A word about the meals! Excellent food and lots of it. I was amazed to find that I could eat three LARGE meals a day, and actually lose weight - all that walking. I never had fewer than three courses ... Dinner was formal every night except when we were in port, and although it was a bit of a drag getting all dolled up each evening, the sight of all the ladies in their best attire and the men in evening dress was a pleasure. In order to escape the formal dress requirements, one can dine in the Lido - it is a really pleasant buffet-type restaurant with a large variety of foods. Specially good for a leisurely breakfast, but unfortunately WAY over there at the other end of the ship - a LONG walk.
The first port of call was Barcelona. I was eager to see some of Gaudi's imaginative architecture and was not disappointed ... the Segrada Familia is not even finished yet but it is absolutely stunning.
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We looked forward to the arrival of each day's programme with eager anticipation!
From Sicily we continued to Turkey. The first call there was the port of Cannakale - the port for Gallipoli. I went on an exploratory walk and was lured into a carpet shop where I was held "hostage" while carpet after carpet was flung before me with a flourish, unrolling to show the jewel colours.... "Madam does not like this one - what about this one? of bring that one to show her..." I sat there for some time unable to escape, but luckily managed to hold out and not buy anything until I reached Istanbul.
Each afternoon the officer of the watch made an announcement, about weather, speed and such things. One day I heard a Rhodesian accent! Well, I sent him a note, he wrote back inviting me to the Officers' cocktail party, which was fun. (ok, ok he was about the age of my sons!) Another special occasion aboard was my birthday - a big fuss is made of passengers' birthdays, with all the diningroom staff standing round one's chair, singing, a special cake, and a card from the captain!