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Cruise Diary: Sorrento, Italy

Guests Jan and Dick Yetke set sail on Prinsendam’s 64-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage in March, and we’re catching up as quickly as possible. Enjoy the journey with Jan and Dick!

What a beautiful, warm, calm watered and sunny day it was in Sorrento!!! The Captain had really called it correctly and we were so happy about that. Tendering was not a problem at all today. Of course, tours go out from here to Amalfi Coast drive, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Capri. All these are great places. We highly recommend them when you come to Sorrento!!!

Dick was so happy! A typical day on Prinsendam, just sitting on our balcony in the sunshine, anchored off of Sorrento and feeding the seagulls. The seagulls were on the balcony rail within arms length, squawking at him, demanding more food. He was listening to the Sunday morning church bells, eating chocolate marzipan pastries, and drinking coffee. He was also was solving an EVIL rated Sudoko puzzle. We had a glorious afternoon.

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At about noon, we went ashore and took the complimentary shuttle bus up the hill to a main plaza. The place was bustling with people, lots of crowds. We just walked around a little and then saw the little white tourist train. We bought tickets and enjoyed the 45 minute ride around the city on the train.

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After getting off the train, we picked a narrow street to walk down that was really neat and filled with shops. We walked down many blocks, then turned around and on the way back, we stopped at a leather shop where I bought two pairs of shoes and a purse made of really nice, soft leather made in Sorrento. We then went back to the main square and had lunch at an outdoor cafe there and after went over to a store where we bought me a nice necklace, earrings, ring and bracelet set and Dick got two packages of risotto.

IMG_5784_resize little narrow street we walked down

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We walked a few more blocks to find the elevator (lift) that goes down the cliff to the beach area. When we got to the bottom, we walked along the boardwalk behind the swim platforms and beaches to the tender port. There are not many beaches along this area so they build platforms and walkways with ladders down to the sea. People can jump in and then swim to a ladder to get out. There were a couple of beaches we passed that people were sitting on. And there were a of couple restaurants down there as well. So, all in all we had a great day there in Sorrento!!! This is a really neat port because Sorrento is a wonderful little atmospheric village.

IMG_5821_resize beaches, swim platforms, tender port, Prinsendam anchored

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IMG_5702_resize view when arriving to port area on tender

To provide you with some history, Sorrento is and has been for quite some time, one of the best known resorts in Italy. Sorrento is perched on a dramatic line of steeply rising cliffs, overlooking the Bay of Naples, on a stretch of coastline of great beauty, on the northern slope of the Sorrentine Peninsula. The town is surrounded by orange and lemon groves and lush thickly wooded hills where vines and olives are grown. A deep gorge runs down to the port on the sea. The town has pretty pastel-colored houses and several quaint small squares. On a clear day you can see the city of Naples about 25 miles away on the other side of the bay, as well as the slopes of the majestic Mt. Vesuvius and the island of Ischia. According to legend, it was at Sorrento that Ulysses heard the tempting song of the Sirens, the nymphs who attempted to seduce passing sailors.

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IMG_5651_resize looking to port area-orange top tender coming back to ship

A charming resort in a spectacular setting, it is a great town for wandering around on foot and using it as a base for exploring the famous Amalfi Coast. At the center of Sorrento is Piazza Tasso, a bustling and typical Italian square filled with several bars and restaurants. The view from the public gardens above this square is spectacular. Near the square is the church of San Francisco, a major landmark of the town where evening concerts are staged.

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IMG_5714_resize crowded main square - Dick in red,white,blue shirt on left side

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As far as Amalfi Coast Drive, if there is another place on earth where the scenery compares to the Amalfi Coast’s dramatic beauty, it could not possibly be more sensational. Pretty towns for the rare members of the 21st-century elite classes line the craggy coast like so many links in a solid gold neckace. This drive is similar to Highway 1 along the coast of California, but more beautiful and spectacular with it’s curves.

Tour buses have a difficult time making the turns and traffic has to be stopped in both directions so that they may be able to. Daring Italian visitors might be seen on rented Vespas along the coast, but scooters and motorcycles are not recommended for novices. It is a dangerous pursuit even for those who know local driving habits, but if you are new to Italian road rules, it is foolhardy. That being said, we drove it in a rental car last year and had no problems, you just have to pay attention.

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IMG_5813_resize ship anchored and tender port

IMG_5753_resize Prinsendam anchored Mt Vesuvius in background

Now, funny story, our first trip to Naples was on a Mediterranean cruise back in the early 90’s. We took the tour to Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast on a big motor coach. Our youngest daughter, Gretchen, and her girlfriend, Ann, did the Euorail Pass/backpack thing for five weeks in summer of 1994 after graduating from college. One day she called home and was so proud to tell us that they had rented motor scooters in Sorrento and drove the Amalfi Coast drive, “just like you did, Mom and Dad”. I said,”What? We did not do it on motor scooters.” Well, somehow she had remembered or thought we had done it on motor scooters and convinced Ann that “if my parents can do it, we surely can do it on motor scooters”. Well, I laughed, and said I was impressed that she thought we had done it on motor scooters, but we definitely had not done that!!!

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Another beautiful place to visit from here is the island of Capri, which has captivated romantically inclined observers since the beginning of recorded time, Caesar Augustus built no fewer than 12 island villas!!! Hydrofiles arrive at the bustling Marina Grande where you walk off the pier through the gauntlet of hawkers and solicitous “guides” to the Funiculare which takes you up the cliff to Capri Town. Many visitors want to see the Blue Grotto whose entrance is only accessible on a low tide cycle aboard squat motorboats. The island’s highest village is Anacapri. Its Villa San Michele, Dr. Axel Munthe’s somewhat ostentatious home, is now a public museum. We have done the Capri trip once but did not get to Blue Grotto.

1 Comment
  • Denise

    Thankyou again!!! After our 24 day cruise with Nieuw Amsterdam we will be in Sorrento for a week before traveling through Italy, and France for a month 1/2. Loved your pictures. Will be there end of August. Last cruise we sailed past and tendered on the Windstar for the day, and it reminded me of the pictures just like us on the Balcony.
    Thankyou once again for your diary.
    Look forward to your next chapter.
    Sincerely,
    Denise from sunny San Diego, Ca

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