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cruisemom42

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  1. NCL. They lost my business back in 1987. Worst customer service I have EVER experienced at sea or on land. They ruined my honeymoon and will never see another dime from me.
  2. cruisemom42

    Ancona

    I'm not sure what you'll be shown on your walking tour, but when I was there last year, I put together a self-guided tour that more than occupied a half day, including a nice visit to the (regional and stuffed) archaeological museum, the arch of Trajan, the cathedral at the top of the hill, and various other bits of Roman ruins around the town, including an amphitheater. (Some of the ruins are in very poor states and with little or no access. In fact, I read a local article before I left about how little Ancona is doing to protect its Roman heritage...) All very easily doable on foot; there is a TI near the port entrance. In the afternoon we arranged a tour through Tours by Locals to visit a nearby Roman site (Suasa) -- nicely excavated site but with limited hours and probably not interesting unless you are a hopeless seeker after Roman sites... Some people go to Urbino, but that is a full-day trip.
  3. If you're looking for a lunch option, it would be hard to beat Cipriani's on Torcello. Great restaurant in a great setting -- but of course it's a bit different than being in the heart of Venice: https://www.locandacipriani.com/en/ In Venice proper, we enjoyed a meal eaten at Quadrino, the bistro (and lower priced) version of the famous Quadri, which is situated one floor up. We loved the atmosphere of the place -- very romantic and reminiscent of days gone by in Venice. Same chefs, same great service, but simpler menu. https://www.alajmo.it/en/sezione/abc-quadri/abc-quadri
  4. My, you guys really like to sleep around. Careful, you might get a reputation! I have 3 land trips coming up this year. No cruises. Wanted to tackle some more difficult places while I am still young enough to do them justice, so I'm doing Hadrian's Wall in England and a trip to China.... But the following year I have two cruises booked on two different lines, both of which are different from the 2 unique lines that I last sailed with. 😉 That's four different lines if you do the math.
  5. In addition, the various areas of Florence's Duomo are also open -- the church, bell tower, baptistery (one of my favorite buildings in Florence), and crypt. The Opera del Duomo museum is not about opera -- ("Opera" just means "works" in Italian...lol) It's where you can see the originals of the famous bronze doors from the Duomo Baptistery. It is open on Mondays. And also the Bargello Museum, which has some great sculptures. Many people are not happy about not being able to get into the Accademia and see the "David"; however, you can see a copy of it in its original outdoor location at Piazza della Signoria (Duomo Square). No, it doesn't have the same artistic impact, but seeing it in context is very interesting. I agree the Medici Chapels are worth visiting, and I also have enjoyed visits to the Palazzo Vecchio.
  6. Sadly, not too many other lines offer them. I realize I am somewhat spoiled from my years of "Voyages to Antiquity" experience with guest speakers geared toward each itinerary, but HAL seemed like the one holdout in the more mass market category to offer genuine port information as opposed to simply 1) filling HAL tours and 2) shilling for stores that provide HAL with a kickback. I always imagined that "Savor the Journey" was meant to attract those who were interested in the journey -- wanting to know and understand the world better through travel. Now? Methinks they'd better change their slogan unless by "Journey" they only mean the time spent aboard ship.
  7. Wow, I mean absolutely no offense but that schedule sounds like a death march. Even with the most active, resilient kids I think it will be tough. I would really love to hear how it all goes off -- hope you will come back and post.
  8. In half a dozen visits to Athens I have not found it to be true that hotels in the city are a "tourist trap" or "seriously overpriced". As a city, Athens hotels are much cheaper than most major cities in Europe where I have stayed.... I gather you are not coming to sightsee but to relax. I'm sure the Four Seasons will be glorious and you will not have any problem communicating there in English.
  9. It takes roughly half an hour. Can be slightly more or less depending on the seas and winds.
  10. I've only gone to and from Delos on a fairly large ferry. The island is a distance from Mykonos, I would not think a small boat would be used. The only time I sensed more than a little movement was when the ferry had to slow down on approaching Delos (in order to dock) and also when getting underway. But I am not prone to seasickness at all, so perhaps not the best person to ask. Is Delos a must see? If you are interested in ancient history and ruins it is. If you only have a passing interest, then weigh it against all that you will already be seeing/doing on your trip. Delos has wonderful ruins, some nice mosaics, and a lot of history. It is supposedly the island where Apollo and Aphrodite were born, in ancient mythology; for that reason it was seen as a sort of religious sanctuary. It was also an active trading center in Hellenistic and then Roman times -- particularly known for its brisk slave trade. (Talk about a sharp contrast!) On the minus side, the trip over and back, with a couple of hours to see the sights, will take at least 4-5 hours. It is also very hot there in the summer months, with very little shade. There is a small, but interesting museum on site but otherwise everything is outside and involves a lot of walking, some of it not so easy.
  11. At Siem Reap I definitely wore capris, and would say it was the common attire. Lots of stairs, as you say, but oh so worth it. How long will you be there? The site is huge. We stayed for four days and in that time saw most of the well-known temples, but I could happily have stayed much longer.
  12. It's not 'envy'. It's more like the feelings of the sheep farmers in England when the land owners started enclosing what had always been common grazing areas, solely for their own use. It's (for want of more elegant terminology) a feeling that an implied right existing over many years was suddenly yanked away. Despite this singular land-grab happening nearly 250 years ago (formalized with the Enclosures Act of 1773), it is still an injustice in the minds of a least some British citizens, for example: "Give Back Britain's Common Land" published in 2012 in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/apr/30/remember-kinder-scout-britain-common-land
  13. Have to disagree a bit that Athens is difficult to do on your own. Piraeus is only 20--30 minutes from central Athens (depending on traffic) and there is easy transportation available, including a HOHO bus that you can pick up right at the cruise terminal with a stop near the central pedestrianized area. From here it is quite easy to walk to and up the Acropolis to see all the sights there, to the Greek Agora, with the beautiful and well-preserved Temple of Hephaestus, to the Roman Agora and the Tower of the Winds, and the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The Acropolis Museum is also in this highly walkable area. I've done all of the above in a day, even back when one had to get to the subway/train from the port either by a long walk or by bus. Now it is even easier. No need to take a tour unless it is what you want to do.
  14. I would have said no previously, but I know that a new passenger terminal has been built at the port. Does anyone know if it contains any type of shop? Otherwise, as Cruiser Bruce says, it is easy enough to walk back into Civitavecchia to one of several markets that are close to the port entrance.
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