Sunday, 22 May 2016

NCL Epic - Western Med Cruise - Day 7


The ship edges its way backwards into the port of Naples very early.  I know this because on waking the first thing to greet us as we pull back the curtains from the balcony are several cement silos looming over us; oddly enough it appears you can have a walking tour up to the top of these which must be of great interest to industrial architects and cement lovers the world over.  
Coffee and showers before the aerobic climb up the 14 flights of stairs for breakfast, then following Tom's Port Guides we launch ourselves into the depths of Naples. If you're on foot the two big things to see are the beautiful Umberto Gallleria and the Royal Buildings - of course being Italy one is in the process of restoration and the other looks like its being completely rebuilt. Beautiful nonetheless, marble floors & glass domes.


Naples has a bad rep (in fact if you read Toms guide and had never seen a city before you would probably lock yourself in your cabin until the ship had put a few miles of water between yourself and the coast) but to be fair its like any other city - be aware and don't wander about with a sign saying 'dumb tourist' stuck to your head. It's not our first time in Naples- we had visited on a previous Amalfi Coast tour - visiting Pompeii, Herculaneum,and  Paestum. I would recommend that you only visit the massive archeological museum in Naples after first visiting Pompeii or Herculaneum to get everything in context - also I would say Herculaneum is superior  to Pompeii; less crowds, a much better feel for the layout of this then  dockside town - and the buildings are in a much better condition as they were covered in a different material than that which covered Pompeii.


The other popular alternative is to take the train or hydrofoil to Capri or Sorrento - personally I found Capri to be a bit dull last time so we took the hydro to Sorrento (more expensive but faster and more naturally air conditioned than the hot suburban little train ). 


Couple of good tips from Toms guide; one being that you cant buy return tickets for the ferry - you must buy another ticket in Sorrento and a tip is to buy this when you arrive. Of course we forgot to do this, its not an issue when you're the only cruise liner docked but it could be if the port was busy and everyone had the same idea as yourself.



Sorrento is still a lovely (if expensive) little town. The old town is charming and you only need to get lost down a few alley ways before you find a nice trattoria for lunch, we find a lovely little place filled with lemon trees and enjoy a wood fired pizza and a cpl of beers in the sun.


The weather stays great all day and we arrive back onboard in the mid afternoon after replenishing  bottled water supplies at the port. We are back at Cagneys tonight for dinner (Oysters Rockefeller, baked potato soup and Veal on the bone which is to die for and the surf and turf for Jackie) - a lovely window seat again - as our dinner is served the ship starts to slip away out to sea.




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