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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We had previously traveled with Costa and it was just wonderful. Hoping for a similar experience, we booked this trip with great difficulty. Costa would not return e-mails or phone calls with our travel agent. They shoved a comfort package ... Read More
We had previously traveled with Costa and it was just wonderful. Hoping for a similar experience, we booked this trip with great difficulty. Costa would not return e-mails or phone calls with our travel agent. They shoved a comfort package up our nose, saying we could not have the room without the package. Our room steward was wonderful. The swimming pool was very small and the hot tub was extremely dirty. The food was boring to say the least. Two buffet tables each with the same: always two curry dishes and two pasta dishes that were the same. That means a grand total of four spaces for each. From the buffet,hot water and free coffee were limited to breakfast and tea time.The coffee was just horrid. The cruise had been initially listed as 2 nights longer and we booked a bus tour accordingly. So we almost had to pull teeth to get Costa to cover our two extra nights in Rome that would have normally been on board. For the most part, much of the staff were rude and very stuck in their job descriptions. But there were a couple of gems: Lewis in the buffet room, two very special little ladies in the buffet room who got me hot water when I need it badly, the gentleman at reception who made the arrangements for me to play the bar piano in the afternoon(grr - first time had to find someone with a key, AND a piano bench). And since I was sick from Mumbai to Rome, everything was extremely frustrating. It was just our bad luck that we were not Italian, or our fortune that we were not screaming out heads off in that language. I could go on and on, but I think I have expressed my extreme disappointment with the whole trip. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
THE best parts of this seven day Geek island cruise, the wonderful food and the great staff in the Dinning room. A special thanks from our family to Natalie the English guest representitive, she went above and beyond her duties to help ... Read More
THE best parts of this seven day Geek island cruise, the wonderful food and the great staff in the Dinning room. A special thanks from our family to Natalie the English guest representitive, she went above and beyond her duties to help us. Cabin staff were uninvolved with us , unlike other cruises we have been on. We had an incident were one of our party was locked out of her cabin and after one hour and four people being asked to he[p she arrived at our cabin extremely upset. No apology or explanation was given in an event that was quite traumatic. Again attributaed to the lack of involvment of the cabin staff.We were really disappointed with this cruise line as it advertised itself as not really a family ship and they gave no discounts to children. I find this really hard to believe as this ship was full of families and young children along with strollers everywhere. Beautiful children that we loved but as an older group we were trying to get away from our own families and choose this ship because it stated it was not a family ship. The noise level on deck was unbelievable as all these families joined in the constant loud music and dancing. One could not find a place on deck to sunbathe and read a book or just have a normal conversation without shouting.If you want that do not choose this ship. I would like to thank them for helping us when our baggage was delayed and missed the ship complicated by the change of ports due to bad weather. Costa went out of its way to get our baggage to us. I am unsure if I would use Costa again or believe what they say in their advertising. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Costa NeoRiviera review – sailing date 20 January 2018 The itinerary: My Fly, land cruise was marketed as “Mauritius Stay and Jewels of the Indian Ocean Cruise”; Costa cruise documents listed it as “Heaven by the Sea”. ... Read More
Costa NeoRiviera review – sailing date 20 January 2018 The itinerary: My Fly, land cruise was marketed as “Mauritius Stay and Jewels of the Indian Ocean Cruise”; Costa cruise documents listed it as “Heaven by the Sea”. Boarding was scheduled to be in Mauritius, followed by Seychelles, Madagascar and Reunion Island, returning to Mauritius. However due to Cyclone Berguitta, the ship was not able to dock in Mauritius, and Costa Cruises had to move passengers from Mauritius to Seychelles and vice versa. Whilst this was a major logistics enterprise, Costa could have kept passengers informed and handled it a lot better than they did. I boarded the ship on Saturday 20th January at 11.49pm in Seychelles (thereby missing the complete first day there) and was told that I would be charged the full “service fee” of €10 for the remaining 11 minutes of that day. Really? I thought that was a bit rough! Passenger demographics: On this cruise, the ship catered mainly for French, German and Italian passengers, with a few Spanish and very few English-speaking ones. Visas: late on the evening of January 24th, with our daily program, we received a note regarding Madagascar visas. We were advised that we needed to contact Reception by midnight that day regarding the visas and that a temporary visa would be issued on board for €13. When I had contacted Costa, some months prior to sailing, regarding this, I was told that it was every passenger’s own responsibility to get their own visas – mine cost $A80. I was not impressed. Costa Club: Belonging was worthwhile. I joined on line before boarding. I received 50% discount on extra price menu items and also 50% off the “Dinner under the Stars” menu at the restaurant on deck 6. Bottles of wine received a 25% discount, and there were other smaller discounts available on ship’s services and shop items. Cabin 9196 Premium 0ceanview: Not a great deal of room if configured as a double/queen, but ample usable centre space when turned into a twin bed cabin. This also resulted in good access to the window shelf for extra storage. I was travelling solo – it would be a little tight for two. But set up as a twin, the bed lamps are back-to-front as the metal backing faces the nearest bed and the lamp and switch faces the bed opposite! Also, the bedside cabinets open from the middle, back towards each bed, and have no handles. Drawers would be a much better option. Bed and pillows, firm but comfortable, linen very good quality and changed every three days. The desk was good with two Europe/Asia 220w power points as well as two American 110w points; good lighting and large mirror. There is a capsule coffee machine, with cups – bring your own capsules. This can also be used for hot water for tea – but gives just over half a mug – do it twice! Hot water is available from Room Service between 7am and 10pm otherwise phone Reception. There are two triangular cupboards – one on each side of the desk – the hairdryer is stored here. The wardrobe had 14 bulky hangers – that unhook from centre fixture – so annoying and old fashioned! Thin wire hangers were available on request. There were only two shelves – a big gap between, and three drawers – 1½ each? Bathroom: Towels are large and soft – excellent quality and the hand towel was a good size – there is no washer supplied. Towels will be changed when damp – even when hung up – unless cabin steward is instructed otherwise. Liquid soap/shampoo in shower and excellent soap on washbasin. Some toiletries are available on request. Water is hot, adequate pressure. Better than usual quality toilet paper for a ship’s vacuum flush toilet. Safe: this is large and very easy to use, but it is positioned at the front of the cupboard above the minibar (opposite side to the desk), thus completely limiting any other access to this space. Lifts: The forward lift will travel from deck 5 to deck 12 – midship lift will only go deck 5 to deck 9 – with no access to deck 7. Note: You cannot even walk from one end of deck 7 to the other. The aft lift goes from deck 5 (which is not really used as it is at the rear of the dining room) to deck 11 – buffet. Food: available in buffet and dining room also a “pay for” restaurant. Hygiene: there were hand sanitizers at the entrance to all food areas, but these were mainly ignored by the majority of passengers. However, I was not aware of any cases of Noro-virus on board, though what became known as the “Costa cough” was prevalent throughout the ship. Buffet: open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Tea and coffee are only available breakfast and afternoon tea. Situated at the rear of deck 11 with an open-air section. Flies can be a big problem after some ports. Costa denies access to FREE, filtered drinking water, except when the buffet is open. All other times one must pay for bottled water. Breakfast: a mix of cereals, yoghurt, fruit, cold cuts (cheese is sliced processed cheese), hot foods – with a separate egg station, and a good variety of bread, pastries and cakes. Lunch: Cold cuts, prepared salads and salad vegetables, cheese (block), fruit, hot foods, breads, a daily roast, about half a dozen desserts, (often mousses) and a pasta station. A hamburger/grill station is outside near the pool – this also serves a late breakfast and late lunch. There is no FREE pizza on board this Italian ship served in the buffet, grill or restaurant! There is a charge of between €7.00 and €8.50. Dinner: I always ate this in the dining room, never in the buffet, so cannot comment. Dining room – breakfast: Similar “serve yourself” fare to buffet (but no flies) with a choice of various “themed” breakfasts – English, American, Mexican, Spanish, German and omelettes to order. Lunch: I didn’t have lunch in the dining room. Dining room is closed on “port days”. Dinner: set time sittings – early at 6.30 – late at 8.45. Menu changed every day. One could go right through all the courses if wanted – appetiser, salad, pasta, mains, dessert, cheese. Be aware that what the menu states may not be quite what you receive! Often lost in translation! Main meal sizes vary greatly - sometimes we received entrée size and at other times a large meal. At nearly all times, green vegetables were lacking. We always ordered two dishes of vegetables for our table of five. The menu also contains “extra price” items. One night I ordered the lobster, which was absolutely superb. The flesh was firm and pearly white – it had been caught locally in Mauritius. As a member of the “Costa Club” I received a 50% discount on the price. Beverages: wine and water could be purchased anywhere on board and taken into either the buffet or dining room – or the bottles could be held over from meal to meal. Lounge areas: there are many to choose from, though some of the chair upholstery could do with a good cleaning. Bar: opening hours and musician times are listed in the daily program. Reception: open 24 hours – knowledgeable and efficient, however there are no “queue” guidelines – this needs to be addressed to cope efficiently with busy times. Shore excursion office: Often very limited opening times – usually closed on port days. Again, this area needs “queueing guidelines” as there was often “push and shove” and “get out of my way” chaos! Make sure you really know what you are purchasing because many tours list “see” when they should state either “view” or “visit” – there is a great deal of difference! Full day excursions were much better value than so called half day ones. Be aware that the buffet will not be open if you are back after 2.30pm – only the grill area. Crew: The lower levels of the crew – cabin stewards and food staff, friendly, but not so the officers – hardly an acknowledgement or a smile given out during the whole cruise. Internet: Three packages available 250mb for €25.00; 500mb for €39.00 and 3GB for €99.00 – all come with a €3.00 “connection fee”, which I thought was a bit rough. It was excellent paying by usage rather than by time as most cruise companies do. I found the internet reasonably fast and efficient – even though sometimes I had to go through 5 steps to log in! And I was in a fairly isolated area of the Indian Ocean. Entertainment: The Cruise Director was a “way out” dresser and he was enthusiastic, but spoke so quickly that it was really hard to know what language he was speaking. I enjoy trivia and quizzes, but some of the entertainment crew had such heavy accents that made the quiz questions impossible to understand. The couple of evening “guest” shows that I saw were quite good – I did not see a “production” show. Library: Open for short periods – seemed to have a good collection of books – but not many in English, as the ship does not really cater for English speaking passengers. There is also a small “swap” section under a window – again no English reading. Pool: there is a small pool, a slightly smaller rectangular spa pool and two hot tubs. Pool chairs are available on decks 11 and 12 and sometimes on deck 6 where there is shade as it is undercover. Casino; Gym; Spa: cannot comment as I did not use these services. Smoking: There is a smoking area on deck 11 (pool deck) and I think there was also one in one of the lounges. Children: children’s activities seem to be well catered for. In summary: I have done over 40 cruises and feel that I can objectively judge this cruise. Costa is just a 3-star cruise line, good in some ways, not good in others. There were many inconsistences and things that certainly could have been managed better. Would I cruise with Costa again, most likely not, except if the itinerary and destinations were exceptional – as this one was. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise primarily because it stopped in Madagascar, however, a few days before departure we were notified they would not be stopping at Madagascar because of the plague. We, of course, were notified too late to cancel so we ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily because it stopped in Madagascar, however, a few days before departure we were notified they would not be stopping at Madagascar because of the plague. We, of course, were notified too late to cancel so we proceeded with the trip. For the most part the cruise was fantastic. Wonderful crew, great food, spacious and private cabin. Since we were not going to Madagascar we were given an OBC and told we would get a 30% discount certificate for a future trip. Due to a medical problem of mine the ships Doctor decided we would not be allowed back on the ship at Reunion even though I had the proper medication. We, therefore, were abandoned on Reunion to fend for ourselves. Due to the Christmas Holidays no seats were available on the flights to Mauritius where we had our on going reservations. The result was that we had to wait at the Reunion airport all day to finally get two standby seats to Mauritius. I have written to Customer Care at Costa (Italy & Miami) several times about the 30% discount certificate, but have been totally ignored. They won't respond at all. The cruise, food, cabin and excursions were one of the best ever, but the Customer Care is a farce and enough reason to never use Costa again. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We were not sure what to expect as this was our 14th cruise but first with Costa. Previous cruises were with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Norwegian. We selected this cruise because of the itinerary and ports of call. ... Read More
We were not sure what to expect as this was our 14th cruise but first with Costa. Previous cruises were with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and Norwegian. We selected this cruise because of the itinerary and ports of call. I had read previous reports and fortunately did not base our decision on these reviews. The cabins were spacious (for a cruise ship) and spotlessly clean. We had the option of having the room made up once or twice a day and selected twice a day. Previous reports talked about the rudeness of other passengers and the pushing and shoving. We never experienced any of this. We did not encounter any other English passengers but all the crew spoke English. If you are English speaking and you are looking to socialize with other guests, this will not be the cruise for you. The crew were AMAZING! They went out of their way to help make our experience memorable. We ate in the dining room 4 out of the 7 nights. There was pasta on the menu each night, so even if we didn't like the featured choices, we could always get a good plate of spaghetti! Because of the late departure on 2 of the nights, we ate ashore. The entertainment was varied and there were multiple dancing venues. I can highly recommend the NeoRiviera. Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We have just returned from a back to back middle east cuise sailing on the costa Neo-rivierra for a total of 30 nights. The first week was spent sailing around the UAE and then a 23 night crossing from Dubai to Genova in Italy. The ... Read More
We have just returned from a back to back middle east cuise sailing on the costa Neo-rivierra for a total of 30 nights. The first week was spent sailing around the UAE and then a 23 night crossing from Dubai to Genova in Italy. The following is our opinion on this cruise experience. We try to be fair with our viewpoints on every cruise we do, other passengers on this cruise may have a different opinion than ours. Flight, pre cruise stay and embarkation. We flew to London for a couple of days before the cruise and then took an overnight flight with British Airways from London heathrow to Dubai. The evening hot meal was a choice of meat or veg curry and was suprisingly tasty. Breakfast was a dissapointment, just a cereal bar, juice and tea or coffee. Entertainment system was good and flight was comfortable for the 6h.45m flight. I had assistance at the airport and immigration was fast and efficient. We used the Dubai metro to get to our hotel and bought a gold NOL card. The first class carraige at the front of the train had room for luggage and was not as crowded as the other compartments. It was very easy to use and cost 25 Dirham,with a 19 Dirham credit included. Our hotel was the Novotel Mall of the emirates suites, 2 metro stops within easy walking distance. The hotel was clean and welcoming,all the staff were friendly, our suite was large and comfortable and it was made available as soon as we arrived,which was a nice unexpected touch. Breakfast was very good,with an international selection as well as a few local dishes. 2 days later and we checked out, we took a Taxi to the cruise terminal at about 1pm. We dropped off our luggage and filled out the health questionaire and were informed that boarding would begin at about 3pm but our cabin would not be available until 8pm. A small selection of sandwiches and juice was made available while we waited. At 3pm embarkation started and there was only a few people. The gangway was very steep and there was no way that i could walk it and so a security/immigration officer came down to take my passport and photo and i was escorted through a seperate entrance,i was made very welcome and directed to the buffet on deck 11. Our cruise card could not be collected until 8pm but we just showed our printed ticket to show we had the drink package and that enabled us to get drinks. The Costa Neo-rivierra. A small ship that was at first confusing to get around. The easiest way to navigate was to remember that the vast majority of places could be accessed by walking along deck 6 and make your way around from there. Most of the inside entertainment areas were on deck 6 with a few on deck 5 , 7 and 12. Decks 11 and 12 were the buffet and outside areas. Buffet. We did'nt use it that often, the meal we had on embarkation day here was very nice with a nice selection of dishes including curries etc, however all this changed for the crossing where the selection became a lot more suited to the Med palate. There was always a choice but IMHO you cant really make a ships buffet look appealing. At peak times there could be difficulty in finding a seat,but this is true of any ship we have been on. Breakfast in the buffet on this ship included hot as well as cold selection. There was NO free pizza on this ship but a grill serving burgers, hot dogs, fries and salad was available, i tried a couple of burgers and they were good. The only real complaint i had of this buffet area were the drink stations, they could become a bottleneck. My major problem here was that some passengers would fill thier personal water receptacles from the public stations and on many occasions i saw passengers coughing,then drink from the bottle and then fill this same bottle – small wonder that diseases soon spread. You can't blame the ship for this blatant abuse,there are big notices on the dispensers and even when i pointed the notice out to an offender,he became verbally abusive and a ships officer had to intervene. Main Restaurant Cetera and St Tropez. The Main restaurant is called the Cetera and although we didn't eat here,we had a look around and it looked very nice. Because we are Pearla diamente members,we were allocated the St Tropez restaurant which is used for suite and pearl members and is open every day for breakfast,lunch and Dinner. Most of the meals served here are also served in the Cetera restaurant with the exception of a chefs menu and we could have steak or king prawns as a no cost always available item. The menu on the whole was definate regional Italian with a few exceptions. On the whole the food ranged from good to very good,i only had to send 1 dish back because it was served cold. Lobster was available at a 15€ supplement. I had it and it was my first whole Maine lobster complete with the lobster crackers (to get in the shell)It was messy to eat but superb. Everyone, from the Maitre`D to the asst waiter were incredibly efficiant and friendly,nothing was too much trouble for them. A special thanks to the team led by Tamara. Amanda, Jin Jin (papardelle) Sylvester and Jessica, you are all stars and will be missed. Bars and Drinks. On our first week we had a pio gusto drinks package included. This gave you quite an extensive choice of both alco and non alco drinks. We are not huge alco drinkers, Donald enjoys an occasional glass of wine and i like my non alco cocktails. My fav on this line is the virgin banana colada and the pink panther. The pink panther tasted the same throughout the bars but the banana colada could change so vastly depending on who made it. It tasted so disgusting in 1 bar that i had to send it back,the second time it was better so i don't know what happened. On our 23 night crossing, no drinks were included,so we bought a 40 non alco package at 110€ and a 25 cappacino coffee pack at 85€ inc service charge. Most of the bar staff were very friendly and we never had to wait long before being served. Anjean, Deryl, Leah and Michelle quickly learned our likes and dislikes and were such good fun to be around. Our thanks to you. Entertainment. The usual daytime quizzes,games,dances etc during the day and music and dancing in the bars and lounges in the evening as well as the different theatre shows. We found the entertainment and shows to be a very good standard. The entertainment team were friendly and worked hard. We did hear some people complaining that there wasnt much to do but these were N.Americans and they freely admited that they like every minute of every day filled with organised activities. Excursions. 2 of the 5 excursions we had booked were cancelled due to lack of english speakers. They are fairly expensive but on the whole offered reasonable value for money. We did the safari on sir bani yas island. I was dissapointed not to see the giraffes but like the guide said, sightings can't be guaranteed. We did see cheetahs, gazelles,deers, ostrich eagles etc. The Dhow cruise in Muscat was very relaxing,to be fair theres not an awful lot to see other than the rugged coastline. The ancient etruscan civilization from civatavecia. Nice to look around and learn about these people. Supposed to have a typical etruscan meal included but don`t be fooled, meal was nice but i doubt the etruscans ate chicken, sausage chips and salad. Front desk/customer service Front of house staff, we feel often have the most difficult job aboard. They have to deal with passenger complaints and queries and Costa ships have a very large mix of different nationalities on board,this can result in quite a culture shock,especialy amongst the english speakers. Some of the complaints we heard were quite ridiculous and could have been avoided had the passenger done just the simplest of research or used a modicum of common sense. Why for instance would you complain because the tea used on board is not your favourite brand, why argue that you wont pay the compulsory service charge, saying the service you received is not to your satisfaction and you've only just got on board. Why should they refund your internet account after 3 days usage because you have now decided that this package wasn't for you. I heard all of this and more. The answers given were clear and dealt with in a precise and friendly way. Whenever we walked by we were always greeted by name and asked how we were with a smile. Fellow Passengers. Lots of different nationalities on board, Italians, Dutch, French, German, Swiss, English, Russian, Spanish, Australians and Americans etc. We only encountered a handful of rude passengers. For the first time ever on a Costa cruise we easily interacted with a group of Italian people. This may have been because several spanish words are similar and we have now gained more confidence speaking Spanish. We had such a good time with this group especially in the restaurant. We also met a delightful couple from Oz, Malcolm and Beverly, Thanks for your company and also to Yvonne and Hubby,we'll be in touch soon. The ship and disembarkation. The Neo riviera was kept spotlessly clean and was just a nice size for me to move about with my mobility problems. There are a few areas where i had to be extra careful, sometimes moving from a carpeted area to a piece of flooring caused me to go off balance. Staff were very accomadating at the fire drill and whenever i went ashore, and assistance was always given to me when needed, i never had to ask for this, it was all done with a smile. We arrived back at Genova Italy at 8am and were told we could stay on board until 5 pm and have lunch if we wished. Our train to Milan wasn't until 2pm so we stayed on board and had a bit of lunch and then disembarked. Because of our Perla diamente status, luggage was collected the night before and would be shipped home to us in Spain, so we only had an overnight bag to carry. I was once again assisted down the gangway and the chap took my bag and carried it to the exit,where we were shown the way to the train station, an easy 10 minute walk away. Both Donald and myself were very sorry to leave and we both agreed that this ship has now become the favourite in the fleet so far. We have now arrived home and have booked to go back on her in 2019. Thank you to everyone on board the wonderful Costa Neo-riviera, we had a wonderful time. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We decided to join South African friends who were sold this cruise through an agent. We were aware of the different languages but as there were 4 of us were not too concerned. We had hoped there would be no children but there were a few ... Read More
We decided to join South African friends who were sold this cruise through an agent. We were aware of the different languages but as there were 4 of us were not too concerned. We had hoped there would be no children but there were a few under 5's who were impossible (bar 2!) screaming and running up and down corridors in the bar areas and public areas. Entertainment only in Italian, excursions - not long as suggested except Venice and Athens, the rest were half days and very rushed. Booked three and spent more time in the coaches then sightseeing. We went to Agostoli and were coached to a town an hour away which was shut up already for the season except two small shops and had to spend an hour there when we could have spent it in Agostoli itself which had numerous shops open - just one example. Cheaper to get the hop on off bus for 16 euros for two days in Athens then spend it on an excursion in Athens with Costa!!!!! Service staff i.e. restaurant and cabin were excellent, hospitality desk mainly Italian speaking were very abrupt ------ Sorry Costa will not cruise with you again, so disappointed. If not for our friends would have been devastated. No tea making facilities in cabins, no access to tea and coffee unless breakfast and 5 o clock tea time ------ nothing after lunch or dinner!!!! No table water offered unless purchased and so extras added. Know by quite a few of fellow passengers as Costa Plenty!!! Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We really did not expect this. The Italians were noisy, water was only available when the buffet lounge was open. We had to buy water otherwise. Nothing on the ship is for free. Even when we wanted to play table tennis we had to pay for ... Read More
We really did not expect this. The Italians were noisy, water was only available when the buffet lounge was open. We had to buy water otherwise. Nothing on the ship is for free. Even when we wanted to play table tennis we had to pay for it. The gym is quite small, so if we wanted to gym and it was full we had to wait for machines.Our trip to Istanbul was cancelled so was the Mykonos port cancelled. The cling on showers, the small cabins. Although Athens was nice we spend three days there, while in other ports we docked 8 o'clock in the morning and sailed again at 14h00. We had to upgrade and pay for an excursion, because there was not enough English speaking people. Do not doe excursions! It is a lot cheaper by bus or by taxi.The shows were not in English so as South Africans we could not attend it. We sailed with Royal Caribbean in the past and Costa does not compare at all! Our cabin attendant was excellent! This was the only nice thing I can say about our trip. This was money well wasted Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
I don't think a lot of people with positive feedback do the reviews, you only see the negative ones. We where a group of 8 people ages 35 to 47 from South Africa (yes we where the noisy bunch), Booked from Istanbul to Venice. ... Read More
I don't think a lot of people with positive feedback do the reviews, you only see the negative ones. We where a group of 8 people ages 35 to 47 from South Africa (yes we where the noisy bunch), Booked from Istanbul to Venice. Costa change itinerary from Istanbul to Venice, they booked our plane tickets and transferred us on there cost and gave each of us a $150 credit towards our on board purchased. Do opt for the drinks package because a beer or 2 , glass of wine and a coffee wil be more than the drinks package cost per day. The food in the buffet was good and the we had most our meals there. The couple of times we did the formal restaurant, it was good, just remember to feed 700+ people in the first sitting does take time so opt for the later sitting, but then you miss out on the entertainment. Most guest where Europeans so language was sometimes a problem but we always managed to find out what we needed to know. TV in English only on news channel, but you are not there to stay in you cabin, go for i swim or explore the places you visit, entertainment on board was more than enough. Bar staff was friendly and helpful. Swimming pools where cleaned every night. Cabins where clean and although not very big, more than adequate. Staff was friendly and very helpful. Excursions organized by Costa are expensive, but if you are capable use local transport at fraction of the cost. for eg in Dubrovnic a cab for 8 to old city cost 15 Euro there and another 15 Euro back, but from Costa it wlll cost 11 Euro per person. Food and wine bought on places you visit does get taken away, but they deliver it to your cabin the night before departure. Negatives: Europeans are rude and will push you out of the way in the food lines, but then again, you are on holiday, have that extra glass of wine or 2 and wait for the rush to be over. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We chose this cruise because of the itenerary. Unfortunately we spent the first day at Istanbul airport; we can only assume it was easier than changing our flight when Costa changed the departure port. On arrival, the reception staff was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itenerary. Unfortunately we spent the first day at Istanbul airport; we can only assume it was easier than changing our flight when Costa changed the departure port. On arrival, the reception staff was less than helpful and this continued for the duration of the cruise. The service in the restaurant was appalling. The waiter actually apologised in advance for the anticipated slowness of service as he seated us on the third night! We assumed it was a problem in the kitchen or getting food from the kitchen as it wasn't the waiters. Bar staff provided good service. Drinks package OK as coffee, soft drinks and water carried a charge. Cabin and communal areas were clean. Excursions were expensive and shame on Costa for providing no information on ports of call. Basic information could have been provided but staff couldn't/wouldn't even say how far town was from the port. The reception staff gave a poor impression of Costa on each occasion we needed them to answer a query. Too little time in ports despite the whole sales slant of NeoRiviera. Would have loved a whole day in Dubrovnik. Book a taxi - 50 Euro for a trip up to the viewpoint. The ports of call were well worth a visit and not disappointing in any way. Some passengers were exceptionally rude and pushed anyone and everyone who blocked their path. The siting of the coffee machine was ridiculous; it was on the main, rather narrow route into the restaurant. This caused chaos at breakfast time. The theatre was somewhere I would not want to be in an emergency. No side aisles for exit and tables along each row which were difficult to pass... 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
Bad
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
This cruise was not much fun for English speaking guests. No tv channels except news, no movies, slow old ship that spent too much time at sea and not enough time at the ports, all the excursions are too expensive for when you do the euro ... Read More
This cruise was not much fun for English speaking guests. No tv channels except news, no movies, slow old ship that spent too much time at sea and not enough time at the ports, all the excursions are too expensive for when you do the euro conversions. You have to spend more money once you get onboard. No additional or self help tour info given at the ports...you have to find your own way. Cabin upgrade was a waste of time... did not use the room service once. The food is tasteless... only for the European guests tastes. No free water all day long. The juice machines are only open for breakfasts . Tea and coffee available only at breakfast and afternoon tea. Thats too bad for us that like a cup go coffee after supper... you have to buy a drinks package.This I find absolutely absurd. Not much options. Pizza's and the better burger are additional charges. Not worth the expense if you want an enjoyable cruise. It seems that this cruise is only worth it for Euro countries.It gave us no value at all. I had hoped to also go swimming at one of the med beaches that I've seen in the tourist brochures but this was not possible. The ports are always on the opposite ends of the beaches. I am Not impressed at all. Can't wait to go back home. This trip is a total disappointment after having saved for a long time to go on one. No more cruises for me. 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
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
If I were to sum up the performance of my first Costa Cruise Experience in one word it would be "LAZY". Background: I am a retired Hotel Manager, having managed 3,4 & 5 Star Hotels in seven countries. This is my 5th ... Read More
If I were to sum up the performance of my first Costa Cruise Experience in one word it would be "LAZY". Background: I am a retired Hotel Manager, having managed 3,4 & 5 Star Hotels in seven countries. This is my 5th cruise. I am 61 years of age, therefore not young nor old. My wife and I chose this cruise because of the ports of call that we had never previously visited. It also was not very expensive. We did not have great expectations of Costa, just average. Cruise Date: January 11th in Dubai. Booked inclusive drinks package. Review: Stateroom: 8209. Perfectly acceptable. Very good beds, excellent shower. A/C OK. Housekeeping very good until check out. Food: Breakfast Buffet OK. Juice and Coffee just 3* Tried the Restaurant one day it was awful, didn't retry. Eggs Benedict inedible, hard eggs and disgusting hollandaise sauce. Lunch: Lunch Buffet, our favourite meal with Costa, lots of variety and nearly always something that appealed to us. Bravo. Dinner: Generally disappointing. Food not very hot. Certainly plentiful but not very tasty. Our waiter, Ferdinand, was very good. Wines very varied, some good some undrinkable. Suggestion: WHY WHY WHY do Costa charge extra for Pizza? We would have had a Pizza for dinner on multiple occasions during our cruise. It would provide more profit for Costa and more satisfaction for your customers. The Lazy aspect of your food service concerns the absence of Themed Evenings which would cost very little but have great impact. Bars: Although we were on "inclusive package" we only consumed one beer with lunch and the waited for cocktail before dinner. Costa clearly have some bar members who should not be employed and are not happy in their work! Mostly boys but some girls too! They are not managed or motivated.Non inclusive guests pay for water when Buffet Restaurant not open! Once again no financial cost involved in putting this right. Entertainment/ Animation: Very poor in nearly every respect. WHY WHY WHY do Costa insist on having noise by the pool directed by this team almost ALL of the day. On this ship this is not a big area so it is difficult to escape the incessant noise. I completely understand the morning exercises and maybe a half hour game but MOVE the animation for most of the day to an area where it is not disturbing their guests who are trying to relax in the sun! The music in the Saint Paul de Vence in the evening, provided by a band was mostly very old fashioned Oompa Loompa variety or seemed to be played for the benefit of the staff, who insisted on playing infantile games with a few willing customers. Just like in the day, why not let their guests enjoy their surroundings without inflicting silly games on them. The shows are for that purpose. I did speak to one of the team about this as the dance floor was full of happy people dancing to very good music from the band until they changed it. Then the dance floor was empty and people went to bed! Madness.....and again no cost to put it right! Until the second half of the trip, there was no information on the places of interest that we were soon to visit. We then had a talk by Allesandra before we went to Muscat. She was outstanding and the best Ambassador for Costa that we encountered. WHY WHY WHY had nobody done anything like this before. Incredibly there was a "Meet your fellow English Speaking guests" 3 days before the end. Clever ? On our last day on board we were asked to vacate our room at 5.30 in the morning! When I mentioned lazy at the beginning of this appraisal, this is a perfect example. Apparently 5 per cent of guests do depart on this particular day (a day later than the vast majority). Why not leave them alone until 8am. There is plenty of work for the housekeeping staff to do without giving its valued customers a very poor final impression of Costa. I complained and was told that I could stay until 7.30, but my Cabin Steward entered my room at 6.05 and Reception/Housekeeping rang at 6.50 and 7.05 Overall, wife and I had a pleasant 3 weeks BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER WITH RELATIVELY LITTLE MORE EFFORT Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
This was our first cruise with Costa and whilst we enjoyed our holiday overall we thought the Costa NeoRiviera was poor in comparison with other cruise companies who we have travelled with. Arrived at Dubai Cruise Terminal at 8am and ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Costa and whilst we enjoyed our holiday overall we thought the Costa NeoRiviera was poor in comparison with other cruise companies who we have travelled with. Arrived at Dubai Cruise Terminal at 8am and was not allowed to embark until 7pm - yet passengers who were embarking for the same cruise itinerary when we disembarked were allowed to do this at 9.30am!!! Black tea served form 1pm, no snacks and certainly no consideration for passengers stuck in the terminal - absolutely disgusting!!!! The service in the restaurant and bars, with a few exceptions, was very good and congratulations and thanks to the staff concerned. I could not write a review on the Costa's web site as it says I had ran out of time, yet the email stated we had until 14th Feb to write one - i tried on the 14th Feb!!! Very very Italian, very noisy by the pool caused by the entertainment staff, poor shows, limited talks of forthcoming ports, meet the english passengers/friends 3 days before the end of the cruise, was told there would be 6 formal nights - packed clothes accordingly and only 2 formal nights in 3 weeks. Generally poor!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2016
My sister and I have done quite a bit of cruising. This was our first on Costa and it will be our last on Costa. The destination was what caught my sister's imagination. She has always wanted to go to India. I didn't like ... Read More
My sister and I have done quite a bit of cruising. This was our first on Costa and it will be our last on Costa. The destination was what caught my sister's imagination. She has always wanted to go to India. I didn't like India but you can't blame Costa for that bit. However, overall the trip was pretty awful. We tried to make the most of it but here's a catalogue of negative comments with one or two positives. EMBARKATION - We arrived in Dubai airport about 8am. Despite being told we could embark at 3pm it was 8pm and the rooms were still not ready. We got access to our cabin after dinner. Our room was not made up as a twin, as instructed, and we waited a further 2 hours for that to be done. It was late, we were tired - not a good start. This followed on from discovering that there is no water available in the restaurant unless you pay for it at 3.50 a litre bottle. It worked up from there really, so many little niggles. DRINKS - Free Tea & Coffee only available in the Cafeteria at breakfast 7.30 till 9.30, none at lunch, you can have a cup at tea time 4 till 5pm, nothing with dinner. Coffee in the cabin (no tea available) charged at 1.55 per cup. My sister was disgusted (I don't drink either). The drinks package was, in our view, expensive but in hindsight might have been worth the extra 500 each, it would have stopped the constant moaning and panic to get one. TOURS - Our pre-booked tours had not been actioned. The queue at the first port of call for landing documents etc was VERY badly managed resulting in hundreds of disgruntled passengers. Port information was not made available until the night before you landed, even on request, so it was difficult to ascertain whether you needed to book a trip. In some ports it was illegal to walk out by yourself. HEALTH & SAFETY - On lifeboat drill there was only 1 jacket in the cabin (a long swim for me then!) though this was quickly remedied when I reported it at muster. It was one of the more relaxed ships regarding hand cleansing etc, but no reports of any bugs. ENTERTAINMENT - The shows were of poor quality by comparison to other lines. The information in Diario de Bordo was non existent, just the title, no description. On nights when there was a later 'back on board' time, there were no shows. The midnight disco/bar never happened, though it was advertised and we went up there. The bar wasn't even open. Two old ducks alone, plus one bored DJ who just put a mix tape on - how sad was that. There were huge gaps in the evening entertainment. It felt like long periods of boredom interspersed with eating a lot of the time. Our highlight was watching other passengers elegantly ballroom dancing. There were free craft sessions, which were a bit basic, but well received. The girls who led them were friendly and enthusiastic. SOCIAL - A very poor effort at making guest feel comfortable and welcome. It was very much an international cruise - all announcements in 5 languages. Staff language skills were awesome. However, there was NO attempt to make single travellers feel welcome or any chance for them to get together. There was one attempt to get English speakers together in WEEK 3 - a bit late but perhaps someone had been listening (mind you not even a free glass of water). I suggest coloured lanyards be issued, so that everyone could recognise fellow passengers they could actually speak to. INFORMATION - The Diario de Bordo (daily information sheet) was often wrong regarding times of food service. We arrived back just before 3pm expecting the restaurant to still be open - no such luck. Time change information was in the tiniest of writing, easily missed, however, we realised had we not gone to bed early, it would not have been a problem, as the Cabin Staff set the TV to show it. EATING - The restaurant service was slow on the few times we used it. In general we used the cafeteria, so that we could drink water freely. The quality and selection of the food was quite good, though often not hot, even if you caught the waiter just laying it out. However, I was majorly disappointed to find that all the food was Italian/European. Travelling to India I was really looking forward to Asian food. No menu's displayed prior to mealtimes, so you couldn't decide where to eat on that basis. SHIP - Nice small ship. They seem geared toward smokers (which we are not) - dedicated smoking room, all the comfy chairs in smoking areas. Made us non smokers feel 2nd rate. By the end of our 3 weeks, the windows had so much salt on them we could barely see out. STAFF - Service staff as usual, hard working, friendly - lovely. The English rep was a 'company man'. My sister arrived as I had finished making my comments, and his reply was "this is not a 5* ship, only 4*" My sister, rightly, pointed out that she had been on 3* ships that were much better - his reply "that's your opinion". We got no feedback on our complaints. IN GENERAL - I would rather pay a bit more for my cruise that feel I'm being fleeced at every turn. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We are not seasoned cruisers having only been on four cruises - the first three with P&O and the last with Costa. The price we paid for our inside cabin was very reasonable - however it was discounted still further by Iglu cruise ... Read More
We are not seasoned cruisers having only been on four cruises - the first three with P&O and the last with Costa. The price we paid for our inside cabin was very reasonable - however it was discounted still further by Iglu cruise because we booked an outside cabin but were allocated an inside. Iglu cruise said this was an error but I strongly suspect that they sell you anything to get your booking and then work out what they can and cannot provide. Not an acceptable business practice in my view - but that is an issue with Iglu Cruise and not (possibly) with Costa. The bad points first. Costas organisational ability in relation to our transfer from Nice Airport to Savona Port was absolutely woeful. No one was there to meet us from our on time flight at 0905 am from Gatwick. After about half an hour of waiting around I noticed a man sticking up "Costa meeting point" signs just outside the terminal building. I spoke with him and he said that I must have spoken with his colleague who was there to meet us as we arrived. I told him that there was no one there to meet us - as all our fellow Costa customers can vouch for. He simply refused to believe me - saying that was not possible and laughing nervously - basically implying that I was making it up. After a further half an hour a coach turned up and a woman from Costa who had just arrived said to us "what can I do - I have four hundred people and just one coach" With the best will in the world - it's not our problem. Costa would have (should have) known well in advance how many transfer customers were arriving at Nice Airport that morning. If they lack the ability to organise enough coaches to cater for that then they really shouldn't be in business. We were lucky - we were at the front of the queue and managed to get on the first coach. However, there was no Costa rep provided on the transfer coach - just our driver Giovanni who spoke no English. He was a good driver but on arrival at Savona port for our embarkation we were greeted by a Costa rep who spoke for five minutes or so in Italian. She apparently had no idea we were all British and so was wasting her time - she just assumed we were Italian. We were then given vague directions about entering the terminal building to board our ship. Now as we could see from the coach where Giovanni had parked, there were two terminal buildings. A smaller one on our left right next to where our ship was docked and a much larger terminal building to our right where another Costa ship (Costa Favolosa) was docked. We all not unnaturally made the assumption that the terminal building to our left next to our ship was the one we wanted. We went there and were turned away by a Security Guard who gave us further unclear instructions about where we needed to go. We thought perhaps there was an entrance on another side of the building that we should be using. We found no other entrance so returned to the same Security Guard and were finally given proper directions and instructions. We had to enter the large terminal building on the opposite side of the dock from where our Ship was docked and we would then make our way to our ship across an upper level walkway that linked the two terminal buildings. Sorry Costa - but how on earth were we supposed to work that out by ourselves without either clear instructions or a member of staff to guide us there - neither of which were provided. Couple that with our pathetic/non existent meet and greet at Nice Airport and I confess I was not in the best of moods and my opinion of Costa Cruises was at a very low level. You only get one chance to make a first impression and Costa - you failed on a biblical scale. After we embarked and got to our cabin - still seething from our dreadful transfer - the first thing we noticed was that it absolutely stank of cigarette smoke. I don't know how it found it's way in there - there are smoke detectors in the cabins. Possibly from the previous occupants smoking in the ensuite which cannot have smoke detectors because the steam from the shower would activate them. Or possibly through the A/C system. I called Guest Services (Reception) and they said they would pass on a request to housekeeping to refresh the room. I asked how long that would take because it was so overpowering. I was just told that it had been passed to housekeeping. That answer was supposed to satisfy me - they had done their job in passing it on - so what more did I expect?!! Anyway, the smell did reduce after a few hours. Another bad point relates to the all inclusive drinks package we purchased at a cost of 28.75 euros per person for the duration of our cruise. Now having spent that amount of money, I don't expect to have to spend extra to buy water. With Costas all-inclusive package you do if you want a bottle to take to bed. You can only have water by the glass. What use is that when you want to drink water in the night. They even had the cheek to leave a bottle of water out of the mini-bar (all mini-bar drinks are extra) with a little tag around it. We made the assumption that because it was left outside the mini-bar it was complimentary. WRONG - we were charged 2.95 euros for it. On closer inspection of the tag around it it said "Dear Guest - we are sure you will appreciate the provision of this bottle of water in your cabin. Please note that should you open it your room account will be charged 2.95 euros" True hospitality!! OK now I've got that off my chest - all that remains is the positive. Firstly the staff. Secondly the staff Thirdly the staff All the front of house staff were exceptional. Happy, relaxed and customer focused. Now our previous cruising experiences have all been with P&O. Their staff are drawn from the same Countries - mainly India, Philippines and Indonesia but with Costa they just seem so much happier and that is reflected in the wonderful service they provide. I'm not saying service is poor on P&O but it is just so much better with Costa. The food. Really good quality cuisine - but for my British palate, P&O definitely has the edge and has more variety of cuisines Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We recently went on our first and last Costa Cruise, everything was good, until the evening before disembarking, they had added 15% to a prepaid drinks package, we bought the 20 beers and 20 soft drinks packages on board as we were told we ... Read More
We recently went on our first and last Costa Cruise, everything was good, until the evening before disembarking, they had added 15% to a prepaid drinks package, we bought the 20 beers and 20 soft drinks packages on board as we were told we couldn't buy it before boarding the ship but there wouldn't be any added costs because it was a package. Then we were told we would have to get off the ship at 8a.m on Friday morning for our transfer to Nice from Savona, our transfer was arranged for 10.30 a.m through Costa and the Cruise Company we booked with. There were at least 100 passengers this happened to, most of them booking through the same company as ourselves, amongst the passengers were disabled people, myself and my husband included. it seemed to be the British passengers this was happening to, or at the very least, people flying into the UK. This earlier transfer meant that many of us would have a 12 hour wait at Nice Airport. The Captain put it a short appearance and then disappeared, the Reception staff didn't really want to know what was going on, and weren't very helpful anyway, then when some passengers started to get really angry, they offered them an extra hour before they caught their transfer but would have to wait on the quayside. We found it all totally unacceptable as this had been known to the staff onboard at least two days earlier but passengers had not been informed. I can't understand why people with an evening flight were put off the ship first and others with an earlier afternoon flight were allowed to stay onboard longer, this, to me seems ridiculous, also, one of the ports we should have stopped at, Tunis had understandably been cancelled so they took us to Sicily which was closed because of a Bank Holiday, when questioned about this we were told "You can go on one of our trips which is will cost you €50-€69." This was not ideal, I don't know why we were taken somewhere where there was very little to do, it all seemed to be about making extra money. I have told all my friends about this, many of whom cruise a couple of times a year and none of them will sail with Costa. The staff and food were lovely though, this was the only good thing. We cruise a couple of times a year, but will definitely not cruise with Costa again Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Booked the cruise through Cruise Nation as it was advertised at a bargain price with a very low single supplement. First time with Costa, but I have sailed 4 times with MSC so I knew what to expect - particularly after reading Cruise ... Read More
Booked the cruise through Cruise Nation as it was advertised at a bargain price with a very low single supplement. First time with Costa, but I have sailed 4 times with MSC so I knew what to expect - particularly after reading Cruise CRitic reviews. And bonus - I got a free upgrade to an outside cabin. We sailed from Savona although the nearest airport is Nice in France. The transfer was very smooth on a superb French/Italian autoroute with over 50 tunnels on the way. The cruise is a bit of a hop on-hop off with arrivals and departures at Monaco, Barcelona, Malta, Salerno and Livorno so a changing passenger contingent, but the ship was never more than 60% full - and a number of them were travel agents on a special deal to push Costa to their clients. And it is just as well that it wasn't full as the buffet area was the smallest I have seen on any ship although the choice was such that there was always something to choose from, some of which was rather good. Tea time , however, if you were Jewish (I am not), your choice of little rolls was severely limited. I ate lunch, breakfast and tea in the buffet and dinner in the restaurant. Freedom dining but they do not facilitate sharing. Luckily, some other single Brits took pity and we formed a table for 6. The dining room staff were pretty good, although some in the buffet had perfected the art of appearing busy without actually seeming to do anything tangible. And passengers first is a concept some have yet to acquire. The food in general was good but by no means the best I have had on a cruise and I was quite happy till day 8 when, in the loo and washing my hands, I heard the cubicle flush and a chef, complete with uniform and hat, emerged and did a quick exit without washing his hands. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he had better hand washing facilities in the kitchen. But in general, hygiene enforcement was non-existent with no member of staff asking passengers to use the hand disinfectant. Entertainment was passable, with the resident performers working hard. Only 2 singers who did have some difficulty with some genres of music. The animation team were everywhere and were very popular. Evening music was great - if you liked Latin, ballroom, line/sequence dancing etc and it did annoy me when the band played some decent disco style music, the animation team and their followers took over the floor with some mechanised follow-my-leader dances that involved stepping forward, to the side, turning through 90 degrees ad infinitum. Half a dozen variations of that, with clapping and jumping in some, then 10 minutes dancing for the rest of us before the duo came on and played salsa, cha-cha, mambo, samba rumba, waltz etc. How to clear the floor!!!!! The ports were a mixed bag. Livorno & Salerno are not attractive, but a combination of bus and train gets you out of Livorno and to Pisa for less that 10 euros, so please don't book the ship tour. And certainly not in Monaco either. And that brings me finally to the grand fiasco on the last day. We all had transfer pick up times to Nice. Mine was 10.30 for a 16.50 flight. Others' transfers and flights stretched to 22.00. So what did Costa do? Without telling us until we got the "Today" event sheet after 7.00 p.m. when some people were obviously at dinner, they arranged for all the Nice coaches to come early and we had to disembark from 8.15 a.m. There was a near riot on the penultimate evening with literally dozens of angry Brits demanding that they revert to the original arrangements. However, at 22.00 at sea and the coach company in Nice not open till 8.00 the next morning, by which time their buses would be at Savona, we were stuffed. This fiasco was a variation on other poor organisation events I encountered on MSC and a couple of event clashes on Costa so I really have very little faith in Italian organisation. To sum up - if I had paid the brochure price, I would be very disappointed, but if you decide to eat in a Harvester, don't expect Brasserie Blanc or Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
4½ stars. We went on the "Indian Ocean " cruise, calling in at 10 countries, mostly difficult-to-get-to islands, including Madagascar (3 ports) and finishing in Capetown. We were apprehensive on this cruiseline after ... Read More
4½ stars. We went on the "Indian Ocean " cruise, calling in at 10 countries, mostly difficult-to-get-to islands, including Madagascar (3 ports) and finishing in Capetown. We were apprehensive on this cruiseline after reading so many complaining reviews. We did note that many of the grumbles were of a minor nature. The ship was quite small, comfortable and homely. Staff were generally excellent, There was a multinational set of passengers, mostly Italians. The port destinations were exotic and pioneering in some cases. A phenomenal opportunity to get to see them. This was an adventure cruise. We were well pleased with the food. Lunches in particular always had a good seafood selection and fresh fruits and salads. (It was irritating to not have gratis water on the dining table. Take your own bottle in!) The captain was excellent - out-running a cyclone down the coast of Madagascar and presenting well to passengers. There were a few issues with mis-organisation - including on one occasion letting young inexperienced childcare staff run the issues of tender tickets. They treated us like infants. There was no senior member of staff there. It is a pity this cruise is not appearing on the 2015 list. I would implore Costa to run this again. i would definitely not hesitate to sail with Costa in future. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Just returned from a very good cruise around the Persian Gulf aboard the Costa neoRiviera. I like the older smaller ships (previously I had sailed on the Costa Voyager and Allegra, both were fine ships, just in need of a little love and ... Read More
Just returned from a very good cruise around the Persian Gulf aboard the Costa neoRiviera. I like the older smaller ships (previously I had sailed on the Costa Voyager and Allegra, both were fine ships, just in need of a little love and attention) and this is what Costa have provided for the Riviera. A subtle makeover (in contrast to the larger, newer Costa fleet) this for me really hits the mark. The lounge and dining areas are tasteful and slightly understated, the staff are friendly and well trained, the shows are good, the ship feels just about right. The food, and service in particular was of a standard I had not previously experienced on a Costa ship (clearly 4 star), and whilst the ship was only at 60% capacity, the free dining seemed to be working well. The bedrooms are small (3 star), as with ships of this age, 30% of passengers were English speaking, and I enjoyed the overnight stay concept. With the long flights the cruise doesn't give much time for a rest. The best port of call was Kasab in Oman (think dhows, dolphins, fjords and a fort), though this was not on the original itiniery, and that was a lovely relaxing day. Well done Costa, and I look forward to trying out the neo experience of the Romantica and Classica. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Firstly, my first time flying with Emirates, but guaranteed it won’t be my last. I got a requested upgrade to fly out Business Class at what looked to be a heavily discounted price. What an experience- it’s the first time I’ve ever ... Read More
Firstly, my first time flying with Emirates, but guaranteed it won’t be my last. I got a requested upgrade to fly out Business Class at what looked to be a heavily discounted price. What an experience- it’s the first time I’ve ever been on a plane, had a holiday and could not wait to do the return flight! The added bonus was that Business Class also entitled me to a free chauffeur driven car from my home 70 miles away to Gatwick and back, as well as return Chauffeur transfers both ways in Dubai. Add that into the amount of lovely free champagne and booze I quaffed and it started to look like a bargain! Virgin and ESPECIALLY BA need to look to their laurels regarding this competitor- I recently flew longhaul with BA Premier Economy and it was awful… From what I can ascertain, Emirates Business Class is easily equivalent to BA and Virgin First Class. Anyway having arrived in Dubai a couple of days early, I spent some time just getting used to the warmth of the sun on the creaking bones again- wonderful- I’d not considered the Emirates as a winter destination before but at between 6.5 and 7.5 hours direct flight it’s nearer than the Caribbean, and from what I have experienced of both, the weather seems more dependable.. They laughed at me in Dubai when I mentioned snow, saying they only get about 4 days rain a year! Anyway, onto the cruise… there is not much about the destinations because I picked up bronchitis the day I left home, so this ended up being a very laid back chill holiday..because I KNOW I’m going back! Another rather wonderful thing- I had booked a balcony but found just before going that Costa had upgraded me to a mini-suite- as a solo traveller I don’t tend to get such nice upgrades, so well done Costa! Day 1 & 2 First impressions- strangely wonderful embarkation process- walk up to the deserted check in desk, they put a room number sticker on your passport,and fill in the health questionnaire- you walk through to the ship, they take questionnaire and your passport which you don't see again until the end of the cruise ( I think! If anyone spots a dodgy looking Deco wandering around Dubai, you'll know it's not me!), and you go to your cabin where your cabin key awaits. Painless.And no queues. I did spend the first few days chuckling at what I thought was the Captain’s name - "Cordiali Saluti" , until it was pointed out to me that his welcome signed off with that greeting, followed by the words “Cordiali Saluti”! Doh! The cabin is great and spacious- can't fault it at all. Nice touch that every door had a Christmas tree decoration.Slept perfectly when I eventually got to bed. The room has a coffee pod machine which is nice, if I can work it out- you only get 2 free pods however, so I shall be selective when I use them.. I live life to the edge eh?! Nice that the cabin had a bath as well as a shower, and more storage space than I’ve ever seen in a cabin before! It's very eerie getting on Costa ships because people embark quite leisurely..our embarkation time was from between 3.30pm and 07.30am the following morning- no queues to embark or disembark. But it does the impression of a ghost ship at times! Last night I unpacked and headed to the bar, to test out the all inclusive drinks package, which at 19€ a day still works out at the best drinks package at sea, incorporating coffees, teas, alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks. It seems impossible to walk more than about 20 feet without finding a bar with music playing, which is nice.Last night they must have felt they were playing to the guests of the Marie Celeste! I'm sure tonight will be busier as we are at sea through the night. I've just been down to the a la carte restaurant for breakfast expecting it to be heaving with people.. There were maybe 15 guests, and approximately 25 waiting staff! Needless to say, no sooner was I seated than this procession of people appeared- the bread man, the croissant and pastry lady, the assorted juices lady, the cereals man, the coffee man, the man who took my breakfast order.. If it carries on like this, I'll be dead impressed! I'm more used to avoiding the buffet breakfast scrums on most ships! As most of you know, I tend to be a 2 meal ( breakfast and dinner) person onboard, so I settled for a very beautifully cooked cheese and herb omelette which should see me through to dinner. This ship has done away with early and late sittings so at meal times, the choices are buffet- which I had last night, ( tasty and fresh salady stuff mostly) , a Pizzeria with a small additional charge ,or open seating in the main restaurant . Looking at the restaurant this morning, it seems mostly set up with smaller tables, but I did like the fact that in the daily programme, there is an option to meet others who don't wish to dine alone ,at 6.30 each night. Having said that,knowing my luck, I'd get paired up with Fred Munster and Nigel Farage.. So maybe for tonight at least, I'll dine with my trusty Kindle for company! Currently it's 9.30am here and I'm waiting for the lifeboat drill to occur in about 10 minutes, before we depart Dubai for Bahrain at 10.30. Just heard the first of the obligatory 5 language cabin announcements, but as it's for the safety drill, I guess they can't afford to miss anyone out! Well that was fun- I've never been on a ship where we had to line up in groups before- "and move to the left, move to the right".. I was expecting to be asked to do-si-do! I'd lost the will to live by the time we'd reached the 5th translation! However, it's done now. After this, only the essential announcements are relayed to cabins in all 5 main languages. Ok- 20 minutes later and I'm out by the pool- it's deserted!!! Hurrah! Unless they all know something I don't.. Bye bye Dubai, bring on Bahrain... I was sitting right by the ship's hooter when it went off!!! Jump?!!!! How high?!!!!!! Now to chillax.... Later that day… A nice day in the sun- the ear that wasn't affected by my headcold has now been wind blasted within an inch of its hearing life- being ever the resourceful Brit, I resorted to wrapping my caribbean kaftan thing round my head to protect what's left of my hearing- I actually really don't CARE what it looked like! It worked. Deck entertainment that I saw ( there was more but I only write what I see) was a deck side morning disco masquerading as an aerobics class-Gangnam Style was never Jane Fonda(!) and later they dragged a few holiday makers up, presented them with about 15 ingredients and challenged them to come up with the most innovative cocktail.. Lolol! Class or what?!!! Funny to watch the reaction of the tasters. Got slightly distracted on way back to cabin by a coffee / tea bar offering 16 different teas ( yawn!) but a variety of coffees including Marzipan infused! Well, that was lunch sorted, together with my lemsip/ whisky hot toddy.. Decided to a la carte the dinner tonight - no problem getting a table although I think allocating me table 111 for 1 was rubbing it in a bit! 5 courses on offer- went for just 3- roast beef with artichoke, italian cheese and finally, "diplomatic cake"... I was really hoping that was a dessert telling me to embrace my curves and eat more.. Sadly this turned out not to be the case, but as a non pud eater it was luvverly!! Cream and some sort of pastry thing with a nod to health by the addition of a strawberry. On to the show "Made in Italy" prefaced by an introduction to the international hostesses- German, French,Spanish, and finally Hannah,the english hostess who spectacularly announced that she is the language interpreter for every other language than French, Italian Spanish and German- good luck with that luv! Still for my Costa doubting cruise friends, I think it's a really good facility to have. Showtime was great- a mixture of all things italian from opera to dance to pop- including a v innovative Formula One dance to The Race.. I'd forgotten the joys of "applauso applauso " on Costa ships- it just makes me smile. Sitting in one of the many lounges now, awaiting the "70s explosion"... Should be fun! Bahrain tomorrow and I'm afraid I've opted ( on most of this cruise) for beach resort days- hey ho. Day (non existent 3) & 4.. Oh well, after a fairly uneventful day 3 to due to this stupid cold, it looks like I shall be on board Xmas Day and Boxing Day- finally succumbed to the Doc today and he advised not to do my planned trips for next two days-bronchitis. Ho hum. At least he didn't confine me to cabin!!! Well at least I shall get to see Costa Christmas in all its glory- and let's face it, if you are going to be ill, you may as well be ill in the sun!! Not too impressed with his nurse that jumped back about 8 feet when I coughed!!!!! Although as backwards long jumps go, it was probably very proficient! So, yesterday - as said earlier, a peg out day by the pool which was fine. The show was an entertaining comedy acrobat team who did some amazing human "slinky" thing, which thankfully did NOT involve them tumbling down the stairs- which was the only thing I could do with my slinky! Back to the room last night to find this big box of panettone waiting- that and the prosecco will be coming home with me, otherwise I might explode before xmas day! We arrive in Abu Dhabi at 13.30 today and depart tomorrow at about 16.30, so I guess there will be a mass exodus this afternoon.Some are doing an overnight desert trip involving tents camels and bedouins. I don't think I was made for camels.. And I'm fairly sure they aren't made for me- girl has to know her limitations! My plan ( in the absence of shore trips!) is to enjoy the day in the sun- temperature is a lovely 25 degrees, and then tackle the Christmas Eve Dinner- I am interested to see what we receive- then the Hip Hop Burlesque Show ( there's a juxtaposition!) followed by the Midnight Mass if I'm still awake. I did this last year and it was lovely - mostly the Filipino staff and a few of us Roman Candles- it's about the only time of year I go to church and I must admit I do enjoy it. Signing off for now- I hope everyone has a happy and peaceful day- I may update later on Day 5. Costa NeoRiviera Firstly- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Thoughts for the day: 1) The hygiene and elf n safety standards on this ship are impeccable. I was watching today in the outdoor buffet area- if someone so much as drops a chip, someone is there to pick it up. The floors are constantly being mopped and all the buffet food has individual pick up tongs to reduce contamination 2) Sea water pools puts women like me at a severe disadvantage as regards swimming with any type of dignity.. No sooner am I in there then let's say my natural buoyancy takes over and the Mae Wests float to the top.. So you either go with that and float on your back looking like two atolls adrift at sea, or you fight it and people assume you are drowning... Just cold water showers poolside then for me.. 3) The quality and freshness of the food I've encountered on here surpasses anything I have had on the "posher" lines.. I did wonder if Costa Serena was unique in this, but no, seemingly not. 4)The entertainment has been fine for coping with so many nationalities- if I want a West End Show I'll go to London. But for what you get, the professionalism of the dancers and singers is top notch, the humour is by necessity " in yer face"( which I'm fine with!) and it is wonderful to sit in a theatre that is never more than 70% full with massive legroom and little tables for your drink(s)! 5) This has rekindled my love of smaller ships- it has about 1600 passengers and 900 rooms.. You can walk end to end in about 5 minutes flat. You don't need to queue for lifts, and despite the rumours about "foreigners" not queuing, I have not seen even one instance of anyone pushing in.The rumours of Costa ships being smoke filled dens appears to be unfounded too! 6) The beds are "awesome" on here and I have slept like a log! Aside from the fantastic unexpected free upgrade to a mini suite, the cabins are well fitted out, clean and well maintained. I have never had a cabin with so much storage space! I found another cupboard yesterday when I pressed the hairdryer button my mirror- only for the whole mirror to swing open to produce a further huge cupboard housing a safe ( I had wondered where that was!) as well as says hairdryer! I have not forgotten my P&O balcony complete with blue plastic webbing, rusty rails and paint flecks all over it! That was the same cabin where the handle came off in my hand if you recall! 7) Their inclusive drinks package is the best at sea, and means that since I've been on here, aside from a bottle of Cloudy Bay which I treated myself to for yesterday and today , and a packet of crisps ( because I could!) I have no other onboard spend at all. 8)I wasn't a fan of freedom dining, preferring to inflict myself on others at dinner, but actually it's been ok. I think it's led to me meeting less people than normal, but I also believe the vast array of nationalities by definition makes that harder. I've enjoyed the freedom to eat when I choose as opposed to when it's prescribed and as long as I have my Kindle, I've been a happy Billy No Mates in the corner! 9)Here's the thing... For all of the above plus more, I am starting to think that Costa may be my favourite cruise line.. I still have a lot to try out, but for value for money , I find them hard to beat. I'm interested in other opinions from fellow cruisers , and for non cruising friends, I'll shut up now!!!!! Today is a people watching day- it is the first time that I've seen the decks fairly full- this is a definite advantage of having almost every day as a port day- people clear off to explore! Having said, as I say, today ( at least for the next couple of hours) the world and his wife are here.. Yes there are plenty of children but they are "contained" reasonably within a) a children's pool on deck 12 with slides and stuff and b) in one of the two adult only pools.. Well, it's Christmas eh? And they are all being well behaved if a little noisy... The assorted deck walkers are funny to watch- there are the Sophia Loren and George Clooney beautiful people, the Middle aged stomach suckers-in squeezed into budgie smuggler speedos , the self conscious but willowy latinesque teenage beauties,giggling in little gaggles,and eying up the sullen moody boys, the sock wearing white hat & sandal brigade desperately seeking shade ( I wonder where they can be from?!), the dedicated yompers marching determinedly around the deck in anticipation of the Christmas dinner to come, eyes front and no deviation , the weary mothers who just look relieved that the sun is out and their children have playmates of all nationalities to play with, the teenage lads who really DO seem lost on here, and tend to sit quietly in corners scowling gently,pretending they can't see the giggly girls, the long suffering bar staff with their enforced uniform of Xmas hats which they wear with aplomb and a smile, dads pretending to read their papers and discreetly watching the girls go by without attracting the attention of their wives, who are watching them like hawks regardless anyhow..All the world is here.. I hear French, English, German, Arabic,Spanish, Italian as a gentle cacaphony of voices melding with the Christmas deck music.. It's strangely soothing.. I'm not a crowd lover, but even within all of this, it seems calm and peaceful... They say no man is an island.. I feel a little like one here, but surrounded by other islands, so it could be worse. Language is not hugely a barrier- smiles are universal and people are friendly enough. I'm not sure if I miss the big group table at dinner or not- I've met some interesting people by dining that way in the past, but actually , a table for one has been ok on this cruise.. Sad but true. I have my reindeer deely boppers ready to go tonight; bring it on! Day 6&7 Day 6 passed in a blur of sun sleep and .. Well that's it really! Oh except for the fact that I decided against my better nature to try italian Bingo.. Oh that's fun.. You push holes in the paper as opposed to using your dobber.. And you'd think , THINK, that with repeating each number in 5 languages, you'd have time to read a book Inbetween... Oh no sirree!!!! It was bloody hard to keep up and when I actually WON ( yes WON!!) I was so surprised and so slow that I nearly missed it! As it was, I had to go up front to "applauso applauso" in bare feet because I'd taken my shoes off... You could hear the tuts from the Jimmy Choo and Loboutin brigade.. I don't care- my tootsies looked lovely courtesy of my friend Angela at Image Salon so who cares?! Probably just jealous of my winning! The show "Myths & Legends" wasn't probably going to be my thing so I pottered off to see the Arabian Night floor show. Highly entertaining if very basic humour, culminating in the crowning of Mr NeoRiviera... I rather like this sort of simple humour- you look around the room and everyone is laughing- similar to the first time I watched Penguin Racing on Fred Olsen.. There's not a lot more designed to make me cry laughing than grown men strapped to 6 foot tall MDF penguins whilst assorted punters throw the huge dice to get their penguin over the finish line.. Call me childish but I LIKE that sort of thing! So, back to Mr Costa NeoRiviera.. Round one, basically a " You can take your hat off " routine to whittle from 20 down to 3.. Well a blind man could have worked out all 3.. There's been a fantastic Egyptian man who throws himself into everything, ( he really can dance like an Egyptian!), there was the obligatory italian stallion who just KNEW he was, ( not that I'm complaining!) and then this little tubby long haired grandad who was just hysterical to watch.. Ok.. So I guess before round two, you can already guess the winner? The game was to drag 3 (un ) willing women from the audience to act as Jane, to each man's Tarzan.. There was ONE extremely happy Jane there.. Then Tarzan had to beat up the cannibal with his fred flintstone cosh (applauso applauso) and swing through the jungle to rescue his jane.. Ok.. Silly but.. Egyptian man had either never heard of Tarzan or he'd been really badly dubbed in Egypt , as his cry came out like a cat with his bits caught in a mangle ( bye bye!), the Italian Stallion was so busy looking beautiful he forgot to act.. So step forward Mr Costa NeoRiviera- who threw himself into the part with what can only be described as gusto, and he looked totally in shock when he won .. Even though the animateurs had hoisted his Jane up between them and deposited her in his arms! Bloody funny- you had to be there to appreciate it! Last night,there was ( boring but worth mentioning for potential Costa cruisers) an offer to wash and iron up to 25 items for a total cost of €20.. Normally this is €11 an item and so REALLY not of interest.. But €20 to get 9 dresses and 2 tops returned ready to pack? Oh yes! Returned to my cabin at 6pm tonight and straight in the case.. Thankyou Costa! Dinner was tasty and I leave the ship at 9.30 tomorrow- interestingly at the disembarkation talk, you can keep your cabin on here until 3pm at no extra charge and even then you can continue to use the ship's facilities inc the restaurants until whatever time you are due to disembark. To sum up, this is my second Costa cruise, and no they're not the poshest but I do seriously believe they are fun.. Life is what you make it.. Holidays are what you choose to make them.. I didn't see any of the Emirates because of this bronchitis, but I had a totally relaxing chilled holiday in the most beautiful weather.. The cabin was the best designed and most spacious of any ship I've been on, and the staff can't do enough to help. And I KNOW I will be back here. With Costa too. For non cruising friends, I hope this hasn't bored you too much.. For cruise lovers friends, I hope you find this a useful honest review. Ciao!!!   Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
I am a 55-year-old American professor of literature who has been working in Dubai for eight-and-a-half years. My wife is a 47-year-old high-school math teacher from the Philippines. The local schools are closed for three weeks during the ... Read More
I am a 55-year-old American professor of literature who has been working in Dubai for eight-and-a-half years. My wife is a 47-year-old high-school math teacher from the Philippines. The local schools are closed for three weeks during the holidays and we wanted to get away for awhile. We travelled extensively last summer by plane and will do so again next June: the time-saving convenience of taking a cruise from Dubai appealed to us. We live in the UAE and had no interest in the destinations: we would be cruising only to enjoy the ship. My wife found an advertisement for this cruise last fall in the local newspaper, the Gulf News, and suggested we give it a try. I was apprehensive about cruising with Costa because of the mixed reviews I had read on this site. On the other hand, my needs were very limited: I simply wanted to get away from my villa for a few days on a luxury cruise ship, be able to use the Jacuzzi when I wanted, have a few exotic rum drinks, enjoy decent food whenever I was hungry, and read a few novels on my Kindle on our balcony. For the most part, my list of needs were met. This was my eighth cruise and my wife’s second. Our last cruise together was two years ago on NCL’s Pride of America: that earlier cruise served as my wife’s only yardstick. Embarkation The ticket indicated an embarkation time of 8:00 pm. This is when passengers may enter their cabins: guests may board the vessel as early as 3:00 pm. I decided to drive to the terminal rather than take a taxi as we live only 15 minutes from the Port. We arrived at Port Rashid at around 5:30 pm to an empty terminal. I was initially convinced that I was parked in a restricted zone because there were virtually no other cars in sight. I finally spotted a grounds attendant and verified with him that I was parked legally before leaving the car. Terminal parking is free. We entered the terminal station and immediately spotted the Costa check-in desk. We were the only passengers in sight, which was a bit eerie. I mentioned to the customer service representative that we were residents of the UAE and she replied “That makes it a lot easier.” We were waived straight through the moment she examined our residency permits. Costa collects passports upon check-in as a way of assuring all passengers pay their final bill before disembarking. At least this is what we were told by customer service. They said they would return the passports to us when we disembarked for tours. We had no plans to leave the ship until the end of the cruise anyway. The ship was relatively empty when we arrived (800 passengers) and remained so until early the next day. About one-third of the guests arrived between 1:00 to 3:00 am the following morning. When I entered the Vernazza Buffet at a quarter-to-three, I couldn’t believe how crowded and active it was. Food was served until four in the morning I was told. Disembarkation was just as smooth one week later. Passengers must vacate their cabins by 3:00 pm and may remain onboard until 6:00 pm. We walked off by ourselves at 2:30 in the afternoon and were back home a few minutes later. Fellow Passengers In another review of a different Costa ship, the author commented that “This is an Italian Cruise Line for Italians.” I agree with that conclusion. There were 1200 passengers with exactly seven native English-speaking guests: three British couples and me, the sole American. My wife was the only Filipino national according to the predominantly Indonesian and Filipino wait staff. The vast majority of passengers were Italian, followed by Germans and a spattering of other central Europeans: French, Belgians, and Dutch. Throughout the week we spotted one Indian family but not one Arabic-speaking passenger: that makes sense given the ship serves pork and alcohol (most Arabic-speaking countries are Islamic). Cultural composition is important to consider because it informs you about the kind of onboard experience you can expect in terms of entertainment, cuisine, social milieu and interaction. Westerners who prefer speaking with only their travel companions might find the language barrier to be a relief: others like me—who view meeting new people as an advantage of cruising—will perceive it as isolating. Europeans apparently enjoy song and dance productions (in Italian): I don’t care for musicals even when they are performed in English. The Italian corporate office couldn’t hire an American stand-up comedian? The line is owned by Carnival after all. We never bothered to attend the shows after the first night. My wife and I both commented on how unusually fit the Italian passengers were on this cruise. I am guessing that no more than 15 percent of the guests were overweight: this is in stark contrast to cruises from American-based departure ports where more than 30 percent of the passengers are overweight or obese. There were often queues for the use of the treadmills and stationary bikes on this cruise. Finally, European palates and appetites are different from those of Westerners. A lot more on this below when I discuss the ship’s food and beverage offerings. Cabin and Ship We had a aft balcony classic (BC) cabin on deck nine, cabin 9227. The cabin is very well designed and spacious, barring the bathroom. The shower curtain does not provide an adequate seal and I don’t see how anyone with a BMI over 27 (more than slightly overweight) could fit in that tight semi-circled corner (we are both height to weight proportionate). Nevertheless, we enjoyed spending time in that cabin. The mattresses were the most comfortable I have ever experienced on a cruise ship and, combined with the rhythm of the ship, I slept better on this cruise than I have at home in months. I am also guessing that the four to six glasses of Planter’s Punch I consumed everyday may have helped to relax me as well. Still, the bed was fantastic. The 22-inch flat screen HDTV provided a clear picture and offered two English language stations: BBC and Fox Movies. The mini-fridge is adequate for storing drinks that have been carried down from the bars and for midnight snacks that have been requisitioned earlier from the Buffet. The public areas of this ship are beautiful and inviting. I particularly enjoyed having coffee at the Café ‘Eze, a venue that easily rivals Starbucks in the scope and taste of concoctions offered (just don’t ask for a simple cup of American coffee). There are two adult pools with accompanying Jacuzzis. As the ship was nearly filled to capacity, they were heavily used on sea days and even when the ship was docked. We had to wait until 6:30 to 7:00 pm (dinner time) to soak in the hot tub. Food and Beverage I need to preface this section with the admonishment that I consider cruise ship food reviews to be virtually worthless. Think about it for a moment. I write “The crème brûlée was to die for!” What does that tell you? Unless you are able to spend a few days living with me, observing my food preferences and idiosyncrasies where you can acquire a reliable sense of how my taste buds compare with yours, it tells you absolutely nothing. (This is not an open invitation. My brother-in-law is currently staying in our only guest room.) Food reviews are just far too subjective to have any reliable and valid meaning at all unless one is a professional food critic and knows how to describe and explain dishes in measureable terms. In addition to the considerable variability there is in food tastes within families and other homogeneous groups, there are even greater significant differences in food preferences across countries, regions, and even social classes. I never knew what Spam was until I married my Filipino wife and I had never heard of grits or chicken-fried steak until I moved from New York City to Atlanta, Georgia (and I never did acquire a taste for either of them). Greg Straub, Cruise Critic contributor, in his review of Costa neoRomantica’s dining venues (which he rates as three out of five), writes “As for quality, think ‘Olive Garden,’ and you won't be disappointed.” This comparison does not apply to the neoRiviera: maybe there were a total of three or four items that came close to Olive Garden quality. There were two meals where I couldn’t find anything that I thought was appetizing. I filled up on salad and fruit instead of eating a complete lunch or dinner. Much to my amazement, the pasta dishes were among their greatest misses. On Thursday night, my wife went to the carving station and walked away with a one-inch slice of roast beef. It looked good so I asked her for a bite. After chewing it three to four times, I had to discriminately spit it into my napkin: it was that tough and foul-tasting. My wife then cut a piece for herself and ended up spitting hers out as well. There were a few food items I thought were very good to excellent. All imported cheeses were of the highest quality as were the Milano salami and prosciutto. The grilled lamb chops were large, juicy, and cooked to a perfect medium. The baked jumbo shrimp were tender and the sautéed mussels were succulent. On three separate occasions they served a German bockwurst that was reminiscent of a New York Nathan’s hotdog and it brought tears of joy to my eyes. The chopped meat used for their hamburgers was an excellent quality, an 80/20 mixture of ground chuck and fat: the hamburger was juicy and tasty and reminded me of a Fuddruckers hamburger. Unfortunately, for a fare of slightly more than 4,000 dollars for a seven-night cruise, I expected more than good hot dogs and hamburgers. The truth is that Europeans and Asians simply do not eat or think of beef in the same way Western people do. For them, an average-tasting, one-eighth-inch slice of what we would call a minute steak is what they consider to be a good steak dinner. I tasted one of these thin, overcooked minute steaks and thought the taste was okay but not worth wasting calories on. In all fairness and in the interest of full disclosure, my Filipino wife thought the overall quality of the food was “excellent.” She compared the quality of the food on this Costa cruise to that of the food served on the Pride of America (POA). Her only complaint was that there wasn’t as much choice on Costa as there was on her first cruise with POA. I also need to add that during the week I informally surveyed a Belgian fireman and a Russian copyeditor (who were able to communicate in English) about how they felt about the food. The fireman commented that he thought the steak had an “excellent flavor” and the Russian girl told me that the food was “very good.” Meanwhile, the night before disembarkation, I drove my wife to the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Jumeirah Beach (Dubai) so we could have Churrasco (Brazilian barbecue) at the Foqueira Restaurant. There they serve black Angus beef, real beef. I literally had to leave the ship before the end of the cruise to enjoy a good meal. Friday night, while I was waiting at the poolside bar for my drink, chatting with the bar tender, a distinguished-looking gentleman about my age interrupted to comment that he overheard I was speaking English. He asked if I was an American, I replied that I was, and immediately recognized his dialect as British. We were both thrilled to have found another native English speaker in the midst of little Naples. During the course of our brief discussion, he told me that he had been on this same cruise with Costa, precisely one year ago, and felt that the product has declined considerably in value since then. I specifically asked him what he thought about the overall quality of the food: he told me that he was “very disappointed.” He did qualify that comment by adding he thought the food had been much better on the previous cruise. When asked if he planned on sailing with Costa again, he answered that he would not. We then discussed how Royal Caribbean International will be sailing the Splendour of the Seas out of Dubai next winter and how this might be a much better value. Finally, the drink package is a great value even if you don’t drink alcohol. You will need the neoCollection drink package at 28.75 EU per day just to enjoy a decent cup of coffee: the free coffee served in the Vernazza Buffet and main dining room is swill. Summary As we pulled away from the terminal, my wife commented that I looked more rested and relaxed than I have in months. From that perspective, I definitely received what I came for. Service was the best I have ever experienced on any cruise. The Filipino and Indonesian stewards, bar tenders, and waiters were exemplary. I congratulate Costa for their quality of staff training. Food tastes are entirely subjective. Do not book a cruise with Costa if your idea of good cruise food is a juicy half-inch thick cut of Angus porterhouse or ribeye or a sweet Maine lobster tail. These are not served on Costa cruise line. At least on this cruise, there were no midnight buffets although I had read that Costa still offers them. It’s safe to conclude that if you enjoy decent all-you-can-eat cafeteria style buffets, you will find something on this cruise to eat that you like. I think Costa should offer more inclusive dining options after 9:00 pm. Hungry passengers on the neoRiviera, during the late evening and early morning hours, are limited to a pizza and salad combo snack at the pizza station for an additional 5 EU per person (available from 9:00 pm to midnight) or ordering a pre-frozen sandwich or salad from the room service menu at a surcharge of 2 EU per person. I probably will not book another cruise with Costa not because of the food but because of the language barrier: I do like socializing with other passengers and that was not possible on this cruise. My advice is that Westerners should only consider this cruise if the fare is significantly discounted and they are living in the UAE or a neighboring country and can drive to Port Rashid. I would not pay to fly to Dubai from the United States or England for the neoRiviera unless I was able to spend an additional week or two in this emirate.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
I have thought long and hard about this cruise which I have to start of by saying cost £1000 per person with return flights from London with B.A.[who were great by the way] and included 3 nights accommodation in Dubai -[Winchester grand ... Read More
I have thought long and hard about this cruise which I have to start of by saying cost £1000 per person with return flights from London with B.A.[who were great by the way] and included 3 nights accommodation in Dubai -[Winchester grand apartments again great] all included-therefore a great deal and well worth the price however my comments are to be on the cruise its self-first and foremost the staff were fantastic on the ship in all areas the food was to an acceptable standard although just below al carte standard with the last 3 days of this 20 night cruise a joke and no more than canteen food! we chose to go all inclusive for the 20 nights at nearly 28 euro per person per night a great deal which included all brand name spirits ,although only one named beer which escapes me at the moment although acceptable -the wine in the al carte dining was changed daily and was to the required standard HOWEVER EVERYWHERE ELSE-the house wine red/white was of a poor standard there is only one choice of al carte dining and the casual dining what u would expect the entertainment- the MAIN SHOW IN THE THEATRE- was very POOR and out of twenty nights I would say at least 10 were awful- with either a movie of an opera ,A comedian speaking only in Italian or just nothing at all-AJOKE ONE MAY SAY! that's how it was there other acts in the various bars were good however too repetitive as they were the same acts-in other words not enough variety of acts Ports of call- as this was a middle east cruise s lot of the ports there is absolutely nothing in a number of the places visited- yes nothing- in order visited my opinion Civitavecchia -port of rome -walk off ship to train station get train to rome buy as station when in rome book the big red bus not the caio roma as we did as they are too in frequent reggio Calabria - described as one of the nicest walkways in Italy- in fact its a dive nothing there -just a wee walk along the promenade- nothing worth talking about crete and the port heraklion - a nice stop off you can walk into the port and the little shops/café -very nice Jordan -aqaba -for perta or the wadii rum -cheaper to do yourself but beware the taxi drivers will rip you off -agree a price and write it down and don't agree to deviate from the agreed route or they try to bump up the the agreed price- nothing else worth seeing salalah-dont get off nothing there khasab-oman don't get off waste of time oman- muscat- nice wee market very traditional market ,take the price they give u and half it ,good for wee walk around and a bit of banter -nothing else there the jewel in the crown-DUBAI -I had visited about 20 years ago and I enjoyed then however it is even better now and not only for the rich-don't book any trips- get a taxi to the old gold /spice soul/Dubai mall ,the food is great ,the place is clean and safe lots to see and do ,check out tripadvisor before you go in summary of port info there is little or non given by costa so do your homework summary of cruise its self -we have now been on 6 different cruises and would say Costa was by far the least cruise experience we have had and always had the feeling the company was penny pinching too much Italian oriented themes and spoken and not enough of the world language English the parent company is carnival cruise line in florida and I cant help thinking if one of the big boys were on board- they would say JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR CRUISE STANDARD HOWEVER ECONO CRUISE MIGHT JUST BE THE CORRECT TERM however as with everything you have to weigh up cost v quality-and the final verdict for us was a great deal though for the cruise-BELOW STANDARD! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2014
My wife and I sailed on the Costa NeoRiviera on November From Savona to Dubai. We flew from NY to Istambul and spent three glorious days before heading to Genoa to embark on our cruise. We arrived in Genoa went to the Best Western City ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on the Costa NeoRiviera on November From Savona to Dubai. We flew from NY to Istambul and spent three glorious days before heading to Genoa to embark on our cruise. We arrived in Genoa went to the Best Western City Hotel checked in an took a taxi to Portofino for the afetrnnon.. Next day took a taxi to Savona for $120.00 Euros. Savona cruise terminal is about half hour from Genoa and check in was very quick. NeoRiviera is a new concept from Costa, longer stays on ports, better food, more intimate and oprn seating. This was our first Costa's cruise after more than 80 cruises taken on Celebrity, RCCL, Carnival, Princess, NCL, Cunard, Holland and Renaissance. Since this was a repositioning cruise the concept was not applicable, only the food was much better than other Costa cruise according to other Costa's passenger we asked. Food on the MDR is eatable but not much selection, food on the buffet is good but also limited, the pizza is bad. Costa will nickle and dime on everything, pizza is free from noon to 3 pm and small fee there after. Coffee and water is only available during dining hours, water and coffee in MDR is not free. Room service very limited and small fee is charge, in cabin breakfast is also very limited and also small fee is apply. We usually have breakfast in our cabin but only had it twice on this cruise. The itinerary was the best part of this cruise, we stopped in Rome we took Rome on your own since we been to Rome before, visited Reggio Calabria took a cruise tour and enjoyed it very much. Heraklion was a short stop, took an independent tour and visited Knossos Palace and had lunch in the city. Cruise line had to cancel visit to Haifa Israel due to security concerns, everybody was very dissapointed, stop in Port Said to visit Cairo was also cancelled for same reason, but we stopped Eillat, Israel and took a cruiseship tour to Masada and the Dead Sea. Luxor was a long ride from Port but we liked it. One of the highlights was Petra in Jordan, was everything we expected and more, amazing to see it in person, awesome. We stopped in three Oman' s ports and not much to see. Abu Dhabi was added to compensate for cancelled ports and we took and independent tour, visited the city and went to the Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque, very beautiful and interesting. Finally we got to Dubai, what a great city we arranged with Great Adventure Tours to pick us up for a city tour, a Desert Safari tour and we loved it. Dubai is a most city to visit, we stayed three extra days and had the time of our lives.. Costa's NeoRiviera had some good things but failed on many others, the shore excurtions desk was baddly run, we found out our excursion was cancelled night before and no one cared to let us know. Entertainment was mediocre at best and cruise director had to apoligized due to a noshow from a local act, the theater was packed with passengers. We know Costa is an Italian cruise line and is a little different than other cruise lines, we did not like it and we are more than sure if we have a choice we will not cruise with them again. The ship looks good and is very well kept, nice and clean. Cabin are on the small side.   Read Less
Costa neoRiviera Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 3.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 2.0 0.0
Service 3.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 N/A

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