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Ocean princess venice to rome


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March 2013 came in like a lion and went out with a firm booking on the Ocean Princess thanks to a mouthwatering itinerary- Venice to Rome via Dubrovnik, Malta, Tunis, Sorrento and then to Civitavecchia, the port of Rome.

 

I had a desire to sail on one of the "little girls" as they are affectionately known on the Princess boards where cruisers like Paul and Pia have racked up a considerable number of nights. Can't be bad, can it?

 

On our first visit to Ft. Lauderdale to join the Crown in January 2012 I had recorded the Ocean's sister Pacific Princess setting to sea and a fine little tub she looked. Eye candy in a petite package. Hmmm....nice big aft balconies!

 

March 2013 and after much discussion which went on and on for about 3 minutes with much fist-pounding on tables and bright lights being shone in the face we decided to take the plunge into the warm waters of the Med and secured lodgings onboard the Ocean in the form of aft suite 6088. We had to spend an extra day in Venice to get over the jet-lag so after much research (way more than 3 minutes) I found the hotel Palazzo Sant' Angelo in Venice and began a long email correspondence with them. They were great to deal with-super friendly and efficient thanks to Minette in their reservations department.

 

Neither of us had been to Venice or Rome before and even though there's not much to see in Rome (LOL) we decided to stay two days there once we were booted off the ship. A hotel had to be found and off to Tripadvisor I went. I scored a suite on the top floor of Albergo del Senato in Piazza della Rotunda (Pantheon Square).

 

Now all we had to do was wait. And wait. 18 months of waiting.

 

This was the lure.......

 

<a href=https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2949/15414305486_0c2bc0757e_b.jpg' alt='15414305486_0c2bc0757e_b.jpg'>IMG_1973 by norris_adair, on Flickr[/img]

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We were on the Venice to Rome sailing September 20. Disappointed that Tunisia was cancelled but enjoyed Sicily in its place.

 

Liked the ship but found the dining room and buffet service to be qiuite slow. Had lunch one day at the Grille and it was almost inedible. The pizza was great!

 

We spent three extra nights in Rome, the crowds were incredible. We were about 5 minutes from the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain in the other direction.

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A week ago at this time we were in The Vatican and this is the first time I have sat down to begin the story of our 10 days in Europe.

 

In the past week I have been looking at around 1,000 photos and over 4 hours of video. These will help tell the story for future generations with a lot of time on their hands. That's something I don't currently have so the story will unfold piece by piece over the next month or so.

 

Both Carol and I had memories of Italy. She from 1972 in Florence and me from 1965-my first trip abroad from Northern Ireland where I visited Belgium, Germany and Austria before settling in Rimini, Italy on the Adriatic Coast for a week of sun and swimming. I loved it so much I waited 49 years to return. I can still remember that first wonderful visit, even now.

 

While I am waiting on Youtube- I have had 3 video uploads fail already and the day is wearing on- I will tell you that we left Chicago O'Hare airport on Thursday September 18th on a United Airlines flight to MUC and thence to VCE (that's for the airline pilots who read these boards). We would have just over an hour to change planes in Munich and continue via Air Dolomite for a one hour flight to Venice.

 

We had requested an upgrade to Business Class (from Economy Plus) and with United you have to give up thousands of miles and a couple of thousand dollars to get these. As we waited in the Red Carpet lounge (the carpet is actually dark blue but I won't argue) it looked like Business would be full. We boarded in Economy Plus and made ourselves comfortable. Five minutes before the plane left the gate a stewardess came to tell us that we had ONE upgrade and Carol suggested I take it as she was comfy and going to sleep all the way. So I made my way to my new seat in Business and settled in beside a German lawyer on his way home to Munich. The level of pampering in Business is high and the dinner and wine were superb. I watched a movie-from a choice of 264 titles and chose Captain Philips with one of my favorite actors-Tom Hanks. My Bose noise canceling headphones provided smooth detailed sound. The movie had a big ship and I love big ships!

I was on my way to a little one with only 680 passengers and over 300 crew but I was looking forward to the experience.

 

With the push of a button the seat unfolded flat and I was able to sleep for a few hours, until breakfast came around and I saw Europe below us.

 

There's Munich!! My favorite city in Germany. We would not have enough time on the ground to go outside the terminal and enjoy the amazing Plaza there with it's beer garden and food truck. We were told by a United rep that we would have to go get our luggage and pass through customs before our next flight.

 

We stood by the luggage carousel for 20 minutes and all the time I was looking at my watch and imagining a cruise without luggage. At the Information desk we learned that-as we had earlier supposed when booking- that our luggage was on it's way to the Air Dolomite plane. What a relief! Now we went to the A. D desk and there was already a large gathering and a ticking clock. Not to worry as everyone was waiting for a bus to take us to the plane.

 

Out to the tarmac where little planes live and up a stair ramp onto a small Embraer (Canadian) plane for the short hop over the Bavarian Alps to Venice's Marco Polo Airport.

 

We were sitting in different parts of the plane but both got views of Venice as we were coming down to land. I saw big ships! The sky was overcast.

 

Once on the ground and through Italian Customs we met our driver Lorenzo-we had arranged for transportation through our hotel (added to the bill) and we had a limo to Piazzale Roma where a water taxi was waiting.....

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Yes, another Bummer blog! Thank you Norris!

 

Nina- I hope you meant Bimmer Blog. If it is a bummer then I offer a full money-back guarantee but when you see the pics and the video I think you'll find them interesting.

 

The first part will be Venice-we were there for 20 hours before we set foot on the ship (which stayed in port the first day).

 

Ship fans will have to endure 100s of photos of Venice in the meantime. I just hope you like water....

 

Norris

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We were on the Venice to Rome sailing September 20. Disappointed that Tunisia was cancelled but enjoyed Sicily in its place.

 

Liked the ship but found the dining room and buffet service to be qiuite slow. Had lunch one day at the Grille and it was almost inedible. The pizza was great!

 

We spent three extra nights in Rome, the crowds were incredible. We were about 5 minutes from the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain in the other direction.

 

We were on the same cruise together. We were staying by the Pantheon so the same kind of walking distance to the places you mention, both of which will feature in this ramble.

 

Norris

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Well my story starts with a video but after two hours it still isn't available on youtube as I imagine thousands of people all over the world are uploading.

 

Maybe I am forced to put the photos first although they only start at the watery bit of Venice, at the Piazzale Roma, the bus terminal.

 

What the hell-life is short, so here goes. We are in a water taxi for the short hop to our hotel on the Grand Canal. This worked out even more expensive than a straight water taxi from the airport but was (a) easier as it involved no walking and (b) quicker and © more comfortable than being in a boat for 45 minutes.

 

So let the photo journal begin. By the way to get to the back area of a water taxi you really have to be able to bend double as the roof of the cabin is too low....

 

Off we go!

 

p><p><img src=IMG_1797 by norris_adair, on Flickr[/img]

 

p><p><img src=IMG_1799 by norris_adair, on Flickr[/img]

 

<a href=https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3929/15250412289_6f82a86e79_b.jpg' alt='15250412289_6f82a86e79_b.jpg'>IMG_1800 by norris_adair, on Flickr[/img]

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OK youtube processed my videos although I had to leave my computer on overnight so now I can proceed as I intended-in chronological order.

 

This is a video shot from a car and is not a must-see. Gone With The Wind it ain't but I show it for anyone interested in the trip in from the airport. If you were lost and just stumbled on this road without a clue where you were you would have no hint of what lay at the end of the long causeway shown. The watery part of Venice with the old buildings is what we are here for.

 

It gets you from the airport to Piazzale Roma where the road can go no further and that is what matters. The driver is giving us restaurant recommendations as we go as Carol had posed the question.

 

The video that follows this one is the water taxi ride from P Roma to our hotel on the Grand Canal and that's where the photos will continue.

 

 

Thanks for joining me on this voyage of discovery.

 

Norris

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NOW THE REAL VENICE BEGINS

 

Now this is what we imagined and what we came for- the watery Venice!

 

Lorenzo loaded our luggage on to the boat and once aboard we crouched and walked through the very low cabin to the open seats at the stern. I am standing to get the forward-looking shots.

 

As the hotel has it's own landing dock we didn't have to roll our luggage and the bellman from the hotel ensured we didn't have to touch it either (Leon from the Philippines).

 

We had both taken steps to learn Italian. I used Rosetta Stone and Carol used Berlitz so we entered the lobby and introduced ourselves in Italian and it seemed to be appreciated but the receptionist spoke perfect English so we were more comfortable with that, naturally. All of the staff we met could speak English.

 

Leon brought our bags to the room and my first step was to the balcony where this video ends.

 

Next up- more photos from the water taxi ride then my first walk through the dry parts of Venice on a voyage of discovery.

 

Water Taxi video....

 

 

Norris

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While I was video recording the water journey I was also taking photos in a flurry of multi-tasking. So here are more shots of that exhilarating trip where my head was on a swivel (I'm seeing a neck specialist tomorrow). The photos are super-sized as I am using Flickr for the first time and some of the shots I took on the cruise will benefit from being this big.

 

I can't identify all the buildings in the photos- they could be Hollywood facades but I doubt it as Venice has stood here for a long long time and if they are not in daily use now it doesn't matter to me. It is my kind of ye olde eye-candy which has a timeless beauty.

 

p><p><img src=IMG_1803 by norris_adair, on Flickr[/img]

 

p><p><img src=IMG_1805 by norris_adair, on Flickr[/img]

 

Now, after alerting another boat at the hotel that we need the dock, we are on dry land at Palazzo Sant' Angelo our home for just this one night. The Vaparetto Stop Sant' Angelo with it's yellow paint trim is just a few yards from the hotel and that would turn out to be very handy indeed.

 

<a href=https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3927/15436848072_a7cd0fdf57_b.jpg' alt='15436848072_a7cd0fdf57_b.jpg'>IMG_1806 by norris_adair, on Flickr[/img]

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We are both big Rick Steves fans from way-back although we don't always follow in his footsteps but a couple of his tenets for traveling in Europe are (1) always learn a few phrases in the language of the locals and (b) wear a money belt if you want to hold on to what you've got. So we learned as much Italian as we could (and will continue to add to it) and that brought many smiles and wonderful service our way. Carol got many compliments indeed as she practiced religiously -I look upon it as a sign of respect for the local people. We want to fit in as much as possible (the Rick Philosophy) so we have a bash, get a smile and then if necessary they correct us, politely, and we repeat after them and are much the wiser.

 

The money belt was something I wore as I was carrying a load of Euros and everyone of them stayed with me, even on crowded Vaporettos. I have read volumes on pick-pocketting in Italy and spoke to friends and neighbors who had been there and some had lost everything of value on their first day so I was determined not to be a statistic. Thank you Rick for laboring the point. It was so comfortable I slept with it on before traveling just to get used to it.

 

Once in the hotel I told the desk clerk-Ho una stanza prenotata- I have a reservation and we were greeted like long lost family. Out bags were brought up to a gorgeous suite of rooms with three balconies overlooking the Grand Canal.

Even the bathroom had a little turret built onto it so we could see the canal from there-so 4 windows onto the canal. A bottle of water and a plate of cookies and fruit were there for the taking along with a card welcoming us. The lodgings were first class and the balconies (3 of those) had iron shutters to keep the noise out at night (there wasn't any).

 

Here's a shot of the living room to give you a flavor of the decor....

 

p><p><img src=IMG_1905 by norris_adair, on Flickr[/img]

 

While Carol showered and unpacked I set off on a walking tour of the area....

 

To be continued

 

Norris

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I'm here! I'm loving your video and pictures of Venice. :D

 

What a beautiful view from your hotel. I think that's where I want to stay if I ever manage to get there.

 

I know I will keep saying this throughout your review, thank you so very much for sharing your trip, pictures and video with us.

Edited by perfect match
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Oooh -- *rubbing hands with gleeful anticipation* -- I've been looking forward to this . . . . And it's off to a great start with some fantastic photos.

 

I really hope you loved the OP and the del Senato as much as I did!

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This is a video shot from a car and is not a must-see.

I'm a Road Geek, and this was a fascinating video for me. Thanks for including it. And I'm soooo looking forward to the rest of this review. Your reviews are always entertaining, humorous and most of all informative. Edited by Jasperdo
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Oooh -- *rubbing hands with gleeful anticipation* -- I've been looking forward to this . . . . And it's off to a great start with some fantastic photos.

 

I really hope you loved the OP and the del Senato as much as I did!

 

Thanks Annie- the OP is still some days away but I had a week on her and many photos and videos to come. Albergo del Senato...you'll have to wait a while as there is so much in between now and then and I am a slave to chronology!

 

I had to live in the MOMENT as I knew what a load of treats awaited as the hours unfolded....I had 20 hours in Venice before I even saw the ship and I wasn't wishing for the hours to go faster. There is still a cruise to come (later) and finally...ROME. My socks were blown off there and that's why I am barefoot as I write. Stay tuned in.....this will take a while.

 

Thanks for tuning in and hopefully following along for the next month.

 

Norris

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I'm a Road Geek, and this was a fascinating video for me. Thanks for including it. And I'm soooo looking forward to the rest of this review. Your reviews are always entertaining, humorous and most of all informative.

 

Thank you very much Jasperdo. I have taken so much video from cars-many when I am driving in Germany and the USA. I thought I should include it as it shows my first approach to Venice....looks like not very much until you see where it winds up....somewhere totally unique and magical, like nowhere else on Earth.

 

I hope you follow along as I saw some amazing places and had the camera and video running.

 

I haven't seen more than 20% of the video I shot yet....

 

Norris

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I'm here! I'm loving your video and pictures of Venice. :D

 

What a beautiful view from your hotel. I think that's where I want to stay if I ever manage to get there.

 

I know I will keep saying this throughout your review, thank you so very much for sharing your trip, pictures and video with us.

 

Thank you and I am glad you found this thread. You have been onboard for all of my reviews I think and this is the one I most anticipated as the ship and itinerary were both new to me, so my senses were heightened somewhat.

 

As well as all the ports I mentioned and the ship that was new to me there is also at the end a tour of Rome with Rome in Limo, which includes a Vatican Tour.

 

Lots of food porn on and off ships. Live bands and buskers. Sunsets. The usual.

 

Welcome aboard!

 

Norris

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Cool thing about the road trip video is that no one else has ever shown the road trip going into Venice. Most enjoyable and fun to watch. We are going to be following your review most intently. Thanks for doing it and keep it coming! Yea! :cool:

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Thoroughly enjoying your review Bimmer09 (or may I call you Norris? - definitely NOT 'Bummer'!). I've been a fan of your reviews and your blog for a while now. Looking forward to your next installment. Your vids have inspired me to source a reasonably inexpensive and 'drongo-proof' camcorder so I can attempt to capture such great memories as you have.

 

P.S. "drongo" is Aussie-speak for idiot. :o

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Thoroughly enjoying your review Bimmer09 (or may I call you Norris? - definitely NOT 'Bummer'!). I've been a fan of your reviews and your blog for a while now. Looking forward to your next installment. Your vids have inspired me to source a reasonably inexpensive and 'drongo-proof' camcorder so I can attempt to capture such great memories as you have.

 

P.S. "drongo" is Aussie-speak for idiot. :o

 

Thanks for the compliments-you'll notice the blog is on hiatus at the moment as I have too much on my plate to write about two different trips and live a life.

You can certainly call me Norris-you can even call me a taxi while you're at it.

 

I can't imagine being without a camcorder and prices are low. Mine is a tiny Canon HD model with a hard drive and an additional memory card but no tape.

I am shooting in 1080p but uploading in 720 for youtube.

 

Norris

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Thanks for the compliments-you'll notice the blog is on hiatus at the moment as I have too much on my plate to write about two different trips and live a life.

You can certainly call me Norris-you can even call me a taxi while you're at it.

 

I can't imagine being without a camcorder and prices are low. Mine is a tiny Canon HD model with a hard drive and an additional memory card but no tape.

I am shooting in 1080p but uploading in 720 for youtube.

 

Norris

 

And I'll also call the waiter while I'm at it ... name your poison, what are you drinking Norris me old mate? ;)

 

Thanks for the tip about your camcorder, sounds pretty good - tiny (and light, light is very important). Mmmm, a new bit of technology for me to get my teeth into. One should never stop "learning", don't you agree? :)

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LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT AND SOUND

 

While Carol stayed in the hotel to unpack and freshen up after our flight I went exploring the streets behind our hotel. The hotel had given Carol a map to add to her collection but I went mapless. I was seeking Teatro La Fenice-the Opera house as we had tickets for a performance the following day (Saturday September 20). I had spent a lot of time at home looking at Google maps' Bird's Eye View of the area between the hotel and St Mark's Square that I had a good idea of which direction it lay.

 

Once 100 yards away from the Vaparetto stop I noticed something magical....it was very quiet. No car engines or hum of traffic nor car horns. Wide squares lead into tiny narrow alleys. No grid patterns to help orient one. I had plenty of time to wander and get lost and find my bearings again if need be.

 

I took the cameras with me and here is part of the walk on video. It ends with us having a pre-dinner drink at the hotel, served by Bobby (again Philippino). We were heading off for dinner at Ristorante Da Raffaele and the hotel had booked us a table by the canal there.

 

 

Norris

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