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Carnival Vista, Cruisers Log.. Star Date 24.05.2016 AD

Carnival Vista, Cruisers Log.. Star Date 24.05.2016 AD

Jun 3rd, 2016, 11:03 PM
  #41  
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Cruisers Log, Star Date 31.05.29.2016 A.D

“Rome was not built in a day” … and for us neither will it be seen in a day.

Having been to Rome before on several occasions our plan for day involves exploring a part of Italy that we have never seen before. Furthermore, from Civitavecchia it is a long way into Rome although it can be done for as little as 12 Euros round trip if you are not afraid of a little walking and adventure.

Once you get dropped off or take the long walk out to the exit of the port bypass the “Visitor Center” area and look to your right. Across the street you will see a red and white “BAR” sign, go inside the shop below it and you can purchase an all day public transportation pass for 12 Euros. This will allow you to ride the train round trip to Rome and all the public buses while you are there. The same pass will cost you 15 Euros at the Visitor Center. The train station is a 10 minute walk from here or you can take a shuttle bus for 2 Euros each way.

11:37Hrs Our plans for the day begins a few feet down from the “BAR” sign at the Avis/Budget car rental counter. Interestingly, we are told we are the third set of customers from our hometown outside of Ft Lauderdale, Florida who have rented cars from this office today. For sure these are people who I do not know but have probably ran into them at Publix.

11:53Hrs Following a recommendation from the Avis/Budget employee, we are on our way to Bracciano and start out following the coastline to get there. Although it is really not swimming weather for us we stop at Bumba Beach to take in the scenery.

From the looks of things here I don't think the beach season has started yet.

Sticking to the coastal route for as long as we can we pass through some small communities where the streets are lined with shops and restaurants. Soon we make a necessary left turn then cross over A-12 headed towards a mountainous countryside. As we cruise along taking in fresh clean air at 50 km/h the landscape under blue skies is covered with all shades of green. We are enjoying this and certainly have no regrets about avoiding the crowds in Rome.

13:11Hrs We arrive in Bracciano as the whole town seems to be going to sleep. Shops are closing and the streets are becoming bare of pedestrians. This is nice for us as street parking is now free until 15:00. It's a "Siesta" time.

Finding the “Tourist Information Booth” which is also closed, we discover that there is a lot to see and do in this area. Our first sightseeing is taking in from a distance Odescalchi Castle a fortress that dates back to 1470.

We continue our walk around town while taking peeks at the menus of quaint but closed restaurants. Up a cobblestone street we find an area for a beautiful view of Lago di Bracciano.

Feeling hunger pains we stop at grocery store which seems the most reasonable option at this point for a lunch meal. With provisions including fresh bread, cheese, sandwich meats and sun dried tomatoes we have enough food until we get back to the Lido Marketplace.

15:01Hrs Continuing our little Italian road trip we drive around Lago di Bracciano towards Trevignano Romano. At a lakeside pull out we stop for lunch and I take the opportunity to waddle in clear but cool lake waters. This outing is definitely a worthwhile one away from the crowds and typical sightseeing.

15:39Hrs It is time for another scientific gelato sampling but on this occasion we have a legitimate reason to do so. We need to pay for parking in Trevignano Romano but have no Euro coins. For sure we could have used our credit card to do so but why when we can have another excuse to have more of the rich smooth creamy stuff.

From the lake shore we watch as a family of geese probably from Canada gracefully swim along the edge of the lake. In the distance windsurfers taking advantage of brisk winds are moving across Lago di Bracciano at about 3496 times the speed of these geese but IMO are doing so just as gracefully.

As we walk along the lake shore, Trevignano Romano easily becomes a town I could see us coming to again and never leaving. A board with real estate offerings shows apartment/condo prices here can be reasonable. At a lakefront cafe with a slice of apricot pie and two glasses of cold brew we contemplate all the possibilities.

16:27Hrs Unfortunately we cannot stop time and must get back to reality. Our next mission is to find Caldara. We load it up on “Maps.me” and retrace our steps back towards Bracciano. A National Monument since 1988, Caldara is volcanic hot springs so when the GPS shows it to be in a mountainous area we think we are on the correct path. Things seem to be moving in the right direction until we are out in the country going down a one lane road. We eventually give up and turn around then one of my fears but something I was in an odd way looking forward to happens.

Taking a blind corner a car is coming the other way. Some quick maneuvering and courteous road manners by both drivers and we make what seems to be impossible happen. We are now for certain that we could have maneuvered the streets of Naples and the Amalfi Coast.

18:07Hrs We are back at the Budget Car Rental although we were planning to be back before the office officially closed at 18:00Hrs. However, this is no problem as we leave the car in a designated parking lot a block away from the office. As usual in this car we take pictures all around the car and will watch the our credit car bill for any charges beyond what is expected.

Nearby the Budget Car Rental office we stop in a convenience store and spend a few minutes chatting with the clerk. We get all the information we need to visit Rome like a local should we choose to do so the next time we are in the area. However, I think it is more likely we would do more (Budget) exploring of the Italian countryside unless of course we get an official “Papal Invitation”.

19:11Hrs Two new comedians have joined the Vista in Rome and we are looking forward to seeing the new acts.

If laughter is the best medicine then we are going to be leaving the Vista pretty healthy as so far we have being getting good doses of it in the “Punchliner”.
DMBTraveler is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2016, 11:15 PM
  #42  
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tch912,

I like when you "get lost" and end with a beautiful discovery or experience.

I guess with enough liquid courage I can "sing" and the more the audience drinks the better I sound. However, on this cruise I feared deep down inside I might have to do an Italian Opera set because of the clients I was expecting to be on board ...

Surprisingly, we actually met a lot Americans and Floridians on board. I guess a lot of us wanted to be "the first" before Vista makes Miami its home port in November 2016.
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Jun 3rd, 2016, 11:15 PM
  #43  
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JW,

I'll drink to that .......
DMBTraveler is offline  
Jun 4th, 2016, 05:54 AM
  #44  
 
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Wow. Got a link to those videos? I'd like to see that too.

I must say your organization skills allow you to enjoy every moment.

And I'll drink to that. .
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Jun 6th, 2016, 05:43 PM
  #45  
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JW,

Thanks...

Will finish up.. TR in a few. For now, off to Greenland!
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Jun 6th, 2016, 06:26 PM
  #46  
 
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Greenland?? . Did you mean dreamland? .,
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Jun 9th, 2016, 10:47 PM
  #47  
 
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dreamland: a pleasant place or situation that exists only in the mind
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Jun 11th, 2016, 03:12 PM
  #48  
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Cruisers Log, Star Date 01.06.2016 A.D

We have another early morning port arrival and a busy day plan. Although we could do a tour of Pisa and Florence for 99 Euros per person we again opt for a rental car.

08:23Hrs We are at the Eurocar Rental counter located right at the port. When I originally booked this location was not shown and so a few days before we arrived I received an interesting email. I could take a taxi to Stazione Marittima for 5 Euros per person or choose their delivery service for 20 Euros plus VAT. I smell a rat.

These type of situations are disappointing because it seems like a switch and bait scheme. If not why was I not told this upfront when I booked the car? To our surprise there were tons of Eurocars at the port. If they got an extra 20 Euros per vehicle I would say they did pretty well that day. Avis and Hertz are also at the port and while the overall price may have been the same I would rather just pay the "real price" upfront than to feel like I am being "nickled and dimed".

Somewhat to Eurocar's credit they did provide us a “Free GPS” with all the popular sights already stored. The GPS also came with a “Traffic/Speed Camera” feature that was nice.

08:55Hrs The port here is so huge that it takes us about 10 minutes of driving before we reach the exit gate and are on our way to Florence.

The drive to Florence is an easy hour and a half one on a two lane highway with the GPS occasionally warning us of “Speed Cameras” ahead. The traffic density picks up as we approach the city but with the GPS and “P” signs posted along the way we have no problem navigating to a parking garage. You can park on the streets but it is a little bit more challenging with limited space and parking meters. The less than 4 Euro per hour rate at “Garage Nazionale” seems reasonable in this situation.

From here we are about a 10 minute walk to the “Duomo” and even closer to the “Central Market” which can be just down right sinful to visit.

Florence is also known for it's leather products and there is no shortage of stalls selling belts, jackets and handbags. My “ladies handbag expert” tells me the prices are good and so is the quality.

11:08Hrs If you are not impressed by seeing the “Duomo” then you are one tough cookie. It is almost beyond words to explain it's stature and magnificence.

We are in awe at it's detailed exterior beauty. Inside the works of arts are just as amazing. Admission to the Duomo is free although you can pay to climb 400 plus stairs to the dome or visit a museum inside.

We spend a few hours walking around the city including visiting the “Old Bridge” and seeing a replica statue of David.

Since our plans include visiting Pisa we return to “Garage Nazionale” around 14:00Hrs and we are surprised by what the garage has become... Full from the entrance ramp down to the single floor parking area.

It soon becomes apparent that this is a normal occurrence as workers move with skill and precision to reposition and return cars to waiting customers. After about 20 minutes our car has been plucked from somewhere in the pile and delivered to us without a scratch. I am impressed.

14:32Hrs We are on the way to Pisa basically along the same route we used to visit Florence. Taking an exit we are looking forward to maybe setting a thing or two straight in Italy.

One of the advantages we are told of visiting Pisa in the afternoon is the fact that most of the tour buses are gone by then. When we arrive it is still a little bit busy but not overwhelming. At 1.5 Euro per hour the parking here is a little bit more reasonable than in Florence.

If you park on some of the streets nearby you might find it annoying that some of the local bystanders offer unsolicited help which may come in exchange for you checking out their merchandise of “Genuine Fake Goods”. City lots are readily available if you do not want to be bothered.

Unable to straighten things out at Pisa we just decide to enjoy the view as others try to prop things up with strange hand gestures and poses. In a previous life I did lift the Taj Mahal up with just my two fingers so I do understand the leanings here.

16:33Hrs Our return to the Vista from Pisa is a nice drive along a “country road” thanks to the help of Eurocar pre-planned GPS route. This was definitely a worthwhile outing and easy to do if you decide to do it on your own.

19:20Hrs Hands are clapping and most of the crowd is on it's feet as we try to keep in rhythm with the lead guitar... “I wanna rock and roll all night.. and party everyday” is one of the opening songs for the cool and exciting “America Rocks” production show for the night.

One the things that I like on the Vista is that the production shows are more intimate with the audience. The set up of the main theater, “Liquid Lounge” allows for this as the floor seating is not fixed and can be easily changed. This is the second show we have seen where part of the show and set is mixed in the audience area.

20:36Hrs We are not much of “Cruise Ship Casino” fans but tonight we decide to see if Lady Luck would amuse us. She's not so kind at the "Craps Table".

However, LL does let me hold onto my money a little longer before sharing it with Carnival and my new friends at Texas Hold'em. Fortunately, I think we will still be able to pay the rent on our double wide when we get back home.

Hard to believe we have just one more port of call left, Marseilles. The FUN is slowly coming to an end and with that in mind we are back for some laughs in the “Punchliner” comedy club with a few other couples who we have met over the last nine days.

As of June 1st the “Punchliner” is no longer sponsored by George Lopez. However, tonight we notice no difference and I hope Carnival will continue to make this venue a part of the FUN ships.

Adios, George. Thanks for all the laughs over our last 17 cruises.
DMBTraveler is offline  
Jun 11th, 2016, 03:16 PM
  #49  
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JW,

Back from "Dreamland" and 24hrs of daylight!

Hiking at 1am and having the sun still up.. pretty cool. Too bad not easy to share pictures here.

Visiting Greenland was like a dream
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Jun 12th, 2016, 07:00 AM
  #50  
 
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It certainly is like a dream. .

We more or less did what you did though we did ours from a cab. We went to Florence first. I kept wondering when we would get there but did not realize signs for "Firenze" were Florence in Italian. . We did see the Duomo and yes its amazing. Afterwards we were driven to Pisa and then back to the ship. We finished well ahead of the busloads and were very pleased. The cab was more than doing it yourself but also was less than what the ship offered. This was our second stop and our second driver from what I call the "O" boys. We had Roberto for Rome, Giorgio for Florence and Ernesto in Naples. All were quite nice and fun.

Ernesto told us a funny story about his. wife. She told him to go "getta da cheese" for the food. So I gotta da cheese and she said where you getta do cheese. I say "Tonys" and she said no! Itsa not so good. Next time to go Romanos. Ok So next time she say getta da cheese but go to Romanos. I go to Tonys and don't tell her. Then she make a da food. So after we eat I say whats the difference. She said "Ah da taste, da taste!" The Ernesto said still I donna believe. .

I'd say have fun but you seem to have that down pat. .

Larry. .
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Jun 14th, 2016, 09:29 AM
  #51  
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JW,

They shoulda gotta da "Gouda Cheese"...
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Jun 14th, 2016, 09:54 AM
  #52  
 
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. .
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Jun 20th, 2016, 08:29 PM
  #53  
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Cruisers Log, Star Date 02.06.2016 A.D

Our last port of call comes with a warning the night before in the form of a “Captain's Letter”. With all of the terrorism activity in France there are increased security concerns in Marseilles, France's second largest city. Furthermore, upon our arrival we are told there is a bus strike going on.

These two concerns have us debating our plans for Marseilles.

10:02Hrs We continue our routine to Deck 12 then decide to have lunch on board. It is such a nice day that in spite of the concerns about Marseilles we are going to check out the city.

Since local transportation is limited Carnival is offering it's own bus service to the city center for $15 per person round trip which seems like a good deal to us.

13:30Hrs We disembark the Vista and shortly we are on a bus with only three other passengers headed to the city.

14:05Hrs It is “Wow” as we breath in fresh air and take in the views of this beautiful seaside city. Masts from what seems like hundreds of sailboats gently go up and down in rhythm with the small waves in the harbor as a brisk wind blows across our faces. The scenery alone makes the journey here worthwhile.

We simply walk along the waterfront taking it all in and then we are given a gentle reminder of the “Captain's Letter”. Approaching us from the distance is the wailing of sirens produced by the police or security forces on motorcycles followed by a caravan. In a moment it all passes us and we continue to enjoy what is in front of us.

On one side of the street there is a multitude of restaurants while on the other side there are vendors setting up for a day market of sorts. I am drawn to one of them like a moth to a light bulb. Who can resist “Pistachio Biscuits” by “Bisuiterie Artisanale Navarro”? Not, I.

More time strolling around the city window shopping culinary delights and before we know it is time to head back to the Vista.

17:00Hrs We are once again getting the “VIP” treatment on the Vista. This time it is at the Diamond and Platinum Party where we and others get to be recognized by Carnival for our loyalty. Free drinks, hors d’oeuvres and about 45 minutes of entertainment does make us feel appreciated.

It is hard to believe we are on the last night of our “10 Day Cruise” and surprisingly we did not get to do all the things we wanted to do on the Vista.

For us, fortunately later this year the Vista will be making Miami it's home port. I suspect we will be on this “FUN” ship again and hopefully soon.
DMBTraveler is offline  
Jun 21st, 2016, 02:10 PM
  #54  
 
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I suppose a quiet last day is a good way to wind down what has been a great vacation.

It's nice that this ship will be so close by for future embarkations.

Glad you had such a great time and wish for more for you!

Larry. .
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Jun 22nd, 2016, 07:12 AM
  #55  
 
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As usual you gave such an excellent trip report and I could visualize the entire trip, thank you for my cruise this year. I look forward to Vista coming to Miami. Maybe within the next few years I will get to cruise Vista. You always enjoy your vacations, just as we all should, never allowing anything to stop you, I love it. Once again thank you.
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Jun 22nd, 2016, 07:53 AM
  #56  
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tch912,

Thanks as always for your kind words

Just for you: https://youtu.be/wiG_DJs79NU

BTW: I think sailing the Caribbean is much more "FUN" and entertaining. The Mediterranean is more about sightseeing and the ports are more of a challenge to leave and explore on your own.

See you on the Vista sailing from Miami
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Jun 22nd, 2016, 10:55 AM
  #57  
 
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That's true. Once in Barbados we got to meet our drivers mom And went to his sisters bar for a drink. That's a level of cool I really like
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Jun 24th, 2016, 05:43 AM
  #58  
 
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DMBT,thank you, I loved it .
tch912 is offline  
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