Mediterranea Reviews

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39 User Reviews of Mediterranea Cruise Ship

Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: November 5, 2012

Costa Mediterranea is a fine vessel. Good crew and good food. However Costa as a company appear to have DOUBLE STANDARDS. E.U. citizens are compelled to pay a daily service charge which varies between 6 euros per day per adult and 11 US dollars depending which part of the world you are sailing in.

This service charge is optional if you are a US, Canadian or South American citizen!!! Why the difference? No one on board the Costa Mediterranea was prepared to say. With over 2000 passengers on board and about half paying a compulsory service charge and the other half being able to opt out of paying there was much dissent on board.

COSTA SHOULD GET ITS ACT TOGETHER AND ALL PASSENGERS SHOULD BE TREATED THE SAME

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Eastern Mediterranean
Publication Date: November 11, 2009

We just returned from our cruise to Naples, Messina, Alexandria, Limassol, Maramaris, Santaorini & Katakolon. We had the best time & adventures we had ever had. If you are not into exploring, experiencing other cultures and food then this is not for you. We have traveled on RCCL, NCL, Holland America & Princess and Carnival. But this was the most interesting off all the cruises we have done. The ship was the cleanest we have ever been on. We had a 1st time tour of below the decks & galley, it was spotless no matter where we went. This was the first time they were able to do this as we were a small group. There were only 56 english as a 1st language speaking on this trip. There was a large french travel group that took up about 2/3 of the group then german & italians. Although we found them to be rude at times we learned very quickly what to do if they butted in line. Leave no space in-front of you, if you do they will fill it.

The buffet was open only for breakfast & lunch

so you had to go to the dining room for dinner. We tried foods that we would never of had before, like swordfish and cuttle fish. I was on a gluten-free diet and a special menu was presented to me for every meal. I never expected the foods like I had, thinking it was going to be bland and lifeless I was very much surprised. I experienced no problems and was looked after very well.If you want to avoid the buffet at breakfast/lunch them go to the dining room as it is open seating.

The ship was finishing this cruise and going into dry dock for two weeks of renovations, but even to the last night before things stayed the same everyone was cleaning as if it was normal & no operations ever failed to be provided.

In Naples we took the tour to Pompei it was fascinating. We had a very knowledgeable guide, who walked us through and explained everything, well worth it.

In Messina our tour was canceled due to not enough people wanted the english tour so we took another tour to Mt Etna. This can happen but on there european tours so just go with it. Our tour was in both spanish & english. But be cautioned if you get car sick take something before had as this is a very winding road up the mountain of switchbacks.

At Alexandria we took the tour out to the pyramids with a jeep & camel ride. An what a ride it was we left the dock in caravan style with several other buses and an armed guard with a automatic gun. This is standard procedure do don't be alarmed. Our guide was also very good she explained things along the way and as we went through the different areas at the sights, and they were unbelievable to see. If your into shopping then bring lots of 1.00 euro coins as this is the place to do it However be warmed the vendors are very aggressive DO NOT give your camera to anyone to take your pictures in Egypt period. "No problem lady I take your picture no charge", yeah no charge but they won't give back the camera until you pay them and expect to give them up to 50.00 euros. If you must have a picture of yourself standing in front of them then make arrangements with someone on the tour bus to do it.

Also they will try and grab you and put you on a camel or donkey for a ride. The free ride will cost you too, in more was that one. The lunch at the country club was pretty good. After lunch we got into jeeps for a ride out onto the desert. It was like a KIA commercial IEEEEEE!. They dropped us off at the camels and we rode them back to the hotel. That was fun and no one fell off. The camel drivers will take your picture but because they have been contracted it's ok to give it to them. They do expect a tip at the end we were told by the guide only to give them 2-3 euros only as they are getting paid. They wanted more and the don't want any egyptian money. We ended that long day at the Papyrus Museum and did some shopping there, no hassles.

In Limassol we took the Kourion Appollo tour. It took us around the island and up to Apollos ruins then ended in a village to do some shopping.

In Marmaris we chose to wander around on our own. What beautiful port very easy to get around. There is a large market with lots to buy but after a while everything looked the same. We found the best shop beside the tourist center to buy pashminas (shalls), called Carmen Silver. When we walked around they had the most beautiful ones. When in rome do as they do we had lunch at the bazaar at a typical Turkish restaurant and was it ever good. It was so different and isn't that why we took this cruise in the first place but to see and do new things. We had tea from one of the shop owners and bought way too much Turkish delight, remember to have room to pack all your goodies to bring home.

At Santorini we did the same wandered the town streets, we stopped to have coffee at the top looking down on our ship and lunch on a cliff. Santorini is above the sea and you have to either take the cable car up or the donkeys, cable car it is.

In Katakolon we took the your out to the Olympic site. Vancouver is hosting the 2010 winter games and we wanted to see the site where it all began.

At the beginning of the cruise we stayed in Genova at the Bristol Hotel for three nights before, it is very central and a good base as the train station is only 10 minutes walk away. Genova is best explored on foot we walked and walked exploring every alley eating our way through this city. We also adventured out on day trips on the train to the Cinque Terra and Bergamo to see my husbands mothers home town.

If you looking for a typical cruise them stay at home of go back to Caribbean or Mexico if not then explore the world. We read mixed reviews on Costa but as I say we had no complaints and would recommend this line to anyone as a matter of fact we are planning our next cruise with them now to return next year.

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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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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: February 7, 2007

We sailed Feb 4th from Ft. Lauderdale on Costa Mediterranea and had a really great time. We had a balcony stateroom (5270) on deck 5 at the stern near the centerline. The 'ride' was very smooth with a minor amount of the usual ship noises, occasional small vibrations, etc. The balcony was a plus. We left the door propped open at night for the sound of the sea sliding past the ship and the great night air.

Boarding the ship was an easy affair. We lined up for mere minutes at the terminal and the shoreside folks had us registered and on the ship is short order. The stateroom was roomy, clean, and bright. The bathroom was actually quite well laid out and shower had no end of hot water (a real plus for me). There a great big dressing mirror in the room and gobs of lighting. The TV was sort of superfluous except for the great briefing tapes about the ship and the excursions.

The food was good to great. The formal dining room is a treat. However, the seven course meals were a bit too much for us

for every day, so we ate at the deck nine buffet quite a few times. The buffet had just about everything the main dining room had, but in a very relaxed setting. There's a hamburger and hot dog grill next to one of the pools and pizza and snacks at the buffet outside of lunch and dinner hours.

The ship's crew were marvelous. Our cabin and the ship were always clean. They really make a fetish out of it on Mediterranea. The food staff were always ready to fetch anything or help find anything. I had an appetizer I didn't like and the immediately took it away and brought me another to try, and all with a truly helpful attitude - no snobby waiters, thank you. The entertrainment staff did a great job. There are full productions in the Osiris theather as well as numerous lounge acts and musical solo, duo, and trio acts in the many lounges.

The shoreside tours were a mixed bag (as expected). We froze our butts in Key West due to nasty weather arriving from Canada, so we cut or shore time to go back and warm up. We did do the Conch Train Tour and I'd recommend that as a good way to just roam about the island and see things. Georgetown, Grand Cayman was nice, if a bit touristy (well, what did you expect?). We just roamed about until landing at Margarittaville where we had a pleasant couple of hours chomping on a monster chips and salsa 'Volcano' and washing it down with various rum and tequilla drinks. Tourist junk is a lot cheaper here than in Key West, by the way. Roatan was our favorite. The weather cooperated and we took the Canopy Adventure Tour and Tabiyana Beach. You have to be physically fit to do the Canopy Tour. If you can't do a chin up or two and 5 or 10 full situps without collapsing in pain - forget it. You also have to do a little walking on a jungle path full of tree roots. It is a very do-able tour and a once in a lifetime adventure. If you're up to it - GO!

My wife and I are 61 years old and we made it. She did a minor George of the Jungle and banged a knee on one of the trees, but nothing serious. Tabiyana Beach was a real treat. There are trees providing adequate shade except right on the shore line. So you can cool off or bake away. The beers were a bit steep at $4 a bottle, but once again - what did you expect? Cozumel started out nice and then the weather did it again. A real downpour for hours messed up the desire to roam the beach. For me it was costly as we were stranded inside the beachside shopping mall - full of jewelry shops! My wife wound up with a beautiful red coral necklace and accessory set, set in silver. The guy we bought from had unique designs which is why we bought. The rest of them tend to all look alike, and then there was this guy.

Finally back to Ft Lauderdale. Debarking was a minor disaster. Some couple scheduled to go up to West Palm Beach with the other 40 of us never bothered to read anything the ship sent us all, or go to the briefing in the theater, etc. So we all had to sit on the bus for nearly an hour while the crew tried to track these idiots down. Costa needs to group the exits by destination, and then give everyone something like 30 minutes from the time the first person shows up at the bus and then you're on your own! The customs and immigration folks were very laid back and that part of it went very nicely.

The airlines coming and going managed to screw up in about as many ways as possible. Not Costa's issue, so I won't dwell on it except to say - airlines blow!

Our only regret is that we did not have more shore time at each stop. We rate the cruise as SUPER! The only negative thing is that in the US Costa uses hired hands to handle the phones, so no one can actually tell you about the tours or the ship as they've never been on it. Not a show stopper, but annoying. At sea, Costa really shines.

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Western Caribbean
Publication Date: January 7, 2007

My cruise aboard the Costa Mediterranea was my eighth, and my wife's first. We were celebrating our honeymoon and thought a Western Caribbean cruise would be the perfect way to cap off our wedding festivities. Maybe, maybe not as it turns out. I am 26 years old, but have been lucky enough to have a cousin in the cruise business. Because of that, I have had the privilege of sailing on a variety of cruise lines including Carnival, NCL, and Royal Caribbean. I am not a demanding person, and being from Arkansas would say I am very easy-going. I don't expect the world handed to me on a silver plate, or 5-star dining (some fried catfish and fries suits me fine! haha). Likewise however, I have lived in 4 countries, including 3 in Europe, and know what to expect from Euro cuisine. I know that a good crème bulle isn't made with instant pudding. I knew to expect an international atmosphere with lots of folks from across the pond (even looked forward to it.) I say all this so that my criticism isn't seen as someone who didn't know what to

expect, or lacked experience in a European environment, or a prima donna who wants everything yesterday. I'm just a guy from Arkansas who has been lucky enough to experience a good chunk of the world at a young age. With all that said, let me get started with my experience onboard the Costa Mediterranea.

Embarkation We arrived at Port Everglades at 11:30 on Sunday morning, well aware that we would most likely have to wait 2 hours to board. As it turns out the ship was late 2 hours and it would actually be nearly 5 hours later before we would finally get aboard at 3:45. We were directed to a large room to wait with some 2,000 other passengers. The only service in this room was a tiny snack bar selling hot dogs for $5.00 and water for $1.50. I found this outrageous considering we were supposed to be on the ship by 1:30 eating at the free Lido Buffet. The few Costa staffers on hand had absolutely no information about when the ship would arrive or when we would finally get onboard. There was no information given about why the ship was delayed either. I later found out that the ship had come from the Port of Miami were it was held up because of a port closure---not the cruise line's fault, but it would have been nice to have had that information passed along. As it was, tempers were flaring all around us. Not a great start. Once the ship arrived, a line began forming at the very small entry gate.

But once boarding began a new line formed perpendicular to the first, and caused a major traffic jam. The situation was made worse when they allowed only 50-100 people to pass at a time. Before long people were being trampled, shoved, and yelled at by fellow passengers. The Costa staff did nothing to alleve this problem. I can't imagine why Costa would not have some sort of organization in the boarding process. By the time we were onboard, our mood was terrible as was everyone else's. No one ever once apologized for the mess, or helped us in anyway. By far the worse embarkation experience I have ever had. I heavily suggest showing up 2-3 hours after initial boarding if you want to avoid this frustrating experience. Costa gets an F here for lack of information, organization, and courtesy.

The Ship There are plenty of exhaustive accounts of the Costa Mediterranea, so I won't bore you with every detail of the ship. It is impressively decorated, very clean, and not bad from a layout perspective. It isn't hard to get around, and after an hour or two I didn't feel like I would ever get lost. Public areas are pretty neat affairs, with lots of places to sit and chat or have a drink. Contrary to previous reviews I have read, I never once saw a smoke cloud as much of the ship is off limits to smokers, including most of the lounges. The restaurants are very beautiful and pleasant places to have a meal. The top deck pool areas are nothing impressive, but for a ship of this size, are perfectly acceptable. The staff was very good to keep kids out of the adult pool, although hardly anyone used it because of how cold it was. The hot tubs were a bit small, and usually too crowded, but I have seen this on many ships and so won't complain too much about it.

The theatre was the first place I had a complaint about onboard. The sight lines are horrible. It's a three deck facility that probably should have been only two. The seats on deck 4 (the highest of the 3 decks) had terrible sharp angled sight lines that were blocked by lighting equipment and poles. On deck 3 you had poles blocking the view from the majority of the seats, or the sound booth in the way. Just not a great layout overall.

The restaurant on deck 9 was layed out ok, with the 24-hour pizzeria in the back and a nightly buffet in the middle. But it was disappointing to see that the pizzeria's ice machine was broken and passengers were forced to dig ice out of two Coleman ice chests. After seeing two guests get ice out with their bare hands, I gave up and went all the way to the middle buffet station to get ice. It's more of a haul than you might think; being that this is a long ship. Service was decent, although being constantly hounded by bartenders yelling "bar service?" every 2 minutes got old really quick. We ended up taken a lot of our meals down to the room so we could eat in peace. Why Costa would allow bartenders to ask me if I want a drink 5 times in 15 minutes is beyond me. The water slide on deck 10 is impressive and a lot of fun, if you can ever catch it open. We spent 3 full days at sea on the ship, and the slide was open a grand total of 4 hours (2 hour blocks on sea days). We were finally able to get a ride in on the last day. When I asked the guard at the bottom why it was never open, he said it was because of having to staff it with two people. That is a joke in my opinion.

The basketball court was likewise never open, and the wind at the front of the ship made using the jogging track problematic at best. The track wasn't coated well, and I felt like I might get blown over if I tried to actually get in a few laps. The gym/spa was actually pretty nice though, with fantastic equipment, and its own whirlpool. There was even a place to lay out and tan under UV lights if you wanted. We didn't use the spa services, so I can't comment on that part of the ship. If you a workout type, you will be happy with what you find onboard.

Finally, I have to comment about the movement of the ship. I'm not a ship engineer, mind you, but of all the ships I have been on, the Mediterranea was the worst about rocking and rolling. Often times we would find ourselves stumbling about because of the amount of rolling the ship constantly did. Dinner (served at the stern of the ship) was several times unpleasant because of it. Frequent checks outside would result in confusion as the seas looked relatively calm. I have never gotten seasick on a boat, but the unbelievable amount of motion landed me my first case of it. Comparing the Mediterranea to other ships, I think the problem is that she is too skinny for her length-making her more top heavy than most, and her azipod propeller system. Essentially the boat is pulled, not pushed through the water by two forward facing propellers. I am a licensed pilot and would equate some of the sway to the feeling one gets by shoving the rudder of a plane back and forth. I could be totally wrong, but nonetheless be prepared for feeling every swell along your trip. Bonine is a must.

Overall the ship earns a B-. It's beautifully decorated, and much nicer inside than any Carnival ship I have been on. But layout problems keep this ship from really shining. Since the main activities are all clustered in a relatively few number of areas, the ship always felt crowded and cramp. I have been on smaller ships that didn't have this problem. The constant movement of the ship is also a problem. If we had been sailing through storms, I would be more understanding. But we sailed through calm seas the entire week, and yet felt like we had been shaken, stirred, and dumped out by week's end. Although the boat is pretty, other cruise lines offer ships with more to do, and a much smoother ride.

Cabin We were upgraded to a category 9 stateroom with an unobstructed balcony on Deck 6. The room was spacious, clean and for the most part comfortable. Our deck probably saved the trip, as we frequently used it to unwind and ‘escape' the frequent crowding throughout the ship. The TV was old and didn't have much of a picture. You got ABC, NBC, and CBS. Everything else was in a foreign language. Now you are probably saying, "Why would that matter?!" Read on, I'll explain later. The bathroom was pretty small, but standard. The only problem is that the toilet constantly had a smell that would often permeate the entire room. I can't describe the smell that well. Sewage + seawater I guess about does it. We would leave the balcony door open while we were out and while we slept—that kept the smells down to a tolerable level. The beds are uncomfortable as is the case on most ships. Ask for an extra mattress and you should be fine. Other than that, there was plenty of space to put stuff, and the lighting was very good. Our cabin attendant, Michael, was the one service highlight on the entire trip. He was amazing. All in all, the room rated an A for being spacious, clean, and for Michael's work in keeping us comfortable.

Service This is where things get bumpy. I want to start with the positives, so that you know I'm not out to trash Costa for no reason than to be negative. Far from it! I had hoped that the service level at embarkation would be the exception and not the rule. Unfortunately, such is not the case. First, we booked 3 excursions. One of these was a dolphin swim in Honduras. The order book does not say that swimming isn't part of the experience. When we asked at the excursion desk about it, we were told you did in fact swim with the animals. But during the welcome aboard speech in the theatre later on, it was explained that our particular excursion was not in fact a full swim experience. In short, you got a kiss on the nose for your $112 and nothing more. So of course we wanted to cancel, since we were not made clear of what was actually involved. I went to the same person, who told me a completely different story, and then proceeded to act as though she didn't remember our first conversation. I was made out to be a liar by this staff member, and spent about 45 minutes arguing before finally getting a refund. After the nightmare of getting on the ship, this experience basically sunk the first day for me. Be very, very careful before ordering excursions. Ask at least two people if you have any doubt about what is included in the trip.

Restaurant service was a hit or miss affair. Our first server, Marie, was unfriendly at best. She treated our requests as burdens, rather than with any sort of graciousness. And when I say requests, I'm only talking about trying another entrée or asking for more water. Very standard stuff! We ended at another table where our new waiter, Sherwin, took great care of us the remaining 3 nights of the trip. Nevertheless I heard from many folks that they too had problems with waiter service. Wine attendants were not knowledgeable (or affluent in English)—I ordered a Rossi and received a Rose-colored blush for example. The bartenders onboard were all pretty good, quick with a drink and a smile. The roaming bar service waiters, on the other hand, were annoying and rude. While you ate lunch or lay out on deck, it wasn't unusual to have the same person ask you 5+ times if you wanted a drink. You basically had to tell them to leave you alone to get them to stop.

The staff at the concierge desk were much friendlier and generally more helpful than most. They took care of anything that came up with a smile, so no complaints there.

The casino staff, however, needs a lot of work. I've never seen a group of dealers so unwilling to work as I did here. Dealers at empty tables would flat out refuse to deal, instead sending me to tables across the room that were basically full. You have to watch every thing these dealers do, as well. They would frequently make mistakes, such as pulling money off the table on a push, or not paying a blackjack at 3 to 2. When you called their mistakes, you got a scowl and some sort of rude under-breath verbal response. All of the dealers were Romanian, along with the pit bosses---so complaining did little good. In the majority of complaints I witnessed (there were many, including my own)—the pit bosses would wave off the complaint and even smile at the offending dealer, as though to say they found the whole affair funny. Service was terrible in everyway. Dealers would make rude remarks to players, such as "Make up you mind.", or "Are you stupid?" when a new player made a strategic mistake (splitting 10's for instance) for example. I've never seen such behavior so rampant throughout a casino. After two days, I quit walking in at all. If you are a card player---do not book this boat!!!

The entertainment crew, which I will cover in detail below, was friendly though a bit pushy. If you chose not to participate in an activity, they would often stand in your way, or literally pull you out of the crowd. I understand trying to get everyone to participate, but trying to force people to jump in is ridiculous.

Finally, I can end this part with the one service highlight we experienced while onboard. Our cabin steward, Michael, was fantastic in every way. He was very quick to fulfill requests, kept the room immaculate, was constantly smiling, and makes on heck of a swan with a towel! Many times, after returning angry from the shady casino, or another lackluster show, it was Michael's little touches to the room that instantly made us smile again. Thanks, Michael.

To sum it up, Costa is light years behind the other cruise lines when it comes to service. I experienced everything from incompetence, to downright hostility from members of the crew—something that should never happen. Another problem worth mentioning is the language barrier. The English social host barely spoke the language, and many crew members only had a rudimentary command at best. I would not be surprised by this sailing out of Italy but coming from Ft. Lauderdale—I expect my language to be given the same respect as those of mainland Europe. This was simply not the case. It is one thing to have an international flavor to your boat, and another to flat out butcher the native language of the country from which many of your guests are from. German guests had a German host, Spanish guests had a Spanish host, French guests had a French host---only English speaking guests were stuck with an Italian hostess whose disinterest in our language shown through every time. Costa rates a D- here, saved from an F by the efforts of one crewmember. Well done Michael.

Entertainment As I mentioned above, the entertainment crew onboard was friendly, but very pushy. I had a chance to talk with a few of them, and found out that most were on their first cruise contract. Perhaps with experience, they will learn more effective ways to get voluntary participation in events rather than forcing the issue. The activities themselves were ok at best---I had high hopes for the German Sausage and Beer Festival, only to find it was little more than a way for the ship to sell high priced German brews. "Sausages" were little more than cheap hot dogs on a bun. No Brats, no sauerkraut, no traditional German music, nada. Just an obnoxious host constantly yelling "Get a beeeeeer! And sausaaaaage!" It was pretty lame. Other activities followed suit---and got little participation from anyone. One event that was a hit, Karaoke was a hit—but was ended just as everyone was starting to have a good time. I understand keeping a schedule, but this was the last event planned for the day and it was the first smash during the entire trip! Let it go for a bit! I think in time this bunch will get better, but as of right now they are the worst group I've seen.

Shows were bland, if not flat out bad. The jugglers frequently dropped their items (maybe because of all that rocking I mentioned earlier), and the singers seemed tone-deaf. There was a comedian who was decent, and the dancers were very good. But the production values were just not there. Maybe I am spoiled by the incredible shows onboard the RCL and Carnival lines, maybe these guys are just terrible. I think everyone would have to decide for themselves on this one.

Lounge musicians ranged from terrific to horrible. At the aft lounge, a violinist impressed us each night before dinner—as did a singer who belted out great songs from Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Jimmy Buffet. But the forward lounge acts were not so great. Singers used karaoke-like machines for background music and would often get un-synched with the music. It was sort of funny, but disappointing when you wanted to get a drink and listen to some good music.

Dancing onboard was basically limited to the aft lounge, where the best music was found. The ship has a neat two-level disco, but most nights it was a complete graveyard. Other nights it was a place for teens only---we pretty much ignored the place. Overall, I have to give another low grade here---D. The shows were mostly bad, the entertainment crew was inexperienced and pushy, and lounge music was hit or miss. If you are the type who enjoys Vegas-style shows, or great lounge music—skip this boat. If you like constant activities that are fun and interesting, you too should take a pass. That is why we ended up watching television so much—there was literally nothing else to do. And that is very, very sad. Make that a D-.

Food Ah, the food. I read the Finelli's account of the ‘fine cuisine' onboard and have come to the conclusion that they were either on another boat, or crazy. It was uniformly terrible. Breakfast items included beans, eggs with tomato, eggs with mushrooms, eggs with ‘herbs', cold waffles, rock hard French toast, watered down juice, and stale pastries etc. Lunch consisted of bland sandwiches, undercooked fish, tasteless hamburgers, pizza without anything on top, pasta that was either too bland or too cheesy, or obvious leftovers from the previous night's dinner. Speaking of which...

Dinner was a hit or miss (a reoccurring theme onboard) affair. At times I really enjoyed the food. Beef dishes were mostly good, as were the pasta offerings. But fish entrees were terrible each time I tried them, soups were disgusting affairs (colored water was the term we came up with), and the desserts were usually left on the table with only a bite taken out. I understand that the challenge of feeding 1300 people at a time, but is that any excuse for bland, uninspired food that isn't fresh? I have been aboard ships with 1000 more passengers and always found the food outstanding. Here, they use instant pudding for the crème bulle and cheap ice cream found in high school cafeterias for the baked Alaska. It was common to see tables go through 3-4 items before finding something they could stomach. And lobster was never served. First time in eight cruises that has happened—instead they served cheap crab that didn't even compare to the stuff you get at your local Red Lobster.

Not once in the entire week did we eat something that made us say "Wow!" Mostly we were just relieved when we found something we could half way enjoy. Often we just went hungry, or ate some fruit. Remember—I'm not a picky eater, and yet I lost 4 pounds in the week I spent aboard the Mediterranea. Incredible.

Don't let the fancy names of the food fool you, it was the absolute low point of our cruise aboard this ship. Enough folks have said the same thing (along with sources such as Frommers) to validate my opinion. If you want to lose weight on your vacation, then by all means book this ship immediately. Otherwise, take my grade F, to heart.

Disembarkation Another botched affair, which by this time was no surprise. We were told to meet at 7:00 a.m. in the Osiris Theatre for immediate disembarkation (we had opted for the self-assist method, granted only to U.S. citizens.). By 7:30 a.m. we were still waiting. No one ever told us what the hold up was, or offered any information about how much longer we would have to wait. We had skipped breakfast in the hopes of getting off early and heading home, but no such luck. At 7:45 a.m. we were finally told we could leave. Once off the boat, the procedure went smoothly, although that should be attributed to U.S. Customs officials and not the cruise line.

Closing Comments By now it is probably apparent that I was not impressed by the Costa Mediterranea. It wasn't any one thing that caused me to dislike this boat so much, but rather so many little things coming together. Bad food, bad service in all but one area, and lack of things to do pretty much sum up the experience we had while onboard. Perhaps some of this is attributed to our younger age—I would say that 80% of the passengers onboard where 50+. But I have been on ships before that were catered to an older clientele and still had a great time. Not here. Another problem is the language barrier. It is one thing to have trouble conversing with your fellow passengers, and totally another to be unable to communicate with crew members. But that is exactly what happened here. Do not believe the published guides that tell you to expect a predominantly American crowd while sailing in the Caribbean. It simply isn't the case. Since Costa does all of their advertising in Europe, it doesn't matter where you get on at, you can expect a mostly European crowd. In some ways, maybe that is a plus—but when they are old Europeans with no interest in talking to you, well it is frustrating to say the least.

Lack of things to do while onboard were made worse by a cancelled stop at Grand Cayman (I would avoid any cruise with this port on the list, as crewmembers explained this was the 3rd time in a month the stop was cancelled). In summary, I've never in eight cruises sat in my cabin wondering what to do next. I did many times on this voyage. I've never been hungry on a cruise ship. I was many times on this ship. I've never been insulted by the behavior of crewmembers before. I was daily while on this cruise. I've never had a problem communicating with hotel staff before. I gave up after a couple of days here. I've never been ready to go home while on a cruise. I couldn't wait to get off and go home by day 5. I've never been told that above average = excellent, as I was told by our somewhat English speaking hostess, Melanie, during the disembarkation meeting. She actually tried to convince us that we had a great time, the service was impeccable, and the food delicious. I'm not kidding, she actually told us all of that. Then she explained that if we felt we had an above average cruise, we should mark excellent in each of the boxes on the comment form. I could not believe what I heard. There are several boxes on this card – excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. Logic would say that above average = good or very good. Apparently not to this staff, who strive for nothing more than "Okay". It really summed up our experience.

I hate to be the negative person, and I know the adage that there is no such thing as a bad cruise. And I wouldn't say this was a totally bad cruise, but certainly not what I expected by a Carnival-affiliated line that is considered the leader in the industry in Europe. So many things disappointed us, that I could probably write another 7 pages. Costa simply does not compare to other cruise lines sailing out of the U.S. Perhaps in Europe, where competition is not nearly as fierce, they match up ok, but not in the warm waters of the Caribbean. No way. I was attracted to the line by the prices being nearly half of competitors like RCL, NCL and Carnival. But the lesson of "you get what you pay for" truly came through here. If you are on a budget and attracted by the low price---push your vacation back, save some more money and go on another line. Trust me on this. My wife is basically turned off to cruising now because of her experience on this ship. When I was studying reviews, just as you are now, I figured that the many negative reviews out there were just people who didn't know how to have a good time. I was wrong, very wrong. Going on a cruise is a rare treat for most of us, so please do not make the same mistake as me and waste the experience on a mediocre ship. You deserve better.

Overall Grade: D

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Eastern Mediterranean
Publication Date: May 1, 2006

My husband and I selected this 5-day cruise from Savona to Venice for its good value price and the ports of call. We chose the best deck - 8 - balcony cabin 8101 on the port side. Port side was the better side for views in all ports but the better choice of cabin would have been amidships - around 8166. In fact the two lower decks would have been equally good.

A reasonable pre-cruise hotel is Hotel Coccodrillo in Varazze, half an hour from the port, they supply taxi to cruise port for 10 euros each. We arrived at Savona cruise port at 11.30 a.m. for an advertised 1.00 p.m. check-in. On delivering baggage to handler, we were given a number - 13 - the number of our group to be called! The Costa cruise terminal building is spacious (even for 2,000 passengers), airy and modern with lots of light. There is a restaurant/bar area with efficient counter service, though expensive. Check-in did begin at 1.00 and group boarding according to number was smooth - about 20 minutes between each number, so we boarded at 2.45 p.m. Be warned, all

non-EU passengers must surrender their passports to the ship until the end of the trip - a photocopy is given to passenger for re-boarding at each port.

Cabin was spacious and closet space better than on other cruises - one hanging closet each and a shelf closet. Bathroom also quite adequate and cabin steward was extremely pleasant - we received bucket of ice on request each evening, as morning's supply had melted. Balcony adequate for two chairs and table. Television stations in English were very limited.

The number of English-speaking passengers was small - about 200 out of a total of 2,000 - although we were seated - second seating, with an American and an English couple at an 8 seater table. Second seating was nominally at 9.15 p.m. - a bit later than the normal 8.30 p.m. on other cruises that we have taken - and in fact there was a huge queue to get into the dining room each evening at this time, so it was really a 9.30 entry. We had two waiters to our table, but though very willing and pleasant, they seemed to have too many people to serve for optimum service time. Breakfast buffet was satisfactory, except for the plastic glasses and coffee mugs. Served breakfast in the dining room was very slow, too many people.

Naples - first port of call - due at noon, we were able to disembark at 11.45 a.m. and, as we had been there before, we took a ferry, right beside the cruise port at Molo Beverello, to Capri, arriving 50 minutes later. (We recommend taking a taxi to Anacapri and then the chairlift to the top of Monte Solare) Ferries and hydrofoils also leave from Molo Beverello to Sorrento. Our tablemates who took the ship's Pompeii tour were very impressed, but those who took the ship's special train to Sorrento were less so.

Malta - new cruise terminal being built - good taxi dispatch arrangement before you leave the terminal - there is a fixed list of tariffs for certain tours offered by taxi, and tickets are sold and issued there. You then give the ticket to the first taxi in line outside - we shared a two-hour taxi ride with another couple and went to the old capital of Mdina which was well worth a visit, and after visiting a few craft shops we were dropped back at the city of Valletta gates to explore on our own there.

Corfu - chaotic arrangements on the ship for disembarking, as they were issuing free (for 2,000 people!)passes for two shuttle buses into town - one to the terminal building which is a 15 minute walk from the ship, and another into town. The ticket system was quite unnecessary, one could just have walked off the ship and taken the first shuttle - first come first served. The ship's newsletter also informed that it was a 40 minute drive into town - quite incorrect - it was more like a forty minute walk. Result was we walked to the terminal and took a shuttle back to the ship, thus missing Corfu town.

Dubrovnik - tickets were issued for the tenders to go ashore - luckily this was better arranged. I picked up two tickets for tender number 5 after breakfast, went back to the cabin and returned to hear number 5 called about a half hour after picking up the tickets. This was most people's favourite port - lovely small walled city - we walked the walls, lots of nice shops, unspoilt by signs, very friendly English-speaking tourist-oriented people, could have spent longer here.

Venice - one highlight of the trip was sailing into Venice on a Sunday morning at 7.00 a.m. when all was quiet, fantastic view of St. Mark's Square before the crowds. Disembarkation fairly slow but organized - bus from ship to Piazzale Roma leaves you at point to take vaporetto into Venice proper. Later that evening we went to a point on the same outer canal to watch the Costa Mediterranea depart at 6.00 p.m, dwarfing everything around. Overall, we had good value for money and visited interesting ports. The food and service were satisfactory but not wonderful. More suited to a Mediterranean clientele than to English-speaking.

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