How exciting our first cruise and that to with our 16 month baby and my 5 month pregnant belly. As we were living in Marseille near the port we were used to seeing the big cruise boats arriving near the port and watching them as the sun set. So we decided to book our mediterranean cruise which would board at Marseille, then onto Savona, Rome, Tunisia, Palma de majorca and back to Marseille.
The boat itself is equipped with many things to keep you occupied; indoor and outdoor swimming pool, theatre room, restaurants, casinoes, dance club, children’s playroom, spa, piano bars, outdoor play area. Of course we could probably comfortably stay on the ship but we are too adventurous for that.😄
Our first evening and formal dinner on boat and I was starting to worry as I started getting severe pains in my belly, so early night for me, the doctor onboard recommended. No time for me to discover the dazzling night spectacles on the boat. Kiara on the other hand with her little truck was keen to discover the whole boat, with daddy running after her. She was just beginning to walk so the little truck was a genius idea (mums idea😀)
So first night on board, it was a stormy night on the sea and you could feel the waves crashing on the boat. A beautiful view from our window, just the deep sea, with the moon glittering on the sea waves. Feeling much better the next morning and looking forward to our first stopover, Savona.
If you arrive by the cruise ship one of the first monuments you will see is the Torre Leon Pancaldo, a tower near the port which sometimes holds exhibitions. If you like chapels and cathedrals there is the Sistine chapel and not too far is the Cathedrale di Nostra Signora Assunta. We just had a few hours to stop so we decided to walk around the town and walked through a cute local market (where yes I managed to go crazy on a few local products.)
Back on the boat for our candlelit 3 course dinner (you also have the choice for a burger quick style dinner) but we opt for the romantic candlelit dinner with our Kiara and amusing it was. Especially to watch Kiara swallowing and playing with her spaghetti and broccoli. Smiling at all the passers by who all stop to speak to her, no room for privacy, all eyes on us, well on Kiara at least.
Today’s stop is Rome, I am very excited today as I love historical towns and have never been to Rome, it is a bit of a train journey from Civitavecchia to Rome and Kiara is in her naughty and energetic mood. She is discovering to walk and no longer wants to be in the pushchair, which is great on one hand but also tricky when you are in a crowded train with no room to move. For once in an Italian train, we are the loudest. Luckily we are with a friendly bunch who are all giving her sweets. Inside my head I am thinking that is probably not a great idea, she is going to turn into a little gremlin with all that sugar.
So beautiful Rome, here we are. It is like walking through history (minus all the tourists and their high-tech cameras; we are guilty.) So first stop was to see the Colosseum, absolutely beautiful, but wait a minute why is it so silent? Kiara look at this amazing historical building… Hello Kiara…. yes she is sleeping and that too deeply. Ok, so she has missed our little tour of the Colosseum, Ancient city, Roman Forum,Arch of Titus, House and Temple of vestals, Palatine Hill, Trevi Fountain…….. but she does wake up for the “Italian gelati”.
Tunis and Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
For our next stop, Tunisia, we decided to do a coach tour (something I am not overly keen on as I feel like a sheep being herded with a time constraint attached to me). Although I am keeping an open mind on this trip. We were taken to a perfumery and then a walk through the winding zouk markets; where inevitably we were herded into a carpet shop. Seriously am I really going to spend the precious few hours we have; haggling for a carpet and then walking along with my pregnant belly, pushchair and carpet…..the thought is tempting but not enough:) Denis is also looking at me with suspicious eyes and trying to find en escape route out of this zouk market maze.
Maybe the coach tour was a good idea as you know you have to be back on the bus before it leaves without you. Next stop the town of Sidi Bou Said. This picturesque town is located on s steep cliff overlooking the Meditteranean sea. The cobbled streets are lined with sovenir shops, cafes, art and craft shops. Unfortunately with the tour bus the time you have here is just not sufficient. You can spend the whole day here discovering the hidden little cute streets.
Back on the boat we decide to do a tour of our boat, as it is off season we are literally the only people out on deck. We enjoy this moment with some playtime with Kiara and discovering the outdoor captain boat.
Palma de Majorca, Spain
Our final stop, Palma de Majorca. We decided to do a tour to the Dragon Caves. A lthough a bit touristy, these stallelite caves are stunning. There is also a little boat ride with ‘baroque’ music which is quite fun. Ofcourse at this moment Kiara decided to sleep throughout the whole tour. We would definitely come back here again and explore the beautiful countryside.
So in conclusion we had quite an amazing trip on the boat, it was something we never really thought about doing but would definitely do it again. If you are looking for a more organised way to travel then maybe try a cruise. If you don’t like the idea of doing the tours with the cruise boat don’t worry you don’t have to, you can also organise your own tour privately, just make sure you prepare in advance of what you want to do in the limited time you have.
Feel free to tell us about your experience with cruising, and if you have any questions we would be very happy to answer them.