My friend and fellow Andrea Doria survivor has obviously overcome any fear of ocean travel– if he ever had any! Klaus Dorneich of Stuttgart, Germany, shared these anecdotes with me. He and his wife Hilly continue to travel the world and enjoy its wonders, whether by air, land or sea. Enjoy!
Stuttgart, 12. September 2011
Thank you for mentioning my lecturing years. My most stunning moments were when, in the summer of 1995, I was on the bridge of MS Deutschland in the outer harbor of Lisbon (Mar de pailla) explaining by mic the skyline and port facilities to my passengers – all of a sudden a US submarine popped up near our cruise ship and the sub´s skipper said over loudspeaker I was wrong in several remarks! Obviously, there was a NATO sea exercise going on, including three destroyers from Spain, Portugal and Germany – a little later, the latter´s officers stood in white gala uniforms on deck saluting the new cruise ship “Deutschland”!
The other event happened in the Red Sea when the second Gulf War broke out in 2003. We had been on board the MS Astoria since Cape Town (SA) and had just left the Seychelles Islands, when the news broke. Our HQ ordered us home immediately fearing that the Suez Canal would be closed by the Egyptians. Our port calls in Mombasa (Kenya) and Alexandria (Egypt) were cancelled and we rushed through the Canal – with me on the bridge again commenting about the sandy shores of the Sinai (old war materiel and destroyed tanks from the last war plus some older British Memorials!), when a large number of ferry boats crossed our path with lots of US Army trucks and Jeeps on board for the Iraq frontline. The Turks had, in the last moment, closed their country for US troops and material, thus forcing the US to hire local cargo vessels for the detour via Suez – obviously “Plan B”! We made the escape through the “backdoor” alright, without stopping in Alexandria. Because towards the end of the Canal, you have the choice to take an arm to Alexandria (custom and disembarking facilities) or to take a second arm directly into the Mediterranean Sea, the so called “backdoor”. But were too early for our return to Venice, so after Piraios (Athens), we were given 2 extra days on Crete which turned out to be a bonus for Hilly and me!