This was our first experience of cruising and consisted of a one week stay at the four star Polensia Club Resort situated between Porto Polenca and Alcudia on the Mediterranean Island of Majorca and was followed by a week of cruising on the cruise ship “Ocean Village” taking in Tunis, Rome, Rapallo, Cannes and Barcelona before returning to Palma, Marjorca.
Majorca us the largest of the Balearic Islands, which include Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Majorca is around 60 miles long and covers an area of 1400 square miles. The highest point on the Island is the mountain of Puig Mayor, which is over 4,900 ft above sea level.
The Island has and unusual blend of landscapes - from mountains stretching from the southwest to northwest coast, to flat plains at the centre of the Island to mile upon mile of golden sandy beach.
Majorca has a colourful and interesting history and has been a major influence on the development of the Mediterranean region. The first residents came from Majorca from North Africa, and then come the Carthaginians, closely followed by the Romans (who established the fortified towns of Alcudia and Palma. As the Roman Empire declined the Island was invaded and ruled by many different races including the Vandals, the Goths and the Moors, who ruled for ever 300 years and influenced the architecture of many buildings in the Capital. In the 13 century the island was reclaimed by the Christians and the island gradually developed into and important trading centre. With the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella in the 15 century the regions of Aragon and Castle were united to form present-day Spain, which Majorca became part of.
And now for the Cruise part of our holiday. After one week at the Polensia Club Resort we headed for Palma to embark on the cruise ship “Ocean Village”. This was our first cruise and we looked forward with anticipation and excitement. We were not to be disappointed! The following places were visited:-
We chose the Palaces and Paella programme for our week cruising. The ship left Palma at 8 pm and sailed all that evening and the next day and evening before arriving in Tunisia at the port of La Goulette and left about a three quarter hour drive to the centre of Tunis. We took part in one of the optional tour to Tunis with its medieval medina and its bargain-filled souk. We marveled at the magnificent mosaics in the Bordo Museum.
Leaving Tunis at 6 pm we sailed overnight to arrive in Civitavecchie, the ancient port of Rome. Again we took the optional tour and arrived in the centre of Rome by coach an hour after leaving the Cruise ship. We visited Vatican City, the World’s smallest country and home of the Pope. Other memorable highlights were visits to The Colosseum, The Pantheon, Sistine Chapel (and marveled at Michaelangelo’s fabulous frescoes adorning the walls and ceiling) and the Roman Forum, once the very heart of Roman life and Empire.
Rapallo, Northern Italy
The ship sailed overnight from Rome to arrive in Rapallo.in the early morning. After breakfast, the small tender boats ferried us to the mainland set here on a golden stretch of coastline between the sea and the cypress-clad hills. We loved the brightly painted villas and flower-filled gardens. We enjoyed a stroll along the promenade, ice cream in hand and sipped coffee on the pavement restaurants watching the World go bye.
We mingled with models and millionaires in sun drenched Cannes the next day. With yachts the size of apartment blocks and gems the size of rocks, Cannes is not for the faint of wallet!! But we enjoyed a tour of the sights in an open top public service bus all for the princely sum of 2 euros.
Futuristic architecture, fabulous shopping, frenzied football, fine food and wine - cool Barcelona has it all.
We ambled down Las Ramblas, the famous pedestrian shopping avenue with artists, street performers, flower sellers and hawkers selling everything under the sun. We spent some time inspecting the La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s famous controversial, and still unfinished, church (current estimate of completion is 2026!!)
We left Barcelona at 6.30 pm and arrived back in Palma in the early morning and got onto our 11.45 am flight back to Glasgow.
It was sunshine all the way and I don’t think that we could have enjoyed our first cruise any more as we did on the “Ocean Village”.
An odd name for a ship we thought, but it certainly lived up to its name. It was indeed like a large friendly village with all the facilities you might require including swimming pools, gyms, theatres, bars, restaurants, entertainment all day and into the small hours of the morning. In fact everything for your comfort and joy. And the cabins were spacious, well furnished and the whole was really palatial.
Our Cruise Ship “Ocean Village”
West Coast Majorca (above left ) and Cala Bona (above right)
Polensia Club Resort, Porta Polensa
Edith’s birthday, going ashore on the tender, Goudies Cathedral,Barcelona, Tunis and its Souk , beach at Cannes ........