Trans-Atlantic Cruise, Rome to Florida

Trans-Atlantic Cruise – Civitavecchia Italy to Ft. Lauderdale Florida USA, Holland America Line – Reindam.

Oct 22 – Nov 9 2015.

Day 1 Oct 22 – Left Lucca by train to Pisa then to Livorno, about 45 minute ride, and then taxi to port. This was the 2nd stop of cruise but we opted to get on here instead of Civitavecchia. This gave us 1 extra day to figure out what to bring on a 6 weeks trip. Checked into our cabin and then went back out to have an espresso and walk around town. (Sea miles 0 nautical miles, Total 0 nautical miles)

Day 2 Oct 23 – at sea heading towards Barcelona Spain. Wondered around and attempted to get familiar with ship layout. Haa! Would not be until 3 days before end of cruise that we were more correct then wrong getting places.

Day 3 Oct 24 – Barcelona, Spain. We walked into old town and had a Spanish version of cappuccino and a pastry. Then took the subway to Palau Guell, a mansion designed by Gaudi. Well we strolled about the gardens but could not enter as next entry time was 4 pm. Then we took subway to the La Sagrada Familia, the unique and elaborate church built by Antoni Gaudi. It is still under construction after 20 years and finish date is somewhere in 2020, maybe. We were unable to get inside as all tickets for the day where sold. First time we were steered wrong by Rick Steves. Oh well, great views of outside so take a look at our photos. Rest of day we spent wondering around. Then back to ship about 7pm. Just in time for dinner. (Sea miles 388, Total 388)

Day 4 Oct 25 – Palma De Mallorca, Spain. The capital of the Spanish island of Mallorca. We hopped on a City Tour bus and road around and got a feel of the place. First we saw the Catedral de Mallorca, a massive cathedral overlooking the port. Next stop the Bellver Castle, which is a hilltop medieval fortress with amazing views of the town. Just a warning, I will be using the phrase amazing views so many times on this trip you probably will get tired of it. The rest of the day was sightseeing from the bus. Then back to the ship and off to our next port. During the morning the ship ran emergency abandon ship drills. Watched as the life boats got lowered and motored around the ship. Fun to watch, but no desire to participate for real. (Sea miles 130, Total 518)

Day 5 Oct 26 – Alicante, Spain and my birthday! Alicante is a port city on Spain’s southeastern Costa Blanca. We took a bus from the ship to the entrance of the port. The old town, Barrio de la Santa Cruz, has narrow streets, colored houses and we walked around quite a bit just exploring. There is a medieval castle (Castillo de Santa Bárbara), set on a hilltop but we did not go there as time was short. We did stop at a café that had churro (a fried-dough pastry) and chocolate. It was great, dipping our churro into some hot and delicious cocoa. (Sea miles 168, Total 686)

Day 6 Oct 27 – Straits of Gibraltar. That night we pasted between the Pillars of Hercules or as we call them now the Straits of Gibraltar. Unfortunately it was dark and foggy. We saw the rock illuminated but not very well. Hopefully on a future trip we will see it up close.

Day 6 Oct 27 – Malaga, Spain. Málaga is a port city on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol. This was a short day so we mainly walked from the ship to the Alcazaba, a hilltop Moorish-style medieval fortress overlooking the sea, with lush, fountain-filled gardens. It was built by the Hammudid dynasty in the early 11th century. It was also raining so we sought out indoor places and didn’t get a long look at the gardens. On our way we stopped into Málag’s cathedral the Catedral de la Encarnación de Málaga. As with most catholic churches of the time beautiful statues and paintings everywhere. Then back to the ship. (Sea miles 260, Total 946)

Day 7 Oct 28 – Cadiz, Spain. Wikipedia says “Cádiz is an ancient port city in southwest Spain, on a strip of land surrounded by the sea. A 16th-century base for exploration and trade, it has more than 100 watchtowers, including iconic Torre Tavira, traditionally used for spotting ships. The 18th-century waterfront cathedral has a golden dome with views of the city and the sea.” It really is an interesting place. We walked almost all the way around the peninsular on the sea view road/path. Had a nice breakfast at a café on the water that overlooked the 2 forts. We walked around the Castle of San Marcos a medieval castle on the shore. Then we walked out to the Castle of San Sebastián which is a fortress located at the end of La Caleta beach on a small island separated from the main city. The walk along the narrow walkway from the beach to the castle was almost more interesting than the castle. You could only walk around the outside and not in the castle itself. We then continued on to the Cádiz Cathedral and toured the inside. An interesting note is the crypt below the church was designed so that someone in the center of the crypt could talk and you could hear him down every passageway. Amazing how they designed this type of structure. (Sea miles 148, Total 1094)

Day 8 Oct 29 – at sea sailing towards Ponta Delgada. Seas have gotten rough. We are all walking down hallways looking like drunken sailors!

Day 9 Oct 30 – at sea sailing towards Ponta Delgada. Seas still rough.

Day 10 Oct 31 – Ponta Delgada, Azores. The Azores form an archipelago of nine beautiful mountainous islands, located well out in the Atlantic Ocean. Ponta Delgada, the main port on the island of Sao Miguel, lies 900 miles west of Lisbon. When they say beautiful in the guide books, they are not kidding. This island and the next one we went to are amazing. Formed by volcanos a long time ago, they are very fertile and you can see lush greenery everywhere. We stumbled on a tour company at the port and had a great tour of the island with just us and one other passenger. Drove almost all around the island and stopped at some beautiful lookouts. Even went to a tea plantation. Donna was very happy about that. (Sea miles 942, Total 2036)

Day 11 Nov 1 – Horta, Azores. Some fun facts, Horta is a single municipality and city in the western part of the Archipelago of the Azores, encompassing the island of Faial. The population in 2011 was 14,994, in an area of 173.06 km². The city of Horta itself has a population of about 7,000. OK, now again the place is green and beautiful. We mainly walked around the town to get a feel for how the locals live. The port is a stopping point for sailors from around the world. At the port are hundreds of painting on the sea wall and path from sailors who have stopped off on round the world voyages. We spent a god hour I think looking at them. Some new, some from the early 1900’s. (Sea miles 152, Total 2188)

Day 12 – 17 Nov 2 – 7 – at sea sailing towards Nassau Bahamas. Seas calm to moderate and weather is great. The wind has been randomly from 10 to 40 mph. Our average sped has been 15kts.

Day 18 Nov 8 – Nassau Bahamas. OK, don’t anyone get offended but Nassau was a poor excuse for a place to visit. Compared to everywhere else on this trip it was dead last. We got off the ship, walked around for less than an hour and went back on board. I think the only reason the ship docked there was to unload its trash. The only interesting item was that to get back on the ship customs required you to have the ship ID card and a picture ID. Nowhere else did they ask for a picture ID. A few people got stuck and had to have friends go on board to get ID’s. (Sea miles 2589, Total 4777)

Day 19 Nov 9 – Ft. Lauderdale FL, USA. End of voyage. It was a really enjoyable trip and such a great way to get to the US. Now we just get to wait in the long customs lines, find the shuttle to rental car and take the long drive to Orlando. It sure would be nice if there was a train from Ft Lauderdale to Orlando. So that’s it. Visiting friends and family for 3 weeks and then fly back home to Lucca. (Sea miles 179, Total 4956) So we sailed a total of 4956 nautical miles.

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