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Three days/nights in Rome before our 15-night transatlantic cruise

Three days/nights in Rome before our 15-night transatlantic cruise

Dec 7th, 2010, 02:25 PM
  #21  
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5 November 2010, Friday, Cadiz Spain
75 degrees and clear.

Cadiz was my favorite port to visit on this cruise and it was my first visit there. Many cruisers opted for tours to Seville (1.5 hours away) but I had been there a couple of times, so I wanted to enjoy something new. The town of Cadiz juts out on the Atlantic Ocean at the end of a narrow peninsula, making it a compact town to walk around. There are large promenades along the water, as well as fortifications. There are many small pedestrian streets to wander around with lots of shops, bars, and restaurants. Parts of the area reminded me of the small streets in Seville with its white washed buildings, wrought iron work, and colorful bougainvillea spilling over the balconies.

A bunch of us walked to town and headed to the cathedral. I purchased a combination ticket that included a visit to the crypt and nearby museum. Part of the interior of the cathedral is in restoration. I climbed the cathedral’s bell tower for great city views. From above you can see the cathedral’s yellow tiled dome. The building itself is of Baroque design and is made entirely of stone. The interesting round-shaped domed crypt contains the tomb of Manuel de Falla, an Andalusian composer. The museum is pretty small but had striking paintings, sculptures and massive song books.

More tapas for lunch. A friend recommended a place in the center of town called Las Flores. Nearby is a flower market and a block away is the main market (which we missed seeing). Louisa and I shared a some tapas: fried calamari, empanadas, and meat/potato croquettes. We enjoyed sitting outside in the shade. Inside the restaurant, many men were standing at the bar eating fried seafood and smoking their cigarettes like a chimney.

After lunch, we took a walk through the market, which must have closed an hour before. There were still people cleaning up their booths. Nearby was a restaurant with a Moorish style interior. The owner came out and asked if we wanted to have lunch. I told him we were admiring the interior. He was getting a little too friendly with me and put his arm around me and asked Louisa to take our photo.

We walked along side the water on the wide promenade, passing a couple of beaches and an area with modern sculptures. In one area was the El Parque Genovés, a lush garden with sculpted trees and fountains. It’s a place to sit, relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the gardens.

Having walked all day long, we cut through town and passed a lovely large square before getting back to the ship.

The special drink of the evening was mojitos. At the mast bar, Louisa and I sat and had a round while wearing pool towels around our shoulders. It had gotten cold and windy. Marco, the bartender, flirted and joked with us. Being a little too windy, we went to the pool deck away from the wind and sat with Cheryl, Emily. They too were drinking mojitos. We had a fun time with them.

Dinner tonight: Spinach turnover, petit filet mignon (huge!), and a Caesar salad.

After dinner, a bunch of us met at the ensemble lounge for drinks (Christine, Paul, Debra, Tom, Larry, Nancy, John, Louisa & me). It’s a nice area on the ship with comfortable chairs and with performers doing jazz.

Lucky for us, we got to set our clocks back one hour. It’s great to cruise east to west, as we gain back time slowly and arrive home without any jetlag.


6 November 2010, Saturday, First Day at Sea

Being a ‘port intensive’ cruise, everyone was so happy for our first sea day. There’s always lots to do on a ship but you can choose to do just a little or cram it all in. Celebrity has a new format for their list of events, which looks like the t.v. guide, so it makes for easy reading and to see if there are any overlaps of events.

I started my day by walking outside on the ‘track’ for 45 minutes. Eight laps equal a mile but I added a few rounds of the upper deck to get some stair-climbing in. I did this on during the sea days and was happy I came home one pound lighter! I ate and drank what I wanted but didn’t go overboard.

Our second cruise group get together was at 10:30am at the passport bar. It was a good turnout. Some people chose to meet later for a camera talk, which I arrived after lunch. I had gotten a list of people together who wanted to meet up and talk about their cameras and get some pointers how to take better pictures. Several people had emailed me saying they were looking forward to my lecture! It wasn’t a lecture but a forum, although I certainly appreciated the compliments.

In the afternoon, about 90 people participated in the cabin crawl where we visit some cabins to see the various layouts, larger balconies, and suites. Of course, in the suites, you could hear people sigh, ooh and ahh. Some day! This was the largest crawl I’ve done; I created three groups of people and staggered them by 5-10 minutes. This way the hallways weren’t packed with one large group. It was a lot of fun. One suite had glasses of champagne and snacks.

Having some on board credit to spend, Louisa and I went to the spa to make reservations to have massages, which we made for later in the week. Outside the spa area two young women were giving complimentary 5-minute massages. That was such a tease, but nice.

The Sky observation lounge was crowded with elites enjoying happy hour.

Dinner: A mouse paté; shrimp, scallop and avocado salad; stuffed chicken breast, which was breaded and served with green beans and carrots.

Monica
monicapileggi is offline  
Dec 7th, 2010, 02:35 PM
  #22  
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7 November Sunday, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Today was 66 degrees and clear, although it sometimes felt cooler. I had booked a rental car but later canceled the reservations, as I decided to take the tram to La Laguna in the morning with a visit to Santa Cruz in the afternoon and not mess with parking and filling the car with gas. However, I regretted not keeping the car, as 99% of the stores and restaurants were closed being a Sunday. Friends Bruce and Gail joined us, and their new friends Mary and Don.

Celebrity provided shuttle buses from the ship to the entrance of the port, otherwise, it was a 15-minute walk. At the tram area, we had to buy our tickets from a machine and had some difficulty. It turned out the machine was broken, so we had to jump the tracks to buy our tickets. I went over, bought mine, and went back to the other side. Don was the last to buy tickets, as he allowed another couple (Diane and Murray from Canada) to step in and buy theirs. I turned to Mary, “Oh look, Don is being nice and allowing that couple to buy their ticket before him. He’ll probably miss the tram.” In the next minute, the tram was coming towards us and it was moving fast! The doors opened and I got on board, while Louisa walked up to the front (from the outside) to tell the driver to please wait. Don and Bruce began to jump the tracks to our side. Seconds later, the doors began to close and I realized the rest wouldn’t get on the tram in time, so I moved quickly to get off. Nope, the door shut in my face, I couldn’t open it, and the tram began to move. So, there I was leaving the station looking at my friends through the window. I began to laugh and I waved. Diane and Murray were on board and realized at that moment what happened – had they bought their tickets last, my group would have made it on board with me. I could have gotten off at the next stop and walked back but decided to chat with my new friends. I knew the others would eventually catch up to me.

La Laguna sits way above sea level so it was much cooler than in Santa Cruz. Diane and Murray talked to me while I waited for the rest of the group at the end of the line. I thought they were going to tour around with us but actually they decided to wait with me until the rest of the group arrived. I thought that was very nice of them.

Our visit to La Laguna was pleasant. The town is listed as a world heritage site by UNISCO and was once the capital of Tenerife. Much of the architecture in town is of Mudejar design, which is a combination of European and Muslim design. The buildings are colorful and the walls of the entrance ways are tiled.

I was hoping to catch the 10:30am tourist office walking tour but many places were closed. The rest of the group arrived after 10:30am, so it was too late. I figured out later that there probably wasn’t a tour that day. We walked around the town, visited the oldest church, Iglesia de la Concepcion, (mass was in session), stopped for drinks, and visited the indoor market. I had lost my sunglasses the previous day (I always bring two pair of sunglasses but didn’t on this trip), but I was able to find a pair at the market for 3.90 euros. Cheap but stylish! Outside the market were many people enjoying their Sunday afternoon. There were kids on bikes, people hanging around talking to friends, and shopping for food. The town came alive in the afternoon.

Last year I saw a dog poke his head out of the corner of a second story window. He was people watching or just getting some fresh air. Well, I saw him again! Same window, same corner. I guess the owners keep that window open for him.

Most of the stores were closed but I was able to purchase some local sauces (mojo rojo and mojo verde) at a souvenir store. They are tasty sauces that you can use for cooking, spread, or dip. Last year Tony had packed the jars that we purchased in his carry-on bag, forgetting about airport security. Of course, they were taken away. I was so upset, but they were inexpensive. When he works (airline pilot) he’s able to bring home liquids in his bag. He just forgot they were in the carry-on. I made sure these jars were nicely wrapped and packed in my checked bag.

We all had lunch at a small Turkish restaurant. The food was tasty and quite filling. In fact, Louisa and I should have split a sandwich. After, we took the tram back to the port and walked back to the ship. We decided it wasn’t worth walking around Santa Cruz since everything was closed. Being the last port before sailing across the Atlantic ocean, we made sure we got back to the ship early enough. Don’t want to miss the ship at this port!

Back on board, several of us went to Erick and Jen’s cabin (small suite with a large corner balcony) for a sail away get together. They ordered several platters of food from their butler but Louisa and I only had a couple of small bites. We had plans to dine at the Silk Harvest and knew we had to go easy on the food. It was a pretty sail away from Tenerife. Beautiful sunset. We looked out knowing we had seven days ahead of us at sea. Nice!

Dinner: As I said, I knew we had to eat lightly during the say. This restaurant you must go hungry and early. Last year, ten of us had 8:30pm dinner reservations. We all waddled back to our rooms after 11pm. I made reservations for 6:30pm, which was perfect. Louisa and I dined with our original dinner mates John, Jane and Tony, and Jen and Kevin. All of us were eying certain dishes on the menu but I zeroed in on the sushi. Our waiter said, "If you will allow me, I will choose for you. You will enjoy 90% of the menu." And we did: Pork ribs, spring rolls, shumai, cream cheese wontons, salt n’ pepper ike & ebi (squid and rock shrimp), chicken lettuce wraps, a wonderful assortment of sushi and sashimi (my favorite), red curry duck, salmon and scallop stir-fry, etc. Assorted desserts including caramelized bananas. Everyone loved the variety of foods. The chef came out too to make sure we were enjoying our dinner. It was a filling dinner and I took a well needed walk around the ship afterwards.

There won’t be a Silk Harvest on the Eclipse next year (my cruise next fall 2011), which is a shame. It's such a popular place and the food is some of the best on the ship. Qsine is replacing this restaurant, which is a contemporary tapas-like place where customers will order their food via an ipad. Celebrity is certainly going with today's technology flow.

The entertainment of the evening was the “Flava” of the Med, which was held pool side. There were lots of dancers and singers performing various Mediterranean music: French, Greek, Italian, etc. It started close to 11pm, so we didn’t stay long.

Monica

PS: I messed up on my journal - Missed posting about our port day in Cannes, so I'll add it later.
monicapileggi is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 06:38 AM
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annhig-Am so glad to read that someone stayed at the Royal Vic. DH and I returned to make Pisa a base for local travel after our first brief visit. Very unspoiled city as you say after that one touristy area.

Back to reading above but had to comment about Pisa. Nice report, Monica!
TDudette is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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Love the idea of a butler! This cruise sounds really super, Monica. Did you enjoy 90% of your meal? LOL.
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Dec 8th, 2010, 07:56 AM
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Very, very interesting. I want to do a transatlantic cruise, hopefully in 2012.

Thanks so much.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 09:28 AM
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Monica-- let me get this right-- you concocted and took Limoncello to Rome instead of just sampling some there???

Glad to read you enjoy Cadiz-- it is such a nice city, too bad it is so close to a spectacular city such as Seville.

The comment on ports-intensive cruise is right on. People often negect to realize that after three days of intense sightseeing your body will scream for a rest! I actually hated having to skipped the late dancing so that I could better enjoy the next day port!
Viajero2 is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 09:51 AM
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I am so enjoying your detailed trip report.We have cruised 4 times on smaller ships(Windstar &Star Clipper sailing cruises), but it's nice to see how a larger ship would work. How was it getting on & off? Long lines? I have been thinking about a Transatlantic on a somewhat larger (definitely not 2,000+) because they have a few stops and there would be more to do onboard for the long days at sea.
TPAYT is offline  
Dec 8th, 2010, 09:57 AM
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Ooops! I see that the Equinox is 2,800---what about Oceania? Ever cruised with them?
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Dec 8th, 2010, 01:58 PM
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Monica - am enjoying this trip report as all the others you have done.

We took our first cruise which was on Oceania to the Med in October and can finally relate to the "cruise experience" which is enhancing our enjoyment of your report. For a transatlantic the larger ship is obviously best for those sea days.
Royal is offline  
Dec 10th, 2010, 05:55 AM
  #30  
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Glad to know everyone is enjoying this report. Will continue with my journal this weekend. My computer has a virus, so Tony is trying to clean it up.

Tdudette, Yes, we all enjoyed the 90% of the menu, although I skipped a couple of dishes. The sushi was incredible and I didn’t want to waste space with the fried rice and other dishes that I can get at home.

Viajero2, I make limoncello at home a lot and planned to bring some with me to have in my cabin. When others found out that I was bringing some on board, they all wanted to try it. I use Everclear, so it’s much stronger than what you can buy in Rome. Louisa ended up buying a bottle for the ship, as my batch quickly disappeared.

Cadiz and Seville. I had been to Seville a couple of times before and didn’t want to waste time going to/from the port. I had read about Cadiz and knew we would enjoy the city.

Next years cruise won’t be such a port-intensive cruise, so we’ll have more time to relax between ports.

TPAYT, while the Equiox holds 2,850 passengers, the ship is very well layed out. I never felt jam-packed on the ship. Getting on/off the ship was easy, as there are two exit doors (same area). There are plenty of places on the ship to relax, read a book, or hang out with friends. The main crowded areas were the Martini bar (for obvious reasons) and the ocean view café.

No, I have never cruised with Oceania. I would love to someday!

Royal, agree that a larger ship is a ‘must’ for transatlantics. Did you see the news report the other day of the smaller ship in the Antartic? No thanks!

Monica
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Dec 13th, 2010, 07:33 AM
  #31  
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I missed posting about our day in Cannes:

2 November 2010, Tuesday, Cannes France

A cloudy day today but I think everyone on the ship was thankful it wasn't like yesterday (Lucca and Pisa). Most of the tours from Livorno to Cinque Terre had been cancelled, so those tourists were very disappointed in their day. I wonder what they did instead.

Louisa and I had breakfast in the cabin again, as it was another early wake up call. I booked a private tour for eight people (Louisa, me, Debra, Jon, Alan, Anita, Dennis, Virginia) to visit a few hill towns. Dennis wasn't feeling well and remained on the ship, but Virginia still joined us. Everyone met near the passport bar before boarding a tender to get to Cannes.

Our guide, Alain, met us and whisked us away for the day. We had a nice drive from Cannes to Nice as we drove along the coastal road. Beautiful sailboats and yachts were docked on various places. Money showed everywhere in these towns. Still fairly early, the towns quietly woke up.

As we arrived in Antibes, Alain asked us if we wanted to see the outdoor market. We voted for no, as we wanted as much time in the hill towns. I told Alan we didn’t want to do any shopping. While at one of the stoplights, I looked to the left and saw a small kitchen shop and in the window display was something Louisa and I had used in Provence last year: Acrylic lemon presses. We were at dinner one night and our meal was served with sliced lemons that we could press and pour onto our fish. We looked everywhere for these presses and even asked the waiter if we could buy them. He said no, so anytime we were out shopping, we kept an eye out on this nifty gadget. I couldn’t believe my eyes! There it was in one corner of the window begging to be purchased. As Alain continued through the light, I quicly turned to the others and asked if I could have 5 minutes so I could purchase the presses. I jumped out with my wallet and walked quickly to the store, bought a set and ran back to the van where it had pulled over and out of the traffic lane. I was thrilled that I finally had one in my hands. I should have bought two sets, but didn’t think of it at the time. If I had more time I would have browsed the store, as it had lots of neat items.

Passing through Nice and a quick stop for photo ops, we headed to a lookout point for Villefranche. Along the way we passed Elton John’s house…or I should say one of his homes. At the lookout point, Alain told us it was a pick up joint for gays. Interesting bit of information. The views from above were excellent. Villefranche is a beautiful port town, very colorful, and hidden in a small curve of the coast line.

We were getting anxious to see some hill towns, so Alain took us to Biot. Before getting to the center of town, we stopped at a glass factory. This area is known for its glass with little bubbles. A defect in the glass-making process is their signature design. Some of the pieces were gorgeous but also very expensive! None of us bought anything.

Biot is a very small yet charming medieval village. The town was pleasant to walk around and it wasn’t crowded with tourists. In the center is the Place des Arcades, where you can sit and relax.

Next we drove to Vence, just 19km away. Larger than Biot, it had a lot of charm too. There were cafés at the Place Place Clémenceau and a churh across the way. We spent about an hour here walking around the town.

4km away was Saint Paul-de-Vence. This was one place I did not want to see, as I had read it was a beautiful tourist-trap village. I wanted picturesque, delightful, small, and characteristic. Alain, during our email correspondence, kept assisting that it was a town not to be missed. I had told him no thanks, but during our drive he asked the entire group, so we ended up going there. Yes, it was a picturesque town but there was no charm due to the many shops and shop signs down every street and tourists. I did manage to head off from the main street and was able to take some photos that I was hoping to take. It seemed that Alain kept pushing the shopping. I suppose he didn’t realize were not the typical tourists that wanted to shop. We wanted to see the towns themselves.

Our last stop was my absolute favorite, Tourrettes-sur-Loup. This perched town was beautiful and what I expected for a French hill town. It was a quiet place with very few tourists, as well as some shops (although not obtrusive). The main street is the Grand Rue that begins at the parking lot, goes through the village and to the other side. I found delightful scenes around every corner. Too bad that it was an overcast day. We encountered some sprinkles, but nothing like yesterday in Italy. This is definitely a town I would like to see again in the sunshine or to even spent a night there.

Lunch consisted of simple panini’s while standing under an arch while it rained. At least it rained briefly. The main restaurants were expensive and we didn’t want to take a lot of time at lunch.

Back at the port we thanks Alain for the tour. He did a good job but next time I hire someone I will stand my ground about where I want to go. I don’t think anyone stepped inside a shop in Saint Paul-de-Vence.

Monica
monicapileggi is offline  
Dec 13th, 2010, 08:34 AM
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ttt
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Dec 13th, 2010, 05:10 PM
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lovely review moica

bev
nugrad82 is offline  
Dec 13th, 2010, 06:44 PM
  #34  
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Thanks Bev.

Monica
monicapileggi is offline  
Dec 13th, 2010, 06:57 PM
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Monica: this has been a great report. It really gives me a lot of detail about larger ship cruising, of which I have always been a little afraid. I guess I'd be real happy to go on a cruise when you are there!!
I have followed cruisecritc a lot, and there is lots of good info. there, but have never quite plunged for a cruise.
Now I'm going to think about it more seriously! thanks.
taconictraveler is offline  
Dec 14th, 2010, 05:57 AM
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taconic, this was my first cruise and I was lucky enough to go with Monica. You should join us on the next one we are taking, sailing from Southhampton, England on October 30.
LouisaH is offline  
Dec 14th, 2010, 02:01 PM
  #37  
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taconic, cruising is great! I commend Louisa for doing a 15-night transatlantic cruise for her first one. Most people start small with a 3-4 day trip; however, being the traveler that she is, I knew she would do fine.

As she said, we're doing the Eclipse next October. It's a 13-night cruise with 6 sea days the second half of the cruise. That for me is the best part! Lots to do or do nothing at all but relax.

Monica
monicapileggi is offline  
Dec 20th, 2010, 07:01 AM
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Finally, here’s the last portion of my cruise journal.
Sea Days

People have asked me, “What do you do on a ship with so many days at sea? Don’t you get bored?” Not at all! You can relax the entire time or you can dive into all of the activities and lectures the ship has to offer. Many people bring books (or kindles) to read, some bring board games, but the best part is getting to know your fellow cruisers, which can turn into lasting friendships.

For me, I would work out in the morning, walking the track for 40-45 minutes and then have breakfast. Later I would participate in an activity or two or listen to a lecture. Other times I would write in my journal or read my book. And of course, many of us enjoyed the nightly happy hour in the sky lounge.

Since we did have six sea days, I’ll just do a quick write up of each day:

8 November, Monday, At Sea

Everyday on the ship there is always a sale at the stores. Today was “Mediterranean Market shopping.” Most of the items were cheap souvenirs. Instead, I bought a clear plastic cocktail tumbler that light up at the bottom. I had seen them last night at the Flava party, in which fruity, frozen drinks were served. I figure I could use it in my office and pretend I’m on a cruise ship someplace.

For a cruise critic group event, we had a wine tasting party at 2:30pm. Those that participated brought a bottle of wine (per couple) from their hometown. Louisa brought a nice dry chardonnay wine from Virginia. It was a lot of fun! There must have been 20-25 bottles for everyone to try. We were given the sky observation lounge for an hour and the staff provided wine glasses and bottle openers. About an hour into the event, the area was taken over by trivia players, so we gathered the bottles and moved to a corner of the room to continue our party.

Formal night again.

Evening entertainment was the dazzling Cirque du Soleil show with acrobatic performers flying around in the air above the stage and audience using various ropes and wires, extravagant costumes, and a contortionist, which always makes me cringe. She was amazing. The show was very similar to last year and with the same Wow factor.

9 November, Tuesday, At Sea

Morning exercise routine and breakfast.

11:15am lecture in the theatre: “What do Astronomers do?” I really enjoyed the lecturer.

Noon – lunch in the dining room with friends. It’s nice to sit and be served, rather than go through the buffet at the ocean view café. I found the food in the dining room to be much better than at the buffet, although there’s a wider selection to choose from.

Window shopping at the stores. I bought a blue topaz ring, 50% off. Bought a different one another day.

2pm cruise critic group gift exchange in the Quasar bar – everyone brought a gift from home ($15 limit). I brought a Maryland recipe book.

4:30pm cocktails with Bruce and Gail in their cabin with their friends.

Clocks turned back 1 hour

10 November, Wednesday, At Sea

Morning exercise routine and breakfast.

10am Lecture “The Berlin Airlift” – very interesting and I learned a lot. 11:15am – lecture “The Moon” – Fine, but didn’t stay entire time.

Met friends for lunch in the dining room.

1pm – Captain’s Club Celebration in the sky observation lounge with food and cocktails: Prime rib, sushi bar, crepes, fruits, etc.

2pm cruise critic slot pull. Everyone that participated ($15) ended up with $29. Exciting to watch and participate.

6:30pm. Dinner at the Muranos specialty restaurant ($35 supplement): Dinner was just as wonderful as last year. This is the place to go for fine dining with elegant service. I reserved the small wine cellar room, which has a table for 10 people. It's set off from the main dining room, so we had some privacy. The dinner group included Louisa, John, Tom and Debra, Erick and Jen, Harvey and Connie. Dianne and Doug had canceled, as they were not feeling well.

Our waiter started our evening with the amuse bouche, a small fried, breaded crab ball. When it comes to cruising, everyone knows it’s okay to order more than one appetizer, entrée, or dessert in the dining room. I didn't think this was possible at Murano's. However, I was told that yes, you could ask for a second appetizer. Instead of asking for two, I asked the waiter for a larger portion of foie gras. He said that the portions were the same size, but that he would serve me a double portion. I was a happy woman! This melt-in-your mouth delicacy was served with a filo pastry filled duck rillettes, equally delicious.

For my soup, I had the lobster bisque. The waiter set down the plate, already garnished, and poured the bisque into the bowl. I really liked the special small touches they provided during our dinner. Service is impeccable. Next I had the rack of lamb, coated with a mushroom crust. I sampled a small variety of cheese from the cheese cart and orange soufflé for dessert.

Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the atmosphere and food at Murano's.

Clocks turned back one hour

11 November, Thursday, At Sea

10am Veterans Day/Remembrance Day. This was a fiasco. I had requested that Celebrity have an event for Veterans Day/Remembrance Day, like I did last year. I asked if the cruise director (CD) could give a speech and provide a place for veterans to be able to spend time together. Nothing was posted in the Celebrity Today flyer, and I only heard about the time/location from another passenger. Because of the lack of announcement, attendance was small. Everyone waited almost 30 minutes before the CD showed up. By 10:45am, I needed to leave, the CD still had not started the event. Many people were upset. I think Celebrity should make November 11th a standard event on board their ships.

Louisa and I attended the Elite wine tasting event. There were four wines to sample, two reds and two whites. This was a repeat event, as the Captains Club hostess screwed up the original event by having it in the Tuscan Grill dining room. What was she thinking? There were over 700 Elite members on board the ship and the dining room probably held 200 people. Last year it was held in the dining room. Many of us were turned away at the door, and quite rudely. After a few of us talked to the Concierge at guest relations, he apologized and assured us there would be a second one and that he would personally escort us to the dining room.

3:30pm Another cruise critic event was the pub crawl. Not sure how that went, as I didn’t attend. I believe it’s a poker game/drinking event.

5pm was my massage. I felt like a noodle when done. I wish massages weren’t so expensive, otherwise, I’d have them all the time!

12 November, Friday, At Sea

Today was the second brunch. Lots of the same foods as the first brunch, but a few additions, to include a delicious chicken pot pie.

4:30pm cocktail party in our cabin. Bruce and Gail, who I have sailed with three times now, always invited me to their cabin for drinks, so I wanted to play hostess for them and some friends. Louisa and I ordered some canapés, and picked up some cheese/crackers and other goodies from the ocean view café. Christine and Paul (their cabin was next to ours) ordered food from room service, so we had a nice spread of food. We had our room attendant open the partition on the balcony between cabins for extra room.

13 November, Saturday, At Sea

The seas: Three days ago, the captain told us that he would be changing his course due to the tail end of the weather from the last hurricane in the Caribbean. He also stated that the swells could get as high as 12 feet, which seemed like nothing at all to me. Anytime I looked out onto the ocean, I tried to figure out the height of the waves and swells; however, it was really difficult to do so, especially being so high up on the ship. We ended up heading in a south-west direction and skirted Cuba before hitting Florida, about a 250 mile difference from the original course. I loved the rocking of the ship and didn't find it uncomfortable, except to say everyone swayed left and right as they walked down corridors. I loved lying in my bed being rocked to sleep each night. Today the captain said it would be the worse of the three days and recommended that women not wear high heal shoes. It was formal night, so I don't think woman listened to the captain. I did hear that some people were seasick, but really, it wasn't anything serious.

Galley tour 10:00am. A glass of champagne is served to start the tour, which lasted 20 minutes or so. This is always fun to do, as you can watch some of the cooks in action.

Cooking competition followed in the theatre. Two cruisers competed with chefs helping them to cook their dishes.

Skipped the elegant tea (3:30pm).

Formal night – Lobster for dinner!

14 November, Sunday, At Sea

Third/last cruise critic party in the late morning. Lots of hugs and “great to meet you” comments. At least a dozen Hobgoblins will be cruising the Eclipse next October 2011 with me.

15 November 2010, Monday

I woke up at 6:30am and felt sad. The cruise was over and it was time to vacate our cabin and ship for new passengers. As I opened the curtains, another cruise ship was just pulling in. There were four ships total, so I knew it would be a busy morning.

Louisa and I had our last breakfast at the ocean view café. Lox and bagel for me. We said our goodbyes to friends that we saw.

Group 19, 8:25am. Instead of waiting in the Tuscan Grill with the other elite members, we went to the dining room with Christine and Paul. Getting off the ship was very easy, but it took a long time to get inside the terminal. Apparently there were only three customs agents handling two ships in one large terminal area. Many people complained about the long wait and also having a hard time finding their luggage. Luggage was placed in the wrong numbered area. Fortunately for Louisa and me, we found ours in the right spot and at the end of the group of luggage. Very easy to see. Unfortunately, a wheel was missing from Louisa's newly purchased spinner suitcase, which made it difficult for her to pull it.

Erick, Jen, Louisa and I shared a taxi to the airport. We asked the man at the curb for a van, but he squeezed us in a large car. The taxi driver was very upset, but it wasn't our fault. He took the long way to the airport, making a right turn and down the road that hugged the port, rather than going straight, which we all knew, and told him so. He said, "Do you want to tell me how to get there?" What choice did we have? The ride was about $18, so the longer route didn't add to the cost too much. Still, it was upsetting. On the way to the airport, as we were on I-95, we saw a man on a bicycle peddling between the two right lanes! We were all stunned to see cars swerve over to avoid hitting the man! He must have been on drugs.

Check in took a while. I was hoping that I could flash my USAirways employee ID card to avoid the $25 luggage fee but it didn't work out. It's a shame that a large company like USAirways doesn't take care of their own employees and dependents. The flight home was so full and the overhead bins were full that they took my carry on bag and had it checked (and about 20 other passengers too). I had to scramble before handing it over and took out my valuables and shoved them in my large bag/purse.

The flight home was fine. We landed at Washington National where Louisa took a taxi home and Tony picked me up.

Summary:

Great, great cruise! I loved the ports, loved the sea days, and enjoying meeting new friends. We were all disappointed in the weather in Livorno and Cannes, but were happy for the sunny days on all other days.

If I ever do a cruise again from Rome (Civitavecchia), I most likely spend a few day outside of Rome. Having been to Rome several times now, I’d like to spend time elsewhere.

My favorite port was Cadiz. It was such a beautiful city. I definitely want to return to the French Riviera and visit more hill towns. Tourrettes-sur-Loup was my favorite town.

Well, that’s it for now….until my next cruise next fall. I’ll be sailing on the Celebrity Eclipse out of Southampton, England to Miami. The itinerary will be Le Havre, Cherbourg, a day a sea, Vigo Spain, a day at sea, Ponta Delgada (Azores), and six days at sea. I’ll be spending four nights in London prior to the cruise. I can’t wait!

Monica
monicapileggi is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 08:34 AM
  #39  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,129
Hi fellow Fodorites,

Here's a link to my Rome Italy photos from this trip. I hope to get more uploaded soon!

Enjoy!

Monica

http://www.pileggiphotography.com/Tr...42487850_XxaLF
monicapileggi is offline  
Dec 31st, 2010, 08:46 AM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,762
Beautiful photos! Happy New Year, Monica
yestravel is offline  

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