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Showing content with the highest reputation on 05/24/2022 in all areas

  1. Y'all got it all wrong. It's the next logical step up from Indoor skydiving and bumper cars...
    7 points
  2. Day 6 - Mykonos We did not book an excursion for Mykonos as we had been told that the best way to enjoy this port would be simply to wander the maze of little streets, so with this in mind we also stipulated this as our "shopping" stop. In the past, this used to be a tender port that would often be missed due to the wind. However, there is a new port on the island now that means ships can dock and Odyssey was berthed at the new port. From there you get a water taxi across to the town. It costs €2 per person each way and takes about 10 minutes, although you may have to sit and wait for a while until it fills up. They go every 15 minutes. Everything you've heard about how nice Mykonos is is true. We had a great time meandering through the little streets and getting lost - which ultimately had the benefit of us accidentally finding the apparently famous windmills that we did not know existed! We managed to get all our souvenirs and a few treats for ourselves as well so we had a great time. We both really liked this port (DH especially liked the fact that there were no ruins involved!) Back on board, after lunch, we headed for what became our go-to spot for catching some rays (of the sunshine variety, rather than the fishy ones). Right across from the suite sundeck, on deck 15, there are two spots, one on either side of the ship, that are sheltered on three sides by the structure, meaning you are largely protected from the wind. Depending on the position of the sun, there may be sunshine on both sides or just one and with the exception of the last sea day we were pretty much able to get a spot in the sun here every afternoon. Obviously you're not right in the middle of the action at the main pool but it was more important to us to be sheltered from the wind. Tonight's MDR menu: Artichoke and pea salad, which I really liked. It was very refreshing. Chicken chettinad. This was quite a hot curry, so would not be to everyone's liking. And the chocolate souffle, one of my all-time favourites but which sadly tends only to put in an appearance on longer itineraries. Yum. Incidentally, the pecan pie that is also featured on tonight's menu was available at lunchtime in the Windjammer, which saved me from having to have two desserts at dinner. The show tonight was the Wild Boys, an 80s tribute band. This was a very energetic show and by the end they had the audience standing up dancing and singing and clapping. However, anyone cruising on Odyssey in the next few months won't have the chance to see them as they were leaving the ship the next day, in Rhodes, and won't be back till sometime in August. I just wish they could have turned the sound down a bit as it was uncomfortably loud. We saw quite a lot of people getting up and leaving during the show and I'm pretty sure that the over-loud volume was probably the reason. Other people we spoke to agreed. I did mention this on the post-cruise questionnaire but whether it will have any effect remains to be seen.
    5 points
  3. Let your waiter know that you are trying to make the show. They can move things along if requested.
    4 points
  4. I'm loving this blog. My last big trip pre 2020 was Italy and it was the best vacation I've had. How hot is it? I'm supposed to go back with a friend and I told them I refused to go back in any type of summer weather. I want this exact cruise for next year!
    3 points
  5. If you REEEEEEALLLLLY wanna look up some drinks to try, Quite a while ago, a large list of Beer/Wine/Spirits available on RC ships and a seemingly endless list of concoctions was posted on this blog. The links have long since been inactive, but, I happened to save copies. Attached is the original PDF and a word doc I made to make the list both alphabetical and easier to read. ENJOY! RC DRINKS.docx Cruise News Harmony 2019 Drinking.pdf
    3 points
  6. Matt

    Cruise Compasses

    Thank you everyone for sending in your compasses!
    3 points
  7. I'm more dressed up the second night. First one I wear a dress shirt and tie, second I add a vest to the ensemble to cover up any food stains from the first night.
    3 points
  8. People always ask what to bring on a cruise. Obviously, this will depend on the cruise (where) and your personal needs, but the attached has served me well for many years as a reminder of things to bring. I typically do tropical, so some will not apply to colder regions. I know this does not include everything and maybe you have ideas to add based on your experience. Happy cruising! Cruise_Check List-dlt.docx
    3 points
  9. Check in was a breeze Had to show vaccine status and covid test. Not sure how many guests are onboard but its not busy which is actually good as its more relaxing. Didn't have to wait long for first drink or the 2nd
    3 points
  10. Day 5 - Kusadasi, Turkey Today, we went on a full day excursion to Ephesus, Didyma and Miletus with lunch. In other words, lots and lots of ruins. We were supposed to do the tour precisely in that order, but it got changed around and this turned out for the better. Instead of being at Ephesus at its busiest time and not having lunch until around 3 pm, as scheduled, we actually did Didyma and Miletus first, followed by lunch, and then Ephesus, which made for a much more balanced and enjoyable day. We spoke to some peeps who had done it the "right" way round and they said they found it very long and tiring. Really, the pictures say it all. It was all very impressive (if you're into that sort of thing. DH isn't really and he was all ruined out by the end of the day). I, on the other hand, despite not really being a history buff, quite enjoyed it. To me, it was a way better way to spend the day than wandering around shops. We went first to Miletus, which included some time at the ancient theatre and at the museum. There were bathrooms available at both of these sites. We then continued to Didyma where we spent some time at the temple: There were no bathrooms here but the restaurants across the street will let you use theirs even without a purchase. From here we went for lunch at a 5-star hotel called Pine Bay. It was a very impressive place and the lunch was fine. It was served buffet style with salads, main courses - chicken and donner kebab with rice, vegetables and pastries - and a dessert buffet with various traditional Turkish sweets, including baklava, which is one of my favourites: I did feel lunch was a bit rushed; we only had 45 minutes, but it was still better than going to Ephesus on empty tummies and not getting fed until afterwards. So, Ephesus, the main attraction of the day. There are simply no words... The goddess Nike: View from the top of the hill down towards the library. (Note that the entrance to the site is at the top of the hill and you walk downhill to the exit. You don't have to traipse back up the hill again.) A closer view: And a bit of detail: The amphitheatre: And the (former) public bathrooms! Apparently there would be musicians playing here to disguise the sound of the you-know-what plopping into the toilets. This was the last stop of the tour except for the carpet place just outside the port. These are pretty much included in every tour at this port, from what I have read, but never having been to one before we found it quite interesting and thought the carpets were beautiful even though we had no intention of buying anything. Now that we have seen it, on any future visit, we would just slip away back to the ship. Walking back to the ship, we were surprised at how many shops there were, all selling what looked like pretty decent stuff. The guide told us that this area had suffered terribly with the loss of cruise passengers due to the Syrian war and then Covid, so they are hoping and praying for a good summer season this year. All in all I really liked this tour and thought it was reasonable value for money as cruise ship excursions go, but I purchased it during a sale (a real sale, for once) and it was selling at about 30 dollars more by the time the cruise planner closed. Tonight's MDR menu: Roasted pumpkin soup: Achari gosht. I really liked this. Taking advantage of the new curry additions to the menu for the first time. I'm afraid there is no pic of tonight's dessert. It was the warm cookie and by the time I remembered I was supposed to be taking a pic there were only a few crumbs left. I did briefly consider ordering a second one purely for the sake of the blog but I really was too stuffed. Tonight's entertainment in the theatre was the Love & Marriage show which we always enjoy. It did not fail us and was as hilarious as ever. I was just a bit surprised at how many couples rushed to put their hands up to say how long they'd been married and then backed down from actually going on stage. In the end there were two Irish couples and one from Scotland, so it was the battle of the Celts.
    3 points
  11. AlmondFarmer

    Rising tide bar

    Yes, at high or low tide.
    3 points
  12. DDD

    Water and soda question

    I purchased the tiny one-serving mix packets to mix with bottled water. I have Propel, Hawaiian Punch, Iced Tea, etc. There are even a few packs of Canada Dry ginger ale (not sure what that'll taste like ? ). If I bring bottled water on the ship, I should be able to refill those and make my own drinks.
    3 points
  13. Oasis has sustainable plastic straws! No more paper!
    3 points
  14. Our pre-cruise day in Rome. Morning. With only one full day in Rome before the cruise I wanted to ensure we made the most of it, while also getting in the visit to the Colosseum. Having visited the Vatican on a previous trip, but never central Rome, and to avoid us simply wandering around aimlessly, I booked us on the "free" walking tour "Marvels of Rome" through Guru Walks: https://www.guruwalk.com/walks/37444-marvels-of-rome-walking-tour This gave us a decent overview of the monuments in the centre of Rome. The guide was not the one originally indicated (Colin) but his replacement (Paulo) was excellent, very knowledgeable and passionate about his subject. The only issue I had with the tour was that the group was far too big, over 50 people, which prevented any meaningful interaction with the guide. However, for the cost of the €20 tip at the end, it was fine. The tour was followed by lunch in a side street off the Piazza Navona that the guide pointed out to us at the end of the tour, after recommending we avoided eating on the square itself.
    3 points
  15. Our pre-cruise hotel: We stayed at the Hotel Lancelot (https://www.lancelothotel.com/). The reason for choosing this one was mainly its proximity to the Colosseum, which we (read "I" ) really wanted to visit. Someone had mentioned it in passing over on CC, so I did some research and thought it met our needs. It was reasonably priced (for Rome), had decent reviews and was literally a 3-minute walk from the Colosseum. The owner was very responsive and helpful and the staff were lovely. The hotel does have a couple of rooms on the top floor (there is a minuscule lift) with a balcony and view of the Colosseum but they come at a premium and were not available on our dates anyway. It also has several family rooms that can sleep two adults and two kids. Our room was a spacious corner room with a street view and a narrow wrap-around balcony. This being a traditional hotel, all the rooms are different. Our room: The Colosseum is a 3-minute walk down this street: The social area that you go through to get into the dining room: There was a decent included continental breakfast (no hot items) and the hotel has a convivial dinner on some nights, at a reasonable price - €25 for three courses including wine and coffee. We arrived too late on the first night but enjoyed it on the second night. The tables are shared, like on board the ship, and we very much enjoyed chatting to our table mates, a mum and daughter, respectively from Pittsburgh and Seattle. We were made to feel very welcome and would definitely recommend and consider staying here again.
    3 points
  16. I am not sure but those are for sure interior facing balconies.
    2 points
  17. a giant ice ball for my bourbon
    2 points
  18. We had 6:45 my time dining and never missed an 8:15 show. Granted, this was back when cruising was at 40% capacity. Our waiter did ask us each night if we had to get to a show, so they can speed things up a bit if necessary.
    2 points
  19. ahh the ebb and flow of covid on land and ships. This is the new cruising reality. What a drag.
    2 points
  20. It looks to me like a miniature version of MSG Sphere Las Vegas. I'm pretty sure it's a new theater/venue. It's air conditioned and it's insulated, so it designed for comfort. Interesting that sits on the lower decks meaning it will be heavy which also means that it will house even more stuff, my guess, lighting LED screens, sound system and rigging structures.
    2 points
  21. Whiskey is a distilled spirit made in America or Ireland. Whisky is a distilled spirit made in Canada, Scotland or Japan. So yes, I drink whiskeys primarily, but sometimes whisky, likely Scotch.
    2 points
  22. Rain forecast in tropics is not unusual. Likely not an all-day soaker. Here's why: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2017/10/16/first-time-cruisers-its-supposed-rain-my-entire-cruise
    2 points
  23. I have found that it depends upon the currency in which your cruise was booked. Since we now book through a travel agent (shout out to MEI Travel) in US dollars, all our cruise planner purchases are in USD. In the past when we booked ourselves in Canadian dollars the cruise planner purchases were in CAD.
    2 points
  24. In your carry-on. If you put it in your checked luggage, your baggage could be delayed because security sees cans/bottles and holds it back to investigate and you have to come downstairs and collect it.
    2 points
  25. A passport will be hard to come by now, but definitely that's the way to go for the next cruise. I would bring anything official that proves your name is now what it is.
    2 points
  26. Yes, we drop off our heavier carry-ons at the Key check-in table (usually in front of the MDR) as soon as we board the ship. We then use a smaller/lighter bag (sling bag in my case) so we have any items we may need before we can access the cabin. The carry-ons are tagged and will be delivered to your cabin and will not be accessible until the cabin is ready.
    2 points
  27. Sail away was pretty uneventful. 1st day/night think we broke even for drinks package. Not for the night but for the whole week Checked app and it showed 30 drinks purchased for the 2 of us! Day 2 a sea day up at 6 for a coffee and a walk left my wife in bed suffering. First impressions were correct ship is pretty empty, no ques anywhere. Staff all wearing masks and constantly cleaning.
    2 points
  28. Oh I'm sure they do, just seems like a lot of hard work for a little reward
    2 points
  29. Just did the TA on Wonder in April to Barcelona. Booked to go on Odyssey TA from Barcelona but just switched it to WOS this weekend. Had a great trip over to Europe looking forward to doing the westbound and getting all those extra hour long days when we gain an extra hour every other day!
    2 points
  30. She should plan to be at the meet and greet that typically happens on the 1st night at 7 or 8pm. This is often where kids will form groups. There will be plenty of kids in her age range.
    2 points
  31. KenCP

    Halifax Nova Scotia

    Most of them do.
    2 points
  32. I'm hanging my hat on this https://www.msn.com/en-gb/travel/news/when-will-the-us-drop-covid-test-requirements-disney-and-travel-firms-demand-end-to-testing-restrictions/ar-AAX6YGY
    2 points
  33. Oasis class is different since they have a permanent bar right there.
    2 points
  34. November 13 2023 Sydney to New Zealand Ovation of the Seas. Only 538 more days.
    2 points
  35. Less than 2 weeks!! I hope you are all as excited as I am about this!
    2 points
  36. Never been tested and never will (voluntarily). Not something to discuss here. Just a general distrust…
    2 points
  37. They will not charge you for the water. We haven't had any trouble with getting what we need delivered to the room. While it may not be there immediately (turn around time is short and stateroom attendants have much to do), it always was before bedtime. If it's not there, and you see your stateroom attendant (which is highly likely), kindly ask about it. They will have it to you asap! Enjoy your sailing!
    2 points
  38. Day 4 - Santorini For our day in Santorini, we did a ship sponsored tour called Santorini and Village Oia but in Spanish as that happened to be the one showing in the cruise planner at the time I booked. The same tour in English did not show up until several months later and at almost twice the price, so if you have sufficient Spanish to do a tour in that language, it can definitely be worthwhile considering this an option. It was a really early start as we were on the first excursion tender but things ran smoothly to begin with. Then the hiccups began... First we had to wait for half a dozen people who somehow didn't make it on to the tender. Then there were two ladies who had tickets for the excursion in English but wanted it in Spanish because they didn't speak any English, so that had to be sorted with the provider. And then we were very very late leaving Oia because a man couldn't find his wife; we found out later that she had somehow mixed up the car parks and was waiting in completely the wrong place! Anyway, apart from that it was actually a very nice little excursion that included an hour of free time in Oia: Followed by a stop at a winery for Greek nibbles (cheese, olives, tomatoes and bread sticks) with wine (we had orange juice!) and an absolutely magnificent panoramic view from the terrace. We were about an hour late getting back to the ship because of all the delays but still in plenty of time for lunch and a snooze in the sun to recover from the early start. Out of all our fantastic port stops, this was the one DH liked the best. One thing that was a bit annoying, however, was that the excursion description did not make it clear that we would have to return via the cable car, the cost of which was not included in the ticket price. The description made it sound like it was an option and that anyone who didn't want to use to the cable car would return to the tender drop-off on the bus. That is NOT the case and nobody on our bus was aware, precisely because of the poorly-worded description, so there were some rather upset people at the end. It was not until afterwards that we learned that none of the excursions return to the same place they drop off in the morning, where the buses are waiting, and that some, but not all, include the cable car tickets. Incidentally, the current cost of these is €6 pp each way. Here are a couple more pics taken from our supposedly obstructed balcony: This is the Regent Seven Seas Explorer arriving into Santorini first thing in the morning. And then this one was taken in the afternoon after we got back from the excursion. This was the one time I actually sat on the balcony and the sole purpose of sitting was to take a pic of the view from a sitting position! Tonight's dinner menu in the MDR: I'm afraid it's in Spanish; I didn't realise that the server had given us a bilingual menu (the other side is in English) until it was way too late to do anything about it. My bad. It's the one with the garlic shrimp; you can see it in the app. Anyway, we didn't really fancy any of the day's appetizers either on the main menu or the vegan menu so we just went with the artisan cheese plate: Followed by the garlic shrimp. Love them: And the Royal cheesecake. Just occurred to me that means we had cheese to start and cheese to finish. Normally when it's this menu, we would actually forego the appetizers and have the garlic shrimp as an appetizer, which I would follow with the lamb and DH with Steak Diane, but on this particular evening we were in a hurry because we were going to see The Effectors (postponed from the evening before) and the performance was at 9.30 pm, so we didn't want to be mucking about. We had our usual standing reservation in the My Time dining room of 8 pm but we went a bit early because of the earlier show time and were able to be seated immediately. From this point on, we would always be seated at the same table we were allocated this evening, and we enjoyed having our servers Gede and Jener looking after us, as they were very helpful and attentive. So, with dinner done and dusted, we rushed off to see The Effectors. It was a very impressive show because of all the special effects, even though the story line was virtually non-existent. Just a couple of pics. If you want to get a better idea of the show, do a search for @twangster's fantastic photo report on it. And apart from DH's ritual loss of $20 in the casino, that rounded off day four.
    2 points
  39. If you decide to do that, be sure and see Herculaneum (Ercolano). IMO it is a better ruin of Vesuvius than Vesuvius. It is much smaller and easier to see plus waaaay less strenuous. I also think it is better preserved. Don’t call it “Herculaneum” to the locals though ! They will say they’ve never heard of it ! Herculaneum is a Greek name and they will only respond if you refer to it as Ercolano !
    2 points
  40. Back on board, I went to the gym before dinner. As I expected it was nice and quiet then and I got a good session in. What a great gym! Tons of equipment and all good stuff. Fitness freaks and serious athletes couldn't ask for better. And with this view from your treadmill, who wouldn't want to work out! There are though, what to my mind, are a couple of design flaws. Very little open floor space for folks wanting to do a floor workout; and only a single bathroom on the landing outside for use by everyone. Serious gym-goers will be working out for anywhere between an hour and two hours and will be drinking constantly to keep hydrated so proper bathroom facilities are a must. We didn't care for the MDR menu tonight; it's the one with the duck terrine. So we went to the WJ instead where supposedly it was Italian night. Maybe I just missed it but I really didn't see a whole lot of Italian food, just lasagna, polenta, meat balls, chicken parm and canoli. No tiramisu and overall a very poor selection of desserts, so I was a bit disappointed. I did not go hungry though and enjoyed a garden salad (I love that they do these in individual bowls) along with my lasagna and chicken parm. I wasn't impressed with the canoli as it was very dry but the red velvet from the non-Italian desserts was perfect. The evening was rounded off with an excellent comedy/juggling routine by Pete Matthews... Followed by another $20 contribution to the casino by DH. At bedtime, our first towel animal of the cruise was waiting for us. Say "Hi" to Ellie the elephant!
    2 points
  41. Day 2 was in Naples. Here we are, parked alongside the Regal Princess. Naples from the ship: We had originally booked a walking tour for this port but the time was changed a few days before, making it unworkable and leaving us at a bit of a loose end. With nothing better planned we got the city sightseeing hoho bus at 24 euros each, offering a historical route and a scenic route. The first takes 45 minutes and you could probably walk it faster; the traffic was insane! The panoramic route was about an hour and was very pretty with views over the bay and Capri, although it was a bit hazy. To be honest, I wouldn't really recommend this unless as a stop gap. Possibly I'm being unfair and haven't given it a chance, but the city itself seems very busy, noisy and dirty and there is a lot of construction work. On a future visit, I would definitely consider going to Capri or along the Amalfi Coast (we've already been to Pompeii twice and would highly recommend that for anyone who hasn't been before. Even DH, who really isn't a fan of historical stuff, enjoyed and was fascinated by Pompeii).
    2 points
  42. Cruise day. Getting to the ship. I booked our transfers to the ship with Civitavecchia Shuttle Express (https://www.civitavecchiashuttleexpress.com/) at a cost of €65 for the two of us. This was a shared shuttle. They say on their website that there could be up to 30 minutes waiting time, so with check-in time slot at the pier of 11.30-12.00, I booked the shuttle for 10 am. The day before, I received an email from them telling me the expected pick-up time would be 10.15 and on the morning the driver rang ahead to say he was running about 10 minutes late. So everything went smoothly and as expected. We were the last pick-up, so we headed straight to the port after we were picked up. I don't know if it was because it was a Saturday, but the road into Civi was bumper to bumper; it took us ages to get from the entrance to the town to the ship and we arrived at the terminal just a few minutes before midday. Checking in. This was very fast. We were asked to show all our documents - passports, negative tests (which we had done the morning before at a pharmacy around the corner from the hotel for €20 each, walk-in with no appointment needed) and vax certificates. I did have to explain why mine had what appears to be 2 out of 1 doses (2/1), which is how the EU distinguishes peeps who have had the single dose JJ jab + a booster (I knew this would cause confusion which is why I didn't bother uploading it beforehand) and the check-in clerk also asked us for the approximate dates of all our jabs since the EU (for some unfathomable reason) only shows the date of the very last jab on the certificate. All in all it took about 10 minutes and we were on our way. Once on board we headed to Two70 for a coffee while waiting for the rooms to open up, which they did a very short time afterwards (1 pm-ish, I think). Our room #6622. We had booked an obstructed balcony cabin that I chose on the basis of @twangster's preliminary predictions as to what would be the least obstructed ones. A few months before our cruise, when he was onboard himself, he very kindly took a 360º view for me of the cabin from the promenade deck below it. It's the one above the window to the right of where the two deck chairs are: https://momento360.com/e/u/c6ba50ad727f4f92a675d0cb343994fc?utm_campaign=embed&utm_source=other&heading=543.43&pitch=-2.65&field-of-view=75&size=medium Once inside the room, I was able to confirm that the view is very unobstructed. You can see plenty of water. The cabin next to ours (6624) would have even less obstruction but that is a 3-berth cabin so was not available to us. I would say these are definitely rooms to look out for if you're planning on booking this category. The seating area below us was rarely used so we were not inconvenienced by any noise. You just need to bear in mind that anybody down on deck 5 will be able to see you on your balcony so probably best not to do anything out there that you'd want to keep private! Also, on this ship, the smoking area of the promenade is on the port side, so this being a starboard side cabin there is no problem with being bothered by cigarette smoke. Having dumped our carry-ons we headed up to the windjammer for some lunch before it got busy. I have to say, I found the layout of this WJ somewhat confusing and it was several days before I was able to negotiate it and more or less find the things I was looking for. It was fully self-serve but there were some ready-made plates that you could just pick up. I particularly liked the new salad bowls and had a garden salad pretty much every day at lunch. However, I thought the little deli plates were wasteful. All I wanted was a slice of ham and a slice of cheese but you couldn't get that, just the plates you can see in the pic below, which meant most of the food on the plate was simply left to go in the bin and that bothers me. I would have preferred them to have self-serve trays out like they used to pre-covid. After lunch, we set off to explore the ship and took the opportunity to go up in the North Star. As you can see from the pic, it was a pretty grey day and the heavens opened while we were up there! The other ship in the pic is the Regal Princess. I'm not going to bother posting a bunch of pics of the ship itself since there are lots of them out there and far better than mine but if anyone wants a pic of something specific let me know and I'll see if I have one. Sailaway. We left Civitavecchia 3 hours late, something to do with an issue regarding clearance, but I didn't catch the original announcement so I don't know if any more specific information was provided. Dinner time. We ate all our dinners except one in the MDR, which seemed very busy and chaotic on this first evening. We had my time dining with a table booked for 8 pm every night but it seemed like they improvised rather than having a table allocated in advance (later on, from night 4 onwards, we had the same table every night). However our server was very attentive to our needs. An interesting development on the menu is the appearance of a nightly pie and a curry dish, which usually only show up on cruises with a large British contingent. Wild mushroom soup Two Maryland style crab cakes as my mains just because I like them even though I've been told they're nothing like the real thing. Royal chocolate cake for dessert. One of my favourites (As you can probably tell, I had already eaten the tip of it before I remembered to take a pic! Oops ). DH 's cheesecake and a shared scoop of vanilla ice cream in the background. The show in the theatre after dinner was a singer called Mike McLean. He had a decent crowd and gave an enjoyable show. I very much liked the fact that there were late shows (10.30 pm) on this sailing as we prefer to enjoy the show after our dinner. On ships where the shows are earlier we often miss them because they tend to clash with my gym time and DH's hot tub time. And apart from a quick visit to the very tight-fisted casino, where DH contributed $20 to Royal's coffers, that rounded off our first day on board.
    2 points
  43. Pre-cruise day in Rome. Afternoon. After lunch we had the much-awaited (for me, DH was just about hanging on by this time ) visit to the Colosseum, which I booked through Walks of Italy: https://www.walksofitaly.com/rome-tours/colosseum-arena-floor-tour/ This tour also includes the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill and the guide (Dario) reversed the order so that we visited these first. He said that, for most people, the highlight of the tour would be the Colosseum itself so he always preferred to leave that till last. I'm glad he did, because DH definitely perked up once we got inside the Colosseum. Since this was a paying tour, the group was much smaller. The company guarantees there will be no more than 25 people per group and ours actually had 19. Dario was excellent, very knowledgeable and personable and, of course, the smaller group size meant he was able to better engage with the members of the group. One thing I really liked was how he made the effort to inform us about where and when to expect bathroom breaks. I really enjoyed the tour, even though the weather decided to have a meltdown and start pouring with rain just as we were sitting in the arena floor. You can see how wet it was in this last one. We had to shelter under a restaurant canopy on the way back to the hotel, even though it was really close by, because the rain was so heavy.
    2 points
  44. Pre-cruise part one. Getting there: We flew to Rome Fiumicino from our local airport (Faro) via Lisbon with TAP Air Portugal. For those of you coming from farther afield and who might not have the option of non-stop flights, TAP can be a good option because the prices tend to be fairly reasonable and Lisbon is a very easy airport to connect in. Also, if you have the time, they offer a free stopover option. Don't book a short connection though because their punctuality record is a long way south of stellar. Departing Faro. The city where we live is hazily visible off in the distance at about 5 to 12 in the pic. Arriving in Lisbon (25th of April Bridge): And departing again from Lisbon: No pics of our arrival in Rome as it was dark by then. I booked our airport transfer from Fiumicino to our hotel (Hotel Lancelot) with Fiumicino Taxi (https://www.fiumicinotaxi.info/). Not only were they the cheapest that I found but they also did not start charging the "night" fee until 10 pm, whereas most others started at 7 pm. This was important because our flight was scheduled to land at 7.30 pm. The online booking process was fairly easy but on arrival we weren't able to locate our driver. However, a quick call to the mobile number provided solved the issue in a matter of minutes and we were soon on our way to the hotel. We did not have to pay for this service in advance as there is the option to pay cash to the driver. Given the still rather uncertain climate around Covid, this was a deal-breaker for us. We did not want the hassle of pre-paying and then potentially having to cancel and haggle to get our money back.
    2 points
  45. To be fair, these kinds of logistics issues (lack of staffing/supply chain failures) are lagging affectors and add to that, a COVID uptick (whether real or contrived) and you have a mess. It is extremely difficult (impossible ?) for Royal to make a timely adjustment to a ship that has already been pretty much sold out. Their only option would be to cancel existing reservations and NOBODY wants to be caught up in that ! Did Royal ramp up passenger density too quickly ? Probably. But it will take time to "fix" that and by then, who knows what the situation might be. Kind of a catch-22.
    2 points
  46. I'm 70yoa and feeling like I'm 69.9 yao. So, ya, I'm ready to party, just as soon as you get me up from my afternoon nap.
    2 points
  47. Hit the gym on embarkation day? DISLIKE.
    2 points
  48. get a cocktail as fast as humanly possible
    2 points
  49. Unfortunately!
    2 points
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