Going on a Sea Cruise

sunset

Going on a Sea Cruise – Part 1

There are many factors that go into taking a cruise versus flying to a city to visit.  There are many benefits to just flying to a city, such as staying overnight and enjoying nice restaurants, nightlife, or just seeing the city at night.  There is just more time to “get a feel” for the city and enjoy its culture.

ship

Rhapsody of the Seas

However, there are many benefits to taking a cruise and visiting many cities over a week’s period of time.

I often take weekend getaway cruises out of Miami.  You get to enjoy the sea life, ocean views, a variety of foods, entertainment, and modest accommodations all for a comparatively low price.  I often do not even get off the ship, opting to take advantage of onboard amenities such as the spa or just enjoying some quiet time before the other ship’s guests return.

A year and a half ago I opted to reserve a European cruise on @RoyalCaribbean Rhapsody of the Seas while onboard a ship during one of my short Caribbean getaways. As an inside tip, if you book a cruse while onboard, many times you get discounts, onboard cash, and room preference coupled with deposit discounts. It was good I did as the cruise sold out eight months ahead of time.  The adventure was to begin in Venice, Italy and from there we were to spend seven days visiting Dubrovnik, Croatia, Kotor, Montenegro, Santorini, Greece, and Olympia, Greece.  After mentioning it to family members, it turned into a family vacation that we all thoroughly enjoyed.

Cruise map

In Venice, we spent the hot August summer day meandering the streets visiting St. Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge.  Access was made easier and with much less walking by taking a water taxi.  We opted to stay across the causeway from Venice in Mestre just across from the train station.  Train tickets are €2.60 round-trip and each way is only about eight minutes. The port in Venice is quite close to this hotel and movement onto the ship flowed well.

We stayed at the Best Western Hotel Tritone.  The hotel is on the high side of average as they have an exceptional buffet breakfast.  The rooms are small but comfortable. The staff was friendly and accommodating.  It seemed a popular choice for other “cruisers” as well.  It was definitely a much cheaper option than staying in Venice.  I cannot imagine trudging my large suitcase through the Venetian streets, over the bridges through the throngs of tourists.  I did see others doing it, however, and it gave me the confidence I made the correct decision.

While staying in Mestre, we discovered a wonderful “hole in the wall” restaurant that truly provided the ambiance and allure of Italy called Al Buso at Piazza Erminio Ferretto 13 | Next Vodafone, 30174, Mestre, Italy.  A one-page menu and delicious fresh food, superb service and a night filled with smiles.

Venice is OLD and dying.  It is “macabre” and reminiscent of an old Vincent Price horror movie.  It is a city that one day may not exist as the sea waters are rising taking over many of the first floors of buildings. Decay is easily seen as the water laps against the seawall and some buildings.

venice

venice

As you stroll the narrow streets, you are greeted by some amazing local shops selling Italian leather, carnival masks, and many souvenir shops.  There is a restaurant on every corner and in every piazza.  The ones on the Grand Canal are expensive (as are the ones in St. Mark’s Square)- we opted for one on a side street that also lent itself as a quick hideout from what seemed to be a tropical downpour.  Here we enjoyed delicious pizza and drinks and once the rain had stopped, we were on our way.

 

Honestly, the best way to visit Venice is to not really have a plan.  Just wander side streets and enjoy the architecture, mood, and artistic value of where you are. Use your camera and grab scenes you will not find anywhere else in the world.  Stop into a local restaurant in a piazza off the Grand Canal to not only get better food but better prices.  Eat Italian pizza or pasta or …just have a cup of coffee and absorb it all.  Pick a chair and watch the tourists buzz by while you relax.  Most of all, be present where you are.

 

Join me as I cruise down the Adriatic Sea to Dubrovnik, Croatia, then to Kotor, Montenegro; into the Ionian Sea to Katakolon, Greece (and Olympia) and finally across the Sea of Crete to Santorini, Greece.

Going on a Sea Cruise