neoRomantica Cruise Review by Dancer Bob: My Least Favourite Costa Ship
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My Least Favourite Costa Ship
Costa neoRomatica, eastern Mediterranean, April 2014. I embarked at Savona, other embarkation ports were Civitavecchia, Messina and Marseille. This led to a somewhat different passenger dynamic. With smaller numbers, boarding at Savona was quick and easy. Unfortunately, on our return, we were docked at the terminal extension, which is still under construction. While reasonably efficient, it's not much fun when it's raining and the temporary walkways are only partially covered.
I have been on Atlantica, Mediterranea, Fortuna, Serena, Deliziosa and most recently Luminosa, three weeks in February this year. I have made several comparisons to Luminosa/Deliziosa.
Grand Bar Piazza Italia
Dance floor roughly semi-circular, base about 26', extending about 18' from stage. One-third the size I would have expected in a Costa Grand Bar, and not well maintained, overdue for refinishing. The floor was constantly crowded. Two groups playing continuously from 18.00 to More 01.30, entirely satisfactory and like most Costa musicians, took pride in playing what passengers want to hear. There was a cruise staff activity each night around 22.30, often followed by line dancing. The male cruise staff frequently danced with passengers. The female staff danced with married men but pointedly avoided singles (not just me).
There is no theatre, Broadway shows are impossible. Shows are staged in Cabaret Vienna.
Dance floor 28' x 24'. A much better dance floor than the Grand Bar but still not up to Costa's normal standard.
This is the primary show venue, with concerts, entertainers and cabaret-style shows, usually three shows per evening. Ballroom dancing was advertised one evening, a fiasco. The DJ was utterly clueless. The Cruise Director admitted several complaints and promised to do better next time. A second try was barely acceptable; there were only the two evenings and only for one hour.
At 23.30, there would be a period of loud, obnoxious disco music to cater to the couple of dozen teens on board, but I believe it lasted only an hour.
Salone Tango Disco.
Dance floor oval, 20' x 12'
Neither a disco nor a tango salone, this room did not seem to get much use.
The keyboard player Doriano was good, but the latino group Paraguayos was among the worst I have heard on Costa. I understand one member of this group was leaving at the end of the cruise, so it would appear they are contract musicians rather than a fixed group.
Enoteca wine & cheese bar.
In its present form, a total flop. I intended to sample the cheese but never got around to it, the schedule conflicts directly with restaurant sittings. I cannot see how this concept can be made profitable.
Two traditional fixed dining times, 18.30 and 21.00. An Anytime option is available using part of the Giardino buffet seating area. Water is available (the magic word seems to be “carafe”) but coffee is included only at breakfast, extra-cost at dinner. Food service times can vary, you need to check the program daily.
The food was entirely satisfactory for my admittedly simple tastes, however, allowing for local availability, the menus seemed identical to Luminosa.
Open for evening buffet most evenings til 21.00. The best I have seen on Costa, perfectly adequate for my tastes. But the seating area was limited, either open deck or downstairs.
A charge of 7.50 euros per person for pizza which is no extra charge on other ships. Only available til midnight. Several times a special price, 4 Euros for one pizza was offered, suggesting the concept is not selling very well.
The food was again, perfectly adequate for my tastes, but not well organised. Separate hot and cold lines which are too close, causing constant traffic jams. No beverage stations, water glasses are in the bottom of the dessert station, very awkward. Dinner plates rather than the platters used on other ships, it seemed like I had to make at least 3 trips every time.
Several times, there were waiters with trays in the lounges as is done on other ships. However, they passed through so quickly I never had a chance to find out what was available.
Premium cabins have continental breakfast included, Classic cabins, 5 euro charge for full breakfast. 2 Euro charge for orders after breakfast. I did not order any room service.
25 Euro per person service charge. As a Gold Pearl member I receive a complimentary visit. Portion sizes were quite large, but I did not find enough of an improvement to be worth paying the normal charge. The restaurant seats well over 100 people, it was nowhere near that busy.
Samsara dining (anytime seating with different menu) is available (note that Costa uses the term “Samsara” for several different things). Included with Samsara cabins but also available as premium dining. My Samsara experience in the past has been good, but I did not try this restaurant on this trip.
Cabin. Inside guarantee, I was assigned a handicap cabin. This was the most awkward and badly arranged cabin I have seen since the NCL Epic studios. No reading or vanity lights, lighting was either on or off. Beds were jammed together end to end and could not be put together to make a double. There was a design fault in the closet doors which caused the bathroom door to jam, which has not been rectified even though the ship has been in service over a year. I was only able to visit other cabins briefly during debarkation, my impression was they are not as well laid out as Luminosa.
Most messages and advertising are sent by interactive TV, greatly reducing waste paper. The new-message icon was not visible on most screens.
Laundry. No self-serve laundry. Ship laundry prices seem comparable to shore prices. A 25 piece for 20 Euro special was offered later in the cruise.
Squok Club. A Squok Club is available, open morning, afternoon and evening. It did not seem to be very large but I did not ask for any details. There were several families on board even though this was a off-season cruise.
A smoking lounge is available. I did not see anyone smoking anywhere else on the ship.
The English-language hostess said there were about 10% English-speaking. I would have guessed somewhat less; Costa tends to lump “other” together with English. Safety announcements are always done in English; the working language of the hotel staff is also English.
I was told Costa marketing is trying to position this ship as “upscale”. There are a number of obvious design compromises due to the rebuilding which Costa has not really addressed. In several places, the passenger walkways are so narrow two people can barely pass. The pool area is not covered. The nickel-and-dime charges in food service do not fit an upscale image.
The dance environment is the worst I have seen on any Costa ship. The floor in the Piazza Italia is completely inadequate in size and poorly maintained. Less
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