After a second relaxing day at sea it was an early start for this day. Our entry into the port in Naples was at 7:00am - the default arrival time it seemed on our cruise. Our excursion to Pompeii was originally scheduled to leave at 7:30 am, but we had received notice that the Pompeii tours would be delayed because of a labour dispute at the ruins. Our excursion was rescheduled for a 8:15am departure. That gave us a bit more of a leisurely time with breakfast in the Ocean Cafe before we had to head down to the Celebrity Theater.
Our tour first took us to a cameo factory where we saw examples of cameos and got a demonstration on how they were made. Neither of us previously knew the intricate steps that went into making cameos. Cameos are made from sea shells, and this Italian craft originally used local shells but today the shells are all imported. The craftsmen remove layers of the shell to create the cameo images. As with most of these sorts of tour stops, there was plenty of opportunity to buy cameos ranging from expensive to incredibly expensive. There was a craftsman making one, that was interesting to watch. From there we made our way to the main attraction for the day - Pompeii.
There was quite a crowd outside the ticket entrance to Pompeii when we arrived - groups from other cruise ships were there as well, and all the tours would have been delayed some like ours. It didn’t take that long to make our way through the ticket entrance on our way to the excavation site of Pompeii. We entered Pompeii through the Porta Marina, or Marine Gate - one of the main entrances to the city in its day. The gate actually had two openings - a smaller one for pedestrians and a larger one for animals and carts...tourists, of course, file through the larger one.
The excavations at Pompeii are extensive - so much to see in this Roman city buried by ash from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. It was very interesting, and unlike the ruins in Athens we were able to touch things. We saw examples of everyday life and times in Pompeii - all the way down to the city’s version of a fast-food restaurant!
The day was beautiful - a brilliant blue sky and temperatures certainly above 35°C. After leaving Pompeii we enjoyed a lovely, but pricey, cold gelato from a well-placed stand prior to heading back to the bus that would return us to Celebrity Millennium.
We had lunch on the ship in the Ocean Cafe and then decided to venture out on our own in Naples. The city is a dirty, grimy place with a lot of graffiti. The traffic was wild with extremely aggressive drivers and a never-ending din on horn honking. Something we had seen on most other cities was more evident in Naples - illegal street vendors selling “designer” handbags and sunglasses. We also were able to see how quickly they could move - the police would be spotted and the word spread...and the displays would be packed up in and instant and they all would scatter. Minutes later all was as it had been - right down to vendors being back in the exact same spot!
We made it back the ship (with pockets intact!) and made our way to the Resort Deck for a swim. Gary first tried the Aquaspa Pool and then we both swam in the main Riviera Pool. It was wonderfully refreshing in the salt water pool on this hot day. After that we lounged for a while - in the shade, of course. Very relaxing for a late afternoon in port. Our dinner plans for this evening were quite different - we had booked a table at the ship’s specialty restaurant RMS Olympic on Deck 3 midship. The restaurant was named for the transatlantic passenger ship launched in 1911 - the sister ship of the RMS Titanic. To add an air of authenticity, the wood paneling in the restaurant actually came from the historic ship. There was a service charge to eat at this restaurant, but we had received a bon voyage gift from our “cruise consultant” Elisabeth of a voucher to cover that charge. Everything about the Olympic experience was wonderful - the atmosphere, the food, the presentation and service. We both choice to try something called “Menu Exceptional” - 6 courses, with 5 of them paired with a selected glass of wine. Needless to say, the pairings were exquisite. For the main course we both had selected rack of lamb encroûte. It was presented to us whole at the table and then sliced at our table side - elegantly done. During our dinner we enjoyed the music of Mary Amanda on the harp.
The whole evening was very reminiscent of a dinner we had on our honeymoon in Le Champlain at Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City. It truly was an exceptional evening.
After dinner we walked to the Celebrity Theater - the show was underway when we arrived. The performance was a vocalist named Helen Jayne but we decided not to stay. It had been a long wonderful day - and tomorrow we would be in Rome.
WHITEonline is the digital home of Gary & Linda White. We’ve been married since 1980 and live just outside Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Linda was born and raised in Toronto while Gary was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of 11. We enjoy travelling and taking photos while we travel. WHITEonline provides the opportunity to share some of our photos & experiences.