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TrapperZimmy

SDII Rome to Rome August 11-18

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We got off the ship on Saturday, and I'm still trying to catch up on things, but will be doing a more detailed review in a couple of days. In the meantime, I wanted to say that both yachts were in Corsica on Thursday, and Zimmy and I went to have lunch on SDI. We were thrilled to find that Doramas was aboard. It was his first week back, and we had a wonderful reunion.

 

 

SDII looked good and I noticed something new. There are now two USB ports by the electric outlets. More later.

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If SeaDream reads these posts, I truly hope USB ports are included in the drydock scheduled for November of this year on SeaDream I. This is great news, TrapperZimmy! I cannot wait to hear the rest of your adventure.

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We got off the ship on Saturday, and I'm still trying to catch up on things, but will be doing a more detailed review in a couple of days. In the meantime, I wanted to say that both yachts were in Corsica on Thursday, and Zimmy and I went to have lunch on SDI. We were thrilled to find that Doramas was aboard. It was his first week back, and we had a wonderful reunion.

 

 

 

 

 

SDII looked good and I noticed something new. There are now two USB ports by the electric outlets. More later.

 

 

 

So HAPPY to hear that Doramus is back! Hope he will be on our Caribbean cruise in January. We've missed him.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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If SeaDream reads these posts, I truly hope USB ports are included in the drydock scheduled for November of this year on SeaDream I. This is great news, TrapperZimmy! I cannot wait to hear the rest of your adventure.

 

Good to hear that SD1 is going through drydock this fall. Any idea on what they plan to fresh/upgrade, by chance?

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I inquired about dry dock and the only information I was able to elicit was “general maintenance & repairs”. I can report what I find after boarding on 11/18; however I’d love to know any details if anyone has more specifics.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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I inquired about dry dock and the only information I was able to elicit was “general maintenance & repairs”. I can report what I find after boarding on 11/18; however I’d love to know any details if anyone has more specifics.

 

Well, I eagerly await your feedback on your experience. Happy sailing!

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Began the trip with a comfortable non-stop flight from ORD to FCO, arriving at about 9:00 am. Checked in at the Rome Cavalieri, a beautiful Waldorf Astoria resort property up on Monte Mario. Our room was ready when we arrived, and upgraded at that. And the best part is that it was on Hilton points. (I spend a lot of nights in Hampton Inns so I can treat DW Zimmy to a bit of luxury on our vacations.) Lovely breakfast overlooking the huge pool each morning. The downside is that it is not convenient to anything. They have a shuttle bus that goes to about a 1/4 mile from the top of the Spanish Steps, but we were interested in going to that area only two of our four days in Rome. The rest of the time we had to taxi to where we had plans for the morning, and then back to the city in the evening each day for dinner. Afternoons were all at the pool. Temps were well into the 90s the whole time we were in Italy, so afternoon activities either involved pools or air conditioning.

 

 

When Saturday arrived, Rome Cabs met us at the hotel and drove us right to the yacht. Boarding was promptly at 2:00 as advertised, and was efficient as always. Met on deck by Captain Stromnes and Hotel Manager Jaime. Maitre d' Nicola (from Sardinia) joined us a couple of days later. Gareth is the Club Director, and another Gareth is the head bartender. Recognized servers Jesse and Louie and met a couple of new guys, Oneil and Carlos. New chef, Neal, gets high ratings. Extremely outgoing and changing up the menus. Something new each morning for breakfast, but all the old favorites are still there.

 

 

Ship was clean and spiffy. Each day there was fresh varnish somewhere. I finally landed my dream job on SeaDream. Nicola gave me a nametag that designates me as the Brass Specialist. I still have my can of Brasso from the army, and I was ready to get started. When he told me my first task was the ship's bell, I reminded him I was on my lunch break. Stateroom was just as we expected (except for the new USB ports), with our extra hangers, baskets for Zimmy's toiletries, and my Diet Cokes in the fridge.

 

 

Dinner first night was outside, and Zimmy and I dined at a table for two on deck 4 aft. Our only meal alone as we then met two very nice couples with whom we dined every meal thereafter.

 

 

106 passengers on board, only 34 from the US. Probably about 10 different countries represented, including some Texans. 94 crew members, but if you add the new Brass Specialist, that makes 95.

 

 

 

On our way to Elba. And that will be the next post.

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First port was Elba, and we arrived after lunch on Sunday. That presented two problems - shops were either closed because it was Sunday or because it was nap time. Shops that were open were mostly the tourist shops along the marina, but I was looking to purchase some Acqua Dell' Elba, and that shop was open. Mission accomplished. We had thought about doing the ship's excursion in Elba, but found that it was not being offered. This, unfortunately, was the theme for the week. We had pre-booked excursions in Cinque Terre, Portofino, Calvi and Bonifacio. The first was cancelled because of weather. This is a trip by boat to two of the five towns, and none of the boats were operating. (This was the day the bridge collapsed in Genoa.) It was a huge disappointment since we had chosen this itinerary because Cinque Terre was the one place we had never been to. We were determined, however, to see it. The yacht anchored at Portovenere, and we were told we could get a taxi or a bus to take us to La Spezia, where we could take a train to the towns. Well, there wasn't a taxi to be had, so we ended up taking the bus. Fortunately, there were a couple of American students who had a pretty good idea of how to get to the train station. (Thanks, guys.)

 

 

So here's the deal with the train. At La Spezia, which is a large station, you can buy your tickets at a window or at a vending machine. We chose to stand in line at the window and luckily got an agent who spoke passable English. Tickets are either one-way for 2 Euros or all day for 8 Euros. However, because of the weather, they weren't selling the all day tickets. If that makes sense to any of you, please explain. So we bought 2 one-day tickets and rode to Manarola. We walked around for a while in a light drizzle, and decided to move on. We wanted to go to Vernazza and Monterosso, and decided we would to Monterosso first, and then Vernazza on the way back. So we find our way back to the train station, and the only way to buy tickets is from a vending machine. Here's the problem. All the passengers are tourists, and mostly non-Italian. So nobody knows how to use the vending machine. It takes several minutes for each person to figure it out, and there is a looooong line. We wait and wait for our turn, and finally get our tickets and we are on our way to Monterosso. The train ride is entirely through tunnels, but when we emerge it really is beautiful. We spend some time here and have lunch. When we are ready to move on, Zimmy has decided we aren't going to stand in line for tickets two more times. In fact, she says if we can get a taxi back to Portovenere, that is what we are doing. She managed to get someone to drive us for only 140 Euros. But in the end, we discovered it was a good choice. Because of the weather, or because of concern about the Genoa bridge disaster, they suspended operations of the train. We would likely have been stranded. Meanwhile, we had an air conditioned private ride all the way back to the tender dock, and didn't even have to deal with the bus again. End of day, we were very disappointed. However, none of this was the fault of SeaDream.

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Trapper, so sorry you had so much trouble in Cinque Terre, but glad you got to see some of it! We had problems with weather/high water when we were there, but Jeff Fithian — in something like 12 hours — managed to change the arrangements, get us bused to the train station, give us all train tickets and off we went! All went well and kudos to Jeff for pulling it off. That’s the mark of a good CD.

 

Ragnar, want you to know we made it to Bovington (as well as the Museum of Army Flying in Wallop) last month. Quite an adventure getting there! Think D H took pictures of every tank there :D

 

Also just finished 2 weeks on Silver Wind cruising the British Isles. Great itinerary and nice ship. Service very good and some crew would work well on SD —. Food good, but not quite up to SD. All in all, would sail again but there’s no place like home (SD).

Vandrefalk

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Glad your DH liked it. If you are ever in the Loire Valley, be sure to visit the Musee des Blindes tank museum in Saumur. Very different presentation, just simple placards next to each item. We both liked it better. Less cluttered, and less crowded. Stellar collection :hearteyes:

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there’s no place like home (SD).

Vandrefalk

 

Completely agree and couldn't have said it better myself!

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Ah, just reread the post about the Cinque Terre train. We didn't buy two one-day tickets to Manarola. It was two one-way tickets. And about the rest of the excursions we had booked - each one was cancelled due to lack of participation. We were extremely disappointed. We wanted the convenience and ease of having things taken care of for us. Apparently, we were the only ones who felt this way. Gareth assured us this was not a normal experience. It was his impression that most of the passengers just wanted to go to the beaches. That, my friends, is not why we spent all that money to go to Italy. If we wanted a beach, we could have stayed in Chicago. As disappointed as Zimmy was, she managed to rationalize it and figured if we were getting all that money back, she could spend it in Portofino. Some serious shopping was done there, and the Chamber of Commerce awarded us the key to the city when we departed. Even yours truly bought something, which never happens.

 

 

Aside from this, the cruise was really great. Calm seas and beautiful weather, albeit a bit warmer than we would have liked. The crew, as usual, was friendly and efficient. Food, as usual, was outstanding. Another shout-out to Neal, the new chef. Except for the confluence dinner, we ate every meal on deck. Most nights, that was the standard meal venue, but a couple of nights we had done that as an option. Had dinner with the Captain one night. We had sailed with him in January, when he was still getting used to the SeaDream vibe. This time he seemed much more relaxed. We even enticed him to join us at the piano bar after dinner.

 

 

But, alas, every cruise must come to an end. Really, seven days just isn't enough. Our next is a B2B that will come to 16 days. A little longer than we normally do, but looking forward to it. Cuba.

 

 

Rome Cabs met us at the pier, and we had a nice drive to the Hilton at FCO. Again, our room was ready when we arrived at about 10:00 am, and another upgrade. We dropped off our bags and took their bus into Rome, where we stayed until lunch. Rain was on the horizon, so we hurried back to catch the bus back to the hotel. The following morning, after checking out, we walked out of the hotel, down a short path, took an elevator and ended up in the corridor for the airport parking lot. From there, it was a short walk right into the terminal. Could not have been easier. No shuttles or taxis necessary. But glad we allowed plenty of time to go through the VAT, passport and security lines. And then another comfortable flight directly to Chicago. Had to deal with about a week of jet lag, and lots of work piled up, but can't wait for the next one. At least we won't have to deal with jet lag on that trip.

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