By: Sandra Elzie
I hope you were with us last weekend when we briefly visited Rome, Italy, but if not, you might want to take a couple of minutes and check out last week’s article. This week I thought I’d start by telling you just a bit about our ship before we set sail for Naples, Italy.
Royal Caribbean’s Marnier Of The Sea is a self-contained city on the waves where you can eat 24/7, be entertained, gamble in the casino, be pampered at a spa, sweat in the gym or on a rock-climbing wall …..or relax by the pool with a cool umbrella drink & a good book. (And that’s just the beginning.)
If you’ve never been on a Royal Caribbean ship…or never cruised, I suggest you click on the link and view the short video of what they have to offer…and what you’re missing.
We ported in Naples (Capri), Italy to a sunny morning that promised us a great day of sightseeing. Naples is the third largest city in Italy and we were anxious to get off and see the town. We also visited Sorrento, Italy where we spent much of our time walking along the narrow streets and shopping.
Then we boarded a tour bus for an unforgettable day touring the Amalfi Coast…and I must say, it was the highlight of the trip for me. It didn’t take long to realize that the road along the coast was, at best, only a foot or two wider than two tour buses passing each other. In fact, there were some curves in the road where the bus coming down the hill would wait for the one going up to pass before proceeding. In short, two buses were unable to pass each other along the narrowed sections. In other areas the buses would move their mirrors in so they could pass without incident. To say the ride was harrowing is an understatement…in my opinion. But the beauty of the coast was worth every breath-held moment.
We stopped at a quaint little restaurant that clutched onto the side of the hill overlooking the ocean hundreds of feet below. Wine was automatically served on each table and the food was traditional Italian….rich with tomatoes & spices and utterly delicious. We almost hated to leave and get back on the bus, but the scenery in the bus wasn’t bad either. Below is a picture of the inside of our tour bus…but the tour guide stepped right into the middle of my shot!
Then back to the ship…..see it anchored out there between the two palm trees????
For breakfast there was a choice of the dining room and ordering from a menu, or our favorite …going to the HUGE buffet where we served ourselves, but could pick a seat near a window and look out over the sea. Lunch, if we were on the ship, was either the buffet with probably 20 – 30 choices of entree & at least that many sides, or an even more casual meal of pizza or a hamburger or hotdog at the grill by the pool. Oh, and don’t forget the serve-yourself frozen yogurt machine where we got cones up until nine o’clock each night. (Honest, I don’t think I missed a day without ice cream at least once.
But our favorite meal was dinner. This was a time to visit with the people at our table who became friends over the two weeks. (We remain in touch with them).
There was the wonderful couple we went on the trip with, a lovely couple from Canada and two ladies from Texas who were more fun than you will ever know. We’d each share what we’d done that day and sometimes even share our food. Desserts were occasionally passed around so each one could take a spoonful and try something new & delicious. My husband and the two other men love shrimp so on the first evening they requested Shrimp Cocktails. And, although it wasn’t on the menu, our waiter brought them. Then the second evening they did the same and after that our waiter just brought the Shrimp Cocktails without the guys having to ask. The crew sought to serve us in any way…and in every way possible.
The next day that we went ashore was in Ephesus, Turkey. The city was once the site of a great civilization and home to the Temple of Artemis: one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was established by the Ionians in the 11th century BC, but later conquered by Rome’s Alexander the Great. At one time it was the leading seaport in Asia Minor & thrived through a succession of rulers.
Today a lot of the old temples and once-grand structures are in ruins, including the Grand Theater where the apostle Paul once preached. Only a few columns remain from the Temple of Artemis.
Everywhere we went there was shopping, shopping and more shopping. We were told that tourism is the biggest industry for most of the cities.
We wandered through narrow streets with tiny shops crammed full of treasures just waiting to sell you anything you wanted…and if it was too big, bulky or breakable, they were willing to ship it home for you.
At the end of the tour, we were taken to a shop where we watched a master weaver hand-making Turkish rugs.
It was fascinating to watch how fast her fingers moved.
I know this has been only a peek at these two stops…and I apologize….but there’s just too much to see, too much to tell and with more than 2,000 pictures in our albums, it was difficult to choose which ones to share. Next week we’ll visit Athens, Greece, so I hope you’ll come back to join us. See you then!
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