We have just completed our first Mediterranean Cruise. In fact it was the first cruise of our lives and we are already addicted. Having spent the last 9 months arranging all of our own transport, meals, entertainment, tours and accommodation, it was luxurious and incredibly relaxing to have almost all of that done for us by the cruise company. We will feature some of our ports of call in future blogs. In this blog we will simply focus on the cruise itself.
The cruise we chose was Royal Caribbean’s ‘Grandeur of the Seas.’ It is a recently refurbished, 11-deck luxury cruise boat, which was built in 1996. Everything was virtually new and it features a 6-storey atrium. We chose a 12 day, 11 night cruise out of Venice, stopping in Kotor Montenegro, Athens Greece, Kusadasi Turkey, Bodrom Turkey, Mykonos Greece, Santarini Greece and Split Croatia, before returning to Venice. We had only two days ‘at sea’, with the rest of the time docked in the exotic locations I have just mentioned. You have a full day in each of the ports, which provides enough time to have a good taste of each.
Cruising the Mediterranean on this ship was like being on board a luxury floating hotel. Some of our veteran fellow cruisers explained that there are bigger, more luxurious boats, but to us, after 9 months of budget travel, it was like a moving palace. From the moment we sailed out of Venice (with 10 storey slow-motion views) to when we disembarked, we just soaked it all up. By booking at the last minute we were able to score one of the last remaining ‘staterooms’ on board. Our daily rate was no different than what you would pay for an average hotel.
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The amazing thing about a cruise though is that you not only receive your accommodation, but you also enjoy:
* unlimited food of outstanding quality
* live performances every night
* a huge range of other activities to choose from
* free travel
* interesting like-minded travellers to interact with
* a casino featuring Texas Holdem Poker
* two swimming pools
What more could you want?
On board we met some wonderful people and had an amazing, food-fuelled voyage. The staff were all very friendly and couldn’t do enough for us. The meals were stunning, the entertainment was of a high quality and our state room was brilliant. Included in the nightly entertainment were aerialists, singers, dancers, jugglers and mentallists. Royal Caribbean is a professional, well-oiled machine that knows how to satisfy its customers. With 2500 passengers and nearly 800 crew, we were in awe of how they did everything so smoothly.
Sharing our dinner table every night were Jim from Chicago, Finlay and Margaret from Aberdeen and Brian from Leeds. Plenty of laughs! We also met Maria and Anton from Switzerland who gave us lots of great tips for cruising in North and South America next year, plus many others from around the world. I am sure we will catch up with some of them down the track.
After 6 years of travelling outside of Australia by plane, train, bus, car, motor-bike, bicycle, elephant, tram and foot, all we could ask ourselves was: “Why didn’t we discover cruises earlier!?”