My sister and I found ourselves awake at about nine AM. I’m more of a night owl and don’t like waking before 10 AM on holiday. However, when on a cruise, you have to wake up earlier otherwise you don’t have enough time to get off the boat and head to town. Unfortunately, cruise travellers don’t have the luxury of a lie-in.
I believe, my ideal cruise wouldn’t dock until midday, so passengers can have a long sleep in but still enjoy time off the boat, re-boarding in the evening instead of in the afternoon.
Our mother and father must’ve forgotten that we had things to do today and were not yet awake. We rang them and messaged them but nothing prevailed, so we headed to breakfast alone. They later joined us where Jessica and I had been waiting for them in the buffet restaurant.
Whereas normally we could just head to the pool, or stroll into town we couldn’t really get off the boat without telling them and were far further restricted.
The appeal of a cruise is that you stop off in many places and get to see more of the world – however, I think this was lost on me and my family. We really enjoy getting to know a local town, finding a pub we love and drinking in it many nights, befriending the owners. When this is the case, it’s easy to split the group updating the others with a note saying “We’re at the bar we went to on the first night”. On a cruise, however, everything is new and you’re far more likely to get lost. You either have to stray for the entire day or stay together for the entire day.
Eventually, at 11 AM we headed off the boat and into Sorrento. We only had six hours on land as the boat was leaving again at 5 PM. We had an idea of what we wanted to do in Sorrento. Other cruise passengers had mentioned there were two sand and shingle beaches not far from where we docked, so this was an option, but as Sorrento is so close to Pompeii, we decided we wanted to go and visit the ruins. Someone back home, in England, had suggested we go to Herculaneum but with the limited time, we decided to stick to Pompeii as it was closer.
Getting The Train
The train was easy to book and catch, we got a taxi to the station where we booked our tickets. It was £2.40 each way and there was a train attendant at the station who directed us to the correct platform – much easier than catching a train in England, plus the train even turned up on time!
The only unusual part about catching the train was the timetable. We left Sorrento and got into Pompeii on time, as scheduled, but the timetable didn’t list all of the station stops. This caused a bit of confusion as we thought Pompeii was the fourth stop, however there were many more. A tad bit confusing but we quickly realised what was happening and found all of the stops were listed on the inside of the train, just not on the timetable.
Arriving at our station, Pompeii, we got off and found a tour operator in the train station. They were easy to book with and very affordable, with a skip the queue option. Great! I hate queuing. As we waited for the rest of the group there was a bit of am-belling around, no one really sure where to wait or what to do. We then all walked down to the ticket office together, a bit more waiting and “not sure what to do”ing, then we went inside.
My first impression of Pompeii was “where is all of the lava?” and “are we in the correct place?” It just looked like any other old town. Impressive and beautiful, but nothing like in the movies and what I think, most people expect.
Pompeii Safety Advice
Make sure you take plenty of food and water with you inside Pompeii, there is NOWHERE inside to buy any water, or refill a bottle. Your tour guide – like ours- will probably not tell you this. It is hot, dry and dusty inside with very little shade, you will get very thirsty. One bottle per person is not enough, the ruins are massive, take a bag full of water and another full of food and snacks.
Pompeii Theatre and Gladiators
One of the first things you see when you come to inside the grounds of Pompeii is the theatre. It is huge. The entire city would meet here to watch shows and to watch gladiators fight. Around the back of the theatre, there are dorm rooms where the gladiators used to live. Visitors could look around the back and front of the theatre, as well as sit on one of the many stone steps, we found this an amazing place to sit and eat a snack, watching the other tourists stand nearer the stage and pretend to act out ancient Roman plays. The actual stage was roped off, but that didn’t stop many people pretending they were on stage in front of an audience.
Roman Buildings in Pompeii
Despite withstanding the blast of a powerful volcano and thousands of tourists each year, Pompeii stands high. The buildings were built by the Romans and their architectural know-how has proved resilient.
One of the most impressive parts of the architecture were the zebra crossings the Romans built. As there were often many animals in the roads at any given time, the roads quickly became full with faeces and other waste, so zebra crossings were made of raised stone paths in the middle of the road.
Along with the zebra crossings, there were also curved notches chiselled into the path for citizens of Pompeii to easily tie up their horses.
Brothels of Pompeii
Along the ground of Pompeii were etched in phallus’. Upon first glance, I thought this was juvenile graffiti, however after a little while into our tour the group kept noticing more and more. Whenever anyone noticed a new penis etched into the path or road, you could see them nudge the person next to them and point to it, sometimes scoffing and sometimes giggling – depending on the person.
The tour guide noticed us noticing the peckers of Pompeii and informed us that this was a marketing tactic for the brothels of Pompeii. If we followed the penis’ we would be able to find our way to a whore house. As Pompeii was a port city, there were often sailors from further away that didn’t know where they could find a good time for the night. Often they didn’t speak the same language and the prostitutes found the easiest way to maintain business was to etch a route into the road.
This marketing strategy continued into the brothels themselves. Wanting to keep their guests satisfied and removing the barrier of language, pictures of different sexual acts were printed on the walls, guests could simply point at what they wanted.
Back on the cruise
Whilst in Sorrento and Pompeii, we had missed out on four live music acts in a variety of of the lounges and bars, a game a boccia and more sucker archery, as well as bingo. When we re-boarded we decided to check out what we had planned for the evening entertainment.
- Two showings of a comedy routine
- Multimedia Challenge
- A gameshow
- Karaoke with a live band
- Various live music
Comedy on the Cruise
A guest act: Steve Walls was now on board and had promised a night of laughter at his comedy performance. We quickly found out this was actually a mix of singing and comedy, which didn’t blend too well together. His voice was great and the jokes were good but they didn’t mix too well together. In my opinion, it would’ve been more enjoyable if he had done an act of signing and then an act of comedy!
Tomorrow we dock in Rome and have an early morning with tickets to see the Sistine Chapel. So decided to retire to our rooms at nine thirty.