Cruise Trek 2000:
May 21 ~ 28, 2000
A 7-night cruise aboard Holland America’s ms
with guests Marc Alaimo, Ethan Phillips, Robert Picardo, Armin
David R. George III, Ron B. Moore, and Eric Stillwell
Our Itinerary ~
|Sunday||May 21||Barcelona, Spain
|| ||5 p.m.
|Monday||May 22||Cruising the Mediterranean
|Tuesday||May 23||La Goulette, Tunisia
||7 a.m.||6 p.m.
|Wednesday||May 24||Palermo, Sicily, Italy
||7 a.m.||3:30 p.m.
|Thursday||May 25||Civitavecchia, Italy (near
||7 a.m.||8 p.m.
|Friday||May 26||Monte Carlo, Monaco
||9:30 a.m.||10 p.m.
|Saturday||May 27||Marseille, France
||7 a.m.||6 p.m.
|Sunday||May 28||Barcelona, Spain
Passage must be booked through the Cruise Trek office
to attend all Cruise Trek events.
Cruise Trek 2000 Highlights: Turn of the
By Eric & Debra Stillwell
We love to travel to distant places around the world and Cruise Trek
is the highlight of our calendar year. The year 2000 marked our sixth
Cruise Trek sailing – an annual trip which has become much
more than an adventurous trek to new and exotic locations – but
more so an exciting and emotional reunion with our Cruise Trek family
of friends! Mediterranean Magic was no exception.
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We arrived in Barcelona three days before embarkation. Having just
spent an eternity flying around the world to reach our destination, our
first impression of Barcelona wasn’t much different than our
memories of recently departed Los Angeles: abundant graffiti along the
freeways and billboards in Spanish. After a brief respite at our hotel, we
hit the town and discovered the bright lights and big city of Barcelona
along Las Ramblas, a tree-lined boulevard filled with outdoor cafes,
shops and charming Catalan people.
During our second day, we kicked into full tourist mode and made
pilgrimages to visit medieval churches, a seaside aquarium and the local
Gaudi architecture, including the inspiring work-in-progress –
Sagrada Familia – a spiraling cathedral with incredible views
from its churro-like spires.
On our third day, we took an early morning train into the Catalan
countryside and spent the day at Montserrat, a mysterious monastery on
the side of a mountaintop where we viewed the captivating Black
Madonna. It was here that we began to encounter the familiar faces of
people we had met before in exotic places like Bermuda, Tahiti,
Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Granada, Aruba, Guadalupe and Ketchikan.
As other Cruise Trek passengers began to arrive in Spain, our family
reunion began in earnest.
The Cruise Trek banquet at the Barceló Hotel Sants brought
together a sizeable gathering of our family complement along with our
special Trek guests: Bob Picardo, his wife Linda and daughters Gina
& Nikki; Ethan Philips and his wife Patty; Armin Shimerman &
Kitty Swink; Marc Alaimo; and David R. George III and his wife Karen.
Those who had taken the pre-cruise to the Greek Islands arrived belatedly
and included behind-the-scenes guests Ronald B. Moore and his wife
After the banquet, several of us mingled with the Catalan Star Trek
Fan Club, which had gathered in the lobby. Despite the fact that only a
couple of people in the group were bilingual, we all had a great time,
proving once again that Star Trek is a phenomenon which unites people
around the world, despite international borders and language barriers!
To this point we had already had a wonderful trip and the cruise was
yet to come! On Sunday, May 21, we embarked the majestic
Maasdam. After the mandatory lifeboat drill, we rejoined our
Cruise Trek family together with those who had just arrived in Barcelona
that day, to reintroduce our special guests. By nightfall the cruise was
well underway as we sailed across the Mediterranean.
We were at sea all day Monday and onboard activities were packed
with Cruise Trek events, including an informal breakfast with the actors
and behind-the-scenes guests, the dealer’s room, actors’
panels, a visual effects presentation by Ron Moore, a costume contest,
and lots of games, including Trek Trivia, You Don’t Know Trek,
and Trek Pictionary.
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On Tuesday, we arrived at La Goulette, Tunisia, in the northern tip
of Africa. We joined a group of passengers headed out on bus tours
destined for the ancient ruins of Carthage. Although it wasn’t
exactly as we had imagined it, nestled among affluent homes and
overlooked by the modern presidential palace, Carthage was still unique
with its sweeping vistas of the Mediterranean Sea.
Our next stop was Sidi Bou Saïd, a beautiful hillside village of white
buildings and blue doors that matched the color of Eric’s hair! It
was here that one of street vendors told us Debra was worth 1,000
camels, perhaps so valued because she spoke to them in French, the
second language of this former French colony. This came in handy as
Debra bargained for our first major souvenir of the trip: a beautiful
camel-hair rug. Back on the ship we had time to squeeze in the charity
auction with lots of wonderful collectibles donated by the actors and
On Wednesday, we arrived in Palermo, Sicily, and departed on an
excursion to visit the ruins of Solunto – an ancient Phoenician
town which was later occupied by the Romans. Afterwards we went to
the nearby town of Bagheria, where we toured the 18th Century
“Villa of the Monsters,” named for its grotesque statuary.
An early departure from Palermo allowed for additional Cruise Trek
activities on this day, including the group photo, a writers workshop
featuring the writers of the Deep Space Nine novel,
The 34th Rule, David R. George III and Armin Shimerman.
We also had time for a couple rounds of Trek Family Feud –
a game we first introduced during the Panama Canal cruise which has
become a Cruise Trek family favorite.
On Thursday morning, we arrived in Civitavecchia, Italy –
the port of Rome. We had probably been looking forward to this visit
more than anything on our itinerary, which may have contributed to the
whirlwind feeling we experienced as we toured through this ancient city
quickly, glimpsing the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus, the
Imperial Forums, the Tiber River, the Old Palace of Justice and Castel
Sant’Angelo. We had only a moment to throw a coin in Trevi
Fountain and a few minutes more to visit the Spanish steps.
After lunch, we had a more relaxing visit to the Vatican, which
included St. Peter’s Square (which is round) and the Basilica
(which is the most amazing cathedral we’ve ever seen), plus
the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel.
Conclusion: Twelve hours is simply not enough time in this amazing
city. We must definitely return here someday.
On Friday, we arrived in Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco.
Our excursion here was like a Tina Turner slow dance: Nice & Eze.
Our journey began with a spectacular scenic drive along the amazingly
beautiful French Riviera. We spent some time shopping in the legendary
city of Nice and visiting a Russian Orthodox Cathedral with six onion
domes and colorful ceramics.
Afterwards we drove up to the ancient village of Eze, perched high
above the sea on the face of a cliff. We fell in love with Eze and marveled
at the medieval architecture and cobblestone streets which guided us
though a fantastical world of arts & crafts shops, restaurants and hotels.
We could have stayed here forever, but alas, our tour guide beckoned.
Our return to Monte Carlo found us stuck in grid-lock traffic on the eve of
the Grand Prix, so we missed visiting the famous Monte Carlo Casino and
other local sites. This is another must-return destination.
On Saturday, we arrived in Marseille, France, and departed immediately
for the beautiful Provence countryside. We arrived in the city of Avignon,
which was home to the popes of the 14th Century. We toured the Palace
of the Popes, shopped in the stores along the cobblestone streets, and had
our pictures taken against the Rhone River and the Pont d’Avignon
– the ruins of a bridge made famous by the children’s song
of the same name. This brought back childhood memories for Debra, who
was born in the French-speaking city of Montreal, Quebec.
After Avignon, we drove to the amazing medieval village Les Baux,
teetering on the top of a rocky spur in the Alphilles Mountains. This
beautiful “ghost-town” is now filled with numerous craft
shops situated along its narrow streets. The many vistas of Lex Baux
also offered a most amazing panorama of the French countryside, making
this a sure contender for our favorite place visited on this trip. And certainly
an extraordinary way to conclude another fabulous voyage with our Cruise
That night, back on the ship, it was already time to say farewell to all
our friends, both old and new. The actors entertained us with a wonderful
farewell performance of their unique talents, including story-telling,
stand-up comedy, dramatic readings and soulful singing.
On Sunday, we were all back in Barcelona, soon bound for the
destinations we each call home. Among our prized souvenirs we carried
with us the cherished memories of another incredible adventure which
we shared with our Cruise Trek family and immediately began to look
forward to Cruise Trek 2001!