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MEMORIES (No. 21) - MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE - 2011

MEMORIES (No. 21) - MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE - 2011

Postby judgegeoff » 21 Mar 2021 08:00

MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE 2011


In August 2011 Chris and I, together with our eldest daughter Lyndsay and our granddaughter Cassie (aged 12), flew to Malaga and went aboard the “Adventure of the Seas” for a cruise around the Mediterranean. It was the first cruise that Lyndsay and Cassie had been on.

Sadly, Cassie’s father Dave was killed in a motor accident when Cassie was just 8 months after Cassie was born, but Lyndsay has done a fantastic job of raising Cassie on her own and Chris and I are very proud of them both (as we are our other two children). Lyndsay and Cassie live in Lancaster, about 340 miles from our home in Kent, so we don’t see as much of them as we would like, so this was going to be a special holiday for us all.

Please note that this cruise was in 2011 before I joined ‘Cruising Mates’ and so the photos we took were just family photos. When on a cruise now, I take a lot more photos around the ship and of the cabin.


=============================================


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The “Adventure of the Seas”.


ITINERARY

27/08/2011 Fly to Malaga and embark on the ship
28/08/2011 Valencia, Spain
29/08/2911 Day at sea
30/08/2011 Civitavecchia, Italy (for Rome)
31/08/2011 Livorno, Italy (for Pisa)
01/09/2011 Ajaccio, Corsica
02/09/2011 Day at sea
03/09/2011 Disembark and fly back to the UK


==============================================


[img]Day%201%20–%20Friday%2026th%20August%202011%20%20-%20%20Lancaster%20to%20Birmingham[/img]


Chris and I had driven up from Kent to spend a couple of days with Lyndsay and Cassie at their house in Lancaster.

We left Lancaster in my car on the afternoon of the 26th August and drove to the ‘Sheldon Birmingham Airport Travelodge Hotel’ which is very close to the Airport. Our rooms were fine - very clean and comfortable, albeit not very luxurious. The Hotel has a ‘Toby Carvery’ attached to it, so we ate there in the evening. Just after we had finished our meal, our son Mark arrived and spent some time with us. It was lovely to see him and we only needed our youngest daughter Sophie to be there to make it a full family reunion. We went to bed fairly early that night as our flight was scheduled for a 7:00 am take-off!

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The Travelodge Hotel.

==================================================


Day 2 – Saturday 27th August 2011 - Flight to Malaga and embarkation on the ship


I didn’t sleep at all during the night, so was quite glad when it was time to get up and prepare for our short trip to the airport. We left the hotel at around 4:15 am (eek!) and drove the two miles to Birmingham Airport. I dropped the girls and our luggage outside the Departures Lounge and then went off to find our pre-booked car park.

We had reserved and pre-paid a space at the Airport’s ‘Long Stay Car Park 1’ and I found it after just one short diversion - and was pleased to see that it had a ‘SPACES’ sign lit. At the entrance barrier, I pressed a button, took a ticket and was allowed into a huge car park. I drove around the whole park and realised that there did not appear to be any spaces - and a lot of other cars were also driving around, waiting for a car to leave. I began to get very worried as time was passing but I didn’t want to worry the girls, so didn’t phone them - but I had visions of missing my flight! Eventually, I found a very narrow space between two cars on Row A12 (so narrow that I would not normally have considered it), but needs must, so I folded my side mirrors and squeezed my Honda into the space. There was just enough room for the drivers to get in/out of my car and the next car, but we would have to drive out for the passengers to get in. I was not very happy leaving my car like this, but time was rapidly passing. My apologies to the other cars!

There was a courtesy bus stop at the end of the row, so I joined a small group of other people and awaited the bus to arrive - a sign said the service ran every 15 minutes. After about 5 minutes an empty bus turned up - and drove right past us without stopping! After a few minutes more it appeared from another direction and again drove right past us! Finally, again after about another 3 minutes, it appeared from yet another direction and this time, to my gratitude, stopped and let us aboard. It seems that the bus ran around the huge car park, picking up at various points, following a set route and, as our stop was on a crossroads at the centre of the car park, it passed us a couple of times before it was our time. The ride back to the Airport only took a few minutes.

Once inside the Departure Lounge I was reunited with my party and we joined a long line for the ‘Monarch’ check-in - when the girls had first arrived there had only been a very few people in the queue, but it had grown considerably whilst they were waiting for me to park the car. However, the line moved fairly quickly and we were soon checked in with 3 seats on one side of the aircraft and one aisle seat on the other side - so we would all be sat together. We then went and got some refreshments from a café before we were called to our gate.

We had to board the plane from the tarmac via steps, but the aircraft was soon fully loaded and we took off on time. Flight time was about 2 hours and 10 minutes and passed smoothly and quickly and we were soon landing at Malaga Airport and warm sunshine.

After passing through (what passed for) Immigration, we went into the baggage claim area and were pleased to find that all our four suitcases had arrived safely with us. We exited into the Arrivals Lounge and saw a man with an ‘RCI Adventure of the Seas’ sign who told us to go outside the building where we would be directed by somebody else. Outside we were met by another person who directed us to take the lift to the floor below where coach number 19 would be waiting for us. On the floor below, we saw a line of coaches, found coach 19 and joined a queue waiting to board it. However, the coach became full, so we were told to board coach number 4 at the other end of the line of coaches. Again, we joined a queue to board and, again, the coach filled and we were told to go to coach number 8 - this was becoming a ’Candid Camera’ classic! However, we got aboard this coach after handing our luggage to the driver and were soon on the 25-minute drive to the Cruise Terminal at Malaga.

At the Cruise Terminal, we left the coach (and our luggage - we wouldn’t see it again until it was outside our stateroom on the ship) and could see the beautiful pristine white ‘Adventure of the Seas’ towering above the Terminal. Although there were a lot of people at the Terminal, check-in was quite rapid, with plenty of booths in use and we were soon processed, issued with our ‘Sea Passes’ and were ready to board the ship. There was a bit of chaos in the exit as the ship’s photographers had set up their equipment right in the exit, which caused a queue to leave the building. However, after having our photos taken, we walked down the passages and stepped onto the ship which was to be our home for the next 7 days.

Once aboard we headed up to deck 6 where we went straight up in one of the lifts to the ‘Windjammer Café’ on deck 11 where we had a buffet lunch. We then went down to deck 6 where we found our adjacent staterooms, numbers 6487 and 6483. On the way to our rooms we noticed that our cases were aboard, on a goods lift, and were soon delivered to our rooms. Unfortunately, the handle of our large case was stuck out and could not be retracted. The rooms were almost identical to the rooms on the ‘Independence of the Seas’ (that we had been on in January 2011) and were in very good condition considering the ship was about 10 years old. We left all our cases and flight bags in the rooms and set off to explore the ship.

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Our cabin

We went to the dining room to check on which table we had been allocated (the number is printed on our ‘Sea Pass’). The dining room is over three levels, a top ‘Mozart’ room, a middle ‘Strauss’ room and the bottom ‘Vivaldi’ room, across decks 5,4 and 3. It is a most elegant room with a huge chandelier hanging down in the centre. We found our table, number 438, and were very happy with it - it was probably the best table position we have ever had. We then went to visit other areas of the ship, the various lounges, the sports deck, the ‘Royal Promenade’ shopping mall and the huge theatre (which is also across three decks).

We returned to our staterooms to unpack our suitcases and had just finished when we were called to attend the ‘Emergency Lifeboat Drill’ practice. I had studied the emergency notice on the back of our stateroom door and it showed 2 evacuation routes, a ‘primary’ route (via a crew only staircase) and a ‘secondary’ route via the main corridors and the main staircase. We attempted to use the ‘primary’ route via the crew’s staircase, but were told that this was “only for use in a REAL emergency”!!! Our lifeboat was number D24 and was situated on deck 4 and we were all soon assembled and were then given the usual emergency procedures talk and lifejacket demonstrations. After the drill Chris, Lyndsay and Cassie went for a swim in one of the two pools on deck 11. It was rather loud there as there was a ‘Sail away’ party going on at this time.

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Chris, Cassie and Lyndsay enjoying a swim in the ship’s pool.

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The Sailaway party.

On returning to our staterooms we met our steward, Michael, who came from Trinidad and Tobago. He was a lovely man with a very deep ‘Barry White’ voice and turned out to be an ideal steward who gave us exemplary service during the week. He had a 2-year-old daughter back home in Tobago, but sadly only saw her every 7 months whilst he was working on the ship.

We had elected to eat in the first sitting (at 6:45 pm) and were really glad we had, as second sitting was at 9:30 pm, an hour later than usual, as there were many Spanish passengers aboard (far more than British) and they prefer to eat late. We made our way into the ‘Strauss’ dining room and found that there was another English family of four also allocated to our table. They were Tim and his wife Sarah from Derbyshire and their two children Hannah (same age as Cassie) and Danny who was probably around 16 years of age. We got on well with them and had some good conversations over the next 7 nights.

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The magnificent dining room had 3 levels.

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The bottom level

Our waiter was named Dias and came from India and our assistant waiter was named Maria (spelt Marija) and came from Macedonia. Maria had completed a Political Science degree and had joined the ship to save enough money to do a Masters degree. It was her very first day on the ship and she was very nervous. However, she turned out to be the best assistant waiter we have ever had and kept our glasses full of iced water and gave us plenty of bread rolls (too many!). Similarly, Dias proved to be an excellent waiter and, over the next seven nights, served us 168 courses (some with special requests) and didn’t get a single item wrong - a remarkable feat. Each evening he also gave us very good advice about where and when to eat the following day, to avoid the crowds - and he was spot on!

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Dias and his assistant Marija.

In the evening we went to the 8:30 pm show in the Lyric Theatre, starring Jose, a juggler and balancing act and his assistant and wife Anita. They were very good! There was only one show this evening as it was our first day on the ship - on all other nights there were two shows. After the show, we had a drink in one of the lounges. As I had not slept the previous night I was very tired, so I decided to have an early night, but the girls decided to see the parade in the ‘Royal Promenade’ (a sort of mini version of the Disney parades). They said it was very good and the video they took underlined this.

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The 'Lyric Theatre' held over 1300 seats over 3 floors and would have been the pride of any Town or City. We went here every evening to see some great shows. Each row of seats has terrific legroom - sufficient for people to walk through without sitting people having to get up. Each seat also had a glass holder in one of its arms.

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Our bed, made up for night use.

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A stilt walker in the parade.

In the morning we would be visiting Valencia in Spain.


==================================================


Continued tomorrow ………………...
Geoff

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"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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MEMORIES (No. 21) - MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE - 2011

Postby Gillzajoker » 21 Mar 2021 12:35

A couple of heart in the mouth moments at the beginning, Geoff, but glad you made it OK
to the ship.Nice photos of the theatre and dining room. Looking forward to the following week
'en famille' :D
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MEMORIES (No. 21) - MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE - 2011

Postby judgegeoff » 22 Mar 2021 08:18

Apologies, but I won't be able to post the next day of my cruise blog until later today, as I have got to take Chris to the hospital in Canterbury.
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MEMORIES (No. 21) - MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE - 2011

Postby Gillzajoker » 22 Mar 2021 12:27

No worries, have a day off, and leave it while tomorrow.
Hope all is welll with her! :D
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MEMORIES (No. 21) - MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE - 2011

Postby judgegeoff » 22 Mar 2021 15:45

Sorry about the delay. It will probably be late on Thursday as we have got to go back to the hospital again that morning.


Day 3 – Sunday 28th August 2011 - Valencia, Spain


This morning our ship was not due to dock in Valencia until 12 noon, so we went into the ‘Strauss’ dining room for an a la carte breakfast and I was able to order my favourite ‘Eggs Benedict’ dish which was lovely. The a la carte breakfast takes a while but is nice if you are not in a hurry.

After breakfast, I went and got tickets for the Valencia shuttle bus and reported my broken suitcase to the Guest Relations desk and they said that they would get the ship’s engineers to try and repair it. I returned to our stateroom and then we had a walk around the sports deck to see what was available. We also had a look at the ‘Johnny Rocket’s’ American Diner, although we didn’t have time to eat lunch there today. We got some good views of Valencia as the ship made her way into the docks and she tied up exactly on time at 12 noon. There was a long queue of shuttle buses waiting to take us the 20-minute ride into the City Centre.

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We were welcomed ashore by this friendly dolphin.

We took a shuttle bus ride into Valencia (which was very quiet as it was a Sunday) and were dropped in one of the main squares where a local guide was available for advice. We had decided to take a horse and cart ride around the old quarter of the city, so asked the guide where we could get one, but he told us that they didn’t operate on Sundays. We were very disappointed, but decided to make the best of it and explore the city. We had a long walk, past loads of (mostly) closed shops and went into a couple of the little parks that are dotted all over the city. We found a little shop selling cupcakes, decorated with all sorts of things, including icing octopuses.

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Being a Sunday, the city was very quiet.

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Ignacio Pinazo Camarlench was a Valencian painter, and one of the most prominent artists of València from the end of the nineteenth century, working in the Impressionist style.

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Cassie posing by a huge tree in one of the small parks.

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A beautiful house spoilt by mindless graffiti.

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Exquisite tiling on one house.

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There were some magnificent buildings.

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Accountants will not let us build like this any more, such a shame.

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An elegant fountain.

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This reminded us of the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ in Venice.

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The cupcake shop. Mmmmm!

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We headed for the Cathedral…..

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Passing this model of the Cathedral and its buildings.

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The cathedral’s entrance.

Fortunately, there were no services at the Cathedral and we were able to walk around this beautiful building, listening to the English audio guides that we were able to hire. The Cathedral had what appeared to be a very interesting museum, but all the descriptions were in Spanish, so it was rather difficult to understand what it was all about. In a side chapel they had a glass container holding the Holy Grail (although I thought people are still looking for it!). Nearby was a large picture of the Last Supper which clearly shows the same chalice as in the glass container. However, the chalice looked more medieval than 2000 years old, so I remain to be convinced!

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The Cathedral’s interior.

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A magnificent ceiling.

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Amazing gilding.

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Superb workmanship.

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A beautiful dome.

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A very impressive building.

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Another model of the complex.

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Lots of little side chapels.

On leaving the Cathedral we stopped at a pavement café and had beers and cold drinks at a table. After that, we slowly made our way back to the square, where we had been dropped and caught a shuttle bus back to the ship. We were somewhat footsore!

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Cooling beers (and a soft drink for Cassie).

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Lyndsay and Cassie about to board the ship after a tiring but enjoyable day in Valencia.

That evening, at dinner, we asked Tim and Sarah what they had done in Valencia and they said “we heard you talking about a horse and cart ride around the old town, so decided to give it a try”. It seems that the advice that we had been given by the local guide had been wrong! However, it appears that their driver did not speak any English and so his conducted tour was all in Spanish - and none of them could understand it.

In the late evening, we went to the 10:00 pm show in the Theatre which starred ‘Soul Satisfaction’, four coloured American chaps who sang Motown music. We had seen them on the ‘Rhapsody of the Seas’ and they had been fantastic then, so we knew that we were in for a really good show - and they didn’t disappoint! A first-class act!

After the show we were rather tired, so retired to our cabins for the night. Tomorrow would be the first of our two sea days.


=================================================


Continued tomorrow ……………..
Geoff

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"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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Re: MEMORIES (No. 21) - MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE - 2011

Postby Camela » 22 Mar 2021 19:36

You do not need hassles with the long-term parking when you have a flight to catch, your tension was palpable and many of us have been there!! Loved the comment that the crew stairway would only be used in a real emergency - it used to be that muster was an exact rehearsal of the emergency procedure. Whilst they are tedious for seasoned cruisers, even in 2011 musters were more realistic, sadly dumbed down since then. Dining room breakfasts are a treat but for the last few cruises we have only had one on the morning of disembarkation, usually having in suite or buffet to accommodate excursions.
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MEMORIES (No. 21) - MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE - 2011

Postby judgegeoff » 23 Mar 2021 08:30

Day 4 – Monday 29th August 2011 - Day at sea

I got up early this morning in order to queue for tickets for the ship’s free ice skating show. The tickets are issued on a ‘first come/first served’ basis, but we wanted tickets for today’s show as it was a sea day. Everybody gets the chance to watch the show - the rink has seats for 900 and there were several shows, but the more popular show times sell out very quickly. I went to the ‘Studio B’ (the ice skating venue) and joined a small group of people who had already formed but, within a short time, the queue was massive! I was about 9th in line, so knew that I would get the tickets that I wanted. Just before it was my turn, a couple of Spanish elderly ladies bypassed the queue and demanded tickets - and were given them by the member of crew - much to the disgust of the people queuing. When I asked the crew lady why she had given them the tickets she said “what else could I do?” - so I told her!

We had an a la carte breakfast in the ‘Strauss’ dining room again this morning and then went up to the sports deck and had a game of miniature golf. Cassie then had a try at climbing the adult’s course on the rock climbing wall 200ft above the waves. She did really well, getting well past the children’s finishing bell, but was unable to reach the adult’s bell as she physically didn’t quite have the reach to stretch to the next hand-hold. Also, it was a very hot day, making her hands a bit sweaty and therefore rather slippery. But she did remarkably well and we were all very proud of her. Next time, Cass! We then decided to explore the ship and take a few photos.

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The promenade deck is hosed down with water in the early mornings.

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The ship’s mini-golf course.

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Cassie teeing off. Fore!

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Chris putting.

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The ship’s climbing wall.

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Cassie sets off up the wall.

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Past the children’s bell…..

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…..but didn’t quite have the reach to finish the adult’s climb. But well done Cass!

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What goes up must come down!

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The ship’s Royal Promenade.

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Cassie and I on the Royal Promenade.

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This artwork, in the Royal Promenade, resembled a school of baitfish.

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Rising up to the roof.

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These workmen were actually mannikins.

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The glitzy entrance to the ship’s Casino.

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Not my scene at all. I once went to Las Vegas and blew 75 cents!

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Cassie helping herself to popcorn in the Casino.

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Lyndsay and Cassie.

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In the ship’s Wedding Chapel.

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The entrance to the Chinese themed Imperial Lounge, the ship’s biggest lounge.

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Inside the Imperial Lounge.

For lunch, we decided to eat in ‘Johnny Rocket’s’ American Diner that was situated on deck 12 and has a small cover charge. It is decorated just like a 1960’s diner with jukeboxes and staff wearing period uniforms. Whilst we were perusing the menu we were given big platters of complimentary french fries and onion rings. We ordered our main courses (burgers, chicken salad, etc), but Cassie didn’t need one as the French fries and onion rings had filled her up. For drinks, we had beers and milkshakes and for dessert, we had oreo biscuit ice cream sundaes - delicious! Whilst 60's period music played softly in the background, every so often the volume rises and the music played is from ‘Saturday Night Fever’ - and the waiters stop what they are doing and dance to the music - it was very entertaining. A very small little coloured boy, probably no older than 4 years old, joined the line-up and was performing like an old pro - he was absolutely cute!

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Johnny Rocket’s American diner on the ship.

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A dancing waiter in the diner…..

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…...and another.

After lunch, we made our way down to ‘Studio B’ at about 2:45 pm and entered the ice skating rink and found some good seats with a full view of all the rink. The show stars professional skaters from all over the world and is a joy to watch. Although the rink is not huge, the skaters get up an amazing speed and perform all the jumps and spins that are so skilful. The theme was ‘Cool Art, Hot Ice’ and the costumes were very spectacular and colourful. At one stage a man in a sort of steel hamster cage entered the rink and entertained us with a very inventive and unique show. Altogether it was a very enjoyable show - and well worth my queuing for the complimentary tickets.

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The ice skating show.

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Superb skill.

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This chap performed inside a steel hoop – on ice!

After another enjoyable dinner (I had the delicious filet mignon steak) we went to the ‘Imperial Lounge’ which is Chinese themed (on the ‘Independence of the Seas’ the same lounge is called the ‘Pyramid Lounge’ and is Egyptian themed). By this time I was rather tired and my knee was a little sore, so I decided to retire to our cabin, but the girls went to the Theatre to see a production by the ship’s singers and dancers entitled “Invitation to Dance”. Apparently, it was very, very good.

Tomorrow we would be visiting Rome on a ship’s excursion.


======================================================


Continued tomorrow …………
Geoff

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"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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MEMORIES (No. 21) - MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE - 2011

Postby Gillzajoker » 23 Mar 2021 12:52

Wonderful photos of amazing buildings, Geoff, really impressive. Didn't fancy those cupcakes,
though, with their lurid colouring. Pleased you enjoyed the evening show.
Lovely pictures of the ship, and well done to Cassie - don't think I could have attempted that!
Re the queue jumpers, I had a similar experience in a theatre in Wales. I had taken the trouble
to drive there so I could see a seating plan and choose my ticket. The queue was only small, but
the attendant kept stopping to deal with the person at the head of the queue to take telephone
bookings instead! So when it got to my turn and the phone rang, I picked it up myself and
disconnected the call, keeping my hand on it until I was served. There was a protest from her,
but cheers from those behind me.
Lunch, the ice show, and dinner made it a wonderful day! :D
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MEMORIES (No. 21) - MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE - 2011

Postby judgegeoff » 24 Mar 2021 08:00

Day 5 – Tuesday 30th August 2011 - Civitavecchia, for Rome, Italy - Part 1


As we took so many photos in Rome, I have decided to split the day over two posts. This is part 1.


This morning we were going on an ‘Imperial Rome’ full-day excursion to the ‘Eternal City’. As it was an early start we ordered fruit with our early morning tea and coffee, but unfortunately (for Cass and me) they had run out of bananas.

We assembled, as requested, in the ‘Imperial Lounge’ and within a short while we were conducted down to Deck 1 and onto the pier where our coach was waiting for us. Our hostess was named Maria and she told us that our journey to Rome would take about 90 minutes, depending on the traffic, and we would pick up a local guide when we reached Rome. We stopped at a service area for a comfort stop halfway to Rome. The air conditioning on the coach did not appear to be functioning, several people were feeling a little ill, so I asked Maria if the coach could be changed - she said that she would try.

The traffic was light and we made very good progress into Rome, picking up our guide Paulo at the Railway Station. The coach dropped us near the Trevi Fountain and we followed Paulo, who was carrying a green ‘Benetton’ umbrella. He also had a throat microphone and we had all been issued with radio units with an earphone, so we were all able to hear and understand everything he said - his English was very good and he was a very knowledgeable guide.

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Entering Rome we passed this ancient pyramid, built between 18BC and 12BC as a tomb for Gaius Cestius, a magistrate.

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We also passed this building with a painted facade.

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Passing the Colosseum.

We spent about 30 minutes at the Trevi Fountain and learned some interesting facts about it. The family who had commissioned the building of the fountain on the side of their palace found that, once completed, it was so noisy that they couldn’t sleep, so they had to move away. One of the windows to the right of the fountain is a false window painted on. Apparently, a child had fallen to its death from the original window and so the window had been bricked up and a false window painted on to ‘balance’ the fountain. During our time at the fountain, Maria left us to go ahead of us and buy tickets for the Forum and the Colosseum.

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The beautiful Trevi fountain.

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Amazing sculptures.

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The fountain.

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Cassie tossing a coin over her left shoulder to ensure that she returns to Rome in the future.

We followed Paulo away from the fountain and passed the lovely white marble National monument to Victor Emmanuel II the first King of a unified Italy, a huge and impressive building. On the other side of Piazza Venezia (Rome’s answer to Trafalgar Square), we saw the balcony from which Mussolini made many rousing speeches. We then walked down towards the huge Colesseum, with a statue of Julius Caesar to our right and then the Roman Forum. There was quite a big queue to get tickets for the Forum, but Maria had got our tickets, so we were able to enter without any waiting.

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Our group following Paulo with his green umbrella.

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The national monument to Victor Emmanuel II in white marble.

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A magnificent building.

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The local constabulary.

The Forum is an amazing site, a mixture of ruins and well-preserved building from ancient Roman Times. The Senate building is almost fully preserved because it became a church and so was preserved and maintained. At the ruins of the Vestal Virgin’s Temple Paulo told us some fascinating facts about the virgin’s lives. They came from very prominent families and were conscripted at a young age (7 - 9 years old) and had to serve a total of 30 years (10 years learning their duties, 10 years carrying out official duties and 10 years training new virgins). They had to remain celibate - to err resulted in a grisly death (being walled-up alive inside a cave), but were revered and were very well paid with a pension for life. After their 30 years of service, they were allowed to marry and have children (if they were still able!). Many of the ancient shops in the area had plaques on their walls, denoting what was for sale within.

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The Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum, is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the centre of the city.

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Ruins everywhere we looked! The Forum was originally a marketplace.

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This building is the ancient Roman Senate. It has survived in amazing condition because it was converted into a church and so was kept in good order and well maintained.

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Everywhere we looked there were ancient ruins. Building in Rome is a nightmare - as soon as they start digging they find new ruins and have to stop whilst it is properly assessed by archaeologists. The City has been trying to build a new underground metro system, but progress is painfully slow.

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The ruins of the Temple of the Vestal Virgins.

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A plaque on one of the buildings.

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The Triumphal Arch of Tito…..

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….built in the 1st century AD.

On leaving the Forum we followed Paulo to the Colosseum where there were horrendous crowds for entry tickets. Again, thanks to Maria obtaining tickets for us, we were able to go straight in. We climbed up several flights of ancient stairs but were rewarded with fantastic views of this wonderful building. Construction of the Colosseum commenced in 72AD under Emperor Vesparium and was completed in 80AD under Emperor Titus. It held over 50,000 spectators and entry was free to all, as were almost all of Rome's ancient attractions - it was a way of keeping the people happy! Originally the Colosseum was clad in white marble and all the seating was marble, but this was removed for other buildings in Medieval times - a real pity as it must have been a stunning sight. Just a few rows of marble seating remains, but you can see how imposing the arena would have looked originally.

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Constantine’s Arch is adjacent to the Colosseum.

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The Colosseum, is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, just east of the Roman Forum and is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheatre in the world today, despite its age.

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It had an average capacity of 65,000 people and was used for gladiatorial and public spectacles such as mock sea battles and public executions.

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The floor has been removed. Inside the Colosseum. In ancient times, entry was free to everybody, but you had to keep to your designated area. There were strictly defined social classes and these were maintained, even in the Colosseum.

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An amazing building!

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Rooms where the gladiators or prisoners were quartered.

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Originally the seating would have been clad in marble…..

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…..as this reconstructed section shows.

We left the Colosseum and, following Paulo’s green umbrella, we passed Constantine’s Triumphal Arch and rejoined our coach for a short drive to a hotel for lunch. The hotel was very modern inside an old façade and we were each given a glass of champagne on arrival. We had a lovely meal which started with a pasta dish with tomatoes, mushrooms and basil, followed by the main course of pork steak with roast potatoes and vegetables and finishing with ice cream. We had plenty of bread and wine on the tables and the meal finished with cups of coffee. Maria then told us that a new coach had replaced our old one and we left the hotel and were driven to Vatican City.

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Finishing our very tasty lunch in the hotel.


==================================================


Continued in Part 2 tomorrow ……………..
Geoff

Booked cruise :-
"MSC Orchestra" - Cape Town to Venice 2020 (now virtual)
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MEMORIES (No. 21) - MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE - 2011

Postby Gillzajoker » 24 Mar 2021 10:44

Lovely history lesson with fabulous photos of an amazing site. I was there in 1973 but sadly,
despite me doing the Trevi Fountain ritual, I haven't been back (I was always keen to travel as
far away as possible whilst I was still young and fit (you are allowed to laugh!!! :lol: ) and save
much of Europe for my 'old age'. :D
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