by Michael Walter Smith
I am concentrating this month on an 8 day, 7 night cruise enjoyed recently with the benefit of an Alicante departure. The ship was 'Horizon' operated by Pullmantur, a line that's been in existence for a number of years, my 3rd cruise with this company. I had a roomy, comfortable outside cabin on deck 5 and an inclusive drinks package is included with Pullmantur which is a great bonus.
On departure from Alicante, we had an overnight passage to Malaga and stayed there for the day. This was followed by a day at sea destined to Porto Torres, Sardinia, arriving mid afternoon on day 4. Tours to various points around the island were available and I booked a wine and cheese tasting excursion into the city of Alghero, a 30 minute coach journey. This is a historic and wonderful city to visit with one surprise for me - a visit to a Coral Museum. I was mistakenly under the impression coral reefs were mainly to be found in tropical climes. One benefit of cruising is that there are many surprises to be experienced and wonderful countries to visit.
We departed in the evening for Civitavecchia (Rome) arriving at 9am on day 5, which gave passengers the opportunity to visit the Italian capital city for the greater part of the day. Having visited Rome a number of times previously, I decided to discover the sites within Civitavecchia itself.
Once again we departed in the evening, arriving at the Port of Livorno the following morning day 6, where again, many organised tours were available including Florence and Pisa. I chose the latter, a city of course that not only offers the Leaning Tower as an attraction, but a number of wonderful historic buildings that surround the tower itself.
Day 7 was at sea, obviously once again allowing for relaxation or enjoying facilities and entertainment available on board, including shops where fashion accessories, toiletries, souvenirs and duty free goods etc. are available. On the upper decks are the swimming pool, gymnasium, Jacuzzi, solarium, spa facilities and a buffet restaurant offering an alternative to the main restaurant (deck 7). Also a number of bars, some with live entertainment, a casino, as well as a theatre offering spectacular presentations.
On day 8 we arrived back to Alicante concluding a great experience for seasoned cruisers and an introductory to those not having cruised previously. The service provided by efficient and helpful staff, cabin stewards, waiters, reception and excursions staff alike was excellent.
My photograph highlights were the beauties of sunrises and sunsets at sea and this photograph shows the latter at Civitavecchia with "MSC Magnifica" departing.