May 20, 2017

Trier Imperial Baths

The Trier Roman Amphitheater and Imperial Baths are a must see when visiting this oldest city in Europe.
Both can be done in one day.
I previously wrote about our visit to the Amphitheater.  You can read about that post here.

We will be exploring the Imperial Baths in this post.

The grounds of the baths are huge!  You could spend about 2-4 hours easily walking around and exploring. 
There is a parking lot to the left of the main entrance, immediately in the front.  The parking is typical, in terms of needing to pay at a meter and put your ticket on the dash of your car.

It's not expensive to get into the grounds (prices are listed below).
When you enter, there is a lot of information on the history of Roman leaders and how the grounds used to look, including a short film. 
You can go underground to these amazing labyrinths of tunnels.  (In the summertime it's a great cool place to escape the summer heat). 
Photo curtesy of listed website below, here
Photo curtesy of listed website below, here
 You could spend at least an hour running around the underground tunnels exploring.  It's so much bigger underneath the above ground architecture.

There is also a beautiful open area and pond where people were picnicking, kids were running and playing, and overall relaxing.  It's a great place for the young and old to enjoy some culture and open exploring.

Things to know:
Imperial Baths
Weberbach 41
54290 Trier

Opening hours

April - September: daily 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
October and March: daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
November - February: daily 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Last admission 30 minutes before closing.

Admission prices

Single admission to the Imperial Baths (price per person):
a) Adults: € 4.00
b) Adults in groups (10 or more persons): € 3.50
c) Children and adolescents through age 17: € 2.50
d) Children and adolescents through age 17 in groups: € 2.00
e) Students (over age 18), disabled, military and civilian service: € 3.00

Here is the official website (in English) for the Trier Roman Baths.

May 14, 2017

Cruising Part Four-Final Disembarkment

Cruising Part Four-Final Disembarkment

 I had no idea what to expect when it came to final disembarkment from our fantastic cruise.  It was definitely organized chaos. 
The afternoon before the final cruise day, the staff holds a disembarkement informational brief in one of the lounges.  It's a power point presentation explained in detail by a staff member.  The staff went through the information in multiple languages.  It's very helpful and has some SUPER important information in it-so DO NOT MISS this.
The way the cruise handles disembarkement of the masses is really thought out.  They arrange set times for each member or family to leave the cruise ship based on how you are traveling out of the final port destination.  For example, our final port was Venice.  If you were flying out of Venice on a morning flight, you left earlier than those that had an afternoon flight.  I hope that makes sense.  If you take a look at the below hand out that was given to us the night before, then It might be a little more clear.

You can see how the cruise line categorized departure with group colors based on departure info.
The disembarkment groups are categorized by colors.  We were in the brown group.  The final night on board, we were given the disembarkement guide/times and our brown luggage tags.  The luggage had to be set outside of our room by midnight.  This is IMPORTANT!  Since you have to leave your luggage in the hallway outside of your room by midnight, what do you do with your toiletries and all that you'll need to get ready the following morning?  Make sure to have a carry on type of bag set aside.  Here's my tip: leave out the pajamas for the last night, the clothes you will need for the following day, and all your toiletries and keep them in this one carry on.  Pack everything else in your luggage and place it outside your room, in the hallway by midnight, to be picked up by the staff. 
Brown luggage tag (I regretfully did not take any pictures of the tags before putting them on our luggage:/)
The final morning we had plenty of time before it was the brown group's designated time to disembark.  We had a leasurely breakfast in the buffet and played cards waiting to get off the cruise ship.  When it was our designated time, we went to the deck 6 (as directed by the instructions given).  It was VERY easy.  We just walked off the ship and followed the masses to a building that you had to walk through to get into the final port, which for us was Venice.  When we walked into the building, there was luggage everywhere.  But, it was all sectioned off by color. 
We found all the brown labeled luggage, grabbed our 4 bags and walked out of the building.  Then we caught our bus back to Frankfurt. 
That was it!  We had a great time and I recommend going on at least one cruise while stationed in Europe.  It's a fantastic way to see a lot of countries and not have to haul luggage from destination to another, book train tickets, Airbnb lodging, etc.  I have to say that we were able to have a lot of time with one another and relax and enjoy family time.  It really was a trip of a lifetime!

May 07, 2017

Cruising-Part Three

Cruising-Part Three

Cruising-Part One:  Embarkment can be found HERE
Cruising-Part Two can be found HERE (it covers excursions, payments, rooms, etc.)

There was so much information to share from taking our cruise that I had to break it up.  Here is part three...

Let's get started:  I'll be covering night shows, kids club, and some of our cruise ships facilities.

Night shows:  There was a show every night.  We missed the first 2 shows because we thought the kids wouldn't enjoy it and it was rather late starting.  But, after giving in and realizing (with the help of my husband) that we were on vacation and to throw bedtimes out the window-we went to one of the shows on Wednesday.  It was wonderful and the kids were mesmerized.

Needless to say, we saw every show after that for the rest of the cruise.  The show started at 1930 and they had a second showing at 2115 every night and lasted about 45 minutes or so.
They were all kid friendly.  Basically its like a small Vegas type dance show with some singing here and there.  The shows are entirely FREE and we never had problems finding seats...we traveled with another family and we were a pack of 9 and we STILL found seats easily.

Gym:  There was a spa and a gym that were connected to each other on our cruise ship on the top deck.  I enjoyed a spa treatment, which surprisingly was quite luxurious.  My husband enjoyed the gym early in the mornings before it got crowded.  The treadmills offered an amazing view!

Kids Club:  There is a wonderful kids club on the cruise ship.  It was divided up into 3 parts:  infants, mini club (3-6), junior club (7-11), and teens (12-17).  When we first arrived on the ship, there was a kids table set up where you get an ID bracelet for your child.  This is mandatory for all children and the wrist bands were already made up and ready to be placed on our kids when we got to the table. 
They verified our ID, then found our child's wrist bands and placed them on their arms.  If you have a younger child, the band will go around their ankle so that it's less irritating and the child won't try to rip it off.  This band is for security and tells who each child belongs to and where the family evacuation deck is for them to reach you in case of an emergency.
At the table, they also gave information on the kids club, age groups, and events for kids each day.  It was great! 
I'm SUPER overprotective when it comes to my kiddos.  Admittedly, too overprotective.  (I've worked years in child and adult sexual abuse, and domestic violence and unfortunately have a jaded view when it comes to leaving my kids with anyone other than myself or my husband).  But the couple of hours we put my kids in the kids activities-they really enjoyed.  I found comfort in the fact that my 7 and 9 year old were together for everything and were able to look out for one another and they did things like:  Lego building and cooking pasta from scratch with the ship chef!  It was super cute!

The kids schedule was wonderful to keep handy, because you could chose whatever activity you wanted your kids to do. 
They didn't have to be in kids club all day.  You could chose from a menu of kids activities-a la carte activities if you wanted to.

Dining:  Our cruise ship had 3 different restaurants, including a sushi restaurant, and an all you can eat buffet. 

Because we had kiddos with us, we always chose the buffet because it was HUGE and had a variety of things and even included a kids buffet sections which had kid friendly pasta and nuggets, veggies, etc.  The food was great and was never questionable.  There were things like burgers and fries, pasta, salad, meats and cheese, pasta, fish, roast beef and chicken, pizza, fruit, etc.  There was food available at the buffet ALL day long if your little ones need a snack-the fruit section was great.  During more snacking hours they had cookies and pastries and fruits and yogurts available instead of the FULL buffet. 

Drink Packages:  There are many different types of drink packages.  Review the packages with your travel agent to ensure it's what you want.  We included a drink package because I did not want to have to worry about water and coffee and other drinks adding up fast and have to limit ourselves.  We had booked this vacation 7 months in advance and I really wanted to enjoy ourselves.  We got the all inclusive one.  What I didn't even think about, or realize, is that it included coffee and ice cream!  We definitely indulged in the smoothies, shakes, coffee, and ice cream. 

Pools:  Our MSC Poesia ship had 2 pools and 4 hot tubs, including a baby pool on the top deck.  It was beautiful.  Just remember, the pools are SALT WATER.  Pool towels are provided for you in your room, but if you loose one there is a 20 euro charge.  So, make sure you keep track of those!

Kiddie Pool

I'll be writing about final Disembarkement next week.  Stay tuned!
If you have any questions or would like more information on our cruise experience-feel free to leave a comment!:)

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