Italy-Turkey-Egypt-Greece Trip - October 2008

The Krane's Online Travel Album - The Azamara Quest Ship

Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy;  Sorrento, Italy; 
Heraklion (Iraklion), Crete; Chios, Greece;
Istanbul, Turkey;  Canakkale (Kepez), Turkey;  Bodrum, Turkey;  Fethiye, Turkey;  Antalya, Turkey;
Limassol, Cyprus; 
Alexandria, Egypt; 
Athens (Piraeus), Greece

Oct 8 - Rome, Italy

Oct 9 - Rome Day1 - Our flight from SFO to Philadelphia to Roma was about 15 hours. We met Michele and Will Wise from Washington State and went into the city with them taking the metro.

We toured around the collisium area which was lit for the evening and really beautiful. It was a new perspective of this structure with lights and the absence of tourist throngs.

We ate in a side road authentic bistro where we all chose different pastas. We even had the music of a singing guitarist and dined to the tunes of "Volare." The food was delicious.

We caught the 10 P.M. shuttle back to the hotel.

Oct 10 - Rome Day2 - With the Wises we took a tour of the city on the on again off again Ciao Roma tour.

We enjoyed the tour stopping at the Vatican and walking around before we continued to the end of the route.

1 - We began at the Piazza Dell Esquilano. and saw the Basilica of St. Mary Major and the Opera House.

2 - The Piazza Venezia, Campioglio, the Fori Imperiall and the Trojan's Column and Markets, Pantheon and Capitolini museums.


3 - The third stop was the Colosseo and the Palatino Roman Forum.  4 - At stop four we saw Circo Massimo and Bocca Della Verita.


5 - Next we went to Piazza di Monte Savello where we saw Isola Tiberina.
6 - The sixth stop was the Piazza Chiesa Nuova and the Piazza Novona.

7 - The Citta Del Vaticano - Via della Conciliazione, Caffe Pietro.


8 -  Ponte Sant Angelo,    9  -  Piazza Augusto, Imperatore / ARA Pacis (Mausoleum of Augustus), 
10 - Via Ludovisi / Via Veneto, Spanish Steps and Villa Borghese

   Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy

11 - Piazza Barberini, Trevi Fountain and   12 - Piazza San Bernardo / Piazza Repubblica

Then we went to the Roma Museum and viewed marble stautes and frescas.

      Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy Map


Oct 11 - Rome Day 3 and to the port: Rome to Civitavecchia, Italy In the Eternal City of Rome, you can explore some of the world's most famous churches, monuments and fountains: the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City, the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain (toss a coin in the fountain to ensure your return).

Sip cappuccino at a cafe in a piazza or window-shop among the high-fashion boutiques of Via Condotti. Rome is served by the port city of Civitavecchia, located approximately 50 miles away.

Port of Civitavecchia, Pier No. 12 BIS, Civitavecchia, Italy -- The Port of Civitavecchia is located approximately 50 miles from Rome's International Airports. The hotel van drove us to the port and we embarked. The ship is really lovely. It has been totally redone with new woods and the rooms all have new beds and linens.

There are fresh flowers in our bedroom and bath daily. There are many outstanding amenities. Dinner is a real plus as the food is outstanding.

We met with a group of friends on the 10th deck to enjoy the ship de-barking. The ship is quite cozy with only 615 guests and 399 crue.

We found that many of the guests come from Scottland, England and Canada.

Oct 12 - Sorrento, Italy

Sorrento claims one of the Amalfi Coast's most picturesque harbors. Some of the excursions include the whispering groves of lemon trees along the Amalfi Drive, and another puts passengers aboard a hydrofoil to the serene and sunny island of Capri. Anther excursion is the tour to Pompeii, the fascinating ruins of a city covered in lava and ash from the A.D. 79 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. And finally there is the bustling city of Naples, with a unique culture that the natives still hold strong.

Sorrento, Italy   


Oct 12 Sorrento - After breakfast in our room we took the tender into Sorrento Harbor. Sorrento claims one of the Amalfi Coast's most picturesque harbors.  We chose to take a local bus up the hillside into Sorrento where we attended mass. The church was decorated in baroque style with a beautifully painted ceiling and a marble alter.

Then we spent the morning strolling the streets like the local Italians and we shopped the many small shops for gifts. We stopped to have a cappucino and people watch.


Next we took a local bus up the mountainside for a look at the local scenery. As we looked at the ship from port we could also see Vesuvius and were reminded of our previous trip to the Amalfi coast when we visited Capri and Pompeii. 


In the afternoon Roseann went for a swim in the ship's pool and later we met with the Cruise Critic group for a champaign party with the officers of the ship. The dinner was outstanding.

Oct 13 - At Sea - a wonderful day at rest.
Oct 14 - Crete (Heraklion), Greece  
A string of high mountains divides this Greek isle into four regions, each with its own distinct landscape. There are two main attractions -- the restored 4,000-year-old Minoan palace of Knossos and the unparalleled archaeological museum in Heraklion. There is also a colorful fruit and vegetable market and a quaint fishing village.

We walked to town from the port. It was only about a mile, so off we went,  There were quite a few tourists walking the streets and strolling along, we ambled our way towards the town central area.

As we approached the main qualre, we came upon the Basiclca of St Mary, a Greek Orthodox church, very old and decorated in the usual Byzantine fashion. After enjoying the artistic interior, we headed for the square, where the Lion Fountain is located.  Unfortunately, the water was shut down due to a shortage of rain the past season. We still enjoyed the stone work...eroded by eons of water dripping over the surfaces. 


Continuing down the street, we spotted the market place... streets with no vehicles, not even scooters.  Every conceivable item is there, including plumbing fixtures, carpets, clothes, toys for name it  it was there.  We worked our way around town and ended up in a park/square with  many trees and benches to enjoy our picnic lunch. from there, we had a panaramic view of the town. Along the way, we discovered the Archeological museum, full of artifacts dating to 3000 BC, the very earliest civilization in the Mediterranian. Eventually, we headed back to the port area.Wit tired feet and many photos to review, and iced tea on board the Azamara was in order. A shower, nap, and we dressed for dinner, where we celebrated the 28th wedding anniversary of our fellow travellers, the Lerners, from Dayton, Ohio. The bed seemed somewhat softer, as we slept well, dreaming of faraway lands of adventure.


 At dinner we celebrated Gayle and David's anniversary.

Oct 15 - Chios, Greece    

We decided to take a private van to tour the island. We went with Gayle, David, Jean, and Frank.. Our van driver was Costos - a good driver who was 24 and had a degree in hotel management working for his father. From the city we went south to where there were a number of pottery shops.



Then we drove to  Pirgi which is a very unusual town with a fabulous old church and also saw the new church and geometric designs on all the homes. Our next stop was Mesta which had the largest and most ornate church on the island. It was also built in a maze and quite hilly.

We ate lunch at the Port of Mesta. Then we drove to a monastery and finally back to the ship for a great dinner and show. Finally we enjoyed evening tea with Carolyn and Dave.

Oct 16 - Istanbul, Turkey   

Cruises that visit or depart from Istanbul sail in the Black Sea, Greek Isles and the Mediterranean.  Istanbul is one of the world's most interesting cities. Cruise passengers get a striking view of the minaret-pierced skyline as the ship pulls into port. The treasures are plentiful here; visitors marvel at the great architectural triumph of the Blue Mosque, the glorious frescoes and mosaics of the Chora Church and the amazing Grand Bazaar.   

Istanbul is one of the most enchanting cities of the world. It is vibrant and alive with activity.  Istanbul is a unique city built on two continents - Europe and Asia. Located on the shores of the Bosphorus, it stands where the waters of the Black Sea combine with those of the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn. Istanbul has been the capital of three empires which used to dominate the world. Today the province houses the  precious remains of these civilizations stand with all its glamour and mysticism as a harmonious link between East and West, past and present, antique and modern.

We took a tour beginning with a drive to the Asian side of Istanbul. We drove the coast road of Dolmabahce viewing the gate of the famous Dolmabahce Palace via the Bosphorus Bridge.

Then we went to the Blue Mosque. Our guide was muslin and she gave us a very good explanation of everthing. Then we went to a carpet store where it was explained how carpets are made. Then we walked around the area.




We had a lovely dinner with Canadians and Scotlanders and then watched a wonderful folk dance and belly dance. Finally we enjoyed evening tea with Carolyn and Dave.

Oct 17th - Istanbul, Turkey      
Today we walked through town to the Palace Museum. After we toured the museum we walked to the great Bazaar.A lot of exercise but worth it. We loved Istanbul's ever active life.

Oct 18th - Canakkale, Turkey  
The principal town on the Dardanelles is the town of Canakkale, situated at the narrowest point of this busy strait. It serves as a base to the ancient site of Troy, which is about 20 miles away. In "The Iliad," Homer immortalized Troy with stories of King Priam, Hector, Paris and the beautiful Helen.



Archaeological digs have revealed nine cities and various ruins of the city walls, typical house foundations, a temple and a theater. We toured Troy and saw the archeological diggings and findings. We had a wonderful guide named Baris who teaches at the University.

Oct 19 - Bodrum, Turkey -

Bodrum, Turkey Bodrum, Turkey Map

Spread out between two crescent bays, Bodrum exudes an "artsy" ambiance. With its white houses and flower gardens, it is one of the prettiest resorts on the South Aegean coast. Bodrum is easy to get around on foot. From the center square small streets fan out, lined with shops selling arts and crafts, leather, jewelry and carpets. Artists display their works along the harbor front. There is also a market offering a variety of clothing and local produce.

This town was delightful - quiet and clean with a perfect bay and sparkling water. We walked from the ship through the town shopping as we meandered and finally ended at the castle. After touring the castle we walked back. Did I say I'd like to retire here?

Oct 20 - Fethiye, Turkey    

Located in the Tourus Mountains and on the hillside of Mount Mendos is the picturesque town of Fethiye. The scenery is beautiful as our the local tea gardens. A number of outdoor sports are available, including rafting and scuba diving. 



The bay was beautiful and the sea was as calm as could be. This town as very pleasant and appealing. I preferred Bodrum for the beaches but Fethiye has better shops with nicer merchandise. We picked up a few items as we walked around.

We went to the amphitheater and a few other sites before returning to the ship for a delightful rest.

October 21 - Antalya, Turkey

   Antalya, Turkey 

Located on the Turkish Riviera, Antalya's scenery includes a crescent bay, cliffs, mountains, palm-lined boulevards and a marina. In the old quarter, narrow streets and wooden houses huddle against the ancient city walls. The main square offers fantastic views of the bay and the distant mountain peaks, and it is home to the town's clock tower.


We took a great archeological tour in Antalya. First, a visit to Perge, which once was one of the most important ancient cities along the coast. Perge was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 BC. St. Paul preached some of his first preaches here. Perge is also known because it is the birth-place of the famous mathematician Apollonius, author of a famous treatise on geometry. We saw the ruins of the antique theatre with its stage that has marble reliefs about life of Dionysos, a stadium which is in a shape of "U" for 12,000 people and remains of the first church built in Perge. Then we visited the world famous ancient Greco - Roman Amphitheater.

Aspendos is one of the most well preserved ancient city examples in the world. Aspendos Theatre -the best preserved theater of antiquity, with a seating capacity for 15,000 is still being used today. The theater's galleries, stage decorations and acoustics all testify to the architect's success. In the 6th century B.C., the Lydians reigned here until they were defeated by the Persians. Until 425 B.C. Aspendos was a member of Delian Sea Confederacy. In 333 B.C. Alexander the Great came to Pamphylia.

October 22 - Limassol, Cyprus
   Limassol, Cyprus  Limassol, Cyprus Map

Limassol is a resort town in the Greek southern half of the island. we visited the most popular excursion where we saw the sites of the Curium amphitheater and the sanctuary of Apollo, the Crusader castle at Kolossi and the House of Dionysus at Paphos.


October 23- Cairo / Giza (Alexandria), Egypt     

Highlights in Cairo include the Ibn Tulun Mosque, which dates to the ninth century, and the Citadel, a medieval fortress. Many passengers choose to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World; the Sphinx is nearby. Tours of these sites are offered on foot, horseback or camel. The port city of Alexandria is set on a strip of land between the Mediterranean Sea and Lake Mareotis, and serves as the gateway to Cairo and Giza. In Alexandria, a tour of the harbor and Montaza Palace or lounging on the beach are favorite activities.

Entering Alexandria harbor, one instantly feels the meeting of the old and new…of commerce as it is and was. A two hour drive takes you to Cairo, the Nile, the Great pyramids, and a taste of the ancient.

The “desert schooners”… Camels, are present for the visitor to see, and make up a part of the scene. We had a lunch on the Nile, and a short cruise. The oldest mosque in Cairo … and a feel for the streets clearly give you a feeling of the history and tradition of this country. The street bazaar and shops are typical of the Orient…busy, noisy, and colorful . Leaving the city, a last glimple of the old and new contrasts the Egyptian way of life.

Oct 24 - At Sea

October 25 - Athens (Piraeus), Greece


Piraeus is the port to Athens -- the birthplace of Western civilization. The first stop on most excursions is the Parthenon on the hill of the Acropolis. The Acropolis also is the site of the Propylea, the Temple of the Wingless Victory, the Erechtheion and the Acropolis Museum. A drive down Syngrou Avenue offers an impressive view of the Arch of Hadrian and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The National Archeological Museum houses a rich collection of antiquities.

Athens - the name coincides with Athena, (a Greek Goddess) and is a city of many faces. As a seaport, it is, and has been a major site since antiquity. Located in a valley adjacent to the sea, a single table-top bluff is the only major geographical feature and is the site of the Acropolis. Here, some of the best known Temples and buildings were built centuries ago.

Major restoration is being completed on the Parthenon and other structures. Our room and balcony at hotel had an excellent view of this tourist attraction, and the bluff and buildings are lighted at night, making it glow with drama and character.

A new underground Metro makes moving around cheap, fast, and efficient. (No graffiti yet, either). We went to the usual sites, visited the National Museum, shopping bazaars, Temple of Zeus, and several parks. The food we sampled was not special, and was expensive. Nonetheless, we put maximum miles on our walking shoes, as we made the most of our few days in this exciting and vibrant Grecian city.

October 26 - Athens (Piraeus), Greece - : This ancient city is the place to go to see the heart of Greceian history. It was here that an entire emipre was ruled, and was the center for important art, architecture, and literature. We arrived at the hotel after a short ride across taxi. Our biggest surprise was the view from the balcony, the most famous site in Athens, the Parthenon.

On our first adventure around the city, we got a closer look. A short stroll takes you to Hadrian's arch, and the former residential area of many roman officials, near the Temp[le of Zeus, the most powerful of tahe Greek Gods. All that is left are the foundations of the housing, as many were largely wooden structures on stone foundation.

Here, all things important to the government were a short walk away. Strolling along the boulevard takes you to the National Museum, where art and treasurs of days gone by are there to view. They were Great painters

doing frescoes and decorations on their walls. Unparalleled works in Bronze, White marble,jewelry, and pottery are all beautiful and priceless.

(In a gesature of friendliness, the Senator bids us Goodbye, as we leave this most fascinating place.

October 27 - Athens (Piraeus), Greece - day 3 - fly to SFO
October 28 - Arrive SFO