I always dreamed of going on an awesome family vacation. In the summer of 2005 I got my chance. Being first time cruisers on the majestic Norwegian Jewel, my family and I learned good and hard the dos and don’ts of traveling the Mediterranean in 7 days!
- DO pack lightly! Dear ladies, although we often feel the need to pack all twenty pairs of shoes in our closet, every party dress created, and those special outfits “In case we go out,” try and refrain. That way there is more space for the things you’ll really want like shopping souvenirs.
- DO NOT give into jet lag! There’s too much to do and see. After we had stayed up for two days in a plane, we finally made it to the docking point in Barcelona, Spain. Naturally, we went out into the city and enjoyed the wonderful markets and architecture, right? Wrong! We got on that boat and slept till our hearts were content. We didn’t know we had missed so much of the city until we sailed off.
- DO explore the ship. Cruises have SO much to offer. Our cruise had swimming pools, spas, and restaurants galore. Don’t limit your roaming from your bedroom to the balcony!
- DO NOT take the group tours. Friends, unless you want to be stuck in a museum for three hours, I suggest exploring the city on your own. It’s cheaper and you get more for your money. I mean really, as much as I think Sicillian art is inspiring, three hours of looking at paintings can be exausting!
- DO NOT argue with taxi drivers in Naples. Napoleans are like New Yorkers. We tried to bargain with one taxi driver and he ranted in Italian with his co workers about us being crazy Americans. Embarrasing huh? Tell me about it! Oh and another thing, wear a seatbelt. Once we found a taxi , we enjoyed a lovely scenic route – swerving on the traintracks!
- DO learn some of the language. Although many Italians speak English, they are more receptive towards travelers that make an effort to communicate in their language. Words like “Ciao,” “Grazie,” and “Dov’e la Toilette” are most helpful as you travel.
- DO not forget your camera! Ocean volcanoes, sunsets, and the natives simply enjoying life, are images you never want to forget. Keep your camera with you at all times, but don’t be all obvious about it, you know because getting mugged would be bad!
- DO got to karaoke night. I had a blast singing Fly me to the Moon (badly) as members of the audience cheered me on. You will likely never see these people again, so let yourself be a silly goose for one night!
- DO NOT go shopping abroad and say “I’ll buy it on the way back.” You will not buy a souvenir on the way back because you really won’t have time. I missed out on a lot of unique clothing, and jewelry because I was, well… probally still jetlagged! If you like it, BUY IT!!
- DO enjoy your family. As teenagers, we often blow off quality family time. Vacations are perfect for reconnecting and learning new things about one another. For instance, I never knew my Mom was so adventurous or that my Dad had such an awesome sense of direction. The time we had for those 7 days was exhilarating, exhausting, and fabulous all at the same time! Those memories, are priceless!
- BUON VIAGGIO!!!
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