April 15, 2016

World Cruise 2016 Day 101

Day 101- Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. Civitavecchia is the closest port to Rome, about an hour and a half away by bus. As we dock the temperature is 58, the high for the day is predicted to be 68. The skies are clear and sunny with just a few wisps of clouds. This morning I get a little clarification on carrying passports. According to David from the shore excursion office, "we continue to receive conflicting information from the Italian government on that issue". I elect to leave mine on the ship.

There are five cruise ships in port this morning. The Celebrity "Constellation", HAL "Koningsdam", Croisiere De France "Zenith", The MSC "Fantasia", and our ship the "Amsterdam", plus a number of ferry boats. There is no checking of bags, or ID. We just leave the ship, board the bus, and go. It appears that the majority of our buses leave before those from the other ships. That will good for us later in the day.

My tour is a panoramic tour of Rome, passing by most of the "must sees" like the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, The Roman Forum, The Borghese Gardens, etc. We spend over two hours in the Vatican City and St Peter's Basillica and of course see Michelangelo's Pieta. Our arrival time at St Peter's was perfect, the line for security clearance was only about 15 minutes. An hour and a half later it had increased to at least an hour. I will guess the temperature in Rome to have been about 70. I took a jacket to be safe, but it stayed on the bus all day. In the direct sun it was a little warm, in the shade, perfect.

We actually have two guides today. The main tour guide, Barbara, is on the bus the entire time until we return to the ship. Once we are in Rome, we pick up another guide that stays with us until we head for lunch. She is the "expert" on Rome. Personally I think it is a case of padded work force to create more jobs.

We have lunch at a local restaurant, the lasagna was much better than what they serve on the ship, and we properly washed it down with numerous bottles of wine. I didn't say anything at the table as the son of the Amsterdam's head chef was with us. There were only 15 guests on the tour, and we tried to convince Barbara to take us somewhere else after lunch instead of back to the Vatican City as everyone felt we had enough. We were unsuccessful, but it did give me the opportunity to purchase chocolate "gelati" which I didn't need.

We returned to the ship just in time to watch the Koningsdam leave. The captain received special permission from the port authority to sound a farewell salute on the ships horn. The port has a noise abatement ordinance which normally prohibits such fun. The captain also shared with me that he has been talked into working an additional year. He will now be doing both the 2017 and the 2018 World cruise before he retires. He has been taking every available opportunity to turn control of the vessel over to other staff members. They should get experience, and the captain gets to enjoy his last few years before retirement a little bit more. His wife and her niece are both on the ship, and they do many shore excursions.

Over the next two hours all the other cruise ships and several ferry boats leave. We are scheduled to leave at 8:00, but don't. We are missing two passengers. With 155 miles to the next port, and less than 10 hours to get there, the captain only delays the ship about 10 minutes before raising the gangway and casting off. I have no idea if the missing passengers made the ship, I didn't see them. I wonder if they have their passports with them?

Rita stops me in the hallway as she and her husband are on their way to dinner. She informs me that she has made arrangements with Barbara for the three of us to visit the Vatican City all day tomorrow. Yes, she is a comedian.

The temperature drops into the 50's as the sun sets over the Mediterranean. After having so many days with hazy skies or sand in the air it is nice to see a colorful sunset.

I am going to skip the show tonight as I have another 9 hour day starting early in the morning tomorrow. We will be docked in Livorno, Italy. I will take the bus to Florence for the day, Pisa will have to wait for another time.