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.
Took the sea bus for 2 euros to Mykonos Town (also walkable). We didn't make any plans here so we just enjoyed the town itself walking through its cute narrow streets. We had lunch in the Little Venice area there.
Day 7 Rhodes, Greece
My dad and I were the first off the ship here. We walked around the Old Town as the sun was coming up. There was no one in the town yet because it was so early so we got some great pictures of the area without lots of people in the pictures. Had coffee at two different spots mainly to use their wifi and bathrooms. Did quite a bit of shopping here and had lunch at our favorite spot Auvergne.
Day 8 Santorini
My dad and I were the 3/4 off the ship. This was the only port where we needed to tender in. We then took the cable car up to Fira. We met a husband and wife who were also going to Oia so we split a taxi with them (30 euros total and took 45 minutes drive). We walked around the caldera in Oil and had a light breakfast at Terpsi en Oia on their roof for an amazing view. Visited the Old Fort at the end of the caldera, and then walked down the steps to Ammoudi Bay (10-15 min downhill stairs). We went for a swim from the Rock Beach out to the abandoned church island. There oddly enough was a couple from Framingham there (I work 10 min from there). CRAZY! We then had lunch a light lunch at Dimitri's and headed back up the steps (10-15 min walk uphill) to Oia again to catch the local bus back to Fira (1.80 euros). This was hard to find but we just kept asking and came across the right bus. Once in Fira, we took a taxi to Venetsanos Winery (15 euros). We enjoyed a tasting and some cheese and crackers for the rest of the afternoon (met another person from very close to my work, again, CRAZY!) Met up with the rest of the group and were able to hitch a ride with them on their tour back to the ship.
Day 9 Athens
Took another private tour with Urban Adventures. We had a tour of the Acropolis and explored the Acropolis Museum. We then had lunch in the Placca as well as a wine tasting on a rooftop and Lukumades. Overall, it was a fun, yet exhausting day once the wine kicked in.
Day 10 Day at Sea
Day 11 Naples/Sorrento/Capri
Took a taxi to the train station (4 euros) then the train to Sorrento which is beautiful since you go right by Pompeii and see Mount Vesuvius. Got limoncello from I Giardini Di Cataldo and did some shopping around the town. Had coffee at Hotel Syrenne. Took the ferry to Capri and the cable car to the top. Explored, shopped, had a delicious Lemonade Slushy with fresh orange and pomegranate juice at the cart right near the cable car exit, and had lunch at Al Capri. Took ferry from Capri to Naples to walk around and down Via Toledo.
Day 12 Rome Airport