It's 68 days until I depart on Norwegian Epic from Rome to Barcelona, 3 countries in 4 days and more photographic opportunities than you can shake a literal stick at, to say I'm beyond excited is an understatement.
At the tender age of 41 new experiences don't happen every day and it's fair to say that I've dreamt of going on a cruise for quite a long time and if I had a list of places I've longed to visit you can bet that Rome, Barcelona and Florence would definitely be on my list so to see them all in a week is very much a dream come true.
I've a pile of European travel books on my night stand and I just don't know where to start, how do you pick the best experiences in every single city and then at the same time get the most out of a ship which certainly promises to live up to it's name, over 40 restaurants and bars, multiple entertainment extravaganzas including a touring production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, yes that's a certainty for this musical loving lady.
My daughter Looby, not a fan of boats, we know this, but even she said I must go on the waterpark on the ship, I'm not surely I'm even nearly brave enough to try the big plughole slide, I only ever went on theme park rides under duress, I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to adrenalin filled activities.
One place I have to go and this is a certainty, Tibidabo, a retro theme park on the side of a mountain with the best views of Barcelona on the sky walk, yes it's a theme park but it's 100 years old and it's so much prettier with a retro feel and amazing views, no doubt one of the reasons Woody Allen chose to film Vicky Christina Barcelona there.
You know what I'm most looking forward to though? A whole week (there or thereabouts) of unadulterated me time, no schedules other than what I want to do myself, no demanding teenagers (although I'm going to miss them really and Holly the beagle of course who's going on her own doggy holiday) and maybe even time to read a book although I have a feeling there'll be far too much to see and do for that, it's an option though and I may even take it. I've already decided to rise really early every day so I can catch the sunrises when we come into the ports. I intend to take thousands of photographs and write like a demon and you'll be with me the whole way not only here but you'll be able to read my article in Cruise International magazine once that's published.
So I hope you'll enjoy my updates, I hope you'll leave comments and give me your hints and tips if you've been on a cruise of if you've been to any of the cities I'll be visiting, what worked for you? What were your highlights? Is there anything I need to know or be prepared for?
It's going to be quite a journey...