We booked a cruise on Costa Classica to celebrate my husbands 65th birthday and retirement, mainly because of the intinary which started and began in Hong Kong and visited Manila, Borneo, Brunei, Singapore, and Vietnam. We spent two very enjoyable days in Hong Kong and then boarded Costa Classica. Then our dream holiday turned into a disappointment.
After waiting almost one and a half hours to embark, due to few check in desks, we found our cabin. On entering, my face dropped. We had booked an I grade inside cabin, requesting a double bed. We got a single disabled cabin, with an extra bed, which was laid end to end with the existing bed, a dressing table and chair and little else. If we kept left, we managed to pass each other. My husband decided to have a quick wash, and it was then realised that there was no plug in the sink. The design of the sink didn't include one. On contacting Customer Services, he was told by a very rude young man that nothing could be done as it was embarkation day, and he would have to wait until we reached Singapore, in a weeks time, before anything could be done, to which my husband enquired as to whether he would want to wait a week before he could wash and shave. After much persistence, he eventually said a plumber would look at it. The next day the plumber replaced the drain outlet in the sink. We requested a change of cabin as we had not got what we paid for, and was told the ship was full, but we may get a change once we got to Singapore. Needless to say, Singapore came and went, and we heard nothing. After complaining yet again, we were offered a change on the Tuesday of the second week. We declined, it wasn't worth all the bother for the last 3 nights. The next night we noticed a wet patch on the carpet. This apparently was due to a leak in the ice machine which was located behind our cabin. This was mopped up by towels and and left to dry. Our cabin steward was extremely helpful and did his best to make us comfortable, he seemed to take all our complaints very personally and apologised all the time.
The main restaurant was acceptable. Our waitress was a lovely chinese girl, who looked after us very well, but she was under considerable stress as she was left alone to serve several large tables. The food was of a good quality but the menu was not very varied. The buffet restaurant was another story. The staff were very rude, and the customer seemed to be an inconvenience. The selection of food was very poor, and everything was a bit chaotic. The staff were berated by managers in front of guests, there was often no hot water for tea or coffee, and the ran out of English tea in the first week. The ice cream machine was often out of action. The entertainment was abysmal. The best show was the crew show, who could certainly have shown the professionals a thing or two. Most of the announcements were in several langages, and despite English being the most commonly used by the guests, it was difficult to understand the cruise director who spoke so fast you couldn't understand her.
Overall, the shore exursions were well organised. We had several good tours although they were rather pricey. Fortunately, we don't drink, which was just as well as the cheapest were about £5 for a beer, and nearly £3 for a coke. The decks were dirty, with food left lying around for days, and half of the poolside deck was closed for the first week due to maintenance. We had previously cruised on Costa Romantica and thought that was bad, but this was even worse. We have now taken 25 cruises and hope never to experience one as bad as this again.