obrienjack1975

obrienjack1975

Third Mate
Joined 06/2015

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Past Cruises

Norwegian Spirit

May 2015 - 12 Night Grand Mediterranean (Venice To Barcelona) Cruise on Norwegian Spirit

Magnificent cruise

We were two couples from the USA booking this cruise 6 months in advance with balcony rooms.  Five countries on the Mediterranean in 12 days was truly a terrific experience with only two sea days and all the ports we were most interested in; Venice, Athens, Rome, Florence, and Barcelona.  As is usual on a cruise, there was almost always food available with frequent outdoor grilling and of course the buffet.  The two main table service dining rooms were very good with some of the wait staff extra pleasant.  The food selection off the menu varied each day and was mostly very good with the occasional just ok.  shore excursions were excellent as we booked two all day trips well in advance for Athens and Rome.  These were guided, transported, relatively small group excursions with very knowledgeable, personable, articulate guides.  Although these were long days, we were able to experience a huge amount of sites in these two cities.  Clearly it was far better than attempting these ports on our own.  For Istanbul, we hired a taxi driver right off the ship, and in Livorno, we hired a private car service in advance to take us to Florence.  Both of these turned out excellent as well.  The other ports we did on our own and had apartments in Venice preceding the cruise, and in Barcelona, on completing our cruise.  I used Trip Advisor and Airbnb respectively for these apartments that turned out fabulous and less than half the price of a hotel.  Our three week vacation from start to finish was truly an awesome experience.

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Cruise Tips

Toulon, France

Easy on-your-own with great restaurants a few blocks off the main harbor front

Barcelona, Spain

Had an apartment for 4 days at Port Olympic, used hop-on-off tour bus and spent one full day on the beach. Reserve Sagrada Familia Basilica on-line in advance for no-line enty and get the audio tour

Naples, Italy

Went straight to Capri island skipping Pompeii. Would return to this area for Sorrento and Amalfi Coast

Mykonos, Greece

Quiet and scenic. Had dinner at Venecia Hotel overlooking town & harbor with terrific views

Istanbul, Turkey

Very crowded but a taxi took us to a Sultan Palace on the Asia side of the Bosphorous

Norwegian Spirit

Norwegian Spirit

We liked the Garden Room for its smaller size than the very large Windows dining room. For Raffles buffet it was easy to carry our plates outside either by the pool or the aft deck. For ports where no pre-arranged excursion is planned, simply relax and wait until most of the passengers disembark.

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