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


FERRYING IN '15 22nd June Mega Smeralda

Monday 22nd June 2015
I slept well and enjoyed watching our arrival in Bastia, on the French island of Corsica, from the open decks on PASCAL PAOLI.

As we came alongside, we could see 'restaurant row'and part of the little mountain-side town

Mega Express Two had arrived

Mega Smeralda arrives

Her stern

Pascal Paoli, from the quayside, whilst I was awaiting the shuttle bus

Ships were in port, ships were following us in astern and we were indeed alongside at 7 a.m. I caught the shuttle bus on the quayside to the terminal on the other side of the u-shaped quays whilst my companions took photographs and joined me at the terminal.

Walking towards the terminal I could see Pascal Paoli over the other side, Mega Smeralda ahead of me, and Moby Corse carefully coming astern into the port.

Moby Corse getting nearer

MEGA SMERALDA arrived and once her passengers and cars had disembarked we could get on board. Her distinctive golden hull is very noticeable and I like travelling on these Corsica-Sardinia Ferries; they seem well designed and appealing on board, and I do like the departure and arrival music at every port: The Thieving Magpie overture by Rossini. It always lifts my spirits, as if they weren't already lifted!

Mega Smeralda Reception area

This ship was built in 1985 at 34,694 gross tons, and has always been popular. We left Bastia on time at 8.30 and were so glad that it had been a far less stressful morning than it could have been, with a later arrival. This is our fifth ship of the trip so far, and having left Bastia we are now sailing for Livorno, on the Italian mainland, and due to arrive at 12.45. The sea was as calm as a millpond and sparkling under the hot sun as we headed out from the port.

Deck plan around a pillar

Dancing Palace lounge

Signs on board

Breakfast time

Breakfast in one of the eating areas was most satisfactory especially after getting up so early, and then we could explore some of the passenger facilities on this ship. I had packed my swimming costume in my rucksack to come on holiday, and this morning we all left our rucksacks safely locked into the baggage room near Reception once we came on board. We then discovered there was a swimming pool on the lowest inside deck, together with spa facilities! By then it was impossible to get at our rucksacks, so we could either hire compulsory shoes, swimsuit and bathing hat, or not swim. The hire costs made that decision for us, but at least we were able to see the facilities and remember what to do next time - ah well.

Looking out from the Panorama Bar

Panorama Bar

We visited the Dancing Palace, the double-height lounge bar at the bow, which looked good, various restaurants and cafes midships, and gradually made our way up top to the Panorama Bar, with its comfy seating and bar food. I noticed that one of the Bar drinks was called 'Peace and Love'; I also recognised the carpet pattern, which comes in various colours for use on the Corsica/Sardinia ferries. The views were lovely from this Panorama Bar too, and the air-conditioning most welcome. Outside the sea still glittered and the sun shone and the air was like silk.

I liked this piece of art work

Peace and Love drink

Familiar carpet

The ship's wake

The funnel and logo

Mega Smeralda on deck

Corsica Marina Seconda

Places to eat

Dancing Palace

Dancing Palace Bar

We approached Livorno, which still has those tall silos near the ferry terminal, and as we entered the harbour we could see a small sandy beach that had been created alongside one of the breakwaters, far out from the terminals. People were relaxing on the beach as well as swimming in the sea water. A new quay was under construction near where we berthed.

The little sandy beach

The new quayside under construction, and the beach way off in the distance

Mega Smeralda life ring

We were alongside at 12.30 and soon disembarked as footies with the musical sounds of The Thieving Magpie echoing in our ears. The heat and humidity hit us immediately as we made our way across to the terminal building where hire-car keys were to be collected. One of my friends is to drive us south from here in Livorno to Piombino, where another part of our adventure is to start, involving several more ships to sail on today.

Ships seen: Mega Smeralda, Moby Corse, Mega Express Two, Pascal Paoli, La Suprema in the distance passing Bastia or it might have been La Superba in her old livery still, Corsica Marina Seconda, Puglia in Livorno

To be continued...