LISBON, PORTUGAL : 4th July

Another favourite city from 2015 Lisbon, we were really looking forward to the sail into our dock as the waterfront is fantastic, they have a bridge built by the same team whom built the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and also a replica on the hill beside it of Christ the redeemer in Brazil. Unfortunately just like many mornings in San Francisco the harbour was covered in fog and so was the bridge, and all the surrounding monuments. 

The Belem tower and monument to the explorers were also covered in white as were the surrounding city hills.

We had a full day private tour booked through Cruise critic and we now see the regular same folks on these day tours, and it was a happy 15 people whom were met by Susan and Nono our guide and driver for the day. 

To give you an idea how good the value is on these tours we all paid 59€ each plus another 17€ for entrance fees for a full 8 hour day trip in a Mercedes mini bus which also had quick free wifi and water bottles supplied when ever you needed them.
Our first stop was Sintra an incredible hillside town less than an hour from Lisbon. We had been before but only got to the official Palace in the historical part of the town so we’re thrilled that we were taken to Pena Palace right at the top of the mountain with its glorious colours of red and yellow. 

Red for the former monastery dating back to the 13-14th century and yellow for the addition to the monastery to complete the extremely quirky and unique fantasy building which makes up the Pena Palace.

The story of its building and life as a home is as good a soap opera as any on tv. 
It was a busy day there and the lines moved slowly through the Palace, which to be fair although warm in temperature gave you plenty of time to take it all in and in no way did we feel rushed in fact from being picked up at 9:30 and having 50 minute lunch break back down in the town of Sintra we didn’t leave there till 2 pm.

We then headed to the coastal towns of Caiscais and Estoril for a walking tour through Caiscais and back into Lisbon with a stop to the Monastery where we had also visited on our last trip to Lisbon, but again we had a happy surprise as Susan said we would only be visiting the church and not the cloisters where there was a massive queue. 
What was great was on our last visit we visited the cloisters and when we were due to go through the church they locked the doors as they held mass and we were unable to go in. 

It was then on to the centre of Lisbon city for another walking tour before heading back to the ship for 5:30 pm. 

An incredible day of sightseeing and again we were reminded of how much we want to come back and spend more time here in Portugal.

 We had a quick turn around and grabbed the ships shuttle service into the city with Paul and Michelle to meet Julie and Matt to have a drink in the city and our intention had been to have dinner in there as well. 

We ended up just having drinks and headed back to the ship for pizza onboard before sail away.
We were fortunate that the the mist lifted for our time back in the city and we experienced none at the town of Sintra. 

Tick off another great day. 

SEVILLE, SPAIN 3rd July

Did I mention we love Spain! Seville is another city we look forward to coming back to.We did the ships tour this time as it was the easiest way to get into the city from Cadiz. 

There are always good and bad when you take a large group tour and it’s frustrating when there is so much time wasted on toilet stops ( one was over 45 minutes as there were 7 buses there at same time) and long lunches when there are so many things to see and you know people are missing out on valuable visiting time. Still it was very warm and the sit down in the cool was welcome. 

We saw the same places we had been to in 2015 but we saw more of the gardens of the alcazar Palace this time which was great. 

great. 

great. 

We saw less this time of the Cathedral and didn’t get to climb the bell tower but still a nice visit and it’s always pleasant to stroll the alleyways of the Jewish quarter although it hasn’t really been a Jewish area since sometime in the 15 th century. 
After our lunch with a few glasses of wine, only doable as sitting in air conditioning it was off to our favourite place the plaza which was built for the 1929 exhibition, showcasing each of the regions of Spain. 

BARCELONA, SPAIN. 1st July

What can I say ” we love Barcelona” . This was our third trip here in 7 years and decided to use the hop on hop off buses again and we did both the green and red lines. This showed us a few places that we would like to visit next time we come and I’m sure we will definitely be back and hopefully for a month stay. These two routes took us all day as each was over two hours in length and we only hopped off to enjoy a nice pizza for lunch along with the requisite beer for James and a glass of red wine for me. 
Another stop for a coffee later to also hook onto some wifi meant it was close to 7 pm before we caught up with Paul and Michelle for a jug of Sangria and a few tapas plates before heading back to the ship.

We didn’t take a lot of photos to add to the hundreds we’ve already taken previously 

but really enjoyed seeing familiar places and even sat and had a drink at the same place we had sat with Melissa Porter in 2015 when she drove down to visit us before we took off on our tour of Spain, Portugal and Morocco.
Today marked the change over of Captaincy of our beautiful and friendly Sea Princess and we along with Paul and Michelle and many others will get a chance to meet him at several cocktail parties they invite the guests to.

The last captain was very good looking and we wonder how this new one will stack up in not only the looks department but personality.
Sail away was 11 pm and after four days in a row of shore stops it was no surprise that we along with only a small handful of people were on top deck to watch the ship slide out of her mooring at Barcelona and start the sail to our next stop Cadiz where we are expected to arrive on the 3rd of July. This is the port we will use to drive into Seville, another favourite of ours from our trip in 2015.

GENOA, ITALY 29th – 30th June

GENOA, ITALY 29th – 30th June: This was scheduled as a one day visit but due to bad seas expected on the way to our next scheduled stop of Monte Carlo the captain made the call to overnight in Genoa giving us from 7 am in the Thursday till 3:30 pm all on board the next day Friday the 30th.

They put on coach trips to Monte Carlo for the second day and a lot of the ship took advantage of this including Paul and Michelle. 

We have been before and used the second day to use the hop on hop off bus to go around twice through Genoa and only hopped off once for an hour and a half, giving us a nice quieter day with enjoyment of looking at all the beautiful buildings and squares the city has and wonderful churches , castles on the surrounding hillsides.
Having no rush to be back on that first day gave us the luxury of stress free time being a tourist. We travelled with 10 others on the train to Saint Margharite and bought ferry tickets for Portofino for 50 minutes later at 11:15 am. This gave us the opportunity sit on the waterfront with a coffee and relax. The ferry was a bonus as we had been told they weren’t expected to be running and all the ship tours were using buses, and they were cancelled for the return, we hadn’t bought a return ticket as our intention was to take the coastal walk back to St Margharite after spending time in Portofino.

What stunning little towns both these places are and certainly look forward to spending more time in this area in the future.
We ran into Michelle and Paul in Portofino and arranged to try and catch up in St Margharite if they could leave the tour there, which they were able to and we spent a few more hours there mooching around and soaking it all up before heading back to Genoa on the train.

We can see that Genoa area is a great jumping off port for lots of areas from there, including Monte Carlo, the coast, Turino, and Cinqe Terra.

Anyway back to Portofino and our coastal walk . It was a HIGHLIGHT of our trip, simply incredible to be walking the red carpet all the way from Portofino to St Margharite trees, birds, coastal views, palatial homes and hotels and several little beach areas on the way back made it a wonderful way to spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of some of the tourist areas.
We arrived back onboard just after 7 pm happy, and pleasantly tired and after eating in the dining room for the first time in nearly a week we were quite ready for bed by 9:30 pm.
Tick off another fantastic stay in port on our grand voyage around the world in 104 nights. 

Civitivecchia , Italy June 28th

Okay so off the ship and met our driver for the day Alberto. A day trip with only eight of us. James was the token born and bred Australian, I was the only Ausiwi and the rest Kiwis. Off to the town of Tuscania. 


Lots of medieval buildings, churches and the requisite cute alley ways. What was nice was to be able to peep over into their gardens and see all their vegetables growing etc. 

We had our first rain of the trip today so we’ve been incredibly lucky, and even today it hit hard and fast and over quickly. 

We spent a pleasant little stop drinking cappuccinos for 1€ ( my first coffee in a while) and this is the first trip I can say the coffee overseas has been mostly great. 


This is James, Maxilyn and Rob, as we finish our drinks before we went spying into the nunnery. 

We love visiting these old towns and this was so refreshing as we had it practically to ourselves, we did see a tour group coming in just as we were about to leave.

Next stop was to a bigger town with a great museum. And a great view out of the window.

Off to the tombs out of town and wow how cool were these! they were just awesome.

There were 22 open today so lots to walk down and see. 




While we were looking at these, two of the ladies wandered into the nearby village and found a lovely providore for us to have lunch at. We also had a wine and James and Duncan had a beer. The wine was delicious so we all bought a couple of bottles to bring back on. 

Next and final stop was to a castle on the coast, the wind was up so you could get the feel of how desolate it would have felt in the olden days living there. This castle had some great glass inlays over the original dirt floors showing graves buried underneath and some lovely costumes and armour from days of olde.

This day was a great alternative to going into Rome where we had been before and would rather go again when we have time to stay a while. The countryside is also a bonus when on these trips out of port.

VALETTA, MALTA: 26th June

Good grief just when you think you’ve seen all the wonderful ports or cities, you float into Valletta in Malta and the port area surrounds stuns you once again.

We were scheduled to arrive at midday but came in a little earlier just after 11am.

The We had another private tour booked and met our guide and driver and had a brilliant day touring.

Our first stop was the town area of Valletta and the Cathedral of Saint John. Wowsers everything gold was real gold leaf. It was incredible.



Then it was up to the gardens on top of the embankment overlooking the harbour below. ( picture above). Stunning views and a pretty respite from the city for the locals as well as tourists.

Next stop was the Blue Grotto with a boat ride to see the caves and a chance for James and I to have a quick dip.




Next stop after eating yet another ice cream ( a habit formed quickly here in Europe) was to the oldest known buildings in the world! Even older than the Pyramids.

Our guide was superb and really added to the day. 


Last stop was to the Mdina. Time for a quick walking tour and cold drink with something to eat. Food was delicious and fairly cheap. 


Too soon it was time to head back to the ship. We did head back into Valletta but didn’t stay in for dinner. We were pooped. We had a meal at the horizon court and went to the show featuring local folklore singers and a dancer which was tops. The dancer was a style of flamenco, belly dancing and tango all in one.

Next it was time to head up for sail away and wave Malta goodbye and of course to celebrate the Kiwis winning the Americas Cup. 

Another outstanding day. 

Koper and Piran, Slovenia Saturday 24th June



Its hard to beat a port stop like Venice but Slovenia has its own charm, full of green hills terraced for grapes and olive trees and although a small coast line it has several beach holiday towns.

We took a ship tour to Piran a medieval town which was as charming as its sea side setting. 

This location gave it a universal appeal for most tourists as it had history a lovely marina and quaint laneways with shops, ice creameries, bars and restaurants and local homes. 

We had a walking tour through the square and up to the church and monastery and then free time which gave us the opportunity to swim in the sea, eat ice cream and for James to buy New sunglasses. 

The tour also drove through several of the other sea side towns and a look at the salt fields where in days gone by families of up to ten shared homes with perhaps five other families also with up to ten members all summer to skim the salt off the fields as the water subsided. The salt was scooped up and without filtering or washing bagged and off to market it went.

The town of Koper where the ship was docked, also had an old town and a small area flagged off for swimming. It was a Saturday and as the temperatures were high it was as busy as you would expect. Sand isn’t really a thing so people were camped out on the grass with little shade. 

Slovenia is extremely close to the Italian border and people here speak both languages plus learn English. 

It is also easily within sight of Croatia and at least people could say that although they didn’t get there they did see a small stretch of its boundary.

Venice, Italy Wednesday 21st till Friday 23rd June


What a magnificent way to arrive in Venice. On board our floating home, we sailed into late afternoon on the Wednesday afternoon a day ahead of our scheduled arrival. Unfortunately a medical emergency evacuation off the coast of Corfu meant our Croatian stop was cancelled, but the two full days and three evenings in Venice took the sting out of the disappointment. And boy did we make the most of that time.

Along with Michelle, Paul, Julie and Matt we took the free water shuttle offered by the ship for that first evening into Venice. We had a curfew of 1 am for last shuttle back and I think we were close to that time.

How wonderful to see the looks and get caught up in the excitement of four friends seeing Venice for the first time. The girls had trouble keeping their heads out of the shop windows as we travelled down alleyways soaking up the atmosphere that is Venice. It was a hot and satisfied group whom sat down for a few drinks in a lovely court yard just off the Rialto bridge. 

Happy and tired we made our way back home after five incredible hours. 
Thursday Paul and Michelle had a ship tour booked and we took our two day water bus pass and went to Burano. We had been there before but with not a lot of time to really explore. We sat for a pizza lunch and started chatting with the young couple seated next to us. Julian and Paula were from Germany and he was turning 18 in a weeks time. We spent a lovely hour with them, Julian gave James his card for when we go to Germany as they live near the best Riesling vineyards he said.

  We made our way back to the ship had a shower and change of clothes and met the others and we went off back in for dinner on the waterfront and some more exploring of the area to the right of St Marks square. Another great night. 

The last day we used our pass to travel around the local waterways traversing the whole Island. Took a side trip to Lido and found the beach, not clean like our waters and we wouldn’t swim there, but interesting to see how other countries enjoy their downtime. Also took a few walks around different neighbourhoods, getting a different perspective.

Had a lovely break in a park, got to video message mate Cathryn. Enjoying ice cream and beers. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Venice and be more than happy to go back again.

Santorini Monday 19th June

It was an early wake up as we came up to top of ship to watch our entrance into Santorini and watch the sunrise over her cliffs. The picture above is our home “The beautiful and friendly Sea Princess” at anchor for our incredible day at our first port in the Mediterranean. 

Excitement mounted and there were a lot of extremely happy travellers disembarking for all their tours or just walking around soaking it up.

We had a private tour booked and joined our fellow tourists for a day that had us covering a lot of ground. We took in both the red and black beaches, a monastery, archaeological ruins, Oia and the town above where the ship anchored, this meant a ride to the top to join our guides, either by donkey, walking or cable car. Time was short so we took the cable car which afforded beautiful vistas all the way up. 

It was a photo fest day as we clicked away but still made sure to put them away and soak it all up. 

Relaxing with a pizza and beer overlooking the harbour at the close of our day with dreams of returning another time.

Before we knew it the day was over and we headed back to the ship for our sail away.

The Suez Canal Saturday June 17 th 

I guess we’ve all heard of the Suez Canal and it didn’t disappoint, travelling through starting at 4 am in the morning we were the lead ship of a convoy of 28 ships going through that day. 

You are of course travelling through Egypt the whole way and there was indeed a lot of dessert to see particularly on our starboard side. 

There was also a lot of towns and farms along the waterfront as well. Mansions to shanty’s. 

Every now and then on the side were platforms piled up, waiting to be put together like a jigsaw to make a floating bridge for military traffic or I guess emergency evacuation if or when needed.

Starting so early and with no problems we came through the canal and into the Mediterranean at 2 pm. 

It was an exciting day and we spent the day going from side to side and front to back, with wonderful cooling swims in the pool. 

Another box ticked and a lot of happy travellers.