My hubby Rick turned 65 in October and I thought such an important milestone deserved a special occasion so I suggested we go on a Royal Caribbean cruise on the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. He readily agreed.
It was a week long cruise that started and ended in Venice, Italy. Venice is a magical place, with its canals, wide variety of boats, narrow passageways and unique shops. We stayed two nights in Marie’s B & B before the cruise began. Here are views from our accommodation, right beside two canals.
I mentioned the unique shops you can find in Venice. Here are some of the things I saw in shop windows there.
With the one full day we had in Venice before the cruise, we visited Doge’s Palace, by Saint Mark’s Square. This impressive place, founded in 1340, was the seat of power when Venice was in its heyday. It only became a museum in 1923. Here are some photos I took there.
The next morning, we walked 45 minutes with our wheeled suitcases from our B & B to the port of Venice through dozens of narrow passageways and across all manner of bridges over many canals. Thankfully Rick fired up Google Maps on his mobile phone to help us find the way. Otherwise we might have never found the port.
There were at least six giant cruise ships in the port. The signage was good, however, and we managed to find our ship, the Rhapsody of the Seas, without problems.
Once we checked in, we were given our room keys which doubled as our charge cards. No need to carry any cash around the ship. Here is my card.
Once we sailed, our first port of call was Dubrovnik, in Croatia. We had signed up for three guided shore excursions. One bonus about this cruise line is we were given $500 in credits when we signed up for the cruise. So these three shore excursions were effectively free as I applied all our credits to pay for them. Who doesn’t like deals like that?
Dubrovnik is a great place to visit, especially if you are a Game of Thrones fan. The old town of this city is the setting for King’s Landing in the Game of Thrones.
If you are feeling energetic, I recommend you pay the fee (about $30) to go up to the top of the wall that surrounds the city. You can get great views of the city and surrounding area from there. Here are some photos I took from on the walls of the old town.
For Game of Thrones fans, the wall surrounding the old town is also the place where Queen Cersei took her walk while people yelled “shame” at her. Here is a section of her walk.
Back on board ship, we enjoyed a great three course dinner offering a wide variety of choices for starters, main dishes (meat, fish, vegetarian) and desserts. All meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) were included in the price of the cruise.
If you want something different, there are four other dining rooms on board, including sushi and steak restaurants. You have to pay extra for that, though. We didn’t bother with this but did choose to pay about $500 extra for one week’s internet access on four electronic devices. Ouch! So, although our excursions were effectively free, internet access was not included in the cruise.
Our next port of call was Kotor, in Montenegro. We took a guided tour of several cities in this mountainous country. It started our bus ride with a steep climb up a mountain through 21 switchbacks. Here is the view of our ship from the top of the mountain.
The tour guide on this bus trip joked about us having a religious experience on the ride up the mountain as people were saying, “Oh my God,” because the twisty one-lane road had traffic going in both directions.
Next stop was Santorini in Greece. It is a beautiful town on a hillside. You can get up there via cable car, on foot or via donkey. I took the cable car up for €6 but walked down the winding stairs, being careful to avoid donkeys and donkey doo-doo as I went.
Here are a few photos I took from the top of the mountain. As you can see, Santorini is awash in blue and white. It’s all chock full with tourists from around the world, with many eager to take selfies from all the scenic spots. I don’t really understand this. I want to capture the beauty of the place and share that with people, not give them proof that I was in a scenic place. My selfie would make it harder to see for yourselves the beauty and magic of Santorini.
Last stop on our cruise was in Katakolon, Greece, near where they hosted the first Olympic Games centuries ago. The Games were held every four years there, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. And our Greek guide Helen told us only men and boys participated and everyone was naked! That was a surprise.
This is still the place where they light the Olympic Torch from for Olympic games nowadays.
All in all, I would recommend this cruise for the places visited, great customer service, good food and reasonable price. It only cost about $1,250 per person, not including airfare, bar bill, tips and internet access. So it was quite a good deal!