The ship departs from Savona, Italy, 800km from Zagreb, where we live. With the toddler and the baby, we knew it would probably be the drive from hell, so we decided to drive during the night, when both of them are asleep. We left home at 3am on Wednesday, and got to the port of Savona only at 1pm with five breaks from driving. Someone was hungry, someone needed the restroom, someone was crying, and all that.
|The deck where we spend most of our time|
We went straight to the restaurant for lunch (the cruise price covers all the meals -no additional cost) and started to explore the ship. Deck 11 was our favorite, with the Jacuzzi, a pool and water slide. A thematic kids pool is located nearby, so we spent the afternoon on this deck.
|Our favorite deck 11|
|Our toddler at the Peppa Pig kids pool|
The baby was extra sleepy the entire dinner and I knew she wasn't herself. I had a feeling she was getting ill, so I chose to get back to the cabin with her after dinner, while the toddler and my husband went to see the show at the theater. During the whole night the baby's temperature's rising, and we had to managed it with paracetamol, which, thank goodness I had with me.
We woke up to the sound and feeling of shaking of the ship being moored at the port of Marseilles at around 8am. I've got to tell you that as much as some people hate the swaying of the ship, and get sea-sickness of it, I kind of loved the feeling my bed being rocked all night long :D
We didn't want to spend too much money on excursion packages offered by the cruise, so we decided to only take their shuttle, which cost €11 per person round-trip per person. We got off the ship after breakfast to take their shuttle, only to find out that the cruise port of Marseilles actually provided a free shuttle (yup, we just lost €33 to three tickets) for cruise passengers to get to the city! Putting that aside, we had fun in Marseilles. We walked from the main cathedral along the narrow alleys of the historic part of the city and ended up at the old port. Both my husband and I love Alexandre Dumas' Count of Monte Cristo so the old port of Marseille is quite special for us.
|View to the old port of Marseille|
With the invitation, I also received a notice for myself. It said that I didn't have the visa and/or resident permit in the European Union (EU) so I need to come to the reception at deck 3 as soon as possible. I knew it was a confusion because I'm a citizen of the EU, why would I need a visa? After waiting in line for half-an-hour, I got to the counter and showed my Croatian passport (which I also used for checking into the ship). The officer apologized for the mistake and let me go with my passport. Someone must have overheard when I said to a crew that I'm from Indonesia and they confused my heritage with my citizenship.
After dinner we went to see Peppa. It was a little early so we decided to check the play room on deck 10. Then the baby needed a diaper change so I took her back to our cabin. She nursed afterwards and fell asleep, so I transferred her to the ring sling and went back to deck 10. When I arrived there, Peppa was already there and lots of kids were around her. I found my husband and he was pale "Oh my gosh I lost her. I mean, I found her now, but I freaking lost her" he told me. So when I left, they were in the play room on deck 10. My husband then realized that it was time and they needed to go to deck 9 for Peppa. They both started walking when my husband realized that he left his cellphone in the playroom, so he told the toddler to wait right there while he take the cellphone. When he was back, of course, the toddler was gone. She was nowhere to be found. He started to look for her on the whole deck and scream her name. He panicked and started to ask random people if they see a little girl by herself. Having asked more than five people, he decided (probably sweating like a pig) to get down to deck 9. There was Peppa there, and, you guessed it, our toddler dancing to the music. He ran to her and asked here (probably screamed) "where have you been???" to which she calmly (and still dancing) answered "well, here. Why?". So, yes, she actually went down from deck 10 to deck 9, by stairs, by herself, got to the other side of the pool because she saw freaking huge Peppa there. So the thing is, each child got a bracelet when we embarked, which has to be worn by every child, on which her name and her cabin room are written, and it's the festival-kind-of bracelet that a child can't get rid of. And what happened? We actually lost her bracelet. Yes. We're probably the worst parents on earth.
|The toddler is the little girl with the hand holding Peppa's hand|
We had a summer holiday this year, so we didn't plan to go to the beach. We headed to the heart of the city and learned that Ibiza (or Elvissa) was the center of European hippie community long before it was now famous for the party people. We had rounds of drinks, walked around and enjoyed the view of the iconic white houses of Ibiza, and took the bus to get back to the ship at around 6pm.
|Strolling around in Ibiza|
|The toddler on the open deck while the ship leaving Ibiza during sunset|
|Peppa-Pirates disco night, it was super fun!|
The next day we woke up in Barcelona port. We headed out after breakfast, not buying the official shuttle of course. We found a public bus that took us to the city and back for €5, and left us at the end of the famous Las Ramblas by the port. We didn't have much time because the ship should sail by 2pm already, so we strolled on Las Ramblas and took a metro to Sagrada Familia. There was a nice children playground right in front of the basilica, which reminds me of the children playground right in front of the Parisian Sacred Heart basilica in which the toddler also played last year. We let the kids spend some time playing and walked to the back of the church and rested in Gaudi square.
|The toddler and my husband at the Rambla de Santa Monica, one part of the Las Ramblas|
|Due to the limited time we didn't get into it, but we enjoyed the view while the kids resting|
We had to pack and leave our suitcases with special tags in front of our cabin door by midnight, because they will be delivered to us together with our car in Savona. In the morning we had to leave the cabin by 8am, although we can stay in the ship longer if we want. We disembarked after breakfast, at 10am, directly to the valet service that handed us the key of the car and the suitcases that were waiting for us there.
Some people made comments on their way out how the cruise was too short, and we couldn't agree more. It was such a different, special experience to be cruising in the ship. The toddler enjoyed it very much. Of course the baby is too small to even understand anything, but she had a good time despite her being ill the first two days. We all did. If we save up enough, we might sail again in a few years! I'll be posting soon about tips and tricks on cruising on low budget!