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Nicole721

13 Days, 8 Ports and One New Ship: Nicole721's FULL PICTORIAL Horizon Review

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Croatia, while in the EU, has its own currency (for now…this should change in 2019 or 2020 when they adopt the Euro). Until then, while many shops accept both Euros and Croatian Kuna, some do not. Fortunately, just about everyone (except for the vendors at the street market) takes credit cards, and if you have a credit card without foreign transaction fees, there’s no need to add another currency into the mix.

 

We could have used another hour exploring the Old City, but we weren’t sure where or how to pick up the shuttle and given the traffic issues we faced in Florence and Rome, we wanted to get back early. The shuttle picked up at the entrance we had come in through, and there were so many signs and people holding directional signs that it was pretty hard to miss.

 

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The ride back to the port took no longer than five minutes and the shuttle dropped us off right in front of the ship. We looked through some of the merch at the market, but I was already set with my postcard, guidebook and bag of Croatian candy that we gave up on shopping and headed back into the ship.

 

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Lunch was winding down when we got back on board, so we quickly dropped our bags at the room and headed upstairs to the Lido Marketplace for lunch, where we feasted on comfort food and those delicious dessert cakes.

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After lunch, we headed back to the room and promptly drew the curtains and passed out into a nap that would take us to departure time. Arriving into Dubrovnik was an entirely special experience, but leaving it? I don’t even have words. Thankfully, I do have pictures.

 

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We had an early dinner reservation at Ji Ji, where Rinyami, the hostess, remembered us from the Vista and each course was better than the last despite the fact that we ordered all the items we always order. Ji Ji is often forgotten behind the glitzier Fahrenheit 555 or the Chef’s Table or even Cucina del Capitano (perhaps because it’s on so few of Carnival’s ships), but the food is so, so good and the way it’s presented – it’s basically art on a plate that tastes every bit as good as it looks.

 

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Fried Cheese Amuse Bouche

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Chicken & Cilantro Root Soup

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Chicken Spring Rolls

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Slow-Braised Pork Belly

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Kung Pao Chicken

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Wide Noodles

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Peppered Beef

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Bo Kho Slow-Braised Wagyu Beef Short Rib

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Hakka Style Noodles

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Blistered Beans

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Rose Crème Brulee

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Caramelized Crepes

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Fried Wonton

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Fortune Cookies and Homemade Fruit Leathers

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After dinner, we had a handful of options to choose from, including a Headliner show from the winner of Britain’s Got Talent, but we opted for the Dive In Movies, where a showing of Wonder kicked off Drama Night and a picturesque sunset over the Croatian coast capped off a fantastic day in another beautiful city.

 

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The temps outside were rapidly falling throughout the movie and by the time it ended, we were absolutely chilled. We stopped into the Marketplace for coffee and tea while we planned our day in Corfu. And then, even though it was still relatively early by ship standards, I was in bed by 10:30 PM, looking at pictures, writing my notes and planning for the day ahead.

 

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1 hour ago, Nicole721 said:

Once we were all at the top, Divo gave us the cliffs notes version of the cable car and the hill we were standing on. The cable cars were built in the late 1960s and on a day with perfect weather (like ours!), you could see out up to 37 miles. Because of the depth of vision up on the hill, Napoleon Bonaparte commissioned a fort in the early 1800s, which would become Fort Imperial, which went unused from the time Austria took possession of Dubrovnik in the mid-1810’s until 1991, during the Croatian War of Independence. The war left much of Dubrovnik in a state of disarray causing millions of dollars of damage. If you look closely enough, you can still find remnants of the destruction left by the war, but much of it has been rebuilt (like the White Cross).

 

 

 

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OMG...what gorgeous pics!!  You really do have a talent for photography!  I am so amazed at how beautiful everything is.  It makes me wonder what it would be like to live there!?!  

I am so loving your trip report....can't get enough of it!  Thank You!!

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On 1/27/2019 at 3:54 PM, E@syPe@zy said:

OMG...what gorgeous pics!!  You really do have a talent for photography!  I am so amazed at how beautiful everything is.  It makes me wonder what it would be like to live there!?!  

I am so loving your trip report....can't get enough of it!  Thank You!!

 

It must be a dream to live in a place so beautiful! I can only imagine 🙂

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10 hours ago, h_blond2 said:

Thanks for taking the time to write this review! I'm loving it!

 

That makes me so happy! Thank you so much for reading it! 🙂

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Day 12: Corfu, Greece

 

I always seem to forget just how much I love Greece until I’m back in Greece, and then all I can think is Holy crap, I really love Greece.

 

I love the history. I love the ruins. I love the culture. The food. The coffee. I might love the coffee the most. They make the best cappuccino freddos in Greece.

 

We’ve to Greece before, but Corfu would be a new stop for us. And since it seemed like an easy enough port to navigate on our own, we decided against booking an excursion and figured we’d wing it instead. I only had two priorities anyways: Greek coffee and Chicken Souvlaki.

 

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So a little about Corfu: Corfu is the second largest Ionian Island, marking where the Ionian Sea meets the Adriatic Sea, with a population of just over 100,000 people that call it home. A series of mountains, hills, islands and inlets surround it, and depending on where you are on the island, the roads can be extraordinarily hilly or very flat.

 

Our Carnival Horizon was pulling into port as I woke up, Mount Pantokrator resting outside my window. We were in no rush to get off the ship, so we took our time getting ready and having a breakfast up at the Lido Marketplace.

 

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Corfu is probably one of the more tourist-y Mediterranean ports we’ve visited over the past few years. There’s a terminal with shopping, tour desks, car rental counters and cafés. It’s a bit of a walk from the ship, but there’s a complimentary shuttle that will take you from the ship to the terminal building. We would have known this if we attended the second Fun Aboard Fun Ashore presentation, but we didn’t so we walked it.

 

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The big destination in Corfu is the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. Old Town is a maze of alleys and backstreets that lead into lively, colorful squares filled with shops and cafés. It’s probably walkable from the ship, but it’d be a pretty long walk and we had a short day (and also, we were on vacation and a long walk on a hot day didn’t seem very vacation-ey to me!). The ship offered another transfer from the terminal to Old Town for $13 round trip, but a quick Google search told me that there was a Hop On Hop Off bus, too, and you guys know how much I love my HOHO’s. For 19, we had access to two lines of open air busses on a gorgeous day and enough stock music and commentary to fill the gaps between sights.

 

We hopped on the first bus scheduled to leave and grabbed seats on the upper deck. With warm temps and tons of sunlight, we were glad that while the sides of the deck were open, the roof was closed because I had enough sunburn to last me the rest of the trip from our last sea day.

 

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Since we weren’t familiar with the island, we decided to do a full loop around on the bus before hopping off so we could familiarize ourselves with the lay of the land and understand how long it would take to get back to the ship once we started hopping on and off. Compared to other HOHO’s we’ve ridden, this line was pretty short, with just seven stops and a route that lasted just over an hour. But it covered all of the highlights, taking us past the colorful Venetian mansions, the Old and New Fortresses, Mon Repos Palace, Mouse Island (which, according to the narrative track, doesn’t have any mice, but rather was named Mouse Island because it was as small as a figurative mouse), the windmill at Garitsa Bay and the Paleopolis Archeological Site, where ruins of the ancient city still stand.

 

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Seeing the sites and hearing the history of them was really interesting, truly, but my favorite part of our day in Corfu was discovering just how colorful the island is. Many of the Greek islands and cities we’ve visited have been predominantly white, royal blue and shades of neutral. Corfu, however, is an island of color. So many of the buildings are splashed in toned down hues of bright colors. More than that, most of the houses had gardens, many of the condos had fresh flowers in the windowsills and lilac buses were growing on the sides of many roads. The floral aromatic smell was so fresh and so inherently spring. I couldn’t get enough of it.

 

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Once our first loop finished back at the cruise terminal, we hopped off our bus and onto the next bus scheduled to leave. We rode most of the loop, hopping off at Spianada Square, the stop that would leave the the closest to the Old Town. We walked through a small park and immediately found a McDonalds and a Starbucks on the main street – it may be Old Town, but there were plenty of modern offerings. But we weren’t here for McD’s or Starbucks, so we walked through a backstreet into another square, where we found Bristol Café, a coffee shop Stephanie had found on Foursquare, where we enjoyed the best cappuccino freddos since…the last time we were in Greece!

 

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We meandered around the square, popping into some of the boutiques and musing over the café’s, ultimately stopping at Olive Tree, a Mediterranean restaurant specializing in…Italian food. We came all the way from a week in Italy to Greece to end up at an Italian restaurant that also just happened to serve Greek food. Don’t ask – I have no answers. Stephanie chose it because she liked the patio seating. And, to be fair, the food was good, but I’m not picky when it comes to my souvlaki. The square was bustling with tourists and locals alike enjoying the absolutely perfect weather, and we feasted on our feta with sesames and tzaziki dip while we got our fill of cat watching. See, every time we’re in Greece, we find random cats just about everywhere. I don’t think they’re feral because they’re usually calm, tame and well-nourished, but they’re everywhere – crossing streets, climbing monuments and, in this case, hopping up on their hind legs to beg for food and hiding under tables.

 

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Dining in Greece is far more efficient than it is in Italy and France. It’s a longer experience than it is in the US, but not nearly as slow as it is in some of the other EU countries. By the time we were stuffed with meats and spreads, we had just under an hour from when we wanted to leave, so we headed back to the main street, where we strolled through as many shops as we could. I mostly wanted food stuffs, and we quickly found a store that featured locally produced herbs, liquors, honeys and kumquat products (the specialty of the island) while Stephanie went into a nearby boutique that had a gorgeous window display of some fun crystal necklaces and bracelets.

 

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Before I left, though, I had to get a book. I used to get magnets in every port we visited, but with all the places we’ve gone, I’ve literally run out of room on my fridge. So I started buying guidebooks so I could read more about where we’ve been and have a place where I can jot notes or look at pictures to remind me of the adventures I’ve been on. I stopped to buy a book in an old photography store, where the owner wanted to walk me through his favorite places in the book. I just love Greek culture and hospitality, and I relished in learning about the island from someone who was so passionate about it.

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Back onboard time fell at 3:30 PM, so we wanted to leave around 2:00 PM just to give ourselves buffer time. An empty bus left as we started walking back from the main street, and another empty bus followed that one. So, naturally, after two empty busses passed by right after the other, we had a 20-minute wait for the next bus. Thankfully, the bus stop was right outside of the Old Fortress, which gave us plenty to take pictures of while we waited.

 

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Once a bus came to pick up the crowd of people that had formed, we hopped onto the bottom deck, where we had one more stop before the port (and, side note, I don’t know if Pomp and Circumstance was composed by a famous Greek, but they certainly played it a bunch on the bus).

 

The HOHO dropped us right off at the terminal building, where we had an initial bag scan before passing through into the duty free shopping area and over to the loading area for the shuttles back to the ship.

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Once we passed through a second round of back checks and security, we made our way onto the ship, where we were welcomed with a blast of cold air and some crazy crowded elevators. We beelined up to the Lido deck for some ice cold bevvies and a slice of cake since we didn’t have time to get baklava while we were out in port.

 

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We took it easy for the rest of the afternoon, resting in the room and walking along the outer upper decks. Sailaway was right on time at 4:00 PM and we sailed out towards our next top in Sicily, gliding past the mountains we came in past.

 

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It’d been a few days since we dined in the main dining room so we headed back to give it another try. On a first cruise, a few kinks in process are to be expected, and it seemed most of the kinks came on the dining side, where the staff was still getting used to the new galley and new crew mates. Thankfully, most of the kinks were on the service side, not the quality side, and we enjoyed a delicious dinner.

 

Shrimp Cocktail

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Three Bean Salad

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Chorizo Potato Skin

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Flat Iron Steak

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Stuffed Chicken Breast

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Stir-Fried Beef and Broccoli

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Carrot Cake

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Carnival Chocolate Melting Cake

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We split up after dinner, with Stephanie and I taking a walk along deck 12 to see if we could catch the sunset (…we just missed it) and down to deck 5 to listen to some of the live music in Ocean Plaza. This trip was passing by quicker than it had the first week, and I couldn’t believe we hadn’t listened to some of the live music that was all over the ship.

 

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Our evening was super low-key from there. Stephanie and I braved the chilly evening air for a screening of The Greatest Showman at the Dive In theater. Cruise Director Mike did a live intro for the movie, and I was impressed that he even took the time – I don’t think any of our recent CD’s had done live intros for the Dive In.

 

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And after we sang along to every song (because any movie can be a singalong if you try hard enough!), we headed to bed. Three ports left, but only one last tour to wake up early for.

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I think this is the first time I've read a trip report where I'm riveted to the shore excursions.  When it's time for you to head back to the ship, I'm like...no, not yet!  I want to see more of the port through your eyes and words.  I guess I need to plan a cruise to the Mediterranean.  I do worry about being exhausted with such an intensive port schedule.  I guess you just do what you can and understand that you can't possibly see it all.  I've always thought of cruising as "sampling" the ports.  You just get a small bite to try...not a full meal!?!

Thanks for truly taking us along with you on this wonderful journey.

 

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10 hours ago, E@syPe@zy said:

I think this is the first time I've read a trip report where I'm riveted to the shore excursions.  When it's time for you to head back to the ship, I'm like...no, not yet!  I want to see more of the port through your eyes and words.  I guess I need to plan a cruise to the Mediterranean.  I do worry about being exhausted with such an intensive port schedule.  I guess you just do what you can and understand that you can't possibly see it all.  I've always thought of cruising as "sampling" the ports.  You just get a small bite to try...not a full meal!?!

Thanks for truly taking us along with you on this wonderful journey.

 

 

Thanks for coming along on my journey!! 🙂

 

This one wasn't too bad in terms of sheer exhaustion. I had a terrible sinus infection that was keeping me down more than I normally would be, but even with all the ports, it wasn't nearly as exhausting as our Baltics cruise the year before! Between my jet lag and the fact that as it turns out, the sun doesn't actually fully set in Russia in May and there was light on the horizon into the early morning hours (which ALWAYS messes with me when I'm overseas in the late spring/early summer), that Baltics cruise did me in. It took me a solid week or two to recover.

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