Rome, Citiavecchia, the NCL Jade

Saturday, April 12, 2014. It was the day to get on the NCL Jade and begin our 11 day tour around the western Mediterranean. We had put out our suitcases the night before, so our only task now was to get some breakfast, gather in the lobby with our carry-ons, and wait for the shuttle. We were all part of a package tour so the transportation from rome to the port of Citiavecchia - about an hour - was included.

We had our buffet breakfast and went to the room. I was quickly finalizing email and catching up on last minute answers when a message came in that American Express had noticed an odd use of my card. They wanted to make sure it was OK. I'd called each of my cards before leaving on this trip, and of the four cards, American Express had been the one that said "don't bother telling us where you're going - we'll just trust you." Since the busses were about to leave, I quickly clicked the link and put in my username and password. The next screen wanted to make sure I really was who I said I was and started asking for my SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. Good God Almighty!! I'd fallen for a phishing site! I couldn't believe it. For so long I had wondered who fell for these links, and here I was, doing it myself. I'd only given them my username and password before I realized what was going on, but still!

NCL Jade I immediately called Bob even though the rates are high for voice calls and asked him to call American Express. Then we ran downstairs with all our stuff to the lobby, where everyone was gathering. I had another five minutes so I quickly logged back into the ACTUAL American Express website and changed my password. So the "bad guys" only had my working password for maybe ten minutes before I changed it. Bob called back and said AmEx refused to talk to him since he's male and I'm female. They knew he wasn't me. They said I'd be covered for any fraud, not to worry, and to call from a landline as soon as I could. As if! I'm getting on a boat! Still, with the password changed, I felt fairly content. It didn't seem the hackers had gotten in within the ten minutes it took for me to do that.

We drove the hour past all sorts of interesting sights again including the Coliseum and Circus Maximus and so on. The, finally, we were in Citiavecchia and at the boat!

A nice part about using a package tour is you don't have to lug your own big bags onto the boat. They take care of all of that. They just show up in your room. So all we had to do is step off with our carry-ons. The place was a warehouse. No phones, barely bathrooms. The line was quick! Security, then a quickly moving line, and then at the row of agents to take your photo and give you your key card and so on. Some people didn't seem to understand the concept of lines and tried to just jump to the front. Hmmmm. But, in any case, it was quite quick.

Jenn and I bypassed the photo takers, went up the ramped gangplank, and we were on board! The rooms weren't open yet, so we went to the lobby to sign up for our soda cards. Since we're sharing a room we both had to get one, which was fine. I'd been experimenting with club soda flavorings for weeks now and had brought on a variety I enjoyed a lot. I try to avoid caffeine and sugar so the soda club left me with the diet 7-up and club soda. I was armed with flavors :).

Then we went up to the top deck where they had a buffet going. I had a salad. Tasty!

NCL Jade The mandatory life jacket drill was super easy. We just sat in the restaurant while they explained how to blow whistles, and then it was done.

My quest for today was to enter every raffle we could. So we entered internet raffles art auction raffles, spa treatment raffles, you name it. We liked the spa tour so much that we signed up for their spa access. It meant unlimited access to their hot tub, steam room, sauna, etc. for the entire cruise. You might say, well, there are hot tubs on the main deck. What's the big deal? But every time we went past those they were STUFFED with kids. The back spa room was quiet. Serenely quiet. I was in there every single night and adored it. We're all different. Some people like noise and kids. I crave quiet. Especially after some of those long days, I appreciated the quiet.

Plus, the spa area was right over the bridge so we had a fantastic view - with a long bank of windows - of sailing away from each port. Lovely.

On past cruises with Bob we'd eaten in a lot of specialty restaurants, but this time I was keeping it simple. We planned to eat in the regular dining rooms for all the meals. They did the menus a bit differently than I'd seen on past cruises. Here, there was a rotating "special menu" and then a standard "always there" menu. The "always there" menu, though, wasn't always exactly the same. Sometimes they had cream of broccoli soup, sometimes broccoli bisque soup. Little changes which might not matter to most but might matter to some. Both main restaurants had the exact same menu.

NCL Jade So this first night I had cream of mushroom soup, and then the strip loin of beef with green beans and garlic musrooms (hold the mashed potatoes). It was good.

Our routine was to have dinner from 7-9 with my Mom and Len, and then go up to the spa from 9-10 when they closed. Then to the room to wind down and catch up o email, then sleep. Tomorrow was our tour of Florence, and we wanted to be ready for that!

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