It is 4:30 AM on the brand new Costa Deliziosa. I woke up wide awake…feeling guilty for neglecting CruiseSource.us by not writing a blog post in two days. I’ve been uploading photos to Flickr from Italy and the Costa Deliziosa. I swear, We have been constantly on the go and I have the pics and videos to prove it! Unfortunately haven’t had the time to get them all up on the internet. On these inaugural events, we try to experience the entire ship in a short period of time. Since this is our first time to Italy, we are also trying to experience as much of the destination as possible. So far we have toured Venice and Naples. This morning we will be exploring Florence and Pisa. What makes Costa different is that when get back on the ship, you feel like you are still in Italy. Most Americans have not heard of Costa, although in the last 9 months they have launched 3 brand new ships, the Pacifica, Luminousa, and now the Deliziosa. I’ve heard that this a record. The Deliziosa is a Joe Farcus designed vessel with lot of Marble, Wood, and a very sensual undertone. It is the Italian Premium FUN Ships. The size and layout of the ship is similar to the Carnival Spirit class of ships. This Italian Itinerary is an opportunity for as much of the country to get to see and visit the ship before she leaves for Dubai. The Deliziosa will be completing 7-night Middle Eastern runs roundtrip Dubai for several months and then she will settle in on a 7-night northern European Itinerary.
Back to bed for me, hopefully I can get an hour more of sleep before we disembark in Livorno.
Jess & Rich with Joe & Jean Farcus on the Costa Deliziosa
Sax Player in the Multi-Level Disco Bar
I met Ryan, one of my best friends through high school and college, at the Miami airport before heading over to the Celebrity Century. Ryan is a first-time cruiser. I’ve been on many cruises over the past few years, so I occasionally forget the awe of getting on a cruise ship for the first time. The Celebrity Century is a medium-sized vessel which is dwarfed in size when compared to the new massive cruise ships. But to the first-time cruiser, touring a ship for the first-time gets reactions like “Man this Awesome” or “I didn’t realize ships had all this”. It’s always refreshing to get the opportunity to see the cruise experience through a first-timers’ eyes.
Celebrity Century in Jamaica, 12.14.09
This is my first Celebrity Cruise Line experience and I had high expectations for the food and service as I’ve been told for years that Celebrity is noticeably different in those areas. We arrived to the Celebrity Century at 12:15 PM and we headed straight to the Buffet. At the lunch buffet, we found an excellent pasta bar where there are 20+ fresh ingredients to choose from. Even with high-expectations, I was really surprised by the quality of the buffet food. I noticed small differences like a nice cloth covering on the trays and the food at the buffet is protected better because all items are covered by more glass which keeps everything more sanitary. Throughout the entire cruise we did not run into lines at the buffet which is wonderful. And yes the ship was sold out.
Although the price of the Celebrity Century is selling for as low as $295 pp for 5-nights in January and December, Celebrity is not skimping on its product. Two examples of how they are not cutting back on the amenities are that they’re continuing to run the all-you-can-eat Sushi Bar every night and the Ice Cream bar during the day. Both are included for the price to get on the Celebrity Century and on some other lines come with an extra charge.
Conference at Sea
Not all fun and games. I am on the Celebrity Century to teach some Travel Leaders agents about Social Media. This is the 2nd conference at sea that I have been to in the last month. The value is unbeatable by land based conferences thanks to having everything included in one price. The Sea days are the perfect opportunity to have educational based sessions. The networking and relationship building is amazing at a Conference at Sea.
Blog Posts coming Soon:
Jamaica – Dunns River Falls & Cayoba Gardens
Grand Cayman – Stingray City & Snorkeling
Above and Beyond Service – Celebrity Century.
We had an ATV Ranch Tour scheduled at 7:30 AM. We had directions and needed to get a Taxi from the NCL Pride of America. I recommend getting a rental car in Kauai. A taxi ride roundtrip from the for the ATV tour is getting close to the cost of a rental car, plus there is so many other sites to see on your own that a rental car is a great option on Kauai.
It was a 15 minute scenic drive and our taxi driver was entertaining us by telling us how excited he was about the Hawaii vs. Boise State Football game that he had tickets to. I have it on video and will post it with the other Hawaii Cruise Videos.
When we got to the Ranch, we were trained on how to safely ride the ATVs. At first, Jess was a little nervous due to the fact that the ATV weighed 5x as much she does and that we were heading toward some challenging terrain. Travel Advice: If you book this excursion, bring older shoes on the trip with you because they will most likely get muddy!
We learned the history of the Ranch, all of the movies filmed on the ranch, and what type of animals we would find on the Ranch. When we reached the first steep hill on the ATVs, Mike and the guys gave us an excellent demonstration on how to properly go down the steep hills with obstacles in the trail.
One of several photo opps on the ATV Tour
We stopped for refreshments and a photo opportunity at one of the lookouts. Later we came to a river where Indiana Jones was filmed and swung on a rope swing on the same tree that Indy swung in the movie.
Swinging across river Just like Indiana Jone
The ATV tour lasted about 4 hours. The Helicopter Tour in Hilo of Volcanos and Waterfalls was an awesome experience especially since I’d never been in a Helicopter or seen an active Volcano. The Kauai Luau was a very entertaining show that is not to be missed. But the ATV Tour was my favorite because it got the adrenaline pumping. We were also in the middle of untouched nature with some of the most amazing views I have ever seen. It was an incredibly fun end to our Hawaii Cruise.
Travel Advice: Reserve this Excursion prior to going on your cruise, space is limited.
When we got back to the ship in Kona, I had received a Tweet from a twitter friend who fully recommended the Kauai Luau. Immediately after reading the Tweet, the bartender started telling us that the Luau in Kauai was not to be missed. I sometimes believe in things happen for a reason..so with the timiing of these two events we could not miss the Kauai Luau. So we went down to the shore excursion desk and bought 2 tickets to the Luau. By the way, you can go to the same exact Luau in a separate shuttle for $30 less per person if you book it ahead of time through Shoretrips.
As recommended by the bartender and on twitter, you can’t cruise Hawaii and not go to the Kauai Luau. It was cool to see the Discovery Channel at the Luau taping. I heard some in the crowd suggest that the performers were on their “A” game because of the Discovery Channel taping. I have watched videos of their performances for other cruises. They bring their “A” game every night. Many people that I talked to, especially families with kids and teenagers, this was their favorite excursion. The food is OK, the open bar is good(very important note: it shuts down when the show starts), and the show is excellent!
The Kauai ATV Ranch Tour that I will write about in my next post was our favorite excursion. But the Luau was a close second!
We did not have plans for Kona. We were lured in by the Beach Shack to go to Turtle Bay to snorkel with Sea Turtles and tropical fish. We paid $10 per person for shuttle to Turtle Bay and $10 for the Snorkel Gear. We were not the only people lured to Turtle by the heavy marketing by the pier. Turtle Bay was packed with people. We found a spot on the beach headed out to snorkel in the bay with hundreds of other people. We were not expecting to see much because of so many other snorkelers. To our surprise, there were tons of different kinds of fish. Jess cut her foot on the coral and had to head back in to get a bandaid. I continued snorkeling and found myself alone in about 2 ft. of water with a giant sea turtle. For ten minutes, it felt like the sea turtle and I were the only two in the bay. I was not paying attention and got washed up on to some coral. Luckily, I did not get cut and was able to make it back in without stepping on too much of the fragile coral.
We headed back after an a couple of hours to do some shopping in Kona. I am glad we made it to Turtle Bay because it would be a travesty to come to Hawaii and not go snorkeling once while there.
It is 6 PM on our last day of the cruise as I post this article. I have many more posts, videos, pics, reviews and advice coming from this trip. Make sure you subscribe to ensure you do not miss any of them!
After the Helicopter Tour, we were told that our cruise ship was within walking distance of Richardson Beach, a local Black Sand Beach. The volunteers in the Aloha Center at the pier advised that we rent bikes. The bike rental company was not there so we opted to take a taxi. 5 Miles, $13 later we arrived at Richardson Beach. Unfortunately, the beach was closed due to high waves and currents caused by the tropical storm. Instead of hopping in the taxi for a $26 roundtrip to nowhere, we decided to walk back.
We walked 5 miles, in the noon Hawaii Sun. It was a tough walk back. I do not recommend walking it. Some spots on the two lane road are very narrow. On the walk back we saw a giant sea turtle hiding in one of the Lagoons near the highway.
We did not get to see Richardson Beach because the lifeguards would not let us down there. We heard that it was a nice beach…and it is a $26 roundtrip taxi ride from the cruise ship.
Many more posts to come on our 7night Hawaii Cruise. Make sure you subscribe to CruiseSource.us so you do not miss any of the upcoming videos and advice.