Friday, June 24, 2011

Destination Inspiration: Mediterranean Cruise

and I am very excited to be doing my first 
guest post on Shelli's 
adorable blog today.
I love design as much as I love traveling and look 
to Shelli's blog for daily inspiration!


My love for travel began at an early age.  Once I hit junior high, my parents would give my younger brother and I the option to go on a family vacation in lieu of Christmas gifts.  I am so grateful we always chose the trips, because not only did we have an amazing time in great locales, we spent quality family time together.My husband and I decided to plan a Mediterranean cruise for our 5th wedding anniversary last July.  
We flew into Barcelona, arriving a few days early to explore this unique city. We are so glad we did - we loved every minute of it!  We stayed at Hotel Pulitzer - it turns out Paloma Contreras of La Dolce Vita and High Gloss Magazine was staying just around the corner the same time.  I was ecstatic when she commented on my blog after the fact.  Must do's in Barcelona if you are short on time:  Bus Turistic, tapas and cafe con leche.
Barcelona
After departing Barcelona and a day at sea, we arrived in Naples.  Here begins the most exhausting, yet most amazing vacation 
days of our lives.  We opted for an excursion featuring Pompeii,  
Sorrento and Capri.  A lot to fit into one day but oh so worth 
it!
Pompeii
Sorrento
Capri
Our next port was Civitavecchia where we drove to Rome - this day was all for my husband {he is a history buff and wanted nothing more than to 
stand in the Colosseum}.  Surprisingly, this turned out to be one of my 
favorite days too.
Rome
Port number three, Livorno, we travelled to the Tuscan countryside and visited Volterra {familiar to the Twilight fans} and San 
Gimignano.  One of our favorite parts of the day {and the trip} was lunch 

and wine tasting at Tenuto 
Torciano.  Luigi {the owner} was hysterical and such a great 
host!  As a side note, they have a shipping center in Chicago so we can 
still order their wine in the States.
Volterra + San Gimignano
Villefranche was the only stop where we did not book an excurison.  We took the train to Monaco and were so exhausted from our 
prior days travels that after we took the train to Nice, we immediately turned 

around to crash back on the ship.  We wish we would have explored Eze and 
Nice but it was nice to have a more relaxing day.  This truly was the most 
picturesque port upon arrival.
Villefranche + Monaco
Our last port was Toulon where we travelled to St. Tropez and Port Grimaud.  Famous for lavender,wine and Brigitte Bardot wearing the first 
bikini {on the beach below, top center}.
St. Tropez + Port Grimaud
Once home, we couldn't 
even identify our favorite part of the trip.  It was all so amazing!  
Highly, highly recommended!




THE FYI:
- Our flights were free with our American Express Delta SkyMiles card.  We religiously use it to pay for everything we buy {much like a bank card} but we are also diligent about paying off the balance in full each month to avoid the sky high interest charges.   If you have the self control, these cards pay for themselves tenfold.
-  We truly believe cruises are the best value out there - think of the fee as an all-inclusive for your "hotel", food and entertainment.  The only additional costs are excursions and alcohol.  Travelling prime season, we paid around $1,000 per person {we always book the cheapest rooms on the ships - interior staterooms - and would rather spend our money on land vs. on a room we will spend little time in}.  Given the number of excursions we booked {all done through the cruiseline}, we paid nearly another $1,000 per person {again, highly worth it on this particular cruise}.  Our excursions also inluded transportation, food and alcohol, helping to justify the costs.
- English was spoken every where we went. Although, it made both of us want to learn another language once we got home.
- We left early July {and were in Europe for the 4th}.  The weather was HOT and humid.  Keep in mind this is also prime tourist season in Europe so everything costs more and there are a lot of crowds.  The good news was we didn't have a drop of rain and very few clouds.
- Most cathedrals and churches in Europe require pants/capris and sleeves, including all of Vatican City.  Make sure you pack appropriately because many tours {even in Spain and France} include a visit to at least one along the way.
- An investment in comfy walking shoes is essential.  Many European streets/walkways are cobblestone and/or uneven.
-If you want a full run down of each of our days {which you will find to be extremely detailed, visit here}. 
Thanks for having me Shelli!  
I really hope each and every one of your readers gets to experience a trip equally as amazing in their liftetime!
Sarah
------------------------------------------------
Do you have a Destination Inspiration post to submit for consideration? email alamodemaven@gmail.com
------------------------------------------------
Enter this week's giveaway for an awesome monogrammed pillow from Embroidery Collection 

5 comments:

  1. Gorgeous places! Definitely on my list of where I need to go!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really need to book a flight some where!!!! =)))

    ReplyDelete
  3. It looks like a fabulous trip!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can't take it!! I wanna go somewhere fabulous!! Anyone wanna watch my four kids!!!??? ;)
    www.moddybee.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love travel posts -- this is great! Italy is our next destination (hopefully!), this is a great way to see a lot of it!! thanks for all the tips!

    ReplyDelete