Settling in.

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As I write we are at anchor off Bandol France which lies in a small bay some kilometres east of Marseille.

Debbie and I joined the ship in Civitavecchia on the 13th May after rather a long flight from our home in New Zealand. It was truly amazing walking up the gangway to be greeted by familiar faces, both guests and crew and the rest of the day for me was spent getting up to speed with the workings of the ship, reading correspondence from Head Office issued since I left in February and completing a handover from Captain GA The Nilsen.

Our call to Bonifacio in Corsica was substituted with Bastia. Here is what Lonely Planet had to say about the place. This port is also in Corsica but on the NE corner of the island. The change was due to poor sea conditions forecast at Bonifacio which is a tender port. I had been to Bastia previously and it turned out to be rather a good substitute. It was a Sunday and a large market filled the town square adding interest for our guests going ashore. Debbie took the chance to wander ashore and soak up the ambience. I remained to fight the jet lag and continue catching up with life onboard.

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A view of the ship in Bastia

On Monday we spent a glorious day in the port of Livorno. From here the cities of Florence and Pisa are in easy reach and Siena lies a little further afield. The forecast for the day was for zero visibility. I am glad to report it was very wrong! The sun shone from sunrise to sunset. Debbie escorted an all day tour to Siena and by the time she got back it was time for us to go.

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Siena Cathedral.

We sailed for Santa Margherita Ligure on the Portofino peninsular. Here we anchored and sent the guests ashore in our tender boats. This place was typical of this part of the world. Well kept villas nestled on the hillsides among the trees while boats of all shapes and sizes filled the marina. Once again the weather gods are smiling. Our Third Officer Lovre for the very first time, manoeuvred the ship beautifully to our anchorage. A special day for the bridge team when this is achieved.

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Third Officer Lovre after his first ever anchorage arrival.

Now we lie off Bandol in France.

I hosted a group of local dignitaries in the Observation Lounge for an exchange of gifts and Plaques. This is traditional for a ships maiden call to a port. We will call here a further 6 times over the course of this season. Debbie is off to Cassis today. Here is a little snippet on Cassis.

Tomorrow is sure to be a special day for we will be berthed in Palamos Spain together with my old ship Seabourn Odyssey. More on that tomorrow.

Mark Dexter 2015