My Cruise Vacation in Europe

I recently travelled to Europe with Air Transat and Norwegian Cruise Line. The route highlights were Naples, Rome, Florence, Monaco and Palma de Mallorca before returning to Barcelona.

Our first stop on the cruise was Naples. We just walked right off the ship and into town. The actual shore excursions here start at around $119 US for 4 or 5 hrs. This area was very spread out and we might have missed some of the highlights such as Capri and the Amalfi Coast by not taking a shore excursion.

The next stop was Rome. There was only one shore excursion that takes you inside the Colosseum or St Peter’s so this is the one we chose. Were picked up at Civitavecchia for the 1 ½ hr drive into Rome. We were escorted the whole journey and felt that even though this tour cost $540 CDN it was worth every penny. We were very tired at the end but had many great memories as well as much new knowledge. Our pictures from the Vatican show all the chairs set up as the Pope had done a blessing about 1 hr prior and they had not had the time to set everything right yet.

The next day we stopped at Livorno. We opted to stay on the ship as this just a port and it was a good distance to travel into Florence. Only regret is that we did not see the statue of David.

We spent the next day in Cannes and Monaco. We took a tour at 1pm that showed where the Cannes Film Festival had just finished about 5 days earlier. When we went to Monaco, the Grand Prix still was evident everywhere because it has just ended 4 days earlier. These are very nice places but it is quite evident that they for the Rich and Famous. We went to the Casino so we could say we had been there. Just to enter, you need your passport and 17 Euros per person. It was a very full tour and was again worth the $120 US price tag.

The last port before we went back to Barcelona was Palma de Mallorca. I would gladly spend a week there if it wasn’t so far away. It is a lovely place with tree lined clean streets with lots of history if you were willing to delve into it.

The food on the ship was really varied as they entertain people from many different cultures. There was a Cirque de Soleil show which was $49 US and which I heard was worth the cost. We also went for a Steak Dinner at the Specialty Restaurant but felt it was not worth the long wait.

One thing I noticed is that cruising for the most part is not the “All Inclusive Experience” it used to be. They are very strict about the water you bring the ship and unless the dining room is open, you have to buy water.

That being said, Norwegian is offering a choice of “Free” options to entice people to travel. We chose the Beverage Package and the Tipping Package. This was everything it was supposed to be. My son and I are not serious drinkers but all the best brands were available at all the bars. The only thing about the tipping I would have liked is a tip card for the stateroom so the lady that was tending to our room would know that we have paid our tips.

We got back to Barcelona in time to be taken to the airport for the flight back with Air Transat to Toronto. It was not the usual more leisurely holiday that we typically take but we enjoyed every minute of it. The space on the Transat flights was very tight. If this is your mode of travel, we suggest an upgrade which would be about $220 CDN per person return. It’s worth the cost for better seats.

You can check out our photo album too.

– Marilyn White, Travel Consultant – Jubilee Travel

By Marilyn White about Europe

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