Overnights in port are always nice as they give most of the crew the chance to run ashore for a few hours before change over day starts the next day. There is a metro station right outside the door which takes you to the west corner of old Venice. From there you can walk further into town or take the Vaporetto which goes all the way –clockwise –around: “the Rialto route”. Next to the ship there is a Vaporetto stop as well (on land you call it a Bus- stop, so is this a Boat –stop?) and that takes you clockwise around: “the Lido route”. Cost is about 8 euro’s and if you connect the two routes together you can make a full circuit of the outer canals of Venice in about 80 minutes. I had this on my plans for today but I was wise, knowing my 2nd hand book sellers, and made a telephone call first to find out if the bookshop of my focus was open in the morning; it was not. So I stayed on board. Original plan had been to go ashore after having conducted my end of cruise ritual, moving cabin.
There is always a cabin reserved for me but it is up to the Guest Relation Manager to decide if I get that one or another one. So she makes the guests happy first and I get the cabin at the end of the pecking order. Through the years I must have made a lot of guests happy by giving up the initially reserved cabin and they never knew it. Now I am in an outside cabin with an obstructed view and that normally indicates that a guest did not want an upgrade. People do not always realize this but a lot of guests do not like upgrades, either free or for a fee. They want their preferred cabin. Sometimes because it is close to an elevator or to the gangway; sometimes because they do not want a bath and sometimes because they simply like inside cabins. Whatever the reason, I have now a cabin with an excellent view of the bow of Tender 13.
Because we are staying until 21.00 hrs. embarkation was slow today as a lot of guests first went into Venice before boarding. So we had a lot of puzzled cabin stewards who were all geared up for delivering suitcases and those suitcases were very slow in arriving, at least during the first two hours. I do not know what those guests did with their suitcases while ashore but they did not arrive early. Luckily because we are sailing late, we have ample time to get them on board.
This cruise the ship will return to where it came from, Barcelona. When I joined her she was eastbound and now she is westbound. A westbound route with a large loop around Italy and calling at Croatia and Albania. The call at Albania is a destination in development. It is still not so long ago that it emerged from Stalinist autocratic rule and it is now slowly becoming part of main stream Europe. That means that all facilities that cruise guests are used to, are not yet fully developed but on the other hand, guests will visit a port which is still very authentic.
Another port which is more unusual for Holland America is Toulon. And with that I mean we are not calling here that often, often compared with visits to the ports nearby. Toulon is the French Navy port, located to the west of Monte Carlo. It is not a port name that stands out as a must see highlight but from there the company runs excellent tours which give a very good impression of southern France, especially the region between Marseilles, Nice, Toulon and Monte Carlo.
We will sail at 21.00 hrs. and hopefully we will have a nice sail away. Thunderstorms were gathering in the late afternoon and thunder and lightning was seen over Venice. But it might be all gone by sailing time. The sun will just have set by that time, so we are sailing out at dusk, followed by nautical twilight. The sun will not be in our eyes and the lights of Venice will just be starting to come out. Once out we will sail south into the Adriatic Sea and have a sea day before we reach Dubrovnik.