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Old 05-29-2007, 06:00 PM
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We sailed on the EP from May 05 - May 17th - Rome to Venice. This was our first cruise. We really enjoyed every aspect of the trip. We were on the Caribe (426). Found the room to be very spacious, large balcony, it held four chairs and a table. We were on the port side, for this cruise, should have been on the starboard side (next time). We were never in crowds on the ship, great room service, always within 20 minutes. No problem finding chairs around the pools or seats in any of the restaurants. We had a sitting at 8:30 pm, we would never do that again, but rather do 'anytime dining'. Tried the steakhouse & Sabatini's - OK, nothing spectacular, I didn't feel it was worth any extra $$'s. I thought the food was OK, almost reminded me of an all-inclusive. Only hit the comedy club two times, never saw any shows.

Transportation:

We booked a private driver to pick us up in Rome. After flying from Western Canada, we were thrilled to have someone meet us and take us directly to our hotel. Great relief. We used ROMACLICK.com - the transfer to our hotel was $48 Euro for two people.

The next day we booked the same company for our trip to Civitavecchia - we had the driver pick us up at our hotel at 2 pm therefore allowing us extra time to tour Rome. This cost $130 Euros, well worth it - it took the driver only 40 minutes from inner city Rome to the Port.

Accomodation on Land:

In Rome we stayed in the Bettoja Hotel Nord Nuova Roma - very nice clean hotel close to the train station so we could take all of the tour busses on our own without having to buy a package tour.

In Venice, we stayed on for three days at the Arlecchino Hotel. I had booked this on Expedia and had no idea where it was. When you get off Princess, we were bussed to Piazzale Roma (only a 5 minute drive from where the ship docked) - we couldn't believe our eyes when we got off the bus, looked over the bridge and there was our hotel. Fantastic location for proximity to the train, vaparetta's (water busses), restaurants. Not as expenive as staying right on the canal or near Piazza San Marco. However, you are only 10 minutes away by water bus.

We found the vaparetta's an excellent way to get around. We bought a 48 hour pass for $20 EURO per person and rode all around for the two days. At first we got on the longest route so we could sightsee. We went to Marano & Barano Islands - on and off as much as you like. Barano Island was our favourite, very quaint with fantastic prices and different things than we say in the main markets.

Tours:

We booked tours through the ship for Athens, Pompeii (Naples), Ephesus (Turkey) - the rest we did on our own. If possible, we chose tours that were no more than 4 - 5 hours, we found these enough for one day, got to the 'main' place and got back into the port. I found most of the tours on the internet to be within $$$'s of those tours on Princess.

Thanks to Tom Ogg's website, we did Florence by ourselves and had a blast. We were the second off the ship - grabbed a cab to the train and were downtown Florence before most of the busses had barely left the ship. When we got off the ship there were tons of taxi's there telling us we missed the train and should book a tour throuogh them, we just said no and got on the train, excellent trip! The train station is right in the heart of all the main attractions you would want to see. Visit www.tomogg.com

I booked three tours on line through VIATOR.com - The Hop On - Hop Off passes for Rome & Florence and then a private boat tour through them for Venice. You do not have to buy these passes in advance of getting there like we did. However, I did find it comforting to know exactly what we were doing in each port. The Hop On Hop Off are double decker busses with ear phones that hit all the main sights.

Booze on board:

Everyone we know brought booze on board at each port. We purchased some fantastic wines in local stores and more notable wines in duty free. No one we ever met had any booze confiscated. We truly enjoyed sitting on the balcony of the ship sipping a nice Shiraz or chardonnay from Greece, Italy or Australia if we wanted!!

Excellent vacation overall - the ports were fantastic to visit, very busy itinerary....I could have used one week at a resort to rest after this vacation.....trip of a lifetime for our 25th wedding anniversary!
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:40 AM
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Thank you so much for the review. We're sailing on her in November, Lord willing. We'll be doing the Caribbean. One day, when they stop fighting overseas, I'd love to do a cruise like yours. I am so excited to sail on the Emerald, we've only done the Sun class ships on Princess, so this will be brand new. Did you go to the casino at all? It's my favorite pass time at night. One of these days I'm going to hit something good. Welcome back and look forward to seeing your booking. Best wishes!!
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Old 05-30-2007, 04:48 PM
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Penny, don't want to sound pessimistic, but don't wait for the fighting to stop overseas--it could be a long wait. Before my first trip to Israel in 1988 I thought, "maybe I should wait until things cool down a little"; I'm glad I didn't--I'd still be waiting.

Rick
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:28 AM
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I know you're 100% correct, it's been going on for thousands of years and will probably never stop. But dodging bombs just doesn't seem like a way to relax on vacation One day I'd like to do the repo from Athens to Ft. Lauderdale. It's 21 days so I'll have to save for a while. The air fare is the killer though. I was thinking maybe we could take the QM2 across the pond, then the trains to Athens, then cruise back to Ft. Lauderdale. Sounds like I better get to working 3 jobs after chemo and radiation are over
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Old 05-31-2007, 07:46 PM
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Penny, the QM2, trains and cruise back sounds like a fairy tale trip. I'd rather do that than a world cruise. I really want to see you pull this one off! Heck, might even join you.

Rick
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Old 05-31-2007, 08:28 PM
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@ Albertagirl
Thank you very much for your interesting and informative review!
Tobias from Germany
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Old 06-01-2007, 10:15 AM
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Hello Penny, no we didn't go to the casino, too tired, it looked nice and I understand it was busy from others that we met. All of the ports were safe and beautiful, I wouldn't wait for calm overseas, it will never happen. Go for it!!
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Old 06-01-2007, 02:19 PM
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Ok, I'll start having garage sales now and look for extra work in a while. I received an offer for $699/pp from Cunard for the QM2 crossing. That was this year, but it could work. It would be a lot less expensive than a world cruise!
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Old 06-01-2007, 08:37 PM
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Less expensive indeed!

Have you seen the brochure for Pacific Princess' 2008 World Cruise? $19,995 up to $41,595.

$26,995 for the least expensive balcony cabin.

Sorry, not this year--or anytime soon.
 
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