This will be Mike’s first trip to Italy. Clemson’s graduate program included a semester in Genova, so I have spent a good bit of time there. When we first started talking about how to celebrate Mike’s big birthday, we started planning an all land trip. A week of traveling and a week in a villa rented with some friends. However, when it came time to fish or cut bait, there were only four of us firmly committed to the villa rental, which limited our choices. About the same time I discovered this relocation cruise. It was only 7 days so it fit our schedule and the price was right too. So I let Mike decide. After weighting the choices, he decided that while he wanted to enjoy the villa life, he was afraid that since it was his time in Italy, that he really wouldn’t want to just laze about eating pasta and drinking lemoncello like Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun and he elected the cruise.
This will be our ninth cruise. We realized how much we enjoyed cruising after a whirlwind 10 day trip to Spain. When we got home we felt like all we had done was schlep luggage for 10 days whereas on a cruise you unpack once and get to see many places. The less than thrilling part is that you only get a taste of each place. We have visited Egypt (a taste was enough), Greece (hope to be in Santorini for my next BIG birthday), Canada, South America, Alaska, and the Caribbean. We have met some great folks aboard, several of whom we stay in contact with. In fact, in August, we are having a mini reunion from my 50th birthday trip. Our friends, Peggy & Lowell from Virginia and Carol & Burt from Texas are coming to Knightdale for a weekend. We all met through Cruise Critic, an online site with lots of information, forums for asking and answering questions and roll calls where you can converse with other folks on “your” cruise. This aspect is particularly helpful on a port intensive itinerary like this one. Rather than taking the ship’s excursions, it is possible to connect with others on your roll call and arrange private tours. For example on our upcoming trip, I have set up a day long trip to Pompeii and the Almalfi Coast for us and five others at about half the cost of a similar ships excursion…but the best part is, we won’t have to deal with 50 other folks on a big ole bus. We have similar plans in Messina and Koper. On all our cruises, we have only done two ship’s excursions. We did both of those because the trip was going very far and involved several opportunities for catastrophe which could of led to us missing the ship.
Below are a few pictures from our cruises:
Peggy at Señor Frogs in Nassau wearing her best Anna Nicole Smith wig
One of the many towel animals that have greeted us at nightly turndown
Montmarcy Falls just outside of Quebec
One of our favorite cabins aboard Norwegian Sun-it’s a regular balcony cabin but is sized like a mini suite and has a HUGE bow facing balcony. We had 12 folks up for a sailaway party one time and had plenty of room.
Mike enjoying a 2lb lobster in Halifax last September….wonder if he will like REAL Italian pasta just as much?