To Europe and Beyond 2018 and Rome at Last

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.

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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  1. Hi Joan,
    Thanks so much for reading my articles! I’m glad your Westerdam cruise went so well – and Alaska, too! The option to purchase a week’s worth of laundry is excellent. It’s great to go home with clean clothes! Thanks for the update on America’s Test Kitchen. I can understand ATK going paperless…and I love those recipe cards, but it makes sense. Thank you again for reading and taking the time to write a comment. Much appreciated! Happy cruising!

  2. Great set of posts! Thank you! We’ve not yet done a transatlantic crossing but we did just have our first experience on Holland , the Westerdam, in Alaska. We loved it! On our cruise we had the option to purchase laundry for $59 per stateroom for the duration of the 7-night cruise which was a really nice touch! America’s Test Kitchen is going paperless so One now needs to go online to get the recipes…

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