They are celebrating their 60th birthdays this year – by going on a three and a half months’ luxurious cruise on board the Costa Deliziosa – with 2,800 other passengers.
What is it like going on a cruise that costs about the price of a Mercedes Benz – in Austria? I interviewed Austrian Anton Reiter, 60 – who is on the cruise of a lifetime with his wife and daughter.
Singapore will be a port of call between 14 to 16 March. Here, Anton will be participating in an Invitational Marathon, (organized by the F1 Runners Team), while his wife and daughter will be taking in the sights and doing lots of shopping. And to prepare for this marathon, Anton attempted a marathon on board the ship.
To see what the Reiter family has been up to so far (they have been on the cruise since early January), do read on.
What is your main reason for going on this world cruise?
My wife and I will be 60 years of age this year. My birthday was at the beginning of the cruise while my spouse will turn 60 in spring. Our daughter is accompanying us too, but she will fly home earlier because of examinations at the beginning of April. So it’s actually a birthday celebration cum family holiday.
Where does the cruise start and end?
It starts from Savona in Italy, so we had to drive about 900 km from Vienna (Austria, where we live) to the cruise terminal in Savona – close to Genova on the Italian Riviera. The cruise will end after 100 days again in Savona.
How much is the cruise per person?
We got a discount of 15 per cent for booking early. But for the fares spent, we could have bought a Mercedes Benz or a Range Rover – in Austria.
What is your accommodation like?
We are in a sunny stateroom on the seventh deck – with a balcony. It’s comfortable and is about 20 square metres, with three bedrooms. There is room service and we can order food at any time.
The bathroom is comfortable too – and it’s about four square metres.
How many passengers are on board?
Around 2,800 passengers are onboard the Costa Deliziosa – a big cruiseship. When you have walked around the entire ship – you will have done 570 metres.
What are some of the places that this cruise goes to?
The ship goes over the Atlantic to the southern Caribbean, then to the famous Panama channel and Mexico, then onto the West Coast of the US to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hawaii. Islands in the Pacific Ocean follow before reaching New Zealand and Australia. Then the ship sails to Singapore, Thailand, India, Dubai, Oman, the Red Sea, Egypt and finally, to the the Mediterranean Sea.
How do you find this cruise?
We are happy. There are lots of entertainment programmes onboard, excellent food, a lot of space for passengers and the weather has been good. But we missed out on stopping at Antigua (in the Caribbean) because of a 20-hour rescue mission by our ship – about 1,000 km south of the Cape Verde islands. Seven men had to be helped from a sinking, sailing ship.
What type of activities have you done so far?
My main activities have been training in the fitness room every day for around one hour. When the ship is docked in a harbour, I jog ashore as soon as passengers can leave the ship. I run about 20 km – for two hours. Afterwards we join excursions or discover new places by ourselves. There is always something new to discover.
What types of entertainment are available on board?
There are morning runs, volleyball, Italian lessons, dancing including samba, cha cha and Tango, quizzes and the popular Bingo games. There is no cinema on board but on TV, they regularly play one unknown and not so popular film – in different languages.
We have been in the dancing group – trying out the classical waltz. My wife and daughter does gymnastics everyday too – to exercise their tummy and hips. My spouse has also done a painting course.
What are the theatre shows like?
They include shows with classical music, a revival of the Beatles and 1980s music, magic shows and ballet dancing. There has also been a Frosta Fantasia show (dancing with lots of singing). We have seen several shows in the ship’s theatre – and these have been nice.
What is the food like so far?
The food is perfect. For example, on 8 January, we had as appetisers, Salmon Gravalaux with sourdough bread and sour cream or baked snails in garlic butter.
Then for soup, Belgian endive and spring onions creamy soup was served (with minestrone soup being available at dinner all the time).
On that day too, grilled swordfish, braised rabbit and/or veal shank (served gremolata style) were available at dinner and you could also order a selection of cheese (Brie, Toma Camoagna, Taleggio served with crackers, raisins, honey mustard) afterwards.
Fresh fruits, juices, beer, wine (red and white) and mineral water is included at dinner in the restaurant but not at the bars and night clubs.
I understand that you have stopped at the Southern Caribbean. What were your initial impressions of the place?
We had just three stops at the Southern Caribbean. I personally liked the Grand Anse beach in Grenada the best. I loved it because it has white sand and wonderful, clear water – and has not yet been destroyed by tourism. For example, there’s no chairs and umbrellas and water sports are banned. In the Caribbean the water is 28 C degrees and you feel as though you can swim forever. Our lakes at home never reach 28 degrees.
How do you like the Southern Caribbean?
The life there is not as stressful and you find beaches with white, brown and black sand and clear water reflecting the blue sky. All in all, you can spend wonderful days there.
But after several weeks, a man who has lived and worked in a western industrial society could get bored if he has nothing to do – except lying in the sun, swimming and lazing around.
Has the cruise met your expectations?
We’re really enjoying it – but there’s still 86 days to go.
Marathon At Sea
Anton has run a full marathon on board this luxury cruise liner. To find out how his inaugural marathon attempt at sea went, click here.
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