14th November, 2019
The evening of Wednesday was spent at sea and whilst Saga Sapphire transited the Bonifacio Strait – a narrow-ish gap between the islands of Corsica & Sardinia, I was delighted to host a drinks party with Her Royal Highness Princess Michael of Kent in attendance to say a few words to everyone. The Princess is on board to enjoy a little down time, as well as hosting some informative speeches relating to her experiences in travel & animal conservation.
Early in the hours of the next day, we awoke to what can only be described as the usual ‘organised chaos’ outside a busy Italian seaport. To avoid getting caught up in all the impatient Italian ferries & local cruise ships hustling to get into port first, I enjoyed a nice cup of tea and watched/listened at a distance, before proceeding in safely once all the others’ impatience had been subdued after they were alongside.
Civitavecchia is located around 50 miles from Rome and has been its principal seaport for around two millennia (I read that part). But from my own experience, it’s not a bad little town and has a few interesting spots worth visiting, for example the large Michelangelo Fort, built in the year 15…something if I remember correctly (a jolly long time ago, anyway) and some equally old piers along with remains of other old fortifications.
But – let’s face it – most arrive here with the intention of visiting Rome itself. The majority of organised trips today zoomed off to the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus, and other such excitements within the city. There were other options for those whom had been there and done that in Rome before, including a visit to the beautiful Medieval town of Orvieto or a journey through the Etruscan countryside to discover the quaint hill town of Bracciano and its rather nice lake.
The more adventurous could always hop on the train to do Rome alone if they wished…however I urged caution with this option as Italian trains times can be almost as unreliable as British ones sometimes!
Come early evening time, with plenty of exhausted feet back on board having traipsed around Rome all day, it was time to depart by following one of those monster cruise ships out of the harbour. This particular one had a giant bar/club arrangement hanging off the back end, and I think I counted about 800 people in that location alone on board. Not my cup of tea!
And so off we went, northwards, weaving in between a few Italian Islands towards Tuscany and our next stopover of Livorno. Lightning flashed across the sky, distant to the north, as we tucked into our starters for yet another delicious meal on board…
Captain Kim Tanner
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