Wednesday, 7 January 2015
COSTA DIADEMA 1st November 2014 Part 9 (the final one)
Part 9 (the final one)
Friday 7th November 2014
Today is ship Christening Day, and here we are early in Genoa ready for the festivities later today.
The sky is blue again, the sun is shining and the ship seems to have been cleaned thoroughly yet again ready for the dignitaries due on board soon. We managed to extract a programme of the day’s events from the reluctant hand of a female member of reception staff, and could see that we needed to be in what I like to call ‘posh frock’ etc. by 3 p.m. this afternoon. Now we can plan our morning.
We were berthed at Genoa’s historic Maritime Station so it was an easy walk along to the Porto Antico to see what we could see. We visited the Maritime Museum for a short while, a favourite bookshop nearby, and then walked along to take photos of COSTA DIADEMA across the water in the cool sunshine.
We stopped for coffee in a small quayside café which was noted for its ‘pizza and chips’. Then the charms of Eataly called loudly so two of us ascended to the top floor restaurant/shop, to enjoy the views and the food. There were Panettones by the hundred and probably seventy sorts of pasta all on sale – it was fascinating, but resistible.
Back on the quayside there was time to take photographs of ship and self and the shiny new rat-catchers on the ropes, before embarking to prepare for the Costa Cruises official Naming Ceremony of their new flagship.
Newly embarked passengers were attending lifeboat drill as we progressed to our seating place in the Orlov Lounge. To me and many others in the UK the name Orlov always raises a smile because it is the name of the Meerkat family used to advertise a marketing comparison website. It has gained extraordinary fame through Aleksandr Orlov and his descendants.
We had front-row seats around the dance floor in front of one of the many large screens in all the public rooms on board, and then the sparkling wine and canapés were served. The screens showed the Costa dignitaries and guests arriving for the Naming Ceremony in the Theatre, and soon we saw the COSTA DIADEMA Captain Massimo Garbarino, together with the Godmother of the ship, travel agent Carolina Miceli, accompanied by her Maids of Honour from Germany, France, Spain and China, form the start of a parade.
All this was filmed and shown on all the public room screens as they progressed throughout the whole ship. I thought this was such a lovely idea and it was exciting when they arrived in the Orlov Bar and Lounge; cameras flashed, people cheered as they circled the room and I think everyone felt pleased to be present on such an occasion. They returned to the Emerald Theatre for the actual Naming Ceremony.
The Costa Chief Executive made a short speech, as did a Fincantiere shipyard person, and then local and area Italian representatives, and finally came the moment when the bottle of Champagne was hurled (electronically) and smashed again the hull of the ship. The ship was then blessed by the Cardinal of Genoa Angelo Bagnasco.
Finally in the Theatre on stage there was a short presentation of the ship’s bell to the Captain. This was unexpected, to me, but I thought that was a lovely touch and an ideal completion of this part of the festivities. The wine kept flowing throughout all this.
There was then a slight rush to get warm clothing ready for the fireworks and Diadema Sky Lights display at 6.30 somewhere out in the Harbour. The decks were packed with onlookers and we all enjoyed the wonderful display. The sounds echoed round the hills of the city and were joined by whistles from other vessels in the harbour so it was very exciting to be there.
Another highlight after this was the COSTA DIADEMA, Genova, 7th November 2014, Menu di Gala. This was designed by Costa’s Michelin-Star Acclaimed Chef Fabio Cucchelli and was much acclaimed by my knowledgeable companions. I know I particularly enjoyed the Controfiletto di Wagyu, crème di formaggio Montasio e topinambur, which translates as Wagyu strip Loin, Montasio cheese cream and Jerusalem artichoke. The service and wines were first-class and much enjoyed.
The evening progressed with music and a Masquerade Party up on Deck 10’s Lido Diana, and I finally went home rather late and swinging a very elegant black face mask from one finger. Phew, what a day, and what a celebration!
Ships seen: Grand Holiday, Moby Drea, Moby Otta, Dionea, Excelsior, Majestic, Moby Baby, Moby Ale, Nordic Stockholm, Deira and Costa Diadema.
Saturday 8th November 2014
We arrived back in Savona in darkness, but the five of us enjoyed a final breakfast together as the sun came up. Soon the ship was cleared by the authorities and we were able to disembark and head homewards to our various countries.
Ships seen: Costa Diadema, Costa Classica, Azamara Journey, and 5 laid-up Corsica Ferries seen as we went west towards Nice Airport,
I had enjoyed my time on board COSTA DIADEMA because of the good company of my travelling companions and the chance to attend a Ship Christening for the very first time. This was my sixth Costa ship sailing so I did notice the oddities of the ship itself, such as the lack of restaurant seating for all on board when offering free-style dining, the unexpected location of bars and speciality restaurants and the unusual design and layout of the ship inside. I do like the Italian Costa experience and I’m very glad to have experienced Costa’s new flagship COSTA DIADEMA on her Maiden Voyage.