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  • Writer's pictureDani Mattar

The Med 🍷

Before my 2nd cruise ship contract (Jewel), the only countries I'd traveled to were Canada, China, & Japan. I had been eager to cross the Atlantic to Europe and explore for a while! When I got the offer for Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas in April of 2018, I was excited but had never heard of that ship before. I did my research, found out that it was one class higher than my previous ship, and then I saw the itinerary... omg...

My home port was friggin Civitavecchia, Italy! I'd never been to the Mediterranean and almost cried when I saw the list of ports we were going to visit:

  • Italy (Civitavecchia [Rome], Naples, Sicily, Sardinia)

  • Greece (Piraeus [Athens], Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Katakolo)

  • Malta (Valletta)

I had never even heard of most of these, but was ECSTATIC nonetheless!

1. Italy

Bongiorno, Italia 🇮🇹

Rome was the first European city I stepped foot on. After a 12-hour flight with no sleep (I can't sleep on planes sadly), I felt like I was dreaming...

Everywhere I turned felt like a scene from a movie. Dark & handsome men zipping by on scooters. Outdoor cafés with tables of personal pizzas & Rosso (red wine). Holy crap. I'M IN ITALY!!!

So pushing through the jet lag, I got my fill of Italian carbs, pistachio gelato, wine, and historical sites before boarding the ship that next morning.

Anyone seen Eat Pray Love? Remember the scene where they go out for pizza in Naples? That's L'antica Pizzeria da Michele! I'm sitting in that restaurant on the left there.

You get 2 choices: marinara or margherita. I believe the only difference is that the first has no cheese, and the second adds mozzarella. SO SO GOOD. Simple, but delish :)

So, our ship ported in Civitavecchia, Naples, Sicily, & Sardinia, but there was one city we had to take a 20-min ferry to... and that was the magical land of Capri 🍋🍋🍋

This beautiful island has the most BREATHTAKING landscapes & views and is also known for it's lemons & Caprese Salad. I was able to get my hands on a lemon granita, limoncello-filled chocolate, & a Caprese sandwich! Not to mention pizza and wine, too. Highly recommend this city for your travels!

2. Greece

Greece was by far my favorite country to visit. What's not to love?? With the bright pink flowering bougainvillea trees, famous blue domes, and creamy tzatziki, this country cannot be topped by any other in my opinion.

In particular, Santorini won my heart from the beginning. The city is breathtakingly hilly due to a volcanic eruption centuries ago, and the whole city is whitewashed with pops of bright pink from the bougainvillea trees and blue from the domes to add to Santorini's beauty. Like Mykonos, I very much enjoyed the small, maze-type pathways, hidden cafés, & authentic pork gyros!

(I'm plant-based now, but still miss them!)

One of my favorite things to do in any of the Grecian ports was to find a café and order a medium-sweet Capp Freddo. I'd have a couple of these a day if I got off the ship in Greece, which was a poor idea on a show day 😆

Though these beverages can be extremely strong, they are very creamy and tasty, too. The light and fluffy foam layer on top just adds to this refreshing iced coffee!

FUN FACT: You can order your Freddo sweet, medium sweet, or unsweetened. Though I enjoy my coffee to taste like candy sometimes, my preferred way to order it is medium sweet!

I had never heard of Rhodes before this contract, but this was another beautiful port in our Grecian itinerary. Also known as "Knight's Island," Rhodes has a unique gothic vibe with castles and stone-paved alleys. I walked off the ship and felt like a princess from centuries ago walking through a medieval fairytale!

There are so many tourist attractions to check out here, including the Colossus of Rhodes (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World). I, however, took advantage of the food and drinks and wanted to participate in the popular enjoyment of a boot of beer! I saw them on every table of every patio I passed and just had to 😊🍺

3. Malta

Malta? Is that a country? An Italian group of islands? Greek? I'd literally never heard of this island country in my entire life. When I stepped off the ship when we docked in the capital city of Valletta, I understood the hype.

Everything seemed to glow with a golden hue and fountains were pouring around every corner... This place was beautiful! The culture had a magical blend of influences from the Phoenicians, Romans, & Arabs.

The official languages of Malta are Maltese (a blend of North African Arabic & the Sicilian dialect of Italian) & English.

The national dish is said to be stewed rabbit, which I didn't get to try... I did, however, try an incredible iced coffee (tasted like a spiced shake) and some type of rigatoni with ground meat, peas and a red sauce :):):)

We traveled out of the capital on two occasions. One was to visit the city of Rabat to fan girl over the sights used in the filming of the first season of my favorite series, "Game of Thrones!" AAHH.

The other time we took advantage of traveling to a beautiful beach in Golden Bay, located in Mellieha, Malta. Layed out, swam, took some photos, & had a Sicilian pizza!



"TRAVEL | Mediterranean vs. Caribbean! (Civitavecchia, Italy + San Juan, PR)"

"DAY IN MY LIFE | Turnaround Day! (Jewel of the Seas + Rome, Italy)"

"TRAVEL | More Mediterranean ports! (Athens, Capri, + Mellieha)"

"DAY IN MY LIFE | "Tango Buenos Aires" show day! (Jewel of the Seas + Santorini, Greece)"

"TRAVEL | My first time in Malta! (Valletta + Rabat)"

"TRAVEL | My first time in Greece! (Piraeus, Mykonos, Santorini, + Rhodes)"

"TRAVEL | Italia! (Naples & Sicily)"

"DAY IN MY LIFE | My Italian 28th! (Jewel of the Seas + Sardinia, Italy)"

"TRAVEL | My First Day in Europe! (Rome, Italy)"

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