We arrived on schedule this morning for the transit into Venice cruise terminal. The skies were clear which meant we had beautiful sunshine for the trip in. This was the 4th time we have sailed into Venice and it’s still quite a breathtaking sight as you pass by all the picturesque buildings.
Here are a few photos of our sail in.
As you would imagine all the eateries were busy this morning and we managed to find a table in La Cucina where we ate our breakfast. There are 3 other ships in with us this morning, Splendour of the Seas, MSC Poesea & Aida Vita.
We had an allotted time of 9:20 to get off the ship and our pre-booked transport turned up exactly on time at 10:00 to take us to Marco Polo airport for our 1:35 flight back to the UK.
We are now off the ship and at the airport where we have a 2½ wait for our flight. With 4 ships kicking passengers off this morning it is extremely busy.
We really enjoyed last night’s show which was called Elements and thought it was every bit as good as the first time we saw it on the Spirit last year. The show itself finishes with the crew parade and the ships singers belting out the company song which I hazard a guess is called ” You are a Norwegian now ……….”
Now for a some reason we were all awake around 6:00 this morning and we were treated to clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine. The coffee machine was again put to good use and we enjoyed drinking out on the balcony while we passed along the Dalmatian coast line towards Split. In the end I again popped upstairs for some pastries so that we could stay out on the balcony and enjoy our sail in to Split. Because of this we skipped official breakfast but fortunately I loaded the plate a bit and what’s more they all got eaten.
I had originally thought that Split would be a tender port but the captain announced over the address system that we would actually be docking. This process looked to be quite tricky and involved dropping anchor while using the guides at the front to tension it all up and all because the front end stuck out past the pier. If the internet was better I would post a photo.
They are in the early stages of building better docking facilities so look out for Split appearing on a few more itineraries in the future and maybe even a departure port?
Anyway we were supposed to be here at 11:00 but due to the above and then getting clearance from the local authority we didn’t actually start to let passengers off until 11:25.
Over the last couple of days we had decided not to go to Krka as we are not big fans of ship tours and felt that we wouldn’t get the full benefit of being there doing it that way. We will come back at some point and probably when the new terminal is finished it will be much easier.
So today we just got off and went for a stroll before returning to the ship to enjoy our last afternoon out on deck in the warm sunshine. Today has been the hottest of the cruise, just a light breeze and clear skies.
The dreaded packing needs to be done tonight so I will post early so as not to get in the way. No show planned tonight just dinner in the Grand Pacific at some point. The beauty of freedom dining! I hope to do a quick post in the morning before we leave to fly home.
Last night’s show, The Tenors of Rock wasn’t too bad at all, they were in fact four and not a five piece as billed and all from the UK. They had according to one of the group been on X Factor a few years ago but being as I am not a fan of the show then there is little chance of me having seen them before.
The clocks went back an hour last night and the forecast of wind and clear blue skies was spot on. As we were up slightly earlier we sat out on the balcony and had our coffee which was complimented with some nice pastries which I collected from the buffet.
We eventually went up to the Great Outdoors at just after 9:00 for breakfast proper and following that at 9:45 made our way up to deck 14 to check out how windy it was and if we could secure a sheltered spot. Luck was with us as there wasn’t anyone else there and we had pick of the deck and so we made camp in a little niche that we had spotted on previous visits. The sun was in and out all morning due to some fast moving clouds but in our secluded spot it was lovely and warm.
For lunch today we chose to eat in the Blue Lagoon which is another of the complementary venues and serves what the menu describes as comfort food. We have become rather fond of their Buffalo Wings which come either mild or spicy and either 6 or 10 in the portion.
The winds really picked up during the day and the outside decks were virtually deserted, those that stayed out were the lucky ones who managed to find a sheltered spot. The captain had suggested during his address that they might pick up further as the afternoon went on but had said they would be gone by the time we arrived at Split tomorrow. At this current time it is very windy outside with clear blue skies.
Tonight is the Elements show which we have been looking forward to and because it is Indian night in the buffet we are going to eat there for a change. I hope they have made enough for the other passengers!!!!
I will pick up from where I last left off and will just add that we didn’t go to the show last night which was the ships cast doing a musical called “Shout! The Mod Musical”. We just didn’t fancy it and so just went to dinner as usual and then finished up with a couple of drinks before returning to the cabin and watching the amazing lightning storms going on all around the area. This went on all through the night and was eventually accompanied by thunder and lastly heavy rain.
We awoke this morning to find we were already at Kusadasi and there was a heavy cloud covering accompanied by some light rain. This is one of the ports where we had hoped the weather to be nice and warm and the intention was to have maybe do a shore side stroll and then return to the ship to lie out on deck.
Well the rain did eventually ease off and actually managed to eat breakfast outside and rather than just sit around we got off the ship and walked round to the nearby fort which I believe is called Pigeon Island, we found out when we got there it was closed for refurbishment. On the return leg we walked through the bazaar but there is only so much hassle I can tolerate from the local traders so we turned round after 10 minutes and went back to the ship. En route I did enquire about a genuine fake Rolex which according to the seller had a genuine Swiss movement……. The starting price I hear you ask? A mere €280! I have been told that you should offer 30% of their first price but even €90 is a lot for a genuine fake.
During this time the clouds had stated to clear and by the time we reached the ship we had clear blue skies so it was back to plan A. Early afternoon we were joined by the Norwegian Spirit who moored up alongside and it was nice to see the her again.
When we looked out on the balcony this morning there was a lot of sand in amongst the pools of water which was later explained by the Captain during his daily announcement, apparently this was the result of storms over Africa carrying it north, it also has meant that both pools have been shut all day so that they can be cleaned. The forecast for the next 2 days is windy with clear skies so we may rethink our plans for Split.
Tonight we will once again eat in the Grand Pacific dining room and we also intend to see the show which are a five piece group called Tenors of Rock………
After saying we weren’t going to do too much at any of our ports of call we changed our minds today and took a trip into Athens. And what’s more Alex came too! He even agreed to get up early to come with us so it was breakfast in the Great Outdoors and then off the ship.
Because the HoHo bus is very convenient and Alex doesn’t need to pay we again used its services to get us into the main area where we walked to the Acropolis Museum.
This had been recommended by several people and I can now appreciate why. Tickets were €5 for adults and kids go free. Not only is it a stunning building but it houses some amazing artefacts from the Acropolis. The building totally compliments its contents and is a joy to walk round. Photography is restricted in some areas but there are plenty of places where it is permitted and I managed to get some get shots during the visit.
We had very quickly bookmarked a couple of sites to visit and set off for the other which was the Agora. Not the best signposted site in the world but we did eventually make our way there. €4 each to get in and again Alex was free. We wandered round eventually reaching the Temple of Hephaestus for the quick photo stop.
By now Alex was flagging so we counted or blessings that he had actually got this far and opted to go back and have saved the museum for another visit along with several other places not yet seen. We were off the ship for just over 6 hours in total and much of that time was spent in the Acropolis Museum.
Back on board we dumped our things back in the cabin before going for a late lunch in the buffet where we easily managed to get some seats outside in the sun. The rest of the afternoon was spent sleeping it all off up on our favourite deck where we found ourselves to be all on our own. The sun eventually turning to thick cloud at the later end of the day and we even felt a few spots of rain while sailing way from Piraeus.
I am posting earlier today as I have a few moments spare. The Wi-Fi has been very temperamental so perhaps posing at a different time of day will be more successful.
The clocks went forward an hour during the night so we lost a vital hours sleep. We were awake at around 9:00am (new time) and started the day with a coffee made with the cabins own filter machine. Not the best coffee in the world but more than acceptable for first thing in the morning. There are a couple of sachets of regular or decaffeinated which are replenished every day when the cabin is made up. The regular being the pick of the two.
We again ate our breakfast at the Great Outdoors which was a little busier this morning but the main difference today was we had clearish skies and bright sunshine. Then it was straight up to our adopted sun deck to make the most of the weather and as predicted this was the quietest of the sun decks. With clear blue skies and a wonderful sea breeze it has been a perfect sea day for us. The only other thing to report during the afternoon was that of a solo Japanese male passenger who was wearing bright blue budgie smugglers and his constant need to arrange everything. This he did with his T-shirt over his head so if he couldn’t see us then presumably we couldn’t see him either!
The only other interruption to the days non activity was a spot of lunch which was taken in the buffet and being as it was a sea day the tables in the a Great Outdoors were well sought after and unfortunately we didn’t manage to grab one and had to settle for an indoor spot in La Cucina which is used for buffet seating during the day but takes on its primary roll as an Italian restaurant in the evening. The carpet in there has been made to resemble flag stones and is quite strange to walk on.
We again ate in the Grand Pacific dining room opting to go before the show which tonight was called “Just Magic” and featured the illusions of Jorgos (renowned on world stages no less!) I am always dubious when the billing reads like that and tonight my preconceived notions were spot on. That’s an hour of my life I won’t get back!
We walked along the open decks back to the cabin and the ship looks quite spectacular all lit up in the dark.
Tomorrow we are in Piraeus………
It was most welcome that today we were not in port first thing and we were all able to have a bit of a lie in. In fact it was quite a leisurely morning and we eventually went for breakfast around 10:30 which we enjoyed sat out the back in the open in an area called The Great Outdoors. Partially cloudy but nice and warm and much better than yesterday’s downpours.
We arrived at Dubrovnik at just before 2:00pm and were very soon given the all clear to leave the ship. Having been to Dubrovnik several times before and with another visit lined up in September we set off with the aim of taking the cable car up to the viewing area of Mount Srd for the panorama. Well when we arrived at the bottom, the cable car service had been suspended due to the strong cross winds but there were plenty of taxis on hand all offering a trip to the top and back for a very comparative fee and so we decided that was what we would do. I think if I am honest it’s probably a better way of getting up there and certainly more comfortable.
As suspected the views from the top are quite stunning and we spent a good 30 minutes up there taking photos and taking in the scenery. Our taxi driver John was waiting to take us down, the downward journey took a while longer as there is only a single track road which is for traffic going both ways. It does get a bit hairy in places especially when you meet something coming the other way on one of the bends but our driver seemed well tuned to what was needed and actually told us we were his 6th fare of the day up that particular route.
Once down we had a quick stroll round the town before returning to the ship, we can do some other things next time we are here but being as the sun was was out and skies were blue we thought we should go back and make the most of it along with the free food and drink. The town was also very busy and we couldn’t really be bothered with fighting for a bit of space with everyone else.
Once back to the ship we made our way up to the quiet sun deck we have found which is on top of the Haven area, so far we have seen only a handful of people apart from us that have gone up there. If the good weather continues then it is going to be our spot.
We opted to eat in the Grand Pacific Dining room tonight and were very impressed with both the service and food. We followed this up by a visit to the Stardust Theatre where we enjoyed the show which were acrobats Yuriy & Iryna from Kiev. It was a very entertaining show of acrobatics.
After a quick walk round the upper decks and a look in the different bars we have decided to retire for the evening and prepare for our busy sea day tomorrow……….
Yet another early start for us today as we made our way to Venice and the Norwegian Jade. We were up at 2:30 to make the 126 mile journey to Heathrow’s T5 where we caught or British Airways A320 to Marco Polo airport in Venice. It was bright sunshine when we left Heathrow but this was not the case in Venice as it was pouring down and it meant we had to sit inside our water taxi on the trip across the lagoon.
The nice thing about the water taxi was it delivered us right next to our berth at the cruise terminal and after a short walk we were back in the dry again all ready to check in.
This wasn’t the quickest we have done and it took just over an hour for us to get onboard where we found or cabin was ready and waiting for us. First impressions are very good and it is a good sized cabin with plenty of space and storage. We even have a bath which is a bit of a rarity for us.
We also had a good look round the ship and think we are going to really enjoy this cruise as the public spaces are very open, plentiful and very colourful, especially the carpets!
Muster was at 5:00 and our station was in the Pacific dining room and I have to say it was the the best one I have ever been present at. Well done NCL!
Sailaway was at 6:00 and despite having sailed out of Venice on the previous occasions I still could not resist taking a fourth batch of photos. It’s that kind of place.
We have all retired early tonight due to the early start so it’s just down to me to test the Wi-Fi out and pray it works OK.
At the start of the year we thought a cruise for us in 2015 was well off the radar but after a change in direction with regards to our future plans, the opportunity for us to be able take a cruise materialised and so we leapt at the chance to take Alex away for half term at the end of May. The only 7 day itinerary we could find in the Mediterranean with a cruise line of our liking and which also fitted with the dates was on the Norwegian Jade so I sent out the usual enquiries to the various agents that have served us well in the past. To be honest there wasn’t a great deal of difference in price between them but I eventually chose the cheapest one which was with a US agent that we have used several times previously. The booking was for cruise only and by the time the flights were added in it worked out £200 cheaper than those of our home based agents could offer.
After being notified of a price drop by an e-mail alert from www.cruisefish.net in early February I contacted our TA and managed to get the 3rd person in the cabin free plus all 3 of us benefited from an all inclusive drinks package.
We have read so many good things about the Norwegian Jade and are really looking forward to experiencing the ship for ourselves, the itinerary is not the most exciting but it will hopefully provide us with a nice break and with a bit of good fortune some warm sunshine. It starts in Venice and ports at Dubrovnik, Piraeus, Kusadasi & Split before returning to Venice. We have nothing planned at any of the stops with the exception of Split where we are hoping to visit the Krka National Park and because this will be a tender port along with the fact we are due to be there for only 7 hours it will unusually for us mean we will likely opt for a ships tour.
Being totally frank, this cruise is an any excuse to take a cruise and with half term and taking Alex away it just fitted the bill nicely so we are basically just looking for a bit of R & R and we fully intend not to do too much rushing around so don’t expect there to be loads of exciting details of exotic and adventurous land excursions. Much of what I post will probably be our day to experiences on board with a few photos to embellish the posts. (So its just the usual stuff really)
|Saturday, May 23, 2015
|Sunday, May 24, 2015
|Monday, May 25, 2015
|Tuesday, May 26, 2015
||Piraeus (Athens), Greece
|Wednesday, May 27, 2015
|Thursday, May 28, 2015
|Friday, May 29, 2015
|Saturday, May 30, 2015
Our cabin selection was made with the consideration that it needed to be large enough for 3 of us and we thought that what NCL have called a mini suite would be a good choice. After reading a couple of reviews on the Cruising Mates Forum and then passing a few PM’s back and forth with the reviewer at the same time as consulting the deck plans we eventually opted for a Cat MB suite which is situated towards the aft of the ship. The reason we chose this grade is that the MA mini suites all appear to suffer from an overhang but the MB’s don’t and being as we like our sun we opted for the latter. The space given for this cabin is given as 26.5 M² which is roughly 6 M² bigger than the last cabin we shared with Alex last August on the Celebrity Reflection.
I always like to have a look at what other ships we might encounter on the cruise and the timetables are suggesting that we will see MSC Poesia in Venice, Splendour Of The Seas in Dubrovnik, Celebrity Reflection in Piraeus and Norwegian Spirit in Kusadasi.