Confessions of a 27 y/o World Traveler
Our trip was from April 15 - May 3, 2013. This trip was truly magical. Almost a year later and I am still seeing stars. As a 27 year old male, the thought of traveling for almost a month with my 68 year old mother didn't sound all too convincing. But we always shared a love of history and traveling so I figured I would take this trip on with full optimism! We arrived in Barcelona a few days before the cruise set sail. It was my first time anywhere in Europe so I was instantly overwhelmed with historic architecture, ancient structures, and tales of old. It was beautiful. The city was sprawling with life in every corner at all hours. It reminded me of New York but in a more romantic setting. After spending a few days getting lost in the city seeing the sights, we boarded the great Norwegian Spirit. We were instantly welcomed with smiling faces, and 'washy washy' being yelled at from all around. (If you have traveled NCL before, you'll know what this means.) Beside ourselves with excitement, my mother and I quickly decided the self tour the ship. The Atrium was beautiful and reminiscent of an old piazza with Juliet balconies and french doors; the smell of coffee welcoming you from the Atrium Cafe. The ship itself was beautiful as well. After finally settling in and receiving our bags the ship set sail! Our first trip was Toulon, France. We decided to take the "Aix en Provence" tour which took us to the beautiful French Countryside city. (Highly Recommended) The tour took us right through the heart of the city and gave us plenty of time afterwards to shop, explore, and shop some more. Our next stop was Livorno, Italy where we hopped on a bus and sped off Italian style to spend the day in Florence and Pisa. The Tuscan countryside looked like a postcard everywhere you turned. Cypress lined roads, blended with cobblestone paths and vineyards galore. Next day landed us in Civitaveccia where we sped off on bus for a day of Roman adventure. We started at the Trevi fountain and finished at the Coliseum. After a nice lunch (Included) we zipped over to Vatican city for a no-line tour of St. Peters Basilica. After 12 hours of exploring the Eternal City, a nap was well deserved. The next day in Naples, we did the "Flavors of Sorrento and Pompeii" tour which started in the picturesque cliff-town of Sorrento. With the first few hours dedicated to free time, we wasted no time weaving through the character filled streets of the little town. Once the free time was over, we were taken to a hilltop ranch where we were greeted with a delicious homemade lunch and a few lessons in olive oil making. While heading back to Naples, we stopped at Pompeii where we were given a small tour of the ancient city's main sights and then back to the ship we went. After a lovely day at Sea spent tanning and lounging by the pool we arrived in Mykonos. My only big issue on this entire trip was the short stay on this lovely little island. The next two days landed us in Istanbul and Izmir. Istanbul was bursting with history and culture at every seam. We opted out of any tours in Istanbul and explored at our on leisure. We started with the Grand Bazaar and ended up by the Haggia Sophia and Topkapi Palace. In Izmir, we took the tour of Ephesus and explored the beautiful ancient vacation spot of Cleopatra herself. After taking port in Piraeus the next day, we headed over to Athens where we spent the day exploring the Acropolis and old city of Plaka. Honestly, this was my least favorite stop of the trip. Although it was amazing to see the Acropolis and surrounding sights, The rest of the city was kind of bland compared to some of the previous ports of call. The cruise ended in Venice where we stayed another few days to soak up the history. We walked the entire city during those days. We were determined to see as much of the city as possible. I highly recommend taking the 'Murano and Burano' tour. Burano was one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen, with every house and building painted a different color. (We learned from our tour guide that instead of house numbers as addresses, they used colors!). Over all this trip was an incredible experience. The weather was absolutely perfect (60s-70s the entire trip). I would recommend this trip to anyone who wants to see some of Europe's greatest sites and cities in one trip. So much history and colture that my head could explode! We made wonderful friends and have wonderful stories that will stay with us forever. I would give this cruise a 12 out of 10... It was just that good. The onboard shows were amazing (Not cheesy like most cruise shows) and the crew was amazing and helpful....I cant stress enough how amazing everyone over at NCL was. Thank you again Norwegian Cruse Lines! Ill be doing the 7-Day Adriatic Cruise (Rome to Venice) on May 3, 2014 so I'll definitely be back to tell you my story for that trip!