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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
As part of my aim to cruise with as many different cruise companies as possible in 2019 it came to the turn of Costa. I will have to say my expectations were low in advance of the cruise, mainly for three reasons. My previous ... Read More
As part of my aim to cruise with as many different cruise companies as possible in 2019 it came to the turn of Costa. I will have to say my expectations were low in advance of the cruise, mainly for three reasons. My previous experience with an Italian based cruise line, MSC, had been appalling. Secondly the cruise was cheap - did that mean I would be getting what I paid for and, thirdly, there have been some very mixed reviews about the ship on here. Embarkation was typical Mediterranean chaos but it was reasonably quick. Registering payment card for onboard spend was easy at the self-service terminals on board. As we were planning to spend most days ashore we opted for a seaview cabin and it was satisfactory with a nice large porthole style window. The cabin was a reasonable size with plenty of space to walk around. Both the bed and pillows were very comfortable and that is praise indeed from me as I'm incredibly difficult to please when it comes to pillows. Initially we only had one pillow each but a quick chat with the cabin steward soon resulted in a couple of extra pillows. The steward was very good, almost OCD when it came to tidying - charging cables left on the desk were always neatly arranged on our return. Paperwork was also neatly stacked etc. and most days the valance across the bed had been arranged in some neat sculpture. The bathroom was good and although very small the shower head was detachable. Water temperature was just about hot enough. There is no night time turn down service but that's more a luxury than necessity. Food fell into two categories. The main dining room was good with five courses available for the main evening meal. Food was hot and of a good standard. Service, on the whole, was good although one night there was a problem with the tablet used for ordering and they had to resort to paper, which slowed things down a bit. The final night of the cruise they played Italian opera with some audience participation - not normally my scene but it was actually good fun. Most days we had breakfast in the main restaurant, although the first morning we diod regret our decision. There are breakfasts from around the world available and we made the mistake of ordering the "full English" The only edible part was the scrambled egg, the rest was inedible as everything else had clearly been deep fried and it was like eating an oil slick. Plus the "bacon" was the appalling streaky variety, cooked to within seconds of cremation. The other days we stuck to the extensive cold buffet which was good with plenty of variety. By contrast the buffet was disappointing. relatively small with limited choice and many items appearing every day, so not a huge amount of variety. Also, in contrast to the main dining room, the food quality was variable. Minute steaks for example were very chewy with a lot of gristle. Buffet opening hours were more limited than other cruise lines. What was exceptionally good was the use of ropes to funnel passengers through the serving areas, greatly reducing the amount of pushing in which can occur. Other cruise lines take note. We had the Pranzo and Cena mealtime drinks package included in our fare but upgraded to the Brindiamo package for €10 a day each. We are not great drinkers by any means but the package also included tea and coffee so it was worth the extra cost. Dress codes are optional. On the "Gala night" probably no more than a dozen men wore dinner jackets. It's a shame but that's the way it is with some cruise lines Three of the four shows in the theatre were from the in-house entertainment team with two lead singers to the fore. The female singer was superbe and the male singer had a good voice as well, however many of the songs he was given to sing were not suited to his voice, which did not do him justice. The other show was an exceptional acrobatic show - the standard of which would give Cirque du Soleil a run for its money. There were plenty of activities throughout the day with an enthusiastic entertainments team - although having to use half a dozen languages all the time did slow things down. Costa Victoria is a smaller cruise ship, around 2,000 passengers but for me that is a major plus - I prefer the smaller ships to the new mega-ships which are, sadly, becoming the norm. Built in 1996 she is also a little dated but that, also adds to its charm. The staff were generally friendly and attentive, without being in your face. The captain was conspicuous by his absence, appearing only for the obligatory photo call - something I still cannot get my head around. Why do people queue to have their photograph taken with the Captain then pay an extortionate amount for the photograph. If I catch a bus or train I don't queue to be photographed with the driver, so why do it on board a ship. I'm happy to admit my initial concerns about Costa were wholly unfounded. Would I sail with them again - absolutely. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
So a group of 7 girls decided to go on a cruise for one of our friends 40th birthday, only 2/7 people has done a cruise before so it’s an amazing idea on something different to do. We boarded at Barcelona, everything went very smooth, ... Read More
So a group of 7 girls decided to go on a cruise for one of our friends 40th birthday, only 2/7 people has done a cruise before so it’s an amazing idea on something different to do. We boarded at Barcelona, everything went very smooth, the check in staff were helpful and informative, so sat at the bar waiting to be called. After looking at the info the check in desks give we head into our room, collect the cards and walk out. We then go to reception get a drink, go for an explore, then head to the top deck. That’s when it goes slightly downhill, no one knows what to do next, we didn’t know about the entertainment information or the timetable as we were so excited to go exploring we seemed to miss the little pigeonhole right next to the door, I finally understood on the last night. Not Costas fault but it’s not explained very well once onboard the ship. Also being a group on girls on a birthday weekend I think there was a few more drinks flowing than normal. At 6.30 there was a safety demonstration which lasted about 20 odd minutes, then off to dinner for 9.15pm, that was a definite eye opener so very busy, the waiter we had wasn’t at all friendly (although we later found out they can work up to 8 months and that’s without a day off), even I don’t think I could plaster a smile on my face everyday. While dining in the main buffet Michael Jackson started blaring on the loud speaker, then up out of no where all the waiters start jumping about dancing. That was amazing as it comes out of nowhere!! Food was good, although the menu can get confusing as the waiter never did explain that you can order anything and everything if you choose. We all dance the night away and that was a great first night. Next morning with a slight hangovers and an early morning wake up call as someone managed to get locked out of their room and went off with another friend in another cabin, we all shower and up we get for a buffet breakfast. I can see from the choice of breakfast that they do try to cater for different nationalities but the breakfast isn’t great to be honest. I try some pancakes and bacon and that’s it. The coffee also isn’t great as unlike the bars where they have a machine and a milk frother they don’t have in the buffet, so water or orange juice is the way forward, also they don’t have a toaster, and the bread is rock solid. You could kill a bird with it. Off we go to marseille, hmmm next time I won’t bother as there’s not overly a lot to do there, walked around, saw some buildings, forced an alcoholic drink down our neck and back on the boat. lunch at the buffer, again it wasn’t too great, rock hard bread again, some warm focaccia, pasta, and a big lump of beef with potatoes, not great if you’re a vegetarian (I’m not, but 2 of our friends are). Go to dinner at 9.15pm, this time the waiters dance to some latin songs, ver well done again. Then another repeat of the night before, more drinks and dance the night away). The 3rd morning head off to the buffet again, this time no pacncakes, I don’t eat eggs so not a lot to choose from, I grabbed 2 pieces of French bread with cinnamon and some pineapple, that will do. We get off at Savona, 1 MASSIVE tip, other than supermarkets everything else shuts at 1.30 and opens back up at 4.30, unfortunately we have to be back on the ship by 4.30 so we spent an hour walking in a group of 7, with different people trying to find a restaurant just so we can get a pizza, it didn’t go down too well but got there in the end. Back on the ship, more drinks, a lot more passengers so the bar on deck 9 was a complete nightmare, then off we go again. Down to shower, off to the 9.15pm dinner, waited until 10pm to ask the waiter what time will the dancing be on tonight, he tells us there won’t be any, shame, so we all thanked him, 3 went off to bed, 4 of us decided to pop off to the casino. Within half hour our 50€ was spent and off to the bar we go. A few more drinks down our necks an the conversation turned to the bar staff. When we took 5 minutes out of our busy lives to see the amount they work, the stuff they have to put up with, and the hours they work on a daily basis, I’m so grateful for my life. The amount of time they’re away from home, they don’t see their families for months and months at a time. While we go on holiday they’re there at our beck and call when we want a drink or service. So thank you Henry and Danny for that night. So last morning just before we go to Barcelona, we set our alarms to make the restaurant breakfast. I do wish I’d gone there before but to be there by 9 is a bit of a deal breaker, unfortunately again we had a not so friendly waiter and had to be called about 3 times before he would come over to serve, at least it was nice. Back to the room to get our stuff as we had to be out by 10. We decided to go back to deck 9, as we started off from there a few more Prosecco to finish up the holiday, and off we go to the shops, pay our bill at the desk and get ready to leave. As they bleep mine and my roommates cats and unfamiliar buzz goes off, we’re not allowed to leave but everyone else disembarked, so back off to the desk to sort the cards out. Cards done and out we go. The 2 of us are last to pick up our luggage go through everything and my friend realizes she’s had some money stolen from her case. Do not leave any money in your case. There’s signs around saying the same so I don’t know what was going through her mind at that time when she left the case outside the door the night before. You HAVE to leave your cases outside of the room the night before for them to collect it. They advise to leave the cases the night before by 12 midnight and no later than 1am, but I witnessed them not coming until 3.30 am. Do not leave anything valuable at all. There’s always people workers and non workers wandering the hallways so could have been anyone. I also had stuff taken but luckily not money. Anyway other than the little hiccup at the end it all went well. I also missed the last day lunch as I was too busy booking my next cruise onboard. This time as a family, so hopefully the next one will be a little less partying and a little less hangovers. On the last note, be aware that if you suffer from rocking on land, It’s been 48 hours and I still don’t feel great and I’m still rocking and swaying. Maybe I was a little hasty in booking the next one but I’m sure I’ll be over it then. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose the Costa neoRiviera purely because of the itinerary - we wanted to start in Istanbul. The departure was changed to Athens but we had been there before so it was a disappointment, although understandable in the circumstances. What ... Read More
We chose the Costa neoRiviera purely because of the itinerary - we wanted to start in Istanbul. The departure was changed to Athens but we had been there before so it was a disappointment, although understandable in the circumstances. What wasn't so understandable was why we were still flown to Istanbul for a 4 hour wait for transfer to Athens, leaving us arriving at the ship at 12.30 on 26th unable to eat or drink because all facilities were closed for the night. Customer service staff weren't all that helpful and to be fair a cold snack was later sent to our rooms. Despite having been to Athens already, we really enjoyed seeing it again. Exiting the port we were offered a 15 euro transfer for 3 to the Acropolis which on discussion with the driver became a 50 euro day tour of Athens with return direct to the ship which we found to be great value. The weather certainly plays its part in influencing your memories of the Greek islands and we were not disappointed. Mykonos was our next stop, really no need for any excursions, the town is lovely in itself, and a water bus takes you there for 2 euro, no need to buy expensive transfers. We headed for Delos on a guided tour and it was better than we expected, a mini Pompei. Santorini was reached by tender, but our Costa excursion was really a glorified bus trip to two villages, which, while worth visiting, were swamped by the occupants of two cruise liners, and the guide on our bus added little value to the day. However the island is beautiful and if you can force yourself to put the crowds to one side it was a great day out. We are, after all, part of the crowds ourselves! Our bus trip did include the cost of returning to the tender boats by cable car. Argostoli on Keffalonia was less impressive, nice to see but not worth going out of your way to do so. We had a private excursion, not a Costa one, and it was just ok. Quick tour of the area and a wine tasting, but nothing exciting. Anyone visiting this island could have as good a time just walking into the town which looked nice. Other guests were not impressed with the Costa tours they went on. Dubrovnik was spectacular. Heading to the cable car we again hit on a taxi driver who took 4 of us up to the cable car viewpoint but stopped on the way at a few other vantage points to allow photos. it was cheaper than 4 cable car tickets and we had better views. We then walked the walls, as everyone does, and it was impressive. Again, the weather did us many favours and on a wet day I'm not sure the same impression would have been made. Rain did greet our arrival in Venice for the end of the trip but it dried up as we docked and we walked from Piazzale Roma to San Marco and enjoyed it immensely despite it being our 4th visit. Venice always pleases. So all in all it was a great experience. However Costa could do some little things to enhance the experience. The buffet breakfast was a chaotic free for all. Staff and tour guides put this down to the arrival of the first 600 Spanish guests for the season, who really don't know the meaning of manners. However from earlier reviews of this ship we had been pre warned, and really on any ship when all occupants need to exit the ship at the same time its going to be hectic no matter how you organise it. But if Costa had opened at say 7.00am instead of 7.30, and had provided more than 4 coffee machines for 1600 guests it might have been better. After half an hour two machines usually packed in so it was a road rage type atmosphere around the 2 remaining coffee machines. Otherwise the food was fine, nothing spectacular, and the restaurant evening experience was good. We were not offered our choice of sitting but were told by a tour guide that the Spanish and Italians got the 10 pm sitting and us northern europeans got the 7.30 sitting. Lucky for us as I'm not sure I'd have lasted till 10.00. Staff and stateroom were fine and the ship itself was in good nick for an old ship. It clearly caters for Italians and knowing this in advance you just get on with it. Lots of shore excursions were cancelled because of low numbers but only after we had sailed, leaving short notice to re-arrange. Obviously you couldn't go to outside companies at this point! We had one cancelled on Santorini and as outlined above I'm not sure the alternative was value for money. Excursion staff weren't exactly sympathetic, using the shoulder shrug as the international language of communication. The fellow guests were the rudest I have come across, but on the other hand we did also meet some lovely people every evening. All in all it will be a great memory for us due to the ports of call and the lovely May weather. One person travelling with us was on her first ever cruise and far from being put off, is now seeking out a second cruise for later in the year. To sum up, you probably get what you pay for, and if the itinerary is what you want this compensates for other shortfalls. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
We start our cruise from Dubai. I called before it and checked when embarkation starts to Costa hot line. They confirmed at 8 om so we stayed in our hotel and arrived 7.30 pa. No lines, very quickly registration and we got our cabin ... Read More
We start our cruise from Dubai. I called before it and checked when embarkation starts to Costa hot line. They confirmed at 8 om so we stayed in our hotel and arrived 7.30 pa. No lines, very quickly registration and we got our cabin immediately. I was surprised as before with MSC or Royal Caribbean we had to wait for a while. Cabin not big but very comfortable and well organised. So we 2 adult and kid with 3 big languages felt of. I expected all bad from Costa as I read lots of negative reviews, and choose that cruise only of ports of call. And I was surprised in good way. Very good food at 11 deck restaurant. Very good bar service there. We went few times to 5 deck resturant but i was disappointed - too many time to wait dinner some days took near 3 hours. So we stopped to go there and visited only 11 floor. Food was same but more variety, better service and smiling su- chef Edgar always recommend what is better to try. Our kid is very bad in eating - there he ate all without any problem. Yes you can not have coffee or tea at lunch or dinner, but it's not very useful in the evening and was avaliable 4- 5 p. All staff was very friendly, smiling, saying hello and bye. Ready to help. Even busy managers played with my son and you feel like big friendly family all around. Quality of drinks very good, we ordered some cocktails sometime in the evening. We're served very quickly. Thank you Jose ))) I took cappuccino ever morning at pool bar - when it opened, and it was delicious - love illy. Thank you bar staff - still remember sun raise ))) I like animation team. Every morning - gymnastic, games, tournaments. We participated in most of activities and have great fun. Shows were good. Not the best I see, but not bad. Some of them are very nice. Even my son participate in one with muppets. Till today he is reminding that and laughing. Few times we went to disco and dance. But they were just few people there, so not too funny. Very clean everywhere. I made gymnastic very early and see how pool boys clean all. Same in the cabin, and all over the ship. Good music in bars. Only dancers from Grand bar were not very friendly, like doing hard boring job (only one minuse). And main- we have late flight in the evening and they let us stay!!!! Till 11.30 p.m. and that is great. As be very hard to stay so long in airport. And lots of people departure late. So main- I was ready for average cruise according review I read. But it was amazing. Friendly staff, good service, tasty food, fun animation team, not bad shows. Good music, bars and restaurant. It was amazing cruise, with very interesting ports of call. And I will try with Costa other cruises. Read Less
90 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Hi all, I would really like to share with you guys my cruise experience with Costa Cruise (Victoria). I went on 3 Dec 2015 with my family, cruising to destinations such as Penang and Phuket. (Malaysia, Thailand) Service: I felt ... Read More
Hi all, I would really like to share with you guys my cruise experience with Costa Cruise (Victoria). I went on 3 Dec 2015 with my family, cruising to destinations such as Penang and Phuket. (Malaysia, Thailand) Service: I felt very welcomed when I first entered the ship. All the staffs, officers and captains were there to welcome us. The staffs then led us to our room (Deck 4,Nabucco). As for room service, the staffs were excellent and skillful in their job; they tidied our room when we were out for breakfast & dinner and spent the fastest time to complete their job to make sure that the room is neat and tidy before we come back. The guest service was very helpful for us, as my grandparent's room' air conditioning was faulty, I called the guest service to send men to repair, and immediately the workers were here to fix it as fast as possible. Staffs were polite towards everyone and helpful to guide us and help us throughout the cruise journey. Dining: We all know that the origin of Costa Cruises is Italy. So maybe you guys will be wondering: Would the cuisine be Italian? My answer is no, there are all varieties of cuisine such as Chinese and Malay. For my case, I am a 13 year old Chinese boy (Singaporean) and I was worrying about the food, will it be close to Chinese food? But when I got on board the ship, it was quite a shock to me that it wasn't all Italy food, but International cuisine. The bolero buffet (Deck 11, Rigoletto) serves rice, fruits, pasta for sure and other international delicacies. Tip 1: Try not to go to the A La Carte restaurant at Deck 5, Boheme (Fantasia & Sinfonia) because the dishes are all the same as the Buffet on Deck 11, so might as well go to Deck 11 with unlimited servings. Tip 2: If you do visit the Bolero Buffet on Deck 11, you would notice that there are 4 sections divided throughout the restaurant (International/Halal/Vegetarian). But there are actually more dishes avaliable at the end of deck 11. So don't miss the chance! Cabin: The cabin is spacious and neat. The room service is twice a day in order to keep the room tidy. The staffs who help you to make up your room will often use napkins/towels to form animals/plants. The air conditioning's temperature can be manually controlled. The overall rating for the cabin is excellent however, the design is a little weird. The window is located above the beds, so in order to view the scenery, you might have to climb up. *Note: The room card is in your room* Embarkation: Singapore I was thinking that it would take very long for us to board the ship because I have read other reviews from other users that we were given a pass/queue number and had to wait for a long period of time, just like my Star Cruise, Gemini experience last year. To my surprise, after siting at the waiting area of 10mins, we could check in and board the ship already. Tip 1: Try to board the ship as early as possible to prevent "human jam" Embarkation: Phuket The ship travelled 2 days to reach this destination. The ship will anchor at the "mini port" at the entrance of Phuket. Therefore, to get on shore, there will be boats to ferry us to Patong Beach. Patong Beach is a place for relaxation for everyone, they have many activities along the beach such as water skiing, rides on speed boat. For my family, we went with the shroe excursion that costa: Highlights of Phuket and Island Safari. Island Safari is similar to Singapore Zoo, there were performances by Monkeys and Elephant. We even had a chance to ride on elephant, it was an enjoyable moment riding the elephant with my Dad. We also went to the famous temple in Phuket, Wat Chalong. Afterwards, we visited the first cashew nut factory in Phuket. We bought many dried fruits/nuts there and we went back to the ship. Our tour guide, Pao, he's an awesome person, he took care of my grandparents throughout the journey, sharing his life experience on the bus, chatting with us went we were bored. *Note: There are more choice of excursions* Embarkation: Penang After leaving Phuket, we headed for Penang. This time, my Dad did not book any shore excursion because my grandparents were not feeling well. So it was a Sunday, my family was walking along the streets, and happened to see many people at the street market nearby the port. It is on every sunday and the shop owners offer a reasonable price for their merchandise. It was quite troublesome before we had to walk one big round around the port to get out of the port. I suggest everyone to download the offline map of Penang in Google Maps. *Note: There are shore excursion available too* Tip 1: There will be taxi drivers outside the port waiting for you. Embarkation: Singapore (End) The had to wait till 3pm to disembark the ship although the ship reached Singapore at 2pm. There will be a colour tag for you to tag on your luggage and the colour will decide the time of disembarking. At 10am, we were requested to leave our room already. This is something I don't really like, there's still 4 hours to reach Singapore, and yet we have to leave our room so early. I had nowhere to rest but under the hot sun at deck 11, beside the pool. Entertainment: There are lots of entertainment on the ship, like Casino, Mini Arcade, Festival theatre for performances, the main hall of the ship for party and Deck 11, Pools. The Casino is only available for certain ages however the arcade is for all. Performances were held in the Festival Theatre such as "Angiolino&Janette La Fracci in Surreal Circus Comedy" and "Michael Jackson Tribute Show". The parties like "The Carnival of Venice Party" and many more are held at Deck 5. There are 4 pools of jacuzzi and 2 rather deep swimming pools. **Note: THE WATER OF THE SWIMMING POOLS IS SALTY** In a nut shell, I feel that Costa Victoria is worth the money and very suitable for family. There will be many activities for you to participate on board and board games/ balls (e.g. Basketball)/rackets (Table Tennis) can be rented by deposit. ***PLEASE DO NOTE THAT ALL MONEY SHOULD BE PAID IN US CURRENCY*** Tip: Register your credit card upon boarding the ship because at the end if the journey, you will be paying a service charge of US$48, because if you don't register your credit card, on the last day, you will have to pay US$48 and requested to queue up. I hope you like my review of Costa Victoria. Do ask me anything regarding the ship and I will try to answer it. Do share your experience with me! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
Our main objective was to see certain ports/sites & this ship did that. We looked @ Costa as a floating hotel. For this reason we were satisfied. If I were choosing for just a 'cruise experience' I'd try another ... Read More
Our main objective was to see certain ports/sites & this ship did that. We looked @ Costa as a floating hotel. For this reason we were satisfied. If I were choosing for just a 'cruise experience' I'd try another line/ship. Embark, very easy. Cabin 6391 wonderful. Loads of storage. Triple rm (we had our teen daughter) cabin layout well thought out, veranda was really a plus, used it a lot- it was nice w/ a coffee and sweater & actually was warm in the sun. Ports of call/excursions all went smoothly. Used Costa for all 6 excursions and they all were very very good & none were cancelled! We even had luck on Good Friday & Easter Sunday w/ Costa's excursions & it was high holy week (Easter). Because we wanted to see these ports this was very important to us. The cruise was just a means to that end. We had the all inclusive. It was worth it, we ordered drinks upon returning from tours, before, during, and after dinner. Liked the concept and it was a decent value. Our daughter had the under 21 card, as well. It does get old having to sign for each round, and they are slow at all the bars, which is frustrating. But still recommend. The entertainment team is hardworking, but in the end they're typical resort type shows and only so-so. The theatre they perform in is top notch in every aspect. The seating, lighting, & sound system are very professional. The restaurants/dining ranges from below average to slightly above. We had the 2nd seating/ table for 3 in 'My Way' the wait staff is average, food average, experience average. Nothing stood out as great or horrible. Rolls were very hard, portions average to small however you have several courses. Sometimes items out of the several courses never showed up? The beverage man was slow to refill wine, it all was average. Lunch was probably better. We only had one sit down lunch in 'New York' it was quite good. Pasta is very good on this ship. Most time we were away till about 3:30 so we'd just hit the bbq grill or pizza place for a late lunch. They were both above average. My biggest complaint w/ food on this ship is there is no option if you don't want to wait till 9 p.m. to eat dinner except for a small pizza area. That just doesn't seem right. I feel there should be a buffet for dinner if you don't want to do the sit down 2 hour dinner seating. Sometimes you just want a nice quick buffet (not just pizza). This should be addressed by Costa! We had rm service once it was limited, but good. I do believe we were supposed to be charged as we were only a B1 but we weren't. Ease of disembark was good. We had a very early flight out of Barcelona @ 11:40 a.m. People on this board told me I was crazy to cut it so close, but we had no choice and in the end it was perfect. Went like clockwork. Docked @ 9 a.m. received our Passports @ 9:25 hopped into taxi @ 9:30 checked into the airport @ 10 a.m. with time to spare. I need to add we 'self debarked' and carried our own baggage. We travel extremely light and only do carry on and a tote each. After lots of travel we've learned to pack super strategically. We had an outfit each cleaned by Costa while on board. Much better than overpacking and being a pack mule!! I realize we were lucky and wouldn't want to do that again! Too stressful, but it was all good and we lucked out! So, all in all it was a wonderful family European trip experience! We saw sites we'd read about all of our lives so it was much more than a cruise for us. The Costa experience was above average, the excursions very good, the price was right. Yes, Costa nickels and dimes you - i.e. we made the mistake of thinking the chocolate bar was part of our cruise after 3 bites we were told to sign for $4Euro?? Also, we were told our coffees were part of the extra all inclusive we purchased and sometimes they were and sometimes they charged (at which time we just said no). They have strange rules....No champagne only prosecco (sp?) at some bars, then Asti at others and vice versa. Lots of tricky rules we just rolled w/ it. But I can see where it would get under some peoples skin! We lucked out as there were enough English speaking peeps going on excursions. However sometimes they'd merge English w/ French and the guide spoke in both languages. This didn't bother us and added to the experience. Plus our daughter speaks some French. Most people on the ship in order we observed were, Italians, Germans, French, other Europeans, followed by English. We were the minority, but that too made it more unique. I found the workers (mostly from Indonesia) to be hard workers, not very happy, and a little robotic. I made an effort to look any worker in the eye and greet them. It helps slightly. Moral is average. The Animation team is more happy - it's their job after all. Laura was wonderful as our English Advisor. She seems very happy in her position. The ship shops were disappointing. I forgot my bathing suit and they didn't sell them?? On a cruise ship? So then I decided to buy shorts and just use them as trunks and no shorts either?? Odd. I am still processing our experience, but will answer any questions. Try to make it to Italian night, the waiters put on a fun show! Don't miss seeing some of the little hidden rms, i.e. the chapel, library, sports bar, upper deck that you take the steps too, top deck overlooking the elevators. Just go w/ an open mind and you'll have fun! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
Your vacation and cruise experience is ultimately what you choose to make it and is dependent on your initial expectations. When considering booking with Costa, I read many reviews of this particular ship and itinerary. Many were less than ... Read More
Your vacation and cruise experience is ultimately what you choose to make it and is dependent on your initial expectations. When considering booking with Costa, I read many reviews of this particular ship and itinerary. Many were less than flattering so I couldn't help but wonder what the expectations of those travelers were and what our experience would be. No matter what, there are going to be some people who experience some type of difficulty or "small situation" as the Jamaicans say and it is prudent to keep that in mind. A huge determinative factor in going ahead with this cruise was the almost ridiculously low price. Here's how the week stacked up.... I had Costa make our airline and transfer arrangements because they could actually get us plane tickets at a reasonable rate during spring break week, which I could not do myself. Everything went very smoothly; we were on board the ship within about one hour of our plane landing - very unexpected to do so that quickly. The accoutrements of the ship were comparable to those of Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean which we have sailed in the past. A cabin is a cabin.... Our room steward performed an industry standard job taking care of us. No towel creatures, though. :-( For a Caribbean cruise, we found the area devoted to pools to be inadequate. Of particular note, there were no toiletries provided other than hand and shower soap. A huge negative were all the people who "reserved" lounge chairs around the pool for the day. Most of these people would leave for hours on end. I know, I walked the decks, regarding all the reserved-by-towel, -book, or -sandal chairs and finally simply appropriated one for myself. I stayed in that spot for roughly 3 hours and noted the chairs that no one ever claimed. Fortuna staff should have regularly made the rounds and taken up all the towels and personal belongings. Passengers should not feel they have a right to do this - they don't. I understand this is a problem industry-wide and people need to start figuring out they are not the only ones who paid for a vacation. Advice: appropriate whatever lounger you want. There is not enough open deck space on decks that are not connected to pool and food service areas, further congesting guests who just want to be outside. Oddly, there seemed to be many closed off, reduced access sections in a number of places. The entertainment overall was first rate. The dancers were spectacular each evening and the guest performers were all marvelous entertainers as well. All were definitely worth watching and enjoyable. Poolside, daily exercise classes were offered several times a day. I appreciated not having to pay extra to participate in an organized group fitness class; facilitators did a bang up job. Since the passenger list on Costa is purported to be more international than those of her more domestic counterparts, we anticipated meeting people from other parts of the world. In that we were not disappointed. We spent most of the week with our new friends from Australia. We heard an abundance of foreign languages spoken. It's interesting to try to have broken language conversations with others and try to get your message across! Be friendly to people! We had also expected a greater diversity and enhanced flavoring to foods prepared on board. Alas, cruise food is cruise food. It was good but not great. There were more limited choices in the buffet line than we have experienced on other ships. Entree choices were varied in the dining room, but still lacked flavor. They do NOT know how to prepare a rib-eye steak. I have never seen so much candied citron used in my life. Custom made omelets were tough and not worth waiting in line for. Beware some of your choices when you order breakfast in your cabin. A "breakfast roll" is last night's dinner roll. This cruise seemed more crowded than any other we have taken, either in the Caribbean or elsewhere. If I recall correctly, the in-cabin ship info indicated there were well over 3000 passengers rather than the 2700 noted in any online or published information. If true, that would explain the overcrowded feeling. It would also explain why it seemed there were fewer crew to serve the needs of the passengers. Food service was much less apparent, attentive, and responsive on this ship than others we have sailed. In the buffet and poolside areas, there is normally a plethora of crew to keep tables and dining areas clean and well-stocked, and see to any additional needs a passenger may have; not so on the Fortuna. There were few bartenders making their presence known poolside for drink orders. When ordering a drink pretty much anywhere except barside, it took forever to get that drink delivered and then off they went with my Costa card for another extended period of time. Made me not want to order at all. Somewhere along the line, nobody has bothered to teach the bartenders which glasses go with which drinks. In the dining room, we drank our water out of wine glasses and our wine out of the larger water glasses each night. Gin and tonic was also normally served in a stemmed water glass. Go figure. Some other reviewers have said there were no beverage packages offered on board. This is not true. You can get a wine and water package and a soft drink package on board. Both a good deal and recommended. They also said that water was not available at all times. Not true. Come on now, think about this. There would be a huge health/safety liability in not allowing passengers to hydrate regularly at no additional cost. Okay, so the water tastes really bad, but it is perfectly safe to drink if you choose not to pay for bottled water. Different from other cruise lines we have sailed, passengers who booked excursions with Costa meet on board the ship and then all leave the ship together to begin the excursion. When we got to Grand Cayman, the announcement was made that we had to tender in an alternate location because of rough seas. Don't lie to your passengers, Costa, you knew all along we would be in the second group porting there that day and have to use the alternate location. But I guess that's the only way they can get away with making us each pay cab fare to the central location where the first ship arrivals get to tender/dock. And that's bad form. Grand Caymans. Beautiful place. Expensive. A round of drinks (3 margaritas and a beer) should not cost $41 USD. Turtle farm much smaller than anticipated, especially for the entrance fee; nothing at Hell but a shop; the samples of rum cake at the stores have an extra infusion of rum that the purchased cakes do not. Easy to create your own excursion with all the guides hanging out portside. Should have planned to hang out at the beach. Looks like it could be anywhere on the Australian coast, according to our travelmates. Ocho Rios. Climb the waterfalls! You'll want a couple of bucks to tip your guide. The plantation was interesting if you like that kind of stuff. We booked a tour that included both of these places and probably could have done as well getting transportion portside. There was almost not enough time to climb the waterfall, but our tour guide, Joy, made sure we were accommodated and made it back to the ship in a timely fashion. Don't rent the water shoes to climb the falls; pack your own that you get for like $5.00 at Academy. Nassau. Be sure you see Atlantis at Paradise Island. Get a cab. Ridiculous lines in the hot sun to get back onboard the ship. Never had that experience before or since. Cozumel. Snagged a cab for the day a good rate. Be sure to check with several drivers and move just outside the secured area for quicker service and better price. If you don't want to spend all day traveling and still get to see some ruins, head over to San Gervasio. Your driver can recommend a great Mexican restaurant where you can probably also see a Mariachi band and maybe even Ballet Folklorico performance at no additional charge. More than enough places to souvenir shop. Also close to shopping is a new supermarket if you like to check out what is available for locals in different countries. Overall, was the cruise a good bargain for the money spent? Yes. Would we sail with Costa again? Possibly, but it certainly wouldn't be my first line of choice; reasons being the overcrowded feeling and lower quality of service experienced in the public areas of the ship. Also consider how important your time in port is to you. All portages were on the short side for us. Remember, your experience is what you make it; travel with an open mind and plan to enjoy yourself. Read Less
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