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Earlier this year when our future plans changed direction we thought that we should reassess any forthcoming trips that we had lined up. One of these trips was a 3 night cruise on the new Norwegian Escape which was sailing from Hamburg to Southampton in late October. We decided to book this trip following the two fantastic sailings we had taken from Rotterdam on NCL new builds (Epic & Breakaway). Even though it wasn’t exactly cheap, this 3 night cruise looked very tempting and being as we could get to Hamburg relatively cheaply using a Flybe flight from Southampton we thought it would be a fun trip to do and so we booked it. After our rethink and the fact that Flybe then cancelled their service to Hamburg we started to investigate alternative methods of getting to and from the various places en-route and it started to become obvious that the 3 nights were becoming more and more expensive and given the cruise was in late autumn and the weather doesn’t tend to be too good in that area at that time of year we decided to cancel and look for something else using the funds we had set aside, our  aim being to find something longer and warmer instead but not necessarily the same time of year.
My immediate thoughts turned to Costa with whom we have picked up some really good deals with in the past and thinking the eastern Mediterranean would be a good bet for somewhere warm I set out to see what was available. We had previously sailed on the Costa Atlantica and had really enjoyed the ships layout and noticed that her sister ship the Mediterranea was doing a 7 day cruise out of Trieste, this looked to be ideal but once again we found getting to Trieste was proving to be not as simple and straight forward as we wanted. Eventually we opted for a 7 night cruise around the same date on the Costa Deliziosa departing from Venice. Much easier to get to and as an added bonus we managed to get the flights using our Avios points so the cost has been kept to a minimal figure. The itinerary is as listed below and is not too dissimilar to our MSC Musica cruise in 2012 with the exceptions being that Piraeus and Katakolon are missing. What is more remarkable is that not only did we have the 2 additional ports on the Musica cruise but we actually had 12 additional hours in port (43 compared to 31). So this cruise is not so port intensive and like the Musica cruise there are some short stays at most if not all of the ports but being as this cruise is for warmth and relaxation then we are not too bothered by that, 7 nights on a cruise is the winner for us.

DATE LOCATION ARRIVAL DEPARTURE
Sunday, September 13, 2015 Venice, Italy 05:00 PM
Monday, September 14, 2015 Bari, Italy 02:00 PM 08:00 PM
Tuesday, September 15 , 2015 Corfu, Greece 09:00 AM 02:00PM
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 Mykonos, Greece 03:00 PM 11:00 PM
Thursday, September 17, 2015 Santorini, Greece 07:30 AM 02:30 PM
Friday, September 18, 2015 At Sea
Saturday, September 19, 2015 Dubrovnik, Croatia 08:00 AM 01:00 PM
Sunday, September 20, 2015 Venice, Italy 09:30 AM

Our cabin selection was relatively straight forward too, we have chosen a Premium balcony cabin on deck 7 towards the aft close to the elevator lobby and stairs. It is the first cabin on the rear hump section and will hopefully be able to provide views both backwards and forward. I’ll be impressed if the balcony is as big as the schematic below.

As you might of noticed from previous cruises, prior to sailing I always like to have a look to what other ships we may encounter at each of the ports as it gives a good idea how many other passengers are likely to be there at the same time as us. Below is a list of my findings for this cruise.

DATE LOCATION SHIPS IN PORT
Sunday, September 13, 2015 Venice, Italy River Countess
MSC Musica 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
MSC Magnifica 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Costa Deliziosa Depart: 5:00 PM
Monday, September 14, 2015 Bari, Italy MSC Musica 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Costa Deliziosa 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Tuesday, September 15 , 2015 Corfu, Greek Isles Sea Dream II
Costa Deliziosa 9:00 AM – 2:00:PM
Wednesday, September 16, 2015 Mykonos, Greece Costa Celebration 3:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Costa Deliziosa 3:00:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Thursday, September 17, 2015 Santorini, Greece Costa Deliziosa 7:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Costa Celebration 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Crystal Serenity 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Celebrity Reflection 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM (Tender)
Azamara Journey 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM (Tender)
Wind Star 8:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Friday, September 18, 2015 At Sea
Saturday, September 19, 2015 Dubrovnik, Croatia Costa Deliziosa 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Costa Celebration 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM
MSC Magnifica 11:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Sunday, September 20, 2015 Venice, Italy Oriana Arrive: 8:00 AM
Costa Deliziosa Arrive: 9:00 AM
Costa Celebration 12:00 PM – 11:59 PM
Island Princess Depart: 6:30 PM
River Countess
MSC Musica 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
MSC Magnifica 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM

And with 14 days before the sail date our cruise documents turned up from Cruise club UK in a bright eye catching little wallet featuring lots of the worlds landmarks on the front and back. Also inside were a couple of leaflets, one of which was offering up to 60% off shore excursions. There seem to be lots of company’s now cottoning onto the fact that people are fed up with the cruise lines overpriced tours and are looking to offer cheaper alternatives. I will say though part of my enjoyment is researching and booking direct myself.

Our cruise documents from Cruise Club UK

So I will finish this preamble by saying I just hope that the WiFi is good enough to be able to make a few posts throughout the week.

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Costa Deliziosa Postcard #1 - The journey to the ship

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