1. Shore Excursions. We had the most wonderful time together as a group on a private shore excursion, which started off with a coach transfer to one of France’s oldest town to Aix-en-Provence. Followed by a privately hosted walking tour which was rich with history and then a transfer past the rolling lavender fields of the renown Rose capital of the world: Provence. After arriving at Château de la Gaude we toured through the gardens and mazes and ate the most divine gourmet meal at one of the most prestigious 5-star hotel and wine producing establishments in the region. Private and exclusive shore excursions can be booked at any of Seabourn’s destinations and on any of their ships, especially handy if you missed out on a spot on a group tour!
2. Solo travellers. I would highly recommend for any solo or non-solo travellers who just love to have a chat like myself, to get involved and join a trivia team! On our first day we were significantly under manned and by day 3 we came in 2nd, we met a great bunch of people from all corners of the world who I’m sure we will be friends with for a lifetime. Plus, when the cruise director and assistant cruise director are hosting each day, you can guarantee your stomach will be hurting from all the laughs!
3. One word FOOD. Seabourn does food and wine pairing like I have never experienced before, we were absolutely spoiled for choice at every meal to the point we kept ordering share plates for the table just so we didn’t get FOMO! With 4 venues to choose from for every meal of the day, we couldn’t help but try them all, sometimes we were so stuck for choice we ordered meals from other venues just so we didn’t miss out – Seabourn staff were more than happy to oblige and provide with no fuss of course. I highly recommend trying out all available restaurants, you will never be disappointed and you can quote me on that!
4. Cruising on a small ship. We were walking distance to the main hub of each city almost at every port, in fact docked in Corsica, which is the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon I) who is a renown French military general, and the first emperor of France. We were just 300m from his historic house/museum! I would recommend to catch the Le Petit (the little) train if you want to see his moment and not walk XX km’s in the hot sun following the gold arrows inscribed with the letter ‘N’ – although it was a fun adventure I would never forget.
5. Pre-departure documents. Print your international vaccination certificate so you can have it in case of a flat phone battery or no internet access. Make sure to arrive within 2-3 days of your cruise and if a PCR/RAT test is required, do this at the airport so you can get it out of the way and enjoy the rest of your trip worry free. Australia is now not requiring anyone to complete their vaccination declaration online (DPD) so this makes travelling internationally even easier.
6. Paella. There are 3 different ways to make Paella in Spain, home to different regions of the country so make sure you try them all and become a real Paella expert and impress your friend when you get home. What’s even better – Seabourn offers a Paella history and cooking shore excursion in Valencia, Spain so don’t miss out to become the Paella connoisseur you have always been dreaming of.
7. Bring a water bottle offshore. Or don’t because Seabourn has you covered with their sustainability concept at front of mind by providing you with filtered water in reusable bottles in-suite, and at the gangway available to all before you disembark the ship at every port. Just do yourself a favour and don’t forget it, especially when in France as most of the country has activated carbon and ultra-filtration water fountains nestled around the cities, you can even fill your bottle up with sparkling water at some of these public and free French water fountains.
8. Leave some room in your bag. For shopping of course! I wish someone had told me this before visiting the amazing ports within this itinerary. You may be surprised if you have been to places to the likes of Italy as I was, Spain has some of the best and well-priced leather goods I have ever set my eyes on. My partner needed a new wallet and ending up purchasing 3, something to the tune of under 50 euro! The islands of Mahon and Mallorca in Spain, had some of the best markets for food and gifts in Europe that I’ve ever seen. Otherwise if you have no room in your bag, purchase some cured meats and cheeses at one of the many Oceanside markets in France, sit by the water and watch the world… or vessels go by.