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My Favorite Cruise Vacation

Updated on November 21, 2014
Enjoying Venice
Enjoying Venice | Source

Cruising the Mediterranean

In 1999 my husband and I took the cruise of a lifetime when we cruised the Mediterranean from Barcelona Spain around the boot of Italy and back for 12 days. Our stops included Marseille and Villefranche in France, Messina, Sicily and Livonrno, Naples, Venice, and Civitavecchia in Itally. At each of those ports we boarded a bus and took trips to nearby cities and towns.

We were able to see sights in places like Rome, Venice, Pisa and Monte Carlo. We saw places we had read about or seen in movies and on television but never dreamed we would get to visit.

Since that trip, more than 12 year ago, we have visited many wonderful places and taken some great cruises but that trip still ranks in my mind as the best ever!

photos by Mary Beth Granger unless otherwise noted

Barcelona, Spain

La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi Cathedral

Our plane landed in Barcelona, Spain and a bus took us to meet our cruise ship(Royal Caribbean's-Legend of the Seas) in the harbor. Since it was morning and we could not board the ship yet, the bus gave us a two hour tour of Barcelona. Our bus stopped at the La Sagrad Familia for about an hour and we were able to walk around the structure. I was awed by it's size. It is a very interesting piece of architecture.

The La Sagrada Familia Cathedral is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona. It has been under contruction for 128 years and is not expected to be completed for several more years until 2026-2028. The cathedral's original architect was Antoni Gaudi.

Rick Steve's Guidebook to Barcelona

These guidebook are really helpful in learning about what to see in each location.

Aix-en-Provence

south of France

Our first stop on the cruise was in Marseilles, France. We had heard that Aix-en-Provence was a great town to visit so we signed up for a bus ride to the town.

Our visit to this little town in the south of France was a delightful stop. We had several hours to wonder the streets of this small town, stopping to enjoy the fountains, shopping in the stores, and stopping for lunch in a great little restaurant on the main street.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Our next stop was in Livorno, Italy. At this port we took a tour to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It was one of those places that we had always heard about and wanted to see. It was very special to actually see it in person.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the most famous landmark in a city of beautiful architecture. The tower is located at the Piazza del Duomo where we also saw also houses the Cathedral, the Baptistry and the Camposanto Monumentale (the monumental cemetery). The inside of the cathedral was breathtaking with all of it's columns and arches and an intricately carved ceiling.

Amalfi Coast

The next port was Naples, Italy and here we chose an all day trip down the Amalfi coast and a stop at the little town of Sorrento. The Amalfi coast is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. We took a bus along the winding roading and look down at a fantastic view of the coast below us. The bus ride was a bit scary but definitely worth the view.

This beautiful scene of the Amalfi coast can be purchased at Allposters.
This beautiful scene of the Amalfi coast can be purchased at Allposters. | Source

Sorrento, Italy

The town of Sorrento overlooks the Bay of Naples. It is a wonderful little down set on a hillside. There are lots of little shops and here I stopped and bought some Limoncello, a special lemon liqueur and some inlaid wood gifts.

This poster is available at Allposters.com
This poster is available at Allposters.com | Source

Venice Italy

I had always dreamed of going to Venice and loved every minute of it. Our first glimpse of the beautiful city was from the balcony of our ship as it negotiated the rivers that led to where it docked. We stayed in Venice for two days.

The first day we took a boat ride through the canals of the city. It was wonderful to see this city from the water. Buildings opened right onto the water and most of the lower levels were kept empty for when there was high water.

The second day we explored Venice on foot and walked up and down their little bridges. We stopped in St. Mark's Square and had pizza at a sidewalk cafe and shopped in many of the little shops down the narrow streets. We bought Murano glass gifts to bring home.

Venice Canals

Venice Canals
Venice Canals

Messina, Sicily

Our stop in Sicily was at Messina. It is the third largest city on the island of Sicily, Italy. Here we did not take a tour but got off the boat and walking around the town enjoying the architecture and fountains.

Rome, Italy

the eternal city

At the port of Civitavecchia we took a tour bus into Rome, Italy. We really just touched the main sights in Rome in the 6 hours we were in the city but it definitely was a great experience.

We stopped at St. Peter's Basilica and where we had a guided tour inside the basilica. The enormous size and the beauty of the basilica is humbling. It is truly a work of art. I especially felt moved seeing Michelangelo's Pieta. After touring the basilica we had time to wander around in St. Peter's Square.

Next we were let out in downtown Rome to explore the city on our own. We saw the Spanish Steps and many of the fountains of Rome including the Trevi fountain, where we threw a coin over our shoulder into the fountain.

The bus also had a brief stop at the Colosseum where we could get out and take photos but did not have time to go inside.

Monaco

Monte Carlo

It was raining off and on all afternoon when we were in Monaco. It did stop long enough for me to get this photo of the casino in Monte Carlo. We were able to go into the casino and I dropped a few coins in a slot machine just to say I had gambled there. It was very luxurious and you felt like you were stepping into a James Bond film!

© 2011 Mary Beth Granger

Where did you go on your favorite vacation? - stop by and leave a note

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    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 2 years ago

      That image of Sorrento is simply exquisite. This has made it a must-visit for me...

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 4 years ago from West Virginia

      One of my favorite vacations so far was to Splash Lagoon, an indoor water park in Erie, PA.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 4 years ago

      My favorite vacation was to Hawaii. Such beauty. The flowers were so beautiful. It was like a step into another world.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 4 years ago

      My grandmother and grandfather both were from Sicily-Actually my grandmother refused to speak English except a tiny little bit. For some reason, I could always understand her although I do not know the Italian language at all. This sounded like an amazing cruise.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      The La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi Cathedral looks as though it is built from mud. What an unusual color for an older building to be. Fascinating.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      Hi! I was born in Europe, and I visited all places except:Monaco, and Messina (actually not only Messina, entire Sicily I didn't visit). Thanks for great memory about places I love... the most are Rome and Barcelona... I have a lens about Vatican in Rome... Blessings!

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      Hi! I was born in Europe, and I visited all places except:Monaco, and Messina (actually not only Messina, entire Sicily I didn't visit). Thanks for great memory about places I love... the most are Rome and Barcelona... I have a lens about Vatican in Rome... Blessings!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Greta lens and information! We did a River Cruise Prague through Germany to Paris, so Italy is next on the list...this info will help me...Thanks for Sharing!

      ~d-artist Squid Angel Blessing~

    • Ninche profile image

      Ninche 5 years ago

      I can imagine how beautiful it was to visit all of the great places! Lovely photos,too

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      it's hard to choose a favourite vacation... I've been to many places I like, but lately I really love Greece.

    • zimbali2011 profile image

      zimbali2011 6 years ago

      Hmmm... I love the places you've been to

    • profile image

      peppervel 6 years ago

      wow! Would love to go on a cruise soon. Never been one.

    • profile image

      happynutritionist 6 years ago

      That really is a trip of a lifetime...to see the things you did must have been amazing...love the pictures!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      Fabulous! So many wonderful places and I am so happy that you are holding up that tower :)

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 6 years ago

      What a dreamy vacation destination...and you did it. Had to smile at you trying to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

    • TeacherRenee profile image

      TeacherRenee 6 years ago

      Lovely lens! I'm going on a cruise with my entire family (including 4 grandsons all under 4 years old!) this February and this lens got me so excited!!!

    • trustytraveltip1 profile image

      trustytraveltip1 6 years ago

      Beautiful places - don't forget the Greek Islands too!

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Oh Italy, I wish I was there!

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 6 years ago

      I would like to plan a trip to Italy and visit what you have featured on this lens.

    • seashell2 profile image

      seashell2 6 years ago

      Beautiful... Planning a trip to Italy next year, you've made more excited than ever now! :-)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Next time your go there take me with you. :) What a wonderful trip.

    • Ann Hinds profile image

      Ann Hinds 6 years ago from So Cal

      Wow, great pictures. These are only places I dream about. What a great trip!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Italy, I absolutely adore Italy! Looks like a fantastic trip!

    • profile image

      hamshi5433 6 years ago

      Italy and Spain are the two places I`ve always wanted to visit but from looking at that picture of Amalfi Coast, I badly want to go there as well now..You must have had great time in these beautiful places.

    • profile image

      bdkz 6 years ago

      Beautiful!

    • LyricalVenus profile image

      LyricalVenus 6 years ago

      wow gorgeous pix! Sounds like a great trip!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      My favorite vacation was probably The circle tour, Grand Canyon, both rims, Sedona, Zion, Bryce, and some Utah State parks thrown in. Simply amazing. But riding to the bottom of the Grand canyon itself was amazing!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      sounds like a really wonderful trip!

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      I would love to go to all of these places! Lucky you! Fun gambling on Monte Carlo and seeing Italy is my dream... I did an Italian Bucket list. Love the photos!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Oh this looks delightful! I've been on a couple of cruises to the Caribbean and Baja Mexico area, but have always wanted to cruise the Mediterranean area. Beautiful lens!

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      thanks for taking me on your trip - I've thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Yosemite National Park...where the vistas are breathtaking, and nearby the Sequoia trees are the largest living thing on earth. But the photos you have in this lens are awesome...the cathedral amazed me, some of the scenery was absolutely gorgeous! What a great trip to make, and what a great lens!