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Ms Prinsendam Mediterranean & Aegean Cruise

Prinsendam Cruises to Lands of the Legendary

The email from Holland America about its Mediterranean & Aegean Explorer cruise on the Ms Prinsendam is unexpected and a pleasant surprise. We had not heard a word from the cruise line since our 35-day Caribbean trip 2010 aboard the Maasdam.   The email title “President’s Picks -Private-Sale Fares,” is interesting enough to   open it.

Linda and I prefer longer cruises and the Med voyage is 25 days. It is especially appealing to me because of my past interest in Greek and Roman history. In high school, I took 4 years of Latin and another 4 years in college for reasons still hard to explain.

The truth is I simply enjoyed reading the thoughts of Roman generals, historians and poets in their own language.  My Latin-English dictionary was dog-eared when I left Washington & Lee Univ.  (Amazingly, instead of a single Latin teacher as in my time, W&L now has a full classics department offering majors in Latin, Greek or both.)

The Prinsendam itinerary stops at many ports where some of the ancient world’s legendary figures lived or fought in battle. I am convinced to book the cruise and like the bonus that it ends in Istanbul, a place Linda and I look forward to spending three days after the trip ends.

jason and the argonautrs
             Jason and the Argonauts Seek the Fabled Golden Fleece  

The emailed “invite” arrives August 12. The cruise departs September 28. At the moment, we are in Virginia and aren’t able to return to our Orlando home until September 15. That is only 12 days before the flight to Europe.  Can we get ready in such short time?

The cost of the almost last-minute airfare will decide whether we go. On Kayak and other sites, flying into Barcelona and returning from Istanbul is about $2,500 for each of us, or more than half of the cost of the cruise. Maybe Holland America can do better.  They do much better with flights under a thousand dollars each with very good connections.  That settles it. After booking an ocean view stateroom on the Prinsendam, I borrow Linda’s passport to enter both our travel documents online.

The Long Way Home

When we depart for Florida almost a month later, we listen to a CD audiobook as we always do on the 12-hour drive home.  One of the characters mentions something about her passport and Linda turns to me. “Just where are our passports?”

We stop at the next rest area and frantically search the camera bags where we routinely keep our respective passports. They are not where they should be.  Are they still in the computer desk at the family cottage where we stayed?  They must be.  What a blunder on my part to place them is a drawer after filling out the online forms.

The drive to retrieve the passports is 4 hours.  Then another 4 hours to retrace our route and return to North Carolina. This back and forth journey will add a second travel day. It also means one less day to prepare for the cruise. Not good. At the next I-95 exit, I turn the car around, back to Richmond.

The ancient Greeks and Romans undoubtedly would interpret this passport fiasco an omen. Is it good or bad? This mistake should never have happened but discovering it now definitely is a “good” thing.

What are the odds our audiobook would mention “passport.”  Arriving home without ours would mean finding someone in Virginia who could quickly retrieve and FedEx them. That could be tricky.

The disc takes up where it left off. This story will end by the time we return to where we are now. Luckily, we have two other audiobooks to fill the remaining drive time.  Wonder what we might discover from them?