We arrived at Savona at 8:00 and as soon as clearance had been given disembarkation was well underway.
We vacated our cabin at 8:30 and dropped our hand luggage off for storage because we were not disembarking until 10:45.
Breakfast followed in the dining room where we hung it out for as long as we could. To kill time before our disembarkation slot we took in several laps of the open decks to get some fresh air. The weather being completely different today with light showers and lots of thick cloud.
There were 3 Costa ships in port today and we were joined by Magica and Diadema, this resulted in shared buses to get us to Malpensa Airport. The consequence of this was that it provided us with the only bit of Costa confusion we have experienced this cruise, two buses were being used to ferry those requiring the transfer and there ended up being a trade off with various passengers to achieve the right number on each coach. You couldn’t make it up!
We eventually arrived at the airport around 2:15 but had to wait until 3:40 to drop our bags off. Once through security it was just a case of killing time before our flight. Costa transfers and travel arrangements leave a lot to be desired.
This short cruise has reminded us of some of reasons we like cruising with Costa. They are not everyone’s cup of tea but ignoring all the negative feedback they receive, some things they do really well if not better than others.
Our cruise virgins, once over the chaotic first day have really enjoyed it since. Whether or not they go on to cruise again remains to be seen.
We arrived at the port of Marseille shortly before 8:30 and the docking process was completed while we ate our breakfast in the dinning room. With no major plans for today we opted to simply take the ships shuttle into town. Tickets cost €10.95 each with the buses running every 35 minutes. We left the ship at just after 10:00 and were lucky enough to find a shuttle just about to leave. 20 minutes later we were dropped close to Viuex Port and proceeded to go for a wander around the waters edge.
50 cents for the ferry back was a no brainer. We then bought tickets (€8 each) for Le Petite Train which took us on a circular route up to the Notre Dame de la garde. The queue for tickets was long enough to put most off but it did move really quickly, we had around a 30 minute stop for the obligatory photos at the highest point before taking another train back to the start.
The interior of the basilica was quite impressive too
Back at the bottom we stopped at one of the many cafés for a bite to eat and a drink. It was then back to the shuttle stop for the journey back to the ship.
Drinks in the atrium before heading back to the cabin to put our feet up.
Another really nice day and we have just become accustomed to being onboard ship again and sadly we have to get off tomorrow.
After a reasonable nights sleep we all met up again this morning for breakfast in the dinning room. I have to say I was very surprised at how busy it was but fortune was on our side as we managed to secure a really great table looking out over the ships wake.
As we were not due in at Barcelona until 1:00 we spent the morning wandering around the ship with odd the partial stop to savour the liquids on offer.
The rest of our day went like this, taxi to Sagrada Familia (€16), followed by a quick circuit of the outside to kill a bit of time until our 3:00 entry slot. We had pre-booked tickets some weeks ago to secure the time we wanted.
The ticket we purchased included an audio-guide and also the chance to go up one of the towers, we had the choice of 2 and opted for the older one, the Nativity Tower. Quite an experience going up in a lift then walking back down the spiral staircase. The last bit providing some amazing views of Barcelona and some very unique pictures.
The Cathedral itself is simply breathtaking and with the sunlight shining through the windows it was an amazing place to visit. The attention to detail is simply off the scale and to think Gaudi’s plans were all drawn in 2D and on paper. An absolute genius!!!
The many columns inside are said to give you the impression you are in a forest with the branches extending at the top to provide support for the towers. So clever and beyond most people’s imagination.
The website suggested a visit should take 2-2½ hours and I would say that is pretty much spot on. The audio-guide was certainly worth the money with lots of facts provided as you walk round a numbered route.
With the visit over it was a short walk to the taxi rank for a ride back to the ship.
A couple of drinks in the atrium before going back to the cabin for a shower and a change of clothes in preparation for our evening meal. We aren’t used to eating as early and it does tend to make things a bit of a rush at a time when we would usually be taking it a little easier.
Food and service was equally as good as the previous night and the rest of the evening was rounded off in one of the bars.
We were up early this morning but thankfully nowhere near as early as we would have been had we not stopped at the airport. After checking out of the Sofitel at 4:45 we made the short walk over the bridge to the South Terminal and promptly dropped off the cases. This morning’s 7:00 flight left a little behind schedule departing from Gatwick 20 minutes late. Flying over the Alps provided some spectacular scenery en-route.
We arrived at Milan’s Malpensa Airport at 9:43 local time and were soon through security and baggage claim. I had anticipated that we would have been met by a Costa rep in arrivals and when we weren’t we consulted our paperwork we found ourselves having to wait 1½ hours for our transfer to the port of Savona. I can think of many lovely places to spend 1½ hours and Malpensa airport certainly isn’t on the list. Irrespective of that our 16 seater bus arrived on time with 9 others already onboard and we soon on our way to Savona. We arrived at the port at around 2:30 and had a very short wait to get onboard. There are not many Brits onboard (only 7 boarded today and we were 5 of those) and it seems to be predominantly Italians which doesn’t bother us too much, in fact we would rather have it that way.
We have met our cabin steward who goes by the name Made, pronounced Maddie.
Muster was at 4:00 and conducted in only Italian and English. Then on we were free to enjoy a spot of imbibing. Our dinner time had been originally booked for 2nd sitting at 9:00 but the card in the cabin said otherwise and because there was nothing to eat when we boarded and a limited evening buffet on Costa, for tonight we decided 6:15 would suit us best. The plan being to change it to the later sitting for the other nights. However good service and a nicely positioned table have persuaded us to leave it as it is.
The remainder of the evening we just wandered around the ship exploring and making sure our drinks package is being fully utilized.
Last year we spent 3 nights in Iceland with friends and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience, as a result we all agreed it ought to be an annual event with the idea being to visit a different place each year. However, what I didn’t expect then was for the following year to get them all on a ship. None of the others in our little group had ever set foot on a cruise ship but it hadn’t gone unnoticed that in the past there had been the odd curious cruise related question that had cropped during conversation, so when I spotted an very nice offer for a 3 night cruise around the time of year we planned to go, I quickly sent a WhatsApp message to our group to see if I could tempt them. It was a resounding yes from all so I instantly set the wheels in motion before they had a chance to change their minds.
The cruise is just 3 nights and aboard Costa Mediterranea, it starts and finishes in Savona and visits Barcelona & Marseille. Its a nice little itinerary and should just be enough to wet the appetite of our friends.
The ship itself, the Mediterranea is the sister of Atlantica which is a Costa ship which we have previously sailed on and I recall how we were really impressed with its design. So we will keen to familiarise ourselves with the layout along with the Costa experience being as we haven’t sailed Costa since 2015. I have been reading about many changes, not all positive so it will be interesting to compare then and now.
|Wednesday, October 24, 2018
|Thursday, October 25, 2018
|Friday, October 26, 2018
|Saturday, October 27, 2018
Cabin selection was a simple case of finding three balconies all in a row and luckily we managed to get them on deck 7 and in a position we favour. Whether we will live to regret having everyone so close remains to be seen, but at least we will be on hand to chaperone the newbies.
Also included in our bundle was the ‘Brindiamo’ All Inclusive drinks package. This was very well received and I am more than certain it will be put to very good use by all.
All flights and transfers are part of the package and for this trip, both the flights will be with Easyjet. To simplify matters with regard to getting everyone to Gatwick for our early departure, we all booked ourselves into the Gatwick Sofitel and combined it with parking. After it worked so well for us in June it was a no-brainer to go for it again this time. It takes so much pressure off you and eliminates the need to leave home at a ridiculous hour of the morning.
I anticipate the next few days will be full on but I will try and squeeze in what I can, when I can.