Updated: Oct 13, 2022
Well, I don't know why I came here tonight I've got the feeling that something ain't right
Let’s start with another cruise tip. Don’t pay for any extras. Book as cheaply as possible. We have spent so little time in our so-called state room and even less time on our balcony that the upgrades have not been worth it so far.
Anyhow another morning finds us back in Italy and docking in Bari. This is a place we know very little about apart from it being in Puglia and supposedly quite industrial.
We awoke quite late and were just getting up when the announcement came that we now cleared to get off the ship for the day. This caused Karen to panic who got ready in record time. We headed with our rucksack packed for the day up to breakfast. Today we tried the Omelette bar and very good they were too. My tea though was undrinkable as it was made with what seemed like half a cup of cream. Karen was keen to get going so I went without trying to get another.
Most of the service staff onboard the ship are Asian. They are all trained to make serving you seem like a pleasure for them. It makes me smile that they like to try and learn your names even if you are just in a restaurant for the evening. Karen particularly likes that the ‘cleaners’ or whatever they are that look after our cabin keep calling her Miss Karen. The vast majority are males in their 20’s. Many of them have a similar hairstyle. All of them wear masks. When I can only see their eyes, I think they all look quite similar and I am desperately trying not to be racist but I’m sure if I could see the rest of their faces, it would help me to remember them.
As we got off the ship, we were told there were shuttles to take us into the old town, however they were £16 each return. I had read it was about a 30-minute walk and so we decided to follow a few other people traipsing along the dock. It was a decent walk even though the temperature started to rise to its predicted 29c for the day.
Eventually we made it to the town and headed towards a large bell tower which looked to in the centre of the old town. The streets and alleyways were all very pretty and very similar to Split. We were very impressed. We knew we were in the centre when we came across about a dozen walking tours who had all stopped outside a Basilica. We took a brief look inside; it was like a big typical Italian Church and I was soon done.
However, it wasn’t the one we wanted to explore which was the Basilica San Nicola so we used Google Maps to find it. There were big crowds here as well. Now this one did interest me as it contained the tomb of St Nicholas otherwise known as Santa Claus. When we went in, we saw a colourful statue/icon of him and then we went down into the crypt to see his tomb. The guides were telling people that as he originated from Palestine his skin was dark – I’m not totally sure that is the current PC way of describing him. I told Karen of the other version of the myth about ‘Santa and Pete’ where Pete his helper was actually the non-Caucasian one.
By now the Basilica getting busy and so we carried on outside with our wanderings. Having not had a drink all morning I was by now quite thirsty and so we found a likely looking café overlooking a sad looking promenade and ordered a Coke and some water. It was pleasant although we were annoyed by flies so didn’t linger too long.
We carried on with on our ramblings and admired a few more buildings and streets when Karen excitedly spotted a MacDonalds and proclaimed she needed another coffee. So, I made my first conscious spend of trip in ordering her a £1.40 large latte and she was happy again for a while.
After checking online that we had by now seen all the sights we decided to start the long walk back to the ship. Once onboard we headed straight up to the Lido Market to grab some of the buffet for lunch. Across the aisle from us sat a Kiwi couple who we chatted to for a while. They were doing the 24-day version of this cruise and I marvelled at their staying power.
We moved to sit by the outside pool and ordered cocktails to pass away the time. Karen tried the Bohemian Cocktail which we agreed was the best cocktail we had tried so far.
Eventually we relocated back to our cabin where Karen sat on the balcony for a while.
For our meal we went to the Dining Rooms again when we again insisted to the maître d’s surprise that we did just want a table for 2 and not a shared one. Amusingly we were put behind a shared table and it entertained us to hear people introduce themselves to each other and then make small talk. As dull as our conversations can sometimes become, I cannot think of anything worse to do on holiday. It was bad enough when I was forced to at conferences for work.
The meal was again delicious. We both ordered exactly the same Caesar Salad as a starter, then the Salmon followed by Sugar Free Raspberry Mousse. We washed it down with a few glasses of Chianti, just because we could. It was all of a very high quality.
We then headed to the Rolling Stone Lounge to catch their first set called Dance Party which was could. After this we headed to the Main Stage which is the ships theatre to watch a show called a chartful of hits. It starred the two pianists from the piano bar, with a guest appearance from the female singer who we had just seen in the Rolling Stone Lounge and the dancers we had sat next to at dinner two nights ago (Karen had wondered what they were doing on the cruise and made the assumption they had rich parents, I had said at the time that they were probably performers on the voyage but was told I was being stupid). Anyhow the dancers were good but the rest of the show just Ok. It did all feel a bit Butlins’ish with seeing the same performers in different locations. I imagined that they all went down and stoked the engines over night.
After this we went back for the last set at the Rolling Stone Lounge (R&B). Thankfully it started 45 minutes earlier tonight. This brought to an end another day on the high seas. There were bits I had really enjoyed but it was already starting to feel a bit repetitive. This might be alright for a few days but I am still not convinced we are cruise people.