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5 Copenhagen to Baltic Sea Costa Mediterranea Cruise Reviews

My wife and I decided to cruise on Costa for the first time for our Baltics cruise. The Costa Mediterrania had an itinerary we really liked and the cost for a balcony cabin was reasonable. We had read mixed reviews for Costa, but wanted a ... Read More
My wife and I decided to cruise on Costa for the first time for our Baltics cruise. The Costa Mediterrania had an itinerary we really liked and the cost for a balcony cabin was reasonable. We had read mixed reviews for Costa, but wanted a more European versus American experience with this cruise. We figured we were really cruising for the itinerary and not the ship. We had a 10 night Baltic cruise with 8 ports of call including embarking and disembarking in Copenhagen starting on September 2nd. It was a port intensive itinerary with only 1 day at sea. I have broken our review of the cruise into the categories below followed by the ports of call. Embarkation Embarking the ship was truly a fascination to watch. Costa is cruising Italian style and this was clearly shown with the embarkation process. The best way to try and describe it is "Organized Chaos." When we arrived to check in, we were given a group number. You do not check in as you arrive. Once our group number was called, everyone in that group herded through a corded off line up to about 4 check-in attendants. The group sizes appeared to be 150 to 200 people. It was over 1.5 hours from the time we arrived at port until we were on the ship. When you enter the ship, they take your photo for your cruise card and then you can go to your cabin. Our cruise cards and luggage was waiting for us in the cabin. Overall, the check-in process seemed very disorganized until you boarded the ship. The Ship The Costa Mediterrania is a very beautiful ship. Very Italian in decor with Murano glass in the main hall areas. Some of the colors are quite loud in the main hall, but overall the ship is very nicely decorated. There are several lounges throughout the ship for drinks. There were 2 pool areas and a waterslide. The hot tubs were supposed to be restricted to 16 and older, but we always saw children in the hot tubs anyway. Dining The ship had the main dining room, the buffet area, an upscale restaurant, and a pizzeria. They also would have buffets in different lounges and in the pool area at certain times. We dined in the main dining room every evening. For breakfast and lunch we split between the main dining room and the buffet. The buffet was the usual fare along with egg stations for breakfast and pasta stations for lunch. There were also tables for fresh fruit as well. The pasta stations and pizzeria were quite good. We enjoyed the food in the main dining room very much. It was interesting to try different dishes and we liked everything we tried. Our waiters were very friendly and fun. Sometimes service can be slow, but I think this is due to how Europeans dine as compared to how Americans dine. But we were usually done with dinner within an hour and a half. Drinks We had the X1 package with unlimited house wine, beer, soda and bottled water during lunch and dinner. The house wines were Italian and very good. We would enjoy a bottle or two with dinner. Drinks in the lounges are a little expensive with the dollar to euro exchange rate. However, they would have the drink of the day special and 2-for-1 specials as well. Entertainment We only went to a couple shows as we were exhausted from being in port all day. We went to the first show that had a piano and violin duet and to the Russian folklore dancers. We did enjoy the two shows we saw. Excursions We did not participant on any ship excursions. We did all of the ports ourselves and had private tours in St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Gdansk. We did take the ship's shuttle in Riga as we docked 15km from the old town area and in Travemunde as we docked in a secure area and could only leave by shuttle. Staff The staff was nice and our English speaking hostess, Melissa, was great. Since we prepared before the trip with info on our ports of call, we did not have much need to interact with the staff with many questions. We only went to the Guest Services desk a couple times with quick questions and were treated nicely. We would also ask some questions to the port and shopping guide, Andrea, to find out which berth we were docking in to prepare our day. One thing we did notice compared to other cruise lines we have been on is that the staff does not bombard you with sales pitches for drinks, collector glasses, etc. If you are in the pool area or setting in a lounge, a server will stop by and ask if you need anything. If you don't then they leave you alone until you call them over. We liked this because on other cruise lines we sometimes felt like we were always being hit up to buy something. Communication Every day you would get a newsletter with all of the activities for that day and port information. They did not announce the activities over the intercom. We found this refreshing compared to other cruises where they were announcing some activity every few minutes. The lifeboat drill was the afternoon of the first full day as it was our sea day. This did take some time as the announcement is done in several languages. However it only took about 30 minutes and did pass quickly. Disembarkation Compared to the embarkation process, disembarking was really smooth. We were given color-coded luggage labels the evening before disembarkation. We then set our luggage outside the cabin for collection. The daily newsletter tells you which lounge or theatre to wait with an approximate time for your color to be called. When our color was called, we walked off the ship, right to our luggage, and out the door. It was very quick and easy. Overall We enjoyed the cruise and the ship very much. It was nice to try something different and have a different experience. There were times that some passengers could be a little rude, but we did not experience this much. We also enjoyed that they were not always trying to sell you something when you are trying to just relax in a chair by the pool or sitting in a lounge. Then main thing we feel they need improvement is in their embarkation process. The X1 package is a great deal if you like to drink wine for dinner and have beer or wine for lunch. Ports of Call Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm was our first port of call. We ended up docking in Stadsgarden near the old town instead of Frihammen. This worked better as we could just use the hop-on-hop-off boat to get around instead of taking a bus from Frihammen. We met up with another couple from the ship and went to the Vasa Museum first. This museum is dedicated to the Swedish Man of War, Vasa, as it sank in the harbor on its maiden voyage in 1625. It is a very impressive museum built around the recovered ship and a must see in my opinion. The ship itself is well preserved and quite large. They also have several artifacts from the ship on display as well. We then went over to Gamla Stan, the old town. We spent our time walking around the old town, shopping, and had lunch in a nice little cafe. We then walked by the town hall and over to Nybrokajen to get on the hop-on-hop-off boat back to our cruise ship. Stockholm is a very beautiful city and we enjoyed it. Helsinki, Finland Helsinki was our second port of call. We docked in Lansikartta, which is a little distance from the city center. There was a tourist information center at the dock and we purchased a 1 day transport card for all public transportation. One block from the dock is a public bus stop for buses 14B and 16 into the city center. We caught the number 16 bus into the city center and it dropped us off near the market square. We walked down to the public ferry port there to catch the ferry to Suomenlinna Fortress. The ferry was included in our 1 day pass. We walked around Suomenlinna for a couple hours or so. It is a well preserved fortress on an island a few minutes from the city center by ferry. We then headed back to the city center and had lunch in the market square. We then hopped onto the tram 3T and rode out to the Rock Church. This is a unique circular church blasted into pure rock. The inside was really intriguing and the acoustics inside are incredible. We then used the metro to go to Senate Square. After that we saw the Russian Cathedral and went back down to the market square to look around before catching the number 16 bus back to the ship. Helsinki was a nice surprise as we were able to leisurely take in the sights. St. Petersburg, Russia St. Petersburg was our third port of call and we were there overnight for 2 days. We had arranged a 2 day private tour with Anna at http://www.petersburgguide.com/. She is a licensed tour guide and capable of providing the "blanket visa" for cruise ship passengers so that you do not need to get a Russian visa. We preferred this option versus the ship's excursions because we could see more sights, not be herded around in a large group and have more control over our itinerary. Our ship docked at the new cruise ship terminal. The new terminal is very modern and efficient. Costa did not hamper or discourage in any way the disembarking of independent or private tour passengers. Costa did ask us to show our tour ticket with Anna to ensure we had a private tour arranged, but that was all. We were off the ship and through Russian immigration within 5 to 10 minutes. Thank you Costa for not harassing private tour passengers in St. Petersburg as some other cruise lines had been doing. We had a packed first day on our itinerary. Our guide's name was Ina and our driver's name was Sergei. From the cruise ship we stopped at St. Isaac's Cathedral on our way to Peterhof, the summer palace. At Peterhof, we toured the gardens and watched as they turned on all the fountains. We then toured through the palace. Ina took us through the rooms narrating each as we passed. She also explained how the palace was destroyed in WW2 and completely rebuilt. We then drove back to St. Petersburg and then took the metro to see some of the richly decorated metro stations. We then stopped at a Russian pie shop for lunch. Ina explained that this type of fare was left over from the Soviet era and very tasty. The pies were filled with meat, salmon, mushrooms and different fruits. We then headed over to the Winter Palace and The Hermitage. We toured the Winter Palace and Hermitage for a couple hours. The architecture and works of art at the Hermitage were incredible. After that, we proceeded to the Church of the Split Blood. This church was built on the spot where Alexander II was assassinated. The inside was decorated with amazing and colorful mosaics. Our last stop of the day was a farmer's market. Our second day was a little more relaxing. We traveled from the ship to Tsarskoye Selo to see Catherine's Palace. We toured through the palace and the Amber Room. Such a shame it was ransacked in WW2. We then toured the gardens outside the palace before heading back to St. Petersburg. For lunch, Ina took us to a local Russian Brewhouse where she would go with friends and colleagues. After this we went to the Peter and Paul Fortress. We toured the fortress, Peter and Paul Cathedral and the prison. After this we shopped for souvenirs before heading back to the ship. St. Petersburg was the highlight of the cruise for us and we really got to fully enjoy the city with a private tour. Tallinn, Estonia Tallinn was our forth port of call. It has an incredible medieval old town that is well preserved. We had arranged a private guide ahead of time for our own walking tour. A few people from the ship joined in with us also. Anne was our guide and she met us at the port. We walked from the port to the old town. It is a short walk and only took about 10 to 15 minutes. She took us through the lesser and upper towns explaining the history and architecture. She was also able to give us insight to the Soviet occupation and revolution. After our tour we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the old town. Tallinn is a hidden gem on the Baltic itinerary. Riga, Latvia Riga was our fifth port of call. One of the reasons we chose this itinerary was because it did stop in Riga. We docked about 15km outside the city center, so we took the Costa shuttle into the city. We started at the tourist information office and got a map of walking tours. We then found a guide in the square advertising a walking tour of the old town area for 5LATS ($10, 7 Euro) per person. We were with another couple and we decided to hire him for a tour. He took us throughout old town explaining the sights, architecture, history and cathedrals. He was a history major and very informative. We then did our own walking tour of the Art Nuevo area just outside of the old town following the map from the TI office. We then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping and walking around the old town before catching the shuttle back to the ship. Riga is charming and looks like a fun place to visit. Gdynia, Poland Gdynia was our sixth port of call. This is the port for the tri-city area of Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk. We had arranged a private tour ahead of time and another couple from the ship joined us. Our guide, Magda, picked us up at the port and we headed out for Gdansk. Along the way we stopped at the Olive Cathedral. Gdansk has a colorful old town area that was completely rebuilt after WW2. Magda took us around the old town highlighting the most important points as our time in port was only half a day. We also did some amber shopping and had coffee at a cafe. We then drove to Sopot and when to the pier. This is the longest wooden pier in Europe. We then headed back to the ship. We wished we had more time to spend in Gdansk as we liked strolling around the old town. Travemunde, Germany Travemunde was our seventh port of call. It is a small seaside resort town in Germany. Since we docked in a secure port area, we had to take the Costa shuttle into town. From there we caught the train to Lubeck. Lubeck is an UNESCO World Heritage site for its medieval old town. We just spent our time walking around the old town, shopping and eating lunch in the square. We just wanted to relax at this stop. We then took the train back to Travemunde and walked around there for a while before heading back to the ship. It was a nice and relaxing stop before disembarking the next day. Copenhagen, Denmark Copenhagen was our eighth port of call and our disembarkation stop. We disembarked and a friend of ours there picked us up. We stayed with friends for a couple days as we toured the city. It is an easy city to walk and very enjoyable. We enjoyed our time and it was good to see our friends again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Booked this cruise on Costa Mediterranea a week before departure as it offered flights from Glasgow and a balcony cabin at a reasonable price. Flew independently to Copenhagen airport which has a metro connection running every 5 minutes ... Read More
Booked this cruise on Costa Mediterranea a week before departure as it offered flights from Glasgow and a balcony cabin at a reasonable price. Flew independently to Copenhagen airport which has a metro connection running every 5 minutes into the city centre. ( Took about 20 minutes) Then took a local train to the port terminal. Costa berths at the furthest away terminal in Copenhagen but it was only a 10 to 15 flat walk mostly through the terminal buildings.Costa check in was excellent and we were straight onto the ship without queueing. Only disadvantage of this was that the credit card still needed to be registered and this involved waiting in a long queue in the lounge at set times. Tried on a few occasions but the line was never less than half an hour.Our cabin was identical to last year's cabin on Costa Serena with a more dated bathroom. Fine if you like aqua plastic. The cabin was clean and well kept and showed no signs of wear and tear. The cabin stewards were lovely. Had first sitting dining at 7.30p.m. but noticed that most passengers were Italian and arrived nearer to 8 0'clock! Food in the main dining room was a bit lacking interest and tasted like mass produced Hilton hotel wedding fare. Fine but nothing to get excited by!  The only other evening option was pizzas in the buffet. Pizzas and pasta is the best served on any cruise ship we have been on. Main show entertainment was very "Euro" orientated and a bit like a holiday special circa 1980! However it was pleasant enough. Music in the lounges was very similar throughout and usually a bland combination of tea dance meets lift music.  Can't comment on the quality of the library books as they are kept under lock and key and can only be accessed at a few set times! The trip down the fjords was spectacular. The waterfalls stunning. Our cabin at the centre aft of the ship was ideal for viewing as the ship enters the fjords early in the morning. Overall a great cruise with interesting and quaint ports helped by the excellent weather in the high 70'sF throughout.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
We are a married couple who have been on 19 previous cruises. This was our first cruise with Costa and also therefore with Costa Mediterranea. This was a 7-night Baltic Cities cruise from Copenhagen. The reason for my husband and myself ... Read More
We are a married couple who have been on 19 previous cruises. This was our first cruise with Costa and also therefore with Costa Mediterranea. This was a 7-night Baltic Cities cruise from Copenhagen. The reason for my husband and myself booking this cruise was that we received a special super deal. Otherwise we would not have selected this itinerary. We prefer an itinerary where you have the possibility for more warm weather Living right outside Oslo, Norway, we decided to drive our car to the cruise terminal in Copenhagen, an 8 hours ride. The boarding process: The check in was quick and efficient. However, we found it annoying that we had to go to a dedicated lounge on board to have a credit card registration. You had to take a number and wait until your number was called. We had booked a cabin on deck 7 with a large balcony, and we were very pleased with this nice cabin. We did not saw much to our cabin attendant, but we were very pleased with his job looking after our cabin in a proper way. Public Rooms: Mediterranea is a very immaculate ship. The ship has an atrium in the centre of the ship that extends up trough several of the decks, but in our opinion the dEcor of the atrium was far too gaudy. Spa & Fitness: The ship has three very nice pools, on deck nine, one is adult only (aft), and one with a retractable roof. Dining: We were pleased with the large Buffet restaurant on deck nine. The restaurant itself was a bit confusing. It is several serving stations which offer different dishes, so it is highly recommended to use some time to go around and explore, also to visit the outside grill. We were impressed with the crew in this restaurant. They were very efficient in cleaning the tables, opposed to what we experienced on our last cruises with RCCL in their buffet restaurant, Windjammer. We were in the first seating in the Dining room, 7 pm. We had a friendly waiter from India, but the service was not as good as we have been used to on other cruise ships. Once the wine had been served by the assistant waiter, you then had to continue to serve yourself, and we rarely saw any-thing more to her during the whole dinner. Menu-comments: We found unfortunately the main courses mostly mediocre, especially the meat dishes. Coffee is not offered at the end of dinner. We had four breakfasts in the Dinning room. The waiter service was unfortunately very unorganized, and we were e.g. rarely offered refilling of coffee or tea. I think there is a huge lack of management in this Dinning room. There is also an upscale dinner restaurant, Club Medosa, that you could pay extra to eat a la carte. The food was very good, the service excellent, but unfortunately it was very expensive. You have to pay for each dish. They do not have a fixed menu-price like on most other ships. They have tea time on board which was good, but the female crewmember in charge of the service was a bit grumpy. Bar services: The ship has many bars, and we enjoyed them, but the drinks were more expensive than on any ship we had been on before, and sodas were expensive too. The itinerary was a mixed bag. Not to be missed, the sailing through the beautiful archipelago of Stockholm, Sweden. Disembarkation: This was quite routine, and it was easy to find our luggage in the Terminal. Conclusion: If a great deal pops up and with a nice itinerary, we would cruise again with Costa Mediterranea or other of Costa's newest ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
BACKGROUND INFORMATION We are Americans who currently live in Germany. The opportunity to visit 5 countries in 7 days... including Russia, Denmark and Sweden was very tempting. We realized if we were to visit each of them by flying and ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION We are Americans who currently live in Germany. The opportunity to visit 5 countries in 7 days... including Russia, Denmark and Sweden was very tempting. We realized if we were to visit each of them by flying and staying a weekend each, the cost would be astronomical. Those northern countries are extremely expensive. Cruise ships are definitely an economical travel option! You never get lost, and you never have to unpack except when you get on the cruise ship! HOTEL INFO BEFORE AND AFTER Before the cruise we stayed downtown Copenhagen at the Maritime Hotel for an extra day. It was a good location. They called us a taxi to get to the ship. After the cruise we stayed at the Hilton Hotel, which is attached to the Airport. We discovered that you can also access the train system which goes into downtown by tunnels connecting it all. It was very convenient, and also easy to get to the Airport for an early departure. We were easily able to get taxis from the port to our hotel after the cruise. The cruise ship offers transportation on a bus to the airport, but we found it to be cheaper to use the taxi, and just took the risk that there would be a taxi at the port. We had a category 9 cabin so we were among the first to debark. Perhaps it would be harder for those debarking later to find a taxi. STATEROOM We had a stateroom with a balcony. It looks exactly like the little movie on the Costa Cruise website of our category stateroom. I think even the art on our wall was the same. Agreeable colors. Nice big closet space for us. I think there were 3 closet cabinets with space above to the ceiling. Our empty suitcases fit under the bed. There were drawers and cabinets under the mirror/desk. A phone in the room. A television. The channels include ship channels with programs that have been taped from briefings, as well as port information, etc. However they also receive channels from the country we are near. Cartoons in Swedish. Interesting. The TV also has video ports in the front, so we happily hooked our portable DVD player to it. It was in black and white. I mentioned it to our steward, who said that is because it is designed for the European system. We had one multi-region DVD and it was in color, of course! The bathroom had (plastic) Italian tile in the shower. Nice big mirror. Shelves with a little rail to store things on each side of the sink, and under the sink. Not large space but adequate. We've never had trouble with hearing anything in our cabin before, but we must have had someone loud above us. We sometimes heard clomp, clomp from above, like they were dropping their shoes and other things on the floor. SHIP INFO Friends from fellow Americans commented that the decor of the ship felt gaudy. It has lots of bright colors mixed together in public area and lots of gold molding. But it also has a classy feel to it, with Roman statues and columns around. The Atrium area covers many floors and has 3 glass elevators. It is fun to use them and observe the activity below. The atrium has the main desk and excursion desk as well as a bar. The second level of it has the ship's photography display. A lot of cabin stewards and servers are Filipino. The majority of them speak English. Much of the Italian staff also speaks English. Each language group on the ship has a Hostess. We found our English Speaking hostess to be an invaluable source of information. She has a table in the Atrium every morning to field questions. DINING In the dining room the breakfast is buffet style. You are shown to a table. They take your order for a drink. Cappuccino is available as an option at breakfast but only at breakfast. For the rest of the meals, you need to buy your cappuccino at the bars. But there is a handy coupon book you can buy and they are cheaper that way. The breakfast is very European with cheeses and meats. But cereal and other treats. The best breakfast pastries are in the fine dining room. Eating breakfast at the Lido deck is fine if you go early. After 9:30-10 AM it gets pretty crowded. The ship is very much a late night culture, as the second dining starts about 9 PM. I get the impression many party late into the night and get up about 10 or 11 if there is no excursion or if the excursion is later. On the Lido deck no cappuccino. Just ordinary coffee (rather weak for my taste) or tea. And juices. Lunch is nice in the fine dining, but it takes more time. It is sit down and order. And often has courses. Lunch on the Lido deck you can get as much or as little as you want. However it is very busy at noon. We often had trouble finding a place to sit. If the weather is nice you can sit by the pool. Out by the pool you can often get burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches, fries, salad… soft serve ice cream, fresh fruit. This is at lunch, but even available later. There's a schedule in your daily program delivered every night to your door when each food place is open. There's also mid-afternoon tea. This seems to be English style with scones and clotted cream, and other delicacies. Formal service. It was sometimes in a bar area, and another time on the Lido deck. Dinner - we had the first seating at 7 PM. We always felt the food was great. A steak meal, Salmon meal, or pasta meal were offered every day. The other choices were varied and wonderful. Soup. Salad. Pasta. Entree. Cheese. Dessert. You could take all or a couple each time. They usually had a cold soup choice among the three. Cheese usually had fruit with it. There's the wine package or mineral water package you can buy. They only serve table water free. However, if you don't want to buy the wine package, you can buy a glass of house wine for something like 5 Euro on occasion. No sodas here. We never did any midnight buffets or chocolate buffets. We ate plenty. One morning we ordered room service breakfast. It is free and you fill it out the night before, except for a 2 Euro gratuity charged for the service. It was lovely to eat on our balcony. You can get cappuccino with that breakfast or regular coffee or tea. ACTIVITIES There are pools, ping pong table, bacci ball, running track, the workout room. We found the outdoor whirlpools to be less busy than the one inside. There's one area that has a retractable roof for more inclement weather. There's also tartan colored blankets that you can curl up in on deck after a swim or time in the whirlpool. Honestly, there are so many things you can choose to do. They have dancing classes that go on, games by the pool, etc. There's a schedule that comes out in the daily newsletter. There are craft sessions. I believe there's a cost for that. The card room kept busy with card games going on on the days at sea. The library has a number of English books. It's probably the quietest place on the ship. There's also the art auction (silent by written bids) with free champagne for the introduction day. SERVICE We found our cabin steward to be very attentive. No complaints. Our table service was great at the evening meal. I mentioned above our English Speaking Hostess. She was a great help navigating questions we had. While Italians tend to clump in lines, I had an experience at the Excursion desk where the Italians were trying to clump and they made them get in line and wait their turn, to the protest of "that's the Italian way!" The ship's photography really got on my husband's nerves. They take photos of you at every turn… when you get on the ship, getting off at every port with some dressed up mascot… at the formal dinner nights, during events. They are displayed and it is fun to look for your photos. But the price to buy them is very expensive. Like 20 Euro a piece. Just take photos with your own camera and bring home the memory. For my husband the every present camera in the face was invasive. My favorite person was the travel expert. He gave seminars about a couple of the ports. He was multilingual and gave them at various times in different languages. It is too bad that hardly anyone attended his English ones as they helped me understand and appreciate the locations we visited much better. He also had a table set up before each excursion day, where he gave advice, passed out maps and drew on them individual information you might need. A fabulous resource. I had one poor incident with someone who served wine complaining about how Americans drink a lot. I had one glass at a function, and I felt this comment was inappropriate; first of all, to single out a cultural group with a disparaging remark on a multi-national vessel. It went into my evaluation at the end of the week. ENTERTAINMENT Overall we went 2-3 times to the theatre. The best night was in St. Petersburg when they had Russian performers come on the ship. They were lovely. The ships' entertainment was fine. Good singers. No new records or budding recording artists, but entertaining. Almost all songs (except for the Russian night) are in English because that is the pop music of the world. There was a comic entertainer one night but language is a barrier. When things need to be said in 4-5 languages it gets hard to keep ones attention. One night there was a sort of circus taking place in the Atrium. More of a distraction than truly entertaining. Kids would enjoy it. SHORE EXCURSIONS Of course the ship has shore excursions promoted. You cannot go into Russia (St. Petersburg) without a visa pre-planned… unless you go with a shore excursion by the cruise company. I heard great feedback from those who went on excursions, saying it really enriched the experience at each place. The only cruise sponsored excursion we took was in St. Petersburg. It was great. It was a wonderful way to see Russia. Two complaints there. They took us to two separate State sponsored shopping areas for ½ hour each which were very pricey. I suppose the cruise ship, or tour guide, got a commission. But the sad part was that we didn't have time to enter some of the great churches on the way. Just park in the parking lot and look from the outside. The second complaint is that all the tours from our Costa ship seemed to arrive at the Hermitage Museum at about the same time - and there were about 6-10 tours going on, in the various language groups. That meant that there was a bottleneck all at the same time to see the most prized pieces at the museum. I noticed after we passed through, the key items were wide open. But we were required to stick with the tour group, being Russia and all. For all the rest of the ports, we brought along our Rick Steves book on Northern Europe. He had a walking tour laid out for Estonia, Helsinki, and Stockholm. The upside of that was that I walked so much I only gained 2 pounds on the cruise. At Estonia we were close enough to be able to walk from port into town. At Helsinki, the ship arranged for tour buses to drive us to drop off point downtown for something like 5 Euro a person. It was worth it. In Stockholm, they planned the same thing, but the day we were there, the buses weren't available. It was about a 1 ½ to 2 mile walk into the old town. Still, it was fortunately nice weather that day and good exercise for us. DISEMBARKATION I truly hate this part. Is this because I hate to see my cruise come to an end? Anyhow - it is tough to make your way along with 2000 other people to various lounges to wait till you are told you can get off. We went early to our spot with reading material and hunkered down at a table. When we got off, finding our luggage and getting a taxi was easy. SUMMARY If you ever take a Costa Cruise as an American, you should know a few things... it is an ITALIAN cruise line. • The decor is bright colored and glitzy. • The food is great but it is constantly Italian. • The music in the lounges is Italian. I had a hard time getting Italian love songs out of my head for a week when we left the ship, like "Volare," and "That's Amore." • Italians clump, they don't get in line. The cruise workers try to encourage lines, but it is a constant battle. • Announcements for the whole ship are given in about 5 or 6 languages. The life boat drill is quite a challenge. Just imagine. On the European cruise, English speakers were about 5% of the ship. • Italians seem to become one big happy family. However in their reunions in the narrow passageways it was sometimes hard to get past chattering groups of family gatherings. Would we do it again? Yes, we would. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
We booked a suite for our 30th anniversary cruise to Norway. There were only 2 things that didn't disappoint us. The suite, and the English hostess who was very, very helpful. The first problem was language. We had been told that 5 ... Read More
We booked a suite for our 30th anniversary cruise to Norway. There were only 2 things that didn't disappoint us. The suite, and the English hostess who was very, very helpful. The first problem was language. We had been told that 5 - 20 % of the passengers would speak English. There were well over 2,000 passengers, and only 46 had English as their native language. Every announcement had to be given in about 5 languages. Below I try to list the problems that we had by category. Food: Food in the dining room was mediocre. The buffet was confusing, with many things mislabeled or not labeled. Different entrees or salads were at different stations. The chefs can't cook a steak to medium rare. I ordered my first medium rare steak at their specialty restaurant, and it was almost raw and purple inside. I ate that one. I ordered a medium rare steak in the dining room. It came out purple too, virtually raw. I sent it back. It was replaced with a steak as bad as the first. I told them I didn't want another, but they brought one anyway. I left it on the plate uncut. Excursions: There was little or no information about shopping at the ports. Most of the port maps were poor. The excursion staff could not control their guests at the desk. When there was a line to change or order excursions, people cut in frequently and were helped by the staff instead of being politely sent to the back of the line. The excursion from Flam needs more info on Norway. Also, it was almost impossible to hear the talk while out on deck as we sailed through the fjord. Telephone assistance before the cruise: Most of the time they would not try to answer my question, but instead advised me to call my travel agent. They had the wrong information about the last day of the cruise. I wanted to order an excursion and then get to the airport. They told me that if I ordered an excursion the transport to the airport might no longer be available when we got back to the ship. When I boarded the ship, I was told that since I already had purchased transportation to the airport, if I purchased an excursion I would be brought to the airport directly when the excursion was over. Unfortunately, the only available excursion I could choose at that time never sold enough, and was canceled. Announcements: Not always in English. The crew: Only a few crew members were nice. Most of them were just doing their job or cold and indifferent. Rarely did an officer ever speak to or acknowledge us when we passed them on board. Gouging the customers: It was advertised to bring your postcards to the photo shop to mail. Their fees for stamps were much more than the local costs. We paid 4 Euros on board for each postcard, and 11 kroner in Stavanger. That is about $2.17 in town, and $6.35 on board for the same stamps. Every drink was measured in a shot glass to be sure they didn't give you any extra. On all of the other cruise lines I have sailed on ( 5 ) they always gave us a nice drink. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Costa Mediterranea Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.4
Enrichment 1.0 2.9
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.9

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