Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our Bon Voyage Is Official!

Well, as of this morning I've paid the final amount on what will be our next big trip celebrating our 5-year anniversary. Yup, this time we'll be going on our 2nd cruise together . . . touring the Eastern Mediterranean. The 11-night voyage will be aboard the brand new (since July 2009) luxury liner, the "Equinox," part of Celebrity Cruises' fleet.

For those who may recall, our first cruise was a 7-night, 4 port Caribbean affair back in 2007. This time, we're going to be visiting more exotic locales at 7 ports-of-call across 3 countries -- and I for one CAN'T WAIT!!!

The ship departs from Rome, which means we'll have to endure yet another 9-hour trans Atlantic flight before we even begin the cruise. But I mean, come on -- it's to ROME! Somehow I don't foresee this being a problem.

Once aboard our ship, the itinerary will include stops along the Mediterranean at the following ports:

Athens, Greece
Santorini, Greece
Mykonos, Greece
Istanbul, Turkey
Ephesus, Turkey
Naples/Capri, Italy

And, finally, a return to Rome. We set sail on a Monday evening in July, but will actually arrive in Rome a couple of days earlier so as to take in the city and relax before we board. Two days in Rome before a whirlwind 11-night cruise is not so bad, eh? In fact, it sounds pretty damn awesome to me right about now.

I'm most looking forward to spending almost a day and a half in Istanbul, according to our itinerary. I've always wanted to go, and would in fact prefer to spend an entire week there to explore all the wonderful richness of the city's history and culture. But alas this trip will have to just whet my appetite until I can return for a longer, more detailed, stay.

Of course, the history buff in me is also thrilled at getting to visit Rome and Athens, too. However, because of the very short stay in Athens (only 7 hours), I predict we will only have time to visit the most touristy of areas like the Parthenon. Oh well, guess I'll have to make a return trip there someday, too.

I haven't yet figured out our land excursions. I'm a bit worried about booking them through the cruise ship since those trips will likely be crowded and overly expensive. I'm looking into arranging private tours with only a handful of other fellow cruisers, independent of Celebrity, but I fear I won't have the time to stay on top of the details before we leave. Might be that we'll end up booking everything through the ship's concierge by default. Bummer.

Still, even that won't be a deal breaker against all the fun I plan on having visiting all these wonderful locations. Just like last year, looks like 2010 is shaping up to be quite the year in travel for us. Niiice!


Botanist said...

Wow! Lucky guy, David. I've always liked the idea of a cruise, mainly because I love the idea of spending hours sitting on deck watching the world go by. Ah well, might manage to persuade my wife one day, when the kids have grown up of course.

You've certainly got something to look forward to.


David Batista said...

Cruises are nice, especially since I always make sure to book a verandah cabin when we go. I like stepping out and seeing a new port of call spread out before me each morning.

Btw, I got your e-mail but I haven't had a chance to respond. Blog awards are not really my thing -- i.e., I could care less about them. But, really, thanks for thinking about me! And good luck!

Rodney said...

Important things first:
Congratulations on the 5 year anniversary, David AND Lisa!!!

About Athens, I think you're going about it the wrong way. Given the time frame you have,I think you should find a couple of NON overtly touristy sites to check out. The last thing you want to do is spend what precious little time you have waiting in line to see stuff. I'm sure being the history buff you are, you'll have certain places that appeal to you outside of tradition tourism. You can do the regular tourist stuff on your 10th anniversary (random guess as to the Batista Plan) when you return here for a week or so, before the second week of your 10th Anniv. trip when you'll be in Istanbul.

David Batista said...

Nah, Rodney . . . that's definitely not my way of approaching these things. Just like with our first trip to Paris last year, I always do all the toursity things FIRST! Get them out of the way, you know? Plus, with so little time, it's the easiest and quickest plan of action. The well-worn, most popular sites usually have excellent access and more established routes to and from the hotels and/or ports.

So, on this our first time in Athens, I'm okay with seeing the most important sites first. I'll leave the off-beat and little-known discoveries for a time when I can enjoy them better at my leisure.

So, for this one day I see us visiting the Acropolis and not much else. Which isn't bad, being as how there is plenty to see up there on that big flat rock. :)

thE gEOgrAphicAlly blind said...

santorini!!! i've always wanted to visit that place!!! =( well i wanted to go on a cruise but afraid of getting seasick, especially my boyfriend. zzz...

David Batista said...

Actually, the bigger cruise ships are generally safe for those who get seasick. I suffer from motion sickness, too, but on the last cruise we went on I barely felt it. There were times when the ship would rock and I would get that queasy sensation, but after a minute or two it would usually flatten out and then walking around was like walking in any large, land-based building. In other words: you barely knew you were out at sea!

Of course, there's also dramamine that you or your BF can take. I've never tried it, but apparently it helps with seasickness.

Oh, and yes, I'm very much looking forward to Santorini. Especially a certain archaeological site there that dates back to more than 3,000 years ago.

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