This is a almost a year overdue, but I’ve finally started editing the vlogs and photos from our Mediterranean cruise last July. I don’t know how many vlogs/blog entries I’m going to end up with, but our trip lasted 15 days. So far I’ve been able to finish 6 vlogs (haven’t uploaded some of them yet) from our first 6 days there, but I’m hoping I can fit several days worth of footage into one vlog towards the later part of our trip. This entry contains vlogs #1 and #2 (at the very end) and some photos taken from those days.
Our journey began with a 2-hr flight to Hong Kong, a 9-hr layover, a 13-hr flight to Rome and a 1-hr bus ride to the port of Civitavecchia, where we boarded the Royal Princess cruise ship.
Here’s my dad and me at NAIA, waiting for our flight
Hello Hong Kong!
Once we landed, we had 9 hours to kill before our connecting flight to Rome. We read online that there was an IMAX cinema in the airport so we figured we’d look for it and catch a movie to pass the time.
We spotted this cutie in our search for the theater
We eventually found it but the only thing showing was Star Trek and we weren’t huge fans so we decided to look around the entertainment center, which was located in the same place
Finding Dory 2 was released a few weeks before our trip
Suicide Squad hasn’t been released but they had a lot of promotional materials there
Chibi Iron Man
(We looked at their aviation exhibit, which was pretty interesting, but I didn’t take photos. However, I did take a lot of short videos which I included in my vlog.)
We ended up just hanging out at the airport, making use of the free wifi until our flight to Rome. Finally, after 9 long hours it was time for us to board again.
Our departure time was 40 minutes past midnight, and by the time we were at the gate I couldn’t wait to get on the plane so I could sleep. The flight was 13 hours long and I pretty much slept through the entire thing. My mom woke me up for dinner and again for breakfast, but aside from that I was out cold the whole time.
Finally, after more than 24 hours of travel, we made it to Rome 🙂
Yay!!! My first steps on European soil (err… pavement? … tiles?)
Once we made it through immigration and customs we looked for the Princess Cruises employees.
We dropped off our bags with them and took a shuttle to the port of Civitavecchia where our ship would be waiting. Since it was still pretty early and check-in isn’t usually until around 11am, our guide took us on a panoramic bus tour of Rome. He didn’t let us get off the bus but he made sure to pass by some of the famous landmarks around the city
Like the colosseum
I forgot the names of the other places he took us to, and I wasn’t able to get a picture of all of them, but I did enjoy the sights
After this our bus made its way to the port, which was about 1 1/2 hours away.
Once we got there, we checked in (which was a lot quicker than usual) and boarded our home for the next 14 days – the Royal Princess
Beautiful isn’t she?
We found our stateroom and dropped our things off before heading to the Horizon Court/Horizon Bistro for lunch.
(No pictures from lunch because we were too hungry and demolished our food very quickly)
As usual, we had to attend the safety drill that afternoon. Afterwards we locked ourselves in our room, freshened up and napped until dinner.
The following day we woke up early because we signed up for a tour around Naples. Our tickets told us to wait at the Concerto dining hall.
Eventually it was time for our group to go. We met up with our tour guide and she gave us these radios and some headphones so we could still hear her from far away. I’ve been on several group tours but this was a first for me. I think it’s quite clever – large tour groups often get separated and the people at the back usually end up not hearing what the guide has to say. My parents like them because they can go around and take photos around the area, and still hear what our guide is saying.
When my dad signed us up for a tour around Naples, he didn’t realize that he had chosen a walking tour. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but it was raining quite hard that day:
We passed by a lot of great locations, unfortunately we couldn’t stop to take photos because the rain made it difficult. I guess I should just be thankful that my mom thought to bring umbrellas for this trip. Some of the people in our group didn’t have any. Eventually they ended up buying some from street vendors who obviously jacked up their prices since they knew we were desperate.
I was wearing canvas sneakers and they were soaked all the way through to my socks within minutes
Piazza del plebiscito
The place was lovely so we snapped a quick photo despite the rain (we only had two umbrellas so my mom and I had to share one)
As we walked around our guide pointed out famous landmarks and told us interesting things about the locations. She showed us a underground subway system that was under construction. Apparently the city kept having to postpone building the subway because every time they dug, they uncovered old historical relics and they would have to either wait for archaeologists to finish studying them, or reroute their train. It sounds like a pain but it must be nice to live in a city with that much history.
Eventually our guide took us to Galleria Borbonica (The Bourbon Tunnel)
It was a series of underground tunnels that connected the royal palace to the military barracks. The tunnels and caves were manmade, which were pretty impressive since we were told they were 40m underground. Our guide also told us that these caves and tunnels were used as bomb shelters back during World War 2. (I don’t have photos from the caves/tunnels because it was too dark and the ones I took turned out blurry.)
After exploring the tunnels, we returned above ground and discovered that the rain stopped and the sun had decided to grace us with its presence. Hooray!
Our guide continued our walking tour around the city. We were able to take more photos this time, phew~
Eventually our group was taken to a pizza restaurant where we had our lunch
I guess its true that Europeans have wine as water because that was the only beverage they served during our meal. (Thankfully I brought my own water.)
After lunch our group got on a bus (finally) to head to the highlight of our tour – Pompeii
On our way there our guide pointed out Mount Vesuvius, the volcano that erupted which led to the destruction of Pompeii
She said it is still an active volcano, which makes it one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, mainly due to its proximity to highly populated cities. She said that the people in the area know the danger they are in but they choose to stay because the feel like the beauty of the place outweighs the danger,
Before we started our walking tour of Pompeii, our guide first took us to a cameo factory:
There we saw the steps on how to make these beautiful carvings
First you need a shell
Which you will cut and polish
Then artists carve intricate images on them
Finally it was time for us to explore
Streets and houses of Pompeii
It’s so easy to get lost in this place because all the streets looked the same to me
Our guide took us to some of the old houses of what seemed to be wealthy families. There we saw artifacts like the remains of this table:
She also took us to the Lunapare, one of the most famous brothels in Pompeii
She told us that prostitutes used to wait inside the rooms for their customers. The gentlemen availing of their services usually wouldn’t see their faces, instead they would look at a painting above the doorway. The paintings depicted two people in sexual acts, and it usually showed a position (or maneuver) that the prostitute inside is known for. Once the customer finds one he liked, he would enter the “bedroom”. This is what the “bed” actually looked like:
They were made out of stone!
That doesn’t look comfortable at all…
I took pictures of the paintings above the doorways, but most of them were quite faded and hard to decipher:
(I think I forgot to rotate this one… but it’s so faded I can’t be sure)
After this we walked around outside again:
That’s our guide (well, her back) speaking to the group. She asked one of us to hold her sign up for her because she needed both hands to speak. She justified it by saying “I’m Italian. I speak with my hands”, lol.
She showed us some of the preserved bodies too
Although they aren’t really bodies. They’re sort of like statues, made from using the voids in the volcanic ash (after the body has decayed) as a cast.
After this our guide gave us some free time to refresh ourselves before heading back to the bus. There were a lot of gift shops and snack stalls in the area, so we decided to get a slushie to cool down. It was extremely hot that afternoon and walking around Pompeii offered very little shade. We were pretty dehydrated by the end of the tour
Mmmm … gelato
We boarded our bus after this and our guide took us back to the port where we returned to our ship. My parents immediately went back to our room to nap (walking in the rain and extreme heat was quite tiring), but I didn’t want to waste my time sleeping so I decided to go the pool deck and relax there. There was a band playing and the atmosphere was pretty festive so I grabbed a lounge chair to enjoy the music and sea breeze. I snapped a few photos of the sun setting too.
Eventually the cruise staff started setting up for Movies Under the Stars. They put cushions and blankets on the lounge chairs and give out free popcorn for those who want to stay and watch a movie.
I stayed there for a while to watch Eddie the Eagle. Eventually it started to rain again so I took that as my cue to head back to our room. I got back just in time for dinner 🙂 We had a nice meal and we decided to catch the musical show at the Princess Theater afterwards before going to bed.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been editing the footage I took from our trip. You can watch two of them below. The first one is us travelling from Manila and our first day on the ship, while the second one is from our tour around Naples and Pompeii:
**All my blog entries related to this trip can be found here : Europe 2016