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Thank you so much for the review. It sounds like you had a great time. The pictures were beautiful and I appreciated that you took the time to label each one so I didn't have to guess what they were of. I can't wait to go. Only 465 days of planning left.
I really enjoyed your review ... great detail! Sounds like you had a wonderful time ... thanks so much for sharing.
The photos are so nice ... and I appreciate the tips that you passed along re the ship...they will come in handy for our Oct. cruise.
Just wondered if the first specialty dining reservation can be made via email to Captains Club...or is it necessary to phone. I thought your suggestion of dining at one on the first night was a good one.
I think I will look into Viator for Rome... we've only been there for one day (on our last Med cruise), and this time we'll have 3 days pre-cruise. I think it would be nice to tour the Vatican with a smaller group this time and it sounds like you were very impressed with them.
We are going on a Med cruise in Aug. so I really appreciated your review. Your pictures were great. I especially enjoyed your Venice pictures since we will be there for 3 nights prior to the cruise. What kind of camera did you use? I was in Venice several years ago and all of my Doge's Palace pictures were underexposed. This time I was hoping to take my Digital SLR and several lenses, but with weight limits on carry ons I haven't decided what I should do. Gem
Glad to hear you liked the pictures. We have a Canon PowerShot SD750 that we bought just prior to the cruise - very compact, not expensive. We had another Canon prior to this and it also takes good pictures. We lightened up a few, but for the most part they were fine. We saw someone in port with a flexible tripod, so we may try to get one of those for next time.
For dinner reservations...I called the Captain's Club number and asked that they send me a confirmation email so that I could bring it with me. I had to call again, because I realized a few days before the cruise that I did not have it, and they did send it. I don't think their systems are too integrated yet. I didn't see an option for doing it online...maybe that is new, but I suppose that is a possibility as long as you get a confirmation.
The bag drop is free. If you go past St. Mark's Basilica, and then take a left down a side street called Ateneo S.Basso...the bag drop place is a few doors down on the right. We just brought a small camera bag with some non-essential items in it for this purpose...they tried to say "that bag is fine to bring in" (they are really looking for backpacks), but we just smiled and said we really want to leave this here, and they smiled and gave us the pass that gets us to the front of the line. We left a euro or two in their tip jar, just to be nice, but it is not necessary. Maybe they'll catch on after awhile since Rick Steve's put this in his book, but it didn't look like a lot of people were taking advantage of it and the line was quite long to get into the Basilica.
If you can't find the bag drop spot, just go to the front of the St. Mark's line where there will be a guard, and just ask them to point you in the right direction.
The English tour was good. About an hour long. It really helped us understand the mosaics just as you enter the church, and the woman gave us a tour inside as well. She was a small Italian woman, with a somewhat difficult accent and quite soft-spoken, but we thought it was worth it. You can always depart from her tour and just look around yourself if it doesn't work well. There is a sign as you go in that tells when the tours are, and the meeting place is right by that sign. I would highly recommend the museum upstairs for a really great view inside and outside...it is a steep staircase up, but I thought well worth the 3 euros to get in.
Read your review and tried to email you some ?'s I have re our Insignia cruise 9/17/10 but it was returned undeliverable.
I was wondering if you booked tours in advance or in port and how expensive they were.