Civitavecchia

The night is sultry and warm. The aircon in our room is not very effective and we have a restless nights sleep as a result. Dawn soon creeps through the curtains and we rise and breakfast in the hotel. It’s simple continental fare but tasty and filling. As we still have a few hours to spare before our shuttle to the port at 10.30am we decide to take a walk along the seafront. It’s busy with joggers, walkers and commuters. It’s a beautiful bright morning and the breeze off the Med is refreshing. We find a small cafe where we buy cappuccinos and watch the sail and fishing boats out on the sea.

Back at the hotel our shuttle is prompt and we leave earlier at 10.20 to arrive at the port at 10.35. By 10.45 we are checked in and on the ship, a seamless process. We head straight to Cafe al Bacio for more coffee. It’s as good as we remember from Constellation. The ship is still very quiet as we must be some of the first to board. We head to the Tuscan Grille to reserve a table for tomorrow evening. We have a 4 speciality dining package and so we also make reservations for Murano, Qsine and The Lawn Club Grill.

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Next stop is the Sunset Bar for a beer and then some lunch in the Oceanview Cafe. The choice is impressive. I go Indian having a beef curry with poppadums, lime pickle, mango chutney and raita. We decided to sit outside and the sea breeze we enjoy earlier has picked up and whips one of my poppadums from the plate. Am sure a bird or a fish will enjoy it. We sit inside for some dessert and then hear that the cabins are ready.

We have a balcony stateroom on the starboard side #7282. It’s very nice. Cabin seems slightly smaller that what we had recently on MSC Fantasia but not by much? The bathroom is much nicer…no shower curtain. The balcony is a decent size with a couple of nice, comfortable chairs. Our luggage has not arrived yet so we set out to explore the ship further. She is classy. Some beautiful venues and we cannot help but compare the service over rival cruise lines. Celebrity are the best we have experienced.

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We again find ourselves at the Sunset Bar where I feel we will spend a lot of time. We both have strawberry daiquiris and managed to avoid brain freeze by drinking them responsibly and slowly. From there it’s back to the cabin. Peters case arrives shortly afterwards, mine has yet to show. At 16.15 It’s muster drill time. We head out of the cabin (my case has now arrived) and down to the Opus dining room where our drill is. Quite different to all others we have experienced. We basically watch a short film that explains the process.

We are finally able to unpack all our cases and hang our clothes up. We pour some Prosecco just in time for sailway. Reflections slips her moorings just after 5pm and we head out of the harbour before turning southward towards Sicily. The sea is relatively calm and our balcony is bathed in late afternoon sunshine. Such a tonic.

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We shower and head down to the Martini Bar for a few cocktails before dinner. The bar is as popular on this ship as she was on Constellation. We find a couple of chairs with a seaview and strike up conversations, firstly with some friendly Americans and then some Brits. From the Martini Bar we head to the World Class bar for some cocktails. Here they only mix 14 cocktails in total but the bar staff say they are ‘world class’. Mine of course is bourbon based Peters is gin.

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We then head to the Opus dining room for dinner. In all my years of cruising I have yet to experience such a good meal in a main dining room. It’s is excellent. I start with Thai Spring Rolls with noodles and then Jerk Chicken which is exceptionally good. Apple Pie al a mode to finish.

We end the evening in the Sky Observation Deck where they are hosting a music trivia night. We do quite well scoring about 17 out of 20. We head to bed a Reflection sails southwards towards Sicily and Messina where we should dock

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Patrick O'Halloran

Cruisers, Bloggers, Cocktail Drinkers.

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