The incredible voyage

Gayathri Jaya Kumar, class-X, IES (Bhavans)
Wednesday, March 1, 2017


The wonderful trip that had been the most awaited event of the year. The dream of our European excursion on sea was put to reality by the Norwegian Epic Cruise Line. A Freestyle Cruising through the Mediterranean Sea. The preparation started when we got the visa from the Italian Embassy (documents needed for visa are flight ticket, Hotel details, 6months salary bank statement, salary certificate , company letter, travel insurance, marriage certificate in English , documents from school and visa fees). After receiving the visa, soon we purchased the cruise tickets by a special offer on the 3rd of July 2016. The next step was to purchase the air tickets; luckily we bought it on a special offer.

The NCL Norwegian Epic cruise, an entertainer ship of seventeen floors appeared like a giant in front of us. Yes! It is a miniature world with all luxury, one week journey, just not enough to enjoy this world. A ship that holds 4,800 passengers and 1850 crew members, with overall length of 330 meters. The world’s first family cruise with ice bar, villas and modern café. Accommodations ranged from studio suits, spa, state rooms, haven suits villas and private courtyards. Our state rooms with balcony had been on the 12th deck.

Wide range of dinning facilities including 22 varieties of bar attached restaurants, out of this, 5 restaurants were complementary and open for 24hours. You will enter a world of all possibilities in dinning with Italian, Spanish, Mediterranean, Chinese, Indian and so on. Each day, there is a spectacular variety in menu. You just simply eat and spend your time.
Spend Your Leisure With The Entertaining Entertainments Aboard!!

1) The largest spa at the sea.
2) Art gallery (works, painting of well-known artists are on display and on sale). All the portraits in art gallery are replaced by another set every day.
3) Well equipped fitness center.
4) Aqua park with hot tubs, climbing and rappelling walls, blowing alleys, bar and lounges.
5) Comedy club.
6) Epic Casino for over 18.
7) Splash academy for below 12 years age (they will take care about the children with entertainments with games, dance etc. )
8) Epic theater bar atrium.
9) Epic theater with the capacity of 1600 seats holds variety of shows everyday.
Mostly all the entertainments, games and shows are in the evening and night. There are shows with pay and free of charge. Choice is ours. Only one thing, we have to reserve our seats before 24hrs. Don’t miss out some wonderful free shows like Priscilla Queen of the Desert (a glamorous dance formation), Burn the Floor (an international dance show), Drama, Magic show etc…
10) A badminton, Football, tennis courts (17th floor) and more in other floors
11) Duty free shops (5th floor) of Jewelry, watches, clothing’s, cosmetics, bags, perfumes and liquors etc….
12) Each and every place had professional photographers available for taking our photos and uploading to photo gallery (4th floor).
13) i-Connect internet café.
14) An outdoor poolside deck (15 floor) with food court, 3 swimming pool, hot water pool and water ride etc…
Our trip to Europe started on 29th July midnight from Kuwait airport to Fiumicino Airport (Rome). We reached Roma Terminal by 12:30PM and we took rest. Same day evening, we went for city tour in Hope On Hope Off open bus. It was amazing to see the sacred Vatican Church, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Pompeii, Napoli and identical structured buildings of Italy.

DAY TWO (31st July) – VENICE
It was a wonderful day. Morning we started from Roma Terminal to Venice in a metro train with speed of 300km/hr. We reached the place by 11am. On the way to Venice was a very nice view of full greenery. A place, where all the buildings are structured inside a lagoon. We enjoyed the relaxing gondola drive, experienced beautiful streets and charming pizzas (great taste with low rate). We purchased some venician masks. The mask festival is a specialty of this area. We felt like, not leaving this place. Such a fascinating area of enjoyment. By evening 6pm we returned back by metro to reach our hotel in Roma by 9pm.

DAY THREE (1st August) – COLOSSEUM and ROME VINEYARD with Wine Tasting
A booked tour by City Wonders with an expert guide. We reached by metro to the assembly station. A wonderful group with many nationalities. They guided us to the symbol of ancient Rome – The Colosseum which was built in 72 AD that had facility to hold 55,000 people to watch gladiator combat games and wild animals shows. We visited Palatine Hill also. It was a very sunny day that made us deadly tired. But still we went to Rome vineyards and food tasting in the afternoon. Italy’s culinary delights a special wine tasting and delicious regional foods, with an expert to explain their Italian history and culture.

Another day of guided tour by the Luxury Bus. An unforgettable trip. We visited the city of Florence (Livorno) and the capital of Tuscany. The city of Florence has enchanting sites and villages with medieval heritage, built upon the rolling hills of immersed greenery. We felt really nostalgic with this place, especially with beautiful Wine shops. In the afternoon, we had a typical Italian Lunch in a traditional Tuscan vineyard of a 17th century villa. We were astonished to see how they store wine in huge OAK drums. With decades of storage, they process and sell wine over there. If anyone wants to buy and enjoy wine, you are always welcomed. Anyway we dropped the idea to buy, as we had to start the cruising the next day and was not sure if we were allowed to take it inside. But we enjoyed a variety of wines (free of cost ) during our lunch.
On the way we visited Wine yards, Olive yards, two big basilica, and sweet factory. It was a fabulous trip to enjoy the beauty of neat and clean Italy, even the lush green villages also. We finished our tour by 6pm, reached back to our hotel by metro at 7pm. In the night we had dinner in Italian restaurant, were we enjoyed a variety of pizza. It is a fact that the cheap and best food over there is pizza (Marguerite or Mozzarella cheese with wheat base), even though other varieties of foods were available. There is no discomfort or undigested feelings.


1 st Day in Epic Cruise

This was the most awaited day in our trip, the day we entered the cruise at Civitavecchia port. A one hour journey from Roma terminal. Our boarding time was from 12 noon. We started from our hotel at 10:30am by an luxury van (Mercedes Benz taxi). We expected a huge crowed over there, but it was very calm. In front of the cruise they welcomed us in a special way and our luggage’s’ were taken off by the cruise staff with a blue color tag with our room numbers on it. Our customs checking and full details were collected by officials. They issued an electronic ID with photo for each one of us, to be carried while checking in and out of the ship, and as a room key, for any onboard purchase, booking any show, casino and etc. Finally we reached our luxury room and we found all our luggage’s there. A room with all facilities to accommodate all our stuffs. We went outside the balcony, our eagerness to see the open sea. Our room service staff came and welcomed us, and told us there is complimentary open lunch at 15th floor. As we rushed to the Garden cafe , we were shocked to see the buffet arranged with a variety of mouthwatering foods . At 3pm there was an orientation trip in the ship. 4pm they conducted an emergency drill demonstration and introduction of all the main crew members by the captain. Evening we made a trip inside the ship, to orient ourselves and to arrange the offshore tours for the next day. Quite expensive were the offshore tours arranged by the ship, so we decided to avoid those service. The cruise usually travels in the night and dock at the destination port in the next day morning. We can go for offshore tour and are to be back by boarding time in the evening. Taxi’s with guides and bus are available at the port which is affordable on bargaining. Each day in the evening detailed programme list for the next day is served in the room.
Here, we visited the world’s first university Galileo Galilei – The University of Mathematics and Sciences. The leaning Pisa Tower is a free standing bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its unintended tilt due to inadequate foundation during construction.

It was too sunny. A bottle of 250ml water cost Euro 2.50, which is too costly than wine or beer there. Through the streets of Europe, public drinking water is available, which is safe to drink. 2.40PM evening, we reached back to our ship. We had a lunch from cruise and we took some rest, by that time children went for water rides. In night we enjoyed previously booked show in the ship.

We reached the port of Cannes, France. Our ship that day docked a little away from the port as there was no facility to handle the big ship. Life boats of our cruise carried us to the port. We made a trip in city of Cannes in a city train. Later we caught a cab and went to a perfume factory situated on the top of a hill, the town of Monaco and Monte Carlo, where the world’s richest people reside. Monte Carlo happens to be the area on the hill overlooking the main harbor that houses the casino and luxury cars and hotels.

Today, we roamed around the town of Marseille, in a mini city train. Later we caught a train to a mountain top to see basilica Notre-Dame de la Grade a Catholic church. It had a beautiful panoramic view with hill on one side and surrounded by the sea on the other.

We did not catch a cab today. Just walked through the streets of Barcelona, got on Hop On Hop Off bus and saw the town. It was a very broad and well planned street , we felt really relaxed. They have specified lines for pedestrians, cycles, etc.

We reached the Spanish church, Basilica Sagrada Familia (the church of the Holy family). A large Roman Catholic church made in Gaudic style. In the afternoon we travelled in cable car to view Barca and the Great castle.

A day we explored the miniature world properly. We spent our day engaging in the ship’s activities. We met our Captain Idar Hoydal in the Atrium at 7:30 pm and captured photos. We had dinner in a Japanese restaurant. Below we attached what is onboard freestyle on a sea day…

A day in Naples, the city in Southern Italy. We travelled a cab around Naples. The sceneries were eye catching , the fusion of mountain with sea was just breathtaking.

Many of the beach sides are enjoyed by the tourists especially for sun bath. On the way back we visited the church that resembled the basilica Vatican.

The previous night, we cleared all our onboard liabilities. Packed our baggage’s with color code and kept it outside the room by 11pm. The stewards had carried the luggage’s to the baggage’s section. Next day morning luggage’s were collected using color code at the time allotted for us. On that day we took our breakfast, cancelled our onboard card and bid farewell to our cruise.
The trip was really mind blowing. A world away from daily tensions. A few dedicated days only for the family. A chance to view European culture. A timely planned world of fast life. Here life goes very easily. Utilise your chances to do short tours, but plan it economically. As it is said ‘ The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page’. So travel while you’re young and able as travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. We wish all the readers to develop a mind to give it a try so that in the end, we won’t only regret the chances we didn’t take.

Express your comment on this article

Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2018

Excellent article ,very nice inspirational writing .Congrats Gayathri keep it up

Posted on Thursday, October 5, 2017

Bad trip and scheduling. This whole trip looks very hasty and was done just to show off the background images to friends and relatives. The schedule looks very tight and no time for getting the feel of the places. As if these people were dragging themselves to save each penny spent....hah....hah....hah..

Thomas Varghese
Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2017

Good information.

Posted on Monday, April 24, 2017

very good info and awsome trip. would like to know the total cost of the whole trip

Posted on Friday, April 21, 2017

Excellent.very Nice Article, can you mail to [email protected], about your total expenses for the total trip with visa, any travel agency providing the service here in kuwait or India please inform,Thanks for sharing

sheeja thadeuse
Posted on Saturday, April 1, 2017

Gathru,wonderful experience,u took me up to there thru ur narration

Posted on Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hi Gayathri,
really great job you did. it was narrated very simple to understand .
god Bless

Posted on Saturday, April 1, 2017

Hi Sir,
Can you please tell me how much it approximate cost, and what are the preliminary things we have to do..? my mail id is ([email protected])
Thank you.

Posted on Tuesday, March 28, 2017

very good narration. one doubt , u said VISA requires to submit flight tickets and again u said after VISA u bought flight tickets !! which one is correct ?

Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Well done Gayathri Kuttee.. Appreciated your efforts in writing a detailed travelogue..
Keep traveling and share your experiences more n more..

John V.Thomas
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Excellent Gayathri, Well elucidated, segment wise. Totally fascinating. Pictures are truly captivating. Continue travelling and explore more. All the best.

Ebey Samuel
Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Highly appreciable effort Gayathri !!!!, special appreciation goes to parents also for their encouragement.

Posted on Monday, March 13, 2017

Excellently narrated.
Learn to Travel.
Travel to Learn.

Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2017

Well done Gayathri. I have just finished reading the article you wrote. I want to tell you how much I appreciated your clearly written this topic.

Subin Jagdish
Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2017

Very well described and written!

Well planned trip - would love to join you next time!

Sharon Mathew
Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2017

Excellently narrated. So much information for a first time visitor. Keep on writing such interesting articles. Best of luck Gayathri Jayan.

Sharon, Mary & Baiju

Anwar Sadath Thalassery.
Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2017

Nice Article Keep it up... Realy Inspiration....

Suresh V Balakrihnan
Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2017

Excellent. You have said it. The world is a book and those who do not travel, read only one page. Keep traveling, and never forget to share your experiences with your readers. An enticing travelogue.

Posted on Sunday, March 12, 2017

Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Well-narrated article Gayathri, truly inspirational! Thanks for sharing

J Jose
Posted on Sunday, March 5, 2017

Hi can you mail to [email protected], about your total expenses for cruise.

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