COULD a Mediterranean cruise be the perfect multi-generational adventure?
Food Editor Kirsty Spence finds out…
Whizzing by the bistros and boutiques of Cannes while aboard the sightseeing Le Petit Train, it’s hard to believe that yesterday I was tucking into paella in Barcelona and tomorrow I’ll be watching the sunrise in Italy.
As a first-time cruiser, it’s quite the adventure, particularly as I’m travelling for a week with my 10-year-old daughter Ava and my 70-something parents – all in one cabin!
Luckily, our deluxe balcony cabin on board MSC Seaview is roomy enough, with a comfy double, a set of bunkbeds and a small bathroom, plus the blessing of a balcony.
At nearly 75m high and with 20 decks, 2,026 cabins, 19 bars and lounges, a gym and a vast array of eateries, this ship is gigantic.
READ MORE TRAVEL NEWS
Travel TV presenter reveals the simple toilet mistake everyone makes at airports
I'm a smart traveller – here's clever & cheap way to store your luggage
The top-deck Jacuzzi quickly becomes my dad’s second home, while Mum kicks back with a piña colada and Ava ditches us for the (free!) kids’ club.
And who can blame her when there are arts and crafts, baking contests, ping-pong and movie nights?
She wears a wristband with her name and cabin number on and has a key card to come and go by herself – and she loves her new-found independence.
Each night, a programme of the next day’s excursions, disembarkation details and on-board highlights is delivered to our cabin.
Most read in Cruise
LIGHT THIS WAY
Witness the Northern Lights with the best cruises around Norway in 2024
SEA IT YOURSELF
Best cruises to book in 2024 to the Caribbean, Spain & Norwegian Fjords
New luxury cruise ship with 12 bars, basketball court & first at-sea Rolex store
The perfect first-timer-friendly mini cruises to Amsterdam, Paris & Hamburg
There’s also an app for booking shows and dinners, and keeping track of spending.
The best bit? Shuttle buses at ports (some costing a small fee) make exploring a breeze for those who can’t walk far but fancy some culture or a souvenir spree.
In Mallorca, we’re whisked into the mountains by coach on MSC’s four-hour Sóller & Vintage Train Ride excursion, £91 per adult, £63 per child.
A pitstop in the idyllic village of Sóller is perfect for a coffee while watching historic trams pootle past.
We return to base with a ride through olive groves and tunnels on the quaint Ferrocarril vintage train, as our guide shares some local history, then wave goodbye to Mallorca through a stunning sunset that evening.
Docking in Barcelona the next morning, we find the paella of dreams, £15, at Taller de Tapas, while being serenaded by a Spanish guitarist.
Mum’s beaming – and it’s not just the sangria, £6.50 a glass (Tallerdetapas.com).
Afterwards, we get lost in the gothic quarter, admiring street art and buying trinkets from the stalls of Las Ramblas.
In Cannes, we take advantage of the pierside Le Petit Train, with audio headsets relaying facts about the film festival and celebs who’ve stayed here, £12 per adult, £5 per child (Cannes-petit-train.com).
We follow it up with a delicious salad niçoise, £14, at La Sousta (La-sousta-restaurant-cannes.com).
THE ITALIAN JOB
Letting out a gasp, I draw back the curtain on day five to reveal a picture-postcard Italian cliffside dotted with buildings in pinks, blues and yellows.
Today, Ava and I join an excursion to Genoa’s famous aquarium, where we spy Nemos, seahorses and sharks, and spend ages cooing over the playful dolphins.
Meanwhile, Mum and Dad are on the Genoa Panoramic Tour, taking in historic sights like Christopher Columbus’ birthplace and panoramic views from Castelletto Hill, all from the comfort of a coach, £33 per adult for a three-hour tour.
Further south, La Spezia is our final stop.
With the mercury hitting 36°C, I’m the only one up for heading shoreside and we all benefit from time apart!
I walk the palm-lined promenade, browse a flea market, find the best gelato of the trip at Gelateria Artigianale, £2 for two scoops, plus pick up Italian wool socks, £20, from Souvenirs & Gallery.
Known as the gateway to the national park of Cinque Terre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Spezia is a hidden gem.
Back onboard, there’s no chance of getting bored, with two bowling alleys, a casino, zipline, dance classes and a Broadway-style theatre.
Round every corner, there’s something to see, and the dazzling main atrium, with its Swarovski-encrusted staircases (rumoured to have cost £10k a step!), champagne bar, pianists and singers, is the hub.
One night, we even watch the ship’s officers take to the dance floor in their finery.
But it’s not all ball gowns and tuxedos – there’s a poolside foam party complete with DJ and a killer sunset.
And the final night sees all four of us dressed up at the family disco, dancing to the Macarena…
“I could get used to this fanciness,” Ava whispers as I tuck her into her bunk later on. I reckon I know at least three other people who could, too.
A seven-night Mediterranean cruise on MSC Seaview, setting sail in 2024, costs from £779 per person full-board.
Alcoholic drinks packages cost from £34 per person per day (Msccruises.co.uk).
The ship’s Aurea Spa is a must.
Book the Relaxing Wave, £101, for a 30-minute massage, 30-minute facial and access to the steam, sauna and relaxation areas, including a geyser experience that blasts you with cold jets and hot steam.
Read More on The Sun
I love my new Turkey teeth but trolls say they're the worstthey've ever seen
Exotic island yet to become popular with Brits – with amazing weather & flamingos
Book the ship’s Butcher’s Cut and pick your steak, from £31, straight out of the meat-ageing fridges.
The side of smoked mashed potato is divine, too.
Source: Read Full Article