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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Yes, It Can be Sweet in a Costa Suite We are recently back from a nine day Costa Mediterranea cruise to the Norwegian fjords. We typically sail HAL, Celebrity, or RCI and usually in a balcony cabin. To be honest, the reviews have kept ... Read More
Yes, It Can be Sweet in a Costa Suite We are recently back from a nine day Costa Mediterranea cruise to the Norwegian fjords. We typically sail HAL, Celebrity, or RCI and usually in a balcony cabin. To be honest, the reviews have kept me away from considering Costa. This time we were traveling with another couple and were looking for an itinerary that departed from and returned to Amsterdam. Costa fit the bill. We booked this cruise less than two months out due to a last minute change in plans. As this cruise was a few days shorter we were able to book a suite for about the same price as our balcony cabin on the other line. If you enjoy traveling to Europe and the pricing is within your budget, sailing in a Costa suite will be a very similar experience to the other lines I have mentioned. It could even be better if you don’t usually book a suite. Embarkation in Amsterdam We arrived around 12:30 and check-in took about 20 minutes. We had one family member with mobility issues so the combination of this along with priority boarding sped things along. We then took the lift up to Deck 9 for lunch in the buffet. When we arrived in our cabin an hour later our luggage had been delivered and the security video was playing on the TV in anticipation of the muster drill, which would be held before our late afternoon sail away. Cabin Our cabin was a corner aft on deck four. The layout consisted of a sofa and desk area, a dressing area with walk-in closet, the attractively tiled bathroom had dual sinks and combo tub/shower with sliding door, and the bedroom was adjacent to that with its own TV and drawer space. We found the bed comfortable. The huge balcony had two chairs with footstools as well as two loungers and small table to hold your drinks, snacks, phone etc. Décor colors in the room were a bit retro but I loved the small Murano lamps. Plenty of storage space, a safe, and frig also. The non-alcohol mini bar and bottled water are one of your amenities. Demographics No worries if you only speak English as the hard working staff were multi-lingual. Italian was the primary language followed by English, French, and German. We didn’t feel it was that tedious for announcements but you can appreciate the effort made for entertaining everyone! On this sailing there were mostly Europeans, and though many also spoke English, aside from the staff you didn’t hear a lot of English spoken among the guests. Don’t let that deter you as the daily “Diario di Bordo,” menu, and signage are also offered in multiple languages. Food & Drink I attribute our positive cruise experience to two perks included in our Costa suite amenities, the Intenditore drink package and the Medusa (suite) restaurant where suite guests can eat B-L-D. This doesn’t mean you can’t grab a burger in the buffet at lunchtime or order room service. We were able to get coffee, water, a cocktail, or glass of wine /beer anytime we wanted from the bars or at meal time in the rstaurants. We found the food in the suite restaurant to be quite good and except for a few sugary cocktails were never disappointed in our drinks. The Medusa Restaurant was for suite guests but could also be purchased as a dinner package for other guests, though suite guests would get priority seating. We usually arrived for dinner around seven and never had to wait or make a reservation. There are no other specialty restaurants on this ship. The space held about 100 people and had a variety of table configurations. Each night featured choices from a particular region of Italy. A copy of the Medusa menu was delivered ahead of time to your room. It was a four course meal but that can be filling so we started to order two of the “primi” courses for the table to share among the four of us and that worked well. Food is always subjective but the consensus among us was that the seafood, pork, or lamb were always very good. The steak, which was an option every night, was not so tender. There was also a “Chef’s Choice” menu option that you could order or swap around for some of the a la carte choices. Wine by the glass was part of our drink package and there were a few that we particularly liked. We often would pair a different wine with a different course so a benefit of “by the glass.” There were also vegetarian food options offered each night. Sufficient staff made it a pleasure to have a relaxing dinner. We usually chose the Medusa restaurant for breakfast and one day for lunch. There is a cold buffet station as well as a pastry table in addition to ordering hot choices off the menu. The food is quite good but hope you aren’t in a hurry! The hold up appeared to be on the kitchen end not in the dining room. We did have lunch in the Perla del Lago buffet restaurant a few times. My favorite was to select ham, cheese, and choice of bread and build your own sandwich. There were also a variety of salads, pizza, and burgers. Lunch is served noon-2:30 pm. Between 4-5 pm the Perla del Lago opens for “La Merenda” or afternoon snack. You will find people cueing up for little sandwiches and pastries. If you aren’t eating in the Medusa restaurant for dinner, the Main Dining Room seating is either 6:15 pm or 9pm. Between 7pm-1am you can purchase a higher quality burger or pizza in the designated section of the La Perla buffet restaurant. The informal dinner option is in the buffet restaurant on deck 9 between 7-8:30pm. Crepes are also available for purchase between 10pm-midnight. The bars are open late, midnight and some beyond. A lot of the reviews I’ve read are filled with complaints about the food, paying for water, not having coffee available etc. I think a “must do” item is to clip the sunshine yellow “Buon Appetito” guide in the daily “Diario” and keep it handy until you sort where and when the meals are available. There are many options but limited timing so you don’t want to be disappointed. Having the premium drink package included avoided really simplified things. Life on Board If you have cruised before you know what your expectations are. I will just mention a few things that stood out for me. We were cruising at the end of summer so you knew children would be onboard. There is the Squok Club to keep them entertained. This was also a colder climate so not everyone was in the pool and there were no chair hogs. The ship is lively. At night there were multiple venues with live music. The dance floor was actually a good size for a ship. In fact, as we were getting off a dance workshop group was getting ready to board. Drink service was adequate but they weren’t pestering you if you just wanted to sit and listen for a bit. Photographers were around taking pictures but they were less intrusive and didn’t pester you to buy. A few of ours actually came out nice and we did buy them with a package that also included the digital version. We had a minor issue with our club number and they fixed it on the spot! Room service was on time and nothing missing. Tender tickets were given out the day before saving time the day of. This is an older ship so didn’t have the specialty restaurants that are popular on newer chips. The spa had treatment rooms but not much space for relaxing around the whirlpool. The gym had a variety of equipment. The theater was nice and we went to a couple of shows which were good. We were invited to a wine tasting which was fun to do on a sea day and they even served grapes and cheese to go along. There also was a large attractive game room area that was popular with people playing board games, cards, etc. Accessibility As I mentioned earlier, a family member had mobility problems. We booked too late to get an accessible room. We booked a Panoramic Suite and were able to accommodate both a mobility scooter from Special Needs at Sea, wheelchair, and walker in the cabin. As the tub was fairly deep, we inquired with our attendant if they had a step to assist getting in the tub. The next day we were given a two foot long step that served the purpose. Getting ashore on the two tender stops was also possible with the help of the crew lifting the wheelchair onto the tender and our fortune of having calm seas. Ports-our intent was for relaxing port visits rather than action packed Bergen-able to get ashore with a mobility scooter; docked in Jekteviken close enough to town to walk to cable car which also has a lift and allows for access to the top where there are shops and a café. Olden-Tender, very scenic; spent time taking photos Andalsnes-able to go onshore with mobility scooter. This was also scenic but not a lot to do unless you plan an excursion. We walked along the lake; The train station is very near where the ship docked and is accessible for wheelchairs and smaller mobility scooters. Check the timetable for return. Geiranger-This was our second visit here. Able to get around with mobility scooter. Very scenic and great ice cream! Two of us walked up along the waterfall trail near where the ship is docked. Great photo ops. Look for the goats nearby! There is also a very nice artist’s studio, Geiranger Gallery, between the waterfall and the mainstreet . It is not clustered with the other tourist shops and cafes but set back a little on the left as you walk towards the fall. A nice choice of quality gifts, pottery, and glass objects. Stavanger-One of my favorite port stops; Visit the old section of town where the white houses are. We were docked nearby. The streets are quite steep so not accessible with a mobility scooter and would be difficult with a wheelchair. If you can walk up, after you visit the white houses continue to walk to Breidablikk Mansion on Eiganesveien, 40A. It is about a 25 minute walk through a beautiful neighborhood to see this well preserved home with most of the original furnishings. Your ticket will than allow you to enter many of the other small museums in town for either half price or less. Back in the town center the walkways are flat. You will find the Stavanger Cathedral here and a large shopping area. Bremerhaven-a brief stop to disembark and embark some passengers. It was a Sunday morning and rainy so stayed onboard. There was a shuttle available for €12 r/t to the center of town about 4.5 km away. Tickets must be purchased on the ship at the kiosks or Hospitality Desk. Maximum waiting time was 40 minutes. Disembarkation- Your cabin must be vacated by 8am but you could still enjoy breakfast at the appropriate restaurant, in our case the Medusa Restaurant. There was also a hand luggage deposit for you to use so you didn’t have to bring everything with you to breakfast. After breakfast we left the ship and retrieved our luggage in the Customs Hall in Amsterdam. In summary, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with my Costa Cruise experience. It definitely was value for money in this category. Their shorter itineraries to different ports could work for us and I am interested to try some of their newer, larger ships. But, I would probably only do so with the Intenditore Drink Package, access to a smaller restaurant venue and not the MDR……fingers crossed for a sweet, suite deal! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
Crew and staff are very nice and all the Port excursions are well organised in different languages. Food is very good , especially Italian food, Entertainment is awesome during the cruise. Cabin comfort is good although it was an ... Read More
Crew and staff are very nice and all the Port excursions are well organised in different languages. Food is very good , especially Italian food, Entertainment is awesome during the cruise. Cabin comfort is good although it was an inside cabin, next time it will be one with a balcony. Overall the cruise exceed my expectation. Looking forward for the next one in the Mediterranean next year. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This cruise was chosen by Altius Insurance Cyprus (my husband work in this company) as a reward. It was my first cruise, but definitely I will do it again!!! The ship was so clean, nice odor, you could smell the cleaning odors ... Read More
This cruise was chosen by Altius Insurance Cyprus (my husband work in this company) as a reward. It was my first cruise, but definitely I will do it again!!! The ship was so clean, nice odor, you could smell the cleaning odors everywhere. We had cabin 6109. The service was amazing. The man that was cleaning our cabin was so polite. The dining on the second deck was amazing. I was wondering how they could serve so tasty food to thousand people "a la carte". The waiters were amazing...so polite! What impressed me the most was the guy and the team in charge with the entertainment!! I remember his name! Louis...was everywhere...dancing...singing... presenting...amazing humor and energy! But what amazed me the most was the assistant bar manager: Pantelis Zoografos! What a personality! I am a marketer and maybe I evaluate different than other people but his eyes were everywhere, ready to offer his services, to say a joke or to say something nice! Make me wonder if this man was born for this job or maybe the job was invented for him!!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
My wife and I wanted a good price, port visits to places we had not visited (Genoa, Herculaneum and Valleta, Malta) and a return visit after 30 years or so to Barcelona. We had spent 2 nights on our own long ago in downtown Palermo, but ... Read More
My wife and I wanted a good price, port visits to places we had not visited (Genoa, Herculaneum and Valleta, Malta) and a return visit after 30 years or so to Barcelona. We had spent 2 nights on our own long ago in downtown Palermo, but knew there was more to see. Costa offered all the right ports and a good price. MSC Cruises had a much larger ship (3200 passengers vs 2100), visited Rome, not Naples, and had roughly similar reviews to Costa.and similar prices. Ship size and Herculaneum (Naples) made Costa the obvious choice Some reviews said the Mediterranea was over-decorated. It is bright and colorful inside, but we quickly got used to the colors and other eye-catchers. Soon the decorations added to the fun we were having. Languages posed no probem. We got the daily bulletin in English, our cabin steard (Remudia) spoke good English, as did our dinner waiter (Raj) and most other staff members we spoke with. Our excursions were in English and either German or Spanish. The ship has hospitality desk employees whose first language is English and German and at least French. Not sure about Spanish. We enjoyed the food (not counting a cheeseburger with a dried bun at the pool buffet.) We lived in Germany for 9 years long ago and traveled as often as we could across Europe so cold breakfast was no surprise. We were happy with the cold buffet breakfast for 4 days, mixed with a variety of hot eggs and meat breakfasts in the main dining room the other 3 days. Coffee, tea and juices were all free at breakfast. Like on land in Europe, coffee, tea and water were not free at other meal times. Variety was okay at lunch and dinner menus, food quality and service were excellent at dinner. We bought their lunch and dinner wine package. My wife almost always drinks red wine, even with fish, while I pair red food with red wine and fish or cream pasta dishes with white wine. Our wine package came by the glass, not full bottles, so each of us could drink the wine we wanted. Both red and white were nice wines and getting 2 or 3 refills was no problem. We booked an excursion to la Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona on the morning we were to disembark. That tour could have complicated our disembarkment, but the Enlish language host and the Excursion Desk supervisor made it easy. We got our passports early, took all our baggage to the tour bus and left the tour by the Columbus statue at the port. No need to reboard the ship or get bags at the ship terminal. A 10 Euro cab ride later, we are at our hotel for 3 more nights in Barcelona. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Having traveled on dozens of cruises, several in europe, i feel well qualified to review this cruise. It provided excellent value for money paid, terrific service in our cabin and in the dining room, and was a gorgeous ship. Everything ... Read More
Having traveled on dozens of cruises, several in europe, i feel well qualified to review this cruise. It provided excellent value for money paid, terrific service in our cabin and in the dining room, and was a gorgeous ship. Everything was immaculate and easily accessed. There could be tea and coffee available all day if that is one critique. We dont eat meat, so we would have liked more chicken and fish choices, but since that is a personal preference that is not necessarily attributable to Costa. They did try to give us choices however. Our cabin, inside ondeck 7, was always clean and comfortable. Our cabin steward was perfect. As was our waiter, did everything he could to please us. Ports were exceptional, loved Montenegro,a fascinating place. Trieste was a happy surprise, best Greek meal ever in a little cafe in Corfu. Of course Venice is always perfect, Split interesting, Argostoli not so much. If you go with realistic expectations you will have a great time. Be respectful and appreciative and give out what you want in return. And give the cabin steward and waiters a little extra for their efforts. They really appreciate it. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
I dedicate this review to the people working on the ship, especially the people cleaning the rooms and working as waiters. These people are so hard working, they speak several languages, they smile all the time, help you any way they ... Read More
I dedicate this review to the people working on the ship, especially the people cleaning the rooms and working as waiters. These people are so hard working, they speak several languages, they smile all the time, help you any way they can, give you advice if you ask them, dance with guests, make shows for guests and etc. I don't know how much they get payed, but whatever the amount it is not enough. The only bad thing is that there are not so many young people on the cruiser so they could look and be ashamed of these people who are so brilliant in so many ways. My husband and I would go again to the same cruise and are planing to go to Costa cruises next year. BTW excellent food and lots of choice, we got a few pounds on board. :) Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
First I have to tell you that I normally don´t write reviews for this site. But I have heard it being mentioned so often, this past week, that I do feel the need to give my opinion. My family joined the transatlantic cruise guests for ... Read More
First I have to tell you that I normally don´t write reviews for this site. But I have heard it being mentioned so often, this past week, that I do feel the need to give my opinion. My family joined the transatlantic cruise guests for the last week of their stay on Costa Mediterranea(a very good 6-night-deal was offered in Belgium and the Netherlands and we decided to take it). We are experienced cruisers. We are from Europe and have sailed on many cruise lines. As a couple and as a family. Cruisecritic was mentioned by several different American guests, when complaining to staff of the Costa Mediterranea. I literally heard "you just wait until I write about your service on Cruisecritic-dot-com". I decided not to say anything on board, but want to describe my honest experience, from a European point of view. And would like to tell you that we met many great US guests and had wonderful conversations(so this is not about generalizing in any way). I will first write on how I see Costa and then about our latest experience on Costa Mediterranea. The thing you have to realize, when taking a Costa cruise, is that you are entering "floating Italy". We love it, but it is very, very different from "floating USA". We love our peace and quiet. I actually get very anxious on US ships; I want to spend my vacation with my family. We don´t need entertainment,we only use the restaurant dining room(for breakfast lunch and dinner) we don´t drop our kids off at clubs and we don´t want to be chased by staff, repeatedly asking us what we need; we don´t fancy buffets, we want to decide when to socialize, our kids love to mingle at the baseball field or in the pools, when they feel like it. And I love the fact that all of our wishes our fullfilled, when we make them clear to the staff. We love Costa, because it really lives up to our expectations, in every area. Another thing you have to realize is that Costa gives you an absolutely amazing price. But it is an Italian price. When I check out Costa deals, I add the price for drink packages. Because I know I need to add them. Costa is very clear about what you do and don´t get, when sailing with them. When I make a trip budget, I add the drinks package. And I pay it in advance. I know it is a lot of money, but I can tell you you won´t regret it. The Costa Service Charge is similar on all cuise lines(minus Aida, but I absolutely can´t and won´t recommend Aida). One thing I need to warn you about is that Costa is amazing from the moment you arrive at your terminal. Costa is absolutely not good at making your travel arrangements. Friends and relatives and we, as a family, have had very, very stressfull and poor experiences with Costa tranfers(especially the ones from Malpensa). Ours range from an extremely ill bus driver to a bus crash. And we twice had the whole ship, delaying departure, because our bus driver was playing on his Ipad, while driving. And there is more(I have made many complaints, but nothing was done to make changes). But, this service is outsourced by Costa. Once you reach the terminal, everything is great and extremely smooth! Now, back to the cruise. We flew in, took the 5 Euro bus to Milano Centrale and then the direct train to Savona(book online to get a good price and a reservation. Kids Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
*6= Having booked this Cruise as part of a 2 week package including a week on Crete we were slightly nervous of what to expect as the Price was ridiculously cheap even having upgraded to outside Cabins.We were a party of 3 as we took our ... Read More
*6= Having booked this Cruise as part of a 2 week package including a week on Crete we were slightly nervous of what to expect as the Price was ridiculously cheap even having upgraded to outside Cabins.We were a party of 3 as we took our disabled 84 y.o. mother (who is totally wheelchair dependent) and this in itself can be problematical if things don't go smoothly with Transport,Transfers,Access,etc. From the moment we stepped on Board until the very last moment we disembarked we had NO criticisms or disappointments with the Ship & its' Crew & the whole experienced surpassed our expectations. The Ship is awe inspiring in the Decor & Flamboyant "renaissance" styling of most recent Italian Cruise Lines & the lay-out is excellent with all 3 Lift Stations (Bow Mid-Ships & Stern) giving swift & easy access to all amenities. The Food & Service were impeccable especially as my Wife has Coeliac Disease & cannot tolerate any Gluten or wheat items....there was always ample & delicious options during the day & the Evening Dinner was a unique Menu individually prepared by the Ship's dedicated Special diet Chef. The Ports of Call varied from Dirty Industrial Docks (Limassol) to beautiful Scenic Harbours (Rhodes) but we couldn't partake of any of the excursiosn as none were WheelChair friendly......this did however mean that we thoroughly enjoyed the quiet & peace of a mostly deserted sunDeck on most days. The Drinks on board are seriously over priced as individual untis from the Bars but this is easily overcome by any of the Range of Drinks "packages" on offer and by far the best VFM option would be the all inclusive deal at E19.50 per person per day. In summary a fabulous Ship with amazing Service,Great Food & INCREDIBLE value for money....we will certainly travel again with COSTA Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2013
We embarked on the ship in Heraklion, having flown in from London. We travelled as a family of 3 (myself, my wife and my 10-year old daughter, who is in a wheelchair). The embarkation in Crete was what I would consider to be the worst part ... Read More
We embarked on the ship in Heraklion, having flown in from London. We travelled as a family of 3 (myself, my wife and my 10-year old daughter, who is in a wheelchair). The embarkation in Crete was what I would consider to be the worst part of the cruise. Heraklion is not really geared up to be a cruise port but more of a ferry terminal. The small embarkation building meant that some people were queuing outside in the heat for more than an hour before being able to enter the building. The whole process was very slow, a bit chaotic and quite uncomfortable. Once onboard the ship things improved considerably. We were able to go straight to our cabin and our luggage joined us almost immediately. The interior of the ship is beautifully decorated and, although 10 years old, did not give this impression. The cabin was quite small but was cosy and served our needs. The cabin steward kept the cabin immaculately clean and our only gripe (other than perhaps the size) was that the air conditioning was not very effective, meaning that the cabin (being an inside) was a bit warm for us at night, especially as there were 3 of us in the cabin. The beds were, however, comfortable. Despite the small size, we were able to pack the luggage in the wardrobes and had just enough space to park the wheelchair without folding (we had requested a wheelchair accessible cabin but were told these were all booked, despite the ship only being 60 to 65% full). We found the Costa staff to be very approachable, friendly and helpful throughout the cruise, especially in the restaurant. The only niggle we had was the cruise excursion desk telling us that because we had a wheelchair we couldn't go on our planned excursion in Santorini, and advising us not to go ashore on the tender boat. Our cabin steward informed us that we would be able to take the cable car to the summit as they cater for disabled. we took the plunge and went ashore and did not regret doing so. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
The embarkation was as smooth as can be - "sailed" right through! The ship is absolutely gorgeous with fine attention to detail - Roman but not overdone. The ship is well maintained and very clean. The service is ... Read More
The embarkation was as smooth as can be - "sailed" right through! The ship is absolutely gorgeous with fine attention to detail - Roman but not overdone. The ship is well maintained and very clean. The service is exceptional. We found the entertainment to be varied and first rate. The Italian tenor sang popular arias and received a standing ovation at both performances! Our cabin steward was exceptional - he was low key and efficient. The food was tasty and beautifully presented. The specialty restaurant seemed pricey and was not needed since the main dining room was excellent. There was no evening buffet which may have been problematic for some people - particularly parents with small children. We were seated with a like group of people and enjoyed their company. The wait staff was conscientious and friendly. The excursions were well organized and a Costa staff person accompanied every tour. This was most reassuring! The staff was friendly and a lot of fun! The disembarkation was smooth but the American authorities delayed us. There were over 2500 people on board this ship - 300 were English speaking and 60 were Americans. There was smoking but it never presented a problem for us. The four of us have NO criticism and highly recommend this cruise! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
I travelled with my 87 year old mother and booked the trip two weeks prior because the price was so good. We arrived in Miami a day early and rented a car at Dollar car rental for a great rate of $23.00 total, much cheaper than taking a ... Read More
I travelled with my 87 year old mother and booked the trip two weeks prior because the price was so good. We arrived in Miami a day early and rented a car at Dollar car rental for a great rate of $23.00 total, much cheaper than taking a taxi, plus we had the car for a day to travel around. The next day we returned the car to the airport and they provided a free shuttle to the cruise port. We were there around 12:00 p.m. and there were already quite a few people there, even though our ship wasn't sailing until 9:00 p.m. We were quickly on board and went to the 9th floor for something to eat until our rooms were ready, which was about 2:00. I have previously travelled on Princess and Royal Caribbean and have always booked an inside room, except for a 12 day Mediterannean cruise that I took with my husband where we booked an oceanview room. It never made sense to me to spend money on the room as we only sleep and change there. However, I really did enjoy the balcony. I kept the curtains open and woke up to a view of the ocean. I also kept the door open at night so that we could hear the sound of the ocean. In the morning I would go on the balcony and read a little before going for breakfast. The room was a good size and our room steward was great. I still wouldn't pay a lot extra for a balcony in the future, but this was only $40.00 a week more each person and it offered an onboard credit of $100.00. I was worried about the reviews of Costa, mainly the smoking on the ship. I've been trying to get my husband to quit smoking for over 30 years and I hate the smell of smoke. There were smoking areas, but there were also a lot of non smoking areas, so it really didn't cause a problem. There is smoking in the casino and would go through the casino to get to the theatre, youcould also get to the theatre from another floor though, so if it really bothered you, you could avoid it. Some of the reviews said you could smell the smoke in your room from adjoining cabins, but we couldn't smell anything. When we first boarded, the ship seemed very ornate. There are many mirrors and lots of gold, but you soon get used to that. The reviews also said that there were no drinks (water, coffee, tea, juice, etc.) and that you were forced to buy a drink package. This was not the case, water, coffee, tea, juice were offered for breakfast. There was water, coffee, tea, ice tea for lunch. Water was available all day on the pool decks. You could get drinking water in the dining room for supper. As I don't drink, it didn't make sense to do the unlimited drinking package at $250 a week (especially as you have to get it for both people in the room). However, if you do drink, this is a really good deal as it included capuccino, tea, coffee, pop, wine, alcoholic drinks and beer. The food was a little different, but good. There was always something to choose from. The eggs in the buffet were a little runny, but there is a station that you can get fried eggs, omelets, etc. There was always pancakes, french toast, bacon (a little undercooked for me), fruit, cereal, yogurt, and wonderful pastries. Lunch was great, lots to choose from, as well as a pizza bar and hamburgers, hot dogs and fries. Supper was also very good. The servings were small, but more than enough as there was 5 courses. The desserts were good, but no cheesecake, etc., but more than enough to choose from. The animation team always looked like they were having a great time. It was fun to just watch or join in the activities and dancing lessons by the pool. They had exercises every day on the deck, which was really nice. At 9:00 a.m. there was usually a yoga type of stretch, which was a great way to start the day. At 9:30 a.m. there was an abs session or aqua exercise session. At 5:00 p.m. there was another exercise session, either stretch or aerobics or abs. I really enjoyed these. There was a large slide at the back of the boat that was great for both kids and adults. There is a kids club, but I didn't check this out as our grandchildren weren't with us on this cruise, but I did see some staff with a group of children and the kids seemed to be having a good time. There wasn't any problem with children running all over the place on this cruise, everyone seemed to take care of their kids. Some people still put their things on a lounger and then not show up for a few hours, even though they do ask you not to do that. Unfortunately some people are just inconsiderate. There are three pools and four hottubs. The only negative was that the hottubs could have been hotter, especially the ones on deck. The one in the spa area was okay. My mother likes to spend a good deal of time in the hottubs as it helps her arthritis. The gym was really nice, had three small levels with different exercise equipment. The spa in the same area and has showers, sauna and steam bath, hot tub and a few loungers for relaxing. There is no extra fee to go to this area. The shows in the evening were okay, not the best, but a nice way to end the day. One show was very good, it was with a singer and a guy that stood on his hands on two sticks and did all kinds of antics. He was amazing. The singers and dancers were also good. I've enjoyed the shows on the Princess better. There are quite a few little bars that have singers around the ship, but were very good. The casino was always full and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. I can't say much about the islands as we mainly got off and walked around the port, but didn't really do anything on the islands as my mother wasn't really up to doing a lot of touring. I've already been to most of the Carribean, so I was fine with just spending time relaxing. As we didn't have kids with us, it wasn't a big deal to go to the beach. We're also going to the Dominican in February, so we'll be on a beach for a week. We mainly went to rest and enjoy the sun. In Ocho Rios we just wanted to walk into town. The people there were a little upset that we didn't want to take the $2.00 taxi ride into town, but we really just wanted to walk around. Some were a little rude. It is definitely must least favourite port and I probably won't go back to Jamiaca. We were there around 20 years ago with our kids. There are many other places I would rather be. Other people really enjoyed Belize and Roatan (my family at home were very concerned that I not get off on those islands as they are supposed to be dangerous - however, everyone really enjoyed themselves). The people right in the port were very nice and friendly. Everyone said the trip to the Mayan ruins in Belize was wonderful, however, it was a 7 hour trip and would have been too much for my mother. One woman that took the shore excursion with the ship said the people were complaining it was too hot and they wanted to cut the lecture short and just go to the beach. She was very disappointed as the lecture was really good. That's the problem with going on a large tour, they have to please everyone. Whereas if you arrange to go on your own or with a few people, you can cater your tour to what you want. Three of the people at our dining table went on their own and had a wonderful time. I was reluctant to go with them because of the warnings from my family. The cost of that trip wasn't much different than what was offered on the ship. I believe paid $75.00 a person and the one booked through the ship was about $85.00. The tour in Roatan was only about $25.00 per person to tour the island, and they really enjoyed that. It's quite a bit more if booked on the ship. However, it might be safer. When we were disembarking I overheard a woman say she couldn't wait to get off the ship, which surprised me, but there are some people that you just like to complain. As I was packing very light I didn't bring shampoo, conditioner and body lotion as I thought they'd supply that. They did have shampoo and I had to request body lotion. They didn't have conditioner, so I bought that in Jamaica. It was a little confusing at times for my mother, as all the announcements were usually done in five languages (Italian, English, French, German and Spanish), but I didn't find that a problem. She has a hearing problem and obviously they had to speak quickly to get the announcements in. I think she had a hard time differentiating between the languages, as she kept saying they don't speak any English. It was really nice to see so many different nationalities together. I would definitely travel with Costa again. The ship was very clean and the staff were wonderful. We met many nice people and had a wonderful time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2009
My wife and I decided to cruise on Costa for the first time for our Baltics cruise. The Costa Mediterrania had an itinerary we really liked and the cost for a balcony cabin was reasonable. We had read mixed reviews for Costa, but wanted a ... Read More
My wife and I decided to cruise on Costa for the first time for our Baltics cruise. The Costa Mediterrania had an itinerary we really liked and the cost for a balcony cabin was reasonable. We had read mixed reviews for Costa, but wanted a more European versus American experience with this cruise. We figured we were really cruising for the itinerary and not the ship. We had a 10 night Baltic cruise with 8 ports of call including embarking and disembarking in Copenhagen starting on September 2nd. It was a port intensive itinerary with only 1 day at sea. I have broken our review of the cruise into the categories below followed by the ports of call. Embarkation Embarking the ship was truly a fascination to watch. Costa is cruising Italian style and this was clearly shown with the embarkation process. The best way to try and describe it is "Organized Chaos." When we arrived to check in, we were given a group number. You do not check in as you arrive. Once our group number was called, everyone in that group herded through a corded off line up to about 4 check-in attendants. The group sizes appeared to be 150 to 200 people. It was over 1.5 hours from the time we arrived at port until we were on the ship. When you enter the ship, they take your photo for your cruise card and then you can go to your cabin. Our cruise cards and luggage was waiting for us in the cabin. Overall, the check-in process seemed very disorganized until you boarded the ship. The Ship The Costa Mediterrania is a very beautiful ship. Very Italian in decor with Murano glass in the main hall areas. Some of the colors are quite loud in the main hall, but overall the ship is very nicely decorated. There are several lounges throughout the ship for drinks. There were 2 pool areas and a waterslide. The hot tubs were supposed to be restricted to 16 and older, but we always saw children in the hot tubs anyway. Dining The ship had the main dining room, the buffet area, an upscale restaurant, and a pizzeria. They also would have buffets in different lounges and in the pool area at certain times. We dined in the main dining room every evening. For breakfast and lunch we split between the main dining room and the buffet. The buffet was the usual fare along with egg stations for breakfast and pasta stations for lunch. There were also tables for fresh fruit as well. The pasta stations and pizzeria were quite good. We enjoyed the food in the main dining room very much. It was interesting to try different dishes and we liked everything we tried. Our waiters were very friendly and fun. Sometimes service can be slow, but I think this is due to how Europeans dine as compared to how Americans dine. But we were usually done with dinner within an hour and a half. Drinks We had the X1 package with unlimited house wine, beer, soda and bottled water during lunch and dinner. The house wines were Italian and very good. We would enjoy a bottle or two with dinner. Drinks in the lounges are a little expensive with the dollar to euro exchange rate. However, they would have the drink of the day special and 2-for-1 specials as well. Entertainment We only went to a couple shows as we were exhausted from being in port all day. We went to the first show that had a piano and violin duet and to the Russian folklore dancers. We did enjoy the two shows we saw. Excursions We did not participant on any ship excursions. We did all of the ports ourselves and had private tours in St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Gdansk. We did take the ship's shuttle in Riga as we docked 15km from the old town area and in Travemunde as we docked in a secure area and could only leave by shuttle. Staff The staff was nice and our English speaking hostess, Melissa, was great. Since we prepared before the trip with info on our ports of call, we did not have much need to interact with the staff with many questions. We only went to the Guest Services desk a couple times with quick questions and were treated nicely. We would also ask some questions to the port and shopping guide, Andrea, to find out which berth we were docking in to prepare our day. One thing we did notice compared to other cruise lines we have been on is that the staff does not bombard you with sales pitches for drinks, collector glasses, etc. If you are in the pool area or setting in a lounge, a server will stop by and ask if you need anything. If you don't then they leave you alone until you call them over. We liked this because on other cruise lines we sometimes felt like we were always being hit up to buy something. Communication Every day you would get a newsletter with all of the activities for that day and port information. They did not announce the activities over the intercom. We found this refreshing compared to other cruises where they were announcing some activity every few minutes. The lifeboat drill was the afternoon of the first full day as it was our sea day. This did take some time as the announcement is done in several languages. However it only took about 30 minutes and did pass quickly. Disembarkation Compared to the embarkation process, disembarking was really smooth. We were given color-coded luggage labels the evening before disembarkation. We then set our luggage outside the cabin for collection. The daily newsletter tells you which lounge or theatre to wait with an approximate time for your color to be called. When our color was called, we walked off the ship, right to our luggage, and out the door. It was very quick and easy. Overall We enjoyed the cruise and the ship very much. It was nice to try something different and have a different experience. There were times that some passengers could be a little rude, but we did not experience this much. We also enjoyed that they were not always trying to sell you something when you are trying to just relax in a chair by the pool or sitting in a lounge. Then main thing we feel they need improvement is in their embarkation process. The X1 package is a great deal if you like to drink wine for dinner and have beer or wine for lunch. Ports of Call Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm was our first port of call. We ended up docking in Stadsgarden near the old town instead of Frihammen. This worked better as we could just use the hop-on-hop-off boat to get around instead of taking a bus from Frihammen. We met up with another couple from the ship and went to the Vasa Museum first. This museum is dedicated to the Swedish Man of War, Vasa, as it sank in the harbor on its maiden voyage in 1625. It is a very impressive museum built around the recovered ship and a must see in my opinion. The ship itself is well preserved and quite large. They also have several artifacts from the ship on display as well. We then went over to Gamla Stan, the old town. We spent our time walking around the old town, shopping, and had lunch in a nice little cafe. We then walked by the town hall and over to Nybrokajen to get on the hop-on-hop-off boat back to our cruise ship. Stockholm is a very beautiful city and we enjoyed it. Helsinki, Finland Helsinki was our second port of call. We docked in Lansikartta, which is a little distance from the city center. There was a tourist information center at the dock and we purchased a 1 day transport card for all public transportation. One block from the dock is a public bus stop for buses 14B and 16 into the city center. We caught the number 16 bus into the city center and it dropped us off near the market square. We walked down to the public ferry port there to catch the ferry to Suomenlinna Fortress. The ferry was included in our 1 day pass. We walked around Suomenlinna for a couple hours or so. It is a well preserved fortress on an island a few minutes from the city center by ferry. We then headed back to the city center and had lunch in the market square. We then hopped onto the tram 3T and rode out to the Rock Church. This is a unique circular church blasted into pure rock. The inside was really intriguing and the acoustics inside are incredible. We then used the metro to go to Senate Square. After that we saw the Russian Cathedral and went back down to the market square to look around before catching the number 16 bus back to the ship. Helsinki was a nice surprise as we were able to leisurely take in the sights. St. Petersburg, Russia St. Petersburg was our third port of call and we were there overnight for 2 days. We had arranged a 2 day private tour with Anna at http://www.petersburgguide.com/. She is a licensed tour guide and capable of providing the "blanket visa" for cruise ship passengers so that you do not need to get a Russian visa. We preferred this option versus the ship's excursions because we could see more sights, not be herded around in a large group and have more control over our itinerary. Our ship docked at the new cruise ship terminal. The new terminal is very modern and efficient. Costa did not hamper or discourage in any way the disembarking of independent or private tour passengers. Costa did ask us to show our tour ticket with Anna to ensure we had a private tour arranged, but that was all. We were off the ship and through Russian immigration within 5 to 10 minutes. Thank you Costa for not harassing private tour passengers in St. Petersburg as some other cruise lines had been doing. We had a packed first day on our itinerary. Our guide's name was Ina and our driver's name was Sergei. From the cruise ship we stopped at St. Isaac's Cathedral on our way to Peterhof, the summer palace. At Peterhof, we toured the gardens and watched as they turned on all the fountains. We then toured through the palace. Ina took us through the rooms narrating each as we passed. She also explained how the palace was destroyed in WW2 and completely rebuilt. We then drove back to St. Petersburg and then took the metro to see some of the richly decorated metro stations. We then stopped at a Russian pie shop for lunch. Ina explained that this type of fare was left over from the Soviet era and very tasty. The pies were filled with meat, salmon, mushrooms and different fruits. We then headed over to the Winter Palace and The Hermitage. We toured the Winter Palace and Hermitage for a couple hours. The architecture and works of art at the Hermitage were incredible. After that, we proceeded to the Church of the Split Blood. This church was built on the spot where Alexander II was assassinated. The inside was decorated with amazing and colorful mosaics. Our last stop of the day was a farmer's market. Our second day was a little more relaxing. We traveled from the ship to Tsarskoye Selo to see Catherine's Palace. We toured through the palace and the Amber Room. Such a shame it was ransacked in WW2. We then toured the gardens outside the palace before heading back to St. Petersburg. For lunch, Ina took us to a local Russian Brewhouse where she would go with friends and colleagues. After this we went to the Peter and Paul Fortress. We toured the fortress, Peter and Paul Cathedral and the prison. After this we shopped for souvenirs before heading back to the ship. St. Petersburg was the highlight of the cruise for us and we really got to fully enjoy the city with a private tour. Tallinn, Estonia Tallinn was our forth port of call. It has an incredible medieval old town that is well preserved. We had arranged a private guide ahead of time for our own walking tour. A few people from the ship joined in with us also. Anne was our guide and she met us at the port. We walked from the port to the old town. It is a short walk and only took about 10 to 15 minutes. She took us through the lesser and upper towns explaining the history and architecture. She was also able to give us insight to the Soviet occupation and revolution. After our tour we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the old town. Tallinn is a hidden gem on the Baltic itinerary. Riga, Latvia Riga was our fifth port of call. One of the reasons we chose this itinerary was because it did stop in Riga. We docked about 15km outside the city center, so we took the Costa shuttle into the city. We started at the tourist information office and got a map of walking tours. We then found a guide in the square advertising a walking tour of the old town area for 5LATS ($10, 7 Euro) per person. We were with another couple and we decided to hire him for a tour. He took us throughout old town explaining the sights, architecture, history and cathedrals. He was a history major and very informative. We then did our own walking tour of the Art Nuevo area just outside of the old town following the map from the TI office. We then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping and walking around the old town before catching the shuttle back to the ship. Riga is charming and looks like a fun place to visit. Gdynia, Poland Gdynia was our sixth port of call. This is the port for the tri-city area of Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk. We had arranged a private tour ahead of time and another couple from the ship joined us. Our guide, Magda, picked us up at the port and we headed out for Gdansk. Along the way we stopped at the Olive Cathedral. Gdansk has a colorful old town area that was completely rebuilt after WW2. Magda took us around the old town highlighting the most important points as our time in port was only half a day. We also did some amber shopping and had coffee at a cafe. We then drove to Sopot and when to the pier. This is the longest wooden pier in Europe. We then headed back to the ship. We wished we had more time to spend in Gdansk as we liked strolling around the old town. Travemunde, Germany Travemunde was our seventh port of call. It is a small seaside resort town in Germany. Since we docked in a secure port area, we had to take the Costa shuttle into town. From there we caught the train to Lubeck. Lubeck is an UNESCO World Heritage site for its medieval old town. We just spent our time walking around the old town, shopping and eating lunch in the square. We just wanted to relax at this stop. We then took the train back to Travemunde and walked around there for a while before heading back to the ship. It was a nice and relaxing stop before disembarking the next day. Copenhagen, Denmark Copenhagen was our eighth port of call and our disembarkation stop. We disembarked and a friend of ours there picked us up. We stayed with friends for a couple days as we toured the city. It is an easy city to walk and very enjoyable. We enjoyed our time and it was good to see our friends again. Read Less
Costa Mediterranea Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.4
Enrichment 1.0 2.9
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.9

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