Cruising guarantees that you will meet people. Of course you can keep to yourself if you want to – book a luxury state room, make sure you have a balcony, get a butler service and you can avoid the people! But as far as I’m concerned that would be no fun! We met some really awesome people on our trip and they certainly contributed to success and fun of the trip.
On our last day in Mauritius we visited the Pampalmoesse Botanical Gardens. At the end of our guided tour we spent time on our own bird watching. A man with a camera in hand approached us and asked what we could see. We showed him the night heron and other birds and then got into conversation. Turned out that although Tom is British he visits Kruger National Park regularly, loves bird watching and photography so we had a great deal in common. Then as I said we needed to go and meet our ride to the Port Louis he asked – Are you on The Costa Victoria? Indeed we were and so was he! Our first cruise friend.
One is assigned an early or late dinner sitting and one always has the same the table. Costa tries to make sure you are with people who speak your language. On our first night – early sitting – we found ourselves with three other South African! Of course we bonded immediately. Neil and Doreen were from Port Edward and Val who was widowed and travelling alone was from Amanzimtoti.
We found out later that there were 23 South Africans on board and I think we met nearly every one of them! While in the pool on Day 2 I heard the familiar accent and introduced myself. Soon another swimmer also hearing the accent came over and joined the chat. We kept bumping into Hippo and Pat after that.
In the hot tub I got to practice my limited Italian with a lady my age that I met there. It was a stilted conversation but we managed and had a good laugh together.
Before long I had met a number of different people – a Mauritian on my morning walk, a Dane on the stern deck when I shared her table while sipping coffee, an American couple, Sue and Tod in the pool and the list goes on. I was chatting about some of my encounters at dinner one evening and Doreen said – How do you meet all these people? I hadn’t thought of this before but I realise that the Earl and I collect people. We aren’t too shy to start a conversation with anybody who happens to be on the same bus, in a queue, the pool or wherever we find ourselves. And with cruising this makes the trip so much more interesting. You also start to understand different cultures and realise that your country is not the only one with problems! There were many different nationalities on board – French speakers making up the majority. I wish I had learned more French words because few of them spoke English. The Scandinavians all spoke English as did the Dutch. Most Germans did but not all. Because so many people do learn English as a second language, English speakers expect everyone to speak their language but it’s not so. It’s a good idea to learn a second or third language if you intend to travel a lot.
On the ship the staff were amazing. They all spoke at least three languages and understood the basics of others.
So yes – we found most of the people on the ship friendly and interesting to talk to. There were those who were rude – but if we encountered that we shrugged and moved on.
But enough waffle about the ship – my next few posts will be concentrating on the highlights of the places we visited.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019 Seychelles
Today we went to Beau Vallon Beach with a tour organized by Costa. It took us though Port Victoria and along a scenic route which was awesome. We had some photo opportunities. At the Beau Vallone we had the use of the hotel pool and a voucher for a drink each. I swam in the sea as well as the pool – Earl swam in the pool. I also took a walk down the entire length of this stunning beach.
Thursday, March 21, 2019 Seychelles
We did not go on another tour of the island but instead took a walk to the mall with Val. Earl and Val went to the bank to exchange money. While they were busy I noticed a hair salon so inquired as to how much it would cost to cut my hair – only 150 Seychelles Rupees and they could take me immediately. A young apprentice started on the cut with instructions from a lovely young male stylist. He finished off the cut and I was totally satisfied with the results.
We then went to supermarket to get a few essentials. Our need for the internet was great so we had tea at the café in the supermarket and caught up with emails etc. Suddenly Val said – Oh my son wants to know if Earl and Helen Fenwick are on the cruise!
“Yes” – she replied – “they’re right here with me!” Turns out he is a friend of Tommy who is baby sitting our car! What were the chances that of the 2000 people on the ship we would be seated at the same dinner table as Val.
The theme this evening was to be Tropical so we went to the market on the wharf to shop for appropriate clothing. Earl bought a stunning floral shirt in black and blue and I bought a wrap around skirt which I wore with a red t-shirt.