European Tour

We were looking forward to seeing Florence again; one of our favorite cities.




The Church of Santa Croce holds the tombs of an incredible number of famous people in the wing shown here.
Tombs of Galileo and Michelanglo are shown but there are memorials for Dante, Machiavelli and Rossini.

The Ponte Vecchio (for Pat).

Museum of History of Science (for Forrest).

Did you know Florence has two "David" statues.
This copy stands at the original location.

The famous Gold Doors of the Baptistry.
There are actually 4 sets of doors to the Baptistry.

What about the ship? We sailed on the Royal Princess, one of many ships in the Princess line.

The Royal Princess was considerably smaller than the Sea Princess which took us through the Panama Canal last year. However, this time we were more interested in the land tours than the cruise itself, so we were happy. The tours were exceptionally good and we thought the whole package was a good value. In our opinion, Holland-America cruises are quite a bit more elegant than those on Princess but they are more expensive. Holland-America dining is similar to a top-rated restaurant while Princess is more like Austin's here in Pawleys Island. Frankly, we can't do justice to an elegant meal every night for two weeks. We don't get $200 facials and $100 massages, we don't gamble more than $50 for the cruise and we certainly don't bid $1,000 at the art auction for paintings we have never seen before. Still, all-in-all we will probably make our next cruise on Holland-America.

Royal Princess
The Royal Princess (our cruise ship).

It had all the usual amenities you expect.

Royal Princess
Pat won $6 (net) on our only gambling night.

Forrest spent most of his time in the gym (yeah - right!).

If you are interested in a cruise, you may want to hear our experience. We booked late, about three weeks before the cruise and got almost the identical cabin we had on the Sea Princess. We were about 4 cabins from the bow on next to the top deck and had a balcony. Just what we wanted. We booked on-line and saved about $1,000 per person compared to the price quoted by Princess. Once we gave our credit card number, Princess handled everything else including the airfare and transfers. Everything went smoothly, no delays or problems.

The cruise was overbooked and quite a few people were offered incentives to take a different cruise. These ranged from $500 on board credit per person to $2,000 on board credit per person PLUS a free cruise. Several people reported turning down the first offer from Princess and getting two more calls, each with a sweeter offer.

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