Destination: Europe 7/20-8/2

Is there any day more exciting than Day Before Vacation? Aside from Day OF Vacation, of course! My husband and I have been busy in a flurry of activity, doing all the things that must be done before an international excursion of some magnitude: cleaning the house, prepping our cat sitters, exchanging currency, double checking reservations, packing and communicating with anyone who might need to know where we are for the next week and a half. Tomorrow, we will leave on the biggest trip either of us has ever taken in our lives. A real Bucket List vacation. And we couldn’t be more thrilled!

We saved about $800 by booking our flight out of Chicago instead of Indianapolis (even after pre-paying $104 for 10 days of parking at an offsite hotel that provides an airport shuttle and 24/7 car monitoring).  So, we’ll rise before dawn to get on the road for a peaceful 4.5 hour drive to O’Hare. After a quick stopover in Newark, we’ll be on an overnight flight to Italy, arriving at 9:05am Venice Time on Thursday.

We booked a package deal with airfare and two nights’ hotel at Casa Baseggio (a small B&B in the Canareggio District of Venice, very close to the cruise port). The B&B is in a quieter part of the city, void of all the summer crowds. And it’s near the Jewish Ghetto, which we are pretty excited to explore. Our goal for our two days in Venice is to RELAX and explore the city, but live like natives. We have no desire to go to any fancy restaurants – or any sit-downs at all. We fully intend on receiving all our sustenance from local groceries, markets and street food stands.

Then, after our short stay in Venice, we will board the Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas and enjoy the opulence therein, including the Unlimited Beverage Package (a luxury we have never splurged on when we’ve cruised in the past). Ports scheduled are:

  • Dubrovnik (Croatia) – King’s Landing, you guys!!!!! CANNOT WAIT!!!!
  • Kusadasi (Turkey) – We’ll see about this. I know this week’s Vision of the Seas was re-directed to the island of Crete, but as of my last contact with Royal Caribbean, they haven’t yet decided on Turkish ports next week.
  • Santorini (Greece) – THE reason we booked this cruise in the first place. We are traveling with a friend I met in high school – it’s his 40th birthday this month and his dream was to travel to Santorini. We have been planing this vacation with him for over a year and a half, starting with this beautiful volcanic island.
  • Katakalon (Greece) – Not sure what we’ll do at this port. I guess it’s pretty close to Olympia, the site of the first ancient Olympics. But, we’re not particularly dying to see that. There is a transfer to Koroutas Beach we might take. We’re going to go with the flow and play it by ear.

    Add a couple days at sea and we debark in Venice after 7 glorious days. We will stay another night in Venice at Ca’ Pozzo Inn. Then, head home from there, via Toronto this time.

Needless to say, the cities listed above and the entire international travel/Royal Caribbean experience are sure to be the subjects of several blogs to come as we head into Fall. I will definitely have my “travel agent glasses” on and will be looking for helpful tips and tricks and information that I can share with my future clients. Until then, you might want to keep an eye on the Dream Destinations Unlimited Facebook page, for periodic photo dumps. We are looking to totally disconnect, if possible. Which means, we’ll be unreachable by telephone or text message. Occasionally, if we have free wifi service somewhere, we will check in on social media and do a quick read through of e-mail, but our goal for this trip is to disconnect from the world and connect with each other and our friend as much as possible. See ya on the flip side!


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