The Epic Mediterranean Cruise with Singles Travel International is always EPIC! A favorite with our new members. Six ports on the Mediterranean in only eight days translates into a mind boggling taste of Europe….. especially for first timers to Europe, cruising and STI. This was STI’s sixth year bringing singles to the Med on the NCL Epic.
Most of us met at the Hotel Avenida Palace 1-2 days early to explore Barcelona. Some explored on foot or by metro while others enjoyed the HOHO (hop on hop off). Evenings were filled with tapas at Vinitus, walking Las Ramblas, local cuisine at La Boqueria, and happy hour on the hotel rooftop overlooking Sagrada Familia. On the way to the the ship, the group enjoyed a tour of the city, including entrance to Sagrada Familia, a panoramic view from Montjuic and the Gothic Quarter!
From boarding the ship to cruising into our first stop 40 hours later, we had a chance to enjoy the Epic….sort of like the calm before the storm forecast with 8-9 hr excursions in every port! Following our Welcome Aboard meeting, we all toasted to a great cruise outside at Spice H20 while sailing away. Group dinner followed this night and every night in either the Manhattan dining room or one of the five specialty restaurants (Cagney’s, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Teppanyaki, or Moderno). We closed out the evening with Karaoke, Howl at the Moon dueling pianos, and Night Owl dancing.
Our one and only sea day included the Rock Climbing Wall and the Epic Plunge for the adventurous or the Spice H20 adult only pool and whirlpool to recover from jet lag. We met for lunch to welcome all STI first timers and hand out STI loyalty awards to STI frequent travelers. Everyone dressed up for STI’s Masquerade night and captain photos…. our creative masks were the envy of other guests!
Wherever STI goes, we ARE the party!
Our first port was Naples and our exclusive STI Shore Trips excursion took cruisers to Pompeii then continued along the Amalfi Coast to Positano and Sorrento. Our second port was Rome! Many explored the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica in depth while others also got a taste of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon. Let me just say that it doesn’t get better than this! The third day we spent in Pisa with the Leaning Tower and Florence. This area is home to the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo to be exact, and the original Statue of David!
After refreshing ourselves from 8-9 hour bus and walking tours, we spent our evenings collapsing with each over cocktails and too much food. We did still have enough energy to enjoy two phenomenal shows (Burn the Floor and Priscilla Queen of the Desert), Cirque Dreams (dinner show), a pub crawl from Malting’s Whiskey Bar to Shakers Martini Bar or the “freezing” Ice Bar, our STI White Night, the Studio Lounge (associated with our super single studio cabins!), the Beatles and the Supremes…..or the solitude of the spa, fitness center or our cabin if needed to rejuvenate.
We really did need a breather and another sea day…. but ….there was no rest for the weary! Our fourth port was Cannes, the star of the French Riviera. Eze, Antibes, Nice and Monaco were on the agenda. We spent our fifth and last port day touring Avignon and the Palace of Popes or Marseille. This city has undergone an amazing revitalization since 2013!
Now you know why a Mediterranean cruise might be a once in a lifetime experience………though we did have two guests returning for a second go ‘round. We will do it again next year……will you be joining us in 2017? Our group size varies from 50-80 singles, all in the age range of 45-70. You will not be disappointed :-)!
~ contributed by Georgia Frieswick, STI Concierge
Check out our 2017 departure. We are also adding a Spain tour before we board to see all the beauty of Spain in addition to beautiful Barcelona! Mark your calendar for a fantastic vacation with STI.