Year Started: 1854
Ships in Fleet: 11
Summary: A Europe-based mainstream cruise line owned by Carnival. Ships are structurally identical to Carnival. Recommended for European cruisers who do not speak English - good for bargains in the Caribbean.
Regions:Western Mediterranean, Middle East, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.
Regions:Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe
Good for: Value for Money. Children`s Programs. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Middle East, The Orient
Good for: Group. Singles. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Middle East
Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, World
Good for: Group. Singles. First-time Cruisers.
Regions:Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Western Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic
Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.
Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Singles. Families.
Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe
Good for: Group. Families.
Good for: Group. Singles. Families.
We have just returned from a week's cruise taking in the Baltic capitals. At first we were amazed at the glitzy splendour of the ship and the facilities that it appeared to offer. The friendliness and efficiency of the dining room and cabin stewards were also impressive. However, after suffering from sleep deprivation in a cabin below the late night disco we really didn't care about the quality of the food, service etc.
We were also disappointed that all drinks (including water)were charged in the restaurant and that 'service' was charged constantly even if we bought drinks at the bar. We also missed the option to relax in a peaceful 'observation lounge' such as provided on other ships. We would advise other prospective cruisers to try to establish before booking the nationality/language likely to predominate. Luckily, we have cruised happily with three other lines before. If this had been our first cruise, I'm sure it would have been our last.
We arrived the night before and stayed at a Costa recommeded hotel. Since it was spring break we kind of knew what to expect. Drunk kids everywhere - another worldly experience.
We took a shuttle to the pier. Since we had a panorama suite, we were given priority embarkation and all went extremely well. Customs held us up a bit - but this is not Costas' problem. Anyway, we wrrived at the pier at 1:30 and were in our room by 2:00.
The ship is beautiful. There is so much decorating done to this ship that it is difficult to notice all that has been done. After a week aboard we discovered most of the decorative theme of the ship.
We had all paperwork completed on the Costa website prior to sailing so all went well.
When we set out to explore the ship, we found the guidance by crew members to be very goo. Since this was our 20th cruise, we quickly found out that the ship is layed out like many others - seems the deign trends are melding together on the newer ships.
Panorama suite: We found it tobe smaller than a similar category on Royal Carribean by about 200 square feet. But the price was certainly right! Room steward and butler spoiled us rotten and our every needs were met, including restocking of the mini bar. In fact, our butler started bringing us bottled spirits from the bar ($20 versus $5.50 for airline sized bottles). This was appreciated and saved us a good amount of money during the cruise since we also entertained in our stateroom.
There have been complaints about the thin mattresses on the beds. We checked this out first thing and requested a second mattress. It was brought and the bed remade in plenty of time for our first night aboard.
Our luggage was distributed to us three hours prior to sailing with no damage. We got things unpacked and into the closets and drawers prior to sailing. The amount of storage was so enormous, even with the souvenirs we purchased we could still not fill it all!
The buffet food was good. Not great, but not bad either. Coffee machines were always full as were juices.
Our room was extremely quiet, especially since the ship rocked and rolled due to large swells for the first three days. The maintenance crew would wash life boats in the AM and took care not to "contaminate" our balcony.
The dining room service was very god and the food - especially if you like seafood- was very good - and hot when delivered to our table. We asked our waiter each night what was best and he was right on each night. The beef was cooked to our liking, and the pasta dishes were excellent - especially the polenta with mushrooms.
Club Medusa, the alternate restaurant, was excellent especially the filet mignons and dessaert. The service was impeccable. Incidentally, you do not have to dress up to eat in this venue.
On two nights were ordered room service - since we had a suite we could order from the dining room menu. The food was always brought on time and piping hot - sometimes with double what we ordered. We had one lunch from room service (we were hungry for hamburgers), and they were some of the best I've every had at sea - much better than in the pool area.
We took two shore excursions. The snorkleling cruise in Casa De Campo was cut short - we still do not know the reason. We found we had adequate time in San Juan. We had a taxi take us to the top of the hill in the shopping district and meandered downhill toward the wharf with plenty of time to spare.
Our shore excursion in the Dominican Republic was cancelled due to a storm and our ticket prices refunded on our final statement. We found everyone courteous and polite in the lines waiting to get onshore in the ports. You draw more flies with honey.....so the saying goes.
The onboard entertainment in the theatre, except for the steel band, was mediocre. We opted for the casino on a couple of nights and broke even during the duration of the cruise.
Disembarkation was a snap. As we had the suite, we had a VIP room in the Medusa Restaurant where they served a continental breakfast. We were the second group to leave the ship.
We'd take another Costa cruise. We found the Europenas on borad to be respectful, polite, and courteous.
My ratings: Ship 8 of 10 Food 8 of 10.
My husband, two sons (age 15 and 12) and I just returned from our March Break cruise. Our first time cruising with Costa was somewhat disappointing. Having cruised eight times previously, mainly with Royal Caribbean, our expectations may have been higher than those who have not cruised before.
Before setting foot on the ship we encountered some difficulties with the Costa web site: all pages were not accessible; the site's claim that Canadians require a visa was incorrect; and we had problems filling in on-line forms, so we had to call Costa and complete the information over the telephone.
The ticket package mailed to us also contained copies of a Costa guide, shore excursion booklet, gift order form and brochure, and the U.S. Border Security Act for each passenger, even though we are all of the same family. I thought this was a waste of printed materials and postage.
The embarkation process went well. Having all the documents in order for each family member will expedite the process.
On board we were met by a member of the "kids program" and given printed information. Our first impression was that the ship was somewhat overdone.We found it to be glitzy and very ornate, bordering on gaudy. Our outside cabin was of the expected size. We had an obstructed view due to the lifeboats.
We set out to explore the ship. We asked for directions to the on-board shops and casino from two different staff members, only to be given a nod and a finger pointing -- which turned out to be incorrect both times. This was our first indication that the service may not be all that it should be.
We felt the ship was not well laid out. The buffet areas on Deck 9 were sometimes confusing. There were several locations, but often some were closed or offered different items. Pizza was always good and available.
The buffet food was average. Our biggest complaint was the lack of beverages that were included in the package. Iced tea was sometimes unavailable, but there was regular coffee and decaf as well as orange juice and grapefruit juice and water. Sometimes these dispensers were empty or "out of service." There was no lemonade. Sodas cost $2.30 plus a tip.
The afternoon tea service was very nice, with a server offering a variety of loose teas to choose from.
A "Boys and Girls" coupon booklet for $40 plus tip for 20 beverages (which includes non-alcoholic frozen drinks) was available, and the boys took advantage of it since the frozen drinks were normally $4.75 plus tip. Milkshakes were also supposed to be included, but my boys couldn't find anyplace including the dining room where they could be obtained. My son eventually made his own from the soft ice cream and milk.
Distribution of the luggage to the various decks was something to behold. I repeatedly witnessed baggage crew members unloading the luggage by pushing the entire cart-load of luggage, piled several feet high, onto the floor. At one point the entire floor space between the elevators was covered with a pile three suitcases high! I could not believe my eyes and was concerned for the contents of my luggage.
I went to the information desk to report this and was asked if my luggage was damaged. I had not yet received my luggage but when I did, an hour and a half after departure, sure enough, a brand new can of salon hair mousse exploded inside my suitcase. I had even taped the lid to the can to keep it from coming off, and wrapped it inside a heavy plastic bag; still, some of the contents got onto some of the clothing. Luckily not much damage resulted.
I reported this to the guest services and they requested the empty can. When I returned to the cabin to get it, the very efficient cabin steward had emptied the trash and the can was gone -- hence I was not offered any compensation and my hair was FLAT for the whole trip. Bummer!
The shipboard account credit card registering is left to passengers to decide over a three-day period. This is done in a very small room where there was no number assignment and big crowds. Perhaps they could allow passengers to pre-register online as other companies do, or at least before embarkation.
The cabin, despite comfortable beds, especially the bunks, was noisy. There was a cracking and snapping sound as well as a clanging of metal in the walls and the floor near the balcony doors. It sounded almost as if there was a stress on the walls. This only happened when the ship was in motion; it was not continuous but happened often enough to be an annoyance. Sometimes it even woke us from sleep, even when I used earplugs. Just when we would get a break from it all, the maintenance crew would hose down the lifeboats from the deck below in the morning, with the water spray hitting against the balcony doors.
We reported all this; it was investigated, and crew members confirmed there was indeed a problem and had a plan to fix it. However, even after they unscrewed the panels in the walls and tightened things up, the noise continued. I eventually gave up reporting the problem since I was tired of explaining the situation over and over to guest services. Sometimes I had to repeat the complaint in various terms to the same person before they could comprehend what the problem was. This is another area that needs improvement: communication ability.
The cabin's mini-bar was often not restocked fully even when my husband requested it.
Despite the availability of "service" in five languages, often we encountered crew who did not speak English well enough to provide appropriate assistance to passengers. It was annoying at times to have every announcement and game and introduction coming across the loudspeakers in all five languages, especially since most passengers on this particular cruise were English-speaking.
The dinning room staff was the exception. Everyone we encountered there was excellent in all ways, and the food was always very good, hot when it should be, and delivered in a timely manner. We were assigned the second seating, which we found very late for our family as often dinner did not start until 9 p.m.
The itinerary for this Eastern Caribbean cruise included San Juan, which we felt was a wasted stop since we arrived at after 4 p.m. and were unable to go ashore until after 5 (not great for those on the first seating). There was little to do there and the ship left at 1:30 a.m.
Casa de Campo was also a waste of time, since we arrived at 6 p.m. and departed at midnight. Some of the shore excursions were cancelled.
St Thomas was great as always, and Catalina Island was a beautiful spot with lots to do and a great barbeque provided by Costa.
We opted for only two shore excursions and were glad we did not book more. The snorkeling adventure in St. Thomas was OK, but not as good as others we have experienced. Many people had problems with the masks and snorkels, myself included. I eventually gave up. The lady in the "dive shop" instructing everyone upon our arrival was in desperate need of a lesson in courtesy -- she barked at our group as we entered the shop, for no apparent reason except that they were very busy.
The Blue Lagoon in Nassau was a spectacular place -- a paradise. However, it took an hour from the time we met in the theater until we arrived by boat, then we only had an hour and a half there before we had to return to the transport boat. This was most unfortunate, as this was undoubtedly a place one would want to spend the day. For the price, it was not good value -- nice to visit but I would not do it again unless we had more time there.
The on-board entertainment was not as good as any we have experienced in the past. The magic show the first night was very good. Personally I enjoyed the Italian tenor, but many people left once the show started. The steel drum band was also enjoyable, but the Costa dancers and performers were well below the level of those on other ships. During the talent show, crew members were fooling around behind the backs of passengers who were brave enough to get up and perform, which I felt was inappropriate. This was the first cruise where we were not wowed by the entertainment.
The lines to get off the ship at ports of call were not supervised and sometimes people were pushing and shoving. There were some very rude Europeans who felt they were above taking their turn like the rest of us. When another passenger pointed out to these people where the end of the line was -- after four of them pushed in front of others -- one of them threw his hands up, made a face and remained where he was. I heard stories from fellow passengers about this being a regular occurrence.
One thing I did enjoy was the opportunity to take Italian language lessons. They were given by a Canadian (Martina) from Quebec, a lovely girl who spoke the five languages fluently.
My older son enjoyed the evening teen get-togethers. Maybe the fact that he was getting cozy with a girl on board contributed to this.
Getting off the ship was the usual experience. The only complaint here was that we were allocated to the theater, as were most passengers, where none of the public announcements could be heard. I called Guest Services to advise them of this, and they thanked me, but the announcements still couldn't be heard in the theater. We were advised by a crew member when it was our color's time to leave.
Overall, I would rate the experience a 6 on a scale of 10, and give the ship a 3.5 out of 5. We will not cruise with Costa again as we found it a little too European for our tastes.
We sailed on the Atlantica last year and I finally calmed down enough to write a review. This was our 14th cruise and defintely the one and only time sailing with Costa.
The service and food quality were by far the worst I have ever experienced on any ship I have been on. We had a Grand suite which was nicely appointed but the air conditioning never worked properly even after repeatedly having repairmen attempt to service it. Not good in the Caribbean.
The food in the main dining room was mediocre at best. Even more disappointing was the "gourmet restaurant" The food was so bad there that after trying to eat the food, we just gave up and went back to the main dining room and had dinner there. At least the maitre'd refunded our extra charge after complaining about the inedible food and poor service.
Shore excursions were equally as bad. If you were a European guest you had special buses that were comfortable and air conditioned. Americans had old school buses that the windows barely opened. Europeans had large catamarans with a bar music nd translators. Americans had open boatswith crew members constantly looking for a tip.
Entertainment on board was so amateurish it was not worth watching.
The worst thing happened while laying on the pool deck,when small oily particles started falling on the passengers. Garbage was being burned and the exhaust stack was ejecting the residue on to the passengers ruining clothing. When complaints were made the indifference by the crew almost led to a riot. Security had to be called to prevent passengers from getting violent. The cruise line never offered to make ammends to anyone.
Bottom line - if you are european and especially Italian you might enjoy this ship except for the food. If you are American you are a lower class citizen on this ship. Costa should have spent less on garishly decorating the ship and more on training crew in better customer relations.
I had my first experience on Costa and I'm very enthusiastic about its costumer care. I have had many previous experiences with almost all the major Cruise Lines such as Celebrity, RCC, Princess, Cunard, Carnival etc., and I have to admit that I was a bit skeptic about an Italian Cruise Line. We chose two cruises , the Norvegian Fjords and the Baltic Capitals from the 08/8/2004 to 08/22/2004 and we request the complete packages (airplanes, transfers, hotels) to Costa.
I received the cruises documents for my Travel Agent. The booklet was the most complete the most explanatory I ever had. All was clearly reported and nothing was left undefined or unclear. We had a very good assistance form the Costa representative, arriving and departing from Copenhagen and from and to the port. We really felt sheltered from them. There were a Costa help desk in each hotel ( The Square and Admiral) and the representative were very helpful and nice, giving us a letter with the welcome of the Cruise Line and all the information we need during our stay and the scheduling of the drop in and drop outservices. The rooms at our hotel booked directly from Cruise line were very good. I liked a lot the Admiral Hotel in Copenhagen. It's a very particular building, and it deserves a stay. The embarkation was very smooth, notwithstanding the security procedure with a warm welcome by some members of the crew coming into the amazing "La Dolce Vita" Atrium.
The ship is fine and it's a very big vessel, very stable and very silent (sometimes I asked to myself if we were sailing or not), no seasickness (yahoo!). The cabin (we choose the first deck and one inside cabin) was very comfortable and full of space in the cabinets and in the drawers. Our Cabin steward Rodney from Philippines, was very kind and professional and he made a good job also with the Laundry service (very professional)
The most of the passengers were Italians, then we had a great representatives of Spanish (very cheerful and nice), then Germans, Portuguese and French people.
Although it is a smoker free ship, I never felt a smoke smell in all the vessel.
The lounges are all beautiful and inspired to our Federico Fellini. The most requested lounge was the Piazza Madame Butterfly, where two duo singers and players performed (all very good). This is maybe the focal point of the ship, where many activities are held. The most of the Italian guest skipped some lounges like Caffe' Florian, always desert. It's a pity that a so vast space is often oven like. The Olympia Gym very big and full of any kind of gears. The outside decks are very well maintained, and there where sun chairs all with soft mattresses. The three swimming pools are very nice, and when the weather was not very good , the middle swimming pool was covered by the crystal mega dome. All seems not very overcrowded. The Coral Lunge, directly down to the Caruso Theatre, was a nice place for dancers and for parties. It should be more improved by different performances. I appreciate a lot the most beautiful glass vases collection in each level near stairways and lifts.
The Botticelli Buffet has 4 buffet lines plus two smaller lines dedicated to cakes and ice cream and to the Health Corner. Each day two buffet lines were dedicated to a typical national dishes (French, German, Italian, Spanish, Mexican, and- one of the best- to the Italian seafood). Outside the Botticelli Buffet and in the Ginger and Fred Pools and the Aurora Pools after, there were two grill line served breakfast and typical grill food like Hamburger, French fries, and hot dogs ( quite far from Italian taste ) About food....(I increased 2 kilos!!!!!!! I hate Costa!) very, very Italian. The taste of the food is very good, we often ate fish, frequently fresh - they grant us that trucks from Genova reach the Atlantica every 3 days!- and it's true because we ate some kind of Italian specialties that you can find only over here!. The buffets are very different and various (one day I counted 5 different kinds of pasta (2 kind of spaghetti dressed with different sauce - Carbonara and the other with tomato sauce olives, anchovies and caper, one oven polenta topped with cheese, Gnocchi di semolino - better that the ones that my mom and I make at home, and chick peas soup), plus grilled prawns, fried calamari, mussels....at last a great and good quantity of food! I had to notice the continuous check in the restaurants and buffets of the Maitre D' , Mr. Fernando Sanna and the Director of Services, Mr. Percivale. .They were everywhere! The Tiziano Restaurant is a very wide two stores dining rooms, sober, and well decorated. We requested a table for two on the second seating (9,30 pm, maybe later for not Italian guests) but the service was very smooth and attentive. Our waiters (Gabriel from Romania and Wayne from India) was very carefully ( I requested a special bread and I found it each dinner on my table thanks to the cares of Wayne). Both waiter was always ready to fulfill any our requests. The service in the dining was very, very good, I felt sheltered and cared from our maitre Mr. Salvatore, who had a nice and pleasant words for all his guest. The executive chef, Mr. Paolo Màspero, is a young man from Genova or Liguria and he received the bigger applause and standing ovation from all the guests during the farewell dinner. He deserve all the ovations. (I congratulate with him personally). All his staff make a very good job. For the first time in a back to back cruise we had for dinner an additional menu, a second chose of the regular menu. Cakes was very good (specially soufflés, Pastiera - one Neapolitan specialty, and fruits sorbets, as also starters (we appreciate grilled oysters and the delicious and very special "Frittella di Gianchetti" a sort of pancakes made with baby fishes. Excellent seafood dishes, soups, and some little surprise like fried calamari or bruschetta that sometimes were served.
To say the true pizza was not very good, and the afternoon tea is a little bit lack. They must improve the variety of the snacks (On the Infinity I had one of my best afternoon tea, my mom said the elegant tea on Cunard was a must!)
ENTERTAINMENTS AND CREW
The crew on board are very nice and patience, and the service is very attentive....specially the personnel at Reception, always ready to solve any kind of problems. The Captain Welcome cocktail and the repeaters cocktail are very sober and elegant, no hint about business affairs, and the our Master Giuliano Bossi welcome all the guest with some beautiful and poetical words....in 5 languages - at last Italian. The shows are very good and the Cruise Director, Mr. Michele Esposito, and his staff was very nice and not too much invasive....
We had a very good service from the free shuttle, available by the ship in the most ports, and the program of the day named the "Today" is very full of information ( I bring with me a copy of it and plus a copy of the menu of Gala Dinners). I forgot! We had a surprise from the Master of the ship. We were sailing trough Flam Fjord, directions Bergen. The ship made a little deviation to another little pristine Fjord. We reached a very amazing place! A minor harbor. Two little villages, between mountains and a glacier, waterfall, little red houses, no kind of noise, and the ship made a couple of rotations allowing all the passengers to watch this fairy-tale landscape. It's a night lovers ship. I was very happy about this because I remember a cruise made in the Caribbean some years ago on board another ship, when the most of the activities were over around 10,30 pm. What a bore! Except two Gala evenings each week, suggested dress is casual, but I must consider that from Spanish People to French, the most was wearing a semi formal robes during the informal evenings. Not much tuxedos.
So at last one of my best experience I never had of all my cruises (Obviously I'm not talking about luxurious cruise lines!) It was my best cruise considering the quality/price factor. I wish to suggest Costa to all the people who expect to live a very Italian experience an loving to be always followed and pampered by a very efficient and very discrete organization and a living cruise.
Information before cruise: Costa web-page need improvements. It is very difficult to surf in this page. The information is too general. You cannot get a good view or sense of the ship or amost anything.
Cruise: Boarding was smooth despite a large group of people. Security was high, which is good. The ship is beautiful. The decoration goes to the last detail.
Staff: The staff was helpfull. I was impressed with the fact the most of the staff speak at least 4 different languages. Some of the staff had very strong body odor.
Food: The food was very good. They have different choices and food was available 24 hrs a day. The main restaurant was excelent.
Overall: The cruise was very good. As in all there is some room for improvement. I wish I was back on-board.
Overview We were attracted to this cruise by the reasonable price and interesting itinerary (visiting Italy, Egypt, Turkey and Greece). Before booking I read 'official' cruise guide reviews, which gave the ship a fairly good rating. I however became a bit concerned after reading a number of critical 'customer reviews'. I think it is however very much about perception and what sort of person you are. I can appreciate some regulars perhaps giving the ship a lower review if they have been on many cruises that they preferred, however it should be remembered that this is a mass-market cruise at a great price. For value for money, it was excellent. The Costa Victoria is a modern, well-maintained ship. Everything looks like new and is spotless. Especially after walking around places like the interesting but hectic Alexandria, we were very pleased to say our beautiful white ship in the harbour on our return. I have only sailed with Orient Lines/NCL previously and there were areas that both companies excelled in. The crew on the Victoria seemed a little more rushed perhaps, especially during the dinner service. However none were unfriendly and my parents,who had never sailed previously, thought the service was fantastic. So much so that they have booked to travel with Costa again in September.
Food I can honestly say that we never had a bad meal on board. The main restaurant served a 5-course dinner, which featured quite a lot of fish and was Mediterranean in terms of oils/sauces etc. It was all of a high standard and the staff were really wonderful. It is however true that if you like, say, steak and hot puddings then these featured on rare occasions. I read a review stating that the pizzeria served frozen food, this simply isn't true. The poolside grill had lovely well cooked chicken and the cafes throughout the ship were relaxing and pleasant. There was the midnight buffet (disappearing from some lines) that was outstanding. There was also complimentary coffee/juice most of the day at the back of the ship. It is worth buying a 'honeymooners card' (you don't need to be on your honeymoon) for a set number of drinks for one reduced price. Alcoholic drinks were quite expensive although the duty free shop did actually let you take your purchased back to your cabin for consumption, if you so desired.
Shows The cruise featured 'the entertainment team' a group pf Italian performers, which it perhaps took a couple of days for me to get on to their wavelength, however they were very talented. Costa goes in for quite a lot of audience participation shows, which you either love or hate. They could be very amusing to watch and there was little pressure to join in.
Cabin The cabin was a reasonable size and well designed. The hairdryer was damaged but I reported it to the reception and it was replaced with a whole new unit by the time we returned to the cabin.
Itinerary This was a very interesting voyage. One negative was that in most ports, you had to travel some distance to get to the main attraction (eg Pyramids, Taormina, Olympia etc) however only in Alexandria and Messina did we feel we had little option but to take the official tour. On all other occasions we just took local transport. In Katakolon I would recommend taking a taxi, and in Piraeus, if you don't mind some walking then head around to the train station. On our cruise someone was taken ill while we travelled to Alexandria and the boat needed to turn around and due to the delay we missed out Rhodes. The situation was handled professionally although information could perhaps have been more forthcoming.
Misc. Others have commented about smokers onboard. As a non-smoker I feared the worst, but really there wasn't too much of a problem. Some bars could be a little smoky but I never saw anyone smoking in the corridors or waiting for the lift etc as others have reported.
Summary I'm sure that many of the criticisms of Costa will be genuine (otherwise why would people write them) however I believe much is down to Costa being very different and very European. We met French, Germans and Italians on board, who were all very friendly. Yes, one couple did push in the queue in front of us on an occasion but this was very rare. Yes, all the announcements in different languages do take some time, but really - is it that such big a deal? If you are an average easygoing person, then I think you will like (and perhaps even love) Costa. If you want to moan and find fault with anything and everything then this is possible too.
This was my 26th cruise and my first aboard a Costa ship, having cruises with RCCI, Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity and a few other smaller lines previously. I had read several reviews after booking this cruise and was quite concerned after reading very poor reviews about this ship. I appoligized profusely to my travel companions before boarding the ship as RCCI was my first choice but was unavailable at line of booking. I was not happy right off the bat!
Costa was fabulous! I can't believe how wrong my concerns could have been.
The Cost Mediterranea is beautiful. Upon boarding the ship, my first reaction was "it's so gaudy", but after a little thought, being of Italian heritage, I realized, it's Italian! One would have to understand that and then appreciate that.
Check in and boarding was the shortest and smoothest of any ship I've ever boarded even having boarded an RCCI ship as a frequent cruiser. We were checked in and boarded in less than 30 minutes after arriving at the pier at 130p, thirty minutes after boarding began. We were all shown to our rooms by a very friendly, warm staff member.
The balconyrooms were quite large and very comfortably decorated. After finding our rooms and heading out to explore this beautiful ship, my first encounter was with an officer we passed in the hall who greeted us with a smile and a warm "bon giorno". This was not what I expected based on the poor reviews I read.
Dinner in the dining room I found to be fabulous, virgin olive oil on the table as well as all the italian favorites i've grown up with. What a wonderful Italian touch. The food was great every night though I might stay away from the pork, it tended to be quite dry. All other dishes were equal to or above the quality of other cruise ships. The dining room staff was exceptional, at times not giving me a menu yet serving me what I would have chosen and the way I would have ordered it. When a waiter learns your likings that well, he deserves credit. He got it!
The bar staff was attentive no matter where you went. They all smiled, remembered your name as well as your likings. A special thanks to Octavian and Artauro who both went above and beyond.
I can't really comment on the ports of call as I been to the Western Caribbean many times before. Progresso could have been skipped though.
I did miss a few things like the sailing away party with the Caribbean band on deck as well as the Caribbean music on deck every day. I could deal with that though. I understood the differences in lifestyles and accepted them.
My cruise aboard the Costa Mediterranea was wonderful! I am booking another cruise this November with a small group and will definately try to book Costa. I will choose Costa over RCCI, my usual cruiseline of choice. I loved Costa! Perhaps you ahve to be of Italian heritage to appreciate the beauty of a Costa cruise.
Thumbs up Costa, you did good by me.
Be very careful about being friendly with employees on this or any line. I was physically assaulted by an employee on this Costa Line. I had a witness and the cruise line executive said it was only my word against the employe,who by the way admitted he was never questioned about the assault.
The Costa executive refused to take any responsibility for the employees actions. He would not even say if the employee would be fired. By the way, I was told that this and other employees are hired as independent contractors. Con-men employees also prey on women on these cruises. I have first hand experience. They try to gain US citizenship and monetary items from unsuspecting passengers.
This was the third cruise my wife and I have taken with Costa and unfortunately will probably be our last. I won't bore the reader with a lengthy review of ports of call, etc. as the cruise line has virtually no control over the on-shore experiences of their passengers. The ship, however, is another matter. The gaudy decorating hits you the minute you board. Maybe this scheme will be pleasing to some since, as they say: "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", but this ship looks like a circus sign painter did the color scheme. Also, there's no grand atrium area so you feel immediately cramped upon entering the ship. Our balcony cabin was fine as was the cabin steward, but the overall environment of the ship is very smokey. Costa caters to foriegn travelers and apparently their cigarettes don't carry the Surgeon General's warning because they smoke everywhere!
My wife is especially sensitive to second hand smoke and this was a big problem. The other major complaint was the food and food service. We love good Italian food, which was the main reason we chose Costa again, but thisship's food is downright lousy, even their Italian dishes! Unfortunately the presentation and service of the food was equally poor so if you are taking this ship to eat, forget it (but if you're on a diet it would be great!). The entertainment was all no-names and/or crew members in dual roles so don't expect to see Barry Manilow or such. In summary, this cruise was a major dissapointment and it hurts me to write this because we had loved our previous Costa cruises.