Flying from DAY to FCO 3 days before the cruise departure allowed for some sightseeing time in Rome. I was the only pre-cruise guest arriving at that time and with the help of a Princess Cruise representative in Baggage Claim area, I was able to locate my driver for the transfer to the hotel, the Visconti Palace. The hotel is a modern facility, well located for walking visits to many sites, including the Vatican. Many restaurants are in the area, but be advised that they do not open for dinner until 7:00 P. M. or later. I spent the first afternoon visiting the Castel Sant' Angelo, which I would recommend, and the second day thoroughly visiting the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's.
Late morning the next day, I checked out of the hotel and along with a couple awaited the transfer to the port. We were the only passengers in a good sized van and got to the Amsterdam in about 105 minutes. Luggage was quickly taken by the crew and as the three of us were led aboard the ship by an officer, there were several crew members lining the gangway, each welcoming us aboard. A most pleasant beginning. Check-in formalities were handled at the Front Office, quickly. And, a steward was summoned to lead us to our staterooms. Within 25 minutes after arriving shipside, I was in my stateroom, meeting my cabin steward, with the luggage already on the bed.
Inasmuch as this cruise was the final segment of the 2007 Grand World Cruise, Dream of Discovery, I was expecting the cruise experience to be a notch or two above the usual. I was not disappointed! Starting with the warm welcome, I will attempt to describe the differences that I noted on this cruise aboard the Amsterdam.