First of all, how do you get to Civitavecchia from the hotel? Go back to the nearby Roma Termini station. If you want to avoid waiting in front of the ticket office, go to one of the ticket machines, where you can buy a ticket without any problems. Thanks to the German menu navigation, this is a matter of minutes. If you have a ticket, you have to cover a longer distance to the train. Estimated 400 meters. On the way to platform 27, at 26 to 28 degrees Celsius, you begin to curse your own frugality. You look for a free compartment; which is not that easy as other travelers also take the train to Civitavecchia. Unfortunately, the trains do not offer any storage space for suitcases. So travelers put their suitcases on the closest available seats. A comforting thought: there is enough space in the double-decker wagons. The drive to Civitavecchia takes 65 minutes.
In Civitavecchia you roll your suitcase to the port entrance, that's an estimated 500 meters. The path is not uncomfortable. It leads past bars and shops. Sometimes he's even shadowed. The shuttle buses wait behind the port gate and take travelers to the ship. On the day of our embarkation, in addition to the Mariner of the Seas, the Grandeur of the Seas and the Celebrity Solstice were also in port. The right bus is easy to find.
The check-in is professional. The suitcase is left in the luggage area. Anyone who - like us - did not have banderoles for their luggage by then will receive them there. Then it goes to the check-in hall. We had the misfortune to check-in together with the passengers of a larger Australian tour group of an estimated 100 passengers, who mixed up the already waiting passengers in the most cheerful. Check-in therefore took about ¾ hour. There were probably 20 employees available for check-in. As soon as an employee became free, the next waiting guest was referred to him. An efficient approach. There is a priority check-in program for members of the Royal Caribbean's Crown and Anchor Program and for the disabled.
After boarding, we took one of the 14 glass elevators to the 5th deck. The first impression of the ship: huge, very beautiful, stylish. Not the kitschy appearance of Italian ships. We were immediately drawn to the Royal Promenade on the 5th deck of the ship. - Our balcony cabin on the 8th deck is also nice. Feels like the largest cabin on board a ship to date. Well furnished. Warm shades. Pictures on the walls. A decent balcony. Practical: a lot of storage space. Sufficient hangers for the cloakroom. And before we knew it, our luggage was in front of the cabin door. Completely different to half a year earlier in Fort Lauderdale, when it took 6 hours to transport luggage to the cabin on an Italian ship.
Unpacking makes you hungry. So we went to the Windjammer buffet restaurant on the 11th deck to refresh ourselves. Here, too, the first impression was positive. The positive assessment was confirmed in the following days. The restaurant works efficiently at all times when there are around 3.000 guests on board. At no time did we experience queues like the ones we had to accept at buffets on other ships, combined with the inconsiderate behavior of individual guests. The quality of the food can be described as very good in terms of type and scope. The cleanliness is exemplary. Sufficient service staff are available for clearing and cleaning the tables. This applied both to breakfast, which can of course also be eaten in the restaurant with service, as well as to lunch and afternoon coffee. Free drinks are: Various juices, water, lemonade (tasty), coffee and tea.
We always ate dinner in the 3-storey service restaurant. We used the My Time Dining variant from the 2nd day. For more information, see under restaurants. And after dinner? The ship offers a wide range of options for organizing the evening. Be it the high-quality evening show in the 2-story theater; the excellent ice skating show with its 10 actors; the many bars and lounges (one vacation was not enough for us to see and test everything); the great casino; the computer games etc. etc. If you are hungry again in the night, you can nibble something on the Royal Promenade in the Cafe Promenade. Around the clock - of course.
Continue reading: Day 2 - Messina