Grandeur was truly grand
Europe - Western Mediterranean
This was my honeymoon and I planned this trip for the itinerary and not for the boat. Royal Caribbean is my favorite cruise line but I knew this was an older smaller ship. I was very excited to find out that they had remodeled it and it was like being on a new ship. I actually prefer the smaller ships now because of our experience. Venice is a little different port so when you get dropped off there was quite a ways to walk and I do not pack light. We at the time were platinum members of RC so they have a special line which was extremely quick. Room was an ordinary balcony room (we splurged because it was our honeymoon but normally we do the inside cheap cabin because you are never in your room) with a nice closet and couch. They were almost brand new so I was happy!
We always choose the late dining time so we have enough time to see everything and not be rushed. The first night when we went to our assigned table there were no seats. The sat us at a different table but the only More
problem was they spoke little english. It ended up being great because they were all amazing people and I ended up practicing my Spanish and my Italian! The food was probably the best that I had and the service was amazing.
The one thing I can say is everyone from the waitresses to the customer service desk really was all about customer service. I love banana daiquiris and a few of the ports where they are suppose to pick up supplies did not have it so a few times I ordered it the bartender would run around the ship trying to find the banana mix. Great experience and can't wait to go on this ship again! Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We hired a driver on our own to give us a private tour. We paid 1/2 the price for a private tour in a mercedes all around Greece for what the cruise ship was charging. I knew that we only had less than 8 hours to spend and I wanted to see all that we could. The first stop was the Acropolis and we were there before all of the our buses so it was nice to not have to fight crowds or the hot sun. We ended going to many of the highlights like the temple of Zeus, the old Olympic stadium, changing of the guards, the acropolis museum, and the Plaka. We had lunch near the Plaka and the one thing I highly recommend you get to eat is a gyro. It is there fast food which comes in either chicken or pork and it was amazing. I still dream of the gyros in Athens. There is so much to see and do but a private driver is the way to see as much as possible. We never saw any issues except in downtown Athens there was a small group of people demonstrating. Can't wait to go back!
I didn't think there was a lot going on in Corfu. We got off the boat and headed to the Old Fortress. We walked to the top because the views were amazing. Great photo op. We then walked to downtown and got a little bored so hoped in a cab to take us to a beach. We ended up at Glyfada Beach and had lunch there at a little outdoor cafe. Food was ok but this time we were brave enough to try the ouzo which was really strong. We hung out for a few hours and then headed to the boat.
I did a little more research on Crete and this is a pretty happening town. Everyone on cruise critic seemed like they enjoy the hop on/ hop off bus so that's what we did. It was a great price to see most of the popular sites. We never ended up getting off at any of the stops but instead we came back around to the city market and got off. We walked all the way around the pier and there is lots of shopping and restaurants. We walked all the way past this area and came upon a few tables on a pier which we stopped for lunch. The food was so good that we ordered a little bit of everything. We ended up getting a chair adn relaxing on the beach. While we were walking around I did notice there are these feet spas where you can pay to put your feet in the water and they eat the dead skin. Well as I was in the water I kept feeling little nibbles on me and realized that you can just get in the water if you want this for free! I didn't stay in the water long after that.
This is a port that I was not very excited about. I was over anymore ruins and the tours to go to Ancient Olympia where over $100 a piece. However when we got off the ship we wandered over to the scooter place and the lady told us it was only 45 minutes away so we got on our scooter and headed that way. The drive was great. We stopped at a little bakery and ate a wonderful breakfast sandwich. When we got to Ancient Olympia the buses had not arrived so it was nice to walk around with very few people. We did the ticket for both olympia and the museum and both were great. I am glad I saw where the first Olympics where held. We hopped back on our scooter and decided to check out a beach that was about 5-10 minutes from the port. It was an area called Kataloo. I can't remember the restaurant but the food was really good. So we sat there having a wonderful lunch overlooking one of the best views.
We had friends that go here often so we decided to rent a scooter and check out some beaches. The first stop was Paradise Beach. We grabbed a lounge chair and just hung out here for maybe an hour. The high tourist season is June to August so when we were there is September it was busy but not too crowded. We had lunch at a restaurant right on the water called nammos. Great lunch but really expensive. We hopped on our scooter and headed to a few other beaches but made Super Paradise Beach Club the last stop. I thought the first stop was great but you could tell this is where the party was in the high season. It was really busy so I can't even imagine what it would be like during the high season. The cool thing is it had a great beach and it was people of all ages. This is a clothing optional and there was not a lot of clothes wearing people!
We booked this because again we wanted to get off the ship first and it included a ticket to take the tram down at the end. We went to Oia which looks exactly what a postcard of Santorini is. Know ing what I know now we should have just stayed there and checked out the town but we headed back on the bus to the winery, Santo Wine. This was probably the worst wine I have ever had. We then got dropped off back in Fira. Now Fira is a cool town but if you are coming to Santorini you need to be in Oia. It was the most beautiful place I have ever been. You can walk around all day and just feel like you are dreaming. When we did go back to Fira we rented a 4 wheeler and headed to a few beaches our friends told us about. The black beach is lava rocks and it was very cool but extremely hot on our feet. I had to wear my flip flops into the water. Also it is very rocky even in the water so it was cool to see the beach but not a place I would just hang out. The last stop was the Red beach and there was a very long hill and then a long trail down to get to this beach. We went to the top of the hill and took pictures then headed back to the ship.
We decided to go and a walking tour only because I knew we were going to tender to the port so we wanted to get off the fastest. We did a short walking tour Doicletian Palace and the roman palace. Our tour guide was great. Very knowledgeable and nice to know the history. Afterwards we wandered around the town, had lunch and did a little shopping. My husband enjoyed a Croatian beer and I had a glass of wine. We really enjoyed the appetizers we got. Great fun stop!