There always seems to be a dominant mode of transportation on each of these tours. I am not talking about your feet. Every tour features you dragging yourself up and down staircases, down cobblestone streets and across cities with no concern for your inside voice screaming to just sit in front of a TV watching Jersey Shore, eating a bowl of pretzels.
I am talking about the transfer. The mode that takes you from one amazing spot to the next. In the past, this has always been the bus. On this tour it has to be the boat. With four different rides, the kids are quickly becoming expert sailors.
We began our water crossings with a jaunt across the Mediterranean Sea from Barcelona to Italy aboard the Grimaldi Line. With cars and trucks rolling past, we boarded the ship at 10pm. We are assigned our usual cabin mates and given our usual paper room keys. These cabins were very similar to the train cabins of our past with their drop down bunks and tiny spaces. The difference here is that each room has its own "bathroom". A better description would be a "water closet" because it is the size of a hall closet that usually ends up covered in water.
Another difference with this mode of transportation is the amount of sleep that it affords and the freedom to roam. If you wanted, you could lay down on your bed, go to sleep, and not get up until arrival. I heard that one of the kids caught 12 hours of zzzzs from Italy to Greece. Not too shabby!
The other benefit is the ability to get up and walk around seeing the sights. These boats are international habitats of humanity. From ponytailed backpackers to entire families in a "deck tent", there is plenty to see while engaging in Europe's favorite pastime, people watching.
There also is always room for a little trouble. A certain student used an open microphone in one of the conference rooms to help him sing "Happy Birthday" to one of the kids on our trip from Spain. Little did he (and we) know that the mic was set up to broadcast to the ship. Needless to say, the whole ship found out that someone could use some voice lessons upon our return. :D We also had an opportunity to visit the bridge of one of our ships. We were all a little surprised that a very small crew runs these very large boats.
Today, we finished our series of ferry boats with an Adriatic Sea crossing and a final run out the back deck. Tomorrow, we start the cruise ship tours with a day trip that skirts the Ionian Sea. Of course, Monday starts our final four day island cruise with a run around the Aegean.