Costa Mediterranea Dec 14-21 2003 ( FLL-Key WestProgresso-Cozumel-Grand Cayman-FLL) We flew down to FLL one day early and stayed at Amerisuites. We arrived about 8pm and the shuttle was very busy so we opted to take a van to the hotel. $5 each for a total of $20. We were maybe in the Van 8 minutes. Arrived at Amerisuites and were unable to have a non smoking room due to hotel being sold out. We purchased room on line at Value Trips.com for $69. We were not charged an extra fee for the 2 additional people in the room. The room was the TCB suite which apparently is larger than the other suites. The rug was stained and burned and the room was dreary. We noticed very small insects climbing the walls by the beds. Breakfast was good, however due to the bugs and the stained and burned carpeting I would not stay at this hotel again. The interesting point is that this "TCB" suite is apparently something special - Yikes!!
We had breakfast in the morning with friends we met on out Transatlantic cruise in 2002. It was nice tocatch up with them. Breakfast was quite extensive and for the most part very good. We then headed across the street to the liquor store to stock up on provisions for the week. While my daughter is legal to drink in Canada , she was not legal on Costa so her and her friend would be having a few drinks in the room.
Since we had heard that Costa will not start boarding until 1pm on the dot, we knew there was no rush. We left the hotel at 1pm on the shuttle and were at the pier and checked in by 1.20pm. No lines at all. We were given #15 as a boarding # and discovered that #3 was being called. One number was called every 6 minutes and we were on board by 3pm. We knew the ship layout, as it is identical to the Carnival Legend and so proceeded to the front set of elevators, while the rest of the passengers waited in a long line for the elevator right in front of the gangway. The ship is beautiful and as with the Legend we loved the layout and the ship itself.
Daughter and her friend were upgraded from an inside guarantee to a balcony on deck seven. The upgrade was given even though they only paid 288 plus port/tax and we did not book until Nov 2.. Cabin was a basic balcony cabin. We proceeded to our Cat 11 balcony # 7295. This was an awesome cabin. Square in shape and at least twice the size of a regular balcony cabin if not more. The balcony itself was twice as deep and more than twice as wide as a regular balcony. The outdoor furnishings were upgraded and constructed of wood with thick cushions. The cabin was beautifully decorated with wide dark wood trim, light wood cabinetry and a marble bathroom. The only drawback to the cabin was the mattress was only about 3 inches thick, about the same as a pull out sofa bed. There was more than enough storage space for our trip. My husband promptly declared that he could do a world cruise in this cabin.
Entertainment The 2 production shows were excellent and of the same high Calibre of those on Carnival. My husband went to see the Magician and did not care for the show, even though he normally loves magicians. Husband also went to the Steel Band Show one evening in the theatre and liked it. There was also a passenger talent show on the last night which I missed because I was very ill with a stomach virus.
Entertainment in the lounges appeared to be very good. We are not night owls so I cannot give an in depth opinion of this. Others commented on lots of talented singers and musicians.
Daytime activities were adequate, but lacked the enthusiasm of say a Carnival Cruise. The usual Bingo, Aerobics, Belly flop contest were evident.
The food would be the main reason we would not sail on this line/ship again. We usually look forward to our meals in the dining room, but not on this ship. Our waiter and assistant waiter - Jose and Chester- were wonderful, and I think that the food started out as good quality. However, at best it was tasteless, with little use of seasonings, sauces or garlic. The biggest surprise was the lack of garlic when cruising Italian Style. Usually the food was lukewarm. The desserts were not of the calibre we have become accustomed to on Carnival and HAL and sometimes I even skipped dessert, which is highly unusual for me. On other lines we have been so overwhelmed by the wonderful choices for dinner that we have often ordered 2 entrees and shared them because we could not decide. On Costa I was often unable to find anything that really appealed to me and as a result I sometimes had the chicken breast or the grilled salmon , which were available every night. Breakfast was hit and miss in the dining room. The eggs benedict were tasteless and I stopped ordering them after day 3. Seating was open at lunch and breakfast and while some waiters were very good others should not be there. I truly believe that there is a morale problem with the crew on this ship
Buffet food was acceptable, and again very bland. Even the Mexican food had no seasonings. No trays available on buffet lines!! I have no idea what the problem is , but the food on this ship needs a complete overhaul. Weather The weather on this cruise was not good. We had a huge storm on day 3 that forced us to miss Progresso and head to Cozumel early. Cocktails were given free for one hour as compensation. With the exception of our stop in Key West and Cozumel the weather was cloudy and very cool. Obviously this is not the cruise lines fault. When we arrived in Grand Cayman we docked at the south end of the Island and tendering was handled horribly. The Noordam and a RCCL was also tendering and their process was going smoothly. Tendering began at 9am and we were unable to get off until 12 noon. Many excursions were cancelled due to the wind and the Cold temperatures. I honestly consider that we missed this stop too. We had to pay $4 per person to go to Georgetown on the bus ($4 back also) I was not overly impressed with Georgetown and we stayed less than 1 hour and took the bus back. I would not get off here again unless I had a snorkeling or scuba excursion planned.
The pursers/reception desk, more fondly referred to as the complaint desk, had one employee who was wonderful and 4 or 5 who were horrible to deal with. The motto on this Ship seems to be the "Passenger is always wrong". The internet was worthless, and slower than dial up. It took 90 seconds to send a message after I pressed the send button on my email. One morning I tried unsuccessfully at several different sites to retrieve my email . Total cost $4. I went to the Reception to ask for a refund and was laughed at. I was told I should not have tried for so long!! The internet employee came in one hour per day from 5.30 to 6.30pm!!! I tried to make a call from may cabin to Captain Marvins on Grand Cayman, because Costa would not let us off the ship with the other excursion passengers. (Normally this would not be a problem with a cruise line that is more organized) I tried twice to place the call and both times I could hear the other party but they could not hear me. Total cost $15.90 USD for worthless calls. Again down to the Reception Desk , to be told that there is nothing wrong with Costa 's phone system that it must be Captain Marvins phone that is the problem. No refund available, we do not give refunds under any circumstances. I had had enough of the attitude by this time. So far that morning I had been told I could not get off to go on my own excursion, that I would have to pay for useless internet and phones that did not work. I was so frustrated I was almost in tears, and the worst part was Costa does not give a damn. Other passengers were also there demanding refunds for worthless internet time. Finally one female employee took pity on me and let me use the satellite phone in the back office for free. I finally got through to Captain Marvin's and was advised that the excursions were all cancelled anyway.( For what it is worth, RCCL let us tender in with other excursion passengers in Belize so that we would not miss our self booked excursion. )
Although the pre cruise docs ( printed specifically for the Caribbean) state clearly that tips will be added to your on board account, on the last day(sea day) we were advised that this would not be the case, that it was not possible. With not ATM on board, many people did not have enough cash to tip those that most deserved it. We were lucky to have some cash , but others were refused cash advances on credit cards and the Casino would not sell any tokens or chips on the last day. Prospective"Gamblers" were told to use their Costa Card directly at the gaming tables. Obviously this was to deter pax from getting cash to pay their tips. This cannot be good for the morale of the crew. Why on earth could they not have told us on the first day, when people could have used the ATM in Key West. Better still, an ATM should be installed on a ship this size.
I cannot tell you the ratio of N American to European, but there were many Italians and Germans on Board. We also met a couple from Switzerland. Announcements were not annoying in the five languages, except for the life boat drill which was quite drawn out due to the languages( Life boat drill was not held until the second evening at sea)
All in all, I would have to say that we will not book another Costa Cruise. For us, the service and the food on a cruise are very important. On this Ship, both were terrible. I felt at times that some of the Reception area staff were even getting enjoyment out of the passengers being upset. The positives on this cruise were our wait staff, our beautiful cabin and the beautiful ship itself. If food and service are not important to you then you may like this cruise.
Contrary to some of the reviews that were posted at Cruisemates.com our family of four had a great cruise in December aboard the Costa Mediterranea, and would gladly go again. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the food, service, and entertainment were excellent.(great price too)
Our kids, ages 6 and 9 absolutely loved the kids program(Squok Club)so much so that they are ready to go again. I personally loved the exercise area which is state of the art and has everything you can imagine. We as a family would recommend the Costa Mediterranea to anyone looking for a fun cruise.
Next to the worst cruise. I had to page a Costa rep at Miami airport and show the upgrade slip becuse we were not issued transfer vouchers. Seems that they only rely on vouchers and haven't upgraded their computer system to have print-outs.
We were upgraded to a suite #7200 but our tickets still had the old cabin # 8188 which caused mass confusion. At check-in I had to show the upgrade slip dated 7/2/03 but the agent still did not believe us. We were given a #(11) and told to wait with the other passengers even though suites were supposed to have a seperate waiting area. Suites and group #1 were called at the same time, again mass confusion. Other groups numbers rushed to gate. So much for priority embarcation.
Cabin was lovely-beautiful balcony, lovely bath with a whirlpool that you needed a stepladder to get in an out of.
Weather was windy and chilly. Key West was great even though it was cool it was great site-seeing weather. Port of Progresso was closed due to high winds and rough seas. Lots of sea-sickness due to the ship sailing past 24knots. Cozumel was cold-about 60 with a 30+ mile per hour wind, and Grand Cayman was a tendering port-again very rough seas and high winds.
Food-not worth mentioning. The Club Medussa is well worth the $20 per person charge-ours was included in the suite. The Versace china is well worth the price of the dinner alone.
THe "cold canapes" were dime-sized pieces of stale bread with an unknown substance on them. Only saw the "butler" the 2 times we dined in the cabin for breakfast. Cabin stewardess was exceptional. The ship decor is over the top reminiscent of "The Birdcage," and the dance theme is well played throughout the ship. Beautiful sculptures and paintings are ship-wide as is exquisite Murano glass pieces. The chandiliers are breathtaking.
Entertainment-well, it's there. The BEST show was the passenger talent show/toga party on Saturday night-hilarious!
Disembarcation was awful-even though we had the suite, we were treated as the other passengers were-like cattle. We sat in a room with about 400 passengers and finally got off the ship at 9:30am.
Don't pay for a suite-it's not worth anything since the service is the same poor quality as a regular cabin.
Customer service is non-existant. Tendering-if you don't have a trip booked, don't bother getting off the ship. With 2000+ passengers, it takes forever to get everyone off.
Life boat drill-total waste of time. Passengers were talking the entire time and the couple next to us thought it was funny-he wanted to get into the lifeboat because "I paid for it." I said that if he got into the lifeboat, you better wish you were still on board. Went over his head.
Disabled and elderly passengers are treated like cattle-no exceptions are made for them nor for families with young(under age 5) children for either getting on or off the ship.
We had wonderful tablemates and a fantastic waitress-Milos from the Phillipines-which more than made up for the rest of the trip.
Some of the passengers said the decor was "gaudy" and some of it is; however, just the artwork and lighting in various spots around the ship are magificent. Spotlessly clean!
Overall opinion-on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best, I rate this as a 2. One gets what one pays for-this was not worth it.
The Mediterranea was new in 2003. Our cruise in November found it to be a delightful ship. It's very (my wife's term) glitzy. Lots of marble, impressive atrium, very nice public areas and small secluded lounges that make the experience seem intimate. Surprising in a ship so large.
The cabin staff was excellent and the room (ours with a small balcony) very nice. This was our first trip with a balcony and for our style found same to be overrated.
While our waiter and busboy were excellent, the food itself was spotty. One evening my vegetarian entree, vegetables tempura, was almost inedible. The batter had parted company with the vegetables and what remained was badly singed. One night the service was inordinately slow. Our waiter had an adjoining table that was extremely high maintenance throughout the cruise, but that didn't seem to account for the delays that seemed to eminiate from the kitchen itself. Lunch and breakfast were fine. One shortcoming was a lack of informal eaterie, other than pizzia, outside normal meal hours.
The shore excursions were predictable and typical for the Western Carribean. We took the ships excursion to the pyramid at ChiChichinitizi (sp) and since we arrived early and had an excellent guide found it to be well with the experience. The sole problem was with the buffet lunch that came with the excursion. It was poorly planned and executed. The venue didn't seem prepared for a crowd the size of ours and the pushy nature of our fellow passenger didn't help.
The Costa line attracts a lot of Europeans and we enjoyed the cosmopolitan nature of the cruise. One word of caution. There's more smoking in the public areas than is common in the United States. It takes some getting used to.
Overall, we thought the cruise represented a good value and would certainly consider taking Costa again.
This was our eighth cruise, the fifth with Costa . Due to reading a couple of negative reviews, we were a bit apprehensive for the first time. We quickly learned that everyone has different viewpoints and that is what makes life interesting!
We had spent a couple of nights pre-cruise at the Ft. Lauderdale AmeriSuites just to unwind a bit. It was a nice stay. We opted for a cab rather than the hotel shuttle, which was very busy at the time. We arrived at the pier around 11:30 a.m., quickly spotted a Costa rep outside and asked directions. She took a look at our documents and took us inside past the waiting crowds to a separate waiting room with chairs. This was our first cruise in a suite, and we finally realized this was the reason we were able to bypass of the big crowds. We were the very first to board the ship about 12:30 p.m.
Our first impression of this sister ship to the Atlantica, which we had sailed previously, was WOW! We liked the decor even better than the Atlantica. The quality shows everywhere. No costhas been spared. There was plenty of marble, glass and wood nicely blended into a most pleasing arrangement. We found all the public areas to be not only attractive but also comfortable and relaxing.
Our Panorama suite was large, comfortable and beautiful, with plenty of storage space, a closet in the living/sleeping room as well as the dressing room, drawer space everywhere, and a beautiful marble bath with double sinks, whirlpool tub/shower combo. We had a large, completely private balcony with teak reclining lounge chairs and a table. Suite passengers are provided with daily dining room menus and may order in if they choose. We did have a full breakfast in our room a couple of mornings.
Contrary to some reviews, we found the food to be very good. We like to try new things, and we did every night in the main dining room with no disappointments. The pasta courses were very good. We had a table for two as we had requested and service was prompt. Orders were always correct, no mix-ups. Our waiters were polite but unobtrusive, which we liked. We never had a bad meal! We had most breakfasts and lunches at the buffet restaurant and found the selections varied and quite good. Be sure to explore the different serving stations before deciding on your selections. Also the hamburgers at the outside grill are first class. Soft serve ice cream and pizza are always available as well.
The main theater is absolutely beautiful. During the course of a week there is something for everyone. A magician, Irish tenor, classical piano and two production shows were all good. But the highlight for us was a steel band concert by a group called Island Magic. This was one of the best concerts we have ever witnessed. If they are playing, don't miss it!
Very smooth. We were in a cab back to our hotel by 9 a.m.
This was our best cruise ever. The ship was beautiful, the food and entertainment excellent. My wife and I have tried to think of something negative, but honestly can't come up with anything that was not flawless. Costa remains our favorite line.
We just returned from a 7 night cruise on the new Costa Mediterranea.
Before booking we read Anne's review of the sister ship, Costa Atlantica. Her review was right on target. I find her reviews usually are.
I would like to amplify a few points. The food is worse than she describes and the service is still poor. Anne mentions that Costa is working on a training program---evidently this has not started or if it did start, it fails to train people correctly.
Although our cruise was the first in the Carribbean for this ship, the passengers were a very high percentage of non-US. There were a considerable number of children and teenagers as it was a Thanksgiving Cruise. Most were behaving well but a number were not. Costa made no effort at restraining them.
We always thought Carnival attracted people who wanted a noisy time, but we realize Costa has them beat.
It is a very poor cruise line for Honeymooners and the ones we met were ready to shoot their Travel Agents.
Lastly---Anne's reviews are right on target and we would recommend everyone reads them before booking a cruise anywhere.
Frieda and BobRoth
My friend,Barbara, and I have each cruised many times and we were both terribly disappointed on this two night trip to Freeport. The trouble getting on the ship was not entirely Costa 's fault as there was a problem in Miami and all the ships at that port were diverted to Ft. Lauderdale. However, we took the bus from Ft. Myers at 8:00 a.m. and arrived at the cruise terminal at 10:30. We had been advised beforehand that we would not be embarking until after 3:00. We had the foresight to bring snacks. We were given a card with a red number one on it. We did get on the ship by 3:30. However,there was no parking available later in the afternoon and some people that came later left and went home because they couldn't park and saw the huge lines outside. My daughter and her friend, a first time cruiser, had to go to the airport parking lot and take a bus back to the ship.
They stood in line and finally got on the ship at 5:30. They had not eaten since breakfast they too, almost gave upand went home.They were on board just in time for the life jacket drill. They were late for the first seating and treated rudely. The service on this ship was terrible. I tried room service. No answer. My friend called at a different time, left an order and an hour an a half later cancelled it and went to bed. The mattress was uncomfortable and squeaked. At dinner the first night my vegetables never arrived nor did my friend's baked potato. Who decided that the best place to have a midnight "buffet" was the crowded casino? Steam trays were lined up alongside plates as lounge chairs were pushed back. People were trying to get through the mass confusion to leave the casino with their food. This was the poorest excuse for a midnight buffet and the poorest place to have one.
The stateroom was nice and well done. The food in the dining room was good....if you got it. Barbara and I talked to at least 40 people and asked them how they liked the cruise and not one felt any differently than we did. I asked them if they had talked to anyone that liked the ship and the service and they all said they had not. The decor is a matter of taste. Some of us feel it is ostentatious while others liked it. The money seemed to be put into the decor for show while the practical but necessary things were left wanting i.e. no shampoo or lotion in the bathrooms, no room service or comfortable beds. I will only sail on the tried and true lines like the Princess, NCL and RCI.
We recently cruised on the Costa Mediterranea, leaving Genova, Italy on November 5, 03 and arriving in Miami, Florida on November 21. This cruise was a great disappointment. This state of the art new ship has a decor that was gaudy! It was not a restful tasteful decor. The staff was cold, often rude and offered little hospitality.
We thought the whole cruise was very disorganized. Dining areas would close early or open later than posted. We had a problem getting a read out of our final bill. Embarkation and disembarkation were slow and disorganized. It took more than three hours to get on the ship and more than four hours to get off. During this time we stood in line with no help from the Costa staff. Our included transfers to the air port after we disembarked never did show up, we took taxis at our own expense.
Smoking areas were not observed, people seemed to smoke wherever they pleased. Life boat drills were poorly done. We would not have really known what to do in an emergency.
The food was not well prepared and often of poor quality. Desserts were oftentasteless, breads at the lunch buffet were stale, the juices were watery, ice cream at the buffet was from a soft serve machine and was tasteless, ice cream in the dining room was often served melted. They did not know how to serve properly. Dining room service was slow because our waiter had too many tables to serve. We complained to the dining room manager and it made no difference.
The beverage service machines were closed quickly after a meal so we could never get ice tea or coffee between meals. They never did serve such drinks as free lemonade. It was obvious that they wanted us to purchase from the bar.
Our cabin was nice and the ship was clean except for the last day when the tables were dirty, no ice in our cabin. It appeared that they were ready to get rid of us.
The entertainment was either very good or very poor. The theater was lovely and state of the art.
There was no entertainment such as a Caribbean band around the pool area. No fun special drinks were ever served in take home souvenir glasses.
Our port calls were too brief. The paid excursions were let off first, those of us who were taking our own trips had to wait longer to get off the ship, this shortened our port time even more.
The public areas on the ship were hot. The air conditioning was not adequate.
It truly was a cruise we wished we had not taken.
We came back yesterday from a 5 days cruise on the Costa Mediterranea (its second voyage) and we can confirm that the official review of Costa Atlantica fits perfectly also to this new ship.
But we would like to add something: you will feel isolated as if you were in an enormous shopping mall even if you are Italian... it's not a language problem, simply nobody talks to you... And even if Costa advertisement says that "the ship is inspirated by Italian ancient buildings", in fact the decor is horrible and kitsch and the best place to stay is your cabin.
Margherita & Paola