Costa Cruises Reviews

Year Started: 1854
Ships in Fleet: 11
Category: Mainstream

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.

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Costa Cruises Cruise Ships

34 Reviews

Regions:Middle East, The Orient

Good for: Group. Singles. First-time Cruisers.

6 Reviews

Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Middle East

Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.

1 Reviews

Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, World

Good for: Group. Singles. First-time Cruisers.

0 Reviews

Regions:Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic

Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.

1 Reviews

Regions:Western Mediterranean, South America, Transatlantic

Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.

14 Reviews

Regions:Western Mediterranean, Middle East, Scandinavia/Northern Europe, South America, Transatlantic

Good for: Group. First-time Cruisers. Families.

23 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic

Good for: Children`s Programs. Group. Families.

39 Reviews

Regions:Eastern Caribbean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic

Good for: Children`s Programs. Singles. Families.

6 Reviews

Regions:Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe

Good for: Children`s Programs. Families.

0 Reviews

Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe

Good for: Group. Families.

11 Reviews

Regions:The Orient

Good for: Group. Singles. Families.

User Ratings

Overall Rating
4.28
from 135 reviews

Cuisine

Service Level

Value for Money

Ship Décor

Public Rooms

Staterooms

Kid's Programs

Daytime Activities

Nightlife

Shore Tours

Itinerary

Alternative Dining

User Reviews

135 User Reviews of Costa Cruises Ships
Western Caribbean
Publication Date: January 4, 2009

The date of our cruise was 1/4/2009! This is the second Costa cruise we have taken. It was much better than expected.

Food, overall, was very good. Don't know what other reviewers were complaining about. We prefer, for the most part, not to eat in the dining room. I would strongly suggest that the buffet at night open by 7 or 7:30 at the latest! Waiting until 8 was inconvenient.

Cabin size was great, however, we never saw our steward all week long; not even on the first day when we had questions, but he/she did do a good job with the cabin.

Boarding was good. Crew were friendly. I would like to apologize for the rude behavior of Americans (as well as some of those from other countries) that we observed during the week. Banging on doors because the buffet didn't open exactly at 7a.m.; one woman walking between the buffet line and the doors to get to the food, even though the crew were still making preparations to open; complaing about many little things that really don't matter, etc. Please remember -- you are your country's ambassador.

I would book Costa

again, especially at the price we paid which made it a great value.

A big HI to table 237 -- formerly 239.

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: April 10, 2008

Once again, we chose this cruise because it was one of the few package deals that departed from the Dominican Republic thus allowing us to stay at an "all-inclusive" resort for a second week. This was our second cruise on the Costa line and although there were a lot of similarities to that of our cruise on Costa Classica, we enjoyed this one even more. The package consisted of flight, cruise and hotel and was offered through Transat Holidays. This was not available on the Costa.com website but rather only found on the Costa.uk site. It's some sort of charter deal that can only be found this way. We departed from Toronto with a direct flight in Air Transat to La Romana DR. Our flight had been rescheduled from the original booking to arrive around 6:00 pm and the Transat staff was waiting to greet us on the tarmac. The drive to the pier was around 20 minutes and there was virtually no line once we got there. This was partially because this cruise had several embarkation ports and this was only a minor one (mostly for Canadians and Americans). The

majority of the passengers got on in Guadeloupe, as this was the embarkation port for Europeans and locals. Most of the passengers on Costa ships are European and it is rare to hear much English spoken. This doesn't bother us as we love to travel Europe and we are used to that multi-lingual atmosphere. Costa is not a "mint on the pillow" or "decorative animal towel" type of cruise, but we don't find the need for those incidentals but rather look for service and itinerary as the main attraction. After the customary Bon voyage photo we were quickly on the ship. The ship was clean and tidy and decorated nicely. The first thing we noticed was the full ship center atrium with the birdcage elevators zooming up and down. There were plenty of elevators throughout the ship and we never seemed to have to wait long to get one.

One of the nice features of this ship was that numbering of each floor at the elevators and stairways was printed in the carpeting. You easily knew what floor you were getting off at so you never made a mistake. Because the ship was not leaving until midnight, and most of the passengers were off on excursions, we took advantage of the empty ship to tour around and check it out. The pools were on the small side but plenty large enough to accommodate the busy periods. We found the variety of pools much nicer and more modern than Costa Classica. The multilevel spa and fitness center was exceptional and we used it daily. It's always nice when the treadmills are right at the front of the ship and this made morning entry into each port a panoramic treat.

The theaters were nice, but most shows filled up quickly so you have to give yourself time to finish dinner and get there. After the shows, there was always a lounge where the entertainment team would gather and create some fun with the passengers.

There were four of us traveling so we had two balcony cabins side by side. The divider between the balconies could be opened but only when in port. This was a bit of a disappointment but the configuration of the dividers didn't allow for the door to be completely out of the way. It was mostly designed for staff access rather than having four people sit and be in each other's company. There are cabins however with adjoining doors between them, and you must request these when booking. The cabin was quite spacious and almost as large as a mini suite on Princess ships. There was plenty of storage, a nice desk and a loveseat with a small table. As return guests (and Costa Club members) we were treated to a bowl of fruit and a welcome back note.

The only complaint I would have is that there was a slight but unpleasant odor in our room, for the first half of the cruise. It dissipated gradually each day.

The itinerary for this particular cruise was La Romana DR, Catalina Island DR, Tortola BVI, Castries St Lucia, Pointe-a-pitre Guadeloupe, Saint John's Antigua, and St. Maarten. We mostly took beach days but we also walked around most of the port cities. Catalina Island is normally just a beach day and Costa has the beach to itself. A BBQ is served along with musical entertainment and the beach chairs are included. Catalina Island is one of our very favorite beaches and we look forward to returning one day. Tortola BVI has upgraded the shopping experience since we were last there in 2005 and they now offer many small booths within walking distance from the ship. St Lucia offers shopping at the port and many varied excursions. There are plenty of taxis waiting to take you for much less than a Costa arranged excursion and it's a beautiful island that I would recommend seeing. The beaches are among our favorites in St Lucia as well. Guadeloupe was the only stop where there was very little to do within walking distance of the pier, so we only left the ship for a few minutes and then spent the day by the pool. We chose a 4-hour beach day in Antigua but for 51 Euros each ($150.00 for the 4 of us) we got a 1-hour drive to Half moon bay. A 2-hour stay and another 1-hour drive back to the ship followed. The beach doesn't have facilities and a chair rental was $6.00 each but they only had about 12 chairs so we couldn't get one. This was a complete rip-off by Costa and I've learned greatly about pre-booking excursions. It's best to do it without the ship and just watch your timing so you don't miss the departure.

St. Maarten is of course a great shopping experience. The water taxi takes you directly from the pier to the beach and from there; you can shop till you drop. We spent a little time at one of the casinos down town but were unsuccessful at winning the cruise fare back.

The final day is a half-day at sea and then we returned to the port of La Romana for our hotel stay at the Iberostar Hacienda.

One of the best things about cruising with Costa for us is the food. Every dinner was exceptional and the deserts were wonderful. We would like to see a little more seafood like Princess offers but when cruising Italian style, we have come to expect a superb cuisine all around. Costa Atlantica is a wonderful ship and we found the staff to be friendly and helpful (unlike some of the reviews we have read). I highly recommend you try it for a wonderful cruise experience with great value.

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: December 23, 2007

This was our annual family vacation (2 kids, 2 adults) and overall it was, ummmmmm, memorable to say the least.

The ship itself was very large but overly colourful; like an Italian carnival threw up on it. This made locating bathrooms and exits very difficult.

Our room was very spacious and our steward was fantastic! The same can be said about our waiters. The service on this ship, as with most others, was superb.

The entertainment was rather bland with the exception of Stephen Sorrentini, who flew in from Vegas. He was phenomenal, but we found the rest of the entertainment very bland.

The food was terrible, unlike NCL cruises we had gone on before where there were themed nights (Indian, Chinese, Mexican, etc. food), the food on this cruise was virtually the same stuff everyday.

The ports were great, but we were beginning to wish that we had just flown out to a resort rather than cruise.

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: December 9, 2007

Our sixth Caribbean cruise was aboard the Costa Fortuna from December 9-16, 2007. We stayed in the 160 square foot, but very spacious, inside cabin 8294 and our room attendant, Michael from the Philippines, was very kind and efficient. He did a great job of always having our room spotless.

We stopped in San Juan, St. Maarten, Tortola and Nassau and had a great time shopping and souvenir hunting. Despite some early rough weather due to the off-season Hurricane Olga, we kept our Bonine handy and had a smooth cruise, unlike some other people who didn't come prepared and suffered from major motion sickness.

Meals were as tasty and plentiful as they were with our previous cruises aboard Carnival, which didn't surprise us since Costa is owned by Carnival. Our dinners at the 2-person candlelit table 440 were romantic and had a panoramic view of the entire dining room. Our waiter, Francisco from the Dominican Republic; and his assistant, Joyce from the Philippines, were friendly and did an excellent job of taking care of us. Selections included old favorites such as grilled tuna steak and new treats like salmon with Gorgonzola cheese spread.

The

ship itself was very well-maintained and we had no problem finding our usual nightly hangout spot from the outset. The Bar Classico Roma was a relaxing place to enjoy a fine cigar and a drink after dinner, and we had many pleasant evenings chatting with other guests about our cruise experiences.

All in all, we'd highly recommend the Costa Fortuna as a great way to get a taste of the Mediterranean in a Caribbean cruise, and you can visit http://www.davehertz.com to view photos from our wonderful time at sea!

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Western Europe
Publication Date: August 14, 2007

Everything started out great, but went downhill fast.

The embarkation was the best ever and the ship is the most beautiful ship I have been on. The room steward was fabulous and the cabin room (inside stateroom) was spacious and had tons of closet space. That is where it ended.

The staff was the grumpiest and most unpleasant staff I have ever experienced. I went to the omelet bar and the guy didn't ask me what I wanted on it, he just threw it together and tossed down the plate.

The crew was just awful! Dirty dishes, staff cutting me off or just plain ignoring me. There were little things lacking -- no English television programs, no chocolate on the pillow, no customer service, no information on shore/port things to do unless you buy one of their way overpriced shore excursions.

Some of the facilities were not working (cold Jacuzzi, steam room) and when I went to customer service (first time ever and I have cruised 5 times) I was barely tolerated. I even asked if it was because I was an American and it seemed as if Italians rule the ship. The

response was a shoulder shrug.

If you want to get anywhere on or off the ship you will need to learn to push and shove your way or you will be left behind by an Italian mob of passengers who make cutting in line and shoving an art form. Kids dominated the ship, and were left running up and down halls until 2:00 in the morning.

The food was horrible as were the shows and cruise director (Clem). I am very upset that I chose Costa. I have heard that the Costa ship sailing the Caribbean is much better, but in Europe it should stick to Italian passengers only because all of the crew and entertainment is there solely for their enjoyment and you can forget the Americans (we were even denied a tour in the Galley, when others were allowed).

On the plus side, the itinerary was great. I loved all of the ports from Norway, Scotland, and Dover, England. Great ports! I highly recommend the itinerary, but steer clear of Costa unless you are Italian and even then I would skip Costa. Never again.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: April 8, 2007

This was my first time cruising with costa, but I have to say that I would cruise again in a heart beat. I have been on 7 other cruises. Where to start. First this cruise line is Italian Style cruising for a reason, the food is primarily Italian and they do this very well. There was not one meal that was not done beautifully.

The crew were all friendly and went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable, the beds were a little hard and our stewart had extra toppers put on our beds.

Since we are from the US we speak english and our english hosts were great and well informed regarding all aspects of the ship as well as any excursions that the ship offered. I have to say that Deborha was fantastic and has become a great friend as well.

The ship was beautiful and spotless more than any other ship I have been on before.

The ship had over 500 children on it however you would have never know that due to the great kids programs the squak club.

The rooms were typical, clean stewards

were great and they learned your schedule quickly, (late diner early diner).

The supper club Medusa was the best, had the best steak I have ever eaten. The only complaint here was the portion control to big my one new york strip could have feed threee people easily.

Shows were good, loved the Roman Night were passengers got to get on the stage. Fantastic.

All the ports were fun. Liked that the costa staff came onto the excurtions to help out if there was a language barrier.

Would recommend this to people who are open to new things and meeting differnet people this is not a cruise line for people who are not willing to try new things. I had a blast and this has made my mind up to finally go to Europe, but this is not for everyone. I am a foody and even I tried lots of new things it was great. I just could not stop smiling after I got off this cruise.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: April 1, 2007

This is a very beautiful ship with excellent service and reasonable food at a reasonable price.

The ship decor is magnificent. It goes beyond beautiful and sophisticated. The public areas are very comfortable and they have plenty of space for everybody aboard. It is very easy to learn your where about in the ship.

There is food available at all times. I mean it. The buffets are very good and with a good variety of different food for all ages and taste. The main restaurant can do a better job with their food. It was not bad but 3 years ago I remembered being better. (This is our second time in the same ship).

The service at any restaurant or buffets was excellent.

We had two cabins with balconies next to each other. They were very comfortable, pretty and of a good size. The cabin steward, Beverly, was very helpful, affable and diligent. She did a great job.

I can not tell enough good things about the staff. Most of them were outstanding. They were helpful and provided a very good service. This is the first ship I travel with some staff from

Latin America. They were above the rest in their service and friendliness. I was impressed because most of the staff spoke at least three languages.

The main shows were mostly very good. There were two of them that I didn't like. It will like to make special recognition to the entertainment crew that went around the ship running different activities. They went out of the way to make you feel happy and put a smile in your face. Sometimes it was just too funny the ways that they manage and the things they come up people laugh. KUDOS to them!

About the kids club. We traveled with our 3 kids ages 12 & 11 (twins). They had a great time. For few days we have being hearing that they wish they were in the ship.

The only recommendation here is that we will like the Discotheque not admit young people (under age) after midnight.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: March 18, 2007

Read your review of the Mediterranea and agree with most of it. This our 11th cruise , mostly with Princess, went on this particular cruise as part of an annual fan club cruise. This is a spectacular looking ship and is immaculately maintained.We had a balcony cabin on the 8th deck and did have some noise from the Buffet above.

Embarcation was slow with long line-ups taking one hour and then to the 9th floor buffet at 2.00pm. The 1st sitting was at 5.45 in the main dinning room where we had a table for 2 as requested. We enjoyed every meal especially the pasta dishes and our waiter Jeffery was most attentive. Shortcommings; Where this ship left me cold was the PA announcements in 5 languages, especially the life boat drill which took several times longer than any of our previous ships. The entertainment aboard was tailored for a european audience with mostly european performers, not the type of music one associates with a Carribean cruise.

We had booked a private function in one of the bars and when our guest speaker attempted to do his presentation the ship announcements drowned him

out. We had a private concert with a star performer that could have been in the main theatre where most of the passengers could have seen a world class act however the entertainment co-ordinator was not interested. The ports were typical except Roatan which has a new dock but needs to suppress the overly aggressive taxi drivers . All in all we enjoyed the cruise but La Dolce Vita was enough for us.
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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: March 18, 2007

Read your review of the Mediterranea and agree with most of it. This our 11th cruise , mostly with Princess, went on this particular cruise as part of an annual fan club cruise. This is a spectacular looking ship and is immaculately maintained.We had a balcony cabin on the 8th deck and did have some noise from the Buffet above.

Embarcation was slow with long line-ups taking one hour and then to the 9th floor buffet at 2.00pm. The 1st sitting was at 5.45 in the main dinning room where we had a table for 2 as requested. We enjoyed every meal especially the pasta dishes and our waiter Jeffery was most attentive. Shortcommings; Where this ship left me cold was the PA announcements in 5 languages, especially the life boat drill which took several times longer than any of our previous ships. The entertainment aboard was tailored for a european audience with mostly european performers, not the type of music one associates with a Carribean cruise.

We had booked a private function in one of the bars and when our guest speaker attempted to do his presentation the ship announcements drowned him

out. We had a private concert with a star performer that could have been in the main theatre where most of the passengers could have seen a world class act however the entertainment co-ordinator was not interested. The ports were typical except Roatan which has a new dock but needs to suppress the overly aggressive taxi drivers . All in all we enjoyed the cruise but La Dolce Vita was enough for us.
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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: March 4, 2007

There is an old saying "It is the company on a voyage that makes it so enjoyable." This, our fourth cruise on the Costa Mediterranea, proved the old adage right! There is a list (or rather a roster) of old friends and acquaintances, that we met again on board, which made this a terrific cruise. The wonderfully friendly Captain Giuseppe Russo tops the roster. The others are the following: the accomplished Hotel Director Attilio Sissa; Chef Massimo Molinaro with whom we crossed the Atlantic two years ago; Maitre D' Bartolomeo Vitiello with his impeccable continental manners (Yes, ladies you will be greeted with a kiss on the hand); The 2nd Maitre D' Antonello Tievoli (with the quirky reversible last name "I love it."); Then, there is the 2nd Maitre D' Raffaele Bailo (the Music Man), whose contributions to the ambiance of the Restaurant Degli Argentieri are immeasurable. Finally, Passenger Guest Relations Martina Fantoni, a lady who provides cruisers with a great sense of the "Costa Family." This concludes the list of old friends, later on we will enumerate the new ones.

This was our 13th Costa Cruise and all excellent ones. Perhaps, it

is the manner in which Vincent approaches them --- with enthusiasm and a sense of homecoming. The very Italian flavor on the Costa Ships is contagious, enhanced by a decidedly international mix of passengers, since the Costa Line is after all the most popular in Europe.

EMBARKATION Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is a mere twenty-five minutes from our home in Boca Raton, Fl. The Costa Mediterranea is berthed at a new pier recently built due to the increased number of ships calling Port Everglades home port. Go right at the first traffic light after the security check point (where there were long slow lines) and the ship looms gigantic on the pier. There were well defined separate lanes for busses, taxis and private autos. We were dropped off with our luggage, but since this was an impromptu trip (an offer we couldn't refuse) the porters tagged our luggage for us and it only took a minute. We had wheelchair assistance through check in and all the way to our suite. Boarding time is listed as 1:00pm, but we were on by 12:30pm. Excellent.

THE SHIP We have written several reviews in great detail on the decorations of the Costa Mediterranea, which can be accessed on line. It is the magnificent work of Joe Farcus, Carnival's famous ship architect. He employed a massive amount of classical motifs to make the Mediterranea reflect the countries it represents. There is the Osiris theater (Egypt), the Medusa Club (Greece), and even the decks are named for both mythological and real persons from this area.

Like her sister ship the Costa Atlantica, she sports the traditional Costa blue "C" on her yellow smoke stack. Built in Kvaerna Masa Shipyards, Finland in 2004; she is Panamax: 982 ft. long, 104 ft. wide, 196 ft. tall with a gross tonnage of 85,700. She has 12 decks and 1057 cabins of which 742 have balconies. She is powered by 6 Diesel Generators and has a maximum speed of 24 knots. Her total passenger capacity is 2,680 and has a crew of 920.

Enough of the specifics, the Mediterranea is graced with the works of 34 contemporary artists and a large heavy tome (over 250 pages) has been devoted to the great art collection on board: "L'Arte della Commedia." La Commedia dell'Arte (the Comedy of Masks) includes the famous classical characters of Pulcinella (Punch), Colombina (Columbine), Arlecchino (Harlequin), Rosaura, Capitan Spaventa (Captain Frightful), etc. The atrium's main wall has the six masked Venetian characters in full regalia -- a sartorial triumph! The Vignale designs and the Cioce photographs of dancers are stunning and of museum quality. There are 48 Cioce panels in the Atrium Maschera d'Argento (Silver Mask Hall), depicting dance in movement so beautifully, that they are unforgettable. There are also many sculpted figures in dance poses which occupy the rest of the 8 deck high wall.

Decks 2 (Tersicore) and 3(Bacco) are public decks with the Osiris Theater forward, Via Condotti Shops, the Piazza Casanova, the Casino, Passenger Services Desk and the Tour Desk and the two level restaurant of the silversmiths "Ristorante degli Argentieri."

Decks 4 (Teseo), 5(Orfeo), 6 (Narciso), 7 (Promoteo), and 8 (Pegaso) are all staterooms.

Decks 9 (Armonia) and 10 (Cleopatra) are all public areas including the Buffet and grills, pools and whirlpools, spas, gym, tennis courts, jogging tracks, etc.

The Costa Mediterranea is an art and amenity filled ship of the first magnitude.

FOOD & SERVICE Costa Line describes itself as "Cruising Italian Style" and this is very evident in the good manners of its crew. Even though, they are a multicultural group, they all greet passengers in Italian. Hotel Director Sissa has instilled in them a very gracious and friendly attitude towards passengers. Everyone goes the extra mile to please and they deserve excellent marks for politeness. On formal night the Maitre D' Bartolomeo all dressed in tails is quite elegant. On Gala night the tables have not only the usual flowers, but also candles, in addition to the complimentary champaign. Each night the waiters are in different outfits: white formal jackets, black formal jackets, and even Red-White-Green for the Italian dinner. There is always dinner music including the following: Classical Italian and American songs, Neapolitan favorites, and even Argentine tangos. All because 2nd Maitre D' Raffaele is an aficionado with both deep interest and knowledge of good music.

Of course, not only is the ambiance Italian, but so is the food. Our waiters Julio Katinding and his assistant Chester Coronica were tip top. We enjoyed appetizers of Grana Padana and Prosciutto di Parma, pate` with pistachios, and Escargot. The various soups were interesting and the hot ones included pasta e fagioli and double chicken broth with tortellini; the cold ones included Pear cocktail with Kirsch, and chilled cucumber yogurt with dill soup. Pasta courses were abundant such as Farfalle al Salmone (Bow ties with Salmon), Fettuccine Alfredo and Penne con Pomodoro Fresco (pasta with fresh tomato). The entrees included Beef, Veal, Lamb, Chicken, Salmon, Tuna (steaks or Carpaccio), swordfish broiled to perfection and quite succulent. The King crabs were wonderful too. Chef Massimo Molinaro made terrific swordfish involtini (roll ups). Excutive Chef Giovanni Scalet is to be congratulated for his many unique offerings. Bravo!

Desserts were varied and not overly sweet. Excellent Napoleons, Baba au Rum, Tiramisu and fresh exotic fruits from raspberries, blueberries and blackberries to papayas, mangos and Kiwis. We had room service each morning for breakfast and our Butler Carla was always punctual and hot items were hot and chilled ones cold. The full restaurant menu was available: eggs any way, pancakes, waffles, French toast, fruits and sides orders of bacon, and potatoes, Danish, Bagels and rolls of all kinds. The breads on board Costa are very crunchy, just the way we like bread. Grissini (bread sticks) are fresh and delicious and set every night on every table.

We dined on Deck 10 at the Club Medusa Restaurant twice. This upscale Italian restaurant has a beautiful setting and wonderful ambiance, with the excellent music of pianist and singer Domenico Mancuso (a wonderful repertoire and excellent voice). The dance floor is large and well used. The tables are set with gold brocade tablecloths and Versace red and gold plates. We chose the fixed taster's menu, which is an eight course meal that has a duration of about two and one half hours. But there was also an a la carte menu with great variety. The Club Supervisor is Rahul Upadhyay, whom we met before; he is very efficient and aims for excellence.

Congratulations to both Captain Russo and Hotel Director Attilio Sissa, they have a well oiled machine.

CABIN Suite #6184 on Deck 6 is a large cabin with excellent appointments. On entering on the right is a lady's dressing room with two wardrobes, and a lighted vanity with an upholstered stool. Through this ante room there is the large bathroom, with a full jacuzzi tub/shower, a double sink and many shelves for toiletries. Costa Mediterranea provides sets of their own brand shampoos, and lotions which are superb. Next, there is the queen size bed with a gorgeous peach brocaded coverlet and choice of several types of pillows (contour, firm, extra firm, and soft). There is a handy bar with granite topped counters, night stands and tables. There is a personal safe and refrigerator. The large extra long peach leather couch has two matching chairs. There are also two more armoires. The far wall has floor to ceiling windows and a glass door to the very large balcony which holds two recliners and a table of teak wood. Our Cabin Stewardess was Danina and between her and Butler Carla we were pampered all week long. We were also visited by our former Butler Ronald Andaya, whom we met last year on a Costa Mediterranea cruise. What a surprise!

ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Gabriele Di Gangi is witty, handsome, and enthusiastic. He is surrounded by a high spirited group which spends many hours organizing and running a multitude of activities such as the following: Bingo, Trivia, Casino Tournaments, Athletic games, etc. The Costa Orchestra, Singers and Dancers are very good. The Platchkov Duo from the Moscow Circus did excellent juggling. The new production show "The Elements" of fire, wind, earth and water is magnificent, especially when time is taken to read the program and understand the theme. A tenor Edmondo Rahme sang international songs from Tom Jones to Pavarotti. He was quite good in the pop songs and involved the audience, but his classical opera arias were not as good. There is an International night, where passengers wander from one lounge to another where different ethnic themes are presented. Costa gives passengers a "passport" to be stamped in the areas representing France, Greece, Spain and Egypt, then the passenger can get a discount of $100 on future cruise with the approved passport. There is an Italian Night with masks and a Toga Night with a Variety Show where Caesar 's thumb up or thumb down can send the poor Christian to the feast or to the lions. There is great fun to be had on board.

PORTS OF CALL Day 1. Ft. Lauderdale, FL USA Depart 7:00pm (usually). On this day the sailing was delayed.

Day 2. Key West, FL USA Arrive: 8:00am Depart: 5:00pm There are free shuttle busses to downtown. We have been in Key West many times, thus we have visited all of the interesting places including President Truman's Little White House, The Key West Shipwreck Historeum, the Hemingway Home and the famous Sloppy Joe's Bar. This time, we just did some shopping downtown.

Day 3. At Sea.

Day 4. Georgetown, Grand Cayman Arrive: 8:00am Depart: 5:00pm Tendering ashore. We did not go ashore. However, among the tours we prefer are the Stingray Sandbar Snorkeling (2.5 hours, $ 47) and the Stingray Observatory and Island Highlights (3 hours, $ 60).

Day 5. Roatan, Honduras Arrive: 10:00am Depart: 5:00pm We took the West Side Highland Tour (4 hours, $ 46) and were disappointed in both the Carambola Botanical Garden and the visit to the Butterfly and Parrot Park.

Day 6. Cozumel, Mexico Arrive: 8:00am Depart: 5:00pm We consider this port as the best shopping place in the Western Caribbean. For those interested in archeological tours, the visit to the Ancient Mayan city of Tulum is a must (8 hours, $ 82). Several great snorkeling and SCUBA diving tours are available.

Day 7. At Sea.

Day 8. Ft. Lauderdale, FL USA Arrive: 7:00am

DEBARKATION Immigration authorities were speedy and debarkation began at 8:15am. We had wheelchair assistance from our suite all the way through passport check, luggage pick up, customs and out to the curb. Very smooth, and we were off by 8:45am. Excellent.

CONCLUSION We enjoy cruising on new ships; however, we frequently return to those ships where we had some of our best cruises and that is understandable, since we like to repeat pleasurable experiences. Some of our favorite ships of Costa are the Atlantica and the Mediterranea, thus we have cruised four times on both of these ships. One of the major reasons for these preferences is the people we have met aboard, and when we return it is like coming home, and enjoying seeing familiar faces in familiar places. Cruising Italian Style is just great, "That's Amore." Happy Cruising!

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