A+ World Academy

Student reflection - Civitavecchia

By Bethany Sherman | Nov 21, 2019 |

You can read a student reflection about our most recent port, Civitavecchia. Bethany put a lot of hard work into writing it, and we think she did a wonderful job. Hope you enjoy!


After the much anticipated parent port we set out for Civitavecchia, Italy. The sail was so cozy and everyone seemed closer than ever. Even though we missed our families a bit more than usual, we were all glad to be back and working together. For the first half of the sail the waters were so calm and we were barely rolling. Near the end however, we started to roll quite hard again. Classes went as usual, day watch went as usual, galley went as usual and we quickly fell back into our daily routines.

On the 7th of November we had our 4th deep clean of the year and in the middle of it, we arrived at our port! That night we were allowed to go into town to explore and eat dinner. Everyone took advantage of the free time and ventured out to find a restaurant or a grocery store to buy some of the food they had been craving.


Day 1 in Italy, November 8th, Day 82 on Sørlandet

Today was a full day of shore leave for everyone except watch 4, who had to stay on Sørlandet to do maintenance. Watch 4 did a handful of chores including, organizing the laundry room, deep cleaning the chart house, spot cleaning the aft deck, acid washing the things on aft deck, shining the ship bell, brass polishing the compass and the railings, cleaning the heads, stowing sails in the sail locker, sewing two sails, tidying the banjer, doing some of the ships laundry, making rags, organizing the lost and found, sorting food trash, cleaning the garbage cans, and a few other odd jobs! At the end of a day of hard work our head steward brought us some ice cream as a treat for a day well spent. Some of the other students had a more exciting day. Most groups took the train into Rome to spend the day. One group went to sightsee some of Italy’s the most famous sights while most people had a “normal first day of shore leave”. If you ask any of the students of this year what a “normal first day” of shore leave means, they will tell you it includes touring the city looking for the best food, going to the grocery store to buy chips, candy and other junk foods, buying pins or patches or stickers or whatever else they collect from each port, and finally, finding a cafe to sit and hang out at until the day is done.


Day 2 in Italy, November 9th, Day 83 on Sørlandet

Today we had the opportunity to visit the Sistine chapel and the Vatican! After our chores and morning routines we all boarded two buses for an hour and a half long ride into Rome. When we arrived we had some shore leave. Most students went to eat Italy’s world famous pizza and gelato. Once we met back up we broke into groups and went with our tour guides into the Vatican. We learned about some of Rome’s history, about the Pope, his role and about the beautiful artwork we saw. Did you know the Vatican is it’s own province in Italy with only one resident, the Pope? We spent a few hours in the Vatican and our last stop of the day was the Sistine Chapel. There were no photos allowed in the chapel so we got to appreciate the paintings in the moment. After the guided tour of the Vatican we had more shore leave. Once again, most students went to find some dinner or to shop the streets. The weather in Rome was pretty bad. Most days it was chilly and pouring rain. A little rain can’t stop us though, we are sailors after all! Each morning we bundled up, equipped with umbrellas, rain boots, foul weather jackets and our shore leave clothes we had been anxiously waiting to show off layered underneath.

Day 3 in Italy, November 10th, Day 84 on Sørlandet

We spent the day in Rome taking a guided tour to learn about some of the history of Rome. We got to see some old ruins, buildings and we even got to tour the catacombs! We learned all about Rome’s history. From where it all started at Romulus and Remus, to past architects, to kings and rulers, and everything in between. We had amazing tour guides who were so knowledgeable about the town’s history and even gave some of the girls good recommendations for vintage shopping streets to tour. We had more shore leave after the tours, and like usual, most of us went to find some dinner at a local restaurant. I bet you can guess what students spend most of their money on during shore leave… that’s right, it’s the food! Trust me, you would spend your money the same way.
The food in Italy is amazing, whether it’s fresh pasta, pizza, gelato, or even a burger and fries, all the food is homemade fresh and is totally worth spending our money on.

Day 4 in Italy, November 11th, Day 85 on Sørlandet

It was our English teacher, Bridget’s birthday so we started the day throwing buckets of salt water at her during colors. After that we boarded the buses again and spent the day serving in many different ways at the Giovanni Paolo II soup kitchen. We had the chance to talk to and meet many of the people experiencing homelessness in Italy as well as some of the workers at the facility. We did many jobs from washing trays to serving food, cleaning the floors, sorting food, and anything else they needed from us. They were very thankful we came to help and we were thankful for the insight into a community in Italy we weren’t used to seeing. We had shore leave after we finished at the soup kitchen (thank you Emily for all the shore leave, we love you for that) and most of the girls went to the vintage shopping streets Nina Mama Bear, the tour guide from the day before, recommended.

Day 5 in Italy, November 12th, Day 86 on Sørlandet

Today we had a very fun and busy day. The day started as normal with our cleaning routines and a bus ride into Rome. Once we were in Rome we split into our watches for a day of watch activities! Watch one started the day with an escape room! Watch two, three, five, and six joined up for the day where they went to lunch and then went bowling to finish off the day. Watch four went to lunch and magnum ice cream then ventured into the rain to see the Trevi Fountain. After a day spent with our watches we all dressed up into our A Plus uniform and gathered outside of St. Paul’s Within the Walls to see the Italian opera La Traviata. It was a melodrama with opera singers, a strings and winds orchestra, and two ballet dancers. We arrived back home around 1 am and happily went straight to bed.

Day 6 in Italy, November 13th, Day 87 on Sørlandet

This morning we were still pretty tired from the night before but despite the lack of sleep we got up, did our morning routines and walked to a hotel close by for a few hours of wifi to do some school work, AP test sign ups, college applications and STAR assessments. Unfortunately the WiFi at the hotel didn’t actually work that well but luckily a few people connected their computers to their phone hotspot and we all got signed up for everything we needed to. We had more shore leave after the hotel but most people decided to go back to the ship to catch up on some homework or sleep. The captain was kind enough to let us sling hammocks and open our beds to sleep off the night before. The banjer was dark with lights off and port holes closed and people got to enjoy the
quiet as they watched movies, called family, did homework or slept. People came in and out of the ship bringing back clothes, groceries or leftovers to share with those who didn’t want to leave.


Day 7 in Italy, November 14th, Day 88 on Sørlandet

Sadly, it is our last day in beautiful Civitavecchia. After morning routines, around 10:00 we got provisions! We had to get enough food to last us until Las Palmas so about a month altogether. Here are some statistics from our wonderful cook and chief steward about our food… overall, for this provisions, we got 300 kilos of potatoes, 2,500 eggs, 500 kilos of fruit and vegetables, 400 kilos of flour and 300 liters of both milk and juice. This may seem like an insane amount but, to give you a feel for how much we eat, each day we use about 25 kilos of meat and 20 kilos of potatoes just for dinner alone. Our final day in port was a full day of shore leave for all watches but watch 5 who needed to stay on for maintenance. Watch five baked some rullekake to start off the watch on a good note. Following that, they put up the fore course sail, did some cleaning and other odd jobs. Most students who had shore leave used this day to go to Rome one final time. Some groups rented a hotel room or an air b’n’b to get some homework in, shower, and relax in a real, normal sized bed. Others shopped the streets to buy more clothes to try and fit into their lockers later on while some groups just relaxed at the ship enjoying the quiet space free of the everyday bustle going on. In all, everyone had a unique day full of fun, friends, and sushi from the A Plus famous all-you-can-eat sushi bar


Day 8 in Italy, November 15th, Day 89 on Sørlandet

We had a full academic day but continued to stay in port due to the weather. The next morning at 1000 we departed for one of our longest sails to Morocco. The next time you’ll hear from us we will be in (hopefully) warm and sunny Tangier!

Goodbye for now! - Bethany Sherman #34 smile