CruisingWarning: This post will seriously lack in thought out photography. You will experience only phone photos. And it's long, because I wanted to convey the delight of cruising.
Cruising...didn't know what I'd think about it honestly. I'm a girl who loves to stay in one place for a while and experience the culture. In this case, a cruise was the answer. I would have probably never seen Croatia otherwise, or even Ephesus.
We sailed with Norwegian Cruise Lines and they are all about "Freestyle Cruising." What does this mean? You eat when you want (as long as the restaurants are open), and you sit where you want (not necessarily common among cruise lines). There are several restaurants that are included in your cruise package...2 buffet, 2 sit down, and all VERY nice with lots of options. There is no shortage of food. There are also restaurants that require you to pay $20 like a Brazilian Steakhouse, a Sushi Bar, a Steak Place...all very nice, and there is no way you would get away paying $20 pp normally.
The nice thing about Norwegian is the night before they give you a schedule of events that are happening and you can choose what you want to do: table tennis tournament, pool party, shuffleboard tournament, lectures teaching you about something that is common to the area, bingo, musical performances, dance lessons, and much much more. On Thursday, there was a chocolate buffet in the evening with all kinds of chocolate sculptures to marvel at, as well as, a wide variety of chocolatey things to stuff yourself with.
A 7 day cruise in the Mediterranean with 4 ports (besides Venice).
Saturday - Board ship. You take your luggage to a warehouse looking place where tags with your room number are put on them, then you walk to check-in and go through security. There is one restaurant open to enjoy some lunch, and they announce when your room is available where you find your luggage waiting.
Sunday - Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Monday - Sea Day. It sounds boring, but it's nice to relax and get to know the ship.
Tuesday - Athens, Greece
Wednesday - Ephesus, Turkey
Thursday - Sea Day
Friday - Split Croatia
Saturday - Back in Venice. The night before you pack your bags (with a small bag for toiletries that night) and leave them outside of your room. You should have already selected which time you'd like to leave the boat. That morning there is time for breakfast and looking out the windows at Venice. You then exit the ship and pick up your bags.
Turns out we are QUITE the shuffleboard champs. Daniel and I beat a couple in their 60s from Scotland. And later that week my dad and Daniel beat a bunch of guys in a tournament. At the end of the week I had "shuffleboard shoulder."
Our cruise director was AWESOME! His name is Gary. He made announcements every morning and evening in 5 languages with a perfect accent: English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish...he also knows Greek, but apparently didn't need it. His vocabulary is out of a movie and all you want to do is listen to him...he could probably sell poop. His history is SO interesting, and any place Gary was speaking, Daniel and I were there, along with a bunch of older women who probably had crushes on him, as well. He has a book about his showbiz days, cruise directing days, and his animal shelter...we haven't bought it...yet. We probably miss him the most.
Our room was smaller than a hotel, but we really only slept in there, or watched movies on the various stations. We often switched between the English and German station (the Muppets in German are great!).
Out of all the shows, the husband/wife acrobat duo was AMAZING (they use to perform with Cirque Du Soleil)! I had a little crush on them, too. One day I was getting tea and standing right next to them...that guy had arm muscles the size of my waist (pre-pregnancy), while managing to be 6 inches shorter than me.
The whole cruise was awesome, love Norwegian Cruise Lines and hope to go to the Baltics and Alaska with them some day!