IO-04 Indian Ocean cruise – visiting: UNITED KINGDOM, GREECE, Crete (Greece), TURKEY, EGYPT, JORDAN, DJIBOUTI, KENYA, TANZANIA, Zanzibar (Tanzania), MADAGASCAR, Reunion (France), MAURITIUS, Mayotte (France), SOUTH AFRICA and the CZECH REPUBLIC
Date of travel: Oct 21 – Dec 29, 2004
At noon on Oct 21, 2004 I drive a rented car from Vista to Los Angeles airport. Early evening I take an American Airlines B-777 plane to London Heathrow in UNITED KINGDOM where at noon Oct 22. I have accommodation in Hilton Hotel at the airport. Here I meet some fellow travelers. Next morning a Qantas charter flight takes us from London Heathrow to Athens, GREECE where in the afternoon. By bus to the harbor in Piraeus where boarding our ship “Minerva II.” I get a very nice cabin with a balcony.
The following morning, Oct 24, is a sightseeing of “Athens with Acropolis” and in the afternoon of the “Temple of Poseidon” on Cape Sounion. After night sailing Minerva II. makes port in another Greek harbor Nauplion. I take part in the morning trip to “Heraion and Tiryns.” In the afternoon, Minerva II. sails to Heraklion on the Greek island of CRETE where early morning on Oct. 26. Here I have signed up for morning trip to excavation of “Minoan city of Knossos” and for “Lasithi Plateau Drive” for the afternoon. On Oct 27 Minerva II. lands at the city Aghios Nikolaos in the northeastern part of Crete. Also here I take a bus tour from the city with visit to remains of “Minoan town Gournia” and other places.
After a day on the sea with interesting lectures our ship comes to Kusadasi in TURKEY where we sightsee ruins of the “Roman city of Ephesus” (my 3rd visit to this place) with a show in its theatre in the morning and the “Apollo Sanctuary in Dinyma” and a “theatre in Miletus” in the afternoon. Day after Minerva II. moors in Antalya in the evening. The following day, Oct 31, I am taking a bus tour to “Aspendos,” built in 2nd century AD and probably the finest and best preserved in Asia Minor. We see a show in its theatre. An aqueduct is a major attraction here. In the afternoon, I go by a tour bus to “excavations of Perge” originally a Hellenistic city founded in 1000 BC.
Another day on the Mediterranean Sea with more lectures. On Nov 2 is a sightseeing trip of “Alexandria” in EGYPT with visit of the new and modern library built near the place where the old one once stood. In the afternoon, Minerva II. sails east to Port Said. Very early in the morning on Nov 3 I leave on a full day bus tour to see “Coptic and Moslem Cairo.” All buses from the ship going to Cairo are in one colon with military escort. In Cairo we visit the Citadel with its Mohamed Ali Mosque. Then several other mosques followed by Coptic Christian churches and one synagogue. When returning back to our ship at Port Said, our bus goes alone and without military escort. When passing near the Suez Canal at night we see fully lit ships sailing through it.
Next day morning Minerva II. is going through “Suez Canal” from Mediterranean to Red Sea. On Nov 5 our ship is moored in Egyptian Red Sea port Safaga. Today I take a bus trip to “Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.” The following day most of the passengers change and I have to switch to another cabin. It’s almost the same but it does not have balcony. On Nov 7 I take a second trip from Safaga to “Luxor, Habu Temple and the cemetery of Nobles.” During both trips the buses drove in a colon with military escort. At night Minerva II. sailes from Safaga to the Egyptian resort Sharm El Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula. I go for a trip to “St. Catherine’s Monastery.”
On Nov 9 our ship is in Aqaba, JORDAN and most passengers including me are heading on buses to the famous “Petra,” an ancient capital of Nabateans. Next three days are on the Red Sea.
On Nov 13 Minerva II. is at the pier in Djibouti City in DJIBOUTI. I take a tour of the city with stops at “camel and then regular market.” During next 4 days our ship leaves the Red Sea and rounds the Horn of Africa. Sailing is filled with interesting lectures.
On Nov 18 the ship puts anchor near the island of Lamu in KENYA. There is a sightseeing tour of the town once built by Arab merchants. Next 3 days Minerva II. is mooring in the largest Kenyan harbor Mombasa. Again a part of passengers leave the ship and new come on board. I change my cabin. While here I take several trips: “Mombasa City Tour,” “Haller Park Nature Trail,” full day “Simba Hills National Reserve” and full day “Tsavo Jeep Safari.”
On Nov 22 our ship anchors near the harbor of the island of ZANZIBAR which is part of TANZANIA. In the morning tour of “Zanzibar Town’ (called Stone Town) and afternoon “Jozani Forest” with Red Colobus monkeys. Then there is a day on the Indian Ocean.
On Nov 24 Minerva II. anchors of the island of MAYOTTE which is department of France. Mayotte is one of 4 Comoros Islands, but the other 3 form an independent state. I take a bus tour of the island.
Between Nov 25 and Nov 30 the ship makes stops on MADAGASCAR in places: Mahajanga, Nosy Be, Antsiranana and Toamasina. On the island we see the famous lemurs, chameleons and several species of baobab trees among others. I visit the “Ampijoroa Nature Reserve.” In Antsiranana we see British and French cemeteries. It is the only place where British and Vichy French fought each other during WWII.
After another day on the Indian Ocean Minerva II. lands in Pointe des Galets on the island of REUNION which is a department of France. I take a full day island drive.
Between Dec 3 and Dec 5 we are visiting MAURITIUS. Minerva II. has mooring in Port Louis which is the capital of this independent island. Again some passengers leave the ship and some come on board here. I am getting another cabin. Mauritius is a beautiful tropical island where I take number of trips. The first is “Black River Gorges Hike,” the other is “Sugar World Museum & Botanical Gardens,” then full day tour to “Ile aux Aigrettes” and the last “Casela Nature Park.” Then we spend a day on the ocean again.
On Dec 7 we are back in Toamasina, MADAGASCAR. Then along the eastern shore south and on Dec 9 the ship puts anchor at Taolagnaro (Fort Dauphin) where full day bus tour to “Berenty Reserve” with more species of lemurs.
After 2 days sailing on the Indian Ocean Minerva II. lands at the pier in Richards Bay in SOUTH AFRICA. On Dec 12 morning I take a trip to “St. Lucia Wetlands” and in the afternoon to “Hluhluwe Game Reserve.” The following day the ship is in Durban. In the morning a sightseeing tour of the city and in the afternoon is a trip to Pietermaritzburg. Then a day on the ocean before Minerva II. moors in Port Elizabeth. In the morning bus trip to “Addo Elephant Park” with 260 elephants and sightseeing of the city after lunch. During night the ship sails to Mossel Bay. From here is a bus and train trip called “Choo Tjoe Train” to Knysna Lagoon. At last on Dec 17 Minerva II. reaches Cape Town. In the morning I visit the “Robben Island,” where Mandela was held and in the afternoon I take the “City Tour & Table Mountain,” where I have been already twice before.
On Dec 18 before noon I leave on charter with Monarch Airlines and after 12 hour flight the plane lands in London Gatwick in UNITED KINGDOM late at night. A bus takes me to Heathrow Airport and after midnight, Dec 19, I am in Hotel Ibis. In the afternoon I fly to Prague, CZECH REPUBLIC. I spend Christmas in my sister’s house. We do also a day visit of Chrudim. On Dec 27 I leave Prague and with another night in Ibis hotel near London Heathrow I continue on flights via New York to Los Angeles where before midnight on Dec 28. I rent a car and drive home to Vista where at 3:30 AM on Dec 29 after 70 days traveling.
Travel office: Swan Hellenic
Who took part: 4 sets of passengers on Minerva II.