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Michele

Age: 22

Occupation:Marketing Coordinator

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Jade

Sailing Date: 2009-09-22

Itinerary: Mediterranean

I had an amazing experience and I cannot wait to do it again! I absolutely loved the Mediterranean and seeing all the beautiful countries.

We were on a tight budget so the specialty restaurants we were unable to do and we did not like that! The buffet had a great selection of food but the Dining Rooms the food was okay not great but just okay.

Perfect. Was not small at all and we loved it!

We really didn't do any onboard activities because there wasn't much to choose from and after your day in the cities, you are way too tired to do any.

We didn't do any shore excursions because we didn't feel the need to pay that much money so we did everything on our own and saved not only a lot of money but had a blast doing everything without having to wait for others!

I had the most amazing experience and by far the best vacation yet. I was kind of nervous because I am on a very, I mean very tight budget (recent college grad and in need of a full-time job in this lovely economy) and I knew that Europe was going to be very expensive since the US dollar is weak. I also won't forget to mention that we booked this trip 2 weeks before sailing so little time to do any kind of planning which is why I relied on port reviews and I just want to give you my version on the ports that I went on:

Rome: We took the train from Civitavecchia and it was great! Had no problem at all and many fellow cruisers did the same as us. Rome is extremely easy to walk on foot and to get to all the main attractions. The metro is very easy to follow and I suggest you use it because the train ticket includes unlimited rides on the metro. Since Rome was our first port of call, we made a rookie mistake and took the hop on, hop off bus ugh and we were only able to get it from the Vatican to the second stop and then we were never able to find it again and it was a waste of 16 euros for us. However, if you are considering taking the Hop on Hop off Bus DO NOT TAKE THE YELLOW BUS because you will never see it and if you do find the stops, you will have to wait a long time. I do recommend you take the 101 (i think); I saw them everywhere. We did see just about everything even the skulls and bones church which was very neat and the good bus drops you off right in front of it. I only wish we had more time in Rome 8hrs is not enough time since we didn't get to go inside the Vatican due to the huge line to get in. We ate gelato for lunch which was delicious and cheap!

Naples: I had such a great time here. The only thing I regret is not being able to go to Capri, I really didn't think much about going there but of course when I got back from my trip everyone told me that it's the most amazing place they have ever been to. So what I did do was take the train to Pompeii which was once again was such a great idea. You have to walk about 15 minutes to get to the train station in Naples from the port but it's not bad a bit ugly but easy to get to if you ask for directions. The train stops right in front of the entrance of Pompeii and just make sure you bring some water and snacks because you will be there for a few hours. We decided to not take a tour and did it on our own. It was kind of hard to see what was what so I do suggest having a tour guide or some sort of guide. When we were done with Pompeii we went back on the train to Naples and had pizza at a place called De Micheles and it was crowded by locals. It's known as the best pizza in Naples, and Naples has the best pizza in Italy, so I guess we had the best pizza in the world. It was very good, not the best in the world but it's definitely up there. It's kind of hard to get there and not many people speak english, but we made it. After that we had desert (cannoli's aren't popular in Napolli) which was delicious, I forgot what it was called.

Dubrovnik: This was a cute little city. We walked on the wall which was really nice and long but we took great pictures. We went to Cafe Buza for wine (they don't really sell food) which had an amazing view and I only wish I had brought along my bathing suit to jump in the water because it was such a gorgeous day. We thought we could get some better shopping deals by going outside the wall but FYI it's a waste of time because there is nothing there! Just an internet cafe that we used for a few minutes.

Venice: We took the water taxi from Terminali to San Marco (one way ticket) and then just let ourselves get lost through the city until we made it back to the port. It was a very nice walk and it;s not hard to get lost but you'll eventually make it back to the port. We had a nice lunch a mini cannoli that was delicious. Distance from Terminali to the port is about 20 minutes.

Piraeus: The only thing to do here is see Olympia so we rented a car with another couple and paid 45 Euros for the day which was about half of that per couple. It is not worth taking the train because the hours didn't really fit with our schedule. This was much cheaper than taking a shore excursion. It was also easy to see what was what because at the site there were captions and pictures to see what it used to be. We then had a very nice lunch back in Piraeus on the waterfront. Fried calamari, yogurt, and beer, pretty delicious. If you are going to Athens, I suggest you do your shopping in Athens instead because it is cheaper than Piraeus and they do carry the same things.

Athens: Once again we took the train which worked out very well. It was yet again, another very long day but we made it through and saw everything on foot. We did some bargain shopping and it was nice. I used my student ID and was able to get into every place for free (not applicable for non European students) otherwise it is about 12 Euros per person. There is a small kiddie train that will take you to Acropolis but we decided not to spend our money and just walk it which turned out fine because it is not as far as it looks. I suggest you wear comfortable shoes since there are a lot of rocks everywhere!

Izmir: We took a taxi with another couple to go to Ephesus and we bargained and brought the price down to 100 US Dollars from 100 Euros. It isn't worth renting a car unless you know Turkish because it is confusing to get to. It was nice, big, but fun. We didn't get to see the House of Virgin Mary because it was about $8 dollars per person and I was the only one sort of interested in paying. He then took us back to Izmir and gave us a quick tour through Izmir which was really nice. We went on top of what looked like a castle and it was a beautiful view of the city.

Istanbul: We went to the Grand Bazaar which is huge and bought some little gifts to bring back home. We also had doner kebabs, bahklava, and smoked some hookah. Very nice.

And that concludes my port of calls! A few tips: Don't be afraid to take the train, I had a great experience and saved a ton of money! We never did a shore excursion because we knew it was way too expensive in the end we felt like we experienced a lot more than those who did because we didn't have to wait for anyone else and we were able to go on our own pace and not get bored.

Eat a good breakfast, bring some snacks and water, and have a nice meal when you get back on the ship; but do treat yourself to the countries specialties because food is important.

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