Wednesday 20th April 2011
Today is ‘big ship’ day, so after breakfast we started the train journey from Genoa along the coast. The warm sunshine was so comfortable as we arrived at Savona Station and looked for the bus to the Costa Cruise Terminal.
As I walked outside the station, in front of me I noticed an older gentleman pushing a very new pram very carefully, with a younger man beside him. They stopped when they reached an older lady and a young one. I could see that the baby in the pram was very small and obviously very new to the world, so I stopped to smile at the family and admire the babe. They had all greeted each other and were obviously so proud and happy, and told me something to the effect that it was the first grandchild. I felt a bit emotional, put a hand over my heart, and told them that I too had a new grandchild and so I knew exactly how they felt. Language barriers mean nothing when one is happy and can share it, I thought.
I caught up with my shipmate and waited for the free shuttle bus from the station to take us to the huge Costa Cruises Terminal. Within a very short time we had dropped off the luggage and were going on board COSTA VICTORIA for a 5 night cruise around the Mediterranean.
I soon found my inside cabin up on Otello Deck 8, although the promised Costa Card wasn’t there, and nor was the emergency card I would need to attend Lifeboat Drill and hand in to prove my attendance. However I did find my 3 other shipmates on deck so all was well. All passengers were ushered very firmly but politely up to Buffet Lunch on Deck 11, as cabins were not yet ready, but this was an excellent start to our cruise with the views out over the harbour and sea bathed in hot sunshine.
COSTA VICTORIA was built by Bremer Vulkan in Bremen in 1996 for Costa Cruises, at 75,051 gross tons, to carry 1,928 passengers sailing in the Caribbean. She was one of two ships ordered by Costa, the other being COSTA OLYMPIA, but Costa Cruises didn’t take delivery of the second one as the shipyard went bankrupt. In late 2003 the ship went to Lloyd Werft shipyard in Bremerhaven to have balconies added.
COSTA VICTORIA was the last ship to be built for Costa Cruises before their takeover by Carnival, and was also the last one not designed by the ship architect Mr Joe Farcus. He was the man who met Mr Ted Arison, the founder of Carnival Cruise Lines, and was then employed by them to design many of their ships. I haven’t sailed on a Carnival ship, but hope to enjoy one in the future, so I can see just what delights Mr Farcus has had installed for the amazement/amusement of passengers. Whatever he has been asked to do, it sounds as if he has always achieved that and more.
We had lunch in the Bolero Restaurant Buffet and then went out for coffee on the Café Terrazza Bar open deck. With its canvas roofing over us, we could enjoy shaded heat and the sight of COSTA MEDITERRANEA also in port round at another quay.
The ship’s top Solarium Deck 14 has a tennis court as well as a Solarium. Butterfly Deck 12 has the Club Il Magnifico at the stern, and forward of that is the Internet Point and Teen’s Club on the port side, with a Pizzeria on the starboard side. One can then walk outside and forward to look down on the Pool, before reaching cabins.
Rigoletto Deck 11 has the stern Café Terrazza Bar, then the Bolero Restaurant Buffet, then the Nettuno Grill, which then leads out to the open Pool area.
Forward again is the Sirena Bar and then suites and cabins.
Norma Deck 10 has cabins all the way from the stern towards the bow, which end at the Concorde Plaza with its stage and surrounding seating. Tosca Deck 9 also has cabins, leading to the Concorde Plaza.
Otello Deck 8 has more cabins, again leading to the forward Concorde Plaza. There is attractive seating in the Plaza, and staircases leading up or down, as well as a glass lift going down to the Bar.
Carmen Deck 7 has the Bellavista Bar at the stern, which is well hidden behind the Festival Theatre upper level, with the Chapel and Congress Centre forward of that. The Montecarlo Casino is midships,
then the Capriccio Lounge,
then the Portobello Market Place,
and the Jolly Card Room.
Manon Deck 6A has cabins around the upper forward sides of the Concorde Plaza, which is confusing when approaching them up a carpeted slope, but windows with blinds provide a view inboard to the Concorde Plaza.
So Traviata Deck 6 has a Jogging Track round the outside of the ship at this level, which made for a good walkway at all times, including under the lifeboats. Inboard and forward again of the Festival Theatre here at the stern, is the Photo Shop, Arcadia Boulevard, Rock Star Disco, and Orpheus Grand Bar. This leads into the circular Winter Garden and port side Tours Office and the Beauty Salon starboard side.
Further forward again is the Gym and Pompei Spa.
Boheme Deck 5 has the Sinfonia Restaurant at the stern, the Fantasia Restaurant midships, with the Planetarium Bar (an excellent rendezvous)
and Customer Service at the sides of the Planetarium Atrium.
Forward again were cabins, and Nabucco Deck 4 also had some cabins.
This large cruise ship looks very interesting and so we all settled in and attended Life Boat Drill; I queued for a Costa card at Reception and eventually got one printed, and we sailed at 5 p.m. from Savona.
The Daily Programme welcomed us in English and told us that the Master was Captain Massimo Pennisi. We had been allocated second sitting dinner at 9.30 p.m. which we were able to change for future nights, so the pre-dinner glass of something delicious slipped down easily and we prepared to enjoy seeing the Sinfonia restaurant with its Murano glass light fittings in the Tillburg-designed room. Tomorrow we have a morning at sea before arriving in Barcelona, so life is looking very pleasant indeed.
Ships seen: Moby Otta, Zeus Palace (still in Genoa harbour), Fantastic, Majestic, Janas, Linea Messina freighter, Pacific, Alexander von Humboldt, Moby Drea, Moby Corse, St. Catherine, Sunrise, Moby Tommy, Forza, Moby Fantasy, Moby Ale, Taurus, Corsica Marina Seconda, Sardinia Vera, Costa Mediterranea, Costa Victoria