Lucky as ever
Lucky as ever, my mother, sister and myself embarked on a 10 day Disney Cruise around the Mediterranean, beginning in Barcelona and visiting much of the Italian and French coastlines. The level of customer service, attention to detail and overall enjoyment is very hard to fault, the cruise runs and smoothly on the inside as it glides smoothly through the Med sea. This was my second cruise so it was nice to have something for comparison. Living in Europe I felt fairly well at home on the continent, but it was nice doing things from a cruisers viewpoint, especially all the travel being sorted for. Food and fun on the high seas, without a single day of bad weather, did wonders for the soul.
Disembarkation date – Barcelona
We arrived in Barcelona the evening before the cruise and had a little nosy around (the shops). The city was sun-soaked and beautiful in late June. In the heart of Barcelona, the cruise terminal was a bustling hub of sights and smells, eating crepes as we watched a triathlon taking place. Before boarding the ship we went through the security procedures and were then greeted onto the Disney Magic in the lobby by clapping cast members. It can all feel a bit surreal with the high ceilings and chandeliers, but so luxurious. Our rooms were ready so we got changed into some swim stuff and headed to the top decks to lounge. We set about trying to ruin our evening dinner by sampling the food available beforehand, but nonetheless managed a three course meal and drinks, after all…we’d paid for it. One of the best things about the cruise is it’s basically all-inclusive and their is food available from dusk til dawn, and even at sit down meals you can order anything and everything off the menu if you’d like.
Days 1&2 – Day at sea & Pompeii
My first day on-board was a day at sea, filled with all the new Disney movies out at the time, shown in decadent theatres. You also had a catalogue of films on your stateroom TV, from Robin Hood to Frozen, and from Pirates of the Caribbean to Cool Runnings. As well as this, all throughout the day films are played on the top deck for you to peruse as you eat an ice cream or sunbathe. Disney don’t do entertainment by halves, as there are multiple activities constantly going on, such as crafts, quizzes, gaming and gambling.
We docked in the Port of Naples, and from there took a 40 minute coach to the ruins of the Lost City, Pompeii. It was astounding how big it was and how much of it was preserved. It truly looked like a city, filled with tour groups and parasols in the hot weather. Entry was around 20 euros, which isn’t extortionate as there is a lot to see. Our tour guide was a notable Casanova routinely being praised by the other tour guides, which made for a memorable experience, though for a man of a certain age, he moved on very quickly and didn’t seem too bothered about losing members of the group as he whisked us around his favourite spots, most of which were ancient brothels. Being so close to a port, the city was littered with them, marked by phallic arrows and decorated with Kama Sutra-esque paintings on the walls. Perched atop the mountainous terrain that gives Pompeii its infamous story of destruction by Mount Vesuvius in 49AD, it’s easy to forget that at any moment history could repeat itself, since the volcano is still very much active.
In Naples, we also sampled Limoncello (known as Limoncino in Northern Italy), which was pretty tasty, but spirits are held when you return to the ship, you can bring on wine and beer, however. All in all, I loved the history of Naples, a true gem by the sea.
Day 3 – Rome
On a sweltering hot day, we knew we wouldn’t have the luxury of the Naples sea breeze, but we were determined to enjoy our ‘Highlights of Rome’ trip, booked through Disney for the assurance that if we were to be lost to the traffic of the capital, the cruise wouldn’t leave without us. Rome, again, was hugely touristy, with herds of people gathered around the must-see sights. Our first stop landed us a short walk from the Colosseum and the Parco del Celio. It’s a very impressive city, with ancient structures looking as charming as ever, and from the higher points of the city it doesn’t look like a modern metropolis, but a city marked by its past. I made sure to keep my bag pressed close to my side, as apparently lots of thieves operate in the area.
Next up, we found ourselves dropped a short walk from the Spanish Steps, designer and high street shops, and the famed Trevi Fountain. In the intense heat, the shops offered a shade and air-con, as well as the fleeting satisfaction of acquiring material possessions of course. There was also a very classy McDonald’s beside the Spanish Steps that made me feel like I’d gone back in history to the Roman age.
The Spanish Steps were pretty to look at and fun to have a photo shoot on, but under the glaring sun we didn’t hang around. Next stop through the beautiful tall buildings and narrow roads, we visited the place. La Fontaine de Trevi, Roma. The place where wishes come true, or so I hear. It was stunning, the crystal clear aqua water, the ivory coloured stone and apparently €3000 euros worth of tossed coins each day. Of course it was super busy, but if you time it well you can get a nice picture without some other tourists elbowing you in their desperate plea to film everything they see!
Lastly, we went to St Paul’s Basillica but didn’t have time to look around seeing as the queue was upwards of 45 minutes. Also, it was hot as hell and I didn’t fancy covering my shoulders or knees for the sake of a church so we sat on the promenade, in a restaurants outside area, eating ice cream and sipping on a cold drink, being cursed at by beggars when we didn’t empty our pockets for them. After this relaxing break, we headed back to the port to join our friends for an exquisite dinner.
Next stop, Corsica. Thanks for reading, until next time x