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The Best Part Of A Mediterranean Cruise
If you’re planning to cruise the Mediterranean Sea, don’t skip the part where you sail through the Strait of Gibraltar to Lisbon.
This journey between continents is best experienced at sea, and it’s being at sea that makes it so unique.
The Strait of Gibraltar is the only thing keeping the Mediterranean Sea from becoming a shrinking salt lake. More water evaporates from the sea than is brought in by rivers and rain, so this natural link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean is crucial.
This 36-mile-long Gibraltar Straight separates Europe and Africa. It’s a key shipping route and one of the busiest waterways in the world. At its narrowest, it’s just eight miles across. Sailing through feels almost like straddling contents. Look in one direction to see southern Europe and another to see northern Africa.
I sailed this route on the Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship. This ship is a lot like the Norwegian Prima, which I sailed last year, so I already knew my way around when I boarded the ship in Rome. My itinerary included a day of wandering around a charming Tuscan town, a visit to the famous red carpet in Cannes, and a stop in idyllic Ibiza.
On board the ship, I swapped the go-kart track for the saltwater pool on this sunny itinerary, spent some time at the spa, feasted on Indian food at the Indulge Food Hall and finally tried Onda by Scarpetta. Spoiler: 😍
I stumbled into an awesome performance of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors album at Syd Norman’s Pour House that was so good I would have gone a second time. I was expecting a cover band, but what I got was the story of what Fleetwood Mac was going through when recording the album.
The show offered an insightful peak behind the scenes of some of my favorite songs, and the performer who played Stevie Nicks was so good it almost felt like seeing young Stevie Nicks live.
It was a nice surprise, kind of like cruising has been for me.
My quick Norwegian Viva review (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ scale):
Pool, Fitness, Spa ⭐⭐⭐
Food & Drink ⭐⭐⭐
The big differences between the Norwegian Prima and the Norwegian Viva are reconfigured public spaces, one Starbucks location instead of two, and Palomar, a new Mediterranean restaurant.
Keep an eye out for my full ship review on Fodor’s Cruises!
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