On September 23, having just disembarked from MSC Fantasia in Genoa, I took a taxi to Savona (the driver offered me a special price of EUR100) and embarked on Costa Fascinosa, a back-to-back cruise though changing ship. I had bought this ... Read More
On September 23, having just disembarked from MSC Fantasia in Genoa, I took a taxi to Savona (the driver offered me a special price of EUR100) and embarked on Costa Fascinosa, a back-to-back cruise though changing ship. I had bought this second cruise last minute via internet while still on MSC Fantasia. What I got was nothing more than an Outside cabin without balcony that was still available, but paying a very good price. This cruise had a similar but not a same itinerary as the one I just left. Only two ports are repeated (Barcelona and Palma). Simply because I had another spare slot of time in the area before yet another cruise, and another cruise is always a good way to spend time (probably cheaper than simple living on land in Europe).
I have previously cruised Costa a lot, but in recent years I preferred MSC which operates almost side by side. It was good to return to see how Costa fare, which I am still familiar with.
What differences between the two! Simply put, MSC operates a more mature, more traditional cruise, while still cater to some younger cruisers, but Costa remains still the craziest and noisiest of cruise lines, cater to the youngest. Few cruise lines, if any, has main activities starting near midnight that can last till dawn.
The White Night party was the craziest. Practically all passengers join, or like me, at least I had a long look of the action. Even in the main dining room, more than once there were activities of singing and dancing. The Baked Alaska parade was still on.
Costa has shows every night, mostly production shows, unlike many competitors which seek cost cutting by presenting Headline Entertainers that may be of doubious standard. The shows were good, always highly energetic, and with real dances well choreographed. I consider the Costa shows among the best, if you like action-packed shows. This ship is smaller than competitor ships but has the largest show lounge of all.
My stateroom, a basic Outside on the lowest level, is not bad at all. It is among the most spacious, bigger than similar cabins on RCCL, MSC and NCL. The ship’s hull is the same as the expensive Cunard’s Victoria. House-keeping was very good, and restaurant service was also adequate.
For the price, I ought to say that my experience again exceeds my expectation, though I know Costa well, with more than 10 previous cruises earlier.
I came with the lowest expectation of the food, but what a surprise! The food is better than RCCL and NCL. It serves a different menu devoted to a different region in Italy everyday (I believe they learned this from MSC). The cooking was more than adequate and on occasion even some pleasant surprises. One of the evenings they serve a menu specially designed by a famous Italian chef, and it was good. The free menu consists of paid choice which can be as simple as Wiener Schnitzel at a few Euro, up to a lobster at EUR25. On the buffet deck, more than once they serve very good local food, even sucking pig appeared, as well as Paella when in Spain. Cost cutting is through table water to be paid for, and even at the buffet they turn off the water as soon as dinner service ends. Tea and Coffee are available only at breakfast. For lunch and dinner you pay for it. So many passengers buy a drinks package as a matter of necessity. In this respect Costa is the meanest of them all (while everyone tries to cut back).
For an ultra active cruise that is animated round the clock, Costa is supreme. Guests are mainly Italian and Costa employs several language hostesses who each have their station to answer any questions. Hospitality was good, again better than I expected (I had cruised on this ship, as well as the newest of them all, the Diadema).
A satisfactory cruise that is good-valued. I only hope that Costa can spare passengers of the unnecessary ordeal of the emergency drill, which they operate seriously in the hardest way while competitors are more considerate. Was this the aftermath of Concordia? You are expected to put on the jacket and listen to the instructions in 6 languages before you are allowed to retire.
The standard itinerary calls on Naples, Palermo, and after a sea day, to Ibiza for a long stay arriving early and sails for Palma de Mallorca at 4am the next day. Ibiza in late September was still active and the weather is fine. A true highlight of this cruise as you can sample Ibiza nigh life. Last port of call to Barcelona winds up the trip of a very standard itinerary. Savona was a convenient home port for embarkation and disembarkation. Read Less