Our breakfast with Francesco is leisurely and delightful. Later, our driver, Rafael, picks us up in a comfy mini van and we head for Civitivecchia, where the ship will be in port. We pass through the gorgeous streets, bathed in a hot yellow sun. Lattice work around most windows or frames of molded plaster, ornate, stately, old. Red, yellow, pink, purple flowers cascade from window boxes or hedges. Silver green olive trees. Slim straight evergreens and some that spill all over like a child dressed in a green outfit that's far too big. Pigeons perch on statues that are world marvels and add their own opinions about what these are worth.
We leave the city vowing to return, a true arrividerci Roma song on our lips. Now we are following the sea, turquoise, navy blue, white capped. Shores that are rock or sandy or hidden behind condos and hotels. The ocean is dotted with yachts and sailboats, colorful umbrellas dot the shore. Palms, bougainvillea, fishermen, cacti: Civitivecchia is a seaside resort. We're here in a relatively short time, since Sunday traffic is still relaxed here.
The ships takes up the horizon on one side of the docks. She's beautiful; blue and white and massive. Rooms and balconies and floors stacked on each side, a proud crown boasting from the top: I am the Crown Princess.
Check-in is smooth and efficient and suddenly we are making our way through the maze of hallways and doors. We love our room; it's cute and well appointed and has a lovely big bed. Everything fits perfectly.
Our balcony is the best part. Right now we overlook a dull harbor, but that's all right: it's breezy and shady. We can look one door to our left and talk to Mary Jo and Peter! Bless you, Colette.
Our steward comes to introduce himself - Julius from the Philippines. He has a pregnant wife at home, won't get back until after the baby's born, but of course he maintains his cheerful smile.
Mary Jo and I run down to see Maire and John's junior suite and it's gorgeous. Our luggage arrives and Vince and I enjoy putting it away. We always remind ourselves of George Carlin's routine on STUFF when we do this.
Pretty soon we're at dinner in the Botticelli dining room, but they don't have space for Mary Jo and Ken. I make arrangements with the maitre d' for tomorrow night.
The bed is very comfortable but Vince and I both awaken in the middle of the night. We open the balcony doors to an orange half moon painting a silver glow across the dark navy ocean. Clouds flit by and cover the light, but not completely. I remember my favorite poem: "the moon was a ghostly galleon, tossed upon cloudly seas." We marvel a while longer and then marvel at each other as we cuddle under silky sheets.