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Shana9136

Jewel of the Seas 10/3/19 Greek Isles Review/blog!

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I'm back from an amazing (but tiring!) time on the beautiful Jewel of the Seas out of Civitavecchia to Crete, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Athens, and Naples. Researching before trips is a hobby/obsession of mine, so hopefully these posts will help others eyeing this particular itinerary.

 

Quick background on me - I'm a lover of cruising, 20+ under my belt, and a lover of the Mediterranean with trips to Italy and Sicily in the past, but this was my first time combining the two with a Mediterranean cruise. A match made in heaven, I think! I traveled with my husband; he's a newer cruiser with this being his third, and a bit of a reluctant traveler in general. To be fair, we have had some really horrible travel experiences together so I can't say I blame him (let's just say we assume we won't get our luggage... ever.)

 

My mom passed away last September, and around the holidays hubs noticed I was having a hard time and suggested a trip to look forward to may help. He mentioned Greece as we haven't been there together, and the words barely passed his lips before I was researching and booking. Had to lock something in before he changed his mind!

(He didn't change his mind, but he did make me laugh when weeks later after booking the trip he casually inquired "Do we have to fly to get there?" For reference, we live in Massachusetts, and the cruise left from Civi/Rome. Yes, yes dear, we DO have to fly to get there. Unless he wanted to book a separate transatlantic cruise, which I'd be down for if my work would play ball! He's a brilliant man, truly, I just think the PTSD of our horrific past flights kicked in and he couldn't believe he agreed to travel overseas.)

 

We booked a "spacious" balcony room on the 9th floor (9072) for around $2300/person including taxes/fees. Not our most frugal cruise, but for 9 nights with this itinerary, it was worth it. And we simply can't travel without a balcony. I'm trying to delay introducing him to suites or the bar will be raised yet again and our wallets will suffer!

 

Our airfare was booked through the Air2Sea program and was $690/person for British Airways Boston to Heathrow, then Heathrow to Rome (round trip). There were direct flights available but they were on Alitalia and Alitalia ALWAYS loses our luggage, so we accepted the brief layover in hopes we'd actually have bags for a change.

 

When we got to Logan (airport in Boston) check in/security was seamless, but our flight was already delayed. I think I saw the first hint of an eye twitch develop on my husband's face, but thankfully it was only a brief delay and they were able to make up for the time with some good tailwinds. Speaking of which it was the most turbulent flight I've ever been on! I'm not bothered by that, but it was so rough drinks were spilling and my eye mask kept getting jostled right off. (#firstworldproblems) I didn't eat on the flight (determined to sleep as much as possible and head off the time change fatigue) but hubs said the food was "good for airplane food" - and he appreciated the complimentary wine with dinner. I'm a strategic seat-picker so I had an empty spot next to me which was pleasant to have a little more space.

 

Heathrow was crazy. Our layover was around 90 minutes and we needed every minute of it. We deplaned down a set of external stairs and had to then board a shuttle that drove us for ages around the tarmacs before finally dropping us off at the same terminal we had arrived at. This was not the case on our return trip through Heathrow so I'm not sure what was up with it, but it was a big time suck.

 

At Heathrow you have to go through security again and they are militant about liquids... or anything they consider liquids. Such as toothpaste and deodorant. Toothpaste, ok, gray area. It's a "paste" which I'd argue isn't a liquid, but semantics. But deodorant that says right on it "SOLID" - that is not a liquid! In any event, I got scolded for my toothpaste and deodorant not being in the clear bag with my other liquids, so then my carry on got extra scrutiny. So it's kinda like the Jimmy Buffet song "It's 5 o'clock somewhere" except it's "it's a liquid somewhere, under certain atmospheric conditions and in a different astral plane, so just shove everything in the clear bag and avoid getting yelled at."

Catchy, don't ya think?

 

The flight from Heathrow to Rome was uneventful and I was fortunate to have a whole row to myself. You can see the ships in Civi as we flew over.

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After a quick automated passport screen, we went to pray at the altar of the baggage claim and hope against hope that our luggage would be there.

It was! Oh British Airways, you're a keeper!

You’ll notice my bag is busted with the label missing. Thank you Alitalia from our last trip! But when a bag practically circumnavigates the globe because it’s lost so throughly, I suppose what can you expect?

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We used Welcome Pickups for our transportation from FCO to Civi where we were staying overnight prior to the cruise. With Welcome Pickups you are provided a picture and name of your driver ahead of time (it changed a few times in the day or two before we left) and a description of the vehicle. They update you on the status of your driver by email and text (we just connected to the free airport WiFi to communicate). When you get your luggage, go out the exit to "arrivals" and you'll find a sea of drivers waiting holding signs with the names of their passengers. We found Stephano who had a choice parking spot immediately outside the airport, loaded us up, gave us a complimentary canvas bag and waters, and off we went.

It was about 45 minutes to Civi where we were dropped off at Tenuta dell'argento, a working cattle ranch that has been made into a hotel/resort. It's on a hill overlooking Civi harbor and the views of the harbor and hillsides are gorgeous. Very peaceful. I will say the rooms are "rustic" - no fancy accommodations, no potable water in the bathroom, but they're spacious and it's hard to beat the tranquility and beauty.
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We just relaxed for a while until dinner time (the on-site restaurant didn't open until 8; welcome to Italy!) The dinner was lovely. They had a massive wine selection and we pretty much selected at random, but the Repasso Veneto was tasty indeed! I had fettuccini ai funghi (mushrooms) and hubs had a pork ragout. The pasta rivaled any we've had in our past travels across Italy and Sicily. Hubs also ordered beef bourguinon... or at least he thought he did. It arrived as a cook-your-own situation with polenta, beef cubes, various sauces, and a tub of oil heated by a burner. Not what we expected, but the beef was incredible! Though it can't get any fresher, when you eat ON a cattle ranch. It may well have been a mistaken order given the language barrier - I understand some Italian if it's spoken slowly and speak a very little myself, but not great. The staff we encountered spoke very little English except for one particular front desk staff member and one driver. But no complaints, I consider that our bad for not brushing up on our Italiano more prior to traveling.

The restaurant was popular and seemed to attract a lot of locals who weren't staying at the hotel - always a good sign. We had our usual challenge that we encounter in most European restaurants - trying to get the check. I think it must be a cultural thing with a more laid back attitude, but in the States when you're done with a meal, the check is dropped off quite promptly. Gotta turn those tables! But in Europe it's not uncommon for patrons to linger for HOURS, and we have such difficulty communicating that we're ready to go. I've never had such trouble trying to give people money! But hey, it's vacation, what's another hour trying to get a bill?

It wasn't the most restful night's sleep as the walls were incredibly thin and we could hear every. single. word. of the people on all sides of us. It sounded like an Italian gentleman was doing some sort of shared English/Italian lesson with someone on the phone between midnight and 3am, and between the noise and my curiosity (hey, free Italian lessons!) sleep wasn't going to happen. But the beauty of the sun coming up over those hillsides made us forget our fatigue.
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We stopped by the complimentary breakfast (yogurt, baked goods, deli meats, coffee) and then killed some time wandering the grounds until the driver was ready to take us to the port. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle directly the cruise ship at 11am, 12pm, or 1pm. It brings you right up to the luggage drop off area, not just the entrance to the pier (which could be quite a walk depending on where your ship is docked). Quite convenient! They also offer shuttles into downtown Civi that can be scheduled for a fee, if you wished to explore town while staying with them.

Embarkation was effortless and we were on board within 10 minutes of arriving, so around 11:30 or 11:45.


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After getting on board first stop was the Windjammer for lunch. It was pretty good - we had paella and adobo chicken, and hubs had the first of many soft serves.

Our stateroom was ready around 1pm. As noted it was a spacious balcony on deck 9 (9072, port side, midship). It was a standard balcony room with 2 chairs a small table outside. We found the storage in the room to be more than adequate between the closet shelving in the closet, cabinets adjacent to the vanity, vanity drawers, and shelving around the TV/safe.

Where we found storage to be lacking was in the bathroom - only a corner shelving unit behind the mirror on one side, but we made do. There were only 2 outlets on the vanity so it took a bit of juggling to take turns charging devices, but doable.

Suitcases fit easily under the bed (per our stateroom attendant they were systematically changing out the bed frames to higher ones to allow for more under-the-bed storage, and ours had already been changed. This was evident throughout the week as I'd see the new bed frames waiting in hallways on various cabin floors.)

The bed was very comfortable (we prefer a firm mattress) and the sliding balcony door is nice so it stays open versus having to be propped or tied (sleeping with the balcony door open to hear the waves is our fav.)
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The room was clean except for the vanity drawer handles. I always wipe down room surfaces when we arrive with disinfectant wipes and put the remote in a plastic bag - took a couple of days for our stateroom attendant to realize we wanted it to stay in that bag! I noticed the drawer grips/handles had quite a build up of residue from past cleaners along with stuck on debris. Some of the drawers smelled a little musty as well. But other than that, no issues.

This room didn't have the power feature that requires a card to be inserted at all times as some newer ships do, but the A/C won't run unless the balcony door is shut/locked.

After muster we went our separate ways until dinner (Solarium for me, gym for hubs) and then had a My Time Dining reservation in the Tides dining room, 5th floor (upper level) for 6:30.
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Our waiter and assistant waiter were Lloyd and Elvis, and they were delightful. We had a table for two and ended up at that same table for each of our My Time Dining reservations (even though the times changed a bit some days). We did not request the table for two, but were pleased we got it. The tables are close enough to each other that if you wish to be friendly with nearby diners you can.

Apps that night were calamari (ok, little under seasoned), french onion soup (good). Entrees were a crusted salmon with parsnips, carrots, and tomatoes in a lemon beurre blanc (little salty but good) and chicken marsala (good, small portion per hubs but he was pleased that it forced him to not overeat). Dessert was hazelnut chocolate cake for both of us - delicious.

After dinner we had a glass of wine at Vintages. On this ship Vintages is out in the open right next to the centrum, so it lacked some of the coziness we've enjoyed on other ships. We watched a karaoke game going on in the centrum, wandered the ship making each other imitate various art installations (as is tradition!) and had a bit of an early night as we had slept so poorly the previous night.
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My routine on cruises is to get up at dawn (sometimes before!) and walk every single hall and every single stairwell on my own personal art tour. Jewel has some interesting (read: odd) art. The stateroom halls sort of had a theme for each floor, and 3rd floor was by far my favorite - cute animal art! 8th floor was a little weird with odd celebrity portraits - I did a double take as I walked by, and said good morning to George Michael holding a sequined thong with a union jack on it!

Early morning is a good time to take pictures of the ship and it's so peaceful to feel like you have the place to yourself. Jewel doesn't have a ton of options for early morning coffee and the like, but the Solarium seemed to have this up for offer earlier than anywhere else.
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After my early morning art walk I was just in time to go topside to watch as we passed Stromboli. It's still an active volcano and I even caught a glimpse of some red magma flashing at the peak!
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After breakfast with hubs I wandered some more onto the helipad (accessible intermittently throughout the week), around the promenade deck, and along the track to get in a few miles.
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The afternoon brought us the International Belly Flop Contest - always worth a watch! And of course some gym time.
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That evening was "Dress Your Best" for dinner. Oh, the drama this causes on cruise forums! I saw everything from cocktail dresses and full length gowns to casual sundresses and pants on women, and tuxes and suits to khakis and jeans on men. If you're going to eat in the main dining room, just don't wear shorts and I think you'll be fine. (I wore a maxi dress and hubs wore dress pants and a button-down shirt. I promised him he didn't have to bring a suit on this cruise.)

The shrimp cocktail was ok, very tiny shrimp (go for the unlimited shrimp cocktail in the Windjammer some night - much better), lobster bisque (hubs said it was great), duck l'orange (pretty good), beef tenderloin (awesome), creme brulee (runny), and carrot cake (good.)

We headed to the Schooner Bar after dinner but we had missed trivia. Their Hennessey Old Fashioned was ok, but the Sandy Collins was quite tasty.
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After our drinks we wandered poolside and caught the end of Avengers Endgame on the big screen. They were struggling a bit with the sound - every time the movie had a quiet moment the poolside music would cut back in.
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When the movie was over we moved on to the centrum to watch another trivia game (this ship seemed big on trivia). I actually learned a few things, or at least a few drinks in it felt like I did!


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Hello Crete!

We were up around 7 for some gym time for hubs and yoga time for me (balcony yoga is my fav). The sunrise as we approached the island was beautiful.

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After disembarking we walked over to the bus ticked stand (you can't miss it, well marked and just to the left as you exit the little terminal) to buy some tickets to get to the city center (1.70 Euro each way/person). It was very windy and as the ticket attendant placed my tickets down in the window one blew off onto the ground. A man next to me picked it up and I thanked him... but then he claimed it was his! It was clearly not, but he insisted and I wasn't going to get in a fight with a rude cruise passenger for 1.70 Euro. Thankfully the attendant saw it happen and gave me another ticket without charging me.

 

After arriving to the center of town we took a few minutes to orient ourselves to where we were (grab a map at the bus ticket stand on the dock, or they have them on the bus as well). It was a little tricky as there don't appear to be street signs, but we figured it out by the parks and angle of the streets on the map. We walked to the Venetian Harbor, stopping in the Assumption Cathedral to light a candle for my mom and admire the art and architecture. We walked along the harbor, poking in the little shops and stands, enjoying the ocean view, and eventually stopping for lunch at Arismari, a lovely little taverna right on the water.

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The waiters and host spoke rather good English, and the menu was printed in about 5 different languages to cater to all patrons. They offer you bread and dips right when you're seated, but be aware they will charge you for this (it's only 1 euro). We had bottled water, Mythos beer, squid ink pasta with salmon, lamb pie, and watermelon with raki for dessert (I believe this was complimentary) all for only 34 euro.

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The W/C (water closet/bathrooms) in Greece are interesting. We ended up stopping in the Starbucks near the harbor to use their restroom, and had to purchase something to do so (they print the codes for the bathroom on the receipts.) I wanted a mug that said Crete but of course they had everything but that, so I got a generic "Greece" one instead. Allow me to give you some hot tips for the W/Cs.

Hot tip: Foursquare often has the bathroom codes of such places (but not Crete, hence the mug).

Hot tip #2: You can’t flush TP in Greece. Use the bin.

Hot tip #3: Some places don’t have a real toilet, so you have to squat over a receptacle. Work on your isometric quad and glut strength prior to visiting. Arismari was sort of like this. There was a toilet, but no seat.

Hot tip #4: Many WCs are co-ed with multiple stalls, as was the case at Arismari. But this is perfect with your new rippling and shredded thighs and booty from all your squatting. Better than Tinder, those WCs!

#SwipeLeftIfTheyDontWashTheirHands #LoveInTheWC #BunsOfSteel

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We walked along the fort and sea wall after lunch, and when we had our fill of the harbor we wandered back towards the bus station to catch a lift back to the ship. Dinner that night was at Chops (it was our anniversary, 5 years!). We had the crab cake and bacon appetizers (I know this is sacrilege to say, but I wasn't that impressed with the bacon! And I've never met bacon I haven't liked. I recall liking it before at Chops, so perhaps it was just an off night.) For entrees we got the filets (delicious), asparagus, creamed spinach, and Parmesan potatoes. Dessert was key lime pie and apple pie - all with lots of wine of course!

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We tried to find something to do after that (it was already rather late) and grabbed some coffees at Cafe Lattetudes to fuel us for the rest of the evening, but ended up unsuccessful so we headed to bed to rest up for Mykonos the next day.

 

 

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Thank you so much for taking time to do this review. I'm planning on this same cruise in 2021 & am obsessively  planning & reading everything I can!

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1 hour ago, Jax129 said:

Thank you so much for taking time to do this review. I'm planning on this same cruise in 2021 & am obsessively  planning & reading everything I can!

You’re welcome! Sorry I’m so slow to post - competing attention from yard work and other chores! You’ll have a wonderful time, such a great itinerary.

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15 hours ago, Shana9136 said:


After my early morning art walk I was just in time to go topside to watch as we passed Stromboli. It's still an active volcano and I even caught a glimpse of some red magma flashing at the peak!
4ffc28d72ddec949a89ae17e77a6ffb2.jpg
After breakfast with hubs I wandered some more onto the helipad (accessible intermittently throughout the week), around the promenade deck, and along the track to get in a few miles.
2a4c8ece08f56a5a749c5c5a67089506.jpg
The afternoon brought us the International Belly Flop Contest - always worth a watch! And of course some gym time.
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That evening was "Dress Your Best" for dinner. Oh, the drama this causes on cruise forums! I saw everything from cocktail dresses and full length gowns to casual sundresses and pants on women, and tuxes and suits to khakis and jeans on men. If you're going to eat in the main dining room, just don't wear shorts and I think you'll be fine. (I wore a maxi dress and hubs wore dress pants and a button-down shirt. I promised him he didn't have to bring a suit on this cruise.)

The shrimp cocktail was ok, very tiny shrimp (go for the unlimited shrimp cocktail in the Windjammer some night - much better), lobster bisque (hubs said it was great), duck l'orange (pretty good), beef tenderloin (awesome), creme brulee (runny), and carrot cake (good.)

We headed to the Schooner Bar after dinner but we had missed trivia. Their Hennessey Old Fashioned was ok, but the Sandy Collins was quite tasty.
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After our drinks we wandered poolside and caught the end of Avengers Endgame on the big screen. They were struggling a bit with the sound - every time the movie had a quiet moment the poolside music would cut back in.
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When the movie was over we moved on to the centrum to watch another trivia game (this ship seemed big on trivia). I actually learned a few things, or at least a few drinks in it felt like I did!


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Following.

Great photos and review.

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Up at dawn again for Mykonos!

After breakfast we headed off the ship and bought tickets for the Sea Bus (like a water taxi) that was right by where the ship was docked. (2 euro/person each way) This takes you to Old Port where the center of town is. There appeared to be land transportation options as well, but we didn't look into the details of those. We hopped right on the first Sea Bus and off we went - it's a pretty quick trip, just across the harbor. From the ship to Old Port it appeared to be a direct trip, but on the return there was one stop at another spot in the harbor sort of midway between the two.

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Once in Old Port/the center of town, we walked to the right after coming off the dock where the Sea Bus ties up, water on our right, and after a bit found ourselves at the famous windmills of Mykonos. Wear good shoes in Mykonos - it's all uneven terrain, slick and well-worn stones, narrow passageways between buildings and along the water, and you're often fighting through a sea of humanity (aka a tour group!)

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After taking in the windmills (and the adorable donkey wearing baskets of flowers that I so dearly wish I got a picture of!) we continued walking in the same direction towards the Fabrika bus stop (there is a sign for it right by the windmills pointing the way). We bought 2 one-way tickets at the bus stand there to Paradise Beach (1.80 euro/person). Initially I bought one-way tickets because we anticipated returning from a different beach, but I realized after the fact that all the southern beaches were the same price, so we could have bought round-trip. Doesn't really matter either way as tickets can be purchased on the bus as well. We waited a short while for the bus to be ready to leave (the schedule is posted on the bus stand) and off we went. It was maybe a 15-20 minute ride, and someone sitting in front of me was video-taping the entire thing on her phone. Not that it wasn't scenic, but I pity the people she forces to watch that shaky footage!

 

We were dropped off at a little market stand across the street from Paradise Beach, and we walked down to the beach through the entrance to the Tropicana Beach Club. That early in the day there wasn't much going on, but it certainly looked like a party atmosphere and a fun place to spend the day. We had no plans to linger though, as we were off to hike east to west along the southern beaches. But if you do have time, there was some excellent sea glass hunting on this beach! I got a handful even in the few minutes it took for us to walk along the water to get to the start of our hike.

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We picked up our trail at the far western edge of Paradise (we were walking east to west, water on our left, but you could certainly start at the far western beach and reverse it, ending at Paradise. In the past you could go as far east as Super Paradise and still walk back but I read they’ve fixed some of the stone walls and now it’s a bit of an ordeal to get between there and Paradise with more climbing than we cared to do.) The trail isn't marked or anything, but you can see the worn section of sand between the rocks that leads along the coast/cliffs.

 

It took maybe 1.5-2 hours as we kept stopping to take pictures or stand in the shade for a bit, but we hit Paradise, Paraga, Agia Anna, Platys Gialos, and Psarou. Some were true powdery sand versus gravel, and most if not all had beach clubs with the option to stay a while and rent loungers/umbrellas or have something to eat/drink.

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When we reached the end we back-tracked to Platys Gialos intending to get lunch but changed our mind and headed back in town for the rest of the day (good thing as that’s where we stumbled upon Petros the famous pink pelican!) The bus stop was right up the street at the end of Platys Gialos and we bought our return tickets to Fabrika on the bus. Too easy. And we were grateful for the bus air conditioning after our hike!

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My tips - have good shoes, have a reasonable level of fitness, don’t be nervous with heights and proximity to cliffs, and there’s at least one spot where we had to shimmy down between some rocks to continue on the trail (not high, but required both hands for support), and if you can, start early or late enough to avoid the midday sun as shade isn’t really available when you’re between beaches. We did this in October and it was quite warm so I’m not sure I’d recommend it in the dead of summer unless it was early morning.

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Once we were back in Mykonos town we wandered through the tangled web of streets, poking in and out of various shops (of which there are literally hundreds! If you see something you like and it's at all reasonable, buy it, because you'll never find your way back to that spot again without dropping a pin on Google maps!)

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We stopped for lunch at the Paraportiani taverna. It wasn't right on the water so it didn't have the views of some of the other tavernas, but it was so much quieter and a welcome respite from the crowds. We had bread with olive spread and herbed butter (I believe it was complimentary), bottled water, spaghetti with mixed seafood (very generous with the seafood, clams, shrimp, mussels, octopus, fish), a pasta carbonara for hubs, and little ice cream sandwich/popsicle things for dessert (also complimentary). It came to 35 euro. The best part was a visit from Petros the famous pink pelican of Mykonos! I had read about him but didn't have high hopes of crossing paths with him (as noted Mykonos is a tangled mess of streets - we had thin hopes of ever finding our way out of the city never mind stumbling on a lone bird!) but I looked up from my bread and there he was! He graciously posed for some pictures with his adoring fans and even accepted a few pats before waddling off.

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After lunch it was more wandering (aka getting lost... we had our phones in airplane mode to avoid getting charges when we weren't on the ship's wifi so we weren't using Google maps, so in retrospect we should have made note of the sun position or something to help orient ourselves. I usually take screen shots of various maps prior to exploring ports of call for this very reason, but I didn't in Mykonos for some reason.) We got a couple of Christmas ornaments (lots of evil eye decor) and eventually found our way back to the water and the main square. I lit another candle for my mom in a tiny sanctuary right by the Sea Bus dock, and we hopped back on to head back to the ship.

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Unlike the morning trip over, the trip back on the Sea Bus was much more crowded with a large queue, so consider milling about near where the boat will tie up if you hope to make it on and not have to wait for the next one. This boat also had essentially no seats inside (there were some up top) unlike the morning one. This wasn't an issue for us but some more unsteady passengers were struggling to keep their footing.

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Once back on the ship we relaxed a while before having a low key dinner in the Windjammer. After dinner we had a shuffleboard death match (I won!) It's a tricky shuffleboard court (is it even called a court?) because one side has a raised lip that sends your pucks (... are they pucks? Haha) skittering like crazy. After my victory we moved on to some basketball where we were both equally terrible - keep in mind I was playing in my maxi dress and wedges, as one does! Once we were thoroughly smoked from our pitiful athletic efforts, we called it an early night. Getting up at dawn every day and then walking 8 miles tired us out.

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Hello Rhodes! Up for the sunrise... again! We're gluttons for punishment.

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After breakfast we headed right out. It was a short walk to the first entrance into the medieval walled city and from there we just wandered and explored. It's so beautiful with charming little streets and alleys, ancient architecture, and shops and tavernas everywhere.

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We found the clock tower which was closed (you can walk up it for a fee but we were too early) and then headed to the Palace of the Grandmaster. We purchased the combination tickets that were good for the Palace, Archaeological Museum, and a nearby church (10 euro per person).

 

The Palace is sprawling with a section of ancient artifacts on the ground level and then upstairs the palace itself with gorgeous mosaic floors, tons of restored rooms, and additional art to view.

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After our fill of the palace we wandered down the Street of the Knights (ancient cobblestone street with periodic placards that indicate what each section was known for historically) to the archaeological museum.

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This was far larger and more impressive than we anticipated. Just when we thought we had seen it all we stumbled into a new section. Don't miss the outdoor courtyard accessible from one of the upstairs rooms (if memory serves, when you walk in there is the main courtyard, and there is a set of old stone stairs to your left. At the top of those stairs there are several indoor spaces accessible from the perimeter of the upper courtyard level, but from within one of those - either the one directly across at the top of the stairs or off to the right, there is a secondary outdoor space with multiple levels of its own, beautiful gardens and fountains, and additional exhibits. I feel like a lot of people missed it because although the first level and second level main spaces had a good amount of tourists, we never saw another soul in that secondary outdoor courtyard/gardens. Their loss! It was lovely.)

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We spent quite a long time in the archaeological museum, and then somehow missed the church that was part of our combo ticket (there is a map at the Palace of the Grandmaster that indicated the church was quite near the museum... but all the buildings look similar. Oh well. We had our fill of "old stuff" for the day, as hubs put it.)

 

Instead we poked in some of the shops and bought some souvenirs (beautiful, hand-painted ceramics seemed popular here.) Around 11 all of these parrots turned up in the side streets and main squares, sitting on perches and squawking. They were beautiful but I didn't really understand where they came from or why they were there - I didn't notice anyone charging for pictures with them or trying to sell them. Who knows.

 

For lunch we stopped at one of many tavernas named Filippos. I had the best gyro of my life, hubs had pizza, and with bottled water, Mythos beer, and shots of ouzo (had to do it!) the total was 28 euro. I had heard about an oatmeal cookie liquor popular in Rhodes called Tenturo I believe, but I never saw it sold anywhere.

 

On the way back to the ship very near the dock there is a tiny sliver of beach with more excellent sea glass hunting.

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I relaxed in the Solarium for a while (it had start sprinkling a bit) while hubs hit the gym.

Dinner was escargot (good, smaller than usual), pea soup (good), shrimp scampi (under-seasoned with very few shrimp, but I was warned about this by our waiter Lloyd prior to ordering), steak with yorkshire pudding (very good), and chocolate cake. Can't go wrong with chocolate cake!

 

We stopped at the centrum bar after dinner (the Kentucky Burgandy drink was only ok and the bartenders seemed very unsure of how to make it despite it being on their drink menu) - it's nice to be close to the action as a lot of musical and game events happen here, but seating is very limited both at the bar and around the centrum.

 

After that we hit the Schooner Bar where we had a rather unfortunate encounter with a profoundly drunk passenger who started out friendly but quickly escalated to inappropriate and belligerent. I was ready to make a run for it after my ear was licked and I was propositioned repeatedly to return to the drunk passenger's room. I hastily finished my drink ready to dash... and hubs ordered another one for himself! **facepalm** We have to work on our exit strategy in such situations because we were clearly on very different pages!

 

We finally made our escape and headed out to get some air on the promenade deck (only to have to scurry away when the drunk and inappropriate passenger also found their way out there to smoke, but thankfully we weren't noticed). By then it was rather late so we headed to bed.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

 

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Enjoying your travelogue- do you have any cabin & balcony pix? We are considering the Jewel for a 13-day itinerary next August...

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Enjoying your travelogue- do you have any cabin & balcony pix? We are considering the Jewel for a 13-day itinerary next August...


Not my pic but this is what our room looked like. The balcony had 2 chairs and a small bistro table
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Beautiful pics.  Sorry, some drinks harassed you.

After over 20 cruises if this is the first time it’s happened I’d say we’re doing well! Certainly didn’t ruin our night. I felt worse for the bartenders who were trapped there and couldn’t leave like we could.


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Loving this review.  We were on the Jewell in June earlier this 

year and had a blast.

Keep the pictures coming - I miss the Jewell.

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@Shana9136

Thanks for the cabin photo- same rounded bed ala Celebrity. I wonder if the Jewel's cabins alternate with bed by bath/bed by veranda as they do on Celeb's S & Edge class ships. We are looking at a 2B #9592. Thanks!

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1 hour ago, TMLAalum said:

I wonder if the Jewel's cabins alternate with bed by bath/bed by veranda as they do on Celeb's S & Edge class ships. We are looking at a 2B #9592

No, the alternating setup only started with O class - pretty sure all Radiance class regular balconies have bed by balcony.

Edited by Biker19

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Up at dawn... again! We wanted to be on one of the first tenders off for our stop in Santorini to avoid the crowds. They didn't do tender tickets but rather told you to line up near the gangway around the estimated debarkation time (printed in the Cruise Compass the previous night).

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We hopped right on a tender without a wait (they were using life boats and some local ships) and off we went to Santorini. We knew we wanted to go to Oia (pronounced ee-yah) and there are a few ways to get there, as the tender drops you down the cliff side below the town of Fira.

 

1)Up the cable car, then bus or other land transportation

2)Up the donkey trail, then bus or other land transportation

3)By boat

 

Boat is a good option, but then you miss out on the cable car experience and views (however brief). Sometimes they also will not launch a boat until they're full, so although you may get there early, you may wait a while before actually leaving.

 

We refuse to ride those poor donkeys (I personally don't feel they're treated well and can't bring myself to utilize their services, nor did I wish to walk UP 600 steps first thing in the morning.)

 

So cable car it was! There was no wait (it was early, around 7:45am) and it's 6 euro/person. They only sell one-way tickets. It's an extremely quick ride, just a minute or two, and up we were in Fira. We walked to the bus stop (it's one row of streets away from the water, behind the archaeological museum, and a little ways past the McDonalds. I took Google map screen shots before this one and they were helpful) and waited for the 8:30am to Oia. You cannot buy tickets ahead of time, they must be purchased on the bus, which makes me wonder what the guy sitting in the booth does all day....

 

It's a very busy bus station and there were many buses lining up in the parking lot for various departures. We thought our bus would end up being one of those, but it ended up just barely pulling in off the street and loading up right there versus in the lot. It was marked IA. This was a problem as we weren't waiting in the right spot for the bus, and ended up in a throng of people trying to board, and couldn't get a seat. Standing all the way to Oia wasn't pleasant, though the good news is we were packed so tightly falling down wasn't physically possible.

 

The tickets are 1.80 euro/person and these were purchased on board, which was absurd, as this little Greek man had to gradually shove his way through the entire packed bus while it was moving, collecting money, making change, and issuing tickets, all while trying to keep track of who he had already serviced and who he hadn't. People were handing money back and forth trying to help each other, money and tickets were getting dropped, it was just a cluster****. So if anyone in the Fira public transportation department happens to read this... sell the tickets at the bus station!

 

Once in Oia we headed straight for the iconic, picturesque blue domes over the water, but even at barely 9am it was CROWDED. Seas of people, selfie sticks, Instagram-ready influencers, brides, it was bedlam. Beautiful bedlam, but bedlam. For some of the best views, as you walk towards the water from the bus station up some stairs, you'll find yourself in kind of a main square, and then head to the right and go down the alley by Alexandro's Jewelry towards the water. Unfortunately everyone seems to know this, so be prepared to wait a bit to gradually work your way to a spot to get a decent picture. We got a few shots, then tried to walk as far away from the crowds as possible. Keeping the water on our left, we kept going until they thinned out and then explored down a few downhill alleys towards the water, filled with little restaurants, boutique hotels, and shops. It was much quieter and we just leaned on a stone wall a while, admiring the beauty, and delaying our fight back through the crowds.

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Eventually we mustered up the courage to tackle the masses again, and made our way back towards the main square, then past it along the water, this time with the water on our right. It was much less crowded that way, still plenty of restaurants and shops, and just lovely. Despite the crowds it is a stunning place. My husband's review of Oia could be summed up with "turn left" - meaning when you get to the square, go left where there aren't people, haha! (But seriously, go right too to see those famous blue domes. It's worth the fight through the crowds. If you've come all this way, don't miss them.)

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After we had covered every square inch of Oia (or so it seemed) we caught a bus back to Fira (it still said IA on it, but as we were in Oia, we figured it had to be going back to town, and it was.) We got a seat this time, thank goodness.

 

Back in Fira we had lunch at Cafe Bar One - pretty much all the restaurants have spectacular views, and this was no exception. I had a Greek baguette (kinda like a panini with olives, tomatoes, feta, oregano) and hubs had gyros (not as good as the one I had in Rhodes by a long shot). With another 2 Mythos beers and a ginger lemonade, it came to 39 euro. I didn't use it but hubs said the bathroom was "incredible" meaning it had a full toilet, and a working sink. Our standards had been adjusted!

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After that we wandered Fira a bit, did some shopping, and marveled at the 2+ hour line for the cable car to get back down to the port. Heck no! We were going to walk down the donkey trail ourselves.

 

From where the cable cars are at the top of the hill, the donkey trail starts a few blocks to the left of that (facing the water). Grab a free map available from many shops and it's marked well. You can tell you've found it when you see the top step marked 587.

 

It's smelly, slippery, and hot, but I'll take that over a 2 hour line any day! And the donkeys were awfully cute. Be careful if some are going down or coming up with passengers, or just being driven by the staff - they are on autopilot and will not go around you, they just go THROUGH you, so step aside! It took us probably 30 minutes (with a few stops for pictures and donkey snuggling).

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Unfortunately the ship left before sunset, as that is famously gorgeous from Oia, but it was pretty from the ship too.

 

Dinner was back in the Tides dining room - poblano pepper soup (really delicious), Caesar salad (ok), short ribs (good), mushroom risotto (ok), chocoalt cookie with ice cream (good), and apple pie which had been a pie a previous night but now was more like a tart, still good.

 

After dinner drinks were had in the centrum so we could watch some of the evening's events (various games), then off to rest our donkey trail legs.

 

 

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Your pictures are outstanding. Real high quality. Feel like am there.....

Edited by Jimbo

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