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About erby2283

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Charlotte, NC
  • Interests
    sports, tv,
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. I'll get back to it soon. I've been so busy with work. :(
  2. Thank you for the clarification. I was confused as to who they were referring to since they just referenced "them." I have a feeling they all will follow the same suit.
  3. John Heald confirmed today that all sailing through the end of September have in fact been canceled. 😪
  4. Sounds like you probably can’t get Pompeii tickets ahead of time then. I had such a hard time getting people from my roll call to join tours. Seems like people aren’t as active on here as they used to be.
  5. Seeing those chains would have been amazing. I feel like when you see things like that, it’s kind of surreal. You’re not fully appreciating what you’re taking in. I had friends that said instead of seeing the Colosseum, they did a tour of Palatine Hill. They said it was amazing and actually preferred that over the Colosseum as it was way less crowded. The thing about Rome is that you kind of need to pay for the expertise of a guide to enjoy the stories of the history. If you just want to look at amazing art and Renaissance works that’s one thing. This covid stuff needs to go away. I havent been anywhere since August. Even if it’s to Charleston or Gatlinburg for a long weekend I need to go. Lol
  6. Day 7 of the trip, Day 5 of the cruise - Salerno, Italy 7am - 6:30pm Today was another tour with ItalyTours.Eu. Stacey and Andrew were joining us again. The tour included Pompeii (with guide), Sorrento, and a drive down the Amalfi Coast. Some days, depending on traffic, the tour company says they do make it to down to Positano. But usually it's just from the coastline overlooking it - from as close as traffic allows them to get. This tour company does offer several options but I really had a hard time deciding. When you think it's your one and only dream trip to Italy, you want to see as much of it as possible and I really wanted to see Pompeii as much as I did Positano. I even thought about booking a private tour with them but it was just too expensive for me to do by myself. Had I known I would become such good friends on earlier excursions with people on my roll call, I easily could have convinced them to do a private tour with me. Meeting time for the tour was 8:20. This was by far the largest tour of the trip. They had enough to fill up a small bus. Now all my life, people have commonly mispronounced my last name. You know us Italians; we have to have all those vowels in our names. Not sure why I was taken aback when I found the driver holding up the sign with my name and as I pointed to it, my name rolled off his tongue like he had said it a thousand times. I told him I was quite impressed and he said, "Your family is from the Naples area!" By the time we got to the bus, which was not late at all, the only seats available were in the back. Comfortable enough but certainly lacking cool airflow! I think the rest of the bus was fine, just where we were sitting. Our first stop was Pompeii and is about a 35-40 minute ride from the port of Salerno. The tour wanted to take us here first before the heat of the day got too much. We met our guide once we got there and then had to deal with getting tickets as they were not included in the tour. So she either had to collect money from you (which if you were smart, you brought along Euro and prepared for since the amount of the ticket was mentioned in your confirmation email), or you had to go with her while everyone paid by credit card. So imagine 6-7 different transactions, one at a time, because everyone had to pay separately. I'm not sure if Pompeii just doesn't allow pre-paid tickets or the tour company doesn't allow it but it seemed to waste about 20 minutes. During this time people used the restroom, bought bottled water and looked around at the souvenir stands outside the entrance. Once we all had tickets, we began our walk in to Pompeii. This was my very first look at Pompeii. For those that don't know, Pompeii was a city near Naples that was buried under pumice and ash after Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. I always thought it happened instantly and people were killed right away but our guid said they did actually have notice and time to get away but many people did not heed the warning or came back to check on loved ones. While artwork can sometimes bore me after a while, archaeology does not. I've always been fascinated by places like Pompeii. It's amazing to think about how civilization built these towns and cities so long ago and how we are still unearthing them today. I believe our guide said about 2/3 of the site has been excavated. I'll post some of the best pictures from Pompeii below. The Amphitheatre in Pompeii The 3 stepping stones were used so people didn't have to get their feet dirty or wet in the streets. The size of your house in Pompeii depended on your wealth. The richer you were the larger it was and it was ornately decorated. Mount Versuvius in the background This was a local bathing area - you would sit naked on the benches until it was your turn. Many people think this is an actual body that was covered in pumice. But I looked it up online. To summarize, in 1864 a man named Giuseppe Fiorelli found a way to reconstruct the bodies. They noticed air pockets that indicated the presence of human remains in a street dubbed "the Alley of Skeletons." So Fiorelli and his team decided to pour plaster into the air pockets. Once the plaster hardened, they chipped away the outer layers of ash, which left behind the cast of the volcano's victims at the time of their deaths. This is clearly the home of a wealthy family. Notice the tile! Amazing for 79 A.D.! The view of Mount Vesuvius. Our guide pointed this out and I thought it was really neat. They placed these bright white stones so that as people traveled at night, they could see where they were going. It wasn't until I was leaving that I realized exactly how big Pompeii was. We spent about an hour here and we really only spent our time in one little section of Pompeii. When I got home and took out the map, I could REALLY see how big it was.
  7. Day 7 of the trip, Day 5 of the cruise - Salerno, Italy 7am-6:30pm Today was one of the days I was looking forward to the most! So many times I had seen the beautiful picturesque views of Positano online. I needed to make it there. Only problem was, I needed to see so many others things as well. How could I fit it all in? I started getting so excited as I could see us getting closer to port. These types of towns, built on the sides of these cliffs, are just so amazingly gorgeous. The sky was overcast but would later give way to beautiful sunny skies. I caught the pilot on his way out to the ship and even though I wasn't finished getting ready that morning, I had to stop and enjoy the sail in to port. The Pilot coming out to the ship An overcast morning I would never tire of this view Almost there...
  8. Exhausting but oh so worth it, right? I believe Marcia and Kevin, our friends who went with us on a few tours took the train as well. I think I would feel a bit more adventurous to do things on my own if I went back. Since it was my first trip, I wanted to be sure to have all my travel planned out in advance so I wasn't left wondering what to do. I so hope you get to go back in 2021. I told my bf last night we needed to start another fund so we could go back. And every paycheck we deposit $25 each. In 3-4 years, we'd have enough bc well, you know, I'm spoiled and need a balcony. 🙂 I'm surprised they would let the Pieta travel. I'd be worried about damage during transit. What were some of your favorite things you did in Rome? This was very kind of you to say and brought some tears to my eyes. I miss her so....all she ever wanted was to be a mom.
  9. A personal note about Rome. Earlier in my review, I mentioned how much my mom, who passed away in September 2017, always wanted to go to Italy since that's where her Dad was born and well, both sides of the family are Italian. Unfortunately, due to her health the last 30+ years of her life, it was just not possible. While I was going through her belongings, I cannot tell you the number of Rosaries I found at her condo. Every time I would find one, I would look upwards and jokingly say, "Did you think you'd make it into Heaven faster by having so many of these?!" It really made me sad to think that this kind, faithful woman; a woman who barely traveled during her lifetime would never make it to Italy. So that got me thinking. My mom may not have been able to make it to Italy, but gosh darn it, one of her rosaries could...and would! One night before the cruise, I wrote a note briefly describing my mom and her life, her faith and her dream of making it to Italy. My ultimate plan was to hopefully visit a church or see a local and pass on my mom's rosary to them - knowing it would stay in Italy. But you're on such a fast-paced, time schedule that this didn't really work out. So, I had explained the situation to Valentina, our Rome tour-guide. As it turns out, Valentina either works or volunteers at a church in Rome and had a better plan for my mom's rosary. She kindly placed the rosary, my note, and my mom's prayer card from her funeral in the grotto of her church and then sent me pictures. Although not what I originally had planned, I am at peace knowing that a piece of my mom will forever remain in Rome even if she couldn't make it there herself. 🥰 Forever grateful to Valentina for her act of kindness. We still exchange emails today.
  10. Day 6 of the trip, Day 4 of the cruise - Civitavecchia, Italy 7am-7pm continued... After we left the museums at the Vatican, we headed over to St. Peter's Basilica. Valentina went in to get us all headset's so we would be able to hear her talk while we were inside. As was everything else, it was extremely crowded. I believe St. Peter's is the largest church in the world and right in front of the church is St. Peter's Square. Coming from a Catholic family, but not a practicing Catholic, I still tried to take it all in. It would have meant so much to my mother to have seen all this (more on this in a minute). There is so much to see inside the basilica and we spent a good 45 minutes inside seeing most of the important artworks and pieces of history. I really am glad we had a guide rather than trying to just walk around and look at things. St. Peter's Square St. Peter's Basilica Michelangelo's statue Pieta After we left the Vatican it was time to head back to the ship. It looks like the last picture of St. Peter's was taken on my phone at 4 PM. It's about and hour ride back to the port so that would give us approximately 2 hours before the ship was to depart (7 pm). I think we were all very tired from the day and crashed in the van on the way back to the ship. There really is a ton to see in Rome and if you're ever thinking about a Mediterranean cruise, Rome would definitely be the type of place that would require either a few days pre or post cruise in order to see everything. Also, you would definitely need to plan transportation to the port if you planned on staying within the city of Rome because it is nowhere near the port - but I do believe there is a train that could take you. At dinner, our waiter brought us an appetizers that was not on the menu. He did this quite frequently and it was nice, personal touch. These were tasted like spring rolls with a sweet and sour sauce.
  11. I don't have the pictures from my bf's phone but he definitely may have pictures of the ship. I surprisingly didn't take that many - probably bc it was such a port intensive cruise. I'll let you know if I am able to get any from pictures from my bf. I have also sailed on the Anthem and it's a completely different animal. I sailed the Anthem more for the ship than itinerary. I don't think I attended a single show on the Vision. When you have to get up at 5 am almost every morning it's hard to stay up late...I'm getting old...lol. I spent the most time in the casino with my $20-$30 dollars a night - big spender. 😄 Although one night we did win $240 on a penny slot machine so that was good. Sorry about your TA for November - maybe things will be better by then?
  12. So thankful we made it on my dream trip to Italy last year. I scoured these boards like crazy. Since we had an overnight in Venice, we stayed later into the night, but not too late that we missed the last tram back to the shipyard area. It does have a totally different feel at night - but man, those vaporetto's get extremely crowded! Venice was the one place we had no tours planned and just walked around both days. Had an amazing time and can't wait to go back! Thanks for everyone's help in planning and answering questions along the way. We took an amazing gondola ride at just the perfect time - sunset. Sailing out of Venice.
  13. First of all, you will love Kotor. It was the most beautiful sail into port I have ever seen (first pic below). We booked a wonderful tour with Montenegro Tours. I had read about it through another review here on Cruise Critic. I ended up getting another couple, now friends, from our roll call to join us and it was a wonderful day with just the 4 of us and our guide, George. He took us all over the area on a nice scenic drive after seeing some sites near the port (over to Budva for lunch). If you want more time in the city walls though, do let him know that as we only had approximately 20 minutes at the end of our tour and I really would have loved more time to shop and explore. But you can let him know ahead of time and I'm sure he can cater to your needs. Here are some pictures from our excursion that day and his link. https://www.mtours.me/
  14. Also keep in mind that you don't have to stay in Italy. Once you are in Europe, it is quite cheap to fly from country to country. We took a 12 night Med cruise last Aug from Barcelona and then flew to Lisbon, Portugal for 2 days. What other places did you want to want to visit while in Europe? For me it was a once in a lifetime trip (19 days) so I tried to pack as much in as I could.
  15. Booked 4 tours with them last year - 3 in Italy and one in Villefranche. The one in Villefranche was amazing! Had a wonderful time on all of them - some where better than others as on some, they are just drivers that take you to sites but I still wouldn't have done anything differently and would use them again for sure!
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