Monday, 5 January 2015
COSTA DIADEMA 1st November 2014 Part 6
Tuesday 4th November 2014
I was up early this morning for breakfast at 6.50 a.m. ready to take a ship’s excursion as soon as the vessel berthed at Corfu. Two of us chose to visit the Palace of Achilleion with an English-speaking tour guide leading our group around.
Hariklia with its Cook Islands flag, seen from the excursion coach; Grand Celebration is coming astern to berth near Costa Diadema
This was the home of the Empress of Austria (Elizabeth of Bavaria) known as Sisi, which she had built for herself in 1890, and dedicated to Achilles. There were wonderful gardens, terraces, views, statuary and the famous sculpture of ‘Dying Achilles’ as the centrepiece in the garden. The interior contained many paintings and statues, and a model of the private yacht. Elizabeth used to visit the Palace often until 1898 when she was assassinated in Geneva by an Italian anarchist. After Elizabeth's death, the German Kaiser Wilhelm II purchased Achilleion in 1907 from her heirs and used it as a summer residence. I don’t often choose to take a ship’s excursion but this was well worth it, both for the Palace and the journey around part of the island..
The coach back gave us time in the old town of Corfu before dropping us near the ship. Then we had to join one of two enormous queues to get back on board. It seems there was only one bag-security check machine so we felt fortunate that it was not raining! Lunch was only available in the Buffet and was sparse, and dishes were not replenished.
That evening we decided to try what had been advertised by Costa as the Prosecco Bar, but in fact was the Bollicine Bar with Champagne prices to match. Drinks here were not included in the Drinks Package, but we wanted to try the atmosphere. In fact the atmosphere was cold, with draughts coming in from the constantly opening double doors behind us, which led on to the Promenade Deck.
It had been lovely in daylight to walk along the deck, and see the small Pagodas with their seating, but there was no Bar service for drinks or coffee whatsoever, and few entrances into the ship from the deck. Whoever planned this obviously did not think it through, as one of the entrances was only available to Samsara Deck & Restaurant passengers (not us) or through the Bollicine Bar with no porch protection whatsoever for those using the doors and those inside the Bar. We couldn’t understand why the Bollicine Bar was not located near the extra tariff Ristorante Club Diadema on the other side of the ship.
Fortunately dinner was very good and so were the evening show events at the party afterwards.
Our little group of five are really enjoying our time on COSTA DIADEMA but are constantly wondering why some public rooms, Bars or Ristorantes are located where they are – often in a rather illogical position. Perhaps much of it stems from the inadequate size and seating availability in the main public Ristorante.
Ships seen: Kerkyra, Grand Celebration, Costa Diadema, Hariklia with its Cook Islands flag, Elene ferry, Nanth ferry, Agia Theodora of Kykiria Lines, Nikolaos of Ionian Line, Russian-built Vokshod fast craft.
To be continued...