Background Information: My wife and I are in our early to mid thirties. Our first cruise together was on the Ocean Princess for our honeymoon in January of 2002. After completing that cruise it is safe to say that we have become addicted to cruising. Since our honeymoon we have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sail on thirteen additional cruises. The majority of our cruises have been on Princess and Royal Caribbean, but we have always wanted to try Costa. Before I get into the details of our Costa cruise I feel I must explain what we enjoy so much about cruising. The best thing about cruising is that you are not at work. Not only are you not at work, but everything you need is right at your fingertips. There's no shopping, cooking, cleaning, cell phones, pagers or appointments, just pure relaxation. Another great perk to going on a cruise is meeting new people and developing friendships that may last a lifetime. These new people may not be just fellow passengers, but may be crew members on the ship. Overall, it is my opinion that there is no vacation experience like going on a cruise.
Now that I have offered some background information on myself, I will begin to discuss this cruise.
This is my first review that I have written and I hope it will be both enjoyed and informative. I must say before I start, prior to going on this cruise I read countless negative reviews about the Costa Magica which quite honestly made me apprehensive about going on this cruise. My wife and I made the decision that we would take this cruise with an open mind and not try to spend the week making comparisons to other cruise ships we have sailed on. All of the bad reviews of the Costa Magica is what has motivated me to submit my opinion.
My wife and I live about twenty minutes from Port Everglades so it is a simple car ride to get to the port. We arrived at the port at approximately 11:45am. By 12:15pm we were at the Bellagio buffet eating lunch. Our quick embarkation procedure may have been quicker than others due to having a suite which comes with priority embarkation. Upon stepping on board the ship, you are escorted to the buffet and told that your cabin will be ready shortly. By 1:00pm we were in our cabin.
Stateroom: We booked this cruise as a mini-suite guarantee and were lucky enough to be upgraded to a full suite........what a nice surprise. The cabin was amazing. The cabin had both wood flooring at the entrance and carpeting in the main areas. The bathroom was huge, a double sink, Jacuzzi tub and granite throughout. There was also a separate area which included a desk which my wife enjoyed for doing her hair and putting on her makeup. There was tons of storage space to include several drawers and closets that you could practically walk inside. Now for the perks of being in a suite: we had our own butler who would make any arrangements that we needed, everyday we received the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus in our cabin and had the option of dining in our cabin, a pillow menu with about six different pillows to choose from and fresh fruit and snacks delivered daily. Needless to say it is going to be tough sailing in a regular cabin again.
The Ship: The ship is absolutely beautiful. I must say this ship is very different from the Princess and Royal Caribbean ships we are used to sailing on. The ship has lots of paintings and murals and is very colorful. I don't want to spend a lot of time discussing the details of the ship because I believe there are already plenty of sources to obtain that information from.
Dining: This is where there seems to be a lot of negativity when it comes to this ship. The food is good, it is not great, but it is definitely not terrible as it has been described. The food is definitely not as good as Princess or Royal Caribbean, but like I said it is far from being bad. The only bad meal I had was the rib eye steak, it was terrible. Other than that all of the food in the dining room was delicious. My wife and I had second seating in the Smeralda dining room. I read in a review that this dining room is much nicer than the Portofino and I agree. We found the food in the buffet and at the grill to also be quite good.
Service: This is an area that also received a lot of negativity in some reviews. We had top notch service from everybody we encountered. I don't think we walked past a single employee that didn't greet us with a hello and friendly smile. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. In my opinion, the service on this ship is on par with Princess and RCCL. In particular, the 2nd Maitre D Francesco (who is a former Princess employee) went out of his way to have meals not even offered on the menu bought to our table. He was outstanding. Our cabin steward was excellent, our room was spotless all the time and the funny thing is we hardly ever saw her.
Entertainment: Having the second seating was a little inconvenient in this department. The shows for the second seating were before dinner instead of after. The only nights that the shows were after the second seating was on the formal nights. The two shows we saw were excellent. The first was Circus on the Sea, it was outstanding. The second was a Broadway style show featuring the ships singers and dancers, this was also excellent. Max and his entire staff are excellent and seem like they never sleep. There was always some sort of fun activity to attend on this ship. The don't misses............Mediterranean Night, Mr. Pizza contest, the Midnight Buffet Magnifique(which includes a tour of the galley) and the absolute don't miss of the cruise.......TOGA NIGHT!!!!!
Excursions: We did not take any of the ship's excursions. For those going to Bermuda I suggest getting off the ship and immediately buying a public transportation pass. This pass entitles you to unlimited use of the island's public buses and ferries. This is a great way to see the entire island at your own pace. The pass costs $12 per day for adults. Bermuda is extremely clean and all of the people you will encounter are very nice and more than willing to answer any questions you may have.
Disembarkation: We were one of the last one's off the ship and that is the way we like it. We soaked up every last second of our cruise on the Magica until finally they made us get off. Once off the ship going through customs was a breeze and unfortunately we were home in no time.
Summary: One thing I forgot was to mention the bad weather we had on this cruise. I must mention that some people's reviews of this cruise may be influenced by the fact we only had one day in Bermuda and this may cause some people to give this cruise an overall unjustified bad rating. It never ceases to amaze me that some people must think that the captain should be able to control the weather.........bottom line is, if the port is closed due to high wind and seas there is nothing that can be done about that. Overall this cruise was excellent and we can't wait to sail on Costa again........hopefully soon!!!!!!!!!!