Italian Idyll

Santa Marguerita

Our very first stop was Santa Marguerita Ligure. A lovely small port in northern Italy. Because of the size of our ship, we were able to visit lots of beautiful smaller ports. We just parked off-shore and rode the lifeboats into the harbor.


We took a shore excursion, which was on a ferry to a few gorgeous locations. This is the small Italian fishing village Camogli


A 10th century seaside monestary called the Abbey of San Fruttuoso


We found Portofino to be crowded, touristy and expensive. Not at all what we expected.


In Sicily, we took an excursion to Pupillo Winery which was originally a hunting retreat built in the Middle Ages. The current owners have been producing wine on the estate for four generations.


The estate’s garden was magical.


Wisteria over 100 years old. I would love to see it in bloom!


Our tour ended with wine tasting paired with some local delicacies served under that massive wisteria.

Santa Marguerita1

We loved Italy and would definitely like to return some day.

Shopping With The Chef


At least once every cruise, the chef takes a group of about 20 guests with him shopping in one of his favorite markets.  Our chef, Pascal de Portemont, chose Livorno, Italy and Syracuse, Italy.  We got to spend the morning with him in Livorno while he shopped for our meals.


Our first stop was a cheese and sausage shop. They provided samples for us all of everything he purchased. We brought several kinds of cheese back with us. Also fresh sausage that was used in a pasta dish for lunch the next day, some truffled salami, several kinds of pesto and his favorite salt. We bought some, too.


The shop smelled wonderful!


He bought every branzino this guy had.


We didn’t bring back any of this, I just thought it was pretty.


I had no idea mortadella was so delicious.


This giant wheel of gorgonzola was the creamiest, best tasting I’ve ever had. We brought back two of them.


I’ve never seen porcini this huge. I think they were included in a dish the evening of a German-themed dinner.


He bought octopus. Lots of it.


We brought back every single clementine this guy had. We found them in our cabin the next morning as the fruit of the day. They were also peeled and included in the breakfast fruit buffet.


He wanted to bring back 10 cases of persimmons but the cart we brought with us was too loaded!


Our lunch the next day included a buffet of some of the things we had picked up at the market. This was so much fun, really a highlight of our trip!

Our Mediterranean Sojourn


Here’s the beautiful ship we spent two weeks in the Mediterranean on – the Seabourn Sojourn. It’s all-inclusive and has only 225 suites. Our itinerary started in Monte Carlo and ended in Athens, with stops in Italy, Sicily, Crete, Malta and Greece in between.


Despite it being late October we literally spent a few hours every afternoon in the pool and hot tubs, which were just steps from our suite.


We had every breakfast, lunch and most dinners in the outdoor Colonnade restaurant, which was situated at the very rear of the ship. It offered gorgeous views of the sea as it slipped by and the ports as we approached. There were infrared lamps in the ceiling for cool evenings and the staff also provided warm wool blankets if needed.


Like our cruise on the Queen Mary 2, tea was served every afternoon. We only went once. There was just so much food! The scones and clotted cream were to die for.


The Queen Mary 2 only provides a bridge tour to the first 20 people (out of 2600 on board) who sign up. Everyone who was interested in seeing the bridge on the Sojourn got to go. We spent about an hour getting the full tour. We also had a very interesting tour of the ship’s galley with the chef, and went shopping with him in port the next day. I’ll share those photos when I get them sorted out, as well as some port highlights.






Where We’ve Been

SunriseWe just got home last night from a two week cruise in the Mediterranean on the Seabourn Sojourn.  I’ll probably bore you to death with some photos over the next few days once I can sort through and organize them.   Best vacation ever!

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