Can I just start by saying we are not complaining type of people and we have done 7 cruises with RCL and Princess and never found anything which was not top class.
Regrettably that is not what we experienced with Costa cruises.
The delay to the start of our cruise due to the crash was not a good start but they did put us up in a reasonable , although it was at the airport and one hour from Hong Kong, and provided food and an excursion but there was no information regarding embarkation until 1 am on Monday morning when we found a letter pushed under the door saying we had to have our luggage outside the room by 8 am and we were boarding from 9 am.
We eventually boarded the ship on Monday 25th October and were told of the changed itinerary missing Manilla and Sanya. Also we would be arriving at all the other ports a day later than planned.
Costa Classica is like an old car ferry as far as decor and facilities are concerned, On previous cruises we have walked on the ship and gone WOW, not on this ship. The lounges were dark and dingy and the fact that smoking was allowed inside the sip meant the whole ship smelled of smoke.
We had bad weather for 3 nights and 4 days following our departure from Saigon( obviously not Costas fault). What did concern us was the amount of water dripping through the ceiling on decks 11, 10 and 9 in many places. All the big windows in the aft bar on deck 9 and the spa had towels around the bottom and buckets collecting the drips. When it rained the upper decks were like paddling pools and this obviously was dripping through the decks there were buckets everywhere..
I went to visit someone in a cabin on deck 5, it was the first habitable one after the patched up hole. They has a towel against the wall as water was coming in they had asked to be moved but were told there were no spare cabins.
The staff were not friendly and smiling we thought they had perhaps been told to avoid getting into conversation with the passengers as so many people were so angry and just shouted at whoever they could.
The organisation of everything was pitiful it was as if they were doing it for the first time. I have never spent so much time in Queues, to pick up excursion bus number. On the first night, to get into dinner, we queued for 40 minutes to get into the dining room. After 1.25 hours we still did not have any food. We complained to the Maitre de and he said it was because they had been doing Chinese dinner service for the past few cruises and they had a new chef on board and he was taking time to settle in.
The service did improve but we were often still waiting for main courses at 11 pm most nights.
The food was edible but not exciting more like school dinner than cruise food, it was usually cool or cold never hot and always served on cold plates. The buffet was crowded and often ran out of dishes, the tables were not cleared so we often had to clear our own tables before we could sit and eat. There were up to 6 staff trying to get you to by drinks and one man clearing 40 tables.
The buffet shut at 5 pm every evening except 2 and did not reopen so there was no option but to go in the dining room. There is no food available from 5 pm, only in the dining room so if you come back from an excursion after 5pm you cannot have a snack.
The quality entertainment was very poor , I have seen better jugglers at a 6 year olds birthday party.
We never arrived at ports at the advertised times and because of the 2 day delay we always arrived one day late which meant we docked in the container ports which were 1 hour from the cities, this shortened the time we had ashore.
On the last morning we queued for 2 .5 hours to get our passports back there was no information about what the delay was and there were no staff anywhere to ask, they all melted into the background. Eventually they did announce that the passport distribution was now starting.
When we got off the ship at 9.30 we had 2 hours to wait for the prebooked transfer at 11.30 and were told there was no where to wait, no where to leave luggage and we had to leave the cruise terminal as soon as possible. The queue for Taxis was so long we set off and walked to the bus terminal where we got a taxi to the Kowloon in town check in.
I have never seen so many angry people complaining to whoever they could grab.
I could go on but will stop now and just say we and the majority of people on the cruise we spoke to will never travel Costa again, it is a one star line never to be repeated