Our heart goes out to all the victims of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that sank yesterday, Friday the 13th, off the coast of Tuscany. The vessel was carrying more than 4,000 people, among them 1,000 crew members of various nationalities including Filipinos.
This disaster touched our hearts deeply as cruise holidaymakers are a regular sight to where we are in the South of France and to every port cities we went to like Corfu (Greece), Barcelona (Spain), Venice (Italy) among others.
It’s quite interesting meeting these people of different backgrounds and while we are pleased to play the role of tourist guides when they come asking for directions, we also get to hear their life-aboard-a-ship stories, sometimes hilarious and oftentimes disastrous.
Just last summer, while having our lunch at a restaurant in Beune, we got chatting with an American couple who were part of a Rhone river cruise that stopped over in this wine capital of the Burgundy region and how all-ears we were in listening to their cruise experience which started in Arles, in the south of France, culminating in Paris eight days after that. In the end, they were so appreciative of finally meeting an English-speaking couple like us who gave them a quick introduction to French life, culture and traditions.
H and I, even if our travelling preference is via the car that also serves as our mobile home, we do dream of going on a cruise holiday when the right time comes. And if you will ask me where – it had to be the Norwegian Fjords Cruise where we could get to witness the spectacular Northern Lights and the stunning scenery of the Norwegian fjord coast with its steep mountains and charming fishing villages.
Before I get carried away dreaming, here are some photos about Cruising:
While waiting for the ferry that would take us to a 24-hour Adriatic crossing to Corfu, Greece, I couldn’t help but gawk at this pretty jaw-dropping sight!
This P&O M/v Aurora moored in Venice port is a mid-sized cruise ship ideal for world cruising. It can accommodate up to 1,878 passengers in 939 cabins, with a maximum crew of 936.
Like home sweet home.
A cruising boat moored in Vienne along the Rhone River.
In September 2010, a cousin whom I have not seen for the last 35 years came to Monaco via this ship, Ruby Princess. Monaco was one of the ports of call of their 12-day Grand Mediterranean cruise holiday. This ship which has a capacity of 3,070 persons and 2.5 times heavier than the Titanic is so huge it could easily fit ten conventional hotels.
After a stopover of six hours, they slowly sailed away accompanied by a “harbor pilot” whose role is to guide big ships so they can safely get out of the harbour.
Cannes is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the French Riviera. The port can accommodate up to three giant liners in a single day.
We saw “The World” moored in Venice when we were there four years ago. It is the world’s largest private yacht—a floating residential community owned by her residents. The residents, currently from 40 different countries, live on board as the ship slowly circumnavigates the globe—staying in most ports from 2 to 5 days. Some residents live onboard full time while others visit their floating home periodically throughout the year.
The World flies a Bahamas flag and has a gross tonnage of 43,524 tons. The vessel is 644 feet long, 98 feet wide, and has a 22 foot draft, 12 decks, and a maximum speed of 18.5 knots. The crew numbers is 250.
The ship has 165 residential units (106 apartments, 19 studio apartments, and 40 studios), all owned by the ship’s residents. The ship carries between 100 and 300 residents and their guests.
This is our ferry sailing past the mountains of Albania as it slowly cruises its way to Corfu in Greece.
While sailing on New Year’s Day from Corfu to Venice, we got treated with cake and ouzo by the cruise management, unfortunately, there were no fireworks!
Filipino crewmembers having fun in Corfu town while on a brief stopover from their Christmas Cruise duties.
Note: As I write this, most of the victims have been rescued save for 60 unaccounted for and three confirmed dead.