Upon landing in the Rome, Italy, airport, I was slightly disappointed because it is always nice to see the city from the air as you approach. This isn’t the case with Rome, at least coming from the west, as it is well outside of the city. After landing and going through the normal airport procedures, Carnival Cruiselines took our luggage and shuttled us off to Civitavecchia, which is the port city of Rome. I didn’t get to see any of Rome in the beginning, but at the end of the cruise I will be doing an eleven-hour excursion to get a nice view of the major areas.
The drive from the airport to the seaport was bland and not very impressive, but I know the scenery is going to be spectacular later on in the other areas I am going to. I think they should think about doing some kind of beautification project for this area because those just passing through don’t get a very good view of Italy
At Civitavecchia we boarded the ship, which is a marvel in itself. The Carnival Splendor is a very new ship that just did its first cruise two months prior. This ship is basically like a moving city as everything anyone would want is on board. My particular Mediterranean cruise is completely booked up, so there are well over three thousand people living on the ship for two weeks.
We arrived early so our rooms weren’t ready for a couple more hours. I was dead tired because I hadn’t slept for over 30 hours with all the traveling from Chattanooga to Atlanta, then Atlanta to New York, then to the Rome airport, then to the seaport. To kill some time we checked out the buffet and ate some lunch. There was a nice spread on the buffet, and it is all-inclusive except for sodas (or Cokes like we call them down south, where everything is Coke, even Pepsi and orange soda), and alcohol.
Finally after my room was ready I took my first excursion: the pillow. Prior to the ship leaving port we were all required to do a safety drill, so after my much-needed nap, we all had to grab our life jackets and head to our assigned safety boats (let’s not do a repeat of the Titanic here, and no, I didn’t lean off the front of the ship while it was cruising and yell, “I’m the king of the world!”).
After the drill I set off to explore more of the ship. This ship is huge and has a pop art/art deco vibe to it. It is kind of set up in a style reminiscent of the roaring twenties. The ship is packed with multiple things to do, so it would be impossible to get bored. There are numerous activities, shows, pools, bars, a casino, spas, gyms, a water slide, a put-put course, and a bunch of other stuff. Another big thing, that is bound to be trouble, are the inclusive buffets, and some of them are 24 hours. If one were so inclined, one could literally eat the entire time they are on the ship for free, and this is not crappy food either. It is all gourmet stuff, spanning different cultural foods.
Apart from the multiple buffets all over the ship everyone has an assigned dinnertime. We chose the late dinnertime at 8:30 so we would be able to stay at the ports as late as possible. Now this dinner is extremely elegant, with very upscale food served in courses. You can order whatever you want from the menu, and like the buffets it is all free. There is also free 24-hour room service, as well as 24-hour minibar service, and multiple bars all over the ship, with some open 24-hours.
Among the bars are a dance club, a piano bar where the bar going around the piano looks like a giant keyboard, a low-lit jazz cigar bar, a sports bar, a live performance bar, a blues club, as well as bars just about everywhere you look all over the ship, especially around the pool areas and casino. There were some people out on the first night, but everyone was dead tired due to traveling and jet lag, so not many people were out. This is certainly a nice way to travel, as while you are being transported around you are surrounded with multiple things to do.
That was pretty much it for the first day, as everyone was trying to get rid of the jet lag and getting situated to live on this floating city of paradise for about two weeks. The Internet is extremely expensive at 75 cents per minute, and the connection is slow because it runs off a satellite. I will try to keep the journal updated as much as possible and upload a few pictures, but they take awhile to upload and these are pricey loading times. I will upload all my pictures (and there will be a ton) when I get back.