Just over a year since our last holiday and I was counting down the days until the next one; a Mediterranean cruise
when I would finally get to visit Israel after two previously aborted attempts. The idea of a 6 am flight was not particularly something I was relishing, but there was no alternative if we were to board the ship before it sailed from Rome.
The planned early night never materialised. (Does it ever?) A 2.30 wake-up call was necessary to be sure of getting out of the house just after 3 am. The only plus point was the lack of traffic on the roads at that time of the morning, and it was a huge surprise to see several others leaving their cars at the ‘Park and Ride’ at that time of the morning. Heathrow airport at 4 am is a rather unusual sight. Only one check-in desk was open in Terminal 4 for the early flyers, and everybody was queuing there, meaning that we had to line up for an hour although we’d already ‘checked in’ online the day before.
Alitalia is hardly generous with their onboard refreshments. There was a choice of salty or sweet biscuits, actually a 25 gram pack of mini nibbles, washed down with a cold drink. Thank goodness for the cappuccino and Danish pastry we managed to buy on our way through the terminal, as we were not to eat anything again until after boarding the ship at lunch time.
Arrived at Fiumicino we eventually located the people organising the shuttle bus to the docks, although there was no bus! After a phone call and a wait of about an hour it duly turned up and drove us out to the coast. Despite having a list of travellers, the bus driver decided that our names didn’t match those on his list and was about to refuse to take us to the ship. He did actually take us for a round tour of the port, before finally deciding that he could actually deposit us at the embarkation point. After that, it was all plain sailing – literally.