Day One – Getting to the ship
Since I have been tied up the last 18 months or so being sick, Betty and I have had to restrain our natural urge to travel a bit. So it was great to finally be able to book passage on the Royal Princess from Rome to Athens, with stops at Naples, Crete, Kusadasi, Istanbul, and Mykonos.
Finally the big day came and on Friday morning, June 3rd, a Special Occasions limo picked us up and whisked (Really, almost no traffic) Betty and me to Logan. We breezed through TSA because somehow we were “pre-checked” according to our ticket. No shoe removal. Excellent. How do we get pre-checked in the future?
The flight to JFK was uneventful and we easily found our way to the international gate. The kindly American Airlines ticket agent had been able to swap us into two aisle seats for the 8 hour leg to Rome, so hooray for that. Because of his kindness, that flight was long but pleasant. I watched “Hail, Caesar” (ho hum) and a “Mythbusters Explosion Special” (excellent). Mostly, I listened to the same old music on my iPod. About an hour’s sleep for each of us.
At Fiumicino, we breezed through the early Saturday morning security and met the Princess Cruise leader who took our luggage and bunched about forty of us cruise-types under an archway until it was time to lead us to the bus to Civitavecchia, the port area just outside Rome. Since it was only 10:30am, we were treated to a drive-by-quickee tour of Rome by the bus driver, who pointed out the highlights (Coliseum, Circo Massimo, St. Peter’s) as we, you know, drove by quickly.
Eventually, we headed north out of Rome and after about an hour reached the cruise dock where we first saw the enormous Royal Princess.
We got processed aboard pretty quickly, received our “ship cards” and were directed to our stateroom. Our suitcases were late, probably because they were first on the truck at the airport, but they arrived safely. We were called to our Muster Stations where we practiced donning our life vests and milling about aimlessly until we either abandoned ship or were released.
Next came our 6:30 seating for dinner in the Allegro Dining Room where we met Sebastian, our waiter and Royal, our sub-waiter. Two nice guys from India who couldn’t do enough for us. We sat next to Jen and Dave from Iowa who also seemed to be nice people.
I had the rum-infused Pina Colada soup.This “soup” seemed to be indistinguishable from a Pina Colada drink, so I had a couple. (Soup is included with the meal. Cocktails are an extra charge.) The ship left port during the meal and headed off to Naples, our first port of call.
By this point, we were walking zombies, having been awake about 36 straight hours. But we dragged ourselves to the Welcome Show to soak up a bit of entertainment. Singing, dancing, perky enthusiasm, they’ve got it all.Back to the surprisingly roomy cabin D517 by 10:30 to drop off to sleep watching Tina Fey in “Sisters” on the TV.