Rome. The city of .. well, Romans. By now we had visited the Vatican, even managing to lower the tone by taking the obligatory ‘double thumbs up’ photo outside. Linda’s idea obviously and after lunch Kristina, our guide, took us on a walk to the Trevi Fountain. Where we did exactly the same thing outside.
I have visited Rome before but it is a totally different experience being taken there by someone who knows the history – a unique persective.
As an aside, I should point out that the guided tours that we experienced are an extra cost as a Royal Caribbean cruiser but it’s definitely something you should budget for. Personally, I don’t see the point of cruising if you don’t actually leave the shop to experience the countries you visit! So bear that in mind when pricing up a cruise. (Totally worth it though.)
A quick word about the time of year we visited Italy. Going mid-October was a smart move. Yes, it was still really busy but I’ve been to Rome in August and it’s extremely hot, packed and claustrophobic. We were lucky with the weather whilst we were there this time – it was the perfect temperature. (Having said that, by the time we reached the ship, it was tipping it down and pretty much looked like the England I’d just left!)
The last relic to visit was my favourite of my trip to Rome … The Coliseum.
We were treated with stories of vicious animals kept underground, hostile gladiators fighting for their lives and Emperors lauding over the whole arena. As we stood inside the derelict stadium, Kristina painted a picture of marble clad seating and 50,000 cheering fans … all fights ending in the ultimate death of courageous warriors. It was brilliant! (… poor gladiators dying aside of course.)
We had walked miles and we were really exhausted by now so I was glad that it was finally time to make our way to the ship to check in.
As we were joining the ship mid-way (the ship had actually departed originally from Barcelona) check-in was quick and easy – we just had to show our tickets and passports, have our photo taken for our cruise card (oh, go through security again – you’re not allowed to take any alcohol on board!) .. and we were finally on the ship! (Cue a dive on this massive bed!)
I was lucky enough to have a superior room with a balcony so that I could see the world pass me by as we sailed. I think I might find it a little claustrophobic if I didn’t have a balcony but you would have to weigh up the extra cost and ask yourself if it is worth it.
My room was bigger than I expected. My double bed was two single beds pushed together but it was massive! Seemed a shame I was on my own really 🙂 The bathroom was small, but because the shower door was curved, it made showering much easier. I had everything I needed. Plenty of wardrobe space, sockets, big TV, sofa, table … oh, and a mini-bar which I obviously didn’t partake in. Obviously.
Only a minor gripe, but the choice of TV channels was poor. Now I know the whole point of going on a cruise isn’t to watch TV but any parent will know that when you’re in your room, whether it’s taking time out or getting ready … we need a built in babysitter! (We all do it.) If there’s nothing for the kids to watch, the little darlings become a tad … rambunctious. Still, if that’s all there is for me to moan about, I think Royal Caribbean is doing alright!
Dinner was in one of the ship’s speciality restaurants – Portofino. You pay extra for this traditional (posh) Italian fayre but it was delicious. Put it this way, if Linda and I got excited about the bread and olive oil alone, imagine what we were like when this dessert came out!
We could have taken advantage of the entertainment that was on offer that night but quite frankly, I could barely keep my eyes open by 10pm. It had been a really, really long day but totally worth it. We saw a part of the world I may well never visit again and I went to bed a very tired, but happy woman.
The next day was to see us visit the Amalfi fuelled by mountains of bacon!