Saturday, October 15th
After an amazing couple of days wandering the streets of Rome, it was time to embark on our next journey by cruise ship. We have cruised before, however, only for 7 days and through the Caribbean.
The couple we had met at the Vatican were also leaving for a cruise the same morning as us, so they organized a private car and picked us up along their way. It was nice to see friendly faces in an unfamiliar country.
The car ride took us about 40 minutes from Rome to Civitavecchia. We travelled along winding roads through small towns and lush landscapes on our way to the port. We paid our portion to the driver, said our goodbyes to our new friends from Toronto and followed the signs to the Princess cruise boarding area.
A long staircase reached across the port side of the ship and connected to the land. The metal shifted and squealed as guests made their way up to the entry.
The first thing I noticed aside from the large ship was an abundance of elderly people. We maneuvered our way by wheel chairs and weaved through walkers to make our way to guest services to check in. We gave our reservation number, passport and visa and within minutes our bracelets were printed off. We pushed our backs against a black wall and our individual head shot photos were taken. Our blue cruise cards were printed off and we were ready to board.
We were going to check our large suitcase but then decided we could maneuver them up the ramp and to our room. We endured some puzzling stares from fellow cruisers as they debated if we were workers or passengers. Their confusion wasn’t surprising considering we were embarking on a two month long cruise and we were just shy of 21 years old.
The ship was plain but beautiful. We navigated around the winding halls uncovering the fitness area, spa, pools, restaurants, casino and games room. After touring around the ship we decided to find our room and unpack. Our room was larger than we expected and a welcome envelope sat on our bed. We ripped open the envelope and had a beautiful note from my mom and step dad, Brian. They sent us a gift card for on board credits and wished us a great vacation.
In true vacation spirit we wandered to and from our balcony, took in all of our surroundings while we waited for our bucket of Dos Equis beers. We spent the afternoon playing cribbage and reading our books. I have never felt so relaxed.
The emergency drill went pretty smoothly. I’m not surprised as most of these cruisers are cruise veterans. Aside from the occasional smell of wafting of toots and freestanding nappers, the drill was over quickly and we were heading back to our room to rest up before dinner.
Dinner was wonderful and we were lucky enough to be placed at a table with four wonderful people.
It was certainly smooth sailing for our first night on board!