Haynes World - ships, ferries, a laugh on the ocean wave, and other interesting things...


Costa Victoria Part 7 (the final one)

Easter Sunday, 24th April 2011

As soon as I woke I put the radio on and what a glorious surprise to hear the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah, coming through the speakers. That was a good start to the day.

We seem to have arrived early at Ajaccio, on the west coast of Corsica, rather than at the expected 10 a.m. so I had time to look over the deck rails to watch us berth.

Mega Express Four

Down in the water nearby I could see a very small official-looking boat, with two men removing a large and heavy black bag of something from the water.

It must have been heavy, judging by the effort involved. They took it to the quayside near where we were berthed, and various other people joined them in a discussion, but we never did find out what that was all about. Drugs, a body, heavy clothing, a goat in a bag – who knows…

An early morning shower had given way to spring sunshine, so we set off to enjoy the port and town.

Jean Nicoli

This is another interesting Mediterranean town to visit – founded by the Greeks, taken over by the Romans, then the Vandals, the Genoese and then the French, and of course its most famous citizen is probably Napoleon Bonaparte. There was also one particular postcard shop selling ship pictures of all kinds. A brass band played and walked down the main street towards the harbour, COSTA DELIZIOSA arrived in port and berthed near to our ship, tourists were out and about, and as we were tourists too we walked around the harbour wall and round the Military Citadel

round the bay past the Citadel, with its grassed moat

they lived down in the 'moat'

looking out into the bay

to admire the views of the sea and bay. The fact that we had to walk through a street market selling all sorts of bric-a-brac was a happy coincidence. At lunch beside the harbour we could watch the world go by, and then walk in the other direction beyond our ship to see the ferry JEAN NICOLI.

Jean Nicoli

We could see the security man near the ‘keep away’ ribbon near the ship, but a friendly wave of hand and camera meant we could take a few photographs without any problem. This seems the sensible approach to the ISPS situation, with respect on both sides, when it is possible. Tea and a stroll back to look at the Costa ships finished our day on land.

Costa Deliziosa

Mooring ropes fixed to what had been made to look like a vessel

Back on board, we could prepare for departure at 6 p.m. from Ajaccio,

Costa Deliziosa

before dinner with our new Restaurant friends. The menu again offered a good choice, well served and presented, and the wine waiter was knowledgeable, pleasant and efficient at her job.

Easter Bunny sat on our table

Because it was our last night before disembarking back in Barcelona tomorrow, there was a special celebration after the meal. The restaurant lights were dimmed, and yes, it was music time and the parade of the waiters with cakes. Each cake had a lighted ‘sparkler’ on it, and there seemed to be a happy atmosphere all around, with most of us enjoying the spectacle. The Restaurant staff work incredibly hard, with two sittings each evening, and at least they get some face-to-face appreciation from passengers at times like this. Tips for them are added to passengers’ accounts at the cruise-end, but of course good service can always be rewarded with something extra.

As Costa Club members some of us had been invited to a Cocktail Party with the Captain, so we went to that and had photographs taken.

yes, there was Inch of Gold/Silver on sale...

Entertainment that evening was firstly a Theatre musical show featuring members of the Costa crew, with the inevitable ‘I have a dream’ and ‘My way’ etc. The English-version introductions to each singer by the Costa Entertainment staff I personally found rather patronising, extolling the virtues of Costa as employers, but maybe that was not intended.

The other entertainment was the Election of Miss Costa Victoria, with various semi-clothed lovelies determined to win. There were a series of elimination games, and quizzes amongst the finalists, and I guess the best young lady won. It was certainly an entertaining sight…

Ships seen: Jean Nicoli, Danielle Casanova, Mega Express Four, Mega Express, Costa Deliziosa (Costa Queen Elizabeth?)

Monday 25th April 2011
We were up early for arrival back in Savona, Italy, and home to the Costa Cruise Terminal. We were amongst huge ships of the Costa fleet, seemingly all vying to be first to tie up and disembark their passengers, so that was fun to watch.

Costa Luminosa

Costa Deliziosa

Then it was our turn to leave the ship and go our various ways. I’d enjoyed my trip: it was easy to book on-line, the prices for singles are always excellent, the itineraries were interesting even if we couldn’t get to Tunisia as originally scheduled, and I always appreciate congenial company.

Costa Victoria

Ships seen: Costa Luminosa, Costa Concordia, and Costa Deliziosa, all near us (on Costa Victoria) back in Savona