Costa Deliziosa: cruise travel diary “Towards the East”
After six long months without cruise ships there was an incredible feeling of enthusiasm not only for my personal return to cruising but also for the cruise ship companies. Costa Deliziosa is the first Costa Cruises ship to begin navigating again with a weekly itinerary in the Adriatic to discover the Italian port city of Trieste and others stops in Southern Italy.
Costa Deliziosa is an old acquaintance of mine, I have great memories from one of the ship’s first cruises in 2010. For this cruise, embarkation was in Trieste on a beautiful, sunny Sunday. The appointment for check-in made it possible to arrive to the terminal without waiting in any lines and to quickly complete the process to come on board. The swab test, required by the Safety Protocol laid out for the resumption of activity, takes about an hour to complete, after which we are finally on board! Taking in a breath of “ship air” is a great sensation for a cruise passenger who has been in abstinence for too long!
All the services are available and usable on board, even with the new regulations and health protocols to follow. From the cabin with a balcony there is a view of beautiful Trieste and the Bersaglieri pier, while at lunch we start getting used to the new multimedia menu. The emergency training exercise is quick and practical and now individual (instead of group) with open attendance hours.
The first day on board goes by too fast, between a desire for sun and relaxation and the unstoppable desire to rediscover every corner of the ship. The departure is thrilling, not only for the sun and magical climate of Triste, but also because it really encapsulates the feeling of returning to navigation on the sea. The poolside aperitif at sunset is a must, and you won’t want to ever take your eyes off the horizon.
The first port of call of the cruise is Bari, which is awaiting for us with a feeling of summer. Current regulations require that disembarking can only be done through organized excursions, to protect the safety of passengers by avoiding contact with the outside world as much as possible. This doesn’t stop you from seeing marvelous places with the convenience of well-organized excursions at trifling prices provided directly by Costa. We decide to head for Matera, a city that I had never before visited and that certainly did not disappoint! The city is a sort of nativity scene set between two hills, with magical little streets and houses that seem like something out of a movie. Upon our return on board we again enjoy relaxation, sun, cocktails and an evening in good company.
We don’t have far to go to reach the next stop: Brindisi. I don’t know this city, but I decided to postpone seeing it to instead choose the excursion for Ostuni. A brief trip brings us to this unique “white city” that we visit without feeling rushed. We can’t leave without buying some delicious local food products. Cruising is also synonymous with good cuisine and gastronomic discovery… and tonight we “explore” the Samsara Restaurant: excellent tagliatelle pasta and phenomenal desserts!
The third port of call of the cruise is Corigliano-Rossano on the Calabrian coast. Our excursion takes us first to discover the world of licorice at the Amarelli plant, followed by the center of Rosanno filled with art, tradition, and the beautiful Codex museum. And before we know it, it is already time to return on board. All the excursions are half-day in this new, temporarily format. But there is no time for boredom between the sun, pool, snacks at Muscadins, aperitif and the new special dinner at the Club Restaurant with a sublime fillet and a relaxing and elegant atmosphere.
The next day we arrive to the island of Sicily, in the beautiful bay of Syracuse. An unmissable occasion to visit the Island of Ortygia with the “walking tour” organized by the company. Walking through the city is thrilling, from the small side streets to the large squares and churches and the beautiful cathedral. We grab a quick coffee and a souvenir before we return on board. The afternoons pass by quickly: a leisurely lunch, the gym, the spa, a coffee in the lounge, and none of them are crowded and they always have very courteous staff. This night we go for pizza at Pizzeria Pummid’Oro accompanied, as if it wasn’t enough already, by the local treats of burratine and zizzona!
We love the life on board so much that, not without some hesitation, we decide to stay on board in Catania. The company offers fantastic itineraries to the city, Etna and Acireale… But even from the stern we can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the city. Photos, some videos, some reading and we are already at the second to last evening on board.
If it is great to be on board, it is even better to be on board during cruising… The last day of this cruise on board the Costa Deliziosa we spend sailing back up the Adriatic Sea towards Trieste. The weather is no longer as summery like we had in Sicily but that doesn’t stop us from taking a last dip in the pool and strolling along the interior and exterior decks. The sad moment of packing our bags arrives, but the satisfaction of having returned to cruising makes us think about the next time and the disembarkation is less of a let down.
I must say that, except for the free excursions no longer being possible which is of course understandable given the current conditions, all the other aspects of the cruise were completely intact and all the services on board were usable and convenient. A part of the Spa is still not able to open as well as the night club, but you can dance poolside, at the Gran Bar and at the Piano Bar. At the theater there are performances to attend and the entertainment team has new games and other forms of entertainment to offer. None of the precautions required by the Safety Protocol are invasive or limiting: let’s not forget that we have had more than six months to get used to wearing masks practically everywhere.
I highly recommend traveling and relaxing, enjoying the sea and that fantastic feeling of cruising on the sea: #cruisingagain!