The last few weeks have been crazy for the Cabe household. July started off great with a 7 day Mediterranean cruise. We drove back to Clermont from Barcelona, and two days later turned around and flew to the US. Since landing in Atlanta, we have been going non-stop. This is the first chance I have had to sit down and blog about our amazing week at sea. So here we go!
Matthew and I always start planning our next vacation before the current vacation is even over. Last August, while sitting on the beach at Cap d'Agde, we started making plans for summer 2011- our last summer (meaning our last summer vacation) in France. We had so many places left on our 'to see' list! How on earth were we going to decide where to go?! I was about 6 months pregnant at this point, and the thought of spending Matthew's 3 week vacation on a whirlwind driving tour of Europe with a baby did NOT sound appealing! We started throwing around the idea of a cruise. I did a lot of research on cruising with a baby, and everyone had very positive things to say about it. I found a Carnival cruise that left from Barcelona (a 6 hour drive from us), docked at Monaco, Rome, Livorno (Pisa), Naples, and Sicily. Italy (specifically Rome) was high on our list of places to go, so this all sounded perfect. Our good friends, The Pages, decided to join us and were set to go! Jen and I have been talking, planning, and day dreaming about this cruise since we first introduced the idea last fall. I couldn't believe when it was finally time to get on the ship!
Matthew has a cousin that is living part of the year in Girona, Spain, which is about an hour north of Barcelona. We decided to drive down Saturday morning, spend the night with Jen and Steven, and then drive the last hour Sunday in time to board the ship. Due to lots of construction and horrible traffic, we arrived much later than we wanted, which meant a much-too-short of a visit. We still had a great evening grilling and hanging out on their HUGE terrace overlooking the city of Girona. We had a little bit of time Sunday morning to get a quick walking tour of Girona before getting back in the car.
We found the port in Barcelona really easily. Matthew dropped Jacob, me, and the bags off at our terminal and went to park the car. Jacob and I waited, and waited, and waited for Matthew to come back. He was supposed to be parking in a lot close by, and catching a shuttle bus back. I kept seeing these blue shuttle buses pull in, unload, and leave, with Matthew nowhere to be seen. I finally decided to forget about the crazy roaming charges in Spain and called Matthew on his cell. He hadn't been able to get a bus to stop for him, so he was in the process of running all the way back to the port. Needless to say, by the time we boarded the ship, Matthew was exhausted. No worries though! We were about an hour from setting sail on the Mediterranean! We met up with Freddie and Jen, and stood on the back of the ship as The Carnival Magic pulled away from the dock!
Waiting for Matthew at the port. We made lots of friends with the porters.
We had a great first dinner, and after rigging a privacy curtain around Jacob's crib (using a sheet and magnet clips I brought from home), Jacob was sacked out. Matthew and I splurged on a balcony stateroom so that whoever was on nap duty, or for when Jacob went to sleep at night, we wouldn't be stuck in the room trying to be quiet. The balcony was oh-so worth it! It was super relaxing to sit out on our balcony, sip on a cocktail, and glide along the water.
Fun animal towels for Jacob. Thanks Jose!
(This post is getting kind of long, so stay with me while I recap just the first day, and I promise I will give you a break...until tomorrow (I hope) when I will try to add another post).
The first stop was Monaco. We had visited Monaco when we were in Nice at Christmas with my family. After not being too impressed, we decided to stay on the ship (hoping everyone else got off the ship) and enjoy the pools. Freddie and Matthew did get off for a few hours in the afternoon to play a hand of Black Jack at Casino Royale. Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly the suave James Bond experience they were hoping for. But, it is one more thing they can check off their bucket list. Matthew volunteered to cover Jacob's afternoon nap, and I spent a very relaxing 2 hours at the adult-only "Serenity" pool area, alternating reading and napping in a huge round cabana bed.
View of Monte Carlo from our balcony.
Ok, see, that wasn't too long. Right? Rome tomorrow!