Trip log, day four. Civitavecchia, Italy AKA Rome Adjacent.
7-Night Mediterranean Cruise
June 5, 2018
Dawn comes early on a boat, even earlier when the family in the neighboring stateroom begins jawing at 4AM. Since we were up, Emily headed to deck 4 to run and I headed up to the Quiet Cove to finish yesterday’s trip report.
I returned to the stateroom just as Emily and and Isabelle finished getting ready for the day. We headed up to Cabanas for breakfast and then made our way ashore.
Emily found and booked a tour through Can’t Be Missed tours, which covers the hotspots in Rome. We met our driver on the pier and loaded into three awaiting vans. The drive form the port to Rome was closer to 90 minutes due to the heavy traffic we encountered as we reached the outskirts of our first stop, Vatican City.
We were dropped off about 50 yards from the entrance to the Vatican museum. We met our guide and received headphones to wear so we could he our guide from anywhere within about 100 feet. These were really great as they allowed us to stray from the pack while still hearing the information.
The tour was set up in a way that we pre-paid for the tour, then paid our guide at the end of the day for admission fees. This works out great because of the random closures of specific venues.
The line to go through the Vatican was about as long if not longer than the line for Flight of Passage. However, our tour guide was an approved Vatican guide which essentially put us in the much shorter line, similar to Fastpass. There were some other shortcuts along the way that save some time as well.
The museum is really just a glorified themed queue for the Sistine Chapel. Ok, that isn’t really a fair comparison; the corridors and rooms adorned with amazing works of art are incredible. There is just one problem — the amount of people.
The best way to explain this other than a herd of cattle would be if you combined peak rope drop crowds for Frozen at Epcot, Pandora at Animal Kingdom, all of Magic Kingdom, and the ridiculous mass of humanity that will be in the opening day line for Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios. Where is Thanos when you need him??
In all seriousness, it was really hard to enjoy the beauty. We finally made our way into the Sistine Chapel, where photography is prohibited for the reason that flash photography will damage the ceilings and people are terrible and cannot be trusted to keep the flash turned off.
Michelangelo’s work can be seen daily on Spaceship Earth in EPCOT, but seeing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in its entirety was a jaw dropping experience. It really puts in perspective the work he put into creating this masterpiece. No, it isn’t a masterpiece, it needs a better name, as it is so much more amazing.
After exiting the Chapel, we made our way to Saint Peters Basilica, which is another incredible sight. I’ve seen pictures of all this stuff, but nothing can replace seeing it with your own eyes.
Also, the size of everything is a ‘wow’ factor when you consider the primitive tools of the time when they were created compared to what would be used now. Although, if this stuff was built today, I doubt it would last 75 years.
Sticking to the theme, St. Peter’s Square was also much larger than I expected. I’m going to blame TV and movies.
Our tour of the Vatican was complete and we had about 30 minutes to get a bite to eat and walk around. We first stopped into a cafeteria and soon determined we’d still be in line when it was time to leave, so we went across the street to a pizza shop.
The pizza was sold by weight, I already knew I loved this place before Emily found a bottle of rosé for 8 Euros, which we could just take outside into the street to enjoy before headed back to our awaiting vans.
Speaking of the vans, they come to you so you never need to back track allowing for more time to see the sights.
We headed into Rome to see some of the fountains starting with the Fountain of the Four Nations.
Our next stop was the Pantheon and the Egyptian obelisk near a gelato shop.
Yes, you are reading this right if your priories are in order. The Cremeria Monteforte, a family owned and operated shop making homemade gelato is located by the Pantheon.
The afternoon treat hit the spot and at the suggestion of our guide I went with the double cream which is unlike any whipped cream served in the States.
If you go to Rome and don’t go to the Trevi Fountain and throw coins in, did you even go to Rome? No, I am fairly sure it is a criminal act not going to this incredible fountain. If not, it should be.
We hopped in the awaiting van and headed out to our final stop, the Colosseum.
Our guide broke the news at the fountain that it would not be in our best interest to go into the Colosseum this afternoon. Sure, we still had plenty of time to tour the iconic stadium and get back to the port before our 6:45P onboard time, but there was a caveat. As luck would have it, Russel Crowe is performing a concert tomorrow in the Colosseum. Yes, Maximus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And, he had his vengeance, today. In order for the concert tomorrow, the organizers at any moment could have the Colosseum cleared for a sound check and we’d be out the cost of admission since we wouldn’t be able to stick around to return after the rehearsal. There was also about a 45 minute wait just to get in.
We still got to see and walk around the perimeter of the Colosseum, which was still incredibly awesome. I’m not even mad or disappointed in the fact we didn’t get to go inside. Plus, we saved some Euros in doing so. As I mentioned earlier, we pre-paid for the tour and paid for Vatican admission today. Had we gone into the Colosseum, we would’ve just paid the tour operator. By doing it this way, the tour operator doesn’t need to deal with refunds.
Our tour was over and time to head back to Civitavecchia and board the Magic. The drive back to the port was quicker and had a lot less traffic. It did provide ample time to write everything you just read up to this point.
As a comparison, our tour was 109 Euros per person. The entry into the Vatican was 26 Euros per adult and 17 Euros for children 18 and under. For us, the total was 396 Euros, which is about $463 USD (plus the cost of lunch/wine & the gelato, which was under $40 USD for us). We were picked up at 8am and dropped off at about 5:15pm (all aboard was 6:45pm). DCL offers a similar tour called The Best of Rome (CV25) and is $395 USD per person over age 10. It does not list that it includes the Pantheon. Yes, it includes lunch and going inside the Colosseum, but the cost comparison is vastly different.
We arrived back to the port of Civitavecchia around 5PM which gave us plenty of time to shower and head to Animators Palate for dinner. With a 6:45PM all aboard time the restaurant was quiet, but the empty tables eventuality filled to maybe 80% full.
The menu for tonight was World of Flavour and once again most of the what we ordered was enjoyable.
After dinner we headed over to The Snuggly Ducking for a game of THUGO.
All day we were planning to see SOLO: A Star Wars Story, but after spending a full day in ashore, we were ready to call it a night. This itinerary is port intensive with sea days at the beginning and end. The movie can wait, we are sailing north this evening to spend tomorrow in Livorno.