Bus to Venice
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Bus to Venice
Our good neighbor and “kababayan” Emerson Simpliciano took time to bring us to our bus meeting point in the middle of the night. The bus (with only 14 passengers) left Westbahnhof at around 00:15. We arrived in Venice at around 9.30 AM.
After checking in at the MSC Cruise port in Venice, we took time to discover Venice. From Piazza Roma we got the water bus that took us to the beautiful sights of Venice. We headed towards St. Marks Square firstly following the signs to the Rialto bridge and then the signs to Piazza San Marco. Indeed, taking the water bus was an easy way to admire all the mansions and buildings that overlook the Grand Canal and the lagoon. After our short stay in Venice, we finally boarded in the ship at around 2:00 PM.
About the ship
The ship was bigger and more modern than the MS Coral, which we sailed in three years ago. The pool area was big enough. It is a bit crowded specially during peak times. The gym, the favorite place of my son Steven, was too small and got very busy when at sea.
The staff are mainly Indonesians, except in the main dining room where there are some Italian staff and other European staff. The staff speak and understand English, although the first language on the ship is Italian. There are also 10 Filipino crew members. Most of them work as supervisors in the bars and kitchen.
The food in the main dining room was very good and there was lots of choice. We ate in the dining room every night. The buffet had a reasonable selection.
The entertainment team were very active in getting people to dance at the various parties with live music which was nice and helped to create a good atmosphere.
We likewise enjoyed the shows held in La Fenice, on deck 5/6. There were two shows per night to accommodate the dinner seatings.
The trips ashore were well organised but we found that it was not necessary to book the excursions. We prefer to be independent.
Ports of Call
Venice- it was really something special to cruise through Venice, I would really recommend watching this from the back or top of the ship.
Ancona – This is a lovely little town, easy to get around and we were given a useful walking tour map at the port. You can walk up to the Cathedral on the hill and there are some Roman ruins nearby.
Corfu – Corfu is about 20 minutes walk to the Old Town from the port and was very well signposted – MSC offered a 15 euro per person bus service to the town. Well worth to take especially if it’s hot. Corfu is indeed a lovely old town with cobbled streets and the usual bars and restaurants. There are lots of tourist shops selling soaps and olive wood products.
Santorini – our best destination – gorgeous setting – great photos! The place is really amazing! At Santorini you are at anchor, if you are not on a tour you have to collect a disembarkation number for reception – this will then allow you to get on a tenderboat in order to get out the ship. We took the cable car going up to the village Fira. We took the 600 steps going down after several hours of roaming around the village. It took us more than 30 minutes before we reached the tender boat that brought us back to the ship.
Piraeus (Athens) – We did a taxi tour going to Athens and the Acropolis. The nice taxi driver brought us to other scenic spots around Athens.
Argostoli (Kefalonia) – Another lovely little town which was within easy walking distance of the port, good shopping and good for exploring. We booked a sightseeing tours around Argostoli with two hours allotted for swimming in a nearby beach resort.
Kotor – (in Montenegro) The place was delightful. The actual village is quaint. We wandered around the cobbled streets for a couple of hours and enjoyed the shaded areas.
Venice – disembarkment day – all had to be out of rooms at 8.00 am – given coloured baggage tags to attach to your suitcases – each colour related to a time for disembarkment and transfer.
We came away from this cruise saying that we would do this again. This is not a glitzy ship – it is only mid-sized (58,000 tons, with 1500 passengers, 700 crew), and a bit older, so does not have all the bells and whistles of the newer ships. However, it is clean, attractive, and has reasonable amenities. There are lots of families on this ship, but also a range of ages. The sea was very calm, so there was barely a feeling of being at sea. — Hector Pascua
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