Travel Thoughts By Kim
Let’s go on an adventure together…on a Mediterranean Cruise
This is the second in a series of articles from a Mediterranean Adventure I took in August. The first post was about the two days I spent in Rome to start the adventure. This post will cover the seven day cruise and I’ll talk about each port in separate posts coming soon.
A major bucket list item for me was to cruise the Mediterranean Sea. Finally, on my tenth cruise, I checked it off the list. The cruise I chose was on the Norwegian Epic – one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest ships (I believe I read it ranked 4th in size for Norwegian’s fleet and it is second based on passenger capacity). The cruise was seven ports in seven days and a whirl wind of amazing experiences and memories that took me through ports in Italy, France, and Spain.
The cruise began and ended in Rome, Italy. The itinerary included stops at the following ports: Naples Italy, Livorno Italy (Florence and Pisa), Cannes France, Palma de Mallorca Spain, Barcelona Spain, and Corsica France. And, I checked off FIVE major bucket list items during the trip: Take a Mediterranean Cruise, Visit Tuscany, Visit the French Riviera, Visit the home of Princess Grace of Monaco, and See Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling. It was all so exciting and I can’t wait to share those specific experiences with you in other posts.
As for the cruise, itself, I felt very comfortable and safe cruising in this post-Covid world we find ourselves in. We had to show proof of vaccination to get on the ship, so masks were optional while on ship. Off ship, mask requirements varied based on the port and venue, but were for the most part optional – we were told to always be prepared to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination when off ship. Norwegian Cruise Line implemented some new procedures for the boarding process and the muster drill requirements that greatly reduced the number of people in those places at any given time, making the processes so much better and promoted social distancing. I hope they keep them that way going forward and that other cruise lines do similar things – even if the need for Covid precautions go away – because it was a great improvement over prior cruises before Covid.
With no “at sea” days, I spent my days off ship exploring the wonderful ports we visited. But, I did get to enjoy the amazing entertainment each evening, a little time relaxing pool side, and, of course, the food! Two specific highlights from my time on ship were: 1) A wonderful Beatles tribute band called “The Epic Beatles” that performed three times in the main theater – all different shows – and a couple times in a smaller venue called “The Cavern Club” (named after the original Cavern Club in Liverpool where the Beatles performed before they became famous). I only missed one show and absolutely loved the ones I did get to see. 2) The Ice Bar Lounge was a really cool club – literally! I was curious about it and made a reservation for one evening – so glad I did! It is a room that is kept at 17 degrees F. Everything in there is a frozen ice sculpture – the bar, the seats, the glasses, the decorations – everything! I was given a poncho and gloves, paid my $15 entry fee, and in I went. We were only allowed to stay for up to 15 minutes because of the temperature and we could have up to two drinks – a nice menu of alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices. I chose to have two of the non-alcoholic “Day at the Beach” – strawberry puree, pineapple juice, and lemon juice – soooooo good! What a fun experience – so glad I did it.
I did something a bit different regarding my cabin this time. I typically prefer a balcony cabin. This time, though, I was curious about the Studio Cabins that Norwegian (and some other lines) offer as an alternative for solo cruisers to help with the significant cost that comes with single occupancy when typically booking any cruise ship cabin. So, I booked one for this cruise to give it a try. Very nice – I’d do it again under the right circumstances. I still missed my balcony, but for this particular cruise – no “at sea” days – it worked out just fine. I put some videos on the blog post as a “review” of my experience in the studio cabin – check them out when you visit the link below.
The Norwegian Epic is a huge ship – I’m sure with the time I spent off ship and the size of it, there was a lot I never got to see. Personally, I like the smaller ships better – easier to get around and not so overwhelming. But, I still loved this adventure – the thrill of a life time, for me!
For lots more about the cruise and the ship with tons of photos and information, check out my Blog Post.