I traveled with 5 of my coworkers. We all work for a major Airline and word spread that they made a ton of money last year and all employees were receiving a profit sharing check from the company.
I've traveled with these same coworkers before (ages from 44 - 62) and we all get along so well. We did Hawaii the previous year and wanted to try Egypt for 2011. Well, we all know what happened in Egypt. So we nixed that idea. Some one bought up Europe and since none of them had been on a cruise before, I suggested a Med. cruise. I went home and saw Navigator for $499.00 (inside cabin). My coworkers couldn't believe it.
Well we did get a share of the profits and immediately called RCCL and put down deposits in February.
Fast Forward and October arrives quickly. We fly free, only having to pay taxes, so for $42.50 we flew round trip to Rome from Philly. Flight was very nice on an Airbus 330 and the flight attendants were wonderful. This was my first time to Europe and I'm hooked.
We flew in a day early and stayed at the Hotel Georgina. Would stay again if cruising out of Rome. Right up the street from Termini Station. Place was clean and inexpensive.
Immediately dropped our luggage and headed to the Coliseum. If you do go, people will be walking back and forth offering tours to go in. Please take it. We paid an additional 7 euros and it was worth every euro. She walked us around the whole place and gave us a history lesson of things I never knew about the Coliseum. We had walkie talkies that went around our necks and you put it up to your ear when the guide speaks. I was in awe of this place. After that we went back to our hotel and napped then woke up for dinner. The food was so fresh and the pasta and wine so good.
We took the train from Termini to the port of Civ. Saved a lot of money doing it that way. Just make sure you get to the train station early. We had a hard time finding out what track our train was on. Train ride was nice with some good scenery.
Having been on the Explorer before, I was looking forward to being back on the Voyager class. We had 2 inside cabins and 1 couple had a balcony. Our cabin was comfy. Love the shower doors. Navigator is going into drydock soon. I'm sure there was wear and tear around the ship. However, everything was clean and shiny. I only noticed a few dirt spots on the carpet, because it was right there in plain sight. 3,000 pax trampling around on the carpet, so that didn't bother me at all. The welcome back show was very enjoyable. Please don't miss it.
Our 1st port was Messina, Italy. We booked an independant full day tour and was given 3hrs in Taormina, then went to Castelmola, had lunch at a restaurant with a beautiful view of Mt. Etna, then back to tour Messina. We loved our guide who fed us so much history and answered all questions. Everyone agreed this was a wonderful start to the cruise. It was sunny and in the 70's perfect weather for touring.
Next was a sea day. It was windy that day, so relaxing outside was out of the question. I found a quiet corner and read and had a few drinks. Some of my coworkers had the compass and followed activities off of that. Everyone had a relaxing day. The Ice Skating show was fabolous as always. Don't miss it.
Next was Athens, Greece. Had an independent tour and went to the Acropolis. We felt a little cheated out of this because when you buy your tickets, it includes other sites, however, they're closed for whatever reasons. I don't think we should pay full price for tickets if they know a lot of the other sites are closed. Acroplis was amazing. Went to the New Museum. Awesome place. Went to Plaka and walked the streets with our guide. Nice and quaint. Athens dept of sanitation was on strike and there was bags of trash everywhere. Yuck. Enjoyed our day. The ruins were simply amazing. We did the Michael Jackson Name that Tune after dinner. Great fun. Athens was sunny and in the 70's.
Next, Turkey (Ephesus). Again, an independent tour. Went to Mary's house, Ephesus ruins were unbelievable. Saw an reenactment of gladiators fighting in front of Cleopatra and Antony. They put on a show with horses and chariots in full costumes. It was so neat. We happened to be in the right place at the right time. Got some great pictures. Also, went to the carpet show because someone was interested in purchasing a rug and he did. He's getting it framed and hanging it on his wall. He said it costs to much money to be walked on. We had a turkish lunch there also, it was outside with white tableclothes. Our Tour guide again was wonderful. Learned so much. Went to the Movie Theatre, saw a movie with Denzel Washington in it. Forgot the name, but it was a good movie. It was warm this day, but with a nice breeze.
Next was Crete, I slept in that day and never went on the island. Some of my coworkers did and they said it was nice. They bought some souvenirs. This day was sunny and warm. So while everyone was off the ship, we had it to ourselves. We played basketball. Had the court all to ourselves. Then played mini golf. We never laughed so hard. Next we went and changed into swim suits and went to the Solarium, found chairs together and read, listened to Ipods or slept. We went in the jacuzzi which was nice and hot. I fell asleep with my face in the sun and would you believe I got sunburned.
They had a barbecue lunch set up that day with ribs, chicken, salads, all types of food.
I have to also say our dining team was unbelievable. Our head waiter came around every night. He told us they make other dishes not on the menu, just ask. One night we had curry chicken. Which was not on the menu. So good. Lobster was not served on this cruise. I did miss that. Food was good, I actually gained 10 pounds. However, I feel Carnival has more varieties of food and I prefer their menu.
Embarkation was painless. We carried our own bags and was off the ship in no time. We stayed another night in Rome. So took the train back. Found another hotel, Hotel Everest. It was up the street from Hotel Georgina. We dropped off our luggage and took the subway to the Vatican. And would you believe while we were standing in the middle of the square, the Pope comes out to deliver his blessings. He said it in about 3 different languages including english. Incredible. I'm not Catholic, but not many people can say they saw the Pope, Live. We also took the Subway to see the Trevi Fountain. Just Incredible.
Our flight home left on time and we had the cruise of a lifetime. I would like to think Cruise Critic. All our private tours were found from reviews posted on this website.
Hopefully, 2012 we can do another Med. cruise. I'm hooked.