Discussion in 'The DIS Unplugged Podcast' started by khertz, Apr 14, 2018.
I've only been on Cunard and Disney - much prefer Cunard!
So true about Rome & Venice. We've been to both several times. I guess I'd give the edge to Venice but I wouldn't turn up my nose at Rome.
I love how you've organized this trip report! I'm going on a RCL cruise next May with family and friends (10 of us!), and we're starting off in Venice, so I'm really interested in seeing those pictures and your notes.
First off, hope DD had a wonderful 3rd birthday!
And I LOOOOOVE Venice - one of my favorite places ever (we went in 2005 on our honeymoon and hope to return in 2020). Bummer about the high water, but glad you found the masks - would love to see what you picked for the kids.
Wow - loving your pictures of Venice! Seems like a photographer's dream. Such a unique place and beautiful buildings. I remember when you went there on the ABD. I really loved those pictures too. Glad you found the mask shop and some gelato. It must have been nice going back to Rome and Venice and seeing familiar things and somewhat knowing your way around. Your cruise is almost over but sounds like you're extending a few nights which is great!
Agree about the ship and itinerary. It was lovely. Lunch was great. The original recipe was on the eating italy blog but I did some twists.
1) celery, onion, carrot chopped and diced and then sautéed
2) .75-1 lb beef and the same of veal browned over the above. also added salt/pepper and various spices here
3) strained the fat
4) added white wine to the above meat/veg mix and cooked wine off
5) the to the meat/veg I added 1.5 cup of almond mild (replaced cream) and cooked for 40 min
6) then added crushed tomatoes and simmered for 75 min along with more spices
served over fettuccine.
I agree. They are both enjoyable and different. Easy repeatability.
Venice was a photographers dream. I'm looking forward to my editing process.
Loving reading about your trip. Taking a Viking cruise is on our bucket list one of these days. They look fantastic.
I've never heard of that one! Most people I talked to on this cruise who had done Disney also seemed to prefer Viking.
Totally agree! I love the sightseeing in Rome, but there is just something about wandering Venice without a real plan and just enjoying the atmosphere that is so intoxicating. We were really excited to add more time in both cities on this trip!
Thanks so much! I'm glad you're enjoying it. That sounds like it will be a great cruise!
Aw, thank you! She definitely did. I still can't believe she is already 3!
I'll definitely post pics at the end! I was not prepared in 2014 to fall in love with Venice as much as we did, so not only getting to come back but getting to spend more time there was absolutely amazing. Hopefully we will have more visits in our future!
Between the two of us I'm not the photographer but I feel confident that DH would agree it's a photographer's dream city. There is beauty everywhere you turn there.
It was cool getting to revisit some places, but also nice getting extra time in Venice this time because we had loved it so much on our ABD and didn't feel like we had enough time there.
Thanks for sharing! I'll have to try this out. I'm all about getting a little taste (literally!) of Italy wherever I can!
Absolutely! I hope this was not our last visit to either city.
We ended up with so many beautiful photos from this city, both in 2014 on our ABD and also on this trip.
It was an incredible first cruise! I'm afraid I may have set all subsequent cruises up to fail because our Viking cruise was so relaxing and amazing!!
Day 9 Continued: Friday March 30th
When I left off, we were about to head out on our tour to the islands of Murano & Burano
Viking offered an excursion to the islands of Murano, known for its glass blowing, and Burano, known for its lace-making. But in our research we had found a comparable tour through City Wonders, who we had used several times in Rome, and it was half the price of the Viking excursion. Since we didn’t have to worry about what time we got back to the ship that night (we were overnighting in Venice), we figured this tour was the way to go. It started at 1:30 pm.
After meeting our guide and once the rest of the group had arrived, we took a 30 minute boat ride over to the island of Murano.
IMG_4865 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
We got to the New Murano Gallery where we went in first for a demonstration in glass blowing.
Viking 10-060 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-061 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
They first demonstrated making a drinking glass, and then a horse. It was not as quick and impressive as the demo we had gotten on our ABD, but still incredible to watch them work.
IMG_4878 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-062 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-063 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-064 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-065 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-066 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-067 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-068 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
They showed us how hot the glass still is once the statue of the horse was done by touching a piece of paper to it and it instantly caught fire.
Viking 10-071 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-073 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
I also took a video of him making the horse.
We weren’t allowed to take photos inside of the gallery, but I did get this one of the chandelier in the workshop.
IMG_4875 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
It was tempting to buy a set of glasses or some of the other nicer things they had on display but ultimately we decided against spending the money and trying to figure out how to get it home. Since we still had some time before we would be meeting up to go on to Burano, we left the gallery to explore a little bit.
Viking 10-074 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-075 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-076 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-077 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
It was a short walk around before heading back to the factory to meet up with the group, as there wasn’t much else to see around there. Lots of little shops selling a lot of the same stuff.
Continued in the next post...
Day 9 Continued: Friday March 30th
After a short boat ride, we arrived in Burano which in addition to lace-making is known for their brightly colored homes. The legend of these bright colors is that it made it easy for the fisherman to see them even in a thick fog so they wouldn’t crash into the island. Sorry to tell you, there’s going to be A LOT of photos of these houses because I was just obsessed and kept making DH take them.
Viking 10-078 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-079 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-080 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-081 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
As I’m sure you can imagine, there were TONS of lace shops all around. But we went to a particular one for a demonstration. It was kind of a sad story because basically none of the young girls growing up want to learn the art of making lace, so it’s a dying craft. There are only a handful of women still making the lace, and they are getting old. And each can only do one style.
IMG_4883 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
The youngest lace maker on Burano
Viking 10-082 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
They took us upstairs to their gallery to show us different styles of lace. Lots of table cloths and table runners…we went back down to look at the smaller items and I was looking at some of the little girls dresses. One of the ladies working there came to help me with sizing and gave me the price but it was too expensive for something DD would quickly grow out of, and for that price I probably wouldn’t let her wear it too much. The lady was a little aggressive though, and that turned me off. I understand they need to make sales, but it was a bit much for me. I ended up buying a small framed sampler instead. Then we had some free time to go and explore.
Viking 10-083 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
IMG_4888 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-084 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-085 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-086 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-087 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-088 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-089 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-090 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Sorry, I warned you there was a lot!!!
It was getting really cold and really windy, and we were looking for something to visit that was indoors. There was a large church but we saw a man coming out to close the door so we thought he was closing the church to visitors, but when he saw us he waved us inside and said he was just closing the door because it was too cold & drafty!
Viking 10-091 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
After hanging out inside the church for a little while, we headed back to the boat. Our guide was waiting there and we started chatting with her about our cruise and told her we were hoping to catch the 6:30 shuttle back to the ship. She said we would be cutting it close, but she would let us get off of the boat first to try to help us out! After the boat ride back, she did just that and we hurried over to catch the shuttle just as it was about to depart. We were just too cold and tired to spend any more time exploring. Plus we were both really hungry!
I didn’t write any more notes for this evening so I’m going to have to go on memory. We got back to the ship and changed for dinner, then headed down to The Restaurant. It was the emptiest we had ever seen the dining room because I’m sure most people decided to eat out in Venice for the evening.
I had some kind of soup for my appetizer. Maybe a potato soup?
Viking 10-092 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
I don’t remember what our entrée was but we both got the fish since it was Good Friday and it was indeed delicious.
Viking 10-093 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
My dessert was some kind of blueberry something. Finally I had made a solid dessert choice, as this one was really good. DH got his tried and true cheesecake.
Viking 10-094 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 10-095 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
It was cheating a little but we decided to go get some gelato after dinner since it was the last night we could do so.
We thought about heading up to the lounge to see if anyone was there, but we had to go pack up first. Our bags had to be outside of the room by 10 pm unless we wanted to carry them off ourselves.
We ended up just staying in the room because DH had found something that was like Air BnB for your luggage and we wanted to find out more information about that. But the internet on the ship was so frustratingly slow that it took literal hours to figure everything out. We hadn’t really had a plan for our luggage for the next day between disembarking from the ship and the time we could check in at our apartment. Worst case scenario, it seemed we could leave it at the port and come back to retrieve it. But once DH had found these luggage services we figured it would be a less time consuming option. It was just frustrating trying to look at different places, googling directions and everything else on the slow internet. We eventually found a place that seemed like it would work out and were able to make a reservation there, so we could drop our bags there in the morning and pick them up later in the afternoon once we were able to get into the apartment, and it only cost a few Euro per bag. I want to say with all our bags it was about 25 EUR.
By the time we were done with all of our research, we were ready to get to bed. But luckily we still had two full days in Venice left ahead of us! On our ABD trip, we had neglected to follow Kevin’s advice of adding some post-nights in Venice (although admittedly, we were super excited about adding on a couple of nights at Disneyland Paris, so it wasn’t terrible), but this time we definitely wanted more time. We had rented an apartment on VRBO for two nights so we’d have all day Saturday once we got off of the ship, and then all day Easter Sunday before flying home Monday morning. While I was sad the cruise part of the trip was over, I was really excited for lots of free time to explore Venice on our own!
UP NEXT: Venice On Our Own
Looking at the glass blowing demonstration photos was fascinating. How people can turn that glowing blob into something as intricate as that horse blows my mind.
Love all the colorful house photos, and the theory about the boats makes sense. I know the houses in the Keys are bright colored for supposedly the same reason.
How sad about lace making being a dying craft.
Glad you were able to find someplace to store your luggage so you didn't have to worry about it the following day. We've had to sweet talk an AirBnB host one time to let us check in early because our flight arrived in the morning. It's one of those annoying considerations you gotta deal with when traveling/switching to new lodging. And hopefully your next accommodations had better WiFi!
The glass blowing and lace making demos sound like they were interesting to watch!
I love all the pics of the colorful houses! The premise behind it is cool too!
Your glass blowing demonstration looked very similar to the one we had ... we did do one of the included Viking tours and I think you made the right decision (though I found ours to be a bit "salesy" as well
The lace making looks interesting and it is sad it is dying out as once it is gone it is gone (even if I am not the hugest fan of lace)
Sounds like a nice quiet dinner - we actually ate at the Chef's Table again that night
Glad you figured out something for your bags!
I think glass blowing is fascinating to watch. I wonder if it's also a dying art? Love the colorful houses! They are very photogenic! Interesting there are AirBnB type places just for luggage. But it makes sense. In a few weeks we fly into Amsterdam for our river cruise. We will go to a "courtesy hotel" where they store your luggage for the day and you can freshen up. We get in around 9:00 a.m. and can't board the ship until 4:00 or so. I'm sure they're paid something for use of the hotel. Anxious to hear more about Venice!
Yes, it is really incredible to watch! I don't have an artistic bone in my body, so I couldn't even begin to turn a blob of melted glass into anything.
I found the house colors to be so fascinating. In fact, it was seeing pics another DISer posted from his trip there on Facebook that made me want to explore this as an option for us in Venice!
It is very sad, especially all of the girls and women working in the lace shop and talking about it. I was thinking to myself, "Why don't some of y'all learn how and keep this thing going?!"
We definitely tried to get into the apartment early to drop off our luggage, but it unfortunately didn't work out as they had someone checking out that morning and needed time to turn it over. I kept checking VRBO to see if the apartment was still listed as available for those dates and it seemed to be vacant right up until we left for the cruise, so that was a bummer. And unfortunately, not the only headache associated with these accommodations. But it did have much better Wifi!!
It's really cool to watch people working at these amazing crafts, but it seems to them to be no big deal as it's what they do day in and day out. Very interesting though!!
The colorful houses was actually what drew me in to exploring these as an option for our time in Venice. It worked out perfect finding it cheaper than it was offered through Viking, er had plenty of time in Venice to be able to spend an afternoon away doing these islands, and we had been to Venice before so it was cool to do something a little different this time.
It's taking the good with the bad for stuff like this, I guess. I want to watch them work at their crafts and enjoy viewing their beautiful work, but ultimately they are there to make money! The lace lady was super pushy though, compared to all of the other places we had been the entire week, so it really turned me off.
I don't think I realized y'all had done Chef's Table a second time! Although, I think from this point in the cruise moving forward we didn't really see you & Judi anymore as our schedules didn't line up. How was it compared to the first night? Maybe I read this on your TR though and I'm blanking on it right now. lol
It was nice to have that one piece of the puzzle in place before getting off the ship in the morning!
It doesn't seem like it, as this particular one is operated by a large family of artisans, and there are several other galleries/workshops around Venice. The lacemakers are really down to just a handful of ladies at this point, and most of them are pretty old, from what they explained to us.
A courtesy hotel is a great idea! I bet Venice had that option too, we just didn't even know it existed to look for it!! But the luggage service ended up working out well, even though nothing really gets you around the headache of dragging your luggage up and down the bridges of Venice when it's packed with tourists. That ABD really spoiled us with not having to worry about our luggage! So this made me very anxious to even think of it all.
Day 10: Saturday March 31st
We were up pretty early since it was the day we were saying goodbye to the ship. There were a few last minute things we had to shove into our carry on bags before we went down to have some breakfast at The Restaurant. We had been wanting to do a sit down breakfast the whole cruise but with our early excursions almost every single day, it was usually quicker to get something at the buffet.
After saying goodbye to our beautiful stateroom we brought our bags with us to The Restaurant where there were still a few other groups and couples with the same idea. DH got the American breakfast and I had the French toast.
Viking 11-001 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 11-002 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
We were not really in a rush to leave the ship, so we hung out for a bit at one of the digital game tables and played for awhile, then made our way off of the ship around 9 am. We bought tickets for the public boat to take us into Venice, but one had just left and the next one was not until 9:56, so we had a decent wait. But we were waiting with some of our Viva Italia friends and their friends, so the wait went by quickly!
Finally we were able to board our boat, and John & Kevin even joined us for the ride.
Viking 11-003 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
These boats are basically Venice’s form of public transportation, so it made a few stops. The luggage was all stored up at the front by the driver.
Viking 11-004 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
We passed this yacht, which looked like it would have been a nicer way to get around.
Viking 11-005 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
The shuttle took us over to a stop near St. Mark’s Square where we got off, and this was the first hitch in our day. The night before we had managed to make a reservation for luggage storage to hold our bags until we were able to check in at the apartment we had rented. Now, we just had to find it. And it was starting to drizzle. And we were pulling several suitcases all through Venice and squeezing around people and trying not to roll through puddles. And it was just not a fun experience. Trying to get directions in Venice can be very frustrating because not all streets and alleyways are labeled with names, and even some that Google maps had named as one thing said something different on the signs. We were getting frustrated, so finally DH turned on his data on his phone so we could use the realtime map instead of the directions we had written down. After that, it was much easier to figure out where we were going, and now we could use the data for the next 24 hours anyway since we’d be paying a fee for it.
We made it to the Venice Luggage Deposit, which is actually a wonderful service once you can find it!
Viking 11-006 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
We dropped our suitcases and backpacks there and got a numbered ticket to turn in once we returned to pick them up. Then we could finally go out and enjoy our morning in Venice! It felt nice to have that headache behind us because I had been stressing about it quite a bit. And I made sure to snap a bunch of photos on our way back of landmarks so that we would be able to find it a little easier on our return trip.
Since we had done the Murano/Burano tour the day before and all we had coming up the following day that we wanted to do was Easter mass at St. Mark’s, we had nothing to do this day but explore. We did want to check out the Disney Store, so we started off in that direction and checked out a church along the way.
Viking 11-007 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
We made it to the Disney Store!
Viking 11-008 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 11-009 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 11-010 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
This one actually had a decent selection of Italy Disney merchandise, so I ended up getting myself a small travel wallet and a shirt. We debated getting DD a cute Ariel suitcase they had, but ultimately decided not to get it. When we went to check out, we were eligible for the purchase with purchase, so we got a Rapunzel beach towel for DD (…and for me to use sometimes).
We headed towards St. Mark’s after our shopping.
Viking 11-011 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 11-012 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 11-014 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
We were getting hungry, so we stopped at a little café for some pizza.
Viking 11-018 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 11-017 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 11-015 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
I got a Quattro formaggi, but it was not the white pizza I was hoping for and kind of a disappointment after that. One of the cheeses they used was not my favorite and gave it kind of an off taste, but I’m not sure which one.
Viking 11-016 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
We ended up back over at Venchi where we picked out some boxes of chocolates to bring home for my in laws and for my sister. They are not pre-packaged boxes of chocolates, as we watched one of the girls working there making them from items they had in their showcase.
Viking 11-019 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 11-020 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Then of course we got some gelato…as you do.
I know I got sea salt caramel and dark chocolate but it looks like DH only took a picture of his. Maybe I was too busy devouring mine already.
Viking 11-021 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
We watched the girl making crepes for a little bit while we enjoyed our gelato inside. It was still kind of cold outside to be walking around with gelato!
Viking 11-022 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
It was time to head to St. Mark’s by then because it was nearing the time we had to meet up with someone to get the key for our apartment.
Viking 11-023 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 11-024 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
Viking 11-025 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
That’s when our day kind of went to hell in a handbasket. It started POURING rain. Absolutely pouring. We were soaked to the bone even with our rain gear on, and the meeting spot was a newspaper stand out in the middle of the walkway with no cover whatsoever. I was taking shelter nearby (with about a million other people) while DH kept walking out in the monsoon to the meeting spot trying to find the person we were supposed to be looking for.
Apparently the lady who actually rents out the apartment has someone named Nicole that she sends out to do the check in. The lady contacted DH and asked why we hadn’t met Nicole yet and gave DH Nicole’s number once we told her we were at the meeting spot but didn’t see anyone. DH tried talking to Nicole on the phone and even texting her but her English was so limited and her accent so thick that they weren’t really getting anywhere with that.
Finally he figured out that she was saying she was at the apartment, not at the newsstand, so we walked through the rain and rising water to the apartment. No one in sight. I stayed behind under a patio cover across from the apartment entrance while DH went BACK to the newsstand to look for her. And that’s when I finally saw a lady come around a corner who looked like she was looking for someone, and she ended up being Nicole. I thought our troubles may now be over but not so much. Nicole was VERY aggravated with us, even though we had been where we were supposed to be per the instructions from the owner. Apparently now she was behind in going to check in other groups. Well, lady, maybe you should have been where you were supposed to be to meet us!
She made me follow her up 5 flights to the apartment on the top floor instead of letting me wait for or try to get DH. I couldn’t call him because my phone was still in airplane mode and I didn’t want to get charged for another day of data on my phone too. I was really worried he was going to return to that spot where he’d left me and be worried when I wasn’t there, but she insisted I follow her because she needed to get going to her next check in.
Up in the apartment, she kept insisting she needed payment for the city taxes, which was fine and all except she wasn’t understanding that my husband had the money and I had none on me! Then she wanted our passports to put information on the rental agreement, and again was not understanding that DH had both of our passports and all I had was my driver’s license, which she ended up taking. All the while I’m trying to get connected to the wifi so I can try to call or text DH but it wasn’t connecting and I was getting super frustrated. Finally, we went back down the 5 flights of stairs, found DH outside who was able to give her 15 of the 16 EUR we owed in city taxes so he asked if I had a 1 EUR coin. Sure I did. In my purse at the top of 5 flights of stairs. I ran all the way up stairs (by now my legs and lungs were DYING), couldn’t get the door to open, and had to go back down with no EUR. I was trying to explain to her I couldn’t get the door to open, she was trying to explain to me how to open it in Italian, I was pretty much in tears, and finally she told us to just leave a coin on the table when we left.
Thankfully by the time we went back up, DH was able to figure out the door. There is a pretty useless doorknob just for show, and you have to turn the key just right and push the door open. Damn you Italians and your no elevators in 5 story apartment buildings and your useless doorknobs!!!
Sorry, I know that was a lot of text, but it took up a huge chunk of the afternoon, and we were just completely soaked, miserable, pissed off, and wishing we had just booked the more expensive rooms at the Luna Baglioni instead of trying to save money with an apartment!!
So, we took a break for awhile. We used the hair dryer to dry out our shoes, and we sat down and rested. The rain had finally died down, so soon after that we went back to the luggage place to get our stuff and bring it to the apartment. Carrying suitcases up 5 flights of stairs is just as fun as it sounds!
Once we could relax a bit more, we could finally appreciate that the apartment did have a gorgeous view.
IMG_0348 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
IMG_0349 by disneymom1024, on Flickr
UP NEXT: Libraria Aqua Alta
Glad you were able to figure out the luggage storage! Sounds like a nice time exploring and of course more gelato
Wow that sounds like such a frustrating situation trying to get into the apt. I would have been in tears too! Thank goodness it was all sorted out and over with!
I was really happy we ended up finding that luggage option, because it worked out well aside from getting turned around a bit trying to find it and having to haul our luggage through Venice. It's a great city for wandering but a terrible one for having to take your luggage around with you!!
It really put a damper on the day and our first VRBO experience. The rain made it a million times worse! Once it was all over and we had a second to breathe and relax, it actually really was nice to have the space and privacy of the apartment vs. spending a lot more for a smaller hotel room. But I think too many bad things converged to make it a bad experience...the rain, the language barrier, and the logistics of the city we were in.
I didn't mean to giggle at this part, but that's exactly how all the doors here at my house are! The knobs don't actually turn, you just turn the key and push on the door. I've gotten used to it, but it's always fun to compare stories about how many times people have locked themselves out of their houses since the doors essentially lock every time. So far...I've only done it twice! We leave a house key on a hook right next to the door and it's become second nature to grab it on the way out, even if it's just to take out the trash.
I'm sorry to hear of all the trouble you went through to get in to your apartment. That sounds unbelievably stressful. From the sounds of it, the host did a poor job of communicating and lacked customer service skills. If you went through one of the travel home sites, I'd be sure and leave a thorough review. Those are really important. (I read most of them every time I book a place and in turn always leave one afterwards.)
I was so upset trying to get that door open!! I had been so flustered going up with her the first time I didn't notice how she opened it and that she hadn't used the knob at all. And after I ran down the stairs and was nearly in tears trying to tell her I couldn't get the door open, she just kept making the motion of turning the key and saying what sounded like piano which apparently in Italian means softly or gently. I can laugh at it now but I was freaking out that now we would be stuck on the outside of this apartment and unable to get in!!! Hopefully I remember this the next time we are in Europe...
YES, it was awful!!! The lady checking us in not speaking English well was a huge issue, when part of the appeal of this apartment was that the owner had English listed as one of her languages. We thought she would be the one checking us in and all of our communication prior to the trip was with her, never with this Nicole person. I know we talked about doing a review, but I don't think we ever did. We will definitely need to, as the apartment itself was wonderful but the check in process was horrible. We were both wishing we had just paid more for a hotel room at that point!
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