My 3 best friends and I planned this trip to celebrate my sister-in-law's retirement. We planned to go 3 days early and visit Rome before boarding the ship. We booked cruise, tours, transfers and hotel all on line. After landing, our transfer took us directly to our hotel, DeLaVille Intercontential in downtown Rome. This hotel is a little pricey, but much worth it. Our rooms had little balconies opening onto a beautiful courtyard with antique french doors. Each balcony had beautiful flowers growing in pots even though it was November. The rooms were refreshing, beds wonderful and staff top notch. I would highly recommend this hotel with it's European flair and immaculate care they give to their customers.
We had booked several days of tours with a company called "All Around Italy". Our guide and owner, Fabrizio was prompt, courteous, knowledgeable and very entertaining. He took us to Florence, Rome, then picked us up from the ship in Naples (Amalfi Coast and Pompeii) and into Tuscany after we disembarked from the ship. This was definitely the high-light of our trip. I would highly recommend using this company for any private or group tours. He knows people every where and can individualize your tour as you like. He took us to authentic restaurants off the beaten path for the best Italian food we have ever had. Hands down, he's the best!
We boarded the Costa Magica on Saturday, November 5. All four of us were pleasantly surprised over the smoothness of the boarding process. All of us had been on cruises before, but never had we seen such ease with boarding. Before we knew it, we were on and so was our luggage!
We had been told that the majority of people on this cruise were European and this is true. However, all the staff on the ship speak many different languages and we encountered no staff member unable to speak English. The cruise ship had a special representative for English speaking guests, and Natalie was absolutely the best. She was always available and even planned events for us to meet other English speaking guests as well. There was no problem getting around the ship and we met many other guests from America.
The cabin was surprisingly large for an inside cabin. It had ample closet space and a large bath. We felt it was very adequate for our use. However, don't expect shampoo nor washcloths on these European cruise lines. We didn't mind.....we had brought our own.
The food was good. I have been on other cruise lines and I can't say it was better or worse. It's very heavy Italian. We did take the late dinner time and that was a mistake. Europeans eat very late and it was much too late for us Americans. We didn't get started until 9:30, and never finished before 11 or 11:30. However, we felt we could have eaten much quicker, but the service was a little slow. The staff was great, but seemed to have too many tables to take care of.
The wine packages are a very good deal. We had read where there had been problems with getting your wine when you needed it, however we did not have that problem at all. It was always readily available where ever, and when ever we wanted.
The staff was exceptional. Our cabin attendant, server, etc. all was helpful and attentive. The courtesy desk was very helpful.
The ship had lots of activities and the excursions that were good. Most of the tour guides spoke 2 languages on the bus because there was always other languages spoken along with English. Costa tried their best to only put 2 languages per bus. That was usually not a problem, though some times the guides were difficult to understand. The prices on the tours were also priced well and the guides were very nice.
Over all, I would recommend the Costa Magica and would cruise again with them if the opportunity exists. I found the ship to be clean, friendly very international. If you want to visit Italy with Italians, I would recommend this ship.