BMW R1200GSA vs Moto Guzzi Stelvio NTX

Friday, 28 September 2012

Today we board ship for our first cruise.


Another early start saw the six of us in our transfer vehicle with our crazy Italian driver and making tracks to the port of Civitavecchia. Our driver sported the most amazing grey handlebar moustache you've ever seen, and he continued to twitch it all the time. At one point he got Lilly to touch it, then he screamed when she did. It gave her a hell of a fright, but we all had a good chuckle. In between cursing other drivers we were treated to our driver singing Arrivederci Roma quite a few times on the trip through the insane Rome traffic.

We arrived at the port to see the Noordam looking pretty impressive.

A quick look around on the way to the cabin found some pretty out there d├ęcor on the ship.

Suzanne's favourite chairs on the ship.

The mid ship pool, complete with retractable roof.

Suzanne's favourite feature on the whole ship, the doors on the internal lifts. The outdoor lifts were glass and travelled ten decks up the outside of the ship.

My favourite place, the Vista Dining Room. Great food and wine.

This was our first cruise and Suzanne used to get incredibly sea sick up until a few years ago. I was a bit concerned about getting bored being stuck on a ship with nothing to do but lie around the pool. So we boarded with a little apprehension. When we booked we took the cheapest option and booked an inside cabin. No problem there as it had plenty of room and was very comfortable. It didn't take long to realise that when you turned off the lights you had no idea if it was day or night outside. Also, when we visited Lilly's cabin, complete with balcony, we realised that we probably should have spent the extra. Oh well, lesson learned. We're only going to sleep in it anyway.

Suzanne checks out the comfy bed in our cabin.

We checked out the day's on board activity sheet and I realised I wouldn't have time to get bored, there was so much to do. In fact I was going to miss out on some things as there were conflicts in timing of some activities.

It was time to explore the ship. Wow! This thing is huge and has so many great places to hide. I think it's going to be a fun trip. There were restaurants and bars everywhere, a movie theater  enormous library, showroom with a huge stage, computer training rooms, health spa, gym. the list just kept going. My only concern was that Suzanne and I dropped the average age of the passengers by about ten years when we boarded. 

There are about 2,000 passengers and 1,000 crew on board. Most of the service crew are Filipino and do their job so well. They are always genuinely happy people and were always there to look after your every need, immediately. They obviously undergo a very intensive sales and service school before they are allowed on board.

I booked us both in for a pub crawl on the ship on the night of day five. That should be interesting. We visit five bars and have a beer in each one. I claim it's educational but I don't think anyone else in our party believed me. The pub crawl finishes at the disco, so I can bust some of my moves on the dance floor, like falling over like a dork or the unco shuffle. I'm brilliant at that one.

Later in the afternoon there was a tour of the ship arranged with the cruise director, so I jumped in for that. What better way to find out what is actually on board, and where the hell it is. Then it was off to the health spa for a raffle draw where Suzanne won an art print so she was pretty happy.

This will go nicely with an original oil we have by Suzanne's mum.
(It's nowhere near as good as yours though Marie)

We magaed to find a bar which became our favourite for the cruise. The Crow's Nest. Deck ten, right at the front of the ship with large windows all down the sides and across the front. We settled in for a music trivia game with our crew and very quickly showed how little we all know, but it was all in fun. There's a trivia quiz on every day at six, which coincides with Happy Hour in this bar. I can see there will be a pattern emerging.

To finish off what was a very busy day we hit the dining room and had a fantastic meal. As you may have guessed, I like my food, and the lunch and dinner I had today made me very happy. The huge choice made it hard, but the food was superb. 

Our new discovery today was "Wasabi mashed potato". Mashed potato with a bit of wasabi mixed in. It is sooooo nice. Try it, just go easy on the wasabi til you get the ratio right.

Tomorrow we dock in Livorno, which is pretty close to Florence and very near Pisa. So far this cruising thing is proving to be a good gig.

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