Columba arrives!!

Trip Start Jun 26, 2011
Trip End Jul 01, 2011

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Where I stayed
Seabreeze Hotel Birzebbuga
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Malta  , Island of Malta,
Saturday, July 2, 2011

Up and excitedly watching the harbour for the arrival of Columba. When it finally came in we were treated to the sight of it being nudged fully around by the tugs in order for it to reverse into its berth.  Took photos with camera & iPhone & managed to upload a couple to Facebook before the CMA-CGM agend, Chris Cauchi, arrived to pick us up at 10.30.  

To the Freeport office where we waited half an hour, then another guy drove us through the gate (surrendering my passport, though Mum's UK one wasn't required) and into the cargo area.  I felt very small and vulnerable as we drove down the docks in between shipping containers being hoisted this way and that, gigantic cranes operating right over us, and the enormous ships parked on each side – it was like driving down a crazy busy street lined with skyscrapers.  

We waited at the bottom of the very steep gangplank – maybe 45? – while a couple of the crew dame down to help us with our bags (thank goodness – it was about 70 steps I counted) and after we'd signed the ship's book we were shown to our cabin.  

HUGE, just like the ship.  We have a king single bed each, between which sits a couch, a coffee table, and two chairs.  There's a desk, with a chair that's even more comfortable than my study chair at home, and a wardrobe, and a big box under a window filled with plastic flowers. (!)  We also have a small bathroom with a shower, toilet and basin.  

And everything smells new.  We are the first ever passengers on board Columba, and very quickly discovered that we will also be the only passengers until Southampton, where we get off and a couple will board.  Mum is very disappointed not to have other passengers to socialise with, but I'm grateful for the solitude.  She's more of the butterfly than I am, I think!  

Anyway the crew was very busy with the loading and unloading and asked us to stay inside (i.e. not to go out on the deck), so we spent a relaxing day just sitting around reading, unpacking, and nodding off, interspersed with lunch & dinner and a good bit of watching the cranes lifting containers off the ship, one by one.  

Our room faces the front of the ship, with a window out the port side also, and we are on 'F' deck.  It starts with the 'Upper Deck' at the bottom (!) then 'A' and so on.  Above us is 'G' deck, and then above that is the Bridge.  There's a lift that operates from 'Upper Deck' to 'G' deck, but then stairs to the bridge.  You can also use stairs instead of the lift, and Mum and I tend to do that.  Good exercise!  

Anyway both lunch and dinner were had at a little table just for the two of us, separated from the officers by a wooden partition.  Not sure if this is for their benefit or ours!  But each meal was 3 courses, served by the lovely Russell (Filippino).  

We watched In Bruges on my iPad, earphones in and propped up on pillows on my bed, and turned the lights out about 11pm.  Set sail tomorrow!

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