29-DAY ANTIQUITIES & SPANISH PASSAGE COLLECTOR
I was on this cruise from Athens to Tampa which was known as the 29-Day Antiquities & Spanish Passage Collector, however the Ryndam broke it down to Athens – Rome, Rome – Barcelona, & Barcelona to Tampa. This is the 7 day Rome to Barcelona portion.
In Jan. 2013 I cruised the Caribbean & on that voyage was the Mt. Laurel Autoharp Group. I overheard them say that their next cruise was going to be transatlantic. Well it was but for some reason they like the Noordam.
This was my first cruise to the Mediterranean; I thought there could have been more but we had a port of call nearly every day. Some passengers were not happy with a port every day.
I had cabin 030 on the Navigation Deck giving me use of the Neptune Lounge, breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill and free laundry.
Werner Timmers kept us updated with navigational highlights & was often seen around the ship on special events & for lunch at the Lido. He was the first Captain I have seen not wearing a jacket; fellow officer were the same. Maybe this is what you get with smaller ships. The Captain’s humor, wit & knowledge were well appreciated. The fact that we had nice weather throughout the cruise probably had some affect.
Best bet here is to contact your local cell phone carrier. I was told to have airplane mode on, data off & fetch new data off. When I received my bill later at home no additional charges had been incurred.
No experience here.
There was plenty of food; and it was good but I am used to hospital food and my taste buds burned out years ago. This was the first time I had anytime dining & I loved it. You get to meet different people each evening.
There are various types, basically they are all the same. Either take a bunch of books or put them on an E Reader and save space. In addition the E reader I took a Microsoft Surface tablet. Many fellow passengers had Ipads.
Embarkation & Debarkation:
Embarkation & Debarkation did not apply as I boarded in Athens & was going to Tampa.
The Ryndam singers & dancers were terrific as were Concert Pianist Tomono Kawamura, Gen & The Halcats and Juggler Luke Burrage,
Fitness & Recreation:
Did not use
There were 2 formal nights; few wore tuxedos
Gratuity and Tips:
For me the gratuity was $12 per day; for most people it was $11.50. This is deducted automatically & charged to your account.
There were washers & dryers on decks 9, 6, & 5; washing was $2, dryers $1, soap was provided free.
Navigational Sights & Scenery:
I was in a Neptune Suite so took advantage of the free laundry & Pinnacle Grill for breakfast, plus the Neptune Lounge.
DECK 11: Lido Restaurant: Here was breakfast, the advantage of eating here was it opened early.
DECK 11: Fitness Center: Went here once at the beginning to the cruise to weigh myself.
DECKS 8-7: Rotterdam Dining Room: This is where I took evening meals on Deck 7 & Deck 8 for hi-tea at 3PM.
DECK 8: Explorer’s Lounge, Library, Internet, Puzzle’s & Game’s: I spent my time here while waiting for the dining room to open, using the internet, or just reading.
DECK 8: Pinnacle Grill: I had breakfast here once, breakfast is reserved for Neptune Suite guest’s breakfast was served about 8am & I preferred to the Lido @ 6:30am.
DECKS 8-7: Showroom at Sea: Where the shows are.
DECK 8: Shops: Purchased a pair of shorts here.
DECK 7: Wajang Theater: There were movies about 12 noon most every day.
DECK 7: Front Office: Open 24/7 & I visited here a few times; Shore Excursions is beside it.
DECK 3: Tenders: decks B or 5.
HAL is known for their service. Everyone was very helpful.
The ship was relatively small with 2 banks of elevators 4 each or 8 in total; one bank forward & one aft. I found walking from bow to stern rather easy plus you really do not have any choice.
About the only place you notice this is in the Casino & here 1 side is reserved for smokers, the other side non-smoking. And that is wrong for this is a sign saying that smoking is allowed only at certain tables. Outside the ship smoking is allowed. At the Sea View Pool on Deck 10, smoking is allowed on the starboard side only.
My stewards were Ari & Putu who were responsible for 17 Neptune Suite cabins.
Tours – Private:
For independent tours check reviews on Cruise Critic and Tripadvistor. Independent Tours are less expensive than ship’s tours. Taking a ships tour means that the ship will not leave without you; you lack that advantage with independent tours.
Palermo: available taxi tours, HoHo bus, tour around the city, horse drawn wagon.
Olbia, Sardinia, Italy: There is a HoHo bus for $10Euro + 5Euro for earphones.
Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy; tours available at the pier
Palermo: Wi-Fi at various restaurants, coffee shops, pubs.
Olbia, Sardinia, Italy: Did not notice any but there are probably some in Cafes.
Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy: Wi-Fi at various restaurants, coffee shops, pubs
Value for Money:
I was very satisfied as I did not take this cruise for activities, but for the ports of call. It was an interesting cruise & one I hope to repeat.
Next visit I would like to spend more time but this was my first visit & people kept bothering for tours. It also was a Sunday so most places were closed plus we were the only ship in port.
Several cruisers were upset with the HoHo bus; 10Euro for the bus, 5Euro for the earpiece. Tours are available. I took the HoHo bus.
Here a group of us took an independent tour to Pisa & Lucca with Rudy’s Touring Service; Donny was our driver.
Monte Carlo, Monaco:
This was beautiful. Hills overlooking the bay, beautiful high rise buildings, & expensive too.
Marseille, France: From the pier there was a $14 bus to the center of town. Private tours are available as well as ships tours.
Saturday Oct 26: Cititavecchia (Rome), Italy – leave 4:38pm; 72, sunny, calm, Smart Casual
In port with Norwegian Jade, W Spirit, Lirica, Mein Schiff.
I stayed on the ship today, went to the Mariners luncheon then read. After the drill I met Kris who went to Rome, got back at 3:30pm on the dot, just made the drill, then we went to supper. Tonight’s entertainment was “Listen to the Music” with the entertainment staff of the Ryndam.
Sunday Oct. 27: Palermo, Sicily, Italy – 10am-5:35pm: 82F, clear, calm winds, Smart Casual.
Calm seas from Rome to Palermo.
Only Ryndam in port.
Went off the ship & was bothered by people selling HoHo bus tours, tours of the city, horse drawn wagon tours, etc. Had they left us alone we would have enjoyed the city more. But we were the only ship in port & it was a Sunday. Tonight’s entertainment was “Aces High” with the Ryndam Singers & Dancers.
Monday Oct. 28: At Sea, mostly cloudy, 68F, Formal
Kris stopped by & showed me how to use Power-point & gave me a few pointers on Word. I decided to have my underwear, socks & pants laundered by the ship to if there would be any shrinkage. Tonight’s entertainment was Concert Pianist Tomono Kawamura; the audience gave her a standing ovation, the best entertainment we’ve had since Athens.
Tuesday Oct. 29: Olbia, Sardinia, Italy – 8am-5pm, mostly sunny, 79F, calm winds, Smart Casual,
Calm seas from Palermo to Olbia.
In port with Ryndam only.
There was shuttle service provided free of charge by the City of Olbia from the pier to the center of town from there I caught the HoHo bus. The price was 10Euro plus 5Euro for earphones. When the rep told me the price I thought that you could not go wrong with 10Euro. But the price for the earphones was exorbitant; I have never paid for earphones; this plus they did not work on the first level of the bus, & the second level was not better. After returning I went back to the ship, had lunch, read, and then went to the movie “Now You See Me”. At 3pm I went to hi-tea meeting some interesting people. Read again then dressed for supper. The laundry I sent out yesterday came back, there was no shrinkage so the ship’s laundry will be used. Tonight’s entertainment was Gen & the Halcats.
Wednesday Oct. 30: Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy – 7am-6:58pm: 74F, sunny, Smart Casual.
Calm seas from Olbia to Florence.
In port with Carnival Sunshine, Quest for Adventure.
Ursula from our cruise critic board set up a tour of 7 people by Rudy’s Touring Service with driver Donny. He mentioned that Livorno was known as Little Venice. The first stop was Pisa followed by Lucca a beautiful walled city. He said Oct-Nov is best time to travel to Italy. We stopped for a nice Italian lunch of various hors d’oeuvres & homemade ravioli with wine & the cost of the entire meal was less than 30 Euros each; later we stopped for gelato. Lastly he took us to a supermarket for some inexpensive wine, chocolate & soda. Tonight’s entertainment International Entertainer & Juggler “Luke Burrage”.
Thursday Oct. 31: Monte Carlo, Monaco – 7am-6:10pm: sunny to p/c, 72F, sunny to p/c, calm.
Calm seas from Florence to Monte Carlo.
Only Ryndam in port.
A tour that included a panoramic drive on the Great Corniche Road with a marvelous panorama of the Italian coast, Cap Ferrat, Eze, & the principality of Monaco. We stopped at the quaint village of Eze, visited Nice & walked along the boardwalk / beach. Tonight’s entertainment “Classique” with the Ryndam singers & dancers.
Friday Nov. 1: Marseille, France – 7am-4pm: mostly sunny, 67F.
Calm seas from Monte Carlo to Marseille.
In port with Costa Luminosa & Wind Spirit.
Took a ships tour with a panoramic drive through Le Vieux Port continuing to Vallon des Auffe with several photo stops at Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica. Entertainment tonight was “Dancing with the Stars at Sea” starring some of our fellow guests who won various dancing contests during the preceding week.
Saturday Nov. 2: Barcelona, Spain – arrive 7am: mostly sunny, 70F.
In port with Costa Med, Wind Spirit & Europa, calm seas from Marseille to Barcelona
Captain: Werner Timmers
Chief Engineer: Pieter Engels
Hotel Director: Kees Van Santen
Staff Captain: Paul Adams
Environmental Officer: Derek Williams
Culinary Operations Manager: Ruben Kooiman
Purser: Moesa Djoemena
Cruise Director: Michael Langley
Guest Relations Manager: Christine Lubaton
Security Officer: Mark Miranda
Dining Room Manager: Pulung Baskoro
Executive Housekeeper: Rita Lynch
Executive Chef: Antonia Tudla
Event Manager: Kristy Berlin