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Sunday, 1 January 2012

Costa Deliziosa 18th December 2011 Part 1


Costa Deliziosa 18th December 2011

Saturday 17th December
I’m to sail on my first Farcus-styled ship on Sunday; I’ve looked at the brochure pictures and also remember William Mayes’ talk to the Ocean Liner Society some time ago about CARNIVAL LEGEND, when I think my jaw dropped on seeing the pictures of urns. Today I flew to Genoa ready to go to Savona on Sunday to join COSTA DELIZIOSA for 4 nights.

So this was the plan – until 17 hours before I was to leave home there was a telephone call from Costa in London telling me the ship had technical problems, and I could choose to join her still for her short trip to dry dock in Marseille, or not take the planned cruise. The terms offered by Costa were so enticing that I chose to go into dry dock with the ship in Marseille. My travelling companions chose the same so we knew we were likely to share an unusual experience.

I arrived at Genoa airport, flying in from east to west with a turbulent wind making it impossible to photograph anything from the plane. However, I could see lots of ships in the harbour as the aircraft wings rose and fell during landing. The Airport to City Volabus driver sold me a ticket and since I was the only passenger he took me almost to my destination hotel in the Porto Antico area of the city. I was slightly bemused that he decided to avoid all the usual bus stops en route but obviously my scanty Italian and his scanty English seemed to work some kind of chemistry and I was soon checking into my hotel thanks to his kindness. This whole trip already promises to be interesting…

Having met one of my friends we strolled to the harbour for coffee and then ship-watching, so I could put names to the vessels I had seen from the aircraft.

MSC Splendida


Carthage



Handy Tankers Miracle

Work in progress on Costa NeoRomantica

Ships and a ship lover

Corsica Shuttle

Genoa skyline

another view in wonderful light

Our evening meal was taken in one of the Eataly Restaurants on the top floor of the Renzo Piano Building overlooking the harbour, so fresh pasta and salad went down well with the views, and from our table I could also see some of the Piano glass chandeliers in another restaurant.

Ships seen: Pacific, Sardinia Vera, Corsica Marina Seconda, Moby Ale, Moby Fantasy, Moby Aki, SNAV Toscana, Excellent, Splendid, Majestic (memorably sailed on in July 2008), Aurelia, Splendida, Carthage (another memorable trip in 2010), Costa NeoRomantica, Vento di Aliseo, Linea Marina Jolly Blu or Jolly Corallo, and Handy Tankers Miracle (lovely name), MSC Splendida, Italia (for coffee), and Oceania Cruises Riviera still under construction at Fincantieri’s Sestri Ponente shipyard just beside the airport.

Sunday 18th December
Early breakfast was followed by a treat, when our other travelling companion arrived, together with a famous Italian maritime author who wanted to say hello again. There was lots of ship talk until it was time to take the train to Savona for our Costa cruise into dry dock. A local bus took us from Savona station to the cruise terminal, and we were soon going over the gangway to get on board my first Farcus-styled ship. Oh my, what an incredible, amazing and awe-inspiring vessel. The brochure pictures hardly prepared me for what I saw as I stepped aboard into the nine-deck-high atrium, with its glory of light, colour, noise and decoration including the Arnaldo Pomodoro sphere, here on the COSTA DELIZIOSA.

The Pomodoro Globe


Part of the 9 deck high Atrium





my cabin 5385

The original C door handles, with the double quote signs

We soon dropped our bags into our cabins, and set off to explore the ship on the way to a buffet lunch up on Deck 9 Orchidea in the Muscadins Self-Service Restaurant. Just aft of this was the Lido Acqua Regina, with its blue bucket-style seats around the pool.


Chilly Lido pool area

The restaurant ceiling was covered in nautical flag prints, the walls were covered in more nautical items, and the carpet was busy too.

Muscadins Self-Service Restaurant

Fortunately we could look out to the waters of the harbour as a calming balance to our senses. The food was good and plentiful and the self-service worked well enough.

COSTA DELIZIOSA was built for Costa Cruises in 2010 by Fincantieri in Venice, Italy, with 12 passenger decks and a gross tonnage of 92,600, and is a Vista/Spirit class of ship design. Her interior designer is Mr Joseph (Joe) Farcus. She was christened at Port Rashid, in the United Arab Emirates, to coincide with the opening of the new cruise terminal there. Her passenger capacity is 2,826 with a crew of 934, she has 4 restaurants, 11 bars, a Spa and other well-being facilities, and numerous entertainment opportunities including a 3-level theatre, a 4D cinema, a golf simulator, Playstation world, Costa Team virtual racing car, roller skating, a Casino and shops.

Some of the wonderful photographs in the stairways

We had our first sight of the Restaurant, which rendered us almost speechless,


Albatros Restaurant seen from the top level

Lower level of the Restaurant

The Casino


Ristorante Samsara

and then prepared for Life Boat Drill, followed by a Welcome on Board Presentation for English speakers. We seemed to be amongst about 40 people speaking English, with other presentations available for Italian, Spanish and German speakers. When we boarded we expected to see few other passengers, but I found out there were about 2000 of us on the ship.

Fun chairs

Magradome roof over the pools

We sailed at 5.00 p.m. from Savona, heading the 213 nautical miles to Marseille, although we didn’t yet know our arrival time there. Dinner was at 6.30 first sitting, which meant we actually started eating after 7 p.m., which we thought was better than second sitting starting at 8.45 p.m. and ending goodness knows when. The evening’s entertainment was available in many areas of the ship, and we went to the Casino show in the Duse Theatre. There was no live music, which we thought was rather unexpected. We also enjoyed the live music in the Atrium bar and the Chocolate Bar, and the sight of some of the items for sale in the ship’s shops which were now open.

There was lots of noise, music and dancing and we enjoyed walking around or sitting amongst it all.


The Ballroom (Grand Bar Mirabilis)

Ballroom lights of aqua-coloured glass

We also had to get away from it now and again and venture out onto the deck to check on the weather and get some air. This is when we found what we called the two conservatories – small seating areas jutting out onto the deck, one each side, but completely isolated from the wild weather outside.



Many families with small children were around the public rooms or bars, with the toddlers swaying with the rhythm of the band, or the tinies fast asleep in their pushchairs; we were all on holiday and enjoying the facilities of this large ship in our different ways.

The beautiful butterflies

So, with the ship hurtling into the night at 20 knots into a 70 km wind, we reluctantly left the ballroom and the wonderful butterflies artwork to seek temporary oblivion in sleep.

Ships seen: Artania, seen in Genoa’s harbour, from the train

To be concluded...

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