April 15, 2017
We arrived in Civitavecchia at about 5 am. We had our last breakfast in the Lido and got ready to leave.
Disembarking from the ship was very easy. Our group was called at about 8 am, we gathered our luggage from the holding area and we were off. It was Easter weekend and the cruise port was hopping! Get it?! Civitavecchia is about 60-90 minutes from the center of Rome and it is a no-frills kind of port. There is nowhere to sit and wait, or have a coffee. Fortunately our driver from Rome Cabs was early so we didn't have to wait too long.
We have used Rome Cabs for transfers every time we have visited Rome (to the airport or cruise port) and they always provide professional, excellent service - always on time or early.
We arrived at our hotel by 10 am and were able to get our room right away. Our hotel was booked through the cruise package we purchased. We stayed at Hotel Relais di Papi. It is close to the Vatican. It's an odd hotel but every hotel we have stayed in Rome has been odd and we kind of like it that way. However, it's better to stay in a hotel in Rome first and then get on the cruise ship. The other way around makes one realize how amazing the bed and shower was on the ship!
We dropped our bags in our room and took off to explore. My step count for the day was over 30,000.
We've never stayed on the "other side" of the Tiber River and we enjoyed seeing new neighborhoods. Except we kept getting turned around and back tracked a lot. We headed toward Castel St'Angelo and crossed the beautiful marble bridge, Ponte St. Angelo. The bridge was built in 134 AD and has spectacular sculptures of angels down both sides.
We headed toward Campo de'Fiori. It used to be where executions were held but now it is a market every day. We poked around, picked up some delicious fruit cups and headed toward Piazza Navona.
The hotel did a great job of marking the sites on the map they gave us but we still kept getting turned around. We must have walked around Piazza Navona at least 3 times before we actually got in it!
Piazza Navona has beautiful fountains and statues. The most significant is the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini.
I was fascinated by the police or guard of some sort walking around smoking a pipe. I couldn't get a good photo of him though. There are a lot of police and armed guards all around the city and especially at the tourists sites. In some locations they have the streets blocked off so that vehicles can't get through. It's a sign of the times and I'm glad they are there.
Next stop, one of our favorite places in Rome - the Pantheon. I love this place. When you stand inside and look around it has almost a mystical quality. It was very busy inside and the crowd was "shushed" by some overhead voice at one point. It might have been God. It was amazing to hear the loud buzz inside go to complete silence.
All the sites were busy in Rome but the Trevi Fountain was a zoo! We had to jostle our way in and pounce on a spot as soon as someone's butt lifted off. It's imperative that we get our coin in the fountain so you do what you gotta do! Coin in left hand tossed over right shoulder equals a return to Rome. Success.
We were used to "cruise eating" and we hadn't eaten in hours. Time for a pizza break. We stopped at a place called Sugo d'oro on our way to the Spanish Steps and shared a Margherita pizza. So good!
There are so many people in Rome! We learned that the Romans usually head to their beach or country homes for the Easter weekend and leave the city for the tourists.
We usually visit the Spanish Steps when we are in Rome. I've never understood why people come here but we come anyway. Maybe it's for the Fountain of the ugly Boat (that is its real name). I don't remember there being so many flowers in past visits. I'll have to dig through my old photos.
We trekked back to the hotel and went through Piazza del Popolo. It was highlighted on the tourist map so we thought we should check it out. It's a piazza.
We had a great day exploring and covered a lot of ground. There are 104 steps from the entrance of our hotel to the floor we are staying on. There's an elevator (aka Lift) but by self declaration, it's old and truthfully, I felt safer on the stairs. The stairs were also old but you know what I'm sayin'.
We changed and caught a cab over to Piazza Testaccio to meet our food tour with Eating Italy. We did a tour with them last year (different neighborhood) and it was fabulous so we thought we would try another one. It was also fabulous. We've learned that food tours are a great way to explore culture and history through food. We try things we would never have known about on our own, we meet nice people and we learn a thing or two.
Testaccio is a real Roman neighborhood, it is not a tourist neighborhood. While we waited for the tour to start we watched the kids playing soccer in the square. I was especially enamoured by the muppet looking dog keeping an eye on the 'hood from his window.
Friends from the cruise ship, Bob and Reggie, were able to join the tour and we were surprised and delighted to see them in the square. There are only 10 people on Eating Italy tours which is perfect. There was a couple from South Africa, a couple from Texas, a couple from Austria, Bob & Reggie (BC) and us. Our guide, Sebastiana lives in the neighborhood and was the perfect hostess.
The food tastings were all delicious (aside from the tripe - that creeped me out). James said it was pretty good. I choked one piece down.
Every stop along the way (except the gelato stop) includes an beverage (alcohol if you are so inclined).
Last stop GELATO! This is where we learn how to tell fresh gelato from gelato made from powder. This gelato shop was my favorite. James liked the one we visited last year better. Not me.
In this video Sabastiana is explaining that we need to choose two flavours that go together. You will also note that dogs are welcome in the shop.
It was such a fun evening. I highly recommend food tours! I'll post some of the food photos in a gallery below.
We took the Metro back to our hotel. It was close to the hotel but we got turned around and ended up walking in circles. No problem, we have a lot of food to walk off.
April 14, 2017 - At sea
We had a perfectly relaxing day to end our cruise. We dined in the Dining Room for breakfast followed by an interesting lecture about Sea Power in the 21st Century. It sounds boring but it was fascinating. If anyone is interested in a career change, look into careers related to the seas. There are lots of opportunities.
As I type this I am back in Edmonton and we have had snow, grey skies and cold weather since our return. Yes, it is the end of April. Looking back at the photos and videos, I miss our sunny sea days!
For our last sea day, we sat outside on deck 11 and read, then we went to the spa for a bit, then we sat outside again and then we got ready for our last dinner at The Tamarind. Really tough life.
I didn't take many photos on our last sea day but I shot a bunch of shaky video.
Every day around noon, the captain (Emiel de Vries) gives an update about our location, speed, weather, etc. This is what a Dutch/Canadian Captain giving an update sounds like...in case you are wondering.
For lunch we visited Dive-In for our favorite burger (the Cannonball with Gouda cheese), a Dive-In dog and fries with Dive-In sauce. I typically don't really like this kind of food...but Dive In is really good!
When we returned to our stateroom we had the reminder on our bed that we are leaving.
We had to "get rid" of wine that we had in the room and left over ham and cheese from our visit in Alicante. What a perfect snack to enjoy on our verandah.
James definitely has more work to do before becoming a sommelier!
Dinner at Tamarind was delicious. I always pick what I know I like but James likes to try new things. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not. Especially when you order a dessert featuring a fruit you know you don't like. If you like mango, this dessert is probably delicious.
After walking the deck and watching our last sunset from sea, we decided we better pack and put our suitcases out for pick up.
On our last sea day we also contemplated this cruise. It was very relaxing, but would we do it again? Yes and no. I love the transatlantic crossing because I love sailing. I also love exploring on land. I would do a crossing again but I would add either another cruise on to the crossing cruise (back- to-back cruises) or I would spend more land time in the area we disembark. For our 2015 crossing we did a 7 day Med cruise after the crossing and we had 2 nights in Barcelona post cruise. It was a great balance of land and sea.
This is especially evident after being home for a week and struggling with jet lag. During this crossing we changed time 6 times during the evening (that's after losing 2 hours when we flew to Florida). People in Alberta complain about changing time twice/year. Try 6 times in 13 days. It takes a toll. After a few days on a consistent time, we adjusted and then we had to fly home and deal with another 8 hours...and go to work. I would also like to try an east-west crossing because you gain hours on those cruises. Also when you disembark the flight home is shorter and you are on a somewhat similar time zone. The problem is they are usually in the Fall and because of work commitments I can't take vacation in the Fall. One day!
April 13, 2017
She's been knocked down many times through her very interesting history but she always gets back up.
We sailed through fog to get to Alicante but the sun fought through and we had a glorious day!
A week or so before we left for the trip I found a review for Alicante Free Walking Tour. We've been to Alicante before and had no plans to do anything except walk around so why not sign up for a walking tour? We easily found the meeting place and met our guide, Maria who was holding the purple umbrella.
Alicante has a big pirate themed market as you get off the ship and walk toward the city center. At first I thought it was odd and it reminded me of being in the Caribbean. On our tour I learned Pirates had a devastating effect on the city in the past so I guess they are acknowledging that? You can purchase new furniture from the pirates but we didn't think Holland America would appreciate us hauling on a new pillow top mattress.
When we were here in 2012 we took a hop-on-hop-off bus to get an overview of the city, walked around the city center, took in the "sights" at the beach and then sat in the sun sipping sangria and eating paella. Sounds pretty perfect. Unlike many cities we've visited, Alicante didn't seem very old and the modern buildings were frankly, kind of ugly. Well, I'm so glad we took the walking tour because now we know why!
Maria founded her company about a year ago. She is educated in tourism and completed her MBA and was guiding in other cities in Europe. She decided she wanted to share her home and its stories with others so she started her tour company.
Alicante has a fascinating history. The city has faced famine, drought, pirate invasions, it's been bombed and rebuilt many times. It was the last city to be occupied by dictator Franco's troops and it suffered (by being bombed heavily) because of that. I'm not going to go in to all the history but please, if you are in Alicante, take Maria's tour because there really is a lot more to Alicante than what you see!
The walking tour lasted almost 3 hours. We visited the two churches (one is a fake cathedral) and you can see holes in the sides from bombs. Maria shared the story of the face that you can see in the side of the mountain at Castle Santa Barbara. The tale includes the (Moorish) king not allowing his daughter to marry the man she loved. Both of them jumped off the cliff and the king was heartbroken so his face is etched in the mountain. That's the condensed version.
We learned about the animosity between the two Catholic parishes, the meaning of La Rambla. It's historical significance is not as a walkway for tourists like in Barcelona. Think more along the lines of an early sewer system! Alicante is used as the European reference for sea level measurements - something they are very proud of.
We visited a shop that has made torrone (an almond based sweet) for generations. The climate and soil in this area are perfect for almond production and Alicante produces delicious torrone!
Our last stop on the tour was the market.
In 1938, Alicante was bombed and the area outside the market was devastated. 300 people died but the market stood. There is a clock in the market that stopped at the time of the bombing and is on display.
My favorite tale of Alicante's resiliency is related to the introduction of tourism. In the 1960's northern Europeans (tall, gorgeous, blonde Scandinavians according to Maria) discovered the sun and beaches of Alicante. Spain had very strict rules under the fascist, Franco regime and women had to have their knees and shoulders covered always. No bikinis allowed! Alicante went to the government and received permission for tourists to bare their skin. Not just knees and shoulders, tourists could go topless on the beaches. This created a boom in tourism. The rest of Spain would tour to Alicante to witness the beautiful Scandinavians enjoying the Alicante sun. We visited the beach when were here in 2012. I can confirm that women still go topless but I guarantee there was not a beautiful Swedish, Danish, Finnish or even Dutch woman in sight!
Maria encourage us to try a dry cake/cookie that is made out of three ingredients. I can't remember the ingredients but it tastes like flour, lard, and salt. Basically it tastes like heavy pastry dough. Bob bought some - 5 for 1 euro and we tried them. They are dry.
James tries a cake...you are supposed to give it three bites before you decide if you like it or not.
After the tour we went for tapas and sangria/beer with Bob and Reggie. Of course I ordered a big plate of Iberico Ham and Manchego cheese...and two delicious glasses of sangria. The perfect end to our day in Alicante. I love Spain!
Back on the ship we enjoyed sail away!
April 12, 2017 - Malaga with a trip to Cordoba
The Spanish love their ham!
This is the second time we have had a cruise stop in Malaga and the second time we have taken excursions out of the city. The last time we were here we went to Granada to see the Alhambra (silent H) and this time we were off to Cordoba.
We booked both excursions through Spain Day Tours. The company is reliable and provides good service. I think if they offered some sort of food experience to go along with the tour, it would have been perfect.
We met our tour group bright and early (6:45 am) and were on our way to Cordoba at about 7:30 am. We were treated to a stunning sunrise in Malaga.
The bus was really nice and comfortable for the two-hour drive. I love driving through this part of Spain. The landscape is beautiful – hills, olive trees, vineyards…you don’t see any livestock though. I did see the Osborne Bull - I always keep my open for it when driving in Spain.
They used to advertise sherry on these bull signs but now there are laws prohibiting advertising alcohol on roadsides. The bull has cultural significance so it was allowed to stay without the advertising.
It’s Easter week and that means it’s busy! People are off work and travelling with their families. We’ve heard (but not seen) that elaborate religious processions happen every day this week. They usually start late afternoon/early evening and can go until the early morning. Every parish has a procession and in Malaga there are 47 parishes…that’s a lot of processions. The cobble stone streets are covered in wax from the candles people carry during processions.
Our bus dropped off us near the historic centre of Cordoba. We walked across a bridge that was built in Roman times over the Guadalquivir river. It was originally built in 1st century BC but is has had some reno’s since then.
Cordoba’s historic centre is a UNESCO site. It is absolutely beautiful and there is so much history. In the 8th century, Cordoba was conquered by the Moors and Cordoba became the Muslim capital of the area. In the 10th century, Cordoba was recognized as one of the most advanced cities in the world. In 1236, King Ferdinand took the city in the conquest and things changed.
Like the Grand Mosque (Mezquita) turned in to a Cathedral. The Mezquita is an amazing mathematical feat and it’s huge! Many additions happened over the years but it all flows together. The arches line up as you look through it. There is now a central alter and 56 chapels in the Mezquita. The Catholic additions are very ornate. Personally I like the mosque elements better.
Walking the streets of Cordoba was wonderful. We toured the flower street and the Jewish area. The synagogue is now a historical site as there are not many (any?) Jews in Cordoba.
We had a bit of free time before we met to head back so we grabbed a sandwich and some Cordoba cake.
There is a lot to see and do here and I would definitely return to spend more time.
Back at the ship, we made it to Happy Hour. Priorities.
But, it seems some of our fellow passengers might not have made it back.
April 10 & 11, 2017
After leaving the Azores, we had two more days at sea. I keep a journal when we travel and according to my journal, we didn't do much.
The weather was a bit cooler - cloudy with some rain so we mostly stayed inside. We walk the deck every day to get our steps in. I love the sights and sounds of sailing. Although I kept hoping to see a whale or dolphin pass by. It didn't happen. The Koningsdam has two outside walking areas - deck 3 and deck 11. Deck 3 is better when it's windy and cooler, but a lot of the views are obstructed by hanging life boats.
We went to the Mariner's lunch and received our Delft tile. Every time we sail we receive a Delft blue Holland America tile at the lunch. And at the Mariner's lunch the conversation inevitably turns to, what are you doing with your tiles? Some people say they are going to tile a bathroom, some say they are tiling a tea tray with them...we use ours as coasters.
When we meet people cruising, we always ask them what their favorite cruising itinerary has been. The answer is always South America & Antarctica. Unless the people haven't done that cruise. It's a diverse itinerary and it's only offered a few times/year in December and January. The contrast between the South American summer heat and ice in the Antarctic would be amazing to experience. Although that could also be summer in Alberta with the chance of snow at any time! However, we don't have penguins and I would love to see (and smell) the penguins! The scenery as you cruise around Antarctica is supposed to be breathtaking; Alaska on steroids is what we've been told. And I want to sail the Drake passage. This cruise is at the top of my list and so is visiting the Galapagos.
Mariner status on Holland America indicates how much you've sailed with them. It's their loyalty program. You receive 1-star Mariner status after your first cruise and then depending on the number of days you sail and the amount you spend on board, you progress in star status. I'm a 3-star Mariner and James is a 4-star Mariner. OK, enough promoting Holland America unless they want to hire me!
We learned (from Dr. Thomas Anderson) how many of the phrases commonly we use have roots in the maritime world. Some of these include: Cup of Joe, Three Sheets to the Wind, Flying Colours, Turn a Blind Eye, Big Wig, Know the Ropes, Let the Cat out of the Bag...
We've spent lots of time at the spa and read a few books. We've also watched quite a few movies. We grab bags of popcorn from the movie area on the Lido deck and bring them to our room to watch movies.
Mini Maurice is on the voyage with us and he has been enjoying the ship.
Life at sea is great for relaxing, it's just not that exciting to blog about!
Sunday, April 9, 2017 - Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel, Azores, Portugal
You know you are in Portugal when you can have a morning treat of Portuguese tarts and can spot roosters on rooftops!
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
After six days of sailing we arrived at Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores, Portugal. Yahoo! And it's not raining (yet). It's a beautiful island. Apparently it's a playground for marine wildlife. We saw none.
The Azores are an archipelago of 9 volcanic islands about 1900 km south east of Newfoundland. Sao Miguel is the largest island. They are an autonomous region of Portugal. And there are some suspicions that the lost city of Atlantis is lurking under the sea close by.
While on the ship we decided to book an afternoon excursion through Holland America so that we could get out to the other parts of the island. It's Sunday (Palm Sunday) and we were told not much would be open in Ponta Delgada. The mall was and that's where we headed with new friends Bob & Reggie after we went through the city gates.
If you walk through the city gates you are guaranteed to return to Ponta Delgada. It worked last time so here we go...
Warning- the videos I post are just made on my phone or camera. I don't spend time fixing or editing. If I did that, I would never get posts up. So, sorry for the quality and the sound of wind.
The sun was shining and it was a beautiful morning to walk around. And check email.
The architecture and tile work on the sidewalks are amazing. After walking around a bit we headed to the ship for a quick bite to eat before heading on our excursion.
The Holland America excursion we booked had an adventurous name (that I can't remember) and the description, although vague, made it sound like we would go off road 4 x 4'ing over a river. Fun! Not really the case. We did drive on some dirt roads and one was on the top of the volcano, but we never drove through a river. Or had to use 4 x 4. At least the vehicle was small so there were only 6 of us on the tour.
We visited the same areas of the island (the west side) that we visited the last time we were here. The island is stunning and I would love to be here when the thousands of hydrangea shrubs are in bloom. I know it would be spectacular!
On the tour we stopped at the point where you can see the entire island, we visited the blue and green lakes (Sete Cidades), drove around the top of the volcano crater (used for an annual rally car race), stopped in the village at the bottom of the volcano, saw so many beautiful lakes and the tour ended with a stop at the pineapple plantation. Many, many years ago the orange crops were destroyed by a bug or fungus so they replaced orange production with pineapples. Pineapples are grown in greenhouses and it takes 2 years to produce one pineapple. That's a long time for one pineapple!
The weather changed about every 10 minutes from sunshine to wind to rain and back to sunshine. It was like being in Alberta - minus the snow.
The tour was ok but we would not have done it if we knew we would be visiting all the same sites as our visit in 2015. Our private tour in 2015 was much better.
Sao Miguel has outstanding views and we were told about some great hiking trails. Exploring some of these will be next on our list. When we return.
Sailing away we saw a rainbow over the island. From our experience, there is always a rainbow over Sao Miguel. I'll leave you with James' final thoughts about our visit.
April 3 - 8, 2017
Six days of sailing and you see a lot of blue - sky and water. Although the water is clear it looks blue. James really appreciates it when I (always) point out that water is clear not blue and it is just the depth and reflection that makes it look blue. I could go on but I won't.
We have been at sea for six days. The time has gone by quickly!
It's good to have goals and one of our goals this time on the Koningsdam was to try all the specialty restaurants. Mission accomplished. Now our goal is to get in shape. That might be a bit harder!
This new 4 star mariner status has been outstanding. We sent laundry in about 5 times, we were invited to a free wine tasting event, we got 50% off at all the specialty restaurants including The Dutch Cafe, Explorations Cafe and Gelato. It's great!
Back to the restaurants. All are really good and each is different. We've been to Canaletto (Italian), Tamarind (Asian Fusion) and Pinnacle Grill (Steakhouse) many times on previous voyages. New to the Koningsdam are Sel de Mer and Culinary Arts Center. Sel de Mer is a French brasserie. The food was really good with superb service.
Culinary Arts was my favourite new restaurant (Tamarind is still my all time fav). It is a farm to table concept where you interact with the chefs and they prepare your meal in front of you incorporating various micro greens. The food was so flavourful. A welcome cocktail and unlimited wine are included with dinner at Culinary Arts. There are two alternating menus. We went to the Lavender dinner. We booked to go to the Basil dinner near the end of the cruise but ended up cancelling the reservation because of our expanding waist lines.
Have you ever tried a szechuan button? It is the most fascinating, hard to describe sensation when you bite in to it (and you only need a tiny bite). The closest description is that it almost freezes your mouth like you are at the dentist but there is also a pop rock sensation. Try it if you ever get the chance.
There were some interesting talks by guest presenters. I especially enjoy the maritime talks by Thomas Anderson, MD, Phd, a retired Navy Captain.
The weather was perfect and the ocean pretty calm. We learned that we actually sailed through the Sargossa Sea - a sea in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. It's an area in the Atlantic where four currents swirl together to form a gyre. This area has a unique type of brownish seaweed (sargassum) that can only be found in the Sargossa Sea. And flying fish. Columbus wrote about it in his logs. Ships would often get stuck in the area because there was no wind to move them along.
We spent our days walking the deck, going to happy hour, relaxing at the spa, reading in the sunshine, watching the evening shows, listening to amazing music by the Lincoln Center Stage performers. The only thing we complained about was the evening time change. It messed us up. When we did the Atlantic crossing in 2015, the time change happened during the day. We liked that better. If that's all we have to complain about...life is good!
...we are home and didn't blog on our trip. We decided not to purchase any internet on the ship and our port time was too precious to be fighting with internet. Sorry. You should try not using internet for 6 days - it's kind of refreshing! Although you will have hundreds of emails (most are not from actual people) when you log back on. We will post blogs and photos about our trip over the next week once we are back to normal.
We had a wonderful time away - lots of sailing, relaxing and eating.
James has posted a couple videos on his blog about one of our trips to The Tamarind and our trip to Sel de Mer. Both delish!
Here's a peek inside our stateroom.
April2, 2017 - Fort Lauderdale
After a long travel day with some delays we made it to our hotel at about 10:45 pm. We are at Gallery One Double Tree. It's beside a lot of shopping so we went out to stretch our legs before bed. Holy humid! My dry Alberta skin is not used to hot, humid air...at 11pm!
This morning we walked around a bit, went to Starbucks and bought our two bottles of wine that we are allowed to bring on board. We watched some of these guys (and gals?) play in the field. Not as cute as Westley and Phin.
Our room is a suite. It has lots of space and air conditioning.
We took the shuttle to the cruise port and arrived around 12.30. This trip we are travelling as 4 star Mariners so we did not have to wait in any lines. It was really great walking past the hundreds of people waiting in the zig zag lines. We also get free laundry and discounts on wine packages and specialty restaurants. Yippee!
On board we checked out the ship (she still looks great!) and went to DiveIn for lunch. We had our fav burger, dog and fries for lunch. With a celebratory drink.
We caved and bought the thermal suite spa package. With so many days at sea we know we will enjoy it. It's a private space with saunas, a thermal pool, heated relaxation chairs, etc. It really is our favourite indulgence.
The last time we were on the ship we were with a group of 14. We will miss you guys. We always knew Karen and Monte would be in Marshall's corner, mom and dad at the duelling pianos, uncle Rick and Aunty Marylou at BB Kings, Aunty Pat and May at the casino, Lyn in the shops...
We've done our safety drill and will sail in about an hour. Port Everglades is really busy today so we must wait our turn. Even though the Koningsdam is the biggest Holland America ship it looks tiny compared to Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas. That ship is a monster although I'm sure is amazing inside.
I love sail away from Fort Lauderdale - it's always fun. People wave and honk as you sail by their condos. Tonight we have dinner booked at the Canaletto and then who knows what we will do.
Unless we buy an internet package you may not hear from us for 6 days when we hit land in the Azores.
Here's hoping for sunshine and calm sailing!
We only have one sleep until we are off on our next adventure. That seems unreal. Usually we have a lot of planning and prepping for a trip but this time is different.
This cruise is all about enjoying the ms Koningsdam as we sail across the Atlantic. I loved the ship last spring when we joined the inaugural sailing. You can read my thoughts about the ship here.
We did a transatlantic in 2015 and it was perfect so we are hoping for the same - sunshine and a calm ocean.
We've made our dinner reservations at all the specialty restaurants. We are going to have to commit to working out and walking on the ship with all the eating we have planned. And of course the stairs. We have a "no elevators allowed" rule when we cruise...unless it's an emergency (like we forgot something in the room and are late). We are on deck 5 this time - last time we were on deck 11. We liked deck 11 because we were close to an outdoor deck and only 1 flight of stairs to Happy Hour in the Crow's Nest.
We don't have many port stops but we know what we are doing at each stop
Here's our itinerary:
Sat. - Fly to Fort Lauderdale
Sun. - Join the ms Koningdam in Fort Lauderdale
Sail for 6 days - eat, read, relax
Ponta Delgada, Azores - Our plan is to walk around the town. We toured the island in 2015, saw the highlights, had a traditional Portuguese lunch and were amazed by all the really healthy looking cows.
Sail 2 more days
Malaga, Spain - We are taking a trip to Cordoba with Spain Day Tours.
Alicante, Spain - We have signed up for a free walking tour and then plan to enjoy some sangria and tapas...or paella.
One more day at sea
Sat. Rome - We have our transfer booked with Rome Cabs and our hotel is close to the Vatican. In the evening we are signed up for a food tour of Testaccio with Eating Italy.
We did the Trastevre tour with them last spring and loved it!
Easter Sunday Rome - We are just going to take it all in and experience Easter in Rome. We might wander over to the Vatican.
Mon. - We fly home.
Our amazing dog sitter will be at the house with the dogs while we are away. The dogs have been sticking pretty close to us the past few days so I imagine they suspect something is up. They are probably hoping for a road trip. Next time...
Today we wrap up things at work, finish packing and clean the house.
It's supposed to be +30C in Fort Lauderdale this weekend. Bring on the sunshine!