I am so excited to relive this amazing adventure that Reggie and I were so blessed to embark upon this past spring! We knew about a year in advance that this trip of a lifetime was coming up, however, I don’t think it truly hit us until we saw it. Before I get to the incredible vessel that is the Norwegian Epic, I’ll first go back to the beginning. We flew from Indianapolis to Philadelphia, and then boarded the plane for our trans-Atlantic flight to Barcelona, Spain. Reggie has traveled to Spain when he was a young kid. I myself had never been there, so we were both looking forward to get a glimpse of this city. When we arrived it was very early in the morning, and it was rainy. And since we couldn’t yet board the cruise ship, we opted to stay on our airport shuttle for a driving tour of Barcelona. We got to see some of most popular points, like the amazing church that is under construction, Sagrada Familia. We drove through market and shopping districts, admiring the architecture and culture that is embedded in every square inch of Barcelona. In my sleepy haze, I took some photos and videos on my iPhone…which I need to go through! Before we knew it, we were back at the port of Barcelona to begin the embarkation process. I’ve seen cruise ships while traveling in Key West, however, I’ve never set foot on one, and merely driving up and seeing it and all of the process it takes to embark, it was really something! Once we boarded the ship, we found our room. We learned our luggage would be delivered later that evening, and, fortunately, everything arrived as promised. Our room featured a balcony, a few closets, plenty of drawer and cubby space, life jackets, and a complimentary bottle of champagne! It was time to go check out the ship, and we met a wonderful bartender by the pool who made THE best margaritas and mojitos! We enjoyed hearing about his life and how he came to work for Norwegian. By then our day of traveling had caught up with us, so we took a little afternoon nap, before attending a ship-wide, mandatory safety drill. They are serious about safety! There’s never a lack of anything to do aboard a cruise, there is always something going on somewhere! If you don’t want to get too social, you can always grab a snack, hang out by the pool, walk around, whatever your heart desires! Pro: They have self-serve ice cream machines! Con: They have self-serve ice cream machines! Ha ha! (There’s also a fitness center, a running track along one side of the ship, a rock climbing wall (which we both successfully completed!), and many, many staircases to test your endurance if you don’t want to take the elevators! Some days we’d try to beat our previous day’s stair climbing, thanks to Reggie’s cool techy watch!
By early evening, the ship’s horn sounded to signal that we were setting sail for the night. Everyone was invited to a Welcome Aboard Party, and to enjoy the views as we left the port of Barcelona. We had a Day at Sea (Day 2), and we met a wonderful couple (hi Shane and Donna!) and we decided to explore Naples with them the next day. Since we had a day to hang out on the ship, we climbed the rock wall, enjoyed time in the hot tub, and saw a show that evening called “Burn the Floor.” Reggie and I both like watching “So You Think You Can Dance”…and this show was crazy good! The dancers were all so very talented, and they performed a variety of dance styles. It was, in a word, spectacular! When we returned to our room that night, our cabin steward had left a towels folded into an elephant on our bed! (Note to self: search the art of towel folding on YouTube.)
In the morning, we woke up to the view of Mount Vesuvius. It was beautiful! A fantastic way to start Day 3, which was one of our favorite days! I’ll let the story of Day 3 unfold in a forthcoming post, so for now, here’s a sneak peek at the beautiful coast of Naples, Italy on our way to the charming town of Sorrento. Ok, first I have to mention that we decided to hire our own taxi driver. And we couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful way to see this part of Italy! Carlo was awesome! He was a stylish older man who came to feel almost fatherly to the 4 of us as the day went on. And the photos below are where he had us stop to take pictures and to try delicious, freshly pressed orange and lemon drinks! Stay tuned for more soon!!! Ciao!