In the Costa Cruises letter that came with our tickets from our booking agent, Cruise Club ,they stated that 'Costa's staff are ready to welcome you and anticipate your every wish'. This statement is far from reality.
What Costa do, to make it cheaper for them, is book you on the earliest and lastest flights of the day.
Our Easyjet flight departed 06.25 on time and landed at Milan Malpensa, approximately 09.30. With the time to add on for baggage reclaim and transfer from terminal 2 to terminal 1. The time will now be about 10.15am. On our ticket it said that out pick up time from the airport would be 08.30, difficult as we wouldn't even have landed at this time!
There were no Costa representatives at terminal 1 to greet us and to tell us where we should go. We saw several other passengers from the same plane joining the same ship so all decided to stay together and try to find out where we were supposed to go, as no help was provided!
We waited until the 12o'clock and we all made our way to the coach pick up point across the road and there like a mirage at the airport stood two Costa lady representative. We thought our troubles would be over, but no.
On giving our names to the first lady, who looked on her client list our names were not there. So we asked why not. She told us that we obviously hadn't booked a transfer and so would have to take a taxi at our expense! On closer inspection we discover that we have got a completely different pick up point from the rest of the passengers, we are being sent to a train station! Why? Is it not reasonable to assume that the passengers travelling on the same plane to the same destination with the same tour company would be travelling together.
As we already explained we would have missed our pick up as it would have left before our plane landed. We explained this problem to the Costa reps but they were just not interested, and most unhelpful or sympathetic, saying it was not their problem and that we would have to get a taxi at our expense.
You can now imagine the stress this was now causing, and we said that we were not going to pay the cost of a three-hour taxi journey and that this should be for Costa to pay. They said we should take it up with our booking agents, a little difficult when we are stranded at a bus station in Milan! We then spoke to the other Costa representative. She said we would have to wait until further clients arrived to see if there was any room on the bus, but if not we would have to go Savonna at our cost by taxi.
In between times these clowns were taking the names of the clients and directing them to a coach. It was like a comedy, they were putting 60 people and their luggage on a 50 seater coach so they had to get off and reclaim their luggage before it departed. My 10 year old grand-daughter could have organised it better.
The ten people turned off the first coach were now getting excited and irate as you would be by now after getting up early in the morning to start their holiday. It would appear that these two reps only clocked on at 11.30am when they should have been at the terminal greeting clients
The new wave of passengers arrived and just by chance there were two seats left on the coach so very begrudgingly they allowed us on the bus. Not a good start to our holiday!
It was a good holiday the ship was lovely only 5 years old and if you like Italiaen food and pizza that you can have it morning noon and night.
The sun beds you could always find two together but seven days is all you can stand of noisey Italian and German clients and who also do not like waiting patiently for getting on coaches so you to put link arms and put your elbows out to stop them pushing in front of you.
The announcements were always in five languages which you would accept on an Italian cruise ship.
But our problems did not end there.
On the Thursday we thought we had better check to see if the transportation travelling to Luton was going to be the same as the outward journey. The rep at the reception desk didn't know why we had experienced the problems we had but assured us she would get in touch with yourselves and arrange for us to travel back on the same coach as all the other passengers travelling to Luton.
She asked us to give her 24 hours, which we did. Still no answer so we gave her another 24 hours. She then told us that it had all been sorted and that we were definitely travelling back on the same coach as the other passengers to Luton.
We thought great there will be no more hassle, but on seeing the final Today programme with disembarkation details , guess what, the Brown luggage labels were going to be transferred to, you guessed it, Milan Central Train Station. Nothing had changed. We therefore made our way promptly to the Tour desk but no-one there, so we went to customer services whom assured us that although they did not have the paperwork it would be OK.
Upon hearing this we were not going to rely on what they told us as they had already given us false information. We got up early on disembarkation day to try and find the lady who we spoke to at the Tour desk. To her credit she went away and found the paperwork to assure us we were going to the airport.
What the Today paper should have said was that the brown luggage labels were going not only to the train station but also to the airport. But no, we are not booked on the same coach as the others although this is what we had been promised. So why we were treated differently to other customers.
But guess what, our problems did not end there. At the allotted time of 12.00am we went to the meeting point for the brown luggage label passengers. With little help we found our bus only to find that we were the only English speaking customers, and the rep who gave out instructions before leaving us on the bus only spoke in Italian!
If we were like many of the older clients on board can you imagine the stress, worry and strain this would have had on them.
To be treated this way was totally unacceptable when you take into consideration the boasting the Costa people were making that they were the best and did everything they could for their passengers.
We have travelled with other cruise lines and have never been treated in this unprofessional way.
We started and finished our holiday in a very unpleasant, stressful way. What had been a good holiday was ruined by very bad organisation.