In retrospect, we had a good time on our first week of vacation... but we would have had a better time if we'd thought things through.

This trip was planned around TechEd EMEA in Barcelona running November 5th-9th.   The conference was great and we had a blast!   Our cruise covered Nice and Monaco, Florence and Pisa, not seeing Rome because we were exhausted, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast, a pain-in-the-butt visit to Sicily, and a day at sea.   We saw a lot and we were exhausted.   This leads me to the following advice:

Some Lessons about Cruising

  1. Pay attention to the weather... it is no fun if someone is seasick and it is no fun if you are cold!
  2. Decide why you are taking the cruise.   If it is to enjoy the ship, cool.  If it is to see the sights, cool.  Know you need to rest, though!
  3. Find out how close the boat will be to the sights you want to see...  I was lazy and didn't realize Florence was 90 minutes away and Rome was also about 90 minutes away from where the boat docks... That eats into the fun and time.
  4. Avoid tour busses at all cost!!!   It probably cost you a LOT to get to the ship and to pay for the cruise.  Think about a private tour guide if at all possible.
  5. Come with some friends... it can make the adventure a whole lot more enjoyable.
  6. Arrive before the crowd and depart before the crowd.

We were SO wiped out by this week that it really took writing this blog entry to realize HOW MUCH we did and how much we saw and how much fun we had.   Both Lisa and I agreed we probably would have regretted the entire week except we enjoyed D'Arcy and Roger so much.

Another cruise is a possibility in the future but with MUCH better planning.

Next week, the exhausted travelers in Rome...

- Pat