To Europe and Beyond 2018 and Rome at Last

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Cruise to Rome

Have you ever tried to jam everything you’ve put off doing throughout your cruise into the last couple of days and nights?

I have, for sure.

With only one full sea day and night left, I was horrified to remember that I hadn’t been to several music and one specific dining venue.  It was crunch time for this transatlantic cruise to Rome.

While I planned to spend a portion of this last sea day to pack, an unexpected surprise delayed my plans.  As I went up top for my usual morning latté at New York Deli and Pizza on deck 10, I encountered a rather hilarious bunch of characters:

The latté would have to wait.  This was too cute to pass up without photos.

Something else I’d forgotten to do; make a reservation at Sel de Mer, Koningsdam’s à la carte French Brasserie in partnership with Master Chef Rudi Sodamin.  Another plus as a solo traveler…getting a last minute table for one is usually possible.

I think if I had to name a favorite meal, it would be Dover Sole à la Meunière.  It’s a delicate fish best prepared sautéed in butter with bones-in.  Capers and lemon juice mellow out the richness from the butter.  I’d been dreaming about the Dover Sole at Sel de Mer for a year since I tried it on a press luncheon when the Koningsdam was launched.  Now I’d try it again.  And it was just as I remembered…light, moist, with a very thin caramelized layer from the butter, on the surface.

Did I mention that I purchased the full dining package?  I highly recommend it.

Checklist time.  Packing done.  Clothes for tomorrow set aside? Done.  All that was left to pack in the morning would be last minute make-up, hair and toiletry products.

At this point, I wanted to revisit B. B. King’s Blues Club to make sure I got a few more photos.  The band played three 45-minute sets almost every night on this 14-day transatlantic crossing.

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Opposite B. B. King’s Blues Club, is Billboard Onboard.  It’s a two-piano venue with audience participation that is a themed  at Billboard Magazine’s top hits playlist.  This is always standing room only.

A few minutes here, and I was on my way to call it a night.

Our cruise to Rome had ended.  We arrived into Civitavecchia port sometime very early.  I awoke to a knock on my door….Holland America is one of the few cruise lines that still offers breakfast room service on debarkation morning.

From my stateroom, I checked out how embarkation looked and saw the Self-Assist passengers already booking it across the parking lot on their way at 7am.

Civitavecchia cruise terminal debarkation

I had arranged a transfer service for the 45-minute to 1-hour ride from Civitavecchia to my hotel in Rome.  This was a new transfer service.  When I cruise to Rome, many times I’ve used Stefano’s Limo Service.  They’ve always been waiting for me as soon as I exited the quonset hut-style terminal with my luggage.  But today was different.  I can’t express how uncomfortable it felt to be almost the last person waiting for a ride.  No driver and no taxis.  By 10am it was nearly deserted.  Lesson learned:  you get what you pay for. 

Luckily, there was one couple left standing with me.  Their ride was en route whereas mine didn’t even answer a text message, phone call or email.  I asked them if they were going into Rome and if so could I ride with them and we’d split the cost.  Their answer was yes and yes.  In 10 minutes we were on our way to Rome.

A word of advice

Just in case you have a last-minute glitch and need to share a ride with others, always carry $100 in small Euros to give to the other people for your portion of the ride.

I was dropped off first. I gave this nice couple my share of the cost and luggage in hand, wheeled my way over the cobble-stoned driveway and checked into my hotel.

After 14-days, and this cruise to Rome that began with nearly missing my ship in Fort Lauderdale, I was back to my Italian roots and felt totally at home in the Eternal City.

<–Day 12  – Start from Day 1 –>

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