Cruise Web Cruise Consultants Enjoy Europe and Seminar-at-sea
By: The Cruise Web, Inc.
Royal Caribbean graciously offered myself and two of my colleagues three staterooms for their Seminar-at-Sea aboard Navigator of the Seas last month. Tina Colicchio, Clay Hawley and myself, headed out and I had a wonderful time on this sailing from Barcelona to Rome. The cruise featured the perfect mix of Spain (3 ports), France (2 ports) and Italy (2 ports). After flying in early to Barcelona we were able to drop our luggage off on the ship and spend some time in the city. Barcelona highlights include her 1992 Olympic stadium, Picasso & Dali Museums, and Gaudi architecture that graces the city. We did some shopping in the Las Ramblas area downtown and were of course amused by the street mimes. There’s also a Joan Miro circular tile mosaic that is an absolute must-see. Sailing on to Spain we visited Valencia including a bus tour through the castle and palm-lined Explanada de España. Our final Spanish port was Palma De Mallorca. We did a great wine tour that offered intoxicating samples of their reds & whites as well as olive oil. We learned how actor & Palma resident Michael Douglas created his foundation to promoting and preserving the wild beauty of Mallorca’s Moorish North Coast.
On to France and Marseilles including a train tour up to breathtaking coastal views from the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. Then in Villefranche we did a “Scenic French Riviera” excursion that encompassed Monaco & Monte Carlo (the legend says its still haunted by Princess Grace) as well as Nice and Cannes. If one feels lucky (or like James Bond) they could gamble in the fabled Monte Carlo casino.
Italy was perhaps most memorable of all. From the port of Livorno we caught the train to Florence and strolled through cathedrals and even saw Michelangelo’s David Galleria dell’Accademia. We spent an extra night in Rome and learned all we could from our delightful tour guide named Fabrizio. He and his staff offer not only transfers from the Civitavecchia port to the airport or center of Rome, but also in-depth tours. The highlights for me were the Colosseum and Pantheon. My coworkers enjoyed St. Paul’s & St. Peter’s Cathedrals so much they talked about them all night. We missed out on the Sistine Chapel (closed on Sundays, so keep this in mind for future Rome scheduling!). All of this makes me think of my childhood, where Virginia’s colonial history was extolled to me daily…. I’ll tell you what, Virginia’s history pales in comparison to Rome with her edifices standing for millennia.
We lucked out with clear skies, sunny but not too hot temps throughout. Our entertaining Navigator of the Seas waiter Bogdan was the best I’ve encountered at sea in ten cruises. The business aspect of the seminar included workshops during the two port days where we got the scoop on Royal Caribbean’s itinerary and fleet plans including the amazing new Oasis of the Seas debuting in November.
Yup, it’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it.