The Nautica welcomed us onboard with a faultless embarkation, and after a lunch in the bistro we settled down in the comfortable library with a good book until our room was ready at 3pm.
The first few days of the cruise were cool,but Honfleur was a pleasant fishing port and quite photogenic. Some people went on an excursion to Paris but complained that it was a very long and tiring day. St. Malo was very pleasant and a group of us hired a taxi to visit the mediaevil village of Dinan which was very interesting. Infortunately we had to miss Concarneau as the seas were too rough for tendering.
Our next stop was Bordeaux. Who could ever forget the stunning sail into this port. We took the train along with 12 others from the ship to visit St. Emillion. This was a good day out, which involved a 20 minute walk from the railway station into the village but was well worth the effort.
Bilbao was our next port and the Guggenheim Musuem was on everyone's list of things to do. On to Oport, very picturesque, we visited a bodega on the Douro River and sampled the ports...very drinkable. Lisbon was very walkable
with lots to see.
Cadiz was the port where most people took the opportunity to go to Seville.
But we went on a photographic safari and to the botanic gardens. Then Motril the port for Granada. We had arranged a tour with Granada Picnic Tours and our car was waiting for us when e docked and we were whisked down the new highway to meet our guide Anne who took us through the Alhambra, the fort, the palace, the souk, and on a local bus to see Granada from the heights of Albaicin a village once occupied by cave dwellers. This was a magic day with a guide who was so knowledgeable.
Valencia was a day when we were starting to feel that we needed a rest, we had a short walk in the morning, returned to the ship for lunch and had a delicious afternoon tea on Nautica.
We woke to a fine sunny morning in Barcelona and we were berthed right in the city. We took the metro just two stops to Espanya Railway Station where we boarded the train for Monserrat, a Monastery and Museum built right on top of the mountains and only an hour from the City. It was a memorable experience.
Marseille, was very disappointing being Sunday everything was closed, and after a short walk around the old city we returned to the ship. We debated about getting thebus to Aix en Provence but we heard later that everything was closed there too.
Livorno was our one ships tour, to Cinque Terre! Oh! what a disappointment.. the weather we can't control, but it rained most of the day. We were not told onboard Nautica that the walking trails between the villages had been closed because of land slides, and we were not able to go between the villages by boat because of rough seas. So we spent the day on a bus, then between each village we were herded on to a local train. In the final village we had 3 hours for lunch, still pouring with rain, before we got another train to meet up with our coach back to the ship. A very expensive day out......
On arrival in Civitavechia we walked to the local station, only 250metres from the port and for 9 Euro each we traveled into Rome and our Hotel. We spent 3
days relaxing and winding down from the hectic pace of our cruise before our 19hours flight home.