Day 5 – Naples
The day began with a rendezvous with our tour group at Rockin Bar D after a brief breakfast at Topsiders. Today we were to visit the top of Mount Vesuvius, visit a local vineyard and take a tour of Pompeii.
We boarded or bus right by the ship and took a 30 minute drive to Vesuvius. The conventional coach we sat in could only make it part of the way as we then transferred to a special 4×4 bus that would take us up a little further before our hike to the top. The 4×4 ride took around 10 minutes. Although it might sound leisurely, the road to the top was winding and bumpy. Imagine crossing the vehicle movement of Dinosaur with the natural beauty of Kilimanjaro Safaris and you get the idea.
Upon reaching the parking area, we began our ascent to the crater. The hill’s gradient at times reached as much as 40% but the 20 minute hike was well worth it after seeing the views. Make sure you take plenty of water if you are doing it. It’s cooler up there but you’ll still need it.
Once we reached the top our tour guide took us around the crater pointing out hot spots and even helped to demonstrate the incredible echo the crater creates!
After a 20 minute rest in the gift shop (yes, even a volcano has a gift shop!), we began our descent to reach the 4×4 buses. They would take us back to the bus so that we could head to the vineyard for some lunch.
The vineyard was a 10 minute journey from Vesuvius. We arrived at a picturesque winery in middle of the Italian countryside and we greeted by the owner and his staff.
We were led to a covered Gazebo area with tables ready for dinner. The seating area was set among the vines used to produce their famous Lacryma Christi wine. During our three course lunch guests were given the chance to sample 5 types of wines and also a by product using the vines themselves and apricots called “Moonshine”. Lunch was a very Italian affair beginning with Bruschetta, salami and cheese followed by spaghetti and finally a traditional Italian cake. The tour advertised a tour of the winery and how it was made and bottled but none of this happened but we did enjoy a 2 hour lunch and guests had the opportunity to buy the wines they tasted. A little disappointing not to get what we expected but an authentic Italian experience none the less.
We had anticipated the tour to end by 4pm due to the length of time advertised our cruise booklet and on the Disney cruise website but as lunch did not end until 3pm that was looking unlikely, we still had Pompeii to visit!
The drive to Pompeii took another 20 minutes and each of us were provided with a listening device to hear our guide. Upon arrival, we entered the grounds of old Pompeii and began to tour the vast site. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about the area, almost too much. The slow walk talk in a lot of the same sights and after 40 minutes or so, many people began to switch off. It wasn’t that was she was saying wasn’t interesting it was the pace in which it happened that people were beginning to tire of. Another issue that became clear was the timing of that. Under the impression that the tour would finish around 4, several of the group had booked Palo reservations for 6pm, a time that they know realised they were going to miss. All of a sudden it seemed that our guide realised were running out time sped up the last part of the Pompeii tour. Unfortunately, they looked to be the most interesting of all.
By 5.15 we had exited the site and made our way to a nearby shopping area. We had been told that we would have 30 minutes shopping time before leaving. 5.45 came and no sign of a bus. We then discovered that a member of the group had become injured (nothing serious) but a policeman arrived on the scene and the Disney rep and tour guide dealt with them. Everyone else sat around but there was still no bus. Finally, at 6.30, our bus appeared and a very grumpy driver ushered us all aboard leaving behind the Disney rep and guest as they had to wait for a member of the ship’s medical team.
The bus took another 30 minutes to arrive back in port. It was now 7pm and all aboard was originally 6.45. Luckily, as it was a Disney excursion and they waited for our arrival.
Having arrived back on board at 7 we had 30 minutes in which to get ready for dinner at Palo. Not the relaxing start to thd evening we hoped for but we still made it on time. If you have never been to Palo, it is an adult only restaurant on Deck 10 aft that provides the best dining onboard. To eat there you will pay a $20 up charge but the food is spectacular! That evening I enjoyed a 6 course meal that included such delights as pizza, lobster, beef (the best I have ever tasted) and the famous Chocolate Souflee. I have heard a lot about this dessert and every crew member told us it really is that good. So, I had very high expectations. Ordered during your main course, the souflee is cooked to order and takes around 25 minutes. Well, I can report that it is spectacular!!!!
With Palo over, we headed down to our usual restaurant to see our table buddies as it was Andrea’s birthday (Happy Birthday again Andrea if you are reading this!) we joined the for the singing of Happy Birthday (and I may have slipped in an extra dessert!!)
Tonight was the Pirates in the Caribbean deck party with fireworks. We headed to deck 10 to enjoy the show but unfortunately the fireworks did not go off. We discovered that due to the incident in Pompeii the boat was nearly 2 hours late leaving port. The Italian authorities would not let Disney set of fireworks in their waters but with a two hour delay we had not yet made it to Spanish waters. Fireworks were to be postponed until the following evening. The deck party ended and the deck buffet opened (no, I did not partake) but instead headed to Rockin Bar D for Krazy Karaoke. Birthday girl Andrea sang a Dixie Chicks song (not to self, must seek out albums) about killing Earl and then it was time to head to bed.
Tomorrow, a whole day at sea as we head to Palma de Majorca.