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4 Costa Fascinosa Greece Cruise Reviews

We decided to fly to Venice a day before our flight because we had heard that Marco Polo airport is sometimes fogged in and we did not want to miss embarkation of the Costa Fascinosa. The following day we did the usual trips around the ... Read More
We decided to fly to Venice a day before our flight because we had heard that Marco Polo airport is sometimes fogged in and we did not want to miss embarkation of the Costa Fascinosa. The following day we did the usual trips around the canals on the Vaporettos or water taxis before heading to the cruise port with our cases to check in. Embarkation It had been foggy that morning but was clearing up when we arrived at the port. What we did notice was that there was no sign of the ship which is unusual because they are so big it is hard to miss them. A lot of people were heading away from the terminal with their cases toward a large number of coaches. This should have given us a clue. We were directed up escalators with our large cases and joined a queue supposedly to check in. After waiting about 20 minutes in the queue we reached the front and discovered that the Costa Fascinosa was in fact lying in Trieste and we were to go back down stairs cross the road and get on a coach. We were given a card with a number 10 on it and were told to wait until our number was called. When the number was called a while later we struggled down the stairs with our large cases then across the road to the waiting coaches. We left Venice and headed off towards Trieste a 2 hour plus journey. Unfortunately there was a serious accident holding up traffic on the way so the 2 hours journey was nearer 3 hours long. On arriving we saw the fabulous Costa Fascinosa sitting in the terminal next to an Italian aircraft carrier which looked very small next to the massive Costa ship. We got off the coach expecting our cases to be taken away and on to the ship as they were all labeled and ready for the cabin. Wrong. We joined a large melee of passengers from other coaches all looking a bit confused with no one directing or giving instructions. It turned out we had to drop our bags off around the corner of the terminal building at a single X-ray security point one case at a time. While queuing a Costa person turned up and started handing out more numbered cards but without explanation of their significance . We shuffled forward to the corner of the building and through an iron gate and eventually saw our destination ahead as the funnel of passengers diminished until we reached the two porters loading cases on to a conveyor belt and an X-ray machine. We then were able to walk back around the crowd to the entrance of the terminal building. We sat down but at that point had no clue what was going on. After about half an hour, finally some one got on to a microphone and told us to wait for our number to be called so that we could proceed through to the next room. When our number was called we went through to the next room and joined another queue which to be fair was much more orderly and moved quite quickly to the front where four Costa personnel checked our paper work and took our photos and then told us to board the ship after the inevitable embarkation photograph. No room key cards had been given to us but we found out that the keys were on our beds in our state room which was unlocked. Public Areas The Costa Fascinosa is a beautiful ship and the internal decor is marble and polished wood and richly patterned carpets. There are a number of very nice bars, and two main restaurants, one amidships on two decks and one near the stern and a speciality restaurant which we did not use. There was also a buffet on deck 9 The gym was very well equipped but also very busy. Food We found the buffet very disappointing both at breakfast and lunch. Also the breakfast closed down very promptly at 10.30 and sometimes earlier and drink stations were also closed down. Although there was more choice during the lunch period the quality of food was disappointing. We ate in the main restaurant the Otto e Mezzo on deck 3. Food was well presented but not very tasty and one meal of chicken was undercooked. The waiters in the restaurant were very good and because we were on the all inclusive package, our wine glasses always remained full and we did not have to ask for refills. On the last night the waiters gave an entertaining cabaret performance at the end of the meal. Versions of this can be seen on YouTube. Apart from the waiters at dinner, most of the crew were efficient but not particularly friendly. The ship did not feel like a happy ship and crew members did not smile much. One of the reasons for choosing this cruise was the itinerary. Starting off in Venice, well at least in theory, we sailed out of Trieste and down the Adriatic to Bari in southern Italy and then on to the Greek Islands before finishing in Dubrovnik. Having purchased the drinks package, about 25 euros a day per person, the opportunity to enjoy some on board cocktails and glasses of wine was a definite bonus given the disappointing food. We enjoyed watching the enthusiastic dance couples on the Topkapi dance floor before dinner each night while enjoying cocktails. The casino had a few tables which seemed quite busy at times and there was an interesting selection of colourful Vegas Style slot machines. We only caught the tail end of one show in the theatre. They looked very professional and we probably missed a good thing not seeing the shows in full. We were able to sail back in to Venice at the end of the cruise and it was worth getting up early to enjoy the views as we passed St Marks Square. We had to be out of our cabins by 8 a.m. our luggage colour coded was left outside the cabin the previous night. Disembarkation or debarking as some call it now was relatively well organised and we were off the ship by 10.30. We were through to the outside of building 107 very quickly and were able to leave our luggage at building 103 for 5 euros per bag. When we found building 103 which was close to the water taxi ticket offices we discovered that we could have our luggage taken to the airport for 10 euros per bag. This was really useful as we were able to leave not only our large cases but our smaller cabin luggage with the baggage handlers and we arranged to pick them all up outside departures at Marco Polo, 2 hours before our flight back to Gatwick. We were then able to spend some more time in Venice and enjoy the experience of walking along raised walkways through a flooded St Marks Square. Conclusions. We had a really enjoyable cruise all in all. Being all inclusive helped and we had booked late on the Costa Cruises own web site, so got really good value. The free upgrade to a balcony was a big bonus. The itinerary was excellent but we feel we did not have enough time in each stop. Perhaps one less port and more time to get to sail between the rest with longer stops at each port would be better. The buffet definitely needs attention. We have never had such poor selections at breakfast and lunch or restricted access to tea and coffee stations before. There were nearly 3,500 passengers on board and only just over 1050 crew so 3:1 which is may be too low. The crew are probably worked too hard and could be too tired to provide the best service and this may explain the lack of a relaxed atmosphere on board.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was our third cruise with Costa.We have been on the Serena and Favolosa before this cruise and standards have certainly dropped.The Serena was amazing,so we decided to book for the following year on the Favolosa.Before I review the ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Costa.We have been on the Serena and Favolosa before this cruise and standards have certainly dropped.The Serena was amazing,so we decided to book for the following year on the Favolosa.Before I review the Fascinosa I will just let you know why Venice doesn't like us.We arrived in Venice a day early and stayed in a great hotel next to Piazzale Roma.At 6am we were woken by sirens and on looking out we saw that Venice had flooded.We finally made it to the port at 2pm when the water had receded only to find that the port of Venice was closed due to bad weather.The Favolosa was not able to dock until after midnight and we finally boarded at 3am after more than twelve hours laying on the floor in the terminal along with 3500 other passengers.We felt so sorry for all those disembarking as most had missed their flights.The whole thing was awful,but not Costa's fault and because we were late leaving we had to miss Katakolon and go straight to Izmir.We all received a letter in our cabins telling us of a 35% refund on our cruise which was great.The ship was great except that we thought the food was not so good as the previous year on the Serena. This year we decided to book again with Costa and try the Fascinosa.I also travelled on Oceania's Riviera from Istanbul to Venice in the summer and had no problems with Venice this time except for the heat and swollen ankles.My daughter and I arrived at the port to embark the Fascinosa at 1pm and went into the terminal to wait for our number to be called.It bought back memories of our trip on the Favolosa as people were laying on floors,the queue for the bar and toilets was long and no one seemed to know what to do.We finally boarded at 4.15 and went straight to our inside cabin which was larger than our two outside cabins on the Serena and Favolosa.Just as we got to the cabin we were called to the safety drill so we dropped our bags and rushed to our muster station.We could see people still boarding so they had to do their drill later on.That night we went to dinner and waited 45 minutes to have our order taken and an hour before the drinks arrived.When the food arrived it was so bad that we thought we would not return and just go to the Pizzeria every night.Everyone around us left their food as well and looked unhappy. The next day we decided to try it to see if things were going to get better and they did.The food was an improvement from the night before and the staff seemed a little happier as well.The rest of the cruise was great and we enjoyed all the ports of call especially Mykonos.We found the cost of the coaches into Corfu,Mykonos and Dubrovnik to be very expensive though.The drinks package was excellent as usual and well worth getting.On our final morning we went outside to find that we were surrounded by fog.It was so bad that we could hardly see the ships distinctive funnel when we were stood just below it.We then received the announcement that the port of Venice was closed and we would be waiting to see if it opened soon.We couldn't believe it.Our flights were booked for 5.10 that afternoon so we weren't too worried until the next announcement told us that the port was not going to open for some time so we would be diverting to Trieste.We tried to get more information but the queue for the reception desk was a mile long and we waited two hours to try and get help in the card room where they had set up some laptops for people to look for new flights etc.We arrived in Trieste at 12.35 but could not leave the ship until 4pm as we had purple as our disembarkation colour.Even when we were allowed to leave,our luggage took some time to be offloaded.It was chaos in the car park where the new passengers were being bought in by coach from Venice and we were all trying to get on these coaches to go back to Venice.There were very few Costa staff around to sort out the chaos and people were actually fighting each other to board these coaches.After trying to board five coaches and being pushed and shoved around,we boarded a coach and set off for the airport.We arrived at 7.30pm and approached a member of the Costa staff who said good luck to us when we asked for help and she told us she couldn't help unless we had booked our flights with Costa.We found so many people in the airport looking for new flights and after trying to do the same we found a hotel where we eventually got on the Internet and found new flights with BA for a few days later.There were no other flights at all as many had arrived before us and snapped up the few seats left.We then calmed ourselves down and spent the next day in Venice and at our wonderful hotel. So we have been very unlucky with Venice twice now and feel that Costa should have given us more information and more help at the airport.I have said that the standards have dropped from our previous cruises with them but still feel that they are great value for money.We love the atmosphere and love mixing with so many nationalities.We will probably cruise with them again in the future,but certainly never again from Venice in October.Today I received a cheque from the insurance company for the hotel,taxi's and new flights which reminded me to write the review.I also read the review from the people who took the cruise after us who had to embark in Trieste. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I booked a cruise on the Costa Fascinosa for my wife and I, and our 12 year old son. This was our first cruise as a family. I made the booking late in 2013 for a departure in August 2014. My travel agent in South Africa recommended the ... Read More
I booked a cruise on the Costa Fascinosa for my wife and I, and our 12 year old son. This was our first cruise as a family. I made the booking late in 2013 for a departure in August 2014. My travel agent in South Africa recommended the cruise especially as it met our requirements in terms of dates, duration and destination. The prices were competitive, and we received a significant discount for booking in advance. However, as we started to make our plans in respect of the procedures, the "do's and don'ts", excursions and other questions first timers would naturally have, I started reading the reviews on Cruise Critic. I now wish I hadn't as it is clear that the majority of reviews were written by people who are quite simply never satisfied. In some cases I wonder whether the reviews are not written by competitors because they are just so misleading. In my short note here I would like to dispel several untruths. We had a fantastic week on the Costa Fascinosa, and will not hesitate to cruise again, and will happily use Costa if it fits our requirements. Language:- Yes, it is an Italian cruise line so Italian is first choice. But messages in the other major languages are always repeated and we never had any problems in this regard. There is a dedicated English speaking host, and all instructions are repeated on the dedicated English TV channel, with video's running on a loop setting out important instructions. The majority of the staff are actually not from Europe (India, Brazil, Malaysia, Philippines etc), so most of them try really hard to converse in English, as well as Italian and other languages. Food:- the food was plentiful and delicious. The evening meals were outstanding and of a very high standard. We were amazed at not only the quality but also the variety and the creativity. Breakfasts and lunches are always going to busy in a buffet environment, but take some time to study the different service areas and you will find different areas with wide choices and selections. The Italian guests can be a little "pushy", dare I say rude at times, but we always got what we wanted and never stood in any queue for longer than a minute. We never went hungry, and even if you missed lunch or breakfast, there would still be places serving late meals or burgers and hot dogs. Bars and Service:- Don't hesitate to buy the unlimited drinks package. No surprises, and no worries about hidden costs. Once again - the bars are busy, so be prepared to make wait a little in prime times. However, once again, we rarely waited for any unreasonable period of time. The drinks package gives you ample choice, as well as coffees, cream coffee (delicious), cocktails etc. I read about how some people found the waiters rude? All I can say is that we treated the waiters and bar-men with dignity and respect, and we received exceptional, efficient, personalized service in return. Many of the staff got to know us by name and came rushing to serve us when they saw us. Maybe a little lesson in that!! Rooms:- We took a room with a balcony which proved to be the best choice when cruising in scenic places like the Greek Isles, Dubrovnik and Venice. We were able to enjoy views from the luxury of the cabin while getting ready in the morning etc. Maybe not a must for all cruises , but I must say having daylight, fresh air and a view is worth the extra expense. Embarkation:- The embarkation process was not unorganized or chaotic as I have seen reported by some people. Again, these people need to board over 3000 people in a relatively short period of time. As you arrive you drop your bags, and receive a number. You walk upstairs to an air-conditioned hall, with plenty of seating and wait for your number to be called. There is a small coffee bar with snacks, as well as staff selling certain excursions and packages. When your number is called it is human nature that everyone stands up and walks to the front. Be patient and file into the queue and you will get served in reasonable time. I think Costa could put one or two extra people on the check-in desk, but once again, I also think they need to consider how fast they can filter people onto the boat. Disembarkation is also well explained, but my advice it to take a long leisurely breakfast, and take your time. Excursions:- I think planned excursions will suit some people more than others. We were not on a budget, but we felt the excursions were expensive and we decided to do our own thing. We were very happy with our decision, and felt that we probably saw a lot more on our own than had we been bussed around in a tour bus. Don't feel intimidated to take the excursions - you will find taxi's or public transport normally at much cheaper prices. The shows:- go and watch all of the evening productions. High quality shows and good entertainment. This is not like a Club Med where the staff put together a pleasant, but fairly amateur production. These are professional singers, dancers, magicians and acrobats. Some of the lounge singers unfortunately know how to ruin some English songs, but pleasant enough background music for the bars and while you just sit people watching. Deck Chairs:- yes, the deck chairs are always going to be in short supply, especially around the "adult pool" at the back of the boat. You are going to get the twits who try to "book deck chairs" all day. However, maybe we got lucky, but we normally managed to find deck chairs without too much hassle. The staff did try to move towels occasionally and sometimes we just sat at the bar until space opened up. we witnessed one rather aggressive fight, where some younger adults claimed they had booked chairs hours in advance. They did not however receive much sympathy from fellow passengers or staff. Some general advice:- There are no ATM's on-board so make sure you have cash or credit card when you go on the excursions. However, the ship is completely cashless and you don't need any cash on board. The only exception is the Casino where you do need some cash. The Costa Card works very well, and is billing was accurate. Dinners are more formal, so men take some long pants and shirts with collars. There is a gala evening and it is nice to dress up, as well as some theme evenings. Therefore take variety of clothes and be prepared to get dressed up and party a little. One evening the theme was "all white". Obviously you are under no pressure to dress up, but you feel under dressed if you don't participate. I am sure I will think of many more things to add later, but that is enough for now. Quite simply - don't believe everything some "reviewers" write. Costa Fascionosa was a wonderful experience   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We had the misfortune to sail on the Costa Riviera one Christmas several years ago and we said "never again", this time I mean never again. Not wholly the fault of Costa who now do not produce an English brochure. We were sold ... Read More
We had the misfortune to sail on the Costa Riviera one Christmas several years ago and we said "never again", this time I mean never again. Not wholly the fault of Costa who now do not produce an English brochure. We were sold this on a coach tour/cruise idea which sounded excellent. 3400, Italians including 500+ children on a ship of this size does not make for a good holiday for 40 English speaking passengers. We booked a high deck cabin with an extra large balcony at the back of the ship. No sun-beds available.Cabin not cleaned, balcony not cleaned, bathroom toiletries had to be requested. Bathroom shower was cleaned spasmodically. 2nd sitting for dinner because after 24 plus cruises this is the norm for us, normally 8-8.30pm, on here it was 9.30-10.00pm. Main course arrived on two occasions after 11.00 pm. Very young children still up with one pleading for his bed?. The dish cleaning area was immediately behind our table, what a racket. Pasta dishes served with no sauce, cold and tasteless. The menu was the smallest I have seen on a cruise ship in 40 years. 3 choices, Pasta, pasta,pasta. My husband is not a cheese eater, he lost weight. The self-service dining was awash with children allowed to help themselves, not a pretty sight. Not enough staff was a huge problem, even they were critical of the food and service. Add to this the smallest of docking times to see places like Dubrovnik was beyond a joke. The all inclusive drinks package became coloured water by day 6. Sending drinks back became the norm. Like I said....never again Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Costa Fascinosa Ratings
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