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ex HARALD JARL ::: ex ANDREA ::: SERENISSIMA :::

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    Serenissima is such a beautiful platform to travel the Mediterranean Sea with... she is so suited to all those cozy places where the big ships can't make it and can't even have enough shoreside entertainment to satisfy hoards of guests. No such problem for a tiny ship like Serenissima! And surely, you won't be missed on a morning walk on a large ship!

    Such a great cruise and such a voyage of discovery on so many levels!
    With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

    Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
    Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

    Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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      Day 9 - 8th October 2017 - Argostoli, Kefalonia (Ionian islands), Greece.

      Serenissima wasn't due to arrive in port until late morning. As you know very well by now, such a schedule wouldn't usually prevent me being out and about on deck at an early hour. But this morning the observation platform was not an option, although conditions were nowhere near as 'exciting' as the previous afternoon!
      The ship was now pitching, every so often drenching the entire foredeck in seawater all the way back to the windows of the Harald Jarl Lounge. I'm rather annoyed with myself for not staying there until I'd captured an image of an actual wave hurtling towards me. You'll have to be satisfied with this wet-window shot. At least you can see it isn't rain with all that blue sky, but it isn't crew window cleaning either!




      The main Andrea Lounge was also deserted, and I rather like the mood and light in this photo.



      My presence had triggered the arrival of freshly made 'Early Risers' coffee and something to nibble, although I was the only guest to be seen. Everyone else was taking a late lie-in, all very Sunday morning with breakfast itself at a rather later hour.



      The ship was now heading towards land and was rolling somewhat, as you can see here.



      It was lovely out on the aft deck, watching the coastline. And then I went for breakfast, after which there was a lecture about the Adriatic in Classical times, with particular emphasis on the archaeological site of Butrint in Albania which we would be visiting the following day.

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        Argostoli is situated on the sheltered side of a peninsula, where Serenissima was now moored at the far end of a new pier. If there had been a second cruise ship in that day the larger ship would have been allotted the pier as there is only one cruise ship berth, and we would have tendered to another location.
        It was a delight to be relaxing out on deck after lunch, and even some local passenger traffic to watch.



        There's also activity to watch on our ship. She's taken such good care of.





        I've disembarked for the afternoon excursion.



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          This view gives you an idea of the new cruise pier facility, the pier jutting out into the deeper water for larger ships, foreign flags fluttering optimistically (Hi Sweden!)
          I don't really know much about Kefalonia/Cephalonia in a cruise context - have any of you ever been there or know anyone who has made a cruise call there?

          As I write this, I get curious and take a look at the location on MarineTraffic and there's only small local craft around. But Costa Luminosa was there yesterday, and has now moved on to Santorini.

          For Italians, Kefalonia is obviously handy. I also googled around a bit and am surprised to find many of the other popular big ship cruise lines are, in the Ionian islands, more likely to call at Corfu. I say surprised, because as a Brit I associate that island with cheap flights to the sun kind of mass tourism, rather than cruises. On my first Serenissima cruise that took me to Albania, I remember being amazed at seeing how close that remote-seeming country was to the Greek island of Corfu (which I would at that time have struggled to locate on a map!)

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            I never studied any modern History at school, being scientifically inclined within the narrow specialisation of the English education system. 'Modern' would include the Napoleonic era, which brought British occupation to Kefalonia for a time, and also includes World War II history. As result of travelling here, and similarly to Burma, as well of course to Norway with wartime connections to Scotland, I'm only now gradually catching up.
            I noted that modern-looking Argostoli was bombed in the year of my birth, and much of what had survived was destroyed ten years later in a devastating earthquake affecting the whole island. The complexities of the immediate post-war period were not much alluded to during the excursion, and our guest lecturer on the cruise is an archaeologist specialising in earlier history.

            Some of the cruise guests had seen the film "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" or read the novel by Louis de Berničres on which it is based. Set at the time of the massacre of Italian prisoners of war, the film (which I haven't seen) was said to focus more on a romantic love story than historical details, but they had liked some scenic sequences. They liked the scenery again now as the excursion buses took us into the countryside, and we lingered in a botanic garden and visited a winery. It was altogether a relaxing day in a place that seems unchanged by the excesses of mass tourism.




            The relaxed mood continued after we returned to the ship.






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              View from the bridge wing...




              ...and a moment of quiet repose on the bridge. We will not be departing until the evening.





              To end the day, my photo from dinner shows a rather splendid poached pear desert!

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                That dessert looks absolutely yummy!

                I have never been to Kefalonia with any of the ships I have worked on, I wonder if it's one of those "new" cruise-ship port that has come around AFTER I left cruising.

                And as always, great seeing the old "gal" still going strong.

                I bet the maintenance on her is an ongoing process way more than on a newer ship, despite the fact that she had a massive renovation when she became the Serenissima.

                With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

                Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

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                  Wonderful pictures, trip report and i am dreaming away, actually looking for a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea for some relatives. But Serenissima is out of their budget, unfortunately. Have to find a kind of compomise....
                  Lofoten '07 ...... Nordnorge '11

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                    Day 10 - 9th October 2017 - Sarandė, Albania.

                    Early morning on deck 4...

                    by


                    ...and now approaching Sarandė




                    Here's the dinky-looking little pilot boat.



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                      This is my second visit to Albania on Serenissima, and here she is in the same place as she was in September 2015. As my earlier photos generally appear to be displaying correctly now, I might as well link to #1109/2 so you can see for yourself.




                      I head for breakfast once we are alongside at the quay. On some such mornings I encounter the captain heading back towards the bridge from the dining room, but today he is still making his selection!

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                        Perhaps you noticed that there are more excursion buses at the quayside than in the 2015 photo. The explanation became apparent during breakfast with the arrival of Queen Victoria who was anchoring and would be tendering her guests ashore. Here is a photo of her from Serenissima that I took later. I never saw much activity around Queen Victoria during the afternoon and don't know what excursions her guests were offered. But in any case we on our small ship are well organised and there was no need to fear that we would be swamped by other tourists...



                        ...as you can see in this lovely view in the archaeological park at Butrint!


                        '
                        Serenissima’s guests on the excursion to Butrint were, unusually, all together in one place at the theatre, which dates from ancient Greek times. The rest of the excursion we would be in the usual small groups, though welcome to peel off at any point in order to take a shorter walk, or an avoiding-steps route, or to look around independently. D, whose hearing is not great, liked the small groups with local guides throughout the cruise as he could hear everything comfortably with the QuietVox system earpiece . The person addressing us all together at the theatre wasn't using the equipment, perhaps trusting the theatre's natural acousics. So when D wanted to wander up to the top of the theatre, and as there there were trees and shade from the sun up there, I encouraged him though insisting he took a photo looking down on us all. (I'm on the right wearing a blue top).

                        I really like the resulting photo. Although all the guests are together every evening for the single-seating dinner, that's not quite the same as seeing everyone together here in this setting, and I think it is yet another powerful visual reminder of the special nature of small ship cruising.




                        This is also an appropriate point to mention that it is always a pleasure to return to a port of call on a ship like Serenissima. In 2015, it was a full day excursion that had been arranged, taking a longer but scenic and interesting drive to the town and fortress of Gjrokastra and lunch, before visiting a Byzantine church and ending at Butrint. There was a greater emphasis on the 20th century history and politics, the guest lecturer on that cruise having been a journalist and war correspondent in the Balkans. This time our guest lecturer was an archaeologist.
                        Last edited by Seagull; July 11th, 2018, 08:53.

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                          Serenissima, taken from the bus as we arrived back in Sarandė.



                          Here are some of the dessert options at lunchtime!



                          Although we had another day of the cruise to follow, this was the evening of the Captain's Farewell Dinner and preparations had already begun in the dining room.




                          I like how Noble Caledonia send new members of their London office staff to join a cruise for a day or two so as to see how things are done and to experience the ships. This young lady is admiring the picture of Harald Jarl that Jan-Olav presented to the Captain on Serenissima's maiden voyage. .

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                            D is taking a photo to show the location of the cabin.







                            Another photo of the ship from the quay, and, below a special favourite.



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                              I even remembered to take a photo of the Albanian flag, though I had to wait for it to unfurl a little in the gentle breeze.







                              There was time to relax on deck, attend a lecture, and get ready for the Captain's c0cktail party and Dinner.




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                                My salmon starter...

                                ...followed by lobster.






                                After the Baked Alaska had been brought in with music and sparklers, some of the crew entertained us with a farewell song...


                                ...which the Captain obviously enjoyed.




                                But you know who else will feature in the last photo of the day, don't you!




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