Time is passing swiftly aboard the Costa Mediterranea

Sabbath services
Sabbath services

ABOARD THE COSTA MEDITERRANEA — It is our second sea day. We have left behind St. Maarten where we spent a great day at Maho Bay watching planes land, flying low over the beach. Waded into the turquoise blue waters, had lunch and some laughs and by 3 p.m. we were back on board.

St. Maarten has always been a favorite island of mine. I love the blend of Dutch and French cultures – Grande Case on the French side has some of the best restaurants this side of France, and shopping on both sides has always been grand. The hospitality industry on the island is superb and each time I return, I wonder why I don’t get there more often.

We have also left behind Nassau, Samana, Tortola, Antigua, and Guadeloupe. One port left: Freeport in the Bahamas.

But now the cruise is in the home stretch. Two sea days in a row.

I spent a little time on the treadmill in the lovely two-level Olympia Gym all the way forward, then stopped for coffee and watched a hotly contested darts game at the pool.

The plane, the plane
The plane, the plane

We picked up some 700 passengers in Guadeloupe. They had flown on charter flights from Europe and will remain on until the ship returns to Guadeloupe. The Costa Mediterranea is pretty full, and given the holiday season, full of youngsters. Costa’s Squok Club is busy entertaining the kids who are generally well-behaved.

And the full ship, holiday decorations and party atmosphere are truly joyous.

This evening a friend and I attended Sabbath services conducted by a French man who may or may not have been a rabbi. His command of Hebrew and the traditional prayers was awesome and all participated. Some facets were foreign to us as American Jews, but it was lovely.

Services were early and in the charming Isobella lounge on Deck One. It is a beautiful room where the Captain’s reception had been held earlier in the cruise and where a Club Costa party took place last night.

One of the things that has always appealed to me about Costa is the multinational aspect. Comments, notices, etc. are delivered in Italian, English, German, French and Spanish. Guests reflect and respect those differences, although playing blackjack at a table of multinationals can be daunting.

Today is our final sea day. We have a couple of interviews planned, packing to do, then it is a day in Freeport.

More to come tomorrow about ending this interesting itinerary.

December 20, 2014

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