After leaving the sea 27 yrs ago, working as Chief Electrician, it was time to see how the other half live.
We flew from London to Copenhaghen as my wife wanted to revisit Copenhagen and also Costa offered more time visiitng Norway than sailing from Southampton. As this was for her 50th birthday, she called the tunes and after a lot of research on internet to who did what, we opted for Costa.
I am a great believer in you cannot please all the people all the time, so I fully expected to not find somethings to my taste and life experiences are sometimes what you decide to make of them.
The ship, bigger than any I have sailed on was not the decor I would have chosen, but I was only on it for a week, so not any problem at all. The cabin and cabin stewardess were excellent, kept very clean, warmly greeted every time we spoke to her and it became a guessing game to what she would do to our bed at night and find pillows arranged differently or the blanket laid out in a new shape. It was good fun. Also i rushed out one day and left my t shirt laying on the seat, returned to find it all nicely folded. My wife wanted to bring her home as sha is tored of clearing up after me. There was plenty of storage space for 2 of us for a week and many cupboards were not used.
We bought a wine/water & beer package and this worked out a lot cheaper based on CC prices. we didnt pay anymore than if we went to a restaurant in the UK. It wasnt cheap if you bought the drinks as and when you wanted them, so spend some time working out whats best for you.
The waiters on our table were wonderful and even when something wasnt on the menu, they would try and get it for you and generally got it. As the staff are on 8 month contracts, working 7 days a week and very little free time, I was very impressed to see them still manage to smile and they seemed to work very hard. The food was served quickly and you didnt have to wait between courses, the food was very good, plenty of choice and was always hot if that was the way it should be.
The buffet was good for the reason you could please yourself when you ate and there was enough choices between the various Pizza bar, grill bar, salads aplenty. We did upgrade on the last night to the Luminosa restaurant and for an extra €20 each, well worth the experience. It was a fantastic way to end the week
Being used to visiting the west end for shows, the standard of entertainment was average, but acceptable except for one act where the singer was awful. She was only saved by the guy doing gymnastics alongside her.
The pools are small and not very inviting, but my biggest bug bear is the fact that they allow smoking in a few areas. I HATE SMOKING and the smell drifted through the areas. They should confine smoking to either outside on Deck 11 or have a room fully vented and they can all kill themselves together. They didnt even manage to get all smoking on Port or Starboard sides of the ship, some decks port, some starboard, I would have walked the whole length of the ship down the non smoking side then.
Some of the charges in my opinion are expensive. €75 to a limited tour of the ship. Internet charges are ridiculous, there again only had 341 emails to sort out after a week, but saved a fortune. golf, F1 simulator etc seemed excessive and you can feel at times you may get charged for breathing.
Just be aware of extras like €7 per person per day service charge and the staff only get this if they meet the tough standards CC set out. My question is, where does the money go if they dont pay it to the staff. €7 x 2260 per day x 7 days = €110,740 a lot of money for CC to keep in the bank for nothing. I would have liked to personally tip my helpers, but after spending €98 on top of cruise cost, it becomes a no no for me.
I would happily return to CC if they stopped smoking mainly, but I also want to compare other companies even though Carnival seem to own most of them. I will look at comments on here before I book the next one in maybe 18 mths