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Sonora5

26 days on the Oosterdam-Venice to Fort Lauderdale-Report

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27 minutes ago, colonialinnkeeper said:

Sonora 5:  we too, embarked in Venice on the 15th.  When we were there, there was a Priority check-in and used it.  There weren't that many in the regular check in area so it didn't save much time.  We waited with the others for our group number to be called to walk onto the ship.

There was a priority check in line, but we were told Suite guests were not eligible for it.

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40 minutes ago, ZN1300 said:

Atrium

IMG_7431.JPG

There was a lot of discussion about the missing staircase

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Dubrovnik was a repeat port for us. We had gone last year with Princess, and did a private Game of Thrones tour. Unfortunately it was windy and bitter cold and rainy then so Mr S did not do the tour.

 

This year we decided to explore the old City on our own and had a great time. It was a beautiful, sunny day. Several other cruise ships were in. The City was very crowded. We walked around and I tried to find the places we had visited last year. We did find the staircase from the "walk of shame". We also found a marvelous viewpoint and the old churchyard.

 

We then descended to the area where the market is and I bought three flavors of honey. Then back up (and up, and up) the other side to have a beverage at a cafe, and then up and up and up some  more to ride the cable car. The views were worth it but it was a climb.

 

Back to the ship. We had purchased the shuttle bus tickets for $16 each, and agreed that we would have been better off with a cab. We had to stand in line for the returning bus for about half an hour. Cabs are about $10-12 each way.

 

Next: Albania!

 

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Going back to the ship would have been faster had it not been for that cruise ship taking up both lanes.

PA171187.JPG

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5 hours ago, Sonora5 said:

There was a lot of discussion about the missing staircase

 

While it is a little inconvenient, those staircases were always so dangerous. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen almost fall on them on any of the ships. 

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Albania-what an amazing stop. We did a tour with Albania Express Travel organized by Anne and Eugene. Our tour guide was Victor and our driver Col (sp?). There is not a lot in Albania-the crazy dictator built 700,000 plus bunkers but not much else. We went to a small "castle" on a hill-great view, not much going on with the castle. We visited the Blue Eye, an amazingly powerful spring.

The highlight was Butrint, a forested, park like area that contained Illyrian, Greek and Roman ruins. Victor did a good job showing us these ruins. He was also quite informative regarding Albania's struggle to emerge from fascism and become part of the modern world. Albanians are very grateful that HAL started calling there, and now MSC has followed suit.

 

Albania uses hydroelectric power and is, in some ways, very "green".

 

Definitely worth a stop.

 

Next:

Olympia

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On 11/11/2018 at 5:47 AM, Sonora5 said:

Our second day in Venice we woke up reasonably refreshed and headed for brunch on the rooftop terrace of our hotel. Panoramic view of Venice from the 5th floor. We were interested in the Tintoretto exhibition at the Doge's Palace so we checked out the lines there-too long!

 

We decided to wander-amazing how the day can fly by when you are just wandering around. We found a little fabric shop where we bought a bell pull for our servant buzzer in our living room. We do not have servants-at least, none have appeared to date-but this beautiful red and gold tassled pull makes a nice addition.

 

NB: We hung it last night and I am very happy with how nice it looks.

 

Off to find our friends, staying at the Hotel Kette. I am embarassed to recount how we wondered around unable to find the Hotel when it was just around the corner from where we stood and pondered several times.

 

Our friends had a great room on the 5th floor with a private terrace giving another wonderful view of Venice.

 

Dinner was great but we were falling asleep in our plates, so we headed to an early bedtime.

We were on the portion from Rome to Venice (Oct3-15) and had a great time. I feel lucky that we missed that huge rain storm that flooded St Mark's Square waist deep because the pictures I saw were not very nice.

Danny

 

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Thanks for the report & great pictures.That is a another part of the world that's on our bucket list.

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I am really enjoying your report. We were on the Oosterdam in June and the stop at Sarande was a reason for our trip. In the 1970's we had visited Corfu and looked across at this closed door Communist country and it was exciting to see how this proud nation had emerged from dictatorship. The UNESCO world Heritage site at Butrint was amazing, it is rare these days that you can visit an uncrowded site of this nature and we were treated with great hospitality at the end of our tour. It is sad that HAL now seem to have removed Albania from their itinerary and we feel fortunate to have visited during this window of opportunity. Looking forward to reading about your TA, on our bucket list as my DH reaches retirement.

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Last year we were on Corfu looking at Albania. This year we see Corfu from Albania.

PA181226.JPG

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This pic and the two above were taken at the Lëkurësi Castle. You can see one of the many bunkers. The old dictator knew the invasion was coming, today, at 6..

PA181224.JPG

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