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Open the balcony door in the morning and suddenly you are in another world. In the early hours of Tuesday, Silver Wind has dropped anchor off one of the most star-studded resorts in the Mediterranean. Cindy Crawford spent her summer vacation here, just like Naomi Campbell, actor Christian Slater and former top model Eva Herzigova. Welcome to Porto Cervo, Sardinia! The rugged, reddish rocks of Sardinia's northeast coast reflect in the morning sun as we board one of Silver Wind's two tenders that provide the lifeline between ship and shore. As we come closer to Porto Cervo, it quickly becomes clear that this is not your average seaside town...

Developed as a millionaire's playground in the early sixties, Porto Cervo still is one of the Mediterranean's best kept vacation secrets. The resort boasts a stunningly beautiful marina that plays host to the world's largest and most expensive yachts, while the real estate surrounding the picture-perfect bay is literally priceless. Built in a Mediterranean style with lots of pastel colors and small squares and alleys, the center of Porto Cervo is devoted to the wonders of Italian retail therapy. D&G,  Versace, Gucci, Bulgari. You name it, it is here. Buying a fur coat in the middle of summer will not raise a single eyebrow. Playing golf is a must. And lunch at the local five-star hotel will set you back 140 US Dollars per person. Porto Cervo is definitely not for everyone!

Porto Cervo still life

Like most other Silver Wind guests, we hurry back on board after a good look ashore to further acclimatize to shipboard life. After all, our cruise is less than 24 hours old. Back on board, we enjoy a fine buffet luncheon on deck and spend some time by the pool until Silver Wind sets sail for our next Italian port of call: beautiful Sorrento. 

Perched high on the cliffs above the blue Mediterranean Sea, Sorrento has it all. A stunning setting, beautiful vistas, a charming old town and an overdose of La Dolce Vita. Serving as the gateway to Pompeii, the Amalfi Coast and the island of Capri, Sorrento is a busy town. Having discovered Sorrento and nearby Pompeii a couple of years ago during our cruise on Silver Cloud, we opt for a trip to Capri. Funnily enough, there are no organized shore excursions to Capri available, so we pick up a ferry timetable and hop on the first available steamer to Capri. The ride takes between 45 and 75 minutes (depending on the speed of the vessel) and proves to be a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful coastline around the Bay of Naples.  

Color-coordinated shopping in Capri Town

Our excitement grows as we reach Marina Grande, the picture-perfect little port of Capri. With its busy beach, little town square, colorful fishing boats and seaside restau-rants, Marina Grande would be reason enough to visit the island. But then, who would want to miss out on Capri Town, looming above us on the mountain top?

With its breathtaking vistas, its picture-perfect alleys lined with bougainvillea and its trendy boutiques, Capri Town looks like a film set. It is almost too beautiful to be true. Even the boat loads of tourists that crowd the town square cannot take away anything of the sheer beauty of the place. This island is not the financially fainthearted, but what it gives back cannot be expressed in money. That evening, upon departure from Sorrento, Captain Corsaro steers Silver Wind right along the rocky shores of Capri. The island that stole our hearts.  

Local Roberto Cavalli outlet

Continuously tender service to the center of Porto Cervo

A deserted town square

A quiet Tuesday morning in Porto Cervo

Purpose-built resort

Power shopping in Porto Cervo

First look at Capri from the ferry

Capri Town

Stunning vistas from Capri Town

Marina Grande, Capri

Capri Town

Lots of stores selling cashmere

The beach at Marina Grande

Silver Wind cruises by Capri in the evening

 

All photos and text: 2004 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

First published on September 5th, 2004. All rights reserved.