Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Incentive Trip Highlights - Cruising the Mediterranean 2016

I can't believe that it's a month ago that we were heading out to Barcelona, in preparation for boarding the Norwegian Epic for the 2016 Incentive Trip.

This was my first ever Incentive Trip and boy did it exceed all of my expectations. Prepare yourself for an abundance of photos. 

We started the trip in Barcelona, where we enjoyed a delicious Paella out at the Marina. There was a hive of activity there, plenty of boats in, street performers and stalls a plenty. It was wonderful to enjoy a meal alfresco before heading back to the Hotel to meet up with many other Demonstrators who were all beginning to arrive from various locations around the globe.

We stayed in the 5* Fairmont Hotel, Rey Juan Carlos, that was fantastic. Very comfortable, friendly and accommodating … Look at the view down to the main foyer from our floor … 

It felt so surreal at Breakfast the next morning, when choosing breakfast from the buffet, stood right next to many of the top names in Stampin' Up! that I've followed since before becoming a Demonstrator. I can only say that I felt quite star struck. From the hotel, we set off for the Port to board the Norwegian Epic in preparation to set sail around the Mediterranean. 

WOW, you should have seen the size of the ship! it was quite literally a floating resort and beyond all of my expectations of what it could offer in terms of facilities.

We were at sea for one entire day, which was when General Session was held. Oh my goodness, Stampin' Up! certainly know how to make us Demonstrators feel valued … and not just us, but our respective spouses/partners who are usually our best cheerleaders - I know my husband is mine.

Our first port of call was Naples, where we set off with 8 others from the UK market, on a Private Tour of the Amalfi coast, covering Sorrento and Positano. The views were breathtaking! At last … we were back in Italy, where hubby and I had spent our Honeymoon, nearly 7 years previous.

The elegance of the area stood hand in hand with the rustic beauty and charm that it offers. Just delightful. These photo's really don't do it justice, but seriously, I could have made this post so photo heavy that I'd have bored you if I'd posted them all.

Wednesday and we were heading off to Rome, where we were going to meet up with a dear friend of mine, Luigi, who I'd not seen for a little over 7 years. We used to work together in my former job. He'd never actually met Graham, in fact, I wasn't even married the last time we flew together. Hubby and I had both been to Rome before, but never together. The atmosphere there was amazing and the weather just perfect!

We spent what time we had with Luigi, eating, drinking, reminiscing, laughing and chatting. It was priceless … and to think that this job (not that I think of it as a job), enabled us to meet up with Luigi and share this precious time together … amazing!!

Florence sits dear to our hearts, as we spent our Honeymoon in Tuscany, so to return was really was quite special. The weather was just stunning for mooching around Florence itself, before heading off into the Country for a spot of Wine Tasting. 

We had discovered that the lovely Gina Connor, from Northern Ireland, and her husband had booked to do the same excursion so we mooched around together. They had never been to Florence and it was lovely to share in their excitement as we went around. They were also celebrating their 25th Wedding Anniversary that week, so it was an honour to be a part of those celebrations and toast to their marriage whilst in the Tuscan countryside. 

That evening we were treated to a Cirque Dreams show and Dinner by Stampin' Up! which was amazing. Boy those entertainers had great strength and abs. They made me feel quite unfit. 

The next port and we found ourselves in Cannes, where being a little tired, we simply decided to hop off the Ship for Lunch in the harbour and a leisurely stroll. 

Corrr one of my favourite lunches to enjoy in France ...

Who said that this was going to be a relaxing trip? … The week passed and our energy levels were depleting more and more and by the time we pulled into Marseille, we decided to take advantage of time of the ship. I went off to do Make & Takes with a few of the girls, before spending time on deck relaxing. Hubby went back to his childhood and took advantage of the water slides. We couldn't believe that our time sailing the Mediterranean with the others, was slowly coming to an end.

The evenings of socialising, the excursions, the food, the Ice Creams … what an amazing week it had been. If there was one thing that stood out above everything else, it was the people we had the privilege of sharing this experience with. We laughed, we cried laughing, we laughed some more and we created firm friendships. It was wonderful. To me … THIS was what it was all about. 

I'm sure you've heard of the giveaways, which came in abundance and boy they did … This was just one day. Stampin' Up! were very generous … 

… but seriously, it was the time we shared with others that was most precious to us and we thank you all, for the memories. 

Our First Incentive Trip was A-mazing !!! Thank you Stampin' Up! … and thank YOU for reading this to the very end. 

Mikaela x


  1. Oh such a lovely story! Thank you for sharing Mikaela!

  2. Oh thank you so much Annette. I hope we'll one day get to sharing a trip like this together. It really was truly amazing. Thanks for stopping by and leaving me a lovely comment. I hope you're keeping well xx

  3. It was a privilege to share your first trip Mikaela - what memories we have even though most of the time we didn't manage to go out together we had some good catch up's in the evenings - I notice you don't mention the singing!!! Probably just as well :-) I love the fact that we all have some similar feelings, but some totally different photos / experiences / memories - perfect for us all! Next time we'll be partying on the sand!!!

  4. What a lovely account of such a precious experience, I just love that you were able to meet up with an old friend. Thank yo for sharing x

  5. So wonderful to meet you and Graham!! What a wonderful time we had. You are adorable Mikaela.

  6. Oh Pip, this blog post could have been pages and pages long … What a truly amazing adventure we had and I'm thrilled that we achieved it together, walked that stage with pride and excitement and boarded that ship one month before you celebrating your 25th Wedding Anniversary with Sean tomorrow (yes, I remembered).

    As for the singing …. remember "What happens on the ship, stays on the ship" ;) I couldn't share everything now could I? lol I still think we should get Gareth Malone to help us in preparation for next time.

    I still need to see that Photo Bomb in Florence xx

  7. Thank you so much for your kind words Ruth …. Meeting up with Luigi was the first thing I decided upon the moment I registered for the trip. Providing he was around, it was a given that we'd meet up. It had been way too long and it really was the icing on the cake. I'm pleased you enjoyed my account of it xx

  8. Oh Kylie, it was a real pleasure to meet you and Bruno … and a total blast in how that came about. Oh how we laughed !!! I've a great photo of us on the tender in Cannes and some wonderful memories. This world feels so much smaller now … you really don't feel quite so far away. Here's to our next encounter xx