Tag-Archive for » Valencia «

Cruises Open Up The World Of Art

You don’t have to appreciate fine art to enjoy some of the works you encounter in traveling the world on cruise ships — and there is art of some sort virtually everywhere you go. This is a collection of artistic impressions that have caught our eyes, or at least the lens of our cameras…

LimaLove is grand, isn’t it?…even when it’s on display on the waterfront for South American-bound cruisers when they stop in the metropolis of Lima!

ChicagoThis was in Chicago, on the way to a cruise, and it’s not Mrs. O’Leary’s famous cow — it’s the one made famous by baseball broadcaster Harry Caray, whose pet expression was “Holy Cow!”

ValenciaNot quite sure what to make of this somewhat provocative work of art, in one of our favorite Spanish ports, so we simply gave her a name: Valentina of Valencia.

VigoYou’ll find this on the streets of Vigo, Spain — where we’d stopped while on the Celebrity Eclipse — and our impression was somewhere in there must be a cowboy.

MexicoThe beaches of Mexico, and throughout Central America and the Caribbean, are a great source of statues like this that mean more to the locals than the visitors.

KetchikanIt’s hard to imagine that there’s a larger carving of a bald eagle than this one where the Coral Princess — and all cruise ships — are docked in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Friday File: Cruising And Works Of Art

Wherever your cruise ship takes you, one thing you can be certain of is that you will encounter local artwork. It may be a statue, or a mural, or a sandcastle or something that you’re not quite sure what it is, but it will always be interesting. In years of cruising, we’ve admired (okay, at least looked at) a variety of such works of art…

Puerto RicoOn this street in San Juan, Puerto Rico…a powerful message open to interpretation.

Alaska museum

If you can't find the real thing in Alaska, and often you can't, there's always a museum version.


The pretty town of Arica in northern Chile always has to make its statues earthquake-proof.


In Valencia, Spain, a colorful expression of nations sends travelers looking for their 'home' statue.

Murals-Pier 39

If you've ever departed from or arrived in San Francisco, you know all about this part of Fisherman's Wharf.


Bermuda has no shortage of works like this, which add to the charm of a charming island.

In the news…

• Tampa port recognized by NOAA as "storm ready" for extreme weather
• Huge Princess sale offers $300 savings on cruise plus $300 on airfare
• MSC Lirica last of four ships to be 'stretched' to add 800 cabins

Today at portsandbows.com: Suite news for Holland America fans

Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas
3 nights
December 11, 2015
Miami (return): CocoCay, Nassau
Inside: $169
Cost per day: $56

Friday File: Signs, signs, everywhere…

When you travel on cruise ships, you often encounter signs that have strange, double or hidden meanings. Or maybe they’re just clever, prompting the shutterbugs to snap a few photos. And that’s what we’ve done, for your enjoyment (and ours) this week…


This was in Lima, Peru and we didn’t need a Spanish-English dictionary to get the picture, but maybe we should’ve because it probably doesn’t mean what you’re thinking.


Everybody on a shore excursion takes a bus, often trying to find the right one — this Alaska bus driver for Star Princess passengers had a with a sense of humor.


Truly the only time any of us want to visit Hell, which is in the Grand Cayman Islands, and — yes — it’s re-assuring we’ll be able to send postcards back home.


At a snack bar in Aruba, near the “Natural Bridge” the primary tourist attraction until it collapsed 10 years ago — and now home to a sign that speaks for itself.

Costa Rica

A sign from the wilds of Costa Rica and our first thought was of a feeding frenzy so we didn’t know if it was wise to proceed — except for the women, of course.


In case you’re wondering what the dietary desires are for the locals in Valencia, Spain, these eels are always on the menu and in the butcher’s (?) shops.

In the news…

• Fourth of July sales for many cruise lines a reason to pause the celebrations
• Incentives for booking early on Oceania include new ship Sirena in 2016
• Work stoppage at Fincantieri's Shipyard where Carnival Vista is being built

Today at portsandbows.com: Cruising through glaciers to Vancouver

Grandeur of the Seas
8 nights
September 17, 2015
Baltimore (return): Portland, Bar Harbor, Saint John, Halifax
Inside: $804
Cost per day: $100

Valencia Inspires an 'F' Word


VALENCIA, Spain — As we departed this port stop during the Oceania Riviera's Christening Cruise, one word seemed to cover the experience of visiting Valencia.


When the America's Cup came to the city in 2007, the port had to be re-built. There was some controversy and, in the end, an "open vote" of the people was taken. When the Turia River was diverted around the city because of terrible floods, another open vote…what to do with the river bed. The government asked the people, and then acted accordingly.


In the geographic center of the city, there is a cathedral — naturally — at Virgin Square (above). Not that many years ago during an excavation, Roman ruins were discovered under the area where the cathedral sits, and it is now an underground city of ruins from 138 BC that can be explored by locals and visitors alike (a glimpse of it is available through water-covered glass in the square). In the same square every Thursday at noon, a "water tribunal" of eight people in traditional dress emerges from a building to mediate any and all disputes arising from the eight irrigation channels designed to share the water. What they say is law. It is all done verbally. Nothing is written.


The streets and sidewalks of the city are clean. The old architecture of yet another typical, centuries-old European city is almost all restored, so that it looks new. Our tour guide (Alicia) says she likes to think that the fact the mayor is a woman (Rita Barbera) has something to do with it, because during her 21-year reign this city has been transformed. The cars, the bikes and the pedestrians sometimes share the same space, and there are no middle fingers nor angry voices raised. It just works. At least during our walking tour of such city streets, it did.


The dried-up river bed knifes through almost every neighborhood of the city. It is almost seven miles long and each section — between the bridges — has a different look and theme. While sparsely populated on the day of our visit, it is a veritable beehive of activity in evenings and on weekends. There is a huge children's playground built around a giant image of Gulliver, lying on the grass, and traveling there is safe. There are bike paths, athletic fields, swimming pools. It could have been a giant parking lot except that the government, a political power appropriately called the People's Party, asked the people first.


As old as Valencia is, it is modern enough to have the Formula 1 race it has staged since 2006, the high-speed 90-minute train to Madrid since 2010 and the magnificent City of Science that has punctuated the old river bed since its first building went up in 2002. The "city" — almost all of which was designed by Santiago Calatrava (he's a household name here) now includes the largest aquarium in Europe, Oceanografic, which is really five aquariums displaying inhabitants from the waters of the world…and an impressive dolphin show for tourists who need a rest. It also includes a planetarium that seems to open and close like an eye at day or night, science museum, IMAX theater, arts museum and the only opera house in Europe built solidly on a tiny base that was designed for a communications tower. Construction of the tower was halted because the people in the neighborhood didn't like it. An "open vote" led to the opera house.


In Medieval times, this was a walled city. Only two towers from the old wall remain. "One tower was used as a prison for women," says Alicia. "Thanks to that, because it was still in use, it was not destroyed." For those of us from the "new world" there is much about the "old" that always educates us. Much of it doesn't fit into the same descriptive category that Valencia does.




Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas
11 nights
September 14, 2012
Vancouver, Lahaina, Hilo, Mount Kilauea, Kailua, Nawiliwili, Honolulu
Inside: $1,204
Cost per day: $109


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