First: Recognition for our waiter, second floor, late seating, DHAVI MENDOZA. He turned a difficult and unsavory situation totally around. He gave the best service on board, oh wait, that would be the only service on board. In all fairness our cabin steward, Michael, kept our cabin clean and the ice bucket filled.
We set sail December 17th, 2013 from Miami. We were a group of 8 adults on a Christmas cruise comprised of 2 couples in the 50 to 65 age range, 2 mom’s in their late 70’s and one couple in their 80’s. We had been booked since April, 2013 with 3 premium cabins and 2 classic cabins as per the COSTA cabin designation so that we could get priority choice seatings for dinner for 8. We had expressed our desire to dine together. We had made arrangements and been assured by our different agents and even directly by the Costa offices in South Florida. When we arrived, we found that we were assigned not only to different tables, but to different seatings. It took a long and drawn out unsavory discussion with customer service to try to correct their error. We have never dealt with ruder and less effective customer service on a cruise ship or elsewhere for that matter. They were rude to our older travel companions and to us. I called COSTA in South Florida directly and was told in no uncertain terms: “If I did not like it, I could get off the ship!” I was appalled, after 65 cruises all over the world; I had never been treated so rudely. We finally met with the Maître and were assured of a table for 8 the following night at late seating. We would not accept that and wanted to dine together the first night as our elderly mothers did not wish to dine by themselves. Finally, we gave in only to find many empty tables at dinner....we ended up with 6 of us upstairs and 2 downstairs for dinner. The table they gave us for 6 was horrible. It was in the back and up against the window with chairs pushed up against the wall that we could not get up from unless the other 2 on the same side got up and moved their chairs. I guess that was our punishment for not accepting their dinner arrangements.
When I got to our cabin, after a most uncomfortable session of arguing for a service we had paid for and confirmed seven months before, they had come up to our cabin to get my luggage off the ship. Remember, I had been told by the South Florida office to get off the ship if I did not like the way I was being treated. My husband did not want to get off, so we stayed on. Being our first COSTA cruise, I was in danger of having the complete cruise soured, but I am managing to be as fair as possible.
Boarding was the best we have ever had, even compared to the luxury cruise lines we have been on. BUT; we had a call from the first part of our group that got on board earlier. They were there at 1 pm to begin boarding and explained that it was a stampede; just a mob with no rhyme or reason and no organization as to how to board. They warned us to get to the port later. So we arrived at 3 pm and just walked on board. There were no more than 10 passengers boarding at that time.
COSTA leaves your key cards in your room, just walk on board directly to your room as they are all ready and open. You must take your card to kiosks that are located throughout the ship and activate it with your credit card. That is easy enough. We had purchased the drink package, which by the way is the best drink package that we have ever seen. So that was a positive.
The cabin is nice as compared to other ships. It has adequate storage and a spacious bathroom. The shower is large though it has a shower curtain, so be careful not to splash too much. The water pressure and temperature are fabulous. The closet is a good size and there are many drawers, cupboards and shelves. The only negative is that the balcony was small and we were located right above the life boats. Though the view was not obstructed once you looked down you saw the large yellow roofs of the life boats. The beds were adequate and the cabins were quiet. We were on the 5th deck in the center of the ship.
The Luminosa is full of lights, very bright, hence the name. A bit tacky for my taste. It had a lovely Botero sculpture in the main atrium. The negatives are that there are no really large areas. Everything is small when compared to other lines. The ceilings are low, even the main atrium is not large. There is a lot of smoking on board, but people seemed to keep to the designated areas. The ship does not have an enclosed observatory area or bar.
The food was horrible! There is no more to say. The organization of the cafeteria on the 9th deck was nonexistent. The same was served on most all of the stations. The one omelet station was always over whelmed. Out by the pool, the burgers were good. The dining room food was mostly frozen and microwaved. One night we ordered from all 7 courses and not one was edible. The fruit was fresh.
Staff was from all over the world comprised of the usual Caribbeans, Philipinos, and Eastern Europeans. The main staff (customer service, supervisors/managers and crew) was mostly Italian or European. “I don’t know” or “we ran out” was the order of the day. The staff was inefficient and acted bothered when asked any question. I am very sad to say that they, the European staff especially customer service, are extremely rude, curt and disagreeable. We have been exposed to Europeans before as we have been to Europe on many occasions and have family living in Europe. I personally have had professional and personal business in Denmark and Scandinavia. Thus, we are all familiar with the European way of life. In this case their behavior was just purely rude, disagreeable and ineffective. Even having an open mind, as another CC Costa reviewer suggested previously in her review, would not have helped here.
Unless it is a remarkable deal or a remarkable itinerary, we will not be cruising COSTA again.