Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Mar 2017 - Costa Diadema - Day 2 (Palma)

Day 2 Palma

Awake for Breakfast at 7.00am delivered to the cabin- not convinced we actually got what we ordered but hey its the first morning so we'll let it go. One thing I have noticed with the Diadema is its noise and vibration level. Its practically nil when docking and using bow thrusters compared to other ships we have cruised on - though it has to remembered this ship is only 2 years old.




We arrive in Mallorca  in bright cool sunshine but its more than warm enough for us Brits to take tea and croissants on the balcony. We were only in this port last year so it  looks familiar now and we walk to the bus stop into the city. Last year the Jade had managed to dock on a pier that was a lot nearer to the city, the Diadema seems to be in a berth that's as far away as possible - so on reflection just take a taxi if you're docked all the way out here, its actually just as cheap and far more convenient than the bus as we discovered on the return trip.

The Old Town with the Cathedral
Musea de Mallorca
We wander around the beautiful old town spending some time visiting the Musea of Mallorca (free today as are many museums and galleries as its the Balearic Islands Weekend Festival). This is hidden down a maze of back alleys and is home to a beautiful collection of  pieces in a well laid out set of rooms that takes you from the 14th to the 19th Century It also gives you an overview of the changes in art not only on the island but how the renaissance in Italy influenced those changes. Even if your not interested in the collections of art and tiles the two former palazzos the museum is housed in are wonderfully restored.


We take a break for coffee in a charming little establishment  next door to the Cathedral then we hail a taxi to take us up to the old 14C Gothic Castle Bellver which has stunning views of the Island and the city of Palma .

Donjon of Castle Bellver - Cathedral of Palma can bee seen through the archway
A little tip here is to pre book a return taxi back from here as all the cabs in the rank are usually already reserved for the day - or you could simply follow the old steps down to the nearest main road; you'll be able to hail a taxi from this point in minutes once you reach this point.

View from the Castle Walls
Nice paella onboard for lunch (take a tip from the Spanish passengers and get a separate dish to load extra mussels and prawns into) then sat around the stern pool with a nice cold beer. Sunny and mild for us though the Italians on board seem to be dressed as if its the middle of deep winter.

Mid Afternoon in Palma
Font Madness
Just a few more observations re Costa and the Diadema - As I mentioned before the first thing that you notice is the decor/bling - its seriously OTT in a charming yet slightly jarring Italian/Spanish style - its quite startling until you get used to it especially if your used to the  calm low key decor of other cruise lines. Personally I think it also causes another problem; gold leaf walls with yellow signage in a bizarre selection of randomly mixed fonts doesn't help you navigate. And the tiny signs for the washrooms (again yellow on gold) are easy to miss. As usual I get lost at every opportunity.

Dinner in the Main Dining Room again tonight and Jamie is on hand  remembering our wine and  water choices instantly. We learn from Jamie how  the menu has changed a lot in the past few weeks because the prime customers (Italians) had not taken well to the last executive chefs menu. Things are now more traditional ie simple but quality ingredients. It works because tonights menu is actually one of the best MDR experiences I have had on any ship. Jamie supplies me with a copy of the menu so I could get the listings correct.


For Antipasto we had the Veal millefeuilles with black pepper, crisp salad and walnut with a pear and Gorgonzola sauce. Melt in the mouth buttery meat. Jamie asks us for full details on how we enjoyed this as its a new dish and he has not had time to try it - apparently the Italians who have our table on the next sitting are keen for a full description of every dish on the menu.


Zuppa (Soup) was Pappa ai pormodoro on a potato cream with sauteed endive and olives - think NCL Cagneys Baked potato soup and refine it a little and you're near the mark. Delicious. The olives give it that extra zest and saltiness (Jack would disagree; olives being her one gastro hate)

A Pasta dish follows of Garganelli with swordfish , tomato and basil, on a cream of cannellini bean and strong ricotta. Superb.


For the Piatti Principalli I chose the beautiful lamb cutlets with green crust and dried fruit, saffron potatoes and marinated courgettes with a thyme/masala reduction


Jack had the sliced beef fillet with aubergine pie au gratin, basil sauce and milk stracciatella.

Apparently we are two of only 50 English speaking guests on board. Its not an issue because all the staff have English as their first language. As Jamie our Philippine waiter explains - "You just watch the body language when your serving the Italians or Spanish and you can usually work out what they mean"


After a decent amount of rest we had the warm chocolate and walnut pudding with blackberry sauce and a lemon scented custard.

And lastly the rather comical looking Fruits of the Forest bavarois with cooked grape must. After a few more glasses of wine we head to a bar for espressos and cappuccini.
 The theatre show tonight is a solo opera singer which the Italians love; hes actually pretty good. We spend a little time in the piano bar sipping Camparis and then try the "rock country club" - a really well proportioned room (This is the size the tiny Cavern should be on the Epic) though even for us its bloody loud in here (its only a two piece and they have way too much reverb on to boost up the sound).

People had mentioned on CC how everyone dances on this ship - waltzing, rumba(ing) or jiving. Earlier today in the Atrium I passed a large group having cha-cha-cha lessons - on other ships you can spot the instructor, spot who knows what they are doing (unsurprisingly on our Eclipse TA last year that was a group of Italians) and admire those who try their best. Here its like watching a group of pros en masse. Its beautiful to watch - though I'm left feeling inadequate especially as Jack is quite capable.

Click for Day 3 

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