Friday, November 6, 2009…My Equinox diary
We have been very busy since we boarded the ship yesterday. We began at the Hilton Garden Inn at the Rome Airport where we almost joined another group from Kentucky who were taking a bus from the hotel to the pier. We had made our own plans to return to the airport (10 minutes) and then catch the Celebrity bus transfer to Civitavecchia from there. We decided it make sense to cut out the step of going back to the airport if it only cost us a few bucks more.
But, plans change. Their bus was very late so we decided to go ahead and transfer back to the airport and catch that transfer as originally planned. It went very smoothly…Celebrity handled our luggage to the bus and then, because it was nearly full, it left almost immediately. So we had a smooth trip and actually arrived at the pier at the same time as the Kentucky bus, around 11:30 a.m.
Celebrity check-in was extremely efficient so we zipped through the lines and were onboard the Equinox quickly. This is the mark of a first-class operation. As cabins would not be ready until about 1 p.m., early boarding passengers could have lunch in the Lido (on this ship called the Oceanview Café) and explore the rest of the ship.
We snuck a look at our veranda cabin and quickly got in line at the Customer Relations desk where we requested a change of cabin. We asked to change for two reasons, one being that we prefer the cabin configuration where the sitting area is next to the veranda, rather than the bed. It appears that half of the veranda cabins are one way and the other half are the other way.
The other reason is that we personally prefer the port (left) side of the ship for transatlantic cruises because the sun is in the southern sky during that part of the year so you will have sun on your veranda for most of the crossing. Conversely, cabins on the veranda side will have shade throughout almost the entire cruise. Just depends on what you prefer.
They have to wait until everyone is checked in (about 6 p.m.) to confirm cabin changes but we were fortunate and were able to snap a similar cabin on the port side with the configuration we liked. It was a few more steps to walk, but we figured that is part of our fitness program.
We spent some time exploring the ship but early seating for dinner came fast and there we ran into another snag. We went to the table where we were assigned, only to find out that there were too many assigned there…and four couples had planned to dine together. So we did eat there, but have been assigned to another table for this evening.
We had planned to take in the opening show but my back continued to bother me and we decided to make an early evening of it.
This morning I opted to visit another part of the ship many of you (hopefully) never experience. I had to see the doctor about my ongoing back pain. Celebrity’s medical clinic is first class and although I had to wait a bit due to the first day rush, I was able to get the medications I needed and was loaned a heating pad. Don’t know what this has cost (I will report that back to you later), but the convenience was well worth it to me.
This afternoon we took the bus shuttle into the French port city of Marseilles. There we happened upon a local tourist trolley (7€ each) that carried us high up in the city to the lovely Basilica of Notre Dame where we could overlook the entire city. It turned out to be just what we needed…a look at the streets and shops of the city, as well as many of its historical monuments.
Tomorrow: Barcelona, one of my favorite European cities