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Symphony Of The Seas 14-21 April semi live blog

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1 minute ago, Floski said:

I'm no expert on these things, but I'm pretty sure that Australia is not in Europe.

:9_innocent:

Agreed.  But if no lobster in Europe that left me wondering if my Australia cruise in January will have lobster.  It's Caribbean lobster tail (as opposed to Maine lobster), so if they aren't shipping them to Europe maybe they don't ship them to other regions too.

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27 minutes ago, twangster said:

Agreed.  But if no lobster in Europe that left me wondering if my Australia cruise in January will have lobster.  It's Caribbean lobster tail (as opposed to Maine lobster), so if they aren't shipping them to Europe maybe they don't ship them to other regions too.

On our cruise to south east Asia we did not have lobsters either .

But you will have many interesting fruits

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37 minutes ago, Traveler said:

On Harmony at the same route they had lobsters not just in the MDR but even in WJ , but maybe it was a one time thing

 

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Interesting, always heard no lobster in Europe. Maybe you do have something Hooked...

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

Agreed.  But if no lobster in Europe that left me wondering if my Australia cruise in January will have lobster.  It's Caribbean lobster tail (as opposed to Maine lobster), so if they aren't shipping them to Europe maybe they don't ship them to other regions too.

Huge difference in Caribbean lobster and New England lobster.

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On 4/14/2018 at 10:58 AM, Traveler said:

Thanks , 

Barcelona is a wonderful city , with wonderful food and  sites .

Regarding hotels , it depends what level of hotel you are looking for ,  If you are OK to use public transportation I would stay away from the La Ramblas hotels and by doing that you can save allot of money. This time I stayed at region 22 which was very nice and I think I would try it again next time , I was in the Sheraton four points Diagonal, it was clean, room was big enough and near by supermarkets, malls and restaurants. 

For cruise , the best hotel I guess will be the W but it is quite isolated from the city and very expensive. when we will come back from the cruise we will try another hotel and another area so I can report how it was. at the past we stayed in the Hilton which was also nice but quite far from the city center.

Barcelona has a good public transportation buses and subway which are easy to use even if you do not speak Spanish.

For restaurants there are many options , every mall has many small restaurants for a quick eats and tapas bars are spread around the city , I can just advise you to avoid  any resultant in the old port as they are mostly tourist traps . 

If it is you first time in Europe you are going to enjoy it very much as almost any ports has so many interesting things to see. 

When I will back home I can send you some more detailed recommendations for restaurants and hotels.

How many days your are planning in Barcelona ? base on that I can recommend on tours (the market , the church ,etc ...)  

 

I'm thinking we will stay 2 to 3 days before the cruise!  Thanks for your thoughts... the cruise is over a year away but I have so much fun planning!  Jane

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Day 5 Rome ,

Well there is  only one place to go here , do not even bother on the other tours ,Rome is a must and I think I do not need to explain why.Our tour today was “navigate  Rome”, its actually a guided transfer to Rome were you get a cell phone that has several applications to guide you around and help you find your way.With the device (Samsung note 3) you are getting also  earphones. The guide kept reminding us that its 500 $ fine if we lose the device (not a bad revenue for RC as you can get such devices for much less).The application also contains a way to communicate with the guide and ability to send photos to your email from the phone. The meeting time was 8 and around 8:30 AM we were on our way to Rome.The ride took  90 minutes so around 10 we were dropped near the Vatican. During the ride the guide offered to sell Vatican tickets which save you the time to stand in the ticket office lines or a panoramic bus tour with ability to hop on and off.

The cost for the Vatican tickets is 34 $ , the buss is 35 $ and both are going directly to your sea pass account which is very comfortable. We tool the bus tour although you can do without it and I will explain later.

If you plan to visit the Vatican museum take into consideration the way it is organized, it actually a linear maze which you can only go forward at the end after more than a mile you will find the Sistine chapel , it can take more than an hour until you get to it.

Also please mind air conditions are not that common in Rome , which mean most of the places missing them including public buses and small shops/restaurants.

Check before if the ST Paul is accessible or not,

While walking near the Vatican you will encounter many people trying to sell you Vatican tickets/tours, they can be annoying but just tell them that you already have tickets, its usually works. 

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We went to the bus station (around 0.5 mile from the Vatican), the bus came quite fast and we took it just until the next station , which is the famous fountain/Spanish stress.

Note , from the bus stop to the attractions you will need to walk around 0.25 miles.

The fountain was not working for some reason but we throw some coins in anyway, after all we suppose to come back at September.

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From the fountain we went into the Spanish stairs, tons of people around but still nice to see.

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Next station was the Pantheon which is always impressive considering it was built almost 2000 years ago. Just remember if you are planning to go visit some churches make sure you have the proper outfit (no shorts, no cut sleeves).

 

We tried to find something to eat that is not in the middle of the tourist attraction in Rome its not an easy task but we found some bar that served lunch, it was full with local people (well at least the people inside seemed to speak Italian). The food was ok, not something to write home about but did the work.

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After lunch we went to eat ice cream, do not miss it , you cannot go wrong with ice cream in Italy.

We continued to walk to Venice square to visit the capitolina hill where we later took the bus back to the Vatican area

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, since we had some extra time until we had to catch the group we took another ice cream (just to test if the pistachio flavor is same everywhere , for the research nothing else)   and excellent espresso.

In Italy you can find many espresso bars where people are drinking coffee standing up (around 1 $) its like refueling station for people , they come , drink the espresso for 30 seconds and go. By the way no Starbucks around 😊    

We started our way back, but before heading to the port the bus travel via some of Rome monuments.

All in all a nice tour. If you want to save some money, you can catch this tour or even just transfer to Rome and take the public bus to where you want to start your walking tour, most of the main sites are nearby (the colosseum, the Pantheon, the capitolina , Spanish stairs . (around 15 – 20 minutes).

We came back around 5:30 PMs , we tried to do again the laser tag but it was closed already although they published it will be closed at 6 PM.

Dinner again was in WJ, they had lots of cakes and tons of fruits.

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We were too tired to go to a show today, so we called it off qu ite early, all in all very enjoyable day.

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Love the pics of Rome.  It had me take out my old photo albums and look at them again.  I was in Rome in 1977 on my last Navy Med Cruise.  I got some of the same pictures as you, nice to know things haven't changed that much.  Italy and Sicily and Palma were my favorites ports.  Now I want to go back...

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8 minutes ago, arebee said:

Love the pics of Rome.  It had me take out my old photo albums and look at them again.  I was in Rome in 1977 on my last Navy Med Cruise.  I got some of the same pictures as you, nice to know things haven't changed that much.  Italy and Sicily and Palma were my favorites ports.  Now I want to go back...

Rome is one large  outdoor museum , where ever you go in the city center there is something. History all around, love this city.

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37 minutes ago, Matt said:

That Windjammer dessert display is no joke!

WOW.  I haven't seen a display like that in years.  SOOOO nice to see.  I am so disappointed that Royal rarely has those beautiful and elaborate displays anymore.  Long gone (for the most part) are the days of ice sculptures and sculptured fruit.  I do realize that this often results in waste but it's really so traditional with cruising.  Glad to see that the art isn't completely gone.

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Day 6 Napoli , One of the most interesting stop with many options ,

Many are going to Capri, a nice small island with breathtaking views, to go to Capri you take a 45 boat ride (or more than one hour if you are taking the slower boats), the cheapest way to get there will be to buy the tickets by yourself in port but the risk is lack of space in the boats.

The other popular attractions are visiting Pompeii, the old city which is impressive and about 20 minutes ride from the port , Sorento a nice town , Amalfi coast (one of the nicest landscape road in Europe) and some more.

Vesuvius in the background 

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We decided not to take any of those as we have been to Pompeii, Sorento and Amalfi road previously  and we are planning to visit Capri next cruise. So we just went to visit Napoli, now if you will ask an Italian which leaves in north of  Italy what he thinks about Napoli (and to be more accurate about Napoli people) you might get interesting reaction which will make you think twice if you want visit the city. I, on the other hand say forget it , do not miss Napoli , it is a beautiful city with tons of character.

One thing is quite true , as the cruise director said (and he is from Napoli) traffic lights/signs in Napoli are just decorations.Yes , at the exit from the port you will have many taxi drivers try to solicited you some trips but not much more (even less) comparing to many other places like Jamaica.Once you pass the road to the city you can find many nice small streets, interesting buildings, small shops and restaurants.

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We just went between the streets without any certain direction, stopping from time to time to espresso shots  (and other type of coffees).

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We did came to a place with a street performer , well not exactly street as he perform from his home terrace and organize the crowds to sing with him , very funny.

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After few hours we went to find a good Pizza (which is an easy task in Napoli) , we found some small Pizzeria that served huge Pizzas , we split one between us as we did not thought we can finish two .

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Pizza cost around 9$ it was very very good (and not just because we compared it to Sorento’s).

Later we went to one of the small supermarkets to buy some Limoncello, prices are much better than the tourist stores.

We started our way back to the ship to catch another laser Tag session, we won this time.

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Dinner was the MDR again, I must say the service was very quick , one hour including everything.

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I took the tenderloin, excellent, we paired the dishes with a Malbec wine I brought with me to the ship.

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Another excellent day.

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