European {Honeymoon-Inspired} Travel Journal: Rome {again!}

Aug 31, 2012

Entry No. 23: Rome {again!}

Have you been following along with my cruise re-cap? 
If not, and you're interested, you can catch up here!

T&I spent the first and last nights of our vacay in Rome {basically our old stomping grounds (; }. We re-visited a few of our favorite places and also made time to check out the Spanish Steps which we forgot about last year. I thought I had heard there would be sweeping panoramas of the city from the steps ... what we saw {2 photos below} was very pretty but not what I would call sweeping.



The Spanish Steps ... the tourists were definitely here ... but the views? idk.


We made it back to the Trevi Fountain to throw in another coin which is supposed to "ensure" a return trip to the city. {I tell ya, I'm starting to think the coin thing really works - I'll be back for the third time this October.} :)




 We re-visited The Pantheon. Definitely worth seeing again.
We decided to have a quick lunch of bruschetta, pasta and San Pellegrino in front of The Pantheon. Lovely day. :)



Left: Some pretty incredibly rich hot chocolate that almost rivaled Angelina's in Paris - what made it sweeter 
was that we didn't have to pay. Long story. Nice waiter. Nothing scandalous, pinkie swear.  

And, in my {maybe creepy} endeavor to become better at taking more 'people shots,' I'll share my two favorites from this trip with you:

I thought he was cute with his hat, book and Chuck Taylors. A little bit of a bohemian vibe. My made-up story 
was that he was patiently waiting for his wife while she was busy shopping for countless leather boots and bags. 

Does this not look like the opening to some gooey, heartfelt movie with Sandra Bullock?

'Till next time!

You can catch up on my full Med cruise adventure here. And all of my European travels here for lots more honeymoon inspiration. ;)

Cruise Wrap-Up // CB's Top Tips

Let's first deal with the whole 'cruise' thing. I know cruises are typically categorized as either an old-people-snooze-fest or a gauche-booze-cruise. We were told by fellow cruisers and staff that our ship had a much higher percentage of 'older' guests than usual because of the time we went {November}. That said, we seriously had the best time. Seriously. Yes, we might have seen some of the worst wigs seated at the bars and yes, we totally saw some granny panties airing out on a balcony but ....

Ummm, of course we had to take a photo of that. 

And yes, I had to use the zoom, too. :P

Granny panties aside, where else can you come back to your floating hotel and go hot-tubbing while you watch Greece fade away with the sunset ... later go out to dinner and have a free order, okay, 2 free orders of escargot, then hit up a few bars {and make week-long 'friends' that you'll be laughing about for the rest of your life} before safely finding your way back to your room ... only to wake up in a new gorgeous locale in the morning with breakfast waiting at your door with no effort on your part?

While I definitely enjoy a good mix of road trips, train travel and general DIY-vacays, cruises offer a fun respite from the 'work' of a typical vacation. I am the 'official travel planner' in our house and researching places to visit, hotels, sights to see and travel can get really tiring really quickly. A cruise obviously requires a bit of work to plan but once we stepped foot on the ship, it was seriously the most relaxed vacation I had ever been on. T&I were both impressed with the Celebrity staff - everyone on board was so polite, kind, generous and friendly. Even though we stayed in an interior stateroom, the whole experience felt so luxurious.  This was only my second cruise {we accompanied J's parents on a Carnival Cruise during college} so I'm certainly no expert but I would definitely recommend the Celebrity line if you're considering a European cruise for your honeymoon.

CB's Top {Cruise} Tips

- We met some girls on the cruise that told us about TravelZoo - they booked their tickets for about $200 less than ours and they received on-board credit {we met them at the bar where they were busy using up that credit, hah!}. While I can't personally speak for using TravelZoo, I would recommend shopping around and making sure you're getting the best deal.

- T&I booked excursions for every port we stopped at and while I don't regret that decision, I think I'd do things a little differently the next time around. We could have easily explored some of the ports on our own and had just as much fun - specifically Rhodes and Athens - if you're headed to either of these locales, I'd definitely recommend doing a little research on your own and DIYing it. We ended up doing just that in Athens {we broke away from our lame group} and we had a ball and saw so much more than we would have if we had stayed with the group. There were also some other people on the cruise that told us about booking excursions through companies other than the cruise line - they said you can find some much more adventurous outings. ;)

- Safety tip. On the train from the Civitavecchia port to the Rome train station, we had an eye-opening experience. The trains are set up so you can stow your luggage by the entrance/exit. I had read before going that you should try and avoid this or at least stay with your luggage if you have to place it there because theft is very common. When we got on, everyone was just leaving their luggage in the entrance/exit and while I was really hesitant and made sure I got a seat as close as possible to keep an eye on it, we also followed suit {peer pressure!} and left our luggage in this area. I noticed a scruffy, older man enter the luggage area with an odd/beat-up and duct-taped suitcase and loiter there. The train conductor was making his rounds and when he got to the scruffy guy they had a loud altercation in Italian and it was clear that scruffy guy was asked to leave. The train stopped and everyone in the cabin had their eyes on him. He quickly picked up several bags and suitcases that clearly were not his and ran off the train to stand on the platform outside. The friendly guys sitting next to us got up and ran to the door, trying to open it but it was already locked. As soon as we started taking off, the scruffy guy picked up the bags and walked off - this clearly wasn't his first rodeo. While our luggage was safe and sound, T&I kept turns with the other guys guarding it in the entrance/exit for the remainder of the trip. My tip to you - keep your hands on your luggage. {BTW - can't you totally see this scenario being played out on What Would You Do? Too bad John Quinones didn't pop out after our experience} ;)

Do you have any cruise-related tips? Have a favorite line you like to sail? 
I hope you'll share with us!

The Details
Celebrity - Equinox Ship
11 day Mediterranean Cruise
Rome, Italy
Sicily
Malta
Crete, Greece
Rhodes, Greece
Ephesus / Kusadasi, Turkey
Athens, Greece
Pompeii + Capri
Rome, Italy

This is not a sponsored post ... although if you're a Celebrity PR person reading this, I'm totally game for working together in the future ... Just saying ;)

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