Costa  Cruise blog
Day One,
May 5, 2012

Well so far the trip has gotten off to an uneventful start.  Our flight to JFK was on time. Since we had almost 8 hours to kill in
NYC we decided to take the sub way into Manhattan.  It was cinco de mayo  so we headed to one of out favorite restaurants  
Chevys.  We had blue agave margaritas. Our regular drink when we are there.  I don’t know why but they were exceptionally
good this time.

Back to JFK to board out 8+ flight to Rome.  Not much sleep to be had on this flight.  We were seated in the bulk head. Lots of
leg room but right next to the first class galley. There was banging and clanging going on all night.

Day two
May 6 2012.
We actually arrived in Rome a few minutes early. Luggage and customs in under 30 min. Amazing.  We boarded out shuttle to
the port city of Civitavecchia.  It is raining here today.  Boarding done very strange compared to other cruises.  No real check
in.  You have to show your ticket and passport 3 times.  You can settle you bill at the end or register your credit card.  The key
cards are already active in in your room.  The only thing that bothers me so far is that they took our passports. They will return
them on the last day of the cruise.????   The only way we could keep them is too have to personally meet with customs
clearance at every port.  Which means would always be delayed getting off the ship.

So far not sure of the ship itself it us a bit older than we are used too.  It is very clean and staff is very friendly.  We DID have a
life boat drill before leaving Rome.   We have the all inclusive package, and we have used it a few times already.  Lunch buffet
nothing special at all.

All the English shore excursions are sold out for Genoa tomorrow.  So depending on what time we can actually  get off the ship
and the weather we may wing it on the train.

Will keep you posted on that and how our first scheduled dinner time goes.  I do miss freestyle cruising!!!!!!!!   Way to go NCL….
They are calling for rough seas tonight.  
Monday May 7, 2012

Dinner last night was delayed so we ended up waiting 20 min just to get into the dinning room.  Monday  night Dinner was also
delayed as there was a long line and wait to enter the dinning room.  So as in the past I cannot under stand why people get so
upset when there may be a 5 min wait for a table on NCL free style program???!!!!

The Italian dishes are very good.  Other dishes are average and on par with other lines.  I do think NCL has more choices.

The seas have been very smooth so far.

We arrived Savona Italy early 8 am instead of 9.  This was great news because we got off the ship and went to the train station
and  were off to Genoa.  Genoa is a very beautiful city. It is a mix of old and modern.  It is clean and bright.  The Italian spoken there
is easy to understand compared (as it was in Milan) compared to the south.  The taxi driver back to the ship told me my Italian
was very good. J   We were able to cover everything that was offered by the tour, and much more.  We saved well over 100.00
doing it this way.  It also allowed us to mingle with the locals and have a wonderful lunch at a small restaurant.  The entire city is
built on the side of a hill. They have elevators that will take you up about 6-700 feet.  I am sure this is where Disney got the idea for
the tower of terror ride.  You get into this square box on a track.  It takes you back deep into the hill side.  They suddenly you
change directions and are taken up to the top of the hill in a solid rock elevator shaft.

I am enjoying the costa experience so far. It is different.  I am glad we purchased the all inclusive drink package.  I am trying to
keep a tally of what we are drinking to see if we come out ahead.  The coffee drinks really would have added up and last night we
killed a whole bottle of Italian wine with dinner.  The cheapest bottle on the menu was 23 Euro. So that alone covered more that
one of the all inclusive drink package.

We sailed away from Italy sipping on lemon cello.
Only a day and a half left on the cruise ship. Trying to catch up on some of the blogging. The weather has been spectacular.   
Sunny all the time.  I am so sunburned.    I have not been this sun burned in long time, Even with spf 30.… This was a good time
to sit in the shade and relax.

Because of the few English speaking guests many of the English tours have been cancelled.   In Tenerife at 95  I was all set to
go to the water  park but it was cancelled and we could not find any public transport.  So we spent most of the day on the ship
at that pool drinking.    The all inclusive drink package has sure come in handy.

Funchal Madeira Portugal is a spectacular Island.   It has more flowerers and flowering trees than Hawaii.  We spent the day
on the hop on hop off bus.  We took the cable car up to the top of the mountains to the tropical botanical gardens.   Later we
found out that we had seen and done more than any of the tours offered and for about 1/3 of the price.

Malaga Spain.  Since this is our third time here I spent the morning sleeping in, sitting watching the sea and drinking unlimited
cappuccino and express.  Chris did choose to take a walk on the beach but I wanted to stay out of the sun.

So would I do Costa again????   Yes but the itinerary would have to be spectacular as well as the price.   They defiantly do not
cater to  English speaking guests.  The bar service is beyond compare excellent!!!  Everything else is average.   The food is hit
and miss.  Not much variety, but must be willing to experiment. Of note osseobucco, pasta dishes, braised rabbit.   Prime rib?
The worse dish I have ever had on a cruise ship.   Our horse meat in France was better.  Back it went.   I have no Idea what cut
of meat it was at all.  Stringy prime Rib?   We ordered the Italian onion pie in its place   Was terrific.   The dining room is very
hot and they don’t really seam to care.  One eve I left with out eating as the sweat dripped off me.

Limited selections and times on the Buffet.   If not for all the alcohol chris may have actually lost weight on this cruise.

But the weather and destinations have made this an incredible journey.
Tuesday May 8, 2012
A day in Barcelona.  The weather today was wonderful in Spain today. Since we have been here a few times our main goal was to
have a great lunch.  We shared a cab into the heart of the city with a couple from Switzerland  and then spent most of the day
exploring the gothic quarter seeing many part that we had not seen in the past.
We then found our favorite Tapas restaurant Teller de tapas.   We had a large pitcher of sangria and a selection of local favorites
of tapas.  The grilled squid was exceptional.
Upon returning to the ship we had some much need sun time by the pool with margaritas.   For dinner we had a rather  unusual but
tasty entre, braised pork neck.  Very tasty…………….
We set our clocks back an hour tonight as we head toward the straight of Gibraltar and make out way to western Africa..

The visit to morocco  sure was a very interesting adventure.  There were only about 10 English speaking guests on the tour so  we
were forced to share a bus with about 40 Russians.

Upon arriving in Casablanca we had a short tour of the city including seeing the tallest mosque in the world.  We then started our
journey though the mountains, plains and Sahara desert to the ancient city of Marrakesh.  It was interesting to learn that Morocco
is one of the most conservative Arabic nations in the world. In fact, the majority of people are Berber and do not consider
themselves Arabic at all. They wear much more traditional attire than was seen in Egypt.

We toured the city with stops at an ancient university (with awesome architecture), the large mosque and the Kasbah.  WE had to
make the obligatory stop at the rug shop and a medicinal spice shop.  The spice shop was interesting but I could have done with
out the rugs.  We were held up there because many of the Russians were buying the 1800 rugs and having them shipped home.

We walked the tiny ally ways with the many shops with motor scooters almost running us down. All while dodging donkeys and
other assorted beasts.  We were taken to a traditional Moroccan restaurant for lunch.  Not only was there a belly dancer but also
a  women who danced and rolled on the floor with a light candelabra balanced on her head.
We eat a variety of traditional salads breads and wines.  The main dishes were chicken backed in a clay posts and roast  beef with
coiscuese and veggies.

We Then headed to the main square which is famous for it shops, acrobats, snake charmers and other various oddities.  If you
take a picture of any of these thinks you are expected to tip the performer.   I wanted a picture of the cobras and the snake
charmers.  Chris had most of the change so I asked him to tip the guy.  Little did I know that he told him that I wanted to dance with
the snakes….  The next thing I know is that there is a snake around my neck and they are shoving the snakes head into my hand
saying “ don’t let go or it bites”   They then dragged my over to this little stool and made me sit down.  Another snake around my
neck and into my other hand.   The music starts and the cobras are up and dancing in front of me.    I have to admit I had my eyes
closed more of the time.

After it was over I was shaking for a half hour.  I am so afraid of snakes.  I got back on the bus and scrubbed my hands and neck
with sanitizer.