After such a hectic 2018 I thought it would be a good idea to stay put for the next six months but my husband had other ideas. He decided that a cruise would be fun so without telling me he did some research and came up with a Costa cruise from Mauritius to Venice.
At the beginning of February, while shopping in Bredasdorp, he parked outside Harvey Travel.
“What are we doing here?” I asked.
“Oh just checking out one or two things,” he said.
Well an hour later with the help of Riaan and Therina and in spite of my doubts that we’d never get Visas sorted out in time, a trip was put together. After a few tweaks, everything was booked and we could go ahead and apply for our Schengen Visas. As luck would have it, we managed to get an appointment at Capago in Cape Town on 12 February, the same day that we had to attend my friend, Heather’s, 80th birthday lunch. Within 8 days they were done and couriered to us via Postnet!
Our itinerary includes three days in Mauritius before boarding the Costa Victoria. The cruise takes us to the Seychelles, Oman, Eilat Israel, Jordan, Cypress, Crete, Santorini, Olympia, Corfu, Dubrovnik, Split and ends in Venice. The cruise is 28 days. We will spend three days in Venice and three days in Rome. Then we will take another 7 day Mediterranean cruise starting at Civitavecchia and calling at Cannes, Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Ajaccio, Genoa, La Spezia and ending back at Civitavecchia. We fly home on 25 April.
So today the adventure began. We left Struisbaai in pouring rain on Monday morning and spent the next two days before departure staying with our kids in Plumstead and catching up with friends and family. My brother organised a transfer to the airport which saved Lisa having to get up at a ridiculously rude hour to drop us before having to fight the traffic back to work. From the time of the pick up at 4:15 am with an awesome driver to the drop off at our hotel in Mauritius this afternoon at 17:30 Mauritian time – two hours ahead of SA, we had the best service from all concerned.
We had checked in online and when we got to the bag drop there was a short queue – but that did not stop SAA from taking us to the Prestige Desk and getting us sorted in the briefest of times. I reminded the checker that our travel agent had requested wheel chair assistance for The Earl. But it was not on the system. No Problem – she sorted it within minutes and a wheelchair with a charming carer arrived. Using the assisted travel option has changed the way we travel forever – it takes the stress out of having to walk miles at a fast pace, finding the correct gate and getting through bag check and customs without a meltdown. My advice to all over seventies no matter how fit you think you are, is to travel with assistance – it’s awesome. The flight attendants were amazing too. They helped carry and stow our carry on bags and made absolutely sure that we had whatever we needed. Nothing was too much trouble. We had two flights – Cape Town to Johannesburg and then Johannesburg to Mauritius. There was very little time between flights and I don’t think we could have done it without help! We received the same awesome treatment when landing in Mauritius too. Everybody was welcoming and friendly and our transfer driver was very chatty and informative about where to go and what to see while we are here. What a paradise this island is! The trip from the airport to our hotel was 70 km and took over an hour but we enjoyed the tropical scenery. It rained a little but all was clear when arrived at the hotel and it’s balmy to say the least!
Azure Beach Boutique Hotel in Grande Baie is really lovely. It is not 5 star but clean and comfortable and there is a lovely view over a yacht basin.
This evening we had a delicious seafood salad for dinner.
We then took a walk around the area before returning to catch up on our sleep!