We embarked in Dubai. We arrived at the cruise terminal ~1200. We were allowed to enter the ship ~1500. The terminal is large with numerous shopping options, so we began souvenir shopping early! We were on the ship very ... Read More
We embarked in Dubai. We arrived at the cruise terminal ~1200. We were allowed to enter the ship ~1500. The terminal is large with numerous shopping options, so we began souvenir shopping early! We were on the ship very quickly, and luggage arrived quickly.
Overall, very nice and efficient embarkation process.
We chose an inside cabin as we had a port-intensive itinerary. There was enough space for 2 people, with lots of closet space and drawers. Our cabin steward, Elder, was wonderful - very friendly and accommodating! The bed was very hard, but the cabin steward brought an extra douvet to lay on top of, to act as a mattress pad.
Overall, nice cabin with excellent steward.
This is where the nightmare started.
The stations repeat themselves on each side, so you can move to a less crowded section. Absolutely DELICIOUS donuts served several of the mornings!
The hours - it is only open for ~2 hours at each meal time. So if you sleep in, no breakfast! Come back late from shore excursion, no dinner!
The crowd - HUNDREDS, literally hundreds, of rowdy Europeans with absolutely no concept of how a LINE works. Endless cutting. Repeated pushing. Sneezing in their hands and then immediately grabbing the serving spoon?! Or worse, sneezing and coughing without even covering their mouths at all?!
Unsupervised children running around, spilling plates of food everywhere.
No employees encouraging guests to wash their hands before entering the buffet area.
The silverware is hanging, uncovered, on racks on each individual table, so they are probably all covered in sneeze and cough germs too...
Overall, decent food with BAD guest interactions.
MAIN DINING ROOM:
We were assigned the Fiorentino Dining Room, early seating.
The decor inside the restaurant is absolutely beautiful.
It is spacious enough that you do not feel crowded with the other diners.
We were seated at a table with fellow English speakers at dinner. At lunch we were seated with whomever they wanted - once a French-speaking woman, and once a Russian couple.
There are two or more options for each course.
The service was extremely slow! Example: we waited one hour and ten minutes and had only eaten ONE course! They then brought out three courses simultaneously and hurried us out of the restaurant?!
Often the food was bland, sometimes is tasted downright bad, and one time our dessert was literally still frozen.
Overall, the food in the buffet was much better, but you have to encounter hundreds of people lacking common decency. So you need to decide which is more important to you to determine where to eat.
Piu Gusto drinks package was wonderful!
The staff at the bars were friendly.
The decor is beautiful!!!
Lots of room in hallways, so you don't feel crowded.
There is an abundance of live music being played in the bars, for a great atmosphere.
Adult only pool available in Samsara Spa.
Main pool has retractable roof.
Hours of Hospitality Desk and Shore Excursion desk were ridiculous, only a few hours per day.
The shows are geared towards Italian-speakers mainly. Occasionally they would translate a line or two into English, but the accent was too strong to understand?
There are only 10 English-language television channels - 6 are news, 2 are televangelists, (?!), 1 is NASA channel (?!), and 1 is Paramount Network for cheesy movies. So don't plan on watching tv before bed!!!
Hours of buffet are minimal, often there are hours at a time where no food is available without paying extra.
They put away all the pool loungers (sunbeds) by 2000 each night?! We literally went out to the deck at 2015 (8:15pm) to try to lay on loungers and star gaze. There wasn't a SINGLE lounger that hadn't already been stacked and locked?!
Bare minimum of available activities on ship.
Separate, for pay area if the ship. We bought a day pass (35 Euro) to use during our one sea day. We also bought the reserved lounger pass for the duration of the cruise.
Incredibly inexpensive fee for such an amazing place!
Day passes are available too!
Separate warm, indoor pool
Two types of saunas/steam rooms
Heated stone loungers in two separate rooms, overlooking the ocean, for amazing relaxation.
Separate lounger (sunbed) section from the rest of the ship, so you dont need to fight over a lounger on a sea day!!!
Private bar tender available by the loungers.
The hours - they close at 2200 (10pm)
PASSEPARTOUR option available (a selection of excursions to choose - one in each port for 199Euro total).
Inexpensive compared to other cruise lines.
Ship waits for you when your excursion is late (and they almost always were).
Tours consistently started and ended late.
Tours consistently ran HOURS longer than scheduled. Which is fine if you didn't make plans for after the tour and didn't care about missing dinner. But most people do care...
Tour operators don't seem to know what they are doing?! Example: The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi offers (for FREE!) abayas with hoods so that women are appropriately covered to enter the Mosque. Our tour operator did not know that and several women were not allowed to enter the Mosque because their pants showed ankle, head scarf was see-through, etc. Shouldn't a tour operator know that?! They do it every day! The Mosque was beautiful and a highlight of the trip - people shouldn't miss that due to tour operator not know basic details!
Tours are cancelled last minute for "lack of participation", meaning there aren't enough people who speak your language interested in that tour to warrant a bus. Once they inform you that your tour is cancelled you have to wait for the afternoon, when the tour desk opens, to go stand in line with hundreds of other passengers, to reschedule a different excursion. By the time it's your turn, there are only one or two options to choose from. Why not just have everyone on the bus wear headsets that provide translation?!?!
Fast and efficient. We were off the ship in a few minutes and had our luggage picked out within 5 minutes.
This cruise was significantly less expensive than any other cruise I've taken (previously taken: 3 Princess, 1 Royal Caribbean, 2 Carnival, 2 Norwegian). The onboard charges are also significantly less than any other cruise I've taken - drink package was ~$240 for a week, including gratuity?! But the interactions with other guests who do not have any concern for personal space or manners was more than I could take. It ruined the cruise for me. The ONLY way I would ever sail Costa again is in a Samsara Suite, so that I could eat in the private restaurant, with separate lounger section. Read Less