Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Mediterranean Cruise - Day 2

Our second day on the ship was spent entirely at sea. We sailed from Barcelona around 7pm on the Sunday and didn't dock in Naples until early on Tuesday morning. We sailed straight across the Med, going between Corsica and Sardinia at about 3pm on the Monday. I really liked having our first day completely at sea, even though it was so busy on board, especially on the sun deck where everyone was trying to sunbathe!

There were several restaurants open for breakfast but we ate on the sun deck every day. There was a buffet there which had sausage, bacon, eggs, hash browns, pancakes, French toast, yoghurt, muffins, fruit, etc. And also a person preparing omelettes to order! It was great, me and my mum took advantage of that! It was really lovely to eat outside in the sunshine so I'm glad we did that rather than go into a restaurant.

On Monday we first explored the ship a little bit. Decks 5 and 6 and 7 were where most things were going on. We went to connect to the internet and have a bit of a poke around. There were so many people around. We then got changed into swimming costumes and went up to the sun deck. It was HEAVING, there were barely any sunloungers free and we ended up sitting right in the middle, not close to the pools. It was sunny, which was lovely, but I definitely thought "I hope it's not as busy as this all week."

The pools were lovely, but small, but that turned out not to matter. Lee and I were in one at around 1pm and we saw someone carve an ice sculpture from a piece of ice that must have been two feet by three feet, so that was pretty cool. My mum and Norman explored the upper decks more than we did - we were pretty set on sun and swimming!

We had lunch still in our swim stuff, eating from the outside buffet again. We did more swimming before going back to the cabins to get ready.

We'd chosen inside cabins with no windows, because they were cheaper. I don't think we missed having a balcony, and I think it helped Lee to not feel seasick, but I did miss natural light in the room. There wasn't an overhead light in there at all which I found difficult, but honestly we were barely in there. There was a problem with our shower which they ended up mending later in the week and they gave us ship credit to say sorry, which was great!

We went to the Manhattan restaurant to eat, which was free for us like Taste, but which required a shirt and closed shoes for men. So we'd got a bit dressed up, I'll show you my outfit in the next post. The restaurant itself was nice, but not any nicer than Taste, and the service was slower, so we ended up going back to Taste on other nights because neither Lee nor Norman like to wear shirts and Lee didn't like the proper trousers he had to put on. Ah well, we love them the way they are!

My mum sitting in the middle of the shallow part of the pool. She thinks her costume was from Marks & Spencer

Lee and Mum and me in the pool. My costume was from Yours

I was reading this, have you read it? I found it very odd. My review is here

This was the early part of the day when we couldn't get sunloungers closer to the pool

We were just behind the funnels

And the climbing wall (naturally)

Corsica, I think

Sardinia. The gap between them is only a few kilometres so we could see both islands.

Dessert at lunchtime. It wasn't as nice as I expected :( In fact I think the desserts mainly weren't as good as we'd thought - the cookies on the buffet outside ending up being the best!

We'd borrowed a camera off my mum so Lee and I were playing around with it

He's cute though

I call this look swimming chic

Lee was faffing with the settings

Mum relaxing

This is from later, we were downstairs by the casino getting a drink before food

I like this of us

My mum and stepdad

After dinner we went back up to Deck 15 (I'm going to say that a lot aren't I) which looked gorgeous in the darkness

The slides and pools were all lit up

I think we could have swum if we'd wanted - there were still people in the hot tubs at this point. If I went again I'd definitely try to do that

This deck was so wet during the day but not at this time!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Mediterranean Cruise - Day 1

I've been waffling about these posts for two weeks, since we got back off our cruise. I couldn't decide exactly how I wanted to post about our cruise, because loads happened and I wanted to document it, but I also didn't want to write everything in minute detail. I kept a pretty good journal which is for me (and also features hilarious additions by Lee), and I wasn't sure how much I wanted to share on my blog. I've never felt this way before, so I've had a good old think about blogging and exactly what I put out here.

I think I'm mostly comfortable with what I do share - outfit photos, places I've been, good times we've had just relaxing around the house, all that stuff. I don't think the blog will change at all. But equally, I'm not going to dissect the cruise like I would usually, and I hope that's okay. It was just very special and lovely, and I'm okay with not sharing all of it.

Anyway, the cruise was my mum's idea. She's been talking about it for a while and earlier this year decided to do it this year to mark her 60th. To begin with we were talking about a friend of mine going with us, because Lee gets very motion sick, but then he said he wanted to come, so we booked it. I have to admit I was worried he'd be sick, but people kept saying that it was different on a cruise ship, especially one as big as ours. More on that later!

We flew to Barcelona on the Sunday and got aboard the Norwegian Epic. When it was built it was the third largest cruise ship in the world, which is not surprising because it's huge! It's more than a 1000 feet in length and has fifteen full decks inside. It carries 4100 passengers and around 1700 crew, and we were sailing at near to full capacity.

I'll write more about my tips for cruising in a different post, because it really is a holiday unlike any other. There were Brits on board, but tons of Americans, Canadians, Australians, Chinese, Japanese, all kinds of people. People were so friendly, we spoke to a bunch of strangers! Plus all the staff were so courteous, nothing was too much trouble for them. I really enjoyed that aspect.

We set sail and watched that from the sun deck (where we spent most of our time), and then went to Taste restaurant, which ended up being our favourite. We were all tired after a long day travelling, but really excited to be aboard!

My photos are a mixture of: my phone, my camera, Lee's camera, my mum's camera, my stepdad's camera. I can't differentiate (except all the square ones are off my phone), so thank you to my travel companions for taking such lovely photos!

This first photo was taken at 3.30am and was to prove to my mother that I was awake and up. I actually hadn't managed to sleep all night - Lee had about three hours but I couldn't drop off because I was paranoid about waking up! Oh well.

Leaving Barcelona. I actually would've really liked to see Barcelona, Lee and I should go for a weekend

Also Barcelona

Our ship from the coach as we first approached it

Cheers on the sun deck!

Leaving port

Me and my mum

The pilot boat. Honestly all four of us really enjoyed watching us arrive and leave places, it is so well done!

Sun setting - we saw quite a few sunsets which was glorious

After we'd eaten on Deck 5 we went back to the fresh air; we were in the minority which was fine for us as it was quiet! The bar up here was really nice and had about fifteen cocktails on its menu - I think I tried most of them

Finally I took this of myself because although I was exhausted I was really happy and relaxed. 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Films of the Month - September

I only watched eight films in September, but that was partly due to being on holiday, and I really enjoyed what I did watch, so that's good. At the 3/4 point of the year, I've watched 94 films, 56 of which I've never seen before, which is a number I'm really pleased with!

Here's what I watched in September:

Lee and I went with Sam to the cinema to see this, Idris Elba's directorial debut. I liked the story and the music and soundtrack, even though the plot was a bit thin. I'd recommend seeing it

Continuing with my Disney film list, I watched Tangled. It's alright, nothing special

Killing Bono is based on the book by Neil McCormick, a rock critic, the story of how he grew up with U2 and how his band almost made it big. He was on something Lee and I were watching and I had to tell Lee who he was - I know from reading the NME and stuff for years. I didn't realise they'd made this into a film, so I was really interested to see it. It's great, really funny, a bit moving, really interesting. Definitely watch if it you love music (even if, like me, you don't like U2)

Everyone raved about Lady Bird last year didn't they, so I thought it was time I watched it. It's okay, I liked Lady Bird and her mother, and it did ring a lot of bells seeing that Lady Bird and I were were about the same age in 2002. That one Justin Timberlake song... 

It's ages since I saw Pitch Perfect so I thought I would, I've got the next two to watch too soon.

Lee and I went to see the Miseducation of Cameron Post, which I was really looking forward to, having loved the book. I thought the film was excellent, I reviewed it here on my book blog (as well as all my books, obviously)

I don't know what reminded me of this film, which I've never seen, so I thought I'd watch it. I liked it, Stephen Fry and Jude Law are both good (and I managed to spot a very young Orlando Bloom!)

Finally I watched The Navigators, a film set in Rotherham, about men who work on the railways and whose jobs are under threat due to privatisation. It's a Ken Loach film so you can imagine what it's like. I enjoyed it!