This was our first time on a cruise and in the Mediterranean. It just seemed like the best way to get to many of these fantastic ports and it turned out we were right. With the jam packed schedule for the cruise, it was actually more work than I thought. We relaxed on the ship and ate great, but it seemed that close to every day we were at a different port with so much to do and see. We burned through a lot of shoe leather and saw some amazing sites that will last a lifetime. We also snapped over 1,500 photos on this trip.The food was pretty good. Basically, there are two options to eat, the Wind Jammer (buffet) and the King and I (plated). The Wind Jammer usually had the same menu. We primarily ate breakfast here for a hearty meal before going out. Lots of eggs, bacon, sausage, yogurt, cereal and fruit. A few variations, but mostly remained the same. It was good food too. The Wind Jammer also has sandwiches, salads and other hot options for lunch and dinner. We ate in the Wind Jammer a couple of times when we didn't feel like getting dressed up or eating at our specific time. Also, a nice change to eat a large salad as your meal.The King and I we mostly ate at for dinner. This is where we did the formal and casual nights. The servers are very good and professional. Every night there were different meals to choose from and I was never disappointed. Sometimes there were small portions, but we learned quickly to order an extra appetizer or even another main course. We had a great table of other young couples and young people, which made for good conversation. The desserts were usually phenomenal.Breakfast at the King and I was okay. The options were nothing spectacular, mostly eggs, bacon and toast. No eggs benedict on the entire ship! With a Suite, we did have the option of dining in our room. We ordered breakfast a couple of days we needed to get up early and dinner on 2 occasions when we just wanted to be alone. The breakfast in room worked out great. I think we order 3 or 4 times and each time they got the order somewhat wrong, but nothing that ruined the meal. We actually ate dinner on our balcony one night, which was quite pleasant. We tried to hit the gym a couple of times there. It's a decent gym to hit key muscle groups and we liked running around the outside track on the top floor. The steam and sauna rooms were also a nice touch. We even did the rock wall which was both fun and challenging.All in all, we had an incredible time.
We had a Grand Suite (aka the Villa Frenche suite) and it was remarkably well suited. The large balcony with table and two chairs really made a difference for a chance to get away from every one. We were on the port side, which didn't really make a difference. In Venice, our view was pretty cruddy of the docks, and the opposite side had a view of the city. But on the embarkation out of Venice, we had a great view of the city as we left.
The bed was comfortable and the room had its own thermostat. We had enough drawers and hangers to unpack. There were only two electrical outlets, so keep in mind for recharging batteries and using for curling irons and electric razors. The bathroom was a good size with two sinks and a shower/tub that could have been used for a bath, though we never took one.
The room did have a small fridge for a mini-bar for items they would charge you for. We did keep some fruit in the fridge and that was about all. We also got Ghirardeli chocolates every night on our pillows, which was a nice touch. We rarely ate them after the decadent desserts at night and most ended up in the mini fridge.
The service attendants were great. They made up our room every morning and turndown service every evening. Fun little towel animals greeted us most evenings too.
The Grand Suite also has some great perks like free booze in the concierge lounge between 6 and 9pm. Sometimes we would grab a drink before and/or after dinner. There was also some breakfast items, including coffee and juice in the mornings. I really liked having the coffee option in the morning as we got ready. We also didn't have to get or wait for our number to be called when we tendered. We just boarded whenever we wanted.
If you book a Grand Suite, be sure to ask for one with a DVD player. It's a busy schedule and some nights we just wanted to relax and rent a movie. Unfortunately, our suite was one without a DVD player, so we were left vegging out to some movie we had seen or didn't want to see.
This is actually a beautiful port city. Kind of a sleepy little tourist town with lots of hotels, restaurants and more street vendors. The main tourist spot is the castle on the opposite end of the bay from the port. We walked along the bay to the castle and it was a pretty easy and quick walk.
The castle is actually more impressive than it looks on the outside. There is a lot to see and some great photos to take from the top of the castle. I know there were some guided tours, but we wandered on our own and still had a great time. We went about lunch time and the person at the ticket booth warned us they would be closing in the next 20 minutes. We took the challenge and tried to do the short tour. We ended up doing a longer tour and no one ever shuffled us out of the castle. The great part was there were not many people. Others on our cruise went on a guided tour before we did and they said it was incredibly crowded. Not for us.
On the way back to the ship, we shopped a bit more along "hustlers" row. We also decided to try a traditional turkish bath. We just ran out of time for the Delphi hotel, which would have been great and the right price. We opted instead for one closer to the port called the Bodrum Diamond. A great looking hotel and the bath was certainly an experience. A little pricey but something that we wanted to try.
Mykonos isn't as spectacular as Santorini, but still a beautiful city in its own right. We were able to port and then took a shuttle (that RCI charged us $10 per person, roundtrip) into town. We then paid 18 euro for a ferry to the island of Delos. This was another ancient city where the ruins are being put back together again.
If you're not with a tour, there is one long line for tickets with one slow moving Greek worker getting people in. It was a painstakingly long wait, but not much else you can do. We wandered around the island ourselves and had some great photos and took in the scenery.
Unfortunately, it was a short day for us since we needed to be back on the shuttle bus before 3:30 and cruising at 4:00. We had very little time actually on Mykonos and wished we could have spent more time exploring the city there.
Split is a neat little vacation city in Croatia. The city was built in and around a walled kingdom, for lack of a better term. We walked right from the port into the city to see the Dioclanisian ruins and just explore the town. You'll see scatters or ancient ruins mixed with newer shops, flats and maybe even part of the ancient walls of the city. There is a great church and bell tower on the East Wall that we hiked up for great views of the city, where you could really get a handle on where the ancient walls actually surrounded the city.
Just outside the East Gate, there's also a huge farmers market with beautiful cherries, strawberries and other fruits and vegetables, including dried fruits and even figs. Though you can't take them on the boat, it's a nice and fresh snack for your walk back. There are also other street vendors for suveniors and plenty of lavendor choices to choose from, as well. They can all mostly speak English and most took euros, though some only took Kuna, the local currency.