18 Oct 2008 to 29 Oct 2008

The Italian train ride was, how can we put it, "interesting" but at least we got into Genoa on time. On the trip down, the train hugged most of the coast, and while it wasnt in a tunnel (there were heaps and we had no cabin lights for a good chunk of the trip) we were treated to some amazing scenery

Here is a quick shot of Monte Carlo
Fri 17th Oct - We spent the afernoon settling into our hotel for the night and exploring Genoa. This photo is taken from a replica pirates galleon in the old port of Genoa
And not to mention the very tasty Gelato ice cream which was a welcome relief from the heat of the day
Dinner was at a local Pizzaria - look at the size of the pizzas
Sat 18th Oct - had a few hours to kill before boarding, so headed down to the waterfront. This is our cruise ship MSC Armonia with her sistership Lirica in the foreground
Here we are aboard as we leave Genoa
And whats a cruise without a welcome aboard cocktail
Final look back towards Genoa port
Sun 19th Oct - First port of call is Naples (Napoli) and we had a shore excursion to Pompeii, which was wiped out under 6 metres of volcanic ash in 79AD. This is the main forum with the volcano Vesuvius in the distance.
The remains were quite well preserved until the site was discovered and excavations began in the 1800's
Of course the most famous and gruesome was the plaster casts of the people of Pompeii, frozen in the position when they died. Before the layers of ash were removed, the cavities where the bodies where was filled with liquid plaster. The plaster replaced the flesh which had decayed, leaving only the skeletons in the ash. You could see some of the skeleton exposed in these casts
Some of the positions of the bodies gave a clue as to how quick the eruption consmed the town. There were also thousands of other artefacts, many of which had already been removed to many museums around the world - Louvre, British History Museum etc
Back on board, and at dinner. Breadsticks proving to be Connor's favourite. We are assigned a great table on the starboard side next to a large window where we can watch the world go by.
Mon 20th Oct - New port today, this time Catania in Sicily. No shore excursion here, we decided to explore the town ourselves
Best part was stumbling across the local market where all sorts of fresh goods were sold - here is the fish market with most of the stock still wriggling!
Even the meat market was in the open air - so much for Health dept cleanliness standards!
Back boarding the ship ready for lunch
And time for some serious work - not! A good book, and the Med sun.
Even Danielle & Connor braved the pool to cool off
Last look back at Catania as we leave port
A view of the pool deck
Formal dress tonight with the Captain's Welcome Aboard cocktail party.. Danielle gets to dance with one of the ships Entertainment Crew

INDEX Cruise continued....