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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Have just completed cruise with Costa from Stockholm to Russia back to Stockholm and then down to Italy. Total around 21 days. Ship was built in 2004. Although I suffered from food poisoning on the last night, Dining in Restaurants and ... Read More
Have just completed cruise with Costa from Stockholm to Russia back to Stockholm and then down to Italy. Total around 21 days. Ship was built in 2004. Although I suffered from food poisoning on the last night, Dining in Restaurants and Buffett was quite good. Accommodation although a bit dated was good and consider room quite comfortable with a good mattress. The waiters and room attendants were good.That is the good points. The pool area was quite acceptable. Now the bad points. My cabin was in the lower section of the ship and during normal cruising quite comfortable, however when the boat exceeded 21 knots, the noise was unbearable and the cabin actually was shaking. So take the upper decks if you intend to book this ship. On 3 normal nights I was unable to sleep!. This was mentioned to the wonderful staff!! on the Hospitality Desk and who really showed little interest which was normal practice. There is definitely no customer service in this particular section of the Boat along with the Excursion staff. I went on numerous excursions and whilst I accepted that they might have been a bit expensive I could not believe how incompetent they were. The Russian excursion was excellent. The excursions I booked to Tallin, Rouen, Lisbon and Marseilles failed miserably due to various factors like the tour guide was either disinterested, on medication or something other or showed little interest in our group. The Excursion to Rouen in particular was crazy. We had just 1 guide with more than 20 English and more 20 German passengers. No headphones were provided and the guide alternated between German and English, spoke too low, was disinterested and nobody could hear her. Just crazy. On the tour of Tallin , 5 passengers were left behind due to no fault of their own, just incompetence by the tour guide and forced to either take taxi's back to the boat or walk back. This was explained to the Excursions Staff with little interest. I was not refunded for my taxi fare!! Other problems experienced including the internet packages. Although this ship appears to take this cruise on numerous occasions the internet packages never worked or provided the service advertised. A rip off. Other little things that were charged for was, breakfast in cabin, ice cream/crepes, Ice Cream Trolley and water. Despite having a Drinks package I was unable to be provide with bottled water. Had to pay 3 Euro. Just crazy. I guess another downside was that Costa Magica was always docked the furthest from the town. Compulsory Hotel service charges were also a surprise which the Australians were not aware of until arriving on board. No mention of these charges by Touring Company in our Booking Contract. In Costa's Tour Values they state Clear and Transparent prices and no unpleasant surprises. The only trouble is that you are not aware until you arrive on the ship. As one Passenger mentioned, it is always a good idea when talking to Costa Staff to keep both hands in your pockets!. Despite written assurances that excursions etc would be paid at the end of the cruise, they were taken out on a daily basis. Another broken promise.! Many Australians experienced troubles with this cruise. I would never travel with these people again and that is felt by most people. If Costa do come to these waters, stay away. They are plenty of good Cruise company's better. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Note: Boarded Dover,09.09.17. left Marseille 21,09,17. This was our second Costa Cruise, the last was on Luminosa. We chose it because of the bargain price of £600, outside cabin for 13 nights and the itinerary of Dover to Marseille ... Read More
Note: Boarded Dover,09.09.17. left Marseille 21,09,17. This was our second Costa Cruise, the last was on Luminosa. We chose it because of the bargain price of £600, outside cabin for 13 nights and the itinerary of Dover to Marseille taking in some different to usual ports. We were extremely pleased with the ship. Spacious, clean and comfortable, nicely decorated in the usual glitzy costa style. Food and service were excellent in both the buffet and restaurant although the meanness of Costa regarding charging for water on the dinner table and the limited availability of free water, coffee around the ship still irks somewhat (coffee and tea only until 11am and during afternoon tea, water only at buffet hours so you have to stock up). Our cabin steward Chandan was exceptional and delighted us with his different towel creations every night. Our waiter Andreo also was superb and very attentive whilst discreet. The buffet was overcrowded for afternoon tea on sea days, needs longer opening times. Entertainment was superb in the theatre, the shows being of very high standard (excepting the ventriloquist, amazed he is still around having seen him before on Luminosa). The musicians around the ship were also mainly of a high standard, particularly the classical duo. Rather a pity the latter who played in a quiet room had to endure a noisy bartender crashing around and a few people who insisted on talking during the performance. Embarking and disembarking the ship was easy and smooth in most ports with the exception of Savona which was an utter shambles. We docked late. Staff put up signs to exits then changed them. Hundreds of people were trying to get off with luggage mixed wiith the day trippers. The port authorities would not allow walking but did not provide enough buses and Costa had no staff organising getting onto the buses. People blocking the doors from closing refused to get off so the bus couldn't move, it was bedlam. Also embarking at Dover was confused. The staff didn't seem to be expecting new guests and seemed very confused. We don't do excursions, prefering to do our own thing so cannot comment on these. All ports were an easy walk excepting Porto (why the shortened day there? It wasn't tide as we sailed on a low tide) which is easy on public bus or hop on bus and as we have been to Rome we got a local bus to Tarquinia. €2.60 return. The tour would have been 70 euros each (incl a lunch and museum entry). The main problem with this cruise however was not the ship or staff but the passengers. We have read before of issues with certain nationalities pushing and shoving, jumping queues etc on Costa ships but this was not our experience on our previous Luminosa cruise at all. It certainly was this time! Until Savona, guests comprised of around 20 British, maybe similar no of Americans, 800 Russians! and the rest mainly a mixture of Italian, German, Spanish and Dutch. We have never encountered so many rude people in one place. Now I'm sure it was a minority but because it was such a significant minority the whole atmosphere of the ship seemed unfriendly. Rare were the usual greetings when one got into a lift or passed in the cabin corridors for example. Bacause the queue jumping was so prevalent people seemed on edge, always expecting it. Talking through the theatre shows was extremely irritating. One man even made a phone call! Swimwear in the buffet, nobody using the hand gel dispensers etc just general bad manners but what we really hate to see is the rudeness to the hardworking staff. On one breakfast table I was even saying 'por favor' and 'gracias' after ever order from one Spaniard for him I was so annoyed by his arrogance with the waiter. Strangely after Savona, with one day left of our cruise and where the majority of guests changed to start a new cruise, the atmospere completely changed. It was like a different ship. People were smiling again, the usual greetings and friendly chat returned. Yes there are always a few idiots but it really highlighted to us what a difference one's fellow passengers can make to a cruise. I'm not going to blame any particular nationality, we saw bad behaviour from different nationalities, however the dominance of Russians did not help. We met some lovely ones who found it necessary to apologisee for the behaviour of their compatriots. We have two more Costa cruises booked and it has put us off booking more. We shall see what the next ones are like. Costa provide an excellent cruise at a bargain price but perhaps they need to be careful where they do their marketing? Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We sailed on Costa Diadema for the New Year's cruise on Europe. The boat is beautiful and huge as well as our cabin very good price,quality value. Nevertheless compared with other cruises we have done with Costa which were in our ... Read More
We sailed on Costa Diadema for the New Year's cruise on Europe. The boat is beautiful and huge as well as our cabin very good price,quality value. Nevertheless compared with other cruises we have done with Costa which were in our opinion very good and convenient this one on Costa Diadema was really not good! The service ion the restaurants ADULARIA and Corona Blu were extremely long, about 2 hours and 2,30 hours to have dinner)! The quality of the shows and entertainment team were very poor, not enough activities on board, no hot water or coffee available (everything had to be paid), all passengers were really pushed to consume and to spend as much as possible! No glamour, no magic and a very bad attitude from Costa Cruises. We could tell that the most part of the passengers were very disappointed! And of course on the last morning when you are about to leave the boat and you are charged with fees of 10 € for person and for day for a service that you did not appreciate at all you feel that Costa is really putting his hand on your pocket! The problem is not the crew they just follow orders and they must obey. If this line of exploitation continues to be followed by Costa Cruises I am sure they will lose a lot of clients me included and it is really a pity because they can do much better as they already done before and win money anyway! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We mainly chose this cruise because it took us from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean. We were very sceptical of cruising with Costa because of the reviews on this site. However the experience couldn't have been better. Costa ... Read More
We mainly chose this cruise because it took us from Northern Europe to the Mediterranean. We were very sceptical of cruising with Costa because of the reviews on this site. However the experience couldn't have been better. Costa Luminosa is a bit smaller than other cruises we have done (MSC) and we enjoyed that. It enabled us to meet more people and make some firm friends who we'll keep in touch with. The only thing lacking was enough pools. On a day at sea you almost had to queue to get a swim! We had a premium balcony cabin which was large and comfortable. We liked having a seperate sofa to sit on when we were resting, and the balcony was a great place to escape to if we wanted a little peace. We always had breakfast and lunch in the buffet, and this is where we met most of our new friends, just by sharing tables. The food was good with lots of choice. My only negative would be that there was far too much salt in all the savoury food, both in the buffet and in the restaurant. The entertainment was a bit hit and miss. There were some grea artists playing the various bars on the ship and we rotated around them most evenings. There were also a handful of amazing shows in the theatre, and a handful of not very amazing shows. But we never lacked entertainment somewhere on this ship. We also enjoyed the guest speaker who gave lectures on the history of the area we were in on days at sea. Service was very good and any reasonable request was delivered promptly and with a smile. We didn't do shore excursions at every stop, but the ones we did do were really good. Great local guides. The only downside was having excursions sharing two languages. It was ok when we understood the other language, eg French or Italian because we got the whole story. Unfortunately other languages left us in the dark when you could tell they had more of the story. Overall a great trip and would certainly travel with Costa again. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
After having made many cruises with mid-class (like Princess, Celebrity) and luxury cruise lines (e.g. Oceania) we wanted to investigate the difference between those cruise lines and Costa, which is frequently offering cruises for very ... Read More
After having made many cruises with mid-class (like Princess, Celebrity) and luxury cruise lines (e.g. Oceania) we wanted to investigate the difference between those cruise lines and Costa, which is frequently offering cruises for very attractive prices. As we had already booked an Oceania cruise for later this summer, we accepted a cheap last minute offer for the Costa NeoRomantica cruise tot he Norwegian fjords (€700 in the cheapest cabin), a.o. to be able to make this investigation. We had read beforehand various reviews on CruiseCritic and hence were prepared for a somewhat different experience then with the other abovementioned cruise line companies. We must say that the ship NeoRomantica itself was much nicer then expected, and certainly not attractive then ships of other cruiselines of a comparable size. It was just a pity that with the latest renovation the theatre had been removed to make space for a wellness area. The cabins are vary spacious and well equipped (although without bathrobes), and the available inside public areas is ample enough even in cool weather situations. Boarding and debarkation was very smooth and efficient. COMPARISON OF TOTAL CRUISE COST: COSTA vs e.g. OCEANIA (a luxury cruise line specially known for it’s exquisite food) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- COSTA ---------- Last minute cruiseprice = €700 p.p. for 9 nights in the cheapest cabin. Effective real additional costs for service fee + a modest amount of non-alcoholic drinks (1 specialty coffee, 1 non alcoholic drink + 0,5 bottle of mineral water a day): € 170. The total cost (without excursions) thereby comes to € 97 p.p per night Crew to Passengers ratio: 650/1700 = 38% OCEANIA ------------ Pseudo last minute cruiseprice (4 month before embarcation) = €1575 p.p. for 12 nights in cheapest cabin: € 131 per night all-in. Included in this price: * $400 board credit (repeater rebate + travel agent offer) which covers the service charge * limitless non alcoholic drinks + specialty Illy coffees/teas * free WiFi * a complimentary visit to a specialty restaurant every 3 nights (value of appx €30: €10 per night) * a complimentary full day shore excursion every 3 nights (which I value at € 50: €17 per night. List value is much higher but irrealistic) Crew to Passengers ratio: 787/1250 = 63% Deducting the value of the complimentary specialty restaurants + shore excursions, the daily rate comes to € 131-27 = € 104, €7 more then at Costa. COMPARISON CONCLUSION ------------------------------------ For a daily extra of € 7 p.p. one gets with Oceania next to free WiFi, limitless non alcoholic drinks and really exquisite food (e.g. including lobster, steaks, etc.; we experienced the quality on various previous cruises), much friendlier and quicker service: incomparable to Costa. If a specific itinerary is offered by Costa as well as Oceania I would allways choose Oceania. However, to get this all for this little extra, one has to be very alert on special offers, as the regular list prices of Oceania are very much higher. Moreover one has to value the complimentary specialty restaurants and shore excursions. If you don’t care for those, Costa may be a good bargain. SOME OBSERVATIONS on the COSTA NEOROMANTICA ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Positive points: ------------------- * Efficient boarding and debarkation * Very spacious and well equipped cabins (although without bathrobes) * Sufficient public areas (inside as well as on deck), inside even in cool weather situations * Linen towels in public restrooms (a luxury touch!) * Excellent Illy coffee (extra charge) * Offering of an area with popular classical music next tot he venues with popular music. Weak points: ---------------- * The penny pinching and high costs for extra's (like coffee during the day, better but still simple food, entry fee for aft deck, etc). During over 30 trips with other cruise lines we never experienced that one had to pay extra for items in the main restaurant, pizza, etc. * Excessive drink prices, e.g. € 3,50 for a cappucino coffee, € 8 for a non alcoholic coctail * The offered food was OK but nothing more. There was never anything on the menu which I would have ordered in even a simple local restaurant. * Service is very slow, mainly because of a crew to passengers ratio which is to low. * Most (but luckily not all) of the service personnel worked like robots, not giving the feeling they were happy with their job. They appeared to be overstressed and underpaid. * Very noisy animateurs * Dinner times are not well coördinated with timing of shows * No real theatre: just lounge shows * Complimentary coffee and tea is only available during breakfast + afternoon tea. * Tap water is available during lunch at the buffet restaurant, but not automatically offered in the main restaurant. * Hygiene is not stressed overly strong. * Life enrichment lectures were only at midnight .... FELLOW PASSENGERS ------------------------------- The passengers are mainly Italian and French, with a smaller but still considerable group of Dutch and Germans (departure was from Amsterdam). As far as we can tell almost no Americans, Englishman or Australians. Because of differences in culture and mentality the south European and north European passengers groups practically don’t mix. The whole atmosphere is more oriented towards the Italian style. E.g. where on ships with mainly Anglo-Saxon passengerst there is usually the silence of the grave after the last show, that’s the moment where on the NeoRomantica the big parties start. Announcements are always made in 5 languages: Italian, French, Spanish, English and German. Especially during the emergency exersize quite tiring. ITINERARY & EXCURSIONS ------------------------------------ In essence the cruise to the Norwegian fjord region was fine, although the time spend in small towns like Geiranger, Olden and Flam could have been slightly shorter as there is not much to do. Better spend part of the afternoon cruising the fjord. We didn’t use the shore excursions as these are excessively overpriced (as is the case with all cruiselines). We always organise excursions ourselves, whenever possible by renting a car. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
We are regular Costa cruisers in our mid 50's. The itinerary appealed to us. We started in Savona and disembarked in Hamburg. 8/5/16(Sunday) Stansted to Milan. Transfer to Savona and embark. 9/5/16: (Monday) Marseille. ... Read More
We are regular Costa cruisers in our mid 50's. The itinerary appealed to us. We started in Savona and disembarked in Hamburg. 8/5/16(Sunday) Stansted to Milan. Transfer to Savona and embark. 9/5/16: (Monday) Marseille. 08h00-13h00. 10/5/16(Tuesday) Cruising 11/5/16: (Wednesday) Cadiz. 09h00-18h00. 12/5/16: (Thursday) Lisbon.08h00-17h00. 13/5/16(Friday) Vigo.09h00-19h00 14/5/16: (Saturday) Cruising 15/5/16: (Sunday) Le Havre. 09h00-20h00. 16/5/16: (Monday) Dover08h00-20h00 17/5/16 :( Tuesday) Cruising 18/5/16: (Wednesday) Hamburg. 08h00-disembark Preparation started the Wednesday before the cruise. The 3 fur balls needed their flea/dewormer drops prior to going to the Cat Hotel. Immediate suspicion! It did not help that our elderly lady had to go to the vet for blood tests as well. Mum in the dog box or is that litter tray? On the Saturday before departure the cats were boxed up and taken to the cat hotel. Only then could the suitcases come out and packing commenced. I had to pack for 12 days and flying Ryan air made that quite an art. We were flying from Stansted to Milan from where we had a Costa transfer to Savona. I was in a total panic about this because our flight was supposed to land in Milan at 11h30 and the transfer was supposed to leave at 12h00. Costa told us that they won’t wait for longer than 15 minutes and if we were late we would have to make our own way to Savona. Our trusty Taxi man Mark collected us at 05h40 and we were at Stansted about 35 minutes later. Apparently he does not get many speeding fines. It was the usual scrum at Stansted and I did not know that the Kindle needed to be in the tray for security so I had my case searched. Lesson learnt. We had a coffee at our usual watering hole and were once again surprised to see people drinking alcohol before breakfast. “Vodka and coke please”. Yuck. Don’t get me wrong as I like a drink as much as the next person. But that early in the morning? Trusty old Ryan air landed 15 minutes early in Milan. We were outside the airport in next to no time and after asking the MSC lady whether she knew where the Costa rep was (what’s new Costa) and finding her, we started waiting. Not even a Coach in sight! We eventually got on the coach at about 12h30 and went to another terminal before we set off. Panic over. When we arrived at Savona the terminal was still full of people waiting to board. This was around 16h00 and we were supposed to leave at 17h00. Thankfully we have priority boarding and after filling in the usual forms we were on board. We nipped off to our cabin and got our cards and headed for the atrium bar to have a drink before the emergency drill. I am not going to comment about the drill. I know it is annoying but it has to be done. The Pacifica is a lovely ship. She is similar in layout to the Magica, Serena and Fortuna with the 3 bars at the back on deck 5, the Grand bar in the middle on deck 5 and the atrium bar on deck 3. We did get the pronunciation of the name wrong. PahCheePheekah. Considering she is a few years old, the only thing that I felt needed upgrading, was the carpeting. The decor is the usual Costa idea. Quite bright, but certainly not as vile as some would let you believe. Are cruise ships not about a bit of bling? We had a classic balcony cabin on deck 6 towards the aft area of the ship just above the piano bar. The only night I was woken by noise was the last one when the suit case collection happened. The cabin was clean and well-kept by the lovely Gilda. We do not take part in the activities but there were lots of people who take dancing very seriously and dressed the part down to the proper dancing shoes. I wondered how many suit cases they had because one lady had a different pair to match every outfit. We only went to the theatre twice and neither performances were brilliant. Sury Boltman performed and we previously saw him on the NeoRomantica. I think the show was identical to that one. There was also a tenor who had an OK voice but he had a break after every song and was just mopping himself and having a drink of water. He did not even have a bit of music playing whilst he was mopping. We skipped most of the others because the illusionist sounded as if it was the same woman who performed on the Diadema when we were on her in February and she was pretty poor. If there was any decent dancing we missed it. The performers in the bars were so- so. We were disappointment again. The last time we had excellent performers on board was the Serena. The service varied. As usual the excursion desk and hospitality desks were poor. The bar and restaurant staff was different on this ship being mostly from Brazil and Peru. They were mostly friendly but we did not really connect with anyone in particular and I thought their English was not as good as the usual crew from the Philippines and India. We had a little disaster with the evening meals. We asked for early sitting but then upgraded to a balcony and did not mention this again. I think it was usual to get second sitting for classic cabins but Gold Pearl (hubby) used to get an option to change. I think this has actually changed with the new Costa club and would advise people to read the fine print. We ended up with second sitting which is too late for us. The result was eating in the Pizza pay restaurant nearly every evening. We were well looked after by Maryane and Marcella but it was not easy to have a conversation due to the language issue previously mentioned. The place was mostly deserted except for Costa officers and us. We ate lunch in the MDR a few times and the food was OK. It has become a little samey over the recent years and like the entertainers I recognised some of the dishes. There is an evening buffet between 7 and 9. It started later on the days we left port late (Le Havre and Dover). The food was not great. Breakfast was also a little different. The last few times hot food was only available in the MDR. On the Pacifica they had self-service hot food (scrambled egg, boiled eggs, bacon, sausages and rosti). This was also available in the grill area on the pool deck. The also made omelettes and fried eggs at this station. We only had lunch at the buffet once. We went to the grill and had hamburgers. The chips were very good but I though the hamburger buns were too dry. Usually the passengers on Costa are pre-dominantly Italian and French which a fair amount of Germans. This time they were pre-dominantly German. I have never seen so many glasses of beer been drunk on a Costa ship before. This brings me to the drinks package. The Piu Gusto is very good value for money because it includes most of the listed cocktails, wine by the glass etc. Premium brands of spirits are excluded but if you want a decent G+T you can ask for Gordons and tonic for example. There are packages available on ship that is not available to look at on line. The ports: Savona-did not explore as this was embarkation day and we have been there many times before. Marseille: The weather was a bit dismal and we only had the morning. We spent it looking for a shop to buy deodorant as we both forgot to pack! Day at sea. It was blustery and rough when we left Marseille but improved the next day. I spent my day reading and hubby was watching BBC documentaries he recorded on the iPlayer. Cadiz: Another slightly bleak and windy day. We were planning to go to Gibraltar but the excursion was cancelled due to lack of English speakers. It saved our bacon because it would have been miserable on that rock. We were walking about looking for a restaurant and it looked as if the heavens were about to open. We went into a little neighbourhood bar and had a small glass of beer each, 80 cents! We had our meal at the restaurant next door and it was mainly full of tourists though we were the first in. I had a few Tapas and hubby had an enormous T-bone steak. The food was fine but not exceptional. What was exceptional was that it was raining so hard that that the restaurant had its own waterfall coming through one of the light fittings. We decided to go back to the ship and got absolutely drenched. About Cadiz: They now have a tourist kiosk just outside the port gate and can supply you with a map. The streets have coloured markings on and you can follow various routes. We have done this in the past and did not repeat the same. Lisbon: It’s a lovely city but very hilly. Once again we got off the ship in pouring rain and had to take shelter. The ship docks close to the Alfama area so it is a bit of a walk to the centre. There were HoHo buses, Taxis and Tuktuks. The station was just across the road from the ship. We walked to the Praca do Comercio where we asked about the Tram 28. You buy a ticket on the tram but as mentioned on TripAdvisor it is jam packed all year round. The HoHo ones look the same and they were empty. We decided to just walk about. Did I mention hills? We planned lunch at the Café Lisboa at the Opera House. It is one of Jose Avillez's restaurants. So off we went to find it. Stairs at steep angles! We found it and booked a table and wandered off to explore the area. I noticed there were free walking tours on one of the squares. By now I have already exceeded my daily steps (step counter on phone, I have now upgraded to a wrist band), and opted to sit and people watch and have a beer instead. We went on to have the best meal of our trip. We decided on small plates instead of a starter and mains. He takes traditional Portuguese dishes and presents them in a more modern way. We had spider crab, croquettes, 2 different pies and prawns. I had a pastei natia for desert. Everything divine. We also had a bottle of “green wine”. Gorgeous. What goes up must come down. Down all those steps back to the Praca. It was now bathed in glorious sunshine and we decided to have a drink at the Beer Museum. Not beer though, the lovely light “Green wine” that they make locally. Then there was a sudden down pour. Seems to be a theme to our holiday. As I have exceeded my steps by far we got a TukTuk back to the ship. It was starting to rain again. Vigo: The town with amazing sculptures and……hills. My plan was to go to the tourist office to get some brochures because it was very difficult to see properly on the maps on the Vigo tourism app. We got a map as we left the ship but it was not what I wanted. WARNING: the tourism office does not open till 10am. So off we went and it was not raining. Just overcast and a little bleak looking. It’s a pretty town to stroll around. The castle was a bridge too far. I know from TripAdvisor and CC lots of people go up for the amazing view but I could not face the trek. I had a misinterpretation about lots of seafood restaurants close to the fish market. They turned out to be Oyster Street which is very touristy. Here we had our most bizarre meal ever. The restaurant was pretty deserted when we arrived. The Spanish eat later than us. I had calamari to start and Hubby and 6 oysters. We then shared a seafood platter. The owner’s wife took it on herself to see that we ate the food in the correct order and this left the spider crab for last. She then prepared this for us by adding white meat, prawns and muscles as well as something like a tomato salsa. This was then ladled onto pieces of toast and we were told to “eat”. She was very sweet but for 2 reserved Brits this was a bridge too far. Another day at sea: Did the same thing as previously. This evening we ate in the Samsara restaurant because we get a complimentary meal in one of the pay for restaurants. We were not in the main section of the restaurant which was good. The menu follows the same format as the MDR but the courses are a little more adventurous. Hubby had a pasta dish with fresh tuna and said some did not taste quite right. I was not keen to check which was a good thing because he spent the night with food poisoning symptoms and was very ill the next day. He spent the whole day sleeping. We did not make a complaint. Le Havre: The sun shone! Hubby was ill in bed and I spent the day on the balcony frying my white legs and reading my book. We did not have much planned for the day so it was not a great loss. Dover: Now this was a surprise! We often do driving holidays to France. We never use the ferries so we leave the motorway to get the train to cross. I cannot recall whether Costa had a transfer to town. There was a bus which ran into town and up to Dover Castle and stopped a few other places. It is not the usual HoHo. I have unfortunately forgotten the name and fee but we thought it was very reasonable at the time. They accepted Euros and Pounds and I think US dollars as well. There were some issues getting a bus back to the ship around lunch time and they really did not plan for this. The distance from the town centre to the port was a lot further than I anticipated and it was really not scenic with massive road works. I would avoid walking this due to the high volumes of traffic and fuel fumes you’re likely to breathe in if you did. We went up to Dover castle and actually found it a really pleasant visit. Do I sound surprised? We live in England and often find visiting attractions here an absolute rip off. We walked around, visited the medieval tunnels (waste of time), the underground hospital (it would be better if they did not have the silly special effects as it did nothing for either of us), and the castle. I thought this was good despite two volunteers telling me two totally different stories. The best part of the visit ? 2 pots of proper English tea! Another day at sea: Same as before. There were some quizzes and dance lessons but we don’t partake in these. Hubby calls it Butlin’s at sea. Never been to Butlin’s so I don’t know if he is right about that. Hamburg: The route towards the city is really pretty on the river. It is worth getting up a little earlier to sit and watch. I think the captain was a bit over confident getting the ship into the bit of the river where the new cruise terminal is and we were stuck until a tug came to our rescue. The terminal is very new and we managed to get our cases quickly. The plan was to get the shuttle to the central station and then a taxi to our hotel as we booked for a post cruise stay. We found the waiting area after asking many people and waited, and waited. The crowds were building by this time and I was getting irritated. We walked to the taxi area and got a very expensive taxi to our hotel. Our lady driver in her Mercedes was very speedy and we were at the hotel in next to no time. Sofitel Alterwal Hamburg: We chose this hotel because of its location and because hubby is an Accor member. The room was an upgrade and had a lovely seating area with a large television, coffee machine, fridge full of expensive drinks and a gorgeous bathroom with bath and shower. The bed had two single duvets and was a little soft for my liking. It was like sleeping on a giant marshmallow. We were very close to the Rathouse and restaurants. There was a large shopping centre close by and we manage to get a few bottles of wine to put in the fridge rather than use the expensive bar in the hotel. We did however have our freebie glass of wine which came with lovely snacks at 10 Euros each. We did not eat breakfast in the hotel because it was really expensive. There is a little restaurant/take away very close to the hotel where we had fresh orange juice, coffee, a roll and a pastry for 15 Euros. Hamburg is a lovely clean city and the area around the hotel was easy to explore. We wanted to see more of the city and rather than use public transport the hotel staff suggest using HoHo which stopped outside the hotel. BIG mistake! Though they are called HoHo they do not stop at every stop and we found the first guide on the bus extremely rude. He was on the top deck and we were unable to hear what he said. Hubby asked him whether he spoke English only to be told very curtly: “Yes, I went to school and you should have listened to what I said earlier”. So we were none the wiser and as we whizzed past places we wanted to get off, decided that it was indeed a bad choice. It stopped at the harbour area and we had to wait for a long while before we managed to get another one. We eventually ended at the Central station where it stopped for over half an hour before it set off again. We wanted to go to the botanical gardens but it was getting late for lunch at this stage so we decided to give it a miss and got off close to Alex on the inner lake and did not use the bus again. Lesson learnt. We left early the next morning. There was a Metro close to the hotel with a train that went directly to the airport. It was a bit of a performance using the ticket machine but the tickets were very reasonable and the train was clean and quick. The only problem was getting the suitcases down the stairs which hubby obligingly did. We flew back to Heathrow on BA and our trusty Taxi man, Mark, collected us. We have now booked a spur of the moment Baltic cruise leaving Stockholm on 9 July. Costa slashed the price of some of the departures and old beady eyes himself saw this and we are booked and excited. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
I really Don't know what people are moaning about with this ship. We had a fantastic cruise. We have sailed with RCI and Celebrity in the past and were pleasantly surprised by how well the Costa Diadema stood up against the ... Read More
I really Don't know what people are moaning about with this ship. We had a fantastic cruise. We have sailed with RCI and Celebrity in the past and were pleasantly surprised by how well the Costa Diadema stood up against the bigger cruise lines. The food was really good in the main dining room but with a very Italian style (after all it is an Italian ship) The hot breakfast was in the main dining room and served until 9.30 not 9.00/ Also at no time were we rushed out of the restaurant and found all the staff to be friendly and courteous with us at all times. Maybe we did not have a bad attitude though which people who work in the service industry respond well too. Yes you had to pay for Pizza and Ice cream but this is the way cruising is moving forward . All the big lines offers pay for dining options. The pizza was only 6.50Euros with a dessert not exactly going to break the bank and it was very good !! The room was spacious and cleaned every day. Our cabin steward was very nice as were all the others who we spoke to in passing . It is a lively ship and not the kind of ship you would go on if you are looking for sedate tea dances etc. We found most of the shows and music in all the bars lounges and theatres were in English rather than Italian. I don't understand what people are complaining about. The theatre shows were also great .Big shout out to the great opera singer from Cardiff !! All the staff around the ship spoke English very well and we had no issues with language at all. If you needed water with your meal just buy the drinks package. We opted for the Piu Gusto package which include all Water soft drinks, wines and spirits cocktails and premium coffees. It was great value at 150 euros including gratuities each and we could drink whenever and wherever we wanted. The spa area was really nice and we booked the week package which was good value again most new ships are operating a pay for spa programme now so nothing different there either !! I would personally ignore the moaners and give costa a go. It is great value for money !! Some of the small issues like waiting for lifts etc we have had on all our other cruises. Its just what happens on a big ship !! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
The Costa web page lacks of enough information. We did not know anything about our dinner and if water was included or not. We got that information the first day we got to the ship because we went to the front desk and ask. Our room was ... Read More
The Costa web page lacks of enough information. We did not know anything about our dinner and if water was included or not. We got that information the first day we got to the ship because we went to the front desk and ask. Our room was old and dirty, some lights did not work, dusty, I had to fix the shower head because it would not stay up, there was not an iron in the room we had to rent it! At dinner time we had to share our table with two other people! We took the cruise as our honeymoon! And we had to share table? Even on breakfast you could not sit alone! And on the buffet people would just share the table because there was not enough space! The food is not that good (except on dinner) the buffet is until 4pm and there is a "Merienda" time that is just one hour! So people is mean doing the lines because is not enough time to do the line and eat in one hour! And if you are hungry between lunch and dinner there was just a pizza and salad place that closes at 6pm. So between 6 and 9 (second dinner time) there is nothing you can eat. The shows in the theater were mediocre except a few that were hire by Costa. I do not recommend this cruise and this Company. Workers are really nice and knowledgeable. The drinks prices are not that expensive, long island iced tea for 8.50 euros, beer for 5 and a gin and tonic for 7.50 so if you just have a few drinks a day the 25 euros unlimited package is not good but if your a bid drinker pay for it. The entertainment is not good. The excursions are expensive and the majority are useless because just paying the hop on hop of would be perfect but other excursions I recommend it like the Normandy beaches and mount St. Michele in the port of Cherbourg France (there is nothing to see or do in Cherbourg). Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Oh goodness - where to begin. The ship was called the Costa Magica - but it SHOULD have been named the Costa MagiCANT. They just can't do anything - full stop. Let's go through this 'magical' experience one issue at ... Read More
Oh goodness - where to begin. The ship was called the Costa Magica - but it SHOULD have been named the Costa MagiCANT. They just can't do anything - full stop. Let's go through this 'magical' experience one issue at a time. SHIP: The ship is old, dated, dirty, and in need of a serious overhaul. And when I say serious, I mean SERIOUS. The decor is like something out of my grandmother's sitting room in the early 80's. Common area carpets were dirty and worn as was most of the seating in the common areas. Don't even get me started on the poolside areas. Deck chairs have seen better days. Most of the deck chairs were covered in soot. Yes - that's right - soot. No matter where you were on the ship, soot would get on to the deck chairs - especially those on the upper decks. They were covered in the stuff. So of course you needed more than one towel to make sure you didn't get soot on yourself when you sat on the deck chair. Now, most cruise lines don't have enough deck chairs for the amount of guests on the ship. That's always an issue even for the best lines in the world - so you can imagine what it was like for a cruise line of Costa standard - (read - no standard at all). Something Costa needs to work on is not allowing people to just put towels on deck chairs at 08:00 and then not return to the deck chair until 15:00. That really needs to be policed better. The decks were always full of rubbish (if I could post photos here I would). One of the toilet areas had a faecal smear on it which we reported on day 2 of the cruise. On day 11 - it was still there. We took photos to prove it. Just disgusting. CABIN: Equally dated, drab and in need of refurb. Old towels with holes in them, torn bedding, gaping tears in the balcony curtains. When we complained to our room attendant, all he did was cut the curtain at the point of the tear so the curtain was now 3-4 inches shorter from the side of the wall then it should have been. DINING: Oh heavens me - where to begin with dining. The buffet was a free-for-all. I've been on many many cruises before across a few different lines and I've never seen anything like this before. It reminded me of a trough at feeding time. Imagine queuing up at the pizza counter to get a slice or two of pizza for lunch, only to have one guy rock up, walk in front of the 40 odd people waiting in the queue, grab an ENTIRE tray of pizza (approx. 12-15 slices) and then leave. All under the watchful eye of the food and beverage manager and the assistant F&B mgr. All these two were good for was berating their staff in front of passengers. I saw the F&B manager berate a junior crew member one day because the costa emblem on his little hat wasn't quite at the right angle that he wanted it to be. What an absolute tosser he was. You don't treat people that way. I know - I used to work on cruise ships and if a manager had done that in front of passengers, HE would have to answer to the captain. It's just not done. Very poor behaviour. Dinner was even worse. When we booked we were given the option of an early or late seating. We were told that we could eat at either 18:00 or at 20:30 – so we chose the late seating as always. However when we arrived for our 20:30 seating it was actually an 20:45 seating and by the time we got our first course it was closer to 21:30. Let’s just say that when we finished with our meal it was pretty much midnight. The wait staff couldn’t be less excited to be there. I know – I get it – it’s a tough gig. Like I said, I worked on cruise ships. Always having to put a smile on your face and be jovial can take a lot out of you. But you’re in the hospitality industry – you need to be hospitable. I suspect most of the crew were nearing the end of some very long contracts – 9 or 12 months I believe – and I would imagine that’s why most of them were exhausted. Still – this wasn’t about that. The majority of the crew just had zero personality. We met one bar waitress who was hilarious and a true gem, one young man who worked in one of the shops (really funny guy & always jokey & smiley), one waiter in the wine bar, and one of the European hostesses. That was it. Those people were the only good crew out of the whole bunch. We had such bad experiences with the breakfast buffet that we decided to get breakfast in our cabin every day. This was a free service for us because we had the upgraded premium cabin package so we could do that. Boy oh boy did we ever take advantage of that!! However, even that they couldn’t get right. By about day 6 we started to affectionately refer to it as Breakfast Roulette. Not one single time did we get what we asked for – not once. We got most things that we checked off – but never did we get everything. I could understand if I was phoning down to order it and they just didn’t understand because of a language barrier, but I was ticking boxes on a form. That’s it. Box ticking. How can you get that wrong EVERY morning for about 8-10 mornings!! SERIOUSLY!!! Our dining experiences left much to be desired. Costa siphons the so-called ‘free’ water on board. They have water machines everywhere but most of them are either turned off or pour water out at a trickle. I’m serious when I say trickle. We took video of it because we knew no one would believe us. Costa want you to buy their bottles of water. Rubbish!! I paid for the ultimate drinks package and you wouldn’t believe it but it doesn’t include water!!!! Even though it says it does!! ENTERTAINMENT What entertainment??? If you speak fluent Italian – great – you’ll be fine. If you don’t, forget it because none of the shows (bar one – which was a musical) were in Italian. All of the activities on board – again in Italian. Even the port excursion seminars/talks – you guessed it – Italian. Oh and most of the announcements were in Italian only as well. It came down to me complaining one day about what the on-board announcement was and the front desk told me “nothing for you to worry about – it’s for the Italian guests only. It’s about the next port”. Oh – ok, so because I don’t speak Italian, you didn’t think I would need to know about the next port? Thanks Costa – that’s some fine logic that is. Every day they put out a diary of what’s happening the next day. This was so un-imaginative that we nicknamed it the “Diary el Board-o”. Yup – BOARING!!! Who the heck wants to do 2 hours of aerobics on the pool deck in the Med??? Seriously! I will go to the gym if I want to do that!! Don’t annoy everyone else around you by doing 2 hours of irritating techno aerobics poolside EVERY SINGLE DAY!! SERVICE See my comments on Dining. But just to add – our cabin attendant couldn’t be more of a robot. No personality, no communication, nothing. Not a thing. Most nights he even forgot to leave the diary in our room for the next day. And when he did remember, he left the wrong language one. So of course I had to go and collect one from the front desk. He never acknowledged us or said hello, good morning, thank you – nothing. Just couldn’t care less. PORTS/EXCURSIONS We didn’t do any of the paid excursions – we never do. We like to experience places on our own without being manoeuvred around like a herd of cattle. Having said that though – all of the ports were fab except one. Casablanca. That was horrible. We had this idea in our heads of what it would be like based on the film – a very romanticised view. We probably should have done an excursion here because the port that the ship docks in, is an active, 24hr shipping port. It’s not a cruise port. It’s a shipping port. Complete with cranes going 24 hrs a day – lots of dust, grime and dirt being kicked up around the ship, etc., etc. Why dock here as a cruise ship when there are so many other ports you can dock at in Morocco??? Oh wait, I know – because Costa a cheap that’s why!! Cheap cheap cheap!!! This was the worst place to do an overnight docking. Absolutely the worst. We should have figured it out when no other cruise ship was docked anywhere near us or overnight. Atrocious!! Never in my life would I ever use Costa again. Never. I wouldn’t recommend them even if they paid me to. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Just got back from our cruise on the diadema first and last time we will cruise with Costa. The ship was way to overcrowded not enough public areas to handle 4000+ passengers. At the buffet we had to wait up to an hour to get food as the ... Read More
Just got back from our cruise on the diadema first and last time we will cruise with Costa. The ship was way to overcrowded not enough public areas to handle 4000+ passengers. At the buffet we had to wait up to an hour to get food as the were not enough plates for all and then most of the food was cold or undercooked. The two main pools aré way too small to handle all passengers it was like an obstacle course just to get one leg in and inpossible to have a quiet bathe, twice i had two young children land on my head while they were jumping in and out. On the tours we did we were told to be at a dessignated aréa of the ship at 9 o clock so we could get our buses and on both occasions we were still onboard at 11 waiting. We had the all inclusive package yet when we got onboard we had to pay for everything except for a selection of drinks the bufe and main restaurant. The only highlight is the entertaiment team who do all they can do to keep you amussed, and our waiter in the fiorentino restaurant who was brilliant ( lazaro). If you are looking for a quiet hassle free holyday avoid this ship at all cost. Read Less
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