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Everything posted by erby2283

  1. Hi Picklesmith. Hope you don't mind me chiming in here.....I simply adored Villefranche when I went on my first Med cruise back in 2019. I wrote a review and then strangely never finished it (seems odd to try and finish now though)....but if you click this link and go to post #33, it starts the day in Villefranche. We booked a tour with italytours.eu (if you are interested see if Guy is still available). But we just had a splendid day. Would do it again in a heartbeat! https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2746620-vision-of-the-seas-mediterranean-review-aug-10-22-2019/page/2/
  2. You’re very welcome. I looked to see if the apartment we had was listed but it wasn’t. I definitely would have recommended it. Here’s a picture of us on the balcony watching the street artists below and a picture of what is cost - just to help give you an idea of pricing versus a hotel (340 euros for 3 nights after refundable deposit was returned).
  3. I just wanted to throw this out there....we flew to Lisbon from Barcelona for three days after our cruise in 2019. Instead of a hotel we booked with VRBO and got an amazing apartment right on R. Augusta and it cost less than a hotel. I'm not sure how much Covid has changed things but that might also be something to look into. Enjoy!
  4. I really enjoyed Barcelona! We took a day tour with a company and also visited Sagrada Familia. I literally was awe struck when I stepped inside. One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I would definitely go back again!
  5. I really am thankful I took my trip in 2019 with an overnight in Venice on Vision of the Seas. Not only because of Covid, but because of the banning of the ships. I so thoroughly enjoyed just walking around and not having to care about getting back to the ship at a certain time that first night because it wasn't going anywhere. 😘 And Venice at night just had such an amazing feel to it. If ships won't be allowed to port there, it will make any future Mediterranean cruises a little easier. I'll just fly to Venice post cruise and spend a few days there when the cruise is over. 😁
  6. Pompeii was part of our tour when I was there in Aug 2019. It was a very full day (porting in Salerno) which included Pompeii, Sorrento and a scenic drive down the Amalfi Coast. I was so hoping to make it to Positano but we were short on time and didn't make it there. We spent about 2 hours with our guide in Pompeii who gave us a general overview. The view of Mount Vesuvius and picturing what it must have been like during that time was something to behold. That being said, I am longing for the day I can make it back to beautiful Italy and try some different things. Positano and Capri would definitely be on the list. But I also didn't leave going...darn, I wish I had done something else. So I think in your gut you are leaning towards one over the other, just trust it and enjoy it.
  7. Okay good - as long as you found something. 🙂
  8. Agree! We always try and eat out when in other countries! It's the only time you get to try their local food. We did the same think in 2019 on my one and only trip to Italy. We ate almost every meal (and tons of gelato) in ports. We did end up spending more than we wanted to but you only live to once....and I am so glad we did...Now to save $ another 5-10 years so I can go back. 🤣 Maybe we'll be able to travel freely by then.
  9. You could email Lison Riders and see if they can try and accommodate you. We took a tour with them in 2019 (we were not there for a port day though - but flew there for 3 days after a Barcelona cruise). We actually booked a private tour since there were 5 of us and the cost was only minimally more than joining a group tour. Their website is: https://lisbonriders.com/ Never hurts to ask. 🙂
  10. I took my first ever trip to Europe in 2019 and was all about going to Italy. However, I have to admit that I think my favorite day was in Villefranche and I think the tour had a lot to do with that. I booked almost all my tours with Italytours.eu and despite their name, they DO have tours in Villefranche - send them an email! There were only 4 of us on the tour and our guide (Guy - pronounced Ghee) was amazing and so full of knowledge. You can probably even ask for him specifically. We did visit the town of Nice and walked through the town, tried some local foods - followed by some brief time at the little market and a quick drink at a local pub, we also went to Monaco and enjoyed a wonderful lunch at a restaurant our guide recommended, then on to Monte Carlo and then Eze (a little hike but was worth it). I'm sure if you've already done some of this, they can cater a tour to your liking. As I said, I came in not thinking this would be a highlight but ended up being one of the best days.
  11. If your ship was arriving at 6 instead of 8 I would give it a thumbs up but 8 am is cutting it really close. We were spending a few days in Lisbon after our cruise ended in Barcelona in 2019. Our flight on TAP was at 10:25 and we made our flight - but again - we arrived at 6 - not 8. We also opted to carry our own bags off the ship which put us in one of the first groups to debark. If you can stay another day, I would push it until the next day and enjoy a day sight seeing. Sagrada Familia is literally one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.
  12. Agree 100%! All I have ever done were Caribbean cruises. After my mom died (and our dream was to travel to her dad's homeland of Sicily), I took my bucket list trip to Italy 2019! Now with Covid, I am so thankful I didn't wait. It was an amazing 19 days. It was quite expensive for me, but dare I say I really don't care to go back to the Caribbean.
  13. Venice was by far my most favorite stop! Had nothing planned either - just walked around for 2 days. We had an overnight there so I considered myself very lucky to be able to enjoy so much time there via a cruise stop. I also enjoyed Rome and Sorrento. There is so much to see in Rome though. I would try and find a cruise that leaves from either Rome/Venice and then returns to the other (Rome/Venice) and add some days on either side. I personally am counting the days until I can go back.
  14. I'm probably not the best person to ask since I knew coming in she was a smaller ship and I was sailing for the itinerary and not the ship. As you know she's an older ship so I guess it all depends on what you enjoy doing. I personally just look at a ship to get me from point A to point B without needing a lot of bells and whistles so I was perfectly content - especially since we had so many port days. Food was okay, service was good, I don't think we saw a single show, buffet was plentiful, musicians in the lobbies were great. I guess the best answer is that I would I definitely sail on her again...although I heard she is being moved next year. 😞
  15. Writing it makes me thankful I listened to my inner voice and booked the trip when I did and didn't wait! I feel so badly for the first timers who had their bucket list trips planned ruined by this horrible year.
  16. Thanks Luckynana. It is amazing to see such receding over the years, right? While I loved this tour, I feel like I missed seeing out on so much more of Split bc we just toured these two areas. I guess i need to go back....if we ever get to travel again....🤬
  17. Day 11 of the trip, Day 9 of the cruise - Split, Croatia 8-18-2019 10AM-7PM continued... Again, if you're not a Game of Thrones fan, you'll probably find none of this interesting...lol. After our brief return trip back to port, we simply had to cross a few streets to get to Diocletian's Palace. The Roman Emporer, Dicoletian built the palace in 3 AD - but back then, it was literally built so that ships could sail into the palace. But now, the water has receded so much, it's hard to imagine what it was like back then. While many people tour the palace, it's also a market place so it was a little difficult not only to hear the guide here, but also to try and stay together and work around the tour groups and shoppers. One of the first places we visited is probably one of the most recognized from Season 4. It is the Throne Room where Daenery's locks up her prisoners - as well as her two dragons. I didn't recognize it at first bc the stairs were not there - which they later said was added by production. First picture is a stock photo from an article. Before heading to the location of where the next scene was filmed, our tour guide made sure to point out a specific vendor we were passing who sold the "ring" Dany dropped when she was surrounded by the Dothraki (the "bread crumb" she left behind so she could be found). While you can certainly find imitations of this ring everywhere, the stone found within the ring, is Croatian Limestone, and can only be found in the region. In fact, she said the producers bought the ring from a vendor like the one in the market. A picture of my ring (don't look at how much my nails had grown...this is day 11 of the trip....lol) This scene where Ser Barristan Selmy and Grey Worm get into a sword fight with the Sons of the Harpy was shot in this hallway. I can't remember which scene this was (I'll have to go back and look now that I have been here), but our guide is holding up a picture of the scene and then the second picture is from the tour. You can see in the picture that she is holding up how production had to cover up the large, rounded stones on the left - mostly using banners. Papalićeva Street in Split became one of the streets seen in Slave Rebellion Scene. The street is more of an alley way within the buildings surrounding the palace. Our guide said production had to get creative to cover up the signs, and wires, etc. that hung overhead. There were one or two more scenes filmed here but it was so crowded in those areas, I didn't take pictures. After the tour, we just walked around the port area and visited a few vendors. My boyfriend bought a few t-shirts for friends back home. We grabbed a bite to eat from another vendor on the walk back to the ship - we always like to try and sample the local food - even if it's just a bite. I'll post a couple more random pictures from the palace area.
  18. Day 11 of the trip, Day 9 of the cruise - Split, Croatia 8-18-2019 10AM-7PM Next stop....Split, Croatia! This was the only port that I actually booked a Royal Caribbean tour....and that was because Split is a filming location for Game of Thrones! As usual, all tours meet in the theatre and they give you a sticker so you know which tour group to stay with. There were actually two groups and two separate buses and tour guides for this tour. It took quite a while to get everyone together for some reason and we were in fact the last tour to leave the ship. Our first stop was Klis Fortress, better known as the city of Meereen, first seen in Season 4 when Daenary's and her army conquer the city of Meereen. It's about a 20-25 minute drive from the port and our guide told us a little bit about Split on the way...as well as taking a vote on the final season of GOT ....NO ONE liked it. lol. As we approached the fortress, it really looks quite spectacular and blends in amazingly well with the landscape. You can see why it made such an amazing fortress in its time bc you were unable to attack it from any direction. In the picture above, you can see a building to the right. That's where they drop you off and then it's a little hike up to the fort. Once you got to the top of the hill, but the bottom of the fortress, we stopped for a breather and took in the view of the port. If you're a Game of Thrones fan you'll probably recognize the following pictures. If not, just enjoy the scenery. LOL Our guide would hold up laminated pictures of scenes from the show and stop at the spots where they were filmed. Our guide seemed to be a really big fan or the show as well. She also told us they filmed in the heat of the summer and it took months for production to cart and carry everything up to the fort for filming. In the GOT show, buildings were superimposed behind this view (and the highway removed of course). The picture below shows us the second excursion group. We had someone tell us while we were there that they overheard both tour guides and said that we definitely had the better of the two guides; that she was more detailed. Another view of the port from the top of Klis Fortress You can see the highway in the middle of the picture. I took this one with the point and shoot (versus the iphone) Next we head to Diocletians Palace closer to port, and another filming location for GOT.
  19. Day 10 of the trip, Day 8 of the cruise - Venice Day 2 8-17-2019 For our second day in Venice, we decided to just hop on the vaporetto and explore the city again with no plans. As we were on the vaporetto (again taking the long way around through the Guidecca Canal), we decided to check out the island of Guidecca and walk along the sidewalk parallel to the canal before working out way over to St. Mark's Square. It was a nice, less populated walk, albeit less to offer as well - at least, right there on that main drag by the canal. We did not venture back any so there may have been plenty more to see had we done so. We continued to walk thinking we'd be able to walk all the way down to San Giorgio Maggiore (church) but ran into a brick wall (literally). The brick wall was actually Guardia di Finanza "Command of the Venice Naval Station." So we had to back track a little bit back to the last vaporetto stop and get to the church this way. I am just constantly amazed by how beautiful all these churches are in Europe. I made my donation and lit a candle and said a prayer for my mom and then we hopped back on the next vaporetto and got off near St. Marks. The lines for tours at St. Marks were already incredible long so if you're thinking about taking a tour, please make your plans accordingly in advance. From St. Mark's Square we just meandered through Venice looking for a place to get some lunch. We ended up over in the San Polo area and found a little place called Antico Panificio. The Bell Tower at Chiesa di Sant Aponal began to ring right at noon and I had a clear view as we sat waiting for lunch. I took out my phone and recorded it as it was very quiet around us and I thought it would be nice to record this moment for posterity. According to the pictures on my phone, these pictures were taken near Rio Del Tolentini. These buildings just look like they don't belong together. Almost like an optical illusion. Along the way we stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe to pick up some souvenirs for friends who collect their pins. And even though we weren't hungry, at some point we walked past a window and saw big, fat, pasta being made and put into a bowl and heck, we were in Venice and couldn't resist. I grabbed this picture from their website - it's called Bigoi - Dursoduro, Venice. You can pick from several types of sauce. To me, it tasted like a big bowl of chef-boyardee beefaroni. lol. But, I like that sort of thing so..... We somehow (either by walking or vaporetto, I don't remember) ended up back over by St. Mark's but we decided to head across the canal and over to Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute. A lot of people were just hanging out over here on the steps, congregating. They didn't seem to be doing much. We just went in long enough to take some pictures. Of course no trip to Venice is complete without making it to Rialto Bridge. After an amazing 1.5 days in Venice, we started pulling out of Venice around 9:30 pm. My bf was exhausted and fell asleep while I sat on our balcony and enjoyed the amazing view with a gorgeous moon as we slowly sailed out of Venice. It truly was an amazing time.
  20. 🤣 It's coming it's coming. Actually came back today.....Sorry, been having some personal and work issues going on.
  21. What did you think about Ravello? I’ve heard that is a wonderful place to visit as well? Where you going to sail on the Anthem our of Cape Liberty or on another line? No, he didn’t. Now I have to go back. ☺️ Yes, my iphone takes the majority of the picture and then the ones with the date stamp were taken with my hand help point and shoot camera.
  22. You’re very welcome. I read about that. But I’ve been trying to ascertain if the new non-porting in Venice rule applies to ships to embark/disembark, ships that have an overnight, or ships just coming in for the day? I also read - which as you know means nothing lol - that it may only apply to ships over a 80k tons - which I believe the Vision is under so that would mean it could still dock there. Who knows at this point. But I swear I saw itineraries next year with overnights in Venice. That’s what I keep saying! Like pronto! Yeah, I was thinking more like 2022 myself. Oh wow! Okay - I’m so glad y’all are still with me. It takes so much time sorting all the pictfrom each day (like hundreds from each day) and then typing everything so I’m glad people are still following along and enjoying the review!
  23. 💛 I stumbled across, and was reading your review a couple weeks ago. I believe you started in Rome? That was you, right? I still haven't finished it.
  24. Thank you. I think you're probably the one one still reading this review at this point. 🤣
  25. Day 9 of the trip, Day 7 of the cruise - Venice Day 1 8-16-2019 continued.... After we killed an hour walking around, we headed back over Accademia for dinner. The name of the restaurant was Trattoria e Pizzeria - Art Blue Cafe and they had a lovely outdoor seating area. For some reason, I only took these two pictures - maybe bc I was so hungry I forgot. While we were eating, we noticed there was a gondola stop literally within 100 feet from the restaurant. Taking a gondola ride was the ONE thing I HAD to do while in Venice. I mean everyone needs to try it at least once, right? Kevin asked the two gondoliers how much it would cost for the four of us to ride. I honestly can't remember but I want to say it was around $125 for half an hour (but don't quote me - I wasn't the one paying). Let me just say we picked the perfect time for our ride, it was right at sunset and it was amazing. Everything I thought I would be. Keith was trying to take a selfie and our gondolier bent down to make sure he got in the shot...lol After our gondola ride, we decided to try and find our way to St. Mark's Square. We got lost, and took many wrong turns but who cares? It's Venice! We finally turned a corner and then appearing out of the blue was Piazza San Marco! There were a few different areas that had orchestra's set up, kids shooting off these toys that launch from a string that light up and go way into the air and then running around to chase them down when they fall, people enjoying gelato; not to mention the lights shining off the Basilica and surrounding buildings was gorgeous. It was kind of surreal....I just sat down on some steps, taking it all in, realizing how lucky I was to be here. This is where we left Kevin and Marcia as we wanted to make sure we caught the last "people mover" back to the ship - which I believe was 11pm. Kevin and Marcia would end up having to walk all the way back from Constitution Bridge - which they said was long but didn't mind because, you know, Venice! I took more pictures from the extremely crowded vaporetto on the way back to our stop at Constitution Bridge. The crowd seemed to thin out a little once we stopped at Rialto Bridge but it was by far the busiest time to travel the vaporetto's, IMO.
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