It is amusing after reading comments on this forum how people view the same ship and the same cruise so differently. Before embarking on this cruise I was eager to experience it myself and form my own opinion, having read comments on this cruise and cruise line. After having taken the last cruise of this season in Eastern Mediterranean, November 12-19, now I can relate my own impressions.
My overall impressions of the cruise are very positive. Frascinosa is a brand new and modern ship, gloriously kitsch (not in a bad sense) with acres of polished marble, including both flooring as well as table tops and Italian designer furnitiongs. All modern amenities that are to be expected were there, surprising how the cruise ship design has been standardized. The ship was extremely stable with hardly a sign of movement, however we did not encounter particularly heavy seas during this voyage.
Boarding: Uneventful, quite efficient. Baggage delivered before we reached the cabin.
Cabin: Our inside cabin was about 150 sq. feet, standard configuration, adequate bath-room with shower, large sink, etc. The beds were very comfortable, firm and supportive. Sound proofing was remarkably good. One could not hear the operation of toilet flush in adjoining cabins or hear people passing through the corridor. Only thing lacking was a stuffed chair to sit upon and relax, just a cushioned stool was provided.
Food: There is a wide range of opinion on this forum about the quality of food. I think the food was very good, if one does not insist upon having American style meals with emphasis on meat. The cuisine was Italian as to be expected. Both the buffets for breakfast and lunch and sit-in dinner were generally very delectable. The portions were small but given a seven course meal never left feeling hungry. Menu went like this:
- Main course
Those interested in booking for the drinks package should do so at the time of cruise booking, the packages available after boarding were only for bottles of wine of various vintages and bottled water, besides a package of non-alcoholic drinks for "Boys and Girls" available to grown-ups as well. Fruit juices were only available at breakfast and tea or coffee the whole day. Pizza at the self-service buffets was mediocre, but those ordered on the 10th floor late at night were excellent.
Costa gave away a secret of dining and I will disappoint the Epicureans . The menu indicated with an asterisk what dishes were from fresh ingredients and what were frozen and thawed for serving. In fact all the elaborate preparations on dinner menu were marked as the latter. This appears to be an Italian regulatory disclosure, this ship is registered in Genova, the restaurant menus in Italy are also similarly annotated. Undoubtedly all cruise lines practice this manner of factory food. I had always wondered how within a ship's confined kitchen prepare such elaborate dishes for thousands of guests and how could so many highly trained chefs were found; the mystery is now solved as far as I am concerned.
Other peculiarities of this ship or cruise line:
- No art auctions.
- No hard sell for the Casino.
- Very good entertainment, including super Russian dancers.
- Level of service in the cabin and restaurant on par with other major cruise lines.
- Staff at customer service very courteous and efficient
Other details are amply covered by other contributors thus I shall refrain from repeating them.