We are on our cruise! To back up… after writing on Thursday, we walked to downtown Rome to meet my friend Matt and his fiancée Valentina for lunch at a vegetarian Indian restaurant, called Bibliothe. It was decent food – rice with a curried-ish sort of veggie dish that tasted sort of like buttered popcorn. Hmm. We were with them for a couple of hours, and then Ryan and I went to the Pantheon to see if we liked it any better this time, and I stopped for a cone of gelato with three flavors: blueberry, melon, and something with marsala. Then we went to Trevi, because we hadn’t seen it during the day. It was packed, as were the Spanish Steps. I guess there are more tourists here in September than in October. For dinner on Thursday night, we went back to Trattoria der Pallara, where we ate on our last trip – the place where you eat whatever they serve you for the four courses. We got back to the hotel around 1am.
When we arrived in Civitavecchia Friday morning, we had no idea where we were going, so we just followed all the other people dragging luggage. We stopped for lunch at Pizzeria de Bafone and split a grilled veggie antipasto and a peperoni pizza (which is roasted peppers). After a few wrong turns lugging all of our bags, we found the shuttle to our ship. Checking into the ship felt a bit like herded cattle.
We found our room, which really is pretty nice. Very clean, and a comfy bed with nice soft, crisp sheets. It’s amazing how dark it is in here in the morning without any sunlight – we could have slept all day! Haha: in compliance with international regulations, we had a “muster drill” at 5.15 last night. It was bizarre. We all put on our life jackets and gathered in a lounge before pretending to get on a life boat. While we were sitting in the lounge in our bright orange vests, and I was trying not to feel claustrophobic, I said to Ryan, “ah, yes, this is the luxury they talk about with cruises, no?” It was also then that we realized that every single other person on the ship is 2-3 times our age. Which made us wonder how strenuous our “strenuous” shore excursions will really be.
At 6.00, we went up on deck to watch ourselves depart. There was a band playing and everyone was excited. We took some pictures and watched the sun set. We went back to our room and unpacked, which was very exciting, and got ready for dinner – it was casual night. Dinner was amazing. We got the executive chef’s suggested menu, including, in order: a mushroom pastry appetizer; a bowl of fancy tomato soup; a fancy, yummy salad; some kind of fish (South African cape hake or something like that) with spinach, potatoes, a tomato and a citrus-y hollandaise-y sauce; and amazing crème brule for dessert. With coffee. Yes. My very own crème brule that I didn’t have to share with anyone. We started the meal with about nine forks and sundry other silverware, and actually used it all! We walked around outside for a little while and came back to our cabin feeling sick from all the rich food. Since we don’t eat dinner until 9pm, it was pretty much time for bed anyway.
This morning, Saturday, we got up and went to the breakfast buffet. Then we hit up the “waffles made to order”. We’re really starting to feel like hobbits. Meal after meal after meal. And we haven’t even been here for 24 hours. And we certainly haven’t taken advantage of every meal offering we’ve had the opportunity to eat.
Cruises are funny. Not only do they make you eat a whole lot, but you can’t sit in the same spot for more than five minutes without at least three people stopping to ask if you want something from the bar. It’s amazing to me that we don’ t have to turn around once an hour to pick up someone who fell overboard. And if someone did fall overboard, you know they’d get a cramp because of all the food they just ate. That is, if they could even hold their head above water. There are also a lot of stairs – that combined with the intermittent moving of the ship seems like another major hazard after you’ve had a few pina coladas. I’m just saying.
But all in all, we’re having a lot of fun! We’re going to be spending five hours in Messina today – it’s supposed to be around 85 degrees. And we’re excited to see another part of Italy. We realize we won’t probably take advantage of many of the evening offerings – a 70s and 80s dance party just isn’t really our cup of tea. But a cup of tea on the panorama deck sounds lovely, thank you.