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singinalot

I’m back!! My Jewel of the Seas Greek Isles Travel Blog Round 2

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***Hi everyone!

First, if you haven’t yet read Rowse’s wonderful report do go enjoy that! It will take me several days to get my full blog and photos up. I also did a lot of video this time and will be posting some vlog links once I have them edited***

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2699122-jewel-of-the-seas-review-long-september-15-24-2019-with-travel-prepost-cruise/page/5/

 

Wow. Incredible. Beautiful. These are the words we used when describing last years visit to the Greek isles. Would this year live up to the same standard and unmeasurable experience?

 

This was my 7th cruise...7th?! That’s not nearly enough. I started cruising in fall 2014 when I made the leap to move from my home in Seattle to where my long distance at the time boyfriend lived in Colorado. He had been cruising for years solo or with ex girlfriends that we will not mention. I had just returned from a DIY land based in Ireland and then pretty much went straight into my first cruise: the Southern Caribbean.

 

If you read my last review you’ll know Nate and I got engaged in Sept 2018 in Rome on top of the Altar of the Fatherland in Palazzo Venezia. When we got back from that cruise we almost immediately booked for October 2019. The price was too good to pass up and we wanted to see everything again.

 

Shortly after we booked this cruise we started thinking about wedding dates. Nate’s business’ busy season ramps down in September...getting married during the summer is just not an option. I found our venue http://www.cathedralpineslodge.com/ and fell in love with the idea of a fall wedding there...I spoke to the manager and the “off season” prices began in October. “Well we can’t get married in October because we have the cruise booked”. This is how our wedding date of November 9, 2019 was born. So this cruise is a non-traditional pre wedding moon. We have a cruise booked in January 2020 so I guess you could call that the official honeymoon.

 

We booked this 9 night cruise through a big box store and paid: $2350 for an interior cabin on deck 9 forward. This also included a $140 gift card upon our return which I plan to use to buy the appetizers for our wedding reception. I really wanted a balcony again but couldn’t justify the price which never dropped below $2000 each. We booked our round trip flights through Air2Sea for $700 each! I couldn’t believe it! This would be my first time flying British Airways. With all the strikes going on this summer I grew a little anxious but figured it would all work out in the end no matter what happened.

 

I emailed Maurizio with Cabs4Rome to let him know we were coming back again and would use his service. I began researching different excursions for Naples. In 2018 we went to Pompeii and I wanted to go to Amalfi this time. I had seen a review for Carmine’s Amalfi Coast (also recommended by Rick Steves) and emailed him for a quote and quickly paid the 50euro deposit. More on all of this later! This is just part of my planning experience.

 

The itinerary for this trip was slightly different than last year: Civi, Crete, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Athens, Naples, Civi October 3-12.

 

We were more than ready for this trip since our last vacation was a 5 day trip to Florida in February. We visited my grandma, dad,and extended family...I got a quick fix of my love for the Sea and Sunsets, but it left me longing for both again. c0824aebc0231a44f4ebb2dc6f86b3e3.jpg

In October 2018 we were t-boned by someone running a red light. It totaled Nates car, broke his back, gave me a breathing issue that took weeks to go away and anxiety I still deal with. In May we bought a puppy, a schnauzer, from a breeder. 2 days later we took him to the pet hospital with parvo. 14 days and close to $14k we got to bring him home. That 2 weeks was stessful, heartbreaking and a roller coaster. He’s now a happy, healthy, playful little nugget. I’ve also been planning our wedding, our next cruise in January, AND because of all the stress gave up my home business (I’m still a full time exec asst).

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We needed this trip.

 

One of the things I regretted not doing on last years cruise was seeing the Colosseum lit up at night. Would we be able to fit that in this time? Stay tuned.

 

I also learned last year that there are 2 different internet packages: Voom & Voom Surf/Stream. last year i had just gotten us Voom and we both had a terrible time uploading anything to social media. This time i got a great deal on black friday and got us both Surf & Stream. would it be any better? I also purchased the soda package for myself.

 

 

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We booked our round trip flights through Air2Sea for $700 each!

In April I received an email from Maurizio that he was no longer offering ride services but he referred me to another company that ended up being even cheaper for our 4 transfers AND has an easy online reservation system: www.civitavecchiashuttleexpress.com
Their website is super easy and I actually got our rides cheaper than they would have been with Maurizio. I made sure to post in my roll call and let everyone else know.

In July I decided to check what seats we could get for our DEN-ORD-FCO flights (BA operated by AA). I logged onto AA and picked us our typical aisle for him and middle for me. In August I decided I wanted a little more comfort and checked to see how much an upgrade was. $107 each for 6 more inches foot room, free alcohol and preferred boarding. Hmmmm I thought....I texted Nate and he immediately agreed. woohoo! I’ve never upgraded before...find out next how that experience went.


I had prepurchased the soda package for myself at a pretty good deal. $107 after the fees...well Labor Day rolled around and they had an even better sales I canceled and rebooked for $96 total.

I did a travel haul from Amazon and got some great gadgets that really came in handy on this cruise. A couple things not mentioned in this video are wine skins and a 6 pack different lengths power cords for our apple products





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Wow, you had a busy year. Looking forward to your review. Jewel is my favourite ship 

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Can't wait for this review.  Loved your review last year and we're doing the Greek Isles next September.  As I said in Rowse's review, you and Rowse are doing much of my research for me. 😄

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8 hours ago, singinalot said:

I received an email from Maurizio that he was no longer offering ride services 

 

 

 

Damn. I'm guessing Ferrari probably picked him up for the upcoming Formula 1 season (joke... you'd only get this if you ever had a ride with Maurizio, but you can probable imagine). Did the new driver make you bite your nails and look away more or less than Maurizio?!? 😄

 

Following along... wouldn't miss this one singin' :))

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Oh my what a rough time you have had.  I hope this cruise was all you wanted and more as you both deserve it for sure

 

thanks for taking the time to do a review as the Greek islands are on my long cruise bucket list. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Hoopster95 said:

 

Damn. I'm guessing Ferrari probably picked him up for the upcoming Formula 1 season (joke... you'd only get this if you ever had a ride with Maurizio, but you can probable imagine). Did the new driver make you bite your nails and look away more or less than Maurizio?!? 😄

 

Following along... wouldn't miss this one singin' :))

 

turns out we had 4 different drivers!!! I’ll post some thoughts on the company as I go, but they were all less scary drivers! LOL

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thanks everyone for following along and commenting!

we just landed in Denver and got in the car for 1.5 hour drive home. More to come tomorrow!

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I’m excited to hear about all of your adventures! You have had quite the year, and with your wedding still to come, you’re not done yet. I hope all of your excitement going forward is positive in nature - no more car crashes or cute puppies with parvo! I am glad, though, that everyone seems to be ok now. 

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Welcome home Crystal!  I've been eagerly awaiting your review so I'm here for the long haul!! 🚢 😍

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YAY!  I've been looking forward to your review. 

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I look forward to reading another review. Sounds like a great itinerary!

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results are in...5 million calories eaten, 5 million miles walked, 4lbs gained


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We “I” packed our bags on Sunday, Sept 29, since we were both working the Monday before our flight. 0e9b7634e81f89b83013e87ab735a638.jpg

I will never be the gal that can pack in just a carry on...this photo is just my luggage alone.

We dropped the puppy off at our friend's house Monday night and it finally felt real...vacation is here!
We left the house at 7:45am on 10/1 and got to ParkDia around 9:15. I had prepaid online $65 for our 13 days! Such a crazy good rate.
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We wandered the parking lot waiting for the shuttle. so cold! We finally got to airport and the construction had all bathrooms closed!!! literally everywhere. We eventually found one far away from the check in counters (getting those steps in early) n then went to baggage check only to have the passport kiosk reader not work . I had to manually type everything in (which took forever and everyone was staring at me like I didn’t know what I was doing) We finallyyyy got to security and they wanted to check my purse!This took a 20 minute wait!!! they said my keychain from the dealership set it off...ugh!!! It was a very frustrating start all around to our morning.
(“Patience is a virtue” my mama always said)
4376160b6d6722cc93bc0631d3886514.jpg


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Edited by singinalot

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While I'm thinking about it and before we got further into pics....

 

I did not bring my usual Nikon with me this trip.

We purchased a GoPro Hero 6 earlier this year so I brought that along in addition to my iphone XS.

https://www.amazon.com/GoPro-HERO6-Black-Waterproof-Digital/dp/B074X5WPC5/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=gopro+6&qid=1571069279&sr=8-4

I also purchased this microphone for my phone with a windscreen since I knew we'd have lots of wind in Mykonos and Santorini (or at least we did last year) and I wanted to try vlogging.

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/rde-electret-condenser-microphone/6290590.p?skuId=6290590

I didn't want to carry around my camera and camera bag also.

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Our flight from DEN to Chicago was relatively uneventful. I tried to watch the new Men in Black but just couldn’t get into it.

We were to have a 1 hour layover in Chicago but we were leaving/arriving in the same terminal so I wasn’t too worried. I paid $11 for a fruit cup and diet pepsi. Once we go to our gate we found out our flight was delayed which gave us perfect time to find a restroom and buy something for onboard...and then there was a 2 hour delay...according to a lady in line with us a first class seat had broken and they had to bring in new plane!
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I messaged Marco from the shuttle company on both what’s app and email to let him know the delayed pick up time. The whole crowd cheered when crew got on board...while we were all waiting there was a constant 4 person border control presence.
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A guy came up and chatted with us in line, named Sal...we were taking about how we’re going to Positano...
as we’re getting onto the plane border patrol is in the tunnel checking passports again....well guess what? they arrested Sal right behind us!!!


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13 minutes ago, singinalot said:

A guy came up and chatted with us in line, named Sal...we were taking about how we’re going to Positano...
as we’re getting onto the plane border patrol is in the tunnel checking passports again....well guess what? they arrested Sal right behind us!!!

 

😳 OMG. Things are getting interesting early!!!

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After seeing all your beautiful photos and stories on IG, I can't wait to read the whole review! Blessings to you and Nate on your upcoming nuptials ❤️

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2 hours ago, aring75 said:

 

😳 OMG. Things are getting interesting early!!!

 

right? what a way to start a trip!

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1 hour ago, travelfool said:

After seeing all your beautiful photos and stories on IG, I can't wait to read the whole review! Blessings to you and Nate on your upcoming nuptials ❤️

 

thank you so much! ❤️

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