18 Oct 2008 to 29 Oct 2008 Continued - Page 2

Morning in the cabin and reading the daily activities. Each night you were delivered a notice on the following day's activities, shows, meal times etc, and if arriving at a port, you also got an information sheet about the city.
Tue 21st Oct - Katakolon, Greece. An early morning arrival and we had an excursion out to Olympia, site of the original Olympic Games
Unfortunately, a strike by public workers meant no access to the site. Instead we walked around the site and peered in, but at least the guide was very knowledgeable
The original Olympic Stadium - 192 yards long, capacity 20,000 people and all had to be men (entry had to be totally naked to prove your "manhood")
Wed 22nd Oct - arriving at Rhodes
Rhodes was a popular destination for the Crusades right up to the 13th Century and was heavily fortified. This is the Palace of the Knights
There were heaps of shops, Danielle is sporting her new fake Versace sunglasses for EUR6.00
The place was also full of amazing ruins as the city had been often invaded by both the Crusaders and Muslims. This is the remains of a church dating back to around 1100 AD
This is the legendary site of where the Colossus of Rhodes stood. No jokes please about the current colossus sitting to the left of the picture
Outside the city there was some wonderful beaches, complete with topless bathers (you'll have to ask Ian for those photos)
We departed Rhodes under a beautiful sunset on our way to Limassol, Cyprus
Thur 23rd Oct - Limassol. Bit of a disappointment after Rhodes. This is Limassol Castle again built by the Crusaders, but extended and changed by the Muslims
If anything, Limassol will be remembered for all the stray cats we saw, and Danielle & Connor running off squealing "Sooooo cute...!"
Fri 24th Oct - Alexandria, Egypt. Early start with tour buses leaving at 8:15am. Fortunately, Friday is a weekend day so traffic was light, just a couple of thousand donkeys and camels to contend with
The 3 1/2 hour drive to Cairo went quite quickly as we were entertained by our guide. The two cone shapes in this photo (above the truck) is where pigeons are bred for food. Apparently pigeon is a highly prized delicacy in Egypt, KFP (Kentucky Fried Pigeon) outlets are all over the place too.
The first sight of the pyramids was breathtaking
First stop - top carpark to gaze at the pyramids, and also to have a camel ride!
Sheik Ah Me Farti, his wife and two children on camels in front of the pyramids!
There where thousands of people there, but still some angles where it seems you are all alone
Next stop the Sphinx - smaller that we expected and clearly dwarfed by the pyramids around it
After lunch and some shopping, it was off to the Egyptian Museum. No cameras allowed, so they had to stay on the bus
Sun 25th Oct - day at sea and we needed a day of rest to recharge the batteries! Danielle got to sing in the Passenger Show - here she is with Sam (friends they made aboard) before her performance
Here is a video of Danielle's performance on the Talent Show (courtesy of YouTube)
Sun 26th Oct - Heraklion, Crete. We teamed up with three Aussie families and hired two cars and a van and headed up to the Knossus Palace before all the excursion buses arrived!
The ruins date from the Minoan era, about 2400BC
After the palace visit, we headed up the coast. Very high seas made for a bit of a rough passage away from the port later that night.
A quick stop off at a Venetian Fortress at the port entrance before returning to the ship.
Each night there would be feasts put on for passengers at 11:45pm at various parts of the ship. Here they are preparing the feast in the reception area, complete with amazing fruit carvings
Mon 27th Oct - At Sea,and another chance to rest! Hard work this cruising you know! Picture of Connor in our cabin
Looking back at Italy after passing through the Messina Strait (between Italy and Sicily)
Final Gala night - FREE CHAMPAGNE, thanks to the Captain (pictured on the stage here)
At our dinner table with our waiters, Raphael (left, from Brazil) and Heriyanto (right,from Bali)
Tue 28th Oct - Final port of call Civitavecchia (Rome)
We caught a train into Rome, about 1 hr south of Civitavecchia, found our apartment and also walked to the Colluseum
Some Centurions collared us for a photo, and charged us EUR10 for it too! And we thought the Egyptians where rip-off artists!
On to Trevi Fountain. Legend has it that if you toss a coin into the water you will return to Rome. It worked - we came back the next day!
Finally the Spanish Steps, at Piazza de Spagna. Legend has it that if Ian runs to the top, he will be knackered, so we didn't do that!
Back to the ship for a subdued final night. Sad to be leaving it. Connor managed to win a MSC Armonia mouse pad in a ball game

So that was the end of our cruise. We disembarked the next day at Genoa to begin our next stage in Italy. Cruising the Med was an excellent way to see so much, and the sights of some of the smaller ports, Rhodes especially, was absolutely stunning. MSC are a great company to cruise with, the service, food, facilities, staff and entertainment was first class. We'd all love to cruise again, for sure!

INDEX On to Italy.....