Visiting the Mediterranean has been a lifelong dream, and I finally got the chance to sail aboard the Costa Fortuna, which sails out of Venice, Italy. It was one of my favorite experiences, from the ship- board activities to the incredible itinerary, which included Venice and Bari, Italy, Katacolon (Olympia) Greece, and the Greek islands of Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes, then Dubrovnik, Croatia and back to Venice.
Sailing aboard a Costa Cruise ship is an experience in itself, as it is Europe’s number one cruise line, offering an Italian-style experience, combining Mediterranean flair and Western comforts. The Fortuna has decor which reminds you of the beautiful, grand Italian steamships of days gone by. The passengers aboard the Fortuna during our cruise, were largely Italian, German, and French, with a minority of Spanish, Swiss and American. It was a wonderful opportunity to make new friends, and we did just that. Even though oftentimes we could not understand one another’s languages, we all understood a smile, a toast, good food, good music, and enjoyed sharing this awesome experience. There was a petite little Italian lady with whom I shared many special moments. I met her the first night at the dining hall, and she began speaking in rapid Italian, trying to tell me something that was obviously very important to her. Even though we could not understand one another, she never stopped trying, as she would attempt to carry on conversations with me every time we ran into each other, and she would end each encounter by kissing both of my cheeks. Her daily waves, smiles and loving interaction added so much to my experience, and I think of her often.
The shipboard activities were always entertaining, and included a nightly very sensual and very beautiful Tango competition, and the ever-present “Super Bingo”, which was announced several times a day, and always had a large crowd! Of course, the food was plentiful, day and night, with an array of delicious choices for every palate.
The itinerary was designed to please, and we dis-embarked at every port to experience the grandeur, beauty and incredible history of this part of the world. We started in Venice, Italy and fell in love with the Grand Canal, the beautiful palaces and churches, the lively squares, and shops and even enjoyed a pizza with an egg on top.
Bari and Sassi, Italy was a fabulous excursion. Sassi has 10,000 years of history, with cave dwellings and churches that have centuries-old wall murals. The cross scene in “The Passion of the Christ” was filmed here.
Katacolon, a Western port town of Greece on the Ionian Sea, was our doorway to Olympia, where the first Olympic games, dedicated to Zeus, were held. Many of the excavations and artifacts found here date back 4,000 years, and are both Greek and Roman.
Santorini, with the well-known blue-domed chapels, and immaculately clean white-washed walkways won my heart, with with its postcard beauty.
Cosmopolitan Mykonos, which boasts sandy beaches and a well-known nightlife, is a must-see Greek island.
Rhodes is full of amazing history and incredible beauty, and from there, we also visited the Acropolis above Lindos, and saw the historic and breathtaking Bay of St. Paul.
Each of these destinations has its own particular charm, and are all extraordinarily beautiful places about which I could go on and on. They are all destinations that I intend to visit again and again.
Dubrovnik, Croatia, the last of our stops and known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic” , was a remarkable destination, with rich cultural history, architecture, fabulous food and unique beauty.
I highly recommend Costa Cruise Line and this itinerary to anyone considering travel to this part of the world. Cruising is an economical way to visit multi-destinations in the Mediterranean, allowing you to determine which places to which you would like to return for a longer stay. Ciao!
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