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LitaArn

Cruise Review: Venice, Bari, Corfu, Athens, Mykonos, Dubrovnik - Splendour - Aug 2012

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Hello All,

 

I decided to write this review as a THANK YOU to Cruise Critic and its many, many wonderful members. Our family have learned so much, and saved thousands of dollars because of everyone's willingness to help each other on this site.

 

Happy Sailing to All :)

 

 

ITINERARY:

 

Aug 21 - Outbound flight: Toronto-Frankfurt-Venice

22 - VENICE: Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo

23 - VENICE: St. Mark’s Square, Grand Canal Boat Ride, Gondola Ride

24 - VENICE: St. Mark’s Basilica and the Doge’s Palace Interiors, Islands of Murano, Torcello, and Burano

25 - Embarkation Day

26 - BARI - Private Excursions to the Towns of Bari, Polignano a Mare, Alberobello

27 - CORFU - Private Excursions to Lakones, Paleokastritsa, Achilleion

Palace, Kanoni and Corfu Town

28 - ATHENS - Ship’s Tour - Acropolis Sightseeing, New Acropolis Museum with Plaka Free Time

29 - MYKONOS - Ship’s Tour - Kalafatis Beach

30 - Sea Day

31 - DUBROVNIK - Ship’s Tour - Highlights of Dubrovnik Riviera

 

 

 

My DH Arn and I wanted to give our youngest daughter Emily a much needed holiday break so the 3 of us signed up on this cruise. For the last couple of years, she has been doing full time school plus 28 hour/week part time jobs. This September, she continues on with the same heavy school+jobs schedule, but she’s starting to see the “light at the end of the tunnel”. If all goes well, she’ll get her Bachelor’s diploma in June of next year :)

 

Except for Athens, Emily has not visited the other wonderful ports we’re about to visit. As for Arn and I, we’ve been to Venice in 2006 (part of a 2 week land tour of Italy) and Athens in 2010, and we’re equally as excited as Emily and so looking forward to experiencing the beauty and culture of our scheduled ports.

 

Eileen, our oldest DD, unfortunately was not able to join us because of conflict with her graduate work schedule :(

 

 

 

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From left to right: Emily, Arn, Lita, Eileen

Edited by LitaArn

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AUG 20th, Monday

 

The day before we flew out to Venice, the 5th member of our family, Mia (a most adorable 8 year old Brittany) suffered an accident on her right hind leg. Somehow, she caught herself on the garden fence wire which got embedded into her leg about 1/2” deep (she is such a “digger” that I had to protect my flowers and vegetable gardens with those garden fence). It was horrifying to see her in such situation. Emily carried her to the car, and I drove the fastest (and safest) that I could to the Vet. He and his staff took care of her right away. The Vet gave her a one time shot of antibiotics, and also medications for pain. I informed him of our trip the next day and of my mixed emotions because of my concern for Mia. He right away said that Mia was fine and there was no cause for us to worry about her. As if on cue, his Technician brought out a very happy, healthy looking Mia from the treatment room, with no sign of limping at all.

 

Anyway, it made it easier for us to go on this trip because months ago, my sisters agreed to house sit for us and look after Mia (thank goodness for wonderful Families). They looked after Mia so well that when we came back from our holidays, we saw how Mia was so attached to them (and vice versa). Arn jokingly reminded Mia that we are her original parents, not her Aunties :)

 

 

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Our Mia, all healed up from her accident... Thank goodness!

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AUG 22nd - VENICE MARCO POLO AIRPORT

 

At the Baggage Claim Area, we got a couple of luggage carts to pile on our suitcases, carry ons and heavy handbags. They cost 1 euro each, which you’ll get back when you return the cart.

 

Also, if you don’t have the 1 euro coin which we didn’t, there's a coin machine at the Baggage Claim area which changed our 5 euro bill. The machine also accepts US$ bills.

 

WATER TAXI RIDE

 

We found the Water Taxi booth 20 feet to our left (when facing the Tourist Information Office, which was right outside of the Baggage Claim area).

 

There were 3 men manning the booth. Behind the 3 men was a huge board with 3 different prices. We chose the man with the cheapest starting price: 100 euros (the others were 120e).

 

For where our hotel is (Al Ponte Mocenigo) and the number of our luggage, he quoted us a price of 110E.

 

He then gave us the paperwork to hand to the water taxi driver and the directions to the pier (walk out of the Arrival area, turn left, walk less than 5 mins under the covered walkway towards the pier).

 

At the pier, we handed our paper to the driver. He took care of all our luggage from the dock to his boat which was quite nice. It was a luxury for Arn not to do any lifting at all since he has been doing very heavy physical work doing major renovations (mostly on his own) on our summer home on the lake.

 

We then sat down inside the taxi and got ready to enjoy the ride to beautiful Venice.

 

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HEADING SOUTH TO VENICE, AT FULL SPEED ON THE VENETIAN LAGOON WITH MARCO POLO VENICE AIRPORT BEHIND US

 

 

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JUST DROVE BY MURANO, AND NOW PASSING ISOLA SAN MICHELLE

 

 

 

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CONTINUED ON TO MISERICORDIA CANAL

 

 

 

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STILL ON MISERICORDIA CANAL, JUST CROSSED UNDER BRIDGE AT STRADA NUOVA

Edited by LitaArn

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DSC00085.jpg

 

Just turned into the Grand Canal, will post more pics taken while on vaporetto rides, grand canal boat ride, and the gondola ride

 

 

 

Our boat made a left to turn into a small canal, Rio San Stae, that lead us to directly park in front of our hotel. The whole ride from the airport to our hotel, from what I can remember, only took 15 minutes. Sandro, one of the hotel owners, helped our driver get all our luggage out. We paid our driver and gave extra for gratuities, to which he was quite happy to receive.

 

 

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Our capable water taxi driver

Edited by LitaArn

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I can't wait to read this review in full, Lita, although it'll make me kick myself for not signing us up to crash your family vacation! And loving the pictures! More, please...

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I'm so in love already! This was the original itinerary I had planned until the timing didn't work out. I still want to cruise it some day but I'll have to live through your posts in the meantime. :)

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I can't wait to read this review in full, Lita, although it'll make me kick myself for not signing us up to crash your family vacation! And loving the pictures! More, please...

 

Hey Rebecca,

 

We missed you and Blake a lot on this cruise you know... Remember our fabulous times in Barcelona, Santorini, Ephesus, Cinque Terre, Rome, etc ? Sigh....... Arn and I can't wait to see you guys and the rest of our Hurdy Gurdy family.

 

Thanks for writing in and letting me know that you're enjoying my review and the pictures.

 

Hugs :)

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I'm so in love already! This was the original itinerary I had planned until the timing didn't work out. I still want to cruise it some day but I'll have to live through your posts in the meantime. :)

 

Oh Wow! Thank You so much! So lovely of you to write in :)

 

I hope with my heart that someday you'll also get to cruise this itinerary. Meanwhile though, I wish you Happy Sailing in all your future cruises :)

 

Lita

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Hotel Al Ponte Mocenico http://www.alpontemocenigo.com is rated #2 out of 438 hotels in Venice by Trip Advisor. It was also the “Travellers’ Choice” winner for Best Service, very well deserved in our opinion. Continental breakfast, maps, and fast wi-fi internet are included.

 

We were greeted by Sandro, one of the owners of this wonderful hotel (the other owner is Walter). Sandro was quite gracious and very helpful (actually, the staff in this hotel were all great!). By paying cash, he gave us 5% off our hotel bill, and by signing on to the Nozio traveler website where we booked this hotel, we earned a discount of 15 euros.

 

Also, 5 months ago, when we initially made our hotel booking, we received a free upgrade from a Standard triple room to a Superior one. The difference between the two are that Standard rooms are on the ground floor, have cream painted walls and 9’ ceilings. Superior rooms are on the first floor (2nd floor in North America), have tapestry on the walls and 13’ ceilings. Both rooms have the same size and facilities.

 

There are NO elevators at this hotel, but the hotel owners and their staff will carry your bags up or down as required.

 

Continental breakfast consisted of delicious freshly-baked pastries (the peach-filled croissants were the best we’ve had! Always piping hot!), different kinds of of cold and hot beverage (including latte), fruits, granolas, and many others that I can’t remember at the moment. The huge spread will satisfy most cravings I think. They also have packaged granola bars, etc. that guests are welcome to take; very handy for later consumption.

 

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Taken from the inside lobby. View of the hotel's front on the canal. The umbrellas on the right are for hotel's guests' use. Nice touch :)

 

 

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The hotel's lovely courtyard where they serve their delicious continental breakfasts

 

 

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From another angle, another view of the lovely courtyard

 

 

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Arn and one of the hotel owners, Sandro

Edited by LitaArn

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I'm so in love already! This was the original itinerary I had planned until the timing didn't work out. I still want to cruise it some day but I'll have to live through your posts in the meantime. :)

 

Hi again,

 

I just noticed you start a Mediterranean cruise on the 22nd for your 5th Wedding Anniversary. How very lovely :)

 

Happy Anniversary and our Best Wishes for many, many more :)

 

Lita (and Arn)

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DSC00135.jpg

 

The front of the hotel annex facing S. San Stae

 

 

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Ground floor hallway of the hotel annex

 

 

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From our room, looking out to the 2nd floor hallway

 

 

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Our hotel room, with Emily's bed on the left side (partially seen). Our own bedroom is separated from hers by the single pocket door on the right.

 

 

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Our bedroom, with the pocket door partly closed

 

 

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13 ft. ceiling with exposed beams and beautiful Murano glass chandeliers

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DSC00114.jpg

 

 

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Our window, but we kept it closed because we preferred the coolness of the A/C. Emily has her own windows as well in her bed-sitting room.

 

 

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S. San Stae - the street where our hotel is located. The couple walking in the picture just passed by the hotel front door on the left, and was approaching the restaurant "Osteria Mocenigo" with patio tables set outside. We had dinner there later.

 

 

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Having dinner on the patio of Osteria Mocenigo

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Our "guest" Ilda, she belongs to one of the local patrons dining there at the restaurant

 

 

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My dinner "Spaghetti with Mussels and Clams" (12 e). Very delicious! Arn had the same as well, while Emily also liked her "Baked Scallops with zucchini (14 e). Glass of wine 3 e, peach juice 3 e, mineral water 3 e, cover charge 2 e pp

 

 

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Behind Emily, you can see the end of the street where S. Stae vaporetto stop is. Very convenient!

 

 

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St. Mark's Square is 11 vaporetto stops away from S. Stae

 

 

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Good night Venice...

 

 

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Edited by LitaArn

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Thanks for the info ..

 

You're welcome, and Thank You for writing in.

 

Happy Sailing :)

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Hi,

what a terrific start and such great pictures too. Looking forward to seeing more, especially the ports we did not see in May. :)

Thanks for sharing.

Bill

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The hotel looks fabulous! And I always expect the bathrooms in European hotels to be tiny, tiny, tiny but that one looks really large and beautiful (like the ones at our hotel in Barcelona). Would you stay there again, Lita?

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Lita,

Great review so far!! We were on the Splendour right after you:D I too am looking forward to seeing the ports of Dubrovink and Mykonos. Our sailing did Santorini, Katakalon, and Kusadasi.

 

 

Ali

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Lita...Hi and thanks for posting your photos. I love seeing Venice again. We were there 4 years ago on BOS which had an overnight. We have wonderful memories of such a beautiful place. Love your hotel by the way. You got a good one. Thanks for writing your review.

 

OH by the way what a darling dog. I didn't realize you had one.

 

Mary:)

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hi

 

Oh poor dog and I am glad that Mia is okay...

 

and what a lovely family and I like the photo of you all..

 

Oh wonderful to show the photos of Venice...

 

I look forward to read your trip report and thank for your time to do it...

 

Scottishwee35

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We are doing a b2b on Splendour in May. I love seeing these pictures! Thanks for taking the time to post.

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Wow is all i can say ...great review Lita ...look forward to the balance of it ..can hardly wait till we sail the BOS in March with the Hurdy Gurdy Gang !

 

Cheers

Steve

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