THE MAGICAL SPELL OF CRUISING
Hitting the high seas on a European getaway with MSC Cruises.
Where do you go if you’re planning a family holiday for five couples of varying ages – plus your darling, 90-year-old Uncle Ted? We had to find something that fitted the bill for the entire clan and, finally, it dawned on us: a cruise. After all, what other holiday caters to your every want and whim, lets you explore somewhere new and magical almost every day – and ensures you only have to unpack your bags once? Welcome to the wonderful world of cruising. Countless emails and international calls later, the tickets were booked and our bags were packed, ready for an 11-night Eastern Mediterranean cruise with MSC Cruises, on board the MSC Armonia.
We set sail from Venice – and what an incredible place to begin the journey. Wandering its labyrinth of streets is akin to being a kid running around an old-world maze. Will you ever find your way out of this magical place? And do you really want to? Let’s face it, it’s not often that you can turn a corner by mistake and end up in somewhere as fantastic as the Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square). And, of course, romance is everywhere. It’s embedded in the glorious Venetian architecture, and blooms in the vibrant potted flowers that adorn the buildings in its narrow backstreets. Romance abounds in the city’s many bistros, bars and meeting places, and twinkles on the water of its canals. Little wonder then, that ccoples flock from all over the world to experience a gondola ride with their loved one. We were no exception – it had to be done.
Onboard, everyone in our party settled into shipboard life very easily. Being a European cruise, there was a mix of nationalities and from day one we were one big melting pot of people, all out to have a great time. Sailing out of Venice down the Grand Canal was sheer sensory overload. As the ship slipped through the water, magnficent buildings such as the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute and Doge’s Palace faded into the distance as we cruised towards our first port Ancona.