At this point I had already spent more than half a week constantly feeling like a little kid on Christmas eve. You know, that constant jazzed feeling where you can’t sleep because you’re so excited, yeah that’s how I felt since leaving Boston five days earlier. Again we barely slept and was up early for our last rooftop breakfast before grabbing our bags and heading down to the lobby to check out and meet our car that would take us to the port in Rome ( I know the name but it’s horribly long and tough to spell so I’ll just call it the port of Rome… except that it’s almost an hour outside of Rome. Civitavecchia,)
Our driver was nice and spoke at least some English. It was a peaceful ride out of the city on a beautiful day. I had no idea the port was so far out of Rome but it made for a beautiful drive through some gorgeous countryside. After a bit you could see the ocean off in the distance and the two huge cruise ships that were in port at the time. One I believe was a Norwegian ship and the other was the tremendous Celebrity Equinox.
Now never having been on one before I knew they were big but seeing one up close made you realize just how massive they are. the two next to each other spanned almost half a mile! Our driver dropped us off right near our boat and we dragged our luggage behind us and got in line.
Normally waiting in line would be my least favorite part about any trip but this was something completely new and it was a beautiful day so nothing could bring me down. While waiting in line I absently started chatting with the couple behind us. By the time we got to the check in line, after dropping our bags off, we were making plans with them to have lunch up on the deck. These were the first of many friends that we made on this trip.
TIP: don’t be afraid to talk to people. A lot of travelers travel solo or in pairs and they like to make new friends and share travel experiences with other kindred spirits!
Once through the line, the four of us made our way up to the upper decks of the ship and found a place that was serving lunch to the new guests waiting for our rooms to be ready. We took pictures and got to know each other for a couple of hours as we snacked on free sandwiches and half priced drinks. Once our rooms were ready we parted ways but made sure to exchange room numbers so we could call to meet up for dinner.
Our room was an aft or rear facing balcony, which was and still is my favorite type of room to date. To me being on a cruise seems almost silly if I can’t see the ocean that I’m traveling on. Balconies cost more but the freedom they give you along with the beautiful views are worth it in my opinion. Our bags were in our room when we got there so we unpacked and relaxed in our room for a bit before heading back up to the decks to watch the boat leave the harbor.
It was late afternoon when the ship left port and I took lots of pictures of the docks and water. Lots of water, for your sanity I won’t post them here but I got a bit picture happy since I had never gone on a cruise before. Once we were well underway we wandered the ship to start to familiarize ourselves with where everything was. Getting back to our room would be easy since we were at the very back of the boat.
We got ready for dinner and met our friends in the lobby of the main dining room. We asked the Maitre’D if we could make arrangements to be seated with our friends for the rest of the cruise and he happily took care of it for us. We were seated at a long communal table and had an incredible meal with great conversation. We also ended up making new friends with the older couple that was also at our table.
TIP: most cruise lines try to be very accommodating if you ask nicely. They really want you to cruise with them again.
After dinner we strolled the deck for a short while and found some deck chairs to take in the early evening. Most everyone we came across was in a great mood and why shouldn’t they be, they were on vacation in Europe on a beautiful evening. We talked and had a few drinks until things started to wind down and made our way back to our cabin where we enjoyed the view off our balcony for a bit before getting ready for bed. I’m not usually one for turning in early but after all the excitement I was beat and shortly fell asleep, excited for the start of the next day which would bring us to Sicily!