June 13, 2015 – Marseille, France & Boarding the Ship
check out the Hotel Alex, taxi to the cruise ship terminal, and board the
Costa Magica for our first ever cruise
We awoke to find lots of wet clothes from last night’s rainstorm
that we were caught in. We had breakfast in the hotel, buffet style. What
value! For 12 euros we had pastries, cheese, yoghurt, eggs, bacon, ham, coffee,
tea, and juice. We packed up and continued to dry our clothes with the hair
We checked out and checked our bags in the hotel as we had
some extra time to kill. As we walked to the Old harbour, we stumbled upon a flea
market. It was fascinating to peruse the old wares and quasi-antiques. We then
wandered down to the old harbour and found a café right on the water to have
what discovered too late was a sad nicoise salad, albeit, reasonably priced.
After lunch, we wandered back to the hotel, procuring along
the way some water and nuts to bring aboard the cruise ship to snack upon. The
friendly front desk agent at the Alex Hotel called a taxi and a jolly cabbie
came and brought us to the cruise ship terminal.
We went through the cruise ship security screening without
much hassle, however, Bill suddenly found out that he would have to surrender
his passport for the remainder of the cruise because he did not have an EU
passport like April (we were not informed of this ahead of time when we booked
the cruise). They said that they would have to hold the passport for visa
reasons at each port of call. We asked to speak to the manager and had to wait
for quite a while at the "passport collection table." The passports
were all on display on the little table with nothing covering the little box.
The bored employee seldom had her eye on the passports and anyone could have
grabbed a handful and absconded with them. We doubt the Canadian government
would be happy to know their passports were being held in this manner. The
manager said that Bill would have to surrender the passport or get up very
early every time they called in port and go with an employee to sort out visa
issues with that port or just stay on the ship. So Bill surrendered his
passport. April was able to keep both her Canadian and Irish passports.
We were subjected to a security drill for abandoning ship if
necessary, but not necessarily abandoning ship. After all the adventure we
ordered ourselves room service of a light meal to share as we had the late
dinner service and wouldn’t be eating for another number of hours. The “fruit
with fresh cream” was a special treat for April, and resembled a chilled fruit
soup. Traces of melon and pineapple shards were uncovered in the opaque liquid. A little
surprising…a little unexpected…not a great description of what the dish actually was.
We were also disappointed and shocked that we could not order a
glass of tap water with room service. Even though we were told before we booked
the cruise that all non-fizzy drinks and alcohol would be free (the "North
American plan" that Costa is using to try to attract customers from North
We were happy with the size of our room which was bigger
than we expected. The condition of the room though was definitely showing the
age of the ship (11 years) with marks on the walls, chips out of the bathroom
counter, and a worn carpet. The light by our door flickered like a strobe light
and we called to have it fixed.
A little while before dinner, we changed our clothes and
went to explore the ship and get our bearings.
Dinner was in itself rather disappointing, however the
server, Amit Sing, was the highlight. He provided us with great service and we
enjoyed talking to him about where in India he was from. The highlight of the
mediocre meal was the ice cream.
It was a very full day. We returned to our cabin to find the
ship's newsletter in French. Apparently they thought that we were French.
Breakfast in Marseille
April's flower complements the life jacket during the emergency drill very well.
A silhouetted Bill finds a perch in our cabin
Selfie on the top deck of the boat before dinner.
The ice cream was much better than the M&M meats style cream puffs.