This cruise was something my wife & I had been planning & looking forward to for a very long time & in the end we were more than satisfied & happy with the overall trip! We are experienced cruisers across many lines & we mainly chose this cruise because it had an overnight stay in Rio during Carnival celebrations which was a major highlight for us. We knew this Cruise would be a little different & be mainly catering towards the majority of South American passengers, so we went in with an open mind & embraced the experience.
Pre cruise we stayed in Buenos Aries for 3 nights at the Kenton Palace hotel, a nice new hotel in a good location. Embarkation at the port of B.A was relatively painless considering we were only two of a handful of people there that day that spoke English. But we understood enough to know what was going on & most staff spoke enough english to guide us along. We were some of the first to board which was very handy. The only bad thing about this port is that it is a working container port & from the Terminal you are ferried away on buses to wherever your ship is docked.
This was our first Costa cruise, although we had been on an almost identical build of ship on 3 previous cruises with Carnival who own Costa anyway. The ship was beautiful, especially as it was approaching 10 years old. Most of the ship was in very good condition & was spotlessly clean throughout. As opposed to the Carnival sister ships we had previously been on, this ship had a slightly different layout on the Promenade deck allowing for more bar areas & a smaller casino which was fine for us. Once again there were hardly any English speaking passengers on board but that was fine for us. We enjoy travelling & mixing with other cultures. Any important announcements were made in English & the crew & officers spoke english too. The majority of passengers were from Brazil & quite a lot also from Argentina. These two groups provided for an excellent atmosphere on board, singing, dancing, partying in general.
We had cabin 1050, a balcony cabin on deck 10. Great location close to the lifts & not far from the viewing deck at the front of the ship & also just a few steps down onto Lido Deck. The cabin showed a few wear & tear marks but was clean & had everything we needed. The only negative with the cabin was that it had an older TV & you could not check your account or order things off your TV like you can with a lot of other ships. The entertainment on board was pretty good & actually a bit better than expected. The dancers & singers were all of a very good standard & the rest of the bands throughout the ship were very good also. The food in general was good but I think Costa lacks in this area compared to other lines. Firstly, we have previously become big fans of Anytime Dining & this is not something yet offered on Costa. We were assigned a nice table for two in the larger dining room at 7.30pm. The food in the dining room was not awesome but never bad either. Usually enough choice but would have been nice to see regular things like steak, or lasagne offered as an everyday menu item. The buffet was fine for breakfast & lunch but did not offer as many different items as what you may see on other Cruise lines. It would also be great if Costa kept the buffet open for dinner or at least introduce more options as far as pizza's are concerned as these are the only option other than the Dining Room for dinner. As for Drinks, we had purchased a drinks package pre-cruise which worked out to about US$26.00 per day & included a mix of spirits, wines, beers, coffees, etc. It was of really great value however we seemed to think that a lot of the drink staff, especially the drink waiters were not working for tips on this cruise. Many would just walk right by your deck chair without trying to sell you a drink. It was sometimes quicker to go to a Bar & get it yourself. Overall the majority of staff & crew were very nice & professional.
Port 1: Montevideo. We did a ships excursion of the general city, suburbs area. It was ok but probably spent a little too much time driving out to see monuments rather than tour grand old buildings, etc.
Port 2: Portobelo. This was our first stop in Brazil. We did another ship exc. This was a good touristy day & finished at a popular beach area. Unfortunately the weather was not too great on this day & got very wet waiting for the tender back to ship.
Port 3: Santos. This was the real surprise port. We organised a private tour from the Port & it was well worth it. The beach areas along the coastline here were very scenic & everyone so friendly.
Port 4: Rio De Janeiro. This port had huge expectations & it delivered. We did a tour to the major sites which we organised at the Port. There were very long lines everywhere we went but this was to be expected due to the influx of tourists for carnival. At night we went to the Sambadrome Parade & this was the major highlight of our trip.
Overall we had an excellent cruise. Both Costa & the ship were a little better than we imagined they would be & would not hesitate to cruise with them again!
Post cruise we stayed at the very new Boca Juniors Hotel for 1 night & this would be my first choice next time I return to Buenos Aries.