Joost van Driessen and his family cruised the Mediterranean aboard Nieuw Amsterdam in July and chronicled the journey for us. Here is his first entry, enjoy!
We are Joost, Jolanda, Kim (12) and Rhodé (8). A Dutch family, cruising the Mediterranean in July 2012. Our cruise on the Mediterranean started on the 18th of July 2012. You will read about our trip (and the two days before the cruise) on this blog in the next weeks.
But we started long before Day 0. In order to get the most out of the cruise and ports, a good preparation is essential. Months before departure we made a list of the highlights. Every port has some “must sees.” On the internet are some great sources of course. You can just Google, but also use the shore excursions brochure of the cruise line or an independent company like Viator. Their excursions are quite expensive and not always interesting for kids, but they know where you should go. For compiling the “to-do” list, it is an ideal source. We also use the ratings of other travelers. Sites like Tripadvisor are ideal to check whether an activity is suitable for you, especially if you are traveling with kids. Of course we also share our own experiences afterwards so other travelers can benefit from this.
And then there is the packing. On cruise vacations there are usually three moments in the day that you get (re)dressed: In the morning before going into the port, freshening up after returning from your excursion and later on preparing for the evening. So we pack a wide variety of clothes for each occasion, ranging from an afternoon at the Lido pool to formal night. Of course we had to make sure that we packed the essentials for the first couple of days in our carry-on luggage. You never know when you will meet your checked luggage again. You don’t want all your swimming trunks in one bag that travels around the world (separate from you) and ending up at the pool in your tuxedo. We try to pack (reasonably) wrinkle-free. Bundle wrapping is a great way to achieve (or at least try) this. Check this site: http://www.onebag.com/pack.html. It really works!