My excursion was the Marble Caves of Carrara, although actually it should be called Marble Mountains of Carrara since there were no caves except those dug for the marble. The meeting place was the Manhattan Room for 8.45am, ours being second. I think one lady was in the wrong place or was late because she mentioned her tour to some people but it wasn’t one of the three. When called, we were given our sticker on the way out, went to deck 4 forward, a German lady from Hamburg saying she was just following me. Her hubby had gone away with friends so she decided to go on a cruise. Also in our group were Mimi and Hannah, mother and daughter from the States. Mimi is 85 and bought a crystal necklace she just loved. We had a mini bus as there were just 13 of us plus escort. What I liked about NCL was he wore a blue top with Escort on it. So often you have no idea if there even is one since they wear their own clothes and usually no name badge. I’ve known a few who I thought were passengers. Also, unlike other cruise lines I’ve been with, you keep 2/3 of the ticket, the tour guide taking the other portion. I like that. We picked up a lady who would be telling us about the marble and mountains. There was a private tour group at the mountain, one lady was from Perth and her son lives in Ferndale like Juanita. We stopped in the town of Carrara for a bit then headed to La Stazione for lardo, which isn’t quite what it sounds like. It looked like a type of ham but taken from the back and probably the cheap stuff since it was a staple of miners. I just had the bread even though we had 3 pieces each. You were also offered red wine but it was that or nothing. They didn’t even offer water.
Back to the ship and we saw Pisa slightly better through the trees than going up.
Lunch after a few dock pics then a snooze.
I went to the singles meeting in the Studio Lounge which is held every day between 6-7pm. It had been Barcelona sailaway Sunday, Cirque Dreams Monday so this was the first chance I had. Not many turned up but there was a good number. You’re really made to feel welcome instead of an profit-losser because you’re taking up the space of two people who’d spend more. The bar was open, snacks offered and Natalie, one of the crew, was mingling then showing us how to make paper flowers if we chose to. A Chinese lady living in Canada was brilliant at it. A woman from London is a carpenter yet said there wasn’t much call for them in London. She loves Ken Livingstone and hates the monarchy, her reason being they civil list doesn’t let them do what they want. She talked so much crap I lost track. Once she’d gone I carried on the conversation with a Canadian lady from Vancouver. There was a dinner Thursday night at 8pm In Taste to sign up to if we wanted. Sailaway at 7pm and when I got up, Liberty was already off. We went next, Silver Spirit following. The sunset was gorgeous but the flipping juddering meant many of my pics came out crap.
I phoned home before the signal went then went to grab some food. Often I avoid the buffets on other ships unless I know it’ll be quiet because the crowd can be horrendous and it’s difficult finding somewhere to sit. Not on NCL thanks to the numerous eateries to choose from. Also on Epic, the Garden Café is MASSIVE. I’ve never yet had to fight for a place. Back to the padded cell and the bin in the toilet had been emptied for the first time since I boarded! He hadn’t replenished the tissues though. I missed stuff again I wanted to see because I was so tired.
Another early start with Civitavecchia. I learnt my lesson so put on the Norwegian Jade T-shirt I was going to wear that day with my cardie and the Epic hoodie over the top. That was better! When I reached Deck 15 just before 6am we were already turning – bugger!
We’d also be in the BO berth, as she’d been most of the time since I checked after I booked. On the face of it, the BO berth worked out much better for the other ships, even though it would have been nice to drive by them all on the way to the tour. The BO berth was where me and Juanita disembarked Celebrity Equinox in August 2009 so I was getting a little sense of déjà vu when the other ships arrived. Grand Holiday was waiting for us to finish turning our square bum before coming in, Thomson Dream behind almost in the reflection of the moon. Liberty of the Seas then appeared but was pretty dull compared to those brightly lit ladies. Then Liberty vanished! The blue Crown & Anchor was really the only thing you could see of her and it was nowhere to be seen. Seven Seas Voyager popped up behind Liberty. Grand Holiday turned behind us and docked opposite the turning berth. Thomson Dream came in as she was moving safely out the way and as the sun came up, the fog came down. THAT’S where Liberty disappeared to! The Royal Caribbean gave one blast then turned and backed in, as Voyager had done 52 weeks earlier. Course then, NCL were on the other side too, with Jade berthed at the front. As she came closer, the fog almost covered her. The other two had already completely disappeared. My camera kept getting condensation on it and I wondered what to do about Seven Seas Voyager, since I’d have a hard job seeing white against white but my problem was solved when her bow emerged through the fog.
I bumped into the Japanese lady from muster and she was enjoying the cruise. Breakfast – yum! The fog burnt off in the sun so it would be a nice day. Time to get ready for the excursion.