An advert in a national newspaper prompted my wife and myself to book the 'treasures of the Far East' cruise. Having made the committment we decided to investigate further and stumbled upon this website where we read some fairly negative reviews relating to the Costa Classica. Needless to say we worried a little about what to expect, convincing ourselves the ports of call would be worth it we bravely proceeded to pay the balance and go ahead anyway having been on two cruises before (Royal Carribean and Ocean Village).
To cut a long story short the following is a brief resume of our experience:- The flight was with Air New Zealand, 12 hours from Heathrow to Hong Kong was the longest non-stop flight we have had in our lives but amazingly one of the most pleasant. The on-board staff could not have been more helpful and polite and the on-board screen entertainment was very good indeed, I even slept...a first for me! We arrived at the ship by taxi (included) at around 6pm local time and walked directly on board after the the usual ID checks etc which took about 5 minutes. Our immediate impressions were 'so far so good'. The cabin was unexpectedly roomy, clean and tidy (remember the reviews) so we allowed ourselves the small luxury of thinking this might be better than we thought.
We hurriedly unpacked and headed in the direction of the dining room to have the anticipated confrontation with the Maitre D re: our table and sitting allocation but again to our surprise there wasn't a problem changing to 2nd. sitting. By now we were beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about! The food and service was good, no complaints there either. Next morning we explored the ship and concluded that we would write our own review as we became more and more pleased with what we saw, perhaps it was down to having our expectations lowered by the negative reviews in our heads. The ports of call were brilliant and, in a nutshell, the best holiday we ever had including the days at sea. No problem getting a sunbed by either of the pools, staff/crew were polite and helpful (treat them like fellow human beings and they will respond accordingly), the food was plentiful, hot and appetising and the entertainment was good albeit short. Incidently the reason they take guests passports is because they need to issue visas at some ports of call along the way.
There were a few small niggles but I will not go into detail as they were sorted out quickly and efficiently and did not spoil our enjoyment in any way. It has to be said however, the Costa Classica is not a 5 star luxury ship. She is adequate, clean and well looked after and fits the bill well, remember like us you have probably chosen this cruise for the ports of call not to be pampered and spoilt.