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Live from Costa Deliziosa World Cruise 2024


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The countdown: seven days until leaving home, 15 days until boarding
 
Hello everybody,
 
I’d like to invite you to follow me virtually on this voyage around the globe.
 
Finally! When my early retirement approached I had the idea to start this new part of my life with a long cruise. After a covid-related failure I booked in June 2021 this cruise and wanted to go in January 2022. As so many cruises also this one didn’t take place because of the pandemic. I was offered to rebook for a cruise going around Africa and South America in 2023 or to circumvent the globe in 2024 on pretty much the same itinerary as planned for 2022. I decided to do the latter, because for me a world cruise does exactly this, going around the entire globe. The last months I spent a lot of time researching the ports, bought tickets and selected the - for me - best excursions. Before I’ll board the cruise I’ll stay a week in Venice to welcome the New Year. Jump aboard with me and feel free to ask questions.

 

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Happy travels, At7Seas! I will be following along, looks like a great itinerary.

 

Saturday, January 6 Trieste, Italy 5:00pm

Sunday, January 7 Dubrovnik, Croatia 1:00pm 8:00pm

Monday, January 8 At Sea

Tuesday, January 9 Catania, Sicily, Italy 7:00am 5:00pm

Wednesday, January 10 Naples, Italy 7:00am 1:00pm

Thursday, January 11 Savona, Italy 8:00am 6:00pm

Friday, January 12 Marseille, France 9:00am 6:00pm

Saturday, January 13 Barcelona, Spain 8:00am 2:00pm

Sunday, January 14 At Sea

Monday, January 15 Casablanca, Morocco 7:00am 10:00pm

Tuesday, January 16 At Sea

Wednesday, January 17 Santa Cruz, Tenerife, Canary Islands 7:00am 1:00pm

Thursday, January 18 At Sea

Friday, January 19 At Sea

Saturday, January 20 At Sea

Sunday, January 21 At Sea

Monday, January 22 At Sea

Tuesday, January 23 Barbados 8:00am 6:00pm

Wednesday, January 24 At Sea

Thursday, January 25 At Sea

Friday, January 26 Cartagena, Spain 7:00am 5:00pm

Saturday, January 27 Colon, Panama 10:00am 10:00pm

Sunday, January 28 Panama Canal (Full Transit) (Cruising)

Monday, January 29 At Sea

Tuesday, January 30 Manta, Ecuador 2:00pm

Wednesday, January 31 Manta, Ecuador 9:00pm

Thursday, February 1 At Sea

Friday, February 2 At Sea

Saturday, February 3 Lima (Callao), Peru 8:00am 8:00pm

Sunday, February 4 At Sea

Monday, February 5 Arica, Chile 9:00am 9:30pm

Tuesday, February 6 At Sea

Wednesday, February 7 At Sea

Thursday, February 8 Valparaiso, Chile 7:00am

Friday, February 9 Valparaiso, Chile 7:00pm

Saturday, February 10 At Sea

Sunday, February 11 At Sea

Monday, February 12 At Sea

Tuesday, February 13 At Sea

Wednesday, February 14 Easter Island, Chilean dependency 8:00am

Thursday, February 15 Easter Island, Chilean dependency 6:00pm

Friday, February 16 At Sea

Saturday, February 17 At Sea

Sunday, February 18 Pitcairn Island, UK Territory Noon 3:00pm

Monday, February 19 At Sea

Tuesday, February 20 At Sea

Wednesday, February 21 Papeete, Tahiti 7:00am 6:00pm

Thursday, February 22 Uturoa, Iles Sous le Vent 7:00am 4:00pm

Friday, February 23 At Sea

Saturday, February 24 At Sea

Sunday, February 25 At Sea

Monday, February 26 Apia, Samoa 10:00am 8:00pm

Tuesday, February 27 At Sea

Wednesday, February 28 Nuku'alofa, Tonga 8:00am 8:00pm

Thursday, February 29 At Sea

Friday, March 1 Suva, Fiji 8:00am 6:00pm

Saturday, March 2 At Sea

Sunday, March 3 Mystery Island, Vanuatu 9:00am 7:00pm

Monday, March 4 Lifou, New Caledonia 8:00am 6:00pm

Tuesday, March 5 Noumea, New Caledonia 10:00am 8:00pm

Wednesday, March 6 At Sea

Thursday, March 7 At Sea

Friday, March 8 At Sea

Saturday, March 9 Sydney, Australia 6:30am

Sunday, March 10 Sydney, Australia 6:00pm

Monday, March 11 At Sea

Tuesday, March 12 At Sea

Wednesday, March 13 Brisbane, Australia 7:00am 8:00pm

Thursday, March 14 At Sea

Friday, March 15 At Sea

Saturday, March 16 Cairns, Australia 7:00am 6:00pm

Sunday, March 17 At Sea

Monday, March 18 At Sea

Tuesday, March 19 Rabaul, Papua New Guinea 8:00am 4:00pm

Wednesday, March 20 At Sea

Thursday, March 21 At Sea

Friday, March 22 At Sea

Saturday, March 23 At Sea

Sunday, March 24 At Sea

Monday, March 25 Kobe, Japan 10:00am 9:00pm

Tuesday, March 26 At Sea

Wednesday, March 27 Nagasaki, Japan 8:00am 6:00pm

Thursday, March 28 Busan, South Korea 8:00am 6:00pm

Friday, March 29 At Sea

Saturday, March 30 At Sea

Sunday, March 31 Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan 8:00am 6:00pm

Monday, April 1 At Sea

Tuesday, April 2 Hong Kong 7:00am

Wednesday, April 3 Hong Kong 6:00pm

Thursday, April 4 At Sea

Friday, April 5 Chan May, Vietnam 8:00am 6:00pm

Saturday, April 6 At Sea

Sunday, April 7 Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Vietnam 8:00am 8:00pm

Monday, April 8 At Sea

Tuesday, April 9 Singapore 9:00am

Wednesday, April 10 Singapore 6:00pm

Thursday, April 11 Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Malaysia 8:00am 6:00pm

Friday, April 12 Penang, Malaysia 8:00am 2:00pm

Saturday, April 13 At Sea

Sunday, April 14 At Sea

Monday, April 15 Colombo, Sri Lanka 9:00am 7:00pm

Tuesday, April 16 At Sea

Wednesday, April 17 Goa (Mormugao), India 8:00am 6:00pm

Thursday, April 18 Bombay (Mumbai), India 9:00am

Friday, April 19 Bombay (Mumbai), India 6:00pm

Saturday, April 20 At Sea

Sunday, April 21 At Sea

Monday, April 22 Salalah, Oman 8:00am 11:59pm

Tuesday, April 23 At Sea

Wednesday, April 24 At Sea

Thursday, April 25 At Sea

Friday, April 26 At Sea

Saturday, April 27 Petra (Aqaba), Jordan 9:00am 11:00pm

Sunday, April 28 At Sea

Monday, April 29 At Sea

Tuesday, April 30 Limassol, Cyprus 8:00am 5:00pm

Wednesday, May 1 At Sea

Thursday, May 2 At Sea

Friday, May 3 Naples, Italy 10:00am 8:00pm

Saturday, May 4 At Sea

Sunday, May 5 Marseille, France 8:00am 6:00pm

Monday, May 6 Savona, Italy 8:00am 5:00pm

Tuesday, May 7 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 8:00am 6:00pm

Wednesday, May 8 At Sea

Thursday, May 9 Corfu, Greece 8:00am 6:00pm

Friday, May 10 Bari, Italy 7:00am 1:00pm

Saturday, May 11 Venice (Marghera), Italy 9:00am

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41 minutes ago, whogo said:

Happy travels, At7Seas! I will be following along, looks like a great itinerary.

 

Welcome whogo! Now I don’t need to put here the entire itinerary. It looks like you have the today valid one, we will see, whether adjustments will be necessary regarding the current situation in the Red Sea. Here is the official map of the cruise:
 
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Before starting in Venice was changed to Trieste, New Zealand was exchanged by a row of Pacific islands at the time when several cruise ships had been prohibited to sail in New Zealand’s waters and very recently San Antonio in Chile with neighbouring Valparaíso because of construction works in the port.

 

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You are lucky, I have not seen Valparaiso on a cruise itinerary for a few years, it is a much more interesting port than San Antonio.

 

I am looking forward to hearing about your ship, your fellow passengers, your crew, your dining, your ports, the weather... Everything.

 

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The countdown: six days until leaving home, 14 days until boarding
 
The Costa Deliziosa is the last Panmax ship in the fleet of Costa and by this fits as only into the old locks of the Panama Canal. With 1,130 cabins in these days no huge ship. Here are a few impressions from my last cruise on her:
 
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Yesterday I already mentioned my excursions. I won’t bore you giving every detail here and now, it is a really long list with 61 different items booked.
 
It is an itinerary that didn’t require a lot of visa from me. Australia I did as first. Since a while they offer a free type of e-visa for Western passports. I went through their questions and uploaded supporting documents as passport and the relevant part of the cruise booking. In no time I got both, the confirmation of my application and that they granted it. Arrival date is not relevant, but departure must be within one year after it had been granted.
 
India I did this week when application became possible and it had unexpected twists. They seriously want to know which countries I visited the last ten years, if I would leave out any country my immigration would be at risk. Well, I have 42 countries on that list. It became funny at the moment when I wanted to save the data and the form told that I am allowed to list a maximum of 20 countries only. After deleting all EU countries, Switzerland and Norway, where I as EU citizen may roam freely anyway, the number of countries was low enough. For the already visited places in India I just needed to look into the last application and add where I was the last time. The rest of the questions was answered easily. Processing time was a few hours. The one and five year visa may be applied for 120 days before arrival, the 30 day visa only 30 days before arrival. The 120 days window just opened on Tuesday. Since I need a new passport in 2025 anyway (or even after this cruise, it might be full) I decided to apply for the one year version. I already know that my next passport will be the version with the extra pages.
 
Remains Sri Lanka. The needed 48 h transit ETA I can’t do before boarding the Deliziosa, application is only possible within 90 days before arrival.
 
These are already all things I need beyond having a valid passport with enough free pages. Papua New Guinea, Oman and Jordan generally require visa, but have exemptions for cruise guests. Japan has a tourist tax, which will be deducted from my board account.
 
Vaccinations are not compulsory on this cruise, only Easter Island requires as today full covid vaccination or a test for going ashore. I had my full corona shots and last year another one against omicron. Yellow fever vaccination is not compulsory, but I am protected anyway. Either I needed so much before my six week overland in South Africa last winter that my protection level is very high, or the places visited are very safe.
 
I wish everybody happy holidays!

 

 

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The countdown: two days until leaving home, ten days until boarding
 
Last night Costa sent an email that web check-in opened. Of course my personal data I had entered into the system long before. I just had to confirm that I have currently no illness that prohibits boarding, that I am aware that I should have an large enough stock of medicines and should have travel insurance. Reading, one click, and the boarding pass was ready for download.
 
Others might have unpacked presents the last days - I’ve packed my suitcases. These have been collected this morning and I’ll see them back aboard. Costa has contracted the Italian company Bagexpress, which collects from all EU with the exception of a few outlying islands. So I only need to carry around the things I’ll need for the days before the Deliziosa will sail away. Starting in the deepest winter in the Northern hemisphere heading South to cross the equator and visiting Australia during the end of summer down under, just to turn back Northwards to be in Japan at the beginning of spring and returning again to the tropical seas simply requires clothing for all seasons. But I only needed to carry suitcases from my front door to the street and I booked transport for two bags with a maximum of 32 kg each. The price is despite the holiday surcharge acceptable, 79.64 € each, insurance that the bags arrive in time 8.50 €. Similar amounts I’ve paid already for an additional 23 kg suitcase on flights through Europe.

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On 12/26/2023 at 12:27 AM, kremerlorraine said:

Look forward to following your progress and also to joining you in Valparaiso on 8 February (staying on until Singapore).

 

We are currently on the Costa Pacifica in the Caribbean and having a great time.

 

Welcome aboard!

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The countdown: on my way to Venice, eight days until boarding
 
Venice is just 631 km away from my home - on the road. I already drove this on disembarkation days, but I won’t park my car in Venice until May next year. All other options are above 1,000 km, because I have to leave home exactly in the opposite direction and the first part is very time consuming. What started as a freezing morning became a very sunny day with quite moderate temperatures.
 
This morning I walked the few meters to the next bus stop and took the morning bus to the train station, where I changed to an Intercity train. Half a day travelling for the first 160 km. I left this train early to change to the Railjet Express, a Austrian train that brought me to Vienna. Alternatively I could have remained on the Intercity and go by local traffic to the airport and stay the night there to take an early morning flight. Bad enough there are no direct flights to Venice, so flying would take longer than travelling on the ground. Austrian railway company ÖBB offers with the Railjets one of the highest levels of comfort on European rails, so it is definitely the best choice to travel with ÖBB. Despite a lot of people were travelling today everything went surprisingly in time. In Vienna I had booked a room in one of the many hotels around to the central station. Nothing special, a very modern designed business hotel in a quite newly built area - Vienna had no central station at all until recently and the entire quarter around is new. My night in Vienna gave me the opportunity to make a nice evening walk through this beautiful city.
 
From Belvedere Park looking to the new part around the central station
 
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From the Christmas Market at Belvedere Castle
 
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Belvedere Castle
 
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Karlskirche (St. Charles Church)
 
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Operahouse
 
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Stephansdom (St. Steven Cathedral)
 
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Entrance of the Hofburg (former Imperial residence)
 
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Hofburg, Renaissance part
 
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Hofburg, modern part (early 20th century)
 
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Empress Maria Theresia
 
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The countdown: still on my way to Venice, seven days until boarding
 
Between Vienna and Venice there are three direct trains every day. I took Railjet 133 with the very suitable name Gondoliere. It departs short past noon. I had breakfast late and took the opportunity having another coffee at the first class lounge in Vienna main station, since I had to check out at 11 AM. Austrian railways ÖBB care very well for me, since I booked a first class ticket and reserved a business seat, the best quality - and for me very important largest leg space offered. And it includes all the little extras as lounge, welcome drink aboard and restaurant service at the seat. Today’s ticket was all together 71.60 € inclusive seat reservation, so it is not only a very comfortable, but also a very cheap way to travel. The first half hour the train went along the Eastern slopes of the Alps with pretty high speed and thereafter went up to the first mountain pass, the Semmering. Here the first alpine normal gauge adhesion railway ever was built from 1848 to 1853 - and it is still in use. No wonder it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The landscape makes it more part of the holiday than being part of moving from A to B. Since a couple of years a 27km long tunnel is being built under the pass to speed up this very slow section, but this will result in missing an unbelievable scenic pass. It is the first of three mountain passes the train had to take on its journey across the Alps, second was the Neumarkter Sattel, still in Austria, and third the Sella di Camporosso, short behind the border to Italy. After a natural disaster had destroyed the old railway along the Sella the passage today happens through a modern tunnel. Outside it was dark already, so I missed no views. When the train reached the North Italian plains it speeded up a lot again. Change of locomotive at the border is no longer needed, although Austria and Italy couldn’t have more different systems regarding electricity, breaks, communication and security. Just some staff was exchanged and the national systems were switched on and off, as one of the other collectors was lifted to the electric wires. The Gondoliere just left Pordenone, it’s still another hour to Venice Santa Lucia railway station, which is directly on the famous Canal Grande, on which also my hotel for the next week is situated.
 
The Gondoliere
 
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My spot
 
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Semmering
 
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Mur Valley
 
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Neumarkter Sattel
 
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Just a short note before I’ll go into town again. My hotel is in a 14th centuries palazzo, a wonderful old building with the atmosphere of long gone days. Since it is a historic palace and not built as hotel the rooms are relatively small, but very stylish as well. I’ve luckily a room on a quiet rio, as the small waterways are called in Venice, canal are actually only the three big ones. During breakfast in a magnificent salone on the piano nobile I enjoyed very much looking onto the busy Canal Grande, but I am afraid that a room on the Canal Grande could be not so good for sleeping undisturbed.
 
A lot of people have chosen Venice for their New Year holiday, the city is pretty packed. So I decided to stroll during the day through those areas of town that are a bit more in the hands of locals and indeed there are very nice quarters where I saw more people carried their last food purchases home than taking pictures crossing the one or other rio.
 
Hotel
 
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Hidden corners of Venice
 
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The countdown: five days in Venice until boarding
 
Buon Anno! Happy New Year!
 
What a difference! I was in Venice exactly two years ago, before my cancelled 2022 world cruise should have started. Those days I decided to keep my hotel reservation for 2021/22 just to get out for a couple of days. Venice was pretty empty, had a nearly depressing atmosphere and so much was closed. Even the weather played its part on New Years Eve two years ago:
 
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Yesterday Venice was fully alive, where I had my dinner in the area of Castello the restaurant refused everybody without reservation, although I made my own reservation for an in Italy unusual early eating time. The meal was simply delicious.
 
I had a reason to eat early. After dinner I walked to the Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto to watch Il Barbiere di Siviglia, performed as Chamber Opera moving around from hall to hall in a palazzo. Just as being guest of a noble family in the 18th century. No opera glasses needed, the artists performed only an arm's length away. Although reduced regarding the original set it was a high-class experience, completely unique in its own way of performance. Exceptional voices, which is definitely not the case with every performance in Venice. For who got interested: https://www.musicapalazzo.com/en/. Sorry, no photos permitted.
 
After the performance I wanted to return to the St Mark Basin for watching the fireworks performed above the water. Close to the Piazza S Marco everything was completely overcrowded, Police stopped everybody to enter the area. I decided to take a vaporetto (water bus) and to pass by the masses on the water. But also the vaporetto service was stopped. So I came into the New Year on the pontoon of a waterbus stop, as strange the place might be, but I was directly in the first line on the water and had an excellent view. Just the bar service was lousy! Many came onto the pontoon the last minutes before midnight. The newest party location in Venice, a bus stop…
 
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Venice has no quarters but sestieri - sixths - as the six parts of the historic centre of Venice are called consequentially. After I explored yesterday mainly Castello and San Marco I spent the day today in San Paolo, Santa Croce and some parts of Canareggio. Honestly, I can understand that Venice wants to reduce the massive influx of tourists. Today I tried to take a photo of one of the very few iron bridges, that has a very nice designed parapet. Useless to try when the design can’t be recognised by many legs disturbing the picture. The bridge is close to Piazzale Roma, where busses go to, the tram has its terminus there and the public parking garages are spread around. I waited ten minutes and this bridge was always crowded. Several huge groups followed their guides, many carried their suitcases in the opposite direction and even a huge group hand in hand singing loud something from united in disharmony. The first ones already vanished behind the next bridge when the last ones were still not visible. Many others came individually, no idea how many children in buggies were lifted across. When another guide started to explain things on this bridge I gave up and followed another path. If such a simple bridge is constantly crowded, how the entire town can handle such a mass of visitors?
 
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Hi from Austria, I like your travel documentation so far. 4 more days and we are heading south, very excited. We´re staying a night at the Excelsior across the street from the pier. I hope you keep the beautiiful pics coming. LG E.

 

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21 hours ago, chatfloaustria said:

Hi from Austria, I like your travel documentation so far. 4 more days and we are heading south, very excited. We´re staying a night at the Excelsior across the street from the pier. I hope you keep the beautiiful pics coming. LG E.

 

 

See you aboard! Please note, BVILady has a general roll call for this cruise as well: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2806805-costa-deliziosa-world-cruise-january-2024

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The countdown: four days in Venice until boarding
 
Today was a very cultural day around Piazza San Marco. I started the day in Basilica San Marco and went to the musea on the piazza later. Formally the Palazzo Ducale is also part of the ensemble, but I’ll do that later.
 
The cathedral of robbery would be a fitting name. The remains that are said to be those of the evangelist Marc had been robbed from Egypt, the four famous horses and many other things as columns from Constantinople, the style is a Byzantine copy anyway… All this made the church rich - and if you pay 20 € you may see all of it. At least if you buy directly from the diocese and not from resellers. I had an all-inclusive prepaid ticket that allowed me to queue up at the skip-the-line-line. But to be fair, this line was really much shorter than the line to the ticket office. Inside you are in a quite dark room and the little light that comes into is reflected from all the mostly golden mosaic pieces. I was quite a number of times inside through many years and remember times when entrance wasn’t charged for, but it is every time impressing again.
 
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At the very rear of one apsis the golden altar, which was used for selected occasions only, can be seen, of course against extra €€€ if you have no inclusive ticket. Really a masterpiece of different miniature techniques.  
 
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After having done the round through the cathedral I went upstairs into the museum, the next source of €€€. You may see the basilica from above, have the oldest remains of mosaics in display, some religious objects and of course the original horses that originally stood in the Hippodrome of Constantinople. Those on the facade today are replicas, just a few meters away. Exactly from that balcony with the horses you may enjoy the Piazza and the Piazzale. Piazza is the larger area surrounded by the Procuratie, the Piazza the small strip along the Palazzo Ducale to the lagoon.
 
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After I sat down somewhere for a drink and a snack I went into the musea at the Piazza. It is an all-in-one concept, so if you want to see the art collection Correr you also have the archaeological museum on your route, you have access to the Biblioteca Marciana and the imperial / royal apartment. The musea are located in the Procuratorie Nuove, which are built by Napoleon. Him followed the Austrian imperator as ruler over Venice until it became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
 
Just a bit of art from Roman times until the Venetian Republic
 
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In the monumental hall of the libery and regarding this is a world cruise one of the many globes and the world map by Fra Mauro (1457 – 59). If you want to orient yourself: South is at the top and the shape of the Mediterranean Sea is recognisable, just for our kind of map reading upside down.
 
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And living like the emperors and kings:
 
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The countdown: three days in Venice until boarding
 
Today I did again an intensive walk through town. I bought an app “Venice and it's Islands, 7 magical itineraries”, which offers an electronic map and information that pops up when arriving at some location - very most recorded speech, all in writing as well. Works quite well, although incidentally GPS signal gets lost in some narrow paths and passages under houses, but in such a case you see after a few meters that you are walking in the wrong direction. At the end of the day the sun came through.
 
Squero di San Trovaso, one of the last shipyards for gondolas
 
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Market boat
 
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Impressions
 
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San Giovanni in Bragora
 
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Arsenale
 
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From vaporetto line 1 back to the hotel
 
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The countdown: two days in Venice until boarding
 
After I posted my yesterday’s post I went out for a concert “Vivaldi and his time” by Interpreti Veniziani in the San Vidal Church https://www.interpretiveneziani.com/en/. An excellent performance! I had been in one of their concerts two years ago already and it was a good idea to visit them again. I only can let you participate with a few pictures I took from the vaporetto:

 

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This morning was not so interesting, I did some purchases in a large drug store to be ready for 18 weeks aboard of the Deliziosa.
 
The rest of the day was breakable: I went to the glass island of Murano. Besides enjoying the scenery of this little sister of Venice I went to the Glass Museum, on display some historical products made from glass
 
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At the end I visited a presentation how glass is made. Many producers offer such a presentation, but most are about five minutes at a small fee or free if you buy something. I knew that I won’t ship glass around the globe and decided to watch a longer demonstration, so I ended in the Glass Cathedral, indeed up to the conquest of Venice by Napoleon a church, that later was turned into a glass manufacture. During daytime you simply can visit individually, at night it is an event location as well https://www.santachiaramurano.com/. After a very short recorded introduction in Italian and English a carafe has been made, a swan hatched from glowing glass and a balloon from glass was made and inflated until it burst. The produced items all went back into the furnace anyway, since cooling them down takes many hours in another oven, although the glass was transparent when it had it has got it’s form it was still so hot that a piece of paper burnt after touching it. Yes, they also had glass for sale, but no pressure at all. The price was quite acceptable regarding what I saw elsewhere on display in Murano, a swan as made, about 25 cm in size, was priced at 20 €.

 

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Cannot wait to follow along!  How exciting and I am loving your adventure before THE adventure 🙂

Are you cruising alone?  I am a solo traveler but haven't done a solo cruise yet.  

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The countdown: last day in Venice, boarding tomorrow
 
As I mentioned earlier I skipped the Doge’s Palace when I did the other monuments at the Piazza San Marco and wrote I would do it later. Later was today. Last time I booked additionally the “Secret Itineraries” guided small group tour through parts of the palace that are not accessible during the usual visit and liked it a lot. Since a few months there is a second tour of this type, “The Doge’s Hidden Treasures” tour. Both are offered by the foundation of public musea of Venice https://palazzoducale.visitmuve.it/en/the-museum/layout-and-collections/layout-and-collections/. From the inner court we went one floor up, where a veranda is running along the two sides facing the Piazzale San Marco and the lagoon. This area was mostly private area of the Doge and only on special occasions the ruler and parts of the nobility stood between the pink columns near the basilica (all the others are white) to receive the homage of the people. Times changed and anybody on the piazzale took notice of us standing there. Through narrow corridors and stairs we passed the rooms of guards and finally arrived in the treasury room. Thereafter we went into the private apartment of the Doge and visited his private chapel and the connecting room to the senate, where the guided tour ended and I went onto the route of the general visit. Both took about 90 minutes each. After a little walk through the quarter San Marco I visited the Fortuny Museum in the palazzo the artist Mariano Fortuny changed into his home and atelier. There is not only his oeuvre in diverse techniques and styles in display, the entire artistic family is represented.
 
Doge’s Palace
 
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Inner court with the stairs of giants
 
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On the veranda
 
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Treasury
 
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Private chapel
 
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Antechamber to Senate
 
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Senate
 
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Chamber of the Great Council (= all nobility)
 
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From the Bridge of Sighs (through the stone carvings)...
 
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... to the prisons
 
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Fortuny museum
 
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1 hour ago, MAsquared said:

Cannot wait to follow along!  How exciting and I am loving your adventure before THE adventure 🙂

Are you cruising alone?  I am a solo traveler but haven't done a solo cruise yet.  

 

Well, you needn’t to wait long any more. Tomorrow I’ll report from the embarkation.
 
Yes. I’m sailing solo. Longest time yet was 34 days. Often I met very interesting people while cruising, but sometimes not. I am used to live alone, I’m widowed since long and I am always in very good company with myself.

 

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Allow me a few general words about Venice. It is definitely not a cheap city, but there are so many overpriced offers around I never saw elsewhere. You really should care about where you book. You pay a lot for using resellers, while it is not needed at all.
 
I found my hotel on a leading hotel booking website and looked up the hotel website as well. Directly booked I saved several hundred Euros for the same room at the same conditions. The same happened to me two years ago. That hotel wasn’t bad either, but the location is not so good and I am happy that I can jump tomorrow from the terrace of my hotel onto a water taxi. After my purchases I really don’t want to carry all my belongings over bridges and the hotel I lodged in 2021/22 does not have a private mooring. Besides I appreciate the location on a dead end (land side) and my room to the tiny Rio San Cassiano.
 
Water taxis are never cheap, but if you pay directly you save the enormous mark up resellers handle. I saw a single transport from the city centre to the airport offered for up to 259 €, directly booked with the taxi co-operative I paid 129 €. Taxis have fixed official rates, it doesn’t matter whether you get one at a stall, the hotel calls one for you or you book in advance. Both kinds of taxis, those on the road and on the water.
 
Also gondola rides are often offered at ridiculous prices. Also here a fix official price for all gondolas is set: for a standard tour it is 90 € at daytime, 110 € in the evening. Of course for the entire gondola, this means up to five persons. You can have a longer ride of course, the prices are simply recalculated based on the 30 / 35 minutes of a standard tour. There is a reason that these signs are placed at all gondola moorings through the city:
 
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Important about public transport is the fact that there are two companies offering vaporetti (waterbusses). Private Alilaguna is the only ones that go to the airport and very useful for this if you don’t want to take a water taxi, but their network in town is by far not as extended as the public ACTV, the public network has not only many more lines, but the frequency is much better as well. So day tickets with Alilaguna don’t pay out, day, multiple day or a week ticket from ACTV does! Despite sold on internet at higher rates the prices are as following: a single (tourist) ticket for the public vaporetti costs 9.50 €, a 24h ticket purchased on the spot is 25 €, for a week you pay 65 €. I bought my weekly ticket at discounted 60 € from the public tourist office https://www.veneziaunica.it/, because I ordered 30 days in advance (offer not always available).
 
Online tickets for the most important musea are available at the tourist office as well at original price, they also offer combined tickets. My museum pass will be still valid on return, it lasts six months and I have one night in Venice again before I’ll go back home. And no need to pay more for skip the line tickets, online tickets from the tourist office have a bar code and you take the skip the line entrance with them or simply go to the scanner instead of to the cashier.
 
Your stay in Venice can be much cheaper if you simply avoid resellers. The only extras I paid are the prepaid ticket for the basilica, the diocese handles a heavy 5 € surcharge compared to three single tickets on the spot for basilica, golden altar and museum, but you have to queue three times and the line outside is very long indeed. The MUVE museum foundation of Venice has a payment charge of 1 € for internet credit card payments (regardless the number of tickets you buy), the tourist office and the water taxi co-operation have no surcharges.

 

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The countdown: Boarding day!
Day 1, Trieste (Italy)
 
When I opened this morning my bathroom window after having a shower I heard heavy rain falling into the rio below. And the weather didn’t change at all during the day. After breakfast I went down to the reception, settled my bill and waited for my water taxi. Two minutes before the time a taxi turned around to the terrace of the hotel and yes, it was mine. A short part slowly through the city and then the speed went hard up in the lagoon. After 20 minutes I was already at the port of the airport. In the arrival area a couple of Costa employees stood to welcome guests. After being brought to one of the shuttle busses we drove through the rain to the port of Trieste (small reminder, originally the cruise should have started in Venice). In Trieste something unusual happened, we had to bring ourselves the suitcases from the bus to the terminal. Only 50 meters, but this shouldn’t be my task! Embarkation took long, the Australian visa needed to be scanned together with the passports and that took a lot of time, because the port had only scanning facility at one single point, where the staff queued up. Strange enough the Indian visa wasn’t asked for, but that I didn’t have the one for Sri Lanka yet (the 90 day window before arrival still is not open) resulted in signing a declaration that I couldn’t go ashore without. So the embarkation took long 1½ hours. Next bad surprise was that despite my earlier choice I got early dinner sitting. I may quote a former table mate: “early sitting is for families with babies and very old folks.” The lady who said so was 81 when we sailed together. After long searching the maitre asked me whether I could communicate in German. If so he could assign me a table in the late sitting. Problem solved. Piece by piece my suitcases arrived and held me busy. When the ship left the port it was still raining. But it feels so strange, being on a cruise around the globe! Somehow I still can’t believe it!
 
From the taxi
 
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Cabin
 
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First pilot boat
 
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Departure from Trieste
 
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Glad you are on your way.  I definitely would consider a Costa or MSC world cruise when I retire as I don't like the very "sea day" heavy options offered from Southampton ( P&O and Cunard).  REally keen to hear what the solo experience for a world cruise will be like. 

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