We were fortunate to take a cruise as part of our trip to Europe. We departed from Rome, Civitavecchia, to be more exact. It’s about an hour and a half from Rome, so we hired a shuttle to take us to the port. The downside of travel is the majority of the other people you travel with and this shuttle was no exception. We had the most annoying Texans on our ride–the kind of morally bankrupt idiots who give America a bad name. As hurricanes ravaged the US, these ladies were plotting how to buy land in FL and vacation there with a trailer, so that they didn’t care if it got destroyed since they’d have no major investment lost. Ugh, they piss me off just writing about them. Moving on….
We did have some awesome Aussies in their 70s and 80s, a group of friends who saw the world together. One feisty woman, Audrey, even vowed her next trip would be to Alaska to mush with the dogs!
We made it to the ship and relaxed with many drinks, a delicious dinner, and a really solid classic rock cover band from the Philippines. The guitarist was a master impressionist and you haven’t lived until you’ve heard a Filipino guy sing “Money for Nothing” in a dead-on Mark Knopfler impression.
The next day we headed to Florence. While our one tour through Can’t Be Missed was great, this first one sorta sucked the big one. It started about 45 minutes late because two dullards–Terri and Dennis–read their reservation incorrectly and showed up super late. I don’t blame CBM for this necessarily, but they definitely did not need to delay everyone’s tour for those two. It wasn’t just waiting on those two, but the disorganized nature of the tour that really bothered us. The driver didn’t have a clear picture of the tour, he left us a with a guide who had us pay money for tickets, but then didn’t GET the tickets from the taker so we were stuck in limbo for 30 minutes, etc. We eventually made it into the Accademia and saw selected art pieces, including the David.
We made our way to the Ponte Vecchio and a small market with the “little pig” or “Porchilino” statue (my new nickname). While looking at the Arno, all Paul and I could do was sing the Police song that mentions its name.
For lunch, we wanted the authentic Florentine steak experience and this was a solid offering. We also ate criminally overpriced, but tasty gelato.
We stopped at an overlook for a picturesque Tuscan shot. Terri and Dennis, our arch-nemeses, were nice enough to take our picture. This picture aside, these people really sucked. It’s hard to put into words, but Terri kept yelling about the air conditioner being too loud and not being able to hear anything. When the driver turned it down, she then yelled about it being hot. Keep in mind this cycle repeated about every 5 minutes for a 5 hour tour. You’d want to kill her too. Dennis made loud international phone calls to his adult son to discuss his fantasy football team and to remind him to read Proverbs. At every site, Terri would flit around with her giant iPad elbowing people out of her way to get the shots she wanted. It didn’t help that they were both self-professed Jesus freaks who clearly didn’t get the Biblical memo about not being a rude, self-absorbed asshole.
After Florence, we went for a brief stop at Pisa. It was cool, it leaned, but I really had to pee and some of the bloom was off the CBM tour rose.
When we got back to our room, industrial fans were going in the hallway and our carpet had been replaced. Some tiny flood must have happened, but nothing of ours was damaged. Norwegian Cruises handled it like a champ and gave us a free specialty dining meal, a bottle of wine, and chocolate strawberries. The night wrapped up well with some music and late night spicy Asian wings and nachos. Cruising is the good life.