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mistrtj

"Mediterranean Mosaic" June '06. Any "experienced" suggestions?

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OK, So we’re “newbies” to Crusing and new to the Mediterranean.

 

Our “Venice to Rome - Mediterranean Mosaic, 7 Day - Silver Whisper “ cruise calls for:

*** 2 days in Venice, then on to;

*** Dubrovnik, Croatia;

*** Corfu, Greece;

*** Argostoli, Greece;

*** Taormina, Sicily, Italy; and

*** one “day at Sea” (where I think I want to try out a rumored Chef’s Demo by Rick Tramonto of ”Tru,” Chicago);

*** then to Rome where we’ve booked three nights at SS’s partner Hotel Bernini Bristol.

 

Does anyone have any recommendations for excursions, side trips, sights, restaurants or beaches (?) from any of these ports? We’d love to hear from some who have made stops at these ports.

 

 

Thanks in advance!

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Mistrtj,

 

I have not been to these ports whilst on a cruise, so can't comment on ships excursions etc but your itinerary, pre and post plans sound excellent.

 

Venice is my favourite all time city - and very much do-able on your own.

Plan to explore the main part of Venice on day 1 by foot as well as using the Vaporetti boats that ply the canals (public transport). Everything is within walking distance - try starting the day at the Rialto (food) Market and exploring the neighbouring shops (glassware, Italian food treats, leather items, lace, beautiful mask shops etc), slowly working your way back to St Marks square via all the usual tourist stops for the afternoon as the shops close between 1-4pm. Restaurants are plentiful, and the closer they are to St Marks Square - the more expensive they become!

 

You can buy day tickets for travelling on the vaporetti - and No1 travels up and down the Grand Canal throughout the day. Just start your ride at one end of the canal searching out a seat up on deck at the front for the most fabulous cheap sight-seeing trip. Repeat the same canal ride on No1 at dusk for a magical view of Venice....

 

On day 2 take another short trip on the vaporetti from St Marks Square to the islands of Murano (home of glass-blowing) and Burano (home of lace-making). The big establishments offer free tours of the glass blowing and there are plenty of beautiful shops and canals to stroll. The islands are tranquil by comparison, but equally pretty and all easily walkable on foot. The ride back also goes past the city's cemetery which is an equally magical sight. We also stopped at the Lido island for a cheaper, more leisurely lunch of seafood and wine... (you also tend to see more locals in these establishments ;) )

 

Finish your days sightseeing with a famous Bellini cocktail at Harry's Bar just a few mins stroll from St Marks Square. Or if money is no object head for the terrace of the Danieli Hotel for a sunset drink with a view.

 

Whilst I was in Venice - we saw a huge cruise ship sail partly across the front of St Marks square.... The view from that departing ship must rate equally as one of the best ports in the world to sail from IMHO.

 

I haven't been to Dubrovnik, but it's a place I'd definitely love to visit as it has so much history and character - I'm sure it will be equally enjoyable.

 

Rome is a wonderful city, but bigger and much more hilly than you think, so try and do a short morning city bus tour to get your bearings and then work you way back to all the things you'd like to see more of over the next few days. There is lots of walking to do here, so pace yourself and focus on one part of the city each day to avoid sore feet! Be sure to have lunch in some of the trattorias in the back streets for great, cheap, authentic meals. I think we did the Colosseum, nearby ruins and the area around the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain on day 1, then headed out to St Peter's Square and the surrounding squares on day 2. (and, Yes we did have sore feet after day 1! :) ) Do try and include a visit to one of the catacombs either in Rome or nearby for something different! (wish I could remember the name of on these places we went to in Rome)

 

As for Taormina, I'm heading out to Sicily next month for a long weekend, (staying in Taormina) so I'll post back in a couple of weeks when I return ;)

 

We tend to visit out of season when the weather is milder and more conducive to walking, but it will be significantly hotter in June so if you're not great walkers or feel the heat, do sign up for a bus tour - especially in Rome where there is more to cover over a wider area.

 

I haven't been to the two Greek places you mention, but if you want relaxation and beaches then Greece is the place to chill and enjoy the scenery before your few hectic days in Rome.

 

Have fun! Wish I was going too! :)

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Another suggestion... John Berendt (author of Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, which recounted a murder in Savannah, GA) recently authored a book about Venice, centered around the destruction of the Venice Opera House. It provided a great portrait of Venice, and I suggest this book as pre-reading for your cruise. You will view Venice in a different way.

 

REVIEW From Publishers Weekly

It's taken Berendt 10 years follow up his long-running bestseller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. In lieu of Savannah, he offers us Venice, another port city full of eccentric citizens and with a long, colorful history. Like the first book, this one has a trial at the its center: Berendt moves to Venice in 1997, just three days after the city's famed Fenice opera house burns down during a restoration. The Venetian chattering classes, among whom Berendt finds a home, want to know whether it was an accident or arson. Initially, Berendt investigates, but is soon distracted by the city's charming denizens. Early on, he's warned, "Everyone in Venice is acting," which sets the stage for fascinating portraits: a master glassblower creating an homage to the fire in vases, an outspoken surrealist painter, a tenacious prosecutor and others. As the infamous Italian bureaucracy drags out the investigation, Berendt spends more time schmoozing with the expatriate community in long discussions about its role in preserving local art, culture and architecture. By the time the Fenice is rebuilt and reopens, Berendt has delivered an intriguing mosaic of modern life in Venice, which makes for first-rate travel writing, albeit one that lacks a compelling core story to keep one reading into the night.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik is a delightful small walled city, perfect for exploring on foot alone or with a guide. You can walk along the tops of the walls if you want.
Corfu
Corfu Town is highly oriented to mass tourism but the rest of the island is pretty.

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In Dubrovnik we came across a wonderful restaurant for lunch called "Domino" We sat outside on the summer terrace and had an excellent meal and a bottle of fine Croation wine. The quality was suberb--and the price was very reasonable. Our friends wanted to climb the wall around the city--and we just wanted to stay there and enjoy another bottle of wine. They won--and we climbed the wall--and afterwards we all agreed that we should have stayed put!

 

address: Od Domina 3, 20000 Dubrovnik Phone: (020) 323103

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We did a back to back cruise that started in Istanbul, then Dikili, Kusadasi, Santorini, Gythion, Corfu, Sea Day and ended in Venice. We spent 2 days in Venice on the second leg then went to Dubrovnik, Taormina, and Sorrento for 2 days, and ended up in Rome. We did this in late June of 2004 on RSSC.

 

There were a number of incredible stops on this cruise, but I will only focus on the stops you will be taking.

 

We have been to Rome before and it is absolutely one of our favorite cities. The Colosseum, Ruins, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and St. Peter’s Square are a must as posted earlier.

 

Corfu is beautiful. The walking tour inside the city was really interesting. Just wander around and take in the sights. We also did a tour around the island and saw old churches, the coastal line, mountains, beaches and Achilleion Palace. The palace was built by the Empress Elizabeth of Austria in 1891. It has beautiful gardens dominated by the figure of Achilles and views of the Ionian Sea. INCREDIBLE!

 

Venice was not one of our favorite cities. Late June it was really hot, which took away from it. People were very unfriendly wherever we went. Cruising into Venice is a must and offers a great overview of the city. Going to St. Mark's Basilica (Church of Gold) is one of the worlds greatest and most richly embellished churches is a must. Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) was the official residence of each Venetian ruler and was founded in the 9th century.

 

Dubrovnik was an absolute highlight. It is an 11th century town survived by the Boznain and Croatia wars. The ABSOLUTE do not miss thing here it to walk the walls. It took us 2 hours. The walls were 80 feet tall and 6 inches thick wide. Lots of stairs, but worth it. It is a beautiful city surrounded by water. We did not take an organized trip and just walked on our own. Every turn revealed something incredible. To end your long walk, have a drink in front of the bar right at the pier.

 

We went to Gythion, Greece, which was different than your stop. It was full of history. We enjoyed the friendliness of the Greek people.

 

Taormina is a historic resort on the east coast of Sicily. It is on a slope of the costal range at an elevation of 650 feet. The views of Mt. Etna were incredible. Not much to do here. It is all about the scenery. We had a lunch at a local restaurant which was great (sorry, cannot remember name - Italian restaurant - had wood fired pizza) and just walked around. Buy lemoncellos. Not sure of the spelling. They are excellent, but strong.

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We were in Taormina last June 05. We went to this restaurant on a friend's reccomendation, The Granduca Garden on Corso Umberto, #172. The food was wonderful (husband had calamari and I had clams) and the view spectacular. We recomended it to friends who just got back and they raved about it.

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