Good for: Group. Singles. 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: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:Eastern Caribbean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Transatlantic
Good for: Children`s Programs. Singles. Families.
Regions:Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe
Good for: Children`s Programs. Families.
Regions:Mediterranean, Western Mediterranean, Scandinavia/Northern Europe
Good for: Group. Families.
Good for: Group. Singles. Families.
I waited 2 weeks to write this review in order to calm down.
The service was terrible.
The food was dull and tastless.
For the most part, the staff and management were misleading on tour information.
The cruise was inexpensive, so I guess in this case you get what you pay for.
I would not recommend a Costa cruise.
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 Costaagain, especially at the price we paid which made it a great value.
A big HI to table 237 -- formerly 239.
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). Themajority 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.
On Saturday the 29th March 2008 my family and I boarded the Costa Allegra at approximately 8pm, we completed the passport and administration process onboard ship and were escorted to our cabin (4122) by a crew member but unfortunately she took us to the wrong cabin, was this a sign of things to come? -- The lady crew member apologised explaining that she was new to the ship. We duly trundled our luggage and children accompanied with the staff member from the bow of the ship back to the stern.
Our cabin which we had booked in July 2007 was on inspection not only dirty but had a strange dank odour. In the area above the window the air-conditioning vents had been blocked and padded out with a 3 foot length of green foam sponge that was absolutely filthy and blackened with dust and debris that had accumulated between the air-conditioning vents and the foam. The children's upper bunks had to have their duvets changed as they were dirty and marked. Towels were seemingly in short supply, our cabin initially only had two.
We raised these issues with the maid and leftthe cabin to explore the ship. On returning some 2 hours later the cabin had been cleaned, duvets changed and additional towels supplied and the ominous 'green foam' had been removed. We decided to settle down for the night at approximately 12.10am. We now discover that the ladder to the right-hand bunk cannot and will not secure properly to the upper bunk, there simply wasn't enough space between the bunk and dressing table for it to do so. The opposite left-hand bunk was OK (See pictures 19-20 and video footage). My daughter therefore had no option but to gain ingress and exit from her bunk by climbing onto our double bed then the window sill, stepping across to her bunk. (See pictures 16–18 and video footage) Something that is surely dangerous and raises in my mind both health and safety implications and liabilities on yourselves. This was later raised with Anita Wolfgang the Front Desk Manager -- her reply was that it was a small ship and they could do nothing about it because of the configuration of the cabin and its fixtures and fittings.
The ship set sail later than scheduled at just after midnight on the 30th March, to myself and partners disbelief the whole cabin started to violently vibrate, items on the dressing table were moving around on their own and large particles of dust were falling from where previously the green foam had resided. A combination of the vibration and noise woke the children who started crying. We sat, watched and endured this for some 45 minutes; there were no signs of it abating so I went to reception to see what could be done. The lady on reception reassured me that this was quite normal and that things would settle down shortly. I returned to our cabin to find the children still crying and being comforted by my partner. We sat and waited the intensity of noise and vibration remained constant, dust and residue still falling from the air-conditioning vents.
At approximately 01.15am I went back to reception and again spoke to the duty receptionist, I asked her to come and see for herself the issues we as a family were having with the cabin, she refused saying that she couldn't leave her station at this time of night and reluctantly she called one of her colleagues. He came back to the cabin with me and he explained that there had been ongoing problems with the cabin in the past. On returning with him to reception I requested even at this early hour that the duty receptionist change our cabin as my family and I couldn't stay in these conditions any more, she flatly refused saying that the ship was full, but that they might be able to do something about it in the morning. Again I reiterated that the noise, vibration and dust left it unbearable for us to remain in there and asked her just to come and look for herself, she refused. I then asked to speak to her superior the Front Desk Manager (Anita Wolfgang) the duty receptionist refused to do this saying that it was late and Anita would be in bed asleep. This annoyed me some what, I being the paying guest who was in a dirty, dusty, vibrating, noisy cabin being told that she couldn't do anything and wouldn't contact her superior because she was tucked up in bed asleep. I asked her once more if she would either swap our cabin or contact and raise these issues with Anita Wolfgang, she said she wouldn't and there was nothing she could do as the ship was full to capacity.
After trying my hardest and going through what I hoped would be the proper channels I was left with no choice but to take the following actions. I returned to our cabin at approximately 01.30am to find my children still crying and being heavily consoled, I removed two mattresses from the bed taking them down the corridor and into reception. I returned twice more to the cabin taking bedding and pillows. The reception area now becoming my intended sleeping accommodation for the night, I remained there in bed in front of reception for some 5-10 minutes. The duty receptionist by this time had miraculously found a replacement cabin from this full to capacity ship. I was shown to room 3070 at approximately 02.00am. Unfortunately the replacement room was an inside cabin and not an outside one as we had paid for. I refused the cabin and returned to my temporary double bed in reception at 02.10am. Again the duty receptionist tapped away on her computer, she even thought it necessary to get Anita out of bed by this time, and by some strange and unbelievable team work I was 5 minutes later offered on deck 4 (our original deck) yet another spare cabin identical to our original one except for the vibration, noise and dust pollution. All our clothing and possessions were duly removed from cabin 4122 to cabin 4070 amidships.
We finally settled down for the night in relative peace at 03.40am. I later discovered from talking to one to the engineering/maintenance staff (addressing another cabin) that it was common place for foam to be packed into some of the rear cabins to stop metal and wooden fittings from vibrating and helping to soften the engine noise coming into the room via the air-conditioning ducts.
Food Breakfasts onboard in the main restaurant were just a nightmare, waiters and assistant waiters just milling around, squabbling and falling out with each other. We used the restaurant 8 times in total for breakfasts finally giving up during our second week. There wasn't one occasion during this time that our breakfast order arrived as requested. We would get scrambled eggs instead of poached eggs, boiled eggs for the children that arrived hard boiled, no toast when asked for. Coffee and tea never arrived on the first time of asking, tables were not set correctly, cups, saucers and cutlery often missing, replacements being scavenged from other tables to make a full complement at the table you were seated at. On two occasions we had to reorder our breakfast as nothing arrived the first time around, the final straw for breakfasts came when we were left waiting 35 minutes for two simple cheese omelettes after ordering them twice, and on arrival they tasted and had the consistency of rubber flip flops (See Picture 15).
We asked the maitre d' on two separate occasions why the service was so poor, reluctantly he said that they had recently had an influx of new and inexperienced staff from China and the Philippines and it was regrettable that they were still being trained by existing staff, he rambled on saying that it was difficult for them to learn because of the language barriers and that they had to work long hours. I really didn't want to hear this -- I just wanted the service that I had paid for, not a political sympathy vote from a staff member. Our remaining breakfasts were taken in the self-service eating areas and these were much better as you could pick and choose the food you wanted, Omelettes for example were cooked in front of you and were good, coffee and tea was on tap from the vending machines.
Lunch Yet more organised chaos, food arriving at your table that you hadn't ordered, it would be taken away before the correct dish eventually arrived cold. There were waiters trying to take plates away from you when you hadn't finished eating. Waiters leaning across you to collect plates and serve others whilst you were still eating -- the list goes on. The language barrier was an incredible problem and you would often have to repeat yourself several times pointing and gesticulating along the way in an attempt to make yourself understood.
Dinner Again all the same issues were there from breakfast and lunch -- the only advantage being that over the course of the cruise you could build up some understanding with your designated table waiters. The basic table etiquette though was still missing, for example 4 persons were at our table, starters would be brought out whilst others were still eating their appetisers, main courses delivered when others were still eating the starters, there was no balance. It became embarrassing when night after night we would have to ask our waiters to either wait to clear finished plates whilst others were still eating and only bring out the same courses together. Surely this is really basic table etiquette; service in a high street café would prove more efficient.
Food quality and presentation varied tremendously out of the fourteen nights we ate dinner in the restaurant, there were only two occasions where food didn't either go back for replacement because of either being the wrong dish or under/overcooked. You could ask for your steak to be medium–rare and it would arrive well done, vegetables would often arrive crucified, broccoli and courgettes for example just a puréed pulp on your plate. This is not only the waiter's fault for bring it to your table but the chef's fault for sending it out in the first place. The only safe bet at the dinner table was a side salad -- but I suppose you can't really go wrong with something you don't have to cook.
Health & Safety Issues I work for a large American company as a Senior Health & Safety Manager. I have been trained and train others in responsible working practices, looking after 2450 company employees. Some of the examples of poor working practices were beyond belief, yet your onboard televised videos portray a fantastic H&S approach, it's only a pity they don't observe and take this attitude on the Allegra.
Fire escape routes were blocked by locked 'fire doors' (see photo 1) Agreed they were opened once I raised the issue with a crew member but that is not the point -- in the event of an emergency he wouldn't have been there to open them. There were trailing electrical cables from a multitude of appliances, vacuum cleaners, floor polishers, portable air-conditioning units -- all tripping hazards waiting to happen. There were even cables trailing on external and internal stair wells. I must have raised these issues with the crew members using these appliances and cables 6-8 times, the standard answer was just simply sorry sir, and on every occasion the cable was kicked away into a corner without any further thought or consideration. (See photos 2 through 6).
Liquid spillages galore all over the ship but rarely did you see any signage alerting people to this, often there was just a pile of napkins left on the floor for internal spillages or beach towels for deck area spillages just soaking up the residue, a nice hazard in itself.
In the second cabin we had (4070) the internal tannoy system didn't work, it was only the vigilant action of the maid checking her cabins as part of the emergency drill that we were alerted of the evacuation procedure on day two. I ask myself if there is one cabin with a faulty tannoy how many more are there onboard ship?
Defective poolside barstool 'stump' temporarily made safe with an upturned pop can (See photos 7& 8).
Painting and decorating of the ship whilst both at sea and in port was ongoing, there were numerous examples of areas not being cordoned off whilst the stripping back and repainting of these areas were being undertaken. I appreciate that maintenance work is necessary but these pedestrian walkways and seating areas should have surely been clearly signed and cordoned off for the wellbeing of all onboard. (See photos 21-22)
Water Colour (Orange) Cabin water was always orange in colour, I would liken it to a pale tea colour; it would change the colour of clothes and towels used to dry yourself (See video footage). We were told that it was this colour because of the chlorination process used to kill harmful bacteria.
Conflicting Information from Staff Members The number of times we would ask a staff member a question only to be told something different by someone else. For example every local port map we had been supplied the night before the following day's port of call was wrong. The maps clearly showed the supposed port of call and disembarkation, but in all but one destination we docked somewhere else -- the maps were useless. On numerous occasions we would have to source a local map whilst ashore and get someone from the local port authority to identify where we were.
The staff on board at the reception desk often did their best to try and find out where we were, often looking embarrassed and bemused as to where we were themselves, scatting around looking for different maps etc. It became a daily routine, the first thing you would do when docking into a port was to ask where we actually were in relation to the map supplied. In Brunei for example the ship never did get hold of a proper map, we sourced several locally, handing them out to disembarking passengers and pointing out to them where we actually were.
Expensive Shore Excursions Shore excursions were very expensive; the figures below are taken from the tour order form and represent 'median' prices from that list. For a family of 2 adults and 2 children it equates to: £1899.98
69% of the cruise only cost would have been spent on shore excursions if the 'median' cost had been taken for the excursions available. These were obscenely expensive -- for example tour 6111, Cu Chi Tunnels and Panoramic Tour of Ho Chi Minh City -- ship price 214 Euros (£173.50) for two adults and two children. We arranged our own taxi from the port, the taxi driver who spoke good English drove us to the tunnels, hired a local guide to show us around them, brought us back to Ho Chi Minh City and gave us a guided tour of there all for $45.00 US dollars (£23.00) the tour lasted for 6 hours. Another example -- tour 6264 'Brunei On Your Own' -- ship price 109 Euros (£88.21) local taxi for 2 adults and two children $12 US dollars or (£6.00) the taxi driver even parking along side the tour bus to add insult to injury.
Cabin Flooding On Saturday 5th April we returned to our cabin 4070 from a full day in Singapore, whilst resting in our cabin the ship set sail for Vietnam. The Allegra was not far out of port when we became aware of it listing to the starboard side -- she would seemingly straighten up again and then list again. On the second occasion our cabin was flooded with the contents of the bathroom, water ran from its sanitary fittings, the cabin was swamped from front to back. (See Photos 9-14 and video footage). The flooding was so severe that it not only saturated most of the carpeted floor area and 3 of our suitcases which were stored under our double bed. It was obviously soiled waste water because the smell was intolerable. The ship's engineers visited the cabin and deemed it uninhabitable, they said that all the furniture and carpets would have to be removed and the cabin sanitised before having new carpets fitted.
At 11.20pm we were offered alternative accommodation, a twin bed roomed cabin (7014?), not particularly of much use when you are a family of 4. I rejected this on the grounds of complete incompatibility and health and safety grounds. I returned to the reception desk to be told yet again that this was the only cabin available on the ship -- further standoffs resulted in me offering to take up sleeping arrangements in the reception area again. Subsequent telephone conversations were made to Anita Wolfgang and a vacant cabin to accommodate us all was eventually found. Our clothes and personal possessions were removed from cabin 4070 to 7002 and we finally put the children to bed at 02.40am.
Further meetings with Anita Wolfgang and later with one of the engineering staff informed us that the initial listing and lurching of the ship whilst leaving port in Singapore was a result of it taking onboard fresh water supplies. There apparently had been a misbalance between the two fresh water tanks (one being fuller than the other) causing it to list to the starboard side. This resulted in some cabins 'sloshing' water from out of the drainage facilities. Anita said that this had happened in the past usually affecting deck three. I asked her further questions in particular -- how many cabins were affected this time -- she was reluctant to say and wouldn't comment further.
Beverages Beverages so expensive the following are just examples of what we were expected to pay; a can of coke £2.34, a small 275ml bottle of beer £3.97, Gin & Tonic £5.85 and a Jack Daniels & coke £6.55 all extortionate prices, but if you wanted a drink Costa certainly had the monopoly. We have cruised as recently as February and October 2007, on different cruise lines, and both had similar pricing structures for drinks and beverages, a 500ml beer for example cost between £2.50-£2.75 and spirit with a mixer £2.75-£3.00. A simple bottle of water on the Allegra was £2.50 but you had to buy it even if only to clean your teeth as the tap water was bright orange!
My family and I booked a cruise with Costa because we believed you could offer us a cruise of a lifetime, you certainly did that, but unfortunately not for the right reasons. My partner and I have cruised some 15 times between us, on numerous cruise lines, all over the world. I personally have travelled to over 70 countries worldwide and we can honestly say that this has been the worst holiday experience(s) we have ever had, a total nightmare from beginning to end.
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.
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.
Theship 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!
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. Theresponse 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.
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 stewardswere 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.
As the magnificent Symphony of Light and Sound took centre stage over Hong Kong harbour the Costa Allegra quietly set sail from the Ocean Terminal, headed for Vietnam.
Just Robyn and I, a French and a German couple, 4 folks from the US of A, 6 Italians, 7 ex-patriots and their 4 children home from school in the UK, and 900 Chinese companions.
We had selected this 6 day cruise as an Easter getaway for a number of reasons; the dates were excellent, we had not previously visited Vietnam, veterans of 9 previous cruises we had not experienced Costa Crociere, Hong Kong was close enough to Perth WA to be considered an easy flight [local almost]. So we booked it.
The ship itself started life in 1992 as a container vessel, which explains a lot about her unusual shape and superstructure however she is very comfortable, with a European minimalist décor and the use of some bold color schemes in her public areas. Whilst she is only rated 3 star, one suspects that this has more to do with her age and facilities [no balconies or rock climbing walls] than it does aboutthe condition of the vessel.
The itinerary took us first to DaNang however we opted to venture a little farther and pre-arranged a visit to HoiAn, the mecca of made to measure tailoring in this part of the world. By the time we sailed at 5pm I had a superb cashmere suit, Robyn had 2 fitted jackets [copied from a sample], various silk tops and pants, and all of which cost less then $500. In between fittings we sailed on a junk, dined at the local hotel, shopped in the markets and thoroughly enjoyed our HoiAn 'adventure'.
Halong Bay [where the dragon descends to the sea] was our next stop comprising some 2000 islands of all shapes and sizes. Our arrival was classically 'eerie' because of the grey seas, the heavy mist and the absence of sound and as the ship traversed to anchorage large black rocks loomed out of the mist and slipped past, hidden once again. Thanks to local knowledge and ship's pilots we arrived safely.
The days we spent at sea were pleasant, the sun battled to be seen but it wasn't too cold or windy to enjoy open decks and the Italian entertainment staff [plus translators] worked very hard to maximise participation in the dance classes, ping pong tournaments and deck games.
It was whilst you were at sea however that you became aware of the differences that existed because the cruise was being marketed to the Chinese. There was no deck service of drinks, the shop carried limited goods – no clothing or books or lotions and potions, children accompanied their parents all day and night – the late night revue had to cover up, meal times were fairly chaotic, and it was incredible noisy when passengers assembled for any reason.
Conversely, Mr Allan and Mrs Allan soon became known with the officers, the cruise and bar staff, and of course this delivered excellent service.
The Chinese market is obviously different – it's like inviting 900 people to join a soccer match and not explaining how the game is played. Chinese passengers enjoyed their cruise because they spent time with their families not because they enjoyed the culture of 'cruising'. Those of us that went along for the cruise culture literally had no-one to share this with.
Did we enjoy the cruise ? Yes we did, is there such a thing as a bad cruise ?
Would we cruise with Costa again? Probably not in Asia, because [as unlikely as it sounds] the Italian Cruise experience simply wasn't Italian enough. It was great when it showed its face but that really wasn't often enough.
Our next cruise ? Windstar Wind Surf, Barcelona to Barbados, November 07 and we are looking forward to it enormously.
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 fromLatin 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.