Where to start! We had read many reviews on the Cruise Critic website and frankly, were wondering if we had chosen the right holiday for our family of 2 adults and 3 children aged 13, 13 and 11. Many comments had us worried, but we can assure you that from the time we arrived at the port of Venice to board the Costa Fortuna to the time we disembarked 8 days later, we could not believe how much fun this cruise was for each of us.
The staff, especially the Indian, Philippine and Brazilian staff had constant smiles on their faces and were always willing to assist us, no matter what time of day it was, how busy they were, or whatever else was going on, they always managed to make us feel as if we were the only guests onboard. The food was outstanding, the entertainment fantastic, the excursions wonderful.
There wasn't enough time in the day to sample all of the food on offer or enough room in our stomachs. At the breakfast buffet, there was a whole table just for tarts and cakes, and a sign advising that they were sugar-free - we sampled everything on that table! The hickory-smoked bacon was the best I've ever tasted. The huge variety of cheeses still make my mouth water.
We did excursions in Bari to see Alberobello, Katakolon to see Olympia, Mykonos, Santorini to see Oia and ride the donkeys down the cliff-face - excellent fun - once in a lifetime opportunity, and lastly in Rhodes. The only port we didn't do an excursion in was Dubrovnik, but we did walk around the town on our own and it is truly breathtaking. The only excursion we didn't much enjoy was in Mykonos, and we believe that next year, it's not on the agenda, we know why. Santorini is so beautiful, but unfortunately, we only had 1 hour there in Oia, but we'd love to return there one day. We had been taught some basic Greek phrases on the ship during a free language lesson. Melissa was our english speaking hostess on the ship and kept us informed on everything we needed to know and was most helpful throughout the cruise.
Our cabin was spacious and always kept neat and tidy by our lovely cabin steward Emerico. Our bathroom had more than adequate space for all of our toiletries. We had the best waiters in the whole restaurant, who couldn't do enough for us - Mark and Romualdo. We were at the first sitting at 7.00pm in the Michaelangelo Restaurant at table 97, and were treated like royalty. On the special Italian night, it was so much fun to see the waiters let their hair down and join in some fun and dancing with the guests.
We had read complaints about the announcements being made over the intercom in so many different languages, but, hey, guess what - there were people from all over the world on that ship and just imagine had they not given any messages in the language you speak, how upset you would have been. We found it fascinating, listening to the different languages.
We also read how if you're not Italian, then you're not going to enjoy a Costa cruise. Well, if you're going to start with that attitude, you had better stay at home. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Even though this cruise line is known for its Italian flavour, we believe, it is actually now owned by an American company. If you want American food, entertainment, etc. go on an American ship - simple. If you want Australian food, entertainment, etc. go on an Australian ship - even more simple. THE WHOLE IDEA OF TRAVELLING AWAY FROM YOUR OWN HOME IS TO EXPERIENCE OTHER CULTURES, TRADITIONS, AND FOODS, not to have exactly what you eat at home and to follow the same routine you follow at home.
We have already booked a cruise for next year on the Costa Mediterranea to leave from Savona, going to Cairo and Israel, among other places - another dream of ours to visit. Can't wait for some more new experiences.
Ofcourse, we cannot say that absolutely everything was perfect and that everything went exactly to plan, but we have travelled quite a lot over the years, with three children since they were four months old and so now we know that when things don't always work out the way they should, all you have to do is "accept the things you cannot change, have courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference"!
If you're thinking of going on a Costa Cruise, go and enjoy the adventure.