Costa Favolosa

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Where I stayed
Camping Rialto

Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Sunday, April 29, 2012

We chose the cruise based on its itinerary - Vince & Bari (Italy), Katakolon (Greece), Izmir & Istanbul (Turkey) and back to Venice. On our waltz through Venice, a Canadian couple stopped us in St Marks Square and offered to take a family photo with our camera (we’ve met so many charming, helpful and friendly people). We mentioned our cruise and they started to laugh. It was then we realised that we’d booked a ‘Costa’ Cruise. Same as the one with all the media attention earlier in 2012, where the Captain allegedly ran aground showing off to his mates and girlfriend onshore. No wonder it was so cheap. 

Our Costa cruise was on the Favolosa, its newest ship (less than 12 months old) and was captained by Alfredo Romeo (sounded more like the ‘Love Boat’). Talk about fancy shmancy and lovely dovely. It was superb in every way. Our 5 course, silver service, evening meal was served to us nightly at the Duca D’Orleans Restaurant (complete with our own personal waiter ‘Ivano’). The first evening we met dinner companions, Melissa and her 19 year old daughter Marlie from Sydney. Bill complemented Marlie by saying she looked a lot like Megan Gale - which she did.  The next night Bill started by saying, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but ...Melissa you reminded me of ...the Sausage Lady”,  (Bill kissing that Blarney Stone was a waste of time) which was actually a complement as well, but it did take a bit of explaining.  Thankfully Melissa was a good sport about it. Ariel and Brandi-Chanel spent every spare moment on board hanging out with our new Aussie mates (great way to escape Mum and Dad). Each evening we’d exchange tails of our onshore excursions and days events.

Turkey, for us, was the highlight. Whilst at a bazaar in Izmir, we met a peddler who claimed to be John Travolta (he did look a bit like him). He wanted to take us to his shop around the corner and show us his “flying carpet”. We stupidly followed him, around many corners, to take a look. The silk carpets were stunning. One small carpet (1m x 1/2m) would take from 2-5 years to make by hand. As the weave is so small, young girls are hired to make them. We wondered how much of the 300 Euro these poor kids would be paid on the sale of a carpet.  Even though we’d said, “no”, more and more carpets were ‘flown’ in front of us until we had no alternative than to walk away (escape).

Unofficially there are 20 million inhabitants of Istanbul. It’s the only city in the world that sits on 2 continents, Europe and Asia. With a history of over 3000 years of flourishing commerce between East and West, the ancient monuments, mingled with the smoggy modern city trappings, made for a fascinating stop over. We were told that the core of public life is the Islamic Religion (supposedly one of the largest in the world). Indeed, we saw a Mosque at every corner, it seemed, but not as many hijabs as we would have expected. We took a hop on hop off bus across the Bridge over the Bosporus to Asia (to say we did) and back across the Bridge of Mohammed, stopping at a couple of Istanbul’s Mosques, before purchasing a backgammon board at a colourful bazaar.  It was a wasted tour for the girls. Brandi-Chanel fell asleep on Alo’s lap and Ariel along the back seat of the bus. Our party girls and their, on cruise, night life was catching up with them. They were taken back to the ship for their ‘kiddy winkle’ afternoon nap, while Bill and Alo went back for smoko and turkish tea, which were both pretty gross, but had to be ticked off.

Onboard, there was everything that we could have expected and so much more. Our room, for example, was cleaned 3 times a day, the food was never ending and the entertainment first class.  

Alo’s most embarrassing moment was when her poop was so enormous it wouldn’t flush and we had to call room service. We left for several hours and thankfully it had been rectum-fied (he he he) by the time we returned. Fascinating diner conversation, Bill delighted in letting Melissa and Marlie know of our situation. A few evenings later we discussed whether or not we were meant to tip the staff, when Melissa suggested perhaps we ought to consider tipping the plumber - har har.  

Europeans love to dress up, leaving Billy to feel extremely underdressed. One night he left the room in his dress shirt (the only one he owned), jeans (the only pair he owned) and thongs. He went straight back to the room and put on his joggers, but still felt like he ought to have jiggled his cup at the other guests, “money for the poor”. The other interesting dress code were the bathers. 99% of guests wore bikinis and budgie smugglers. Bill was waffling on that Alo should wear a bikini too. Alo said she’d wear one when Bill wore budgie smugglers. Alo then noticed the mother of two children that had the most extraordinary bum (Kylie Minogue eat your heart out), and said, “when my bum likes like hers, I’ll wear bikinis. Bill then diplomatically asked, “which bum?” Alo, “The one you can’t peal your eyes off.” Bill, “Well, it’s a bit heard when she keeps bending over in front of me.” Alo, “If I had a bum like that I’d bend over in front of you too.” We saw ‘Bum’ quite a lot after that. We never did speak to her. Bill was a bit frightened he wouldn’t be able to form his sentences. There were others like ‘Bum’, but on the whole, there was Mumma Luigi and her well endowed daughters letting it all, proudly, hang out.

Our objective of taking ‘a break’ from our previous hectic schedule did not eventuate. Rather than refreshed, we were now more exhausted than ever.  Having disembarked the ship on Sunday morning, 6 May 2012, we jumped in a cab that took us to ‘Berth’s’ door. We dumped our gear, changed into our PJ’s and slept the day away - aaahhhhh!!
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joderekononhome on

My god, what a way to spend another two weeks - saves taking the motorhome. So much for the cheap cruise when you had to spend the extra for the swimwear again.................

Did the caravan park near Venice have cabins on it and all the contiki and Busabout tours stop there? Probably the one I stopped at in 1998.

Thanks for sharing. Take care, safe driving - where to now??????

abbatravels on

Jo, We stayed at the Rialto Camping grounds, just outside Venice. Yes, they had all the tents and cabins set up for Contiki groups, but it was still early in the season so very quiet. Great for us. Bill was not impressed that we lost the bathers, even less impressed that he had to wait while we tried on bathers all over again - oops. One fella and three girls - it's a challenge.

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