Last October, my Dad and stepmom Janice asked me if I wanted to come on another Mediterranean Cruise for our family trip in 2019. My answer was obviously YES! I can't thank them enough for such an amazing trip.
We cruised on Royal Carribean's Jewel of the Seas out of Rome. We flew in a few days before getting on the ship to have more time exploring Rome which still wasn't enough.
(Photo Gallery located at the bottom)
Things to know:
Prepare to walk a lot in Italy and Greece. It's almost impossible to get an uber in Italy, and not even allowed in Greece. Taxis in Rome are in high demand so prepare to wait. Public transportation in Greece on the islands is very difficult (Santorini public bus system is very unorganized).
Have euros on you at all times.
Travel light and layer. It was the perfect weather in both Italy and Greece in early/mid October but a light jacket was nice to have at night or in the morning.
Free wifi is the best way to go if you can disconnect from the world a bit/want to save money (I went the full 12 days without paying extra for data, etc and my phone was not hacked).
Favorite bathroom saying and is true for Greece: "Don't flush anything down the toilet that you haven't eaten yet." - bathroom at Dimitri's in Ammoudi Bay
You don't have to pay to use a gross public bathroom. Walk into a nice hotel like you are a guest. They usually have bathrooms in the lobby or stairs downstairs to bathrooms. They are free and typically beautiful. If you don't find one there, you got to see the lobby of a beautiful hotel.
When in doubt, Starbucks and McDonalds will always have free wifi and public toilets.
Day 1 Rome 13 miles walked
Took bus into city (took over an hour due to traffic) and left my bags at our hotel (Yes Hotel) because I was the first to arrive. I went out to explore the city by foot: Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and outside of the Colosseum (6 miles of walking). I had lunch at the Bramble Bar which was exceptionally fast and pretty delicious. I met up with my family in the afternoon to explore more. We had dinner at Osteria Allegro Pachino which is right around the corner to the Trevi Fountain. We all had gelato nearby and visited friends at their condo who were staying at the Palazzo Scanderbeg Townhouses.
Day 2 Rome 12 miles walked
Free breakfast at the hotel. We had a tour set up at the Colosseum and the Forum so we walked there. Explored Trastevere and had the most amazing pastries at a local bakery (pistachio lobster tail, chocolate chip biscotti, lemon ricotta lobster tail) at La Panetteria Romana. Some of us went to Piccolo Arancia which is also located near the Trevi Fountain. This was the first time I felt like I truly had an authentic Italian dish: cremates ravioli with orange cream with fried artichoke (tasted like potato chips) as the appetizer and a chocolate lava cake for dessert.
Day 3 Rome
Free breakfast at the hotel. We caught the 10:12 train at the Termini Station to Citachavecchia to board the ship. The train took a little over an hour and we were on the ship by noon. We couldn't get into our cabins until 2 so we had lunch in the buffet area in the meantime. (I would have gone to the Vatican and done the Sistine Chapel if I was not with others) The ship set sail at 5 PM.
Day 4 Day at Sea
A fun relaxing day on the water: ping pong, tanning, Disney trivia (of course), and lots of eating.
Day 5 Crete (Chania), Greece
We had breakfast on the ship. Had a private tour using Urban Adventures who took us to Karavitakis Winery, the oldest olive tree in the world, and Biolea for olive oil tasting. We went to another winery and a restaurant as well.