Planning a Pre-Cruise Stay, More Complicated Than the Cruise Itself

We have booked our cruise for this year, a Trans Atlantic cruise on the Celebrity Solstice, departing from Rome and ending in Miami. That process took about 5 days from reviewing cruises and price to making our decision and booking. Now I’m in the process of making our arrangements for our 4 day pre-cruise stay in Rome.

For a family of 4 traveling in Europe this process can be a lot harder than you might imagine. First, many of the western style hotels like, Sheraton, do not have the double queen (Quadruple) rooms like they would typically have in the US. Those hotels typically have double rooms or triple rooms. We had considered using a combination of loyalty points and cash to get a room in such a hotel. The hotel would have been located away from the center of the old historic town, but provided a shuttle into the city center. This was an acceptable concession because of the amount of money we would be saving. However, upon further review, we discovered that our family of four would need two adjoining hotel rooms requiring double the reward points and double the cash payment.

We also considered booking a room at some of the smaller local or European hotels in the down town area. Many of these hotels typically do have a few quad rooms or “family” rooms. These rooms generally run in the
120 euro to 300 euro price range depending on location and hotel amenities. Some of these hotels were fine, but we were hoping to spend less on our Rom accommodations since the cruise is the main purpose for our trip.

We started looking at other options. Much like our trip to Barcelona last year, a short term rental apartment seems to be our best option. The rental apartments in the historic city center tend to run in the 80 to 200 euro range for a remodeled, nicely furnished apartment. Most have nicely appointed kitchens, some even have clothes washers. Some remind me of college dormitories with sleeping loft built in in order to free up more floor space and utilize the high ceilings in some of these older buildings. Others, however, look like a typical roman family home. Some of the apartments we are considering are handled by a rental agency, others are listed on Vacation Rentals By Owner, VRBO. I have made the necessary contacts and gotten quote for our 4 night stay.

The most interesting part for me has been utilizing Google Maps in order to determine which apartments are in the best location. I just newly discovered how to use the Street View feature. This lets me take a virtual walk down the street where the apartment is located. There was one really nice apartment with a terrace view, but after mapping it and walking it, I decided that the apartment was located too far from the old city and that the street on which it was located was not as desirable as some of the others. Had I not had this technology at my hand, I might have jumped at that apartment because of its view and spaciousness.

Tonight, I’ll be presenting all our choices to the family. We’ll probably hook the lap-top up to the big screen tv and review all the features and locations of the apartments. Hopefully, between the 4 of us, we’ll come to a consensus and book our apartment for a stay in Rome.

It is an exciting process, and once the accommodations planning is out of the way, I’ll be able to relax and look forward to my Rome trip and Trans-Atlantic cruise.