Well where do I begin? Okay, getting on the ship. Boarding was quite easy. We've been on 7 other cruises (Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Carnival) and I have to say I've never had boarding issues with any cruise line. We boarded about noon and couldn't get in our room until 1:30 so we went to the lunch buffet. Please keep in mind my husband and I are not picky eaters, but my husband has been in the restaurant business for over 30 years and definitely can tell the difference between great, good, okay, or bad food. The food was really bad and we didn't just try one or two things. We went back to the food bar three separate times thinking maybe I'd find one thing that tasted good. No luck, maybe dinner would be better. I read reviews before we went on the cruise BUT NOT BEFORE I BOOKED. Big mistake, HUGE mistake. If I had only known. Every breakfast, lunch, and dinner service was equally bad and during dinner service slow, slow, slow. I love Italian food, so I thought. I was on an Italian ship who had no idea how to make simple Italian dishes. I can throw together in my little tiny kitchen at home a dynamite marinara sauce in 15 minutes or less. How is it that the Italians can't make a good red or white sauce. Their what they called alfredo was extremely bad.
I told my husband, no way there is that much bad food on a cruise, the people had to be exaggerating because there no way it's all bad! I've went on a carnival cruise once and the food wasn't great but most of it had flavor and I did find dishes that were good or at the very least okay. Wow I must apologize to the previous reviewers, I didn't think they were being honest. If your on a diet, and care nothing about fun filled planned activities to choose from all day, this is probably the cruise for you. My husband lost 4 pounds and I lost 2. Not that we couldn't afford to lose a few pounds, but I've never lost weight on a cruise or any other vacation before and I've never lost weight because the food was so bad I just didn't eat it.
Our anniversary night dinner, Thursday, April 1st. The Club Atlantica Tuscan Restaurant at $30 per person was an absolute nightmare! Not only was the food as bad in that restaurant as on the rest of the boat, one side of the restaurant was vibrating so badly that no two items such as silverware, glasses, plates, etc. could touch one another without this horrendous clacking sound. When I tell you the vibration was terrible, let me try to explain. Turn a fan on high, get about 6 inches away from the breeze and talk. You know how your voice trembles and shakes as you talk into the breeze. Yes my husband and I sat through 2 1/2 hours of this vibration trying to talk to one another. You might say, why did you stay? Well it was our anniversary, our reservation wasn't until 8:45 p.m. Our regular dinner service had already started and the upstairs buffet closed at 9:00, we ate nothing all day because we thought at $30 per person this dinner was going to be the bomb (especially since they were supposedly completely booked). When we walked in we should have known since there were so many empty tables we were going to be in trouble. Not to mention I called at 9:00a.m. Thursday morning and tried to reschedule our dinner reservations to 7:00 instead of 8:45. The woman on the phone said they were completely booked and I would be unable to change my reservation. I thought man this dinner is gonna be good. SAD SAD SAD...... Well my husband and I will definitely NEVER forget our 5th anniversary.
Lets talk about daily activities. They schedule periodic activities but not throughout the whole day, and definitely not something I'd be interested in. Knitting Class... What the @#$%? If you've been on a Holland American or a Royal Caribbean Cruise, there is no comparison. Both Holland and Royal know what they are doing and Costa could stand some lessons. There was one planned activity that I wanted to participate in during the entire 7 days and that was the Newly Wed Game, I waited all week for it to appear on our daily program. We've been to this activity on EVERY cruise we have taken. Wouldn't you know that on our anniversary night it was scheduled at 10:15. We were still at the SLOW, BAD, TASTELESS dinner in the Tuscan (didn't get out until 11:15). I really wished we would have just got up and walked out, but honestly I never gave up hope that at one point this dinner was going to get better. SADLY IT JUST NEVER HAPPENED!
Our room 7256 a BALCONY... We went to our room at 1:45p.m. The attendant said it was ready and welcome, he was very nice. We walked in: Well it started out, that there was sand all over our dresser. It looked like someone had poured about 1/8 of a cup of sand right on the dresser. How did our room attendant miss this when he was cleaning? It was VERY noticeable. The light fixture had spit or something gross smeared on it. Then toothpaste/spit on the bathroom counter, and a dirty mirror. Our balcony windows were very dirty and the outside balcony wall that faced the inside of our balcony was filthy. I quickly brought this to our room attendants attention and he quickly took care of everything except the balcony issues. He said one day during our cruise he was scheduled to clean out there. The day we're in St Thomas, 3 days into our cruise. I really think the balcony should have been cleaned before I arrived. But, he was very nice and I was okay with the balcony issues as long as he took care of the rest of the room. Note to future Costa cruisers, if you want your room cleaned you must remember to put out your clean my room sign or it doesn't happen. If you forget, no clean towels, etc. To all you people who wait to see what amazing towel animal your gonna have in your room when you return from dinner, my room attendant didn't even know what a towel animal was. No mints on the pillow. NO FRILLS, NO EXTRAS! Our room attendant was very nice and he acted like he really wanted to please us and he did ask me every single day, several times a day if everything was okay.
The smoke.. We had a smoke free room, however, there were so many smokers I guess in other rooms on our floor when we walked out of our cabin it was like walking into a fog. Our room was located right next to the elevator hall. It was very thick and if you have smoke allergies there is no escaping it. If it's not in the room your in, you have to go through so many rooms that are smoke filled to get to where your going, you might as well be lighting up yourself because your gonna have to inhale at some point simply because no one can hold their breath long enough to make it where their going. There's not suppose to be smoking in the elevator or stairways but I noticed some people didn't think those rules were for them.
The spa and fitness center was a great feature on the boat. They had a steam sauna, dry sauna, jacuzzi, lots of work out equipment. It was set up beautifully and everything was very clean everywhere in the place. Showers in the Spa were the absolute best feature on the ship. The showers in there were so fine, I literally brought my show bag, everyday so I could shower in the Spa rather than our room. They strictly enforce the 18 and older rule in the spa, and the outside adult pool was also strictly monitored for adult use only, which I really appreciated.
Life Jacket Drill: This was the biggest load of crap I've ever encountered on any ship. The boat drill was NOT conducted on the first day while we were in port until 7:00 p.m. Oh no...They do this drill on day 2 while your having a leisurely day at sea, they do this right in the middle of your slumbering, relaxing afternoon. This right here was a good enough reason not to chose this cruise line. Say for instance..Saturday night (the first night on the boat)we had a real life jacket emergency..Hello..Don't you think they should have had this drill while we were still in port like every cruise line I know of. If there had been a real emergency on that first night or morning would all the passengers know what to do and where to go? NO WAY!
Oh and lets not forget the what turned out to be an April Fools joke, I guess, they never really said. They announced that all persons on board must bring their life jacket and bathing suit to deck 9 at noon for a buoyancy test required by the Bahamas Authorities. I told my husband, I've been to the Bahamas 4 time before and I have never heard of such a thing and there was no way I was participating in what sounded like a big load of crap. I went to the spa at 11:00 and at 11:50 I was in the jacuzzi and the captain made an announcement. Blah Blah Blah Deck 9 by the pool 10 minutes. These little old ladies about 80 years old get out of the jacuzzi and of course they brought their life jackets with them, they are headed to the pool. They say honey you only have about 6 minutes are you coming? I said, I appreciate the offer but the only way I'm participating is if they come in this jacuzzi and drag me there! It was another leisurely day at sea and I wasn't going to interrupt my day at sea for something else stupid! If I would have went and got my life jacket and met these lunatics by the pool I would have been so mad and I would have given guest services a piece of my mind and then some. The food was bad enough, at the very least they could let me enjoy a leisure day at sea, uninterrupted.
Excursions: St. Thomas was so fun. We went snorkeling and then we took the sky ride up to the top and got some amazing pictures. Our ship was parked next to the Oasis when we were docked in Port Everglades but they were so close you couldn't really picture it's size. But when we were in St Thomas they were docked next to us and we were looking from the sky ride, it was massive. Our pictures are amazing! Puerto Rico we went on a city tour and then shopping. The tour was really drug out and by the time we finished our tour we only had a couple of hours to shop. We definitely would like and need more time in port! What's up with a 7 hour time limit. There was no need to rush as we were just going out to sea for a day and half the Bahamas were closed because it was Good Friday. I think they could have compensated and gave a little more time in Puerto Rico. But I don't understand the whole time in port, maybe they weren't allowed to stay because they didn't plan ahead. I have no idea, but I think 12 hours in port would be a lot nicer.
All in all, for the price we paid, it was about a 2 star cruise. If they had a half way decent planned activity list to choose from like other cruise lines and if the food had been at the very least okay, it could have made it to a 3. I would recommend this cruise to anyone who is looking to lose weight, and work out on vacation (because the spa was very nice). I would not recommend this cruise to anyone who expects good food or to be wowed or amazed by the taste of any food or the presentation of it. If your looking for any added frills or special anything (for free) this is not the cruise for you.
Good Luck Cruisers Our next destination is Aruba (not on Costa or Carnival)