Monday, 29 July 2013

Venice Cruise Port of Call - Using the People Mover

Explore Venice on a cruise port of call
In this post I'll tell you how to get to the Cruise Terminal in Venice. On the day we were embarking on our NCL cruise, there were 4 cruise ships in port. And it wasn't even high season! So be prepared to queue and allow yourself plenty of time to get to the ship.
   Access to the cruise port is easiest if you use the People Mover, a monorail that leaves from Piazzale Roma. This square is the big transport hub for Venice, with car parks and bus terminals at the end of the causeway from the mainland. 
  There are clearly marked signs round Piazzale Roma that will lead you to the People Mover.
  You buy a ticket for 1 Euro from a machine on the ground floor of the People Mover building then either walk up the stairs or take the elevator to the next level where you will get onto the monorail. It takes only 5 minutes to reach its stop near the cruise port entrance. I had thought it took you right into the port area, but it doesn't. There was still a distance to walk to get alongside our ship, that I hadn't expected.
  At the time we went there were not many people embarking but I can imagine that at busy times there would be long queues, to buy the tickets and use the lift to get to the People Mover.
Hotels and canals surround Piazzale Roma

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Venice - Embarking on a Cruise

First Sight of the Grand Canal in Venice
I was so excited about returning to Venice. We arrived by train from Milan early in the morning, walked out of the station and WOW! this was the sight that greeted us. The busy Grand Canal was awash with boats of many sizes, shapes and purposes: gondolas, vaporettos and water taxis ferrying people; barges carrying boxes, beer kegs and bricks; even one young man paddling a kayak.
A traditional Venetian gondola

  We had two days in this beautiful city before embarking on our NCL cruise. In the late afternoons we walked around the quiet back alleys, crossing little canals on humpbacked bridges, well away from the main touristy areas. It was a chance to experience another side of the city that visitors often miss.
Late afternoon quiet in Venice

  Our hotel was on a side canal right by the Piazzale Roma, the transport hub of Venice. It was easy to trundle our bags across the piazza to the People Mover, the monorail that takes cruise ship passengers to the cruise port area.
  I'll tell you more on that next time.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Dining Options for 'Dining like a Norwegian' on Norwegian Spirit

A cover charge applies at the Asian restaurants
Would you like to dine on Asian food, French cuisine or hamburger and fries? How about pizza delivered to your stateroom or waiter service in the main dining rooms? Whatever you choose, you're sure to find something to tempt your taste buds on Norwegian Spirit as you 'dine like a Norwegian'.
   Complimentary Dining is included in your fare and there is a range of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks in between times.
  There are two main dining rooms - Windows and Garden restaurants, both on Deck 6 - with menus that change daily as well as some popular dishes that are always available.
  The self-service buffet is Raffles Court open from early morning for breakfast till midnight for late night snacks. Outside that is Raffles Terrace on Deck 12 aft.
  In fine weather the outdoors Bier Garten serves snacks in the late afternoon, and the Blue Lagoon Cafe has American-style diner meals till the early hours of the morning.
  Cover Charges for Speciality Dining apply to several of the dining venues that are open for dinner.
   For Asian meals you can try the Sushi Bar, the Shogun Restaurant or the Teppanyaki Japanese restaurant where the chef cooks your food in front of you.
  Fine French fare is presented at Le Bistro gourmet restaurant with its elegant decor and the Cagney's Steakhouse seemed to always be a popular choice for many passengers.
  But if you feel like just a tasty light meal after a day's sightseeing, you can have a pizza for $5 in your stateroom.
Chocolate everywhere
And how could I almost forget to mention this! The super-scrumptious Chocoholic Buffet!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

About Norwegian Spirit

Cruising with NCL
I was already familiar with the layout of Norwegian Spirit as I had cruised before in Asia on her sister ship, Superstar Virgo. The things I liked best on the ship were the extremely spacious public areas. The foyer on Deck 7 is a very large open space with a grand staircase leading up to a mezzanine floor of shops, restaurants and the Champagne Charlie's bar.
The foyer on Norwegian Spirit
The Grand Staircase with 3 elevators
Another favourite place of mine was the library with its comfortable chairs and large picture windows. There was a good selection of books in several languages.
Library on Norwegian Spirit

Some facts and figures about Norwegian Spirit:

  • Passengers - 2,018
  • Crew - 949
  • Cruising speed - 24 knots
  • Bars & lounges - 10
  • Swimming pools - 2 & 4 hot tubs. On Deck 10 there is Buccaneer's Wet & Wild, a pirate themed swimming pool & play area for children.
  • Dining options - 14. 

I'll write more about these in my next blog post. There were lots to choose from.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Cruising the Mediterranean with Norwegian Cruise line

On an NCL cruise
Last month we went on a wonderful cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line. We hadn't cruised with them before and the itinerary took us to some places we hadn't been. Our ship was Norwegian Spirit.
  It was called the '12-Day Grand Mediterranean Cruise', captained by Vanja Litovic, and over the course of the days we travelled  3,100 kilometres. We visited 5 countries ( Italy, Greece, Turkey, France, Spain) and 10 ports of call with 2 sea days.
  Here's where we went:

  • Venice (embarkation)
  • Piraeus (for Athens)
  • Izmir (for Ephesus)
  • Istanbul
  • Mykonos
  • Naples
  • Civitavecchia (for Rome)
  • Livorno ( for Pisa and Florence)
  • Toulon
  • Barcelona (disembark)

And what port did I like best? All of them! Each was special and interesting in its own way. We had a great time!