Awesome Western Med Cruise
Europe - Western Mediterranean
We did the Aug. 29, 2010 sailing. We flew into Rome for 2 nights pre-cruise. We used Bob's limo service for the transfer to the hotel. We stayed at Alberge del Senote hotel by Pantheon. This hotel was perfect for the location, room, included breakfast. I would highly recommend. We booked this through Hotel.com. On Sunday- Bob's Limo was 20 minutes late. The gentleman never introduced himself and drove very, very aggressively to the pier. We were stressed out once we arrive. I did send a note to the company to confirm pick up and notify them of the aggressive driving.
We arrived at the Pier at 11:15am. We went to the Diamond/suite area and checked in- computers went down- sat for an extra 15 minutes. We got on the ship and went directly to the 10th floor for FOOD. They opened the Windjammer at 12 noontime. Purchased the coke card. They told me they ran out of the tumblers 3 cruises ago. The bar staff in the windjammer was always nice and I ended up getting ginger ale alot and More
they knew my order by day 2. The room was ready to go into at 1:00pm. We went for the junior suite and it was beautiful. It had wonderful club chair/ottoman, walk in closet, flat screen tv. Our room attendant was Kay. We did remove all of the sodas, etc out of the mini-bar. The safe was not opened and we did have to call security to open the staff. The room was perfect. It was quiet. We went to the life boat drill and we found out there were 1,400 Italians on the ship. We found them to be very nice and it was always a fashion show each night. Love their shoes. We had trouble finding the Diamond lounge but once we did- Rauge was wonderful up on the 14th floor. They didn't have any crackers or cheese. That was the only that was different. We had My Time Dinning- we ended up with Babu a table of 2, head waiter was Ray Lewis. We had excellent service. I am on a special diet and they did everything they could to help me out. We had a standing reservation for 6:30pm. Thus, dinner was delightful each evening. We would mostly get it off the spa menu. Since this was such a port extensive itinerary- we wanted to eat light. Also, lobster has been eliminated.
Sea Day. Started to pack up things. Got my hair done at the salon. Beware anything that you purchased- gift shop to hair products you had to pay the vat tax. They had a ton of activities to do. There was always lounge chairs to be used.
Last day- The windjammer opened at 6am. We were getting off the ship at 7:15. They didn't make omelets that morning. We walked off the ship- easy, got our luggage and Bob's Limo was there. The same driver. He drove normal and it wasn't a stressful drive to the airport.
We loved the ship. We had never been on a Navigator of the Seas type of ship and loved the cafe area on the 5th floor. The only complaint was that breakfast upstairs didn't open up until 1 hour before we arrived at the ports. The windjammer had excellent food. Nice variety. We would highly recommend this ship- maybe not in August, the heat was intense and Italy closes down for the month. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Barcelona, Spain. We did the shuttle into Barcelona. It was overcast- we did the hop/on off bus red 2 hours. It was great. They did put the cover over the top of the bus so when it was raining we didn't get wet. We switched to the orange line and was on that for another 1.5 hours. We got off at Las Ramblos and saw a crime- and people were chasing and we got off of that street asap and got back on the bus. This was about 2:00pm in the afternoon. We could not find where the shuttle bus picked us up- there were no markings and were thinking that we would have to walk back to the ship. The shuttle bus arrived after waiting for 30 minutes. The weather did clear off by 4pm. Lower humidity.
Genoa, Italy- we did the Cenque Terre tour through the ship. It was a 9 hour tour and it was wonderful. But, you HAVE to be in shape to do this tour. We had a wonderful tour guide- Andrew. They now give you a ear bud and connect to a receiver you put around your neck. You could hear him all the time. For this tour- you walked at least 3-4 miles. We used bus, ferry, train. Around 1:45 we did break for lunch in the town of Verenazza- at the place that is number 1 on trip advisor. It was excellent. Met the owners. It was a very hot day and we were able to sit down and get cooled off. I would highly recommend this tour. We arrived about 15 minutes before the ship was about to leave.
Palma De Mallorca, Spain. Eric the shopping guide on the cruiseship advertised a free tour to the Menorca factory- bus and then you could purchase. We boarded a 2 story bus and drove out to the countryside and it was wonderful to see everything outside of the pier area. All the windmills. We went out to the Menorca factory and made our purchases- make sure you get the VAT paperwork to get your money back at the airport. We got dropped off in town- again there was a shuttle bus- and it wasn't marked either. I walked around for awhile in town. My sister walked around for another hour and couldn't find the shuttle bus. She arrived at the ship 15 minutes before the ship was supposed to leave. There were other people with the same issue with not marking the shuttle buses on the maps that they give you from the ship. I went down to the ice show and it was not crowded at all. It started right at the time of sailaway- 5pm. It was amazing. I love ice dancing and just wished it had been on more than just 2 times during the cruise.
Sardinia, Italy. We were invited to the bridge- but we had T-storms and had a message on our phone to go to the 14th floor and they had a beautiful spread for Diamond and Platinum members. It was beautiful to come into the port but it was raining- hard. We finally met the future cruise rep and she was able to answer alot of questions. We were told to go to the conference center on the 1st floor and we would be one of the first ones to get off the ship. We were and walked through the crew quarters which was interesting. We got the shuttle bus into town again. We walked with a group- police everywhere up a very, very steep hill. Everything shuts down at 1pm. We had 50 minutes to explore in the rain. Needless to say- no one made it very far- the hills were very steep and the humidity, light rain slowed us all down. The one dept store did stay open and we did walk in- the ship had given us a coupon 10%. We got back to the shuttle bus- this was marked. We got back to the ship area and the sun finally started to break out and a cool breeze was coming over the area. They had a few local artisan and got some beautiful glass work. We actually had time to go above and get some rays and loved it. We did go to the show that evening- 60, 70, 80 music and it was great.
Villefranche, France,- we did this on our own. We got the tender off the ship at 8:30- go directly to the 1st floor to get tender. Again another hot day. We got off the tender and walked up at very, very steep hill to get the bus to Nice. We waited for 30 minutes and got on the to Nice. We got the all day pass for 4E. Great deal. We had to stand for the entire 20 minute way into town- the buses are not a/c. We went into the bus station and walked down to the Open Market- it closes at 1. We didn't know this. Get anything that you want at that time. Then we walked into Nice and did some retail therapy at the department stores. We had both been to Nice before. At noontime- we decided to take the new train-a/c outside of the shopping area and that took us down to the Open Market/ waterfront. We walked along that and could see down the French Rivera it was a beautiful day. We ate lunch outside of the open market. At noontime or 1:00- they close it up and start to put out outside cafes for the afternoon and evenings. We got done with lunch and got on the bus. There is a public restroom at the welcome center in Villefranche- make sure you have your own t-paper. We wanted to go out to the villas- but there just wasn't enough time to get the bus or even a cab and see the villas. Sister stayed in and had a glass of wine and I came back in on the ferry- it is such a beautiful port. But, again the heat.