I wished Rome and its lack of bathrooms, ungodly traffic and rude people "arrivederci" and enjoyed my ride to the port. Our ship was a welcome sight.
It took no time to get our baggage off the bus and into the hands of the crew who would put in on board. If things go right, and they did for us, the luggage shows up at your stateroom before dinner. We did learn of a couple, not in our group, whose luggage did not get put on board. It cost them $700 to have their luggage sent to our next port. One had insurance and one didn't. If you are ever going to travel like this, buy the insurance. At least one third of our group ended up with a claim for something by the trip's end.
Because we are now Platinum members with Royal Caribbean we were given a special line for check-in but the lines were not long and we didn't get through any quicker than the others. Once on board it was right to the buffet for our lunch because it was mid-afternoon. Finding your way around the ship takes a bit of doing. There is some "you can't get there from here" that goes on. One bank of elevators will go to the top, another set won't. Some floors don't go entirely through the ship. My biggest problem is figuring out fore and aft. But I did notice our side of the ship had blue carpeting, the other side red. That helped me a lot.
We had a lovely cabin mid-ship, front to back and top to bottom on Deck 6. We turned down an upgrade that was about 4 decks up and all the way forward. We didn't think it would be a good spot in rough seas. If we had known how smooth the crossing was going to be we would have taken it.
There was a king size bed with luxurious linens plus a couch and coffee table. We also had a balcony which I liked because I could determine the weather before I got dressed. I didn't spend much time out there but it was nice having it.
This older gentleman caught my eye and just seemed to "belong" to the landscape so well that I took his photo.
Our next stop was Palma de Mallorca, also a Mediterranean island but it belongs to Spain. This is pronounced My-Or-Ka. Our first stop was Belver Castle followed by a stop at the bullring. Bullfights are not as common as they used to be but they still exist.
I was busy at the Pearl Factory across the street doing some serious damage purchasing a graduation gift. I have jumped through all the hoops to get my VAT tax back so I'll let you know if it appears as a credit on my Visa card in the next three months!
Our third port was Cartegena, Spain (pronounced Car-Ta-Hey-Nah). What a beautiful city. So clean and well maintained. We were all impressed. We visited the excavation site of the Theater that has been uncovered just recently. Here is what we learned.
The biggest monument in Cartagena is the Roman Theater. It was ordered built by Augustus Caesar and the construction took place between 5 and 1 A.D. and was dedicated to Lucio and Cayo Caesar, the nephews of the Emperor. The theater could hold 6000 people.
In October of 1988, the city was going to construct a new building on the site and discovered that there were remains from Byzantine, Arab, and medieval times, and below all of these they found the Roman Theater. This was one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in Spain in recent times. The reason that the theater was not discovered earlier is that its location was in a part of the city that had been continuously occupied since Roman times. The theater was built on the side of one of the town's highest hills.
The site was restored very well and it was found that 60% of the original materials were found on the site. The restoration finished in 1988, and its museum was also finished. The entrance to the Roman Theater Museum of Cartagena is located in the Pascual de Riquelme Palace, which was a Baroque looking palace built by the architect Tomas Rico. The famous architect Rafael Moneo built a tunnel underground to connect the palace with the Roman theater, which is more than a block away. When one enters the Roman Theater from the top of the stands, one is highly impressed by the theater, one of the best preserved in Spain. Towering above it are the ruins of the walls of the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Vieja, which was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War.
We walked through very updated modern streets with restored architecture and lovely promenades and parks. A vacation here would be nice I think.
This blog is getting photo heavy so I am going to do the Canary Island stops in the next blog. Coming right up!