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Home > Member Reviews > CTCruisers's Port Reviews of Split, Dubrovnik, Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia)

CTCruisers's Port Reviews of Split, Dubrovnik, Naples, Rome (Civitavecchia)
Norwegian Jade cruise in October 2011
Member Name: CTCruisers
Cruise Date: October 2011
Embarkation: Venice
Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
Member Review: CTCruisers's Norwegian Jade Review
Split
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
We had a late breakfast before heading off the ship. Our plan was to only go into Split and check out its main attraction, Diocletians Palace (which is a Unesco World Heritage site) on our own. There were a lot of tours offered for this location with some visiting the countryside and/or the nearby ancient ruins in Salonae which is where the Roman Emperor Diocletian came from.

After a 10 minute tender ride, we walked from the dock area towards the old city section of Split (called Stari Grad). It was a very short walk from the pier where the tenders docked to the south gate entrance to the old city. The gate led us into the cellars under the palace. Diocletians palace/fortress was built around 400 AD and takes up almost half of the old city. As I have always been interested in Roman history, I found this area to be fascinating. There was so much to see as we walked around.

There are many gates that lead in and out of the old city. The Bronze Gate faces south to the harbor. To the east, you can take the Silver Gate which leads to an open air market area. To the west, you take the Iron Gate which leads to the main square (Narodni Trg) of Split which has their city hall building and the Ethnographic Museum near there. To the north, is the Golden Gate which leads to the Strosmajerov Park. Just outside the Golden gate, we found the large statue of Gregory of Nin (Grgur Ninski) by a local sculptor named Ivan Metrovic. It is said that rubbing the toe on the statue will bring you good luck. The toe of his right foot is a bright golden color from the constant rubbing by people over the 80 or so years since the statue was unveiled.

We also stopped by the Cathedral of St. Dominus which was originally built as a mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Diocletian. It has a bell tower with wonderful views of the old city (after walking up 186 steps). After the cathedral we walked west to visit Jupiters Temple, a Roman temple converted to a baptistery.

Just outside the Silver Gate and next to the market area, we found the church and monastery of St. Catherine of Alexandria. It had a simple church with some nice paintings and statues. As we were leaving, we found that the doors had been shut. One of the two nuns in the church came over to unlock the door as they had closed the church at noon without our realizing it, but they did not want to disturb us.

The Marjan hill (mar-yan) is a park area that overlooks the city and gives great views of the city of Split and the harbor below. Facing the harbor as we left the old city, we took a right (away from the ship) and walked along the harbor to the park which was about a half mile away from the old city. There were over 300 steps to take you up to the top.

Along the water by the old city area is a boardwalk area known as Riva. This is a wonderful place to sit back, relax, and have a drink or just admire the sights.

Croatia has its own currency, the Kuna. While most places accepted Euros and/or charge cards, a few places would only accept Kunas. There were plenty of ATM machines and currency exchange shops in Split.

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Dubrovnik
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Dubrovnik is known for its old city area which is a Unesco World Heritage site. It is surrounded by famous fortified walls that were started in the 8th century. The entire perimeter of the walls is about 2 kilometers with lots of steps especially on the side facing the city and hills. Entrances (with a fee) to the walls can be found at both ends of the city. The Ploce (plo-cha) gate is the one closest to the harbor where the ship tenders dock. This entrance tends to be less crowded than the Pile (pee-la) Gate which is the main gate at the other end of the old city that leads to the rest of Dubrovnik. We found long lines at both gates. As you walk along the walls, you pass through a few small forts. The views from the walls were spectacular. They will only accept Croatian Kunas or charge cards to enter the walls. It takes about 2 hours to leisurely walk the entire length and for the walls along the water, they have everyone walking in the same direction from the Pile Gate to the old harbor. There is no shade while you are up there.

The main pedestrian thoroughfare from the docks to the Pile Gate is called the Stradun Placa. It is lined with shops and cafes. At the end of the Stradun, just before the Pile Gate, is the large Onofrio fountain, a famous landmark and meeting place. We found it more interesting to explore the side streets found on both sides of the Stradun.

There are a lot of buildings and landmarks to see and visit in the old town area besides the walls and forts. There are a few monasteries, The Church of St. Blaise (patron saint of Dubrovnik), and the Rectors Palace.

Near the Jesuit church, along the outside walls facing the water, we found an opening that led to a bar situated on the rocks at the waters edge with wonderful views. It was called the Cafe Bua. You can spot this bar from above when you walk along the ocean side of the walls

Outside the walls by the Ploce Gate is a station for a high speed cable car gondola that takes you up to the top of Srd Hill (serge) which offers incredible views of the old city and the surrounding area. The cable car station at the top is 1,324 feet above sea level and it only takes 4 minutes to go up from the station below. The cost was 80 Croatian Kuna per adult (about $15). They would not accept Euros, only Kunas and/or charge cards. At the top are viewing stations, a restaurant, and a souvenir stand.

There are very few public toilets in the old town area, so one had to go into one of the cafes to order a drink and use their facilities.

We also visited the Cathedral (Katedrala) which was at the East end of the city towards the old harbor before heading back to the old city harbor docks to take a tender back to the ship.

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Naples
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Visiting Naples, they are many things to do and see both near and far. You can go to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum, the Amalfi Coast, Mt. Vesuvius, or the Isle of Capri. In Naples itself, there are quite a few interesting sites to explore. This is one port I would not mind visiting several times just to get the chance to see it all.

We had been to Naples before, so we had decided to go off into Naples to visit just a few sights in the city. The cruise ship terminal is located opposite the Castel Nuovo fort. Our main plan in Naples was to visit the Duomo di San Gennaro and some other churches in that area before taking a funicular up to the top of the Vomero district that overlooks the entire city to visit the monastery and castle there before returning to the ship.

As we walked out of the terminal, we stopped at a tabacchi shop that was to the left of the exit. We purchased all day transportation passes (biglietto giornaliero) for 3.10 each. On our previous visit to Naples, I had picked up a local bus map that showed all of the routes for buses as well as funiculars and subway trains. We had taken the HOHO bus in Naples before and had a terrible experience with them, so we were determined not to use them. We wanted to only use the public transportation system instead. We started walking to the Duomo di San Gennaro. About 10 minutes along in the planned 30 minute walk, it started pouring as a thunderstorm came over the city. Even though we had raincoats on, our pants and shoes were soaked thoroughly by the time we reached the Duomo. The Duomo is located at 147 Via Duomo. Please note that the Duomo is closed from 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm. We found out the hard way on our last trip to Naples as it was closed when we went there in the mid-afternoon.

After walking around the large church, we left the Duomo and walked down Via dei Tribunali towards Piazza Dante. Along the way we stopped by a church called Purgatorio ad Arco. This church had wonderful paintings and sculptures, but they did not allow photos.

Next, we walked to the Sansevero Chapel which has an incredible collection of marble sculptures with the most amazing being one called the Veiled Christ. Again, we were not allowed to use our camera.

After leaving that church it was still raining with no signs of letting up. Wet and cold, we decided to head back to the ship instead of going to the Vomero hill. So we have a reason to come back to Naples again hopefully. We did talk with other passengers that had gone to see Pompei and they said that while it did not rain, it was cold and windy. Tours to Mt. Vesuvius were cancelled due to the strong winds.

There were plenty of pizza shops to be found, especially along Vie de Tribunali. We are spoiled with several terrific Neapolitan style pizza shops near our home in Connecticut and the ones in Naples looked and smelled just as good.

Walking across streets in Naples is nerve wracking. The drivers there are very aggressive and stop lights are only a suggestion. You just have to pick your moment and go, do not hesitate!

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Rome (Civitavecchia)
Port Rating: 5+ out of 5+
Our plan was to stay in Rome for two nights before flying home. We had been to Rome the previous year as a port stop on our Jade cruise out of Barcelona, so we had already seen all of the major sights (albeit briefly) in the day we had spent there. We wanted to go back to spend time enjoying just a few locations of what Rome has to offer for visitors.

We had booked a room at a B&B called A Casa di Nannali that was located just a few blocks (100 meters) from Vatican City for 80 a night. It is located halfway between the Roma San Pietro train station and the Vatican. From our rooms balcony, we could see the Dome of St. Peters.

After we walked the short distance from the Roma San Pietro train station to the hotel, we checked in and then spent the rest of our first day in Rome visiting the Vatican museums which included the Sistine Chapel and then St. Peters. We had booked tickets for the Vatican Museums online prior to our trip, so we did not have to wait in a long line for tickets. The museums were incredible and we ended the visit to the museums in the Sistine Chapel. At the advice of other people, we followed a tour group through a side door that led us into St. Peters without having to exit the Museum and then having to go into a line to enter the Cathedral. A third of the church was blocked off and they would let anyone go to the crypts or up to the dome that day. But, we did stay long enough to be able to attend mass in the side chapel there before leaving.

The next day, we headed into the old part of Rome by bus to spend the afternoon at the forum area and the Colosseum. We stopped by a Tabacchi shop to get our one day transportation passes before catching a bus to Piazza Venezia. We had booked a guided tour of the Colosseum online. The same tickets gave us admission to the Palatine Hills and the Forum. When we got to the Colosseum at 11:30 am, the lines for the ticket window were a third the way around the building and moving very slowly. But, we were able to go to the very short line for on-line tickets to make our way into the building and wait for the guided tour which was informational.

After leaving the Colosseum, we walked past the Arch of Constantine and entered the gate that led us to both the Palatine Hill and the Forum areas which we toured on our own for an hour. We then caught a bus to take a short ride to visit the Area Sacra Argentina which has Roman ruins (supposedly where Julius Caesar was murdered) and is also used as a cat sanctuary. We spotted at least 20 cats around the area.

From there we walked north to visit a church called S. Maria sopra Minerva and then the Pantheon before walking over to the Piazza Novana to grab an early dinner. We ended up at a sidewalk caf just outside the piazza called Sale Miele. We had a wonderful meal there at half the price of the cafes in the Piazza. After the meal, we took a bus back to the Vatican area and our room.

Our flight to go home on Monday morning was not until noon. We just walked back to the Roma San Pietro station and took one train (FM3) for the short ride to the Roma Trastevere station and caught another train (FM1) that took us to the Fiumicino airport. The cost was 8 each. Altogether, it took about 45 minutes to get from the San Pietro station to the airport.

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