Saturday, May 18, 2013

Choosing Our Excursions For Our Upcoming Cruise

With only 147 days to go until our NCL cruise on the Jade begins, Veronica and I have looked over  all of the port excursions that are currently being offered.
Most ports we will do on our own but there are 2 that we decided to take.
Our cruise begins in Venice and we have planned to arrive a couple of days early in order to see some of the sights that Venice has to offer. We will be doing this on our own without any tour groups or excursions. We will have Thursday and Friday to take in as much as possible during that time period. I plan on setting up a private gondola ride serenade for Veronica and I.
We will have to check out of our Venice hotel in time to get to the pier and go through the embarkation process.
After being on our cruise ship for 7 days, the ship arrives back in Venice and allows passengers whose cruise will end at that point to get off the ship.
Since Veronica and I booked a back to back cruise, we will be at the half way point of our cruise, with another week yet to come.
We will be able to leave the ship but we will leave our luggage in our cabin while we go on the first of 2 shore excursions.
We have decided to take an cruise line offered excursion to Murano and Burano.
Murano is the place where Murano glass objects and beads come from. Burano is know for their time consuming hand made lace items.
We will need to meet our excursion representative at 8:15 AM at which time we will board a small boat and head out to these two small islands that are near Venice.
Our excursion will last 4 1/2 hours, which will give us plenty of time to explore more of Venice itself before having to board our ship for the second leg of our cruise.
Below is the NCL write up of this excursion in Venice:


Murano Glass & Burano Lace
Visit two of the Venetian lagoon's islands, Murano and Burano; the first world-famous center of glass-making and the second renowned for its lace. First you'll travel along a portion of the beautiful Giudecca Canal passing St. Mark's Basin and other landmarks, then cross the lagoon to Murano, where you'll visit a glass factory and have a unique opportunity to see how beautiful Murano glass is made, followed by some time for shopping. After visiting the glass factory, continue with a leisurely trip across the lagoon to lovely little Burano with its gaily painted houses and brightly painted fishing boats. Enjoy a walk through the streets of this charming and picturesque island where fishermen are always mending nets or repairing their boats. On Burano, one encounters a way of life that is rapidly disappearing. Women sometimes sit in their doorways working on a piece of lace. Burano lace is extremely delicate and time-consuming to create. A small piece may take several weeks to complete, making it highly prized. You'll have a chance to admire some of these works of art when you visit one of the stores that sell the famed Burano lace. Note: Although most walking is on level ground, passengers with physical limitations are advised that there are some steps on both islands. The order of sights may vary. THIS TOUR IS ONLY AVAILABLE FOR NORWEGIAN SPIRIT SAILINGS STARTING IN BARCELONA AND ENDING IN VENICE AND FOR NORWEGIAN JADE GUESTS COMBINING 2 CONSECUTIVE SAILINGS.

We will be taking our other excursion on the last day for a port of call, which is in Naples, Italy. Instead of staying in the Naples area, we decided to take a 9 1/2 hour excursion that allows us to travel and see the Amalfi coast, Sorento, Salerno, the town of Amalfi...all by bus along with  actually taking a boat ride just off of the Amalfi coast. We will get to stop and walk around the towns previously mentioned along with a lunch stop and time to shop or maybe just go to a outdoor cafe and people watch. Below is the NCL write up of this excursion leaving from Naples:
Sorrento & Amalfi By Land & Sea
Enjoy a very scenic and relaxing excursion, experiencing Italy's most famous coastline by motor launch, with minimal walking involved, and time within the beautiful village of Sorrento. After an approximate one-hour drive by coach, you will arrive to the town of Salerno, located at the very end of the Amalfi Coast. There you'll board a private motor launch and enjoy a 45-minute cruise, viewing the Dolomitic cliffs, which at many points, tower perpendicularly out of the sea and have been sculpted by nature into fantastic shapes. Amalfi is situated at the mouth of a deep gorge along the coast. Learn how this was a major shipping port during the Middle Ages and it was also an independent maritime state. Enjoy a narrated walk around the town center of Amalfi, with your guide, who will explain the history and architecture of the Cathedral of St. Andrew as you marvel at the exterior architecture, a mix of Moorish and early Gothic design. Its main treasures are the 11th-century bronze doors from Constantinople. Enjoy some free time on your own in Amalfi, for maybe shopping or relaxation, before cruising back to Salerno where your coach will be waiting to drive you to Sorrento. With its luxuriant vegetation and sun-drenched climate, Sorrento became a favorite resort of wealthy Romans. Experience this cliff-top setting, with an imposing Duomo, distinctive for its 13th-century cloister, and a charming, flower-filled town, all there for you to explore. Enjoy lunch with wine in a local restaurant in Sorrento before returning back to your ship. Note: Tour is not available for winter sailings. Guests must be able to walk approximately 500 yards over even surfaces with 5 - 10 steps. There are several steps to access the lunch venue. Comfortable walking shoes, hat, and sunscreen are highly recommended. Walking during the free time is at the guests' discretion. The drive between Naples and Salerno is approximately 45 minutes and from Sorrento to Naples is approximately 1 1/2 hours. Guests wishing to enter the Cathedral of St. Andrew on their own must ascend approximately 60 or more very steep steps. The order of the tour may be reversed. The motor launch has both inside and outside seating. In case of bad weather conditions and/or rough seas, the cruise to Amalfi will be cancelled and an orientation drive of the Amalfi Coast will be made instead. Due to traffic restrictions of the Sorrento center a short walk from the motorcoach drop off point to the main center and vice versa will be required. During summer months expect extreme heat, crowded venues and long lines. We recommend that you dress in layers and bring bottled water. 
I am sure that we will a great time on these 2 excursions plus there will be plenty of opportunities to take photos.

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