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LIVE: Off to Rome for the Nieuw Statendam Premiere Voyage

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We're on our way to Rome, to spend a couple of days in the Eternal City before boarding the Nieuw Statendam for its 14-Day Premiere Voyage from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale.  We are excited to experience this new ship, and some of its new amenities like the Rolling Stone Rock Room and a new wine packages from James Suckling, Holland America's Wine Curator.

 

Tell us what you are curious about on the new ship.

 

As internet access allows, we plan to post regular updates along the way.

 

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If you try the restaurant, I am curious about your experience and the menu in the Sel de Mer Restaurant.

 

Also, the music being played in the Rolling Stone Rock Room:  examples of what you are hearing would be appreciated.

 

Have a wonderful Maiden Voyage!

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All I can say is have a fabulous cruise👍

We did the inaugural cruise on The Nieuw Amsterdam and what a journey we had!!! Since than 7 more cruises on her and 3 more to Europe!!

looking forward to your journey!

Denise😊

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Have a great cruise!

Would love to get information on the new wine lists!

 

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Following as we will be on the first FLL sailing December 19th.

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Bon Voyage, fair winds & smooth seas. Looking forward to your blog, please include pictures. 

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Will be following along here too!  Bon Voyage!  Thanks for the effort I know this involves.  :classic_cool:

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Saturday 12/1 — Getting to Rome

We flew from Kansas City to Rome on United Airlines, starting with a 6:10 am boarding time.  With such as early flight and questionable winter weather in Kansas City, we chose to spend Friday night at the Marriott Airport Hotel, allowing us to “sleep in” until 4:30am.

 

We bought our 1-way ticket to Rome via Holland America’s FlightEase as they have great deals for 1–way air to Europe (both in economy and business) that you can’t purchase directly through the airline.  At 6’6 and 6’1 tall, we appreciate extra leg room on flights, and went for the business class seats. 

 

Our first flight from Kansas City went smoothly, arriving into Newark early. With nearly 7 hours to kill before our flight to Rome,  we stretched our legs walking through all of the different terminals. Then we headed to the United Polaris Lounge (opened in June) which is a pleasant oasis for travelers in business or first class on Star Alliance international flights.

 

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We enjoyed the food, comfortable seating, and fast wi-fi to finish work and download movies to our iPads for the flight. (Roman Holiday and Three Coins in The Fountain).

 

The flight from Newark to Rome was scheduled for about 8 hours but went by quickly with dinner wine and a movie before reclining our seats and going to sleep in the “flat beds.”

Our flight arrived into Rome about 30 minutes early and the customs and immigration was a breeze on Sunday morning.

 

We had pre-arranged transportation from the airport with Rome Cabs.  (We learned of Stephano from fellow cruise critic members 13-14 years ago, and try to use his company every time we are in Rome.)

 

Our driver met us outside and we were at our hotel in the Prati neighborhood by 8:30 am.

 

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Sunday  12/2 Three days before boarding

 

We arrived at our Hotel the Le Meridien Visconti early but only had to wait an hour until our room was ready at 9:30

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We used  the hour to explore near the hotel and we were very lucky in having a sunny postcard morning for our walk

 

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Our room was ready as promised and we were able to refresh for a few hours (meaning a nice two hour nap)

 

We used Marriott’s Suite Night Awards (SNA) for our stay and were upgraded to a top floor terrace suite.  The suite was a nice surprise with a separate sitting room and a terrace to enjoy our expresso!

 

We had arranged an early evening food your in our neighborhood through The Roman Food Tour.   Our guide Luisa and the tour were excellent.  

 

 

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It proved to be a perfect way to get acquainted with our area, get some great local knowledge of Italian food, stay up so we weren’t wide awake at 1:00am and of course sample some excellent food and wine. 

 

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Flying business is the only way to go!! Makes for a comfortable enjoyable flight.

we fly United and do the same thing.

great pics and such nice weather for you.

take care and look forward to more if your blog.

Denise😊

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Have a great voyage!  

 

We board on the 23rd so are curious in hearing feedback on the Rolling Stone Rock Room and the new wine packages (and if the y are honoring the 4/5 star discount).

 

Thanks for taking your time to share!

 

M

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The new wine packages and the status of the 4-5 star discount will be on our list.   We thought the “new” three level package was an improvvement and were a little perplexed why HAL felt the need to change after such a brief stint.    Regardless we will pass along any updates and insights on the new packages from the Wine Stewarts or Cellar Master..

 

So far we have heard all good reports from the “shake down” cruise

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Monday 12/3 —two days until boarding!

 

We started at little late as we had some work to knockout but we managed a full night’s rest.

 

Our hotel has a nice and diverse breakfast selection and being in Rome we ordered a cappuccino but skipped the cornetto.

 

The rain had stopped so we decided to explore our neighborhood.   We headed north in search of the restaurant Cacio e Pepe. We heard of this place through Anthony Bourdain and normally we are hesitant to try any recommended places as some have been impacted by the notoriety and not necessarily in a good way.

 

We were pleasantly surprised to find that this place still was great. The guests were about 90% locals having a leisurely lunch and 10% Bourdain fans.  We sat next to a couple from Long Island (I think they sat the non-locals together.) They were great to chat with and we visited throughout the lunch.  Mrs. Jones had the Cacio e Pepe and Mr. Jones had the carbonara (with pancetta of course).  The Cacio e Pepe was good but the carbonara was amazing, best we have had.  With such fresh/quality ingredients you can keep it simple.

 

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We had a nice walk back to the hotel to drop off some “Layers” as it was getting warmer. We then headed off to Piazza Navona in search of a Christmas Market we’d read about in prior years. Alas this year (at least this early) no market.  We did enjoy the walk there (many Christmas lights along narrow streets.) We stopped along a small side street for an espresso —only 1 euro — a pleasant surprise so close to the main tourist areas

 

On the way back to the hotel we decided to stop by the Pantheon.  This place never ceases to give us goose bumps.  A marvel of engineering and architecture. Was worth the side-trip.

 

 

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Before we entered our Hotel we noticed a small wine shop across the street, Kiarotti Wine (no website but on Facebook).  Was a very pleasant stop.  We were given a handwritten list of wines by the glass and served complimentary cheese and Prosciutto as we sipped.  

 

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We asked our server a question about the wines we chose and he quickly called over the owner to assist.   What followed was one off those “you can’t plan it” moments when traveling. We received a sublime 30 minute conversation about the grapes, regions and various terroir of Italy.   He was very passionate about wine and it was a pleasure talking to him.

 

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We finished our day walking west of the Palace of Justice to a small basement Trattoria called “Porto”.  It mostly served seafood prepared simply and perfectly.  We had a great waiter; after finding we were from Kansas City (home of the Chiefs and Mahones), we learned he played “American Football” in the Italian Football League (IFL).  He quickly pulled out his phone and showed as a few pictures from the games.   Had elements of John Grisham’s book “Playing for Pizza”.  Was much fun.

 

We ended our day with a leisurely walk back to our Hotel.   The weather cooperated with temperatures about 60 degrees F and no wind, which made for a great stroll. We took advantage of our terrace, enjoying a glass of wine while imagining what it would be like to live in this neigborhood of Rome.

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Enjoy reading your posts, looking forward to following along. 

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She is arriving to Civitavecchia just now!

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Edited by portofrome

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Glad you enjoyed the day with some rain and then being able to remove layers!

Cacio e Pepe is where we always go for lunch when we are there! The Christmas Market will be up and running in another week. Last year when on business we were there the second week and it was wonderful. Amazing photos of The Nieuw S!!!

exciting to see again brings back memories for me with The Nieuw Amsterdam inaugural cruise.

Denise😊

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12/4 sail tomorrow!

 

Just a quick update will post more in the morning

 

The weather today was beyond expectations. Sunny and about 65.  Perfect for long walks, sitting outside and people watching 

 

Just by accident we found a tiny trattoria (maybe seats 12 people) Dino Express.  We managed to get the last table and were placed next to friendly grandmother  and grand daughter.    The menu was hand written on a notepad.  

 

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When my limited Italian was exhausted the owner (Dino off course) said “un minuto” and disappeared.  He came back with the chef/cook who spoke some english and gave us some recommendation.   Was a special meal where we felt like a traveler not a tourist.

 

When we asked for the bill be wrote out what we had on the table as receipt.

 

 

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That’s Rome for you!!!!! We have experienced that also. Those are the memories you have.

so excited for you tomorrow!

SMOOTH SAILINGS AND A WONDERFUL BON VOYAGE 

DENISE😊

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Tuesday — Last Day in Rome

 

Our last day was filled with more walking (Mrs. Jones’ Fitbit showed nearly 8miles, which we are feeling today.)   

 

While we enjoy the history and museums it seemed wrong to stay inside on such a sunny December day.   We have fond  memories of the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain from our Honeymoon so we retraced some of those sights.

 

We spent our last night out at a Prati neighborhood favorite Il Sorpasso.   While there was a big crowd to get in, we could have a table if we agreed to finish by 9:30. We enjoyed a selection of meats, a simple but amazing salad, followed by entrees from the specials list and a great Pino Nero from Alto Adige. We were surrounded by large tables of happy Romans.

 
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It’s Almost Time To Meet the Nieuw Statendam

 

As we start packing to get on the ship, it struck us that the highlight of our brief stay in Rome wasn’t the sights but the locals we met and shared some moments with.

 

It looks like we have a large numbers of CC’ers taking the inaugural voyage and are looking forward to the meet and greet tomorrow.

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Quck updates

 

wine packages appear to be the same. No change and discount still applies.

 

a lot of new wines and the per glass menu has changed a bit

 

new tamarind menu on first glance the wasabi filet, chicken curry and lobster (now with shrimp) were still there

 

 

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New sushi bar looks nice.  Alacart with shashimi and Negri runnng about $3 per pair.  So with a 4/5 star discount not too bad

 

sorry for any typos.  Knocking this out on my phone 

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