Ranked #5 Costa Cruises fleet
Ranked #87 among all ships
Regions: The Orient
Prices Start at:$82/day
One of the older ships in Costa's fleet launched in 1996. Decor and design preceeds the carnival era. ...Read the CruiseMates report
Ranked #5 Costa Cruises fleet
Ranked #87 among all ships
Regions: The Orient
Prices Start at:$82/day
One of the older ships in Costa's fleet launched in 1996. Decor and design preceeds the carnival era. ...Read the CruiseMates report
1. The Casino; A. Children gambling on the slot machines. B. Children running and playing around the casino with no adult supervision. C. A craps table with no craps dealer. D. When one roulette table was broken, the pit boss refused to open one of the other three tables. I addressed these issues to the casino manager, only to be lied to. I have been to casinos around the world and on other cruise ships, and this is the worst casino I have ever been to. I say this even though the wife and I won at least 400 euros while onboard.
2. The Food; A. The dinner every night consisted of frozen meals and what seemed to be leftovers. B. There was no 24 hour buffet. C. The food served at the breakfast and afternoon buffet was worse than anything I have eaten at an Army chow hall. The only edible food was the fresh fruit. D. Drinks that are normally available all day (water, tea, and coffee) were not, unless you were willing to pay for them.
3. The Service; A. With the exception of my waiter snd cabin steward,everyone I spoke to or asked questions acted like I was ruining their day. Overall, the cruise personnel were just rude. B. On day 2 I asked the information desk for a complaint form, and I was told to wait until I recieved my review form at the end of the cruise.
4. The Excursions; A. The ports we traveled to were nice, but we were not there long enough to do anything, wit the exception of Rhodes. All other excursions had a 6 hour maximum time off the boat. B. If you did not purchase one of the excursions tours, you were forced to wait another 1 1/2 hours before you could leave the ship. Just another way for the cruise ship to get more money out of you, seeing how most of the tours consisted of not much more than walking around whatever town you were at, with a tour guide.
5. Onboard Entertainment; A. Nonexistent. B. Hot tubs were shut down at eight p.m. C. With the exception of the circus show, the rest of the shows were a waste of time. The only things left to do were go to the fabulous onboard casino, or get drunk.
This week long cruise was supposed to be a vacation, but I could not wait for it to end. I was happy to be off the ship and not dealing with anybody from Costa Cruises. I feel as though I am entitled to a refund. if anybody has any questions or comments please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will gladly explain myself in full detail.
Do not go on the Costa Victoria if you are an American and enjoy good ships and good food. Our travel agent at Liberty Travel recommened this cruise fo my wife and I and two adult sons. Boy was she wrong or getting a huge commission.
The ship was not clean, the food was awful, the staff was not friendly towards Americans. The ship was either not in port long enough or at ridiculous times. For instance, we were in Mykonos from 4pm to 10pm. To late for the beautiful beaches and to early for the night life. Bari from 12 to 4. This is there siesta time. Santorini for 4 hours - you need all day.
On the dinner menu each night there was a star next to what food was frozen. All the fish, chicken and meat was frozen. The kids could find nothing to eat and they are not picky - it was that bad. I feel so stronly that noone elses vacation should be ruined like ours that I invite you to call my office at 305-682-1110 and I will be glad to talk to you.This ship was the worst. We were lucky we booked 4 days in Venice at the end which we completely enjoyed.
Please do not take a Costa crusie and never ever ever use Liberty Travel.
The cruise ship is very large (about 2,600 passengers, with all the amenities of a large ship. This being an inland sea (Mediterrean)the waters are very calm. Embarkment and Disembarkment were very well. The itinerary is excellent for a mid-priced cruise (we visited Bari, Italy, four greek islands (Santorini,Mykonos, Olympia and Rhodes) and Dubrovnik (Croatia). Unfortunately thats all I can say positive about the experience.....ideally this cruise would be for an italian (hetero)couple in their late 40's. Thats about all I would market this cruise for.
1. Everything on board the ship is geared to italians and things italian. Announcements on board the ship were mostly unintelligble in five languages (which is fine). However, the food was terrible. All italian, all the time, for every meal!!! You also have to pay for water, coffee, tea, etc (except for breakfast). I like pasta, just not for every meal.The midnight buffet was served with lunch buffet items - read stale for example - with NO water or drinks. They had you buy a juice cocktail for 4.75E. Too much nickle and diming!!
The entertainment lacked spontaniety being that announcements were in five languages. However the BESTshow was the crew who performed for us with selected songs and dances from their countries..that was touching and the audience responded very favorably.
Shore excursions and time on land were very short. About 5 hours in each port. Bear that in mind since it is difficult to get too much done. Italian organization is an oxymoron...it doesnt exist. On Bari, the shops close for 'siesta' from 12pm to 4pm. The ship docked at 12pm and left at 5pm-figure that one out!!
My recommendation is that Costa Cruises should not market to the American Market.
Overview We were attracted to this cruise by the reasonable price and interesting itinerary (visiting Italy, Egypt, Turkey and Greece). Before booking I read 'official' cruise guide reviews, which gave the ship a fairly good rating. I however became a bit concerned after reading a number of critical 'customer reviews'. I think it is however very much about perception and what sort of person you are. I can appreciate some regulars perhaps giving the ship a lower review if they have been on many cruises that they preferred, however it should be remembered that this is a mass-market cruise at a great price. For value for money, it was excellent. The Costa Victoria is a modern, well-maintained ship. Everything looks like new and is spotless. Especially after walking around places like the interesting but hectic Alexandria, we were very pleased to say our beautiful white ship in the harbour on our return. I have only sailed with Orient Lines/NCL previously and there were areas that both companies excelled in. The crew on the Victoria seemed a little more rushed perhaps, especially during the dinner service. However none were unfriendly and my parents,who had never sailed previously, thought the service was fantastic. So much so that they have booked to travel with Costa again in September.
Food I can honestly say that we never had a bad meal on board. The main restaurant served a 5-course dinner, which featured quite a lot of fish and was Mediterranean in terms of oils/sauces etc. It was all of a high standard and the staff were really wonderful. It is however true that if you like, say, steak and hot puddings then these featured on rare occasions. I read a review stating that the pizzeria served frozen food, this simply isn't true. The poolside grill had lovely well cooked chicken and the cafes throughout the ship were relaxing and pleasant. There was the midnight buffet (disappearing from some lines) that was outstanding. There was also complimentary coffee/juice most of the day at the back of the ship. It is worth buying a 'honeymooners card' (you don't need to be on your honeymoon) for a set number of drinks for one reduced price. Alcoholic drinks were quite expensive although the duty free shop did actually let you take your purchased back to your cabin for consumption, if you so desired.
Shows The cruise featured 'the entertainment team' a group pf Italian performers, which it perhaps took a couple of days for me to get on to their wavelength, however they were very talented. Costa goes in for quite a lot of audience participation shows, which you either love or hate. They could be very amusing to watch and there was little pressure to join in.
Cabin The cabin was a reasonable size and well designed. The hairdryer was damaged but I reported it to the reception and it was replaced with a whole new unit by the time we returned to the cabin.
Itinerary This was a very interesting voyage. One negative was that in most ports, you had to travel some distance to get to the main attraction (eg Pyramids, Taormina, Olympia etc) however only in Alexandria and Messina did we feel we had little option but to take the official tour. On all other occasions we just took local transport. In Katakolon I would recommend taking a taxi, and in Piraeus, if you don't mind some walking then head around to the train station. On our cruise someone was taken ill while we travelled to Alexandria and the boat needed to turn around and due to the delay we missed out Rhodes. The situation was handled professionally although information could perhaps have been more forthcoming.
Misc. Others have commented about smokers onboard. As a non-smoker I feared the worst, but really there wasn't too much of a problem. Some bars could be a little smoky but I never saw anyone smoking in the corridors or waiting for the lift etc as others have reported.
Summary I'm sure that many of the criticisms of Costa will be genuine (otherwise why would people write them) however I believe much is down to Costa being very different and very European. We met French, Germans and Italians on board, who were all very friendly. Yes, one couple did push in the queue in front of us on an occasion but this was very rare. Yes, all the announcements in different languages do take some time, but really - is it that such big a deal? If you are an average easygoing person, then I think you will like (and perhaps even love) Costa. If you want to moan and find fault with anything and everything then this is possible too.
As we checked in for our eastern Caribbean cruise on Costa 's Victoria, I was immediately concerned when I had to produce an ID at four separate points in order to board. Carnival checks you once, then takes your picture, and is very secure. Costa never took our picture, but seemed obsessed with having people who barely spoke English look at our birth certificates, over and over.
Once on board we proceeded to the bar, where we got burned for over $21 for three Bloody Marys, and then we continued to the buffet. I sampled picnic fare and stared down a large plate of kidney bean salad. Little did I know that this delight, as well as most of the others we saw, would be lurking at every buffet we attended.
The ship was as beautiful as it was overcrowded. Everyone was pushing and shoving like a cattle call. The deck was packed with lounge chairs that filled by 9:30 a.m. When people went to lunch, they left clothes and shoes on their lounges to reserve them. The hot tubs were full of Germans and French who pretended not to speak English-- and definitely did not understand deodorant use. These same congenial folk blocked the elevator doors and refused to let you off unless you grunted in their native tongue. Costa blew the wad on this ship -- it was loaded with lavish décor and impeccably maintained. They should have paid the staff a little more and spent a lot more on the food.
The staff was basically aloof. After I got friendly with a few of them and inquired about the general lack of courtesy, they explained: "If you think Costa treats you poorly, they treat us like dogs." Costa did not quite treat us like dogs, but they did, however, feed us like dogs.
Although I am not a gourmet, I am fat and I've been on a few ships. The restaurant's menu was very limited, and the selections were almost sure to disappoint. The waiters were the nicest people on the boat. They constantly steered me away from menu selections toward "better choices." Even with this safety policy in effect, I was treated to a series of Epicurean tragedies one after the other. If your idea of fancy food is a quarter head of lettuce in a cereal bowl, this is your ship.
Upon boarding we noticed a woman dressed as a cross between Snow White and Elvira. When I stole my glance away from her cleavage, I noticed her talking to my 5-year-old girl. She invited her to a "par-r-r-rty" at 9:00. My little girl shook in her shoes all day as she anxiously awaited her party with Snow White. When we got there, Snowvira was dressed in jeans surrounded by a sea of people. She was handing out consent forms and soliciting kiddie drink card sales. There was no party. There was no event at all for kids, just a sales pitch to parents. My little girl didn't understand why Snow White stood her up and cried herself to sleep that night. I will never forgive Costa for this.
Finally I encountered the straw that broke the camel's back. I was rudely ejected from the indoor pool for having kids under 16, even though the pool was full of young kids. All the other people just pretended to not understand and continued to allow their kids to swim. I decided to complain to the information desk. The lady I spoke with there seemed genuinely concerned about my complaint. After a minute, her apparent manager joined her. I outlined my concerns about the rudeness at the indoor pool and the fake Snow White party. She gave me a schedule of kids' events and continued to review it with me until I realized I was getting nowhere. When I asked to file a formal complaint, the underling asked if she should get a form and the manager replied with some gibberish in a foreign language. I expressed my fury at her speaking behind my back in a foreign language and she pretended not to understand me. Generally, nobody cared.
I spent the rest of the week trying to entertain the kids and waiting for the cruise to end. The more we tried to get a good meal, the worse the food got. The heavily-promoted midnight buffets turned out to be more kidney bean salad, unripe fruit and Sam's Club éclairs surrounded by intricate carvings of cantaloupe squirrels and honeydew bunnies. These people are obviously grossly mismanaged. Whereas the boat and décor are top-notch, it seems that nobody's at the wheel.
Save the trouble and cruise with a real line that cares.
The good- Beautiful, modern ship, friendly and mostly courteous crew, except matre-de when I asked to be switched back to my ticketed first sitting.
The bad- Ports of call. Key West and Cozumel are always nice even if the jellyfish are running at Cozumel. Progreso is not acceptable as a cruise ship port of call. If you want to spend half the short time of the port call at Chicken-itze, do it by land tour. Could not go ashore at Grand Cayman because of rough boat landing; in 15 kt. wind and 2-3 foot chop offshore at ship mooring area?
Refund of port fee not offered, private island not substituted. Food mediocre, no prime rib, no lobster tails. Changed to 2nd seating after on board.
The ugly- Head (toilet) in our section down for almost 16 hours before repaired.
My Wife myself and my 3 children (Ages 15,8,8) sailed on the Victoria April 13 for a 7 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. My wife and I previously sailed on the Costa Carla C 22 years ago and had high expectations for this cruise, our children's first.
Costa circa 1980: Let me first tell you that our cruise aboard the Carla C was incredible! The food was beyond gourmet, the service impeccable.....we truly felt like royalty. Naturally we figured that it could only get better. Boy were we wrong!!!.....what happened to the Costa of 20 years ago? Read on if you wish to find out!
Embarkation: was average. Port Everglades is in a very bad section of Florida so hold on to your purse and wallet! My wife's was stolen the morning before the cruise in Ft. Lauderdale. It was a little harder for us to board the ship because all of her ID was in her purse. After 2 hours in a detention room and many tears, we were finally able to board the ship but my wife swears someone followed her around secretly for the entire cruise. Securitywas very tight....and that didn't bother me the least bit.
We're OFF: Once on the ship, we went to the buffet on deck 11 rear. It was barely average. Nothing unusual, nothing spectacular, nothing to write home about, and it was the same everyday..... basically pretty boring. The help at the buffet was courteous but half of them didn't understand a word of English, which brings me to another point...English was definitely the minority language on this cruise, both passengers and crew. If you're into ignorant Western Europeans who like to sun topless around the kiddy pool exposing their hairy legs and armpits and who prefer the smell of their BO to Calvin Klein, this is the cruise for you! All announcements were in at least 5 languages and English was not the first. We were told by the crew that there were 2300 passengers on the boat, which was over the 1900 limit.....unsafe and overcrowded. If you did not get a lounge chair by 9:00 am, forget it!
The Ship: simply beautiful!!! Immaculately clean, abundant with rare marble and expensive mosaics. The public rooms were large, albeit overcrowded. This ship must have cost a fortune. I have been on other cruises and this was one of the most beautifully designed ships I have ever seen. Someone was always cleaning something 24 hours a day. One day in port they even painted the anchor after it got dirty from anchoring in Catalina Island the day prior. On the negative side the arcade is in the middle of the casino and kids aren't allowed in the casino, so you had to covertly sneak them in to the arcade. Also the A/C in the public areas was inadequate and many of our non-deodorant using shipmates stunk to high heaven. I always knew when my elevator mates were non-American.
The Food: The food was just average. My prime rib, the first night's dinner was like a steak'um with gravy...gravy on prime rib....Classy!!! The pasta was always excellent. The coffee was great. The food presentation was on par with Shoneys/Eat'n Park. Gourmet is not a word in Costa 's dictionary. Even the salads were boring. The midnight and dessert buffets were spectacular like they were sculpted from shiny plastic...just how they tasted. Looks aren't everything. They bragged that there were 150 different people from 60 different countries in the kitchen staff...you know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen. The morning buffets were the same soggy scrambled eggs, cereal and other items that you would typically find on a very skimpy Sunday brunch not equal to Shoneys or Eat'n Park. Even the orange juice was watered down. One morning I asked for an omelet and got the dirtiest look from the man behind the counter that I said "Never mind". The next morning I got up the courage to wait for an omelet and what I got was an overcooked taco shell. Average drinks ran from 4-8 dollars each. Our waiter and busboy were wonderful and they were extremely happy that we were Americans. Tipping on Costa is cash only and they told us the Europeans never leave a tip and since their salary is a measly $50 per month, their tips were their income. Along with our cabin steward they were the nicest people on the ship.
The Itinerary and Ports of Call: The itinerary was great but the time spent at the ports of call was too short. by the time you got off the boat you had to rush to get back on. Although, if you took a paid excursion, you were allowed to leave first and come back last. I would like to elaborate more on these exotic ports but was too rushed to enjoy them. They even had the nerve to dump us in the Dominican Republic one evening at dusk. I don't know about you but the last place I want to be at 1:30am is in the streets of Puerto Rico. I did enjoy St. Thomas and Nassau which we left mid-afternoon.
The Activities: The kid programs were very crowded and I ran into the ship's fairy princess at a market in the Bahamas and she told me most of them are bogus and they are geared to make you buy unlimited drink passes that are not unlimited. She said everything is geared to spending lots of money. Management was rude and they, the non-Italian employees, were underpaid. My teen daughter tried the disco but was propositioned by the many non-American boys that wanted to party or as they said "pawty" with her (whatever that means). I must admit there was always something going on somewhere and if you were bored, it was by your own choosing. The deck activities were generally fun, but the constant announcements in at least 5 languages kind of zapped some of the energy from the deck activities. The on board entertainment was on par with other cruises, magic, comedy, dancing and singing. The Cruise Director Peter was an "idiot". Come on Costa , you can do better. I figured he got the job because he was related to some VP at Costa . His favorite phrase was "Chow for now". I figured he was referring to the dog chow we had for the midnight buffet that was left over from dinner earlier.
The Staff: Most of the executive staff was Italian. I was told by a Slovak casino employee that the Italians get all of the good jobs. Don't get me wrong, I'm Italian American and proud of it. I only saw the Captain once when he was introduced at a show night. He was probably too scared to show his face in public areas because of the large number of disgruntled crowded passengers that wanted a piece of him. The Italian staff members were generally indifferent and not very helpful. An employee explained to me that it was the last Caribbean sailing and they were tired and just wanted to go home. The international staff was generally pleasant. They nodded a lot and smiled...most of them had no clue what I was saying to them. When I inquired on the final day to a young lady in a white uniform as to why the photo place was closed when it was supposed to be opened she kept telling me that orange luggage tags go to the plaza. I finally told her she had no idea what I was saying and that she was "nothing but a total moron". She gave me a bright smile, nodded and said "yes".
Summary: On the final morning, Stefano, the ship's manager, made everything crystal clear. When I was doing my daily security check in because of my wife's untimely purse snatching and ID loss, I arrived with one of my children at breakfast at 7:02 am. I was told by the man at the door to the Fantasia restaurant that I could not go in. When I explained that I just wanted to join the rest of my family, he still resisted. I had an FRS radio and was talking to my family inside the restaurant. Finally the Maitre de who I regretfully tipped the night before told me in a very rude tone that my family had not shown up for breakfast then closed the door. I went to the info desk and demanded to speak to the captain of the ship. I was quickly ushered into Stefano's office. He told me he was in charge of the entire ship. When I complained to him about the treatment and my total disappointment with Costa when compared to my previous Costa experience, he summed it up like this. He asked me what I paid for my last Costa cruise which was by far much more expensive than our vacation aboard the Victoria. He then indicated that you get what you pay for and they have to cut corners to keep the cost down. Sorry, I didn't know that. I've been on less expensive cruises (Carnival for one, but they own Costa ) and have had a great time with great food and service.
Sorry Costa , I'll never be back...."Chow for EVER" Peter and Costa ..........
Excellent cruise for the bargain. Food more than adequate and often outstanding.
Entertainment and staff first rate. Extremely Clean. Thoroughly enjoyable. Worth a repeat.
Not for Americans!
We have taken bewteem 25 and 30 cruises, so are not novices to the cruising experience.
The Victoria is a beautiful ship, and never felt crowded. Even with over 1600 passengers we still had an intimiate feeling when walking around the ship or in the lounges.
Peter Hofer, the cruise director, does an excellent job, and there is never a lack of something on the ship to do during the day. There are various trivia games, pool side contests, a wild and wacky Italian wedding, Mr. Pizza Man contest, Mrs. Santa Claus contest on our cruise, etc. That said, the cruise staff is extremely difficult to understand, as nearly all of the staff is from another country and speaks with a very strong accent. Several Americans got upset during the trivia games because the staff could not be understood.
Announcements on the ship are made in 6 languages, so they seem to be endless. There were times we felt like aliens that had been dropped on the ship from another planet, since there were so few Americans. Passengers were either from Italy, France, Germany or South America.
Being an Italian cruise linewe expected the food to be awesome, or at least the Italian food. We were sorely dissapointed. The food tends to be bland, the buffet was one of the smallest we have ever seen on a cruise ship, and the pizza was pitiful.
I never had a problem getting a lounge chair on deck for sea days which is a plus. We tried Costa , but unless the price is a steal would not go Costa again.
Summary: A nice ship that is always clean and well maintained. Rooms are small but well organized. Staff is extremely friendly and efficient. Shops contained expensive designer type items. The officers were seen frequently throughout the ship. Drinks were weak but free champagne was offered frequently. The food was ok but nothing 5 star. The shows were very good, family oriented and well attended. Very large casino but the children's video game area was too close. We had a very nice time all in all. If you go thinking that you are going to get a $2000 cruise for $500 you will be very disappointed but if you consider what you get for the price you pay I think it is well worth it and we are planning to cruise with Costa again next Christmas. For more details read on.
Let us start with Day one: Embarkation: Embarkation went very smoothly. As you entered the pier the porters were right there to immediately take your luggage. They do not work for the cruise line so they do expect a tip. As you entered the building each person was handed a numberand asked to be seated. Several cruise personnel were going around to check and make sure that all you paper work was completed properly and help those that needed help. As the building filled up you were called into lines according to the number you held so those that got there first went onboard first. This made the procedure very efficient.
As you entered the ship some one was there to greet you and direct you to your room taking any carry on luggage that you might have with you. We were immediately impressed with the cleanliness of the ship. Our room was very nice, a little smaller than most of the other lines, but arranged for efficiency. There was plenty of closet and drawer space. We had an outside room and it had a very large round window, which really brightened, up the entire room.
As the steward showed us around the room he also told us about a welcome aboard buffet. They had this at the usual buffet location and were well stocked with the usual buffet foods. They were also serving hamburgers and hotdogs out on the deck. We found this as a pleasant surprise as the Carnival ships that we had sailed on previously had not offered food until dinnertime. We didn't leave port until 7pm so we had plenty of time to unpack, relax, and get oriented to the ship. First seating was having their dinner as we were leaving. This ship is one that rocks quite a bit with the weather so if you have problems walking or with seasickness you will want to be aware of this. Also rooms do not accommodate the large scooter type of wheel chairs. They do have a pizza shop on board but it does not open until 3pm and we found it not to our liking. The shops onboard catered mostly to those who like designer items. I found the prices on most items too high. The Internet cafe was a nice touch for those of us who could not leave their e-mail for an entire week. It is also good for staying in touch with the family.
We had decided to get the honeymoon/anniversary package, for the romance and the robes. It was very nice and consisted of a large basket of flowers that would have cost at least $50 at your local florist, a bottle of champagne with two glasses, 2 cotton robes that even fit fuller figures like ours, a silver 8x10 picture frame with a free 8x10 photograph, a rose on my pillow the first night, and an invitation to a special cocktail party with the captain. We thought that this was a very good addition to our cruise and especially for $99.
The food: We had heard some bad reviews about the food aboard this ship so we didn't really know what to expect. Truly my husband and I are not gourmets and like just about anything. We almost always enjoyed what we ordered. The food was always served to us hot and displayed nicely on the plate. We did find a lot of foods that we had never eaten before and tried a few and enjoyed them. On the nights that we wanted something simpler and more American we ordered from their always-available section, consisting of sirloin steak, chicken breast, or fish. We noticed that they had special menus for those that wanted a vegetarian meal. Those with more of a gourmet taste for 5 star restaurants may not have found it to their tastes but for my husband and myself, we were well suited. We did however find that the menus description sometimes did not match the American thoughts. Like taco salad to an American is usually lettuce, meat, cheese, etc. Their actual taco salad was a to be built taco. When we did get this they were more than happy to get something else for us.
The staff….We found the staff extremely friendly and ready to assist you with anything that you might need. Our cabin steward knew us by name before we sailed the first day and anticipated our needs before we realized we needed it. The waiters were friendly, efficient, and entertaining. They had several nights that the waiters entertained before desert was served one night they even danced with each lady at the table. Everyone from the Captain, who was often seen about the ship, to the man or woman sweeping up always greeted you with a smile and offered assistance.
Tours: In Key West we took the Conch Train Tour which was really a trolley. It gave a little information about the city but I would not recommend it. We were not in this port long enough to really see it. In San Juan we took the city tour, which showed us around the city in an a/c bus. We also stopped to see the old fort but didn't really have time to really explore it. Also the cost of the fort was not included in the tour price. Town was crowed with 10 cruise ships in port!!! City was pretty and decorated for Christmas. We did our own thing in St Thomas having been there before. We went to Coki Beach a great place to snorkel. My husband scuba dived for the first time too. Then we hit the shops! In Nassau it was chilly and rainy but they didn't cancel the tour to the Blue Lagoon. I would not recommend this tour for anyone who has problems walking a long distance. After the boat let us off it was about ¾ mile to the place to swim. The water was only to the knees and nowhere insight to snorkel. They did snorkel with the stingrays or dolphins but you had to pay extra for that! It ended up being a $30 each boat ride. Very disappointing. We left within the hour. Then it rained hard most of the day. We stayed on board the ship.
We had no children on board so we can't tell first hand what their programs were like. I did however see that the younger ones were well attended and appeared to be having fun. The teens seemed to enjoy themselves too. All in all kids were less rowdy than on Carnival cruses.
Debarkation: Went smoothly. We were placed in rooms according to the color of tags on luggage and dismissed by color to avoid bunching. Luggage was easy to find because it too was placed according to color of tag on the luggage. Leaving Port Everglades was a total traffic jam.