Islands in the Sun

By Mary Jo

A week ago, I told you about the first part of our recent cruise vacation, which described London and the shipboard experience.  Today I want to talk about our three ports of call while we were still in European waters. 

Originally we were scheduled to stop in Tenerife in the Canary Islands, then Madeira, then Bermuda when the ship was most of the way across the Atlantic.  But Bermuda's landing requirements were so complicated and difficult that the cruise line TukTukcanceled Bermuda and added in Lisbon as the first stop out of Britain.


Great idea!  We visited Lisbon once before on our way to cruising the Douro River in Northern Portugal, the cruise that inspired my book Once a Soldier.  I remember it as a hilly city of broad boulevards, which were a result of a devastating earthquake in 1755.  The destruction was vast, and much of the city was rebuilt according to more modern principles.


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Cruising the Duoro River

By Mary Jo:

I'm well down the road to insanity as I try to finish a book by mid-October, so I'm invoking Wenchly privilege to rerun an older blog with some editing where appropriate.  What I chose is this long ago 2006 blog describing a riverboat cruise along the Douro River into DSCN0824Spain.

I first read about riverboat cruising in a magazine several years ago, and promptly decided I wanted to give it a try.  I’ve done several ocean cruises, especially in the Caribbean, but rivers in Europe sounded different and fascinating.  The boats are much smaller, holding maybe 130 or so people, and the venues are fabulous. 

Much of European civilization developed along rivers, and traveling them would be a wonderful Douro_mapway of seeing Europe without a lot of packing and unpacking.  The boats park in the center of towns and cities, and one can seen a great deal of the countryside in peace and comfort.  The quintessential riverboat cruises follow the great rivers of northern and eastern Europe: the Rhine, the Elbe, the Danube, etc. 

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Lisbon’s Link to the Regency

Cara/Andrea here, I’ve had a very quiet summer, and while a number of my friends have been gallivanting around the globe, I’ve been working diligently on the first book for a new trilogy—which means I’ve haven’t strayed far from home. So as you can imagine, when I recently received an invitation to visit Lisbon later this fall, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s always exciting to have the chance to see one of the world’s historic cities, but Lisbon is even more alluring because of its ties to Regency England. Now, for those of you who know the era’s history, …

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