October 24–November 7, 2019
Following our final full day in Rome, we took a train to Civitavecchia, the port where we would board our ship the next day. We knew we would be going there, but never could remember the name of the town, so we would call it chimichanga or whatever similar word came to mind. We took a 14-night cruise on the Norwegian Jade. I had never been on a cruise that long before. I'm not big on cruises per se. What I really like is that you unpack when you get to your stateroom, and then your hotel room travels with you, as do your restaurants. It sure beats lugging a suitcase with a missing wheel across cobblestone streets (and sometimes worse).
Torrey had had good experiences with Norwegian. He and his son Christopher had taken the giant ship Epic back to the US from Europe. He also had some credits and discounts we could use. I had had only the Hawaii cruise with their American subsidiary, and some staff told me not to judge the line by that ship. They were doing the best they could with a purchased ship. My experience was good enough that I didn't hesitate for us to choose Norwegian. And I really liked this particular itinerary. Christopher booked the cruise and our flights for us, while we were on a 3-way call. He's really good at that sort of thing (among many other things).
We had the largest stateroom that I have ever had, and the only one with a real balcony. About the only unhandy thing about the room was that there were no electrical outlets near the beds. Torrey's CPAP machine was plugged in near the telephone into an adapter that wasn't that securely plugged in. If I went to the bathroom during the night and when I went to shower in the morning before Torrey got up, I needed to do the limbo under the cord or unplug it. I made it under the first time, but accidentally unplugged it when I tried to come back. After that, I just unplugged it briefly as I would go by. It was the first time I had ever pulled the plug on anybody. When I plugged it back in, he would resume breathing, and didn't seem any worse for wear. Torrey said that my snoring was constant enough that he didn't think I need to get a machine.
On my side of the room was a small couch and a desk with a stool. You see the four Rick Steves guidebooks stacked on the stool.
One of the guide books was Rick's Mediterranean Cruise Ports. In preparing for the trip, I read his advice on what to see and do in the various ports and in particular the pros and cons of taking the tours one could buy from Norwegian vs. striking out on one's own. I went through the list of offerings from the ship and made a list of what I thought would be our best choices based on his recommendations and my interests. I sent that to Torrey, and he just passed it on to his son. Christopher then annotated my comments further and sent that on to his dad. Torrey then booked tours based on that version. In retrospect, I think only one of the choices was less than optimum. We did a walking tour of Venice that took all of our time and energy there. So instead of being a nice orientation from which we could more knowledgeably do our own thing, we did it instead of seeing things on our own. But I thought the rest of the tours were worthwhile.