Flashbacks from the Serenade, Part 2

As any cruiser knows, the food is the highlight of the ship!
Unfortunately, the food in the Main Dining Room was somewhat below what I expected, since we sailed on the Radiance of the Seas last year, same company, and very similar menus. The Main Dining room food on the Radiance was substantially better than the Serenade.

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The main dining room

Although the Radiance ranks higher for food in the Main Dining Room, the Serenade wins for the specialty restaurants! We went to both Chops Grille and Portofino. After those two dinners, Chops at the start of the cruise, and Portofino about halfway through, everyone at the table was stuffed to the gills, and quite happy about their meal!

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Chops Grille

At Chops on the first night of the cruise, we started out as the only table there, and another table wasn’t filled for 45 minutes. 3-4 tables were served that night! The waiters commented that “normally people don’t know about the specialty restaurants until the 3rd or 4th day!”

My Steak was perfect, and the sides that were brought or the table were excellent. All of the deserts were “oversized”, meaning my slice of Red Velvet Cake was about 8 inches tall! I couldnt finish half of it. I now regret taking a picture!

As for Portofino, besides an odd pesto Minestrone soup, dinner was great. The Mushroom Risotto and “Bistecca (steak) Fiorentina” we’re some of the best things I have ever eaten on a cruise!

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Portofino

I’m not into seafood, but this did look great, being the most popular item on the menu:

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Desert, ahhh, the best! I had the tiramisu, which was in a bowl made of chocolate. Royal Caribbean is doing a great job with their specialty restaurants!

Here is a photo of the sampler of deserts,

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Going back to the Man Dining Room, I still had a number of great dinners there. The Service was not a problem at all, in fact, Myla and Jason (our waitstaff), were some of the best we have ever had.

Look for more “Flashbacks from the Serenade” throughout the week.
Enjoy!
Spencer

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Our Final Port Day, Yesterday in Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast

Good afternoon from the beautiful Serenade of the Seas, we are currently traveling at 16.8 Knots back towards Barcelona, Spain. It is about 77 degrees Fahrenheit or about 25 degrees Celsius. It is very humid though, and it feels more like the upper 80s in the full sun. We are sailing in some of the smoothest seas that I’ve ever seen, and with a slight haze, it makes for a beautiful day on the Med!

Yesterday, we were picked up by our tour guide in Salerno, Italy at about 8:00 in the Morning, and our first stop was a place where I have always dreamed of going, Pompeii. If someone was to ask me what the best representation of a Roman City was, I would say Pompeii, not Rome! This is because Pompeii was buried under volcanic ash and preserved during the Time of the Roman Empire.

It was 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius blanketed the city in 20 feet of ash and killed practically everyone within the City Walls. In Rome, on the other hand, there are many artifacts and buildings from the ancient Empire, but the city as been lived in by other people since the Empire fell. Overall, there is more history throughout the years in Rome, but Pompeii paints a better picture of the ancient Roman City.

To save some time on our onboard Internet package, I am going to number the photos and caption them ahead of time.

In Pompeii, we visited the Forum (1), An Original Pompeian Street,(2) an ancient Roman Pub/Bar(3), some of the original preserved skeletons found on the site, with a plaster cast put over the top to create the correct body shape (4)(5). These people knew they were going to die and there was no escaping it.

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After Pompeii, we began our drive along the Amalfi Coast. Here is a great photo looking down over Positano on the Coast.

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We drove even further up above Positano for lunch, which was incredibly fresh, all organic, and there were incredible views!

Here are the views from the Restaurant, and some photos of our fresh Italian lunch:

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Well, yesterday was another incredible day in what I have now decided is the best place I have ever visited, Italy.

Look for a brief ship tour blog post later on today.

I hope all of the photos are in the right order!

Ciao for now!

Spencer

A Double Blog, Athens, Greece and Kusadasi, Turkey

Hello from the Serenade of the Seas, we are underway towards Santorini, Greece at a speed of 14.7 knots.
I am going to give you all a double blog tonight, Athens from yesterday and Kusadasi, Turkey today.
Lets Start with Yesterday morning. We left the ship nice and early to head into the European Capitol of Knowledge, Athens, Greece. It was once of those days that was brutally hot, but just what I wanted it to be!

We were on a private tour, and our guide, Dimitris, made sure that we made it up to the Acropolis just ahead of the ship tours for our ship, and both Holland America ships in port.
The Acropolis was home to incredible feats of architecture before the Roman Empire even existed, and to know that people can still admire the Parthenon and other temples up there is great! Just as I said about Rome, you can’t really describe it, but it is all just so incredible!

We enjoyed the Temple to Athena (The Parthenon) along with the Olive Tree planted in honor of the tree that the goddess Athena supposedly gave to the city long ago.

Later on, we visited the 16 pillars left of the Temple of Zeus, which contained over 100 originally. The only negative part of the day was the heat. It was about 100 degrees (Fahrenheit).The Changing of the Guards in front of the Parliament building was also entertaining. The ceremony has been carried out every hour of every day for over 150 years, with no exceptions. There is a major ceremony that is only once a week, Sundays at 11am. That is the one we saw. What precision in the way they march and move!

I got just what I wanted for Lunch, a Gyro! A traditional Greek sandwich with either Chicken or Pork, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, and Tatziki Yogurt Sauce.
We strolled around on the Pla├ža, the marketplace of Athens, and then headed back to the port of Piraeus with our driver.
We had a great day in Athens, Greece yesterday!

Here are some photos from the day:

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The Changing of the Guards

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A Family Photo. I’m on the Right!

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The Parthenon
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Now today in Kusadasi, Turkey we took our one and only ship tour of the trip, “The Tastes of Turkey”. We started by going into a small village by the name of Sirince, with a population of 600. This was definitely off the beaten path. We had a freshly prepared traditional lunch in a small Turkish restaurant… Pictures below.

One of the most interesting parts of the day was going into a Turkish Carpet shop where they weaved their own silk, wool, and cotton carpets, and allowed us to try some strong Turkish Coffee.
Today definitely helped open my eyes to the genuine old world culture, and knock off name brands that make up what we call Turkey!

Now, here are some Photos of our day in Turkey:

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Part of my Lunch

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The Restaurant

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The Carpet Weaving

Enjoy!
Spencer