Ciao from Roma, Italia! Our subsequent dwell weblog can be coming day by day from Europe onboard Odyssey of the Seas.
I am excited to share that I will be cruising for the following 12 nights on a much-anticipated cruise to the Holy Land; this cruise consists of three days in Israel, together with stops in Limmasol (Cyprus), Santorini (Greece), Rhodes (Greece) and Chania (Greece)
Throughout our time in Israel, Odyssey will dock in a single day for 2 days in Jerusalem (Ashdod) and end with at some point in Haifa.
This can be a particular cruise, because it has been on my dad’s bucket checklist for years. We needed to postpone this one many instances as a result of pandemic, however we’re so thrilled to be onboard and heading to Israel!
For this cruise, I am crusing with Angie, my sister and social media supervisor for Royal Caribbean Weblog. We’re additionally joined by our dad and mom, however we cannot make them work too onerous throughout this cruise!
Europe is my absolute favourite place to cruise on the earth; the European itineraries are jam-packed with so many locations wealthy in tradition. That is my eighth time cruising in Europe and my third time onboard a Quantum-class ship.
Touring to Rome
Cruising in Europe is a superb cruise alternative for a lot of causes, however one among my favorites is the chance to discover new cities and international locations earlier than the cruise departures.
My sister and I traveled from Florida to Paris, France final week to spend just a few days within the metropolis of affection. We met up with my pricey pal, Rosina, whom I really met on the teen membership on a cruise greater than 14 years in the past! Though I would been to Paris on a cruise as soon as earlier than, having a full 4 days to see this unimaginable metropolis was the proper begin to our cruise trip.
Yesterday, we flew from Paris to Rome on an affordable EasyJet flight the place we met up with my dad and mom on the airport. My dad and mom’ flight landed on Tuesday morning, simply in time for our cruise to depart on Wednesday.
Personally, I might suggest arriving in a global cruise vacation spot at the least two days earlier than. This provides you extra time to get adjusted to the time zone and accounts for any potential delays you would possibly encounter. Additionally, this offers you a full day to discover your cruise departure metropolis!
After assembly up with our jet-lagged dad and mom, we made our method into Rome and loved dinner earlier than visiting the Trevi Fountain, Colosseum and Spanish Steps.
We stayed the night time at Crowne Plaza – St. Peters as a result of its proximity to the town, airport and cruise port. I would extremely suggest staying on this space.
Attending to the Port
After a restful night time’s sleep, we took a non-public switch that we organized on Viator from our resort to the port metropolis of Civitavecchia.
There are a number of methods to get to the port from Rome, equivalent to prepare, bus or taxi, however a scheduled switch was each enjoyable and handy. Our personal switch was booked for $50 every whereas the resort was charging $70 every for a big shuttle bus switch. We noticed the foyer full of fellow cruisers ready in an extended line for the shuttles and taxis.
The drive to Civitavecchia took about an hour, getting us to the port round 11:00am. Though we have been slotted for a 12:00pm boarding time, there was no concern with us getting onboard earlier.
Embarkation was an absolute breeze – a lot smoother than any embarkation I’ve skilled stateside! Since this cruise is 12 nights, we needed to take a self-monitored Covid-19 take a look at and current unfavorable outcomes earlier than boarding. We weren’t requested to indicate our vaccination playing cards when boarding.
Angie and I each introduced Covid-19 residence checks to Paris and took these at our resort earlier than flying to Rome.
As soon as onboard Odyssey of the Seas, we went straight to Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen to schedule dinner, which permits us to make use of our BOGO diamond specialty eating profit.
We additionally made a reservation for Chops Grille for tonight to make the most of all the BOGO offers between the 4 of us.
Though the profit states it’s worthwhile to dine on Day 1 or 2, we have discovered that more often than not you’ll be able to prepay on the primary or second day after which dine on a later date.
Since we’re staying in a Junior Suite for this cruise, I additionally went to Coastal Kitchen to make a reservation for tomorrow night time. We have by no means dined in Coastal Kitchen earlier than, so we’re excited to see what the hype’s about.
Lunch began on the Solarium Bistro, however all the pieces we tried was chilly so we made our approach to El Loco Contemporary. I have never sailed on a ship with this eating possibility, so I used to be able to attempt it out!
I actually loved my hen burrito and Angie additionally appreciated her quesadilla.
We completed the meal with a creamy mudslide cocktail, made with ice cream recent from the pool deck machine. It was divine!
The Suite Life
You would possibly know me as a budget cruise knowledgeable, however typically I do wish to splurge. Though we initially booked an affordable inside cabin (per standard), we upgraded our room twice through the pre-cruise course of.
We booked our inside cabin proper when this itinerary was introduced in 2020. Again in February, we repriced our cabins and saved $1,400 on our inside cabin whereas my dad and mom saved $2,400 on their balcony stateroom.
E-book early and reprice usually is at all times the way in which to go!
Only a few months in the past, I upgraded us to a balcony assure free of charge for the reason that value was barely lower than we paid. Once we had the possibility to bid on a collection through the Royal Up course of, we bid $300 every and have been awarded a mid-ship junior suite!
I am anxious to see if the suite life is definitely worth the value. For this cruise, we’re paying proper round $100 per particular person per day earlier than gratuities.
Our room is equally attractive as it’s spacious. After crusing nearly solely in inside cabins, it seems like pure luxurious.
We’ve a big balcony, bathtub, walk-in bathe, and (one of the best a part of all) a separate space with a bathroom and extra sink. Our preliminary impressions of the stateroom have been extraordinarily optimistic – perhaps I want to start out upgrading myself extra usually!
The North Star
After making dinner reservations and discovering our stateroom, we headed to Deck 14 for our North Star reservation.
I’ve heard earlier than to make a reservation on the primary day to attempt North Star – I am so glad we did! We have been in a position to get a reservation for 3:30pm and this allowed us to see the port and ship from above.
With a small group, we have been launched into the air and given some actually cool views of the ship and port space. Though I’ve sailed on each Spectrum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, this was my first time attempting the North Star!
Though it was a cool factor to do as soon as, I would not say it is an absolute must-do and I do not know if I might pay to do it. Whereas in port, you are not in a position to go off the aspect of the ship like they can do at sea; due to this fact, the complimentary experience (obtainable throughout port days) is shorter.
Proper by the launching pad of the North Star was the Lime & Coconut bar. We determined to attempt the signature ‘Lime & Coconut’ cocktail, served in a little bit Malibu bucket. The cocktail was candy with creamy coconut. It was so good that Angie and I ordered a second spherical!
Since my dad prefers consuming dinner very early, I wasn’t on the highest deck to look at our sail away. As an alternative, we had a 5:45pm reservation at Chops Grille.
I are likely to order the identical factor each time I dine at Chops Grille – and it is turning into my new routine to dine there on the primary night time of each cruise. This permits us to make use of our BOGO specialty eating profit and it additionally retains me out of the primary eating room for the primary night time.
I’ve discovered that Royal Caribbean serves the identical Day 1 menu in the primary eating room on virtually each cruise, no matter the place I sail – and it is simply not my favourite menu.
Upon getting into Chops Grille, we noticed a well-known face on the check-in counter, however could not fairly put our fingers on it. We requested what ships the gentleman had labored on; he listed a wide range of ships however nothing helped ring a bell.
Lastly, he listed on the finish of his lengthy checklist “Spectrum of the Seas” and all of us perked up. He was our waiter for our final household cruise from Shanghai to Japan in 2019 the place we dined within the Silver Lounge every night. It is at all times enjoyable to see acquainted faces onboard and reminisce on cruising reminiscences!
For dinner, we loved the thick-cut bacon and crab truffles as starters, adopted by creamy wild mushroom soup. Angie would not love steak so she chooses the hen whereas the remainder of us loved tender fillets and flavorful ribeyes.
We ended dinner with an assortment of desserts, together with key lime pie, chocolate cake and purple velvet cake. Every little thing was great and tasted nice. The important thing lime pie is a showstopper in Chops Grille for us!
I ended the night with a quiet, enjoyable night time within the cabin engaged on this weblog and enhancing images. Tonight’s leisure was a 50s and 60s Tribute present, which speaks to the final demographic of this itinerary primarily based on my observations.
Angie attended the night present with my dad and mom and stated she loved listening to the music. Our dad and mom have but to return to their stateroom for the night time – how the tables have turned!
Tomorrow is a sea day, which could be very a lot wanted after 5 busy days of exploring, touring and strolling throughout Paris and Rome. I plan to do loads of sleeping and napping, together with catching up on some work.
One of many greatest observations all of us made was the sheer variety of visitors sporting Pinnacle pins. For individuals who do not know, that is the best tier of loyalty one can attain with Royal Caribbean and these unique visitors obtain an engraved title tag. These are worn with nice delight by Pinnacle members – or so I have been instructed!
I’ve actually by no means seen so many individuals sporting Pinnacle pins on a cruise. Our server tonight confirmed there’s a supposedly a ‘record-breaking’ variety of Pinnacle visitors onboard, which explains this distinctive remark.
This might make it tough for us to get Coastal Kitchen reservations, as Junior Suite visitors are lowest precedence and might solely dine for dinner if there’s availability.
As I discussed, the demographics on this cruise are definitely on the older aspect – a stark distinction from my final cruise on Carnival Ecstasy, which was a wild weekend cruise to Mexico from Cellular, Alabama for Cruise.Weblog.
My dad and mom are of their 60s and we might guess that is the typical age of most onboard cruisers. This tends to be extra frequent primarily based on my experiences in European cruising, particularly on the longer itineraries.
My dad tried to order a Miami Vice twice and apparently the ship is out of the strawberry combine! We are going to see if this continues to be true within the coming days.