Cruising has really changed considerably since I was little. We used to cruise quite often when I lived my parent’s life. This industry has turned into quite the institution. What a cash cow. We boarded the ship and now everything is connected to that room card you receive before getting on. It is the only form of currency accepted anywhere on board, no worry about tipping for service…whether it’s good, bad, etc.. $10/person/day is automatically added to your bill and 15% is automatically added to bar tabs so you need not worry. What transpires is interesting. There is an abundance of waiters available to serve drinks and take any orders but no one available to take up dirty dishes and glasses (in the dining rooms). Bartenders are a bit better.
Freestyle cruising means no set times for dinner but unless you make reservations in advance (and there is a wait for any specialty restaurant) you must eat at the buffet, which on this ship happened to be very good. Many restaurants have a surcharge and what used to be included is now an added expense. In all, it really hasn’t been bad. We have good company and I haven’t made a to do list since we came on board. My freckles are starting to connect and I just may have a bit of a tan when we get home.
So far we’ve visited two ancient sites. Ephesus in Turkey (founded around 300 BC and had a population of 200,000) and the Acropolis in Athens. We opted for the tour in both ports since the sites were a considerable distance away and although it was very hot, we really enjoyed both. We are not big “tour” fans, but in both these places it paid off.
Here are some pics of both.