Category Archives: Rome

Rome to Ft. Lauderdale aboard Celebrity Cruiseship ‘Edge’ — November 1-15, 2019

On November 1 we — Bill Bouchard, Colleen Wright, Barb and I — joined a Celebrity cruise on their latest ship (Edge) that took us from Rome to Florence/Pisa to Provence (Toulono) to Palma de Mallorca to Tenerife (Canary Islands) followed by a week at sea crossing the ocean to land at Ft. Lauderdale on November 15.  (See previous posts to read about the multi-country trips we four enjoyed prior to the cruise.)

The Ship

The ship was impressive, and not just because it featured a unique external elevator/platform that could be raised out of the way when not needed or lowered to accommodate passenger ingress/egress or festive underway gatherings.  We all subscribed to a flexible plan that permitted reserving evening meals at any of the main restaurants. We could do breakfast and lunch at numerous restaurants or in a cavernous cafeteria that hosted an uncountable number of stations, each specializing in a different constellation of food types or international sub-genres.  And there were numerous snack shops and coffee shops and dessert bars physically separate from the eateries I’ve already mentioned.  We all gained a substantial amount of weight; I admit to adding about 15 pounds.


We boarded in Rome, where we had already visited extensively.  (See previous postings.)


We had visited the lovely city of Florence earlier in our land trip, so we didn’t even disembark in Florence.

Provence/Toulono (11/03/19)

Palma de Mallorca (11/04/19)

We did some strolling, but  much of what we saw was via the Segways.  The tour was fun; the Segways were, as usual, a blast.

Tenerife/Canary Islands

In the Tenerife Canary Islands we took an organized side trip to Mount Teide, taking a tour bus from our Cruise Ship dock to the volcano, where we rode a cable car up to near the peak.

From Wikipedia:

Mount Teide is a volcano on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain. Its summit (at 3,718 m (12,198 ft)) is the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic.

If measured from the ocean floor, it is at 7,500 m (24,600 ft) the fourth-highest volcano in the world,[a] and is described by UNESCO and NASA as Earth’s third-tallest volcanic structure. Teide’s elevation makes Tenerife the tenth highest island in the world. Teide is an active volcano: its most recent eruption occurred in 1909 from the El Chinyero vent on the northwestern Santiago rift. The United Nations Committee for Disaster Mitigation designated Teide a Decade Volcano because of its history of destructive eruptions and its proximity to several large towns. …  The volcano and its surroundings comprise Teide National Park, which has an area of 18,900 hectares (47,000 acres) … Teide is the most visited natural wonder of Spain, the most visited national park in Spain and Europe and – by 2015 – the eighth most visited in the world, with some 3 million visitors yearly. … Teide Observatory, a major international astronomical observatory, is located on the slopes of the mountain.

The volcano and its surroundings, including the whole of the Las Cañadas caldera, are protected in the Teide National Park. …  A cable car goes from the roadside at 2,356 m (7,730 ft) most of the way to the summit, reaching 3,555 m (11,663 ft), carrying up to 38 passengers (34 in a high wind) and taking eight minutes to reach the summit. Access to the summit itself is restricted; a free permit is required to climb the last 200 m (660 ft). Numbers are normally restricted to 200 per day. Several footpaths take hikers to the upper cable car terminal, and then onto the summit.

Entertainment on board

There were lots of entertainment opportunities.  Singers, tribute musicians, acrobats, dancers, comedians, improv acts (which roped in both Bill and me), house orchestra, dance lessons, well-equiped gym, etc. etc.

In short, we had a great time.  We were all a little surprised:  it had seemed like an interesting way to get back to the USA but we weren’t prepared for how much we enjoyed it.  The extensive (and expensive) tour of the ship was a fascinating glimpse of what it takes to provide all of the necessary services. Food preparation. Laundry.  Machine room.  Control room.

 While still on board, we booked a Panama Canal cruise for 2021, but we will have to rethink that.  The very real possibility that COVID-19 is still lingering by then makes spending an extended amount of time in a confined space with gazillions of people unattractive.  Besides, we now are wary of another 20-pound weight gain.


The Colosseum or Coliseum also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre or Colosseo is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of travertine limestone, tuff (volcanic rock), and brick-faced concrete, it was the largest amphitheatre ever built at the time and held 50,000 spectators. The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir, Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81–96). These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named in Latin for its association with their family name (Flavius).

The Colosseum could hold an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 spectators during phases of its various renovations over the centuries, having an average audience of some 65,000; it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles (for only a short time as the hypogeum was soon filled in with mechanisms to support the other activities), animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.

Severe damage was inflicted on the Colosseum by the great earthquake in 1349, causing the outer south side, lying on a less stable alluvial terrain, to collapse. Much of the tumbled stone was reused to build palaces, churches, hospitals and other buildings elsewhere in Rome. A religious order moved into the northern third of the Colosseum in the mid-14th century and continued to inhabit it until as late as the early 19th century. The interior of the amphitheater was extensively stripped of stone, which was reused elsewhere, or (in the case of the marble façade) was burned to make quicklime. The bronze clamps which held the stonework together were pried or hacked out of the walls, leaving numerous pockmarks which still scar the building today.

In 2018, it was the most popular tourist attraction in the world, with 7.4 million visitors.

The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome, Italy, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus. It was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD.

Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43 metres (142 ft).
It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history and, since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been in use as a church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs” but informally known as “Santa Maria Rotonda”.

The building’s consecration as a church saved it from the abandonment, destruction, and the worst of the spoliation that befell the majority of ancient Rome’s buildings during the early medieval period. However, Paul the Deacon records the spoliation of the building by the Emperor Constans II, who visited Rome in July 663. [Wikipedia]

The guide who took us through the Colosseum also took us through the Roman Forum.

From Wikipedia:

The Roman Forum, also known by its Latin name Forum Romanum is a rectangular forum (plaza) surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum.

For centuries the Forum was the center of day-to-day life in Rome: the site of triumphal processions and elections; the venue for public speeches, criminal trials, and gladiatorial matches; and the nucleus of commercial affairs. Here statues and monuments commemorated the city’s great men. The teeming heart of ancient Rome, it has been called the most celebrated meeting place in the world, and in all history. Located in the small valley between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills, the Forum today is a sprawling ruin of architectural fragments and intermittent archaeological excavations attracting 4.5 million or more sightseers yearly.

The Spanish Steps are a set of steps climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.

The monumental stairway of 135 steps (the slightly elevated drainage system is often mistaken for the first step) was built … in 1723–1725.

In the Piazza di Spagna at the base is the Early Baroque fountain called Fontana della Barcaccia (“Fountain of the longboat”), built in 1627–29. 

In the piazza, at the corner on the right as one begins to climb the steps, is the house where English poet John Keats lived and died in 1821; it is now a museum dedicated to his memory, full of memorabilia of the English Romantic generation.

The Trevi Fountain is Rome’s largest and most famous fountain. It is 85 feet high and 65 feet wide. Trevi Fountain is Italy’s most famous Baroque  fountain.

Iconography abounds in the fountain.  The backdrop for the fountain is the Palazzo Poli, given a new façade with a giant order of Corinthian pilasters that link the two main stories. Taming of the waters is the theme of the gigantic scheme that tumbles forward, mixing water and rockwork, and filling the small square. Tritons guide Oceanus’ shell chariot, taming hippocamps.

In the centre, a robustly-modelled triumphal arch is superimposed on the palazzo façade. The centre niche framing Oceanus has free-standing columns for maximal light and shade. In the niches flanking Oceanus, Abundance spills water from her urn and Salubrity holds a cup from which a snake drinks. Above, bas reliefs illustrate the Roman origin of the aqueducts.

The Tritons and horses provide symmetrical balance, with the maximum contrast in their mood and poses.

The original legend says that if you throw a coin into the Trevi – with your back to the fountain, throwing coin with your right hand over your left shoulder – that will ensure a return to Rome.  Actually, two coins are for those seeking love; three coins symbolize wedding bells.  An estimated 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day. In 2016, an estimated €1.4 million (US$1.5 million) was thrown into the fountain. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s needy; however, there are regular attempts to steal coins from the fountain, even though it is illegal to do so.  [Wikipedia]