There’s no thrill in easy sailing
when the skies are clear and blue,
there’s no joy in merely doing things which any one can do.
But there is some satisfaction that is mighty sweet to take,
when you reach a destination that you never thought you’d make.
Best things in life are free and as you stumble on some, grab and savor the moment like you’ll never have it again. An experience I’ll never forget happened on the eve of Christmas in 2007.
I had my best Christmas present when our friend invited me for a tour at the fancy cruise ship.
I know Caribbean Cruises can cost fortune but I got the best cruise deal of my life… or somewhat a cruise deal.
Lorena, a dear friend to my then boyfriend that time, asked for my help in getting her a Dubai Visit Visa. She wanted to spend Christmas with her husband and a perfect time to cruise together around United Arab Emirates.
She inquired about the process of applying a Visit Visa from UAE Embassy in Manila but it will take longer and she might missed the ship’s docking schedule in Dubai. Her husband is on board a cruise liner and has the privilege to have his family join him. During that month, Costa Europa will tour around the Arab Gulf which include a pit stop at Dubai, Fujairah and Oman, among the rest. Her worries faded when she learned I can assist her with her visa application and it will only take less than 2 weeks.
Making the story short, she arrived in Dubai in Dec. 23. She and her Italian husband invited me to visit them on the 24th.
Early morning, I took a cab going to Port Rashid in Bur Dubai. At the gate, the guard asked me where I’m headed and I just told them who I’m visiting and the ship name. Lorena’s husband already enlisted me as guest prior to my arrival.
I was really ecstatic to tour around and when I made my way on board Costa Europa it suddenly became a different world. Her husband welcomed and ushered me to his room where a very pregnant Lorena was just getting ready for breakfast. Her husband was recently promoted to an officer position. Lorena used to work in the same cruise line but decided to quit after their wedding.
Costa Europa was built in 1986 and was refurbished and transferred to the fleet of Costa Cruises in 2002. The interior is decorated in a classic Greek Mythology theme combined with the use of vivid colors which is evident all throughout the 12 decks ship.
We then headed to the buffet restaurant for a sumptuous breakfast. Oooh, I want to stay there for the rest of my life. Cruising with good food sounds perfect for an exquisite vacation or retirement perhaps.
I noticed too that most of the staff speaks Italian. Great, my Italian is limited only to Ti Amo.
After the luxurious feast, Lorena accompanied me to explore the rest of the grand ship. Her husband has to attend to his duty and just joined us every now and then.
Costa Europa reflects an air of Continental Europe and has 12 decks, 9 of which are accessible to passengers.
- Orion deck – main dining room
- Pegasus deck – staterooms and cabins.
- Perseus deck – excursion office, staterooms and cabins.
- Auriga deck – staterooms and cabins.
- Hercules deck – Atlante Theatre (lower level), Medusa Ball Room, Library & Internet Cafe, Delo & Ocean Bars, Argo Lounge, chapel, Shops, Card room, Games Arcade, Lerna Casino, Beauty Salon, Clubs & Disco, & Customer Service.
- Andromeda deck – Theatre (upper level), Buffet restaurant, Cabins, Sun Deck & Swimming Pool.
- Cassiopea deck – Bridge, Fitness Center, Cabins & Sun Deck.
- Sirens deck – A la carte and buffet restaurants, Sun deck, Swimming pool, Suites.
- Centaurus deck – Tennis Courts & Sun Deck.
We went to almost every corner of the ship. Lorena didn’t forget to introduce me to her former colleagues. There were some guests roaming around, some are headed to the restaurant while others prefer to bask in the sun’s glory at the pool area. Most guests are Asian.
We went to the theatre and played around at the stage. The light technicians were nice and even pointed the spotlight on us during our picture taking. The ship also boast a large collection of art pieces including a large painting at the hallway dating back to 17th century, old canon and Bronze Incense Burner from Ming Dynasty.
We also dropped by at the souvenir shop where I found those cute teddy bears. I wanted to adopt one but I was not prepared for the Euro currency. Promise to get them next time.
The Sun Deck and Swimming Pool Area is the place to be to meet gorgeous vacationers. People watching while getting a tan on those bikinis are so much fun. I bet those boys get the best of good life during a nude cruise. Yes, Costa Cruises have one, better check it out.
As much as I wanted to extend my stay and be on board for more than 3 hours, I need to go to work. :(
Funny yet annoying thing happened when I took a cab going to work and the driver mistaken me for being a rich guest at the cozy ship, and asked me to tip him big time. Whaaat???
I wish to be on board again on a real cruise soon.