Day 7: Friday, June 21, 2013, Sorrento, Italy
The magical town of Sorrento is famous as the gateway to the spectacular Amalfi Coast—and deservedly considered a scenic gem in its own right.
Tucked into a cliff of tufa rock overlooking the Bay of Naples, it is surrounded by terraced vineyards and groves of lemon, orange, and olive trees.
Within the town is a gorge that separates the charming old town from the more modern city. Piazza Tasso, a plaza situated alongside the gorge and named in honor of the 16th-century poet Torquato Tasso, is a popular gathering spot, with many restaurants and cafés.
After breakfast, I took the Zodiac® from the ship’s marina to Sorrento’s waterfront.
A complimentary shuttle bus was available from Marina Piccola to Sorrento Town (Piazza Tasso) for those who wanted to explore Sorrento on their own.
I decided to join the ship’s Pompeii Tour shore excursion.
Departing from the pier, we rode in an air-conditioned coach up the scenic coast along the Bay of Naples to Pompeii.
We passed many beautiful beaches with chaise lounges and sun umbrellas you could rent for the day.
Along the way were terraced vineyards and groves of lemon, orange, and olive trees. Sorrento is renowned for limoncello, a lemon liqueur that is produced locally.
When we arrived in Pompeii, the guided walking tour began. In AD 79, the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, once a city of 20,000 inhabitants, was buried by a volcanic eruption from Mount Vesuvius, freezing it in time. The majority of the city has been excavated, and the ruins are stunning.
Pompeii is considered the word’s finest example of ancient Roman town. Archaeologial sites covered on this tour include the Temple of Jupiter, Temple of Isis, the Forum, Large Theater, gladiator barracks, restaurants, baths, bars, hotels, houses, and the bakery and mill.
The guided tour began with views of the exterior of the town. Once inside the gate, we saw the school for training gladiators, complete with its own gladiator barracks.
The Large Theater had tiered seating, and this is where performances were held—primarily comedies and tragedies.
One of the columns in Pompeii’s Basilica.
The Forum is the main square of Pompeii with views on one end of Mount Vesuvius.
Intricate artwork can be found inside the Baths of the Forum.
The streets are narrow between buildings in Pompeii.
Pompeii had a number of bars and restaurants. The colorful marble-tiled bar still exists in this ruin.
Outside the city walls are terraced gardens and a variety of trees and shrubs.
After returning from Pompeii, I had time to explore Sorrento independently and then returned to the landing pier to reboard the ship.
Tonight was the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail Party in Le Salon. Captain Zupan paid tribute to the officers and crew of The Moana.
The Farewell Dinner followed in La Veranda as the ship sailed for Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy, about 164 nautical miles away.
Tonight, I started with a cured Atlantic salmon seasoned with fresh dill on a bed of red onion and cucumber salad.
Following that, I dined on an Avocado Citrus Salad with sour cream and dill cucumber dressing. My main course was a Sesame Encrusted Yellow Fin Tuna served with Jasmine rice with soy-ginger emulsion and roasted vegetables.
Dessert was a slice of rich, chocolate cake that was dusted with powdered sugar and accompanied by a dollop of sweet cream, raspberries, and a hand-drawn design in chocolate by the pastry chef.
Day 8: Saturday, June 22, 2013, Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
I enjoyed breakfast in La Veranda as The Moana sailed into port around 8 a.m. Civitavecchia has been the port of Rome since Emperor Trajan’s time.
After breakfast, I said goodbye to all the friends I made on this magical journey and headed for Rome’s airport for my flight back to the U.S.