I sailed on the Costa Fascinosa for seven nights in a party of eight, and thought it was a wonderful experience. Our embarkation point was Venice, and everything ran very smoothly - yes, it does take quite a bit of time to board, but I think passengers need to remember that there are 3,500+ people that need to board in a small amount of time, so there is obviously going to be a bit of a wait.
Our cabin was a balcony premium for two on the port side, and could not have been any more perfect. It was spacious, had all the facilities you need, and was incredibly comfortable. The rest of our party also loved their cabins as well. Our cabin steward was fantastic, our cabin was cleaned two times a day, and we often got back after a show to find a little towel animal on our bed. Very cute!
I cannot fault any of the crew members - the customer service was above and beyond! Not only was our cabin steward friendly and just a lovely person, but our waiter for dinner was also wonderful. He was polite, funny, and very attentive. It was wonderful having a dance with him on Italian Night! The bartenders, shop assistants, and entertainment team were also fantastic. They are a credit to Costa. One example I'd like to share about the brilliant customer service was in the restaurant. Our party had a table in the Gattopardo restaurant, and on our second night, we were asked by the maître d whether we would mind switching to the Otto e Mezzo restaurant for the remainder of the cruise, as there was another group of passengers that requested a table together. We agreed to switch, and it was the best decision we ever made! The staff accommodated us so well with an even better table that was nice and private. And we were still all sitting together!
I'm confused about previous reviews commenting on English being the fifth and last language on board - this did not seem to be the case on this cruise. In fact, most of the staff spoke English more so than Italian, and it was the Italian passengers who struggled to communicate with the crew. Announcements were made in English right after Italian and were always clear, so that wasn't a problem either.
The food in the restaurant was first-class. So much to choose from, and different options every night, as well as standard food that you could order every night. It was like dining in a first-class restaurant. Everyone on our table commented on how delicious the food was. The buffet food was repetitive at some stages, but hey - you're on an Italian cruise liner, of course you're going to get pizza and pasta everyday! We bought the all-inclusive drinks package, which was well worth the money. There are a few drinks that are not included in this package, but you barely notice this – the variety of drinks that ARE included on the package is huge! Coffees, cocktails, spirits, wine, fruit punch – you’ll never go thirsty!
The port stops were also enjoyable, and plenty of time was allocated to each one (the ports we stopped at were Venice, Bari, Corfu, Mykonos, Santorini, and Dubrovnik). The tenders ran very well, and getting tickets for the tenders was quick and efficient. I didn’t do any of the excursions, so can’t comment on this, but I can say that the ports are quite small, so are easy to walk around by yourself.
There are three negative aspects of the cruise that warrant a mention. Firstly, the entertainment is below par, and I would expect better from Costa. The singers were abysmal, and even though the dancers tried their best, many of the shows felt like a high school production. I’ve cruised on a very similar ship with another Italian cruise company, and their entertainment was a million times better than Costa’s. The only show that I actually liked was the acrobatic show – WOW! Costa, DO NOT let these performers go, they are incredible!
Secondly, the adults only pool at the back of the ship needs to be just that – an adults only pool. It wasn’t until halfway through the cruise that we realised it was an adults only pool – the amount of children in it made us think otherwise! When a member of our party commented on this to the security guard manning the pool, he just shrugged his shoulders and said ‘What can we do?’ This is a terrible response from someone who actually has the power to regulate this rule! Ironically, when we went up to the water slide pool on our last day, it actually had far less children in it than the adults only pool!
The last negative aspect of the cruise I’d like to comment on is the behaviour of the Italian passengers – this is not a reflection of Costa, as they have no control over this, but it is just a warning to other passengers looking to travel on this ship. I was absolutely appalled by the behaviour of some of the passengers, both at the pool and in the buffet. Although we are told not to reserve deck chairs, this rule was blatantly disregarded by many passengers. By the end of the cruise, we needed to get up at 6:30am in order to go outside and grab a deck chair – many mornings were spent sleeping outside as a result! In many instances, passengers would drape towels over five or six deck chairs, leave the deck chairs unattended for three or four hours while they visited a port, and then saunter back in the early afternoon. It was dreadful. It got to the stage where a fight broke out between my father and an Italian woman who insisted she had reserved our deck chairs, and that we had ‘stolen’ them. Children were not attended to in the pools by parents or minders, and ran around screaming and dive bombing – a swim usually ended up being a quick five second dip so as to avoid these children. The buffet was just as bad – passengers climbing over each other to grab food, pushing and shoving to get tables, it was ridiculous. At one point, I lost my balance after being pushed and shoved so many times, and very nearly fell backwards – luckily, a very cranky and rude Italian teenager stopped me from toppling to the floor with a plate of food! Passengers used hands and fingers to grab food when there were clearly utensils to use, and I was astounded to see the amount of food piled high on plates by some passengers, to only then be discarded when returned to the table. Eight or nine slices of pizza, ten croissants, six hot dogs – all just left uneaten on the tables to be thrown out. I understand this doesn’t affect me directly, but it was so sad to see so much food being thrown out and going to waste. Again, I’d like to say that this is not Costa’s fault at all, but perhaps non-Italian passengers should be warned about this sort of behaviour before booking a cruise on this ship.
All things aside, I really enjoyed my time on the ship, and was very sad to disembark. Apart from the negative comments mentioned above, everything ran so smoothly, and the seven days were just pure heaven. I’d recommend Costa Fascinosa or any other Costa ship to anyone wanting a bit of relaxation and fun on the Mediterranean. First-class!