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Copyright © 1995-2001 
Linda Coffman


Renaissance R1 – Barcelona to Venice
April 5-17, 2001

by Macy Sinclair

Carole & Macy in Corfu, Greece

Just to tell you a little bit about ourselves, Carole is fifty-five and works as hair stylist in the same upscale salon as myself. I am forty-four and have been together with my life mate Ben for twenty years. We reside together on the water in Long Island, New York. I have no children and I have been a stylist for twenty-seven years. My interests include boating, oil painting and golf. My life goal is to travel the world. To date, I have been to over twenty-six countries and fifteen Caribbean islands. This July, I will be going on a Tauk tour to Norway, Denmark and Sweden. In September, Ben and I will Golf in the Canadian Rockies. Ben and I have been on the Star Clipper in the Caribbean, Radisson Diamond in French and Italian Rivera’s and the Renaissance, a small ship in the Greek islands. When traveling alone, I take organized tours otherwise we rent a car and do it all on our own. This was my first two week cruise and first without Ben. Carole and I share the same travel interests. We do not spend much of our time in museums or churches, as you will see in my review. 

Thursday April 5th day 1 JFK New York
Departure-Omni Air most definitely the worst business class I have ever been on and I have been on many. The seats are leather and are wider then coach but to my surprise did not recline and did not have footrests! The food was not very good either. Coach was the same as other airlines but theirs was only one meal. If you think that you would like two bottles of wine ask the fist time around. The help was friendly and the airtime was six and a half hours to Barcelona. The coach seats were the same as other coach flights and the isles were narrow. The flight itself was smooth but I did not think that the two thousand dollars that I had paid for the upgrade was worth it.

Friday April 6th day 2 Barcelona Spain
Upon arrival and after going thru passport control you go straight to waiting buses. Ren collects your luggage and the next time that you will see it will be aboard the ship in your room. Ren takes you to Port Vell for a couple of hours before going to the ship. Ren brings you to a large room where they have a light breakfast buffet. The room was crowded and stuffy. We choose to walk around the mall-like setting and sit by the water for a two and a half hour wait before we were able to board the ship. Once on the R2, we were taken to our stateroom, 7085, which was a category C balcony room on the starboard side of the ship. I was surprised that the space seemed larger then I had expected. The closet space was very adequate and there were two electrical outlets over the desk at our sitting area. The bathroom was another story. The shower was very small and the water pressure was just mediocre. While checking out the ship, we discovered that it seemed very country club like. The look was beautiful and elegant, especially the restaurants. The reception area was quite pretty and the staircase to the next floor was grand. For dinner this evening we choose the Club restaurant and had a great salmon dish. We noticed most people were dressed very casual. The dinner crowd was light and we were finished and at the sports bar in no time.

Saturday April 7th day 3 Barcelona
What a difference a night of sleep makes. I feel great today, ready for Barcelona! Carole and I have both been to Barcelona. Carole has been there once and I have been there twice. We did not feel that we needed to make a marathon site seeing day. We left the ship at 10:30am and walked to the famous tree-shaded Las Ramblas promenade. From there we were going to do the Bus Turistic, which sounds great except the crowds and lines to go to most of the stops were terrible. Instead, we took a taxi to Gaudi’s Church of the Sagrada Familia. From there, on foot, we basically followed the red route on the Turistic Bus map and then the blue route down to the sea. Along the way, we saw beautiful buildings designed by Gaudi. I am still wondering what drugs Gaudi was on back then. It was a great walk, which totaled about three miles. My lasts two visits I stayed at the Arts Hotel across from Port Olympic where there are great restaurants along the marina. Since we worked up a good appetite, we took a taxi there for a seafood lunch and a bottle of wine. We made it back to the ship for a mandatory muster drill. After our drill we lounged at the private deck on the spa forward area. We paid fifty dollars each for the two weeks use of the private deck with comfortable steamer lounges and thermal whirlpool. We spent two hours there and felt that is was money well spent. We weighed anchor and sipped cocktails. Well, we just did the sipping and we were off to Mallorca. This evening we had 8:30pm reservations at the Italian. I must say that it was a very good dinner but what was fantastic was the dessert, iced Tortoni. Hannah Lee, our waitress, was so nice that she suggested along with the two desserts we also try the Tiramisu. After dinner, it was back to the sports bar for a nightcap and a beautiful view of the full moon. A quick visit to the casino cost me a few bucks at the card table. I’ll have better luck next time. Carole checked out the show and she liked it. Now it was time for bed and smooth sailing.

Sunday April 8th day 4 Palma de Mallorca, Spain
After great-poached eggs and bacon at the Club, we left the ship at 10:30am. There was a line of taxis and after speaking with two different drivers we took a three-hour tour, just the two of us. We saw all the highlights of Mallorca, which was the same as the Ren bus tour but included a few other sites. We did not go to the Pearl factory because we were not interested. While on route, our driver, Mario stopped at a flower stand and a moment later presented each of us with a red rose. He was trying so hard to please us. Since it was Sunday, we zipped traffic free around the city and to all the sites. We finished with a look at a small beach on the outskirts of town. Now we knew where all the locals spend their warm Sunday mornings. We then returned to the ship and paid Mario approximately one hundred dollars and in return got kisses on our extended hands. I thought that this was a great and easy way to see Mallorca. If you were four people in a taxi the price would still be the same. The R2 sailed at 2:00pm. We lounged by the private deck until the seas started kicking up. We were experiencing gale force winds and could hardly hold our things and stand upright. We thought it was a blast! This evening we did not have reservations, so after being rocked to sleep for a nap we decided at 8:30pm to check for cancellations at the Italian restaurant. They were nice enough to accommodate us. Dinner was ok but I did enjoy a great appetizer of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and chicory. Since it is the same menu all week, I had iced Tortoni and was not disappointed in that.

After dinner, I retired to the cabin and Carole checked out the orchestra in the lounge. Nothing special was her description.

Monday April 9th day 5 Marseille, France
After rocking and rolling all night, and I am not talking about dancing or listening to music, we headed for breakfast in the club. It was quite busy due to our 12:00pm port arrival time. We found the service good but the food was cold and not like the morning before. If you see that the Club is busy you should head for the buffet. We left the ship at 12:15pm and went to take a taxi to the church Notre-Dame-De-La Grade high above the city. The French driver made a convincing argument why it cost thirty dollars for the one-way trip. This time turned out to be the only time we got ripped off. Once at the church I noticed a running meter. The ride should have come to fifteen dollars. When I had brought the meter to his attention his English got conveniently worse. At least it was only a fifteen-dollar loss. I found that it is much easier to get a taxi for three to four hours then for fifteen minutes. The view from here was incredible but windy. The walk down hill to the old port took twenty minutes. We walked along the picturesque old port. We found a local restaurant serving bouillabaisse, which is a specialty in this part of France. I personally like the Italian version better. At the next table, I noticed a man talking into what I thought was a tiny digital camera; it actually was a digital video camera. The six girls and one guy all in their twenties turned out to be from the crew of the QE2 on their round the world cruise with only two weeks to go. The tiny camera was bought in Japan while in port. They were all British except one girl that was from Albany, New York. We started talking and I found out that she has an application with Ren. We told her that she would love it. We shopped and walked around making our way back to the old port and a taxi stand where I found a taxi with a meter. The ride back cost eleven dollars.

Our dinner reservations were at 9:00pm at the Grill. The strip steak was good and Carole had lamb, which she loved. The dessert of brownie pecan pie with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce was the highlight for me. Once again, I was rocked to sleep by the not very calm sea. I did not mind it though. I had dreams of the French Rivera to keep me calm.

Tuesday April 10th day 6 Nice, France
We woke to the most glorious day. The wind gods took the day off. After just coffee and fruit we set out to negotiate a taxi just for the two of us. I have been to this area two or three times before and only wanted to revisit certain sites. I got a Mercedes taxi for $170. He originally wanted $200. We also had the option of joining four other people and splitting the cost. I would rather have a private tour and cover more of what interest us and in more comfort. Our driver stopped at all the most popular vista points for picture taking. We then went to Monte Carlo were we walked around the Grand Casino and hotel D Paris. Next we went to Monaco were we saw the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace. Then it was a drive along the Middle Corniche road to my favorite hill top village of Eze for lunch. The day was spectacular as was the view of the restaurant terrace high on a cliff over looking the sea. We had a bottle of wine from Provence and a light lunch of cheese and crusted bread. The fifteen-minute walk thru the winding cobblestone alleyways was just the perfect thing to do after lunch. One could spend hours wandering into all the artist’s galleries and shops. With our driver waiting at the bottom of the village, we were off to Nice. I had the driver drop us off in the shopping area about two miles from the shop. We did some shopping and walked back to the ship along the picturesque harbor.

We had dinner at 6:30pm at the Grill with a great view at the stern of the ship of the French coast as we left port. Dinner was ok and by now we would have loved a change in menu. They change halfway through the cruise in the Grill and Italian restaurants and in the Club the menu is different every night.

The sunset was spectacular that evening but it was too windy to be outside. I tried my luck at the casino. I was up, I was down, and when I was even I was gone. It was time to be rocked asleep yet again. This evening I woke up at 3:30am to side-to-side roll, which was a little bothersome. It was hard to fall back to sleep while holding on to the sides of my narrow bed. Carole had the same problem but we eventually fell back to sleep.

Wednesday April 11th day 7 Ajaccio, France
The wind gods had their rest yesterday but were back today and brought a bit of a chill. The skies are blue and we are happy to be at port. In the distance we see some dark clouds and fear that they are headed our way.

Corisca is very doable on foot, so we left the ship to wander the streets for a little gift shopping and lunch. We shared a pizza, bottle of local wine and a plate of pasta. Pizza in all of France, I find wonderful. Thin crust, abundant spices and cheese, what can I say, delicious! The ship was leaving a half hour earlier then scheduled so that the captain can find a smoother passage to Livorno.

We had no reservations for this evening so we went to the Club for dinner, which was nothing special. The ship was once again rocking and since we were only two for dinner, we had the table next to the waiter station. The station was piled high with plates and three metal water pitchers and I was in their way. The ship pitched to the right and the water pitchers started to slide in my direction. Before they hit the edge and would have no return, two waiters ran from two different directions, grabbed the water pitchers and managed to save me from definite embarrassment. Carole was in the ladies room and had missed all the commotion. Tonight was early to bed for we had an early excursion in the morning.

Thursday April 12th day 8 Livorno, Italy
We took the Siena and San Gemignano full day Ren tour basically for transportation. It is a two-hour bus ride to Siena. This day was gray with ominous black clouds hanging predatorily over us, which only seemed to enhance the mystical feel Siena has. Carole and I were in Siena about two years ago so we left the group as soon as the bus got there. We shopped and I was happy to find a couple of Valentino belts for Ben at a good price. We made a few more purchases, then due to our time schedule we looked for a restaurant for lunch. We make lunch part of our travel experience; we found a beautiful restaurant called Guidos, down an alley behind the square where we were going to rejoin the Ren tour. We had the best Chianti Classico Reserve I had ever tasted. It was ruby red and smooth as silk. The wine Stewart transferred the wine to a wide decanter to breathe, tres chic. We started with crusted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with tomatoes and virgin olive oil. Divine! Then we each had a plate of pasta with fresh basil, tomatoes and small bits of mozzarella tossed in at the last minute.

The bus ride to San Gemignano was forty-five minutes. We had a little more than an hour, but since we were here before that was not a problem for us. The toilets outside where the bus meets at San Gemignano are not western. This means that for the ladies you have to squat over a basin in the floor and pay one thousand Lire for the privilege. What I do any time I need a bathroom is that I go to a café or bar and buy a coffee or a glass of wine and have no problem finding a decent bathroom with no waiting in line. The drive back to the ship was thru the Tuscan countryside and very lovely. It took one hour and twenty minutes to get back to the ship.

Tonight we had reservations at the Italian restaurant. The menu is getting boring, although my mouth was watering for the mozzarella salad. I was disappointed when I tasted cold cheese, which is a no-no for buffalo mozzarella, it changes the texture from soft and smooth to firm and tasteless. Carole had the special of chicken cacciatore, which she liked. My meal does not deserve a mention. After a drink at the sports bar we headed for our cabin where Carole watched “Nurse Betty” on television. I listened to my book on tape, which was “Corner of His Eye” by Dean Koontz. Great book! The ship was rocking but not enough to disrupt our sleep.

Friday April 13th day 9 Livorno, Italy
Carole had a wake up call at 5:45am, which was good for her and bad for me, since I was not going on the 7:30am bus for Florence. I opted to stay out of the Easter Crowds since I have been to Florence three times before. At 8:00am, I headed for the laundry room with a pillowcase of my clothes and was surprised to find four washers and dryers. While my clothes were washing I went for a leisurely breakfast at the Club. The room was very quiet and I was shown a small table for two with no particular view. Along came Salem, the head of all the restaurants, telling them to seat me at a table for four with an incredible view, my hero! It was great, a number of the waiters came by to chat and I found out a lot about all the countries they were from. I was surprised to find a full laundry room when I returned to dry my things. I guess a lot of people had the same idea as me. The day was bright and warm enough for short sleeves and I had a nice walk into town. At the pool, I had a burger and fries and then I retreated to the private spa deck, which we renamed the beach club. I was the only one there so I used my little tape player with a small speaker and enjoyed my book: it was a real tape turner!

When Carole returned she had a grin from ear to ear and the most shopping bags I had ever seen one person carry. I would not be surprised if she wore out the swiping strip on her credit card. She said the dollar was strong and that there were many good leather goods almost half price. I asked her how the David was but she never got to see it. She never got past the shopping area where the Ren bus dropped her off. Time does fly when you’re spending money.

For dinner we just popped into the Club, which was just ok. It seems we tend to like the Grill and the Italian restaurants the best. Again, the seas were less then calm but by now our sea legs were strong and sleep cam easily.

Saturday April 14th day 10 Civitavecchia, Italy
We woke to our first day of truly crummy weather. The wind was blowing and the rain was off and on. It was not so bad for us since we opted to stay on the ship. I have been to Rome three times before and did not want to be in Easter traffic. I was not sorry after hearing all the horror stories of bad weather and unbearable crowds. We had a most relaxing day. Carole hit the gym, which she thought was state of the art. I, on the other hand, caught up on my journal. This evening we had reservations for 6:30pm at the Grill. The menu was changed so our choices were many. We had beef and lamb, just prepared differently. The meal was so good though the dessert again was my favorite. Tonight I had a cheesecake with mango sauce and macadamia nuts. The ship was leaving at 8:00pm so it was off to the sports bar for a drink with a view. We toasted to a smooth sail to Naples.

Sunday April 15th day 11 Naples, Italy
Morning brought with it a promise of a sunny Easter Sunday in Naples. We both had been to Pompeii and Capri more then twice so we decided to do the highlights of Naples on our own. Being that it was Easter, everything was closed. This gave Carole’s credit card a much-needed rest. Outside the ship there was a line of taxis and drivers beckoning us to travel with them. I started with the first driver and asked him, Is it going to snow today? Which he replied yes, on to the next driver? He too said yes to snow for today. It went the same way with the next few drivers. I decided that is was either going to snow or I was going to have a driver that spoke little to no English. We settled on a driver that wanted sixty dollars for two hours but after making me walk away saying have a nice day in the snow. He then agreed to take my suggested forty dollars for two hours. Yes, I am good!

Being it was Easter Sunday, traffic was light and we were able to see quite a bit of Naples. I thought that it was much nicer then it had been in previous times and had some very beautiful vista points. The driver spoke enough English to suit our tastes and we enjoyed our two hours with him. Some of the drive was more like an amusement park ride. There were steep sharp blind turns, not for the faint of the heart. The drivers in Naples were quite aggressive, much like the drivers in Athens, Cairo and Istanbul to name a few. We managed to make it back to the ship with only one traffic mishap. A motorbike nearly collided with our taxi and a police car, which was along side of us. The police grabbed the kids off the motorbike and dragged them to the sidewalk, where I do not think that the police were wishing them a happy Easter.

Once safely aboard the ship, we had a buffet lunch of salad and pizza. After lunch, we enjoyed a couple of hours at the beach club (spa deck) where we again were the only people there. It was very peaceful.

We keep forgetting to make dinner reservations the morning before. Again we were at the mercy of the Maitre d’, which at the Italian restaurant was Peter this evening. We went around 7:30pm, probably the busiest time. Peter still managed to get us a table for four just for the two of us. They changed the menu and we were looking forward to new choices. Dinner was good and my new favorite dessert was lemon tart. Salem, the head of all the restaurants, introduced us to the head chef and the food controller for all the Ren ships. They wanted to know if we liked the food so far on the ship. I told them just what they wanted to hear, that the food was great.

Tonight, in the casino my luck was better and I won some money back. Carole with beginners luck won fifty dollars at blackjack. The seas turned smooth, as glass and we hardly knew we were moving. It was a big change from all the rocking. Sleeping came easy with dreams of Taormina.

Monday April 16th day 12 Messina (Sicily), Italy
Today is a beautiful day. The sky, a morning light blue, brought a smile to my lips. Three cups of coffee and some fruit and I were ready to take on an army of taxis that await me. I had a new strategy today; I simply went over to the car that I wanted to go in which was a Mercedes rather then some beat up old Euro car and asked to speak to the driver. He turned out to speak only a little English, which was ok since I knew where we were going and a lot of explanations were not necessary. With the help of another English speaking driver, I agreed on $120 dollars for five hours, which I thought was great. We headed for Taormina, which took forty-five minutes due to traffic near the town itself. He dropped us off at the stone archway near the top of town. We arranged for him to be back in about two and a half in hours in the same location. I pictured a town like Eze, but it was not what I had imagined. Taormina is so beautiful, with only walking streets and squares perched on the edges of cliffs giving way to breath taking views of Mt. Etna and surrounding seaside far below. We walked to many picturesque spots and found a nice restaurant for lunch. We had a bottle of Sicilian wine, pasta with tomato and basil to start, eggplant mozzarella with red sauce and grilled shrimp with breadcrumbs. Oh yes, we were happy campers now!

After the drive back along the winding hills near the sea, we had a short tour of Messina. The biggest attraction is the complex mechanical clock at the Cathedral. It was truly beautiful and not to be missed. Today is Easter Monday and in Europe that means the day off. Messina was like a ghost town. We drove around with ease and were back at the ship after our look around. One thing that I may warn the ladies about, don’t be alarmed if your driver peeks a look at you in the mirror at least once every three minutes while driving, they are quite harmless and I think he just thought we were pretty. Back aboard we headed for the beach club to relax in the sun. It was truly a magnificent day!

I had forgotten to make reservations for dinner again. I called and spoke with Salem. He promised to call me right back to see what he could do. A few minutes later, Salem called me back and had gotten us into the Italian restaurant. By this time we knew all the restaurant staff and it was a good comfortable feeling, like going to your hometown favorite. We both had veal and it was delicious along with my new favorite dessert, lemon tart. After dinner we went to the casino where I finally broke even and Carole won. Then after a nightcap in the sports bar, it was off to bed.

Tuesday April 17th day 13 Valletta, Malta
From my balcony, my first view of Malta was spectacular! The villages were cream colored like a scene from a storybook that had a sapphire blue backdrop. I knew it would be a perfect day! The siege to find a taxi was made easy by one general giving orders to his awaiting soldiers. Four hours cost us seventy-eight dollars; there was no negotiating allowed. It sounded good to us. Our blue-eyed Maltese driver spoke English and couldn’t have been nicer. We saw the three hidden villages as seen on the Ren tour. Mdina was the most unusual village with its vast wall and closed doors and steps leading nowhere gave it the name “Silent City.” At the end of the small village was a beautiful view of the valley below sweeping to  the sea. The capital of Malta, Valletta is much larger and touristier but still proved to be vibrant and beautiful. There was a local festival with red and gold embroidered banners flying high over the tourist filled pedestrian streets. After an hour of touring Valletta, it was time to get back to the ship for a 12:30 boarding.

We sailed from Malta an hour after our scheduled 1:00pm. We spent the next half hour transfixed to the breathtaking beauty of our panoramic view of the port of Malta. Carole and I fixed a couple of cocktails and went to relax at the beach club. Life is good! Once again the spa deck was empty and it was the best spot on the ship!

We had 8:30pm reservations at the Grill and from the looks of the crowd the Grill was everyone’s favorite. The must try dish for tonight was baby back ribs. Oh so good! It was early to bed for me while Carole strolled the ship. I am a morning person and Carole is a night person.

Wednesday April 18th day 14 Corfu, Greece
I awoke to the gentle pull of the seas inching closer to Corfu. I know that the cruise is coming to an end by thoughts of going back to work chipping at my subconscious. The ship will dock at 12:00 today, so we will make the best of the day by getting a taxi to show us around. After talking to three different drivers, I settled on a young man with a Greek name that would have been impossible to roll off of my American tongue let alone spell it. He spoke good English and we settled on one hundred dollars for three hours. I have been to Greece before but not this particular island. We climbed the winding road higher to the town of Paleokastritsa and the Monastery of the Virgin, which was high on a hill overlooking Paleokastritsa Bay called the Capri of Greece. The Monastery itself was not that special but the ride alone was worth trip. Then it was on to Lakones, a small village even higher up. Pastel painted houses lined the small town road, in a blink of an eye we were through the town. Winding still higher to a small hotel with an enormous view, we stopped for a glass of wine and some strawberries. The view from the terrace was breathtaking, high cliffs giving way to jagged rocks leading down to the coast and azure blue sea. Next we were off the old town Corfu. On the way we stopped at Perama to see Vlachema Monastery and Mouse Island. The old town of Corfu is also very beautiful with its narrow shop lined lanes, cafés along the port and a massive fortress guarding it all. Our driver left us in the old town with a few restaurant suggestions. We had lunch in a typical Greek Café, were I had a Greek salad, which by the way never has lettuce of any kind in it, and Carole had veal with rice. A bottled of Greek wine completed our lunch. After lunch we shopped then walked back to the taxi stand where we took a taxi for ten dollars back to the ship.

Dinner tonight was at the Italian; it was good but just more of the same. We fell into our usual routine of casino then a nightcap at the sports bar. 

Thursday April 19th day 15 Dubrovnik, Croatia
I was so looking forward to seeing Dubrovnik in the sunshine but that was not to be. The weather was heavy rain at times and intervals of gloom. Through the mist we could see a beautiful landscape of mountains and red-roofed cream-colored villages both old and new.

Once off the ship, I went to my taxi of choice and asked how much it would be for three hours. It was fifty dollars, which sounded good to me. Without any negotiations, we set out with Pero in his black Mercedes. Pero was in his thirties and spoke perfect English. He took us to all the scenic overlooks but due to the weather pictures would be futile. I decided to buy a bunch of postcards showing all the places Pero took us. The walled city of Dubrovnik was beautiful and it was interesting to know from Pero that during the war all the surrounding villages spent nine months living within the walled city without running water or electric. After talking to Pero, I really felt for the people of Croatia and what they went through. We walked through the walled city before driving through the new section of the city. It was nice to see that things are getting back to normal for the people that live there. It was back to the ship for a 12:30 sail to Venice.

Tonight dinner was at 6:30pm at the Grill. We had our favorite dishes there and then it was off to the casino for one last night of gambling. After making a small donation, I opted for chatting with some people we had become friendly with. There was a couple from Michigan, Denise and John. Another couple that we spoke with quite often was Judy and Bill. He loved his gambling and she loved to shop. They were from Florida and were also part of the younger crowd. Judy and we girls would talk up a storm and Bill would come drag Judy off saying that she could talk the balls off a pool table. That was a new one for me. Tonight I will welcome dreams of Venice.

Friday April 20th day 16 Venice, Italy
The weather Gods were in a good mood today. They brought out light gray skies but no rain for now. Our cabin being on the starboard side, turned out to be the best place to take picture of the beautiful Venice. Venice had bright colored buildings; leaning bell towers and bridges over the canals that looked like toads jumping lily pads. After seeing how long it took to sail pass St. Mark’s Square to where we docked, I was glad we signed up for the Ren transfer to Venice round trip. The transfer was by water taxi that was leaving at 10:30am. It left fifteen minutes late. It took twenty minutes and everyone complained about the 3:30 scheduled return and the short stay in Venice. The Ren transfer cost nineteen dollars and ninety-five cents round trip and a private water taxi cost sixty dollars one way. Needless to say the transfer boats were filled in both directions.

Venice was like a fairy tale city except with pigeons. There seemed to be tons of tourists crowding the squares and bridges but when you wander back down the alleys its less crowded and more charming. We had a lunch of wine and pasta in a beautiful restaurant but it was very expensive. The wine alone cost forty dollars and that was the least expensive wine on the menu. The bill came to ninety-five dollars for the little that we had. We enjoyed it anyway. After lunch it was raining so we looked from shop to shop at the Murano glass until it was time to catch the boat back to the ship. The prices vary from shop to shop so shop around for the best prices while in Venice. Carole and I have been to Venice a few times before so we skipped all the tourist sites, which were very crowded. The boat ride back took about twenty minutes. It you wanted to take a waterbus to the ship from St. Mark’s Square it would take about forty minutes to the bus terminal and then a twenty minute walk to the ship from there. If you would like to take a water taxi from the ship, it was a good ten-minute walk to get to a taxi stand. There were no water taxis outside the ship.

Since this was our last dinner, we decided on the Grill but first the daunting task of packing. For me it was easy because I did not bring a lot with me. Carole had a problem.

Saturday April 21st day 17 Venice, Italy
I awoke with the anxiety of traveling back to reality on a non-stop nine-hour flight to JFK. I was excited to get home but part of me wanted to keep the vacation going. Reality bites! Ren’s disembarkation process was extremely good. You have to be out of your room by 8:00am. You can have breakfast and wait in any of the common rooms until your number is called. The numbers are given out according to what floor you are on. I was on floor seven and was called to disembark at 9:30am. Then you actually check in for the Omni charter flight right at the ship terminal, luggage and all. Then they take you by bus to the Venice airport, which is a twenty-minute ride. Once past the passport control you wait for the flight. Our flight was a half an hour late. The flight went smoothly and I was glad to be home, with the cherished memories of the best trip ever! I highly recommend this cruise and cruise line. I thought it was a fantastic itinerary for the well traveled.

Photo--Courtesy of Macy Sinclair

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