Soooooo… today is the day! It’s really happening!
We are so excited to be heading on our European adventure. To get you up to speed on how this came about…
Someone sent us a pic of our Adelady magazine in a cafe in Malta. WHAT? We were blown away that our gorgeous magazine had made it all the way to Europe. Then our community of pineapples came up with an idea – we should travel to Europe and share our magazine far and wide so they can all see how fabulous South Australia is! BRILLIANT!
We loved the idea, and so did our friends from Phil Hoffmann Travel. We met with them and they suggested a Mediterranean Cruise would be the best way to see a whole lotta Europe in a couple of weeks. They got in touch with Norwegian Cruise Lines and we booked on the most amazing 10 night cruise taking us through Italy, Malta and the Greek Isles.
Over the next two weeks we are going to be spending time in Rome, Athens, Mykonos, Malta, Sicily, Naples and Tuscany, and along the way we are going to be enjoying the best of the best on board NCL. Our bags are stocked with Adelady magazines and we are ready to depart on our “Adelady does Europe” adventure!
Love Hayley, Lauren and Flic xx
Hello from Singapore! We touched down at Changi Airport this afternoon – the flight was easy peasy, only eight hours direct from Adelaide and it’s a great spot to break up the journey to Europe. We were sooo well looked after on board with fantastic in-flight entertainment and delicious food (Hayley went the vegetarian option and she can vouch for that too!) The Singapore Airlines crew were so accommodating, nothing was too much trouble for them. We’re only in Singapore for a transit this time, so we’ve window-shopped, had foot massages, we got some fresh air and explored the Butterfly and Cactus Gardens and now we’re in the lounge having showers, a bite to eat and chilling before our big overnight flight.
Tomorrow, we wake up in Rome! Eeeek!
Roma! What a day… we walked what feels like 100,000 steps today and around every corner we were amazed by the most iconic sights! The history, the architecture, the flower boxes, the people — everything has blown us away!
We indulged in a delicious Italian lunch at Piazza Barberini complete with Aperol Spritz, followed by some of the best gelato we’ve ever eaten.
Then we jumped onboard the hop-on, hop-off bus which was a great way to see all the well known sights around the city. We were in absolute awe as we took in the magnificent Colosseum — especially Hayley who’s never seen it before! We traversed the famous Spanish Steps, made a wish and tossed coins into the Trevi Fountain and of course we shopped up a storm on the famous Via Del Corso.
The best thing was just wandering the laneways and being constantly surprised by what we found — like a magnificent rooftop bar with the most speccy views! We’ve just sat down for dinner at Trattoria Tritone and have realised the tomatoes really are SO much tastier in Italy than anywhere else in the world. PLUS Flic and Lauren’s one wish of the day was to snack on some freshly shaved prosciutto and BOOM our dreams came true at dinner.
It’s 9pm and we cannot believe we managed to stay awake and wander the streets all day. Our feet are sore but our hearts are full! Roma we love you.
Tomorrow, we CRUISE!
We’re on a ship!
Woweeee we couldn’t believe our eyes when we arrived at the port at Civitavecchia (Rome). NCL Breakaway is HUGE! She’s a whopping 326m long and can carry up to 3,963 guests on board, but you wouldn’t know it by the way the crew managed our embarkation so efficiently… and all with huge smiles! Within 30 minutes of arriving at the port we were checked in, our luggage was taken care of and we were free to roam the ship and explore. The bar was open and the pool party was already in full swing… what a welcome!
The minute we stepped on board everything was taken care of, and we knew we could just relax and start the fun. With strawberry daiquiris in hand, we made our way to the Garden Cafe for a quick bite to eat, then on to the pool for a dip and to catch some sun before we set sail. Dining is included on board for all cruisers, but we’ve also selected the “Free at Sea” option which includes a premium drinks package, WiFi and credit towards our shore excursions. Yes, you heard us right… we’ve got the all inclusive drinks package baby!
Before we knew it, the ship’s horn was blasting and we were officially on our way. If you’ve never cruised before you’ve got to picture this… hundreds of happy people on the upper decks, partying like it’s 1999 and waving farewell as we depart Rome. Are we dreaming?!
Then it was time to head back to our balcony suites where our luggage was magically waiting for us, and we quickly unpacked (once… for the ENTIRE JOURNEY!) The beauty of cruising is that over the next nine days as we visit so many amazing destinations on our cruise, we have our very own floating hotel rooms so there’s no need to live out of a suitcase. Breakaway is our new home away from home.
Tonight we took full advantage of the complimentary dinner in one of the main dining rooms, the Manhattan Room. Time to debunk a myth about cruising — it’s not all about the buffet. Whilst we absolutely LOVE a good buffet dinner, it’s fabulous to also have a great selection of a la carte restaurants to choose from on board Breakaway. We’ve also planned ahead for a couple of highlight dinners in the specialty restaurants and we’re so excited to experience them (it’s probably time to bring out the stretchy pants!)
Tomorrow is a full day at sea so we’ve got some serious relaxing to do… we’ve booked a massage in the spa and are also looking forward to some time by the pool and a chance to explore everything on board the ship a little more. We’re also wishing we brought the kids because the water slides and ropes course look EPIC! (We solemnly swear to road test it all for our kids and bring them with us next time.)
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventures! But for now, it’s time to let the ship rock us to sleep now… night night!
Today has been the most relaxing day at sea. When you read a cruise itinerary and it says “day at sea”, this translates to your chance to do whatever tickles your fancy… nothing more and nothing less!
Sooooo with that in mind, we chose to have a leisurely sleep in, hit the buffet for a light brekky, and then we indulged in a massage in the spa — this costs extra, but was well worth it in our opinion. It was BLISS!
Once we were feeling totally zen we spent some time getting our Mediterranean glow on by the pool, then we enjoyed the view of the wake from the aft deck (the rear of the ship) before going back to our staterooms for a cheeky afternoon siesta!
This evening we enjoyed cocktails at one of the many bars on board, Shakers Bar, where we met some fabulous Aussies who are on their second cruise with NCL. One of the most awesome things about cruising is the sense of camaraderie. Everyone is so friendly and there’s always someone up for a chat — you never feel like you’re on your own!
For those wanting a bit more action on days at sea, there is sooooo much to do! We checked out the “Freestyle Daily”, a schedule of activities delivered to our stateroom each day. We’ve noted a few things that we think sound fun for our next day at sea, like wine tastings, art exhibitions, bingo, an 80s singalong, a duelling pianos performance and even a Thriller dance class. You can do absolutely anything on a cruise with NCL!
What a day. We’re feeling so relaxed and we’re absolutely gobsmacked at the thought of waking up in Santorini tomorrow morning!
Oh wow… today was incredible! We started with a delightfully leisurely sleep in and chose to have breakfast delivered to our rooms for a change. It was so lovely to sit on the balcony in our robes enjoying a delish brekky. Watching the ocean as you’re cruising is totally mesmerising — we can’t get enough of it!
Before we knew it, the vast ocean vista soon made way for a breathtaking view of our next destination… Santorini! We headed up to deck 16 for some piccies and we were not disappointed.
A short boat ride from the ship had us over on the island and ready to explore. We didn’t want to waste time lining up for the cable cars to town, so we decided to walk over 600 steps up to the top. We will admit it was a gutsy decision, and it’s certainly not for everyone as it’s a strenuous uphill climb in the heat, but the view from the top was all the more rewarding after such an enormous effort to get there!
The stunning white buildings scattered all across the cliff edges make for the most picturesque views we’ve ever seen. Within minutes we found ourselves taking a photo that almost exactly replicated the image Hayley had photo shopped herself and Lauren into when we first started planning this trip (see the top of this article!). Our dreams were coming true right before our eyes in that very moment!
Whilst we expected great views, we were totally surprised by the gorgeous shops we found through the laneways of Fira town. Jewellery shops are everywhere and the blue topaz which seems to be most popular here is absolutely dazzling. Oh and the clothing stores are fabulous — lots of amazing local designers and we picked up some seriously unique pieces.
By this time we’d worked up an appetite and luckily all three of us LOVE Greek food, so we found a great spot with a gorgeous view overlooking the cliffs and the ocean (and a pretty cool view of the NCL Breakaway!) We ordered up big — chicken souvlaki, fried calamari, Greek salad (which I guess is just called salad here in Greece, haha!) and some pita bread with the tastiest tzatziki dip we’ve ever had.
Everything was perfect, not to mention the sun setting right on cue to give us the most stunning end to our day.
Time for bed now… we’re so exhausted but we can’t stop smiling. Today was a good day.
This morning we woke up in Athens! At each port you have a choice to relax on the ship (it’s really quiet when everyone leaves), you can explore the destination on your own, or you can choose to do one of the many shore excursion options offered by NCL. We thought this was the perfect place to do a tour because the history here is just mind blowing, and we wanted to make sure we got to experience the big stuff.
We decided to do a “Take a Selfie” tour, which took us to some pretty cool spots for pics of all the iconic highlights in Athens such as:
• The Panathenaic Stadium — home of the Olympic Games
• The Olympieion — one of the largest temples of Corinthian style
• A great vantage point to view The Acropolis — the birthplace of democracy (this was our highlight!)
• Parliament House for the changing of the guards
Our tour even included a gyros for lunch and my gosh… it exceeded our expectations. The food here in Greece is reeeeeaaaaaallly good!
After the tour we had a bit of free time to wander the Plaka (the old part of Athens) where we found gorgeous little cobblestoned streets lined with jewellery shops, fashion stores and souvenir stalls. Then it was time to head back to the port and onto the ship — which has now become our second home!
A quick swim and a cocktail on the pool deck was a great way to cool off after a big day of sightseeing!
Dinner tonight was one of the specialty restaurants which is included in our “Free at Sea” package with NCL. We dined on Italian food at La Cucina. You even have the option (weather permitting) to dine outdoors on the waterfront deck (so of course, that’s what we did!)
Night night x
A sea day is just the tonic after a few action-packed days of sightseeing! Today we enjoyed a full day at sea as we cruise towards our next destination, which gave us the chance to experience everything that NCL Breakaway has to offer on board.
There’s an incredible array of activities all day and night… honestly, there’s something for everyone. From art and craft classes to salsa dancing, a piano bar, trivia, a huge casino, live music and there’s even a magic show on tonight!
On our voyage we’ve got two headline theatre performances — Burn the Floor and Six The Musical. We loved Six The Musical when we saw it in Adelaide at Her Maj, and now we can’t believe we’re enjoying this fabulous show again out in the middle of the Med! The entertainment on board is truly world class and there’s plenty of it… OR you can BE the entertainment by joining in with a bit of karaoke!
There’s full WiFi connectivity on board, so even when we’re way out at sea we feel connected and can FaceTime our families whenever we want (and upload our pics to Insta so you can all keep up with our adventures!)
Tonight we dined in Shanghai’s Noodle Bar where you can sit up at the bar for an entertaining view of the chefs tossing noodles! It’s like we’re actually in Shanghai… but we’re not, we’re in Europe and we’re still pinching ourselves because we can’t believe this is real.
Goodnight from the middle of the Mediterranean Sea ❤️
Today truly exceeded all of our expectations. This was where the idea for our entire journey began… someone sent us a pic of our Adelady magazine at a cafe in Malta and it gave us the idea to travel around Europe spreading the best of SA along the way!
Fast forward a few months and here we are: cruising the Mediterranean on NCL Breakaway thanks to our friends at Phil Hoffmann Travel. Pinch us!! Before this happened we had never even dreamed of visiting Malta so we had no idea what it would be like, but from the minute we arrived we were blown away!
Our ship docked at the port of Valletta and we decided to take the hop-on, hop-off tour to get a good overview of the island first up. Top of our list was Mdina, a fortified city in the north of Malta. The laneways were absolutely stunning and around every corner was another Instagram worthy spot! This was our fave experience today and we can’t wait to come back with our families (we will definitely stay a little longer next time).
The weather was perfect today and the water on the Grand Harbour was glistening in the sunshine, so we decided to visit the famous three cities of Malta by dgħajsa (a Maltese version of the traditional gondola).
Then we headed back to Valletta and took a walk through town for some shopping and people watching. We found a stunning rooftop bar for a quick drink to quench our thirst on a hot day, then it was time to head back to the ship.
Tonight’s dinner was booked in a specialty restaurant — Teppanyaki! Our fave! We indulged in some VERY fine food, from prawns to strip loin steak and the silkiest tofu in town. But the highlight of this dinner was the chef. He kept us entertained all night as he sang to us, chatted and cracked jokes (all while showing off his very clever cooking skills on the hot plate. What a legend!)
We’re exhausted after a huge day of walking, but so excited to wake up in Sicily tomorrow.
Malta… we will be back!
Oh Sicily, what’s not to love?! Today we docked at Messina, Sicily — an island off the southern coast of mainland Italy. For one Adelady (Flic) this was a very special and emotional homecoming, as Sicily was her father’s birthplace.
We took a 45 minute taxi ride to Taormina, a stunning coastal town with the most magnificent views and gorgeous streets lined with boutiques and restaurants. This is also the town where the second season of White Lotus was filmed, so we were all excited to explore it for ourselves!
Taormina is pretty as a picture and we spent hours just wandering and shopping with iced lattes in hand (oh, and today we stepped up our coffee game with a shot of Kahlua added — delish!)
Lots of the shops here sell the distinctive citrus patterned plates, bowls and printed fabrics which we are LOVING, as well as the famous head statues (known as Testa di Moro) which are unique to this area of Italy.
For lunch, Hayley finally got the pizza she’s been craving and it didn’t disappoint. We paired our pizza with a tomato salad because we simply cannot get enough of the tomatoes here. Chefs kiss!
We are still completely overwhelmed with what we’re seeing each day. We literally wake up, open our curtains and BOOM there’s a new destination waiting for us. Sicily is right up there with one of our fave days so far on this trip (and we certainly did our bit for the economy!)
Tonight we dined at O’Sheehans Pub, another of the included restaurants on board Breakaway. The huge range of dining options on this ship is mind blowing, and we’re determined to eat in all of them before the end of this journey.
Tomorrow, we visit Naples, the birthplace of pizza… and if today’s lunch is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat!
Today we docked in Naples and were immediately spoilt for choice — there’s just so much to do in this region! You can visit Pompeii to see the preserved ruins of the volcanic eruption, head to Positano for views along the Amalfi Coast, or stay in Naples and explore the third largest city in Italy.
We opted to take a private driver (the lovely Mario) to Sorrento and we couldn’t be happier with our choice! We shopped through the colourful laneways (looks like we’ll be wearing lemon printed everything this summer back in Adelaide!).
Then enjoyed the most incredible seafood lunch. The views from here are to die for… we’ve found heaven in Sorrento!
We practised our Italian language skills with Mario on the drive back to Naples and then we were back on the ship and ready for a night of entertainment.
As we said farewell to Naples we enjoyed a margarita at our favourite waterfront bar, Shakers, then it was off to the theatre to see our all time fave musical Six. They rocked the ship!
It’s our second-to-last night of the cruise so after the show we were treated to a very special surprise… the captain and crew came out on stage to take a bow and we all applauded them for their incredible service throughout our voyage. The NCL staff really have made this trip so special and we feel like one big family.
The entertainment didn’t stop there… we stopped in for a sing-a-long and a boogie at the duelling piano performance in Headliners Bar — SO MUCH FUN!
A late night, but worth it. Time to sleep now as tomorrow is our last stop — Florence, here we come!
We woke up this morning in Tuscany! We didn’t want to waste a minute today so we ate brekky nice and early and headed off the ship and straight for the station to catch the train from Livorno to the heart of Florence. Within minutes of arriving in the city, we wandered around a corner and BAM there’s the Duomo Cathedral — one the greatest masterpieces of Gothic art and the first Italian Renaissance. The beauty of the architecture in this city is mind blowing and every angle is Insta worthy.
Another five minute walk and we found ourselves at the famous Ponte Vecchio. We’ve seen this bridge so many times in pictures so to see it in real life today was a real pinch me moment. There are lots of gorgeous little jewellery shops along the bridge so we meandered our way along the street, just window shopping and soaking up the atmosphere.
Walking the streets of Florence we worked up a healthy appetite so we found a cute trattoria where we ate what was probably the best meal we’ve had in Italy so far. Our fave Caprese salad made an appearance again, along with tomato and burrata linguine, spinach and ricotta canelloni and prosciutto and melon. Stick a fork in us, we’re done!
Oh wait, no we’re not… moments later we found a tiny little bar serving traditional Florentine sweets and gelato. NOW we’re really done.
A train ride back to the cruise port… pants feeling a little tight but heart feeling happy!
Time to say farewell to our home for the past 10 days, and “ciao” to Rome for one last hurrah before we head back to South Australia.
We didn’t want to waste a minute so we dropped our bags at the hotel and started wandering. Rome is officially our favourite city now… (apart from Adelaide). We’ve decided we’re now Roman and when we get back to Adelaide we’ll be speaking Italian everywhere we go!
We found a quaint little restaurant in a laneway near the Spanish Steps (Antica Birreria Viennese for anyone travelling there soon!) where we enjoyed some cocktails, our fave Caprese salad, a selection of shared pasta and Lauren’s favourite dish from her dad’s hometown — deep fried olives stuffed with beef (to die for!)
We met some fabulous people, and we were serenaded by a gorgeous seven year old girl called Cherry who was busking with her mum. So sweet! Then we walked some more to earn our gelato before heading back to our hotel. That, my friends, is a day well spent in our books!
Tomorrow we are leaving and we are so excited to see our families, but so sad that our European adventure has come to an end.
We’ve left Adelady magazines in Rome, Santorini, Athens, Malta, Sicily, Naples, Sorrento and Florence and we’ve got the most fabulous memories from our travels.
Thank you Phil Hoffmann Travel, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Singapore Airlines for making our dreams come true on this trip!