Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Eastern Mediterranean and Greek Isle Cruise – Rome to Venice – August 22 – September 4, 2012 – Celebrity Silhouette

Travel Day – August 20, 2012

We are at the airport awaiting departure on Alitalia 629 – co-shared with Delta Airlines.  The plane arrived a few minutes ago and we still have just over an hour until we leave (3:40 PM). 

AZ629 arriving (Small)

AZ629 767-400 (Small)

AZ629 Pulling into our gate

One thing we didn’t count on was having to check our carryon bags – it was the first time that a weight requirement (no more than 8 kg – 17.6 lbs) was imposed.  We didn’t split our clothes into the two bags so if they don’t get to Rome with us, I will be needing to do some shopping.   We will be in Civitavecchia for a day, in case they need to get our bags to us.

The plane is decked out in neutral Sky Team colors even though it is an Alitalia jetliner.  It looks great from the outside but pretty worn on the inside.  It must have taken a lot of abuse from passengers in that it is a relatively new jet (767-400). 

Thanks to a kind agent and a no show by a woman and her infants, we were assigned bulkhead seats 10D and 10F with the middle seat blocked.  So we had lots of legroom and a seat on which we could put things. 

Boarding was on time and amusing.  When pre-boarding was announced, everyone (except the few of us who knew what pre-boarding meant) ran to get in line.  The gate agents tried to maintain order but were not really able to control the situation.  We boarded last since we were in the front of the Economy section of the plane.  I got the last overhead and it was a squeeze to get my computer bag in.

The plane pushed on time (some people were still not seated and one guy was still in the restroom) (got to maintain their on-time performance) but I could tell by the way the plane was taxiing that we were not really headed for the active runway.  Soon, we were in the “penalty box” with about 40 minutes until departure.  We actually left about an hour late even though our time in the “box” was only 10 minutes. 

The flight was smooth but noisy (thank goodness for my noise cancelling headphones).  Because the flight took off in the late afternoon, it was difficult to try to nap during the flight.  There were two movies I have never heard of (one was in Italian with English subtitles).  The flight crew was very friendly and courteous but the meals were subpar.  Flight time to Rome was 8 hours 50 minutes.  The captain made up the lost time in the air and soon we were off the coast of Italy.  We arrived about 8:25 AM.

 Nearing Italian Coastline (Small)

The Coast of Italy

Deplaning was interesting.  We were asked to wait until all of the Business Class passengers got off before we could head for the doors.  This was because we were bussed to the terminal which was about a mile from the jet. 

Deplaning 1 (Small) Deplaning 2 (Small)

Deplaning at Fiumicino Airport

Since the terminal was a long way from the plane, our luggage took about a half hour to get to the baggage area.  Both our bags were there.  The train station is about two floors up from baggage claim.  Only one of the two up escalators were working – a kind Italian man helped Ellen haul her bag up the stairs. 

We bought our combo train ticket (Fiumicino to Trastevere to Civitavecchia) for 11 Euros each and caught our train.  The train left 10 minutes early (??) and we got off at Trastevere for our connection.  Fortunately, the elevators were working so we were able to get to Bin 2 (Track 2) for our train to Civitavecchia.  The ride to Civitavecchia took about an hour.

Waiting for our train at Trastevere (Small)

Ellen at Trastevere Station

The walk to our hotel – Hotel Traghetto – took about 40 minutes (it was longer than I remember).  It was hot (about mid 80s) so we were pretty worn and sweaty by the time we arrived.  We checked in and set up two appointments for a massage (we really needed it after the long flight and walk) at the Estetica Cristina (near the Pedestrian Walkway and the McDonalds). 

Because it was so hot, we opted not to get Pizza (the ubiquitous food of Civitavecchia) but Subway Tuna Sandwiches.  The Subways in Italy are not the Subways back home but the coke was refreshing. 

The hotel has free internet and their home page is Yahoo Italy.

You know you're in Italy (Small)

We have a nice little balcony in our room with a view of the park across the street.

View from Traghetto rm 102 (Small)

We read and struggled to stay awake until about 9:30 PM and called it a very long day.  Tomorrow, we board.