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FrHoffard

Newbie - Venice, Croatia, Montengro, Greece May 2020

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I have never been on a cruise, nor have I been out of the US and will be taking my first cruise on Rhapsody May 23, 2020!  Any tips, advice, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  We are planning to arrive in Venice the day before embarkation and will be going to Prague and Warsaw for a few days after the cruise.

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2 minutes ago, FrHoffard said:

I have never been on a cruise, nor have I been out of the US and will be taking my first cruise on Rhapsody May 23, 2020!  Any tips, advice, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  We are planning to arrive in Venice the day before embarkation and will be going to Prague and Warsaw for a few days after the cruise.

I think you'll enjoy the Centrum as a place to hang out.  Also, take advantage of Deck 5 to look at land and sea.  When we were on the Rhapsody two years ago, it had the reputation of being the "friendliest" ship in the fleet.  It is older and smaller than some ships, but I found it familiar to me (from trips on the Grandeur) and just the right size -- harder to get lost.  You will likely learn some nautical jargon - port is left (each have 4 letters), etc.  Have fun!

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1 hour ago, FrHoffard said:

I have never been on a cruise, nor have I been out of the US and will be taking my first cruise on Rhapsody May 23, 2020!  Any tips, advice, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  We are planning to arrive in Venice the day before embarkation and will be going to Prague and Warsaw for a few days after the cruise.

Hey @FrHoffard,

Let me know what you think of that cruise. I'll be on the same one in Oct 2020! May be we can share info?

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We did Dubrovnik, Kotor, Santorini and Olympia (Kataklon) in 2017, which I believe would be the route, or similar to it, that you have planned.  It was actually one of our favorite cruises/itineraries and I keep meaning to do a not-so-liveblog/review because its an itinerary which really deserves more attention.  Rhapsody has a well deserved reputation for service, at least as of our 2017 experience, I'm sure most of the crew has turned over.  As mentioned above, Rhapsody really does revolve around the Centrum, which effectively functions as a vertical boardwalk for the ship and you can find plenty to do on all the levels of the Centrum.  

Itinerary-wise, we had a beach day scheduled for Dubrovnik that was cancelled (apparently we were the only ones to sign up for a beach day in May).  So we just walked the old city on our own.  My memory was that there was a free or very cheap shuttle between the port and the Old City and the city was very walkable.  There is a free map with points of interest marked out and you can do the museum/aquarium while you're there.  You can do the "Game of Thrones" tour and walk the city walls or pay ~15 euro or so to walk the walls on your own.  We did neither but those that did had good things to say.  We found a little Irish pub instead and I tried some Croatian Craft beer and used the free wifi to check work/update family at home (we generally don't get Voom/surf) 

Kotor we did a city tour and then toured an olive grove.  Kotor used tenders when we were there (I believe they still do) so we picked an early excursion to take advantage of the priority disembarkation.  I believe we were one of the first off the ship.  We were there the day after their independence day celebration and it was still early so everything was a little sleepy but it actually worked out for the tour because we got to see everything without the crowds and then took a bus ride out the olive grove.  It was a great ride, the guide was good and we stopped for photos along the way.  When we got back to the city we poked our head in quickly and considered walking up the mountain stairs but everything was so crowded we just decided to head back to the ship.  I would really recommend getting off the ship as early as possible to see the city.  Its a small city and there can be big crowds

Santorini is also a tender port but I would say you could do any of the dime-a-dozen tours.  They pile you into a bus/van and show you the picturesque spots to take photos of all the white houses with their blue roofs.  We also went up to the highest point on the island but at some point or another so did everyone else.  Almost everyone ends up spending some time in Thera where I (once again found some craft beer) and then take the cable car/donkey path back down.  We took the cable car, there were at least two broken wrists on our cruise from people that took the donkey path

Kataklon/Olympia-Make sure you get out to Olympia to see the ruins.  There are plenty of excursions or private tours that go out.  My memory is that the time in port was short so the piece of mind for a ship-run excursion might be advisable.  We did a Ruin/Vineyard combo excursion that was a blast.  

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