Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Feb. 13 Naples/Pompei/Sorrento, Italy

I took an excursion called Leisurely Sorrento
The itinerary said:
"Get away from the hustle and bustle of Naples and enjoy the quaint atmosphere of Sorrento. Start with a panoramic drive from Naples along the beautiful Amalfi coast. Upon arrival in Sorrento your guide will introduce you to this lovely city and you can shop or do as you please for 1 1/2 hrs before meeting your guide and boarding the bus for your return trip."

Sorrento was mainly a fishing village and very much appreciated for it's position overlooking the Bay of Naples or Napoli as the Italians call it. It became very rich as it was chosen as a summer resort by wealthy Romans who built wonderful villas adorned with frescoes, mosaics and great sculptures. Now it's famous for it's quaint streets and high quality handicrafts.

The itinerary was right, the Amalfi coast is beautiful and the panoramic drive from Naples was truly awesome. We drove through several tunnels, some very new and the newest one was at least 3 miles long. Gotta wonder how the route used to be from Naples to Sorrento. We passed by lots of orange and lemon trees and very Mediterraneanish palms and tropical plants. The locals were dressed for winter yet flowers were in bloom which for a Canadian is an oxymoron. It was about 15º C. in the area. We hit a huge traffic jam going and a slightly smaller one coming back. Either way it was a long bus trip, 7 hours in total.
Along the way in the Tyrrhenian Sea we saw awesome scenery of Mt. Vesuvius and other mountains and islands including Capri and lots of very old structures as well as new modern buildings and something happening everywhere.

 3 mile long tunnel

 traffic jam

 love the old windows

 and the supermarket
 The Swiss Alps
going back to Naples

 Mt. Vesuvius and Jade

Sorrento itself was listed as having a quaint atmosphere and it was but not in the small seaside village way I had pictured it. It was really quite a bit larger, we didn't stop in the seaside area; it seemed like a very quaint busy little city in the mountains. We shopped shoes as they're so cool there, lots of women wore knee high boots and everyone has nice footware in Italy. I also looked for a new Swatch watch but didn't buy one, not sure if theirs were pricier because they were older or newer. We ate cake at an outdoor café with another couple from our bus and then we all moved on to a different restaurant that had provided coupons for either free cappuccino or ice cream. Their ice cream was delicious, home made with real vanilla beans. We then boarded the bus and hit the road only to end up in another traffic jam. When we arrived worn and tired back at the dock NCL crew members were there to greet us enthusiastically with warm cloths to freshen up, music, dancing and even a very tall lady (on stilts) We went straight to our cabin where I took a pic of the greeters just below our cabin.

I then went to the apt I had made with the organic herbal medicine/acupuncturist after I had attended her info talk. While there in the spa she showed me around the thermal suite, heated tile beds, whirlpools, sauna, salt pool and the ice pool (which I will never use) but the rest of it looked inviting and very private with lockers and showers etc. so just might partake at least once on the next leg of our cruise.

We freshened up and went to the buffet where prime rib was highlighted on tonights menu but being as I'm not much of a beef eater I dined on grilled chicken, rice, dbl baked potato, asparagus, artichokes, sauerkraut, mushrooms, corn, olives and I forget what else and everything was delicious. For dessert I ate pineapple cake and a piece of cherry cake as well. This was cake day!
This was the last dinner for a lot of cruisers who will depart their 10 day cruise in Rome tomorrow morning and new cruisers will come aboard to take their place. Lucky us, we get to stay with Jade for another 11 nights. This is sometimes called a "back to back" cruise, however most do the same route all over again while ours is all new ports until we end up back in Rome again, so not technically back to back. In summary, we started in Rome, visited cities in 3 countries and then went back to Rome on the 10th night and then visited 3 different countries before departing Rome on the 22 day of our cruise to fly home. Jade has some lovely itineraries if you dig deep or get lucky by surfing them regularly. The listings change all the time so keep at it and you'll find something right down your alley which offers a great cabin for a good price at your chosen time of year. Summer trips to this area are said to be uncomfortably warm but perhaps a shoulder season cruise would be nice. This was my first Norwegian cruise and I highly recommend them for their clean ship, happy crew, comfortable, quiet cabin, great itinerary, food and entertainment as well as the great care I received in the ships hospital when I eventually turned up sick (Feb 17) Sure, some of the excursions were substituted and cancelled but so would it have been on any other cruise line cruising there at this time of year.

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