I get up and nothing' gets me down You got it tough, I've seen the toughest around
Day 2 on the Big Brother Ship. After what I have to admit was an extremely comfortable night’s sleep on the prison bed, we woke up to find ourselves gliding past Croatia into Split.
I was thinking that perhaps each day I should try to give a tip to those thinking of trying a cruise based upon what we had learnt the previous day. Overall, after yesterday my tip would still be don’t. Instead spend the money on almost anything else instead.
After making ourselves beautiful and ready for the day we headed up to the Lido Market for the buffet style served breakfast. It was all very acceptable although I do wonder how ‘samey’ it may become after 12 days.
Our package included a free internet package which is what attracted me to it. It turns out though it is only device per person and it is not the fastest I have ever known. They claim you can stream using it – not in practice though. I also cannot upload photos but cannot be bothered to go and complain. So, I have chosen to connect my laptop which means I can only use my phone when we are near land or on shore. This is just about workable for me. But I cannot guarantee that the blogs will be published daily.
Whilst back in the cabin (calling it a state room as the cruise line insist on calling it is just pretentious in anybody’s book), the announcement was made that we had docked and we were clear to leave for parole or shore leave as we had been well behaved citizens.
We were told to leave mid ship port side on the Aft Deck. This meant nothing to us or lots of other people who were also wandering around lost. The problem was that the lifts mid ship did not go all the way down to the Aft Deck. The other lifts did go to hat deck but access to mid ship was blocked. All very confusing but eventually we found the way and came across the parole officer who checked our papers and confirmed we were cleared to disembark but that we had to be back on board by 5.30pm or face consequences of probably having to stay for a longer sentence on board.
Now before leaving I had tried to do research on shore excursions and get advice from those who were experienced cruisers. It was still a jumbled mess of confusion to me. The cost of excursions booked through the cruise line or even independently is just plain stupid and a real rip off. Even for a basic walking tour it can be up to £70 each. Involve any transport and the costs are easily £200 - £300 each. Do one of those each day and your credit card will soon be burning. So we intend to try not to do any official tours if we can help it apart from a trip to the Isle of Capri later using excursion credit we were given as part of our package. Even that would be costing £190 each for what I can see is just a ferry ride across.
So, today we decided to explore Split on foot. It was about a 25 minute from the boat and a very pleasant walk. We soon found the old town and the Diocletian's Palace.
It was all rather lovely and reminded us of both Dubrovnik and Venice with its little alleyways which led to lovely piazzas. There were lots of walking tours which got in the way and sounded boring when I listened in. I am old enough to say that I have absolute zero interest in the ancient history of these types of places. More recent history would be much more interesting to me. There were lots of souvenir and local small shops selling all sorts of trinkets. We kept reminding ourselves of the challenge we are currently having clearing out Karen Mums bungalow of accumulated stuff and didn’t want to cause Ellie more of a challenge sorting out our stuff (we think the boys would put it all in a skip).
After pleasantly wandering for a couple of hours we needed a drink. We were loathe to pay the tourist prices and we didn’t want to pay for food when it was free and in abundance on the ship. So instead we shared a bottle of coke from a kiosk and spent a relaxing 30 minutes admiring the view and people watching.
Then happily we walked back to the boat and went straight to the Lido market to get a light lunch. It was early afternoon and so we headed outside the swimming pool area where we sat chilling and ordering cocktails just because we could. It was just like being on holiday and I had to remind myself that we most definitely are not cruise people. We then went back to the cabin where we discovered from the papers left that tonight was deemed a ‘dressy’ night. I had fumed about this before we left and even more so now we were here. Karen immediately went into Cruise dress selection mood. I just got angrier the more I thought about it. I just cannot see the point of dressing up ever, alone while on holiday. In the end I reluctantly agreed to wear a shirt with black jeans whilst Karen looked resplendent in her dress. We went to the Explorers Bar for ‘prinks’ and saw a couple of other ladies in dresses. When we got to the Dining Room, I reckon about 50% of people had made a real effort whilst most wore clothes that just about complied with the code but not over the top. There were though a handful of ladies in long dresses and men in full dinner jackets but they were the ones who stood out in the crowd. I fitted in perfectly even if I thought it was a stupid and pointless rule. We again chose a table for 2 and were seated quickly. What I did like was that the menu had gone up a notch for the gala dressy night. We both had the Prawns for started followed by Filet Mignon which was delicious. Karen then had a sugar free Black Forest Gateau whilst I broke my no dessert rule by having a chocolate soufflé which was even better than it sounds. We accompanied it with a few glasses of Cabernet just because we could. Disappointingly the piano bar was not being used as a piano bar and so we ended up in the Rolling Stone Lounge watching the house 7-piece band instead. Some of them were extremely talented. Each set they did was a different type of music. We saw most of their first set and Karen was keen to stay for their second one which was just as good. I was now more than ready for bed but Karen was by now drinking doubles of baileys on the rocks just because she could. She wanted to stay for their final set. I had more than had enough though and was over tired that I eventually just zoned out zombie like. I really had no idea where I was or what was happening and it was a while before Karen realised. Now I had consumed plenty of alcohol over the course of the day but was not even slightly tipsy. It was almost like exhaustion takes over me and I have to use what reserves I have left just to sit upright and not embarrass myself by falling over or asleep. I do not remember going back to the cabin but I do remember being asleep almost before my head hit the pillow. Looking back, it was a good day with an interesting end but we are certainly not cruise people as we headed back across Adriatic to Italy.