Countdown to my Holland America Mediterranean Cruise

Holland America 7 Night Mediterranean Adventure Route

Holland America 7 Night Mediterranean Adventure Route

The countdown has begun to my 7-night Mediterranean Adventure cruise on Holland America Cruises on the MS Nieuw Amsterdam ship. I depart from Barcelona on October 7 and we will be visiting Palermo, Naples, Civitavecchia (Rome), Livorno (Florence/ Pisa), and Toulon.

I have never cruised with Holland America, nor have I toured any of their ships, and so this is a first for me. I was delighted to be invited along to join a few journalists and writers to explore the cruise line and the destinations with a food slant. I will, as I always do on a cruise, be posting updates via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and the blog and will also do podcast and videos.

Holland America are a Premium Cruise line with Dutch origins dating back to 1873. They are part of the massive Carnival Corporation now. They are known for being up-market in style and service and often win awards for their food. I know a few people who have cruised on them in Alaska, which is a route they are especially well known for as they were one of the pioneers in opening that region up to cruising.You can find more about them and their cruises on the official Holland America website.

The planning for the trip is progressing fast as the date of departure looms. I have updated my reservation online and today will be choosing the excursions. I have been sent the booklet of options along with a few that the cruise line and the PR agency arranging the trip are recommended as they link to the food theme. These include:

  • Palermo, Sicily: “A taste of Sicily” – a cooking lesson. I am not known for my cooking ablility, so not sure I am the most promising student. Though you do get a chance to just observe and eat the food made by the Baroness Di Salvo. That sounds tempting…
  • Civitavecchia (Rome): “Italian Countryside & Catacombs”, this excursion also takes you to the Monte Due Torri farmhouse for a tour and then assist in preparing a lunch of local products – before devouring it. Sounds tempting!
  • Livorono (Florence / Pisa): “A Taste of Tuscany: Lucca, Villa Lucchese & Farmhouse”. In addition to exploring the beautiful area, you stop at a typical farmhouse for a traditional Tuscan lunch. I have never explored the Tuscan countryside and have been to Florence and Pisa so this sounds a real treat!
  • Toulon: “Le Castellet & Wine Tasting”. You explore the old town and then visit one of the famous local vineyards, such as Domaine de Souviou, to taste the wines. This tour appeals even though I do not drink alcohol! You taste wine without swallowing it.

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Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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