Day 1 – Barcelona

 

A 3 o’clock start, 2 flights later and we have finally arrived at Barcelona cruise port. Embarkation went smooth without any problems and was probably one of the most straight forward we have done. Muster has just finished and I am sitting on the balcony waiting for the unpacking to be completed and then its up on deck for the sailaway. The ship seems very busy at the moment and I hope it will calm down a bit over the next few days.

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Another Volcano…….

Just as we are about to set off on another cruise, another volcano has erupted in Iceland. This time it is the Grimsvotn volcano, early reports are saying it will not have the same disruption as last time so fingers crossed. The press as usual seem to be sensationalizing everything which really annoys me as they should be reporting the facts and not speculating to make their news more appealing than the others.

Announcing Norwegian Epic 29 May – 5 June 2011

The Norwegian Epic in Rotterdam just before out first encounter.

 

Gross Register Tonnage:155,873Overall Length: 1,080 ft / 329.5 mDraft: 28.5 ft / 8.7 m Engines: Diesel ElectricCruise Speed:22 knotsGuests: 4,100 (double occupancy)

 

This is our first cruise of 2011 and it will once again be on the Norwegian Epic, we managed to get a good price for half term May 2011 and so will be joined by little Alex (10) for his second cruise. One night simply wasn’t enough in 2010 and we liked what we saw so have decided to give her another go. What little Alex doesn’t know is we will be joined by his older sister for this cruise. He will only know when we get to Barcelona Airport when we rendezvous for the trip to the cruise port.
For this cruise we booked directly with NCL who only asked for a £50 deposit per person. We also have the option to move this deposit to another cruise should we not be able to make this one. No commission on the use of credit cards either even when paying the balance. I hope the other cruise lines are taking note!

 

    The itinerary is

 

Sun May 29 Barcelona, Spain 6:00pm
Mon May 30 At Sea
Tue May 31 Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy 7:00am 7:00pm
Wed Jun 1 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 7:00am 7:00pm
Thu Jun 2 Naples (Capri), Italy 7:00am 7:00pm
Fri Jun 3 At Sea
Sat Jun 4 Palma de Mallorca, Spain 8:00am 6:00pm
Sun Jun 5 Barcelona, Spain 5:00am

 

As we sort of know the ship then then we it will be as enjoyable for us to share it with our younger companions. As far as excursions go the only port we have anything booked is for June 2 Naples where we have booked a tour with AP Tours which will include visits to Pompeii, Vesuvius and a cliff top restaurant just outside Positano.

Day 5 Istanbul, Turkey

 

The cruise terminal at Istanbul with all the tour buses and taxis awaiting their business to arrive.

 

 

Probably the best port of call on the cruise. Not wanting to pay the excessive cruise company tour prices we opted to walk off and use a taxi from the rank at the cruise terminal.
We negotiated a fee of €100 for a 4 hour tour for all 3 of us.
The main places we wanted to visit being the Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, the Haghia Sofia museum and the Basilica Cistern. Not only did we get to see all but our driver, Kemal took us to several places for some panoramic photo opportunities. He even lent us some Turkish Lira so we could get into some of the monuments as not all take the €.

Basilica Cistern

 

the Blue Mosque

 

Asia meets Europe, view of the The Bosphorus Bridge viewed from the Asian side.

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Day 4 Izmir, Turkey

 

After a very choppy night we arrived an hour late in Izmir. All very tired today because of the motion of the ship and the strong winds.
Mum opted to stay on the ship while we went for a walk to stretch our legs a bit.
Lots of peddlers and traders all looking for some business but all we wanted to do was walk a bit.
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Time out in the afternoon……

 

 

 

 

I still have a signal from Greece so will up 2 more pictures. We have just popped down to the Cioccolateria for a cup of Cappuccino while mum has gone for a quick snooze. I think we have tired her out a bit today. Plus tonight is the gala evening which is Costa’s version of a formal night and we don’t want her falling asleep at the table later.
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