Sunday, November 29, 2009

65th Birthday Celebration - Third Photos - The Navigator of the Seas, Villefranche, France, Monte Carlo, Monaco

65th Birthday Celebration - Third Photos - The Navigator of the Seas, Villefranche, France, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Well, I started posting photos of my 65th birthday trip some time ago, after my  return in October. I never got around to doing any more because the trip to care for my mother in GA interrupted, then other things came along, as they will do.  I hope to sort through the rest of the pictures in the next few days so I can get them all posted and sent out to my friends who made the trip with me.  Honestly, it seems like that European adventure was last year, not less than two months ago!!

After our day in Pisa and Lucca, Italy, we had a day at sea before our next port.  I actually like that sort of itinerary best - a sea day in between port days.  It gives one a chance to relax, visit with other passengers, enjoy the ships services such as massage, shops, etc, a respite from a hectic day of sightseeing.  

In midmorning of our sea day, there was a special party for the Diamond Plus passengers 
( above 24 cruises -with this cruise, I achieved 77, in 14-1/2 years with Royal Caribban! ) and those who had booked suites.  It was a lovely day and it was nice being out on this spot on the ship where I'd never been.  The crew had set out champagne, juices, fresh fruit, and assorted
canapes and pastries.

Visiting with Leroy Moulton, head bartender

One of the nice things about having cruised so often, is that you run into crew members that you have sailed with many times over the years.  They get transferred from ship to ship and you come across them time and again.  It is amazing that they remember you, can often tell you what ship you were on, and, often, become like family.  One such person is Edsel Toscano, the 
handsome gentleman, in the dark suit.  He is from Mumbai and I have known him almost since my first Royal Caribbean cruise.  When I visited India twelve years ago, he was home on vacation and came to the crew member's house where I was staying and celebrated my being in India.  Edsel has even spent a couple of nights at my home in the San Francisco area!  Over the years, I have acquired so many Indian crew friends that they have given me the title of the American mother of the Indian crew, an honor for me!   The other handsome Indian is the assistant manager of the photography department of the Navigator of the Seas.  These ships take hundreds of pictures.

Phil Zaragosa and Brenda Garison

Villefranche, France is a beautiful port but most cruise ships are far too large to dock there.  Instead, passengers must board the ship's tenders to be carried back and forth to port.  The town is just beautiful but most folks opt for the short train ride to either Monte Carlo or Nice or Cannes after a brief stop in Villefranche.  This was my fourth time to visit this port in the past twenty years.  I would really like to come someday and stay for awhile!

On the tender, headed to Villefranche, France which is one of the deepest natural harbors of any port in the Mediterranean Sea, which gives it safe anchorage for large ships.  It is the most
visited cruise ship port in France.

Approaching Villefranche

In Villefranche again!

Laundry day in Villefranche

Train station

Floral balconies

Former Royal Caribbean Sovereign of the Seas, now part of Pullmantur Cruises, Spanish based, bought by Royal Caribbean in 2006.  Pullmantur acquired the Sovereign last year.  I sailed on this ship out of Port Canaveral eight times and, in fact, flew directly from Rome last October to sail on their second to last cruise.  I wanted to say farewell to many friends I'd made among the crew there.  It was quite nostalgic to see her in port in Villefranche.

She kept the name "Sovereign", minus "of the Seas"

Next stop, Monte-Carlo, Monaco

 This has always been a special place to me.  Grace Kelly was my favorite actress and I still have the scrapbook I kept as a child.  She was named Turner Classic Movies November 2009 Star of the Month and I just saw a lovely video, narrated by her son, Prince Albert. 
You can watch it at the following link:
I actually spent two nights in Monte Carlo about ten years ago but have been back there
three times on a cruise ship and another time, driving over from Barcelona.  

Monte Carlo is second only to Vatican City as the smallest country in the world and I read in Wikipedia that it only takes about an hour for a person to walk the entire length of the country.  I think that would be hard as it is definitely very hilly, being part of the Maritime Alps that extend to the sea.

The harbor at Monaco

The Grimaldi Royal Palace, home of Prince Albert II, son of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly.

 Mailboxes near the palace

Beautiful building in Monaco

St. Nicholas Cathedral, Monaco

Grave of Her Royal Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco

Madonna and Child in the cathedral

Gendarmes near the palace

Bird statue near the cathedral

Back on the ship, for formal night, sipping a Cosmo, at Vintages with Michelle

Brenda Garison & Phil Zaragosa

Promenade fountain on the Navigator

Carmen and Phil

Final pictures of Malaga and Barcelona, Spain to follow in the last installment!


  1. Wonderful post, Carmen! So many things to see, from sea to land.

  2. Villefranche and Monaco are so charming and regal all at the same time. Love the floral balconies and the promenade on the ship is gorgeous. You look great Carmen and so does Phil, I hadn't seen him in a while and he looks wonderful. Great shots.

  3. beautiful pics,
    just remembered Titanic

  4. It is a wonderful trip.
    Good experiences, good memories are lifetime property.

    I wonder that I remember the thing which is not made in form.

    Thank you for appreciating the daybreak of the Far East.

  5. You know I love to travel but have never had the urge to do a cruise but after following your blog I am beginning to change my mind...your trip looks so beautiful.
    I, too have been enjoying Turner's films this month featuring Grace Kelley, my but she was so beautiful and I love the video that Prince Albert did about his mother......:-) Hugs

  6. Poetic Shutterbug, Phil has sailed with me so
    many times for my birthday cruises. He is such
    a great friend as you are.

    sm, 77 cruises and, thankfully, no near disasters,
    just great times all over the world.

    ruma2008, yes, I do have so many cherished times
    to remember....not much money in the bank
    but I wouldn't have things any different!

    Bernie, I have to see all the Grace Kelly movies
    again. Always when I am in Monaco, she
    feels very close.

    Icy, I do love cruising, the sea time is the
    best - the port time is too short, really..
    it just gives you a taste of places you
    want to come back and see at your leisure.

  7. wonderful photos of beautiful places Carmen. though i love to travel, but have never tried sea cruising yet.

  8. Wow, that was a great post. ALMOST as good as being there!

    You have a wonderful eye for capturing the scenery. Love the shots of the laundry hanging from the balconies.

    It looks like a perfect cruise vacation. I hope I can take the same one someday.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Have a great week.

  9. You have such wonderful adventures and I can see very happy times!
    The photo's are really great and you look Beautiful! Cheers!

  10. Hey Carmen - don't you have another birthday coming up soon? Hope all is well and Happy Birthday wishes in advance. JL........

  11. Anonymous3:04 PM

    I stumbled upon your blog looking for Grace Kelly pictures. Your cruise trip was amazing but sorry, Grace was NOT a Royal Highness. She was a Serene Highness, which is immensely different.