I know, I know: we had left this summer with me proclaiming that the cruise was not exactly my holiday style. But in the last article I focused mainly on the negative aspects, speaking of the positive ones very briefly. Of course, the cruise remains a type of sui generis holiday – with very big differences from company to company – but I discovered that there is one thing that I really like: being in the middle of the sea, on top of a city that moves, to people watching.
And that’s why, when Norwegian Cruise Line asked us to take a ride on one of its ships in the Mediterranean, the Epic, I said yes without hesitation.
Day 1: the American impact
Contrary to what may seem to be Norwegian Cruise Line, it is not Norwegian, but American: Norwegian was one of the founders, Knut Kloster.
So the impact, when you get on an NCL ship is more or less the one of landing in America, with all the pros and cons of the case.
The choices made on the ship are geared towards an American clientele (but taking into account the diversity and also including more interesting options for European customers), so go-ahead to Las Vegas casinos, to Broadway shows, to the Chicago stand up comedy and the Los Angeles music scene.
But in the end it is the Americans who travel on the ship who are the real protagonists of this journey and put themselves to the record: I love Americans.
Above all I love that American lady who, as I entered the theater for the conventional pre-departure instructions, pointed me out in front of everyone and exclaimed “Oh darling, your T-shirt rocks!”.
I regret not having embraced her.
In fact the beauty of being on an American ship, and in particular on an NCL, is the freestyle cruising style that allows you to get out of the usual grills: there are no times to eat, you can decide to go whenever you want, in some restaurants also in the middle of the night, you can travel in company, but you can also choose to travel alone (and no one will make you weigh it!), you can decide to throw yourself into entertainment or choose a path of just relaxation.
And finally, there is no mandatory code of clothing. And this is how a cruise turns into anthropological observation among people who cross the ship with flip-flops and costumes, people pulled like their daughter’s communion, bedcups with Crocs and virago in heels 15 with incredible thigh lifts.
David Foster Wallace smiled at me slyly from up there.
Day 2: when you are the expert
The first stop of the Epic was the port of Livorno, from where we first reached Lucca and then Pisa. Being the only Italian of the group has automatically transformed me into a proud standard-bearer that promptly lavished on indispensable advice: cappuccino for lunch is not drunk, Alfredo pasta is not Italian, among the desserts there is not only tiramisu ( see the entry: brigidini) and the checked tablecloth have tourist restaurants.
Yes, I only offer food-related advice, it’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s for a good cause (culinary). Although the meteorological premises were of the worst, having arrived in Pisa we were able to admire Piazza dei Miracoli in all its splendor and, above all, to observe carefully the most interesting art show in the world: the people who try to take a picture taking the Tower of Pisa with your hands, your feet or something else. Basically you seem to be on the set of the Thriller video.
To top off the evening comes the icing on the cake: after dinner it awaits us at the Priscilla theater, the queen of the desert. Which means that I, who have always loved her, expressed myself in little shouts of jubilation even when I was eight for the whole performance.
Day 2: the French allure
I hadn’t been in Cannes for almost ten years. Although the mega yachts are increasingly mega, the souvenirs are always full of lavender and the shop windows of the pastry shops still have bucket butter, when I set foot in a place where French is spoken I am always incredibly happy. Or maybe it’s just that I like to talk to the guy.
After exploring the old part of the city, having chosen which yacht I would have bought if I had been a multimillionaire, wandering around like a crazy woman looking for a pair of flip flops in November, having managed not to be persuaded by an au citron tartlet to eat it, I chose the most privileged view to watch the sunset on the Côte d’Azur: the window of the Finnish sauna on the Epic. But only after a stop in the whirlpool.
After all this relaxation, will you want to go to sleep? Of course not, we went to the circus. Already because on the Epic there is also a circular theater where, between one course and another, you can hold your breath for the acrobatics of gymnasts, tightrope walkers and jugglers.