Here is another story from one of our fantastic guest writers. We love this one about the Turkish Riviera. Lovely photos Anne!
Ports become lemons? Make lemon drops
Story and Photos by Anne Chalfant
Ships skip ports.
But the first time it happens–when perhaps the captain announces the sea is too rough
for the tenders–thereʼs a sense of disbelief.
Weʼll go back, wonʼt we? Weʼll get there eventually?
Unlike airplanes, cruise ships do not “get there eventually.” They must move on. A shipʼs
berth in a port is booked a year or more ahead. The ship docks at the scheduled hour, and must disembark when the meter is up so the next ship can take that place.
On one cruise, my husband and I lost three ports.
We had been exploring for two glorious days in Cairo. Next stop, Syria, which I had been anticipating for months. Roman ruins in the desert are the most extensive Roman ruins on the planet. A street of Roman columns, a giant Roman theater–many centuries ago, Palmyra had been a critical stop on silk and spice trade routes.
Next we would sail to Jordan, and see Petra, ancient wonder city carved into rosy rock.
I was eager to photograph it, eager to write about Jordan and Syria for my newspaper
readers (I was then a newspaper travel editor in the San Francisco Bay Area). But while exploring Cairoʼs old market, Khal al Khalili, my husband and I stopped to
observe explosions on the screen of a shopkeeperʼs TV. Israel and Jordan were lobbing
bombs at one another.
Weʼll just wait it out a few days, I thought.
But our ship captain delivered bad news: Jordan and Syria were off the itinerary. We were diverting to the Mediterranean, ports unknown.
I doubt that a larger ship, or a less well-funded cruise line, could have finessed a berth in Mediterranean ports. But this cruise line quickly secured three Turkish ports.
We still had a cruise, even though not the highly anticipated version.
And we had more time to enjoy the ship, which was a jewel.
We were surrounded by eager-to-please crew.
But the bartenders were genies. They knew what I wanted before I did.
My drink of the week was a “lemon drop,” a martini with a tricky balance of sweet and
sour. I had ordered one early in the cruise, thinking it would be awful.
But this bartender knew his way around a lemon. Lemondrops were flowing my way.
I had to take care, lest I turn this all-inclusive cruise into an all-in-stupid cruise of my
As the bartender made light of lemons, my husband and I mulled over our soured
itinerary and thought how to sweeten the trip. All those months of anticipating Lebanon
and Syria–we just had to let it go.
Now we would see more of Turkey, which was on our travel list anyway.
Besides that, we were sailing on a beautiful ship. We tend to be such incorrigible port
rats, we often miss really enjoying the ships.
This time we made a point of hanging out in the panoramic bar for each sailaway. We
spent more time lounging on our balcony. We took our time dressing for dinner and
enjoyed both the cuisine and our table mates more than we ever had.
The whole experience became one of our more memorable cruises–a rare opportunity
to relax in luxury and to check your travelerʼs kit to make sure you still have two
essentials–flexibility, and that recipe for lemons.
About the Author: Anne Chalfant is the Author of “Cruise! A Guide to Ships and Trips” app on Itunes and for Android devices former travel editor of Contra Costa Times, Bay Area News Group, San Francisco