Landing at Fiumicino (FCO) was smooth as was getting through Immigration and Customs. Upon exiting Customs, there was the owner of Rome Limos Tours, Mauritzio, to meet and greet us. Yes, he was looking like a page out of GQ Magazine (Italian style, of course) Or better yet, looking as sharp as John Gotti. Arriving at the Rome airport one gets a cool vibe similar to landing in Jamaica. It’s difficult to describe but a feeling of warmth and friendliness totally the opposite of landing in Paris. There are 29 in the group but 22 of us arrived together, coming from east cast and west coast and meeting up in Philly.
Even though everybody followed my instructions in bringing 1 checked bag and 1 carry on ; I now see for future group arrivals; it will be imperative I give “allowable dimensions”. There is no reason a 37 passenger bus could not accommodate 22 passengers with luggage except for the fact that several suitcases were twice the size of mine. Nonetheless, Mauritzio made it happen by taking the excess luggage in a mini van and promising to send a 50 passenger bus on our departure from the ship at no extra cost. Thank God for favor.
Soon we were on our way. Our hotel for the night was the luxurious 5 star Regina Baglioni located on the fashionable and the ever popular, Via Veneto, a short walk from the Spanish Steps and Villa Borghese.
The welcome we received by the hotel was second to none. The entire staff went above and beyond the call of duty. It was early so there was a wait for our rooms. The group made the best of it by exploring our immediate area, doing the Ho-Ho bus tour and sampling some local cuisine. Later that evening it was music to my ears to hear comments such as: Wow! What an amazing hotel, “first class all the way”, “I’ve never in my life stayed at a hotel so grand”. Some whined initially when they were paying $220per person including full American Breakfast but soon came to realize they really got a sweet deal. 2 weeks prior to our arrival, you couldn’t get a room there for less than $700 a night and breakfast a whopping $42.
There was celebration in the air this weekend because Rome played host to Harley Davidson’s 110th Anniversary – complete with a parade and ending at The Vatican with their bikes getting blessed in a special ceremony. Bikers were here from all over the world.
That night, those in the group found their respective grooves at various clubs, restaurants and lively “Piazza’s” around the town.
The next morning after an early breakfast, we loaded up our private bus with our charming licensed guide, Valerie and began our 4 hr city sightseeing tour after which we were nonstop to the port of Civitevecchia to board our lovely ship, Celebrity’s brand new, REFLECTION. Grazie, Roma! We enjoyed your warm hospitality.