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.

Petra. From Aqaba, Jordan: Thursday June 15th 2017

We arrived into Petra early in the morning on Thursday 15 th June 2017.

We met up with our tour group which was a private tour we had booked through cruise critic. There were 12 in our mini bus and as soon as you like we were off for the two hour trip to Petra. We drove through the town of Aqaba, the port town which was fairly quiet due to Ramadan. Our guide Moses whom is Greek Orthodox explained all about the history of Jordan, the royal family and the tensions in the surrounding countries; which when you look on the map you can see Jordan shares borders with Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Syria. 

What can you say about Petra!! 

Photos do not do it justice at all.

It is simply incredible and to think they believe 85% is still to be unearthed is mind blowing. I think with the state of uncertainty in the surrounding countries at the moment it is probably best left uncovered for now.

To do it justice you really have to stay in the local area and visit over a couple of days. 

We didn’t race to the monastery as it would have been at full pelt and in the heat we decided to keep this visit to the Treasury, the Royal tombs, the amphitheater and the temple. This allowed us time to really appreciate these sites and still give us something keep on the list for next time. 

The visit to the site of Petra ended with a meal at a local restaurant which was tasty and welcome by 2:30 in the afternoon. 

The countryside was just as much a surprise, as we were all delighted to see many Bedouin tribesmen and their families living in goatskin tents tending their herds of goats and camels.

Others on the ship went to Wadi Rum and others went to a local hotel resort to swim in the Red Sea.

Before knew it it was time for sail away and our next adventure sailing through the Suez Canal.

From Fremantle, Colombo,Dubai

We have experienced the longest stretch of sea days on the cruise from Fremantle to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The days have easily been filled with lots of relaxation and plenty of entertainment on board. Our nightly dinner companions are Paul and Michelle and occasionally Rudi turns up. Rudi is an older gentleman hailing originally from Austria but calls Christchurch home. Apparently he has a girlfriend getting on at Dubai, but he’s still not 100% she’s coming. We call him Rudi, international man of mystery. When he isn’t having dinner with us he says he’s “floating”. We see him with a few different ladies on board and we make up different background stories about him.

The crossing has been quite rough and I’ve suffered a little from motion sickness along with others, but when I get on top of it with different meds it’s fine and now in the Arabian Sea getting close to Dubai it’s as calm as. 

On our day in Colombo  we went on a city highlight tour with the ship, this was a real hoot. As with a lot of developing countries, the city of Colombo was hit and miss with its highlight package. The museum we would describe as a school project at best, seen there, a worker pushing two exposed wires with no earth into a power socket to make a machine work!! This was almost as Shocking as the bus we were on driving into some power lines and having loose wires visible along the sides of the bus!!! One of the bus staff jumped onto the top of the bus seats, pushed a hatch open, jumped through and dislodged the wires from the bus. The thought did cross our minds that we were in danger of being electrocuted on our first overseas port of call.

As we approach Dubai and then from there head through the Suez Canal we are now on Pirate watch. No passengers or crew members to be out on open deck from sunset to sunrise for the next eleven days, also those with balcony or window cabins to keep their curtains closed during those hours. The crew have all the security measures in place. It’s made it interesting to look out at sea to see if any little boats approach near by. We did see the new Magestic passing by on its way to India. 

Temperatures are rising!! 35 today and an expected 45 for our day in Dubai tomorrow. Wowsers. The most interesting fact we have found is the temperatures of the oceans. We had no idea that they would be so warm. We have had sea temperatures of 28- 32 degrees often a couple of degrees warmer than the air temperature.

The high light for James today was performing with his fellow group of ukulele students. The vista lounge was packed with family and friends coming to support the two groups of ukele players and the princess pop choir. ​


Biggest in the world seems to be the theme here. And as impressive as it may be’ it feels like a movie set and lacking character until you arrive in the old part of Dubai.

We had a fantastic private tour only 6 of us, which gave us the opportunity to cover a lot of ground. 

It’s hot and steamy and the first time I think most of the husbands were happy to go to a shopping mall. Ahhh the air conditioning was a welcome respite. 

It’s Ramadan here, again James and I have managed to arrive in A Moslem country when it’s been the holy month of Ramadan. You have to feel for the people not eating but, more distressing not drinking even water during sunrise to sunset. 

It’s our 7th anniversary today and it’s nice to have been ashore in a new place to remember it by.

Next stop Aqaba and Petra.

We may not have internet for a while so will post a little something when we next can.