To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary we decided to take a cruise. We had cruised before with NCL and Royal Caribbean, both very good but many years ago. This time we were looking for a specific itinerary and good price for a cruise so we decided for Costa.
We got to Rome, Fiumicino one day before our cruise and spent the night e in a nice bed and breakfast, La Casa de Amy, very nice people, very clean, a couple of blocks from Termini, the main train station. We left from Termini around 2PM on a train to Civitavecchia, got there and we were going to walk to where the free shuttle to the ship departs from , a few blocks away from the train station but it was raining. There were some white passenger vans shuttles parked right in front of the station, I asked how much to the port and he charged 20 Euros for both, my husband and I and they drove us in less that 5 min to the ship.
We took a balcony cabin and it was great, very spacious , plenty of closets and drawers and even a couch with a small table in front where we enjoyed an intimate breakfast a couple of times, brought to our cabin for free from the applicable free items menu. We enjoyed the balcony very much as well.
The Concordia is a beautiful ship, built in 2006, spacious and very , very clean, ship shape from top to bottom. All areas are spotless. Carries 3000 passengers plus crew, has 14 decks and a gorgeous spa, the Samsara where one can get treated like royalty of course for a price , but they offer a variety of packages that make it affordable. The gym, sauna , jacuzzis are free. The gym has state of the art equipment but can get pretty crowded, best early morning. The jogging track and tennis courts are free too. The salt water pools have amazing retractable roofs so this area can be enjoyed with all types of weather. Guys really enjoy the Grand Prix simulator and races can be pretty exciting. There are smoking and non smoking areas on the ship, lounges have a smoking side and a non smoking side, but if your are very sensitive to cigarette smoke the drift might bother you.
The food passable, in the dining in the dinning room and someone did not like something, food was returned and something else brought to you at your request, even cooked to your order, like a lady in our table that did not like any type of gravy so they would cook her meats plain and she always had a baked potato, all this outside the regular menu. Buffet food is of course mass produced and quality is average, however, there is such an enormous variety of dishes, salads or pizzas that there is always something one is going to like.
The Italian language is predominant but the crew, spoke English, most of them, announcements are given in every language and the daily activities were delivered every night to our cabin in our language. At the end of the cruise got a little confusing, we had a disembarkation meeting for English speaking passengers were we were told we did not have to turn in our passports, later we got a paper under our door that we had from certain time to certain time to bring our passports and they were going to be returned to us before disembarkation, this was kind of contradicting so my husband talked to Kate, the English speaking rep on the Ship and she reconfirmed what she had said in the meeting, that the Italian officials did not need our passports. To make the story short we decided to bring our passports to customer service because other people told us they had done it and that we had too. Anyway, that took some extra time at disembarkation, another line to get our passports back, that by the way had no extra stamp or nothing, so till today we do not know why they wanted everybody's passports except for Europeans.
You can not get bored on the ship , there is something going on at all times, from trivia games to paper flower making classes, wateraerobics, yoga, stretching, bingo, chacha lessons, italian lessons, you name it. Service is excellent, from our terrific cabin stewart Matthew (from India) to our bartender Carlos (from Peru) at the Dublino bar and our head waitress Sharon who was so attentive to even our gestures that she would know when we were going to ask for something and would be right next to us, eager to please us. The first night we told her we liked ice tea , from then on , everynight we had an icy cold pitcher of tea waiting for us at the table and kept refills going as soon as the tea level was low. The entertainment left a lot to be desired, there were a couple of shows that were very nice, like the Time show and the farewell show , in between very boring, such as a singer one night, a ventriloquist another, a mime type comedian , and a couple performing some acrobatics/magic/joggling.... joggling at one time battery powered CHAINSAWS TURNED ON! that was hair raising.
The shore excursions were excellent, with very knowledgeable guides, we took all of them, the Esplendors of the Genovese Republic, in Genoa, the Olympia tour in Katakolon, excellent, the Acropolis and Plaka in Athens, Lindos in Rhodes, the 4x4 tour in Cyprus and Egyptian Museum and Pyramids in Alexandria. We had all English speaking passengers in our buses except the first tour to Genoa, where we shared the bus with Italians so the guide had to repeat everything to us, but it was OK. Disembarkation was prompt and by 9:30 we were out of the ship, we took the same type of van from the ship all the way to Rome with a group of people that we have made friends on the cruise so we share the shuttle that charged 20 eur per person all the way to Termini but when we got there the driver asked for 25 eur per person, we thought it was not nice but what can one do.... we paid 25 but no tip. Overall it was a very nice trip and an excellent value for what we paid