—29 April 2012—
After a very turbulent night, we awoke to blue sky and a calmer sea as we pulled into Toulon. We were up, dressed and out of our cabin by the time we docked at 8:00 AM! We went to Raffles buffet for breakfast, which we really enjoyed, but still working on downsizing our meals. We kicked back in the lounge for a while and then headed down to catch a shuttle boat to Toulon (from Le Seyne sur Mer), about a 15-minute ride. Toulon was a bit disappointing, owing in part to the fact that it was Sunday and almost everything was closed, and in part to putting ashore in what appeared to be the red light district. We walked around a bit and took photos, then had an espresso/Perrier while we waited for the shuttle boat.
On our return, after a short stay in our cabin, we returned to the buffet for lunch – Jerry to the sandwich station, I to the salad bar. Doing better, but till a bit too much. We had about an hour to rest before we assembled for our shore excursion, during which workmen visited us to repair tile work in the shower. Jerry snoozed and I read ahead in Rick Steves for our trip to Florence and Pisa the next day.
We really enjoyed our excursion. We went by bus to a hilltop village, Le Castellet, and a beach resort, Bandol. Our guide, Ann Marie, was very knowledgeable and polished. She talked as we drove and escorted us into Le Castellet. We finished there with enough free time for a gelato cone and photos. 🙂
In Bandol, we were on our own for about an hour. We strolled the waterfront and took pictures (surprised when the Nikon battery ran out!), and then crossed to the shops and foundf a spot at a sidewalk cafe for a libation. Back on the bus, we had a short ride to the ship, back on the dot of the NLT return time of 6:30.
Once more through security, we dropped excess “stuff” and went to the biergarten on the pool deck for a drink as we left the pier, pivoted and headed thru the breakwater and out to sea. Looking for a lighter dinner, we tried the Blue Lagoon, a grill-type restaurant. Jerry had fish and chips (which came with a small cup of mashed peas…huh?) and I had a panini sandwich (prosciutto, basil and mozzarella) with chips and a chocolate shake. (Later realized that the shake was an added charge.) No dessert, but full again.
We packed it in for the day after a stroll through the gift shop for a lanyard for my key card.