|Date:||Port:||Flag:||Tour escort:||Comment:||24/09/2010||Valetta, Malta||EasyJet flight from Gatwick|
|28/09/2010||Nessebar, Bulgaria||Scenic & Folklore||Charming town & dancing|
|30/09/2010||Yalta, Ukraine||Romanov's holidays||Austere palace & more dancing!|
|01/10/2010||Sevastopol, Ukraine||Highlights||Spectacular Crimean panorama!|
|02/10/2010||Istanbul, Turkey||Classical||Blue mosque & Hagia Sophia|
|04/10/2010||Canakkale, Turkey||Troy & Assos||Disappointing Troy but beautiful Assos!|
|06/10/2010||Heraklion, Crete||As good as Charnia|
|09/10/2010||Palma de Mallorca||Hot!|
|11/10/2010||Gibraltar||Panoramic & Flamenco||Yet more dancing!|
|15/10/2010||Southampton, UK||Home by 9:00 am!|
This was another cruise that started badly but ended well. Two days before being due to sail from Southampton I was struck down with a painful virus and had to cancel. However the following week Fred. Olsen wanted to fly me out to Malta! After 2 hours stuck on the runway at Gatwick waiting for the French air traffic controllers' strike to end, I had an easy flight out with EasyJet. A limo whisked me to the ship where I was eagerly greeted. In Piraeus I walked into town in both the morning and afternoon to take pictures for a future port talk. Nessebar in Bulgaria was a charming ancient town full of Orthodox churches in various states of disrepair. The scenic tour ended with a wine, cheese and salami salad whilst watching (and joining in) some folk dancing which (not surprisingly) was halfway bewteen Greek and Cossack dancing. Again in Odessa I walked into the impressive town in both the morning and afternoon to take pictures for a future port talk. In the morning I climbed the famous "Battleship Potemkin" steps but in the afternoon I opted for the free funicular railway! In Yalta we glimpsed the famous Swallow's Nest Castle before visiting the austere palace where Stalin met Roosevelt and Churchill. We were refreshed with Russian tea and cakes whilst watching (and joining in) more folk dancing. In Sevastopol we were all blown away by the spectacular panorama of the Crimean war. The Classical tour in Istanbul included the Hippodrome, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. I spent the second day there taking photographs for a future port talk. In Canakkale the all day tour was great but Troy was disappointing. Assos on the other hand had magnificent ruins on a fantastic site. The barbequed meat ball lunch on the sea's edge overlooking Lesbos was lovely. No tours in Heraklion on Crete and Palma on Mallorca so more photography. The tour in Gibraltar had only one sightseeing stop at Europa Point which was being re-developed. The border crossing into Spain was tedious both ways but worth it for the Flamenco show with extensive tapas and sangria. The sailaway from Gib involved more sangria too! I was off the ship in Southampton by 7:45 am and home by 9:00 am!
For the record ...