Recommended Reads has been on hiatus for about five weeks, with the exception of one week in the middle of October. This is a just-for-fun post with an overview of our adventures.
Dave and I left on 30 September for two back-to-back cruises and a few land days in between.
Can you guess where we spent the first two days of our vacation?
The church and bridge to the right are clues and this photo was taken from an open area of a well-known museum.
From here, we flew to a second famous city to board the Pacific Princess. This one is super easy to figure out:
We sailed away to our first port of call, but I took no photos, due to the horrible cold and driving rain. I am very glad I had already been to Dubrovnik, Croatia because it really is a beautiful city. However, given the weather, I chose to stay on board the ship that day.
These next two port stops are not well-known:
Google might help if you can read the words either on the menu behind the people or on the blue museum banner in the background. I don’t think there are any really famous, easily identifiable landmarks here.
Stop #4 might be only a tad easier to identify. This beach is rated as one of the most beautiful in the world:
Only a short sail away, this city was a gorgeous mix of ancient and modern construction. We had never visited this island nation before, but would like to return. It has been an important strategic site throughout Mediterranean history:
If you listened to DearMyrtle’s Monday morning hangout on 17 October 2016, you heard Randy Seaver mention that he was trying to locate family records in this small town. If you missed the hangout, it is highly unlikely that you would ever guess this place:
We made one more port stop at which we didn’t get totally rained out. This is a quintessential village, known for being a summer playground of the rich and famous. The season was over and the only people we saw were tourists mixed with very few locals.
This became a true turning point in our cruise for more than one reason. It was all downhill after we left. The weather turned quite nasty, with wind and rough seas as we headed to France.
Nice was next on our port list and we were due to dock by 7:00 a.m. The entrance to the Nice harbor is actually quite small, even for ships the size of the Pacific Princess, which only carries a max of 690 passengers, plus crew members.
Yes, the entrance is really as tight as it looks! That day, the seas were still very rough in the early morning and we had gusty winds and driving rain that sometimes came down horizontally. There was also quite a bit of thunder and lightning.
At 6:30 that morning, the Pacific Princess entered the breakwaters of the harbor and hit the rocks around the lighthouse, seen on the right. I’ve since been told that that harbor pilot had no tug guiding in the ship, but we needed one to push the ship loose from the those rocks.
That morning, the captain came on the P.A. system and announced that we had not one, but two holes in the side of the ship below the water line, due to the unfortunate encounter with the rocks.
If you are thinking “Titanic,” yep – except that the modern safety compartments on the ship contained enough water so that there was no danger of us sinking, but the flooding did destroy the ship’s toilet evac system. Yep, no toilets. We were in port, though, and had access to toilets.
Scheduled tours went on and passengers were free to sightsee in Nice if they wanted to return to the ship looking like drowned rats. About 3 that afternoon, a new announcement was made, letting us know that due to damage and no toilets, the cruise was ending in Nice. Princess put everyone up in hotels for that night and then arranged for bus or air transportation to Barcelona or elsewhere for all passengers. They also offered way more than fair compensation for the abrupt end to the cruise, but Barcelona was the end point anyway, so we visited every place on the itinerary.
So, have you figured out where in the world I was?
- Kotor, Montenegro
- Mirtos Beach, Cephalonia (a Greek island)
- Valletta, Malta
- Lucca, Italy
- Portofino, Italy
That wasn’t the end of our vacation, but it was the end of the drama. Instead of flying all the way back to Tucson from Barcelona, Spain, we flew to Rome and took a Celebrity re-positioning cruise to Miami and then went on to Tucson from there.
Recommended Reads is now back on its regular schedule. 🙂