Travel With Bradley

Farewell Rome – Hello “Jewel of the Seas”

My passengers reported that they slept really well last night.  

Our checked luggage was ready for pick-up at 7am and then we enjoyed breakfast on the hotels comfortable outdoor patio overlooking beautiful garden.  We were offered an European breakfast buffet (cheese, bread, cold meats, cereal, fruit) with a few North American selections (eggs/bacon).   I chuckled when I saw the many self-serve coffee machines we could use – they were lined up one after another – strong Italian coffee is the norm.  Our local guide explained that an American coffee chain could never survive in Italy so they don’t even attempt to open them.

At 830am we started our city tour of Rome.

Our guide told us that her home has air conditioning but she has to decide what is most important because she can only run one thing at a time or will trip the breakers.  So if she is going to iron or turn on the oven, the AC needs to be turned off.  She said this is typical for most Italian homeowners.  

I estimate that 90% of the vehicles on the road are sub-compact.  A “Smart” car is one of the most expensive small cars you can buy and is considered a “status symbol”.  

We enjoyed seeing the most impressive Rome tourist attractions.  

I treated everyone to the Italian delicacy – Gelato as a “morning” treat!

We arrived at the cruise pier in decent time.  The check-in procedure was well organized and quick.  The staff was friendly.  There were a number of ships in port – NCL Spirit and European line cruise ships represented by MSC and P&O.  

When we boarded the Royal Caribbean, “Jewel of the Seas” around 1pm our staterooms were ready so we were able to drop off our carry-on luggage (nice bonus).  We didn’t need to wait very long for our checked luggage to arrive at our balcony stateroom door.  I was impressed!

I spent a great deal of the afternoon in meetings with ship staff.  In turn I was able to arrange a few more perks for my passengers – I’m excited that we’ll skip the passenger lines as we won’t need tender tickets for Santorini.    I even surprised myself when I was able to arrange that!  In a couple of days we’ll arrive in Santorini early in the afternoon – almost everyone on the ship is going to want to get off as soon as possible.   My passengers don’t need to worry at all – we will be meeting in the conference room and we will be ushered to a tender boat – VIP treatment!

As another perk I’ve included the “Chef Table” experience for all of my passengers.  This is the most exclusive dining evening on-board the Jewel of the Seas (85pp + 18% service) for a 6-course gourmet experience.    The Chef’s Table is a very intimate affair so I needed to split my passengers into 3 smaller groups and they’ll dine over 3 evenings.

I arrived at the ships welcome luncheon buffet a few minutes before close but had  enjoy enough time to enjoy the salad bar with some “Jack Daniels” chicken.  The chef was slicing Prime Rib and for those who enjoy a bit of spice there was a massive pan of jambalaya – looked impressive.  There was certainly a big choice of quality items to choose from.  

Its summer holidays so there are a number of family’s on board.  The majority of the guests are from the UK – there are 255 Canadians amongst us so we are in good company.

Before the sail-away there was the mandatory life boat drill.  It was also very well organized.

The maitre-de in the Tides dining room did a great job organizing my passengers at tables of 6 and 4.  The waiters will therefore quickly learn everyone’s preferences.  Tonights main dining dinner menu offered an excellent choice of selections.  Most of my passengers ordered the prime rib as their main course.

The NCL Spirit is sailing next to us.  During the night her lights glistened off the water.  The seas are so calm so it feels like we aren’t moving….

Tomorrow we can look forward to a relaxing day at sea as we continue to sail towards Greece.

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