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  #21  
Old March 17th, 2007, 03:21 PM
ckthomas00 ckthomas00 is offline
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To answer a few questions:

- We took one bag that was half empty and then packed our trinkets in this bag and existing luggage. In Total, we had 1 big rolling bag, 1 smalling rolling bag, a duffle and a hanging garment bag.

- The roads to Olympia were not windy or in the mountains. Very flat, but there were a few turns. Not crowded streets either. I talked to a few folks who rented mopeds and they said the moped company gave them a map and drew out the way to Olympia. They did not have any trouble finding it.

- No, they didn't adjust the dinner times according to the ports. Of course, I didn't worry too much about rushing to dinner because I was 8:30 seating. Many days, we were back on the boat before 5:00 - so don't think it caused a problem.
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  #22  
Old March 17th, 2007, 03:38 PM
ckthomas00 ckthomas00 is offline
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Overall Impressions:

Food -

EXCELLENT in the main dinning room. The only bad entree I had was the Prime Rib - I asked for it medium and it came out well and dry. Everything else was spectacular!

The Buffet was so/so - the deli and the mexican dishes were the best. However, there was always a long line at the deli. Bob and I found the buffet to be very annoying because people acted like they were the only people on the boat. Cutting in front of you, bumping you in the back with their tray many times, etc. etc.

Unfortunately, we did not sample breakfast. We ordered room service every morning. Warning: they are not always on time and it can take up to an hour to get your food. And 5 out of 7 mornings they forgot something (ie: creamer for your coffee, milk for your cereal) even though you requested it. I called and it was immediately sent, but it became humerous to see what they forgot each morning.

Coffee was best at the Veniesse shop and they did have good desserts and pastries, but you had to pay extra for it.

Bob had Greek Tapas and Sushi at one of the afternoon speciality buffets and said it was very good.

Entertainment -

I really enjoyed the social hosts on the ship. I heard the Beatles show was excellent. We stopped by the Divo show (3 guys singing) but soon left because it was putting me to sleep. We also caught the end of the Comedy Act, which was pretty funny, although quirky. Many people enjoyed the New Orleans Show.

Bob and I became friends with Rakesh - the magician. He was amazing and a very funny guy. We would meet up with him every night.

Lounges -

Never went to the Piano Bar because it was very smoky. Did enjoy the entertainment at the Lobby Bar and International Lounge. Just Du-et was ok - our friends enjoyed ballroom dancing to their tunes. The 70's club was fun, but never crowded. The International Lounge had Karoke, which we aren't a big fan of.. so skipped. The BEST bar was the Habana Bar - which sold Cuban cigars. It was not smokey and was decorated very nice.

Service -

Oustanding! I couldn't tell that many of the staff were new, if they were. Although in some of the lounges, they were slow to serve drinks. In addition to the $90 per person, we tipped a little more to our waiters and waitresses in the main dining room.

Pros -

- Good way to travel through Europe - did not have to slep baggage from hotel to hotel.
- Food
- Met good friends from California we hope to stay friends with after the cruise
- The staff
- The ports were amazing
- Tours were pretty good

Cons -

- Cruisers could be very rude and would step in front of you, stop, bump into you, etc. etc. and never say excuse me. It was as if they were the only people on the ship.

- Didn't like all of the add-ons. Bob and I usually travel to all-inclusive resorts where bottled water, drinks, etc. were free. Did not like having to pay for everything over and over again including transportation. The cruise is a lot more expensive than an all-inclusive, but you got a lot less.

- Lines and waiting. By the end of the 9 days, we couldn't take any more. Waiting for people who were late to come back to the bus on a tour, waiting to get off the ship, waiting in security to get back on the ship, etc. etc.

Final Thoughts -

This was our first cruise and we had a great time. Although, I don't think we are truly cruisers. There are people that LOVE it and we just didn't feel that love If we were to do a cruise again, we would probably go with a group of friends and do a lot of the ports, hotels and transportation independently.

I did not feel like we were a "test" group and thought Carnival did a good job. Bob and I had a wonderful trip and tons of great pictures to prove it. I can't wait to show our family and friends.
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  #23  
Old March 17th, 2007, 04:14 PM
jerseygirl3 jerseygirl3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckthomas00 View Post
Overall Impressions:

Food -

EXCELLENT in the main dinning room. The only bad entree I had was the Prime Rib - I asked for it medium and it came out well and dry. Everything else was spectacular!

The Buffet was so/so - the deli and the mexican dishes were the best. However, there was always a long line at the deli. Bob and I found the buffet to be very annoying because people acted like they were the only people on the boat. Cutting in front of you, bumping you in the back with their tray many times, etc. etc.

Unfortunately, we did not sample breakfast. We ordered room service every morning. Warning: they are not always on time and it can take up to an hour to get your food. And 5 out of 7 mornings they forgot something (ie: creamer for your coffee, milk for your cereal) even though you requested it. I called and it was immediately sent, but it became humerous to see what they forgot each morning.

Coffee was best at the Veniesse shop and they did have good desserts and pastries, but you had to pay extra for it.

Bob had Greek Tapas and Sushi at one of the afternoon speciality buffets and said it was very good.

Entertainment -

I really enjoyed the social hosts on the ship. I heard the Beatles show was excellent. We stopped by the Divo show (3 guys singing) but soon left because it was putting me to sleep. We also caught the end of the Comedy Act, which was pretty funny, although quirky. Many people enjoyed the New Orleans Show.

Bob and I became friends with Rakesh - the magician. He was amazing and a very funny guy. We would meet up with him every night.

Lounges -

Never went to the Piano Bar because it was very smoky. Did enjoy the entertainment at the Lobby Bar and International Lounge. Just Du-et was ok - our friends enjoyed ballroom dancing to their tunes. The 70's club was fun, but never crowded. The International Lounge had Karoke, which we aren't a big fan of.. so skipped. The BEST bar was the Habana Bar - which sold Cuban cigars. It was not smokey and was decorated very nice.

Service -

Oustanding! I couldn't tell that many of the staff were new, if they were. Although in some of the lounges, they were slow to serve drinks. In addition to the $90 per person, we tipped a little more to our waiters and waitresses in the main dining room.

Pros -

- Good way to travel through Europe - did not have to slep baggage from hotel to hotel.
- Food
- Met good friends from California we hope to stay friends with after the cruise
- The staff
- The ports were amazing
- Tours were pretty good

Cons -

- Cruisers could be very rude and would step in front of you, stop, bump into you, etc. etc. and never say excuse me. It was as if they were the only people on the ship.

- Didn't like all of the add-ons. Bob and I usually travel to all-inclusive resorts where bottled water, drinks, etc. were free. Did not like having to pay for everything over and over again including transportation. The cruise is a lot more expensive than an all-inclusive, but you got a lot less.

- Lines and waiting. By the end of the 9 days, we couldn't take any more. Waiting for people who were late to come back to the bus on a tour, waiting to get off the ship, waiting in security to get back on the ship, etc. etc.

Final Thoughts -

This was our first cruise and we had a great time. Although, I don't think we are truly cruisers. There are people that LOVE it and we just didn't feel that love If we were to do a cruise again, we would probably go with a group of friends and do a lot of the ports, hotels and transportation independently.

I did not feel like we were a "test" group and thought Carnival did a good job. Bob and I had a wonderful trip and tons of great pictures to prove it. I can't wait to show our family and friends.
Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed review. Just a few comments. You mention that you typically do all-inclusives and you feel the cruise costs a lot more and you get a lot less. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that you did a Mediterranean itinerary. You definitely would not spend as much doing, say, a 7 night Caribbean itinerary.

Same goes for tours off the ship and waiting on people. My parents did a land vacation in Tuscany last Fall, and that was a major complaint that they had as well.

Maybe you should give cruising one more try, but try a smaller ship to the Caribbean. We're not huge Carnival fans because we, too, have experienced the rudeness of fellow passengers like you did. We recently cruised HAL and absolutely loved it. The demographics for the passengers may be a bit older, but the passengers were much more refined in their manners and there were no long lines because it had fewer passengers. I'm not trying to put down Carnival; we've cruised Carnival many times, and will be cruising the Freedom next April. However, we know what to expect and our expectations are different than what we are used to on HAL or Celebrity.
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  #24  
Old March 17th, 2007, 04:19 PM
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Thanks once again! I enjoyed every detail!

Also, thanks for answering my questions.
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  #25  
Old March 17th, 2007, 05:45 PM
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I so very much appreciate your thorough review. It was a pleasure to read from start to finish. I can only imagine who long it is going to take to get all your pictures organized from this truly scenic and historic voyage. Thanks, again!!
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  #26  
Old March 17th, 2007, 05:56 PM
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Your review has to be "The Best" review I've read in a long time. I seriously am now considering the Freedom for a future cruise thanks to your review.
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  #27  
Old March 17th, 2007, 06:01 PM
micro yaya 13 micro yaya 13 is offline
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thanks so much for your review. you know what they say one man's opinion
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  #28  
Old March 17th, 2007, 06:25 PM
The4Walls The4Walls is offline
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A couple of questions if I may:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckthomas00 View Post
Then our ride began from the cruise port to Rome - which is supposed to take at the longest about an hour and a half. Well... we had to stop at the aiport, at the Airport Hilton, the Airport Marriott and then we ran into horrible traffic in Rome and rather than taking an alternative route, we sat in traffic.
We are planning to hop the train from the port to Rome. Is the train station walkable? Are there shuttles? Are taxis available? Considering we will have luggage, I would consider anything between 1000-1500m walkable. Thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckthomas00 View Post
Our friends stayed at a 3 star hotel for $150 euro they booked themselves and it was a lot nicer with a balcony and view of a piazza.

I don't suppose you remember the name of the hotel your friends stayed at do you? We are looking for a reasonably priced hotel for 2 days after the cruise.

Thanks!!!
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  #29  
Old March 17th, 2007, 06:33 PM
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ckthomas -- thanks SO MUCH for your detailed review. I think almost anyone can gain some little bit of knowledge they might not have had before, after reading it...very, very hlepful! Thank you!
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  #30  
Old March 17th, 2007, 07:16 PM
PTC PTC is offline
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We had heard that the ship was getting into the ports late and causing some concern with passengers private tours. Was this an issue or just rumor?


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  #31  
Old March 17th, 2007, 08:16 PM
Snoopsmom Snoopsmom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckthomas00 View Post
Overall Impressions:

Food -

EXCELLENT in the main dinning room. The only bad entree I had was the Prime Rib - I asked for it medium and it came out well and dry. Everything else was spectacular!

The Buffet was so/so - the deli and the mexican dishes were the best. However, there was always a long line at the deli. Bob and I found the buffet to be very annoying because people acted like they were the only people on the boat. Cutting in front of you, bumping you in the back with their tray many times, etc. etc.

Unfortunately, we did not sample breakfast. We ordered room service every morning. Warning: they are not always on time and it can take up to an hour to get your food. And 5 out of 7 mornings they forgot something (ie: creamer for your coffee, milk for your cereal) even though you requested it. I called and it was immediately sent, but it became humerous to see what they forgot each morning.

Coffee was best at the Veniesse shop and they did have good desserts and pastries, but you had to pay extra for it.

Bob had Greek Tapas and Sushi at one of the afternoon speciality buffets and said it was very good.

Entertainment -

I really enjoyed the social hosts on the ship. I heard the Beatles show was excellent. We stopped by the Divo show (3 guys singing) but soon left because it was putting me to sleep. We also caught the end of the Comedy Act, which was pretty funny, although quirky. Many people enjoyed the New Orleans Show.

Bob and I became friends with Rakesh - the magician. He was amazing and a very funny guy. We would meet up with him every night.

Lounges -

Never went to the Piano Bar because it was very smoky. Did enjoy the entertainment at the Lobby Bar and International Lounge. Just Du-et was ok - our friends enjoyed ballroom dancing to their tunes. The 70's club was fun, but never crowded. The International Lounge had Karoke, which we aren't a big fan of.. so skipped. The BEST bar was the Habana Bar - which sold Cuban cigars. It was not smokey and was decorated very nice.

Service -

Oustanding! I couldn't tell that many of the staff were new, if they were. Although in some of the lounges, they were slow to serve drinks. In addition to the $90 per person, we tipped a little more to our waiters and waitresses in the main dining room.

Pros -

- Good way to travel through Europe - did not have to slep baggage from hotel to hotel.
- Food
- Met good friends from California we hope to stay friends with after the cruise
- The staff
- The ports were amazing
- Tours were pretty good

Cons -

- Cruisers could be very rude and would step in front of you, stop, bump into you, etc. etc. and never say excuse me. It was as if they were the only people on the ship.

- Didn't like all of the add-ons. Bob and I usually travel to all-inclusive resorts where bottled water, drinks, etc. were free. Did not like having to pay for everything over and over again including transportation. The cruise is a lot more expensive than an all-inclusive, but you got a lot less.

- Lines and waiting. By the end of the 9 days, we couldn't take any more. Waiting for people who were late to come back to the bus on a tour, waiting to get off the ship, waiting in security to get back on the ship, etc. etc.

Final Thoughts -

This was our first cruise and we had a great time. Although, I don't think we are truly cruisers. There are people that LOVE it and we just didn't feel that love If we were to do a cruise again, we would probably go with a group of friends and do a lot of the ports, hotels and transportation independently.

I did not feel like we were a "test" group and thought Carnival did a good job. Bob and I had a wonderful trip and tons of great pictures to prove it. I can't wait to show our family and friends.
Thank you for your informative review of the cruise. We could be your parents, agewise, and have the same thoughts about cruising as you. Our first cruise (1997) was on a Holland America liner and the older folks (in their 70's, 80's and 90s) had the same behavior as you mentioned. Some were wonderful and many were boorish (spoiled, etc.). We go for the itineraries, rather than the cruise lines. The extra expenses you incurred in Europe are the same we had in the Caribbean. Some guests watched every penny they spent and could find cruising a bargain. This was not the case for us. I guess we drink a lot of water. Of course, we buy too many pictures and other items. So cruising is not "cheap" for folk like us. Most of the "help" on cruises are wonderful. On one cruise, we had poor dining room help and said we would never go on that ship again. Two years later we went on the same ship (Panama Canal) and had wonderful service. I absolutely agree with you that the way to do cruising is with friends or family. That way you can blot out thinking about the rude people. I got tired of cruising (5 to date and thought one would be sufficient), then I saw the itinerary of this cruise and knowing my husband likes the convenience of not lugging luggage and driving, I decided to give it another try. Will try to blot out the crude experiences and people and focus on the highlights. Again thanks.

By the way, someone said that people in your age range tend to take the shorter (3-5 day trips). We older guys/gals have more time off to take the longer trips.

Last edited by Snoopsmom; March 17th, 2007 at 08:22 PM. Reason: Additional thought
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  #32  
Old March 17th, 2007, 08:20 PM
ckthomas00 ckthomas00 is offline
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The 4Walls:

- I really can't answer your question about transportation too well because I didn't even pay attention to trains, cabs, etc. because we had already secured Carnival transport. Our friends took the Carnival transfer into the center of Rome and then caught a cab. They were in the city by 9:30 am. I would do a little research on the CC board - I'm sure you'll find the information you need.

- Our friends stayed at the Fortyseven Hotel. Here's the link: http://www.summithotels.com/hotel_ho...l.cfm?id=FCOFS. It looks a lot nicer than our hotel and signficantly cheaper. Luckily, we were only in our room to sleep and then left the next day.

PTC:

- I didn't personally hear any concerns from passengers with private tours... we only arrived significantly late (1 hour+) in one port and I would hope the private drivers would have waited for those folks...?
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  #33  
Old March 17th, 2007, 08:42 PM
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Thanks for the info! Did they equip the Freedom cabins with the new flat screen t.v. like they did on the refurbished Fascination?
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  #34  
Old March 17th, 2007, 10:18 PM
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Maryutah Maryutah is offline
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Fantastic review, CK, thank you for taking your time to give us the run-down of your cruise.

We are excited to experience the Freedom in April, and so are breathlessly searching for information you have provided, so thank you again!
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  #35  
Old March 18th, 2007, 11:28 AM
ckthomas00 ckthomas00 is offline
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Miss Margaret - yes, the cabins have nice flat screen TV's. I enjoyed watching the information re: ship tours and John (cruise director)'s shows. He's a funny guy (sometimes!).
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  #36  
Old March 18th, 2007, 01:06 PM
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Thanks for the review, CK.

Question- what kind of shoes did you wear for your port days? I was planning on wearing my ballerina/ MaryJ style Sketchers, kind of like sneakers, but thought you might give me some insight. We're doing the grand med itinerary opposed to Greece so it may be a little different with the walking/climbing situation. We're in the 30-something age group and in pretty good shape, but i was hoping to skip actual sneakers.
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CCL Fantasy Bahamas Oct 2004 4-night
DCL Wonder Bahamas Oct 2005 3-night
DCL Magic eastern Caribbean April 2006 7-night
CCL Inspiration western Caribbean Oct 2006 5-night
RCI Mariner of the Seas eastern Caribbean April 2007 7-night
CCL Freedom western Mediterranean-Italy, France, Spain, Croatia June 2007 12-night
CCL Legend western Caribbean April 2008 7-night
CCL Sensation Bahamas Jan 2009 3-night
CCL Holiday western Caribbean April 2009 5-night
CCL Fascination Bahamas Oct 2009 4-night
CCL Dream western Caribbean April 2010 7-night
CCL Sensation Bahamas New Year's Eve Dec 2010-Jan 2011 3-night
CCL Inspiration western Caribbean April 2011 5-night
CCL Liberty eastern Caribbean May/June 2011 7-night
CCL Freedom western Caribbean July 2011 8-night
CCL Ecstasy Bahamas New Year's Eve Dec 2011-Jan 2012 4-night
CCL Valor eastern Caribbean April 2012 8-night
RCI Mariner of the Seas Greece, Turkey, Italy May2012 12-night
RCI Jewel of the Seas Western Caribbean, Dec-New Year's 2012, 4-night
RCI Oasis of the Seas Western Caribbean, May 2013, 7-night
CCL Freedom Southern CaribbeanJune-July 2013 8-nt
CCL Legend,Belize, Roatan Cozumel, Gr Cayman, Dec-New Year's 2013,7-night
RCI Liberty of the Seas, Labadee, Jamaica, April 2014, 5-night
RCI Freedom of the Seas, CocoCay, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, June 2014, 7-night

UPCOMING:
*RCI Allure of the Seas, St Thomas, St Maarten, Nassau, Thanksgiving week 2014, 7-nt
*CCL Freedom, Gr. Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Curacao, Dec 2014-15, 8-nt
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  #37  
Old March 18th, 2007, 01:30 PM
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HI! We are also on the June 6th sailing. We've got a fun thread going over with the role call for June 6th. Come on over and chat with us!
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NCL M/S Starward western Caribbean 1983 7-night
CCL Inspiration southern Caribbean 1998 7-night
CCL Fantasy Bahamas Oct 2003 4-night
CCL Fantasy Bahamas Oct 2004 4-night
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CCL Inspiration western Caribbean Oct 2006 5-night
RCI Mariner of the Seas eastern Caribbean April 2007 7-night
CCL Freedom western Mediterranean-Italy, France, Spain, Croatia June 2007 12-night
CCL Legend western Caribbean April 2008 7-night
CCL Sensation Bahamas Jan 2009 3-night
CCL Holiday western Caribbean April 2009 5-night
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CCL Liberty eastern Caribbean May/June 2011 7-night
CCL Freedom western Caribbean July 2011 8-night
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CCL Valor eastern Caribbean April 2012 8-night
RCI Mariner of the Seas Greece, Turkey, Italy May2012 12-night
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RCI Oasis of the Seas Western Caribbean, May 2013, 7-night
CCL Freedom Southern CaribbeanJune-July 2013 8-nt
CCL Legend,Belize, Roatan Cozumel, Gr Cayman, Dec-New Year's 2013,7-night
RCI Liberty of the Seas, Labadee, Jamaica, April 2014, 5-night
RCI Freedom of the Seas, CocoCay, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, June 2014, 7-night

UPCOMING:
*RCI Allure of the Seas, St Thomas, St Maarten, Nassau, Thanksgiving week 2014, 7-nt
*CCL Freedom, Gr. Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Curacao, Dec 2014-15, 8-nt
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  #38  
Old March 18th, 2007, 06:15 PM
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Hey Fendere - I brought 3 pairs of shoes for excursions:

1. Cole Haan w/ Nike Air Technology Mary Janes - love them... and they aren't sneakers... kinda like what you are planning to wear.
2. Diesel sneakers - I saw lots of people in Europe wearing Puma, Diesels, etc. etc.
3. Leather Loafers (similiar to Tods) - these gave me the least support and I noticed my feet got tired walking around Rome.

There is a good amount of walking on excursions, but there is also a good amount of sitting on the bus unless you are at one particular place all day long. I think you will be fine with your Sketchers as long as they are broken in.

Have fun!!!
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  #39  
Old March 18th, 2007, 07:08 PM
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CK: Thanks again for all the information you are providing. I really appreciate your taking the time to respond to our questions.

That said, I thought of more. None of the ports are tender ports are they? What is the procedure to get off the ship in the ports? Just go to the gangway and wait in line? Do you recall which deck(s) the gangways were on? Was it the Riviera, with passenger cabins, or lower?

Thanks for any response you are able to make!
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  #40  
Old March 18th, 2007, 09:56 PM
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CKThomas-thank you so much for your detailed review.
We were on the Liberty in the Med in 2005 and are doing back to back cruises on the Freedom next month.

I agree with you about the rudeness of some cruisers in the buffet and for that reason we try to eat only in the dining room on Carnival. Like you we didn't find that a problem on Celebrity or Princess. We have found the main dining on Carnival very pleasant and the food is usually of a good standard. As we almost always do private tours with groups of 8 we have managed to avoid crowding and waiting for other passengers to turn up.

I think you have already learned - as we have -that it's better on Carnival to avoid the buffet if possible -and the Carnival tours -if you want to avoid the crowds and lining up.

Joyce
__________________
Carnival Triumph--Jan 2004--Caribbean
Sapphire Princess-Dec 2004--Aust/NZ
Carnival Liberty---Sept 2005--Mediterranean
Carnival Pride-----Jan 2006---Mexico
Carnival Spirit-----Jan 2006---Mexico
Celebrity Summit-- May 2006--Alaska
Carnival Freedom--April 2007--Med/Greece(2)
Celebrity Constellation Sept 2007 N Eng/Canada
Sapphire Princess-December2007 Bangkok-Sydney
Sapphire Princess-April 2008 Sydney-Los Angeles
Carnival Splendor-- Aug 2008 Baltic
Carnival Splendor---Jan 2009 South America (3)
Island Princess-----Sept 2009 Panama Canal
Carnival Liberty-----Oct 2009 Caribbean(2)
Diamond Princess---April 2010 Bangkok - Alaska
Celebrity Eclipse----Sept 2010 Spanish Med.
Carnival Magic------Oct 2011 Mediterranean
RCCL Liberty of the Seas-Oct 2011 Transatlantic
Sun Princess--------Dec 2011 New Zealand
Sea Princess--------June 2012 Alaska
Carnival Spirit-------Sept 2012 Honolulu/ Sydney
Celebrity Solstice----Feb 2013 Perth to Sydney
Celebrity Silhouette-- April 2013 Transatlantic
Celebrity Silhouette---April 2013 Greek Isles
Carnival Legend --Sept 2013 Norway/North Europe
Carnival Legend---Sept 2013 British Isles/France
RCCL Voyager of the Seas - Feb 2014 Fiji & Noumea
Celebrity Reflection-April 2014 Transatlantic
Celebrity Century---Dec.2014 Qld & Pacific Islands
Celebrity Solstice - April 2015 Hawaii to Vancouver
Coral Princess ----- May 2015 Alaska
Serenade of the Seas- Oct.2015 Quebec - Ft. Lauderdale
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