to the Sea of Galilee were the main draw.
Having not been to Athens before we were really looking forward to seeing the iconic Parthenon, but quite frankly we were very underwhelmed – it’s so small! And hideously overcrowded, people were literally pushing and shoving each other out the way to get to see the sites. The ancient ruins in Turkey are much better in our opinion.
Our final ports of call were Palermo, Sicily and Naples. We really enjoyed visiting the expansive underground tunnel network in Naples, the local guide explaining about their history which we found fascinating.
It wasn’t all sightseeing as we spent a lot of time on board the ship relaxing and enjoying the facilities with our friends James and Gordon.
This being such a long cruise we were determined to not gain too much weight so went to the gym everyday; not an easy task but we felt much better for it. (Yes – you read it correctly: Andrew not only went to the gym but he
Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
One of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world.
used the machines with vigour!)
David with his competitive streak also managed to win a silver medal in the on-board crazy golf competition, but was gutted when we failed to show our appreciation for his efforts!
Amongst the crew that looked after us we had a great Italian waiter, Youlian, who always entertained us with his cheeky ways. His favourite trick which kept him laughing for days was a ‘fake’ cappuccino that he spilt over Andrew; in fact it was a napkin covered in cocoa powder in a cup to make it look real (and it did!).
In another incident there was a medical emergency announced during a dinner and when we asked what had happened he replied that “it was probably an old lady who had died and her face fell in the soufflé. Anyone for more bread?” (actually she was fine). We will miss him….
There are more photos below