Last month I was one of the lucky 5 families chosen to become a Carnival Cruise Ambassador and we have just received the details of the destinations our cruise ship Vista will be taking us next year.
We shall be flying in to one of my favourite European cities, Barcelona and I am hoping we get to spend a little time there as I would love to show the kids some of the sights.
Few places in the world pack in as much culture per square meter as Europe does and our cruise packs in some of the cities I most want to visit. These cities are some of the oldest in the world, places where even today art, food and history come together in a mix of sensory delights.
Our first stop is Messina, Scicily – the city that launched a thousand ships and home to Mount Etna. Our plan is to go to the depths of Europe’s largest active volcano by cable car and 4×4 vehicles.
The Carnival excursion takes you by coach to Mount Etna and then you take a 6 person cable car for the ascent into the crater to 2500 meters before boarding your 20 or 26 person 4 x 4 Mercedes (or IVECO) vans for a 20 minute off-road adventure to reach the ultimate 2900 meters above sea level. There is then a 45 minute informative walking tour, learning about the amazing volcano.
Our second stop is Naples and I cannot wait to see Mount Vesuvius. I wanted to study geology at university and have a fascination with volcanoes and earthquakes so hope to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum to see the destruction the eruption caused although I am torn between that and climbing Vesuvius itself.. Pompeii has possibly the most famous excavation in the world as it was here a flourishing civilization was buried for 1,700 years. It has been brought to life again so we can see how the citizens of the greatest empire the world has even known lived and loved; worked and played; ate and drank and died. The organised tour also includes visits to Sorrento and Capri.
Next up is Rome and I am would love to visits its ancient sites such as the Pantheon, Colosseum and St Peter’s Basilica. There are a few different tours to choose from as the catacombs also appeal but having just one day doesn’t leave much time.
Livorna is next and here we are planning to take the excursion to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and climb the 297 steps to the top of the bell tower.
Marseille is our penultimate stop and we plan a nice relaxing gentle tour of the city with a shopping trip. This tour offers a photo stop to take pictures at the Cathedral of Saint Marie Majeure, the Fortress of Saint John, the Romanesque church of San Lorenzo and admire the view of the city from the Church of Notre Dame de la Garde before some free time for us to shop.
Palma has the most thrill seeking adventures to try, including a 4×4 trek and a Rancho Grande horse ride, but we have already decided on a thrilling helicopter excursion that will take us high above Mallorca so we can see this beautiful island from a completely new perspective and then it is back to Barcelona for our flight home.
One thing is for sure – it is going to be a busy few days!!
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