1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Costa Cruises
  4. Costa Magica Review
  5. Costa Magica Cruise Reviews

4 Copenhagen to Baltic Sea Costa Magica Cruise Reviews

we recently cruised the costa magica, baltic seas.we have have cruised 5 other times. this was our worst cruise ever. We are American and were warned that it is primarily Italians, let's say 90% Italians. Of 3,000 passengers, perhaps ... Read More
we recently cruised the costa magica, baltic seas.we have have cruised 5 other times. this was our worst cruise ever. We are American and were warned that it is primarily Italians, let's say 90% Italians. Of 3,000 passengers, perhaps 100 spoke English as their primary language. We probably spoke to 6 people our entire cruise. The Italians on board were the focus of the ship, they were always in large groups, so much so that it made it difficult to even get food at times. They were rude, stepped on you, walked in front of you, didn't seem to care about anybody else but themselves. We were shocked the moment the ship left dock, no announcements, no bonvoyage send off, they just left! We went to dinner that night, table for 8, only 2 other people at our table, an older couple from the US. The table was always set for 8 and nobody else ever came to dinner, very strange. The food was TERRIBLE. The entrees were very strange, never tasted good. The rolls were hard as rocks, we ordered fish several times, it was so bad we couldn't even eat it. We NEVER had a good meal. Please don't go for the food if you are American, you will be disappointed. Even the breakfast buffet was bad, lunch was another problem, all they seemed to want to serve was pizza, if you didn't eat in the main dinning room at night your only other option was pizza, once again. Unless you opted to pay more and go to another dinning room, which I'm sure wasn't good. My husband and I both got some type of food poisoning. I was sick for two days then my husband was ill one day. Certainly took a toll on the trip. The shows were poor, lots of foreign language, totally boring. The cruise ship director was basically nonexistent. Other cruises they have been present and directed the activities of the ship. We only saw the man at the evening shows, he wasn't even entertaining then. Dinner was very late, 7:30, that was early sitting, shows were at 10:00. During the whole cruise we were told very little about anything, few announcements, if there were any about half were never made in English, we just guessed as to what was happening. Good part of the cruise: ports were very interesting, we enjoyed all of them, but basically saw them on our own except St. Petersburg. Our Stockholm trip was cancelled because the ship got in too late. Good thing we had Rick Steve Books so we could do it on our own. Our room was an inside room, bottom floor, we loved it. It was very quiet, and very well kept up, one of the better rooms we have had. The ship is very new so things are in good shape. The room service was very good, everything we wanted was supplied. Tip, don't drink the water or use the ice that is brought in every day, we probably got sick from it. Water is very expensive to buy on the ship about $3 a bottle in the room. We went to Helsinki and finally got a gallon for about $1 and used it the rest of the cruise. TV is terrible, only about one station in English and it was boring. Getting off the ship was ridiculous, they made us wait 2 hours and told us we could be taken into Copenhagen. We waited tried to get on the bus and then were told we couldn't take any luggage. What do you think we were going to do with it? We finally took a taxi, went to Copenhagen to the train depot, rented a locker there, stored the luggage, saw Copenhagen, went back, got the luggage and took the train to the airport. Very easy to get to the airport by train. Skip Costa's expensive transport. Bottom line, this cruise is not for first time cruisers, nor for inexperienced travelers. We looked at the cruise as a floating hotel with bad food. We saw what we wanted to see. We will cruise again, but never Costa. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
After reading several critiques of the Magica (particularly the food), our expectations were less than when we booked our cruise to the Baltic. I can honestly say, the Magica exceeded our expectations exceptionally. We departed Copenhagen ... Read More
After reading several critiques of the Magica (particularly the food), our expectations were less than when we booked our cruise to the Baltic. I can honestly say, the Magica exceeded our expectations exceptionally. We departed Copenhagen on Sunday, May 20 and returned on the 27th. The ports were Tallinn, Estonia which is a charming old city. The excursion to Old Town was exactly as it was represented in the pre-cruise information. Second port was St. Petersburg. Only one day was spent there and it could easily take 2 or 3 days to do this beautiful city justice. The only way a person can really see the highlights of this city is on a private excursion. The Hermitage was beautiful, but we really became tired of looking at paintings, but are sure others were pleased. Helsinki was a disappointment because the excursion we booked turned out to not be as advertised. Several people did the city on their own and I believe if we ever returned to this city, that would be our choice. Stockholm was probably the highlight for us. We took a canal cruise on our own in the morning and then a bus tour in the afternoon that went to Old Town and ended at an Ice Bar. Great and fun experience. Should be on everyone's list of things to do. Now about the food. It was outstanding. Previous reviews criticized the beef, the temperature and the service. We found no problem in any of these areas. The entire table of 8 people agreed. Everyone tipped the wait staff in addition to the daily amount that the ship charged. Our cabin steward was also outstanding, and every staff member on the ship was friendly and always greeted us with a smile. Because if information found on the Cruise Critic website, we purchased the X-1 card, which covers wine, beer and water during dining hours (lunch & dinner), but we found that the bar people treated us like second class citizens when they saw this noted on our room cards. They always had discussions among themselves as to which wine they were supposed to serve us and even what kind of glass to put it in. It is a good purchase, but has to be done prior to sailing. Just be aware of how you will be treated before you purchase it. The only complaint we would have would be the bedding. Since Costa is now owned by Carnival, we would have expected the same luxurious bedding and beds as on the Carnival fleet - but there is no comparison. The mattresses were 4 inch pads of foam rubber and the pillows very thin. The blanket was a thin sheet of felt like material. Costa could improve in this area greatly and hopefully will in the near future. We did not attend any of the entertainment, but feedback from our tablemates was that it was a waste of time. We enjoyed meeting our tablemates after dinner each night in one of the lounges for drinks and visiting. English speaking people were in the minority (200 out of 2700), but all staff members were able to communicate with us and the excursions accommodated us very well. All in all, we were extremely pleased with this cruise, the ship, the ports and staff members. Would be happy to answer any questions anyone might have if they are considering this trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
Costa Magica Sept 3-10, 2006 Baltic: Copenhagen, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen George Smart and Eleanor Stell Overall: Take Princess or RCI instead Costa does Europe in five languages (English, French, Spanish, ... Read More
Costa Magica Sept 3-10, 2006 Baltic: Copenhagen, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen George Smart and Eleanor Stell Overall: Take Princess or RCI instead Costa does Europe in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Japanese) least expensively with the most interesting itineraries and convenient schedules. We enjoyed four previous cruises on Costa around the Med, including one last year on the Magica. The food was so bad we could not believe it. Bland, never hot, and sometimes unidentifiable. So this year we were not happy that the Magica was the only Baltic ship fitting our schedule. This is the last Baltic run of the season before the ship relocates to Savona for the fall. After enduring painfully uncomfortable economy seating on SAS Airlines to Copenhagen, when ship embarkation opened at 12 we were in our room asleep by 1220. Costa, like many other cruise lines in the Carnival-owned system, has changed the way tips work. In the old days, which were only a few years ago, each passenger received envelopes at journeys end to tip their waiter, asst waiter, cabin steward, and head waiter. Staff members went out of their way during the trip to chat, entertain, and delight passengers so as to increase tips. Each dinner had entertainment by the dining staff. Cabin stewards were extra attentive, always around your cabin, fixing or cleaning it up in nice or unusual ways. Now the accountants are running the ship. Taking tips out of your control, Costa simply tacks on 6 Euro per person per day to your onboard bill. No longer dependent on impressing customers, the staff doesnt need as much time to serve, and therefore Costa has cut back slightly on personnel. While you have a nominal waiter and asst, they are simply order takers and servers, moving at lightning speed to moveem on, headem out. The cabin steward is simply a housekeeper as in a hotel. Youll get a chocolate on your pillow and a clean cabin but no towel animals or any other of the old kitschy gestures. Technically you can withhold tips upon checkout, but rarely does anyone do so. Not that the service is poor. The staff does a fine job efficiently. It is just that the charm is gone. Years ago the crew was almost all Italian. The accountants cost cutting has brought on massive numbers of Filipinos, Chinese, and Indonesians who work very hard and cost less than Europeans. Consequently, theres more Italian influence in your local Olive Garden than on a Costa ship. Cruising Italian Style? Baloney. The Magicas food this year was still poorly prepared. Were not food snobs, but theres nothing elitist about wanting meals hot, tasty, and fresh. Every English-speaking passenger we spoke to, from Canada to NZ to UK to Australia, found the food primarily bland, tasteless, and lukewarm. One would think on a supposedly Italian ship the Italian food would be awesome. Weve had better in an Olive Garden. Almost every entrEe is frozen before cooking and you can taste it. Costa goes out of its way to inform you the frozen items have been prepared using techniques of highest quality. Well, Costa, it may be sanitary but if it doesnt taste fresh, so what? We cant figure out why a giant ship stopping in a major port nearly every day cant serve more fresh food. Grilled fish dishes and fresh fruit are your best bets. Skip the awful pizza, tough steaks, overly sweet fruit soups, and over frozen shellfish. Even getting to dinner can be a mystery. Smeralda Dining Room cant be accessed from its own floors 3 and 4. One has to go to 2 or 5 and go up or down. Club Vincenza, the alternative restaurant on the 11th floor, serves up a better, hotter meal for 20 extra Euro per person. Thats a lot to pay for basic quality you should be getting in the main dining rooms. There are few good deals on board as those accountants have their hands constantly in your pocket. Spa services such as massage run $2 per minute or more. They will tell you ANYTHING to sell spa products, including pseudoscience about your toxins and skin care that would send any stateside dermatologist directly to jail for fraud. Hour long gym classes, formerly free in the old days, are now $15. The internet cafe is the worst ripoff at $35 per hour for 14-28k in this age of fat pipe wireless, which, by the way, isnt available at all, even for a fee. Getting any drink other than water or coffee or tea is 2-3 Euro. The buffet staff treat the free orange juice machines like prized champagne fountains, opening them only for a few hours a day and allowing only half a glass at a time so as to discourage use. Formerly free shuttles from the ship to town now cost $7 roundtrip with long lines for tickets. The casino offers house-heavy games such as blackjack, slots, and roulette  no poker. Tips: Buy 13 liters of plain or sparkling mineral water for $30. Into wine? Buy a multi-bottle package your first day on board. And since this was the last cruise of the Baltic season, everything Baltic goes on sale midweek for 75% off. Looking for a great make-out spot? Walk all the way forward on Deck 9 to a private panorama overlooking the bow. Hey, enough about the boat. We were here for the scenery. This time of year, the weather could not have been nicer for touring. Tallinn, Estonia, is a classic medieval town recovering from Soviet occupation and a struggling economy. Russian St. Petersburg, formerly Leningrad, has the vast Hermitage museum and way too many tourists surging through. Helsinki is a typically clean, well-run, cloudy Scandinavian capital whose tour guides constantly remind you how much they still distrust the Russians. Despite being one of the most peaceful countries on earth, Finland still refuses to remove landmines on their Russian border. Stockholm is the most beautiful of the Baltic capitals, with canals and islands and rivers and grand architecture connected by the worlds best mass transit system. Skip the Costa-sponsored 83 Euro Ice Bar tour and do it yourself for 15 Euro. A very fun experience, drinking Absolut vodka at 20 or so degrees in provided ice parkas! (There are also Ice Bars in London and Milan). Having attained enough points from previous cruises, we reached Pearl status which is the highest past passenger level. Pearl gets a bottle of cheap prosecco, a little fruit basket, 10 Euros for the casino, a small model of the boat, an advance copy of the menu every night, and a cocktail party with 800 others. Yawn. This just doesnt reflect benefits wanted by super-frequent passengers. Note to Costa accountants -- put terry cloth robes in the room, provide free internet, private kitchen tours, and free soft drinks for equally inexpensive and much more appreciated perks! Finally, Italian and Spanish women will routinely cut in front of you on tours or to exit the boat. Tell them nicely to go to the back of the line. Despite the fact they will pretend not to understand, repeat it and they will comply. At buffets, it is an accepted practice once you hit the tray line to dart in and out, unlike waiting your turn like you learned in grade school. If youre an obese North American woman, leave those shorts in the cabin. Youll be helping international relations immensely. If you dont like any of the food, just politely set it aside. Barking criticism at the dining staff is embarrassing for everyone. They really cant help how lousy the food is. Blame the accountants. Bottom line: Take Princess or RCI to the Baltic. They will cost more and take a few more days, but youll be glad you did! Hello to John and Joann, Ray and Lynette, and Ice Bar mates Terry and Julia. If you found this review useful, please let us know. Happy cruising -- see all our cruise reviews at www.georgesmart.com/travel. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
ARRIVAL We flew to Copenhagen a day early. We took a 15 minute train trip (there is a station right in the airport) to the central train station then had a two block walk to our hotel. The Hotel First Vesterbro (approximately $180 USD ... Read More
ARRIVAL We flew to Copenhagen a day early. We took a 15 minute train trip (there is a station right in the airport) to the central train station then had a two block walk to our hotel. The Hotel First Vesterbro (approximately $180 USD per night including all taxes and breakfast) is just down the street from Tivoli Gardens and the main shopping district. We spent the day walking around Copenhagen and the evening in the not-to-be-missed Tivoli Gardens. We looked around more on Sunday then caught a taxi to the port in the early afternoon. We arrived at the port at approximately 2pm. EMBARKATION We have never experienced such a quick embarkation. Although we arrived just 30 minutes past the posted embarkation start time, we literally dropped off our luggage in front of the terminal then walked on to the ship. We stopped briefly while someone checked our tickets and passports but there was no line. Once on the ship, we immediately went to our cabin to drop off our hand luggage then proceeded to a designated lounge to register our credit card. There was about a 15 minute wait to do this. THE SHIP We have been on over 25 cruises. This, by far, was the most stunning and elaborate ship we have ever been on. Many reviewers on this site comment that the ship is garish and overly decorated to the point of being tacky. I must disagree. It is classically European with marble, gold and rich colors everywhere. The main atrium area, several decks high, is a sight to behold. It took us a couple of days to get oriented to the ship. The multi-deck restaurants presented somewhat of a navigational barrier when moving from one end of the ship to the other but after figuring out that we needed to traverse the ship using deck 5 or higher, it was easy to get to destinations on lower decks. The casino deserves special mention. Costa commissioned a famous Italian puppet-making family to create 50+ medieval marionettes (each about 3.5 feet tall) to be displayed in glass columns throughout the Magica's casino. Take some time to absorb the stunning artistry on display here. OUR CABIN We had a category 10 balcony cabin (6459) on Deck 6. We chose this particular cabin because on the deck plans it appeared larger than the other balcony cabins, with a larger balcony. We were right! The cabin ran parallel to the hallway instead of perpendicular to it. As a result, it was quite wide and in addition to the glass door and large picture window standard in balcony cabins, it had a second large picture window. The balcony was easily twice the length of the balconies in other cabins--we noticed this later when we were off the ship as we could easily spot our cabin: the one with the really long balcony. There was plenty of storage room and the cabin was very nicely appointed, feeling like a spacious hotel room instead of a claustrophobic closet. Our cabin steward was professional and unobtrusive. THE FOOD We have been on previous Costa ships (the Classica and Romantica) and felt the food was adequate and somewhat institutional and tired looking. The Magica, however, had substantially better food. The breakfast and lunch buffets contained a nice variety of items and everything looked fresh and interesting. Nothing outstanding, but we were never hungry. We ate all dinners in the dining room with delightful dinner companions and were fortunate enough to have a window table. Since it stayed light quite late, we always had a beautiful view of the sea while dining. Nightly entrees always contained a fish, a beef dish, a lamb or veal dish (favorites with Europeans) and a vegetarian dish. Only once was there a chicken dish that I recall. The food was served hot, well presented, and usually delicious. The pasta courses were always fresh and interesting. Note that wine packages consisting of 5-7 bottles of wine + 10 large bottles of mineral or sparkling water was a great deal at approximately 115 Euros ($148 USD). Be sure to order this on your first night and you'll be given coupons to later exchange for the wine and water. We found this to be a great value. THE SERVICE We have always experienced excellent service on our prior Costa cruises but felt that the service was exceptionally good on the Magica. All service personnel we encountered were extremely professional and friendly and the service in the dining room notably so. You couldn't pass a Costa employee anywhere without a smile and a greeting. With so many nationalities on board, many even remembered after the initial encounter what our native language was. THE ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment isn't one of Costa's strong points but I wouldn't expect it to be considering how difficult it is to entertain so many different nationalities at once. The Broadway-style shows (of which there were two on this 7 night cruise) were good efforts with beautiful costumes, adequate sets and acceptable performances. While a bulk of the lyrics were in English, some others were performed in other languages and added a very international touch to the shows. Other shows were less interesting and certainly not the spectacles of other lines. Europeans are very social and I get the feeling that the shows aren't of much interest to them anyway. They would rather spend their times in lounges or the disco and those areas always seemed to be packed. Classical musicians performing in the smaller, more intimate venues were especially talented and entertaining. THE SPA We treated ourselves to many treatments including massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. While the treatments are expensive, they are wonderful. The spa staff was warm, friendly and professional and there is nothing like two hours of having your hands and feet worked on while dreamily gazing out a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows at the passing sea. The gym was large and extremely well-equipped but somewhat oddly designed. The ceiling is quite low so tall passengers ought to use caution when using the cardio machines--I banged my head several times and I'm of average height. The windows are severely angled inward and not very tall so when using cardio machines your only option is to look straight down onto the water--you can't look out toward the horizon at all. Be sure to take advantage of the sauna. While I can't speak for the women's sauna, the men's sauna was spacious and contained a large window that looked out to sea or to port. Very relaxing on sea days. THE PASSENGERS As always, we were just two of few Americans on this ship. Of the 3,000 passengers on this sailing, I would guess that 30% were Italians, 30% Spaniards, 15% Germans, 15% French and the rest a mix of Americans, Canadians and Brits. And this is exactly why we love sailing Costa so much. If you can get by the fact that many Europeans smoke (it's hard to avoid in the lounges), you will find that they are very friendly and fun-loving people, very warm and passionate. I would recommend to anyone sailing on Costa to take the time beforehand and learn basic phrases in Italian, Spanish, German, and French. When encountering someone in passing, they will often greet you in a language other than English. How much nicer it is to recognize what they are saying to you and be able to respond back to them instead of the alternative response we often see--a blank stare or feigned deafness. Know that people are saying Good Evening to you and not insulting you. I was always able to return greetings, ask people how they were and then apologize for not speaking their language. When there is no common language, it's amazing what you can convey through pantomime! THE PORTS For a ship carrying 3,000 people, getting on and off during port visits was always fast and effortless. We never waited in line for more than a couple of minutes. We made stops in Tallin (Estonia), St. Petersburg, Helsinki, and Stockholm. I won't go into detail on these ports except to say they were all beautiful--and fascinating. Our weather wasn't too cooperative so it was cool, windy and often raining but we thoroughly enjoyed every port we visited and ventured out alone in all of them except St. Petersburg. There, we took a wonderful nine hour tour to avoid having to get visas. We learned so much about the country and how far it has come since the fall of Communism 15 years ago. An exceptional and very educational itinerary with spring flowers in full bloom everywhere! DISEMBARKATION I have to admit that as usual, we didn't wait for our color luggage tag to be called--we just walked off the ship as soon as we saw people starting to leave. The ship docked in Copenhagen at 8am and we headed to the gangway at 9:15am. 15 minutes later, we had collected our luggage and were in a taxi on our way back to the same hotel we stayed in on the start of our journey. FINAL COMMENTS We love sailing on Costa and thoroughly enjoy the international experience it provides. We are sailing the Magica again this Thanksgiving in the Caribbean and are looking forward to spending another week on this beautiful ship. We returned home from our trip with suitcases full of freshly washed and folded clothes. Watch out for Costa's laundry special the second from last day of the cruise. All the laundry you can stuff in a large paper sack will be laundered, folded and returned to your cabin on the last day of the cruise for approximately $26 USD. We managed to cram in a week's worth of dirty clothes. Careful folding is the secret. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
Costa Magica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.2
Enrichment 1.0 2.7
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.2
Rates 3.0 3.9

Find a Costa Magica Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click