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2 Barcelona Costa neoRomantica Cruise Reviews

My wife and I received an email from Cruise Nation offering an eleven night cruise on the Costa Neo Romantica at what we thought was a very good price. Having never been on a cruise before and also being only in our mid 50s we were unsure ... Read More
My wife and I received an email from Cruise Nation offering an eleven night cruise on the Costa Neo Romantica at what we thought was a very good price. Having never been on a cruise before and also being only in our mid 50s we were unsure as to whether to book or not. In the end we looked at the destinations to be visited, Barcelona, Casablanca, Santa Cruz, Funchal, Malaga, Civitavechia and Savona and decided to go ahead. Travel to the port of embarcation was supposed to be with Iberia from Gatwick and this was changed by the travel agent, without notification, to Vueling from the other Gatwick terminal. The plane was overbooked and all cabin luggage had to be packed into the hold. Legroom was at the legal minimum and the whole operation was less impressive than low cost operators such as Ryanair and Easy jet. The ship was one of the smaller ones in the Costa fleet and newly refurbished throughout. We joined it on the final leg of a world cruise. We had an inside cabin which was quite comfortable and serviced twice daily by wonderful staff. The neighbours were at times quite noisy though and they could be heard through the walls. The food onboard was generally excellent with formal dining or an anytime option being available. Here again the staff were excellent and no request was too much trouble. The formal dining is in a restaurant called Boticelli's, though not every evening was a formal occasion. Giardino's is where you can have buffet food during the day, including afternoon tea, and this too seemed to be of a good standard. We used the gym on a daily basis and found it to be well equipped and clean. It overlooks the bows of the ship and offers good views. The downside is that it is like excercising in a green house - beware! We were pleased to find that we were not the youngest on board and we made good friendships with other couples of a similar age and younger (most of whom seemed to have taken up the same "deal" as us). There is no Theatre on board and the entertainment is more Butlins than Las Vegas. The visiting cabaret acts were of a good standard, but the repertoire of the in-house musicians was very "samey" and began to wear thin when repeated night after night. We thought long and hard about whether to take the drinks package or not and were glad that we had decided to do so, for as only moderate drinkers it still worked out more economic to do so. Water, tea/cofee etc was not included in the base price of the cruise The ports of call were interesting to us, but Casablanca was culturally very different to anything we'd ever experienced (not in a good way). Savona was an absolute delight, not at all what we were expecting, as someone had said it would be like Hull!! I wouldn't look to book an excursion when docked here as there is definitely plenty to see and explore, all within walking distance. Due to the nature of the itinerary, we had little time in Malaga and to make the most of our time there we had to disembark whilst it was still dark and everywhere was closed! We took one excursion (to Rome) and everywhere else we explored either alone on foot, or with travelling companions. The hop on, hop off buses are good if you have limited time/mobility and want to see/learn as much as possible in a short space of time. Avoid the yellow one in Funchal, as although it offers a reduced rate for a ride up the cable car, it has much more limited frequency than the red bus. On one of our at sea days, Costa offered a behind the scenes tour of the ship, for (I think) 29 euros per person. We would love to have taken this opportunity, but felt that this was just a way of milking captive guests for a bit more money. Overall we enjoyed the experience, but would not now consider ourselves converts to cruising as some had suggested we would undoubtedly become. Enjoyable? yes certainly. Something we would do again? Very probably - and we are certainly glad to include it into the repertoire of holiday types that we select from Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We flew from Boston to Madrid and then caught a connecting flight to Barcelona. There were six adults in our group. We were told just days before we left that we were upgraded to a suite. Never had been in a suite before. Since we were ... Read More
We flew from Boston to Madrid and then caught a connecting flight to Barcelona. There were six adults in our group. We were told just days before we left that we were upgraded to a suite. Never had been in a suite before. Since we were told we couldn't board til 3 and we arrived in the morning, we had arranged with Barcelona tours for a 4 hour tour. The tour was very nice, although with little sleep, we were anxious to get on the ship. When we arrived finally at the port, we were very surprised to see we were the only ones there to board the ship. I guess the vast majority of our shipmates had boarded in Savonna. So, boarding was quite easy! We all thought the ship was very beautiful, after all it had just been redone. Everything seemed new and sparkly clean. Although I had sailed before in balcony rooms, I had never really been bothered by the small rooms. Compared to those the suite we had on the 11th floor was very very roomy. Big comfy bed, a pillow menu, large flat screen TV that swiveled on its base so that you could watch it from the bed or sitting area. The bathroom was huge with both a tub and a shower. And of course a nice large balcony. There was a platter of assorted canapes, a basket of fruit, that was replenished every day and an ice bucket with a bottle of bubbly were all waiting for us. The butler...(butler!) and room steward came to meet us shortly after we arrived. They were both very pleasant and always asked when they saw us if they could do anything for us. We had others from our group on one side of our room, but the other side was vacant until the next to last day. The ship hold around 1800 guests, but we were told that there were less than 1000 during our week on board. This of course was no problem for us and allowed us to get deck loungers almost anywhere and at anytime of the day. We loved that! Although in a suite you get complementary room service, we really didn't use it that much. We did have a continental breakfast delivered each morning. Juice, coffee, fruit and rolls and danishes. But they weren't able to deliver a regular breakfast till 7:30 at the earliest, and well we were usually out and about by then. The continental came every day at 6 am. Since our room was on deck 11 near mid ship, we wee only steps away from the mid ship pool and the lido bar. It seemed like a perfect location. We had last cruised on Costa three years ago from Venice to the Eastern med. Although we certainly enjoyed the food on this trip, we all think we had enjoyed the last cruise food much better. Maybe our memories fail us. We did use the gym. It is at the bow of the ship, and if you use the treadmills as your ship is entering the harbor, it feels like the faster you walk or jog, the faster the ship will get in! There is a small walking/jogging track on the top deck. We tried to walk off several meals there in the mornings. We usually had it to ourselves. The ship has a cigar bar,wine bar, chocolate bar and a pizza shop. The entire week I rarely if ever saw anyone using these places. There was a specialty restaurant on board and since we were in a suite were offered one free meal there. We made a reservation, although it did not seem necessary because when we ate there we were practically the only ones there. This was our least favorite meal of the week. It wasn't terrible, just not as good as the others. Go figure. Since there were so few folks eating in there, well, the service folks could have backed up 2-3 steps and we might have enjoyed our meal better. But maybe that had nothing to do with the food. I have never been much of a fan of the entertainment provided on cruise ships in the theater. So much lip syncing and well, I tend to avoid them. This ship did not have a large theater and I thought that was a plus. Between the cigar bar and wine bar there were usually some sort of quartet playing classical music. I never sat around to listen to them but always enjoyed walking by. Sometimes I paused for a few minutes, they sounded great. There are 2 lounges on board. We usually spent most evening drifting from one to the other. The entertainment staff was great at getting people to dance together. We spent many a night dancing and very much enjoyed it. The singers and comedians were OK. I never stayed for a whole show but enjoyed it in little bits and pieces. The casino was very small and although I did win a little at the Roulette table, none of us really spent much time there. We were lucky to have great weather for the week. The pools are very tiny and none of us used them. Nor did any of us use the hot tubs.. Did I mention we had a whirlpool in our room? I tried it once, I guess I am just not a tub person, but my wife used it every day. We did purchase the all inclusive drink package before we left. Although we could have purchased it on board. It was easy to use at any bar or at any time of course. I had downloaded the list before I went, however any drink you asked for they were able to make for you and have it included. We were all glad we had the package. We visited Palma de Mallorca, Malta, Catania, Naples and Savonna. I had never been to any of these places and liked all of them. In Malta, we rented a car and went to a nice beach. Driving on the left with a manual using your left hand took a little getting used to, but it wasn't hard. We did not book any excursions, as we do the research ahead of time and prefer mostly walking and exploring. I found Palma to be the most pleasant city to walk in, but all were quite walkable. I wasn't sure what to expect from Naples. We were there on a Sunday and well...we loved it. Its crowded and a little dirty, but still, has a great deal of charm. We even were able to find a place open for authentic Naples pizza. We had really enjoyed our trip three years ago on the Costa Victoria and were looking forward to sailing with Costa again. We had been booked on the Concordia. I'm sorry for the tragedy that occurred with the Concordia, but I think for us, this was the better ship to be on. Much smaller and not crowded at all. I so often read negative reports on here about Costa. I just don't see what others are talking about. i am not at all bothered that as an English speaking American that I am in the minority. I really think that adds to the experience. And I have not, after two cruises on Costa witnessed the so-called rudeness of any Europeans. We always ate dinner in the MDR, but breakfast and lunch were in the two different buffets. I didn't witness any pushing or line cutting at all. Everyone. the ships crew and our fellow ship mates were always very pleasant and courteous. It wasn't perfect, no trip ever is, but we all had a great time. One thing that I did find somewhat amusing though, had to do with Caesars salad. On our room service menu I saw it was offered as an anytime item. It was never on any dinner menu though. On our second night I ordered it in the main dining room. It arrived with many many little bits of bacon. It wasn't what I expected but i just tried to eat around the bacon. As we were eating our desserts our waiter told us that if we wanted Caesars salad again, we should order it in advance. OK. Seemed we all wanted it for the next night, but asked if we could have it without the bacon. Sure, we were told. Well the next night they brought our salads. Now it had grilled chicken and bacon bits. I wanted croutons and anchovies..oh well. Never had a Caesars salad like that before. I just wondered why it was available always on the room service menu, but had to be ordered in advance in the dining room. Not a gripe, just found it amusing. My only gripes are two. The promenade deck is always my favorite on a ship. I like walking the deck where the lifeboats are kept. I makes me feel like I am really on a ship. This was for crew only. Also i always enjoy the outside eating area in the stern near the buffet. Love to have my meals sitting outside. On this ship this spot is missing. We will sail again with Costa. The food could be better, the stops could be longer, but the price is right and all in all everything was just fine.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Costa neoRomantica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 2.9
Public Rooms 4.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 4.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.3
Enrichment 3.0 2.9
Service 3.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 4.0 3.5

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