We left on April 10th and got back on April 24th. We flew from Tampa to London and then London to Venice. On the way out, we had a 5 hour layover in London. On the way back, we had a 24 hour layover so we were able to stay overnight and explore London. It was great!
I'll start with the ship...it was awesome! We sailed on Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas. Our stateroom was great and the people who work on the ship went above and beyond to make sure our trip was wonderful. The girl at Guest Services remembered us from checking in and had a bottle of wine sent to the room! They also had a special reception one night for honeymooners. Naturally, Mike made friends with everyone in the casino and toward the end of the trip, the pit boss handed him a bottle of champagne and said (I kid you not), "Here, a special gift for you, my friend." Fortunately, we left with more money than we came with. We also indulged in a few spa treatments. When we booked the cruise, our package included one massage, so we upgraded to a couple's massage and enjoyed that early on in the trip. On our second day at sea (which was the last day), Mike surprised me with another spa treatment - a couples hot stone massage! It was VERY welcomed after a long week of walking and climbing. And the food...well, lets just say 9:00 could not come quick enough each night. We opted for the later seating since the early one was at 6:30 and half the time, we were just getting back on board around then. Halfway through the trip, Mike learned that you could order more than one meal and he did take advantage of that a few times! Oh - there was also a rock-climbing wall on the ship. It was so much fun!
Our first stop on the cruise was Split, Croatia. Honestly, there wasn't much to see in Split. It was a small, very, very old town. It was definitely picturesque, but not a whole lot to do. It had a very bizarre town hall that looked like something out of a Stanley Kubrick movie.
The second stop was Corfu, Greece. Corfu was gorgeous!! The water over there looked like a giant swimming pool, it was THAT blue. Corfu has 2 main forts simply known as the "Old Fort" and the "New Fort" (though "new" meaning 1843). We explored the New Fort first, then stopped for a DELICIOUS Greek lunch and then went over to the Old Fort. Both places were so rich in history. We explored the rest of the town and debated on hitting up a museum, but ran out of time. Corfu is definitely a place we'd go back to.
|In front of the "New Fort."|
|The "Old Fort."|
|I found my first olive tree!|
|SO GOOD!! Best dolmades EVER!|
Day four was Athens...I'll tell you this much. Seeing the Acropolis was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. It's as amazing as it seems. However, that's all Athens has going for it. The city is disgusting and dirty. It makes 1980's Harlem look pristine. For this particular day, we did an excursion, and thank God we did. It was drizzly and chilly that day and it was definitely ideal to be on a bus rather than having to walk around. We first stopped at the Olympic Stadium built in 1896 and then headed over to the Acropolis. It's amazing to look at all that architecture and wonder how the heck they built that back in the day! After exploring the Acropolis, we went over to the Athens Archaeological Museum and toured around there until it was time to get back on board.
|Old bath house ruins found under the museum.|
Our fifth stop was Mykonos. I think this was definitely one of our top places! Though known as a very windy city (hence the windmills), Mykonos is beautiful. Everything is white and blue and they really do an amazing job of keeping the city clean. I could have used up an entire memory card here. Mykonos is a small town so we explored it all. We visited the windmills, went to a few old churches, a museum and Mike had first "official" Greek gyro. We ended the day at a little cafe on the water with some Greek beer and wine. It was very hard to get back on that ship!
The sixth stop was Santorini. Another very picturesque place. Santorini is located up high on the cliffs and you can get there by walking (45 minutes uphill..), taking a cable car or riding a donkey (no thank you). We opted for the cable car, of course. There's definitely a lot to see in Santorini. We were a little bummed because it was overcast, but we still explored as much as we could and the two times it drizzled, we took advantage and had lunch and then went to this old winery/wine museum. Like Mykonos, most of the places there are very white and water is pure aqua. We both agreed that we want to go back there again sometime - particularly in the summer since they are supposed to have some of the most beautiful sunsets.
Stop number seven (are you tired yet?) was Olympia/Katakolon, Greece. This was by far a top spot for us! It was an amazing way to end the cruise. The weather was to die for. We did another group tour this day which took us to the archaeological site of the first Olympic stadium from 776 B.C! We could have stayed here all day long. It was truly mind-blowing. Being on the same exact field that they used to hold the Olympic games at back then was an experience like no other. After spending several hours there, we were taken to a local Greek winery that makes wine and olive oil. The grounds were so beautiful! They had tables set up for us after the tour with a platter of local meats, cheeses and olives as well as an entire bottle of red and white wines for us to drink, and olive oil and bread. That olive oil was probably the BEST we have ever tasted, and the wine was amazing too. We definitely did not come home empty-handed.
After a day at sea, we docked in Venice. This time, we had more time to explore. Our ship actually offered an excursion for people who were not going home immediately, and took us to Padua, Italy, so we took advantage of that. Padua is a beautiful, little town and also home to St. Anthony's Basilica - who also happens to be my mother's favorite saint. The basilica was breathtaking! The whole town was so quaint and beautiful. Definitely worth taking that tour. Afterwards, we were dropped back off in Venice and had time to explore the city. We had already been to St. Mark's when we first arrived and had some time to explore, so this time, we toured the rest of the city and yes, we did take a gondola ride. We ended the evening with an outdoor dinner watching a gorgeous sunset. It was perfect!
|St. Anthony's Basilica|
The next day, we packed up and flew to London. Since the layover was 24 hours, we had made reservations at the hotel that connected to the airport. We dropped off our bags and headed out to London. The weather was great - it was in the 70's and sunny. Of course, how could it be London without a little rain? We did get a light drizzle, though we ducked into an English pub and enjoyed some true English beer while we waited. Since we were only there a short time, we tried to pack EVERYTHING in - Buckingham, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Picadilly Circus...you name it, we did it. The media was also there, already set up for the Royal Wedding, which was taking place a few days later. I'd love to go back there and spend more time. It reminded me of NYC but with accents :)
|Check out the media ready for Will & Kate.|
|Mike REALLY wanted to go to the Royal Wedding.|
After a flight back to Tampa, we were done! It was awesome - the trip of a lifetime for both of us. People have asked what our favorite part was and it's so hard to say since every place we went to was so unique in it's own way. I do know that it was definitely the perfect honeymoon for us both, and something that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
|This all somehow ended up in our luggage...|