Stampin’ Up! Cruise to the Greek Isles
We just got back from an amazing trip with Stampin’ Up! Part of the perks as a demonstrator is the ability to earn points that you can spend on a variety of things including logo items, catalogue prodcuts and what they call an “Incentive Trip”. I earned the 7 day trip, a cruise in the Greek Isles, with my points last year! It is wonderful as it is an all expense paid trip (airfare and the cruise) for myself and one other person. We took advantage of the fact that we had to catch the ship from Rome and went in a few days early. This post is a bit longer than usual, but people always ask me for more details so I’ve added a little bit of what we did each day!
We flew to Rome on an evening flight on Wed. July 3rd and arrived the next morning. It was a 8 hour flight and we only cat napped on the way over. But we did watch a couple of movies and Air Canada provided a supper that was actually tasty enough and a snack in the a.m. too. We knew that to combat jet lag we needed to stay up and go to bed on Rome time. We had a delicious Margherita pizza and some pasta in the hotel, but then we crashed early.
We woke up bright and early and set up for our first adventure…..a tour of the Colosseum. It was a scorcher of a day, but such interesting history. Our tour guide was excellent with lots of details that really made the Colosseum days come to life. After we had our first gelato! YUM!!
We took a dip in the hotel pool when we got back and met Alexandra Grape and her husband, Sven, from Germany, in the pool. And we started to see other Stampin’ Up! demonstrators arriving. We then ventured out to an Italian restaurant for supper. The restaurant staff spoke virtually no English so we just ate what they told us to eat and it was delicious pasta.
We started the day with tour of the Vatican. If you ever do this, I recommend going early and get into a small tour group. There were so many tourists that we were shoulder to shoulder for most of the tour. My knees were not happy. We could have spent a ton of time looking at the gorgeous art in the Sistine chapel, but we were herded out after 5 minutes. Then we wandered around downtown Rome a bit checking out the sites. Many of the cars are much smaller than in North America and tons of people rode motorcycles. It was so hot that the asphalt was melting and as we stepped on it, and left our footprints. We had to have some more gelato to cool down. We stopped at a local grocery store to buy some snacks for the evening.
For our last day in Rome, we opted for a hop on/hop off tour of the city. And then we went back to the Italian restaurant for some more amazing Italian food.
And then it was time to pack up for the cruise the next day!
Sunday, July 7th. Stampin’ Up! gave us a breakfast at the hotel and it was a chance to say hi to other demonstators and meet new ones. We met Paggy Wu and her family from Nashville. They were traveling with his parents and their two young daughers (how brave!). After breakfast it was time to board the ship! Stampin’ Up! is so good to us that all we had to do was put our bags outside of our room and they take them to the ship for us. Then all aboard a bus for the 45 drive to the port.
Once on the ship, Royal Carribean’s Jewel of the Seas, we snagged a spot at the back of the ship. Then every one rushs to the open buffets while you wait for your room to open up. It is kind of funny when you are on a cruise, how food is such a big thing. It is always so plentiful, but it makes you feel guilty to see such excess. They have a mandatory saftey drill as just before pulling away. Stampin’ Up! also had a Getaway Party with even more food and treats. We got our room and our luggage just in time to dress for dinner. It is assigned seating in the dining room and were at a table with another Candian demonstrator, Sherry Roth and her husband, Marcel, and two other American Stampin’ Up! demonstrators, Patty Chenail and Dawn Griffith and their husbands. We also had Meg Daves and her husband join us one night too.
The first full day on the ship was an “at sea” day. We started with a Stampin’ Up! meeting in the theatre. Stampin’ Up! talks about the year, answers questions we have asked and reveals the next incentive trip (which will be an cruise in the Eastern Caribbean in 2021). And of course they give out prizes, including a gift (a cute bag) for the guests. Tom knows he isn’t allowed to keep that bag…lol! And we got our own copy of the next Catalogue, the Stampin’ Up! Holiday Catalogue. If you would like a copy, be sure to fill out my form here. It starts in September, but as cruise earners we get to look at it early!! After the Stampin’ Up! meeting, Canadians met up for a picture and then also a Canadian lunch get together. It is nice to put faces to some of the Canadian cruise earners that I hadn’t met yet and to touch base with some of ones I knew already. And many of the husbands/guests get to know each other too.
Tom and I also had a couples massage that day! It was Formal Dinner night that night, but I was feeling a bit seasick and had to crash early.
On Tuesday, July 9th, the ship stopped in Santorini, Greece. We took a tour bus from the ship up to the lovely town of Oia. The bus ride itself was up a steep slope with 180 degree turns on very narrow roads! Oia, with its traditional white-washed homes and blue roofs is one of the most most photographed locales in all of Greece. We climbed up the scenic paths to a recommended jewellery store (#hopesantorini_). Then we took the bus to the local town of Fira for some more wandering, shopping and a yummy greek lunch. We took the cable car back down the very steep slope to the ship. Some people walked or rode donkeys down this path which is apparently it was very slippery. Back on the ship, we dined in one of the speciality restaurants on the ship and had an anniversary dinner (it is our 25th anniversary). And we had a perfect view of the hillside as the sun set and the lights came on in Santorini.
The ship lands in the port of Mykonos. This was a lovely place right on the Ocean with lots of shopping and cute walkways with the iconic blue doors. We enjoyed just wandering around and sampling some yummy Greek eats. Loved the fresh olives, cheese and baklava! There were lots of feral cats around! I so wanted to pat them, but I restrained myself!
Every day, you go to the Stampin’ Up! conference room for a spin at the prize wheel and to stock up on treats! And to take pictures of the display boards (with all sort of new ideas for the upcoming Stampin’ Up! 2019 Holiday Catalogue). Another perk on the trip is the “pillow” gifts that you get every night in your room! I’ve got lots of new goodies from the upcoming Holiday Catalogue!
Next stop was Piroeus and Athens for the day. We hopped on a bus and for a tour and we got off to see the Acropolis. With my bad knees, we didn’t attempt to climb to the top, but we went to the Mueseum which actually houses most of the artifacts from the site (and replicas are at the site). The unique display at the museum of all the artifacts was at the exact same angles and dimensions as the Parthenon and there is a window to look out at see it above, so you have the rare experience of looking at the artifacts up close and personal with the actual original location just outside the window.We also enjoyed a lovely lunch in the Mueseum cafe, complete with an amazing view and a harp player. When we got back on the ship, we attended a Murder Mystery dinner theatre! We were so involved that we didn’t get any pictures!! p.s. the Wife did it!
We took an early tour off the ship to Katakolon which was the birthplace of the Olympic Games.
You can walk thru the visit the archaeological site and walk among the remnants of the temple of Hera or “run” in the ancient Stadium. Tom did the 100 m dash. It was a little bit cooler today so it was a lovely stroll around. We also visited the town of Pyrgos for some shopping and a huge gyros lunch! Seriously this was the size of our face!! We had to share!
The last day on the ship was Saturday, July 13th and it was a day at sea! Time to say goodbye!
We started with a behind the scenes tour of the kitchen operations. We also got in a round of Bingo. and enjoyed one last show on the ship with the amazing Barricade Boys who were all performers in Les Miz!
We arrived early in the morning back to Rome and Stampin’ Up! shuttled us off to the airport for home. It was a 9 1/2 hour plane ride home and we were sure happy to be met curbside by our son to pick us up!
It was an amazing trip and I’m so thankful to my loyal Stampin’ Up! customers and my amazing team of demonstrators who helped make my dreams a reality.
Off to have another nap and dream of a perfect greek salad and feta cheese!!
If you want to know more about becoming a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, and how you can go on an amazing adventure too, please click here.