We were on the ship during the dreadful storm in the Philippines, and as a large proportion of the crew were Philippino it was very difficult for them. There is not high enough praise for all the staff on the ship, they were fabulous. The service was wonderful,nothing was ever too much trouble, and even when things were very difficult they were marvellous. They work over 13 hours a day and go home rarely and are astonishing people in their kindness and helpfulness.
I became ill on the last part of the voyage and this ship is the place to be ill at sea, They were concerned, careful of me and very kind indeed. Thank you Dottore and Beatrice for your time and attention, and also to the nurse in charge, you were all very good friends to me.
The chapel is lovely and as we were on pilgrimage to the Holy Land we really appreciated having both a beautiful spiritual space and new Canadian Philippino friends to share it with. They were lovely people who squished up on small benches, shared their teachings, Father Joe and their service sheets and we became a group of travellers on the road together.
Our cabin was small but comfortable, the shower was not particularly luxurious, but ok. I was disappointed that the balcony was noisy and needed attention, keeping us awake at night, but it was lovely to have one even though the clouded glass did not allow a good view of the sea when we were sitting down, clear glass would have been much better.
All our large group were grateful to have a table together on early sitting, especially as we had a very old and disabled lady with us who wouldn't have been able to wait until late for her dinner. The maitre d' was lovely to help us out over this.
Everyone enjoyed the 'all in one' drinks package and it was amazing value. We also enjoyed the table tennis and swimming and the ability to have a cigar in the evening without going on deck.
So positive I hear you say.
What didn't we enjoy?
The entertainment. We tried it for 3 nights and it was terrible - too loud, to amateurish, too weird altogether. The theatre itself is lovely but they really do need to bite the bullet and employ much better acts, which will mean finding English/American entertainers and not regional German/Italian poor quality acts. The piano bars are too loud and sometimes it is good just to be able,to sit and talk and not be blasted constantly with loud music played not very well. Turn if off in the breaks!
The lack of enrichment activities and those that happened were badly planned, involving terrible shouting, blaring music, all being held in the same place on the top deck. We tried a bit of arts and crafts that would have been too easy for junior school children and wouldn't have minded but couldn't stay as the noise was unbelievable with awful shouting the music too loud for anyone to bear.
The food. Unbelievably bad. Please change the head chef immediately Costa. Many nights there was very little I wanted to eat on the menu. One day burgers and chips appeared at lunchtime and everyone cheered to have something good to eat. It never came again. The fruit was constant melons sometimes there were tiny portions of cake, the salads were always the same, lettuce and tomato and really Eggs Benedict is not a poached egg on stale toast covered with cheese sauce and bits of cold tomato. It was inedible. It was much worse than a ferry. Even the 'Italian' food was dreadful. I can say this now as at the time the thought of those poor people in the Philippines made any moaning about food so inappropriate that we just ate to stave off hunger. This Will Not Do. The dinners were also shockingly bad and we sighed and drank more wine, also on the all in one package, hooray. The puddings fit only for the nursery in their dreadful sweetness and the fruit salad? You guessed it - melons all over again.
There were very few English speakers aboard, and we think we were the only people from England at all. The Italians we encountered on board were extremely rude, unfriendly and wit only one exception amazingly dreadful towards someone in a wheelchair. (Hello Stella Maris's mum and dad!) At one time we were getting on board very wet, along with a young couple with very small children in a pram and the rush for the lifts was terrible, leaving the children and the very old lady sitting very cold and wet for a long time. Not one person stood back and showed concern. I was amazed and saddened. We tried smiling at them, trying to chat in the lifts and public places, making way - by the way never do this they only took advantage, rushing past without a thank you or a smile. Astonishing.
People kept places in the buffet by using towels and coats, sometimes saving a table which would seat six for only two or three people, and being aggressive on a number of occasions when we tried to sit down in half used tables,. Waiting in the buffet was hopeless, people just marched up to the front and picked their food, ignoring everyone waiting to be served behind them.The Germans we met, who also saved places living up to their stereotype, surprised us by speaking very little English and were also not friendly or easy to talk to. We were glad to be in a group as if we had gone as a couple we would not have enjoyed ourselves at all.
There was a large Korean contingent, also from Canada, who were beautifully dressed in national costume on Gala nights. Hello Yudi and Kim, hope you arrived home safely! Hardly anyone else made an effort and the men in our party were glad they had not packed a tux, thanks to reading other reviews, and a lot of men didn't even bother wearing a suit.
However, change the food and the entertainment Costa and we may come again. We know there is nothing you can do about the culture, well maybe you could serve weaker coffee to calm down the impatience! We did miss P and O and the civilised lifestyle, but loved the all in one package!
We loved the staff A Lot, without exception. Than k you Danny for telling us about the Canadian Philippinos and Father Joe, they made our trip a beautiful thing, and the rudeness easier to bear.