Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Two Best Cruise Destinations 2/3

After leaving Civitavecchia we had another relaxing evening at sea - and we needed it. The following morning we arrived at Livorno's port and once again a car with a driver was waiting for us and we left to Tuscany to visit Florence and Pisa. It sounds wonderful and it really was. We got i Florence before 10AM, we were able to see Michelangelo's masterpiece David at the Accademia Gallery. And then we walked around town for a few hours visiting Ponte Vecchio and other major attractions from the Renaissance. 
Driving through Tuscany in the summer is a beautiful experience. You can see the sunflower fields and the old farms in the distance... just beautiful.

After lunch we left to visit Pisa and the leaning tower. That was pretty but we soon headed back to the ship.

Next stop: Villefranche-sur-Mer, a small jewel in the French Riviera close to Nice and Monaco.

So we left the ship early and headed uphill to the bus station. It was a beautiful summer morning in this quiet village. The turquoise ocean and the bay was a beautiful sight when we got to the top of the hill that surrounds the area.

We spent the day visiting Monaco, Monte Carlo and Nice. It was an amazing contrast from the day before in Tuscany but breathtaking as well. This is a place I want to go back and spend a week.

The next morning we arrived back in Barcelona and took our flight back home.
It was an amazing cruise that I highly recommend. As I said before, it's a sampler. You see A LOT in seven days and then, in the future you always can go back to your favorite places.

Now, for me, the best cruise destination in the world is Australia and New Zealand.

Why? New Zealand is the most beautiful place I have ever visited. The nature is so dramatic and beautiful (remember the Lord of The Rings movies? They were filmed there) and on a cruise you will have the opportunity to see places that you can't go driving in one trip and flying would be a waste of time.

I flew into Auckland, in the North Island. A very cosmopolitan city, beautiful, clean and I stayed at the Hilton by the port. Actually the morning I left on the cruise, I woke up with the Grand Princess docking right by my room. 

Princess is a more upscale cruise line that caters to older people, I mean, 30's and up. More classy ships, with four different restaurants, a lot of dark wood... Once on board you can say: I'm not on Carnival anymore! And for a 12 days cruise in March, it was a bliss not to have a single kid on board. A lot of Brits, Australians and Americans, but not your average American cruiser, what was refreshing.

Next week, I will talk about all the ports - Tauranga, Christchurch, Dunedin, Fijord Land National Park (a hurricane at sea), Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney - and how this trip changed my life forever... yeah, I think that traveling can have this effect in people's lives!

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