After having traveled with Costa in 2003 (Costa Victoria) my kids (then 13 and 11 years old, wanted Costa again. So we did it again, this time Costa Magica. No magic here. embarkation was very smooth and fast, the keys or embarkation card is now given at the cabin, no original picture is taken, as is done in other ship, security is quite lacking. Upon entering the ship, the atrium is impressive. The cabins are accommodating, plenty of storage, no major luxury, the beds were hard ( I requested a mattress top which never came) and dust was everywhere. I took a wet rag and cleaned the walls,the small night tables and the dirty (fabric) headboard. The lamp shades were yellow ( discolored) and liquid stains have become part of the only design. The cabin maid was very nice, only that he cleans where people can see, I found a few items that could We had a balcony. The patio furniture wa dirty, worn and the arm rest was broken. Nonetheless it was a balcony.
I booked 1 year ahead, in order to get 3 cabins next to each other, we had 3 families, and even so this was not possible, so they said. Two cabins were next to eachother the other same floor other side of ship. The two adjacent cabins were over the night club, the music did no stop until 4 am. It was impossible to sleep.
The Food: There are two main restaurant, and a buffet. The food at the restaurant and the buffet is the same. Only difference is that you can pick what you want instantly and discard it if you do not like it. At the restaurant, you had to get dressed ( no shorts / jeans or sandals.) slacks shirt for gents, and dress or dressy slack for women. buffet is very casual. Italian night was a bust. No chicken marsala, or other more traditional dishes that American identify as Italian dishes. The food was mediocre, tasteless and one thing I experienced in this ship that no other had, was an attitude and staff that said it is not on the menu, I had been on many cruises, my husband only eats chocolate icecream for dessert every day, we told that to our server and only had it twice because it was on the menu. Other cruises the waiter would automatically bring the chocolate icecream for dessert and add a personal touch, by bringing a cookie or wafer or even a chocolate truffle. Here if you asked for something because the menu choices were limited you were told flat out no. In all fairness the burgen stand was good, and reliable. ALways the same. The pizza was OK.
entertainment: it was dull. One show was good for a ship. that was CineMagica. A potpourri of movies theme songs. Many costume changes and good finale. Other shows were lacking. No comedy or Magic shows, that one expects on a ship. Only singing and singing and singing...Boring. In all fairness there were some activities for the young kids 3-11. They had a good time as long as there is chicken fingers and fries.
The ports: first one is San Juan in Puerto Rico. The ship arrives at 5PM,leaving very little to do, other than, buying their excursIons WHICH ARE QUITE EXPENSIVE. I like to go out and meet the locals, and find a driver to take me places. I did find such a drive, he was wonderful, my only concern was again, I did not want to be out and about when night fell. Costa Magica was less than 100 nautical miles from PR, and had to slowed down to 12 nautical miles, in order to make time to get there late. Why, I wondered? We could have arrived at 12pm. St Thomas was OK. Been there 7 times already. Booked a separate tour company, called Chicago or the Real Deal, be careful of this one. We agreed on aprice for a tour, the beach and shopping and return back to boat, I specified Magens Bay, and once there was told there was abetter beach that they were taking us to. So we went and once there demanded more money, and said if I did not agree he would leave. I told this driver that I would suit and file complaint about his license and then he change the tune, any how, never let anyone intimidate you. Hold your ground. La Romana DR. Beautiful place. Friendly people, you must haggle, there are not set prices, only drawback. Beautiful beach Bayahive. Casa De Campo and Los Alto de Chavon, worth seeing. You can get a driver for $125 ( a group) for all day to go to these places. The best is the local bid the ship farewell in style. It was awesome. I felt like a movie star. Grand Turks: No trees, lots of sun, all man made place, with a very expensive duty free shop and a magaritaville. $7+ for 1 beer, and forget the pina coladas. Chicken wings for $13 ridiculous. The only tours available are from Costa, so one feels trapped. Can not get out, and the beach is not much to look at. There was algae everywhere and rocks that cut your feet. There were many lounge chairs, and some cabanas, the early birds grabbed them or claimed them by putting a towel and going into the water. So some of us were just standing. After less than an hour I went back to the ship. Toga night was good, the kids as well as the adults participated. In the past there were toga contest did not see one in the schedule this time.
The concierge desk: These people are poorly trained and have no patience or fitness at all. My husband card was ** as if he was a minor so he could not charge any drinks. I personally went to the desk 3 times and was told everything is ok, try to use it no go, one night at the restaurant we ordered drinks and I did not have my card, therefore, after being there 4 nights, the barmaid, took the drinks back and said I can not give them to you your card is bad. This time my husband went down, spoke to 2 different people and was issued a new card, only to find that the minor code was never changed only the spelling was corrected. By this time he was so mad, he said he would not order any drinks. The other thing was that the cards kept getting demagnetized, and would not open the room. This department was the one that ruined the cruise the most for me. Then the credit card issue: During embarkation I gave a Discover Credit Card to charge my cabin as well as the other two. Two days into the cruise I was called and told they do not accept Discover. Luckily my hubby brought a Visa. We like to clean our wallets when going on a trip. So everything was again ok. By third day my third cabin people could not charge because they had an existing credit card, and can not add a new one. Hello, they said they did not accept Discover, Back to the desk, and this lady assured me everything was fixed. To make a long story short, no one was able to charge with the credit card only my husband, because the system only recognized him as the card barer,yet he could not charge drinks because he card was marked as a minor. And no one was smart enough to fix this. I had to leave some cash in order to be able to get a drink. Needless to say I was not able to purchase anything aboard the ship. On Friday, I went back down and again this lady told me everything is good and that the credit card issue was fixed now everyone can pay without any problem. On Sunday morning, we all get bills for the tips and the few drinks we were able to purchased on Saturday only. The bill said I had to go to cashiers office to liquidate in order to be able disembark. The line was huge. Many angry people, because they had given credit cards, and now where told they had to come up with cash. My credit card only covered my husband and not my children or myself. He bill was closed and the card could not be used for any other passengers. I was there for 1 1/2 hours to no avail. I became quite angry, and demanded to see a manager. He came 30 minutes later. He could not make the system accept the card. He asked me for cash. I had already spent on the port of calls most of my cash, I had to leave and borrow cash from people I was traveling with. And one couple I met that happens to be from my town. V I came up with the cash, and was finally leaving this boat for ever, My husband keyed in his card, then my daughter then me, and last my son, he was held to the side, and told his tipping bill was not cleared, and that he could not leave. My son is 16. He was calling me, mom, wait mom, to my surprised I said what are you doing, let's go, and the lady said he can not disembark. His bill is not paid for tips. I told the lady that I had just spent 1 1/2 hour clearing a mess, and she told me that my son had to go up because I wa already check out I could not accompany him. I showed her the paper that said everything was paid up in cash and had a seal. She kept saying not Louis my son name, on Luis, my husband name. I grabbed my son and told her, to call security if she had to, because he was leaving with me even if he had to jump the darn counter. She called the cashier manager who came down 15 minutes later, and told her again that everything was ok, and that receipt I showed was for the right person. because the Luis was fully paid with the credit card. He apologized, but the harm was more than done.
Would I ever travel with Costa, not even for free. If you are traveling, know this, they dod not take discover, make sure, that from the first instance they put all the members in your party on the card, and make triple sure that the system is working, make sure your cabin does not have 214, or 220 after the first number or your will surely be on top of the night club and have non stop loud music all night, take a spray cleaner of some kind,and bring plenty of cash. In front of me there was lady who missed her plane, because her daughter account was charged $7 for something and she had to go to cashier and paid cash. luckily she had not swiped her disembark card and she was able to go with 5 year old daughter to the cashier, although the husband and son were waiting outside. I tell you it is scary.