Travel With Bradley

Sailing Back to Rome

This weekend they are calling for record breaking temperatures in much of Europe – into the mid 40’sC.  Many homes don’t have AC so locals will head to the water and there is a fear of increased drownings.  We set up heat shelters in Canada but although I am not positive I don’t believe they are set up in Europe – at least nothing is mentioned on the news.

I prefer the European newscast because you learn what is going on throughout the world – at home US news makes the headlines and International News is very secondary.   On the ship they air BBC and SkyNews.  This morning there was not a mention of American politics – a refreshing change.

 

Today we visited the sleepy town of Katakolon.  This is the Gateway to Olympia, the location of the original Olympic Games.  It was a very hot temp day so most of my passengers enjoyed roaming around the town where there are 2 main streets of shops and a variety of tavernas on the sea shore.  The population here is only around 600 people.  My Canadian Greek friend tells me this area produces excellent olive oil.

A few of my passengers said this was their favourite port because its so laid back and they would like to come back and for a week stay.

Tomorrow is a day at sea and we will arrive back in Rome on Sunday.  We’ll gather for a farewell group luncheon in the dining room and its the final Chefs Table Dinner for my passengers that haven’t experienced it yet.

I’m very impressed with the “Jewel of the Seas”.  I picked this cruise mainly because of the itinerary.  Although I expected the ship to be very good it has exceeded my expectations.

I chatted with a couple that have been on 90 cruises and this is their favourite ship.  I can best describe it as a small ship with a big attitude – it can stand on its own.  The balcony staterooms are a little smaller than most of the newer ships but there is more than enough room.  The staff has been excellent.  It’s one of the friendliest crews I have ever experienced.  I saw that Royal Caribbean awarded them with a “Best Staff Fleet Wide” award which is quite an honor as Royal Caribbean has a large number of ships in their fleet.  The staff is a happy one so they must be treated well.

The menus in the main dining room are extensive – with so many excellent choices its hard to decide what to order. 

Today on the lunch buffet there were a number of seafood choices including jumbo fried shrimp,scallops and a variety of shell fish – you don’t often see buffet items like these on cruise ships.

Its easy to navigate around this vessel and everyone liked that.  Its much smaller than the new norm but it still has much to offer – certainly enough for any travelers needs.  There are so many activities offered throughout the day and  there is a cinema (don’t find them on newer ships).  There is plenty of entertainment choices in the evenings –  many music styles  – even heard country music last night.   While soaking in the pool you can enjoy a movie on the big outdoor screen.  

Three speciality restaurants are plenty for this size of ship – and there is the Chefs Table for very special events.  

WIFI connection is expensive but it works better than any other ship I have been on.  This new system is now found on all the Royal Caribbean ships.  I purchased the upgraded faster plan so I could upload pictures to my blog.  It worked 85% of the time which is a huge improvement to past cruises.  I expect other cruise lines will now be upgrading their systems.  On this cruise the younger generation are all on their mobile devices and they are going to pay the cost  no matter how much it is to be connected.

Toiletries in the staterooms are very basic.  Expect a bar of soap and a dispenser of liquid soap in the shower – no hair conditioner etc – next time I sail on Royal Caribbean I’ll pack my own product.  

There is a fee if you order room service.  Due to cost you won’t find lobster on the menu in the main dining room. 

I found the shops on board to be pretty dismal but typically I don’t find the shops on cruise ships to be very good.

This sailing has attracted many multi-generation family groups.  The dining room can easily accommodate families with large tables.  Europeans like to travel with extended family members – I think that is terrific.  I was concerned when I saw how many children are on this cruise but there is ample security and lifeguards at the pools to keep a watch on them.

I don’t think we’ll forget the 2 senior aged sisters that we all thought were twins.  They are American living in 2 different States.  They dress identical when they are together.  Every time I see them they are wearing new outlets – everything matches right down to the accessories (hats, purses, jewelry)

My passengers have been wonderful and we’ve enjoyed time together.  I’d like to thank them for Traveling With Bradley.  Having to split my passengers  into 3 intimate groups for the Chefs Table gave me the opportunity to spend quality time with everyone.  The Chef Table was certainly a great surprise that everyone has really enjoyed – its a culinary experience that would be hard to replicate at home.  

With so many families on board they have stuck together so I haven’t met as many travelers as I usually do on cruises but I enjoyed some conversations with a friendly couple from Sydney, Australia.  There are very few singles on board this sailing.  The itinerary has attracted passengers from all over the World.  Its a nice change being on a cruise that isn’t filled with North American passengers.

We are currently sailing back to Rome.  A driver and coach will transfer us to the Rome airport and we’ll fly Air Canada back to Toronto.  Many of my passengers will overnight at the Airport Hilton on our arrival but I’ll head home. 

Monday I’ll be back at the Walters Theatre to welcome our patrons.  I’m looking forward to the Kenny Rogers Tribute Show.  It’ll be another busy sold out week.

Don’t forget August 26th is my annual travel show.  Hoping to see you there!

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