“CostaMagica - Trans-Atlantic”
Cruise review of Costa Magica

gph Costa Magica 3 CostaMagica - Trans-Atlantic
Member Since 2009
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Poor Costa: Heres a cruise line that doesnt know what it wants to be. Lively Italian, sophisticated European, deep discount American. Or all of the above, overlaid with both panache and confusion. Costa, said a fellow passenger, is actually an Italian word meaning completely disorganized. No kidding.

The cheapest cruise Ive ever seen offered 13 days across the Atlantic in May 2006 for just $499 - or 16 for $505 if you left from Florida. But the Costa reservationists were confused and the web site wanted $1499 for a berth which was really a grand cheaper. The boarding process lived up to the lines reputation: a 45-minute lineup because only one security screening station had been set up.

Transfer from JFK was excellent, though, and the air arrangements, though complicated, worked. The ship is very large and very ugly inside, but the cabins are pleasant and well-equipped. It is singularly ill-suited for cruising oceans or non-tropical waters: there is no observation lounge, let alone a forward-facing one and the main route to the buffet goes out of doors. There is lots of public space, however, though seat-saving Europeans sometimes block access to it.

The main show lounge is well-designed, though pillars obscure some sightlines. The ship has 20 elevators, so getting around is easy. Unless you are assigned to the aft dining room, which is orphaned away around a series of corners. Once there, the food is mediocre at best, though the service was eager, if occasionally inept. The Bellagio buffet got better reviews. Service in bars was dismal: servers would often make eye contact but not stop to offer a drink. Some bartenders needed basic drink-mixing lessons.

Beds were hard, as I had read here, but my steward was a gem. In eight days crossing the Atlantic, the daylight hours were tedious: the need to communicate in five languages slowed any meaningful activity to a crawl. But at this price, no guilt attached to the idea of sleeping all day.

At night, the ship came alive, with fine singers and musicians in the lounges and join-in activities galore. The main stage shows were energetic but suffered from homogenized multiculturalism - an Italians idea of what might appeal to an audience of many countries.

Shore tours were adequate in the two ports we visited, though the departures were never on time and long lineups were common. The front desk operation was a disaster - confused and disinterested.

The cruise staff worked hard though the cruise director was seldom seen. The Captain was, though, impressively. The mandatory tip was a mere six Euros daily, though a martini cost seven.

Costa is an Italian cruise line and that wont change even if ownership is now entirely American. So if you speak the language or dont mind hearing it constantly, this might be a good choice, particularly in the Mediterranean, where the line is most at home. Elsewhere, I think, its a big fish out of water. At $499, no denying this particular cruise was good value for money.

Costa Magica Cruises to Transatlantic
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Published 05/31/06
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Costa Magica Cruises to Transatlantic
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