Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Embarkation: Holland America

Day One:

Our ship was scheduled to begin boarding at one pm, and to sail at eight, from the port at Civitavecchia. While the cruise line will arrange bus transportation for any client, we tend to be independent travelers and like to travel at our own pace and at our own price point. Since the Cavalieri runs a complimentary shuttle from the hotel to the centre of the city, we took that to the Piazza Barberini . From there we caught a taxi to the Termini, the central train station, for about 9 Euros. The drive took about ten minutes. Purchasing a ticket for the train to Civitavecchia was easy and cost between 9 and 10 euros for the two of us.
We had to rush to catch the next train, but there are several that leave about twenty minutes apart. The only drawback is that the train for Civitavecchia always leaves from the farthest platform, and it is a long walk, although not a difficult one. Also, you have to be able to lift your luggage up about a foot or so onto the train.
We were traveling on a Saturday so the train wasn’t busy. It might be a more difficult trip in a crowd.
At the station, we found a taxi to share with another couple. That was 5 Euros each. We discovered later that we could easily have walked to the main gates of the cruise terminal where a free shuttle will take you to your ship, but the taxi was a very easy and convenient way to get there.
We were glad that we didn’t arrive at one pm which was the official beginning of boarding. That’s when all of the bussed passengers arrive and there is a long line up. We arrived at about two thirty and were on board in under five minutes. That left lots of time to get to our stateroom, unpack, have a light lunch in the Lido and do a walk-around to get familiar with the ship.
We waved goodbye to Italy as we left the port of Civitaveccfhia, had dinner in the main dining room, went to bed early, and were rocked to sleep as the ship sailed for Monte Carlo, our next port.

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