Ports of Call

That’s what we decided. It was too much. Nine ports in 11 days is just too much. When we compare it with any other cruise we have done we had to admit that we have never taken such a port intensive cruise before. Especially the fact that most of them came at the start of the cruise. To us, the perfect cruise has a sea day at the beginning and a sea day at the end with a sea day between every port day. Last year on our Eastern Med cruise on Galaxy we had somewhere near that schedule and we felt it was much easier to keep up with. But I have to tell you that by the time we finished with Sienna on our third day, we were wiped out. The thing that most came to mind was the 60’s film “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium”. We got to the point we not only couldn’t remember what port we were in, but what day it was. Here’s a complete rundown of our port adventures.

Marseilles, France

See our photos of Marseilles by clicking here

OK, I admit it. I had spent so much time planning for our time in Barcelona that I slacked off and didn’t plan well for the other ports. This was quickly apparent in Marseilles.

The ship docks in a very industrial part of the city and you have to take a shuttle bus into the main part of the town. (Celebrity charges you $10 for the shuttle.) We had discussed the night before taking a bus or train from downtown to Aix-en-Provence with Alan and Mary from our Cruise Critic group and met them at the shuttle bus. But as we were riding into town we saw the Cathedral of Notre Dame (no, not the one in Paris) at the top of the hill overlooking the town and decided we wanted to go see it. So we sent Alan and Mary on their way and we took Le Petit Train (10 Euro each) up to the Cathedral.

Three things I want to say about the Cathedral of Notre Dame. First, the morning we went it was COLD! And Le Petit Train did not have windows, it was open air. We froze all the way up. Second, the Cathedral looks a whole lot bigger from down in the city than it does when you go inside. And third, even though it is very small inside, it is quite beautiful with excellent mosaics and the views from up there were incredible. Looking back on it, we think it was worth the trip but when we were frozen, and Kathleen was standing in line to use the restroom with only one working toilet and 16 women waiting to use it, we might have told you something else entirely.

After seeing the “Cathedral” we took Le Petit Train back down the hill and walked around downtown and what the called the “old port” which was really the yacht harbor. To find something else more interesting we could see an actual cathedral up one main street toward the center of the city. One of the first buildings we passed was the Chamber of Commerce which had two very interesting pieces of “cow art” outside. We read the sign and it said there was an entire exhibit of cows inside that you could see for free. Free--we like that word. So in we went. Spent some time with the cows as our pictures will attest.

Then we headed back up the street to see the large cathedral. It was very nice inside. Not the best we have seen on this trip but certainly beautiful. We have a friend (Bruce Courtwright) in Northern California that says he never travels with his wife in Europe because all she sees are museums and cathedrals. We’re with him on this one. We saw lots of cathedrals. And we didn’t go into that many museums but we substituted open air markets instead.

After the cathedral and a walk back to the old port, we wandered for a little longer and then took the shuttle back to the ship. As we said, a very industrial city and port.

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That evening was the first formal night and we were invited to join the Chief Engineer at the Captain’s table. It was a great group there with two United captains, their wives, a honeymooning couple from Boston and Helen Mirren and her date Anthony Hopkins. (No, it really wasn’t them but they were sure look-a-likes.) We had a great time and the Chief Engineer and his assistant who joined us were a hoot.

Click here to continue with our port report


Our Itinerary

Port photos

Port photos above

  1. 1.The Campo in Sienna

  2. 2.The Cathedral in Malaga

  3. 3.The Market in Nice

  4. 4.The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Marseilles

  5. 5.The Rock of Gibraltar

  6. 6.A statue of Napoleon in Corsica


11 Days + 9 Ports=Total exhaustion