MondayEvening: Carnival Magic

Posted on May 14th, 2011 in Carnival,Europe,Monday Evening by luke

We know that it’s Saturday, but given the amount of traveling that we’ve been doing and the effects that it’s had on our sleep schedule it feels like Monday! This episode chronicles our travels on the Carnival Magic from Venice-to-Barcelona! If you’re going to any of the locations we visited, or are going to be on the Carnival Magic sometime in the future, drop us a line and we’ll give you more recommendations than we could fit into a 10 minute video.

Hope you enjoy the episode!
a&l

A Walking Tour of the Carnival Magic (1000x)

Posted on May 10th, 2011 in Carnival,Europe by luke

WARNING: This video contains fast movement and flashing lights!

We wanted to create a video to show just how big the Carnival Magic is, the problem was that it took over 35 minutes to walk from deck 0 to deck 12 while hitting all of the ship’s common areas, the solution was to speed up the footage to 1000 times faster than it was originally shot in.

Signing up for Pompeii

Posted on May 8th, 2011 in Carnival,Cruise,Editorial,Europe,Naples,Pompeii,YouTube by alex

When we decided to embark on the Carnival Magic’s Inaugural Voyage and learned about each port of call, I was beyond thrilled to learn that they offered many different shore excursions to the archeological site of Pompeii. Though Luke did not know what Pompeii was or what exactly was in store for him, I did not feel it necessary to confer with him on this decision… we were going and thats all there was to it (a decisive action on my part that is entirely uncharacteristic of my normal laissez-faire attitude to such things).

Luke and I have never been the kind of tourists who are keen to line up for things. We don’t often sign up for things either – not because we are cheap, but because we don’t like the hassle (or even the threat of a hassle in the future). We don’t like crowded spaces, we don’t like administrative annoyances and we especially don’t like dealing with other hassled tourists in similar scenarios. It’s not that we are loners, we are just addicted to finding those special moments where you encounter something new, something novel, something greatly anticipated and every detail of that moment is simply splendid and all your own.

I know we are not alone in this.

I also know that for every other explorer out there like us, there are some things in this world that they will sign up for (and line up for) without any hesitation despite all of the ensuing hassle. For me, one of these things is Pompeii.

And so it was… Within minutes we were signed up for “The Ruins of Pompeii” and I was blabbering on to Luke about every possible historical detail I could recall from my days as a student of art history. The thought of lines and crowds and hot buses did not even enter my mind.

When the day arrived that we were to set out in search of MY Pompeii, and we found ourselves piled into a coach with 50 other cruisers in search of THEIR Pompeii, I was entirely too thrilled with myself to even care that I had to wait in a line or that the couple behind us were engrossed in a loud binge of their various life complaints. My positive attitude lasted for the entire bus ride… and maybe for the first 12 minutes of the guided tour.

But then it hit me. Here I was in Pompeii with thousands of other eager souls all looking to get as much as we could out of our few hours in historical paradise, and it seemed like we were all huddled around the same few sights fighting for a clear shot of a brick wall with our cameras.

And so I made another decision. The tour guide was passionate and informative, but it was time for us to take off on our own. For some of our fellow cruisers this was a bold and daring move that would leave us vulnerable to all sorts of tourist pitfalls… What if we got lost in the ancient streets? What if we walked right by the most significant monument and didn’t even know it? And the worst of the worst in a cruiser’s eyes – what if we missed our bus and ended up not making it back to the ship on time!!!????

It was a risk we were willing to take.

We headed out into the vast area that was once the city of Pompeii, without a map, without a guidebook, without a care in the world. And you know what? It was one of the best decisions I have made on this trip to date.

Rumor has it that upwards of 15 000 people visit Pompeii EACH DAY! But what you might not realise if you stick with your group is that this ancient city is absolutely huge and there are acres of it that the guides don’t get to on their tours. If you dare, you can find yourself completely alone strolling down stone streets, peering into Roman houses, sitting under a shady tree in a vineyard – not another camera, school group, or sweaty tourist in sight. In fact, Pompeii is so enormous I could have easily spent three or four days there and still not taken it all in.

At the end of the day I might only get to Pompeii once in my life, while wikipedia and library books will always be available to me to fill in the informational gaps. Experience was what I was after, and I found it by signing up and then wandering off.

The Sights and Sounds of Taormina Sicily

Posted on May 7th, 2011 in Carnival,Cruise,Europe,Italy,Messina,Sicily,Taormina,YouTube by alex

When we told you one of the ports of call on the Carnival Magic’s Inaugural Cruise was Messina in Sicily, many of you suggested that we check out Taormina, a beautiful little town up in the hills with spectacular views of Mount Etna and the sea. We are so glad that our website is all about putting trust in our followers hands and taking your suggestions to heart because this was one of the most wonderful places we have ever experienced. Enjoy this video, and get a taste for what Taormina is all about.

CONTEST! CONTEST! CONTEST!

Posted on May 4th, 2011 in Carnival,Europe by luke


We’re giving away a European Cruise themed prize pack that includes a big ol’ Carnival Magic gift-basket worth well over $100 AND a collection of photographs of you cruising from Italy, to Croatia, to Spain on The Carnival Magic’s maiden voyage!

“But, alexandluke.com – how could you possibly give me a collection of pictures of me in Europe? I’ve never been to Europe and I wasn’t on the Carnival Magic’s maiden voyage!”

We’re glad you asked. Using incredible technology from the future we’re going to ‘photoshop’ you into pictures that we’ve taken on our trip!

While entering this contest to win the gift-basket is a no brainer (did we mention it includes a special commemorative coin that is usually only given to guests on the MAIDEN VOYAGE of a cruise ship??), you may be wondering what you could possibly do with a collection of photoshopped pictures. We’ve thought it all out for you… Here are some example-scenarios of why you may want to win this slightly unusual (but actually quite useful) prize:

The Office Prankster
You arrive at the office on Monday morning and thank your boss for giving you the time off to go on that European Carnival cruise. You set your desktop background to a photo of you in Venice, and you gift your boss a Carnival plush toy. In this scenario we also recommend printing out the pictures of “you on the cruise” and tacking them to your cubicle/desk wall. This scenario works especially well if 1-2 days have passed since you’ve last been at work. Say things like “the carpaccio was to die for” or “I preferred the views from Dubrovnik over those in Tuscany” to enhance the illusion. You’ll fool them all!

The ‘I NEED A WEEK OFF OR I’M GOING TO HAVE A MELT DOWN!!!’
Are you super stressed out? Do you want to have a week off with no phone calls, where you can sit on your couch 24/7 and watch 30 movies in a row while consuming the same number of bowls of ice cream? Are you worried that if people know you’re home and off work that you’re going to have to help a friend move, or even babysit?!?! Are you comfortable telling a small lie to achieve this state of bliss? We’ve got your back. With our package you will have photographic and physical evidence of your ‘trip to Europe’ and you can shut yourself off from the world and relax. (Where was this prize when Luke was working?!?)

The Aspirer
If you’re like me, you keep printouts of the things you want to achieve in life on the walls of your workspace or room as a way to motivate yourself towards accomplishing your goals and fulfilling your lifelong dreams. In this scenario you can use the pictures of yourself in exotic European locations as stand-ins until you’re able to take real photos of these places for yourself on future trips!

The Social Networking Prankster
Upload these pictures to Facebook, Tweet about them on Twitter, confuse your friends and family, sit back and enjoy. This one is our personal favourite.

Post what YOU would do with this gift-basket and collection of photographs in the comments below OR on our Facebook Wall to be entered to win the prize. Don’t be afraid to come up with different reasons than the ones we listed above! We will be holding a draw for the winner on Monday May 9th 2011.

Click here to be navigated to our Facebook Page!

Good luck!
a&l

Show Me Older Stuff »