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The Colosseum in Rome is a must see if you're visiting. Image by Bonnie Fink

The Colosseum in Rome is a must see if you're visiting. Image by Bonnie Fink

One of our high points for this Mediterranean trip is a day in Rome. This was not our first trip to this famous city. On our first trip we came away with the notion that we wanted to spend more time here. Maybe fly in and stay a week or so. This served to reinforce that idea.

The ship docked in the port town of Civitavecchia and we hopped on a tour bus, making the 1 1/2 hour drive into Rome. And yes, we used the more expensive ship sponsored tour. On our last trip, we ended up being about an hour late getting back to the ship due to traffic. And when we say an hour, we mean an hour after the ship was supposed to sail. And of course, being on a ship's sponsored tour, they waited for us. This time we were back on time, but just barely.

Our first stop was at the Colosseum. We approached and listened to a brief talk by the guide and the rest of the time was for us to explore. there wasn't enough time to go inside on this stop though. Security around Rome is quite high and it usually takes a bit to get in anyway. We hung around outside and admired the view.

Next we went downtown to the Trevi Fountain. We've been there too, but it's always fun.

From there. we stopped for some lunch before making our way over to the Vatican. In the Vatican, we toured the Museum, or should I way, we melded with the mob that flowed through several of the museum halls. No idea what all we saw. It would take awhile to research it all.

We were fortunate enough to be allowed through the Sistine Chapel. In the accompanying video, there's no evidence that we were in this important place since photos, videos, talking, or pretty much anything else was not allowed. We're not making light of the rules. This is an important place for Catholics, being where the Pope is elected and all, so we were respectful and followed their rules.

Next we toured Saint Peter's Basilica. This, of course, is the main church in the Vatican. It is a working church, but is also an incredible museum. Every corner, and every square foot of every wall, ceiling, and much of the floor, seemed to have a piece of art. We could have spent a day, week, or probably a year in there learning.

After that, we ventured outside into Saint Peter's Square. We spent a few minutes appreciating the enormity of it all, took a quick break, and headed back to the ship.

The whole process took about 10 1/2 hours, gangway to gangway. We put together a quick video of the adventure  that you can see here if you have the time. Hope you enjoy.

We put together a short video with some more images of the Independence of the Seas that we thought you might enjoy. Check it out below. Watch the sound initially since the beginning of any cruise involves blasting the big horns on the ship, with other ships replying.

Ice Show aboard the Independence of the Seas.

Ice Show aboard the Independence of the Seas.

You wouldn't normally think of a cruise ship as being a place to see an ice show, but aboard the Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas, that's just one of the shows you can see.

Today, we spent some time in Studio B, which is the ice rink aboard ship. We watched an ice show that was good by any measure. Considering that we're in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with nine foot waves and a ship that is moving, this show was excellent. (read more...)

One of the many pools on deck 12 (of 15 total) on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Image by Bonnie Fink.

One of the many pools on deck 12 (of 15 total) on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Image by Bonnie Fink.

Yesterday, we boarded Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We're on board for a 14 day Atlantic Crossing with a destination of Southampton, England. From there we'll stay on board for another 14 days as we tour the Mediterranean with stops in Barcelona, Gibraltar, Rome, and a few others. We'll post more on that later.

For now, we thought it might be fun to post a few images of the ship. We're docked in Nassau, Bahamas at the moment. Well, to be truthful, we just left the Bahamas about fifteen minutes ago. In the gallery below, you'll first see a few pictures of Fort Larderdale. Then you'll see the ship with a few images of Nassau mixed in. All of these images were shot with our phones. (read more...)

Old water wheel at Disney's Port Orleans Resort. This waterwheel sits at the food court near the main lobby. Image by Don Fink.

Old water wheel at Disney's Port Orleans Resort. This waterwheel sits at the food court near the main lobby. Image by Don Fink.

Today we started another vacation. And as with many of our vacations, we're spending the night at one of our favorite Disney hotels, Disney's Port Orleans, Riverside. We've stayed at this hotel many times before and even posted a story about it on Mouseplanet.com here.

Today, our check in at Disney's Port Orleans is worth noting. Disney has a process where you can electronically check in without visiting the front desk, and today it worked that way for us. For our check in, we received a text message from Disney telling us that our room was ready, and giving us our room number. We  already had a Magic Band associated with our account, and when the room was made ready it was associated with that room number. All we had to do was make our way to the room and walk in. No stopping by the front desk, no nothing. Tomorrow when we leave, we'll just get up, load our stuff in the car, and leave. Easy Peasy. (read more...)