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Everything posted by At7Seas

  1. You are welcome. I never sailed on the Smeralda, but on all Costa ships I sailed with there is a library with computers. But I don’t know whether this is still so on the two newest ships, because more and more people bring their own laptop and many more just use their mobiles for using the internet.
  2. Costa provides generally have two kinds of sockets, European multi plug fitting 220 V (types C, E, F and L, British type G and Swiss type J doesn't match) and those fitting US types A and B 110 V, both 60 Hz. All cabins are equipped like this, throughout the ships you can find mostly the European type.
  3. Day 15, at sea Short before 13:00 we reached half distance on our trip through the Atlantic Ocean between Tenerife and Barbados. Living through slow and pleasant days. Only problem aboard is a respiratory infection is going around. More people are wearing masks now than during the first days. Two of my evening table mates already got sick. One who is better now and came out of her cabin told me that her husband saw the doctor and he made directly a covid test - negative.
  4. Look, what I "believe". In Europe we don't regard that as clean, if you are happy with this it is definitely not my problem. And as you can read above, I contacted the head office and they decided to ignore me.
  5. Day 14, at sea Time to relax, to read, to visit the theatre and to eat (yes, indeed, too much). We crossed the Tropic of Cancer. Costa made a party out of this occasion. It was exactly the turn of my deck to queue during that for collection of visa. From far I saw some fancy costumes and when I was ready and went down a deck it was over - so no report about that. We will pass the Tropic of Cancer on three more occasions, the Tropic of Capricorn twice and the Equator twice as well.
  6. Well, I agree in this single point. MSC is a Swiss company, so it is European. At least in the geographical sense of the continent, but not in the sense of the European Union (Switzerland is not a member) and despite their obligations regarding the cruises sold through their EU based branches and representations they are breaching EU customer protection laws. MSC ignores court orders and excuse this as not being EU-European. In questions of doubt they obviously prefer paying a fine instead of effectively changing. After the service charge was declared illegal they didn‘t stop illegal behaviour, but changed the name to hotel charge and the only difference is that you can’t cancel it any more for their unacceptable “service”. But the question should be: is the food European? Definitely not, I am eating European food most of my life and that is definitely not European! Service level? Well, I personally regard the behaviour of service personal in the US often as submissive instead of being polite, so we might have different expectations. What you have on MSC, however, is below all expectations, in European tourist traps you might find a similarly turning staff against guests, but this doesn‘t make it normal. Cleanliness? I think if they would be a hotel ashore they would have been closed since long, flag state Panama might not care (only their newer vessels sail under the flag of Malta). Maintenance? I‘ve seen better in third world countries. Also blaming the guest for all and every mistake made by MSC is not a European habit. Yes, geographically MSC is European, but their product is below all European standards. But if you like that go with them. I did one MSC cruise earlier and it was far from being a success. But last year I wanted to go by ship back home, because sitting ten hours in a narrow spot as a seat in a plane is nothing I am made for. And a repositioning cruise is generally cheaper than business class flights and on a real cruise line much more pleasant. I went for the route along the islands in the Indian Ocean and the choice was reduced to two MSC ships. I generally go for the itinerary, if the same is offered by more than one lines I go first for the one I like more and in second for the price. The lesser the differences are between the lines the more important is the price. Well, since I sailed MSC before I was prepared to sail on a primitive ferry and still was disappointed despite my low expectations. I have no proof regarding food poisoning, so I am choosing my words very carefully. After a couple of sea days the entire table eat mussels as only common course and the entire table had serious stomach problems, while recovery was too fast for a virus. I leave the conclusions what happened to you. 2023 on MSC Sinfonia, luckily never before or thereafter on any other ship. Indeed, I didn’t go to bed hungry. Mainly because I ordered often enough after I returned main courses additionally a cheese plate - or two. I can imagine why MSC introduces now a fee for serving an additional main course! What a genial source of extra income, serve such bad food that people return and order something else and make them pay for the other course! And people take that! Everybody tells about misses regarding MSC. So did you. Mine happened on daily basis. And while I am forgivable if people do their best to solve a problem they caused this never happened on MSC. Right now I am on my own world cruise, it’s day 14 to be exact, Carnival owned line and I had no bad meal at all, some courses were good, more better than just good and the really delicious ones outnumbered the simply good ones. European or more exactly Mediterranean kitchen by the way. I just skip meals or courses, because otherwise I would eat too much. Worst things that happened aboard were mistakes in translations of the menus and once I got the plate of a table-mate. No serious problems of course. And I definitely don‘t pay more than on MSC, let alone the lines you mentioned. What I didn‘t find, experience or did during my current cruise: returning any course as uneatable finding dirty plates I am expected to eat from asking a waiter for clean cutlery or glasses being served prawns undeveined and literally being expected to eat prawn sh*t taking pictures of mould in my bathroom or of other dirty spots being lied at about services and procedures being cheated by getting a cheaper glass of wine than I ordered experienced rude staff being ignored by staff completely or just not being serviced within acceptable time. All this happened last year on MSC. This should be enough for the moment. On my last MSC cruise all this was normal and I simply refuse to get used to that although fellow travellers on the Sinfonia accepted all this with the ever-repeated argument “MSC is cheap”. Now I quote in full the answer after I sent my complaints to the MSC head office in Geneva: “” And yes, MSC is still one of the biggest - if not the biggest - container line world-wide. Their cruise ships are a tiny fraction of their business. And again yes, containers are easier to handle than passengers, they don’t eat, they don’t complain about dirt or a neglected ship or incompetent and rude staff. The company simply does not understand the difference between passengers and containers. Just as the lady said I quoted above, I am no container and don’t want to be treated like one.
  7. Day 13, at sea Again a day with 25 hours, no land around and still so a busy day. I don’t know how the time went by. A lecture about the Atlantic Ocean, too much for lunch, watching under one of the giant parasols rain and waves, preparing for a gala evening, going to the theatre and leaving table again pretty late. Well, gala. All dress codes on Costa are officially suggestions, but obviously some took the occasion to protest the concept of a formal evening with jogging suit, worn out T-shirts and similar. Old fashioned formal and high end chic was definitely in minority. In the same time the theatre was completely overcrowded. I came a bit early as usual, just to get a good seat, normally people arrive a few minutes before the show and everybody easily gets a seat. But the captain was saying a few words and perhaps more important a Prosecco was offered for free. I never before had such a bad seat, people came very early and some left again before the show started. I would have never imagined that people on a world cruise would be so cheap.
  8. My comment to BVILady led to irritations. So for the entire world: I didn’t want her to leave this report, I just greeted her and explained to everybody else reading, why I didn’t welcome her aboard as I did with others before. Because we welcomed each other already aboard of the ship when we met in person. My excuses for not intended irritations!
  9. Hi again, I just don‘t welcome you here, because we already met in real life aboard the Deliziosa. My comment about the pool bar being closed early is in comparation to other Costa cruises. There it is a very lively place and open much longer. People moving to their cabins after the second show or with other words still before 10 pm is the exception there. Might be caused by demographics on the ship.
  10. I personally don‘t regard MSC as blue print for what Costa does. I was really confused to change Aqaba against Jeddah in an earlier step, Aqaba is far away from Gaza and Jordan definitely and simply out of own interest no state on the side of extremists. And whether the people in Saudi Arabia would welcome a Swiss ship better than the people in Jordan I wouldn‘t expect. And we shouldn‘t forget that a MSC vessel had been attacked by the Huthi already, although it was one of their container ships. What Costa, Aida and all the other Carnival owned vessels do is much more interesting. Besides cancelling a repositioning cruise or a week circling around where ever is much easier than the part of a world cruise. The very most people I spoke to do the entire cruise from Europe to Europe. Technically we can‘t all been flewn home from India or Oman and the ship sails around Africa empty, while telling people not to come on a cancelled cruise is relative easily done. Regarding the people booked on the Toscana I understand the concerns, just would like to add that Costa and all the other cruise lines have to minimise risks. As I wrote before, I am sure that Costa works on plan B. To hear about it we probably need to wait to the point this definitely will be realised. For us until Singapore there is no reason for any changes and from there the ship earlier or later will need to take another route if not going through the Red Sea. Since no change was decided about before sailing away I personally regard it as a good idea not to announce things early, people should not be too concerned. Again, for the Toscana sailing timing is a bit different.
  11. Day 12, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain) “A Jeep Tour Of The North Of The Island” was the name of the Costa excursion I took. True, except it wasn’t a Jeep, but a Land Rover. After leaving port and city we went upwards to the laurel tree woodland. A very archaic type of forrest, which is said having covered most of Europe before the last ice age. Today only a few are left, one exactly here. We went through the spectacular landscape of the Anaga Mountains and stopped at many incredible viewpoints. Advantage of seven-seaters above a bus is not only reaching these places, but mainly easier stopping and getting off. We drove through the most remote village in the very North, Taganana. Next to the village there is a small black beach that serves as surfer paradise. From here we even went without the convertible top to San Andrés and thereafter back to the ship. Now we left our only Canary island on this cruise and leaving geographic Africa. We have started the transatlantic part of our voyage heading five days to the Americas, first to Barbados.
  12. Still day 11, at sea Just would like to share a few pictures of tonight’s great show "Venezia Innamorate" (Venice falls in love):
  13. Day 11, at sea The first long night on this cruise, time changed with an hour. A good thing having an extra hour to rest from time to time on this cruise. Compared to other Costa cruises this ship goes to bed quite early, the bars are getting empty rapidly after second dinner sitting. Yesterday evening I made as so often with warmer weather a walk over deck and discovered that the pool bar was already closed long before midnight. After breakfast this morning I went to the first lecture on this cruise: “The Islands of the Fortunate,” the Macaronesian islands. This expression the old Greek created is today used for all islands along the Southern European and Northern African coastline in the Atlantic Ocean. One of them, Tenerife, we will visit tomorrow. I applied for my Sri Lanka ETA, the 90 day window before arrival has opened today. So all visa are done, first Australia, later India and now I may visit Sri Lanka. I need to show this to the reception and thereafter I will go to the single party. No, @kremerlorraine, no video of me dancing…
  14. No information about the Red Sea yet. But many more cruise ships are scheduled to pass through before it will be our turn, including Costa Toscana and an AIDA vessel, which is essentially just a differently branded Costa ship as well. Even more from other Carnival owned companies. This will give an indication. It is so long to go and the situation can change on daily basis. Sure, there will be alternative plans be made, but I don‘t expect them to be announced any time soon. I not even heard anything about our stay in Ecuador and the nightly curfew last week introduced in the entire country for 60 days definitely will have an effect on our overnight there.
  15. Sorry, you don‘t want to see me dancing! I am bad with names, but the hotel director I had somewhere, Luca Melone. Something deep in me says about the cruise director Raffaele, but this could be very wrong as well. It might help, I have him in a picture:
  16. Day 10, Casablanca (Morocco) First I want to look back to yesterday evening. I went to the theatre and looked out of a window and saw the rock of Gibraltar in the twilight. Since 2017 I didn’t see it any more despite passing a couple of times, just it was always dark outside. This morning we arrived early in Morocco. There were excursions to royal cities far away, but I definitely don’t want to sit for seven or eight hours in a bus. I decided to visit Rabat nearby, but this excursion had been cancelled by lack of participants, while the very long tours took place. So I did the included tour within Casablanca. We are at the most Western part of the CEU time zone, so when we gathered in the bus at 8:15 it was still dark outside. During our stop at a central place next to city hall and the new opera daylight slowly came up. Next stop was the King Hassan II mosque. Yes, it is a very impressing building, but it is a place that has completely fallen out of place and time. Morocco is by no standards a rich country and hadn’t been in the 1990’s when it had been built. A few decades ago this place of worship far from all dimensions had been built with the most expensive materials and techniques, to make it more complicated partly into the sea. Elsewhere in medieval or renaissance times such places were built. Thereafter we went to a souq and stood in front of the royal palace, the latter is in use and not open for public. In the end we were brought into what was called a “traditional pharmacy”. Nothing traditional at all, we were cooped up in a small room and were told just to buy this, to buy that. Gibraltar Africa Opera house Mosque Room for ritual washings Souq Entrance gate to the royal palace
  17. Day 9, at sea Today was a very slow day to recover from the earlier ports. I slept too long for breakfast, had early dinner and during the afternoon I met one of the members from the cruise critic roll call and we talked the entire afternoon. Time flew. Let’s have today a closer look to entertainment. Every evening there is life music constantly in four bars. It is very easy to find a matching place for every taste and mood. I personally like the pianist a lot. But also the theatre offers a lot of different entertainment. Since Savona twice every evening, while before with little passengers aboard it was reduced to one daily show. We had great singers, a sound and light show and yesterday evening a flamenco group. Since singers don’t produce great pictures I have here a few from yesterday’s dance group:
  18. Check-in and luggage drop off opens two hours before departure and you don't go through customs during departure. Passort control at the border is very fast as long as your papers are in order, you didn't overstay or committed other illegal things.
  19. Day 8, Barcelona (Spain) Today we had the last boarding for guests that sail around the world. In the meanwhile I decided to visit a quarry. Famous Architect Antoni Gaudí had built for the family Milà a house, which consequently was named Casa Milà. The reaction of the people of the time was harsh and because they didn’t like the natural appearance of the stone facade they called it La Pedrera and this name is still in use, even by the museum housed in it today. La Pedrera means the quarry. But it is a quite modern one. In fact a construction from steel and concrete with the facade attached to instead of the in those times usual bearing outer walls. All the balconies and large windows couldn’t be built without. The dwellings are bright and have an unusual but also very practical design, Some ideas today considered as modern had been already realised in this building. The quarry was both, Gaudí’s last secular building and the last he finished. Thereafter he only worked on the Sagrada Familia, which is still not ready yet. There are plans that the church should be completed in 2026 - the 100th anniversary of his death. At half past three this afternoon we left not only Barcelona, but also our last European port before returning from the other side of the globe. We are sailing to our short visit to the African continent now.
  20. Day 7, Marseille (France métropolitaine) It was a sunny day with an ice cold mistral was blowing. And a very long day! I decided to take the excursion to Avignon and visit the pope’s palace. A massive complex with very huge halls, it is not only a coincidence that it is the largest palace in gothic style ever built. A surprise was the size of the quite small papal apartment, but it is nicely decorated. As difference to the Vatican the complex is not built more or less around a cathedral, actually there is not a single church in the palace, just a number of chapels is. During the free time I decided to dance on the bridge of Avignon. The medieval stone bridge once crossing the river Rhône was just below one kilometer long until the river decided to wash away most parts. Of the originally 27 arches only four are left, probably because of the chapel of a local saint being part of the bridge. Today it is a national monument and the remains are well preserved. When we were ready to leave for Marseille again the bus broke down. The back door did not close properly and the bus went in limp mode. All efforts on the spot remained not working and we had to wait for another coach - and the Deliziosa waited for us.
  21. Still day 6, Savona (Italy) Directly after I did my today’s post there was an announcement that everybody should come to deck 9 for a world cruise sail away party. I would have totally missed it, because I regarded the item in the Oggi a Bordo as one of the usual meetings for new guests. No, it was the official kick off for the world cruise. Even the CEO of Costa Crociere SpA Mario Zanetti came to wish us together with the captain - or since we are on an Italian ship comandante - and other officials a good cruise.
  22. Day 6, Savona (Italy) Today was a busy boarding and loading day. Savona is the main port of Costa and even the cruise terminal belongs to Costa. Right now the emergency drill for new guests is ongoing. In the morning I had taken the Costa excursion to Finalborgo and Noli, two villages towards the French border seen from Savona. These two couldn’t be more different. Finalborgo within the mountains, dominated by hilltop castles of a noble family and at a time nearly abandoned before tourists discovered the rugged mountains for sporting. The former sea republic Noli is situated directly on the sea. The former wealth can be seen in the family towers and some still rich architecture, although Noli lost its role in trade quite early when the ships became too big and the port too small.
  23. Carnival Cruise Line is not what I would consider, it is far from my style. But there are Carnival Corp & Plc owned lines I am comfortable with. Plural. Right now I am on Costa Deliziosa world cruise and regarding food the worst thing was a translation to beef rolls, which were flat. But these non-rolls had a really good taste of slow cooked beef, well spiced and perfectly tender. Simply delicious, although we joked at table that these were DIY rolls. I met a retired chef aboard and he said that he booked with Costa, because they simply have great food. Such a quality as the flat rolls I had on my last year 30-day MSC cruise from Cape Town to Venice ashore only, aboard MSC I had the worst food ever I had on a ship - including low standard ferry boats. Everybody I talked to on MSC was complaining and had as excuse the cheap price of MSC. And not only about food MSC scored as bad as possible, also regarding service, cleanliness and of course I myself caused everything what went wrong - including all lies of MSC against the pax. An Australian lady had the perfect statement I would like to quote (a bit jealous that it wasn‘t me who said): “I a no container and I don‘t like to be treated like one!“ Financially MSC is about as expensive as Costa is, but regarding quality the differences are enormous. Although my cruise just started last week I had no rude word from the staff, no bad meal, a very clean cabin and all promises are kept up to now. Not so on MSC. Compared to my last years cruise with MSC during the first week (and those that followed) it is gold compared to *****. At my table I have a couple that made terrible experiences with MSC last summer and I didn‘t say a single word before they told their story. JanR just told that there were a lot of misses regarding the food, but he was lucky enough that there were some for him acceptable alternatives. The last 10 years I returned exactly one course on Costa as inedible, on MSC it was one day in a week I did not! Might be that my expectations are higher than yours or these of JanR, for example I regard the pizza on MSC as not being food at all. Generally I am very easy to please. A clean cabin, friendly staff, good food on an itinerary I want to do is enough for me to consider a cruise. MSC offered in 2023 only one of these four, the itinerary. None of the others. Not enough for me! But if you are pleased by being cheap only it may be so.
  24. Day 5, Naples (Italy) Today a very short visit, we were only six hours in port and collected some guests. The terminal of Naples is directly in the city centre and regarding the short time available I decided to revisit the Archaeological Museum again, which hosts all the famous findings from Pompeii, Herculaneum and other larger and smaller sites around the Gulf of Naples. Since my last visit the place in front of the terminal changed and now I know what had been built there, a direct access to the metro station. This I used and took line 1 to the museum for incredible 1.30 €. I won’t tell a lot about the museum, but let the pictures talk: Royal Palace of Naples from the ship The Farnese Collection - A Faun The Farnese Collection - Emperor Augustus The Farnese Collection – Hercules Homer Party time or in the past Bacchanalia The Magna Graecia Collection - krater The Magna Graecia collection - mosaic floor The collection of frescoes - Theseus freeing Athenian boys from Minotaur’s Labyrinth House of the Faun in Pompeji - the faun himself House of the Faun in Pompeji - a mosaic (the much more famous Alexander mosaic was not shown, it is in restoration) Leaving Naples MSC was also in town A peaceful Vesuvius Passing the island of Ischia
  25. Right now I am on Costa Deliziosa. The internet connection has after changing to Skylink an IP address of Carnival Corp in Frankfurt a/M in Germany, formerly it used to be Italian provider TIM. If American phones reject apps with in app purchases from outside US /Canadian IP range the problem might still occur. Haven't met US travellers aboard yet who could confirm. Who hasn't these American "security" limits can use the Costa app with all benefits. While having the app is not a must aboard it makes life a bit easier. Menus are available without, bills can be collected at reception and the Oggi a Bordo (today aboard) is brought to your cabin in paper form anyway.
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