Europe Cruise 2012 – Rome Day 2

On our second day, our agenda was to visit the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, and the Forum and then to head to the train station to Civitavecchia to go to our cruise ship. It took longer for us to get out in the morning than we planned, in part because we were trying to plan for things and in part because we were savoring the last moments on the internet. Our touring plan for the day had us start by buying tickets at Palatine Hill and then head to the Colosseum to tour before the crowds got too bad. We missed “rope drop” at the Colosseum, but we still got there early enough for it to be cool and relatively uncrowded.

The colosseum is pretty much what you expect it to be, but it’s still amazing and daunting. It’s the size of a modern smalltown arena and yet it was constructed by hand!

Europe Cruise 2012

Europe Cruise 2012

The steps to go up to the higher levels were crazy tall. Romans must have had killer thighs. Or, they were really tall.

Europe Cruise 2012

Europe Cruise 2012

Duffy, of course, had to be captured at the Colosseum. (Mini-Duffy was on duty during this trip.)

Europe Cruise 2012

After touring the Colosseum, we headed to Palatine Hill. Ostensibly, you should be able to see Circus Maximus from the top of Palatine Hill. In reality, the area you’d need to stand in to see it was blocked off for construction. So, we didn’t get to see Circus Maximus.

Europe Cruise 2012

Palatine Hill was pretty scenic. I thought it was wild that, throughout this area, there would just be chunks of old columns laying around to be used as makeshift benches and resting spots.

Europe Cruise 2012

We took a leisurely walk over to the Forum from Palatine Hill. There, we saw the vastness of the Forum ruins. The Forum design was immediately familiar, mainly because so many buildings have copied it through history.

Europe Cruise 2012

After that, we headed back to Termini. DH misread the train schedule, so we hurriedly had a quick sandwich before we went to grab our bags, only to discover right before we left Termini toward the Hostel that we actually had quite awhile before the next train. So, from that point, we got to relax, use the internet at the hostel’s net café, and have some powerade before making the LONG walk to the Civitavecchia trains in Termini Station. Once there, we got accosted by the inevitable “helpful stranger” that is actually looking for a handout. We refused to give her money, which made her stomp her foot at us, but we just shrugged. We ended up with awesome spots on the train, but we had to balance our suitcases on the seats, as there was no space to put them without blocking the aisle. We gradually adjusted them as much as we could to allow passengers to sit, but there wasn’t much we could do.

At Civitavecchia, it was another long walk to the cruise terminal, but it was shaded and relatively nice. Knowing that you’re about to get into “everything is free onboard” mode helps make the walk easier. We caught our bus to the Epic and that was that. There was no line, and I do mean NO line. We were the only people besides employees in the giant terminal. Most passengers for this cruise get on in Barcelona, not Rome, so we were in the minority. We also were arriving relatively late in the day, since we had toured in the morning, and we were arriving on our own instead of with an NCL group. Anyways, I downed about three glasses of juice at the cruise ship terminal before we headed onto the ship. Yay for cruise ship comfort! 🙂

This was our first time having an inside cabin. The cabin was really fine. For this cruise, a balcony isn’t as necessary as, say, Alaska. We had plenty of room for our stuff. The bathroom was small, and it was the Epic’s weird design that makes it even smaller than other NCL ships, but that’s to be expected.

TMI warning: Frank discussion of female things to follow, so only highlight the text below if you have no issue with that sort of thing. And, if your browser happens to show this text, just scroll past it quickly. 🙂

So, I started my period while on this cruise, and because I use a DivaCup, I need to take a wide stance (ha ha ha) on the toilet to insert and remove it properly. The NCL Epic’s cabin bathroom was so tiny that I couldn’t spread my legs wide enough to change my cup. Fortunately, one benefit of the DivaCup is that you don’t have to change it terribly often, so I ended up just doing the change in public restrooms on the ship and while we were in port.

So, the bathrooms on the Epic had serious problems to me. The shower was fine, but I don’t know what possessed them to make the toilet area so tiny and claustrophobic. Also, we’re a couple, so it’s no big deal for us to see each other while showering or eliminating, but if a family were in there, that’d be really weird with the frosted glass doors. I know they have a privacy curtain, but then the outer door opens to that area, so if someone comes in, they see you. It’s a really poor design. I like having the sink outside, and I get that maybe they were going for multitasking, but I *love* the bathroom design on the Jewel class ships. That was just fine and had no downside compared to the Epic’s bathrooms, and it had the benefit of more privacy. I hear they fixed this on the new ship, the Breakaway, but it is truly a problem on the Epic.

The other complaint I’d heard about the Epic was that the casino is spread across an entire floor, meaning there’s a whole floor that reeks of smoke. But, I disagree with that comment. I’m very sensitive to smoke, but I had no problems on the casino floor. It is true that, if/when a crowd gathers around a machine, it can cause a traffic flow issue, but there are other floors for traversing if that’s your goal, and it’s rarely a problem on the casino floor. It was really nice to have the casino bar right near the restaurant, since we get free drinks at the casino bar. 🙂

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