Thursday, October 22, 2009

65th Birthday Celebration - Second Photos - The Navigator of the Seas, Pisa and Lucca

65th Birthday Celebration - Second Set of Photos
The Navigator of the Seas, Pisa and Lucca

On October 4th, we arrived in Civitivecchia, to board Royal Caribbean's 138,000 ton Navigator of the Seas.  I had done a twelve day transatlantic crossing on her in April 2008 so I already had made some crew friends on board the ship and two long time friends, Edsel Toscano, casino
cashier supervisor, and Robert Wood, Restaurant Operations Manager, had recently joined the ship.  I was very much looking forward to seeing them again.  This was my 76th Royal Caribbean cruise in 14-1/2 years and as a "Diamond Plus" member, we had a special check in line and were soon ready to board.  We had a phenomenal surprise awaiting us!  Our balcony cabin had been upgraded to a Royal Family suite!  It was a huge aft cabin with a living room, dining area, TWO bedrooms, TWO bathrooms, numberous drawers and closets and the most
wonderful cabin steward ever!  Also, the balcony ran the entire length of the room and accommodated a table and chairs and three chaise lounges.  Too bad the cruise was only going to last six days.  I was ready to go around the world in this suite!

This is our suite living room - couch made into a sofa bed

This was my bed - I had a nice dressing table and a row of closets and shelves

One bathroom in our suite

We even had a tub in this bathroom!

Desk and bar area - we had enough glassware to host a big party!

Dining area with my roses from Crown and Anchor

Second bedroom

Wonderful balcony for morning coffee or evening wine!

Side viewof our balcony

With my dear friend, Robert Wood, of England, Restaurant Operations Manager

One of my favorite spots on the ship was Vintages Wine Bar and the wonderful "wine tenders" who staff the place.  One of the Royal Caribbean Food and Beverage Managers, Chris Nothdurft, knowing my love of wine, had recommended Vintages to me when I did the transatlantic last year.  Much to my delight, several of the crew I knew from that time were on board for this cruise.  They greeted me like family which is the way it gets to be when you are a frequent cruiser.

Here I am with Olga - who I met for the first time this cruise.

This is Michelle from the Philippines.

Last, but not least, is Christina - I got to meet her mother who was sailing with us this cruise.

Livorno, Italy - with Ricardo

Last year, when I cruised in the Mediterranean on the Legend of the Seas, we were fortunate to have Ricardo show us about Pisa and Lucca.  As soon as I knew we were coming on the Navigator, I contacted the taxi company and was able to have him escort us again.  He is such a delight and we had the most wonderful day.

Pisa is a lovely city in the central Italy region of Tuscany, on the Arno River.  It has a population of about 80,000 people and is famous for its leaning tower.  Pisa figured signifignantly in ancient times and during the Middle Ages.

The tower and cathedral at Pisa

The leaning tower and statue of cherubs

The leaning tower of Pisa

The leaning tower is the freestanding campanile or bell tower and is the third structure built
in the square, following the cathedral and the baptistry.  While it was meant to stand vertically,
soon after construction, it began to shift, because of a poorly laid foundation and loose
substrate.  Restoration work, which began in 1990, has corrected the lean 1.51 degrees.
The construction of the tower took about 177 years, progressing in three stages.  War halted construction, at one time, for almost a century.  The tower houses seven bells, one each for a major note on the musical scale.

 The Baptistry

A coffee break in Pisa

Close up of Pisa cathedral facade

Little police car

Pisa street scene

Lucca, Italy - birthplace of Giacomo Puccini, opera great

Lucca is a Tuscan city in Italy, situated on the River Serchio.  It became a Roman colony in 180 B. C. and its Renaissance-era city walls remain intact.  Napoleon took over Lucca in 1805.

Lucca scene

Lucca's Giacomo Puccini, composer of operas La Boheme, Tosca, Madame Butterfly

Crowded shopping street, Lucca

Tall tower, Lucca

Beautiful Luccan Square

Angel looking out on the square

The square is almost deserted at the end of the day

Our final toast to Lucca

Passing a luxury Italian yacht builder

Apartment living in Tuscany

We had spent a wonderful day in Pisa and Lucca and I bade farewell to Ricardo for a second consecutive year, somewhat sadly, wondering if this might be my last trip to this area of the world.  If I ever return, he will definitely be the first person I will call to take me about, perhaps to Cinque de Terre or another wonderful area near the port of Livorno.  


  1. Oh my goodness - that Tower isn't leaning even half as much as it was when I visited back in 1987. Others on my coach tour went up it, and found it quite scary standing out near the top with no railings. Not long after it was closed to visitors becasue it was too dangerous.

    Our reaction as we came into that walled compound was "Wow, it really is leaning - leaning a lot!"

    I also remember Pisa as the first place I ever ate gnocchi - yet to taste any as good .... or is that nostalgia? Dear Carmen, you are doing Mickle a huge amount of good.

    With love and care, huggles from Michelle and Zebbycat, xxx and loud purrrumbles

    (not such a loved cat when he wakes me up with clawed whacks in the face - I have to remember that he's a cat!)

  2. Wow, Carmen!!! I never would have dreamed a cruise suite would be THAT luxurious....very nice. And I'm just stunned by the breathtaking photos of Italy. My husband & I simply cannot wait to go. You look so relaxed and ecstatic in your travels. So happy for you!


  3. I would have never thought a cruise would be my sort of thing but you have made me wonder. The pictures of Italy are lovely, particularly Lucca. I love Puccini, having grown up with classical music through my musician parents.


  4. Wonderful photos Carmen! It is nice how you connect so well with all the people that you meet. Your friendliness is just glowing!

    I visited Pisa long ago .. we did not go there again in 2001. Do they still allow you to climb to the top?

    I visited Cinque Terre is in Liguria. We walked the trail between two towns. Some of the trails are quite arduous, but there are train stops between all five towns so they can be explored that way.

    As an opera lover I would have enjoyed visiting Lucca...something I must do next time!

  5. I have only been on one cruise and that was only a three day cruise up and down the SA coast. I can just imagine what it must be like to take a long, long cruise, especially if you have a suite like yours.

  6. I'm sure I remember seeing a television program about a lot of underpinning work on the Leaning Tower, because it was becoming dangerous. Apart from Rome for a few days in February, it's a long time since I've been to Italy. A beautiful country.

  7. The cruise look amazing. I have cruised the Pacific but not in style like this. My cabin was a few decks lower and didn't have all the mod con or the space of your stylish cabin.

  8. I had a lovely holiday in Tuscany and can remember Lucca and Pisa very well. Went to Florence and Sienna too.
    Lovely photos of a great trip.
    This post brought back memories.

    Nuts in May

  9. Looks like a WONDERFUL trip! My life list of places I must go definitely includes Italy...some day. Looking at the food pictures from your birthday dinner in the previous post just had me drooling. Heaven!!

  10. You had a splendid experience.
    The place where there are the most beautiful women in Akita. And it is the place where liquor is the most delicious.

    Please see Lake Tazawa-ko if you good.

  11. The Italian sky is beautiful blue.
    It is a wonderful trip.