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Live from Costa Smeralda, Savona, October 31- November 7, 2020


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Hallo everybody,


yesterday we started our cruise on Costa Smeralda!


For the ones that didn't follow our live from MSC Grandiosa (https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2759896-live-from-msc-grandiosa-genoa-september-6-13-2020/) just a little presentation. We are Italians and live in Italy, I'm in my middle 40s (the number in my screenname is no for accident:-)) and my fiance, Darko, in his 30s. This is our 22st cruise, 7th on Costa, other companies we cruised on are Princess, MSC, HAL, Carnival and NCL.


We are happy to share our experience and answer you questions.

Just a note: we have no Internet package, so we'll connect only when in port. Please be patience, as you probably know time flies when on a cruise, we'll write as soon as we can.


Our itinerary:

10/31 Savona dep. 7:00pm

11/1 La Spezia 7am-8pm

11/2 at sea

11/3 Cagliari 7am-3pm

11/4 Naples 9am-6pm

11/5 Messina 7am-2pm

11/6 Civitavecchia 9am-8pm

11/7 Savona arr. 9am


In every port people embark and debark.


As you might know in these pandemic times you can only get of the ship when booked on a Costa excursion. We booked on a couple of excursions this time, one in Cagliari and one in Messina.





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Let's start with embarkation procedure.

We had to do the check-in on line no more than 72 hours before departure, when you're asked to fill a survey about your health and whether you got in contact with the virus or lived with somebody who did, if we were quarantined for that and so on.

We arrived in port at 10am, the embarkation time we found on the ticket, and it reads that we would not be allowed in port if we presented earlier that that time.

At the entrance they checked for your given time and your temperature.

We then were seated in a waiting room next to the queue for entering the room where we would be tested for Covid19. This waiting time was messy: we sat for I'd say 15 minutes then we heard the hostess say something we didn't understand but saw everyone in front of us standing so we did the same, that meant we stand more or less in a queue until it finally was out time for the swab, only then we were given the usual embarkation number. We cannot yet understand why they don't give you a number as soon as you enter the terminal, it would help keeping order and distancing!

Since we already had a swab for boarding MSC Grandiosa we knew we had nothing to worry about. After that we check-in and were given the Ocean Orbit (the Costa “Medallion” if you have been on Princess lately). But on this ship is used for contact tracing only, we have the usual Costa card for everything else.

Eventually we boarded the ship at about 12:30pm.




A Halloween Welcome on board!



Some rules




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I’ll be following as I did for your MSC cruise which was a great thread. Looking forward to it and thanks for taking the time. This time next year we hope to be on our TA from Rome to Fort Lauderdale after we spend four great days in Rome. 


Edited by lienf
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As we all know and (mostly!?...) do even on shore, on board masks are required, and must be worn properly everywhere unless you are not seated on bars and restaurants, of course crew wears them as well.

Restaurants are seated service only on Smeralda, no buffet whatsoever, even a served one. “La Sagra dei Sapori Buffet” is open, and so far is the one with longest hours during the day, but it is seated service only, even if obviously the name and the layout (several different isles) show that it was different meant, one day...

At the entrance of restaurants you're asked to wash your hands, there are no normal sinks but the hand washer “car wash like”, we already found those kind of stuff on HAL Koningsdam. You insert your hands and they are washed with water and soap jets, we like that and find it convenient. There is a traditional restaurant open for lunch as well, for dinner we have an assigned traditional MDR but not a fixed time as Costa used to do, we can show up from 18:30 to 21:15.


Wash your hands!








No mandatory daily temperature check on board but different thermal scanners for doing that:





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Thanks so much for sharing Petra. It's interesting to see all the changes that are in place now.  We were to sail our of Orlando, Florida today, but of course, it was canceled. We are now hoping to sail in May. We appreciate you taking the time to keep us updated and enjoy the pictures.

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Hi all, nice to hear from you again!


Some other info about life on board!

On the ship, hygiene and social distancing are sought everywhere. There is sanitization gel really everywhere, you cannot forget to sanitize your hands!

Customer service is not open but you must call them and if a personal visit to the office is needed you'll take an appointment. At bars you cannot consume your drink standing but you're invited to sit and be served unless you're taking your drink away.

There is no need to reserve your seat at the theatre but at the entrance they scan your card to know the number of people inside.

The usual free lesson of zumba, stretching and the like are instead by appointment only, since there are not many places in the room and they not allow other people to join on the fly.

Casino is open as usual but people are not allowed to stand around when they're not playing.

SPA is open for treatments only since sauna, turkish bath and so on are closed.










You are asked to use special container to throw masks and gloves




For her mission to be eco-frendly Costa Smeralda tries to be paperless (almost). The huge difference to others cruise ship to us cruiser is the disappearance of the daily journal, at least the paper version one. It is really good to get used to Costa app on this ship, we believe when you know it a bit it is really useful and you can find what you need. If you'd rather there are many big touchscreens around the ship to find info about what's going on around the ship, restaurants opening hours and seats availability, excursions etc.



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Since at the moment you can only get off the ship with an excursion, Costa sell a package of 5 excursions for 99 euros (actually 99 is the discounted price for Costa Club members but even if you are at your first cruise on Costa you can join the club, so it is available for everyone!). Please find attached the leaflet of available excursions for this cruise, as you can see some are included with their Passpartour package and if you are interested in something else you have a discount when owning the package. Sorry, I found it only in Italian, if you cannot understand something just ask!

We didn't buy that since interested in only a couple of excursions not included. Note that you'll find time and meeting place for your excursion the evening before on the “My Agenda” page of the app, it took me some time to realise that, was wondering when we would find out that important piece of info. Tickets are the usual paper ones delivered in our cabin the first day since we booked that beforehand, but they will be charged on board!









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Yesterday in Cagliari we went on a shore excursion to an archaeological site in Sardinia. It is an UNESCO site where you can find the rests of a castle and village of Nuraghi people, a still mostly unknown civilization that lived in Sardinia between 20 and 10 thousand years bC.

The site is one hour by bus from Cagliari, in a village called Barumini. We were 15 people, so on the bus there was plenty of space, obviously there were sign on seats of which you could use, normally one every other row, but if you are a party you can still sit closer. Plenty of hands sanitizer on the bus too and the guide recommended to use it while getting on and off the bus. With us came a Costa Excursion Office's officer as well, so that the guide was normally at the front of the group while walking around and she was at the end. Fortunately our group behave really well and there was no need to remind about masks or distancing, so everything went really smooth.

The site was not big but interesting, having a guide usually permits to know more of what you are visiting, and she was knowledged and clear. There were a few other visitors at the site but she made always sure we had our space. There is a small narrow part there, with some stairs to climb to reach the top and during the time we were there nobody else was around.

At the end we could shop for souvenirs at the book shop of the site.

We could have a toilet stop before and after a visit at the site, but just someone opted to go after, before going back to Cagliari. We finished with a little sightseeing of Cagliari, so we were told other curiosity about the city as well.

Getting on the ship our temperature was checked.

We like the excursion much, it really was enjoyable and without worries.


I just realized that I ever never mention that drivers and guides of ship excursions have to do a swab before starting to work. (Or did I? if so, sorry for the repetition.)








Cagliari's famous hill "the saddle of the devil"




Bye for now!



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On 11/2/2020 at 7:28 PM, gerryuk said:

Thanks Petra75, the ship holds 6500 at full capacity can i ask how many do you think are on board? 


We were told today we should be around one thousand, as said before on the ship people get on and off in every port so numbers can change. I don't think we were ever more than that during those days. 


22 hours ago, caribill said:


If my poor knowledge of Italian is correct, it looks like there is a visit inside the Vatican Museum, so somehow the tour bubble will be maintained within the museum.


Hi caribill,


yes, some excursions involve visits to museums or other inside places. Unfortunately (or luckily, it depends on what one thinks of this pandemic period...) it is not difficult anywhere to create a bubble. Going to museums quite often I think there would not be any problem to be able for a group to manage to stay in a room of a museum for some time alone 


5 hours ago, Fletch1 said:

Five excursions for 99 euro sounds good value to me. Are they all walking tours for that price and how long are the tours, time wise? 


Hi Fletch,

I think it is a great value if one is interested in doing excursions in every port. They are of different length beetween about 3 and 5 hours, and some of them go to different places by bus too.

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In Messina we went for an excursion to Montalbano Elicona. That is a small village of around 2500 inhabitants on the mountains about one hour and a half by bus from Messina. The trip is not that long for the place is that far from the port but mostly because the last 20 kilometres or so are uphill on a quite narrow road up to the mountains. I would not advice this trip to people that suffer windy roads but for who doesn't, the trip itself is really beautiful and panoramic.

I forgot to mention the other rule of excursions now, that is we are always given headphones and receivers before starting so that we could hear what the guide says without having to get too close to them or the other members of the group. The guide as usual starts by repeating the rules of the excursions like always use masks, never leave the group, if you need something always ask and so on, but luckily even this time our group of 17, even if made of completely different passengers than the one in Cagliari was well behaved, we were even thanked by the guide for being so at the end!

The village was very nice and even if there were like 6 or 7 buses from the ship, I would say mostly because it is one of the excursions included in the Passpartour, everything runs smooth, the guides were really good in doing the trip at the village in different order.

We visited some narrow street, a couple of churches and the old castle that is now a museum. The only part we have to wait for sometime was the climbing to the tower because the museum has now the rule of permitting the entrance to 6 people at a time only, so we had to wait for another group to finish and then for the different groups of ours. The tower was not that high anyway and we could climb it just for the time to take some photos. The waiting was made enjoyable by the sun and warm temperture we had, even if the village is 900 metres above sea level. We could in the meantime use the museum's toilets as well.

There was then a little time for a quick break in a bar, we went ourselves to have some typical very good pastries and the last stop in a shop for souvenirs.

Even this excursion was very enjoyable, the guide really nice and informative, we were running late but she wanted to show us everything so that when we arrived in port we were the last excursion and everybody was waiting for us, obviously we were not at all concerned since we were on a ship excursion but we were asked to be as quick as possible. We felt like pier runners, in this times!!! Funny!


During the trip you can see in the distance Tindari Sanctuary, an other available Costa excursion, next time!




The road




Montalbano and its castle




And the tower




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I'll try to show you the last excursion's pictures again!


During the trip you can see in the distance Tindari Sanctuary, an other available Costa excursion, next time!




The road




Montalbano and its castle




And the tower




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