Here is a description from left to right:
- bronze medal for 100 days at sea with HAL
- silver medal for 300 days at sea with HAL
- gold medal for 500 days at sea with HAL
- platinum medal for 700 days at sea with HAL
I estimated a year ago that my silver medal was already on the horizon, but I wanted to celebrate this event with my family and friends!
Therefore, I was selecting such a route and dates that would be suitable for many of them based on these factors: summer exams have been already finished or haven't started yet, Europe, one visa, the cost.
Our cruise started in Barcelona. And here's our cabin.
Day at sea.
In addition to usual entertainment (pools, spa, sport, lectures, etc.),
offers a number of activities with which they try to amuse passengers from cruise to cruise. This time, I went on a tour around the galley.
Guests were greeted by Chef Peter Kofler.
Staff of the galley is not used to attention and applause, sometimes they are embarrassed but truly happy:
We were shown samples of meat for dinner:
We got into the hall of the paid restaurant Pinnacle Grill. Here we saw the decoration and serving for a special dinner by the Master Chef:
And here is a menu of the first formal dinner:
We didn't land in Marseilles, as well as the last time.
This time, the strike of port workers prevented us from doing that.
The captain apologized and changed the port - we'll stop in Toulon.
I've been there, as well as in almost all other European ports, but in all fairness - we were not in Toulon!!!
In the morning, I went on the balcony to look at the horizon:
, to add one sea day.
I've already been there a hundred times, and I had a lot of work. And then I thought:
And what if we'll take a car?! We stand there almost to midnight, the weather is excellent... It's a go!
We went in search of lavender.
We swam in a mountain lake.
We stopped in the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie to check whether a star of the Crusaders still hangs there.
We climbed to the chapel Notre-Dame de Beauvoir.
It still hangs!
We returned to Monaco at 9.30 pm.
Here's some more info:
We drove about 300 miles (500 km).
Gas cost 40 Euros (in 2014).
Goodbye, Monte Carlo!
Our next stop is Calvi (Corsica).
Calvi is a perfect port for a cruise stop in summer! There is a fortress and a church for the curious ones, a promenade for fans of shops and cafes, a beach for beach lovers - everything is nearby, you just have to set foot on shore.
Tenders moor at the fortress.
Livorno is the most convenient Italian port: cars for a rent are brought straight to the gangway! Tuscany is so attractive and hospitable that every time you come in Livorno, you can come up with a new interesting route.
This time we went to Lucca.
You'll find there the magnificent Cathedral, entrance cost 3 Euros (in 2014). Since not everyone goes inside, I'll show you the pictures:
Here is The Last Supper by Tintoretto.
Here is a masterpiece - the magnificent marble tomb of the young wife of Paolo Guinigi (ruler of Lucca of the XV century) who died in childbed.
This is the Octagonal Aedicula (a chapel inside the church) of the Holy Face.
This wooden crucifix, according to a legend, was cut from Cedrus libani by Nicodemus, the secret disciple of Jesus (11-12 century). As it always happens, the Holy Face has the remarkable story: it was put into the boat and sent to the sea, to go with waves. When the boat safely came to the shore, the Holy Face was put on a cart drawn by bullocks, the animals were entrusted to choose the direction of the wander. Those brought the crucifix to Lucca.
Since then, the relic is here, it is revered. Every year, on September 14, at the Holy Cross celebrations, the crucifix is dressed up in the clothes and carried around the city.
We went to Monreale to see the grand Cathedral and 10 thousand square meters of gold mosaics covering its walls. It's magnificent!
Well, and after a bottle of cold Prosecco in a cafe, we went to Mondello, a resort at Mount Pellegrino. It is 6 miles (10 km) away from Palermo.
This is a beach club and a restaurant, the building is done in a Belle Epoque style.
The beach is gorgeous!
There are a lot of places to visit in Naples, but I have long wanted to go to the park of the Royal Palace of Caserta. And I did!
And our cruise ended.
Here's some information on prices (in 2014):
- cabin with a window - $970 per person
- cabin with a balcony - $1152 per person
- suite - $1952 per person