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Journal Entries for 2012-03 Mediterranean Cruise
OVERALL SUMMARY for Mar 11th to May 13th: We flew from SNA to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Mar 11th and spent the night. The next day we boarded the MS Prinsendam, an 800+ passenger Holland-America Line cruise ship, for a 62-day Grand Mediterranean & Black Sea voyage. We spent eight days at sea before arriving in the first of 29 (we missed two of the ports in our itinerary) ports in 13 countries with 39 days in port. After our last port, we spent six days at sea before arriving back at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We traveled 15,000 nautical miles.

This was quite an adventure. We saw so much, so quickly. We had some awesome experiences, some good (like riding camels and donkeys), some, well, interesting (like the squat toilets).

We spent the first eight days at sea. We spent this time getting to know our way around the ship, take in some shows and adjust to the time changes. We also circled an abandoned sailboat and made an emergency medical run to Bermuda (Journals #2-3). Our first port was Funchal on the island of Madeira, part of Portugal (Journals #4-#5). As we left Madeira, we were involved in a real life adventure -- a rescue at sea (Journal #6), involving a helicopter and everything!!

Gale force winds prevented us from calling in at Portimao, Portugal, so we went on to Cadiz, Spain (Journals #7-#12). After a couple days there, we sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar to Melilla, Spanish Morocco (Journals #13-#14). This was a really interesting town. Then we went north, across the Mediterranean, to Cartagena, Spain (Journals #15-#20).

Next we visited the very interesting country of Tunisia. We stopped in Sousse (Journals #21-#25) and Gabes (Journals #26-#28). The city/country itself was pretty yucky and dirty, but the people were nice. We rode camels and some amazing sights (the first of many squat toilets)!!

Malta wasn't on our bucket list, but it should have been. We stopped in Valletta, Malta (Journals #29-#33) and Mgarr (Gozo), Malta (Journals #34-#39). Then we went to Asia, or rather Kusadasi, Turkey (Journals #40-#53) and then Istanbul, Turkey (Europe & Asia) (Journals #54-#64).

Then we went further north, into the Black Sea. We were really looking forward to visiting Romania (Journals #65-#67) and the Ukraine (Journals #68-#69). Then we turned around and started the trip home. We went back through the Bosporus Strait, passing Istanbul, into the Sea of Marmara and through the Dardanelles (Journal #70).

Greece was our next port-of-call. We spent two days in Athens (Journals #71-#79), where we finally got to see the Parthenon and Porch of Maidens. We spent one day in Santorini (Journals #80-#82) (I rode a donkey down the long, steep hill) and one day in Argostoli (Journals #83-#84).

We spent a day in Durres, Albania (Journals #85-#87) and Korcula, Croatia (Journal #88).

Then we had five days in Italy. Our two days in Venice (Journals #89-#93) was hardly enough to see everything and then we went to Taormina (Sicily) (Journals #94-#96), Naples (Pompeii) (Journals #97-#99) and Civitavecchia (Rome) (Journals #100-#105) for a day each.

We were scheduled for two ports in France and we spent one day in St. Raphael (Journal #106), but there were gale force winds that closed the harbor in Sete, France, so we continued on to Barcelona.

We had another five days in Spain. We spent three days in Barcelona (Journals #107-#110), one day in Castellon (Journals #111-#113) and one day in Malaga (Journals #114-#115). We were really been looking forward to Tangier, Morocco (Journals #116-#117). We got to ride camels again!!

Then we finally got back to mainland Portugal (after missing our Portimao port) for two days in Lisbon (Journals #118-#122). And, last but not least, we spent two day in the Azores, one day in Ponta Delgada (Journals #123-#124) and one day in Horta (Journals #125-#128).

Would you believe that on the way home, we came across the same drifting sailboat, the Triple Stars, that we saw on the way over to Europe?? It was 125 miles from where we saw it on the way over (Journal #129). Then we finally got back to the good old USA, Ft. Lauderdale. We flew home on May 13th.

0001-Map of Mediterranean Cruise.jpg

0024-Abandoned sailboat, Mar 14.jpg

0312-Fisherman being airlifted, Mar 22.jpg

1295-C&N on camels, Douz, Tunisia.jpg

1329-WC at local market, Kebili, Tunisia.jpg

3251-C&N at Porch of Maidens, Erectheion, Acropolis, Athens.jpg
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