We enjoyed our dinner in Rome and at the hotel. We decided to have dinner in the room. We got our last "fix" of Rome Pizza. LOL.
After dinner we packed and got organized for the morning.
Our transfer arrangements were made with Crystal Cruises as we are using a Crystal Society Milestone which included two private vehicle transfers. We were in contact with the local operator a couple of times the past two days. Because of the marathon the operator wanted to have the driver pick us up earlier than planned to allow more time to get around the city. We were just happy that they got with us about this.
We slept well and in the morning enjoyed our final breakfast at the hotel. We can't say enough about how pleased we have been with the hotel. Service has been exceptional. Same goes for our room and the location of the hotel.
The driver, Slorin, met us at the hotel lobby at the revised planned time for our drive to the port of Civitavecchia. Some ask why was Rome built far from the port and as we understand the main reason was to defend the city.
Although we have sailed the Mediterranean several times including 1997, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2015 this cruise includes seven first time ports of call for us. They are:
La Spezia, Italy
Palma de Mallorca, Spain
The itinerary for this voyage is very different from our most recent voyage on Crystal Symphony in May.
Crystal Symphony Voyage: Total of 16 days;
(9 sea days, 6 days in port, 5 unique ports-of-call)
Crystal Serenity Voyages: Total of 21 days;
(0 sea days, 21 days in port, 20 unique ports-of-call)
Cruising works for us as it provides a good means of seeing many places in a relatively short time while avoiding the constant packing/unpacking and moving from place to place that one encounters on a land vacation. We can also do this in a luxury environment as we sail from port-to-port. We realize that the downside is limited time in port. The upside for us is that we get a flavor for a vast number of places and we can always return to the ports that we find special on another cruise and in some cases as part of a pre or post cruise.
Our first cruise on Crystal Serenity was a twenty-four day back-to-back cruise in 2005. We boarded the ship in Civitavecchia as we did today.
As we got ready to board Crystal Serenity we thought we would take you on a short trip down memory lane. LOL.
These are a few photos from our first Crystal Serenity cruise. First two photos: getting ready for tender drill; Second set of two: Formal night, Cocktail party at Palm Court with Clark (now on Crystal Esprit and Nat who is on Serenity; Photo five from the Captain's Farewell dinner (we had two as this was a back to back cruise) and we believe the last time we had the formal Baked Alaska Parade; Photos seven and eight are our son-in-laws brother Martin meeting us in Barcelona where he was taking a semester abroad (it truly is a small world) and a photo of Anne Marie while we were walking around Monte Carlo.
Final two photos. Cruising friends of ours who had sailed with Val and Ernie on the 2005 World Cruise wrote to all of us and suggested we might want to get-together. We had lunch with them and a few days later dinner. Over these two meals they walked us through their World Cruise experience. The timing was perfect. We had thought about some type of 30 day cruise to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary in 2007. Between Ernie and Val's thoughts and how much we felt at home on Serenity we revised that plan following dinner with them. The next day we met with the on-board cruise booking consultant Nikki and we wait-listed for World Cruise 2007. As they say the rest is history.
The final photo is from Venice, Italy. We had visited Venice with our family in 1997 and enjoyed one overnight in port. When we had looked at sailing Serenity in 2005 we had considered the first cruise only sailing Rome to Venice. We revised those plans combining a second cruise with the first one. This allowed us to take our first back-to-back cruise, our longest cruise at the time, and provided us with three full days in Venice.
Back to present day. The drive to the port worked well as did embarkation. We enjoyed speaking with the driver. A very nice man and we spent a lot of time discussion Italy including Rome, the port city, places we will be visiting and ones we have visited before. We even spoke about the size of meatballs. Anne Marie has a recipe that began with her Nana whose siblings and parents were from Italy. The area that they are from makes the larger size meatballs so now we know. We do learn from our travels and that includes history as well as so many other areas.
As soon as we were on-board we began to see so many members of the wonderful Crystal Serenity crew and felt right at home. We saw head of security Sanjeev along with other members of his team. Chief Concierge Hayley and Concierge Marco, Head Waiter Augusto and Head Waiter Franz who is going on Holiday, Butler Rao, Executive Chef Werner, Chief Accountant Brigita, and we touched base with Hotel Director Hubert just to name a few people.
Back home in our favorite room.
We enjoyed lunch at the Crystal Dining Room and had our traditional lunch of Cobb Salad and a flute of champagne to toast our love for one another and the start of the cruise.
We are going to post this early as we will spend the rest of the afternoon getting settled and seeing fellow guests and members of the extradinary Serenity team.
Anne Marie & Keith