This was my first time on a 7 day cruise and on Costa. I have only sailed on a 2 night Celebrity cruise previously. Since I live in Ft Lauderdale and close to Port Everglades, travel to the ship was a short cab ride away.
Embarkation: I arrived at 1pm and the lines to pass through security were rather long, but once I checked in I was on the ship rather quickly. I didn't like the fact that my room key was actually in my cabin with the door open instead of given to me at check in but I was pleased with the size & decor of my cabin. My cabin was on Deck 2 with an Oceanview.
I had a group to meet after the Muster drill so I relaxed in my cabin until the drill which I found very long due to the fact that they had to repeat everything in 5 languages. It was hot and humid and not a pleasing process. After the drill I met my Cruise Critic group on Deck 9. Our group which met on the Cruise Critic message board was great, we named ourselves Da Costa Rostas and made our More
own t-shirts. This group alone mad my vacation a wonderful experience and alot of fun!
Dining: I was assigned late dining, even though I had requested early seating. I should have asked to have it changed because I didn't like eating that late and the fact the dinner was over around 10:30, most of the evening was over by then. I had dinner in the restaurant the first 2 nights and then just began eating at the buffet the remaining nights, I was having so much fun with the group, I looked forward to meeting them for drinks in the evening. The food was excellent both at the buffet and dining room. I had no complaints about the quality and availability of food on this ship. Next time I will insist on early dining.
Customer Service: Customer Service I found to be great. My cabin steward constantly kept my cabin clean. I had no complaints about the any of the staff on the ship. They were all polite and customer friendly.
Activities: There were plenty of activities to keep anyone busy. I only attended the Roman Night in the Rex Theater, I regret not having attended more shows there. I did sit through some afternoon craft classes which were fun. I also attended the Italian night which I enjoyed. The disco club was filled with very young kids the whole cruise, adults didn't really want to go because of that. They should have scheduled a few adult nights there.
There was a club where a group called Brass Monkeys were playing, most of the adults hung out there. It was alot of fun and alot of dancing. Three Dog Night and Lovin Spoonful were also on the cruise and performed several concerts that were sold as part of a Rock n Roll package on Online Vacation Center. I did not have tickets but got to meet some of the band members and I heard from several group members that the concerts were great.
Toga Night was our last night on the ship, most of us got into togas and took part in the fun. Ports of Call:
San Juan: We arrived in San Juan at 5pm and were only scheduled to be there for 4 hours, so there was not much time. A small group of us walked around old San Juan while it was still light out, I really is a charming town lined with cobblestone streets and lots of shopping.
St Maarten: We docked in St Maarten at 9am, I did not have an excursion booked,the sea was rough which caused many of the beaches to close. I had thought about going to Virgin Gorda but decided against it because of timing and the rough water. It was sunny and a nice day so I walked around the side streets close to the Port and did some shopping. I found a quaint outdoor bar on the boardwalk and had a few drinks with a group member. Our ship was only at the dock until 1:30pm then moved to an anchor position, so we had to take a tender back to the ship, what a fiasco that was. The lines were very long and loading passengers in the tender was disorganized at best bordering on dangerous, the tenders were crashing into the dock and one almost tipped over. The crew did not appear to know what they were doing or at least were not experienced with such rough water. Needless to say it was a frightening experience back to the boat.
Tortola: We arrived at the Port at 8am. Several of the members of our group decided to meet at 8am and take a cab to Cane Garden Bay. We met on deck 9 and waited for an announcement that we were cleared to get off the ship. There was no announcement and we wasted up until 10am on the ship while others had already got off the ship much earlier. The sea was again rough and many excursions were cancelled and beaches closed. We were okay because we took a cab. It was a beautiful scenic ride to Cane Garden, we spent several hours on this beautiful beach taking pictures and walking around. We had a difficult time finding a cab to take us back so we asked a tour bus driver who happened to have some space on Freddie's Fun Bus Tours. This tour guide was funny and informative, this ride made our trip to this island, we had a blast on the way back to the port.
Nassau: We arrived at 1pm and only scheduled to be there for 3 hours which isn't much time. Our same group members that had fun in Tortola booked the Discover Atlantis excursion. Though we had to take a boat to get there wand we were rushed to get back it was well worth the experience of Atlantis and it's beautiful grounds and aquarium. I tool some stunning pictures here. We jumped off the tour early and rushed back to catch our ferry back to Port. I wish we could have had more time there. We made it back in time for some of the group to do some quick shopping at the Straw Market. Disembarkation: We arrived back in Ft Lauderdale at 4:30am. They offered early disembarkation at 7am and I took it since I live local. It was a bit disorganized, they had us meet at the Rex Theater at 7am then we had to wait half hour or so and a very line started to form out side the theater and into the lobby, it became a rather large crowd with several lines, there was not enough room for a single line. The latecomers seemed to get off first which didn't make sense, then they changed plan and had the first to arrive drag our luggage all the way around the other side of the lobby and back to get off. Tempers were hot. Part of the deal was we had to take our own luggage off the ship. It was not a pleasant experience due to the fact that it was so disorganized.
Once I made it through Customs I got a cab relatively quick and was home in 1/2 hour.
Overall: It was a great cruise and I made many friends. I enjoyed the ship and it's activities. I was a bit disappointed at the short 3 hour stops at San Juan and Nassau but enjoyed the experience nevertheless. I will definitely cruise this ship again! Less