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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Travel - Pat Kelley

Cruising with an Italian flair
Rating: 3.05 / 5 (238 votes)  
Posted: 2006 Jul 28 - 03:00

Costa Cruise Lines has been sailing the seas of Europe for nearly 60 years. Today, they sail to 102 ports in 33 countries, including Bermuda and the Caribbean. Costa Cruise Lines is based in Italy, which makes them No. 1 in choosing itineraries and ports of call, which are exciting and interesting for their passengers. Their fleet consists of 10 luxurious ships.

Their ships are beautifully designed with European décor. The music, the sculptures, the paintings and the warm hospitality immediately give you the feeling of "amore." Whether it is your maitre d' preparing you a delightful pasta meal or flaming desert at your table, or the rose the ladies receive at dinner, or the soft music played throughout the lounges, your cruise will meet your highest expectation for romance. If you are a dancer, Costa offers the best dance music throughout the entire cruising community. I know, because I'm a dancer.

The European style spas, indoor pools, sauna and steam rooms are second to none. I remember spending an entire afternoon aboard the Victoria relaxing in the indoor pool and wondering why no one else had discovered this treasure.

One of my favorite Costa Cruises was aboard the Costa Riviera, now retired. The price was right and the itinerary fascinating. We arrived in Genoa, Italy, and were transferred to Savona to begin our cruise. Tired and weary from our long flight, we were met by the most energetic and hospitable crew members I have ever encountered on any of my cruises. I immediately forgot how tired I was and looked forward to the next 10 days.

The ship was older and smaller, but that didn't stop us from having a magnificent time. The entire ship glowed. We visited many ports. All the excursions were very well managed.

For many years, it was my dream to visit the great pyramids of Egypt, which was the highlight of this cruise. The pyramids were just as I had imagined. Expect to pay a price to have a photo shot on or near a camel. Bargain your price before taking the picture. We were scheduled to stop in Israel; however, there was much unrest in the country at that time. Cruise ships alter their itineraries whenever they feel a port of call becomes unsafe.

We were able to visit Cypress, which was a wonderful experience. Some of our other ports of call included Malta, Naples (Pompeii) and Palermo, Italy. We were offered a free hotel stay in Milan at the end of our cruise, which proved to be a wonderful experience.

I should have saved all my shopping for Milan. We shopped at the famous Galleria, where you can find beautiful Italian designer fashions in splendid display.

Experiencing Costa in the Caribbean offers many surprises. Special theme nights are available to enhance your cruising experience. The Mediterranean Night offers you a taste of foods from several countries. You might want to participate in the toga party. Costa provides the costume and it's fun, fun, fun. Bring your favorite tropical outfit for a wonderful night under the stars. There are welcoming parties, farewell parties, captain's parties, Italian cooking classes and more.

Costa in the Caribbean and Bermuda offers you several seven-day cruises at exceptionally reasonable prices. Families are welcome and children are free on many of their Caribbean cruises or sail at a minimal amount. Everyone pays taxes. Costa offers early booking discounts. Costa is the only cruise line that offers seven-day cruises to Bermuda from Fort Lauderdale. Vacationers spend two full days in Bermuda. Costa heard the plea from its American passengers in the Caribbean and no longer uses several languages for its announcements. However, when traveling to Europe, you will share the cultures of many from all over the globe. It will truly be an international experience.

Costa offers cruises throughout the Caribbean, eastern and western Mediterranean, northern Europe, South America and exciting transatlantic crossings. Costa's Old World charm follows its fleet throughout the world. Now that's cruising Italian style. Ciao.

Pat Kelley is owner of Port Orange Travel. She can be reached at (386) 788-3990 or by e-mail at Pat@portorangetravel.com.

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