Transatlantic Cruise on the Celebrity Silhouette
11/5/16 to 11/20/16

Due to the length of the review, it is in 4 parts to help with the download time. The links to the other pages are at the top of each page. 

Page 1 - Pre-Cruise in Florence Italy
Page 2 - Ship and Entertainment; Ports of Call:  La Spiezia, Italy
Page 3 - Ports of Call:  Provence (Toulon), France;  Barcelona, Spain
Page 4 - Ports of Call:  Palma De Mallorca, Spain; Tenerife, Canary Islands

 

Preface

This review is the second part of a 32-day vacation we took that started in Athens, Greece and a Holy Land cruise on the Celebrity Constellation.  Here is a link to that review.  That cruise ended in Civitavecchia, Italy on Nov 2; so, we had three days to spend in Italy between cruises.  We had been to Rome many times and had only been to Florence once on a land tour in 2000.  We were looking forward to returning to Florence and thought that it would be a great break between cruises and the return trip to south Florida on our Transatlantic cruise.

Pre-cruise in Florence, Italy

Day 1
After disembarking the Constellation, we had to find a cab that could hold our luggage including Carol’s scooter for the very short ride to the Budget Car Rental office.  We didn’t see any around, so we walked up to the driver of a large transfer service van that could carry at least a dozen people and asked where I could find a cab for the short ride.  He was very nice and said that he would take us.  I am sure that he would have preferred to take a bunch of people to Rome or local hotels, rather than the mile drive to the car rental office, but he was sympathetic to our situation.  I guess it is one of the benefits of being handicapped seniors.  The ride cost like 6 Euros plus tip, which was so much better than trying to walk there and come back to get Carol and the luggage. 

The office is on a busy street, very small and not easy to find, so I am glad that the driver knew where it was.  We were making great time and it looked like we would be heading out sooner than we expected.   Then we found out that the office didn’t open until 8:30 AM and there was someone else from the ship waiting ahead of us.  After about a 10-minute wait, the doors were open and the rental process began.  I have always been amazed at how long it takes to do the paperwork to rent a car.  With all the information needed having been already entered in the computer when renters make their reservations, it would seem like it would be a quick process.  Of course, it seemed much longer since we were anxious to start the trip to Florence. 

In addition to the person working on the paperwork, there was another fellow that did anything else that was needed.  After our paperwork was completed, he came outside to tell us how to get to the parking lot where the car was located.  As he was giving me directions, he saw all our luggage and Carol sitting on her scooter.  He told us to wait there and he would bring it to us.  Once again, we were most appreciative.  The parking lot must have been close by, because he came back quickly with the car.  It was a very nice small Renault crossover, that handled the luggage and Carol’s TravelScoot without our having to remove anything but the scooter’s seat.  I was worried that I would have to totally fold it up, like we have occasionally had to do in the past.  The Renault had stick shift, but that didn’t bother me; in fact, it didn’t take long until I was enjoying having the stick shift.  It is fun to have on occasion.

   

Before we left, we asked where are we supposed to drop off the car.  He said just drive up in front of the office and he would take care of it.  He also told us that the office is closed between Noon and 2:30 PM, so we knew not to come back at those times.  I was using my iPhone as my GPS to get to Florence.  We had some issues with it at first not giving the verbal instructions and we took a wrong highway; but after fixing that we were on our way.  The GPS recommended two roads.  The one that was on a toll road was the longest, but was slightly faster; so we took it instead of the more scenic one.  Driving in Italy is pretty easy and the highways were in very good shape; however, once we got off the toll road, we were directed to use some rather small roads that seemed to be less direct than others I later saw on the maps.

When we finally arrived in Florence, we then had to find the hotel we were staying at.  That was quite a challenge.  We did see the hotel’s sign once; but is one of those “you can’t get there from here” situations.  The GPS sent us on a very long reroute to get back to the hotel.  With the heavy traffic it was frustrating, but we finally arrived at the Hotel David (www.hoteldavid.com).  This hotel had been recommended by friends of ours, Sharon and Rich, who we had previously cruised with, and they were also staying at the hotel before the cruise.  Hotel David is a highly recommended hotel on TripAdvisor, so we were looking forward to staying there for a couple of nights.  The only downside is that it is not downtown and it is about a 20-minute walk to get to the main tourist sites.  But it is an excellent location along the Arno River and it worked out great for us.  After being on the road for almost 4 hours, we were ready to settle into our room.  We had found a parking spot outside the hotel.  I assumed that this was the free parking that was one of the advertised big benefits of the Hotel David. 

When I went up to the reception desk, a very sweet person, Chiara, took care of us.  I asked if we were parked in the right place.  She said that we were in the city’s pay parking.  She got an attendant to get our luggage and move our car into their gated area.  I was so happy that he did it, since the parking spaces were very tight and I didn’t want to damage the car.  When Chiara saw that Carol had a scooter, she asked if we were OK on the second floor room we were booked in.  She said she also had a room on the ground floor; but it wasn’t as large as the upstairs room.  For convenience, we went with the ground floor room and couldn’t have been happier with it.   It was very comfortable and clean with a great bed.  The snacks on the dresser and drinks in the refrigerator were all complementary.  One of the beers in the refrigerator disappeared quickly.

   

   

While Carol was unpacking I asked Chiara about various things including the local busses.  I had read while doing research on Florence, that the busses are the best way to get around town, since they are frequent and inexpensive.  But you should buy your tickets ahead of time to get the best prices.  Chiara said that they sold tickets right there if I needed them.  The single tickets, good for two hours of rides, were 1.5€ each.  We could also purchase a 6 € family ticket that would allow a family of four to ride the buses for 24 hours.  That sounded like a great bargain for the next day when we would be doing more touring. 

Since it was close to 2:00 PM, we asked Chiara where we could find a place for a light lunch.  There was a deli type place right around the corner where we picked up some delicious lasagna and cannelloni.  We sat outside at one of the tables set up in front of the hotel.  We were in Italy eating wonderful Italian food!

I had planned on going into Florence that afternoon, so I purchased two individual tickets in case I needed them.  Carol had a bad cough while on the Constellation and had not gone to the medical office, so her cough was getting worse.  She had planned on staying in while I went touring; plus it was cloudy and looked like we would get some rain.  Before heading out I took some photos of the reception area; as well as the lounge and area used for the free happy hour.   It is a very nice and most comfortable hotel.

   

   

Even though the weather didn’t look that great, I had to at least walk up to the Ponte Vecchio bridge.  It was supposed to be about a 20-minute walk along the Arno River.  I had found where the bus stop was located very close to the hotel; but the walk looked much more appealing to me, since there was so much to see.   I hoped that the weather would clear up some, so I could take some decent photos; but that didn’t happen during the walk into town.  I ended having to use my umbrella instead.

It wasn’t a long walk; but there was some road construction going on that made it difficult to go in a direct route.  Between the rain and detours, it wasn’t as enjoyable a walk as I had hoped for.  I headed over the Ponte Vecchio bridge and walked around the historic town for awhile and then headed to Signoria Plaza.  This is the place I always think of when thinking of Florence.  It is a beautiful square with the Palazzo Vecchio (old palace or town hall) tower rising high above it.  

   

 The Neptune Fountain dominates the open area of the square.  It was created in 1565 and is just a gorgeous fountain with many beautiful statues all around it.  The face on Neptune supposedly resembles that of Cosimo Medici.

   

There are many other statues in the square including one of Michelangelo’s David.  It is a copy of the original in the Academia we had seen on our previous visit to Florence.  

To the side of the square is the Logia sculpture gallery.   It contains copies of so many beautiful and famous statues.  It is worth spending a while there taking it all in.

       

One place that I hadn’t been to before is the Uffizi Gallery.   I would love to go there if we were staying in Florence longer; but I didn’t have time.  At least I was able to walk through the plaza separating the buildings. There was a lovely statue above the colonade between the two buildings.

 

The Uffizi is along the Arno and very close to Ponte Vecchio.  Since the weather was beginning to clear up, I was able to get some photos of the very unusual architecture of this bridge which was originally built in 1345.

   

The bridge always seems to be crowded.  Most of the shops along it are jewelry shops; but there are some souvenir shops there also.  In the center of the bridge is a bust of Benvenuto Cellini.  It was put there in 1900 to honor the 400 years since the sculptor’s birth.  On the left side of bridge in the photo on the left below, running above it was the Vasari Corridor, which connects the Uffizi Gallery to the Piti Palace.  This allowed the Grand Duke to travel the one kilometer corridor from his home in the Piti Palace to his offices in what is now the Uffizi Gallery.

   

   

After crossing over the bridge, I was trying to find where to get the bus back to the hotel; but since the street where the bus picked up was closed, I didn’t know where to get it.  With the weather improving, I decided to just walk back.  I am glad I did, since it was much more enjoyable than the walk there.  Across the Arno, I could see the Uffizi Gallery Plaza, that I had just walked through.

As I continued the walk, the sun came out and illuminated the buildings.  It made it so beautiful.

   

On the other side of the street I came to a gorgeous covered statue.  I wish that I could have read Italian so I would know who it was a memorial to.

       

Not far away is a very tall tower, that someone told me was there to climb up to get great views of the city.  I had no desire to climb up just then.

When I got back to the hotel, I was ready to rest for a while.  We had planned to meet our friends Sharon and Rich at the hotel’s happy hour between 6:30-8:00.  When we walked over to the lounge area, we were surprised to see so many different delicious looking finger foods.  In addition, there was wine, beer and other bottled drinks.  Everything was so good.  We chatted away with our friend and filled up on snacks.  We didn’t need to go dinner that night.

   

 

Day 2
After waking up, we went upstairs to the breakfast area.  The breakfast spread looked great and tasted even better.  The woman that was cleaning off the tables and helping guests was just too sweet.  Everyone we met that worked at the Hotel David was so friendly and customer oriented.  It is a major reason the hotel is so highly rated and wins TripAdvisor awards each year.

   

   

After breakfast, I got ready to return to town.  Since Carol can’t tour as much as I can, I had planned on going to see the Piti Palace in the morning; and return to take Carol to lunch and touring in town.  I was going to buy the family bus ticket for the day.  Since I hadn’t used the other two single tickets I had purchased, I asked if I could return them and get a family ticket.  The receptionist was more than happy to do it.  When you get the ticket, you have to write down the name of each of the up to four family members that would use the ticket.  This keeps people from using the ticket in illegal ways. 

I walked over to the bus stop.  A bus soon came by.  It was very small and I would find out that it is a good thing; it was able to get through some of the narrow streets.  I put the ticket in the machine on the bus to get a time stamp that would allow us to use it for 24 hours.  It is a nice system.  The interior of the bus was compact; but it did hold a lot of people.  A lady got on the bus with a very well behaved and cute, long haired dachshund.

   

   

The Piti Palace was built by Luca Pitti, a Florentine banker in 1458.  It was sold to Cosimo Medici in 1549.  The palace is just a short walk to the Ponte Vecchio bridge.  I could have gotten off at the Ponte Vecchio bus stop; but decided to see where else the bus route went to.  That probably wasn’t the best idea, since it took about 30 minutes more to get to the Piti Palace.  I did get a nice city tour though.   The bus stopped at the Piti Palace and I could see that it was a massive building.

When I got closer to the building, I could see that the stone bricks made the building quite attractive.  Since it was already 10:30 AM and I needed to get back to get Carol around lunch time, I only had time to visit the Boboli Gardens.  I would love to have visited the palace itself; but we really need to stay in Venice for a week for me to see everything I want to see. 

   

To begin the tour, I did get to go through the palace courtyard, with several statues strategically placed.

   

To get to the gardens, I had to climb steps, the first of many on this tour.  Once up the stairs, I could see why this was such a popular site to visit.  It was just a gorgeous place.  In addition to the palace itself, the view to the city was pretty nice too.

   

   

It is a tiered garden with lots of steps between each level.  On the first level were large statues surrounding the amphitheater area with an authentic Egyptian Obelisk in the center.  I can’t imagine how gorgeous these gardens must be in the spring with everything blooming.

   

I climbed up to the next tier and turned around to see the palace from another angle.

On a higher level was the Statue of Neptune.  It was much smaller and different from the one in Signoria Square, but still quite beautiful.  On the back of the statue, it had what appeared to be a blue heron.  We have lots of them in south Florida; but since I didn’t think they had them in northern Italy, I assumed that it must be part of the statue.  As I walked around to the back side of the statue, the heron moved.  It was surprising, since it did look like part of the statue until it moved.

   

I saw another statue further up the hill on another tier; but I decided that I didn’t have enough time or energy to continue climbing higher.  I could see spending a day just exploring these huge gardens and the palace.  There is just so much to see.

In one area there was a panormaic view of the city, where I could get a photo of the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio below.

   

One of the reasons I wanted to visit the Boboli Gardens was that it was used in the Dan Brown book, Inferno.  The movie was released while we were on our first cruise and I looked forward to seeing where the shooting had been done.  One place that I know they used was the Buontalenti Grotto. On the way there, I passed my more ancient statues and beautiful gardens.

     

   

I was able to find the grotto with the aid of the map provided when I purchased entrance tickets.  It is quite a sight.  You really need to just stand there and look at everything, so you can take it all in. On the left side of the photo is the termintion point of the Vasari Corridor, which connects the Uffizi Gallery to the Piti Palace. 

   

I was disappointed that it was closed and I couldn’t go inside.  I was able to take some photos through the fence; but I really wanted to see the other two interior rooms. I was glad that I got to see what I did of it.

I walked around some more on the way to the exit.  I wish that I could have stayed and seen more of these amazing gardens; but I had run out of time and had to get back to the hotel.  I was able to get the bus just outside the palace, where I had previously been dropped off.  It was a quick trip that went directly to the hotel. 

Once back at the hotel, I picked up Carol and we headed back to the bus stop I had just come from and headed to Ponte Vecchio.  It was much prettier in the bright sunshine.  I was so glad that we would have a pretty day in Florence.  Even the Cellini bust looked better with a blue sky for a backdrop.

   

Our first thing to do was to find a restaurant for lunch.  We found a place right on Signoria Square.  We knew that it would cost more than a place not in the main tourist area; but we couldn’t resist eating in this most beautiful square. The price wasn’t that bad either. 

When the waiter asked if we wanted small or large drinks, I immediately said large, since the normal drinks in Europe are usually very small.  When they brought the drinks out, I couldn’t believe how large they were.  I had to take a photo of them.

After lunch, I had to take photos of some of the Neptune Statue and Pallazo Vecchio in the bright sun, since it brought out the beauty in them.

   

Next, we found a pharmacy where Carol could get some more cough syrup.  That pharmacy did not look like our typical Walgreens. 

While walking around enjoying the Florence architecture, I got a kick out of a couple who were taking their dogs for a walk.  I think that one of them was spoiled.

After strolling around for a while, we came to the beautiful Duomo.  It is such a stunning church.  But because it is so large, I have to take lots of photos of it from different angles.  The first time we visited Florence, I was still using a film camera and we only put two not so good photos of the Duomo in the review.  I apologize in advance for putting too many photos in the review of this church and so many other gorgeous churches we saw on this cruise.  Unlike many people, I rarely get churched out.  These reviews allow us to remember and relive our vacations.  And I really don’t want to forget the beauty of this church.

   

   

   

   

   

The construction was completed in 1436 and it still has the largest brick and mortar dome in the world.  The interior is huge at 89,000 square feet.  It is a most impressive place.  Due to its size and bare walls, it does seem like it is empty; but the decorations that are there are gorgeous.  Apparently, many of the decorations have been moved to museums and others have disappeared over the years.

       

       

   

       

The mural on the dome, The Last Judgement, is quite a site.  You could look at it for hours to see all the detail; but your neck would not be happy. it is quite a sight.   

   

I had hoped to see the interior of the baptistry this time.  Unlike the Duomo itself, which was free, I would have to buy a ticket to see it.  When I got to the ticket office, the only ticket that I could buy was a multiple site ticket that included the baptistry for 15 Euros.  Since I wasn’t interested in the other sites included with it, I passed on it.  It just wasn’t worth that much to me to see it.  I did take a photo of the baptistry itself, which is right in front of the Duomo, and the famous Gates of Paradise doors on the east entrance.

As we were walking to our next destination, we passed down another side of the Duomo; and a little later another side.  Every side was beautiful.

   

We were headed for the Basilica of Santa Croce.  Carol was interested in visiting the many shops around the plaza that we had seen there the first time we were in Florence.  Since the first time we visited was during tourist season; and now we were at the end of the season, there wasn’t much in the square for Carol to check out.  I still wanted to revisit the basilica itself though.  Santa Croce was consecrated in 1442 and is the largest Franciscan church in the world.  Its main claim to fame is that it is the burial place of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and Rossini.  The building itself, although much smaller than the Duomo, is still quite a lovely church.

   

There is a large statue of Dante, one of Florence’s native sons, at one corner of the building. 

   

In order to enter the basilica, I had to go to the ticket office.  It had been free in 2000; but things change and the upkeep for a building like this isn’t cheap.  As I was walking in, there was a sign telling about tours.  I asked the person standing there which entrance I should use.  She asked if I wanted a tour.  I asked her when was the next English tour.  She told “whenever you are ready”.  She said that they weren’t busy and she would happily give me a private tour.  That sounded good to me.   The interior was quite different from the Duomo.  The dark open timber roof gave it a warmer feeling to me. 

   

       

       

   

There is so much to see on the sides of the church with the paintings, tombs and chapels.  I was glad that I had a tour guide to show me around.

   

   

   

She showed me the tomb of Michelangelo.

   

Galileo also had a nice resting place.


Although Dante isn’t buried in Santa Croce, they have a very nice memorial to him.

   

There were beautiful tombstones all around on the floor also.  This place was more like a cemetery than a church.  Everyone wanted to be buried there.

   

The main altar was quite ornate, which I really enjoyed. 

       

Upon leaving the main building, I entered one of the cloisters.  Along it was the Pazzi Chapel.  I didn’t realize it at the time or I would have taken more photos of it; but it is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Renaissance architecture.

   

After leaving the church, I found Carol waiting for me.  She was ready to go back to the hotel, so I tried to figure out with the map I got at the hotel and GPS where the bus stop was.  The streets of Florence are not as easy to navigate as those here in south Florida, so it was a bit of a challenge.  But we did find it and didn’t have to wait long.  We also lucked out in that the bus went directly to our bus stop rather than giving us a city tour.

The previous night we had discussed going to dinner with Sharon and Rich.  They had raved about a restaurant they wanted to return to that had a wonderful Florentine Steak.  They said that it was a very large steak that was to be shared by two people.  It sounded good to us, so we were in.  Since we knew we had a big meal, we just had a drink at the happy hour.  I hated to not be able to eat any of their treats; but I knew if we did, we would regret it.  We took a cab to the restaurant, La Giostra (www.ristorantelagiostra.com/eng-home.php).  It looked like a very nice restaurant with a lovely interior.  We had a 7:30 PM reservation and the restaurant was empty.  Rich told me that by the time we left, there would be a line of people waiting to get in.  Europeans do eat later than us.

   

We really didn’t have to look at the menu, since we knew we wanted the Florentine Steak after the wonderful reviews we had received.  It was sold by the kilogram.  We wanted to order a one kilogram steak.  When the waiter came, he told us that the smallest one they sold was 1.5 kilograms.  That is a 3.3 pound steak for two people.  Way too much, but we had to try it.

Rich and Sharon had been in Florence for several days and had taken a tour that visited a place that makes balsamic vinegar.  Rich was a wealth of information about balsamic vinegar and was telling us all about it and how the type they had at the restaurant was the traditional balsamic vinegar.  He said it was quite different from what we are used to and is sweet and very thick.  We were most interested to try it.  Apparently, this type of vinegar can be quite expensive; but is also quite good.  When the vinegar came, it was very thick.  When we tasted it, we couldn’t believe how delicious it was.  It was so much better than what we have previously had; and we like balsamic vinegar.  We have been spoiled now and that is not good.

We then were served an incredibly delicious antipasto plate.  The photo shows it after we had already tried some of it.  Rich and Sharon had ordered an appetizer of a special ravioli.  We got to try some and it was so very good.  We didn’t need to be eating these wonderful appetizers before the huge meal that was coming.

The Florentine Steak was then delivered to the table. OMG what a huge piece of meat!  It had been pre-cut into smaller sections to make it easier to eat.  This steak was a very large T-Bone.  It was good; but it was just way too much.  With our leaving Florence the next day, we couldn’t take a doggy bag with us, so we had to leave a large amount of steak on the plate.  We had a most enjoyable time and would remember the experience.  Rich was right.  When we left the restaurant, there were lots of people sitting on the ground waiting to get in.  It is a very popular restaurant.  We all went to bed with very full stomachs that night.

Day 3
After another enjoyable breakfast, Carol finished packing for our drive to Civitavecchia and return the rental car.  I would have enjoyed staying at Hotel David for a few more days to enjoy the great accommodations and service; as well as see more of Florence.  But the cruise had a higher priority.  Before heading south, we wanted to drive up to Plaza Michelangelo, which was very close to the hotel.  We remembered the beautiful view of the city from there, and were looking forward to seeing it again.  As we drove up to a parking spot we could see back of the giant statue of David looking down at the city.

We were lucky that it was another sunny day to look at the stunning panorama of Florence.

   

This is a popular place.  As usual, there were plenty of tourists up there doing the same thing as me. 

Even though the sun was shining on the back of the statue of David, I tried to get some other angles of it.

   

We would be taking a different route back to Civitavecchia, since we wanted to stop in Siena on the way there.  The GPS told us to take a road that appeared to have construction activity going on.  We continued on it for a while and didn’t see any other cars, so we started to get concerned.  There was a lot of construction debris on the side of the road.  I couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been cleaned up.  We then drove into a section of tunnel and a large construction vehicle was heading our way.  We were glad to finally see some life on the highway; but it didn’t look like what we were hoping to see.  When we came out of the tunnel some construction workers were staring at us.  They waved for us to stop.  They didn’t speak any English, but it was obvious that we weren’t supposed to be on that road.  We were able to communicate through hand signals which road I was supposed to be on, which we could see ahead of us.  Apparently, we were on a road that will be open for traffic soon; but they hadn’t blocked it off from traffic for some reason.  I don’t know if the road was a shortcut or if it took us out of the way.  We were just glad that we were back on a normal road again.

We took the exit to Siena. The GPS directed us to a parking area that was way below where the main city was located.  We visited Siena on a cruise in 2003 and just loved the town.  We had stopped to examine our options to get closer near a place where a tour group was just leaving.  I walked over to see what they had been looking at.  The sign said Fontebranda, the Talking Fountain.  It was part of the aqueduct system and was constructed in 1193.  The vault itself was covered in 1243, so this place was really old.  The sound of the water didn’t sound like singing; but it was a very pretty blue.

   

We tried to find a road that would go up the mountain to town; but traffic was not allowed on the streets.  There was no way we were going to walk to the top. The TravelScoot wouldn’t have made it up there anyway.  We could have looked for a taxi that would know the way into town; but we decided to just continue our trip to Civitavecchia.  We didn’t have enough time to spare to really enjoy Siena the way would have liked to anyway.

When we arrived back in Civitavecchia, it was pretty easy to find the hotel we were staying at; but not a parking place.  I needed to unload our luggage and drop off Carol while I returned the rental car.  Fortunately, we had brought Carol’s handicapped parking tag so we were able to use the only parking space anywhere near the hotel.  After getting back on the road, I was able to find the Budget Car Rental office after only one wrong turn.  I pulled up in front of the office and went in to return the car.  The attendant asked if the gas tank was full like I told him it would be.  I knew that I had forgotten something.  He told me where a gas station was, so I headed back that way.  Since I was trying to conserve my Euros for the tours we were taking on the cruise, I planned on using a credit card for the gas, especially since the diesel fuel was around $6.00 per gallon.  When I went in to the first gas station, I wasn’t sure what to do.  The pumps are nothing like what we use in the USA.  Plus, there was nothing about how to use credit cards.  I asked the attendant and they said no credit cards.  I would just look for another one, since gas stations normally take credit cards.  After going to two more further down the road, I returned to the first one I went to and just paid cash.  The attendant had to explain to me how to use the machine, since it was quite a different process.  I put the 50 Euro bill into the machine.  When the tank was full, the machine printed out a ticket, which I took to the attendant to receive my change.  I will know better in the future when driving in Italy. 

When I got back to the rental car office, I asked how I could get a cab to the hotel.  He asked if I was sure that I needed a cab, since the hotel was only 900 meters away.  That is only like nine football fields away, so I asked him for directions and headed off.   The walk was rather pleasant.  Much of it was along the waterfront, which was quite nice.  There were statues along the way including this one of Garibaldi.

   

We were staying at the Hotel San Giorgio (www.sangiorgiohotel.biz/welcome.htm).  Since I had already been there when I dropped off Carol, it was easy to find on foot.  I was surprised at how close it was, since it seemed much further away when I drove to the rental car office.  I didn’t include any room photos, since it wasn’t anything special; but the room was quite comfortable and the service at the hotel was very good.

   

After going to the room to check on Carol, I headed out to explore the area.  It was much nicer than I had expected.  Since we were at the end of tourist season, the place was empty.  I imagine when the weather is hot, it is quite crowded around the beach.  At one end of the beach is Fort Michelangelo.  It is named that because Michelangelo designed the tower at the fort.

   

The beach itself was very rocky, not the kind of beach I would want to lay on. 

I walked out onto a walkway into the water that would give me a wider view of the beach area.  I can see why Civitavecchia is popular for vacationers other than cruisers.  It is a pretty area.

   

Before dinner, I went out to get a sunset photo, since it looked like it was going to be a pretty one.  It was indeed.

We had dinner plans at the restaurant in our hotel with a small group of people that Rich and Sharon knew.  The Piccadilly Restaurant is conveniently located on the hotel’s ground floor.  We were surprised at the service we received.  They seemed confused and uncoordinated.  Only about half of us received menus when we sat down.  We kept asking for more menus from different waiters, but it took some time to get them.  When food was delivered to the table, they didn’t know who was supposed to get what.  Quite unusual and unprofessional for what is supposed to be a classy restaurant.  We still had a great dinner and a good time.

   

Day 4
The hotel had a breakfast room on the top floor.  The included breakfast was quite good.  The veranda outside of the breakfast room provided a great view of the beach; plus, we could see some of the cruise ships in port from there.

   

Since I couldn’t see the Silhouette from the hotel, after breakfast I walked down toward the fort to see if I could get a glimpse of her.   The fort area was blocked off from where I was, but it appeared that I could get to the other side by walking along the breakwater.  It was windy and the water looked rough; but the breakwater looked dry enough.

   

As I continued the walk, it looked like the waves had reached the walkway in some areas.  I figured that I could get through those quickly and then come back a different way once I got closer to the port area.

The waves were now regularly breaching the walkway and it was getting a bit wet.  I had gone too far to turn back.

Then I saw the end of the line.  I would have to go back through what had become a treacherous path to safety.  Well it wasn’t that bad; but I didn’t want to get soaked.  I did anyway.

After getting off the breakwater, I was able to get a photo of the ships in port from ground level.  There were a lot of them; but the angle didn’t allow me to see the Silhouette.  Oh well, I would see it soon enough.

 

Embarkation

One of the benefits of staying at the San Giorgio was that they had buses at 11:00 AM and at noon that could take us to the ship.  The cost was 10 Euros per person and was very much worth it.  The desk attendant we talked to when we booked our 11:00 AM shuttle time, told us that cabs could not take us all the way to the ship and we would have to get additional transportation to get there.  We were glad we were using the shuttle.

When we got to the port, the bus stopped right at the ship next to a portable type building which was the terminal.  I took the below photo from the ship after we boarded.

The wind was very strong and we were glad to get inside after we gave our luggage to the porters.  Since we were arriving later than we normally do at the port, the line was quite long to get to the attendants that were checking everyone in.  But once we did, we could go right onto the ship.  We went to lunch in the buffet and were able to get to our rooms by 1:00 PM. 

Once on the ship, we could see that there were six other ships in port.  It was a busy day.  I could only get five of them in this photo, since the other Costa ship was in front of us.

Since Carol’s cough had only gotten worse since disembarking the Constellation, she went to the medical center to get something to help her feel better.  We hoped that it would, since she was booked on three upcoming tours.  The cruise had started and we were beginning our 15 day cruise back to south Florida.

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