May 18-28, 2012: Our Cruise in the Northern Mediterranean
January 4-18: Our Winter Trip to Florida
Return to Index for 2012

May 2-18, 2012:
Our Cruise to Europe



Late last year, we started talking with Greg about taking a cruise this spring, and he was on the lookout for something good. By January, he'd found a bargain: two cruises, back-to-back. The first would be a repositioning cruise on Holland America's Noordam from Fort Lauderdale to Rome. The second would be on the same ship and would follow a route around the Northern Mediterranean, beginning and ending in Rome. In fact, we would just stay aboard when the first cruise docked and leave later that same day on the second.

Although there was a full day in Civitavecchia between cruises, the one thing the two cruises didn't offer was much time in Rome- or in Italy, for that matter. So we planned to make the trip a real odyssey and, at the conclusion of the second cruise, spend another eight days in Italy, staying in two cities: Florence and Rome. Greg did almost all the arrangements, and by the New Year Fred and I and Greg and his friend Paul had bookings for the trip. In February, however, Paul had to back out since he couldn't get the necessary time away from his work. Greg had booked a small suite for himself and Paul and a regular verandah room for us, and Paul's having to back out meant that Greg would have to bear the cost of the suite all by himself. After talking about it, we decided to jettison the verandah room and share an upgraded suite between the three of us. This cut the cost significantly, and Greg was able to move the three of us to the largest of that class of suites- one with an additional fifty square feet and a larger verandah. With a queen bed and a couch that made into a larger-than-twin-size bed, two desks, a coffee table and a couple of chairs inside, and a table, two chairs and two lounges on the verandah, it would be plenty large enough for the three of us.

We spent most of March evaluating the various shore excursions that were available, and we ended up booking excursions for the three of us in all the ports except for Cartagena and Barcelona, Spain (where we'd been before), Rome itself (where we'd be spending four days on our own), Messina, Sicily (the ship would only be there for a half-day) and Athens (Greg had arranged for the daughter of a friend of his who lived there to show us around for a day). All in all, it promised to be the trip of a lifetime (so far, at least).

This page is the index for the first cruise. Although you'll get plenty of information a bit later on about just what ports the ship will visit, for now, here is a high-level map of this first cruise:

Overview Cruise Map

All in all, Fred and I will be gone from Dallas for 35 days- the longest we've ever been gone on a trip. Because we were going to be gone so long, we arranged with our good friends Steve Friedman, Mario Tarradell and Lynne Richardson to stop by the house every few days and make sure that our cats Lucky and Tyger were OK and had plenty of food and water. They did yeoman service and a great job, and we would like to thank them again here.

So, the three of us left Dallas on the Tuesday morning, May 1st, flying to Fort Lauderdale. We stayed in the condo there that night, and the next day Ron Drew gave us all a ride to the Port of Fort Lauderdale where we boarded the Noordam. Sixteen days later, the first cruise ended when the ship docked in Civitavecchia, the port for Rome.

I will be organizing the album pages for this first cruise the same way I have organized other major vacation trips in this album- by giving you an index into the various days of the trip. This first cruise involves an Atlantic crossing; that will not be broken into separate days; there will, instead, be a single album page for the entire crossing. Also, there will be a separate page for the photos we took of the ship itself; this page will include a description of the ship and of our stateroom. (If you have used one of these Master Indexes before in my album, you can skip the explanation and go directly to the index by clicking



Using the Master Index

Fred and I each took thousands of pictures and movies during this first cruise, so, even though only about half of these will make it into this online album, I have had to find a good way to organize them so that they are not simply overwhelming.

So, I have organized these album pages basically by location/port- beginning with Fort Lauderdale and ending with Civitavecchia. There will be a page for each port we visited on the cruise. There will also be an additional page for the first six sea days as we crossed the Atlantic. Within each album page, I'll continue the practice I've used throughout this album, which is to have a heading for each major attraction, event, stop or other event that day.

As far as our time on board ship was concerned, the pictures we took at shipboard activities, such as shows and dinners, will appear on the appropriate daily page. However, pictures of the ship itself and of our stateroom will have their own page; it will be positioned immediately after the Fort Lauderdale departure page so that you'll have some context for the rest of the cruise pictures.

In the Master Index, you'll find a link that will take you to each of the separate album pages for the first cruise. Each of these links will be alongside a description of the things we did that day (or the general picture groupings), so you can look at the things that might interest you. If you are just looking through this album linearly, and want to go through the whole trip day to day, then simply use the first "destination/day link" and start there.

When you get to one of the destination/day pages, you will see the same familiar buttons at the top and bottom of each page that will take you to the next destination/day, the previous destination/day or back to this Master Index. As I said, I have tried to organize things so that all you should want to do is use the "NEXT" button to go from page to page, but I have provided the other buttons should you wish to use them. When we have arrived in Civitavecchia at the end of the first cruise, you will want to return to this Master Index so that you can continue on through the photograph album to the second cruise, our time in Italy, and all the other pages for 2012.

Near the top of most destination/day pages, you will also find a set of links that will enable you to jump to a specific activity that occurred on that day (or related group of pictures taken that day), should you wish to do so. Of course, the easiest thing to do is just go through the page linearly (which, on pages describing a day in port, say, will be in time sequence); you can always scroll by topics that might not interest you. (In case you might want it, there is also a link at the end of each section that will take you back to the top of the page for that destination/day.)

When you are done looking at the pictures from our cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Rome, please use one of the "RETURN" buttons that appear at the top and bottom of every daily page to return to this Master Index. Then, use the link that you will see there to return to the top of this page so you can continue on the second cruise with us, follow us around Italy for a week, and then continue through the photograph album.

We hope you enjoy looking at the pictures. To access the Master Index, please click HERE.

























(To return to the top of this page and continue through the photo album, please click HERE.)
Wednesday, May 2 (Fort Lauderdale) To Florida/Embarkation/The Noordam Sails
May 2-18 The Noordam: A Tour of the Ship and Our Stateroom
May 3-8 (At Sea) Crossing the Atlantic
Wednesday, May 9 (The Azores, Portugal) Exploring Ponta Delgada
Thursday, May 10 (At Sea) Sea Day Activities
Friday, May 11 (Lisbon, Portugal) Visiting Estoril; Lisbon Overview
Saturday, May 12 (Lisbon, Portugal) Exploring the city of Lisbon
Sunday, May 13 (Cadiz, Spain) A Walking Tour of Cadiz
Monday, May 14 (Malaga, Spain) An Excursion to The Alhambra in Granada
Tuesday, May 15 (Cartagena, Spain) Exploring Cartagena
Wednesday, May 16 (Barcelona, Spain) A Day Trip to Montserrat
Thursday, May 17 (At Sea) Sea Day Activities
Friday, May 18 (Civitavecchia, Italy) The Repositioning Cruise Ends












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Tower Grove Park



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