In the lead up to this cruise it took us quite a bit of time to decide what to do while in Sardinia, but in the end we agreed on taking a tour labelled as the Emerald Coast Highlights. The focus was on the natural beauty of the famed Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast).
Being docked always sped up the process leaving the ship, so it was nice that Azamara Quest was docked in Olbia. By the looks of things it appeared that Olbia had a pretty active port. At this point in the day we were the only cruise ship in port but there were plenty of large ferries to keep Azamara Quest company.
A view of Costa Smeralda on the way to Porto Cervo
We boarded our bus at the port and once everyone was on board we made our way north along Costa Smeralda to our first destination of the day in the town of Porto Cervo. This was a bit of a switch up from the original itinerary; we were expecting this location to be at the end of the tour rather than the beginning. Initially we weren’t sure that this would make any difference, but with hindsight we can say that it did. We did make some stops along the way to take in the views of the famed coastline on the scenic 28km ride from Olbia to Porto Cervo.
Porto Cervo is a seaside resort catering to the rich and famous. The rich and famous, though, didn’t get going too early in the morning it seemed so things were rather quiet for our morning visit. It would have had a different feel with more activity and more people. Quite a few of the high end shops weren’t even open for business yet. The billionaires’ playground felt a bit abandoned. It wasn’t yet summer so that would likely have an impact as well.
Even with the circumstances and timing of our visit, there was no mistaking the beauty of the resort designed in the 50s and 60s and recognized as one of the most expensive resorts in the world. It is the place to be in Costa Smeralda, but maybe not until after lunchtime.
Mistica in Baia Sardinia
Our next stop was Baia Sardinia - a beach town on the Gulf of Arzachena in the north of Sardinia about 4km west of Porto Cervo. On arrival we made a stop at a beachfront café for some cappuccinos that really hit the spot. Notwithstanding the quietness of Porto Cervo during our visit, we found that Baia Sardinia had a more enjoyable vibe. The beach front was beautiful and the shops seemed more interesting to us. We found some nice keepsakes to take home in a shop called Mistica. Of the two locations we visited we liked this one the most. It would have been interesting to have been able to stay here to take in some of the nightlife had we been in this port overnight.
The bus took a scenic route back to Azamara Quest and we made the choice to grab some lunch onboard before heading to Olbia for the afternoon. Our lunch choice was the casual lunch option of The Patio on the open but covered deck near the pool. It was becoming a fav spot of ours on the ship with its nice menu and wines. In particular we were enjoying the always available rosé wine. While the red and white wines changed daily, the sparkling and rosé wines didn’t. That suited us just fine because the rosé wine was a very enjoyable Chapoutier Marius Rosé from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. Made for an excellent accompaniment to our lunches on The Patio.
As a post-cruise note:
We found that the Chapoutier Marius Rosé was available back home so it made for a nice summertime wine choice and fond remembrance of our time in the Mediterranean.
Azamara had arranged for a shuttle service between the ship and the centre of Olbia, so after lunch we made our way to town for the afternoon. As we took our walking tour we remarked that we were glad we had decided on taking the trip to the north of the island in the morning - there really wasn’t that much to see or do in Olbia itself. Still nice to wander around, though. When we had seen enough we made our way to the shuttle stop location for the trip back to the ship for the early evening. We had timed it well; rain started falling fairly hard in Olbia as we sat on the shuttle waiting for it to leave the city centre. A few other returnees didn't time it quite so well.
WHITEonline is the digital home of Gary & Linda White. We’ve been married since 1980 and live just outside Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Linda was born and raised in Toronto while Gary was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of 11. We enjoy travelling and taking photos while we travel. WHITEonline provides the opportunity to share some of our photos & experiences.