I just got back from a wonderful vacation. Missing it already. We were on the Costa Magica 4/29/07 -5/04/07 We are a family daddy31, mommy30, a 7 year old girl and 5 year old boy. I got to admit that I was thinking that I made a huge mistake booking this cruise from some reviews I had read. But the peace comes form some of the other people and I would like to thank you all for that! You know who you are! I thought well I only paid $598.00 for the cruise so here it goes. I was so scared about the service. That I decided to take the tips off the first day and if it was really that bad and I would have to go get everything my self and clean our room. Then I would just take the tip money and get me a message when I got back home. Well, I put the tips back on the forth night before it got busy down stairs on the last day. Plus I tipped my room stewart and waiter more in cash. They were more then wonderful!!! I thought the ship was very pretty and super clean. They even gave us hand wipes every time we got back on the ship. They even did this when we got on in FL. The ship was sold out and we were thinking there would be people everywhere. I do not know where the people where. We never felt cramped at all. I would have to say that the only time that we know that it was a full ship was at the shows. The seats were full and we never got a front row seat. But we did not go to the shows no more then 30 minutes early so that is our own fault.
We flew in a day early and started a day after. That was really nice to relax. We got a hotel that picked us up at the air port and had a free full breakfast (biscuits and gravy, eggs ,bacon, sausage, fruit, lots of stuff and juices and coffee and milk) There pool was nice and clean and the next day they took us to the ship. Besides that the hotel was a 2 star clean friendly and I liked that they had a huge garden of plants to talk photos with the kids (palm trees etc.) Not close to anything. But they had a restaurant not new and the one person waitress was slow. But when the food came it was hot and good and the prices were great.
We got to the ship at 11:30 and got right through the line. The serves was fast and friendly and after we did the paper work we went around the corner and the “squok club” was there to greet the kids with smiles and a Squork program for the whole week Plus they gave them bobble headbands. We were off our bus and on the ship in 30 minutes. We went right to the buffet. It was good and do not miss the parmesan cheese sticks and ---- meat and the deli sandwiches which were not the deli meat but the meat slices right from a ham and turkey! I like tea and I thought there tea was good put lots of sugar in it and coffee with real cream. When we were done eating the guy that cleans the tables came right over and talked to our kids for like 5 minutes. We went to our room to see if the keys were there. There was a key in the door. It was not our shopping key just opened the door. We went in and the keys for each of us. At first we were like we are not giving our five year old a key. (But EVERY guest has to have a key to get off and on the ship every time. We had an inside room on deck 7 (7379) We had two beds put together and one of the buck beds was done. It was big for our two kids so they just slept together in the same bed. We just only had one buck down and never used the other. So do not know how crowded it would be if you had both bucks down in the room. Our room stewart (Norman) came in with a clip board and asked what we would like for him to do. We asked that he not put the other bunk down, get a mattress topper ( thank you Joe for the heads up) two extra pillows, take everything out of the small refrigerator, get this small table out and my 7 year old asked if he could make a towel animal for her because Costa does not do that. He told my daughter not tonight he was going to be very busy but the next night he would. He got our matter topper and pillows right away. He said they only have like 10 toppers for each floor. That night well we were at dinner he folded down our beds moved the table and put chocolate mints on our bed. The next two nights he made two baby swans and then a mommy swan for the kids. He also did the other things we asked the next day. He would talk to our kids every time he saw us. He would hind there stuffed animals behind the lamps and under the covers and picking out of different places. Then on the last night we asked him if we could get him to sign the kids book in his language and then ours. He said I can do better then that and wrote them a letter on his break. We love Norman! (Yes we tipped him extra!!!!) We went swimming in the pool the salt water was hard on the eyes at first but got use to it. Then we go ready for dinner. We had asked for a table for 4 since it was our 10 year anniversary and was scared of what we would get. It was a table for 8 It was wonderful they had two great kids and everyone had manners. (HI Peter and Linda, Michael and Nick) We had a window seat in the Smeralda dining room for dinner at 5:45 at seat 220 (if you have 3 numbers you are up stairs if you have 2 numbers you are down stairs that would have helped us on the first night) I and the kids always ordered the same thing. We had bay scallops au gratin wonderful, melon and mint soup good, they also have salads and Italian pasta! Fillet of tilapia. I am not a fish person and I thought it was good and not fish tasting. Dissertsouffle al cioccolato good and I always ordered a different ice cream they have the coolest ice creams!! Our waiter was wonderful he was fast, friendly, and great with the kids. There was TWO FORMAL NIGHTS!!!! The second night was one of the formal nights and we had ESCARGOTS it was really good. I wish the kids would have been there to try them but the squak club watched them for us. It was nice for the two of us. Huge shrimps, and I do not remember the desserts it is not on my menu. Third night we had fried calamarigood. Strawberry and banana soup (soups are like melted shake kind of we liked them) and I do not like melted ice cream but as close as I can get). steak and shrimps and they were good (remember I am from the beef state so if they are good they may be really great to you, after the reviews I just ordered a step more uncooked then I would have liked, and it came as I wanted it) chocolate mille feuilles with two mousses of fruit sauce. I also ordered the cheese and was not impressed with. The carnival ship has them bet big time but it is only a cheese dessert so we are moving on. The forth night was the most formal night The waiters danced and there was a ice cream dessert but that is the night you get the Alaskan king crab cooked in butter and eggplant with parmesan cheese. The last night the appetizer was great they had this mozzarella cheese (not like we get here, soft and oh yea) and sliced ripe tomatoes. mustard chicken with glaze and I was ready for some down home cooking. Out of the five nights I ate in the dinning room I would only tell you to stay away from one thing and that was the cold potato soup it was gross and the cheese was a joke it was sliced cheese (which was weird since they keep severing these fancy cheeses. But if that is the worst then it is not really that bad. We miss out waiter and he was so great my husband asked him for copies of the menus for me so I could scrapbook them. On the carnival that is what I have copies he got me the real deal on the last night (yes we tipped him for that also on top of)
Sorry for all the food talk and on to the shows. The first night was Grand Variety show. I do not remember much. The second night as a magic show but I thought is was more like a Disney show with Aladdin and Pinocchio and other ones my kids thought it was a Disney one and loved it. The third one we were not impressed it as John Ciotta I think he just kept singing after 20 minutes we left the kids feel a sleep. The forth night was short dances of different movies there were only two things that were not good for kids and it said it on the screen before full monty so we turned the kids around but the rest were good. And the last night were people from the ship it was ok we did not stay for the whole thing because we had to pick the kids up. So do not know who won!
Squok club The first night they are not open but you sign up ask questions and get to see the room. I liked that. The other days they are open from 9 to noon and then 3 to 11 p.m. and break for dinner except for the formal nights. We only took our kids three times the first time they thought it was only ok but would rather be with us (that was the first formal night and they had races and bingo) and then we took them on the day at sea to get a break in the morning from 10:30 until noon and they painted t- shirts (the same ones you can buy in the gift shop for $15.00 each yes a $30.00 savings) and they got play money every time they went. Then that night they had an action and my kids got both together a backpack, cd case, two wallets and two necklace things to put your room card on) I thought they were very nice gifts to remember Costa. They loved the last night! Plus on the last formal night they had this Italian night were they decorated masks and they got tattoos and they made paper flowers for the kids for free on deck 4 or 5. It was very nice for the kids.
The luggage was the only thing I could really complain about when we left our room the first time we found pieces of our stuff that feel out in the hall way and the suit cases just thrown every where some stuff broken nothing big. We did not use them when we got off we carried our own luggage off the ship. One thing ladies you may want to pack your hair dryers theirs are dying. I did not mind because we were going in water everyday anyway. But you may want to know that.
Breakfast well we really liked that we could order breakfast in bed. It was nice to just move slow in the morning. We liked the chocolate turnovers and sweet rolls and juice and the cappuccinos all free!! So we only ate breakfast in the buffet on the last day and it was good. We only ate lunch in the dinning room twice because we were at port the other times. It was very nice. The food was good and it was more quit and peaceful.
Our first stop was Key West. We heard about a small aquarium. It was just perfect for us. It was only $30.00 they have a tank were you pick up and feel the animal. Our kids were there for 30 minutes and then we did the rest of it in 30 minutes and we had 30 minutes before the tour. They let us leave and come back so nice Then we came back the tour was great Joe took one of each animal out of the feel tank and talked about it and then showed us how a shark eats and let us all pet the shark and he was not pushy he took his time with each kids. He was great.
Our second stop was Cozumel We did not want to stand in any line to get off the ship so we would wait a half an hour each day and never had a line. Cozumel was really nice. We got off and went cross the street and there was taxis’ waiting like Paradise Tom said. They were $13.00 to drive us to Paradise beach we loved paradise. It was clean and no one was forcing us to buy anything. We got chairs and we all four bought wrist bands to use the toys that were a huge thing for the kids. There was an ice berg only big kids can do it my 7 year old made it one time I was very proud of her. I only did it two times and there is a trampoline and the kayaks and did not have time to use the snorkel gear. We thought since it was free to go to the beach and so clean that the food would be expensive. It was not we got nachos with guac and sour cream and cheese and it was only $7.00 and our kids got fruit drinks that were good I tasted before giving them only $5.00 each. And I got a huge pine apple drink and hubby wanted something he heard about a lime and salt beer thing he said it was ok. Our tab was only $33.00 we ran out of time and they ask that you spend $10.00 each so we left the rest with the waiter. Only thing I did not like is the taxi back said I do not have change and I had a $20.00 Hubby forgot to pack ones (very important in Mexico) Well when I said I will go find change he said he had a $5.00 bill so I left paying him $15.00. I do not like sneaky people. He told us to the market place everything was expensive there. It got cheaper the closer you got by the boat. You would thing the other way around but I was wrong. We were running out of time with our small legged kids but they did have shirts 6 for $10.00 and blankets for $4.00 I got a bag for $5.00 at the market it was $25.00 and kept going down the closer I got to the ship. They even had 99 cent stuff key chain and necklace and maracas are the things we bought. Then we got back on the ship and went to eat at the buffet. Then we hit the water slide. It is only open like 2 hours a day so if you want to do it make sure to look in the “TODAY” for times each day.
The last port as Grand Cayman. We had made plans to go with Moby dick string rays before leaving home. We had 30 minutes to shop enough time did not think that anything was cheap and I bought a Christmas ornament, sting ray carved out of a stone (was $12.00 when came back from tour was $5.00) and post card an paid $15.00.total. It was great even the kids feed the sting rays and my five year old kissed one. Then we went snorkeling I thought this would be a waste of time. But it was cool. I was so wrong. Moby Dick was only $130.00 our family. and they picked us up by the port drove us to the boat.. There were only 42 people and we all got enough time with the rays and snorkeling. When we got back on the ship the buffet was the only choose and the lines were very long. We were starving. We thought later we probley could have got free room service.
We only had one day at sea and we thought that the pools, buffet and areas like that would be very crowded. So we stayed away and we had been in the water everyday so we were not sad. The kids did the kids club and we laid down and took any art class (painted pottery) and then went shopping and then picked the kids up for lunch in the dinning room and then we brought battery bubble blowers (one was broken so just took turns and then we did this game thing with the ship and then got ready for dinner (sheets are hard to put on when you are trying to be fast and they supplied leaf crowns nice touch) and then after dinner kids went to kids club and we went to the show because we did not realize that the spa closed so early so we could not use the hot tubs or steam rooms. We were sad about that and our time was up.
Do not miss the midnight buffet on the special night it is something! I would do Costa again. We could have never had a land vacation like this for the price.
Customs were really fast and very nice. I would be happy to answers any questions?