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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
BEWARE POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE AND EXTRA (HIDDEN) COSTS NB: Skip to the five bottom categories if you simply want to read about our major complaints. My partner and I booked a last minute deal for a Mediterranean cruise on the Costa ... Read More
BEWARE POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE AND EXTRA (HIDDEN) COSTS NB: Skip to the five bottom categories if you simply want to read about our major complaints. My partner and I booked a last minute deal for a Mediterranean cruise on the Costa Fortuna departing from Savona, Italy on April 10, 2015. Our cruise ship visited Marseille, Barcelona, La Valletta, Cagliari, and Civitavecchia. We were immediately blown away by a free room upgrade to a balcony stateroom and the experience of being on our first cruise ever (for a very reasonable last-minute price). We also liked the money-less Costa Card system on the cruise ship and appreciated that we did not have language barrier issues, as most of the cruise staff were bilingual or multilingual. We chose to evaluate each category separately, as only certain aspects of our cruise experience were negative enough to affect our overall experience. DÉCOR: Although we thoroughly enjoyed our spacious balcony stateroom, the tastelessly tacky common areas of the ship were very overwhelming and did not make for good photo opportunities. Too many patterns and styles were mixed (rather unskilfully). PHOTOS: To avoid aesthetic issues regarding the ship’s gaudy decorations, we could have paid for decent pictures taken by a professional photographer with a plain background. There were also opportunities to purchase cruise memory photos for a fee, since a cruise ship photographer took our picture upon boarding the cruise ship and at a few dinners. We might have been willing to spend around 15 Euros for digital copies of all the pictures, but the cruise line only advertised outrageously priced hard copy photos that were priced individually. No thank you! HOUSEKEEPING: Our primary housekeeper was welcoming and approachable. He was very informative when we initially boarded the cruise ship and he was very diligent about cleaning our room twice daily. He also delivered the “Today” magazine (itinerary) once per day. Our only complaint is that it took a long time for things to be restocked or replaced. When we purchased water from our mini-bar, it was not restocked for a couple of days. Also, housekeeping tended to take away our blue swimming towels (presumably to clean them) and not replace them for days. This was rather inconvenient. We also never received our copy of the free “Tour” magazine in our room (detailing the excursions available to us), so we eventually asked for one at the excursion desk. ENTERTAINMENT: Although many of the casual musical entertainers were very skilled, the volume was far too high for us to appreciate the music properly. The sounds were so loud that it was difficult to order drinks, speak to customer service, or even make a phone call from the front desk (to report a missing phone to our phone company). We also felt (as musicians) that the live music would have been better without the synthesized drum tracks in the background. The theatre shows were neat but nothing too remarkable. We did not bother with any day programs. AMENITIES: The pool was very nice - its warm temperature and the fact it was a saltwater pool pleasantly surprised us. We would have enjoyed the hot tub more if it were actually hotter than the swimming pool. (For some bizarre reason, the pool was much warmer than the hot tub!) We did not get around to trying the water slide, but it looked very fun! We did not try the spa, either. DINING: Although the buffet food left something to be desired, dinner was incredible! The menu options were plentiful, each course was delicious, and everything was presented tastefully. Our two servers at dinner were very friendly, as were our assigned dinner companions (there were 8 people at our table). The free “Today” magazine delivered to our room clarified the dress code for dinner. It would have been nice to know before we packed that there would be a formal dress code at dinner on three separate occasions, though… We ate at the back of Raffaello (lower level) during the late sitting. We really enjoyed sitting at the back of the restaurant because it was quieter and less busy. BAR/LOUNGE: The servers and bar tenders in the common areas were always available and very prompt. We noticed that they used an efficient napkin system whereby they placed a napkin at our table after asking if we would like anything. This conveniently prevented us from being ignored accidentally or being harassed into buying something (or simply leaving the area) to be left alone. Regardless, we often took our drinks to our room simply because the music was far too loud and it actually hurt our ears. (It would not be good for two musicians to lose their hearing!) EXCURSIONS: The staff at the excursion desk were lovely and recommended excellent excursions for us based on our specific interests. They could also describe from memory what each excursion entailed, which was very impressive! We were very pleased with our purchases: “La Valletta” (La Valletta, Malta), “Nora and its Excavations” (Cagliari, Sardinia/Italy), and “Baroque Rome” (Rome, Italy and Vatican City). Although “Nora and its Excavations” was less impressive than our other two tours, we later discovered that our day was much better than anyone else’s (as our dinner companions all chose to stay in Cagliari and were less than impressed). Thus, the tour had good value. There was never a long queue to purchase excursions, but it was a little annoying to wait up to half an hour for latecomers to get on the tour bus. Also, Costa would cancel an excursion if too few English-speaking people purchased tickets by the night before. Consequently, we had to discover Marseille independently, as our main interest was not going on a shopping tour (the only tour offered in English at this port). Regardless, discovering Marseille for ourselves was a great experience. We also chose to explore Barcelona by ourselves, since we were already familiar with this city from a previous visit. However, we were surprised that we needed to buy coach tickets from the port to the city and vice-versa, they were only about 5 Euros per ride. POOR RULE ENFORCEMENT: The (unsupervised) groups of children noisily running around the pool and doing pencil dives into the hot tub were very irritating. None of the staff ever addressed the issue, despite the fact one supposedly cannot enter the hot tub until one is 16 years of age. Although there were always plenty of staff close by on the cruise ship, nobody showed any initiative when children were being disruptive. EXTRA (HIDDEN) COSTS: We disliked that the cruise line forced more money out of us for basic things that really should be included in the upfront price. We were often forced to buy bottled water (even during a full day at sea) without being offered a free tap water alternative that was safe to drink. Also, we were often forced to pay for a snack between lunch and dinner because were assigned a late dinner time (9:00PM) and all of the included (“free”) food options on the cruise ship were closed when we returned (hungry) from excursions. We were also surprised by an extra 60 Euro service fee at the end of the cruise, which should really have been added to the upfront price, since it is calculated via a “per day” basis and visibly upset many customers settling their bills on the final departure day. We were also surprised that we had to purchase shuttle rides between the port and the city (although perhaps that one was a little most reasonable as an add-on price, as people on excursions did not require this service). POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE – APATHETIC AND RUDE: Most of our complaints concern customer service. Customer service often had a long queue (not enough staff). Additionally, customer service was apathetic and even condescending when customers voiced concerns. On the third morning of our cruise, we tried to buy the 25 Euro all inclusive drinks package for our full day at sea. When we experienced difficulty doing so, we visited a customer service representative, who was quite condescending to us. We explained it was not advertised in the “Today” magazine advertisement that you must buy the drinks package for your entire cruise and that only a daily price was advertised. Her response was simply to pull out a different advertisement in a booklet where it said (hidden in the back of the booklet in small print, separate from the obvious terms of use information) that the deal was only available if you bought it for 6 or more days. She did not even try to make a 5-day exception based on the misleading advertising or even simply agree that this condition was unclear on the advertisement and record our complaint for future reference. She also failed to mention there were other drink packages that might better suit our situation. Perhaps one of those might have interested us. She merely quoted policy in the least personal way possible (except for her condescending tone, of course). Customer service was also very complacent about our lost phone. Apparently, since they did not consider Costa to be legally liable, nobody could not be bothered to contact the tour company about our phone’s potential whereabouts or simply reassure us in any manner whatsoever. When we voiced our displeasure concerning this lack of initiative, the agent (Elena) gave us the run-around and refused to let us speak to her manager upon request, even after her manager’s shift began! Eventually, after waiting nine hours and refusing to simply be quoted policy, we convinced Elena that it was worth letting us speak to her manager to make us go away. Her manager was more useful and reassuring, although customer service still has all my contact information and (to this day) has not contacted me about my phone’s whereabouts. Interestingly, we called the excursion company ourselves after the cruise finished and ascertained some information about the phone’s whereabouts (it was left in the coach and set to be returned to Costa and then mailed to us). We have sent Costa two emails so far, with no response. We have also tried to call them, but their satellite phone causes complications. We are sincerely unimpressed, as we are not sure what they have done with my phone and whether they are competent enough that we will ever see it again. DISORGANIZED - THEY ALMOST LOST OUR PASSPORTS: Embarkation took a few hours, despite our early arrival at the cruise port. Settling our bills and checking out was also a nightmare. They literally told us the night before we left that we could not pay cash until the next morning, and then they told us the next morning that the deadline for us to pay cash was the previous night. Although Costa insisted on taking our passports for the duration of the cruise, they experienced great difficulty locating our passports when we disembarked from the cruise ship. We stood there for over fifteen minutes watching a member of staff look frantically for our passports. We almost had a heart attack! (It might be a little hard to leave Italy / go back home without them…) MYSTERY PHONECALL: For some reason, we received a phone call at 3 or 4 AM on the morning before our departure. The man on the phone wanted to know my name. I told him in no uncertain terms that it was late and he had called the wrong number. According to other reviewers, members of staff sometimes call your room late at night if they want to hook up with you (a woman). Anyways, we were less than impressed that we were woken up with a phone call – even less so that unwarranted late night phone calls occur regularly enough for people to write about them in their reviews. We did not book a cruise to be woken up unexpectedly or sexually harassed - thank you very much! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
After reading the majority of the reviews on this site, I was extremely concerned about what we were getting into. I really don't understand all the negative comments. From start to finish everything was flawless, no issues with ... Read More
After reading the majority of the reviews on this site, I was extremely concerned about what we were getting into. I really don't understand all the negative comments. From start to finish everything was flawless, no issues with either embarkation or debarkation. We arrived early to the ship to check-in so were in one of the first groups to check-in and get on the ship. Debarkation was also not a problem with about a 1 hour wait after having breakfast. The room was adequate with enough space to store our luggage and for us to move around. The bed was incredibly comfortable. The one odd thing is that irons are not allowed so you'd have to send out if you wanted your clothes pressed. There is only a generic bath gel in the cabin so bring you're own shampoo and conditioner if your particular. There is a mini-bar in cabin with enough room to store a few items. To ensure the best experience, be sure to sign up for one of the drink packages. J2 is the most expensive, running about $50 US per person, per day, however, this allowed us to order at will any drink up to $7 and not be concerned about racking up a big bar bill. This also then allows you to order from room service and have it delivered in cabin. Definitely spend the extra money for the balcony, it's worth it for the extra space. All of the staff was were super friendly and helpful. We had a chance to visit with both the wait staff in the dining room for dinner, as well as bar and casino staff. They were all amazing! All public areas were well kept and refreshing. Even the day at sea, when we strolled out mid-day we were able to find lounge chairs together. Meals in the dining rooms offered an excellent choice of options. The one area that could possibly use some improvement was the buffet if you decline to make your dinner time, as it was pretty much just pizza and salad the one day we chose this. Another upside is that this cruise is very much European travelers, so you have the international cultures to mix with. Options to get to from airport if you haven't signed up for the transportation with Costa you can also take a cab for the same price. If you want a cheaper option, select the ATVO which is bus transportation that runs non-stop into Piazzale Roma about 4 euros, and then take the People Mover 1 euro from there to the cruise terminal. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
We were 2 couples traveling together for a 7 night Greek cruise. I have always wanted to visit Greece and after reviewing other cruise lines, I decided on Costa Fortuna. We arrived in Milan on Saturday, and had time to explore the city. ... Read More
We were 2 couples traveling together for a 7 night Greek cruise. I have always wanted to visit Greece and after reviewing other cruise lines, I decided on Costa Fortuna. We arrived in Milan on Saturday, and had time to explore the city. Monday morning we took a train to Venice, arriving around 10:30 am. Costa allowed us to check in our luggage before embarkation for 5 euros each. We then proceeded to take a tour of Venice.Embarkation was not well organized. Only 3 people checking in all of these passengers! We were given a form to fill out and I was given number 16. I was told this number would show up on the TV screen and we could begin embarkation. We ended up standing for about two hours because they were on #11 when we arrived at the terminal.The ship is very typical of the Carnival Cruise Line ships. So I was not impressed. Our luggage was already inside our cabin which was convenient. Our cards and all information was displayed on the bed.No complaints about the cleanliness of our cabin. It was always nice and tidy!My dining experience was not pleasing at all. The first day in the Michelangelo restaurant the menu didn't have anything that was appealing so I went with the Chef's suggestion. I got an extra large chicken Mcnugget with french fries. WE HAD TO PAY FOR OUR WATER! And the cheapest wine was 25 euros.Lido deck food was not very good either. Bread was always cold and hard. Breakfast was the same day after day. After 4:00 pm the only thing available was pizza!A food manager was very rude to the employees. He actually yelled, waved his arms in rage because the napkins needed to replenished and the rack for the cups was almost empty. I had to watch this as I tried to eat my food.As the days went on the menu got better. I really didn't like waiting for a long time in between the courses.Entertainment was just OK. There were some outstanding moments. Forget about dancing unless you like to waltz or line dance. We only saw 3 shows in the Rex Theatre. Nothing was that entertaining and it was hard to listen to explanations in 5 different languages.The ports was the reason I decided on this cruise. Could not afford the excursions that Costa provided so I did it on my own.Overall, I saw what I wanted to see. But I won't be using Costa Cruise Lines again. I didn't get my money's worth. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
First off, let me say that we were originally booked on the Holland America cruise out of Ft Lauderdale. However, my travel agency guy screwed up our reservations and did not get them in on time so he said he put us on an upgrade on Costa. ... Read More
First off, let me say that we were originally booked on the Holland America cruise out of Ft Lauderdale. However, my travel agency guy screwed up our reservations and did not get them in on time so he said he put us on an upgrade on Costa. I had no clue what Costa was but none of my friends from work had never been on it, only knew it was Italian. So we got there and were quickly put on board so we were happy. We were parked next to the Carnival Freedom and the Celebrity Solstice so we got some good looks while we waited. From there on it just got progressively worse. On the first day while waiting in the dock we had found beer bottles laying all over the top deck next to plates left from the previous cruise! The cleanliness of this ship is the worst I have ever seen!!! They would never clean up the decks fast and plates of food were always just laying around on tables so you were always aggrivated when you had no where to sit. Then came the buffet, it was ALWAYS the same, they NEVER changed one thing from day to day for breakfast or lunch! It got so old quick. The ice cream maker was hardly ever open but a few hours each afternoon unlike other cruise ships like RCL. The dinners were ok but our waiter was never anywhere to be found, we would wait 40 mins before ever getting our dinners. I suspect because they already had their tips included that they did not care to work hard for it. The food portions were very small for americans and im a small guy! I would always be in the boring buffet around midnight for a snack cause of the pitiful meals they would serve us at dinner. The ports were great because we got got get off of this boat! Thats just sad that we wanted to be off the boat more than on it! But all things went smooth there so I have no faults in that department. All of the ports were nice but having only 3 days at port in a 7 night cruise was killing us because I am used to booking ones with 4 stops on 7 days, and when you hate the cruise ship, you can understand why we wanted more ports of call. Entertainment was the only good thing on this boat! We really liked all of the ports and had Gabi and Norbi as our gymnastic shows which all of the crowd applauded each time. We really like the Roman Toga night on Saturday night, it was lots of fun. One of the worst things we can say is how the pools and slides were always closed! We had a large group of vegans and another group there and whenever they held their meetings on the main deck they would close all pools!!! We paid the same for this cruise so why are we stuck with closed pools? They also would close the pools by 10pm! I had never heard of this before, I was used to it being open very late. The slide wasnt even open until the 3rd day of the cruise and then from only 10am to noon, and then reopened from 2:30pm till 5pm!!! And yet while in Ft Lauderdale waiting to get going, the Carnival ship next to us had their slide open and letting people on it. In the end this was a terrible cruise, the complaints box at the end of the week had a line of people trying to stuff the box full of complaints. Everywhere you went you seemed to hear someone grumbling over the situation and I dont doubt it. In St Thomas, I had a guy behind me eating and was on his cell phone to his buddy in the states and he was cursing up a storm of how bad it was! I was completely shocked! If your American and used to RCL or Carnival type cruises avoid Costa like a plague! No one I was around liked any bit of it. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
This was our 5th cruise with Costa, and once again, we enjoyed every moment of it. It was another wonderful experience, where the memories will last forever. For us, Costa did it again: An overall outstanding cruise experience in every ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Costa, and once again, we enjoyed every moment of it. It was another wonderful experience, where the memories will last forever. For us, Costa did it again: An overall outstanding cruise experience in every aspect. Here's the detailed story of our cruise aboard of the Costa Fortuna, January 10 through January 17, 2010. DAY 1 - FORT LAUDERDALE & EMBARKATION: We live only about 2 hours away from Fort Lauderdale and arrived at Port Everglades around 11:20 am on an extremely cold (at least for us Floridians) morning. The Costa Fortuna was anchored at Pier 19, where I dropped off our luggage and proceeded to park the car in the parking garage right next to the pier. We proceeded into the terminal at about 11:30 am and had no lines at the security screening. Once security screening is completed, you are asked to complete a "Health Questionaire" mainly geared towards the question if you have any symptoms of H1N1. It's only a short form, and has to be completed before you check in (it's NOT part of your online/web check-in form!), so to make it easier for you, make sure to bring a pen. Once completed, you have two options: You can either use one of the self check-in kiosks (similar to airline check-ins), or proceed into the next hall, where you have Costa staff members checking you in at the counter. There was some confusion amongst some travelers, who thought they HAD to check in at the kiosk. We skipped the kiosks and proceeded to the check-in counter. Suite customers, as well as Costa club members of Coral status or above will have a separate check-in line, which we took advantage of. My parents did not have a suite, and they proceeded towards the "regular" check-in line. We experienced no wait and were promptly greeted by a Costa staff member, who checked our passports and reviewed the web check-in form I had printed at home. In less than two minutes we were ready and proceeded towards the ship. Due to the large amount of Costa check-in staff, my parents were done with their check-in in similar time. A small line formed, as a picture is being taken before you go onboard, followed by another security/I/D/ check point. We boarded the Fortuna, and before you enter the main lobby, your mug shot/head shot will be taken (used for identification when exiting/entering the ship at ports). We were all set and ready to enjoy the welcoming buffet at around 12:00 noon, even though the cruise documents state, that the check-in time starts at 1:30 pm. We enjoyed the buffet, which offered a variety of cold and hot specialties, salads and desserts. The buffet was quite busy. Apparently a lot of people checked in early, plus there were a lot of back-to-back cruisers still onboard. The poolside grill in the aft of Deck 9 opened around 12:45 pm, offering hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and other "domestic" food. The state rooms were ready at approximately 1:15 pm. Our Grand Suite #7289 was almost as home to us, as we had the exact same cabin on the Magica and the Fortuna once before. Room stewardess Merlina and our butler Jacob stopped by shortly after our arrival to introduce themselves to us and to inquire if we needed anything. If you are new to the ship or new to Costa, they will gladly give you a brief introduction about the cabin and the services offered. Our luggage arrived in our cabin at about 3:40 pm, which was great, as it gave us plenty of time to unpack before any scheduled activities and before leaving port. I noticed that somebody had locked the safe in the cabin and it was not possible to open it with our card. Jacob contacted somebody from the customer service and with 10 minutes the problem was solved. Upon check-in you are asked to register a credit card, in order to charge your expensed to your onboard account. This is now being done with kiosks, which you can find throughout the ship on Decks 3 and 5. Remember, you need your Costa Card (which you will find in your room) and your Credit Card in order to complete this process. There was a line at the kiosk on Deck 3, so I went to Deck 5. There are several kiosks just passed the Casino, which never seemed to have any lines. At the kiosk you simply select your language, swipe your Costa Card first, followed by swiping you Credit Card (within 60 seconds). If you are travelling with somebody else in your cabin, you have either the option to include or exclude that person from your onboard account. At the end of the process (less than 2 minutes) you will get a confirmation message on the screen and you are ready to go. We relaxed in our cabin, unpacked our suitcases and strolled around the Fortuna for the remainder of the afternoon. As we had second sitting dining, our first show "Welcome Aboard Variety Show" was scheduled for 7:00 pm, the time we were actually supposed to leave Port Everglades. Except for the Welcome Gala Night (Night 2), second sitting passengers will always enjoy a pre-dinner show, whereas first sitting passengers will enjoy their entertainment after the dinner. Due to a cocktail reception in the theatre on the first formal night, both sittings will have their show after dinner (9:00 pm for first sitting and 10:45 pm for second sitting passengers). The show was a great kick-off for our vacation and featured an acrobatic duo, Gaby & Norbi from Europe (Czech Republic if I'm not mistaken), as well as two really talented singers Umberto Noto from Italy and Liz Roxburgh from England, and of course the always fabulous Costa Fortuna dancers. Due to extreme weather conditions around the country and also internationally, our departure time was pushed back from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, as we were still missing quite a few passengers. After the show we were ready for our first dinner. We were assigned to table # 68 on deck 3 in the Michelangelo Restaurant (aft restaurant). The table was located along the side, and was a table for 4, with a bench and two chairs. Our waiter Edgar and assistant waiter Steve were great, but seemed a bit shy at the beginning. Dinner was wonderful (see separate post about Fortuna Menu's) and we were just getting up, as the ship started to pull away from the pier at about 10:20 pm. We were told that even with the delayed departure time, we would still be in St. Thomas on time. DAY 2 - AT SEA: We woke up to a sunny morning and had put in an order for breakfast in the cabin the night before. On the breakfast order forms which you will find in your cabin, you can determine a time frame, e.g. 8:00-8:30, 8:30-9:00, etc. We ordered our breakfast for 9:00-9:30, and promptly at 9:00 am, our butler Jacob knocked on the door with a huge tray of breakfast items. We had ordered some breakfast rolls, croissants, coffee, hot chocolate, espresso, butter, strawberry and apricot jam and enjoyed every bit of it in our wonderful cabin. We went to the sundeck on deck 12 (forward), where it was nice and quite, although it was a bit breezy and a bit cool from time to time, when the sun was hiding behind some clouds. At around noon, I had to check out the lunch buffet on deck 9. The assistant chef had a station with some fresh mussels in marinara sauce. The sauce had a nice little kick to it, and the mussels were simply outstanding. I lost count, but I think I had three plates or so. Of course I had to try some of the other items from the buffet too, such as the fresh mozzarella with tomatoes (Insalata Caprese) and some fresh Tuna-Tomato salad, some pasta, etc. I walked out with a nice sample platter of pretty much everything. It was fantastic! At 3:15 pm it was time for our muster/lifeboat drill. We went to the cabin around 3:00 pm and were ready. Make sure that you bring your Costa card with you, when you proceed to your muster station. The staff will scan your card, to make sure you're accounted for, as the life boat drill is mandatory. There were quite a few people who did not bring their cards, so the staff members had to manually put them in their scanner. Not a big problem, but it hold up the process. So bring your card! Yes, the lifeboat drill will be conducted in five languages (English, Italian, German, French and Spanish), which for whatever reason apparently upsets some passengers. We personally enjoy such things, as it makes your cruise vacation even more "international". After the lifeboat drill we enjoyed the remainder of the afternoon on the sundeck and our balcony. Max, the Cruise Director, mentioned that the ship had about 3000 passengers onboard... it really didn't feel like it. The evening offered the first formal night, the Welcome Gala Night. Costa has improved and streamlined the process of going to the cocktail reception in the Rex Theatre tremendously. If you like, you can have your picture taken with the Captain on deck 5, which is voluntarily. In the past, they took the pictures right by the entrance of the theatre, which caused a tremendous back-up of people in the lobby area. During the reception, you still receive champagne and non-alcoholic cocktails, as well as appetizers, although Costa has scaled back a bit on that. Of course, dinner was superb and excellent once again, with many delicious dinner choices. If you are curious what's for dinner that night, you may want to watch "The Breakfast Show" with Cruise Director Max, which is broadcasted on channel 12 on TV. Max usually visits Veal and Allessandro in the kitchen, and will give you an inside look of what the specialties and chef recommendations are for the day/evening. Buon Appetito! The later evening/night offered a 70's/80's Boogie Night at the Leonardo Lounge and Disco Fever in the disco with DJ Matteo. DAY 3 - AT SEA: We got up around 8:00 am and due to the wonderful food, decided it was time for us to get some exercise in. It was a nice sunny morning and we went running at the jogging track on deck 11 (midship/aft) for over an hour, before hitting the breakfast buffet on deck 9. The breakfast buffet offers a wide variety of items, from fresh breakfast rolls, different kinds of bread, croissants and turnovers, pancakes, muesli, cereal, fresh fruit, sausage links, bacon, eggs, smoked salmon or fresh tuna, yoghurt, boiled eggs and custom made omelets to your liking. After breakfast and a refreshing shower, we decided to give it a shot at "Super Bingo", where the guaranteed prize money was $ 750. If you got a full card with the first 46 numbers, the prize is $ 5000, with 47 numbers it'll be $ 2500, and with the first 48 numbers, it'll pay $ 1500. Not bad at all. The entry fee is either $10 for a single card or $ 20 for a triple card. I came close with two numbers left, but didn't win. At least it was a try. The lunch buffet offered delicious Mediterranean specialties, such as Greek Salad with Feta cheese, Dolmades (stuffed wine leafs - Greek), Tortellini in a creamy cheese sauce and flambEed peaches with vanilla ice cream. By the way, the ice cream machines on deck 9 were always working and always produced good soft ice cream as well. The wind started to pick up again in the afternoon and it started to sprinkle, so we went back to our cabin and took a short nap. The theme for the night was Tropical Night. As we were booked in a Grand Suite, a dinner for two at the Tuscan Steak House (Club Restaurant) is complimentary. We tried to get in for tonight, but it was already fully booked for the evening, so we made our original reservation for Thursday. I asked Jacob (our butler) if you could check once again, to see if anybody canceled. After a short time, he came back to our cabin, and said that it was still fully booked, but he would go upstairs and check with the restaurant manager himself. A few minutes later Jacob returned, and said that the restaurant would be glad to have us tonight at 8:30 pm. Awesome! Thank you Jacob, for making it possible for us! It started to rain before we went to the evening show "Blue Fantasy", which also features a small segment of laser show. I really wish they would have a longer, more exciting laser show, such as on the Magica. The show was fantastic. We also had a cocktail reception with the Captain that night, which is reserved only for suite passengers. There were only about 40-50 people who attended. They served us lots of champagne and plenty of delicious hot and cold hors d'oeuvres. The Captain, Massimo Garbarino, which we sailed with before on the Costa Mediterranea, took time to sit down with each passenger, talked and chatted leisurely. He's an amazing person, with a long career with Costa (he's with Costa since 1978, and back then become the youngest Captain within the organization). He was born in Genoa, Italy, which is also the home of Costa and is known for the history of navigation, seafarers and ship builders. He fluently speaks all five languages and it's a pleasure talking to him. Until that night I did not know that he is actually actively involved in the design and building of new Costa ships. After the cocktail reception it was time for our dinner experience at the Tuscan Steak House. All I can say: If you're not cruising in a suite, spend the extra $ 30 per person and have a dining experience of a lifetime. You'll experience magnificent service and food, which goes beyond your imagination! The piano player and low lighting improves the ambience of the entire experience. Due to the rain, the Tropical Night was moved from the pool deck to the grand lounge Conte Di Savoia, but the ice sculpture demonstration was cancelled. DAY 4 - ST. THOMAS: Even though we departed Fort Lauderdale almost 4 hours late, we arrived in St. Thomas even a little bit early and the Captain was able to secure us docking space # 1 in Heavensight. We got off the ship around 8:30 am, and had made a reservation with Budget for a Jeep rental. Budget was always located on the main street, just outside of the cruise ship area, but has relocated since January 1, 2010. The new office is now located within the port area, just off the cruise ship pier towards docking space # 2. When you get off the ship, exit the fenced area, then immediately walk along the cruise ship towards your right. There is a large "Budget" sign on the building. You will pick-up and drop off your vehicle there, which makes it even more comfortable for cruise ship passengers. We picked up our 4-door Jeep as reserved and we were off to explore the island. Just as a reminder: Although St. Thomas is part of the US Virgin Islands, you are driving on the LEFT. All rental vehicles are left-steered vehicles with automatic transmission, but if you've never driven on the left, it takes a bit to get used to, especially when turning! Just make sure you watch out for animals, especially on less travelled roads. Donkeys, chicken, pigs, dogs and other animals are roaming freely. There are a lot of winding roads on St. Thomas, with a lot of blind spots... just reduce your speed accordingly and watch where you're going. Our first stop was Coki Beach, which we knew from previous times. It's a nice little beach, with a lot of local vendors, offering anything from food and drinks to various merchandise. The beach is located right next to Coral World, if you have problems finding it on the map. The beach gets usually crowded later, as a lot of tours drop their passengers, before returning to the ship. We bought some good mixed drinks "The Bomb", which has a nice fruity taste, with lots of rum! Yummy! The beach is ideal for snorkeling, but watch for currents, which can be strong at times. We had some dog bisquits to feed the fish. A nice colorful selection of fish will surround you quickly, as soon as you start crumbling the bisquits. The beach got crowded by noon and we decided to move on with our island tour. Toured the remainder of the island, with nice stops along the way to take great pictures of this beautiful island. We stopped at one more local beach, which is the most relaxing and quiet beach you can imagine. We dropped our Jeep off around 4:45 pm, did a little bit of shopping around the harbor and went back on the Fortuna at around 5:20 pm. We set sail promptly at 6:00 pm as scheduled. The theme for the night was Italian Night, which you don't want to miss. It's a casual night, but you're encouraged to wear red, white and green outfits, which resembles the Italian national colors (tricolore). At 7:00 pm Antonio Colamorea performed a tribute to Andrea Bocelli. He is an amazing tenor, and probably drew the largest crowd in the theatre I had seen all cruise long. His voice is amazing... so if he's still on the ship performing, you don't want to miss this show. During the evening, the cruise staff will put on all kind of "Italian" entertainment, from Tarantella and Taccopunta Dance lessons to the "Election of Mister Pizza", which is absolutely hilarious - all these "shows" are audience participation, especially Mister Pizza. Don't miss it! Dinner that night was - of course - even more Italian than usual. It was fantastic as always, but I had to order multiple main courses, just because I could not decide what I wanted to try... so I tried them both! After dinner we attended the "Newlywed and Not so Newlywed Game", which was hosted by Max and took place in the Rex Theatre at 11:15 pm. I was surprised by the very low turnout. Usually that show draws quite a crowd, but not this time. It was still fun and entertaining. If you rather go dancing, at 11:30 pm the Excalibur Band perfomed the Most Beautiful Italian Songs in the Leonardo Da Vinci Lounge, followed by the Glamour Nigth of the 80's and 90's in the disco. DAY 5 - SAN JUAN: As soon as we woke up, I noticed it was dark and rainy outside. We had made a reservation with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to rent a Jeep, as we had planned to visit the rain forest and the Bacardi Rum Factory. We got off the ship at around 8:45 am and contacted Enterprise, who kindly offered to pick us up from the pier. Their office is about 10 minutes away from the cruise ship terminal. Within 10 minutes we got picked up and by 9:30 am we were on our own, and off to Bacardi, as we decided to do the rain forest later in the day, if it would stop raining. Everybody from Enterprise was extremely friendly and helpful. So if you're renting a car in San Juan, I can highly recommend the Enterprise office, which is located at 999 Ashford Ave. Just make your reservation online, and give them a call if you need a pick-up. If you decide in San Juan however, expect heavy traffic. This becomes even more of an issue when it rains, as the drainage is insufficient, and roadways are getting easily flooded, which brings traffic to a snarl. If you are used to road sign and direction signs from the US, Canada or Europe, don't expect it in San Juan. It took us forever to eventually select the correct turn to find the Bacardi Rum Factory... hardly any signs to get you there. The factory tour is in my opinion very interesting and informative. Even though you don't see the actual manufacturing process or bottling process, it provides you with a lot of history about Bacardi. And as an added bonus: the tour is absolutely free and includes two free drinks at the end of the tour... yummy! Due to the extreme heavy rain, we decided to bring the car back early, and returned to San Juan at about 2:00 pm. Enterprise arranged for us to be dropped off at the pier, and we had enough time to take a stroll to Old San Juan, which we had seen several times before. We bought some local cigars and stopped by "The Bonbonera", a locally owned baker/eatery in the heart of Old San Juan for some pastries and coffee, before heading back onboard at about 3:15 pm. The Fortuna departed as scheduled at 4:00 pm. This evening's theme was Circus night and was an informal night in the dining room. Michael B. Levin performed "Sinatra, Bennett and Me". He has a great voice and does a great Sinatra and Bennett, but was in my honest opinion the weakest performer in the entire lineup of entertainment throughout the week. Also, the Election of Miss Costa Fortuna took place at 10:30 pm, followed by "Blue's & Rock'n'Roll Session" with Max and the Excalibur Band. Don't miss out on the Galley Tour and Buffet. The chefs of the Costa Fortuna put an amazing array of ice carvings, food carvings and of course a huge selection of appetizers, desserts and other fine specialties together. Keep in mind, that there is no more "Buffet Magnifico" (Grand Buffet) on the second formal gala night. This kitchen and galley tour and buffet is the replacement! It's fantastic to take a peak behind the scene of the usually busy kitchen. Amazing and a must see! The galley opened at 11:45 pm. You will enter the galley through the center restaurant (Restaurant Rafaello) on deck 3, tour the kitchen, and exit in the aft restaurant on deck 3, where you can sit down and enjoy your culinary treasures. DAY 6 - GRAND TURK: We got up around 9:00 am and went to the breakfast buffet on deck 9. We relaxed afterwards on our balcony until we arrived in Grand Turk. We actually arrived and docked early at about 11:20 am. The Fortuna was the first ship to arrive, followed by the Emerald Princess, the other ship for the day. We got off the ship quickly at around 11:45 am. The cruise terminal Carnival built is very nice and appears still brand new. Just off the ship there are two beaches visible, with plenty of beach chairs. All facilities are free of charge, including the pool and the beach chairs. So take advantage, if you don't want to wander far from the ship. We decided to rent some motor scooters to explore the island, and had done some research prior to our cruise. Tony's Rental is set up just OUTSIDE of the cruise terminal, just passed the gate. Took us a minute to figure that out, but we found him. Rented two scooters, which includes the helmet and gas. All you have to bring is your driver's license and cash, as the renal place is not yet accepting credit cards. There is no security deposit necessary either... kind of interesting, but how far could you run with a scooter on this roughly 28 square mile island. The driving is on the left and the maximum speed limit around the entire island is 20 mph or 32 km/h. Traffic is extremely light, which makes it even more enjoyable to ride around with the scooters. Just watch for wild animals. You see wild horses, donkeys, chicken and other creatures just standing in the middle of the roadways. Not all roads are paved, but even the gravel roads are very passable. You can still see the results from Hurricane Ike, which hit this island, as you still see some ruins around the island. We found some beautiful beaches, which huge conch shells. We weren't sure if you're allowed to take them, so we took pictures of them and left them on the beach. We stopped at a hilltop bar ("The Bare Naked Conch") for some traditional conch fritters, and a nice cold local brewed beer. It's not cheap though, as everything has to be brought to the island. A local woman told us, that a gallon of milk is about $ 12.00. Wow! After touring the entire island, we settled on Governor's Beach, which is not far from the cruise ship terminal. The beach is sandy, with no rocks in the water and the most beautiful place to snorkel. The water is crystal clear, and you will find several reefs, just off the beach. There are also artificial reefs, which lots of colorful fish and stingrays. Absolutely amazing! I can just imagine to go diving off Grand Turk... it must be stunning! After returning our scooters and a brief stop at the duty free store, we returned to the Fortuna at about 5:20 pm. The duty free shop had really great deals, especially in regards of alcohol. The prices were a lot lower than in San Juan or St. Thomas! Tonight was the second formal night, the Farewall Gala Night and Dinner. The production show "H2O" was a fast-paced show, with lots of costume and scenery changes, and of course the always fabulous Costa Fortuna Dancers, and singers Liz Roxburgh and Umberto Noto. The show reflects a musical tribute to water and navigation, from Noah's Arc to the Costa Fortuna. Dinner was - as usual - wonderful and absolutely delicious. During the Farewell Gala night, Costa used to serve Baked Alaska, but replaced it with a layered cake with frosting. The cake is unique, but absolutely delicious. Michael B. Levin was scheduled at 11:15 pm and was advertised as Late Night Comedy. There was hardly any comedy, just singing. About 10 minutes in the show we left, as this was the weakest and most boring show of all. Not worth going to... I'd rather see more of the Costa Fortuna dancers! DAY 7 - AT SEA: On our final day we decided to order breakfast in our cabin. And as ordered, our breakfast arrived promptly at 9:00 am. I also ordered some smoked salmon from the restaurant menu, which is absolutely wonderful. Besides the coffee, espresso and juices, we had fresh rolls and croissants, jams and cream cheese. We went to the sun deck to enjoy our last day of the cruise. The lunch buffet was another hit, with lots of Italian and Mediterranean specialties. Costa also offered a Happy Hour that day, with 2 for 1 drink specials between 4 pm and 6 pm. It's good for all mix drinks, draft beer and wine by the glass. Don't miss the Costa Fortuna crew show "I have a dream", which only has one showing at 4 pm. Crew members show off their talent! This was an absolutely great production, with awesome music and great effects! The evening was dedicated Roman night! Bed sheets and "crowns" were delivered to your stateroom in the afternoon, to be used to make a toga. Don't use the sheets off your bed though! Your room steward/stewardess will not appreciate it. This is an absolute fun night. Where else can you go to dinner in a toga, without being questioned by law enforcement. Although not everybody is getting into the spirit, it appeared that the second sitting passengers were much more involved in wearing togas compared to the early sitting. You'll see all kind of creative togas! Funny, just to watch. We had our own togas packed and got right into the spirit of dressing up... so much fun! The Roman Night/Talent Show is at 10:45 pm (one show for both sittings). You may want to go to the theatre a little bit earlier than usual, if you want to have good seats, as it gets crowded. Max, the Cruise Director, did another great job as Julius Caesar. Apparently they had some guests dropping out of the talent contest, as there were only five participants. Usually they had at least eight or so... but it was a fun night. Very talented people on board, and nobody was sent to the lions! LOL... You'll see! The luggage has to be outside of your cabin door no later than 1:00 am. So if you're still wearing your toga, make sure you'll put a change of clothes aside. Otherwise you might have to explain to Customs & Immigration, why you're wearing a toga... Also at 1:00 am all Costa card accounts will be closed. If you are still up and want to get a drink at one of the bars, you have to pay in cash. The final account statement will be delivered to your mailbox outside of your cabin door by around 3:00 am. DAY 8 - FORT LAUDERDALE/DISEMBARKATION: Unfortunately our cruise is coming to an end and we're back in Fort Lauderdale. We got up around 7:00 am and went for breakfast one final time to the buffet on deck 9. We collected our belongs from our cabin, said good-bye to our room stewardess Merlina and our butler Jacob, and made our way towards the lobby. We had red colored luggage tags, which called for a disembarkation between 8:00 am and 8:15 am. At about 8:10 am they called for all red luggage tags. We scanned our Costa card one final time, before exiting for good - or at least for this cruise. Once in the terminal, our luggage was easily found. We did not experience any wait at the Customs & Immigration counter and were out of the terminal within minutes. Another wonderful Costa cruise has come to a conclusion. IN CONCLUSION: Costa has done it again and both, my wife and I, can't wait to board a Costa ship again. Despite negative comments and posts, I would give the Costa Fortuna a 5+ rating in every aspect, from cleanliness, entertainment, food, comfort, cabin, public areas, itinerary and friendliness! Gracie Mille, Costa! I would like to take a moment to express a SPECIAL THANKS to the following Costa staff members: Commandante Massimo Garbarino - for being an outstanding and personable Captain Max Bertolotto - for being (once again) such a wonderful and high energy Cruise Director Manuela Vaccalluzzo - for having so much fun with all passengers throughout the cruise and for being a great Assistant Cruise Director Edgar Cortez - our head waiter, for being attentive and for having so much fun with us... "Cheese Please!!!" Steve - our assistant waiter, for always keeping up with Edgar Merlina - our room stewardess, for keeping our cabin, clean and spotless, and for such cute towel animals! Jacob - our butler, for taking care of pretty much everything for us, from small to big. Veal, Allessandro and all other chefs and kitchen staff of the Costa Fortuna, for providing such excellent and wonderful meals throughout the week. Thanks to you, I definitely have to go on a diet now. The rest of the Costa Fortuna staff, for keeping the ship spotless and clean, for keeping us safe and for making our cruise truly memorable and outstanding! THANK YOU! Following now, is a brief overview of certain events, rather a day by day review, starting with the embarkation: EMBARKATION: We arrived at Port Everglades around 11:20 am on an extremely cold (at least for us Floridians) morning and dropped off our luggage in front of the terminal of Pier 19, where the Costa Fortuna was anchored. The parking garage is right next to Pier 19 and 21, where I parked the car. We proceeded into the terminal at about 11:30 am and had no lines at the security screening. Once security screening is completed, you are required to complete a "Health Questionaire", which is geared to find out if you have any symptoms of H1N1. It's only a short form, and has to be completed before you check in (it's NOT part of your online/web check-in form!). But to make things quicker and easier for you, bring your own pen! Once you've completed the form, you can either use one of the self check-in kiosks (similar to airline check-ins), or proceed into the next hall, where you have Costa staff members checking you in at the counter. There was some confusion amongst some travelers, who thought they HAD to check in at the kiosk. We skipped the kiosks and proceeded to the check-in counter. Suite customers, as well as Costa club members of Coral status or above will have a separate check-in line, which we took advantage of. My parents did not have a suite, and they proceeded towards the "regular" check-in line. We experienced no wait and were promptly greeted by a Costa staff member, who checked our passports and reviewed the web check-in form I had printed at home. In less than two minutes we were ready and proceeded towards the ship. Due to the large amount of Costa check-in staff, my parents were done with their check-in in similar time. A small line formed, as a picture is being taken before you go onboard, followed by another security/I/D/ check point. We boarded the Fortuna, and before you enter the main lobby, your mug shot/head shot will be taken (used for identification when exiting/entering the ship at ports). We were on board by 12:00 noon! It was the most efficient and smooth check-in so far yet! Costa has done a great job improving the check-in procedures over the years! THE SHIP: Even though the Costa Fortuna was build in 2003, she will not show that she is 7 years old. We were familiar with the Fortuna from our last Costa cruise in 2007 and have also sailed on her younger sister, the Costa Magica before. The interior of the ship is spotless, elegant, colorful and full of surprises. The Fortuna — named for the mythological goddess Fortuna, daughter of Poseidon, god of the sea — has a refined, occasionally whimsical, decor. Every public room is nostalgically inspired by, and named after, famous liners that provided trans-Atlantic service between Italy and America, such as the Rex Theatre, the Michelangelo and Rafaello Restaurant and the Grand Bar Conte Di Savoia. My favorite part is the open and colorful main lobby, with the glass elevators and "upside down" Costa ships, which are represented at the ceiling. Each area of the ship has it's own unique flair and flavor and represents a warm and vibrant Italian flair, in the style of Joe Farcus. THE CABIN: Our Grand Suite 7289 appeared like home to us, as we occupied the exact same room twice before, once on the Magica and once on our last cruise with the Fortuna. The Grand Suite offers an impressive open layout, with a large sitting area with couch, chairs and table, a marble desk, an impressive 3 closets, a dresser, a make-up/dressing area, a huge bathroom featuring a whirlpool tub/shower combination, bidet (yes, it's an European thing), a double sink with marble countertop and marble bathroom floor, and of course an oversized balcony with 2 chairs, a table and 2 loungers. The wall above the bed has a full length and height mirror, making this room appear even larger. This suite also features dimmable halogen lights and offers the most comfort you can imagine. Suites and Grand Suites enjoy a few extra perks, such as butler service, complimentary dinner for 2 at the Club Restaurant (Tuscan Steakhouse), a special cocktail reception with the Captain, bathrobes and slippers for your use, a pillow menu, full in room dining opportunities for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as priority embarkation and disembarkation privileges. If you want to cruise in comfort in style... this is the ultimate luxury! THE CRUISE STAFF: I saw posts here, where people are complaining about rude and unfriendly staff members. With all honesty, we did not encounter ONE staff member, who was not friendly. No matter where you went on the Fortuna, everybody is smiling and greets you promptly. From bar service staff members to the waiter in the restaurant and buffet areas, from the cruise entertainment staff to the casino staff/dealers, from the maintenance workers to the customer service staff, from the housekeeping staff to spa staff... during our week long cruise we did not encounter one unfriendly or rude staff member. Just walking along the corridor, you'll be promptly greeted, "Good Morning, Sir", "Good Afternoon, How are you?", or "Good Evening, Sir". Even though your cabin is not in their area, housekeeping staff will always greet you promptly and with a smile. Max, our cruise director, did another wonderful job. He is very people oriented and high energy and is there for you if you should need him. The assistant cruise director, Manuela, is doing an outstanding job with all kind of activities around the ship, including Super Bingo. Most of the entertainment staff is from Italy and is high energy 24/7. The Captain, Massimo Garbarino, seems to have the Fortuna fully under control. He's quite an amazing person and we had the opportunity to talk to him personally for some time during the special Suite cocktail reception. He is with Costa Crociere since 1978 and was born in Genoa, Italy, a city known for seafarer and ship builders. His ability to speak fluently five languages is amazing and it is a please to just sit down with him and "chat". THE FOOD: With most posters on Cruise Critic, this seems to be one of the most fought about issues when it comes to Costa cruises. Both, my wife and I, have always enjoyed the international flair of Costa, which is also represented when it comes to food. Please understand, that Costa is an Italian cruise line, which serves Italian style food, which may not appeal to all, especially to Americans which are not familiar with international cuisine, and may think that Pizza Hut or Olive Garden is as Italian as it gets. No offense, but we've seen it first hand this week, where fellow cruisers stated, they did not like the food and stated that Costa definitely needs to change and cater to the Americans... At this point I had to interfere and made my point clear as well: Costa is Italian. If you don't like it, cruise with Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian or Celebrity, where different food will be served. It would be the same as going to Italy and demanding that they need to change the way they cook pasta or bake pizza, just because I like it the American way. I hate when I read posts like "The food is horrible" or "Lost weight during my cruise". Just because the food is not the way YOU LIKE it to be, doesn't make the food horrible. The food on Costa is outstanding, and I'll post a complete menu from our cruise in a separate post. The dishes are mouthwatering, and I had a hard time to decide which main course I should choose... so I usually got two. Probably the main reason I have to go on a diet now. Most amazing is the pasta, which is always cooked al dente. Don't know how Costa does it, but it is always cooked perfect. The Italian specialties, such as lamb and veal are outstanding, the soups unique and flavorful and the appetizers are different and tasty. Costa offers Italian culinary delights from start to finish from appetizers to desserts, from the buffet restaurant to the formal restaurants and the specialty restaurant. The "Tuscan Steakhouse" or club restaurant is not to be missed. It offers a true culinary experience and is well worth a visit during your cruise. Just make sure to put in your reservation as soon as possible, as only 50 people per night will be served in the restaurant. For Suite/Grand Suite customers a visit for two is included, otherwise the dining experience will be $ 30.00 per person. Well worth it in my opinion! I will also include the menu for the specialty restaurant with the separate post! ITINERARY/PORT OF CALLS: Our port of calls were St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk for this cruise. I liked the itinerary, as it provided mostly full day stops, instead of only a few hours. We've been to St. Thomas several times in the past, although there's always something new, we've seen San Juan several times, but usually only by night, and Grand Turk was a new stop for us. St. Thomas: As in the past, we've rented a Jeep to explore the island on our own pace. We visited Coki Beach, which provides excellent snorkel opportunities, but will get crowded quickly, as the day goes on. It's not a big beach, and will get overrun by people in the early afternoon, as excursions end and people have time to hang out. Magans Bay is another beautiful and large beach, but can also get crowded, as it is one of the most famous and popular beaches on the island. Overall, St. Thomas is a beautiful spot and great stop on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. San Juan: We rented a Jeep from Enterprise which are not located by the piers, but are about 10 minutes away. They picked us up and we were off exploring the San Juan area, although it was raining all day long. We drove to the Barcadi factory, enjoyed the tour (and the sample drinks!) and were planning to drive to the rain forest, but weather changed our plans and returned the car in the early afternoon. Driving can be difficult, especially with very little or confusing signage. When it rains, everything seems to come to snarl, as drainage is backed up in the streets, causing flooding, even over major roadways. Strolled through Old San Juan, did some shopping and returned to the ship. Grand Turk: The most beautiful stop on this itinerary in my opinion. The island only has about 2500 permanent resident. The population easily doubles or triples when big cruise ships like the Fortuna roll in. The entire cruise center was build by Carnival and provides shopping opportunities, bars, a free use of a nice swimming pool and beach chairs. We rented two motor scooters from Tony's Car Rental. He is located just outside the gate of the port area and does NOT accept any credit cards. So make sure to bring cash along. Included in the scooter rental is the helmet and gas. Due to the size of the island, traffic is very minimal and makes it ideal for riding. The speed limit throughout the island is 20 mph, but remember, as Grand Turk is part of the British West Indies, you'll have to drive on the LEFT. Watch out for wild animals, such as horses, donkeys, pigs, chicken or dogs. They seem to roam freely throughout the entire island. This island offers the most beautiful places to snorkel, with crystal clear water and lots of marine life and reefs. You'll find plenty of large conch shells along the shorelines of Grand Turk as well. An absolutely stunning island; quiet, not touristy and the most beautiful turquoise water in the Caribbean! ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment on the Fortuna offered a variety of different venues. I read some posts about an Elton John impersonator, but he must have gotten off the ship already, as we did not have a show with him. Costa Fortuna Dancers: We had several variety/production shows with the Costa Fortuna Dancers. Great productions and a pleasure watching the dancers! Bravissimo! Singers Umberto Noto and Liz Roxburgh: Both singers are awesome and both singers are extremely talented! They usually appeared as part of the production shows with the Costa Fortuna Dancers. Great variety, great voices and great performances! Always a pleasure to watch any of the production shows! Acrobats Gabi & Norbi: They appeared a couple of times and are two extremely talented acrobats from Europe. I would not even want to attempt any of their stunts... Absolutely amazing!!! Tenor Antonio Colamorea: The Italian tenor Antonio Colamorea performed during the Italian night and featured a tribute to Andrea Bocelli. He drew one of the biggest crowds for the second seating passengers. What a great voice he has! Outstanding! Singer Michael B. Levin: He performed a show "Sinatra, Bennett and Me", which was okay, but kind of got old very quickly. Probably the least exciting performance. He also had a comedy show the following night at 11:15 pm. Thought it would be like stand up comedy, but instead he was more singing than anything else. Left about 10 minutes into the show, which was extremely weak. Rather see more of the other performances. Crew Show "I have a dream": This showcases some of the talents hidden within the staff members of the Costa Fortuna. From housekeeping to bartenders, singers to dancers, this is a show you don't want to miss. It took place on the last sea day at 4:00 pm in the afternoon. It was a great tribute to all Costa employees. The show was very well put together, with a Costa introduction! One of the highlights, really!!! Roman Night / Guest Talent Show: This is a most see event. Just make sure you wear your toga, it's even more fun! They must have had some drop outs of performers, as we only had five guests performing. In the past, I remember it was at least 8 or more. Max and Manuela, the entertainment staff and the Costa Fortuna dancers are doing an outstanding job with this "party"! Awesome!!! Don't miss it! DISEMBARKATION: Make sure you'll have your luggage outside of your cabin by no later than 1:00 am the day you are scheduled to arrive, and make sure you don't still wear your toga! LOL Disembarkation is easy and organized. Costa offers an early disembarkation at 7:00 am, for the first 500 passengers who are registering with Guest Services. Keep in mind, if you are signing up for early disembarkation, you MUST be able to get your entire luggage off the ship yourself, as the staff members are not cleared to go off the ship at this point. If you have only limited amount of luggage, this might be for you, but you must sign up with Guest Services. All other disembarkation is done in order by colors. You will receive color coded luggage tags in your cabin. According to your luggage tag color, you will be meeting/assembling in certain areas of the ship awaiting disembarkation. Here are the estimated disembarkation times, luggage tag colors and meeting points: 7:00 am - BLACK (Rex Theatre - Deck 3) 7:45 am - PINK (Rex Theatre - Deck 3) 8:00 am - RED (Grand Bar Conti Di Savoia - Deck 5) 8:15 am - WHITE (Leonardo Da Vinci Lounge - Deck 5) 8:30 am - YELLOW (Grand Bar Conti Di Savoia - Deck 5) 8:45 am - GREEN (Rex Theatre - Deck 3) 9:00 am - BLUE (Leonardo Da Vinci Lounge - Deck 5) 9:15 am - ORANGE (Rex Theatre - Deck 3) 9:30 am - PURPLE (Rex Theatre - Deck 3) 9:30 am - BROWN (Leonardo Da Vinci Lounge - Deck 5) THE CONCLUSION: Another memorable and enjoyable Costa cruise came to an end for us. Both, my wife and I, will be back for more Costa cruising. We enjoy the international flair and touch of Costa, its crew members and international passengers. For some, announcements in five different languages (English, Italian, German, French and Spanish) might be annoying, but for us it is enjoyable. It makes it even more of an international vacation than usual. Thank you to all the hard working Costa crew members, which made our 5th Costa cruise another exciting and memorable one. I truly hope that Costa will remain its course with keeping their cruising experience the Italian way and will not "Americanize". For now, it's time for me to start planning on the next Costa cruise (2011?). Until then... Ciao! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
We are frequent cruisers and had sailed on the Costa Riviera many years ago. That was probably one of the best cruises I had ever taken. Due to my wifes job we were unable to take Costa, during the times it was in the Caribbean, and when ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers and had sailed on the Costa Riviera many years ago. That was probably one of the best cruises I had ever taken. Due to my wifes job we were unable to take Costa, during the times it was in the Caribbean, and when this opportunity came up we jumped on it. What a mistake. First of all I have to hit the "High" parts. Boarding was fast and efficient we had our cabin and luggage by 2PM, we arrived to board at about 1245. That Timing was unbelievable. Secondly the ship is beautiful and the cleanliness was impeccable and that was maintained during the entire cruise. Our Cabin Steward (Albert) was the greatest, he was very attentive and anything we asked for was done immediately. Our Assistant waiter was also great, this was his first contract and if he keeps up the good work he will be a great waiter. The Cruise Director Max was also great, the entertainment was some of the best I have ever experience, especially the Tenor that they had, all the other shows were very well produced and entertaining. Great Job Max!!! NOW...Customer Service and Tour Desks were the rudest and most disrespectful cruise employees I have ever encountered. If it was me I would "clean house" and start all over. "I can't help you"(in a very dismissing way) and ignoring you were common. Don't book a tour unless you are 100% sure, because there are no cancellations. You don't get all the information, on line and then when you get on board and find out there is a difference TOO BAD. Also having 4 1/2 hr tours when you are only in port 6 hrs doesn't give time for anything else. I could go on for ever about the tours, but you get the idea. The food was one of the BIGGEST disappointments of all. It was average at best. An Italian cruise line that makes terrible Tiramisu, what's up with that!! The steaks were tough, our table mate had to send the seafood dish back 3 times for something else and the majority of the pasta dishes were average, I've had better at Olive Garden. The stores, on board, we poor. We've had better selections and quality on smaller ships. Let me warn you, if you have allergies, don't book this one. There is a lot of smoking allowed and they use a recirculating system similar to airlines, so sinus allergies will act up quick. Rooms are not very cool-we propped our door open so we could get some cool fresh air. All I can say is COSTA-NEVER AGAIN!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
We sailed the Fortuna through Italy, Greece and Croatia in July 2009. We're a young, professional couple with a fair amount of independent travel experience. This was our first cruise, and we decided to try it out to get a more ... Read More
We sailed the Fortuna through Italy, Greece and Croatia in July 2009. We're a young, professional couple with a fair amount of independent travel experience. This was our first cruise, and we decided to try it out to get a more relaxing travel experience for our honeymoon! We had a great time, and it gave us a chance to sample some really cool ports - some of which we definitely want to return to and spend more time someday! This is really a cruise to take 1)for the amazing ports and 2)for the relaxation. If you're looking for extravagance on the ship - wild food displays and constant activities - I get the feeling an American cruise line in the Caribbean will be better suited for you. SHIP INFO: Since it was my first cruise, I didn't know what to expect. I was happy with the amenities, the cleanliness, etc, etc. Plenty of different bars and lounges with great service, a casino, a disco, a duty free shop, a few different pools, a spa, etc etc. There were over 3000 passengers on board, but it really never felt crowded, which was nice. The cruise was 90% Italians and Spaniards, with a handful of Germans, Portuguese, Japanese, Australians, Americans, etc, etc. Just a few hundred English-speakers overall, but a VERY welcoming English-speaking hostess, excursions in English, and a staff that is 100% fluent in English and very accommodating. STATEROOM: We has a B1 veranda cabin, on the starboard (right) side near the front of the ship. The room was clean and more spacious than I imagined. We slept like babies every night since it was quiet, the ship was fairly stable, and the bed was very comfortable. I can't imagine not having the balcony. We spent lots of time out there reading, watching the sea, or just having a glass of wine at night. In most ports, our side of the boat had the best views, which was a plus. NOTE: there are no alarm clocks, so bring your own! We forgot ours, so used our room service breakfast as a wake-up call (which was free). Also, TV options are limited - just ship programming and a few news channels. DINING: There are two main restaurants on board - everyone gets assigned to one of them, either early seating at 7pm or late at 9:15pm. We were assigned late seating, and our table mates were another American couple on their honeymoon. Every night you could select an appetizer, a soup, a pasta course, an entree, a salad/cheese course, and a dessert. Most people got most courses, so you will NEVER go hungry. I am a vegetarian, and usually had one option for each course, which luckily turned out to be something pretty good every night. My husband went the other direction and tried lots of things he'd never had before (or doesn't have often) - rabbit, duckling, veal, etc, etc. We were always happy with our meals, though only a few dishes to really write home about. There were two gala nights, where most people dressed up, but you could still feel comfortable in khakis/button-up or a simple dress. There was also an Italian Night, which was a lot of fun. For breakfast, we often went with room service, having coffee, juice, yogurt and pastries delivered to our cabin. Room service is free for breakfast, and it was a relaxing way to start the day. It was always on time and enough to get us started. A few days we hit the buffet, which was a full spread - eggs, bacon, ham, hashbrowns, pancakes, oatmeal, pastries, fruit, yogurt, cereals, omlettes-to-order, and probably a ton of stuff I'm forgetting. Satisfying for the European or American palate. For lunch, we always hit the buffet. There was the sit-down option, but we didn't want the fuss. The buffet had plenty of choices - usually lots of seafood (prawn, mussels, etc), some pasta, pizza, salad, meat entrees, desserts and ice cream. We left stuffed everyday. When it wasn't an official meal time, there was almost always pizza available, including late night. You could also get water, coffee and juice from the buffet. There was also an afternoon tea time with desserts and finger sandwiches. We booked the X1 drinks package in advance to get unlimited beer, wine, mineral water, and soda during lunch and dinner hours. The first night at dinner, we showed our card, ordered red wine, mineral water, and a beer for my husband, and from there on they just brought it all out right away (though they checked to make sure that's still what we wanted). They always brought a bottle of wine, which sometimes we'd take to the cabin to finish. Since we had late seating, sometimes we'd stop by the buffet around 7pm for a small salad and a beer, which was no problem. We used the package for soda, mineral water, and the occasional beer at lunch. It was convenient and definitely saved us money. Highly recommended! They DO enforce the hours. Only during lunch and dinner, so plan accordingly! Regular drink prices on board are not cheap - not completely unreasonable, but NOT cheap - so it adds up fast. ACTIVITIES: When we were on the ship, we really just wanted to relax, so never took part in the activities. There was "SuperBINGO", exercise classes/yoga, some arts and crafts, a few theme night parties, but we preferred just to read on our deck, nap after the day in port, or have a drink in one of the lounges. There was a kid's club on board, and we often saw the teens doing group activities in lounges or early evening in the disco. ENTERTAINMENT: There were daily shows in the theater, running before 2nd seating and after 1st seating. We peeked our heads in occasionally - there was a magician, an acrobatic team, and a few musical revues (all stuff that works across languages). The performers were all talented, and the theater always had a good crowd, but we only watched tidbits since this kind of thing is not really "up our alley". SERVICE: The service on board was absolutely stellar. The ship had ample staff in all areas, who were always quick and friendly in whatever they did. Room service was always prompt, the cabin was well-kept, the waiters were courteous and accurate... excellent service all around. PORTS/EXCURSIONS: First, this is a great itinerary. Each stop was a little different, which gave a good mix of history, culture, natural beauty, architecture, foods, and of course shopping. You'll end up wishing you had a whole week in each and every port. (...though you do have enough time in each to get a good feel for it. I was a little worried they'd be too brief, but I almost always felt like we could fit in our "must sees" without a time crunch.) Bari was first, and we took the excursion to Matera since Bari itself doesn't seem to have much going on. Matera was a fascinating place to see, and the excursion was very well organized. A nice bus ride through the countryside, and a good guide. Recommended. In Olympia, we decided to save money by renting a car and driving to the ruins. We booked in advance, but many Europeans just got off the ship and rented on the spot. It was a fairly simple route, but potentially harrowing if you're not used to driving in places with "loose" speeding and passing customs. The historic site and museum are both worth seeing. The site has the larger ruins and the museum has the more detailed statues and relics. If you don't have a tour guide, get a guide book of some sort so you know what you're looking at! Santorini was the most frustrating port. We thought we'd do it on our own, making our way to Oia and back via bus or taxi, but the night before, we found out that the tenders would be taking excursion passengers off for about two hours before non-excursion passengers could get off. There's no quicker way to do it I guess, but it still SEVERELY limits your time on the island. We decided at the last minute (ie: 6:45am) to just jump on an excursion so we'd have more time. I'm glad we did, despite the cost. We saw more of the island, and actually got to learn a little from the great local guide. If you really want to see Santorini, I URGE you to just book an excursion. This is the one port where I think it matters, and it is a beautiful place to see. Mykonos, Rhodes, and Dubrovnik were all great do-it-yourself ports. Even though Mykonos and Dubrovnik were tenders, we still had plenty of time to wander around and see the sights. Rhodes gives you plenty of time, so you can see the old city, and also walk over to the beach for a while (there is a HUGE public beach with umbrellas and chairs a short walk from port). Again for Rhodes - if you don't have a tour guide, get a book on the sites so you know what you're looking at! Overall, Rhodes, Dubrovnik, and Santorini were my favorite ports, just for their unique character and beauty. HOTEL/TRAVEL INFO: We did not have a hotel on the first day, as we went straight from the airport to the ship. We had a connecting flight through Paris, and gave ourselves a long layover to reduce the chance of anything going wrong there. We arrived in Venice at 2:15pm and were thinking of taking the city bus or a taxi to port, but found a Costa desk at the airport and decided to just pay the 20E for their shuttle. After traveling, it was nice to have something so convenient! Got us quickly and easily straight to the ship, and was comparable to the cost of a taxi. After disembarkation, we spent one night at Hotel Abbazia, near the Venice train station. It was a beautiful converted monastery with an outdoor garden, clean rooms, and an OK price (for Venice). It was very convenient since we could easily walk there from the ship after disembarkation (15 mins), then from the hotel to Piazzale Roma for the ATVO bus in the morning (5 mins). We caught the first ATVO airport bus at 5am, and had no problem making our 6:55am flight. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION: Embarkation was by far the worst aspect of the whole cruise. We spent nearly two hours in the cruise terminal waiting for them to check our passports and let us on board. It was organized - everyone was assigned to a numbered group - but the operation was SEVERELY understaffed. They had maybe 4 poor workers trying to check all of us in. They were all efficient and friendly, but just too understaffed to get us on board in a timely manner. When we finally got to our room, our luggage, cruise cards, and the fruit basket/wine we ordered were all nicely waiting... it just took forever! Disembarking was much easier. We were hoping to just self-disembark, carrying our own luggage, but it seems they really don't want you to do this, and you still have to disembark at the time you're assigned to, so it really would not have benefited us. We put our luggage out around 1am the night before, woke up, had breakfast in the buffet, and were off the ship by about 9:30. It was all very smooth, and groups were getting called ahead of schedule. We easily found our bags and walked from the port to our hotel, with plenty of time to explore Venice that day. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
We were booked for the Taste of Health, Holistic Holiday at Sea which is a vegan/sugar free group. My husband and I are vegetarians and thought that being with this group would be a great experience. Here we were wrong. The food with this ... Read More
We were booked for the Taste of Health, Holistic Holiday at Sea which is a vegan/sugar free group. My husband and I are vegetarians and thought that being with this group would be a great experience. Here we were wrong. The food with this group was not what we had expected and there we were sadly disappointed. (they served miso soup for breakfast, seriously) Once we realized that we could order from the regular menu we were quite happy with the food. The service was great. The waiters work very hard to ensure that you are happy and are ready to entertain you. Italian night was great fun in the dining room with the staff performing during dessert. Toga night was a blast. My husband had a costume toga and I used a bedsheet which was left for us in the room with an instruction sheet. Our cabin was comfortable and always neat and clean. Our cabin steward, "Gusti" was very nice and polite. All of the crew that we encountered were polite and ready with a smile. No towel animals, but Gusti made us welcome with chocolates one night, cookies another night, etc. We had read some reviews that said the ship was not easy to get around and we didn't find that it was difficult at all. Ship maps were all over the place, including right outside our room door. Just pick where you need to go and go straight to that elevator bank from your cabin deck. The only decks that you can't go all the way through are 3 & 4. Just go up or down a deck and walk straight through. When in doubt, check the map. Going to port was always pretty simple as we didn't go during the rush. One tip is to go to the Rex Theater where they sell bottle water to take ashore for $2.00. We also grabbed some fruit from the buffet to take ashore so we wouldn't have to spend money for food. (We saw some clever ladies making sandwiches from the breads, cheeses and deli slices from the buffet before wrapping them in napkins and shoving them into their bags. Great idea, next cruise I go on I will have an insulated lunch bag packed with me for situations just like this. why pay for food ashore when you've paid for food already onboard ship) The only complaint I had about this entire cruise was being an American on a ship full of Europeans. The announcements were in 5 languages, Italian and English were usually first. It seemed as if Europeans have no concept of personal space so expect people to bump into you or just shove their way through the buffet without the slightest "excuse me". While some of the Europeans were delightful, most of them were rude, pushy and selfish. (I had this wonderful woman from Ohio, see me in distress over the rudeness and she just made life better with her kindness...thank you. You brought a smile to my face every time I saw you and I can't thank you enough) On the days at sea, get up early and find a chair in the sun. If you wait until 10am to go looking for a chair, you'll be out of luck as people go up to the sun deck and save chairs for the rest of the family. We found tons of chairs that just had a spread towel and not one person near it, but if you try to sit down, you'll get yelled at in italian by the people holding the chairs. This was frustrating and made us VERY thankful to have our private balcony to enjoy the sun and surf and relax. Just a note about the balcony doors. Our balcony door didn't seem to close securely unless you slammed it and locked it. Sometimes this made the wind whistle through the door, which can hinder sleeping. (I wear earplugs anyway, so I wasn't bothered in the least) Overall, having the balcony was worth a little whistle every now and then. Overall we had a great time. The ports were wonderful and we had a lovely anniversary cruise. Read Less
Costa Fortuna Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.2
Entertainment 4.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.3
Enrichment 3.0 3.1
Service 3.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 4.0 3.9

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