Monday, July 23, 2012

At Sea!

This was our one day at sea..normally, we like cruises with multiple do nothing days, but this cruise offered so many wonderful ports, we couldn't refuse.  And from all the hill climbing we had done, we needed this day!

I'll tell you a little about the the ship, Oceania Regatta, formerly Renaissance Cruise Lines, which I believe went bankrupt.  These are small ships, less than 700 passengers, no rock climbing walls or giant pool slides.  Everything is understated, refined.  They serve meals on Rosenthal china.  Clothing is country club casual, no formal nights, no parade of the Baked Alaska.  The staff was congenial and efficient.  We booked one of the least expensive veranda suites (mid ship, no concierge service), and it was more than comfortable.  And very clean.  

There were 4 restaurants, the Terrace - buffet, very good food, Grand Dining room - no assigned seating, and the Polo Grill and Toscana, 2 very small, very elegant restaurants that offered 5 star meals.  Our cabin class allowed us to eat at the PG & T at least one time with reservations, and as a walk in if available.  I booked these the nights of Chris' and my birthdays.  Every night, the next days menu would be delivered to our room, and I would choose the food I wanted, which was then prepared gluten free.  Never once did I get sick.  The food and wine was a solid 4 star quality, sometimes 5.  Oh, plus there was 24 hour room service, and all beverages, other than alcohol, were complementary.  Everyday, when we would disembark, they provided bottled water.  We liked that.

The tours offered were exceptional, the prices very fair, and the buses/drivers felt very safe.  And we climbed some serious mountains, with serious switchbacks - sometimes it felt as if the bus were pivoting on it's rear tires.  Other than having 2 mediocre guides (and they may have seemed that way because the others were so exceptional), we would give the tours a solid 4 stars.  Will we cruise on Oceania again?  You will be really hard to go back to a bigger ship now.

The Spa, Canyon Ranch, is pricey.  But the treatments were 1st class, by the best.  Oh well.  The workout room (I can proudly say I never used it) was state of the art with private TVs, equipment,etc.  There was a little putting green, a salt water pool which I loved, and 2 hot tubs - they were a disappointment, not very hot and very few jets.  But, we didn't discover until later, that the Spa has a really fancy therapy lay on a rack and the jets are above and below that I know that...

I only took a few is our boat docked in Turkey.

 This is from when we sailed out of Barcelona

Early in the morning when we sailed the Straits of Messina

Lowering the tender in Amalfi.

The customs official leaving the ship in Santorini.

Lounge table with inlaid Mariner's compass, a favorite quilting block.

Interesting teak pattern on stairway...I just look for patterns.

Tomorrow, Santorini!  I better get back by the pool...

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