When we planned this years Europe 2012 adventure it was broken into three parts. Switzerland, Venice, and then the cruise. Today marked the completion of part two of our journey and the beginning of the longest portion of our travel, the cruise. This morning we woke up at around 7:30AM but laid around in bed until 9:30. We finished up packing, checked for any loose items, I finished up my entry for yesterday, and we went down to breakfast at around 10:30AM.
This was our first time at breakfast at the Hilton Milano Stucky in Venice and I am glad it was, it wasn't all that red hot. To the hotels defense we thought the breakfast ended at 11 but it just so happened to close at 10:30AM so we definitely got the left overs of the buffet. To make matters worse the place was so busy they had us sit in the back patio which was scorching hot. Needless to say we weren't huge fans of breakfast but it hit the spot and got us plenty full for our big day today.
We checked out of our hotel at 12:30PM and took a water taxi from our hotel to the cruise terminal. For the cruise we are taking the Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas for an 11-day Mediterranean cruise. We got to the cruise terminal within fifteen minutes or so and left our luggage at the spot where we departed our water taxi. Needless to say that was Jenn pretty worried if our luggage would make it to our room which luckily it did.
We went through the check in process with no problem and it took less then an hour. We boarded the ship and went straight to our verandah stateroom (7122). We spent maybe two minutes in our room before we went to go see if my parents had boarded yet which surprise surprise they had been here for a while. We spent a few minutes in their room, Jenn Amy and Ally went to book spa, hair, and makeup appointments, and then all seven of us bought tickets for their shuttle boat and boarded to take us to the San Marco square.
Jenn and I spent right around two hours giving my family a quick tour of some of the main sights around the city. From what we could gather besides being extremely hot outside everyone seemed to be really impressed with Venice. It was a bit on the crowded side with at least three cruise ships docked today, but otherwise it was a picture perfect day to take in Venice. We managed to find our way back to the shuttle (no easy task) and back onto the cruise ship.
We arrived back at the cruise terminal a little before five and had to re-pass security before boarding the ship again. Well the party in front of us decided it would be a good idea to purchase a miniature cross bow in Venice and so we had to sit around for a good ten to fifteen minutes while we waited for the security personell to figure out what to do with it. From what we gathered the party may be able to get it back at the end of the cruise, but for all intensive purposes the cross bow was confiscated by security and we boarded the ship.
In a huge sigh of relief when we returned to our rooms all of our bags had arrived so we all un-packed for the hour break before heading down to the main dining room for dinner. We got a great table with an ocean view although currently we are sharing a table for ten with a party of three women who don't seem all that interested in being at our table. Not sure if they will be at our table the whole time but they were at least for our first night. Jenn started off with the tortilla soup and had prime rib as her main course, while I started off a sweet and sour shrimp soup and prime rib as well. I got the chocolate cherry cake for desert (bad choice) and Jenn got vanilla ice cream. It was a really nice and relaxing start to the dining room dinners.
After dinner Jenn and I booked two more excursions for the trip, the first with Jake and Amy is just a transfer in Athens, Greece to drop us off in the middle of town and to take us back to the boat a couple of hours later. The second is a water park excursion in Ephesus, Turkey which seems incredible.
Once that process was done the five of us (Jake, Amy, Ally, Jenn, and I) boarded the Venice shuttle once again to get dropped off in San Marco square. We really didn't have a plan necessarily just that we wanted some drinks and and maybe a small bite. Well we ended up stopping at a few restaurants right on the grand canal and because the place was so busy a few refused to take us when we said we just wanted a few pizzas and drinks. One waiter from one of these restaurants decided to take it upon himself to help us find a place and walked us over to a nearby restaurant and got us an awesome table right up on the canal.
We all got some pizzas and Jenn got her patented spaghetti bolognase (fifth time on the trip) and Amy ordered her first legitimate drink at a restaurant. Of course she ordered a martini which was so bad we passed it around the table until it was finished. Jake and I had a Perroni beer, Jenn had a glass of red wine, and after Amy's first debacle of a drink order both Amy and Ally had a glass of white wine. Even though it was already past 10PM it still had to be 80 degrees outside and nearly 100% humidity. But we didn't let that deter us and we had a great time enjoying good food and good drinks.
We walked back to the shuttle and on the way passed through San Marcos square. This time the square was completely flooded with water. I am not exactly sure why it was but it was ankle deep in water and being the crazy Americans we thought it would be fun to run through it. So we took some pictures, waded our way through the water, and made it onto our taxi. We got back to the cruise ship and called it a night. You couldn't ask for a better or smoother start to the cruise, in fact it was almost like walking on water.