Day 8 – Sea Day

October 9, 2018

Sea Day


Ah, a sea day.  The beauty of a sea day is that you don’t need a plan.

But don’t you get bored on those long sea days?

This worried me a bit before our first cruise. I had visions of Dave pacing around like a caged lion.  I was concerned enough that we brought a couple of Kindle Fires and I put movies on them, along with some e-books and audio books for me. I remember that I brought the entirety of the musical Hamilton.

While it’s a good idea to bring along stuff like that, especially if it’s digital and takes up no space, boredom is not really a problem.

One thing that generally happens, for us anyway, on the first sea day after embarkation, is the Cruise Critic meet-and-greet.  We sign up for it before the cruise on the Cruise Critic forum, and the ship reserves a spot for us to meet, provides food and drink, and generally some of the ship’s officers come and introduce themselves.  It’s a great way to meet fellow passengers, express concerns to the crew if you have any, and arrange last-minute collaborations on shore excursions.

Every cruise ship comes out with a daily schedule. It’s placed on your bed, by your steward, every evening when s/he comes to turn down your bed.

Consisting of several pages, it lists everything you can imagine to do. There are so many activities some cruisers bring highlighter pens so they can mark the daily and know what time they need to be where.

On port days (like the daily above), it also lists stuff about the port, including the name and phone number of the harbor master (in case you have a problem on shore). It tells you when the all-aboard time is, and when departure will take place.

Some of the on-board activities come at an extra fee, but many are included in your fare. Sometimes they do sales on things like Norwegian’s Drink of the Day (a cocktail offered at a reduced price for that day only).

In addition, every evening, there is some sort of show. Some of the shows are simply outstanding.  Some of them are simply dreadful. It’s very subjective, of course, and people don’t see it the same way, so that’s good.  On sea days, there are often movies as well either during the day or at night.

See the daily along with the cute little towel animal?

Most cruise lines also reserve special events for sea days, like this.

This is Norwegian’s White Hot Party which occurs once every cruise. People dress all or mostly in white, and they have a band on the main deck and the partying goes on for a long time.

We won’t be bored.



Day 7 – Civitavecchia

October 8, 2018

Cruise ships dock in Rome’s port, Civitavecchia, which is not really anywhere near Rome at all.

So, to board the first of our cruise ships, we have to go there.

There is more than one way to do that, but first, to get there, you have to know how to say the word.

It’s chee-vee-tah-VECK-yeah.  Italians say “ch” for a “c” when used like it is in that word (I forget the rule right now, but there is one.) It takes some practice and the first hundred times, you won’t remember.

Now back to getting there.

The cheapest way is to use the metro/train system. I have mapped this out and it would cost us about  €9  each.  The process involves leaving our apartment, walking to the nearby metro station, boarding and traveling to another metro station. We’d then catch a second metro, ending up at the Roma Termini station (the main metro/train station in Rome).

From there, we’d buy a ticket for the train to Civi (the train system is different from the local metro system), board and ride to Civi.  Once there, we have to buy yet another bus ticket for the short ride to the port staging area. Finally, we have to catch a free designated shuttle bus to our particular terminal/ship.

All in all, that is five trips on various trains and buses, and we have to do this with our luggage.  This is Plan A.

As I’m writing this, I am awaiting confirmation of a reservation for Plan B.

Plan B is to book a shuttle directly to the ship. It’s not terribly cheap. They come in two flavors, private and shared.  Private is exactly that, similar to catching a cab.  Shared involves going and picking up some other folks, thus reducing the cost to each passenger.

We don’t mind sharing and we don’t mind a bit of extra time riding around Rome picking up folks, so we’re going to share.

The cost is about €90 for the two of us. I was reluctant to book this, but Dave told me to quit being stupid and just do it. I tend to spent big money quite happily and get all penny-pinching about smaller things.  He jerks me back into reality from time to time. This is one of those times.

There are several different companies who offer this service.  When I do the reality part of this, I’ll go into which company we actually used.

Boarding a cruise ship is a whole lot like boarding an airplane. Upon arrival at the terminal, you are given the opportunity to check your luggage, and that’s something you really want to do. It won’t get lost.  They are simply going to take it to your stateroom for you and that means you don’t have to deal with it any more for the rest of the cruise.

With the pre-boarding documents, the cruise ships provided us with printable luggage tags. We have plastic tags just for this purpose, like these.

From Amazon

Once our luggage is deposited, we check-in at the desk and they do two things.  At least most cruise lines do it this way, I think MSC is a little different, but that’s later on.  First, you cough up a credit card which they register so you can have an on-board running account.

There is no money exchanged anywhere on board a cruise ship.  If you purchase something, you simply produce your cruise card and it’s charged to your account. You settle up at the end of the cruise.

The second thing is that they issue a cruise card.

Obviously not mine. I can’t find my old one. Maybe I threw it out.

The size of a credit card, this is your room key, your charge card, and your identity card. You use it a lot, multiple times per day. On Norwegian, we even had to produce our card to eat in the main dining room, not because they charged us anything extra, but simply so they could keep count of how many people were served.

As you can see, the card also tells you where your “assembly station” is. This is the place where, if the ship imitates the Titanic, you go to board a life boat.  The muster safety drill takes place before or shortly after embarkation on every cruise, and it’s mandatory. Don’t show up and they will come find you. Refuse to go and they will escort you off the ship.  Everyone has to endure it. It’s a bit like  the safety thing that the stewardesses do on the plane.

Because these cards are so important and used so often, cruise passengers have come up with all sorts of inventive ways to carry them. You can buy holders for them, all sorts of stuff.

We found that the handiest, best way for us to carry around that damned card was to have the desk punch a hole in it and  use a lanyard. The reason is that so often on a ship you find yourself without a convenient pocket. Furthermore even though losing your card is not  a total catastrophe, as they will make you another one, it’s a royal pain to have to go to the I-lost-my-card line and wait.

A sure sign that a tourist is from a cruise ship is seeing that card on a lanyard, so when we go on shore, we take it off and stash it away for the duration of our shore time, but you have to have it to re-board. It’s scanned when you leave and scanned again when you come back. This way, the ship knows exactly who is missing, if anyone, and when they can pull up the gangplank because everyone is accounted for.

Once you’ve taken care of all the paperwork, it’s time to wait.  Just like in an airplane terminal, you wait until you’re called for boarding.

Debarkation/embarkation days are really hard on cruise ship staff. Imagine what is involved.  The ship docks, generally in the early morning, and the crew goes into high gear. They ask people to put their luggage outside their door the night before, and all of it is put on dollies ready to be rolled off the ship as soon as docking happens.

Then they have to get all the human beings off. This process can take several hours.

During that time, all the public areas of the ship are cleaned (this pretty much happens daily though, so it’s not such a big deal), but when the passengers leave, every steward has to start turning over every room for the next set of passengers, like an enormous hotel.

That alone would be a big job, but in addition, the ship has to take on supplies.

our photo, taken in Tampa while boarding the Norwegian Star

That’s just a small portion of what is taken on board. See the dog, checking all of it out?

This stuff is loaded all day long.

In the meantime, finally the new passengers are allowed on board, and that is when the cruise officially begins as far as I am concerned. It’s usually around lunch time, and none of the staterooms are ready, so obviously what you do is go to the buffet.

That is a terrible idea, because that is what 99% of your fellow passengers are doing.  If it’s possible, a better plan is to go to the main dining room and have lunch there. Or go someplace else.  Go anywhere except the buffet.  Some cruise lines/ships have the MDR open for lunch on embarkation day, and some do not. A pox on those who do not.

Walking all over the ship is another activity for the afternoon. Figuring out where stuff is can take a while.  On short cruises, it’s not uncommon for passengers to not know that a venue even existed until the last day or two of their cruise, and that’s just not how we roll.

Finally, they’ll announce when the staterooms are ready (usually deck by deck), and you can go to your room and start unpacking.

About 3 pm, the dreaded muster drill will happen, but then what usually follows is sail away.

There is nothing better than sail away.

sail away on the Star from Tampa


We hope to use Plan B to get to Civitavecchia, and then board Holland America’s Koningsdam.




Kentucky Jizz Javelin Joe Naugler can relate

Two days ago this happened

The ONLY reason to call legal counsel when you find your baby dead is because you are guilty as fuck. In fact, while we are on the subject of legal council let’s talk about these Cop hating, CPS hating baby making machines.

Once you pop that Government paycheck out, it has rights. I’m not making that up. The whole world has agreed on this except your ignorant ass.There are plenty of sites that go into specific detail about your child’s rights to a safe environment, a right to an education, a right to healthcare; you know, things us “normals” WANT for our children.

These people will stand behind their children, crouch down and say “just try to get thru my wall of protection I made, this is mine, I can do whatever I want with it, I HAVE MY RIGHTS!”

here is the call

Like the Nauglers and all these other backyard baby breeders, their first concern is themselves.

Joe defends him by making this comment in the WLKY news thread about it…now it’s not much, but us “experts” can read between the lines.

First of all, the guy claims they don’t go to the doctor at all because of religious beliefs, the CPS fear claim was just a way to drum up support from the bottom feeders. But CPS fits Joe’s narrative today so he will focus on that.

Joe can relate. Because Joe is just like him.

If you are afraid of CPS you are a fucking shit stain in the tighty whitey that is the State of Kentucky. Kentucky CPS lets your kids live in a goddamn SHED with no running water, they say, “sure, one shed? ten kids? no problem. No school? No health care? that’s ok too.”

I mean….what the actual fuck are you afraid of if THIS is ok????

And yes I said CPS LETS. Because now that they are aware you are incapable of putting your children’s needs before your own they are involved.


Indifferent, like driving home from the hospital with your dead baby in the back of a van for your kids to bury and yelling at neighbors that you hate along the way.

Two birds, one stone I guess.


There it is.

The Lord giveth

If you believe in God and he gave them a baby X 3, your God is an asshole.

The Nauglers aren’t special.

Cops deal with this shit all day every day.

Pate did what he did, and he was right to do it.