Costa neoRiviera Cruise Review by JWF.MK
- Sail Date: April 2015
- Destination: Mediterranean
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.
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