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Cruising along the Adriatic Sea

Being on a ship is like experiencing the best of both worlds — it is both a relaxing holiday and a thrilling adventure

  • Four swimming pools, five jacuzzis, a library, shopping centre, spa and a fully-equipped gym will keep vacatioImage Credit: Mohammad Jihad
  • Live entertainment is provided every day and night while the ship sails between destinations.Image Credit: Mohammad
  • The cruise ship’s grand lido is inspired by Hollywood’s “Gone with the Wind”.Image Credit: Mohammad Jihad
  • The Costa Fascinosa is one of the largest cruise ships in Europe.Image Credit: Mohammad Jihad
  • The 510-million-euro (Dh2.41b) ship, the Costa Fascinosa, accommodates 3,800 guests and 1,110 crew members.Image Credit: Mohammad Jihad
Gulf News

The best kind of vacation is one where the countries come to you — and the only way to do that is to take a cruise ship, or as I would call it, a floating village.

It has always been thought that cruise ships were meant for the older generation, but from experience, this is certainly not the case.

I was on board the Italian cruise ship the Costa Fascinosa for four days as it sailed from Trieste, Italy, to Dubrovnik and Split in Croatia, before docking in Venice, Italy.

A four-day cruise is certainly not enough time to explore all the wonders of the ship and participate in all its on-board activities, but making friends seemed quite easy, as one is restricted to the limited space the ship provides. I met people of different ages and from all walks of life.

However, this does not mean that the ship was small. During the four days that I was on board the ship, I was unable to explore all its 17 floors.

The fleet, with its theme of allure and seduction, pays tribute to everything that is fascinating — its grand lido is inspired by Hollywood’s Gone With the Wind and The Millionaire casino is named after the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.

Wi-Fi was also available in every public space on the ship, but it came with a price — 10 euros (Dh46) an hour, to be exact.

However, Wi-Fi was often the last thing on my mind, as I had a 4-D cinema, a three-level theatre with shows every night, four swimming pools, five Jacuzzis, a library, a shopping centre, a spa and a fully equipped gym to keep me entertained.

The nights were filled with lights, music and festivities. One night I was dancing to Latin music (or trying to) with a garland around my neck and the next I was at a lounge appreciating the live performance of the local band, which was playing music of legends such as Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

While I preferred to stay up late and enjoy the festivities, I had to call it a night as there was too much to do during the day.

Part of a cruise ship’s itinerary is docking in different cities. Once it docks, the passengers can leave the ship and explore the cities. Starting off my day with a yoga class on the ship and a quick swim in one of its pools under the Croatian sun, I was refreshed and ready to explore that part of Europe.

The first stop was Dubrovnik. I only had time to explore the old city — and I discovered that the best view was by climbing the city walls and walking around it.

Exploring a new city every day can be tiring, as you only get a few hours to see everything. It is best to retrieve a map beforehand and pinpoint the places you want to see.

The next stop was Split. I could not help but be amazed at the architectural beauty of Saint Duje Cathedral and its belltower, which was constructed in the 13th century.

Being on a cruise ship allowed me to experience the best of both worlds — it was both a thrilling adventure and a relaxing holiday. For those who get bored easily, a cruise ship is the best way to travel — every morning you wake up to a different view and are taken to a new place in the world.