Dreams Unlimited Travel Podcast | Viking Italian Sojourn Cruise | 08/06/18

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In this episode, the panel discusses their experience during the Viking Italian Sojourn cruise that made stops at Rome (Civitavecchia), Naples, Sicily (Messina), Crotone, Venice, and Sibenik, Croatia!

 
  • TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
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    Jan 12, 2008
    I hope this is ok, but thought I would add a few notes about what we did in the ports as some were different than what any of the team did:

    • Rome: We were only able to get in 1 day early but did manage to see some of the sites (hotel was near Trevi Fountain), did a food tour in Trastevere that was amazing, and then morning of departure we did an early entry tour of the Vatican. Definitely want to go back and have a bit more time but got a feel for the city and really enjoyed what we did!
    • Naples: We did the included tour - which we did at several stops and they definitely varied in quatlity. This one was ok, but the best part was some free time on our own in a city center area where we got to explore and stopped at an espresso stand and got some pizza and just checkout out the different stores. the "on our own time" was some of our favorite time at each stop
    • Messina: We had a small group of us (9) that hired a private car that took us around to the coastline and to Taormina and some other small villages that were lovely. Had some time in Taormina to shop (saw Pete and chatted with him quick as he was passing through) and visit the Greek theater (Saw Ryno and others there). Then we went to the Gambino Winery where we had a lovely tasting over lunch and a tour of the facility. The wines were quite good and they were able to ship to the U.S. - so that turned into a bit of a pricey stop for many of us ;)
    • Crotone: We were part of the group that booked a private winery tour (so, I guess we were some of the people that messed things up for Craig - sorry!). It was at the Cuerado Winery and Restaurante Dattilo. It was a lovely family run winery and the restaurant was amazing - it is Michelan Star rated and lunch took about 4 hours. Definitely a highlight of the trip! It was hard to find a private car to drive our group so definitely they are not used to handling tour stops
    • Bari: We did the included tour which was pretty solid - though had the same issue Pete did with the tour going through the area of the church where a mass was going on. We then had some time on our own in the more modern part of the town and we did some shopping and found a really good restaurant with probably the best beer list we came across (I actually posted about it to our group chat and Craig saw that and they wound up stopping there later to check it out) and we also did the big ferris wheel they had in town. Overall a pretty enjoyable stop, not my favorite but not least favorite either.
    • Sibenik: Agree with the team that this was the positive surprise of the cruise. We did the included walking tour and had the best guide we had all cruise. Then also spent time wandering around - we toured one of the forts and then explored the town. We found a wine bar (I know, surprised) and then asked the bartender where to eat and he came out of the bar and directed us down a street to a place that he described the food as "like mama makes, big portions" - and it was a super local place that was really neat. Also found a fancy dessert pancake place that was fun too.
    • Venice: We did an extra tour called the Island and the Abbey - the island was Maurano where they make the glass and the Abbey had two master works of art. The sites were really cool, but it felt like a really quick overview and, especially the stop on the Island, was designed for you to buy stuff. So glad we did it but not our favorite tour. Then we got into the main area of Venice with St. Marks Square, etc. and I don't know if it was just because we had just been in small, quiet towns, but the crowds were really overwhelming and really didn't enjoy it that much. We then did get off the beaten path a bit and found a great little restaurant called Ostaria where the menu was just the couple of things they were making that day, but was really good, and we did a gondola ride which was definitely fun and found a mask shop. Also found a stand that a photographer had set up with some amazing photos he takes early in the morning when the canals are all 100% still and had crystal clear reflections in them. So in the end we enjoyed our time, but the touristy areas were really crazy and maybe I just built it up in my head too much but didn't enjoy it as much as I thought we would.
    If anyone has any other questions happy to answer as best I can

    Totally agree with what Pete said towards the end that it was great to plan this as a group and I was very active in the planning group and it just added to the excitement. Also definitely made some new friends, a few of which we are planning to catch up with at our next WDW trip as they will be there the same time as us
     

    Spencer Wright

    Constantly craving a zebra dome...
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2017
    ...If anyone has any other questions happy to answer as best I can

    Totally agree with what Pete said towards the end that it was great to plan this as a group and I was very active in the planning group and it just added to the excitement. Also definitely made some new friends, a few of which we are planning to catch up with at our next WDW trip as they will be there the same time as us
    I am really thinking about an Italy trip for 2020, as both mine and my partner's family are from there (Sicily and Abruzzo respectively). Would you recommend Venice, or is there plenty to see elsewhere in Italy?

    I am mostly asking as I have heard mixed reviews from seasoned travelers, primarily indicating it has become too touristy. However, based on that show, it sounds like a must-do, as part of the rationale for this particular cruise was it ending in Venice.

    A lot of tours of Italy as a start or end point, but I am thinking just to stick with the south!!
     

    TheMaxRebo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2008
    I am really thinking about an Italy trip for 2020, as both mine and my partner's family are from there (Sicily and Abruzzo respectively). Would you recommend Venice, or is there plenty to see elsewhere in Italy?

    I am mostly asking as I have heard mixed reviews from seasoned travelers, primarily indicating it has become too touristy. However, based on that show, it sounds like a must-do, as part of the rationale for this particular cruise was it ending in Venice.

    A lot of tours of Italy as a start or end point, but I am thinking just to stick with the south!!

    We definitely found many parts of Venice to be quite touristy - especially around the St Marks Sq area. Was better once you got away from that area but still more touristy than most of the other stops. I was definitely cool to see and I am glad we got there but now that we have, personally, we aren't rushing back there. So I think it depends on what you want to do/see ... if you are doing more of a sweeping tour of Italy then I think it makes for a great stop for a day or two, but if you are thinking of focusing on one or two areas then I would pick other areas over Venice
     
  • OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
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    Apr 29, 2004
    We definitely found many parts of Venice to be quite touristy - especially around the St Marks Sq area. Was better once you got away from that area but still more touristy than most of the other stops.
    Got to agree that Venice is predominantly a tourist stop. Most of the people working in those shops don't actually live in Venice because the city is so expensive to live in. We did find some very interesting places by just wandering around down various alleyways. We found a restaurant down an alley that we would never have walked down back home, but threw caution to the wind and we were really glad we did. Marvelous meal!!! Will never be able to find it again though. :(
     

    DisneyKevin

    Kelvis
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    Jun 20, 2005
    We definitely found many parts of Venice to be quite touristy - especially around the St Marks Sq area. Was better once you got away from that area but still more touristy than most of the other stops. I was definitely cool to see and I am glad we got there but now that we have, personally, we aren't rushing back there. So I think it depends on what you want to do/see ... if you are doing more of a sweeping tour of Italy then I think it makes for a great stop for a day or two, but if you are thinking of focusing on one or two areas then I would pick other areas over Venice
    To be fair, this is akin to visiting WDW or I Drive and thinking you’ve seen Orlando.

    We love Venice and go back as often as possible.
     
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