This was the second part of TA crossing on Celebrity Infinity and changing ships and visiting Mediterranean ports to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary--a year early!
1 Stop in France; 4 stops in Italy; 1 in Croatia; 1 in Montenegro.
Although it was a port heavy cruise with lots of walking, the ship still provided plenty to do with entertainment and special events, including a crew Talent show(very talented), Guest cruisers Talent show (in which my wife and I both performed), 30 cruisers persenting Michael Jackson's Thriller dance led my cruise director Steve Davis (6 hours of rehearsal) and the International Parade of Nations showing the countries represented by the crew with fun"acts" by certain nations. The beautiful Centrum was the central place for games and events...great for some, but creating a sound decibel for the live bands at a level I felt uncomfortable. Bring ear plugs! However the sound engineer in the theater did a great job of mixing music and vocals.
Nice cabin in the front of the ship with the sweetest cabin attendant, Sara, we have ever had. She went out of her way to provide not only service, but conversation, and caring advice. For this cruise i2017 provided easy on and off as the gangplank was on deck 1 midship. The elevator was nearby with the theater only 3 flights up and on deck 9 you stepped out into the Windjammer.
You have got to see Sagrada Família church. Words and pictures cannot do it justice. Beautiful Architecture all along La Ramblas.
We did the walk along Sentier du Littoral; you can walk along the water from Villefranche to Nice (sort of)--you come off the path before you reach Nice. The path is rocky with many ups and downs ending with a 200 step stair back to the road, BUT the views along the way are beautiful. We are 71 years old, so if this sounds like your kind of thng, you ceratinly can do it.Then you can contiue on along the orad to the city. Take the #100 bus back to Villefranche or if you have the time and energy, stay on the bus to Monaco.
Instead of going to crowded Florence, we visited Lucca and Pisa. From the shuttle bus off the pier drop off point, we took the local bus to the train station and then the train to Lucca, Italy. There we rented bikes and rode around the entire old city along and on top of the very wide city walls from Medieval times. Visted the Cathedral and some other spots. Then we got back on the train to Pisa and basically visited the Square of Miracles with the Cathedral, the hugh Baptistry and, of coure, the Leaning Tower. I was impressed by the beauty of the exteriors of all the buildings, Did not walk up the Town...way too expensive! Then took the train back to Livorno, bus and shuttle back to the ship. A very nice, calm, unrushed day.
They now have a special express train-Civitavecchia Express to Rome for cruise passengers. 2 times in and 2 times back. Buy your tickets online or at the station and it is a reserved space so no worry about an overcrowded train on the way back. It makes only two stops- S. Pietro, about a 10-15 minute walk to St. Peters Square or Termini Station, which takes a little longer to get to. We decided on Termini and planned to see St. Peters later when it might not be so crowded and get on at S Pietro to go home. To start our Rome tour, we took the Metro to St. Agnes Church and Catacombs of Saint Agnes, just outside the city. Agnes was the name of my wife's mother so that was special, and we enjoyed an interesting tour of about 30 minutes into the catacombs. If this interest you, CHECK the times they are open!--Amazing to think they built these in the early 200-300s.....actually you can say that about everything you see in old Rome. Metro back to the Colosseum. Pictures can't do the massiveness of the building justice. We walked along the outside of the Forum (there was a long line to go in as it was monthly free day). We had a guide booklet with pics we printed from the web so could point out and see the major attractions. We headed for the Pantheon and all along the route more ruins. The Pantheon dates to about 127CE. We took a taxi over to Vatican City, very reasonable $9.00. Had an hour wait in line. Again, Saint Peter's Square awes you and the church even one ups that...Amazing. Caught the train back for a relaxing 35 minute or so ride back to the port. Well worth the effort !
We stayed local once again and it was a treat. Walking to the Cathedral of St. Matthew, we stumbled upon an interesting little places filled with huge cut outs of the Nativity scene and other just folk. It was very nice. If you visit the Cathedral DEFINITELY go down to the Crypt and you will be surprised by the paintings and how stunningly beautiful it is.
Another tucked away treasure is the Gardens of Minerva, a botanical garden dating back to the Mediveal Ages. There is also a cafe overlooking Salerno where we enjoyed Lemoncellos and biscuits.
Oaky, simply put there is only one Venice! But a tip about leaving the ship; walk to the end of the port and look for the people mover which for just 1.5 euros will give you a round trip ticket into the central transportation hub. The trip is very short, but it would be a difficult walk. From there you can catch the water taxi, buses, etc. We walked to the Rialto Bridge and St. Marco Square. Fortunately because we had arrived the night before we got an early start. Great walking along the water and through the tiny streets. Easy, took us (remembers 71) about 45 minutes or so. St Marco square will WOW you...Now here is a tip and we did this here and in Barcelona. If you attend worship or simply seek to pray, there are side entrances. From the chapel you can view quite a lot of the church. We went to mass at both locations. When we came out of St. Mark's the line stretched all the way back to the water! we took the water taxi back and enjoyed that leisurely ride admiring the buildings.
You can walk off the port again and the main attraction isDiocletian's "palace". Well actually the whole "old city" is inside the walls of the palace. It was built is about the year 300...For a small fee, you get to visit three buildings. An additonal fee will get you into the basement level. Didn't do that, but they say there is nothing in the rooms BUT several Game of Thrones scenes were filmed there. It is a delightful city to walk. At one end of the Promenade sits the Fife Buffet Cafe. It is no longer a "buffet" as we think, but my goodness the amount of food is buffet like.I got beef goulash and fried veggies, both huge amounts. My wife got stuffed peppers and swiss char-again huge amounts, plus a glass of wine and a local beer for-124 kunas or $18.00..and the view came for free.
Hands down, the most beautiful sail ins between lush mountains. Be on deck either going in or coming out. More beautiful churches, then the walk up the mountain. You have two choices: all the way to the top 1355 steps or a little less than halfway to a small chapel. We opted for the later choice; had we been younger, and it wasn't the 13th port between our two cruises, we might have gone all the way! You will get the most magnificent views wherever you stop. They now charge a rather hefty $8.00, no matter how far you go, but it is worth it. Since there were only a few people in the chapel, my wife sang Ave Maria, resounding off the stone walls..Nice.
Also note, cats can be found everywhere. There was even one just sitting at a table where we ate, simply waiting for folks to take his picture-which they did.
There is also a beach near the port, not beautiful, a full pebble beach, but if you want to say you swam in the Bay of Kotor you can, which I did, but it was chilly.