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swelch

late review of sept Millie Europe cruise

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okay i said i would write in about my cruise. but when I got back to work i was soooo busy. jusy now have a breather, so instead of doing it the way i envisioned, i will have to do it piecmeal.

For starters, four couples ranging in age from 38 to 60 flew from California to New York (Manhattan) for two nights to break up flight to Europe and explore New York. I can't express enough how much we LOVED NY!!!! CLEAN and Friendly people. We are from San Francisco. NY is MUCH CLEANER AND FRIENDLY, at least the tourist areas. We stayed at Marriott Marquis right on Times Square. I recommend it. Only downside was slow elevators, but so what!!??

We took Jet Blue to NY. One female did not receive luggage. Jet Blue was ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE about it. Not at all apologetic!!!!! She got her dream, though. She had to spend a whole day shopping with her husband on 5th Avenue for replacement clothes for upcomming European cruise 12 days. I am glad it wasn't me. Jet Blue did compensate them, however, AFTER the whole trip was over. If you want for info on that, let me know......

FLIGHT

I read these posts over and over. After paring down all the advice, to sum up, I took enough stuff in my carry-on to get me to one formal, one semi-formal, and two casual days, bc pills (a must!!!) wet wipes (needed!) throw away toothbrushes from walmart (used on flight home. Layover) socks (used them in flight after taking off flip flop shoes for security ease) small, smooshy pillow with pinned-on strap (under feet, under knees, over lap!! you name it!!) NECESSARY toiletries, camera, and portable DVD. (we only used this once. I would not take it again, however. Most flights have interractive tv or plenty of programming, so we watched those instead. Was nice, however, for stateroom when we played our fave music CDs on it while getting ready for dinners. We MISSED our home music. Also, while in Italy, for example, we play Il Divo (Spelling?) on it to enhance the moment. Flight booked through cruise company was smooth. No problems. Delta. Quite Comfy. Return trip: British Air. VERY comfy. Loved it. BUT we had a layover in England (expensive food!!, but fun. Have beer!!) and a much more restrictive carry-on luggage allowance. Any questions on that, let me know.

---- EMBARKATION

smooth, easy!!!!! Only glitch, two of the four rooms had toilets that didn't work. What with the long flight, lost luggage day prior, broken cameras, our group started to get irritated. We had bottles of wine from our Travel Agent in our rooms, so we all sat in hallway (we were in a corner) and drank the wine in water glasses. THAT cured the doldrums!! They had it fixed within a half an hour. Funny thing happened. My parents received three gifts from the Viemans with a message saying "Maseltov." We kept explaining to our room attendant that it was not meant for us. She said we HAD to take it. So we did. WONDERFUL gifts. If the Viemans are reading this, sorry for the mix up, but THANK YOU for the great gifts!!!!! Great pics of this first on-the-spot cruise party!!

------- SHIP

Just as beautiful as it was on my Honeymoon in '01!! VERY well maintained in all public areas. Two tips I got from this board helped out alot. I used clothes pins for my bathing suits and a "sticky hook" to attach to wall for our steamer. The "sticky hook" especially was useful. Oh, and a tiny clock I got from Walmart that I put in the bathroom to keep track of time, since there are no clocks in rooms. The staterooms showed a tiny bit of wear, nothing to even note, however. The only problem was the doors to the veranda/balcony. They were hard to open. Parents' rooms doors came off track first night. Ours came off track on second to last night when we got caught in quite a stormy sea!! I was actually afraid (unreasonably, however) that the door would fly across the room, impale me, and that would be my demise. (Okay, a little bit of drama, I suppose. But, really, I did envision that. It was a crazy sea day!! The water in the Hydropool was sloshing all over that deck!! You could barely stand upright! I think they said 19 foot swells. I'm not good with numbers, though. They said they never seen anything like it on the Med. In the carribean, well sure. But not the Med. It was the last day at sea between France and Spain. It lasted about 6 hours. Weeee Haaaaaw!!!

--------DINING ON SHIP

since you don't get a chance to do too much on a Med cruise on board, I can't offer alot of input. We had two days at sea. That's it. We slept!! But of course, we ATE AND ATE AND ATE. When we were in port, we ate there. How often can you eat a meal in Greece, France, Spain, Italy, et cetera? The meat dishes of beef, chicken and lamb, et cetera were ABSOLUTELY TO DIE FOR!! I compare it to my favorite restaurant that I frequently visit, Mustards Grill in Napa Valley. No kidding, that good. HOWEVER, nobody in the group of eight had even one decent fish dish, including shellfish. If you really love fish, are a fish connissueur, you might thing otherwise. (I am not) The best buffet food and Poolside Grill food I have ever had on a cruiseship (I've been on 7. Princess, (Yuch!!) RCCl and Carnival, for what it's worth)

--------SPA

I also went to the Spa and was stoned!! Stone massage, that is. And it was THE BEST massage I have ever had (I've only had eight, though.) I gave the guy a 40 dollar tip!!! That's how high I was!! In the elevator returning to my room I explained to the only other occupant in the elevator how I was stoned and it was great!! well, turns out, that "guy" was the CAPTAIN. I recognized him when I seen him again at the Captain's party. (Hee Hee.) I got a haircut at the salon. I asked how much up front. they said 25 dollars. When I was there, I don't know what happened. My Fault. BUt they said, "Do you want it dried?" I said sure. They said do you want some "kick?" I said, um, sure! One hour later it was a total of 85 dollars. (Not including tip. Since it was an hour, though, duh, I should have known. ) I had planned on going in the pool, as it was a precious day at sea. Not after 85 dollars, however!!

-------- OLYMPIC ROOM

I do not reccommend it. It has changed since '01. To sum it up, you can have comparable food in the regular dining room. You are not limited to just 3 courses. Some dishes were very mediocre. In the back of room we could not hear harpist anyway. We recommended it to our group and we were slightly embarrassed. In a group of eight you have to decide whether you ALL want to go 6-course (Was it 6 or 8?) or 3-course menu. I DID NOT like that. We have different levels of comfort. Some couldn't justify the extra expense, and some wanted to go for it. Not well thought out, if you ask me. If you have questions, I will check back, ask me. I will answer as best as I can remember.

------VENICE

We were tired, but not TOO tired, since we broken up flight from Cali. So only 8 hours in the air as opposed to, what? 15? Time change helps a little too, to break it up in New York. We will do it next time too, but stay in port of call for embarkation. So we went downtown. SOOO crowded. (Two days before Venice Film Festival, duh!!) but SOOOOO magical. I LOOOOVE Venice. Especially in September. I was there before in August and it was so HUMID and hot. Absolutely magical, this place is, especially at night. I reccomend you just take the free water taxi over and explore!!! Expensive though. BE VERY CAREFUL YOU DON'T SIT IN FRONT OF MUSICIANS IN ST MARKS SQUARE!!! They charge 40 euros just for the music. 12 coffees came to 120 euros. No kidding!!!! Oh, well. Still LOVE it. Also the conversion rate was something like 65 euros to the dollar. That hurt too!! More reason to take a cruise in Europe!!

-------ATHENS

We went on the Acropolis tour again. It was worth every penny. It was much better this time. Great weather and wonderful guide. (We left our guide last time and didn't learn some important facts.) Didn't get to see the the City, though. I am sure it is beautiful. I was planning on going back solo to the flea market, as it was a Sunday. Drove by it, though, and it didn't look appealing enough to justify cab fare.

--------CROATIA

Took ship tour. Croatia was very pretty, and affordable. (A change from other ports) Ironically, it had the best pizza on our cruise. Great pubs. I wish I had taken the Glavic Family Home tour, though, to experience the culture more. The city resembled other villages we went to, without the distinct culture. I am sure that is because I was ignorant to WHAT their culture is. Would have like to learn more about it.

-------SANTORINI

One of our BEST ports. Had a blast!!!! About 40 percent of our pics are taken here. When I was getting my 80-plus-dollar haircut, the girls told me what they do in Santorini. They rent 4-wheelers for 20 euros a day!!!! Yep, that all it was. We did it. (I am a chicken by nature!!) We rode those suckers all day long to beaches, wineries, tavernas -- you name it. I HIGHLY recommend this!!! Remember, group was 38-65, median age 46. It is a relatively small island. I can't imagine you could get lost (and we tried our best) Afterwards, we went back to ship, cleaned up, and me, being me, insisted on going back into port for dinner. THE SUNSET!!!! I will NEVER forget it. Great dinner. Everyone else missed out, and I had the pics to prove it!!! You can't be tooo tired!!! You can eat on the ship anytime. If you are in port, stay there as long as you can. That's my motto!!!

 

I still have Naples, Villefranche, Florence, Rome, and Barcelona to go. I will do it later, if you want. Thanks for all your help!!!! These boards were absolutely invaluable to me when I was preparing for our trip. Especially Steve Bruin and LuvtoTravel!!!! I hope I helped out in some small way!

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thanks for your thoughts. I'll look forward to what you have to say about Barcelona, Rome and Villefranche, as I will be there in 3 weeks :D .

 

Did you do the ship excursions?

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swelch, love your review, you have such a great sense of humor & it comes through in your writing! Were you on the 9/19 Millie? We were supposed to be on it but had to cancel! :( We gave up FV 9197 & our friends gave up FV 9156! We were SOOOOOO sad to have missed this trip, so I am getting all the info from reviews to get me through until we book it again in the next couple of years! :D

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Thanks for the review & great humor--we are just starting to plan a Medit trip & picked up many pointers--guess a less fancy cabin might be OK as many excursions take thwe whole day! We also had our luggage lost last month on SWA-- had flown Islip NY to Seattle--it never left Islip! SWA gave us lots of TLC but no real answers & no luggage-- finally arrived in the middle of the night before our departure-- we always go a day ahead & in future may go two--just to give luggage mishaps a chance to correct--will also pack like U in the carry on so not a full disater--on our trip we had ZERO clothes in carry on--big mistake--but it works out in the end! Thanks for your review----

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Great review -- can't wait to hear more!:)

 

We're debating between the Med. and Alaska for 2007. You're making it a really tough decision! Thanks for taking the time to post.:D

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We were on the Millie 9-7 cruise. We did all ship excursions, at least in ports of call quite some distance away because, like I said earlier, I am a chicken. I'm too worried about missing the ship. So Rome we did the Ancient Rome tour. Really wonderful. Florence on your own tour. Worked out well. Pompeii and Amalfi Coast tour FANTASTIC!! Villefranche, St. Paul De Vence and Nice. Pretty good. And the rest we did our own thing. (free shuttles, close to where ship was docked)

Dissapointed about Barcelona. We only had an overnight there. (Pulled in about 5 and had to dismebark next morning.) I told my hubby to rest up! cause we weren't coming back on ship til the wee hours! The shuttle bus's last return trip, however, was at 9 pm!!! I didn't get to see Barcelona at all!! I was SOOOOO dissapointed. My DH PROMISED to take me back for land tour to Barcelona, I threw such a fit! Then we all had Sangrias and tapas on Las Ramblas, so I was a little better. The problem was, I knew everything I was missing in that port thanks to Steve Bruin who wrote a wonderful post on these boards.

I will try to write in tonight about other ports. I'm at work right now, sneaking on-line. (Hee hee)

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