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Old January 19th, 2007, 05:20 PM
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Default Just booked on RCI (Brilliance) 12 Nt Mediterranean - Advice

Has anyone been on this ship / this Itinerary (we are going July 8 - 20)? We leave from Barcelona and go to Niece, Florence, Athens, Rome, Ephesus (not necessarily in that order), etc. I am taking my 18 yr old daughter - any suggestions or advice?

I've heard one review of bedbugs on the Brialliance of the Seas - seems crazy - anyone heard of this?

I have been on a cruse before (Carnival a long time ago) and drinks were free (at least soft drinks). I hear that's no longer the case....odd....

I got an oceanview room (the balcony was sooo expensive!), should I reconsider and pay the extra $3,000?

Any advice or suggestions you have - even on shore excursions are welcome
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Old January 20th, 2007, 06:03 PM
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I was on this cruise a couple of years ago and it was my all time favorite. Here are my suggestions:

1) Either get to Barcelona early or stay a few extra days post cruise. It is definately worth looking around for more than a few hours. Also use the tourist bus to get around and subway/metro.

2) In Rome, unless you know your way around, I would suggest one of the all day tours.

3) Liverno, unless you really need to see the tower at Pisa or just want a half day visit, go to Florence.

4) Niece - I would do something independently

5) Naples - Another good stop for using tourist bus. It is right at the port. You can also use the escalators and funnicular to get around town. My wife and I had a great lunch on a patio overlooking the entire city - It is just outside the big art museum above the port.

6) Mykonos - just walk into town and enjoy the day.

7) Santorini - make sure you get up to Oai. It is really spectacular in terms of setting. Santorini is one place that I would like to return to for an extended visit.

8) Athens - you can take the subway/train right into town from the cruise terminal. From their you can get to sites like the terminal and get to the sites like the Acropolis.

9) Ephesus - wasn't on our trip.

Have a great trip! It is hard to go wrong on this cruise.
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Old February 8th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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WE were on the Brilliance in May 2005 and had a wonderful time. We went on a (sort of) back to back with 7 days in Rome in between. Check out my review (under evelyn) of the ship and my photos in the photogallery (search under ehogan).

Some suggestions:

Barcelona is well worth a couple of extra days beforehand. Walk Las Ramblas, see the Park Guell and the Gothic District. If you have time, the trip to Monserrat is well worth it.

In Naples, you have a hard choice between seeing Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast, both are amazing. I would not choose to wander Naples on my own, however, lots of problems there (see www.seekitaly.com for warnings) and we heard from one couple who missed the ship the evening in Naples that the train station is a bit unsavoury.

In Nice ( we were in Villefranche) you could probably tour around yourself. We took the train from Villefranche to Monaco.

Florence was not my favourite stop since the ride in was about 1.5 hours. On the second trip to Livorno we took the train into Pisa and walked to the Field of Miracles - much preferred that. A lot of people combine a trip to Pisa with Lucca which is said to be beautiful.
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Old February 10th, 2007, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ehogan
In Naples, you have a hard choice between seeing Pompeii or the Amalfi Coast, both are amazing. I would not choose to wander Naples on my own, however, lots of problems there (see www.seekitaly.com for warnings) and we heard from one couple who missed the ship the evening in Naples that the train station is a bit unsavoury.
This is a good point, everyone has different tolerance levels for risk and safety. If you are not used to independent travel and navigating foreign cities, sticking with the stock offerings from the cruise lines (or major independent tour operators advertising on the web) is the best bet for peace of mind and reduced stress when on cruises. Many shore visits are only 8-10 hours in length and the boat will leave without you ...

My view on petty crime is to never take anything on vacation that I am not afraid to lose. I always keep a photo copy of my passport with my luggage.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 03:07 PM
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Default The MED.

We always get a balcony.
Drinks ???? Hello ???? Free....NO WAY DUDE. NOTHING IN AMERICA IS FREE. They make big $$ on drinks, keeps them afloat.
Get lots of rest for those legs ahead of time.

Have a great cruise, it's all worth it and more


e CIAO,
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CORAL PRIN~ALASKA~LAND-SEA/CRUISE-TOUR~8/04
GOLDEN PRIN~CLASSIC SO. CARIB.~4/05
GRAND PRIN~GRAND MEDITERRANEAN~5/06
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Old July 29th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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Default Free drinks

On RCCL if you book a suite or are Diamond you get a key card to the concierge lounge for free drinks nightly and latte and refills all day.

There is a free lunch.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: Just booked on RCI (Brilliance) 12 Nt Mediterranean - Ad

tlh17,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Has anyone been on this ship / this Itinerary (we are going July 8 - 20)? We leave from Barcelona and go to Niece, Florence, Athens, Rome, Ephesus (not necessarily in that order), etc. I am taking my 18 yr old daughter - any suggestions or advice?
I have not been on that ship or that specific itinerary, but I have been to nearly all of your ports of call so here goes.

>> Firenze ("Florence") actually is an hour and a half by bus from the port of Livorno and, frankly, is the only city in Europe that I regard as a major disappointment. All of the major works of art are in museums and most of the famous gardens are in private walled courtyards, where they are less than accessible on many of the tours. The tour that I took visited the church of Santa Croce that had some significant sculpture, Michelangelo's tomb, and a replica of the statue of David where the original once stood (the original is now on display in a museum to protect it from the elements). If I had to do it over, I would opt instead either for the half day tour of Pisa or for the tour that visits the Tuscan countryside and a winery. But if you must go to Firenze, you probably would prefer the tour that actually goes into a museum.

>> Roma (Rome), the Eternal City, also is about 90 minutes by bus from the port of Civitavecchia. Most of the city's major attractions have long queues (typically two to three hours) for general admission, but the ship's shore excursions have reserved group tours so they bypass the queues and go right in within a few minutes of arrival. Most of the excursions also include admission to the attractions, transportation between the attractions, and lunch at a Roman restaurant, so they actually offer very good value for what may seem to be a steep price.

>> Athens is about a half hour from the port city of Pireaus, which is where most o the cruise ships actually dock. If you have not been to Athens before, the Acropolis is a "must" destination.

>> The excavated ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus are about ten miles from the port of Kusadasi (pronounced "KUSH-ah-DAH-see"), and well worth the visit. There are several tours that go there, some of which also visit other destinations such as Mary's House (now a Greek Orthodox shrine) and the ruins of the Basilica of St. John. Whether these are of interest or not may depend upon your religious affiliation. There's also a Turkish bazaar by the cruise ship pier, to which you can easily walk.

I should also mention that several of these ports of call have "shore excursions" called "<Name of City> on Your Own" that actually consist only of bus transportation between the cruise ship pier and the downtown area of the named destination city. If you really just want to hang out in a destination city, perhaps sipping beverages at a sidewalk cafe, or spend the whole day shopping, these "shore excursions" are the best way to get there and back. Upon arrival in the destination city, the "guide" gives a brief orientation and instructions as to where and when to meet to return to the ship and then sets the group loose. All you have to do is meet at the appointed time and place. You don't have to take a taxi to the train station to connect with a train, then leave earlier than you might prefer due to the way that the train schedules might mesh (or not) with the ship's scheduled time of departure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I have been on a cruse before (Carnival a long time ago) and drinks were free (at least soft drinks). I hear that's no longer the case....odd....
Coffee, tea, and milk are included. Also, juices are included at breakfast. The major cruise lines otherwise consider juices and sodas to be "bar beverages" for which a separate charge applies. Most of the major lines do offer a "soda sticker" that entitles the holder to unlimited fountain sodas and juices from any bar on the ship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I got an oceanview room (the balcony was sooo expensive!), should I reconsider and pay the extra $3,000?
I would not bother. There are plenty of very comfortable lounges on the promenades where nobody will bother you.

Have a great cruise!

Norm.
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