Friday, February 3, 2012

Europe 2011: The Cruise

I figured I should do a quick post about the actual cruise since it was our temporary home for 10 days. To make a long story short, Nick and I decided we wanted to do the Greek Islands as our next big trip and after much research decided doing a cruise around the islands would be easier than doing the ferry system from island to island.  

our home for 10 days

We had never been on a cruise before so I did a lot of research on different cruise lines, itineraries (we knew we wanted to do Santorini, Mykonos and Athens), and most importantly what worked with our schedule between weddings and other summer/fall commitments.  We landed on a Royal Caribbean 10-day Mediterranean Cruise on the Splendour of the Seas ship, with the following itinerary:

Sept. 16  Depart Venice in the evening
Sept. 17 Split, Croatia
Sept. 18 Corfu, Greece
Sept. 19 At Sea Day
Sept. 20 Chania (Crete), Greece
Sept. 21 Athens, Greece
Sept. 22 Mikonos, Greece
Sept. 23 Santorini, Greece
Sept. 24 Ancient Olympia, Greece
Sept. 25 At Sea Day
Sept. 26 Return to Venice in the morning

the outdoor pool area at night

Nick and I had a fantastic time on the cruise. The staff was so gracious and helpful and the food was really great. We shared the ship with about 2,000 other passengers and about 750 crew members.  Even on our two "at sea" days we stayed entertained and I spent most of that time relaxing with my books on the back deck of the boat which was more of the quiet area.  

towel animal

A big con of doing a cruise though is being on someone else's schedule.  Part of the fun in travelling abroad (for me at least) is getting lost, and really submerging in a new culture as much as possible and I felt that hard to do on a cruise.  

However, a huge pro was getting to go to so many locations and only unpack once and not have to deal with various ferries, trains, etc.  And considering that all the locations we went to were great day trip locations (all the islands were pretty small) we didn't feel too rushed.  However if we were to do a cruise again I would want to make sure it was somewhere that didn't need more than a day at.  

Captain Iv welcoming us to the ship

We sat with the same people every night and we kept saying how much we lucked out - our table was amazing!  Seriously, a fantastic group of people we felt honored to meet and dine with every night and hear about their home countries.  

our wonderful table representing Australia, Quebec, United States (us) and Germany -
 lots of laughs with this group, they were all fantastic people

Every evening when we would get back from dinner a Cruise Compass pamphlet was sitting on our bed with all of the relevant information we would need for the next day: temperature, sunrise/sunset, what time we were docking, what time we were leaving, a map of the city, currency information, a list of what was going on for the ship that day, etc.   It was so helpful and a fun extra and I of course kept all of mine to reminisce with.  

our daily Cruise Compass with relevant information for our next day - so helpful!
all the important things we had to know for the next day
list of everything going on the ship the next day
 The fabulous Rick Steves Mediterranean Cruise Ports book helped us a ton throughout the whole trip. I highly recommend this book if you are doing a Mediterranean cruise.

Rick's awesome book
Thank you Splendour of the Seas for a memorable and most importantly safe 10-day trip!  First stop - Croatia!  


Sara Louise said...

That towel animal is ridiculously cute!
I've only been on one cruise in my life and it was a long long time ago with my mother. I'm dying to go on one again with my husband and I think a cruise around the Mediterranean would be heavenly!

annelise said...

I've never been on a cruise before but it's definitely on the to-do list. What an itinerary!

Morgan said...

This is awesome! And so helpful! Cruises can be so hit or miss and this seems like a definite hit! Glad you had such a fantastic vacation. :)

Carrie {Living It Up in U.P.} said...

I've only been on one cruise, and I enjoyed it, but I agree with your cons. Overall would you recommend the cruise or would you try to see the islands on your own if you could do it again?

Nick wants to go on a cruise someday and I want to see Greece, so this could be a good cruise for us to take.

Kristin said...

Sounds amazing, One day I will go... :)

Mirella said...

Wow I want to go on a cruise also someday

Your pictures are really amazing

Selma @ Crazy Little World Of Mine said...

That elephant is sooooo cute! ;)
And I am still not 100% if I should go on a cruise...maybe one day!

Meg {henninglove} said...

wow what a great trip!! i want to visit greece one day and i took a royal caribbean cruise last summer so i recognized those daily programs they put in your room each day.

Tamara Nicole said...

LOVE it! We did a similar one to Greek Isles and Dubrovnik and Italy as well, amazing trip right?!

Poptartyogini said...

What a great way to see so many places in a short amount of time. I think a Greek or mediterranean cruise would be amazing. I could be ready to go in 10 minutes!

Holly said...

ive actually never been on a cruise before. looks fun!

Holly said...

I've never been on a cruise before, but yours looks amazing!!

Married...with a Pup said...

Seriously sounds soooo wonderful!! My husband and I have never been on a cruise- but it's definitely on our to-do list! Right now, we are planning a trip to Italy and love the planning!

Kelsey @ Seattle Smith's said...

My family LOVES cruises but I am curious, would you do Greece again by cruise?!?!

Anna Elder said...

Looks like a really nice ship and an amazing itinerary. Did you have any issues with sea sickness? Our Tahiti trip was a 10 day cruise to 6 different islands and I had major issues every night with sea sickness. I never got "sick", just really dizzy. I had to go to bed early almost every night. As much as I enjoyed the cruise, I don't think I'd do it again. It's definitely the best way to see a lot of different places, especially islands. Greece is on my travel wish list!

Alexa said...

Never been on a cruise before, but it looks like such a great experience.

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

That looks like such an amazing cruise!! I want to go to Greece!

Emm said...

Carol! I've always been curious about a cruise but one post and you've absolutely convinced me!! The idea of being on someone else's schedule is certainly a con but being able to get around all of those locations without flights, cars r connections sounds amazing!

Baju Muslim said...

The blog is very helpful, maintain putting up beneficial info

Nicole-Lynn said...

Thanks for the tips.. i'm going to have to refer back to these posts when we're ready for our trip!


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