We were on the 15-Day “Ancient Mysteries” cruise Oct 24 – Nov 8, 2010. Here is my report
For now, please disregard the notes regarding pictures. I haven;t posted them yet.
I knew that ships were referred to in the feminine, but I didn’t know that we should call them “Mizz”. Anyway after an uneventful ride over the pond from ATL to FCO on Delta, we spent 3 pleasant days and nights in Rome. We stayed at www.hotelmaikol.com, which we can recommend.
On Sunday, we took our luggage down to the street to await our shuttle to Civitavecchia. The HAL documents had been very strict – we must be aboard no less than 3 hours before sailing. In our case, that was 2:00 PM. Therefore, I had arranged with www.airportshuttle.it to pick us up at 11:30.
What we didn’t know, and no one told us, was that you could board as late as 4:30 PM.
So we waited and fidgeted for the shuttle that came at 12:15. We fidgeted and fidgeted while the driver made a stop in Rome and another at FCO. We fidgeted all of the way up to the entrance to the ship. Of course, we arrived in plenty of time.
Once arrived, baggage handlers took our belongings and carried them away. Don’t try to do anything yourself except to tip the baggage handlers. After that, you and your accouterments (camera case, tote bags of wine, etc) will be directed to the receiving area, where pleasant young men and women will quickly move you along. Just do what they say and don’t think about it.
NOTE: Be sure that whoever you use to take you to the ship is licensed to enter the port. Some services can take you only to the entrance and it is a looong walk to the ship.
After washing our hands in Purell (we got to do that a lot) we made our way up to our cabin on Deck 9. Stateroom AA118 is a nice-sized room with a double bed, sofa, table and chair, walk-in closet, well laid-out toilet (shower only), and a balcony, located slightly behind and a deck below the bridge. The balcony is about a foot longer from door to rail than those farther back.
Pictures of room and balcony. Pic of waterspout.
Lifeboat drill, arranging for various thises and thatsis, and watching the ship debark took up the afternoon and evening. A lovely waterspout dropped out of the sky as we left the docks.
We had chosen “anytime dining” for dinner in the Main Dining Room (MDR), and we asked to be seated at tables of 6 or 8. This worked out well for us, as we met various interesting people, had many pleasant conversations, and only got into an argument about politics (which my Lady Wife squelched fairly quickly) once .
Restaurant Review: There is much too much that is good, very good and outstanding at the Lido Buffet, the Main Dining Room, the Pinnacle Grill (PG) and Room Service for breakfast, elevenses, lunch, snack, tea time, hors d’oeuvres with your pre-prandial cocktail, dinner and late-night snacks to warrant a detailed report. Here are some very subjective observations.
Baked goods are top-notch: the croissants are as good as any in Paris. The fish was excellent. I especially liked the smoked salmon at breakfast and the pickled herring at lunch. The Lobster Bisque at the Pinnacle Grill is not only superb, the preparation is a delight to see. Speaking of which, If you order the skewers (I had the lamb), service is a stage show.
The Lido ranks right up with the MDR and the PG in the quality of its raw materials and its preparation. Some might prefer it to the other venues because of the casual atmosphere.
Dinner was in the main dining room. The Serrano ham and the pumpkin soup were VVG. The house white was fine. The reds were acceptable.
NOTE: It’s a good idea to book your cruise early. Not only did we get a reasonable discount on a voyage that filled up quickly, we were able to purchase the now defunct wine cards and got a good discount on wine as well.
Monday morning, as we slowly passed the fog-enveloped volcano of Isola Stromboli at 07:30, I went up to the Lido for breakfast, took pictures and brought my Lady Wife a continental breakfast, which she enjoyed while we navigated the Straits of Messina. Being on the Port side, we were able to see the place where Charybdis would have been (Or maybe it would have been Scylla).
Pic of Stromboli 10/25
All that day, we leisurely cruised along the sole and bottom of the heel of the Italian boot. While Roberta read a book, sipped wine and nibbled on occasional snacks that I brought her from various buffets around the ship, I staunchly set about my chores of checking out the Prinsendam.
First the Lido buffet. The cold table with various greens and other salad stuff, sushi, breads and rolls, various meats and cheeses and a bunch of desserts is in the center. Further inboard is the hot table with various hot dishes, usually several pastas some meats and a vegetarian dish, more cold dishes and the tea and coffee.
Outside on the pool deck is the Grill. In addition to the usual burgers, hot dogs, grilled sandwiches, fries and chips are daily specials – wursts, sausages, wraps, tacos, etc.
Pix of Lido 10/26 IMG 45
NOTE: For the first 72 hrs the Lido does not have self-service. This is done to guard against the spread of viruses. The staff will serve you what you choose from the buffet (hot or cold) and bring it to the table for you. It slows down the line a bit, but (a) you’re on a cruise and (b) ain’t nobody starving.
The arrangement is the same at breakfast, but the offerings differ. The Muesli and the stewed fruits are very good. There are also fresh fruits, hot and cold cereals, eggs any way you want them, ham, bacon, French toasts, several variations on eggs Benedict, 4 kinds of waffles, breakfast meats, cheeses and fish, breads, rolls, croissants, coffee and tea.
Breakfast is the main dining room (MDR) is a bit more formal (you oughtn’t to wear a bathing suit) and more elegant.
More to come.
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