Mariner of the Seas Cruise Review by amyarizona: Good ship, good cruise
Overall Member Rating
Good ship, good cruise
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
The cabins were a pleasant surprise. More room than I expected and more storage space than usual.
The food was banal. Why can't they serve local food rather than American? We were in Italy. What's so hard about serviing Italian food? The desserts were light on chocolate and the buffet virtually never served any chocolate desserts. What's up with that?
There is an Ice rink onboard and the ice show was excellent. We watched it twice.
The shows were ok. I may be getting a little jaded but I found the dancing not up to the usual standard.
The last night there was a late night show in the lobby which was a surprise. I believe they did two of them but I only saw one. Anyway it was very festive and great last night activity.
WE don't book shore excursions from the ship. I research each destination and usually d it myself with pdf files on my ipod touch or hore a local excursion company. O this cruise we only did that once- in Kusadasi. to my More surprise we went back to the ship often for lunch as the ship was convenient. Then we headed out again to tour some more. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
The truth is, I recommend NOT going to the Acropolis. The crowds are terrible and as much as I am into archeology, this is just a pile of rocks on a high hill. I recommend reconsidering this site. However we did go. They do NOT supply maps which was a hassle a we wanted to tour the other sites in the Acropolis area. Bring a map with you. Online perhaps? The Agora museum was good. I like things that look like something, not just rubble that once was something. The Agora Museum was bult by the Rockefeller's and houses statues and such. Free with acropolis ticket.
We went to the Plaka. ho hum.
I wish I had gone to the Archeology museum but I believe it is way across town. Next time.
First stop Topkapi Museum. This is the time to go there- first thing. We were there when they opened, it was not crowded. By the time we left it was very crowded and long lines. Go first thing!!!
We walked over to the Blue mosque but the lie was too long so we went back the second day early in the morning. Mae sure you get on the line to tour, not pray. Wear long sleeves and longer pants.
We toured the Basilica Cisterns which was very interesting. I recommend it. Read up on it first.
The Bazaar is good fun but I preferred the Spice Bazaar which was very colorful. I bought food but nothing in the bazaar. I guess I have everything I need at this point in my life. I took lots of pictures though.
We ate dinner in town. I can't tell you the name of the place but I found it online. It was the 6th floor of a smaller hotel with gorgeous views. We were there as the sun went down. A good choice. We then went elsewhere for desserts- oh- Turkish desserts!!! then train home.
The second day we took a day trip (90 minutes) excursion up the Bosphorus. Very nice trip.
I recommend every thing we did.
We booked a tour online with Ephesus Tours Turkey (firstname.lastname@example.org) for 4 of us to go to Ephesus early before the tour buses. In all ways it was a good experience. We wound up with 6 people. emailed them to make sure there was a big enough vehicle. The guide was there with a sign at the port and we were ahead of the buses which as great. And not too hot yet. 5 of us chose to tour the Terrace houses which is an extra charge and the guided pointed out a place for the 6th person to meet us and there was no problem. The Terrace houses were very interesting and I strongly recommend them.
The guide spoke good English, the vehicle was a large air conditioned van, everything was first rate.
At the end he said he was going to take us somewhere for a crafts demonstration. I hate this part and it turned out to be a carpet store in Kusadasi. We had just bought a Persian carpet a week before out trip and I was determined NOT To look at any rugs so I explained and walked out immediately. No problem. I believe the others did too but I didn't wait around to see.
Kusadasi has fun shopping although I didn't actually buy anything this time. But the leather and carpets I think are better and better prices than in Istanbul. And you are closer to the ship. Last time I was here a decade ago I shopped a lot and went back to the ship several times with my purchases.
It is true that it is not safe. We took the train to Pompeii and on that half hour ride saw several crimes committed- pickpockets, people thrown off the train for not paying for their tickets, etc.
Pompeii was interesting but again no maps. What is up with that? for $20 or whatever we paid they should supply a map. Bring your own. In retrospect I wonder if people on tours had a better explanation of Pompeii than we did. But we took the train both ways and were there for about 3 hours. We planned to go on to Herculaneum but it was hot and as interested as I am in archeology we had enough ruins at this point in our trip. So we went to Naples and had a pizza then went to the fabulous archeology museum. WOW!!
Can't say I was wowed by Naples pizza although the flavor of the sauce was the best ever. And enjoyed our walk there through old Naples- narrow streets, laundry hanging out. Very scenic. We went to DiMateo, which online was called one of the best. Didn't want to go to the one from that Eat, Pray, Love movie as I thoguht it would be too crowded with tourists. We did have to wait at Di Mateos but it was mostly locals.
The museum was superb. A real must do.They took all the statues and mosaics out of Pompeii and Ephesus and put it here. a real shame as they should be where they belong but the art was great. I can't recommend it stongly enough.
I was pleased to get out of Naples with out having any pickpocket trouble. I can't wait to go back to Naples again.
I went to a food shop and bought the food items I wanted to take home even though this was the first stop (olive oil, etc). This turned out to be a good idea as I did not see the items I wanted in other ports.
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