Background information, family of 4 with children from 1993, and 1998 (This year 20 and 16, first time travelled when they were 13 and 17) All Cruises in Mediterranian first one Venice, Split, Athens, Turkey, Dubrovnik - Venice and two days at see, second time Venice, 4 greek places, Venice and two days at see.
Third time with Costa Savona, Rome, Naples, Sea, Palma De Mallorca, Barcelona, Marseille and Savona.
We drove all three times, the first two trips was inclusive a week on a campsite in a mobile home. WONDERFUL DEAL that unfortunately do not exist anymore.
Ship information.. can be found on Costas home page.
Not so many activities that we used except the shows, and they were poor compared to NCL.
Service in the restaurant was good. The two waiters were smiling and happy, and I am sure if they could have, and were allowed to, I could have gotten my coffee after dinner.
Port and shore excutions - seemed equal to other cruiselines, when I look around.
Travel to embarkation, we drive from Denmark, and we had a week this time in Nice first, so this was not bought from Costa.
Cabin was OK, but the housekeeper, wasn't that excellent. He was not bad, but he was not good. I think perhaps, he just didn't know better.
Dining - The food was OK, but it was not splendid.
Childrens Club - we did not use.
Entertainment, the shows were poor compared to NCL, but OK, not brilliant, or overwelming, just a little below average.
Disembarkation. Was a surpricing experience, we couldn't choose ourselves, when to disembark, FORTUNATELY we were given an early disembarkation time (9 AM), which is good, as the drive to home is long. So we were in the car 9:45 packed and ready, and arrived in DK at 4:30 the next morning. It was OK.
Summary: (conclusion is, I will not choose Costa again, I don't dare, Prefer to be sure to have a perfect vacation)
Good things with Costa compared to NCL:
- fast embarkation in Savona, Both with luggage and personal. We had checked in from home, so it took just a few minutes, once we were called in.
- My husband says the shower was bigger. I think it is because at Costa it was a curtain, on Norweigian it is a glass door. So with his shoulders he had some place problems.
- Advantage to be able to embark and disembark in many ports. I think (but I don't know) if this is the reason for the fast embarkation. Some might dislike it because the drill excercise then had to be performed more often, which meant that the drilling bell rang the signal several days, instead of only one. - A fixed table, in the restaurant, with the same two waiters all week. Both friendly, smiling and open. - There seemed to be more sun beds (or we are better at understanding the system now).
Good things on NCL compared to Costa:
- Plenty of clean 'public toilets' all over the ship. None were ever dirty, or broken.
- Welcome/Goodbuy by the director and the captain (small thing, but it made it personal)
- Can't remember it it was once or twice a day, but a bucket of ice + water in the cabin.
- Water, juice, icecubes, tea and coffee available all day all decks any time.
- Buffets and several others open all day (meaning if you were late, it wasn't a problem, or if you went ashore, there would still be food for you.
- In the all inclusive restaurants : One side in the menu is the same every day. One of the meals was a steak (every day). The other side of the menu changed depending on the port destination.
- You could order food from buffet, if you had a picky child, that wanted just that.
- Water all the time also during dinner,.
- Free movies in all languages during the day/night.
- Shows SO much higher quality
- Presentation in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. Fast -but presented.
- many good lounges
- Free popcorn (important for the children)
- Free Softice (though we in the family have a rule only to eat one ice or one cake a day)
- In the Fitness club it was possible to use the big room for personal excercises when unused. - So much better Fitness facilities.
- Strict rules around smoking and the personal was not afraid to make smokers aware of it.
- Rules in the pool were not to be negociated! (no babies without diper pants, and no children under 16 in the adult pool)
- Many restaurants to pay extra for (not that we do, but we would have if it was possible at Costa) - Food so much better prepared.
- Much more vegetables and fruit available
- Hygiene much higher
- Sprayed hands going in or out on the ship.
- When going ashore and coming back there was always a 'tent' with cold water, cold washing cloths, and white dressed waiters serving the cloths. So after a hot day in e.g. Santorini - while waiting to come on board (e.g. on the tender boat) one could drink water, and fresh the face, and hands.
- Small thing, but So appreciated.
- Possible to order coffee in the restaurant...! (For me a BIG minus on Costa that I couldn't)
- Possible to have a bottle of wine, and not drink it all, and have it brought from restaurant to buffet or vice versa (not a problem on NCL)
- Getting of the ship was easy, there were ALWAYS personal directing people to the right level, and the right side and end, and the signs were ALWAYS correct.!
- Clean bathroom in the cabin....
- The menu on the all inclusive restaurants was known and visible on the day, so one could decide to eat in the buffet, if it wasn't what one wanted, or at an 'extra payment restaurant'.
General comments: The biggest problem with Costa was, that despite the fact it was all inclusive. Water was not available all day- only during breakfast, and lunch. That is not all inclusive I think. Personally I will not pick Costa again, unless some things change. We picked it because on a ranking list(which I can't find right now) Costa was higher up than NCL, so it should - on paper - be better. Unfortunately I don't think so, and I do believe the director on Costa Serena did a poor job. Shows were presented in the loud speakers. She wasn't very visible. (Compared to the director on NCL He is a chapter for himself we think) Bad things compared to NCL: In General we experienced smiling and happy personal,