After spending several days in Barcelona, Spain it was finally time to get connected with our cruise ship the NCL Epic one of their Epic Class of ship which means the capacity is 4100 passengers. This is certainly the largest cruise ship I have ever been on, so I will be interested to see how they manage these types of numbers and crowds. We are traveling on my partners first cruise with several female friends of ours from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Our cruise departs that same evening of May 6th for a day at sea to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Spain to Italy with our first scheduled port of call in Naples, Italy.
I have prearranged a rental car from the pier in Naples, Italy because I wanted to drive down the Amalfi Coast for the day. I had done this before, and just love the scenery and the drive from Naples to Salerno which we went via the interstate to the south with the drive north right along the coast. I believe the other way is probably more interesting, however going from south to north provides less traffic and congestion. Our first stop is in Salerno with its black sand beaches. The hills are full of lemon orchards and you can actually seem them from the streets because those Italian lemons are very large and famous for the making of limocello liquor.
Our next stop heading north is in Positano, the beach front Italian village that is very famous and well known for its colorful buildings, excellent restaurants and location along the Amalfi Coast. We park up near the top for a new walk down to the beach. Since is getting to be lunch time, we make a stop along the way at a restaurant overlooking the beach front areas of Positano.
Due to time constraints with getting back to Naples for our ships departure, we do not have the ability to stop anywhere else along the route, nor do we go Sorrento. However, the drive is still fun and nerve racking as so many places are very narrow and only 1 car or bus can pass in either direction.
Our next day takes us to the port of Civitacheccia, Italy which is the cruise ship port for Rome, Italy. My plan was to take the train into Rome for some sightseeing, but my friends did not want to walk that far, so we took a taxi to the center of Rome. From there we took in the sights that a few hours would allow because it is about 1.5 hours to get to Rome from the cruise ship terminal. Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, The Coliseum, and of course Vatican City and St. Peters Cathedral were all visited while we there. Since it was a Sunday, we had to go to Vatican City in the afternoon. It was certainly a very busy city with lots of tourists!
Our next day brings us to the port of Livorno the cruise ship port for places like Pisa or Florence, Italy. I had pre-purchased tickets for the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so we planned our day accordingly to get there on time for our ascent up the 296 steps to the top. What great views! We stayed for those hours in the area and took in all the sites associated with it.
Cannes, France on the French Riviera is the next port of call famous of course for yachts, riches, and the Cannes Film Festival held in May of each year. Since we were there at the beginning of May andd the festival was coming soon May 17 to 19, we already saw the advertising and ticket booths around the pier area. We decided to just walk around the sea wall to take in the sites of the rich and famous that would be descending on this small town very soon!
Our final port of call is Palma, on the Spanish Island of Mallorca. Also a small city on Spain’s largest island, it is loaded with lots of history and significance for Spain. Featuring Moorish architecture we just strolled along the long Marine Promenade leading us all the way around to Cathedral La Seu. Unfortunately, it was not open to go inside, but we saw interesting sights and shops along the way.
Our short 1 week cruise comes to an end back in Barcelona, Spain where we have decided to spend one more night before flying our way back to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.