The first morning on the ship, we woke up to a knock on our door. We’d pre-ordered room service the night before to make our early morning transfer a little more relaxed. While the meal was nothing to write home about, the luxury of enjoying breakfast in a comfy robe & slippers on your personal balcony certainly was. It became our favourite way to start the day!

Our transfer left Livorno for Florence at 8:45am. We opted for a self-guided day in the city so on the bus we received a map & some additional details on navigating the city including where to eat & what to do. It was the perfect choice for us – we got a few tips for our day, ample time to nap, & the freedom to wander at our own pace.

Florence is really compact. It doesn’t take much more than 10 minutes to walk between sights so it makes for a pretty easy day. We saw most of the sights – Ponte Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria (filled with many important statues including a replica of the David), the Galleria dell’Accademia, & the Duomo – within an hour. There were throngs of people everywhere we turned. I still can’t get over how busy it was.

People everywhere!
Ponte Vecchio
Lock everywhere
On the Ponte Vecchio

Since we were a bit limited on time, we hadn’t planned on visiting any museums. I overdid the museums on my first trip to Europe (as did N) so now I prefer to wander – eating, drinking, people watching, & maybe exploring a church, here & there. We’d expected our wandering to take a bit longer so when it didn’t we decided it was worth waiting in line to climb the Duomo’s cupola. The line was quite long so it took us over an hour to even get to the start. We were rewarded with incredible architecture from the minute we stepped inside & breathtaking panoramas from the top.

Florence’s Duomo is quite impressive
The climb is slow & crowded
Maxi dresses & narrow staircases don’t really mix

By the time we left Cathedral Square, we were ravenous from both the intense climb & the later hour. We picked a little restaurant with a terrace for a late lunch. Once again, the pasta was incredible – carbonera for me this time, followed by a shared calabrese pizza. Likely more food than two people needed, but we figured we deserved the reward. & it was our honeymoon – a phrase we repeated many times throughout our trip. You only get married once, right?!

After lunch, we wandered around looking for some wine to take back to the ship. We’d heard we might not be able to bring any back onboard, so we chose a cheap bottle just in case. This isn’t exactly a feat in Europe, but we found it especially easy in Italy. It turned out to be a non-issue for us so we enjoyed a couple of drinks on our balcony as the ship left port. This became another staple in our cruise. I’m so glad we we gifted the upgrade to a cabin with a balcony. It really made our first cruise experience  incredible.

The best way to enjoy a class of wine

That evening, we met our family friend for a glass of wine at the Glass House, one of the onboard restaurant. She gave us some tips for making the most of our week onboard & we made a plan to do dinner at another of the ships restaurants later that week called East. It was really great to catch up with her & get tips from such an expert.

That night we decided to forgo the formal dining room & try the Glass House instead. There is a small charge for menu items there, but it’s nominal & the food is great. I’d definitely recommend checking out some of the options outside the main dining room if you’re ever cruising.

Quality photography c/o my iPhone 4s

We had a sea day the next day so we decided to end our night at the ship’s club, Havana. There, we proceeded to repeatedly clear the dance floor with our country music requests. Sounds like us.