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Copyright © 1995-2002 
Linda Coffman


Cruise Diva's CRUISE DIARY
~ Istanbul to Genoa ~

Shore Adventures in Split, Croatia & Bari, Italy

June 14, 2002

Old and new harmoniously co-mingle in Split, Croatia

Surrounded by high coastal mountains and the bright turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea, the ancient city of Split, Croatia is a series of watercolor illustrations. Everywhere I turned, I faced an image waiting to be captured.

Relatively commonplace city walls enclose a wealth of Roman monuments, including the retirement palace constructed by the Emperor Diocletian from 295 to 305 AD. We tread in Diocletian's footsteps through the cool excavated basement halls and rested in an umbrella's shade in the colonnaded Peristyle before passing through the Cathedral, said to be Europe's oldest Catholic Church. After ducking through a passageway in the outer wall, we found ourselves amid a teeming street market where everything from designer knock-offs to local handicrafts and jewelry were offered by vendors.

From the bustle of the market, we walked the short distance to Silver Whisper's berth, passing bus stations and ferries, attesting to Split's importance as a transportation hub. The cool interior of our ship was welcoming.

An assortment of chilled appetizers, soup, and Chef's Salad drew me to luncheon in the main dining room. A nice touch is having the next day's lunch and dinner menu delivered to our suites every night in the Silversea Chronicles—it takes the guesswork out of choosing where to dine and also makes it a simple matter to order off the menu from Room Service.

Silver Whisper, the Terrace CafeAfter an afternoon of relaxation, I joined friends for the "Around the Mediterranean Sea" dinner in the Terrace Café. Every night the buffet restaurant is transformed into an intimate alternate dining venue, featuring candlelight, crisp linens, and a unique menu.

Guests with reservations meet in Le Champagne for cocktails and canapés while the chef introduces the menu. Once seated for dinner, we had a leisurely culinary experience highlighted by specialty dishes from Greece, Spain, Italy, France, and Morocco and wines chosen by the sommelier to complement them.

Afterward, the evening's entertainment was provided by our cruise director, a master puppeteer who has performed at the London Palladium—quite an extraordinary showman!

June 15, 2002

Silver Whisper cruise, Bari, Italy flower marketIn Bari, Italy, I set out on the shuttle to the old town to find Basilica di San Nicola—the final resting place of St. Nicholas (Santa Claus). As I wandered through the tiny very non-touristy alleyways, I was treated to a slice of everyday life—a man getting a shave in a tiny barbershop and women calling to one another while hanging wash on lines strung between balconies.

Back in the new, more commercial area of Bari, I browsed through shops and an open air market where the scent of fresh flowers filled the air. For once, I realized I made a mistake by not taking a tour... back on board Silver Whisper my friends described their excursion into the countryside and the "land of the Trulli"—quirky, igloo-shaped habitations. Next time!

I returned to Silver Whisper with a purpose—my appointment in the Mandara Spa. For my massage, I chose a treatment that was entirely new to me. The Lomi Lomi is described as the "hula of massage"—a technique used by Kahunas for Hawaiian kings and queens. Rather than simply massaging with the hands alone, my therapist also used her entire lower arm to roll over and apply pressure to my back. She really put her all into it and it was a melting sensation. I loved it.

How could I possibly feel more pampered? Well, how about a quiet dinner in the Restaurant and a little "Night Fever"—a face-paced production show in the Viennese Lounge? There will be plenty of time to rest tomorrow during a day at sea. 

Next -> Cruise the Strait of Messina & Explore Rome, Italy

Back to the Istanbul to Genoa Cruise Diary Index

Find out more about the Med in Mediterranean Ports of Call

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Dk Eyewitness Travel Cruise Guide to Europe & the MediterraneanDk Eyewitness Travel Cruise Guide to Europe & the Mediterranean

Cruise Diva's comments:
The most useful guidebook I've found for multiple European ports of call

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Illustrations Courtesy of Silversea Cruises & Author's Collection