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About MrsEmmaPeel

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  1. We have a workaround for this, at least when in port or close enough to shore that our cell phones have coverage. We always activate our cell phones for local use (we choose to buy SIMs either ahead of time or on arrival; we prefer ahead of time), so we just enable "portable hotspot" on our phone and connect to that when doing financial items. That way, we're using the cell network, not the public wifi. Not great for frequent use, but my wife uses it while travelling to check our financials every few days to ensure there's no odd charges, etc. The other option would be to sign up for a VPN (Virtual Private Network) subscription - these encrypt your network traffic before it crosses the public wifi, and then decrypt it at a (presumably trusted) server run by the VPN company. In that way, it would not matter if your network traffic was shown on a cable news ticker. It is all heavily encrypted. It is POSSIBLE that ship internet may block VPNs, but I have no experience with that as we never use ship internet. Some other options... But we also only cruise port-intensive itineraries.
  2. I should clarify - the members of our group who did room service breakfast were not doing it in order to lay out a full, cooked breakfast on a table on the verandah and enjoy a relaxing meal. In most cases, they were running around getting ready, grabbing bits off of the tray as they passed. MAYBE if they were ready for our early departure to port a few mins early, they'd sit down with a pastry and mug of tea. But for the most part, the breakfast tray(s) stayed on the couch or the bed, and only a few items were eaten on the verandah. And for us, coming from the extremely limited non-suite breakfast on the Royal Princess, the additional cooked items on the Edge room service breakfast were a step up in comparison. We enjoyed the IV setup, but: - we always kept the glass folding doors open and used the IV as an extension of the room. - we did not expect (esp after Princess) to be able to have a meal-ready table on our verandah - we still found it a little tight getting into and out of the verandah with the furniture (leading in one case to us knocking over and breaking a Reidel wineglass. We were mortified and cleaned up as much of the glass as we could ourselves and then neatened our room as much as possible to lower the workload on our steward. And then called our steward and made it clear it was our fault and that we expected to pay for the glass. We were never billed)
  3. Next: Cannes/Antibes We knew that our plan was to get out of Cannes ASAP - the Rick Steves book section on Cannes is BRUTAL; there's just no point for most travelers. So, our plan was to take the train to Antibes. The train is very quick, and the distance is not far. In fact, an Uber can get you there in ~20mins. This fact would matter later... Cannes is a BRIEF port, as we had the "virtual sea day" to get to Majorca. So last tender was slated to be 3pm. We had no issue tendering (again - no wait other than to fill the tender). The tender arrival is in the Old (Viuex) port. The best landmark for directing maps or a driver (once again, this would matter later) is the Radisson Blu 1835 (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Radisson+Blu+1835+Hotel+%26+Thalasso/@43.5475441,7.0123118,18z/data=!4m16!1m7!3m6!1s0x12ce8180530cffff:0x40819a5fd979e20!2sCannes,+France!3b1!8m2!3d43.552847!4d7.017369!3m7!1s0x0:0x8598a1f69df3700e!5m2!4m1!1i2!8m2!3d43.5484256!4d7.0119461) the train station was an easy walk. Note - unlike the Monaco train station, where the ticket machines were confusing and the ticket office fast, in Cannes, we found the reverse. I waited in line for the ticket agent (since I can speak some French), while my wife used the ticket terminal, which worked quickly and easily for her. So we waited, and boarded the train. This time, the RIGHT side is the better view, as it is the south side. In <15mins, we were at the train station in Antibes. The walk down to the city walls was easy, and there was QUITE the view. Antibes is one of the highest-end Superyacht ports in the world. In fact, in addition to the "mere" Superyachts, a special, walled and gated part of the harbor included several true megayachts, including the $400M Katara (you can't miss it; not only does it have a helipad, it actually tends to have a helicopter waiting on the pad!). The ramparts are fun and have a great view. We ended up walking part of them and then all walking to the Picasso Museum. At this point, Mom and girls headed back down to swim at the public beach: La Plage de la Gravette, which was quite nice (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Plage+de+la+Gravette/@43.5836094,7.1191167,16z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x12cdd5459e5a91a9:0x40819a5fd979fb0!2sAntibes,+France!3b1!8m2!3d43.580418!4d7.125102!3m4!1s0x0:0x2700981e7aedaa66!8m2!3d43.5829206!4d7.1292123) It had: - Sand! - A protected harbor-like swimming area - Lifeguards! - An oversized porta-potty that the girls used to change (they had worn their suits under their clothes) - A snack bar with decent, hot food. - Only about 2 hucksters selling blankets and/or hats (and were not selling hard) The girls enjoyed a swim while I went into the Picasso museum. NOTE: there's a great water fountain right outside the museum for refilling water bottles. The museum was nice, but note that it is FAR from full of Picassos. The other artworks were great, and very interesting. But do not show up expecting a museum FULL of Picassos. After the museum, I walked the streets, passing by and into the Cathedral. Interestingly in the square there, since it was Thurs afternoon (IIRC, at least in Egypt, Thurs night is a common night for wedding feasts?) there was the full wedding party for a Muslim wedding taking photos and preparing for the reception. I then happened upon the main market there. The market was a mix of vendors selling ingredients to the locals and others selling soaps and jarred items for tourists. There was also a socca vendor (a griddled, heavy crepe). The socca vendor had a wood-fired oven on a cart, so the socca were straight out of the oven! However be warned that this is mainly a locals market - it starts to close up shop a little after noon, and by 1230 to 1245, everyone but the tourist vendors are gone. Including, sadly, the socca vendor. By the time I had gone to round up my crew and they had changed, the market was pretty much shut down. We ended up walking a bit, and ended up in the Place de Matyrs de Revolution, where we found a nice cafe: L'Ardoise (https://lardoise-brewery.business.site/). They had good crepes, great burgers, and made a nice Cafe Shakerato. Rather than getting the girls a soda with lunch, we made a deal and after lunch, I hopped into the Carrefour market next door and bought 1L of coke for us to split for 1/2 the price of a 1/3rd L in the cafe. The drank that on the walk back to the train station. Our plan was to take the 1:54 train (note that French trains on the riviera seem to have a dead zone around lunch with no trains often for an hour or more) and be back WELL ahead of time for the last tender. When we entered the station, however, our train was listed as 20mins late. Hmmm. That was fine. However, 10mins later, it was 30mins late, and we sensed a trend. We decided that rather than risk it, we'd pull the emergency lever and call an uber. We checked traffic on our phones and it appeared we'd be fine. A few mins later, we hopped into a spotless Mercedes E-class and made our way back straight to the port. We did have a line to get on the tender, but it moved, and X's iced towels were nice. Post script - once we were back on the ship and relaxing in our IV, an announcement went out looking for 2-4 names... Then the time of the last tender passed. And we were not moving. Finally, at 4:15pm, a tender arrived, looking empty. However, there were clearly a couple of people on it (BUT, in our opinion nowhere near enough for it to have been a late X excursion). So that was... Interesting. Our guess was that they did not want to leave anyone because the next port was NOT one they could get the people to. We felt smug as we shared a bottle of Prosecco we had brought aboard at embarkation.
  4. Next: Monte Carlo / Nice: We knew from the get-go that Monte Carlo was just going to be a "walk-through" on our way to Nice. Our plan all along was to "see" Monte Carlo as we walked to the SNCF train station, go to Nice, return to Monte Carlo in the late afternoon, and then if we had a great need to, walk more of Monte Carlo in the afternoon. Once again, the heat, while not to the level of Naples or Rome days earlier, was very significant, and as a result, we did not get quite as much done as we might have wanted to. Monte Carlo was a tendered port, and the tender docked in a pretty convenient location right on the Quai Ranier 1er https://www.google.com/maps/place/Quai+Rainier+1er,+98000+Monaco/@43.7341024,7.4265339,18z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x12cdc287dedfadcd:0xee15296ed95b686c!2sMonte+Carlo,+Monaco-Ville,+Monaco!3b1!8m2!3d43.7400718!4d7.4266436!3m4!1s0x12cdc28588b136fd:0xa314e0950bc4f030!8m2!3d43.7341026!4d7.4276323 (Close to the Fort Antoine theater) The tendering was trivial - we walked right onto a tender in the 8:30am range, and the longest part was waiting for the tender to fill enough that they sent it. We walked right up to the SNCF train station. NOTE: for those using Google maps on their phone for walking, pay attention. Owing to the vertical, stacked nature of Monte Carlo, Google maps and GPS can get VERY confused. do not turn off your brain; keep an eye on the maps app, and make sure that you visually match up the road you are on with what maps is asking you to do. Otherwise, you could end up having climbed a block or two before google maps realizes that you were NOT on the road it thought you were on. I used my poor French to order tickets for all of us to Nice, and the ticket clerk was nice enough to ask us (in French. I am guessing she would have used English if we had been less willing to soldier on) if we were planning to return before 5pm. We thought we were, owing to the heat. She sold us "blue zone" tickets, which I realized were non-rush tickets and were a little cheaper. I think the tickets for 2 adults, 2 kids round-trip to Nice was 28EUR. Note that the trains stop further down the platform than you might think - look at the live, electronic train diagrams to see the length of the next train and where it will stop. Why does this matter? Just a commuter train, right? No, you want to get on as quickly as you can and settle, as you want the LEFT side of the train to Nice, the South side. Getting those windows will get you one of the prettiest views you're likely to ever see on a commuter train. We got off at the station in Nice, and walked to the Chagall Museum. It was a wonderful museum, with colorful paintings in large format. Because it is based on stories from the Bible, folks with much of any memory of classic Bible stories (esp kids) should be able to recognize the goings on, which make it even more fun. At the same time, Chagall includes intertwined pieces of the travails of ancient and modern Jewish people, which was a GREAT tie-in to our pre-cruise visit to the Great Synagogue of Rome and the Jewish museum there. We closed by sitting in the theater and looking at the stained glass windows. There was what looked to be a fascinating film there, but it was (at the time we were there) 100% French with no subtitles, so I followed a tiny bit and then we moved on. Owing to the distance and limited time, we hailed an Uber to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Dress code notes apply here. It was stunning, and several of the icons there were items that our girls remembered most vividly of the entire trip. Definitely worth it. From there, we decided to walk to the waterfront. Along the way, we ended up googling for a place to eat and ended up a block or two off the path at Restaurant DaviSto (https://www.tripadvisor.fr/Restaurant_Review-g187234-d2351602-Reviews-Davisto_Restaurant_Italien-Nice_French_Riviera_Cote_d_Azur_Provence_Alpes_Cote_d_.html). There had been some... "discussion" as to lunch, but in the end we did our "stop for a minute, sit down and have lunch". It was lucky we did. The restaurant had good pizza, great (and HUGE, esp for the prices) pastas (elder daughter ate as much of her gigantic plate of carbonara as she could and then declared, "well. Apparently we have a new dish I like..."). Also, the 10EUR negroni was pretty darn decent. We left well-satisfied. We walked down to the beach, there the girls could not resist, and hiked up their leggings, etc and waded into the water a little. We walked along the English Promenade, which had nice pergolas every few hundred yards to give refuge from the sun, and watched the parasailers take off from the beach. Continuing on, we tried to get into the Jardin Albert 1er, but it was entirely blocked off for the Womens' World Cup (but looked very pretty). We walked our way back to the train station, getting some gelato along the way. On the train back, we noticed another common practice. Teens would jump on the train and talk loudly to each other (as groups of teen boys do), but when we came to an intermediate stop that seemed to have a number of SNCF officers on the platform, they quickly made for the exits of the train. It was very clear from their exit (and from some of there chatter in French) that they were trying to get themselves a little closer to their intended destination without buying tickets. Note that in our two train journeys that day, on the first leg a conductor walked by and I hurriedly pulled out our tickets. She smiled at us, laughed, and didn't bother to look at them. On the way back, we never saw a conductor. Back in Monte Carlo, we walked towards the aquarium, but it was clear that the blazing heat had once again sapped more of our energy than we were used to when touring. As a result, since we were unable to get there without losing altitude, we decided that reclimbing in order to get an hour or two at the aquarium would not be worth the tickets. We considered (as Formula 1 racing fans) getting coffee and/or Champagne at La Rascasse, but decided against it, and we caught a tender back with no line. If we had to do it again, I think we'd have grabbed a seat at the Rascasse terrace and gotten a glass or two, as it wasn't terribly expensive, esp for Monte Carlo. The main thing that we realized at the end of the day was that we really did want to give the girls a chance to try a Med beach. This would affect our planning for Canes/Antibes the next day.
  5. Ah - yes; this was an all-EC itinerary, so we received the attached letter in our stateroom on embarkation. I recall the Duty Free being open, but we never went in. We can't be of much use on shopping on the Edge. Our onboard account closed with LITERALLY nothing but gratuities, one glass of wine and one mixed drink for the entire trip. We tend to avoid buying anything onboard and save our money for the ports. We are not big shoppers in any case. But as a side note, our party noted that shopping on the Edge, the shopping was not of any interest to us. On the Royal Princess, there had been several giveaways of little pieces of jewelry that could be "upgraded" for a small additional price. These were cool and drew our three girls into the shops once or twice, and ended up with a couple of upgrades. Not so on Edge. Every single promotion seemed to be the lure of "Champagne", which was of no interest to 2 of our three. All of the shops are very high end, and weren't fun for our girls to browse in. And the one pass they made over the shops resulted in little more than jokes about the $60 see-through Edge T-shirt. There were no reasonable souvenirs to pick up for our crew, so we skipped. So shopping was a bust, but we get the feeling we're not the target market. HOWEVER, we spent a long while talking with William in the art gallery, which included some WONDERFUL not-for-sale items, including a great set of Dali of the Divine Comedy and lenticular works by Yaacov Agam. He was happy to talk with us at length, and enjoyed as we explained to our daughter how lenticular images work (husband is a 3D computer graphics engineer) . We did not make it to any of the other art events, even though tempted because we were just too busy in port or in evening activities. vatnote.pdf
  6. Next - Florence/Pisa: We went back and forth on plans for Livorno, but in the end, we made a strategic decision: We figured of ALL of these ports, Florence was the one we'd most likely visit again as a land-based tour. So we had even less interest than we normally do in "bucket list checkoff" tourism. One thing we DID have was a fixed-time admission to the Academia. This was a hold-over from when the parents were coming with us, and their one request for the entire trip was to see the David. This likely would not have been on our 1-day list, but we had the tickets. From there, we built our day, and it changed over the course of planning as some things became clearer: - As we learned the likely temperature would be pretty crazy (possibly 99F) - Once we found out that the main tickets to the Duomo sites did not let you avoid the long security/entry lines for the Duomo - Once we found out that the Duomo sight we most wanted to see, the museum, would be closed the day we were there (First Tues of the month) - Once we found out that to enter the crypt, you had to first get through the Duomo security line. - Out time on site would be extremely limited We ended up going with APTours again, this time just a full-day driver. As it turned out, this worked wonderfully. We loved APTours for this, too The week we left for Rome, we made the last-minute call to get tickets for the Palazzo Vecchio with tower access. We figured we could start our day there, and depending on the security line, how much of a wait there was for the tower, and how long it took us to walk to the Academia, we could consider skipping the Academia reservation. As it turned out, we needn't have worried... We met our driver at 8:15am (there was some meeting confusion, but that was quickly forgotten with how wonderful our driver, Eduardo was). Once again, impeccably-dressed and cheery driver, immaculately clean and comfy Mercedes Vento Van. We headed straight to Florence. On the way, we started to discuss our plans with him, and he was WONDERFUL. He made it very clear to us: "I am your driver for the day. We can adjust things as you like!" Also, he lived in central, historic Florence, so he knew a lot of the "good stuff". So, we made the following plan on the way: 1) Our driver made a (great suggestion): He would take us up to the Plaza Michelangelo above the city, which would give a quick, commanding view of the city for photos and orientation. Also, that drive would take us by the "Beverly Hills of Florence", and he wasn't kidding. Well, other than this part of Florence was actually elegant... 2) He would then drop us as close as he could to the Plaza della Signora, and we would go to the Palazzo Vecchio 3) When we were almost done, we'd WhatsApp him that we were done and he would meet us in the same spot 4) He would drive us to the Palazo San Marco (the closest to the Academia) 5) We would go in on our timed ticket 6) We would grab lunch at a place he recommended on the Plaza 7) He would drive us to Pisa for a walk-around 8 ) He would return us to the ship This all worked WONDERFULLY. So some details: - The Palazzo Vecchio was... Disturbingly empty, even after 10:30am. It is like it was somehow not on the "bucket list", so nobody needed to "check it off". It practically felt like we had it to ourselves. And the tower view was GREAT. However, note that it is, as most of the other towers, quite the stair climb. The palace itself is incredible. It felt like every wall was covered in frescoes. We actually brought our 8x binoculars, and they were GREAT for seeing the ceiling details. The palace was WELL worth it, and never felt crowded. - The lines for the Academia, even the timed tickets, look daunting. But in the end, when your time comes, the lines move, and you'll get in. IF YOU HAVE ALREADY BOUGHT A TIMED TICKET. The lines for those without reservations was... Bad. We ended up giving our 2 extra tickets to a couple that were in the no-tickets line and looked like they should NOT be out in the sun and heat. Note, if you come with just the email/number from an online reservation (even paid), you need to convert those to tickets. Our recommendation? Put your party in the line for your reserved time, and then send one of them to the ticket office, which is on the same street. We found no line there (perhaps because by 1215 they had already sold out for the day?), and the vouchers were exchanged instantly, no trouble. - The Academia, for us at least, did not take very long. The David, even surrounded by the masses, was incredibly impressive, and the other highlights were fun to see. The one thing that had us deciding to do this after all is that unlike many of the paintings in the Ufizzi gallery (some of which we had actually seen in different exhibits in the US on loan), the David. Ain't. Moving. So that was worth it. - We had a lovely lunch outside on the Plaza San Marco. As in the past, we invited our driver and also offered to bring him food if he could not leave the van, but he declined. We had lunch at the Gran Caffe San Marco. The pizza was good, and the The Fredo and Cafe Shakerato were excellent, and felt good after a morning of touring. - On to Pisa. The girls enjoyed seeing the tower and the outsides of the building, but we were all pretty tired, given the heat of the day. Also the field of miracles is not great for shade. So arriving there mid-afternoon was not great. By then, the field was full of tired and cranky kids being pushed around the field by even more tired parents. It was cool to see, but some in our crew would likely have preferred to simply cut Pisa and add time in Florence. HOWEVER, putting Pisa on the end of the day has a benefit; it gets you closer to the ship at the end of the day in case there's any trouble. I would strongly recommend that if you go with a private tour as we did, do not do Pisa in the morning and then Florence. Get to Florence ASAP and then wend your way back. Florence was second ONLY to Rome on our list of "we will go back for several days on another trip". We are VERY interested in the top-ticket sights there. We just plan to do them while staying in town, so we can see them first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon when the day trippers (like we were this time) have left.
  7. Well, obviously, there's a huge variety of the newest, high-speed charging bits, but IIRC, some ports will provide only 100mA in all cases instead of the USB 2.0 spec of 500mA for charging. That's kinda what the port in our room on Egde felt like. In general, these days, we tend to avoid all of the "USB charge" ports for one of the multiple reasons one might choose to skip them (1: unless you have a charge-only cable handy, there's always SOME data/security risk, 2: They rarely provide decent current 3: there's always the chance you might take a hit and mess up your HW). But our system is generally to bring a good, multi-port charger with us on trips. We were just being lazy and trying the USB charger port in the box with one of our battery packs (thus no data risk) and we found we were right to continue ignoring these. They may be good for an overnight charge, but if you expect to come back to the room after a day in port and get a noticeable charge before dinner, bring your own 120/240V charger. For _small_, we LOVE the Anker dual-port ones that are the size of the small iOS chargers, but much better.
  8. Oh, and another thing we saw on the Sea Day, as my wife and I decided to make a pass through the resort deck to see how crazy the chair-saving was (we are NOT lounge-chair sea day folks, and we were MUCH happier lounging on our Infinite Verandah or on the nice couch in the IV room). Chair saving was not insane when we went to a late breakfast, but there were a good number of people outside in chairs with the large, neon towel clips (and while I understand that people may be using them solely to avoid towel-sliding... I doubt it). In the solarium (which was shockingly empty at that point), the lounge chairs had these tent cards on them:
  9. Next - Day at Sea: We laid pretty low on the day at sea, as we had been getting up pretty early and hauling in the heat for about 5 days straight by now. However, we _did_ book a ship's tour for the daughters and myself (husband). We did this after having an AMAZING "ultimate ship's tour" on the Royal Princess with husband and husband's father on a previous cruise. This Celebrity tour was less expensive, but also a let-down after the Princess tour. The celebrity ship's tour was (of course, each of these stops had someone to explain things): - See the kitchen - See the engineering control room - See the laundry - See a crew lounge - See the bridge - Get to keep the lanyard we used for the tour (which could be a SeaPass holder) This was a bummer, because in addition to everything above (except the lanyard), the Royal Princess Ultimate Ship's tour also included: - See the food stores - See the printing dept - See the medical center - See the theater stage AND props/costume stores - See the forward anchor winch area - Meet the Captain after the bridge tour and have a group picture - Mid-tour rest break with canapes and Prosecco - Complimentary Princess bathrobe to take home - Personalized stationery pad - Framed copy of the photo with the captain Yes, the Princess tour was more expensive (not quite 2x, I think), but I'd have rather paid that extra and gotten that tour on Edge. The daughters would have LOVED the theater part (esp with the amazing theater tech on Edge). But while the daughters enjoyed the tour, I was left feeling like it was MUCH less special than the one on the Royal Princess. Perhaps Celebrity should consider such a higher-end tour?
  10. Also, I'd like to cross-link to my post on another thread about how we handled the heat across all days: This was the difference between enjoying each day and coming home ALMOST as pasty-white as we left vs heatsroke, arguments, and proto-skin cancer.
  11. Day 2: Naples For Naples, we went with APTours, covering Herculaneum and the Archaeological Museum. We could not have been happier with this decision. Our Herculaneum/Pompeii decision was based on the following: - We were originally supposed to have our 80y/o (active, but c'mon) parents with us, and Herculaneum is more compact than Pompeii - We had VERY limited time, so Herculaneum felt like it was more manageable - Herculaneum is much "denser" than Pompeii, and we felt it would feel more "immediate" as a living town - We had read more and seen more about Herculaneum in the run-up to the trip, so we felt we could get more out of it. In the end, for us, on that day, it was 100% the right call. Also the right call was having a guide for both the museum and Herc. We had Pina from APTours, and she was fantastic. My best way to describe her is that whenever we crossed paths with another guide in Herculaneum, they had cheery greetings for Pina and then told us how lucky we were to have her. We felt the same way. We were driven by Mercedes Vento van from the port (NOT with the Celebrity busses - go just outside that area) to Herculaneum to meet Pina, our guide. We had bought the tickets ahead of time as per APTours recommendation. Pina took us around the site and REALLY drew us in. Herculaneum is just so stunning, with areas that feel as if there is no way they could have been uninhabited for almost 2000 years. After that, we were driven in Naples while Pina called restaurants (it was Sun) to find us a table for lunch. We had wonderful Neopolitan pizza with Pina and spent lunch discussing modern Northern-vs-Southern Italian culture and issues, and the relationship to the EU. Fascinating. We were then driven to the Naples Archaeological Museum. Let me be clear - the artifacts are amazing. But the facilities, the climate control (none) and the curation were poor. Nothing in the museum "told a story", as great curation should. As English-only speakers, I cannot IMAGINE going to this museum without a guide. Pina once again brought it to life. In the end, we ran out of water (we had left a couple of the water bottles in the van. Mistake), and the heat of the museum brought our day to end. The bathroom facilities were kinda lacking, and there was no great way to refill large water bottles. Above the ground floor, we saw few if any placards in anything but Italian. But the artifacts were beyond belief, especially the day-to-day items and the micro-mosaics. So, while the day was pricey (kinda), for less than a Celebrity excursion, we had a driver, a full-day, local guide, and the ability to redirect things as we went. We left that day looking forward to our next tour with APTours (coming in Livorno). Next up - Day at Sea and Ship's Tour.
  12. Funny you mention that... When we realized ~4 days before that we were likely to cancel Ostia (the day at the Coliseum sealed it), we considered a last-minute Vatican tour to replace it. Then I came upon this gem of a Rick Steves video clip: Imagining that in the Roman heat and keeping in mind that two of our crew do not like extreme crowding (i.e. can't move), we crossed that one off and decided to keep the Ostia day as a wildcard. In the end, our walk through the Campo del Fiore to the Jewish Museum and Synagogue, then Jewish Pizza along the main street of the old Ghetto, followed by Piazza Navona and the church there was a perfect day. BTW - bring cash, but the Rick Steves-recommended Jewish bakery in the old Ghetto area was really as good as we had hoped.
  13. See my coming per-port items in my full review, but my wife and myself (mid 40s) and our daughters (12/14) just got off of the Rome->Barca Edge cruise and had 3 days in Rome prior. Indeed, as departure approached, we were panicked. But, we planned ahead, were flexible and ended up loving it. We tend to go-go-go on travel, but we adjusted a little, especially in Rome where there was no early "all aboard". It was so hot that on our day at the Coliseum (22K steps for the day, apparently), we stopped on an asphalt street in Rome to review our maps and found we had STUCK TO THE SIDEWALK! The pavement was melting/softening. - We stocked up on lightweight trousers/dresses and (for me) long-sleeved vented shirts. - We all used _large_ sun hats, Tilley hats or parasols (sorry, but the cheap/trendy Trilbys sold by every vendor are useless except for covering your scalp) - We brought a full-sized water bottle for each of us, kept in pairs in our two daybags. Yes, there are Nasoni all over Rome to drink from or refill. But... Often not when you need them. And the rest of the Riviera could be "good luck" for refilling. So we kept those filled. This is the absolute #1 item. The closest we came to losing a crew member was day 1 at the Coliseum in 99F sun when one of our daughters wasn't bothering to drink water. - We stopped for gelato, or The Fredo and Cafe Shakerato once or twice a day, and we skipped our usual "grab lunch on the go" for sitting down for lunch; pick a place away from the core tourists by 2-3 blocks and that lunch becomes a travel experience in itself. - Sunscreen - THE REAL STUFF, not (most) spray-ons. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You don't want to burn on day 2 of 8. - When not in port, consider a schedule like this: Up early, tour an outside site. grab lunch, tour a museum (be careful, some are HOT), return to lodging and nap until late afternoon. Walk to a nice dinner, maybe through a church! Dinner, then hit an outside, public site like Trevi or the Spanish Steps late at night when it is cooler. The nap makes up for the late night and early morning. - Don't shame anyone for slowing down a bit sometimes. "Call an audible", grab something cold to eat or drink, and adjust your plans. - Find shade when you can, even if you change your path a little. In cities with narrow streets, you can often find shade and breeze. Seek it. One personal request - hot or not, please do keep an eye out for the requested attire at religious sites... So many people in shorts and tank tops walked right by the signs requesting covered shoulders and knees. Maybe we're nuts (one of our daughters actually brought leggings to put on under her dress when we got to churches), but I feel like it is important to do this to ensure that these sites stay open to tourists. We did have to change plans. After a full day in 95F+ heat at the Coliseum, Forum and Palatine Hill, we agreed that our original plan to go to Ostia Antica the next day was folly. Instead, we went to the Jewish Quarter, visited the museum and synagogue there, and ate "Jewish Pizza" on the go along the Tiber. One of our favorite days!
  14. As noted in the Dailies, the "evening chic" nights were the nights with no port or early departure: Day 3 at sea, and Day 6 in Cannes.
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