Although we took our cruise in May I have not had the time to blog about it due to laziness, procrastination, and other travels. We did a lot on on our cruise and there were a lot of photos and stories to share. First, lets take a quick tour of the ship. This was our first cruise and just the sheer size of the ship was astonishing as were the numerous activities available.
Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas
Saying Goodbye to Rome
The Two Family Friendly Pools
The Adult Pool
Miniature Golf Course
The Pool Bar
The Sky Bar
The Dining Room
The Theater (also used for Bingo!)
Our Room w/ balcony
We headed out rather early from our house just in case we hit traffic, our car broke down, or any other type of folly that would have prevented us from getting on our cruise. Our cruise left from Civitavecchia west of Rome. Luckily the drive was uneventful until we got into the town of Civitavecchia in which it was a little difficult to find the parking garage which was more of a parking yard. We found it with only turning around once, paid 55 euros for the week as I had booked via a website, and they loaded us into their shuttle. Since I had never been on a cruise before I was little unsure of what to expect with the whole check in process. It went fairly smooth with us having to declare we did not have bird flu or a laundry list of other diseases, going through metal detectors and x-ray machines for baggage, and then the oddest part of all we had to hand in our passports for the week. I believe that when a cruise ship pulls into port the customs folks come on board look through a certain number of passports and then they let everyone off. When we got our passports back neither of ours had been stamped once, kind of a bummer. We received our Sea Pass cards which were our room keys, on board credit card, and ID for getting on and off the ship. We went into our room dropped off our stuff and began to explore the ship.
Our first stop was Messina, Sicily. We rented a car and headed to Tourmina as Messina does not offer many activities tourist activities. IT was very easy to find the only confusing part was the toll where you take a tick. Waiting at the toll booth was a young gypsy girl asking for two euros to push the button and give you your ticket. Never give a gypsy money as they are always working some scheme to steal from you. Once off th highway there is a large parking garage which has stairs or a bus to the little town.
We took the 200 steps up to Taormina.
Thank you German man for ruining my picture.
This is the Greek Amphitheater in Taormina that has spectacular views of the sea. Concerts and other events are still held in there.
Next we headed down to the beach for some lunch on the convenient cable cars.
A shot of Isola Bella in the background.
We returned to ship for dinner where we had booked at one the restaurants which was an extra $20 per person. There was an Italian restaurant and a steak restaurant which was an easy choice for us.
A view of the Promenade at night.
Our second day was a day at sea and when we woke up the boat was rocking and rolling. I got up pretty early and decided to try and eat some breakfast which at certain points I was not sure if I was going to be able keep down. There are always two choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can always go to eat at the buffet or you can go to your assigned dining room in which you are given a menu with about 3 or 4 choices for a meal. We typically went to our dining room as the quality of food was much better. I headed to the top deck overlooking the pool for some fresh air which is where we spent most of our day just relaxing.
This was also the first of our two formal nights. There were two different dining times and we chose the later dining time which meant we had to go to the daily evening show before dinner. We went to see the evening shows twice and both shows were pretty good. We were assigned a table with the same people for dinner every night although not everyone always showed up. At breakfast and lunch you are seated randomly although they seem to seat you with people that all speak the same language, in most cases. The next day when we woke up we were in Athens, Greece.
Read all about it! Or in our case just look at the pictures.
We had booked a food tour through Athens and then if there was time left we wanted to see the Acropolis. The food tour was great and I think we got a pretty good look at parts of Athens that most people do not see. We tried various forms of food as you can see on the pictures below. One thing that was made clear was the importance of olives and olive oil to the Greeks.
The seafood market with octopus and squid.
The meat market with some type of small skinned animal hanging in the window.The smell of both markets made pregnant Margee sick almost immediately and it took me a while to get used to them as well and I have been in my fair share of markets.
After one last restaurant (picture above) on the Athens food tour we sprinted off to see the Acropolis.
After the Acropolis we grabbed a quick bite to eat and then headed back to the ship for our next stop Turkey.
We docked in Kusadasi where the main attraction are the nearby ruins of Esphesus which was an ancient Greek city and later a Roman city. Since we have seen our fare share of Roman ruins we looked for other things to do. There were many all inclusive beach resorts in the area and I called several to see if we could come for the day to enjoy the pool, restaurant, and beach. This seems like an easy task but communicating over the phone was more difficult in this area than for example Istanbul might be. We eventually decided on a resort and even took the local transportation to get there which was essentially a shuttle van that fit a total of 15 people. The port area was filled with over priced shops including Turkish carpet shops. All of the tours offered from Royal Caribbean and private tours in the area included a “Carpet Show” where they bring you to a shop and start rolling out carpets. Mind you these carpets cost thousands of dollars and if you buy one they ship it to you! No thanks, we luckily avoided all of the carpet shows and had a relaxing day.
Efes the beer of Turkey.
I thought this was a cool looking coaster.
The Sea Light Resort
A shot of me going down a rainbow colored waterslide in support of gay rights or the waterslide was just randomly rainbow color.
A look from on top of the beach overlooking the surrounding areas.
Leaving Turkey headed for the Island of Crete, Greece.
When we arrived it was sunny but you could tell the weather was about to change. We also arrived at 10am and were leaving at 2pm so we did not have a lot of time to do much. We took a bus along with everyone else on the ship from the port because there was absolutely nothing to do near the port. We walked around through the old town area of Chania the nearby city. The tourist area was very nice with cafe’s, shops, and restaurants. We walked around a little bit before I decided to take a one hour boat tour while Margee went shopping. We took off on the boat and before we got out of the harbor the rain and wind started and we turned right back around. It was pretty disappointing but you can control mother nature.
Hanging out with some sponges.
The beginning and end of my short boat ride.
The not so beautiful Port of Chania on our way back to Italy.
After leaving Crete we had the ship had it’s Circus Parade which was a fun spectacle.
After all this exciting fun we had our last dinner and spent the following day relaxing by the pool which included the sexiest man competition which I did not participate in but Margee thoroughly enjoyed it anyway.