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Aboard MSC Lirica, 26 Oct - 2 Nov 2003
The Itinerary - Mediterranean Pearls

MSC are very good in providing Port Information. For each Port of Call there was a 4 page 'leaflet' giving an historical outline of the city, a list of sights to see, monuments to discover, places to visit, shopping ideas, "gastronomical delights" to try and other useful information where appropriate. A3 sized detailed maps were also available. See the Information provided for Palermo. There was a selection of Shore Excursions for each Port of Call, quite reasonably priced as far as Cruiselines go. Full details were provided in a 5 language booklet along with the embarkation documents. A flyer was also available onboard, viewable here.

Mt Vesuvius
Mt Vesuvius

Palermo Opera House
Palermo Opera House

Please click on the Ports for further information.

Day

Visiting

Arr

Dep

Sun 26 Oct

Depart Genoa

 

1700

Mon 27 Oct

Naples

1100

1930

Tues 28 Oct

Palermo

0700

1700

Wed 29 Oct

Tunis

0700

1300

Thurs 30 Aug

Palma

1300

0030

Fri 31 Oct

Barcelona

0900

1830

Sat 1 Nov

Marseille

0700

1900

Sun 2 Nov

Genoa

0700

 

View My Photos of MSC Lirica

Cast of the cavity left by a body at Pompeii
Cast of the cavity left by a body at Pompeii

The Old Maritime Station - Naples
The Old Maritime Station - Naples

Naples

Whilst navigating through the Islands of Ischia & Procida in the Bay of Naples [Napoli] we received a running commentary from the bridge. The backdrop of Mt Vesuvius is spectacular in the mist. There were a number of other cruise ships and ferries in port, see the link above for photos.

The City of Naples was founded by Greek settlers in 5BC on the hill of Pizzo Falcone. Wealthy Romans built their summer houses here, whilst the Emperors built theirs' on the Island of Capri. Naples today is fast & furious, hardly a vehicle seen that wasn't covered in dents. I wouldn't want to drive here.

The centre of the city is just outside the port entrance with many of the sights within walking distance. We took an organised tour to Pompeii; buried under rock and ash when Vesuvius suddenly erupted on 24 Aug 79 AD. If one has never visited Pompeii, it is a 'Must Do'. On the return journey we stopped for a brief visit at a Cameo Factory.

View My Photos of Naples

View My Photos of Pompeii

Bronze Statue of the 'Faun'
Bronze Statue of the 'Faun'

Piazza Vigliena
Piazza Vigliena

Palermo

Now the capital of Sicily, Palermo was founded in C8 BC by the Phoenicians. It was subsequently occupied by the Carthaginians, Romans, "Vandals", Odoacer the barbarian King of Italy, the Saracens & the French Crusading Knights amongst others, finally becoming an autonomous region within the Italian Republic after WWII. Hence Palermo's buildings are as varied as its history.

On arrival we took an hour's tour of the city in a Carrozza - an elaborate horse-drawn carriage. Some bartering was required to bring the price down to a reasonable level, but still quite expensive. Many of these carriages were available in the port area throughout the day, along with taxis. The driver pointed out the relevant sites, but one does not get far in an hour. The main town is a stone's throw from the port entrance, so we wandered back in the afternoon for shopping & more sightseeing. A lovely city, worth a visit.

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Via Principe di Belmonte
Via Principe di Belmonte

A Carrozza
A Carrozza

The Medina
The Medina

La Goulette [The Port for Tunis]
La Goulette [The Port for Tunis]

Tunis

Tunis consists of 3 cities: The modern Capital City with its skyscrapers & sidewalk cafes etc, Carthage, 18km from the centre, founded by the Phoenicians over 2000 yrs ago & the Arabic Medina [Old Town] founded 13 centuries ago, a labyrinth of narrow alleyways, shops, mosques & palaces. You can spend most of a day exploring its warren of low, arched stone passageways. Shops selling carpets, perfume, leather, silverware, khaftans everywhere. Bartering non-stop.

After much haggling we hired a somewhat battered taxi outside the port entrance to take us on a tour of Tunis and to shop in the Medina. Do not go into the Medina on your own, it's a maze and you may well get lost! Some of the shops are of the old style & sell swords, old cameras & flintlock rifles. From a roof terrace, you can peer out over the top of the Medina. I did wonder if the taxi would make it back intact to the port at La Goulette, but we're still here. A fun day.

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Ottoman technique tile panels
Ottoman Technique Tile Panels

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One of the many Windmills in Mallorca
One of the many Windmills in Mallorca

Palma

Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands [Mallorca, Menorca & Ibiza], 47 miles N - S & 62 miles E - W. Palma is the capital and a lovely city to wander about.

We took the 'Hop on Hop off' bus tour which stops directly outside the port entrance. There were 2 different tours. It was a melee just trying to get on one, with so many ships in port, but eventually we were off, and enjoyed the trip. When finally able to sit down and plug in the earphones provided for the commentary, they did not work. But a booklet was provided from which the information of what we were seeing was outlined.

Later on we walked back to the commercial centre "Porto Pi", advertised as a 5 min walk, but in reality a lot further, for a bit of shopping. Alcohol is cheap here.

View More Photos of Palma

Bellver Castle
Bellver Castle

Palma's Cathedral
Palma's Cathedral

Cable Car Tower with the WTC behind
Cable Car Tower with the WTC behind

Pleasure boats at the bottom of La Rambla
Pleasure boats at the bottom of La Rambla

Barcelona

Barcelona dates from the 1st century A.D., when the Romans established a small colony around the Taber Mount. It grew to be one of the leading Mediterranean centers of commerce with its port being one of the most important in the Med. Barcelona today is an attractive and captivating city; one which deserves more than a brief call on a cruise ship.

One usually docks at the outer mole, which is a bus ride away from the bottom end of La Rambla. Shuttle buses will be provided, for a daily fee [e3], or even free on occasion. It is only a 5 or 10 minute ride over the bridge. Walk up La Rambla, take a 'Hop on Hop off' Bus Tour, you will come across many, and take a trip on the Cable Car over the World trade Centre, weather permitting.

Great Ship-Spotting here.

More Photos of
Barcelona Pt I & Barcelona Pt II
 taken in April 2003

Gaudi's Dream - Sagrada Familia
Gaudi's Dream - Sagrada Familia

French Windows - Rue de la République
French Windows - Rue de la République

Marseille

Marseille is the 2nd city of France & lies on the SE coast. Founded in 600AD by the Greeks. The Port of Marseille is large, and anywhere is a bus ride away. Howard & I took the shuttle [e5 for multiple trips] into the "Old Port" where we met a friend who showed us around the centre, some shops for delicious local chocolates, Calissons d'Aix, & the Maritime Museum.

The Museum is small, but full of interesting French Line models. Back to the ship for lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the port area, quite unchallenged, photographing other cruise ships [see link below]. We had the most glorious sunset, with an impromptu 'party' on deck.

View More Photos of Marseille


Glorious Sunset

Normandie, in the Maritime Museum
Normandie, in the Maritime Museum

During the cruise we covered 1620 Nautical Miles. Passengers join and leave the cruise at many ports en route. Either just cruising for a few days, or doing the 7 itinerary from a different port of embarkation. Some passengers may spend a week in a port, rejoining the cruise later.

1 NM = 1.852m or 0676ft

From

To

NM

Genoa

Naples

333

Naples

Palermo

167

Palermo

Tunis

181

Tunis

Palma

422

Palma

Barcelona

129

Barcelona

Marseille

186

Marseille

Genoa

202

Photos of Genoa can be viewed here, taken in April 2003, whilst aboard Norwegian Dream.

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Lirica Review Part I

Lirica Review Part II

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