Friday was our last full day on the cruise, and it was a day at sea, so we really took things slow. We ate breakfast in bed and watched the second half of Kung Fu Panda (cute movie!).
Most of the day was spent either reading or eating – which is about as perfect as a relaxing day can get for Jeff and me. We read on our balcony, we read in a cute area on a high floor with some wicker chairs, and back on our balcony again. We put off packing for so long, that it was a bit touch-and-go to see whether we’d actually get out bags outside the door for the 1am deadline.
I did manage to finish my book, though. I was reading “The Hunger Games,” by Suzanne Collins. It’s a book more aimed at kids or teens, but fun for adults, too (maybe along the lines of Harry Potter in that way). My friend, Carey Ma, who teaches English too middle schoolers recommended it to me. It’s got a pretty intense premise – basically a fight-to-the-death scenario – but it’s mostly just a fun read. I guess since I finished it in one day, you could call it a page-turner – it definitely kept me entertained. In fact, I went almost directly into the second and then the third book (it’s a trilogy), finishing the whole series in less than a week.
The theme for the last dinner was “Romantic,” which was a cute theme for Jeff and me. We were having a very romantic dinner and a nice conversation, but it was interrupted by another loud (and kind of long) presentation by the dining staff. It’s funny and cute to see the performances once in a while, but every night got to be a lot by the end.
Thinking back on the cruise, overall, I think it was great! I think Jeff and I just like cruising in general – it’s really relaxing, since you have a significant amount of time on the boat (and since Jeff and I go to almost no scheduled activities on the boat other than dinner and an occasional dance class). So we get to do a lot of lounging and reading and chatting. And, you can move around the boat for a change of scenary if you want it. It’s also really easy and stress-free to get food anywhere you want it, and fun to do a sit-down dinner every night. And then you have fun ports where you can stop and explore or experience something new, to keep things exciting. Since pretty much all cruises have these things in common, I’d be surprised to find a cruise that Jeff and I didn’t love.
We also especially liked this itinerary, though. It’s really different to pull into major cities, where there are tons of sights to see and for which the cruise traffic is a very minor portion of its visitors, rather than into beach towns in the Caribbean, where the main thing to do is almost always just to lay on the beach. That said, it’s really fun to spend the day wandering around a new city each day – seeing new buildings, trying new food. We did a lot more walking than we ever have on Caribbean cruises. Our favorite port was Stockholm, though we both really liked Tallinn, too. I think Helsinki was cool, but we didn’t get as much time to see it, and Saint Petersburg was really nice, but we felt restricted by the fact that we had to take a guided tour, when Jeff and I generally prefer to see a city by just walking and wandering. Overall, though, all of the ports were exciting and new and easy to get around.
As far as Costa as a cruiseline, I’m definitely glad we did it – it was fun to see an Italian cruise, with everything repeated in seven languages and crazy activities every night. And we’ll always remember “Costa Luuuuminosa!” with an emphatic Italian accent. That said, I think since Jeff and I mostly like to just lay around and read and relax on cruises, my favorite cruise lines are the ones that have less crazy activities and more quiet spaces around the ship to lounge enjoy the view – I think Celebrity was particularly good. We also focus a lot on the food – our other main activity on the boat – and for that I think Norwegian’s free-style dining, where you can eat whenever you want, was probably the best. Still, like I said earlier, no matter what cruiseline you’re on, it’s still a cruise, so it’s always going to be pretty amazing. And this one was!