The Spirit is an older ship, but still a fine one. It’s quite big - 881’ long and holds 2,018 passengers and 962 crew. It has 12 decks, including the main open deck with a pool and multiple hot tubs, and a separate water play area for kids. The main “lobby” is on deck 7.
Our inside cabin (which was small but adequate) was on deck 8. The Sprit has a large buffet area (which was a bit crazy early in the mornings), a large “get served” dining area, Windows, another mid-sized dining area, and several specialty restaurants. We normally had breakfast in the buffet – to get a quick start… but enjoyed a relaxed dinner in Windows. Normally the food was very good. The Spirit has a large theatre in which we enjoyed a good variety of professional shows. It also has a large bar/lounge at the front of the ship, where we would have a drink as we entered and left some ports.
The best part of this cruise was its itinerary: Barcelona, Toulon, Florence, Rome, Naples, Day At Sea, Mykonos, Istanbul, Ephesus, Athens, Day At Sea, Venice. We jambed a lot of sightseeing into about 12 days.
The Pisa stop was fairly short. We just walked about Miracle Square, checking out the Leaning Tower and other buildings.
We toured the inside of the Colosseum and could imagine gladiators swinging swords at one another. We enjoyed a nice pizza wine/beer lunch at the Trevi Fountain, and we checked out Vatican City (Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica).
Although it came to a very hot end, Pompeii was cool to see.
After we got off the Sultanahmet stop, while I was trying to figure out how to get to the Blue Mosque, I let a nice young local sales guy latch onto us. He promised to take us to the mosque, and then to a bazaar and his uncle’s rug store (if we wanted to). He not only led us to the mosque, but brought us right to the front of the line, probably saving us a 30+ minute wait. We removed our shoes, Donna put a scarf on to cover her hair, and I put a wrap around to cover my knees. Then we went in and enjoyed the mosque.
We enjoyed the rest of our walk, and had a unique lunch experience in an outdoor hookah café.
After the tour, we were taken to a shopping mall, where actors in Roman costumes put on a show. It included a brief sword fight between soldiers, which was fun to watch.
If every 10 minutes or so, someone doesn’t ask if you would like to see some rugs - then you are not in Turkey!
Most of the important Acropolis buildings, including the Parthenon, were constructed in the fifth century BC. It was a fair climb up to the top of the Acropolis, but the sites up top and views of the city were well worth it.
Venice was our cruise’s last port of call. We arrived at 2pm on the 29th, so had some time to do some exploring that day… but we didn’t fully disembark until the next day. We then spent a few days exploring Venice, which you'll hear about in our next post!
- Jimmy Bean