Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Carnival Ship, Freedom

Our last "day" in Rome, we had to figure out how to get ourselves to the port where our ship would be leaving from, Civitavechhia. Our guide book said that there were trains leaving every half hour, but they didn't all terminate in Civitavecchia, so there was some confusion with finding the proper trains. And then once we figured out where we were going, of course our train platform was located waaaaaaaaaaaay the hell on the back side of the station. Which means we had to drag our suitcases the entire length of the train station which took about 15 minutes. That doesn't seem like very long, but if you are lugging a 50 lb. suitcase and wearing a 20 lb. backpack it can seem like forever.

After getting on the train, we settled back for a little over an hour ride. And discovered that Italian teenagers like to play cheesy American dance songs on their cell phones without using headphones. Jackasses.

But then we pulled into the train station, found some other people headed to the ship, and split a cab. And pulled up to the Carnival ship, Freedom.

Here's me getting on the ship! The boarding process was actually super easy. Chris had scared me with stories of waiting in lines for hours, lost luggage, etc. etc. but since we got there relatively early (2 in the afternoon) there was hardly anybody there and we breezed right through. No lines, no fuss. And we were ready to get on-board. Four full days of sight-seeing in Rome had left us all exhausted and ready for some pampering!

Here's our stateroom. There was another twin sized couch thing that could be used as a bed, and another bed that folded down from the ceiling. However, I threw a little mini-fit when presented with these options. One, the couch was totally too firm for me, and since I was paying just as much as Chris and Kent for the room, it didn't seem fair that I would have an uncomfortable bed. Two, the bed from the ceiling, other than being just kind of scary, would have made it very difficult to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night, as I have been known to do. Especially after drinking a lot of water at dinner (what? I get dehydrated!). But Kent, who is an engineering genius, took the mattress from the ceiling bed, put it on the couch, and I had an uber-comfortable bed on the ground-floor. The theme of the stateroom that night was how much of a genius Kent is.

Here is the buffet located on the Lido Deck (deck 9). Our room was on the Spa Deck (deck 11), the highest deck with staterooms. Ooh-la-la!

The main entertaining theater on the ship was called The Victoriana. They had shows here nightly, and it's also where we would gather for our tours in the morning. It's also where the cruise-director, Todd, would give talks about the upcoming ports and describe each excursion. Todd, while a nice guy, has a bit of a Ryan Seacrest like quality to him and has a propensity to go on and on and on when talking about anything. Which led to the overall theme of the cruise, "cram it, Todd." Every time Todd started blabbering on, we would just look at each other and say, "cram it, Todd." It was even the name of our team during the ship scavenger hunt.

Chris talked me and our new friends, Andrew and Whitney, into playing shuffleboard. I was surprisingly good at it. Andrew and Whitney are a couple we met at a trivia competition. Turns out they lived in Alexandria! So a friendship was born.

On our cruise, there were two "elegant nights" when you get all dolled up for dinner. Here's me and the boyz.

One of our favorite places to hang out was in the Piano Bar with Brad, the Pianoman. Which bring me to....

The Ballad of Filet the Fish. Filet was a fish-shaped mp3 and motion-activated player. He lived on Brad's piano. One day, Filet was fish-napped! A ransom note was received by Brad, demanding that he learn additional songs, and a specific song my Meatloaf (??), and everyday new pictures arrived of Filet out enjoying the sites at our different ports. At the guest talent show, a video was shown that revealed Filet had been fish-napped by a group of towel animals calling themselves the Toweliban and seeking equal rights for towel-animals. (For those who don't know...on a cruise, the steward leaves you animals made out of towels each night when they tidy up your cabin).

We all thought this was hilarious and had numerous theories. Our best guess was Todd, the cruise-director. But when we got back, Chris found the Toweliban video on youtube and saw that it had been posted 4 MONTHS ago. Which means this was something that had probably been done before, and we had all been scammed. This kind of bummed us out, and took away some of the residual delight.

Here's the view out the back of the ship, from one of the dining rooms.

Our brontosaurus towel animal.

The elephant towel animal. Apparently, the steward noticed my sunglasses and decided to use them in the design. Cute!

Here is me, clutching my trophy we won on the scavenger hunt. Of course, we were the only team that actually played, but it was still fun!

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