Barcelona to Venice - Excellent NCL Cruise
Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
We flew into Barcelona a day early and was picked up by Barcelona Day Tours. They gave us a great half day tour and then dropped us at our hotel. Check in was in the afternoon so this was great.
We, my sister, mom and niece, were a party of 4 from 25 to 77 and all had a wonderful time. We enjoyed the ship and the ports were fabulous. Several ports were an hour from the city and you need transportation to get there. We used private tours and ship tours and were happy with both. In some big ports there was a little walk or bus ride to even get out of the port area. They were all wonderful ports.
The ship itself was good. I didn't feel that it was an old ship and we liked our rooms. They were inside rooms on mid deck 9. Very quiet and the beds were good. Alex our cabin steward was excellent. Very pleasant and kept our rooms clean. Always a smile on his face. As for the size of the ship, I liked that it wasn't too huge and we walked everywhere and took the More
We were Latitudes members so Embarking was quite smooth. There was a separate line which seemed long but moved quickly. Disembarkation was also very easy and quick. We had a ship transfer to the Venice airport and it went quite smoothly. Piece of advice - bring a small luggage scale so there is no panic on what your bag weighs. Also you surrender your passport to the ship so take a copy of it and stash it away with your documents.
We found the entertainment staff very good. I found them all personable and enjoyed several games. There was always a game going on and we liked the shows we saw. The games were pretty funny - some were outright hilarious. Some of us would be too tired to catch a show after an all day tour but the ones we saw we did like. The ship musicians, singers and dancers were quite good. My niece really enjoy the bands that played in various areas.
The food had mixed reviews at our table. Most of us liked it. My mom did not like some of the dinners. However, she did like the breakfasts, desserts and in between ice cream all the time. We had a pistachio brulee that was delicious. If you didn't like something you could order something else. I thought they did a good job. We did not eat at any of the pay restaurants.
The ship was clean and the crew very friendly and helpful. The captain seemed very friendly and funny when he made his reports. We had a meet and greet for CC and the crew did a nice job. We met several ship officers and a lot of nice people (especially Bonnie :) ) WE also had a Latitude party and the captain was there. There was food and free drinks.
We had an excellent time on this cruise. Do you homework for the ports. We did many all day tours and really appreciated our at Sea days. We saw so many fabulous historical sights, truly once in a lifetime trip (but I hope not.) Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
It is a must see. The Acropolis is Fabulous
The Plaka Walking Tour
The Acropolis is Fabulous. It winds up the hill so it is gradual. My mom is in her late 70's and did it just fine. We got to stop at the Olympic Stadium also and took some funny picture there of us being goofy and pretending to throw discus. The Plaka shopping district is filled with little shops and we also enjoyed a lunch nearby. The guide recommended the lunch and it was quite good. We then wandered the Plakka on our own. I thought that our guide walked a little too fast while we were in the city and some people had a problem keeping up. Be sure to read the description for activity level.
Barcelona Day Tours gave us a great tour. Jody dropped us off at the sites after explaining them to us and stayed with the van and luggage. I would definitely recommend them.
This was a stop that Barcelona Day Tours took us too. We went inside and it is quite impressive.
We flew into Barcelona a day early and was picked up by Barcelona Day Tours. They gave us a great half day tour and then dropped us at our hotel. Check in was in the afternoon so this was great. Jody spoke excellent English and provided a great tour and some political insight and a lot of interesting history. We really enjoyed it but were a little jet lagged. We really like the Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia to name but two sights. We stayed in Hotel LLeo and they had a free breakfast and WiFi. It was near Las Rambalas and that was a great walk of many interesting shops.
We booked an independently through Shoreexcursionsinitaly.net and were very happy with them. We wanted to pamper our mom and thought we would see more with a private van tour. They were great. We saw the beautiful Cathedral and the Ponte Vecchio and shopped at the Leather Market. We did a lot of shopping at the leather market.
We booked an independently through Shoreexcursionsinitaly.net and were very happy with them. We wanted to pamper our mom and thought we would see more with a private van tour. They were great. We loved Florence and the David. The David is a must see for us and it was worth the stop. Carlo was able to have us walk right in - no waiting in line. They reserved our tickets in advance and we paid for them. Then after shopping we stopped for lunch at Casa Emma and had a 4 course meal with a different wine at each serving. It was simply fabulous and a great view of the Tuscany region from our outdoor table. Next San Gimignano - a walled medeval city. Lots of shops and history in a fabulous location. We all enjoyed it. If you take the tour and would rather have extra time at San Gimignano skip lunch and grab a gelato there. The ride back was filled with beautiful scenery. All a great day.
Statue of David
We loved Florence and the David. The David is a must see for us and it was worth the stop. Carlo was able to have us walk right in - no waiting in line. They reserved our tickets in advance and we paid for them. We were told you can't always get right in but we did. A turn to the right and you see David at the end of the hall. Fabulous.
We toured around on our own here. Everyone we met was nice. We took the metro or trolley and saw the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, The cisterns, and the Grand Bazaar. Another great port. We bought lots at the bazaar and bargained after we got the hang of of it. Everyone tries to bring you to a rug store but we firmly said no and walked on.
Church of St. John
The church where St John is buried is mostly just pillars now. The tour was very interesting.
The house of the Virgin Mary is quite moving. I did feel a little rushed but there were several buses there. My sister and niece actually went back through and took their time. Bring a Water bottle to fill with holy water. We pinned a prayer to the wish wall too. The tour guide was quite interesting. Some people were annoyed that they had to stop at the Leather factory but I liked the show. Expensive though but very beautiful clothing.
The ship docked at Toulon. We did not go to Marseille. Toulon was quite a beautiful harbor. There is a little train that you can take from the ship to the city. We went to a flea market there that is open until 12 noon or 1pm or so. The beaches were beautiful. We did not go to the Naval museum but did go by it. I hadn't known about the ships being sunk there during the war by France and her allies - very sad.
So beautiful We loved Sorrento and Positano. Carlo brought us to Bagni Delfino for lunch. Right on the water overlooking Naples Bay. Nice people, great food, what a view. unforgettable. The drive along the coast is so fabulous. Carlo from Shoreexcursionsinitaly.net stopped where we could so we could take photos. It was another great tour.
Pompeii Walking Tour
This was our last tour with Shoreexcursionsinitaly.net. Again we were not dissapointed. The tour was Pompeii and Positano Sorrento.
Pompeii so interesting and impressive with Mt. Vesuvius in the background. You can join a tour or hire headphones. We wandered around on our own with Rick Steves guide. It was very hot in the afternoon.
So Beautiful - my favorite stop. We bough lots of lemon items. It is quite a walk down to the beach but so worth. The little shops are excellent. We bought lemon pastries - so delicious. A great spot and when I win the lottery I am moving there.
We again booked through Shoreexcursionsinitaly.net. Massimo picked us up at the ship and drove us to Rome. It was a Saturday and we luckily did not experience any traffic. Massimo spoke excellent English and provided interesting stories and history throughout the day. Very helpful.
Rome - so wonderful. We really got to see so much. We went into the Coloseum - breathtaking, The Spanish Steps, The Panthenon, The Circus Maximus, Nero's Palace, St.Peter's & the Vatican Museum, The Sistine Chapel. A hilltop view of the city that buses cannot get too. We had lunch at a little inexpensive restaurant with wonderful food. Because we booked three tours we had a free Vatican museum tour guide. She was good also. So much to see, you really need more than one day. But It was a great shore excursion. Take an extra battery and storage card for your camera you will need it on this trip.