When my husband told me that we were booked for a cruise on the French and Italian Riviera, nothing can prepare me of what’s to come! He said it is on the Easy Cruise and that unlike the luxury of the river cruises, we are totally on our own, spending most of our time on shore and just going back to the ship when it’s time to embark for another port which is usually at night while we sleep. No tour guides, just us!
What is Easy Cruise? Easy Cruise line’s approach to cruising is aimed at customers who would like to spend the majority of their trip on shore. The ship offers just the basic amenities, the cabin, simple bed and a little shower room. The ship is usually anchored near the port and a tender boat takes you ashore then takes you back in when it’s time to move to the next port. Fees are added when services are needed. It is like a floating hostel.
We are going into this adventure with a little bit of apprehension and lots of growing curiosity! But oh my goodness, who would not like to go to the beautiful Côte d’Azur, the French Riviera, which is the Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France and then continuing on to the the Italian Riviera or Ligurian Riviera which is a coastal strip that lies between the Ligurian Sea and the mountain chain formed by the Maritime Alps and the Apennine Mountains and extends from the border with France and the French Riviera near Ventimiglia to Capo Corvo which marks the eastern end of the Gulf of La Spezia close to the border with Tuscany; and to add, where Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot withdrew to seclusion; where the rich and famous hang out on their million dollar yachts and where the trophy wives shop tagging along their cute little bejeweled dogs! We’re there!
From Nice Airport we took the bus to Gare Routiere just by the Cannes Town Hall, then walked to the ship along Quai Saint-Pierre. The bus trip is about 50 minutes. One cannot miss the Easy Cruise ship, it is a bright orange blob floating in the Mediterranean Sea!
Cannes weather that day was sunny, clear with a maximum temperature of 22 degrees Centigrade, sunrise at 0610 am and sunset at 0846 pm. We were in luck because we got to see the start of the film festival. As you all know, Cannes is renowned for the huge bash it puts out every year called the Cannes International Film Festival with all the glamour and glitz that goes along with it. The first film festival was held on September 1, 1939, with solemnity only to be closed the next day with the declaration of World War II. The festival resumed in 1946. From that time on, Cannes is the place to be seen!
As soon as we checked in to our room in the ship, they handed us glasses of wine, relaxed a bit, and went back out to enjoy the festivities and learn more about this unique town.
Cannes was known as Canua in the 10th century, the name may have been derived from “canna”, a reed known as canne de Provence. Cannes belonged to the Counts of Provence until the end of the 15th century. However, with the death of the Duke of Anjou and Count of Provence, succeeded by his nephew, Charles Du Maine rather than his grandson, the Duke of Lorraine, and the French King Louis XI paying the Duke of Lorraine to renounce his inheritance, and the next day death of Charles Du Maine of indigestion in Marseille, Provence and Cannes became French.
All the walking around town, embracing its history and shopping at the luxurious shops for souvenirs (we collect Christmas trimmings wherever we go) and for our little boy who we left home with my in-laws this time (I thought he’d look cute in a little French shirt and shorts combo– so expensive and I had to close my eyes and bought them!) made us hungry and we soon found ourselves enjoying our favorite French cuisines watching people doing exactly what we are set out to do. What an absolutely wonderful prelude to our trip… dreamy indeed as I gazed at the Da Vinci Code tent all set up for Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou’s arrival.