I don't normally take time out to write reviews, but I feel I owe Costa one. =) After all the reviews I had read about Costa Victoria, I was expecting the worst, but hoping for the best.
We boarded Costa Victoria at the Shanghai port with ports of call at Jeju, Yeosu and Incheon. It was a 6 day cruise. We took this cruise because the it was right smack during our long holidays and tThere are 17 of us in the group and we booked 4 balcony staterooms and 2 inside cabins. Contrary to the bad reviews I had read, all 6 rooms we booked were above complaint. They were clean, everything in the room worked well and storage spaces were more than enough to store everything from our luggages.
Since most of the passengers were from China, it is to be expected that the food will mostly be catered to their needs. There are some Italian choices for the sit-down dinners, pizzas during afternoon and midnight snacks, a burger, fish and sausage grill available daily and some daily variations like a mexican station during one of the days we were there. Breads and pastries are also available daily. But mostly, food is chinese food. If one keeps in mind that this ship is primarily catering to the Chinese clientele, then one could say that the food, though not gourmet, is pretty good.
Since the passenger profile were mostly from China, there are certain cultural differences which one has to consider. They don't respect lines and taking turns very much. I find this annoying but then, this has nothing to do with Costa. Just something one has to take note of when one decides to choose this itinerary.
One family in our group has kids aged 4-5. They were very happy with the Squok Club. They were able to leave the kids there while they enjoy the entertainment on board by themselves. Kids were kept busy and happy.
Maybe the ship can offer more activities for the pre-teens and teeners because there were none to speak of. There were arts arts and crafts as well as some cooking demos which our teener would like to attend but it was specifically stated for adults only.
Entertainment was okay, though nothing great. I would also like to recommend that they specify if shows are for adult consumption only or also fit for kids. We brought our kids aged 8-13 to shows which we watched for only a few minutes because the show was suggestive and attires were skimpy. Knowing beforehand would allow us to plan our activities better.
Costa would do well to enforce "smoking areas" and make sure passengers follow the rules since a number of common areas smell badly of smoke.
I read really bad reviews about embarkation and disembarkation but we didn't encounter any problems at all. It would help if they had more signs and instructions at the Shanghai port so passengers will be directed accordingly but aside from that, everything was ok. We did not join their shore excursions so I don't know how the disembarkation procedure went. However, we explored the ports of call on our own and during all 3 ports of call and final disembarkation, everything was very efficient.
Overall, I had a very good experience with Costa Victoria. All my fears were unfounded and all of us in the group were happy with our cruise. Will I join Costa again? Definitely.