Costa Magica was my fifth cruise and I am not going to compare it to Celebrity or NCL. Just my opinion of the Cruise ex Venice.
This was my second time on a Costa Cruise, it was a surprise treat for my sister and the value and the itinerary was excellent.
First of all I warned my sister that my last Embarkation/Check-In at Venice was a nightmare, upon arrival this time nothing had changed. Chaotic is the word to use so we sat in the organised and pleasant adjacent terminal where the Princess Cruise Passengers were greeted and checked in swiftly and professionally, was great to watch.
We waited for our Boarding number to be called and went to the queue if you can call it that, the passengers didn't really queue you just push your way through. We were on board within 2 - 3 hrs from the time of bag drop.
The ship was late departing, again but the daytime sail out of Venice is stunning, there was no sail out party.
Before we travelled I called to change our Cabin as I booked a Premium Inside, for higher deck and location. They allocated Deck 2! I was changed to Deck 6.
I was asked what dinner service I would like, I said late please.
The initial greeting is lame and then you are left to your own devices. Never introduced to cabin attendant. The Cabins overall are fine except for the really old tv s and the remote control that sometimes works.
I prepaid for all inclusive so we went for our first celebration drink only to be told that we were not all inclusive and to go to customer service to change your card. Went and joined the massive queue there only to be told to go back to the bar and ask them to stick a sticker on your room card to say you were all inclusive, what a hassle. Had to show confirmation that I prepaid all inclusive just unprofessional.
The dinner service allocated was early, so back to queue to change, hassle.
First night dinner service was dire, it was like pulling teeth to get conversation and all the guests did was brag about themselves, we changed table for the rest of the duration and what great couples / fun we had. Miserable waiter, you were lucky to get two glasses of wine and he would not leave the bottle on the table. All inclusive?
The first night in the cabin was noisy as I didn't realise they put us in a cabin right above the atrium with the live awful band with an accordion player, the bunk beds above our twin beds kept on creaking and rattling all night.
The next day I asked to change Cabins and was pointed to a sign saying that the the ship was full and there was nothing they could do. At dinner the lovely couple next to us told us they had to change cabin, no problem. I just fixed the bunk beds myself and had ear plugs for the nightly late live music until at least 1am. I was not going to let it spoil the cruise.
The pools are full of kids, so you can only go in for a dip, the hot tubs although signs up saying not for kids were ignored, nothing was enforced.
The breakfast, lunch service at the restaurant can be abrupt and you and directed to sit with strangers.
The buffet is a bizarre experience, rude manager, I tried to get a coffee at 1045 as breakfast does not finish until 11am only to be told we are now CLOSED FOR LUNCH PREPARATION!
Lunchtime buffet experience is like a school canteen more queues, crap pizza and just a poor selection of food.
My main complaint is lack of HYGIENE on the ship, there are hardly any hand disinfectants and some were empty and to be honest I hardly saw anyone use them, this put me off, if I ever read of novo virus on a Costa ship I will know why. It was the same on my last Costa Cruise and I want them to address this.
At ports when boarding don't expect any cold towels, water or again hand disinfectants when boarding.
There were kids everywhere on the ship and walking around late at night midnight/1am or sleeping on seats in the Casino, couples walking with push chairs....just bizarre.
To summarize the crew/service were inconsistent but we had our favourites and tipped but the ports of call was the main draw.
Would I recommend the cruise, yes, only if you get a good value pronto price, if you have patience, get a decent cabin and don't expect too much. Also you have to pay for ironing, you cannot request an iron and do it yourself or bring a travel iron on board.
The all inclusive is deff worth it! so that's a good tip. Don't accept the gross cheap wine at dinner ask for a pinot grigio or whatever you like, there is a limited choice. In the bars you can order unlimited prosecco, very good, cocktails, spirits, beers, bottles of water etc. so highly recommend.
Excellent ports of call but you have limited time so make the most of it.
Disembarkation we took our own cases off so could leave when we wanted to.
Good mix of guests, mainly European friendly and you can practice your Italian, French, Spanish, mingle. I can't remember the amount of British, Canadians, Americans, Australians on board approx 300? or more.
This is just my opinion and experience. I am a travel agent of 17 years so I like to travel independently. To be honest the Excursions were not extortionate and glad we took the excursion in Santorini.