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Old October 5th, 2011, 11:57 AM
Jason Leppert
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Today in Dubrovnik, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited had three of its brands represented with Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas, Pullmantur’s Zenith (formerly a Celebrity ship), and, of course, our beautiful Celebrity Solstice. The weather on this cruise has been stellar. You would consider it summer if you didn’t know better that it was indeed October. The skies are blue and the sun shines bright with Caribbean temperatures.

Today we took a tour to Dubrovnik’s relatively new aerial tramway that takes you from near the old town up the seaside mountain for unspoiled views of the ancient citadel below as well as the great blue waters beyond. The cable trip is a short one of about two minutes that ends at a station above including a beautiful outdoor terrace restaurant and amphitheater, monumental cross, and a small souvenir shop. It was a fun ride, but I still prefer the more substantial sights of the tramway in Juneau, Alaska. Here the site was rather sparse, but that might only be because it is still such a new attraction. Time will tell.


Upon descending to the base station, we then walked the rest of the way down to the old citadel of Dubrovnik, a perfectly preserved fortification. A pristine bay just outside of the massive walls services the city and today acts as a terminal for small tour boats. Just inside one of two entry gates is a series of perimeter alleys where we stumbled across a fantastic jazz street band. We stayed put for a spell to enjoy a song or two and then went on our way.


The most striking feature of the overall set of structures is the use of limestone as the exclusive building material. Even the streets are paved with this stone which now glistens with a high-gloss from the years of pedestrian foot polishing. Aside from the singular wide thoroughfare and occasional open courtyard, the city is a dense collection of shops, cafes, and churches with street lamps serving double duty as both illumination and the shops’ signage.


We seem to always enjoy a great bite of ice cream in each of these towns we visit, and Dubrovnik easily has the best we have ever had. Our orange scoops had a refreshingly tart flavor with a consistency somewhere between ice cream and sherbet.


And now as I’m writing this I’m taking a quick moment to see us sail away from the port as we pass by the first of Royal Caribbean’s latest mega ships, the Voyager of the Seas and now also the Pullmantur Zenith. They’re both beauties. It’s strange to see a former Celebrity ship sans its signature blue accented hull. Today the Zenith is all white.


Returning to the old town of Dubrovnik, it’s also fascinating to explore the alleyways closest to the seaside mountain as the shops quickly lead to an extensive series of steep stairways that continue to climb for some time.


Overall, Dubrovnik definitely feels like old Europe in its layout and construction, and it’s a very well preserved relic of the past. This is so true that HBO’s historical drama series, Game of Thrones, is filming its second season here in the city and has used many of these ancient structures in its production.

I've been asking passengers around the ship how they feel about being in relatively close proximity to the Middle East given current turmoil. The general consensus seems to be one of feeling secure so long as ports do not include Egypt nor Israel. We are closer to that part of the world but still not too close.

It would also seem that passengers onboard paid the going rate for our particular cruise with one couple saying that they booked only two months prior and still paid full fare. So if it's deals you are looking for in Europe, I would suggest the Eastern Mediterranean provided you feel secure enough in that part of the world.

Tomorrow we will be arriving in Venice, and the Celebrity Solstice will pass through the grand canal on its way. I will certainly have some great pictures to share accordingly. Stay tuned.

Last edited by Jason Leppert; October 5th, 2011 at 12:27 PM.
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