Genoa & MSC Magnifica
I found my Genoa lodgings quite easily thanks to some signage on the nearby intersection. Small European hotels are often only a part of building or even part of a floor on a building many stories high and can have rather discrete signage, sometimes it may just be a label on the ‘buzzer’ name board.
Hotel Albergo Novecento only takes up about half of the third floor of quite a substantial building, located only a few minutes walk from the Genoa Brignole train station. Again, it is a modest hotel in an ideal location, and as it happens a very lovely breakfast area. (There seems to be a pattern here, but wait, I have splurged on a very special accommodation later in the trip…. stay tuned).
The building the Albergo Novecento is or was once quite grand. The entry features three sets of marble stairs, while quite impressive, it wasn’t exactly my idea of contentment having to get my big case up them. (Yes, I know, I packed the bag, so I shouldn’t have a whinge because it’s heavy). Once the stairs are conquered, there is a cute lift that opens either side, dependant on the floor. I checked in, changed clothes and went out to discover Genoa.
I somehow found the road that runs from near the station to Piazza de Ferrari where there is an enormous fountain. That road also seems to have all the ‘fabulous’ shops there. After have a decent browse and stopping at the fountain at the piazza, I decided to head toward the water front, it couldn’t be that difficult, could it? I had map access on my phone after all.
We no, it wasn’t at all straight forward, what was difficult for my phone to explain was that traffic went underground and while it seemed pedestrian access through a park met up with the road again, it didn’t. I turned and back up the long set of stairs I had just walked down back up to the park. That was when I saw the artwork and realised the park was probably not the place to be. Even though it had some childrens’ playground equipment, it was pretty much deserted and looked like it had be let go to a sad state. When I figured it was probably more shady than unloved, I got out of it without delay.
After a good night’s sleep I had breakfast and was surprised to discover that even on the third floor, the breakfast room and it’s balcony was so terribly pretty. I still hadn’t formulated a plan as to how to get to the dock to get on the MSC Magnifica, which according to my paperwork, I was to check in at around 2pm. I packed my bags and went to check out. I had a printed map and asked nice reception man the easiest way to get to the dock. He started telling me I could get the subway and do this and do that. I asked if I went to the station, could I get a taxi. He then asked if I wanted him to ring for one, (that made life much easier). He rang and said a taxi would be 3 minutes. I went down the lift, dragged the case down the marble steps, and got to the street just as the taxi arrived. Very impressive!
The lady taxi driver got a bit cross with me because I lifted my case into the boot, she said it was her job. She delivered me through an absolute labyrinth that ended at the dock where they take your case. Any thoughts of going for a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood until 2pm faded as I realised the chances of actually getting back there without the assistance of another taxi were virtually nil.
So I entered the MSC building thinking I would just be sitting for 3 ½ hours, but when I showed my paperwork, they gave me a boarding number, I was in boarding group 6. After about 30 mins, we were called upstairs, another little wait until we were processed, then another little wait before customs then it was on to the MSC Magnifica.
I guess by that time it was a bit after noon. I went to the main dining room for lunch then had a wander around the ship. It is (for a cruise ship) quite elegant, although the jury is out about the animal printed ‘Tiger Lounge’.
I also had the opportunity to find my way to the top aft of the ship which was the perfect vantage point to appreciated Genoa wrapping around the port. It is a very picturesque city.
I was quite taken with my cabin. My theory is that I go for the cheapest cabin available to discourage me from spending time there when I could be seeing and doing something else. Even by finding a place to type this, I wander through various spaces of the ship that maybe I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. There are quite a few bars that in the light of day are quite a good work space for me.
I was a bit nervous about my dinner companions, if they were annoying, I was just going to avoid the main dining room in favour of the buffet, but they were lovely and I do like the almost pageantry of going to a restaurant for dinner each night. It’s included in the fare, so why not? Sadly, last night I forgot Horsey, he was still gazing out of the porthole when I went to dinner so he didn’t meet Mrs and Mrs England and Mrs and Mrs New Zealand with whom I am seated with each night. They have been warned about him though.
Dinner was lovely and done and dusted by 8pm. There are two sittings, and the show each night at the theatre also has two performances, timed to co-ordinate with the restaurant sittings. I didn’t see the show last night as I was having syncing issues with my pictures and I really wanted to sort it before I start stopping at ports when I wanted the process of posting to be much more streamlined. That done, and a shower finished the evening.
I woke this morning to a knock on the door with my room service breakfast….. Bliss!!!
Today is a day at sea, so I thought I would finish up this post and then go and see what this ship has to offer.