We have just returned from the Dubai to Cape town cruise on Costa neoRiviera.
On the plus side, the itinerary was wonderful. We visited some incredible places. The beds were the most comfortable we have had on a cruise ship, the staff were always smiling, polite and helpful. The ship although basic was clean. There were plenty of towels and lotions including after sun which was welcome.
When we booked the holiday with Iglu we were under the impression that gratuities were compulsory but flexible. In actual fact there are no gratuities only a compulsory service charge of €8 pp/day, the first half of which was taken from our bank account half way through the cruise.
On the Costa web site a 5% discount was available for tour reservations before 31 January. Because I have walking difficulties we decided to reserve the easy trips, as we thought they would be the popular ones and spent €1,500. Had we known that the ship would be less than half full, we wouldn’t have bothered. When we arrived on the ship the tours were the same price as we paid. When we enquired at the Tour Desk we were told that this package was not available on neo Riviera!! As we had to put the code for the ship, our booking number and name when reserving these tours we feel we were mis-sold these trips. When we asked to see the Tour Manager she suggested we put in a Formal Remark Form which would be stamped and sent to the Head Office in Genoa. We would get a reply very quickly – certainly before the end of the cruise. To date we have not even had an acknowledgement, so we will be pursuing this.
We have been on many cruises and have never known the self service restaurant to close during the day. There was nowhere to get water tea or coffee while the restaurant was closed unless you bought them at the bar or had the drinks package which although advertised on the internet before the cruise at €19 increased to €28 once on ship. The restaurant closed for the day at 21.30 which meant that after the show in the theatre there was nowhere to go for refreshment before bed. We only used the Cetara Restaurant once but were not impressed with the menu. The self service restaurant had lots of salad and fresh fruit, an omelette station at breakfast time and a grill bar on deck at lunch time, together with a pizzeria. These were the only really hot food. The cooked food in the self service restaurant was at best passable and was only warm and very rarely were there any hot plates.
Because there were multi-national guests, all announcements were made in several different languages which at times was quite tedious. There was also piped music everywhere except cabins, including the library. Even the port talks were conducted with piped music in the background.
Overall the cruise was not as cheap as we were led to believe as the Service charge was over £500 for the five weeks and everything on board was very expensive – drinks, photographs etc. However the itinerary was superb.