When we arrived to our stateroom, we were greeted with a strange yet visually appealing curvy sight. The T.V. was on playing some kind of informational video on safety at sea, but we mostly ignored it to explore the room. The toilet and shower were split and were their own separate “rooms. The shower was more of the kind we were used to in Canada, unlike the ones at the Palatino Hotel, which had half a door, the shower head had a very small range and there was a bedet…which took up more space than was necessary since we didn’t need it. We headed up to the top deck to grab a quick lunch before we attended our mandatory safety drill where they just talked at us. I remembered thinking in a real emergency we’d be screwed, we had no idea where to meet. Dinner was at one of the complementary restaurants, Taste and it was a bit of disappointment. Again, for the money I paid I expected better service. It took over 40 minutes for a server to come refill our water and the restaurant was barely half full and it still took them at least 25 minutes to come out with each of the courses. The food wasn’t even that good either. I ordered an calamari and arugula salad that was supposed to come with tomatoes, olives and red onions. There was one ring of onion (like the tiny centre ring). a cherry tomato halved, three microscopic olives, and the batter on the calamari was oily and heavily battered. I was not impressed. Norwegian Cruise Line not the first cruise line I’ve been with, the first was Celebrity Cruises. Firstly, there was no set dinner time, it was first come first served meaning that at times there would be a ridiculously long line up to get into the complementary restaurants. If you didn’t want to wait for dinner in a nice restaurant, then you could make a reservation at the specialty restaurant, but had to pay a cover charge ranging from $15-$30. As I would find out, the food in this restaurant and the Manhattan Room (the other complementary restaurant with the exact same menu as Taste except more formal), was consistently either over-seasoned or under-seasoned [should probably be reading salt not seasoning, although sometimes it was the seasoning].
The next day it was off to Florence and Pisa. Technically the port is Livorno, so it was a bit of a drive to get to Florence. It was supposed to be a good day, but the guide sped through the streets without once looking back as she led 40 tourists who have no idea where they’re going through the crowds of locals and other tourists. I was terrified by the idea of getting left behind in a country I didn’t know how to navigate, with a language I couldn’t speak. We met up with a local tour guide who looked like one of my university profs and that really helped. For lunch we went to a palace. It was freaking amazing and food was great! The portions were fairly large in comparison to what we had been served locally in Rome. After lunch we looked around a bit more before heading off to Pisa. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing the leaning tower. It really wasn’t that interesting anyways and the guide didn’t give us enough time to get far enough away from the tower to take one of those leaning pictures anyways, so it was a bit pointless. In the end, we returned to the ship 30 minutes later than the time we were supposed to have sailed because lunch took 2 and a half hours!
The next day we arrived in Cannes. Lucky (or unlucky) for us, the Cannes International Film Festival was going on at the same time. Meaning there were swarms of fans and locals and tourists pushing along the streets to catch a glimpse of a movie star. We headed to shore early like many others in hopes of glimpsing someone, but alas, no luck. In the afternoon we went on our excursion to Grasse and St. Paul de Vence. In Grasse we visited a perfume factory and there were so many scents that we wanted to buy. However, the guide had only given us 30 minutes before we had to be back…which was no time at all considering the tour/lecture part took 20 minutes and the line up for the bathroom took 10…
Before long we were in St. Paul de Vence. It was a quaint medieval village that had many art galleries and shops along the streets. The whole time I walked along those streets, I imagined myself there in the middle ages. How horrible it must have been! If the streets were this slippery in the hot sun, I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like in rain or snow! Assuming that they get snow that is. Also, to make matters worse, the entire town is pretty much going all uphill until you reach the point of view, which is a scenic point that overlooks the surrounding countryside and a cemetery. This is a place I would most certainly return to. I would love to explore the small street at my own leisure. Of course a command of the French language would be a big help to me. Maybe I’ll upgrade my French before I return.
Come back tomorrow to read about my adventures in Spain. Including an allergic reaction to Barcelona!