Disembarkation went so smoothly. 6:50 a.m. we docked at Civitavecchia. Sky is still clear and blue with not a cloud. Very calm seas last night. We were off the ship by 8:15 a.m. We found our luggage in the warehouse quickly and outside within minutes waiting for our driver that the hotel arranged for us. He was there within 10 minutes with a black Mercedes!! Nice. The driver was easy to look at as well - young and dark and so handsome. He had lovely long black eyelashes. My husband was even willing to agree that he was definitely attractive. He couldn`t speak English very well though.
Away we went and after driving about 1 hour and 20 minutes we were at our hotel north of the Termini Station - Hotel Gambrinus. Very nice area. I was so happy as I just couldn`t be sure since I did all my research on line, you never know until you see it with your own eyes. The hotel was quaint - not too big and had a lovely white marble lobby. Since our room wasn`t ready, they allowed us to store our luggage and away we went to sightsee. We didn`t return until 7:00 p.m. and our luggage was waiting for us in our room on the second floor.
The room was spacious with very high ceilings, air flow was always moving so it never became hot in the room. We had a flat screen TV, frig, free internet, king bed, although it was a bit firm for me, coffee maker with complimentary water. The bathroom was large with a rain head shower. The room was very quiet.
Every morning they served a beautiful hot buffet breakfast in a dining area below the main level. There was a wonderful selection of items.
Rome is WOW !! This a quick overview or this will become a novel. It was overwhelming at first but once you become "Romanized", you start to settle into the hustle and bustle, noise and commotion. Thankfully our hotel was in a quiet area away from the main attractions so it was our little quiet oasis to come back to after a long and tiring day.
We saw many sights by walking such as the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Palentine Hill, the Forum, the Pantheon, National Museum, etc. I also had pre-booked our Vatican visit online so the next day we had the front desk call us a taxi to take us there in the morning. Beautiful beyond words! So much to see and do, it`s difficult to take it all in but we saw as much as we could in three days. In fact I did too much walking as my back seized up on me the last morning just when we were to fly. I was sure wishing I had a bathtub to soak in. It took a few days to work itself out and fortunately it didn`t hurt while sitting because we had the long plane flight ahead of us.
We loved the ancient Roman ruins, the gorgeous Basilicas and cathedrals, the quaint narrow hilly cobblestone streets lined with Victorian buildings. We also enjoyed the little eateries and pizzerias. Loved the cafe con leche. Loved the gelato. Italian people are very well dressed and very friendly (at least with those whom we met).
We hope to return as we did toss our coins into the fountain! There were just so many people though to deal with around the main sites. This made it very exhausting. The traffic too is very congested but everyone seems to know what they are doing. Organized chaos!
Stay away from the Hop On Hop Off line called GreenLine. They were awful. The other buses came and went before they came along so you were left standing in the sun for way too long. The earphones didn`t work right so I could not hear some of the guided talk about the sights we were passing by. We were totally ripped off as we used it only once. They charged us 44 euros which was far too much. The red line seemed to have many more buses.
The Roma Pass was well worth it. We bought ours at Termini Station. Use this for your first 3 attractions and for transit. Well worth it.
We loved the fresh clean cold water fountains that are everywhere in Rome.
Fill up your water bottles. They are always flowing.
Our hotel desk staff arranged for a taxi to pick us up at 6:00 a.m. to take us to the airport and it was right on time.