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About aring75

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Tampa Bay Area
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  1. It wasn’t that we didn’t enjoy Pisa. We definitely spent more time in Florence, and I suppose I did kind of gloss over our time in Pisa somewhat. Be aware that Pisa will be a rather short stop. Even if you stop and look at everything (I added a photo of the map of the Square of Miracles which is where the tower, church, baptistry, and museum are all located). We liked it here, and we kind of felt like the tower was one of those “icons” that we really wanted to see at least once. However, I would definitely schedule the bulk of your time in Florence. There is a ton to see there.
  2. Our day in Ajaccio was going to be relatively short. We were scheduled to depart at 1:30pm. We opted for a 3-hr island overview tour that included a walking tour of the city. It was hard getting on a bus with around 40 people after all of our blissfully small tours up til now. We docked in Ajaccio and we were the only ship in port. We started off by driving to Parc du Casone, one of the many monuments to Napoleon Bonaparte on the island. We continued on to Iles Sanguinaires while our guide pointed out sights along the way. Heading back into town, we got some great views and photos of the inner harbor. We started our walking tour of the downtown area. We saw more local monuments and buildings. Plus there were lots of places for lunch and shopping. We loved the little open-air market they had in the square. If we’d had more time, I would’ve loved to have taken one of the more in-depth tours to the countryside. This seemed like a quaint and very beautiful place.
  3. Yep. Today’s heat index was 111 degrees. I stayed indoors.
  4. So remember I said we were scheduled to go to Marseille on our last port day? Then it was changed to Corsica at the last minute due to protests in France? Well, they gave us our Cruise Compass for Ajaccio, Corsica and due to the last-minute nature of the change and our short day in port, we opted for a ship-sponsored tour. Cruise Compass - Last Day - Ajaccio, Corsica
  5. The menu for our evening leaving Livorno. And because I promised drink Menus, I took a photo of the wine list in the Main Dining Room. Mark loves the chilled strawberry soup. To me it has the consistency of puréed food. I’m very glad there’s something for everyone. I on the other hand, love the Vidalia Onion Tart. I get it every time. It’s changed a little over the years, but I still think it’s one of the better apps. However, we both agree on the Caprese. And we shared this one. Mostly. Okay, I ate almost all of it. Gotta be quick Mark. Mark ordered the Jumbo Shrimp. And I got the Prime Rib again. I was tempted by the shrimp, but I just couldn’t do the mushrooms. I was glad I got the Prime Rib this time. It was SO good. For dessert, Mark went with the cheesecake (he’s a fan). But I had to try the Chocolate Molten Cake. So good! I didn’t eat all of (I’m not supposed to do too much dairy as it’s a migraine trigger for me, though I often stretch my limits). Mark finished it up and said he wished he’d ordered it instead.
  6. The Cruise Compass for Livorno (I have looked and looked for Rome and can’t find it. If I do I will post it later.)
  7. Lol, yep. That’s why the pants in our Rome photos. We were visiting the Vatican and we weren’t sure how strict they would be with the dress code. They were definitely enforcing it at the church. I did see one man in shorts turned away. Another was asked to remove his hat. As as far as the heat goes, we are from Florida so we get heat and humidity here too. I just hate it. Always have. Born here. Grew up here. Hate the heat. We will plan our next Rome trip for February or November or something. 😑
  8. Thank you! We loved it too. So much. There wasn’t nearly enough time to enjoy it all, but we certainly did our best in a day. We will definitely be back!
  9. On our way out of Florence, we stopped for a beautiful overview of the city at Piazzale Michelangelo. Then we headed to Pisa. I didn’t realize it was such a small area. It’s very compact and everything is close to everything else. Easy to see it all in a couple of hours. I don’t know why I didn’t realize the tower of Pisa was a bell tower. But it is. Was. And no, we didn’t climb to the top. We just didn’t have the energy left. We had lunch at a small outdoor cafe in Pisa, then headed back to the ship. The Vidalia Onion Tart was on the main dining room menu tonight. One of my favorites. 😊
  10. Livorno was our next port and from here we would visit Florence and Pisa. We disembarked the ship first thing again and we were a few minutes early to meet our driver at our reserved time of 8:00 am. Well, 8:00 am came and went and we started getting a little worried. 8:10 8:15 I sent a message to the tour company, but couldn’t be sure it had gone through. Tour buses were leaving ahead of us now and all I could think of was how crowded everything would be getting. Finally, at almost 8:20am a driver walked up holding a hand-written sign with our last name. Okay. Here we go! (We found out later that the tour company had a last-minute change with our driver. Things got even better.) He introduces himself as Fabrizio as we were driving out of the port area and says, “So where are you supposed to meet the tour guide?” Oh geez. We don’t know that. You’re supposed to know that. At least, someone is supposed to tell you that. It’s kind of what we’re paying for. We were feeling very uneasy because, at this point, we were already driving toward Florence. Luckily, we got everything straightened out. We found our guide (Another Francesco) in Florence and eventually started our tour. We began at the Cathedral of Florence and Duomo and the Baptistry of St. John. We opted for a walking tour of the Uffizi Gallery. I was so thankful for the climate control. During our walk-through, there was a group of teenage/young-adult boys who thought it would be absolutely hilarious to stand right in front of paintings and sculptures for 10-15 minutes at a time during the tours so people were unable to take clear pictures. We did our best to avoid the little cretins, but they just kept popping up. No one in their own tour group (of nearly 25-30 people) would say anything to them. I do not have that kind of self control. We wandered toward the Ponte Vecchio and took pictures of the Arno river. Next. On to Pisa.
  11. Dinner was in the main dining room again. The menu. And, again, because I have such a hard time resisting the basket of assorted breads and rolls. I was boring tonight and had the simple Caesar salad. Mark must've had the same thing because I have no pictures. However, neither of us really likes mushrooms and I have only ever had one pea soup that I have liked. It was homemade with fresh garden peas. It was delicious and all others have been ruined for me now. Mark had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken for his entree. And I had the Linguini with Shrimp. Mark said his was great. Mine was good, but not great. However, I had just had amazing pasta in Rome, so probably not fair to order pasta that same night on the ship. We both ordered the Banana Bread Pudding for dessert. It really needed some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. If you do order this, remember to order some on the side!
  12. We stopped for a look at the Circus Maximus on our way to lunch before our priority ticket appointment at the Colosseum. We asked our guide, Francesco, for a lunch recommendation and he took us to this tiny place at the end of an alleyway. It didn’t even have an actual name that I could tell. It just said “Ristorante” above the door, and when I asked Francesco about it, he just kind of thought about it and said, “Eh...is Mario’s Restaurant, yes?” The owner’s name was Mario. It was his restaurant. So, yes. I guess it was Mario’s Restaurant. And it was very, very good. And I could never in a million, billion years tell you how to get back there again. We rolled ourselves out the door and back in to the car after lunch. We were headed to the Colosseum (wishing we hadn’t eaten so much food). When we arrived we found out they had stopped the stand-by line because of overcrowding inside. The wait was over an hour and a half. I was so glad we did the pre-purchase. We waited less than fifteen minutes and part of that was the security line. It was getting incredibly hot now and it’s only June. I don’t know how hot it feels in August, but it can’t be good. After the Colosseum, it was on to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. My one main suggestion for anyone doing any of these tours would be, “Don’t bring a large backpack.” They don’t like that. The Vatican was packed. At least, I thought it was packed. We walked through most areas shoulder-to-shoulder and, I have to honest. I hated it. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to walk through when I didn’t feel like a salmon spawning upstream, but most of the time my minor claustrophobia threatened to become a more major issue. THIS was what most of the hallways were like the entire time. And this one wasn’t too bad because you could actually see floor space in front of me. It was truly beautiful though. With exquisite works of art everywhere you looked. And then, of course, there was St. Peter’s Basilica. I would absolutely LOVE to return to Rome. In fact, I’m sure we will. But I think we will plan a trip in the shoulder season. Sometime when the weather is a little cooler and the crowds are a little lighter.
  13. We moved on to Piazza Campidoglio and walked through to a perfect view of the Roman Forum.
  14. Okay everyone! I realize I took a few days off. The internet connection was just too rough to try to stay on top of the pictures. But we just got home last night. I’ve got the majority of the pictures uploaded and I’m going to try to get everything caught up now. Thanks so much for being patient and hanging in there!! Left off in Civitavecchia / Rome. And this day was a long one! If you’ll remember, we had booked a private tour here as well. Our driver was waiting right on the dock for us. We disembarked the ship as soon as we were able (at 7:30am) and left for Rome well before 8. We met up with our guide in the city of Rome and started our tour at the Pantheon. Of course, no stop to Rome is complete without a visit to Trevi Fountain. And no visit to that famous fountain is complete without tossing a coin over your left shoulder (with your right hand) to ensure your return trip to Rome. Unfortunately, the picture of me where I’m throwing my coin in the fountain? Non-existent. It should be there. Mark took the picture! But...no where to be found. After the visit to the fountain, we traveled the short distance to Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps. By this time it was really getting warm. We relaxed with a small cup of gelato, and oh man, was it yummy!
  15. Hi! On Vision 12-night right now and this is from our cruise Compass. Day 1 - Casual Attire Day 2 - Formal Night Day 3 - Casual Day 4 - Smart Casual Day 5 - White Attire (Day of Santorini) Day 6 - Casual Day 7 - Casual Day 8 - Formal Night Day 9 - Casual / 70s Night (Last day at sea) Day 10 - Casual Day 11 - Casual Day 12 - Casual Hope this helps you!
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