The Big Trip

While living in Genova, every Sunday (well, almost every… 🙂 ), I used to go out to the port to admire a huge cruise-ship (the largest in the Mediterranean at the time) as it left port at around 6 PM. I always went with a camera (which has very good zoom) and tried to make close-up photos of what life could be like on the ship. Well… I could not get much out from outside I must admit… Anyway, I decided, that when I had the chance, I would book a trip on it, to find out directly what life could be like on such a ship.
MSC Fantasia
Time has passed since then (around 5 years): the cruise-ship, MSC Fantasia, is not the biggest in the Mediterranean anymore and it follows a different circuit then back then but my will to get on it never faded 🙂 . Sooo… having quite the adequate occasion (got married 😀 ), I decided to book a 7-day trip on the ship and enjoy our Honeymoon on a cruise. To book a voyage on such a ship, I had to apply for the help of a tourism-agency, so that part was taken care of quite easily. We chose a 7-day trip in the Eastern-Mediterranean in the end of September starting from and returning to Venice.

I did not ask, however, for anything else from the agency. I wanted to arrange everything else myself (as I usually do 🙂 ).
So first thing’s first: how to get there on time? Well from Cluj, there are mainly 2 options: by plane or by car. By plane getting to Venice is not very easy, as there are no daily flights between the two cities, so additionally to the plane tickets, we would have needed to take into account hotel stays also in Venice. This would not have been such a bad idea, if we had not visited Venice already
The second option is of course: by car. This was not such a relaxing option, but if I counted with a 2 day trip (one way) with staying at a hotel somewhere in the middle, it did not seem to be such a bad idea… It also had the added value of no limits with our luggage… So the decision has been made: get to Venice in a 2 day trip by car and get back again following the same route.
The plan was ready. But what about the details? Well, one important detail was: what to do with the car once we get there? After some Google-ing around, I found the long term parking at Venice Airport to offer the best prices. You can book ahead (I used the license plate recognition system) and get a discounted price.
Getting from there to the ship terminal was the same as if you had arrived by plane: jump up to the ATVO line which leaves every 30 minutes and in about 20 minutes it gets you to Piazzale Roma. The ticket costs €6.00 (one way, because a two way ticket is only valid for 7 days). From Piazzale Roma, you can get a ticket on the fancy People Mover (€1.30 one way trip) and get to the ship terminal). Actually there is a detailed guide about how to get there on this website.

The next important detail was: what places to choose as stopping points on the two way trips? Well on the “to”-trip we needed a place close enough to Venice, but not too far from Cluj. For this I chose a location I already knew: the Slovenian town of Maribor. In Maribor I chose also a hotel that I knew very well: hotel Orel, which is basically in the city center, offers free parking and has a decent price. On the return trip the location was Budapest, just cuz we were familiar with it, too.

So there you have it. The plan ready made, we just had to try and follow the checkpoints in a journey which took us 10 days and I will write about it in the following posts.


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