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13 Costa Buenos Aires Cruise Reviews

A last minute purchase, at the urging of my wife I took the plunge (so to speak) and bought our 14 day Buenos Aires to Rio De Janeiro cruise. By the time I got to the actual purchase pickings were slim and I had to agree to have my cabin ... Read More
A last minute purchase, at the urging of my wife I took the plunge (so to speak) and bought our 14 day Buenos Aires to Rio De Janeiro cruise. By the time I got to the actual purchase pickings were slim and I had to agree to have my cabin selected by the Costa staff. I bought the tickets, and only a few days later got to sit down and read reviews of the Fascinosa. I actually told my wife "I'm prepared to eat the lost $2k, I made a mistake, sorry". But what with anticipation and Rio's carnival looming, she persuaded me to go anyway. One's memory tends to gloss over things later that were a big deal at the time, like the strong smell of excrement in the passageway outside our cabin at all times, The faulty toilet flush mechanism that failed 4 times during a 14 day cruise. Or the gritty feeling underfoot that forced me to demand our steward vacuum the carpet. I don't want this to become an encyclopedia but there is no way to pass on the experience without going into detail. The theatre hosted some splendid live productions, with truly gifted performers and a delightful repertoire. Marred by a self promoting "cruise director" who instructed the audience to give top marks for him. Taken tongue in cheek, this might be excusable but the relentless barrage of juvenile, racially toned "humor" had the audience too embarassed not to applaud. The restaurants were passable, portions were appropriate and well presente, service good. Shore excursions with Costa should be avoided in my opinion. Overpriced and "one size fits all" we were happy that we only signed up for one (Uruguay). Being new to cruising, perhaps I appear harsh but I am reporting what I saw. Alas time prevents me from continuing while things are fresh in my mind, but happily this cruise will eventually be forgotten. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise to extend our warm weather holiday and because the dates worked. We had just come off a 19 night Ft.Lauderdale - B.A. cruise on the Royal Princess plus a 2 day visit to Iguazu Falls. Your first ... Read More
We chose this cruise to extend our warm weather holiday and because the dates worked. We had just come off a 19 night Ft.Lauderdale - B.A. cruise on the Royal Princess plus a 2 day visit to Iguazu Falls. Your first impression starts at the cruise terminal check in which is disorganized. Once on the ship we were pleasantly surprised at the size of our premium balcony stateroom, but the balcony itself is small and the furniture is old,uncomfortable and soiled looking. We found out the next morning that the bathroom shower is poorly designed and the water leaks all over the floor because the shower curtain is too short. We pointed this out to our harried room steward who said he would have it replaced, but it never was. We used towels to soak up the leaking water every day for our 7 day cruise...how is this more efficient than fixing the shower? Our next disappointment was a the buffet restaurant which was chaos for breakfast and lunch. It is so poorly laid out that each meal turns into a free for all just to get your meal then another free for all to find a table.There seems to be a chronic shortage of seating which made us dread going up to the buffet. On sea days, when everyone is onboard the buffet situation is even worse, so we resorted to the dining room where it was marginally less chaotic for breakfast, but still unpleasant. We chose the early assigned seating for dinner in the dining room because they don’t offer open seating. Dinner was a relief because it was calm and collected and our waiter”Dino” was a Pro. The dinner menu’s were good as was the food quality, but beware that water is not included with dinner unless paid for i.e. bottled water. The wine prices on Costa are slightly less that other Cruise Lines i.e. a bottle of Chianti was $25 whereas the cheapest red wine on a Princess was $32. Aside from our balcony, which was never cleaned, the general condition of the ship was good. The decor could be described as “gaudy” The fitness centre had an adequate number of machines (some defective) but disinfecting wipes were not provided. There is a good sauna in the fitness center’s change room which was a welcome inclusion We usually cruise on Celebrity,Holland America and Princess, so if you are used to any of these lines you will be in for a culture shock. If you can get over it (as we did) you willappreciate the diversity of entertainment which is quite good on Costa, with many lounges,a very large theatre with excellent shows and a nightclub with good bands and dancing every night. Our itinerary along the Brazilian coast involved 3 stops in small ports that requiredtendering for each (one being 1/2 hour in each direction) English is not common on shoreso our general routine was walking around town,a bit of shopping then wifi and a drink allaccomplished with sign language. We both agreed that we would not sail on Costa again, which is a shame, because we felt the staff all worked hard,and the entertainment was good,but they could not make up for the buffet chaos,understaffing,poor ship design, and poor management. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
During the dates of 20-28 January 2012, I had a perfect experience aboard the Carnival Dream, for a 7-day Western Caribbean Cruise. Everything was spot-on, to include: dining, public rooms, the cabin, entertainment, value for money, and ... Read More
During the dates of 20-28 January 2012, I had a perfect experience aboard the Carnival Dream, for a 7-day Western Caribbean Cruise. Everything was spot-on, to include: dining, public rooms, the cabin, entertainment, value for money, and the service. I attempted to replicate this experience for my young-adult daughter’s college graduation present. I took leave from the Army and my daughter took leave from her new job. We traveled from the United States to Argentina to port. Our experience was traumatic, awful, perplexing, and cost approximately $10,000. If it was a great experience-awesome! However, I need to block out this terrible experience. Overall: Four of approximately 3,000 passengers spoke English. My daughter and I were two of those four. The remaining passengers were from Argentina or Brazil. All onboard and excursion activities were in Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Due to the low amount of English speaking passengers-no translators were available. We were ok in the beginning, as our strategy was to adapt and overcome. Dining: Our assigned seat was at 7:45 p.m., at the New York New York restaurant. Our waiters were excellent, very kind, prompt, and personable. The food was good. The 9th deck Buffet La Paloma equaled a feeding trough. During peak hours, the following was served: focaccia, focaccia with tomato sauce, and finger sandwiches. I think they served in this manner trying to ration the lunchmeat and cheese because that was the main fare during all 3 meals and open-for business-times. Seating did not exist. Children and adults pushing, shoving, kids sitting on the food and beverage bars, tables never had an opportunity to be cleaned. The food trough was, “Survival of the Fittest.” My daughter and I sat on the stairs leading to the cabins twice-as there was no place to sit in the Paloma. The staff could not keep up. PUBLIC ROOMS: This ship had 3 very small swimming pools and one water slide. All were saturated with mostly children and some adults. The same goes for the 3 hot-tubs. My daughter and I deemed them as cesspools. Children were running through the halls at all hours-screaming, blowing whistles…… There was no escape from screaming children. CABIN: We paid for a porthole room. Good space, however-the shower flooded the entire bathroom every time. Our stateroom attendant said, “If there are any problems, the toilets usually don’t flush.” However, he did an awesome job keeping up our room and providing towels so we could wipe up the floods. ENTERTAINMENT: It was limited because of the language barrier. I have never played so many games of cards in a short period of time in my life-in the cabin. VALUE FOR MONEY: Terrible. SERVICE: The staff was trying so hard with what they had. Our New York New York guys were great, and so was the stateroom attendant. One Senior Guest Service Attendant was our English lifeline. She offered her phone number and was scheduled for availability for one hour twice a-day. She also ensured we got to the right place at the right time concerning our shore excursions. STRANDED: At 7:00 p.m., the ship was scheduled to depart Montevideo, Uruguay. At 9:00 p.m., the passengers received an announcement that said, “Attention please, we are currently delayed from leaving the port because of weather. We will provide an update to you in approximately 3 hours.” That’s understandable. The next morning at 9:00 a.m. we were still there and had received no announcements. The stateroom staff went about their duties, but also did not know the update. When the announcements finally did occur, they were never in English. We tracked down our lifeline for updates. She told us, “You have to vacate your cabin at 2:00p.m., and the cruise line will assist in making new return arrangements for you at their expense.” While we waited, I tried to use my cruise card to access ship computers for internet so I could change our travel arrangements myself. The cards had been shut off. I was at the mercy of the ship. We were incarcerated. My daughter and I hunkered down in a corner. The 3,000 passengers were corralled to New York New York and the 9th deck food hell. Some passengers were handicapped and could not maneuver the crowd. Both locations had overwhelmed the staff. I was able to bring back several plates from New York New York. The waitress tried to tell me, “You can’t bring food in here (our campsite) several times. I disregarded and shared the plates with those around us. The passengers were becoming riled. I got back in line to check with our English speaking lifeline (2 hours). She said, “The cruise is not liable because of weather. I will help you find new tickets to purchase.” That price would have been $5,000 again. I said, “I am not paying for new tickets!” She told me to cut to the front of the other customer service line with approximately 300 irate passengers screaming and waving their arms. I said, “I can’t cut that line-they will kill me!” I need you to take me to the front!” She did. She took me to a computer and a phone behind the counter. I was able to change our tickets without extra charge. THE RIOT: Passengers had color-coded luggage tags that determined our order of disembarkation. The increments were supposed to begin departing at 8:30 p.m. Staging was in the theater. Now, passengers were beginning to riot and protest. One lady started this on the stage by chanting and screaming. Others were joining her and a petition was circulating the population. Staff and the 3 available security officers tried to intervene, but left. My daughter and I decided things were getting out of hand and we needed to find our lifeline. We found her with the other English speaking couple. She guided us to an alternate route that allowed us to depart with minimal confrontation. People were becoming physically aggressive. The last increment of passengers was scheduled to depart at 11:00 p.m. BOTTOM LINE: The passengers and staff of this cruise knew we were supposed to disembark on time so that a new group of passengers could board. The dollar was the bottom line. The Costa Pacifica strategy: contain current passengers to allow preparation for next group of passengers to expedite a further money-making opportunity. There is a line between making money and treating people humanely. I have been a loyal customer as I shared my original positive experience with so many people. I am both bothered and concerned by my and my daughter’s awful experience. I don’t think I could trust another cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
HI! I would like to tell you about my last experience on the Costa Pacifica, we sailed on December 28th 2016 and got back on January 5th 2017. I travel a lot on cruises, and this was the worst cruise ever! From the beginning they are not ... Read More
HI! I would like to tell you about my last experience on the Costa Pacifica, we sailed on December 28th 2016 and got back on January 5th 2017. I travel a lot on cruises, and this was the worst cruise ever! From the beginning they are not organized, you have to wait hours everywhere. The buffet is the worst, bad food, poorly served, few amount of it at the Important hours so they ran out of it and people complain, the buffet is always dirty and the tables are always full of leftovers and dirty. Few waiters so if you need anything you have to wait. They charge for everything, the only beverage you have without paying is water! Not ice tea or juices, that if you can find a proper glass! If you go to the restaurant they don't offer a glass of water! You have to pay!! Unbelievable! The desserts suck and they don't have ice cream, only if you pay of course!!! lot of broken bones, people slipped all the time because the pool area remained always wet, they give you one pool towel, you only have a replacement if you ask your cabin waiter, so if you swim you have to remain with your wet towel all the time, really, really they don't care about the customer's need, for me this is a 2 stars ship, but they charge you as if they were a 4 stars ship, I travelled with Norwegian, Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, and I assure you this is the worst, I will never be on a Costa ship again. Another item would be the Shore Excursions, my dear fellows they suck!!!! I would do advise you to be very careful because they provide a very poor service, see if you can go on your own. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Introduction. If you only want to read a "short and sweet" review, stop now and read a different review. If you want to learn about the kind of cruise product Costa is offering the South American market, read on and you might ... Read More
Introduction. If you only want to read a "short and sweet" review, stop now and read a different review. If you want to learn about the kind of cruise product Costa is offering the South American market, read on and you might find this review informative. A brief word about my cruise experience to give a measure of insight into my observations. I have been on approximately 80 cruises on all level of cruise lines from Crystal/Seabourn/ Azamara/Oceania/ Celebrity/MSC/Royal Carib/ Carnival and others. In a prior life I was a lawyer. I'm not rich, but comfortable enough to take 3 or 4 cruises a year. I consider myself pretty sophisticated, but not elitist. I now live in both NYC and Bs As. My girl friend (a Portena) and I wanted to take a cruise and to take her daughter and the daughter's boy friend with us - their first cruise. I thought this mini cruise RT from Bs As to Punta del Este and Montevideo would be an appropriate first cruise for the kids (21 years old). Costa is not my favorite line by a long shot, but I had sailed on this same ship for about 14 nights on a transatlantic cruise about two years ago. I was in Samsara and it wasn't that bad. Moreover, 3 nights, no air purchase necessary, and Samsara was kind of nice because of the dedicated dining room. An easy intro to cruising for the kids I thought. I was a bit surprised with the pricing and terms available via the So Am travel agents my Buenos Aires girl friend consulted to book the cruise. First, you had to buy the drink package (brindiamo) when booking a Samsara cabin. No other option. The price for 3 nights for each of our two inside Samsara cabins with brinidamo and prepaid grats was about $1350 ($2700 for both). I thought that was kind of pricey (450/night per cabin), but what the heck, it was certainly not an expensive cruise and the Samsara level was pretty nice...so I thought. Embarkation/Disembarkation We planned to arrive around 3pm in hopes of avoiding the rush. The terminal is a 10 minute cab ride from my Recoleta apt. Unfortunately, boarding did not start on time (noon) as there was apparently some kind of problem (reported to be wind and cargo container related) so we became mired in the process along with most of the other 3800 pax whose numbers were waiting to be called to start the process, go through immigration, etc. Fortunately, we met a friend who worked at the terminal and he was able to help us check in "smoothly" (bypass the lines). Curiously, by order of the local authorities no refreshments can be offered by the cruise line in the pax terminal. There is only one café in the huge terminal and I suspect the owner is politically connected because this one café has a monopoly on refreshments. Why else would authorities prohibit cruise lines from offering guests even a glass of water? Corruption rears its ugly head once more in Bs As. Check-in struck me as unique because no onboard room cards were distributed prior to embarking. The cards were awaiting you on your cabin bed. One is required to register a credit (not debit) card within 48 hours of boarding at guest services or at one of the several machines located onboard designed for this purpose. That was a first for me. Pax are not assisted to their cabins, but we managed to locate our adjoining Samsara inside cabins without difficulty. By the time we got to our cabin, washed up, and looked for some lunch, it was about 4:30 pm. Gratefully, the buffet was kept open longer than the posted 5 pm closure as many pax simply did not get a chance to eat before then by virtue of the delayed boarding. Disembarkation was a joke. The ship's daily paper did not have info about disembarkation or breakfast availability. Though different colored luggage tags were left in the cabin , no colors were announced. People just filed off as they pleased. Luggage was available at the gangway alongside the ship so we had to shlep our own bags to board a bus that took us to the terminal. There were 3 large ships disembarking that morning (10,000 pax). Customs did not exist. We were herded like cattle through the terminal past customs, no declarations of any kind, to the masses waiting out side struggling to get taxis that were not going to overcharge. We walked a couple of blocks away from the terminal and caught taxis to take us to our respective destinations (nearby Retiro and nearby Recoleta to my apt). What a nightmare. Cabins. I had sailed a transatlantic cruise about 2 years earlier on the Fascinosa in a Samsara class cabin which is why I booked the Samsara class on this minicruise. Samsara cabin occupants had a dedicated dining room that was far superior to the MDR and alone justified the higher cost IMO (not to mention access to the restricted Spa facilities). I was soon to find out that as the result of a recent policy change even Samsara occupants are now required to pay $28.50 pp to dine in the "Samsara" restaurant. I found that out only after dining there the first night of the cruise. My inside Samsara cabin had a bed that was situated so close to a wall and desk that getting out of bed on that sde meant squeezing through an uncomfortably narraw space. Bad. Our flat screen TV (about 26 inches) was located as far from the head of the bed as possible making viewing a bit strained but that turned out to be unimportant because there was very limited programming and what there was, was not unexpectedly, in Spanish (or Portugues).There was sufficient closet and drawer space for a mini cruise, but I doubt it would have been comfortably sufficient for a longer cruise. The shower pressure in the bath was low which was a minor annoyance, but oddly there was no hair conditioner or shampoo. My girlfriend has hair like Shakira so conditioner is an absolute must. I have never been on a ship, much less in a supposedly superior cabin class like Samsara, where shampoo and hair conditioner was not supplied. I had to call guest services twice to get some little bottles delivered to the cabin. Not sure if this was SOP or our steward simply forgot to place the bottles in our bathroom. Bad. When we went to the dedicated Samsara spa we were told by reception there that in order to get robes we had to ask our room steward. Subsequently, our room steward told us to get the robes at the spa. Hello? I was now beginning to entertain some doubts about this cruise. Another call to guest services resolved the matter. Passengers. The older I get, the more I find myself liking little kids. They are a pleasure to observe and there were lots on board (summer vacation was just ending). A whole lot. Maybe too many to suit some, but in So Am, more so than in the US, little kids hang with the grown ups till all hours. It's the culture. Apparently, it's also the culture to dress down. Generally speaking, the dress of most passengers often bordered on unintentional punk. Good slacks and a collared shirt were rare even on gala night which, due to the brevity of this cruise, was combined with "white" night. I was one of few who even bothered to wear a sports jacket. Go figure. Shorts prevailed which was actually kind of interesting given the number of women with good legs. (Of course, lest my darling girl friend misinterpret this observation, it was purely for the purpose of reportage. I couldn't care less. Really, dear.) The culture of So Americans is also more dance oriented and the dance floors located throughout the ship were frequently full of pax learning a new step or doing salsa or cumbia or you name it. They really get into it. The music was great especially at the main lobby atrium lounge where a surprisingly "big" sound was generated by a couple of alternating, equally talented keyboard singers backed by recorded dance music. Dining. My Samsara package included the "brindiamo' beverage package. Unfortunately, mixed cocktails like cosmopolitans, negronis or pina coladas were not included in the package. Thankfully, waiters at all bars would serve non-alcoholic cosmos, pina coladas etc and then serve you a jigger of vodka or rum so you could mix your own cocktail and not pay the $11 you would otherwise have to pay notwithstanding "brindiamo." Go figure. As I mentioned, I bought the Samsara cabins anyway because I thought the dedicated dining room was part of the deal. I discovered it was NOT only after dining there the first night. I then really began to question why the inside cabins were each $1350 for 3 nights. The Samsara dining room was very good when I thought it was included in my package. Well prepared duck ala orange with chestnuts, A nice grilled salmon with a large langostina sitting atop it. Really nice food with excellent service. There were very few diners in the room so we had practically all wait staff to ourselves. However, at $28.50 pp surcharge, I wasn't sure it was THAT good. At least, I wasn't sure until I ate in the MDR on the 3rd and final night and had an atrocious meal. I 'd gladly pay the surcharge to avoid the slop they throw at you in the MDR. And that included a grilled lobster for a $17 surcharge. The lobster was dry and small. It was served without drawn butter and when I asked our pleasant and hard working waiter for some, he brought individual wrapped butter pats. He had no idea what drawn butter was. Bad training. As bad as the lobster was, it was much, much better than the advertised chef's special that night which I can best describe as a ground porkburger that tasted as if it might be reconstituted dog food. It was no better than the reconstituted powdered eggs I had for breakfast on the disembarkation day. Yuch. Inedible. To paraphrase an old joke: Gee whiz , Costa. What did you do with the money? What money? The money we gave you to buy food! We ate breakfast first morning in the MDR. We could order eggs, etc, from our waiter (nice guy and hard working as usual), but still had to leave our table to get fruit from a nearby buffet. Hmm. When we ate in the "lido" buffet the next day, I found it terribly difficult to locate bacon and eggs. There was bacon at the omelet station, but it wasn't visible and there was no easy signage informing you it was available at that station. So one walks around a large area looking for stuff. Ditto for bread. There was no toaster near a bread tray. Where the heck could I toast my bread. Go wandering some more. When I mentioned this to a chef he began to argue as if having a toaster was impossible- not enough space. Hmm. Bad. We did have one lucky break - sort of. We were assigned to the early seating in the MDR as appeared on the back of the room card. After the first night at the Samsara, I went to guest services to change our first seating (8;45) to second seating (10:15). (We eat late in So Am.) I was told I had to consult the maître 'd at 7:45 pm when he would be at the MDR. At about 7:55 my girl friend went to the MDR to change the seating. The maître said it was impossible, but treated her so impolitely my normally even tempered darling was upset and got angry, righteously so. We called the dining room mgr and after explaining what happened he comped us at the Samsara for that night and changed us to late seating for the 3rd and final night. He remembered me from my TA two years earlier. High fives all around. Entertainment. In the main theater/show room there was a magician on the first night who was good. We only caught part of his act. There was an acrobatic high rope duo the next night. Pretty good. On the last night, the ship's company put on a show (Radio) which as far as these kinds of shows go, I thought was not very good. Music was too loud, dancing was spotty - not my cup of tea and not all that well received by the audience as far as I could tell. However, the entertainment throughout other parts of the ship (grand bar Topkapi, atrium bar, outside pool deck) was all great. Lots of singing and dancing till the wee hours. So I was told - I crash at about 12:30. We danced a lot before that. Conclusion. For the price I paid this was a terrible cruise. The food in the MDR was laughingly bad. The cabin was smallish, poorly laid out and ill supplied. Service was only proper after several calls to guest services. Who wants to have to complain to get things right? Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Wife and I were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and decided to take the Costa Lines Fascinosa cruise from Argentina, to Brazil, Uruguay and back. Some things were good like the nice cabin with a balcony and a cabin boy (Joao) ... Read More
Wife and I were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and decided to take the Costa Lines Fascinosa cruise from Argentina, to Brazil, Uruguay and back. Some things were good like the nice cabin with a balcony and a cabin boy (Joao) that made life easy for us with great cabin service and a constant friendly smile. The Samsara Spa experience at their thermal baths package was a good value for a wonderful relaxing daily experience. Entertainment and music was good for our dancing and listening pleasure. The ship halls, walls and bars are luxurious although of an overloaded kind of decoration. The pool facilities are good and so are the hot water Jacuzzis. We can’t comment on the shore excursions because we found them to be expensive, several other passengers that had used them were unpleased and we decided to do our own excursions which turned out great. Boarding and unboarding the ship was orderly. On the negative side Costa Fascinosa had the worst food quality and food availability we had ever experienced in a cruise ship. Mostly lots of bread, pastries and cold pizza, very little prepared food and hardly any availability of grilled items. The dinning experience was unsatisfactory as the service between plates was unjustly slow and the waiting became obnoxious. The waiter was nice and attentive but apparently overburdened with too many tables to service or too slow of a kitchen service. Dinner was a 2-1/2 hours event at times, just too slow for our enjoyment. We made the mistake of purchasing one of Costa Fascinosas “unlimited daily wine and water packages” for $40 plus 15% service charge per person per day. They turned out to have the cheapest tasting lowest quality wine (we tried the 2 kinds of reds they had) we had ever experienced. The “unlimited water” part of the $40 per person a day package caused us the most anger. You had “unlimited water” yet couldn’t get a bottle of your own water to take to your room and they forced you to refill very small 7oz glasses, one by one, for all your daily water needs. Each 7oz glass of water of your “unlimited water package” requires you to go to a bar, put it on your cruise card and they wont give you more than one (1) glass of water per request. My wife and I had to go from bar to bar, several times a day, collecting and carrying multiple small 7oz glasses of water, in multiple trips in order to have some water back at our cabin, simply ridiculous. The water “scarcity” we experienced and the hours spent collecting ultra small glasses of water to get the benefit of our “unlimited water package” was indeed aggravating specially since a majority of the crew seemed angry or displeased with their work by showing a negative attitude when we asked for service. Some crew were nice and even smiled, the majority seemed very displeased with their work environment and treated us with contempt. Costa Line is very expensive when compared with other cruises we have been to. The Samsara’s Spa massage at $179 per person turned out to be an over short massage (40 minutes) that had as its goal trying to sell us an expensive package of high priced products we didn’t need. As a summary we can say that after having done over 12 cruises the Costa Fascinosa cruise has been our WORST ever vacation investment. In fact, it has been our only negative experience ever in cruise lines. We wouldn’t recommend Costa Lines to anybody that would like to get their moneys worth on a quality vacation cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Had wonderful cruise from Buenos Aires to Savona, Italy.we are very seasoned cruisers and after reading some reviews a little worried no need to be, lovely clean ship inside and out! Food ranged from good to excellent,starters could have ... Read More
Had wonderful cruise from Buenos Aires to Savona, Italy.we are very seasoned cruisers and after reading some reviews a little worried no need to be, lovely clean ship inside and out! Food ranged from good to excellent,starters could have been main course .in 3 weeks the evening menu was never repeated, the service was probably some of the best and friendliest we have had in 16 cruises and the entertainment in the bar lounges and theatre was also really good and once again in the theatre different show every night of 3 weeks,we particularly enjoyed Georgio pianist usually in Ricks bar.they even held a small cocktail party for the English mothers on mothering Sunday, there were only 22 of us ,cruisedwith british company on that day couple of years ago and they did nothing.and that would be my only moan,there were just a few English speaking,1200 Argentinians on board,but we enjoyed all the different nationalities and got used to multilingual announcements and fun at the quizzes,we joined 2 lovely Mexican ladies as a team.would have no hesitation to book with Costa again,great value. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Costa Cruises is really awfull. I have never experienced such a bad taste, bad service, bad food, bad acomodations and very bad common areas. I have done a lot of cruises including the "high end" like Silversea but also the ... Read More
Costa Cruises is really awfull. I have never experienced such a bad taste, bad service, bad food, bad acomodations and very bad common areas. I have done a lot of cruises including the "high end" like Silversea but also the "standard" ones like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, etc., which by the way they are also going down all the way in terms of quality and service; and ironically Costa costs as much as the other "standard" lines; but Costa could be compare with a one stra hotel or less. They are in this business just for the money. When you take a cruise you know you will be at their will for the time of your trip but Costa has cross the line between being at their will and trying to squeeze you with the most esential needs, not of a traveller but as a human being. The line doesn't even let you have drinking water for free in your room or in the restaurants, you have to pay for it; the bathroom in your cabin is more than essential. No shampoo, no conditioner, no body lotion (bring yours as lots of bottled water) and the cabin is so untasteful with also the more essential amenities that you feel like in a YMCA accomodation. Saying that so, imagine what happens on the rest of the ship: lines everywhere, bad service and even very angry personal doing guest services everywhere, even in the areas where you have to pay extra to get a relative decent service like the spa. The food is awful, the venues are imposible to be there, the pool area is horrible and you cannot find a place anywhere just, but just to sit down to do anything. So why pay 1700 USD per person for a trip that you are not going to even enjoy but also you would not be able to use the facilities or eat decently. So if you think "what the heck I'll give Costa a try", please don't do it even if the ports are going to be the most wonderfull ones in your life: just stay at home. Oh! and by the way, they change the itinerary of the journey with anticipation wirhout making any kind of notice to the passengers. I had already arrange some private excursions in the ports and because of the change of ports and dates I lost 2,000 USD (a family of 5) and they just said "that is not our problem, we can change the itineraries as we wish or need"; this was said literally to me by the guest relations manager. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was a family cruise with eight family members, and we had a great time because our goal was to spend time together, and it was very enjoyable. But as far as the ship... 1. Our cabin was spacious, we had a private balcony,and we ... Read More
This was a family cruise with eight family members, and we had a great time because our goal was to spend time together, and it was very enjoyable. But as far as the ship... 1. Our cabin was spacious, we had a private balcony,and we were surprised with the amount of storage space. It was clean and comfortable. Housekeepers kept it very clean and neat. They don't provide wash cloths or facial tissue (Kleenex) 2. Decorations were not to my taste, art and colors were not attractive at all. Full of naked mythology men and half naked women. They had some mannequins hanging in the clouds at the atrium... really awful. All the doors had the same side view of a roman man that to me looked like Osama Bin Laden. Paintings were in loud colors, horrible. 3. There was smoking everywhere, in the casino, decks, it was hard to be outside and not be annoyed by somebody smoking next to you. No respect for laws that were published. 4. This ship is not equipped to handle the amount of passengers it carries. It was crowded wherever you went. There were three pools and Jacuzzis, I never went because of the crowds and smoking. 5. Food. I was pleased that for dinner at Vesta restaurant I always had several vegetarian options for my meals. Their pasta is great. The rest is mediocre. Crowds and long lines for meals, for juice or coffee (by the way, I would call it "brown water") Several times after standing in line for juice, when you got to the machine it was out of juice and it would take forever for the staff to replace it. At the Buffet, it was hard to find a place to sit at peak hours. The waiters were very slow to clear the tables most of the time. The plates would pile up and sometimes we had to remove them. There were long lines for pizza also. My husband stood in line for 15 minutes one day, and he was still 8th in line, so we gave up. I never found a salt shaker that had running salt, all of them had moist salt. 6. Customer "no" service. I had no hot water in my cabin one night. I called to report, but nobody would pick up the phone. The next night again there was no hot water. This time I stayed until somebody picked up the phone and they took note of it. The next morning I went personally to Customer service to ask if something had been done, I did not want to take a cold shower again. The man asked me "Do you have hot water now?" and I said yes. "Then you have to call us when you don't have hot water so we can see what the problem is" He never apologized. I also mentioned to him that after midnight, there were loud announcements of sales in the halls. He said that I must be wrong, there were no announcements. But several other persons had heard them also. 7. Ports of call were Rio, Angra dos Reis and Punta del Este. They were nice stops, we did not take any ship tours. At Angra the time was so short, only 4 hours. By the time you got your turn to get off the ship, you had to return. 8. Lastly... on the last informational debarkation meeting, our cruise director gave us a talk into giving them good reviews in the evaluation forms. Most of the passengers were Argentinian, and I guess they don't have anything to compare. But having cruised with other cruise lines, I place Costa at the bottom, bottom of the list. Sorry. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This cruise was something my wife & I had been planning & looking forward to for a very long time & in the end we were more than satisfied & happy with the overall trip! We are experienced cruisers across many lines & ... Read More
This cruise was something my wife & I had been planning & looking forward to for a very long time & in the end we were more than satisfied & happy with the overall trip! We are experienced cruisers across many lines & we mainly chose this cruise because it had an overnight stay in Rio during Carnival celebrations which was a major highlight for us. We knew this Cruise would be a little different & be mainly catering towards the majority of South American passengers, so we went in with an open mind & embraced the experience. Pre cruise we stayed in Buenos Aries for 3 nights at the Kenton Palace hotel, a nice new hotel in a good location. Embarkation at the port of B.A was relatively painless considering we were only two of a handful of people there that day that spoke English. But we understood enough to know what was going on & most staff spoke enough english to guide us along. We were some of the first to board which was very handy. The only bad thing about this port is that it is a working container port & from the Terminal you are ferried away on buses to wherever your ship is docked. This was our first Costa cruise, although we had been on an almost identical build of ship on 3 previous cruises with Carnival who own Costa anyway. The ship was beautiful, especially as it was approaching 10 years old. Most of the ship was in very good condition & was spotlessly clean throughout. As opposed to the Carnival sister ships we had previously been on, this ship had a slightly different layout on the Promenade deck allowing for more bar areas & a smaller casino which was fine for us. Once again there were hardly any English speaking passengers on board but that was fine for us. We enjoy travelling & mixing with other cultures. Any important announcements were made in English & the crew & officers spoke english too. The majority of passengers were from Brazil & quite a lot also from Argentina. These two groups provided for an excellent atmosphere on board, singing, dancing, partying in general. We had cabin 1050, a balcony cabin on deck 10. Great location close to the lifts & not far from the viewing deck at the front of the ship & also just a few steps down onto Lido Deck. The cabin showed a few wear & tear marks but was clean & had everything we needed. The only negative with the cabin was that it had an older TV & you could not check your account or order things off your TV like you can with a lot of other ships. The entertainment on board was pretty good & actually a bit better than expected. The dancers & singers were all of a very good standard & the rest of the bands throughout the ship were very good also. The food in general was good but I think Costa lacks in this area compared to other lines. Firstly, we have previously become big fans of Anytime Dining & this is not something yet offered on Costa. We were assigned a nice table for two in the larger dining room at 7.30pm. The food in the dining room was not awesome but never bad either. Usually enough choice but would have been nice to see regular things like steak, or lasagne offered as an everyday menu item. The buffet was fine for breakfast & lunch but did not offer as many different items as what you may see on other Cruise lines. It would also be great if Costa kept the buffet open for dinner or at least introduce more options as far as pizza's are concerned as these are the only option other than the Dining Room for dinner. As for Drinks, we had purchased a drinks package pre-cruise which worked out to about US$26.00 per day & included a mix of spirits, wines, beers, coffees, etc. It was of really great value however we seemed to think that a lot of the drink staff, especially the drink waiters were not working for tips on this cruise. Many would just walk right by your deck chair without trying to sell you a drink. It was sometimes quicker to go to a Bar & get it yourself. Overall the majority of staff & crew were very nice & professional. Port 1: Montevideo. We did a ships excursion of the general city, suburbs area. It was ok but probably spent a little too much time driving out to see monuments rather than tour grand old buildings, etc. Port 2: Portobelo. This was our first stop in Brazil. We did another ship exc. This was a good touristy day & finished at a popular beach area. Unfortunately the weather was not too great on this day & got very wet waiting for the tender back to ship. Port 3: Santos. This was the real surprise port. We organised a private tour from the Port & it was well worth it. The beach areas along the coastline here were very scenic & everyone so friendly. Port 4: Rio De Janeiro. This port had huge expectations & it delivered. We did a tour to the major sites which we organised at the Port. There were very long lines everywhere we went but this was to be expected due to the influx of tourists for carnival. At night we went to the Sambadrome Parade & this was the major highlight of our trip. Overall we had an excellent cruise. Both Costa & the ship were a little better than we imagined they would be & would not hesitate to cruise with them again! Post cruise we stayed at the very new Boca Juniors Hotel for 1 night & this would be my first choice next time I return to Buenos Aries. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Costa Cruises Brazilian Holiday December 22 to 30 2011 / 8 nights Itinerary Embark in Buenos Aries Day 1: At Sea Day 2: At Sea Day 3: At Sea Day 4: Angra dos Reis (Brazil) Day 5: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Day 6: Ilhabela (Brazil) ... Read More
Costa Cruises Brazilian Holiday December 22 to 30 2011 / 8 nights Itinerary Embark in Buenos Aries Day 1: At Sea Day 2: At Sea Day 3: At Sea Day 4: Angra dos Reis (Brazil) Day 5: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Day 6: Ilhabela (Brazil) Day 7: At Sea Day 8: Punta del Este (Uruguay) Disembark in Buenos Aires We were in Buenos Aires over the holidays for 19 days. We were looking for options to compliment our stay; either go to Mendoza, Igazu, stopover in Santiago or other. We found this cruise on the Costa web site and found the itinerary very interesting for the week of Christmas. I have cruised with Carnival twice before in the Caribbean. Costa and Carnival are sister companies and Costa is an Italian version of Carnival. Therefore, my expectations were set on what I experienced with Carnival which is basic and not to expect too much. I had cruised on the Carnival Victory twice. For this cruise, we cruised on the Costa Magica, a sister ship of the Carnival Victory so the layout of the ship was familiar. The passengers were mostly Argentinean and Brazilian; they sold this cruise from both ends so the crowd changed somewhat after the stop in Rio. Since this was a holiday cruise, we were expecting many children. What we did not expect were undisciplined children with parents that did not seem to care. Children of all ages over ran the ship. They were everywhere, running in the hallways, getting on and off elevators pressing all the buttons on the way out, in the casino gambling, in the adult pool, in the Disco, roaming around everywhere unsupervised. It was like being in an unsupervised day care. The crew did the most they could but since the parents did not seem to care there was not much they could do short from kicking them off the ship. I must add that some of the adults were just as disrespectful, stealing deck chairs, being loud and obnoxious, cutting in on the buffet line and so on. I have never seen such chaos on a ship or in a resort or hotel in all my travels. The lack of respect for others was unbelievable. The ship's crew was just as shocked since the ship had just crossed the Atlantic a few weeks before, so it was culture shock for them. However, I do hold the crew responsible for not applying the rules out of respect to all their passengers. They seem to have given up. They did remind passengers of the rules in the daily newsletter but the rules were never enforced when situations arose. Many crewmembers informed me that the ship had over 3000 passengers. According to the ships stats the capacity is 2700. If this is true, this may explain the reasons for the subpar service and disorganisation among the crew. Cabin: I always book a cabin with a balcony on a high deck, we were on deck ten and the cabin was identical except for the decor as the Victory cabins with balcony. Ironically, I was on deck 10 on the Carnival both times. The cabin decor surpasses the Victory, it is less tacky. Our cabin steward Caitano was impeccable. Courteous and was very attentively to details, thoughtful and always had a smile. We tipped him very well and he was very appreciative. He deserved it. Food and Beverage: Breakfast at the buffet restaurant was the same everyday and the taste and quality was awful. Fruit was rare and limited to a few choices. Watermelon every day, cantaloupe one day and it was not ripe. Mango on every other day and it was not ripe. No toast, eggs floated in some sort of liquid, potatoes were very oily, bacon was extra salty, and the sausage was more Chorizo style witch I find is not suitable for breakfast. They ran out of yogurt often, no spoons available at the buffet and the coffee is from concentrated liquid, very disgusting. There was an omelette station set up in a corner and the wait time was more than 25 minutes. The la carte breakfast option was available for 90 to 120 minutes each morning starting at 7am. Not very particle hours, we made it to the la carte breakfast on the last day. Nothing better here than what the buffet offered and the service was lousy. Coffee refills were never offered and the staff did not seem to want to be there. Lunch hours for la carte were just as impractical as the breakfast. They seem to have planned these hours so you cannot make it and they do not want you there. We had the lunch buffet twice. Again tasteless food and not very many healthy options. On one day, they had hamburger patties with no buns. I asked and the staff behind the buffet and she said there was none. After lunch on our way out passing, another buffet there was many buns. Staff did not seem to care or want to be there and had no idea what hospitality service is. I witnessed some of the worst hospitality service I ever experienced on this ship The buffet dining area was always disorganised. Dirty tables, tables full of used plates, uneaten food would stay there for long periods. It was difficult to find a table. We usually had to clear the table ourselves and clean it. They definitely did not have enough staff on hand; the staff present seemed disoriented and incompetent. The drink service was slow or nonexistent, most of our meals at the buffet were without beverages due to lack of servers. These situations happened everyday at the buffet restaurant during lunch and breakfast. After a few days, I saw eating on the ship as nourishment or as much as you can get out of the choices they offered. The buffets were not refilled fast enough and often had to wait for a refill. It was very frustrating and unacceptable but had no other choice if you were hungry. I am no fan of fast food but the golden arches would have been a welcome site after two days on the ship. The buffet was opened at night for a few days during the week for 90 minutes. I found this unacceptable when you are dining at the second seating at 22h15. We did not experience the evening buffet due to the limited times it was offered. Waiting until 22h15 at night to eat after a full day at a port of call was not practical. The seated dining at night was just as chaotic and the rest of the services. The dining room never opened on time, always late. Service at the beginning of the week was slow; as the week progressed, it got too fast. The food was mediocre at best. Cheese plates were served with soda crackers or soup crackers. On the Italian theme night, nothing tasted or looked Italian, very disappointing from an Italian cruise line. I know my Italian food since I am a meeting and event organiser for high-end clients and work for Italians. The cannoli served would have insulted any Italian. It was disgusting and an insult to serve such a thing or call it a cannoli. When I mentioned this to our waiter, he told me that they serve the real cannoli when in Europe. Then why not in South America? Tea was served everyday and offered the same options every day. Dry tasteless cakes, pastries, and sandwiches that had a slim piece of cheese or meat in bread 3 inches thick. Tasteless pizza served everyday with plain tomato sauce and hardly and cheese, just enough to make it somewhat white. Would it be that hard or too expensive to add some vegetables or event some pepperoni. I thought I was on an Italian ship, again very disappointing to find the same cardboard with tomato sauce everyday!! Salt and pepper was needed to make it taste like something. What surprised me is that no proteins were in tea or pizza afternoon choices. If you missed lunch and were dining at the second seating at 22h 15, you are out of luck and will be hungry until dinner; no other option for food was available when the pizza service was done at 19h30. When retuning from an excursion at the end of the day, no food or snacks were available. You better have eaten before boarding and get something decent. We ate as many times we could on shore before embarking the ship. We dined at the club restaurant twice during the week. It was excellent and the service was impeccable. The dishes were well presented and were very tasty. The Maitre D Justine was amazing and a very hospitable host. These were the only two times that we had a decent meal on the ship. Bar service at the bar was good, some bartenders were useless, they did not know their drinks or available liquors. We quickly noted these bartenders and avoided them. We purchased an all inclusive drink package that was offered for a few hours the day of arrival. It was an excellent choice and it was profitable for us. The quality of beverages was very good and the cappuccino at the bars was good, this was a relief since the regular coffee offered at the buffet was awful. Entertainment Music from a can is not my opinion of musical entertainment. Signers sit behind a piano or with a guitarist and the rest of the instruments and computer generated. Playlist were repeated every night. I think I heard Por Ti Volare and Quando, Quando Quando more times during the cruise than I did in my entire life, it was unbearable. I avoided the theatre shows after peaking at one. Bad singers, dancers, and animators are a standard on this ship. This was a Christmas cruise so Christmas music played over the ships loudspeakers all day for 8 days, the same songs over and over again. On the 27th I went to customer service and asked why they were still playing Christmas music. There response was that it was a Christmas cruise. However, Christmas has past and it is over move on! Ports of call This is the main reason we booked this cruise and we were not disappointed. Each port was amazing we visited places we would have never visited if it were not for this cruise. We booked excursions on all the stops except for Angra dos Reis. The excursion in Rio de Janeiro was not worth the cost. The English excursion was cancelled due to little demand so we took the Spanish one. The local guide was very kind and took the time to answer all our questions. I am disappointed that the ship did not offer a personal translator as they did for a French couple in Punta del Este. I would have paid the extra costs. Ilhabela is beautiful but we were there for only 5 hours. Way too short of time to appreciate this destination. Same for Punta del Este. All stops were tendered except for Rio. The wait times to board a tender in Ilhabela was 1 hour, an hour wasted waiting in the hot sun. The wait time for a tender was 45 minutes in Punta del Este. Bad planning and timing on part of Costa. At least they rented a tender service in Punta del Este to compliment their own to make the wait shorter by 15 minutes. It was always a relief to get off the ship and have a good meal. That was reward enough and made the wait tolerable. General Internet service was slow and we were charged for time we did not use. We did log off as they requested but our time kept being counted since their server never logged us off. We ended up purchasing 7 hours of internet time. We placed a complaint on day two after purchasing 3 hours and never used more than 1. After the third complaint, they informed us that an email was sent to Italy to see if they can refund some time. I asked that they provide a report of the quantity of KB uploaded or downloaded and at what times when we were connected. I also asked that they do not provide an answer to us the last night onboard, which is exactly what happened. They credited 90 minutes of internet time to our account not a refund. I will be contesting the internet charges with my credit card company. After this experience with customer service, I learned that they are only pencil pushers and cannot help you even if they wanted to. We also had to contest 4 charges on our account that were incorrect; these were credited after 2 days. Brazilian immigration took our passports when we boarded. I questioned many time as to when our passport would be returned. I got many different answers. None proved to be correct, again bad training and people that do not care. We read every piece of information we received since all announcements were in Spanish and Portuguese on board. We were looking for some sort of info as to when we would get our passports back. When we disembarked in Buenos Aires, I was waiting to see a counter where we would receive our passport. There was none. We were near the exit when I asked a Costa crewmember where do we retrieve our passports. She answered that they were given out on board last night. I became very upset and was infuriated. We were never informed that we needed to claim our passports in the theatre the day before or go to customer service to claim it. We had to re-board the ship to get our passports at customer service. They knew immediately who we where and what we wanted. They said they called us on our cell phone but it was busy. That is untrue since my phone was on and I have voice mail. They were calling names all morning for people to go to customer service but they never called us? Again bad planning and they prove again that they customer service cannot deal with any situation. Conclusion After this experience, I will never cruise with Costa again just as I will never cruise with Carnival again. I will also add every other cruise line this company owns. Holland America, Cunard, AIDA, P&O cruises, Seaborn, ibero and Princess. If this is the kind of service they give you on Costa and Carnival I cannot expect much more form the others, even if they are called or are higher categoroes. They do not pay attention to details; do not care about passengers, its all money grab. They give you the cheapest of everything. I do not like Wall Mart and Costa and Carnival are the Wall Marts of cruises. If I am going to spend what I spent on this cruise, I will make sure next time I get something decent for my money. I am a meeting and event executive; I work in the hospitality industry. I work with clients our office has had for over 20 years. Why? Because we treat all our clients with respect and give them the best there is with the budget they have. I can tell you if a hotel if a dump just by walking into the lobby. My expectations were low and they managed to go lower. I loved the ports of call but the rest was a nightmare. A crewmember even confirmed this. I hope this helps anyone planning a cruise. My advice is look elsewhere and spend a little more and get your monies worth. When you spend your hard earned savings on vacation you deserve it. PS: My review was written before the incident with the Costa Concordia in Italy. When I read about what passengers experienced during the evacuation it does not surprise me. Chaos, confusion and bad training were witnessed all week on the Costa Magica. The Captain of the Magica and his officers were in the ship's bars every night consuming alcohol and fraternising the female passengers. Many other crew members were also in the bars. This in my opinion is unprofessional and should not be tolerated. My sympathies to all the Costa Condordia passengers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My wife and I had a very enjoyable cruise. The stateroom had a balcony and was spotless The food was excellent and was '5 star' quality although I would have preferred a better choice of cereals for breakfast.The staff were most ... Read More
My wife and I had a very enjoyable cruise. The stateroom had a balcony and was spotless The food was excellent and was '5 star' quality although I would have preferred a better choice of cereals for breakfast.The staff were most efficient, and helpful as well as being very friendly. We would like to mention in particular our Indonesian waiter in the Sinfonia restaurant, Daniel, a Brazilian waiter in the bar and Mozart, another lovely Brazilian a most gifted and entertaining member of the entertainment group.The evening shows in the theatre were very good on some nights.On a negative side, we really felt quite upset at the behavior of some of the passengers who rushed and pushed to get first at every opportunity. We also felt angry at the practice of a number who took over seats in the theatre and held them for their late arriving friends. We remember seeing a whole row of the best seats booked by a group of Germans. The Germans were the main culprits, but some Italians also abused the system. We reported this , but nothing was done about it.As a small group of English speaking passengers, we travelled with a larger group of German speaking passengers on a tour in Salvador de Bahia. However, although the tour was meant to be in two languages,the German born guide spoke mostly in German. He only spoke in English when we asked him to translate what he had said in German. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
The first two things that really strike you about Victoria is the amount of space in her public areas inside & out, and (more importantly to some) the almost complete lack of revenue driven areas on board. These two aspects are hand in ... Read More
The first two things that really strike you about Victoria is the amount of space in her public areas inside & out, and (more importantly to some) the almost complete lack of revenue driven areas on board. These two aspects are hand in hand in many ways, for example, Orpheus Grand Bar on deck 6 has a huge amount of unused floorspace, this is the same on deck 7 in the casino where large swathes of floorspace has been intentionally left furnishings & thus revenue free. The space in her public rooms is quite unique for a purpose-built cruise ship of her size, one of the big complaints against some cruise ships is the way that tables & chairs seem on top of each other & crowded, this is far from the case on Victoria.Design wise, Victoria is a very elegant ship...as close to an ocean liner as you can probably get in a cruise ship. She has curves everywhere, her external & internal architecture has been beautifully designed and, as with all German built ships, her build quality, attention to detail and overall atmosphere is second to none, she really is quite exceptional in most areas.Technologically speaking she is actually very advanced, especially in her propulsion systems. Her four main powerplants drive two screws, she has two large rudders and 5 thrusters...2 aft & 3 forward. The thrusters are how she manages to parallel park so efficiently. She can berth in about 15 minutes from arriving to roping up, equally getting away is just as quick, a case of drop the ropes and let the thrusters do the work....no hanging about for tug assistance at all. Despite a minor blip off Brazil when she lost all power for about 20 minutes, she has had no major problems...and that is with one engine out of action. Incidently, the engine with the fault will be put right before she leaves for Asia next year, so she should be firing on all cylinders without any difficulties.Boat drill...as per all Costa cruises, you will get a boat drill every 7-8 days and unlike most modern ships, Victoria has her muster stations outside on the boat deck (deck 6) and they have 6 muster stations - A, B, C, D, E & F - three down each side. The drill takes around 15-20 minutes depending on languages required, so be prepared to stand a long while in possibly hot/humid temperatures (especially in Asia).Concorde Plaza is almost cathedral like in its design & build, stretching from deck 7-11 and with two incredible mezzanine floors that are both user friendly and elegant, again the attention to detail is just superb. Another of the main rooms is the theater on decks 6 &7, superbly designed, very thoughtfully built to enable 90% of theater goers to see without obstruction, there are screens on each side of the stage for those in the upper level on deck 7 so that no-one misses anything on stage.Music lovers will really enjoy Victoria...Orpheus (deck 6), Planetarium (deck 5), Capriccio (deck 7), Concorde Plaza (deck7 thru 10) & Tavernetta (deck 12) all have live music in the evenings, Orpheus & Planetarium starting early evening. There are bars in each lounge too, with long drinking hours, so the drinkers will be happy.Dancers are also very well catered for, Victoria has a variety of dancefloors, all with live music in the evenings...ranging from ballroom to disco. A disco is also available on deck 6. Daily dance lessons are available to those wishing to learn from expert dance teachers.Kids & teens....the usual teen & Squok programmes are available and were well organised on my cruise. The children on board seemed to enjoy their experiences, which appears to be standard on Costa, so kids are definitely well looked after aboard Victoria.Sun worshippers will enjoy Victoria. There are no shortages of loungers anywhere on the ship, the sun deck area stretched to the equivalent of around 3 football fields, and as in the inside areas, there are large swathes of space to stretch out in without having to clamber over others to get to a lounger. The upper decks (11, 12 & 14) all have loungers, deck 11 has two bars, an outdoor buffet counter and two very large pools, 4 whirlpools, a stage for live music and plenty of areas to just watch the world float by.One unusual aspect to Victoria is her indoor pool on deck 6. It is alongside the gym & spa and is very popular...the pool itself is larger than most ship's outside pool, so if a few lengths is what you want to do when the weather is not good, then you will be pleased.Eating....often a bone of contention with some people, but in Victoria's case, there is no problem. The service is very good, food quality is very high, I personally did not have any bad meals or slow nights service wise. The pizza is to die for...absolutely wonderful at lunchtime. There were apparent issues with the Sinfonia restaurant at breakfast & lunch which seemed to have been sorted after a couple of days. I had evening meal in Fantasia. Both Sinfonia & Fantasia are on deck 5...Sinfonia is aft whereas Fantasia is midships.Drinking water at evening meal......just ask the waitstaff and they will happily provide jugs of iced water for your table, along with lemon slices too if you so wish. Never a problem for me or countless others in the dining room and always waiting there on my table for when I arrived in the evening.Posh frock nights & cocktails parties....on this cruise we had 4 Gala nights & a total of 3 cocktail parties over the 3 weeks. The buffet & pizza restaurants were either closed or partially closed most nights as most passengers preferred to eat in the main dining rooms, so it would have been pointless to open up both sides of the buffet. Obviously this changes according to itinerary/passenger mix & demand.Powerpoints in the cabin.....standard two voltage shaver point in the bathroom and a two voltage powerpoint in the cabin area (at least in my cabin). Lighting consists of two bedside lamps, 2 spotlights over the desk with independent switches & overhead spotlights, again with independent switches.Theater....the entertainment is very professional and varied, the crew show was standing room only as usual and extremely enjoyable. Overall the shows on Victoria were of an excellent standard - most of the performers were aboard Allegra last year, so it was great to see & hear them again, The animator crew are hysterical, they play pranks on the passengers and crew daily and can always raise a laugh, even when the weather is miserable...whether it be dressing as babies and throwing tantrums in the casino or chasing each other like cops & robbers, these guys & gals put their all into having fun with everyone....brilliant to see and watch.Smoking...another bone of contention...again, I think it really depends on the nationalities & region/itinerary - some are more attached to their ciggies than others and in many respects this showed a little during the cruise. The usual smoky areas to avoid...casino & to some extent Capriccio next door. However, on the whole the smoking was not too much of a problem for the majority of passengers...there are ways and means to avoid the worst areas.Cabins....as with any purpose built cruise ship, the cabins are a tad compact & bijou but since they are just for sleeping, dressing & washing in, they work perfectly fine. My cabin was 80456 a grade I1 inside that was a standalone...with a crew access behind one wall, a linen cupboard behind another wall and the aft elevators behind another wall. Noise transmission was pretty much none existant, the elevators are quiet and foot traffic across the marble landings/stairs is negligible. The bathrooms have a large wooden sliding entry door (be gebtle with these doors as they can be tempermental) and the shower has a curtain to play with. Water pressure is excellent, as is the hot water...very hot and compared to other ships (inc QM2) your tightie whities will stay white, not go an attractive shade of orange. Access to the cabins is via a perforated door key, identical to Costa Allegra. There is a push button safe in the cupboard. Other storage in the cabin comprises of a double wardrobe with a chest of drawers to one side, two bedside chests of drawers, a small desk or table (depending on grade), a fridge and a cupboard with shelving. The TV is a CRT type, therefore not interactive...BUT...there are totems around the ship where you can book shorex, check your ship account, book the speciality restaurant etc, so you do not need to go to the tour desk on deck 6 or the reception deck on deck 5 for everything, it can be done remotely using the totems.There are also several totems for registering credit cards around the ship too.Hosts & hostesses...this is unique to Costa, they always have hosts & hostesses who can speak a variety of languages and they are the point of contact for passengers if they have a problem or just want to ask a question. This time around the English hostess was Rachel and the German hostess was Elke...there were also hosts/hostesses for the Portugese, Spanish & French. They had specific hours where they were available on deck 5 and passengers could just drop by for a chat or whatever. Other lines should take this on as it really does break down barriers tween crew and passenger. All the hosts/hostesses were excellent on this cruise, very hard working, polite & efficient,Secret spaces.....yes, she does have a few areas that you can often have to yourself. Apart from the stern rail on deck 6 (boat deck), decks 7 thru 10 have full width stern balconies that are reached via doors in the cabin corridors. Deck 8 stern balcony also has the Italian flag flying from it when in port. These balconies are brilliant for sailaways...and yes, you CAN smoke on them if you so wish (quite often you'll find crew on them having a quick ciggie]. Many people do not realise that passengers have access to these balconies, but you can and they offer unobstructed views from the stern along with limited wind/weather cover at each end.Ship's photographers...again an area of some consternation on other lines. Yes you will see them and they will see you, but a polite 'no thank you' will suffice and they will leave you alone. They will not continually hassle you to take photo's...if you want to have a photo taken whilst eating, having fun at the pool or whatever, then they are happy to oblige and the standard of the photo's is actually very good, with some unusual and unique montages that make lovely souvenirs for those wanting to purchase them. Costs range from $9.99 to $14.99 each depending on size/event.Potential drawbacks.....with the benefit of hindsight & the fact that nothing is ever perfect, Victoria does have a couple of areas that need to be taken into consideration when booking a cruise on her, especially with your choice of cabin.With the theater behind the aft stair tower from deck 6 thru 7, anyone wanting a siesta in the afternoon or are early/light sleepers might want to book a cabin forward of the aft stair tower due to the inevitable noise issues. Inside aft cabins on deck 8, 9 & 10 aft do pick up noise, this cannot be avoided, obviously deck 8 is probably the worst with 9 & 10 offering some improvement. Outside cabins on these decks aft of the stair tower also experience some noise too but to a lesser extent since the insides are right over the stage area.Concorde Plaza at the very front of the ship could potentially cause noise issues for the outside cabins on decks 6A, 7, 8, 9 & 10 (there are no insides forward of the forward stair tower).Another potentially difficult thing to consider in regard to Concorde Plaza is that with the loss of the inside cabins to accommodate the huge expanse of lounge area, Victoria can be a very bow light ship, so even the slightest of swell could be a problem for those with even slight motion sickness...she does move a lot she has quite a pronounced shimmy and she actually bounces too, especially when fully fuelled/ballasted. In all honesty I actually felt that her center of gravity was too high and that had been messed up by the balconies being added, combined with the weightless bow and engines/fuel tanks aft. The amount of movement IS excessive for a ship of this size and could put some off booking her, but I do suggest that you give her a try, making sure that if you are prone to motion sickness that you take appropriate precautions. You can obtain anti-nausea pills from reception or the pharmacy free of charge if you think you might require them. My inside cabin on deck 8 was right next to the aft stair tower & elevators and I felt every single roll, pitch & shimmy.So the old addage of a cabin midships & low comes into play...if there were low cabins, midships.....Victoria is essentially an upside down ship...her main public areas are deck 5, 6 & 7, there are cabins on deck 4, 5 & 6A but mainly midships to forward. The bulk of her cabins are decks 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12 (the suites are on the upper decks). The retrofitted balconies are mainly decks 9 & 10. The midships cabins are probably the best if you want to avoid the noise of the theater aft or the excesses of movement forward due to the lack of weight in that section of the ship.Seeing the sea.....I have to admit that I found Capriccio & Orpheus a little disappointing when it came to seeing the sea...Capriccio - well you can't and in Orpheus its glimpses via 3 vertically stacked large portholes, so I feel the design (which is otherwise superb) has let the ship down a little in these two areas. Tavernetta on deck 12 has huge picture windows, so seeing the sea is excellent, albeit too high to take in the wildlife very easily. Concorde Plaza has the huge wall of windows overlooking the bow....however, although the visibility forward is good (albeit slightly obstructed by the huge steel trusses), I personally feel that I have been spoilt by Costa Allegra and her Flamenco Ballroom at her stern where she has huge picture windows that look over the wake. Had I designed Victoria I think I would have swapped the theater over with Concorde Plaza and made more of the view by having Concorde at the stern with big windows on three sides...that, IMHO, would have been spectacular. On decks 6 & 7 you can sit on some very comfy wicker chairs or on round sofa's around the atrium, these either look down onto the Planetarium bar on deck 5 or out to sea on 6 & 7. Another 'problem' about both Capriccio & Orpheus is that both lounges are used as corridors to other parts of the ship, so there is always a constant flow of foot traffic and that can spoil an otherwise very pleasant atmosphere.The marble used on the stairs & landings might prove to be a problem for those with sight deficiencies. All passenger stairs & landings are in cream marble and it is not always easy to see where the stair riser is against the landing. Grooves have been cut into the riser surface but they are still cream, thus no clear demarcation, so greater care is required when using the stairs if your eyesight is not great. This could (and did) cause a few stumbles, so be aware of it and don't rush up or down the stairs too often.None of these potential drawbacks are meant to put people off Victoria, she is a stunning ship and ahead of her time in many areas, they are my own observations of how certain areas of the ship could have been made much better than they already are, and to act as guidance for those looking to book a cruise on her and wondering where to go for the quietest or most stable cabins. Costa is by no means responsible for the bad sea handling, crew that I spoke to are equally critical of her sea manners, they too feel that it is her achilles heel in many respects.Visually Victoria is stunning inside and out, her curves and attention to detail is exceptional, her crew are her heart and soul and they are a pure joy to be around, I cannot praise them enough during the 3 weeks I spent aboard her. She is extremely easy to get around...even for those with mobility issues...the flow of her rooms is perfect, access is via either one of 12 elevators (4 of which are glass in the atrium that go from deck 5 thru 12) or via 2 stair towers.So in summary.....is she a good fit for Asia...yes, definitely. She will be very well received out there and will give Legend o/t Seas & SuperStar Virgo a real run for their money. By introducing Victoria to Asia, Costa should be able to capitalise on their already popular itineraries with a very capable ship. However, one part of the itinerary might have to be curtailed, the cruise up the river into Saigon might have to go, this is an uncertainty at time of writing this report, but I fear that her draught & her height could cause a problem with the depth of the river and the new suspension bridge outside Saigon. Time will tell on this.Victoria delivers a great product, her crew are superb, her eating & drinking venues are excellent & her entertainment is varied and very professional. Yes she has her potential drawbacks but they are not really deal breakers, but should be taken into consideration by those they are most likely to affect. By booking a cruise aboard Victoria you are assured of a really friendly & happy ship and some marvelous itineraries. Wherever she is in 2013, I will definitely try to get another cruise on her (2012 is Costa Classica's turn for 37 days) in the knowledge that she is a very different vessel to those I have sailed in the past.One thing that is quite strange, and I know it is never wise to compare ships too much, but when chatting to other passengers, its become clear that many rate Allegra & Marina higher than Victoria. The two main reasons are cabin size & the way that Victoria reacts with weather/sea state. When you consider that both Allegra & Marina are less than half the size/weight of Victoria and the consensus is that they handle the sea better than Victoria, it is quite a surprise to hear that opinion. However, both Allegra & Marina were originally containerships, so their hulls were V shaped and thus built to take any & all weather conditions, Victoria is a purpose built cruise ship with a flat bottom and a shallow draft. As I have already said though, Victoria is slightly hobbled by her weight & balance issues and her high center of gravity.I have a huge amount of gratitude towards Captain Massimo Pennisi & his crew, especially Rachel, Elke (and the other hosts), Alvin, Marianna, Pian & all the crew in Fantasia, Lucas in Orpheus, Brian in Planetarium, Heri my wonderful cabin steward, Alex & the reception staff....and well everyone on board who made my cruise very special & one that I will remember for a very long time to come. A very big thank you to you all & I hope to see you again someday aboard either Costa Victoria or one of the other Costa ships.I would have no hesitation is recommending the Costa Victoria for the Med or for Asia, my only reservations are as I have already pointed out in regard to cabin position & basic 'sea manners' of the ship itself, you will always find some cabins are better than others, just as some ships handle the sea better than others. Do your homework, keep your expectations realistic and you will have a wonderful cruise aboard Costa Victoria. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
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