29 September 2014
 Portofino and the Italian Riviera

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Portofino: no one would ever blame you if thought the name of this lovely town and harbor meant “Fine Port.” Alas, that’s merely a coincidence.

Portofino is truly a fine port.

Portofino Italy DSC_2806 Portofino Italy DSC_2783

But according to Pliny the Elder, the great Roman chronicler of the first century, Portofino was founded by the Romans and they named it Portus Delphini, or Port of the Dolphin, because of the large number of dolphins that inhabited the Tigullian Gulf.

The dolphins are mostly gone now, replaced by swarms of tourists who come to see the fine harbor, its nearby Paraggi beach, and the surrounding area including Abbey San Frutuoso and Camogli.

Bring on the tourists: in the late 19th century, first British, then other Northern European aristocratic tourists began to visit Portofino. After World War II, tourism surpassed fishing as the town’s chief industry, and the waterfront became a nonstop ring of restaurants and cafés.

Here are some photos I took on our visit to Portofino, Rapallo, and Santa Margherita on this cruise


Portofino Rapallo Margherita BLOG 29Sept2014-7755


Portofino Rapallo Margherita BLOG 29Sept2014-7741 Portofino Rapallo Margherita BLOG 29Sept2014-7749 Portofino Rapallo Margherita BLOG 29Sept2014-7734 Portofino Rapallo Margherita BLOG 29Sept2014-7715 Portofino Rapallo Margherita BLOG 29Sept2014-7729

Like many of the towns of the Italian Riviera, much of the decoration of Rapallo is an Italian version of trompe l’oeil–fool the eye.The flourishes on the walls are painted mostly on flat surfaces.

The last photo in this series is looking up at the frescoed ceiling of a gazebo along the shore. It looks ancient, but was actually built in the 1930s by Italians returning to their homne town from South America.


The Abbey of San Fruttuoso is along the sea at the foot of Monte Portofino, reachable with a two-hour hike, or by water taxi or excursion in about 20 minutes from Portofino.

The Benedictines of Monte Cassino built their abbey in the tenth and eleventh centuries, at times having to share the little inlet with pirates.

Restored and now owned by a national trust, the church contains the tombs of some illustrious members of the Doria family.

Abbey San Frutuoso Italy DSC_2804 Abbey San Frutuoso Italy DSC_2872 Abbey San Frutuoso Italy DSC_2877

The Abbey San Frutuoso, a sacred site with a beach and café.


Camogli is another pretty seaside town, not as famous and not nearly as crowded as Portofino. It’s one of my favorite places in this part of the world.

It’s on the other side of the peninsula from Portofino, about half an hour’s drive; 20 kilometers or 12 miles away. You can also reach it by boat from Portofino.

Some even dare to prefer it to Portofino, enjoying Camogli’s beautifully painted houses and frescoes, many of them trompe l’oeil: fool the eye. What appears from a distance to be an ornamented front with windows and doors is paint.

Camogli Italy DSC_2877 Camogli P1040915 Camogli Italy DSC_2821

Camogli has a double meaning in Italian.

The first translation is houses close together, which fits the scene quite well.

The second meaning is houses of wives, casa delle Mogli, which also works: the fishermens’ wives spent their time at home while their husbands were out at sea.

Camogli Italy DSC_2881 Camogli P1040946

The cathedral of Camogli, and an upcoming appearance by Il Clown Bistecca, Beefsteak the Clown.

All photos by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.


28 September 2014
 Calvi, Corsica

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Another spectacular day, this time on the spectacular island of Corsica. A place of jagged peaks and deep valleys, carpeted almost everywhere by the thick maquis undergrowth.

We arrived at Calvi just after sunrise.

Calvi_BLOG_DSC7689 Calvi_BLOG_DSC7686

Calvi in the early morning light. Photos by Corey Sandler

Calvi Corsica France BLOG 28Sept2014-7710

And a photo I took in the late afternoon, with Silver cloud framed by ancient Genoese walls.

I went with a group of guests way up into the hills to the perched village of Sant’Antonino. The view from below was impressive; the hike to the top strenuous but well worth the trip. Sant’Antonino may be the oldest continuously occupied town in Corisca, dating from about the year 900.

Today less than 100 people live on the hill top.


The view from atop, and a peek inside the small Franciscan chapel, dating from 1776 about the time France took control of Corsica. Photos by Corey Sandler

Iles Rousse_BLOG_DSC7695

The spice market in Iles Rousse. Photos by Corey Sandler

Here are more photos from Corsica.Calvi SANDLER Corsica France DSC_2975


The colors of Calvi
The colors of Calvi

Calvi SANDLER P1050089

Calvi SANDLER Corsica France DSC_2901

Columbus was born here, or so say some wishful believers.
Columbus was born here, or so say some wishful believers.

Calvi SANDLER Corsica France DSC_2992

Climbing the fortress walls for a view of the port of Calvi
Climbing the fortress walls for a glimpse of the port.

All photos by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution copy, please contact me.




Now available: Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order a copy for immediate delivery:


Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

Remembering Judie Abbott

By Corey Sandler, Silversea Destination Consultant

With sadness, and fondness, we remember Judie Abbott.

I worked with and treasured Judie as a friend through her career at Silversea.

For a decade, she was the grande dame of Silversea, a cruise director–and friend–without compare. Before coming to Silversea she was a queen of Cunard and at the start of her career a most talented leading lady of the West End in London.

She took her name Judie Abbott from her breakthrough character on stage. Judie Abbott, not Judy Abbott. She used her real name only for the tax man.

If you seek her measure, consider this: amongst most of the crew and many guests and friends, she was known as Mother.

The seven seas feel empty without her.

London Thames Tower Bridge Jul16 2013-6285

Judie Abbott on the Thames. Photo by Corey Sandler


27 September 2014
 Cannes, France: Front Row Center on the Côte d’Azur

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We arrived in Cannes on a gorgeous late summer day–still beachworthy–and also in the midst of a grand classic sailing yacht regatta. If you can’t enjoy a day and a scene like this. . .

Here are some photos from today:

Cannes France BLOG 27Sept2014-7683 Cannes France BLOG 27Sept2014-7664 Cannes France BLOG 27Sept2014-7658 Cannes France BLOG 27Sept2014-7653 Cannes France BLOG 27Sept2014-7648 Cannes France BLOG 27Sept2014-7643 Cannes France BLOG 27Sept2014-7642

And more scenes around Cannes, including the Hotel de Ville, its impressive City Hall. And our sister ship Silver Spirit at anchor on a previous visit to the Côte d’Azur.[whohit]-Cannes 27Sept2014-[/whohit]

Cannes SANDLER France P1040779 Cannes SANDLER France P1040778  Cannes SANDLER France P1040810 Cannes SANDLER France P1040807

Cannes SANDLER France P1040799Cannes SANDLER France P1040795

The Hotel Carlton in Cannes, a gem of the French Riviera…and the site of a brazen $136 million jewel theft in July of 2013. The stones and baubles are still missing.

But still in place, atop each end of the façade, the Carlton’s famous twin cupolas. According to tradition, they were modeled after the favorite very-mentionable garment of La Belle Otero, a Spanish-born dancer, actress, and courtesan who made off with her own millions from the men of Cannes in the 1890s and the early part of the 20th century.

Cannes La Belle Otero2

La Belle Otero (Agustina Otero Iglesias) bedecked in one of her signature costumes. (Public domain.)

Cannes SANDLER France P1040793

Caryatids hold up a balcony along the beach.

All photos by Corey Sandler, unless noted. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase an image, please contact me.


26 September 2014
 From Monte Carlo: Gold, Azure, and Emeralds

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

And so we begin another grand tour, departing from Monte Carlo for a tour of the neighborhood ending in the port of Rome.[whohit]-Monte Carlo Embark 26Sept2014-[/whohit]

Aboard the beautiful Silver Cloud, the grand dame of the Silversea fleet, we are in rich territory. Our cruise begins in Monte Carlo, where the streets were paved with gold (and silver and bank drafts) of the high rollers at the casino.

B-Monte Carlo 13April2014 _DSC0639 B-Monte Carlo 13April2014 _DSC0629

Inside the Casino at Monte Carlo. Photos by Corey Sandler

B-Monte Carlo 13April2014 _DSC0603 B-Monte Carlo 13April2014 _DSC0596

The Cathedral and the Palace. Photos by Corey Sandler

From there to Cannes, the French jewel of the Côte d’Azur, the Azure Coast. Then the Italian miniature gem of Portofino and surrounding places like Camogli, one of my favorite sparklers.

We continue to Livorno, the gateway to the treasures of Florence, the tower of Pisa, and the rooftops of Lucca. And then a quick jaunt across to Olbia on Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, the Emerald Coast.

The last call on this gem of a cruise is Civitavecchia, the port of Rome. Some may want to venture to the Eternal City to cast a Euro into the Trevi Fountain; make a wish and perhaps you’ll be able to purchase a villa in Monte Carlo, Cannes, Portofino, Florence, and Olbia with your lottery proceeds.

Here’s our scheduled itinerary. I hope you’ll follow along.

Voyage 1429 Sept-Oct 2014
Voyage 1429 Sept-Oct 2014