This cruise came about in quite an unusual way, our original plan was to try Costa Venezia before she moved to US waters and rebranded as Carnival Venezia. We found a cruise that really appealed, but on two occasions after actually booking and then rebooking, Costa cancelled them saying they were no longer available. So we gave up on Costa and looked to see if there was anything else of a similar nature at the same time of year and I found this one. The itinerary ticked boxes and because we know the ship from cruising on her in 2015, the decision was easy and we booked.
We have not sailed with NCL since 2015 and that last outing was actually on Norwegian Jade so it will be interesting to compare the two experiences. One difference is this time we have the added vegan aspect to deal with and research has shown it is possible to eat well as a vegan but we will need to make sure we speak to the dining teams once onboard and get them onside.
There are 4 new ports for us on this cruise and we have tours booked at 3 of them so it really does feel like things are returning to normal with regard to organising and planning shore excursions.
|Monday, April 17, 2023||Piraeus, Greece||5:00 PM|
|Tuesday, April 18, 2023||At Sea|
|Wednesday, April 19, 2023||Ashdod, Israel||6:00 AM||11:00 PM|
|Thursday, April 20, 2023||Haifa, Israel||6:00 AM||8:00 PM|
|Friday, April 21, 2023||Limassol, Cyprus||7:00 AM||3:00 PM|
|Saturday, April 22, 2023||Rhodes, Greece||8:00 AM||5:00 PM|
|Sunday, April 23, 2023||Kusadasi, Turkey||6:00 AM||12:30 PM|
|Monday, April 24, 2023||Istanbul, Turkey||8:00 AM||6:00 PM|
|Tuesday, April 25, 2023||Mykonos, Greece||1:00 PM||9:00 PM|
|Wednesday, April 26, 2023||Piraeus, Greece||7:00 AM|
Our cabin selection was a simple enough exercise and we have found a standard balcony in more or less the exact location we favour.
We also have a new departure port for us on this cruise and we will be sailing to and from Piraeus, Greece. We fly out the day before, (Sunday morning) and will spend one night in Athens prior to boarding the next day.
In the 2 weeks prior to our departure, civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attack, rocket fire and military confrontation in Israel forced the cruise prior to ours to abandon stops at both Ashdod & Haifa, replacing them with Santorini and Heraklion. However, things seem to have settled down in the region since and at the time of writing we are still scheduled to make these two stops. 🤞🏼 We are cautiously optimistic they will happen but if they don’t then so be it, better to be safe than sorry.
So, all that remains, for now, is to get to Athens, details of which will follow in the next instalment.