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Seeing the crowd lined up at the cruise-ship terminal in Venice, I wasn’t sure whether my mother booked a family vacation or an extended stay at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
But who would have guessed that this would be one of the only “mass-market moments” I’d face in the next 12 days aboard the Grand Princess Voyage A624? With its sheer size, numerous pools and spa, state-of -the-art gym, good sized cabins, kids and teen’s club, various dining options, Internet Cafe, Movies Under the Stars, Duty-free boutique, fitness and sports program, free golf swing lecture, this can be a well-priced, make-what-you-want-of-it vacation.
Cruise director Billy London introduces the evening’s juggling act, effortlessly gliding in and out of five languages. “Hello ladies and gentlemen”, he begins. “Guten tag damen und herren, bonjour mesdames et messieurs, buon giorno signore e signori, and buenos noches damas y caballeros.” The words pour from his nimble lips as though he’s part of the show himself. And so some degree, he is. With an equal mix of Germans, Italians, French, Spaniards, Swiss, and Brits, he truly entertained the crowd as a community.
Exploring ports of call is one of the highlights of our Mediterranean cruise. Sailing into great lands blessed by sea – Venice, Athens, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos, Rome, Florence, Marseilles, and Barcelona.
Oh my, what could be more Mediterranean than experiencing the relax pace of life where the sun speaks like Greek and the moon speaks perfect French. The problem is that calling at so many ports doesn’t give you enough time to see, well, what you want to see. Some calls last only for six to seven hours which is fine in places like Rome, where you can walk through the ruins of the Forum and see the massive Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps, and visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel in the afternoon. But on my cruise I would like to explore Greece’s narrow street and cathedrals, and I would have liked to go out on the town in Venice and have more Gondola rides and feel like in one of those settings you see in James Bond’s movies.
On board, no two days are alike. With our two days at sea, there is some down time to relax between ports. Most passengers read, and relax around the outdoor pool, practicing golf shots in the golf center, browsing through the shipboard boutiques and taking part in the long list of activities on board. You can stay on the go throughout the day and into the night; but how your time is up to you- that’s the beauty of personal Choice Cruising. But the best 75 minutes, I spent bonding with my father at the Lotus Spa being pampered with a French aroma spa ocean seaweeds massage and a new hairstyle good to show off at the Botticelli formal dining (hello, chateaubriand and creme brulee). Just stay off the wind-ravaged side decks, and look for a protected aft deck. After all, it’s full speed ahead.
One of the joys of travel is coming across unexpected pleasures and unexpected places, where “IE” stands for Incredible Excitement! Traveling opens up my world of possibilities, connect with the world and with each other. I learned that the more we are exposed to other cultures – and people in the foreign land get to know more about Americans – the greater the chance we have for peace, mutual understanding and prosperity.
Whether you have a champagne taste and beer budget just like my family, you’ve go to feel it to believe it! The experienced is priceless!