Haynes World - ships, ferries, a laugh on the ocean wave, and other interesting things...

20 November 2011

Sovereign Cruise Part 4

Monday 27th June 2011
This morning we arrived early in Livorno, Italy, and today’s the day we are going on a little expedition. After an early breakfast in the Deck 11 Buffet Panorama, we took the shuttle bus to town, and then had a long walk to Livorno railway station. We caught the 11.26 train to Viareggio, changed there to another train and arrived at our destination at 12.38 – the ancient walled town of Lucca. I think it is one of the most fascinating little places I have seen, with its Roman, Medieval and Renaissance areas and architecture.

We enjoyed walking around in the hot sunshine, or cool shaded narrow streets, and working up an appetite for lunch in a local restaurant which looked and was delightful, the Osteria Baralla.

I had a dish of Tordelli Lluchasi (local Tordelli pasta in meat sauce, according to the English translations on the Menu) which was delicious; judging by the remarks made by my companions who had taken some time to choose something else, they were very unhappy with their choice. Can’t say I would have chosen a tripe dish in a little Italian restaurant, but there we are.

Reluctantly we left this little gem of a town to get the train back to Livorno, and then to the ship.


Corsica Marina Seconda

Back on board on Pool Deck, many of our fellow passengers were enjoying the swimming pools, and some were practising the dances to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ ready for the evening’s entertainment. The small children were suitably horror-struck or amused by the masks worn by the cruise entertainment staff.

Programme for Livorno day

The ship's officers listed on the Programme for 25th June 2011

Ships seen: Moby Vincent, Moby Tommy, Corsica Marina Seconda, Mega Express Two, MSC Gemma, Toremar’s Liburna, Moby Otta

To be continued...

14 November 2011

Sovereign Cruise Part 3

Sovereign Cruise Part 3

Sunday 26th June 2011
My cabin bed has the head board just under the porthole, so I didn’t pull the curtains at night; that way I could wake to the lovely early morning light and then choose whether to watch ‘the view from the Bridge’ on the television, or go back to sleep.

Today, the sight of sliced pink grapefruit for Restaurant breakfast started my day well. We anchored off Villefranche, France, at 11.30, so I was in a tender and going ashore by 12.30.

Oh, what a view of circles

Lovely angles

MSC SINFONIA was anchored in the bay too.

Floral welcome

My friends wanted to walk around the coast to Nice, but I met an interesting American couple and stayed to talk with them whilst we waited in the shade for a local bus. Another local bus took me into Nice so I could walk to the ferry port and watch SNCM’s ferry MONTE D’ORO leave and sail from the harbour.

Monte D'Oro

Monte D'Oro

People were strolling around in the hot sunshine, or sitting in the shade of restaurant canopies and looking cheerful and happy to be alive, just like me.

I met my friends for cool drinks and then we caught the bus back to the Villefranche harbour side, ready to get the tender back to SOVEREIGN. Nearby I could see suitcases and luggage on a little ‘lighter’, which took the luggage to the ship for newly-embarking passengers.

A little lighter

'What Else' in the harbour

Sovereign looking good

Sovereign stern

The Daily Programme is printed in English, as well as Spanish, so we could enjoy planning our time on board, including walking round on Deck 7.

Carpet on a Bar wall

In the Restaurant, we three friends had our own table, and dinner was again very appetising and as enjoyable as the late-night drink up in the Viking Crown Lounge. I know it isn’t really called that now, but the name seems to have stuck with many of us.

Ships seen: MSC Sinfonia, Mega Express, Monte D’Oro, Sirene II, Sirene III, What Else, and other local craft in the Villefranche bay

To be continued...

11 November 2011

Sovereign Cruise Part 2

Saturday 25th June 2011
I enjoyed breakfast and, after checking out from my hotel, went along La Rambla to meet my two travelling companions at the Christopher Columbus statue. We had more coffee and then did a harbour tour on OMNIBUS, which gave us our first view of SOVEREIGN in port.


I remembered I had first seen her in the port of Los Angeles on 17th January 2005 as SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS, so I was excited to be sailing on her today.

Sovereign of the Seas 17th January 2005 at sunrise

Wind Spirit

Silver Spirit

Liberty of the Seas


We took the port bus to the cruise terminal, checked in and boarded the ship for our 7 nights cruise. I am in cabin 2104, which is an outside double for single use, at first sitting dinner.

Atrium view

Lunch on board was chaotic – we were all sent to the restaurant expecting a sit-down meal, but instead everyone had to queue for a long time, half way around the restaurant, to serve ourselves, buffet-style. Hmm, don’t think they’ve got this organised, but I suppose it’s because the ship is in port for such a short time, and there are lots of other things to be done.

SOVEREIGN appears to be a huge ship in my eyes, but at 73,529 gross tons is not really considered that nowadays. She was built at St. Nazaire, France, in 1987 for Royal Caribbean Cruises of Oslo, Norway, and was named SOVEREIGN OF THE SEAS, to carry 2,524 passengers. She was handed over in December 1987 and began cruising out of Miami in the USA, as the largest cruise ship in the world. I’m told that in 1999 she was the first cruise ship with Internet facilities on board; in 2005 her port of registration was changed to Nassau, Bahamas, and in 2006 she began sailing out of Port Canaveral, Florida. In January 2009 she became part of the Pullmantur Cruises Company, registered in Malta. Her name was also changed then to SOVEREIGN. In 2011 she was based in Barcelona, Spain, for 7 nights cruises with Pullmantur, and we were to sail on her Mediterranean Breezes trip. We left at 5 p.m.

Deck Pools

Braemar leaving Barcelona

Braemar and Wind Spirit

Silver Spirit

During our first look around, I found that my eyes were often going to the circular 360ยบ Bar & Lounge, high up on Deck 14 aft, which was originally known as the Viking Crown Lounge. It’s something quite new to me and proved to be a delightful location for an after-dinner drink.

Entrance to the Bar/Lounge

Near the stairs leading up to the Bar/Lounge - an original Royal Caribbean piece of artwork

In the Lounge

Part of the Lounge

Artwork near the Lounge

Ships seen: Omnibus, Maersk Stralsund, an Iscomar ship whose name I couldn’t see, Silver Spirit, Braemar, Moonlight II and its helicopter pad, Sunrays and its helicopter, Sovereign, Liberty of the Seas, Wind Spirit (with its 4 masts)

To be continued...