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25 Costa Holiday Cruise Reviews

Very mixed feelings about Costa. The best service from the staff and some of the best food that we have ever had on a cruise ship! We did all our research and knew that our shore excursions may get cancelled for lack of English speaking ... Read More
Very mixed feelings about Costa. The best service from the staff and some of the best food that we have ever had on a cruise ship! We did all our research and knew that our shore excursions may get cancelled for lack of English speaking quest and they were. The tour desk was very helpful re booking us with our choice of languages, we chose German for Casablanca and Rabat. Took lots of pictures but do not know what we were taking pictures of. LOL! The bar staff especially Mojan Tayao and Rossele Lucas knew us by name after our first visit to their bar, what a pleasure getting to know them! Suite butler, Marvin and the cabin steward Aswawi provided impeccable service for all eighteen days. Our waiter at table #229, Benny and his assistant Kadek were terrific in every respect. Food portions in the mdr were of perfect size and excellent quality. The buffet is crowded and we starting timing when we would go to avoid the largest crowds. During our crossing we met many English speaking Europeans and now have new good friends from Holland, what fun! Do your homework, go with an open mind and enjoy a beautiful staff and ship!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Firstly, my first time flying with Emirates, but guaranteed it won’t be my last. I got a requested upgrade to fly out Business Class at what looked to be a heavily discounted price. What an experience- it’s the first time I’ve ever ... Read More
Firstly, my first time flying with Emirates, but guaranteed it won’t be my last. I got a requested upgrade to fly out Business Class at what looked to be a heavily discounted price. What an experience- it’s the first time I’ve ever been on a plane, had a holiday and could not wait to do the return flight! The added bonus was that Business Class also entitled me to a free chauffeur driven car from my home 70 miles away to Gatwick and back, as well as return Chauffeur transfers both ways in Dubai. Add that into the amount of lovely free champagne and booze I quaffed and it started to look like a bargain! Virgin and ESPECIALLY BA need to look to their laurels regarding this competitor- I recently flew longhaul with BA Premier Economy and it was awful… From what I can ascertain, Emirates Business Class is easily equivalent to BA and Virgin First Class. Anyway having arrived in Dubai a couple of days early, I spent some time just getting used to the warmth of the sun on the creaking bones again- wonderful- I’d not considered the Emirates as a winter destination before but at between 6.5 and 7.5 hours direct flight it’s nearer than the Caribbean, and from what I have experienced of both, the weather seems more dependable.. They laughed at me in Dubai when I mentioned snow, saying they only get about 4 days rain a year! Anyway, onto the cruise… there is not much about the destinations because I picked up bronchitis the day I left home, so this ended up being a very laid back chill holiday..because I KNOW I’m going back! Another rather wonderful thing- I had booked a balcony but found just before going that Costa had upgraded me to a mini-suite- as a solo traveller I don’t tend to get such nice upgrades, so well done Costa! Day 1 & 2 First impressions- strangely wonderful embarkation process- walk up to the deserted check in desk, they put a room number sticker on your passport,and fill in the health questionnaire- you walk through to the ship, they take questionnaire and your passport which you don't see again until the end of the cruise ( I think! If anyone spots a dodgy looking Deco wandering around Dubai, you'll know it's not me!), and you go to your cabin where your cabin key awaits. Painless.And no queues. I did spend the first few days chuckling at what I thought was the Captain’s name - "Cordiali Saluti" , until it was pointed out to me that his welcome signed off with that greeting, followed by the words “Cordiali Saluti”! Doh! The cabin is great and spacious- can't fault it at all. Nice touch that every door had a Christmas tree decoration.Slept perfectly when I eventually got to bed. The room has a coffee pod machine which is nice, if I can work it out- you only get 2 free pods however, so I shall be selective when I use them.. I live life to the edge eh?! Nice that the cabin had a bath as well as a shower, and more storage space than I’ve ever seen in a cabin before! It's very eerie getting on Costa ships because people embark quite leisurely..our embarkation time was from between 3.30pm and 07.30am the following morning- no queues to embark or disembark. But it does the impression of a ghost ship at times! Last night I unpacked and headed to the bar, to test out the all inclusive drinks package, which at 19€ a day still works out at the best drinks package at sea, incorporating coffees, teas, alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks. It seems impossible to walk more than about 20 feet without finding a bar with music playing, which is nice.Last night they must have felt they were playing to the guests of the Marie Celeste! I'm sure tonight will be busier as we are at sea through the night. I've just been down to the a la carte restaurant for breakfast expecting it to be heaving with people.. There were maybe 15 guests, and approximately 25 waiting staff! Needless to say, no sooner was I seated than this procession of people appeared- the bread man, the croissant and pastry lady, the assorted juices lady, the cereals man, the coffee man, the man who took my breakfast order.. If it carries on like this, I'll be dead impressed! I'm more used to avoiding the buffet breakfast scrums on most ships! As most of you know, I tend to be a 2 meal ( breakfast and dinner) person onboard, so I settled for a very beautifully cooked cheese and herb omelette which should see me through to dinner. This ship has done away with early and late sittings so at meal times, the choices are buffet- which I had last night, ( tasty and fresh salady stuff mostly) , a Pizzeria with a small additional charge ,or open seating in the main restaurant . Looking at the restaurant this morning, it seems mostly set up with smaller tables, but I did like the fact that in the daily programme, there is an option to meet others who don't wish to dine alone ,at 6.30 each night. Having said that,knowing my luck, I'd get paired up with Fred Munster and Nigel Farage.. So maybe for tonight at least, I'll dine with my trusty Kindle for company! Currently it's 9.30am here and I'm waiting for the lifeboat drill to occur in about 10 minutes, before we depart Dubai for Bahrain at 10.30. Just heard the first of the obligatory 5 language cabin announcements, but as it's for the safety drill, I guess they can't afford to miss anyone out! Well that was fun- I've never been on a ship where we had to line up in groups before- "and move to the left, move to the right".. I was expecting to be asked to do-si-do! I'd lost the will to live by the time we'd reached the 5th translation! However, it's done now. After this, only the essential announcements are relayed to cabins in all 5 main languages. Ok- 20 minutes later and I'm out by the pool- it's deserted!!! Hurrah! Unless they all know something I don't.. Bye bye Dubai, bring on Bahrain... I was sitting right by the ship's hooter when it went off!!! Jump?!!!! How high?!!!!!! Now to chillax.... Later that day… A nice day in the sun- the ear that wasn't affected by my headcold has now been wind blasted within an inch of its hearing life- being ever the resourceful Brit, I resorted to wrapping my caribbean kaftan thing round my head to protect what's left of my hearing- I actually really don't CARE what it looked like! It worked. Deck entertainment that I saw ( there was more but I only write what I see) was a deck side morning disco masquerading as an aerobics class-Gangnam Style was never Jane Fonda(!) and later they dragged a few holiday makers up, presented them with about 15 ingredients and challenged them to come up with the most innovative cocktail.. Lolol! Class or what?!!! Funny to watch the reaction of the tasters. Got slightly distracted on way back to cabin by a coffee / tea bar offering 16 different teas ( yawn!) but a variety of coffees including Marzipan infused! Well, that was lunch sorted, together with my lemsip/ whisky hot toddy.. Decided to a la carte the dinner tonight - no problem getting a table although I think allocating me table 111 for 1 was rubbing it in a bit! 5 courses on offer- went for just 3- roast beef with artichoke, italian cheese and finally, "diplomatic cake"... I was really hoping that was a dessert telling me to embrace my curves and eat more.. Sadly this turned out not to be the case, but as a non pud eater it was luvverly!! Cream and some sort of pastry thing with a nod to health by the addition of a strawberry. On to the show "Made in Italy" prefaced by an introduction to the international hostesses- German, French,Spanish, and finally Hannah,the english hostess who spectacularly announced that she is the language interpreter for every other language than French, Italian Spanish and German- good luck with that luv! Still for my Costa doubting cruise friends, I think it's a really good facility to have. Showtime was great- a mixture of all things italian from opera to dance to pop- including a v innovative Formula One dance to The Race.. I'd forgotten the joys of "applauso applauso " on Costa ships- it just makes me smile. Sitting in one of the many lounges now, awaiting the "70s explosion"... Should be fun! Bahrain tomorrow and I'm afraid I've opted ( on most of this cruise) for beach resort days- hey ho. Day (non existent 3) & 4.. Oh well, after a fairly uneventful day 3 to due to this stupid cold, it looks like I shall be on board Xmas Day and Boxing Day- finally succumbed to the Doc today and he advised not to do my planned trips for next two days-bronchitis. Ho hum. At least he didn't confine me to cabin!!! Well at least I shall get to see Costa Christmas in all its glory- and let's face it, if you are going to be ill, you may as well be ill in the sun!! Not too impressed with his nurse that jumped back about 8 feet when I coughed!!!!! Although as backwards long jumps go, it was probably very proficient! So, yesterday - as said earlier, a peg out day by the pool which was fine. The show was an entertaining comedy acrobat team who did some amazing human "slinky" thing, which thankfully did NOT involve them tumbling down the stairs- which was the only thing I could do with my slinky! Back to the room last night to find this big box of panettone waiting- that and the prosecco will be coming home with me, otherwise I might explode before xmas day! We arrive in Abu Dhabi at 13.30 today and depart tomorrow at about 16.30, so I guess there will be a mass exodus this afternoon.Some are doing an overnight desert trip involving tents camels and bedouins. I don't think I was made for camels.. And I'm fairly sure they aren't made for me- girl has to know her limitations! My plan ( in the absence of shore trips!) is to enjoy the day in the sun- temperature is a lovely 25 degrees, and then tackle the Christmas Eve Dinner- I am interested to see what we receive- then the Hip Hop Burlesque Show ( there's a juxtaposition!) followed by the Midnight Mass if I'm still awake. I did this last year and it was lovely - mostly the Filipino staff and a few of us Roman Candles- it's about the only time of year I go to church and I must admit I do enjoy it. Signing off for now- I hope everyone has a happy and peaceful day- I may update later on Day 5. Costa NeoRiviera Firstly- MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! Thoughts for the day: 1) The hygiene and elf n safety standards on this ship are impeccable. I was watching today in the outdoor buffet area- if someone so much as drops a chip, someone is there to pick it up. The floors are constantly being mopped and all the buffet food has individual pick up tongs to reduce contamination 2) Sea water pools puts women like me at a severe disadvantage as regards swimming with any type of dignity.. No sooner am I in there then let's say my natural buoyancy takes over and the Mae Wests float to the top.. So you either go with that and float on your back looking like two atolls adrift at sea, or you fight it and people assume you are drowning... Just cold water showers poolside then for me.. 3) The quality and freshness of the food I've encountered on here surpasses anything I have had on the "posher" lines.. I did wonder if Costa Serena was unique in this, but no, seemingly not. 4)The entertainment has been fine for coping with so many nationalities- if I want a West End Show I'll go to London. But for what you get, the professionalism of the dancers and singers is top notch, the humour is by necessity " in yer face"( which I'm fine with!) and it is wonderful to sit in a theatre that is never more than 70% full with massive legroom and little tables for your drink(s)! 5) This has rekindled my love of smaller ships- it has about 1600 passengers and 900 rooms.. You can walk end to end in about 5 minutes flat. You don't need to queue for lifts, and despite the rumours about "foreigners" not queuing, I have not seen even one instance of anyone pushing in.The rumours of Costa ships being smoke filled dens appears to be unfounded too! 6) The beds are "awesome" on here and I have slept like a log! Aside from the fantastic unexpected free upgrade to a mini suite, the cabins are well fitted out, clean and well maintained. I have never had a cabin with so much storage space! I found another cupboard yesterday when I pressed the hairdryer button my mirror- only for the whole mirror to swing open to produce a further huge cupboard housing a safe ( I had wondered where that was!) as well as says hairdryer! I have not forgotten my P&O balcony complete with blue plastic webbing, rusty rails and paint flecks all over it! That was the same cabin where the handle came off in my hand if you recall! 7) Their inclusive drinks package is the best at sea, and means that since I've been on here, aside from a bottle of Cloudy Bay which I treated myself to for yesterday and today , and a packet of crisps ( because I could!) I have no other onboard spend at all. 8)I wasn't a fan of freedom dining, preferring to inflict myself on others at dinner, but actually it's been ok. I think it's led to me meeting less people than normal, but I also believe the vast array of nationalities by definition makes that harder. I've enjoyed the freedom to eat when I choose as opposed to when it's prescribed and as long as I have my Kindle, I've been a happy Billy No Mates in the corner! 9)Here's the thing... For all of the above plus more, I am starting to think that Costa may be my favourite cruise line.. I still have a lot to try out, but for value for money , I find them hard to beat. I'm interested in other opinions from fellow cruisers , and for non cruising friends, I'll shut up now!!!!! Today is a people watching day- it is the first time that I've seen the decks fairly full- this is a definite advantage of having almost every day as a port day- people clear off to explore! Having said, as I say, today ( at least for the next couple of hours) the world and his wife are here.. Yes there are plenty of children but they are "contained" reasonably within a) a children's pool on deck 12 with slides and stuff and b) in one of the two adult only pools.. Well, it's Christmas eh? And they are all being well behaved if a little noisy... The assorted deck walkers are funny to watch- there are the Sophia Loren and George Clooney beautiful people, the Middle aged stomach suckers-in squeezed into budgie smuggler speedos , the self conscious but willowy latinesque teenage beauties,giggling in little gaggles,and eying up the sullen moody boys, the sock wearing white hat & sandal brigade desperately seeking shade ( I wonder where they can be from?!), the dedicated yompers marching determinedly around the deck in anticipation of the Christmas dinner to come, eyes front and no deviation , the weary mothers who just look relieved that the sun is out and their children have playmates of all nationalities to play with, the teenage lads who really DO seem lost on here, and tend to sit quietly in corners scowling gently,pretending they can't see the giggly girls, the long suffering bar staff with their enforced uniform of Xmas hats which they wear with aplomb and a smile, dads pretending to read their papers and discreetly watching the girls go by without attracting the attention of their wives, who are watching them like hawks regardless anyhow..All the world is here.. I hear French, English, German, Arabic,Spanish, Italian as a gentle cacaphony of voices melding with the Christmas deck music.. It's strangely soothing.. I'm not a crowd lover, but even within all of this, it seems calm and peaceful... They say no man is an island.. I feel a little like one here, but surrounded by other islands, so it could be worse. Language is not hugely a barrier- smiles are universal and people are friendly enough. I'm not sure if I miss the big group table at dinner or not- I've met some interesting people by dining that way in the past, but actually , a table for one has been ok on this cruise.. Sad but true. I have my reindeer deely boppers ready to go tonight; bring it on! Day 6&7 Day 6 passed in a blur of sun sleep and .. Well that's it really! Oh except for the fact that I decided against my better nature to try italian Bingo.. Oh that's fun.. You push holes in the paper as opposed to using your dobber.. And you'd think , THINK, that with repeating each number in 5 languages, you'd have time to read a book Inbetween... Oh no sirree!!!! It was bloody hard to keep up and when I actually WON ( yes WON!!) I was so surprised and so slow that I nearly missed it! As it was, I had to go up front to "applauso applauso" in bare feet because I'd taken my shoes off... You could hear the tuts from the Jimmy Choo and Loboutin brigade.. I don't care- my tootsies looked lovely courtesy of my friend Angela at Image Salon so who cares?! Probably just jealous of my winning! The show "Myths & Legends" wasn't probably going to be my thing so I pottered off to see the Arabian Night floor show. Highly entertaining if very basic humour, culminating in the crowning of Mr NeoRiviera... I rather like this sort of simple humour- you look around the room and everyone is laughing- similar to the first time I watched Penguin Racing on Fred Olsen.. There's not a lot more designed to make me cry laughing than grown men strapped to 6 foot tall MDF penguins whilst assorted punters throw the huge dice to get their penguin over the finish line.. Call me childish but I LIKE that sort of thing! So, back to Mr Costa NeoRiviera.. Round one, basically a " You can take your hat off " routine to whittle from 20 down to 3.. Well a blind man could have worked out all 3.. There's been a fantastic Egyptian man who throws himself into everything, ( he really can dance like an Egyptian!), there was the obligatory italian stallion who just KNEW he was, ( not that I'm complaining!) and then this little tubby long haired grandad who was just hysterical to watch.. Ok.. So I guess before round two, you can already guess the winner? The game was to drag 3 (un ) willing women from the audience to act as Jane, to each man's Tarzan.. There was ONE extremely happy Jane there.. Then Tarzan had to beat up the cannibal with his fred flintstone cosh (applauso applauso) and swing through the jungle to rescue his jane.. Ok.. Silly but.. Egyptian man had either never heard of Tarzan or he'd been really badly dubbed in Egypt , as his cry came out like a cat with his bits caught in a mangle ( bye bye!), the Italian Stallion was so busy looking beautiful he forgot to act.. So step forward Mr Costa NeoRiviera- who threw himself into the part with what can only be described as gusto, and he looked totally in shock when he won .. Even though the animateurs had hoisted his Jane up between them and deposited her in his arms! Bloody funny- you had to be there to appreciate it! Last night,there was ( boring but worth mentioning for potential Costa cruisers) an offer to wash and iron up to 25 items for a total cost of €20.. Normally this is €11 an item and so REALLY not of interest.. But €20 to get 9 dresses and 2 tops returned ready to pack? Oh yes! Returned to my cabin at 6pm tonight and straight in the case.. Thankyou Costa! Dinner was tasty and I leave the ship at 9.30 tomorrow- interestingly at the disembarkation talk, you can keep your cabin on here until 3pm at no extra charge and even then you can continue to use the ship's facilities inc the restaurants until whatever time you are due to disembark. To sum up, this is my second Costa cruise, and no they're not the poshest but I do seriously believe they are fun.. Life is what you make it.. Holidays are what you choose to make them.. I didn't see any of the Emirates because of this bronchitis, but I had a totally relaxing chilled holiday in the most beautiful weather.. The cabin was the best designed and most spacious of any ship I've been on, and the staff can't do enough to help. And I KNOW I will be back here. With Costa too. For non cruising friends, I hope this hasn't bored you too much.. For cruise lovers friends, I hope you find this a useful honest review. Ciao!!!   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We booked this cruise primarily to escape the usual Christmas hype and also to experience the brand new Costa Diadema ship. We spent two nights in Barcelona prior to joining the ship on 22nd December 2014 and must admit to feeling some ... Read More
We booked this cruise primarily to escape the usual Christmas hype and also to experience the brand new Costa Diadema ship. We spent two nights in Barcelona prior to joining the ship on 22nd December 2014 and must admit to feeling some trepidation as we had never before cruised on a ship with so many passengers, however, we went with an open mind and were determined to enjoy the holiday. The embarkation process: We arrived at Barcelona cruise port early as we were in company with two other passengers we had met on route from Belfast. There were few passengers around at that time so the actual check-in process was quick and efficient. We were given a numbered card to be used for the boarding process later so we decided to sit back and relax with a coffee/ beer. Boarding commenced around 2pm and was done in numerical order according to the cards issued during check-in and, considering the number of passengers involved, it was also a fairly quick process. Once onboard, the sheer volume of passengers passing through the lobby area made it a bit chaotic , however, we quickly made our way to the lifts and found our cabin where we made contact with our Steward and were able to put valuables in the safe and unpack our hand luggage. We were impressed that our suitcases arrived very soon afterwards and we were soon unpacked and ready to explore the ship and have lunch. The ship: As a brand new ship, naturally everything was very new and fresh and it soon became clear just how big it was. We did a tour of the ship to get our bearings and also to ‘sus out’ the places where we might spend our evenings. The overall décor is undoubtedly ‘bling’ in style; however, we expected this and sometimes just marvelled at how much the interior designers had managed to cram in. All the public areas were large with plenty of seating so there was never any real problem; however, the Diana Lido pool area always seemed to be crowded although we only ever passed through it on our way to other parts of the ship. The pool seemed to be used mainly by children and I imagine that it might be unbearably busy in the summer when the retractable roof is back. There were plenty of elevators around; however, my vertigo prevented me from trying the scary glass lifts which seemed to go up forever from the main lobby area. The signage around the ship was generally good, however, for the first few days it was difficult to find the public toilets as they were not signposted and hard to miss unless you knew where to look. For instance we found no toilets near the lobby area on Deck 3 and the nearest ones were on Deck 4 hidden beside the entrance into the Emerald Theatre. Also, the automatic door opening mechanism in the toilets was a bit alarming at first as you were at risk of being seen by passing fellow passengers. We felt that the Concierge Desk seemed very small for the size of the ship and the number of passengers who would be likely to use it. It was only after standing in the queue for quite a time that we realised there was a ticket machine for issuing ‘next in line’ tickets, similar to those in large supermarket counters. This machine was strangely located in a corner away from the queue so most people did not even know it was there until they had reached the front of the line – it would have been better sited near the start of the queue where passengers could see it from the outset. This would dispel any possible arguments about who was next in line. The Concierge staff were very helpful and efficient and spoke many languages. Restaurants: We had been allocated open dining in the ‘Corona Blu’ restaurant for dinner each evening and the experience on our first night was not too encouraging. We expected to have to wait to get a table and this was not a problem , however, once seated the service was very slow and the family seated adjacent to us complained to the waiter who explained that there was a problem in the kitchen. Personally we were not unduly worried as we were not in any real rush to go anywhere; however, we could appreciate that it might be a problem for families with young children. To be fair, the service did improve on subsequent nights and we never had too long a wait. We did not particularly like the ‘Corona Blu’ restaurant itself and found the layout and décor very uninviting and dull when compared with the other restaurants onboard and it did not have a great ambience. ‘Corona Blu’ has very dark décor, furniture and carpets and on a few occasions we were seated in the side arms of the room which made us feel very cut off from the rest of the passengers – it felt like being relegated to an overflow part of the room and did not enhance our dining experience. On subsequent nights we specifically asked to be seated in the main body of the restaurant and this did not make us feel so isolated and it improved our experience. Given the large number of passengers onboard we felt that the standard of food was fairly good in the restaurant, if perhaps a bit ‘hit and miss’ at times, but we never had anything we could not eat and never went hungry. It was interesting that one of the Maître D’s told us he felt that the optimum number of passengers would be around 4,000 in order to be able to give the best level of service. To us, the ‘Corona Blu’ restaurant was simply a place to go and eat and then leave – it was not a place to linger too long afterwards. We had lunch a few times in the Diana Lido buffet and the food was excellent, especially the pasta dishes, even though it was just a bit chaotic at times due to the sheer number of people around. We always managed to get a seat and have a chat with our fellow passengers. Although we usually prefer a buffet style lunch, we also had lunch a few times in the ‘Fiorentino’ restaurant as it was easier to get a seat, and less frantic, if you went early enough. On one occasion only the ‘Adularia’ restaurant opened for a self-service buffet lunch which we really enjoyed and it was a pity this had not been an option every day. The light décor and layout of both the ‘Adularia’ and ‘Fiorentino’ restaurants was so much better and more welcoming than ‘Corona Blu’ and they both felt more like proper adult restaurants. We also heard from fellow passengers who had been assigned to the ‘Adularia’ restaurant each evening that there was a great atmosphere there with ad-hoc entertainment provided by the waiters and a much better rapport with passengers. Speciality restaurants: We went to the ‘Club Diadema’ restaurant on one occasion and thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the relaxed atmosphere. On a second night we went to the ‘Teppanyaki’ Asian restaurant with two fellow passengers who had now become friends and we all had a really fabulous evening of food and entertainment provided by the chefs. We finished the night off with a few glasses of champagne in the Bar Bollicine. Both speciality restaurants were well worth the additional cost and we would certainly recommend them to anyone. Bars: We had purchased the ‘all inclusive drinks’ package at the time of booking and this proved to be a very good deal. We both drank mostly wine or beer and the system worked very efficiently in all parts of the ship. We quickly found that our favourite watering holes were the bar in the main lobby area on Deck 3 and the Piano Bar on Deck 5. The bar and waiting staff in both locations were excellent and we soon became friends and looked forward to seeing them each evening. It is perhaps unfair to single out individual staff; however, we particularly enjoyed the craic with Barry and Jaydnash (Piano Bar) and all the staff in the Lobby Bar. Two waitresses named Xian and Joy in the Piano Bar also made us feel very welcome. The evening entertainment in both the Piano Bar and the Lobby Bar area was first class and was a real draw for passengers of all ages. From what we could see, the entertainment throughout the rest of the ship was equally good with something to suit all ages and tastes. On Christmas Eve there was even snow falling down into the lobby area which was a lovely touch and the children loved it – along with many adults. Kudos to Costa! Our only criticism would be the lack of an ‘adults only’ bar as the constant presence of young children running around a crowded bar, or being wheeled around in prams, was a bit off putting and perhaps not the best environment for them late at night. The crew: We have only the highest praise and respect for the crew throughout the ship for their efficiency and friendliness, despite the huge number of passengers they have to deal with on a daily basis. They all worked very hard and we often felt sorry for them and wondered how they coped, particularly with embarkation day which seemed to be every day! Other facilities: It would have been nice to have access to a guest laundry/ironing room in order to freshen up creased clothes; however, we appreciate that this may not be possible given the passenger numbers on the ship. On a longer voyage this would be even more desirable. Unfortunately our upgrade to the Samsara Deck did not automatically entitle us to access to the Samsara Spa, however, on the first day we decided to pay for the voyage spa package as we knew it would provide us with a means of escaping the crowds and somewhere to relax. It was money well spent (€105.00 per person for 07-days) and we looked forward to going there every afternoon and enjoying one of the many therapy rooms or just reading quietly in the large, and usually empty, relaxation area with a pot of herbal tea ~ heaven! The Spa staff were also friendly and courteous, especially Tereza and the Spa Manager, Pavel. On the penultimate day of our cruise (28th December) we were unfortunately bombarded with constant tannoy messages over a number of hours which were obviously lifeboat drill instructions for new passengers who had just embarked in Marseille. Not only were these messages’ intrusive but they were repeated in at least three or four languages every time and we struggled to understand why they were being constantly transmitted into the cabins of passengers who had joined days earlier and who had already undergone the necessary lifeboat drill. These new passengers were presumably being put through the lifeboat drill at their allocated locations (as we had done when we embarked in Barcelona) so what was the point of all other passengers having to hear it all again, and again, and again? We fully appreciate the need for safety drills; however, this was perhaps a bit OTT. It really spoiled our last day onboard. The interactive portals provided on some decks were very useful for making speciality restaurant reservations; port transfers …etc. and avoided unnecessary queuing at the concierge desk. Ports of call: Unfortunately we visited most of the ports during the Christmas period and in most cases the shops were usually closed, however, we did get off in them all (except in Marseille) if only to stretch our legs and get a coffee. Palma de Mallorca was our first stop and we spent a pleasant couple of hours just meandering around the impressive Cathedral and the seafront. Naples was the port we had most looked forward to visiting; however, it proved to be a real disappointment. We felt it was very down at heel, neglected and dirty and everywhere was ruined by graffiti. Prices in the cafes were exorbitant compared to the rest of the ports we visited. Not somewhere we would wish to visit again. La Spezia was a fairly small town and we had a quick walkabout and a coffee before heading back to the ship for an early lunch. It has a nice walkway along the seafront leading into the town itself. Savona was a much larger town and had more of interest and a nice atmosphere. We had previously visited Marseille on another cruise and not been too impressed with the place so we decided not to visit on this occasion and to relax on the ship while it was a little quieter. Overall opinion: We actually did enjoy the cruise, due mainly to the friendliness of the crew. We quickly found those venues where we felt most comfortable and which suited our choice of entertainment. There was certainly something every night to suit all tastes and ages. Having cruised previously on ships with much smaller passenger numbers it took a while to get used to the sheer volume of people onboard - especially the large number of small children, however, we soon adjusted and learned to ‘go with the flow’. We would recommend the ship to others, provided they were prepared to wait in queues at meal times, and we could certainly give them some tips on where and when to go in order to avoid them. Overall very good Costa Diadema.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Just returned from fjord cruise , this was our first cruise and as such was really ok, we chose the all inclusive option and seemed to work fine although there were no premium brand spirited the brands they used were unknown to us. We had ... Read More
Just returned from fjord cruise , this was our first cruise and as such was really ok, we chose the all inclusive option and seemed to work fine although there were no premium brand spirited the brands they used were unknown to us. We had an outside cabin with balcony which was large enough and kept clean and tidy by our steward, on down side only English tv was news channel, mainly Italian and German channels. The food was ok small portions in evening but 5 courses and generally enough choice, for an Italian ship pasta dishwasher poor though. Breakfast and lunch was a bit of a free for all with greedy Germans taking up most of tables but selection of food was good. Late night food was only cheese and tomatoe pizza with salad.. Ship is well fitted out and has plenty to do on board, don't bother to pre book excursions as these are not very good and you can get better deals once you get of ship. Crew on board are helpful and in general good fun, ship is kept spotless, we would use again for sure. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was our 3rd cruise and our first with Costa. We absolutely loved it. We had been on a Celebrity cruise before and found it much too big and impersonal. On the NeoRomantica we could find our way around and regularly bumped into people ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise and our first with Costa. We absolutely loved it. We had been on a Celebrity cruise before and found it much too big and impersonal. On the NeoRomantica we could find our way around and regularly bumped into people we got to know. There were not many English on the cruise but we went to the introduction meeting for English speaking and met a lovely American couple. Later at dinner that night they were sat on our table and we spent most of our holiday with them. The evening meal was amazing with 6 or 7 courses if you wanted. We paid extra for the all inclusive and enjoyed cocktails, wine with our dinner, coffees and hot chocolates. Well worth the money, infact considering the amount of food and drink we had I'm surprised Costa made any profit! There wasn't much in the way of evening entertainment, but I don't really expect it on a holiday. We ate late and with the good company, didn't finish eating until at least 11pm, we would then have a couple more drinks and go to bed, there was always tomorrow's new port to get up for. We were supposed to have a 7 hour wait at the airport on our way home but we changed our flights to earlier ones with easy Jet for no charge. All in all an amazing holiday, we arrived home relaxed and suntanned! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We have sailed on Costa before and promised that we would not do so again, but the dates and the length of the cruise and the ports to be visited made us get excited again, and it was a different ship this time, so we thought, why not? ... Read More
We have sailed on Costa before and promised that we would not do so again, but the dates and the length of the cruise and the ports to be visited made us get excited again, and it was a different ship this time, so we thought, why not? Great views from the balcony, but on the wrong side of the ship, we were always on the water side never got to watch the port from ours. Very small room, don't let the photos on the web pages fool you, just enough room to walk between the wall and the bed. the balcony itself is only 1m x 2m with 2 chairs and a very low table, the door is extremely heavy as you would expect, however, my wife struggled to open it most times. The bathroom is exactly the same size as every other stateroom, so no extra space, and for a person who is 6ft tall and weighs 220 pounds that does not leave a lot of room for anything! let alone getting in the shower. Sadly, the airconditioning unit in the hallway burst a pipe and flooded our cabin and six others around it, we were disappointed with Costa's compensation offer ( a bottle of wine and a bowl of fruit ) to put up with an industrial dryer in our room for the next 3 days of the cruise and one outside the door for 4 days, not to mention the smell of wet carpet for 4 days. Bad, Bad, Bad! The ports that we visited were Semarang, Benoa, Lombok, Singapore, Penang, Langkawi, Phuket (Patong) and back to Singapore. I would pass on Semarang, Lombok and possibly Benoa, but the other stops where terrific. The Costa entertainment crew, they call them the "Animation Team" now, were a bit of a let down compared to the entertainment team on the Costa Romantica that took us to similar ports just 2 years before. Being the Christmas and New Year cruise the staff had made pretty red bows to go on all of the cabin doors and there were a few tinsel pieces around the place, the atrium had a lovely decorated Christmas tree but that was about all. For NYE the crew let go of a net full of balloons on the strike of midnight, but because of the layout of the ship, there was not really many people in the area to enjoy this. I think that the deck layout on the Victoria made for a difficult time for them, there is not just one spot to be entertained in but many small areas, but we made our own fun. the good thing is that Costa has stopped people smoking anywhere on the ship that is inside, you have to go to the outdoor areas. Given that we have now had two cruises through Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, I think maybe the next one will be to the Phillipines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Japan etc. Just next time won't be a Costa cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We sailed on 18th December visiting Malaysia and Indonesia. After reading some reviews we were apprehensive about this our first cruise with Costa. My advice; ignore the reviews judge for yourself when you try it. The ship was lovely, the ... Read More
We sailed on 18th December visiting Malaysia and Indonesia. After reading some reviews we were apprehensive about this our first cruise with Costa. My advice; ignore the reviews judge for yourself when you try it. The ship was lovely, the staff were fantastic, the entertainment especially Janos Olha Duo was excellent. Our cabin was kept sparkling clean by our ever helpful steward. The restaurant waiters couldn't have tried harder to provide for our different needs. The itinerary was varied and, here is my only criticism, it would have been nicer if a little more time could have been spent on shore, particularly in Bali. The thing we didn't like was the way in which some guests treated the staff. I realise that on occasions there were problems with language but how many cruisers could cope with so many languages and dialects? We witnessed some appallingly rude treatment of staff by a variety of nationalities. To these people I say try being polite and quieter with your requests, shouting is non productive. Also try reading the information sheets in your cabin, you could prevent many of the problems if you showed a little more care and consideration for the environment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I have been on over 50 cruises. This one rates in the bottom 10%. The ship was clean and sparkling, and our cabin attendant was great. Other than that, we got what we paid for. The morale of the staff in the buffet area was horrible. The ... Read More
I have been on over 50 cruises. This one rates in the bottom 10%. The ship was clean and sparkling, and our cabin attendant was great. Other than that, we got what we paid for. The morale of the staff in the buffet area was horrible. The dining room staff (same people, different location) were a little better. The food and beverage manager dealt with his employees with an iron fist and sagging stomach. The cruise line charges passengers for their "gratuities", but passes little of it to the crew. Obviously there is no incentive to do a good job unless they want to sign on for another contract. "Roast beef" was served three nights out of 10. It was about 1/8" thick. Pitchers of iced tea and water were placed on the table, but no sugar/substitute. Minestrone soup was served every night. No coffee was available on the ship until after 7:00 AM unless you called room service. The quality of the coffee was so bad that they had packets of instant coffee available for their guests. Water/iced tea glasses were hard to find during buffet hours. Disembarkation took hours, and was a nightmare. Debarkation times were issued on the basis of cabin location rather than flight times. Immigration took retinal scans and finger prints of all foreign passengers (probably 80% of the ship). Angry passengers were forced to stand in line for hours waiting for 11 immigration agents to clear nearly 3,000 passengers in Miami. Many people missed their flights. This was a Christmas cruise, but it lacked any spirit. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My wife and myself decided to leave all of the work of Christmas and new year and let somebody else do all of the work to somebody else. Finding this cruise was by accident whilst surfing the net for particular travel destinations rather ... Read More
My wife and myself decided to leave all of the work of Christmas and new year and let somebody else do all of the work to somebody else. Finding this cruise was by accident whilst surfing the net for particular travel destinations rather than seeking out Costa as a cruise of choice. Having never been on a Costa ship and the deal being ever so good, we took the plunge and booked the cruise thinking that an Australian-New Zealand cruise would see many other English speaking guests embark at Melbourne and enjoy a Christmas and New Year break at sea. That was not so as the total passenger numbers totalled approximately only 800 (can carry approx 1800), the majority being made up of Italian (it is an Italian cruise liner after all), French, German and Russian passengers. A significant number of these passengers could not speak or did not try or want to speak English. This was a bit disappointing. Still trying to be positive just after sailing and trying to engage with other passengers with our limited Italian or French speaking skills, we soon formed the opinion that we were a hindrance to some passengers who perhaps wished us not to be on board. An Italian speaking Australian passenger, travelling with her husband and friends advised us she was mortified by some of the comments made by some Italian passengers in their language that were very derogative to non European travellers. I suppose that is the risk you take when taking a cruise on a ship with full prior knowledge of English not being the primary language. Our cruise commenced in Melbourne, Australia and believe it or not the compulsory lifeboat training drill was at 1.00am in the morning of the first day of departure. Absolutely ridiculous and these sentiments where echoed by all and sundry who presented their required attendance card to staff who marked you off as attending. Those that did not attend promptly were identified and found in their cabins and marched to their stations. There certainly was an assortment of clothing attire ranging from bedtime wear to suits. Quite amazing picking that time to do a drill. It was an unusual cruise atmosphere for us and apart from the ability to veg out for 21 days reading or sleeping, their was very little else to do on board. This ship has no theatre having been removed during the recent refit and replaced with a lavish day spa type area where you apparently can pamper yourself silly for an exorbitant fee. Over all our experience of the Costa Line and this ship was quite poor. The meals in the dining room were good to average. The cafeteria meals were poor to average. The staff though were attentive and tried their best. Smoking on board the ship is woeful and it was very unusual to see Senior and Junior ships staff, smoking, drinking coffee and cool drink (hopefully) in lounges in full view of paying passengers. This is the first time we have seen this done. Personally, we do not think that is professional. To the ships credit, the costly refit has been done well, but again the rocking and rolling of the ship with associated creaking sounds is a bit disconcerting and irritating. Not having free tea and coffee and cold/hot water available 24hrs a day is also something new to us and although the coffee costs throughout the ship were 2 to 3 euro per tiny cup it just was not worth it. In summary, you pay for what you get but if I had paid a full fare to be on this cruise instead of the heavily discounted fare we got I would have been banging on someones door demanding my money back. My advice to English only speaking passengers intending to travel with Costa, think again or take language lessons prior to the cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Please keep in mind we went into this reasonably informed with very low expectations. I'd read a few terrible recent reviews and hadn't found one good review. I hoped the ones I found were by stuffy people with high expectations. ... Read More
Please keep in mind we went into this reasonably informed with very low expectations. I'd read a few terrible recent reviews and hadn't found one good review. I hoped the ones I found were by stuffy people with high expectations. My hopes were dashed almost immediately. I cried in Cozumel (our last port) because I didn't want to get back on this horrid boat. Even at a discount this was the most expensive cruise I've been on (including Princess, Royal Caribbean* and Disney). Good Big comfortable rooms Awesome stateroom attendant Beautiful gym Acrobat guys in the shows Photo organization and help at the shop The three waiters dance was really good one night in the dining room The shop keepers were nice and had a good selection of necessities and souvenirs at reasonable prices. Bad -Have customers tip on their own- personally so your staff has some incentive to provide decent service. E.g. The air hockey table stole 2 tokens from us and didn't work. I asked a waiter about it and he said to ask another waiter. I asked the guy after a long wait... He basically shrugged and ignored the problem. Gave up. Again. - DO NOT RUSH US. We're on vacation. -Hire a charismatic, entertaining cruise director. (Example: Royal Caribbean Explorer. Everyone loves that guy!) -Not enough lounge chairs and people don't know they can take chairs with only towels on them... Don't put towels on all the chairs. It confuses people. -The jacuzzis are almost COLD and I'm sensitive to both hot and cold water. -There were always kids in the "adults only" area. So much for outdoor peace and quiet. -The shows are badly done to the point of disturbing. I was embarrassed for the performers. The dancers aren't in sync. The singers are ok but don't know the words to the songs half the time. The costumes are falling apart. -The ship is old, dusty and in need of some serious remodeling, cleaning and repair. It's very gaudy, busy and European. Ugly -The food was wretched to the point of being inedible. The desserts were all flavorless hunks of flour. The plating was simply gross. Bowls of grey mud with a mint leaf thrown on top? Really?? Even the Tiramisu... flavorless! You have the ingredients to make amazing food ! The 'cheesecake' was yellow paste cooked without cheese! The meat was almost all cooked from frozen. The fish was old and very fishy. The other meats were all fat, gristly and over cooked/dry. After 10 days I'd say the best food we had on board was the pesto pasta and the banana ice cream. Breakfast was disgusting - milky, watery, undercooked eggs. No variety. The corned beef hash was soup. The only way I cold get anything worth eating was to bring ingredients from other areas to the omelet station and ask for no watery, flavorless oil (they makes the eggs swim in the stuff), fresh eggs and give them the ingredients I'd collected. Teach these people to make an omlette or call it a scrambled egg pancake station. And please teach them to fully cook the eggs! There was NO variety in the breakfast buffet and barely any in the lunch buffet. Use seasoning people!! Taste the food you're serving! Watch the cooking channel. Fire your dining room and cooking managers. The plates had old hard stuff on them that had been done previously and stored. The dinnerware was dirty half the time. Doesn't ICE commonly occur in Iced Tea? The coffee was horrid. Old and burnt. Even the espresso and cappuccino was only a tiny bit better (not worth the $3-4 additional charge for less than a cup for sure). The free drinks are coffee, iced tea and water. No punch or lemonade... There was juice (apple, grapefruit and orange) for breakfast. Load up for the rest of the day if you want something other than the freebies. - The daily program. There's nothing to do on this ship if you don't dance or enjoy sales seminars. There was volleyball twice ... That's it for sports people! Go to the gym! I dance and did enjoy the variety of music. I brought home the daily programs so I'll try to post the 'highlights'. lol - Service please? I stood at a bar with one other cruiser (who already had a drink) for 10 minutes watching the bartender walk by less than 2 feet away from me 4 times and not even acknowledge my existence. When a 12 year old walked up beside me and got served immediately ... He still acted like I was invisible... I gave up and left. That was the one and only time I tried to get drinks at a bar on the ship. Thank God really... the mixed drinks are over $9 each once the 'service charge' (lol) is added. There were maybe 6 staff members who really seemed to be making an effort to please people. Our wonderful stateroom attendant told us he "wanted to make our cruise experience the best he possibly could" on the second day. He meant it. The entire staff should have this attitude with every cruiser. -If there was a Christmas celebration I think I missed it.. Oh wait maybe that was one night in the dining room with loud music where the staff held sparklers. Anticlimactic to say the least. -I'm a smoker and by the last two days of the cruise the smoke everywhere (even on all the top decks in the wind) was making me ill. If you're dieting and want to sleep all day in a comfortable room on a ship for 10 days... Or if you've been to Italy (I'm Italian by the way) and enjoy the rude people and typical tasteless food... This ship could be perfect for you! For the record, I'd be willing to be paid to go back on this boat and straighten it out in order of importance. Costa has the ability and resources to be an excellent European flavored cruise line with the right management. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We have decided to go on a cruise for our first time. We checked the internet and found this very interesting deal. We embarked in Savona and observed that the ship was half empty, which was great for us. Generally the check in process was ... Read More
We have decided to go on a cruise for our first time. We checked the internet and found this very interesting deal. We embarked in Savona and observed that the ship was half empty, which was great for us. Generally the check in process was very smooth, the luggage was delivered promptly to our cabin which was quite comfortable, or at least better than what we expected. Or route had its first destination in Malaga, which is a nice town. We have decided not to waste the money on Marbella and our neighbors confirmed how right we were... We had only a few hours so we just relaxed in the old town, had a glass of wine and some delicious tapas. As a general rule I would say to be cautious in selecting the tours offered on board. They are quite expensive and some are really not worth the while. The second destination was Funchal, Madeira. Lovely! Then Teneriffa; we missed La Laguna and Teide but got ourselves at least some good deals on clothes as the VAT is very low in Teneriffa. Casablanca, is a nightmare, Marrakesh, as well... got a new carpet now :-) Then Barcelona, Wonderful; Marseille, very good as well but spending a day in Marseille on a Sunday is not quite smart as all shops are closed. Now to the Ship again: We are swiss and hence speak a lot of languages, English, french, german and italian are no problem. So we understood what the others were saying and the information the others got. It was quite upsetting that the information in the various languages is quite selective, to put it diplomatically. The majority was italian, which has its charm, given the fact that the German were like bees all over the place. The food in the restaurant was quite good given the vast amount of food that needs to be prepared every day. Our wait staff and room attendants were mainly, indonesian, philippinos, indian or peruvian and they were excellent! That needs to be said and they are a real credit to costa. Without them, I would never travel with them again. The reason is the management. I have never seen such arrogant staff in my life. I am a hotelier and I am very sensitive with these things. I have complained on the spot, asked to see the hotel Manager (which I haven't seen during the entire cruise except on a picture), the executive chef was smoking on the guest floors with his buddy the main Maitre D' etc. the list goes on and on. They would not greet, not smile, not leave the floor when guests are passing. They were generally walking with their chin above their nose. I have written a long list of "recommendations" as I am not a complainer per se. I just try to give feed back. Unfortunately, I have never received a feedback. I have even tracked down the corporate Quality improvement man who hasn't replied either. Anyway, I would recommend the tour and the company again but with keeping in mind that the management is very, very poor. I just consider ourselves very lucky as we have always good staff around us, fantastic table-mates at dinner, whom have become friends and interesting destinations discovered while returning back to work very relaxed :-) Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We flew from Manchester to Savona via Amsterdam then had a 2+ hour drive by coach to join the Costa Serena and although the journey was tiring, the flights were good and luggage was booked straight through so no hassles. As soon as we ... Read More
We flew from Manchester to Savona via Amsterdam then had a 2+ hour drive by coach to join the Costa Serena and although the journey was tiring, the flights were good and luggage was booked straight through so no hassles. As soon as we stepped on board we thought it was all worthwhile. The ship is about four years old and very smart. We found our cabin quickly and our luggage arrived not many minutes later. No tea/coffee making facilities but free room service for breakfast. Cabin kept immaculate and very comfortable and equipped with safe/hairdryer. Bathroom as you would expect. Only one bar of soap and shampoo in dispenser on the wall but not a problem. We had expected to be in the minority as English speakers on an Italian ship and that was certainly the case but we had no problems with the French, Italians, Germans and Spanish on board. Staff all spoke fluently in loads of languages - felt rather ashamed of my lack of language skills. Ate in the Vesta restaurant and serving staff were all pleasant and helpful. Food was on the whole excellent - yes it was Italian but what do you expect on an Italian ship. The buffet for breakfast and lunch had fresh pasta, pizza, a grill with chicken, burgers, fish etc plus the general buffet with salads, cold meats, casseroles, more fish etc etc. The problem was knowing which to choose and when to stop! We had purchased the drinks package before sailing that gave us free glasses of beer, wine or soft drinks in the buffet at lunch or main dining room at night and cost about £160 but we had no problem getting as many drinks as we wanted and without the additional 15% tax on everything so felt this worked out well for us. There are loads of decks on which to catch the sun as well as by the main pool or the quiet pool (not always as quiet as I would have liked!) Other comments have been made about children being allowed in the jacuzzis and this was the case for us also. However, we usually just hid away on one of the upper decks with our books and enjoyed the November sunshine. We will certainly look out for Costa cruises in the future as we enjoyed the mix of nationalities rather than being totally British. I would recommend that you look for one of the newer ships as we saw the Costa Allegra in one port and it looked a bit old and weary but don't be put off Costa by the adverse reviews - go with an open mind and enjoy meeting new friends of all nationalities! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
After a two hour transfer from Nice to Savona we finally saw the ship - so far so good. There was a short wait before we could get on the ship but the embarkation building was comfortable. In here we brought our drinks package which was ... Read More
After a two hour transfer from Nice to Savona we finally saw the ship - so far so good. There was a short wait before we could get on the ship but the embarkation building was comfortable. In here we brought our drinks package which was rather pricey (we don't drink so we had the kids mocktail and soft drinks) 49 euros for only 20 drinks. We have sailed with Princess before and the same package is for unlimited drinks. The next to hit us was the fact that we couldn't deduct the tips even though it said on our paper work that we could ( we pay tips but only to those that we feel have given us service). We found our cabin quickly and our luggage was already waiting for us. Our cabin steward was friendly and always said hello (Joevan). This is not the ship to be on if you are a none smoker like us.The main pool area is covered and not once during our cruise was it opened to let any air in so smoke just filled the whole area. The bar areas were the same one side of the room for smokers the other for none, but what happens the whole room becomes filled with smoke. Beware of Costa's hidden charges 15% on top of any drinks purchased, charges on the shuttle bus to get you from the port to the towns Anything from 6 to 7 euros each. If you like a drink of iced water with your evening meal, ask for a jug of water otherwise you get bottled water that you have to pay for. The meals on the buffet deck were very poor, especially at tea time, fine if you want pizza every day. We went to see several of the ships shows, the best ones were done by the ships own company. If you are wanting an English cruise this is not for you, out of 3700 guests only 120 were English speaking.But don't let this put you off, all the staff that we had dealings with spoke English. Don't bother taking anything too posh for the formal nights like we did,it just doesn't happen, which is a great shame - getting dressed up is what cruising is all about. Me and my hubby enjoy up to date music and so were looking forward to hitting the night club,this didn't happen because the music around the ship was rubbish and the club (disco Pan) was always full of young teenagers. There was no cut off point for teenagers to leave and let adults only in. Lots of children seemed to get into places where they shouldn't have - the gym under 16's are not allowed in - not the case, young children were not supposed to be in the Jacuzzis - not the case,Don't get me wrong we have 2 children and we know the importance of family holidays but we always kept an eye on our children not so on this ship with many parents. Disembarkation went smoothly, the only let down was the 2 hour transfer back to Nice, then just being dumped at the airport - wrong terminal and no rep to help,once we found the right terminal we had a 5 hour wait for our flight. All in all we had a good holiday, a holiday is what you make of it. But I don't think we shall use Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Well you know, we really were not looking to go on another cruise, but Costa made it tempting, by giving us vouchers, because our previous cruise, in April on the Costa Pacifica, had itinerary changes, with Egypt and Israel. We figured if ... Read More
Well you know, we really were not looking to go on another cruise, but Costa made it tempting, by giving us vouchers, because our previous cruise, in April on the Costa Pacifica, had itinerary changes, with Egypt and Israel. We figured if we were to take advantage of the vouchers, use them immediately or forget it. Although we had till October 2012 to use them, when looking at the prices for next year, would have cost us double then what the vouchers were worth. We so glad we took the cruse when we did... Why wait an extra year & pay $800 more, to get disappointed. Do not get us wrong, when looking to purchase the cruise, We did look for the most inexpensive one Costa was offering. With our discounts on the cruise with the vouchers and the fact we had enough points to receive an addition savings from our booking agent and to receive a room with a balcony on the 8th deck..Plus we wanted to stay in Barcelona(the port we embarked on) so we payed for all 5 nights at our hotel through air miles, in all made for an inexpensive trip.. The passengers you get on an inexpensive cruise, will reflect on the type of clientele. Being NorthAmerican of Italian background, made it easier to understand the European mentality... No wonder the people at customer service & tour organizers smiled at us when we needed assistance.... Guess what we are saying is, between the rudeness of the Italians and the arrogance of the French, everyone else that was left on the trip were pleasant...Over all we look at this outing as time off.. The ports were nice, the weather could have been better(That is not Costa's fault) and our stay in Barcelona, was a great experience... All in all, the reason we took advantage of the offer was because we really enjoyed the first cruise on the Costa Pacifica.... Although the staff on board, by the time the week was over, were very good to us....But.....You Get What You Pay For Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My first view of the Costa Pacifica was "wow" what a big and wide ship. Very imposing and beautiful,the interior of deck 3 is as I expected well designed and put together immaculately. We set off and while in our cabin we noticed ... Read More
My first view of the Costa Pacifica was "wow" what a big and wide ship. Very imposing and beautiful,the interior of deck 3 is as I expected well designed and put together immaculately. We set off and while in our cabin we noticed a vibration and slight whining sound this became worse over the next two days at sea, this we put down to the ships engine not being isolated from the ships hull. At our first port [Katakolon] I noticed a large machine mounted on a lorry trailer it must have been fitted by the time we got back because the vibration had nearly stopped. Dinner that night [first sitting 6.30pm], Food a bit bland but sauces tasty and over salty.As the ship left port the tables,overhead suspended lighting and glassware rattled and vibrated due to the front propeller pods which push the front of the ship sideways.Entertainment was very fair and had to suit the multi European guests on board the ship, Dance areas was more in-tune with French and Italian tastes with singers reflecting this,The ships guests 3450 of which 340 are English what can we expect!. Breakfast meal's buffet stile, there is plenty to choose from but again very salty with the cooked items. The ships crew are very good always a smile and polite but a little overzealous in taking drink orders, on the other hand the dinning room waiters were very attentive. WOULD I GO ON THIS SHIP AGAIN? Answer "NO" not while this ship keeps shaking like a jelly you never know if the super structure is going to collapse like a pack of cards. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We chose Costa Favalosa because it was new and big but also because it visited ports we were very keen to see. It was a complete contrast to our most recent cruise - along the rivers from Amsterdam to Budapest with 100 other passengers. ... Read More
We chose Costa Favalosa because it was new and big but also because it visited ports we were very keen to see. It was a complete contrast to our most recent cruise - along the rivers from Amsterdam to Budapest with 100 other passengers. Favalosa holds almost 4,000 passengers and over 1,000 crew. It was close to full on our trip. The ports were all excellent, especially the two Turkish ports of Izmir and Istanbul. Having cruised a number of times before with different companies, we are cruise lovers. We really enjoyed our time on the Costa Favalosa but there were too many down sides to say it lived up to expectations. On the plus side the crew were welcoming and friendly. The embarkation was handled extremely well but disembarkation could be improved a little, particularly communication to passengers about progress. The cabin was generally excellent. The Formula One simulator is a lot of fun and really not too expensive (18 euros for a 15 minute spin). Unfortunately that is about where the positives end. As the ship was in a port every day except one, there were limited on board activities. It is an Italian ship and Italian passengers are in the majority so most of the quizzes etc were in Italian. More effort needs to be made to cater for other languages in such activities. They do have a dedicated English staff member who does hold sessions for English speakers (and the same for some other languages I understand) but it was hard to feel inclusive because of the language issue. We found other passengers, particularly Italians, to be rude and pushy. Getting into and out of lifts was a nightmare with them bustling in and out or refusing to move to allow access or egress. In the meal buffet bars you had to be careful or you were left behind or knocked about. One small issue with the cabins is they have a ridiculous loop of rope for door handles, not big enough to fit a finger through and too small to grab properly, particularly for people with arthritic hands, so you wonder what testing was done on them before the build. Most doors or drawers are hard to open so it is a significant issue, commented on also by many other passengers. The decor of the ship is good rather than great considering the amount that must have been spent on it. Yes it is flashy but I have seen better. It takes a full week to get to know the layout of the ship and unfortunately it is then time to get off. Particularly irksome is the difficulty of moving along decks 3 and 4 where the dining rooms are located. They block off large areas and you find yourself having to go up and down stairs all the time to get around them. The on board shops are probably too high end for the demographics of the passengers and do not provide much variety at all, not sure why they bother. They advertise a section for those items you may have forgotten such as cosmetics, toiletries etc but it has a poor range. The Costa souvenir shop also has a poor range. The prices for things such as photos and drinks is bordering on rip off value - 15 euros for one a convenien ce photo, 3.50 euros for a small can of coke WITH lunch. Nothing other than water is provided free as cold drinks at lunch. We felt by the end of the cruise that Costa's attitude was to get as much money out of the passengers as they could while trapped onboard. The food quality, quantity and variety was particularly disappointing. Of all the cruises we have been on it was by far the worst in all aspects. We expected (hoped) there would be classic Italian cuisine but apart from a really nice pizza late one night, the rest was a disappointing mix of all sorts of cuisine, mostly non Italian and just average quality. The food at the buffets was very ordinary, particularly breakfast and desserts for lunch. Bacon was cooked to within an inch of its life every single day, there was no variety from one day to the next for breakfast or lunch and lunch desserts were usually dry cake with no cream. Night meals were at least in a good restaurant, white linen and waiter service but the quality was just good rather than excellent that it should be (and has been on other cruises). It was disappointing that on the two gala nights, where dress up was suggested, at least half the passengers made no effort whatsoever. For most other ships we have been on the standards have been conveyed to passengers as an expectation and most complied. I'm not talking about dinner suit and tie for everyone but a higher standard than the shorts, t-shirts and sandals many had on. Also there was a lack of any theme nights, again a highlight of other cruises. This contributed greatly to the feeling of a lack of variety in the food. The entertainment was disappointing, both the quality and the theatre. The shows were somewhat disjointed -â€" a Chinese dragon suddenly appeared in a show that had no Chinese theme whatsoever. The best show we saw was that put on by cruise staff at the end of the cruise, very talented crew I must say. For a brand new theatre it has too many blind spots. The first three or four rows upstairs have a rail directly in front of your viewing field at about eye height. They seem to serve no safety purpose (higher rows don't have them) and simply block your view. Too many passengers are allowed to save far too many seats so if you arrive later than about half an hour before curtain time, don't bother. They have a movie theatre on board but it only shows 4D movies at a cost (and for about ten minutes each with a very limited range) and other movies are pay on demand in your cabin -â€" not conducive to a good night out at the movies and very disappointing. On previous cruises the cruise entertainment staff were very proactive in mingling with and engaging passengers. We saw NONE of this with Costa entertainment staff and the Cruise Director wandered the ship hardly talking to anyone apart from a cursory hello as some walked by. The demographics were different to what we expected. I thought there would a clear majority of older passengers but there were a significant number of young families. This cruise had a large number of school age children on it. Apparently there was a deal that they traveled for free. They were all seated with their parents for meals and no separate dining option was available. Although some were a bit unruly at times, running unsupervised in public areas, it was not a huge deal. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Had a week on the Costa Serena our first Cruise with Costa, although we have cruised many times before. The ship is beautiful and the facilities are good. Food very good and a wide choice. The destinations on this cruise where ... Read More
Had a week on the Costa Serena our first Cruise with Costa, although we have cruised many times before. The ship is beautiful and the facilities are good. Food very good and a wide choice. The destinations on this cruise where excellent and shore excursions well planed. Shows are poor until the last night of the cruise and that one was very good. On the down side they have introduced a 15% surcharge on everything from the bar so a small glass of beer is nearly 6 Euros and you still have to pay a compulsory gratuities payment on top of the surcharge. The Officers only talk to you if you are below 20 years of age and partly dressed, and talking of dress on the gala night I only counted 5 couples who dresses for dinner some of the Italian guests even wore T-Shirts. The crew had a attitude problem for example if you met one in a corridor you had to give way for fear of being knocked over.That attitude was all over the ship and the guests where even worse than the crew, try to get out of a lift they just push in before the lift empties. The examples of rudeness are as long as my arm, every English speaking person said they had the same problems that we experienced. If you are a none smoker forget it the guests are mainly Italian and they smoke everywhere even in the lifts. Children are not allowed in certain areas for example the large Jacuzzis but they treated them as there private swimming pools if you tried to get in you where jeered at and the security guard who's job it was to keep them out just laughed. One final note I have spent many happy holidays in Italy so I don't have a downer on Italians but this lot were just rude and in great numbers. One of the staff said when she approached a guest and said bon giorno if you replied back "hello" she felt as though the next 2 minutes the guest would be polite and courteous, but if they replied bon giorno she had a fight on her hands to say polite. I could go on but I think I've made my point. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We joined the cruise at Amsterdam, having made our own way there and spending a couple of days sight seeing before we embarked. Embarkation was slow and a bit haphazard, but we eventually boarded around 2.30, having arrived at 1.30. Lunch ... Read More
We joined the cruise at Amsterdam, having made our own way there and spending a couple of days sight seeing before we embarked. Embarkation was slow and a bit haphazard, but we eventually boarded around 2.30, having arrived at 1.30. Lunch was provided on arrival and our cabin was ready immediately, our bags arrived quickly too. All good news to start with. The first impression of the ship is that is gaudy and glizzy - one might say full of bling. The colours used throughout are really bright, with loads of lights, which almost hurt the eyes to look at. Cabins, however, were light, bright and much less colourful! The standard of accommodation in the cabin was very good, it was always kept beautifully clean and everything worked, as you might expect on an almost new ship. We picked this holiday for the itinery - Tallin, St. Petersberg, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen and back to Amsterdam so the programme was quite hectic with lots of time in port. We only did excursions in St. Petersberg and did our own thing in the other ports which worked out well. Most times the ship was 'parked up' quite a way outside the town and Costa put on shuttle buses for passengers, which worked well but were quite expensive. There were times when staff at the tour desk were rather misleading of their description of how long it might take to walk into town, which meant that one bought a shuttle bus ticket when it was not necessary. The standard of the excursions we did was very good but because of the lateness of one arriving back to the ship we were unable to take another trip which we had booked, which was very annoying. Days at sea were full of opportunities to do something but most of it was not to our taste. There were approximately 300 English speaking passengers out of 2200 (ship not full), the majority of the rest were Italian. This resulted in multi-language announcements which could get intrusive. For example, the 'card room' is actually an open space on the side of the biggest lounge area. Whenever cards were being played (e.g. Bridge), there would be a fashion show, quiz or someting else noisy going on right nearby which was irritating. Because of the open plan nature of the lounges as well, smokers were placed quite close to non smokers, so there was often a smell of cigarette smoke wherever you sat. The evening meals were extremely good, although some of our table-mates were critical of the level of choice. Each dinner was at least five courses and some of them were 'themed'. We were on second sitting, which was not until 9 p.m. This meant that often we did not finish eating until 11, after which one could go to the disco or a show if one wanted. The self-service cafeteria was always a bit of a scrum and we ended up trying to avoid it for breakfast, going to the restaurant instead. Lunch was available at both locations too. My biggest grip with Costa is that they try to get more money out of you whenever they can. From the minute you board the ship, they take photographs of you at every opportunity, for which they charge 9.99 euros each. Of course, you don't have to buy them, but it does become irritating. We also had a bottle of water in our cabin with a note saying that if we opened it, the price would be charged to our bill - about 1.30 euros, I think. This is petty when, had we paid full price, the cabin would have been 4000 euros between the two of us. There is also a fee-paying restaurant that one can use as an alternative (20 euros)and cappucino and espresso coffees are also charged as extras. One lovely event is the 'elegant tea' which happened twice within our cruise, beautiful variety of teas, exquisite sandwiches and cakes with strawberries dipped in chocolate. Everyday afternoon tea was supplied in the self-service restaurant, but the elegant one was far superior. Disembarkation was well organised and our luggage easy to find when we got off. I wouldn't go with Costa again because I didn't really enjoy the daytime activities and wouldn't want to pay full price but I suspect that it would suit some people very well. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
As first-time cruisers, we were a little apprehensive after reading all the reviews on this site, particularly about the food. But we had nothing to worry about.We chose Costa because we wanted a Latin/European experience to cruise the ... Read More
As first-time cruisers, we were a little apprehensive after reading all the reviews on this site, particularly about the food. But we had nothing to worry about.We chose Costa because we wanted a Latin/European experience to cruise the Med. We didn't want to be on a ship full of Brits, Americans and Australasians. This cruise appeared to be good value for money, and WAS. Balcony cabins appear much more expensive on most other cruise-lines, and choosing the balcony cabin was the best thing we ever did.A couple of bits of advice from this website, prior to the cruise, are just so true.1. Just go with the flow. The organisation for all the bits and pieces always gets there.2. If you want 5 star food (as so many seem to expect) then you are on the wrong ship. 5 star food can be found on a five star ship. (and for that, your cruise will be twice the price)3. If you want lavish American style breakfast/lunch and dinner buffets, with huge steaks and rich sauces - then again, you are on the wrong ship. Book an American cruise.4. But if you want a true Latin/Euro experience on a large, newish and clean ship, fantastic crew who help you at every turn, excellent activities, heaps to do, lots of space to get away from the crowds, roomy cabins cleaned at least 3 times a day - then this IS the cruise for you.5. "If it's your first cruise - then make sure you get a balcony cabin" - thanks to whoever advised this. The inside cabins looked great, but for a first-time cruiser, it just was so good to be able to sit outside and watch what's going on.With Israel and Eygpt dropping off the itinerary, the stopovers became superfluous really. We just ended up having a great time on the boat. Izmir was the best stopover. Limassol in Cyprus was the worst. A really poor alternative to the deleted ports. Our balcony cabin was just so good. Special thanks to our cabin steward, Kristian who made such a difference. We spent a lot of time just chilling, reading etc. Most importantly, we slept really well. Better than most hotel rooms.Enjoyed level 5 - the entertainment floor. Something for everyone to do. It's a great ship if you've got teenage kids. Tended to spend a few evening hours in the Latin dancing floor area. Entertainment in the Stardust Theatre was very good most nights. Good talent with excellent production values. Good value for the cruise price.Used the gym quite a bit. Is spacious and well run. Suggested at end of cruise, that a small movie cinema would be more than useful. I see some cruiselines are introducing 3D cinemas etc. We sometimes felt like taking in a movie, and didn't use the cabin movie videos available, because the screen was too small. Lots of chatter online about the cost of add-ons - but it wasn't a problem for us. There was no hard-selling going on. If you intend to drink a bit, then the drinks packages are good value. Re water. Many people just re-filled water bottles in the buffet areas, rather than pay for bottled water all the time.We upgraded to the Blue Moon restaurant one night only, and it was fantastic. Worth the 20E each to have dinner alone for one night, with a sea-view table.Food - Breakfast was the same every day, but that was fine. There's an eggs station, which we utilised most mornings, had nice fruit, cereals, hams and cheeses, pastries.Lunch had varied themes, and enjoyed some nice meals.Lots of chat about the absence of an evening buffet, but we always made our 6.30pm sitting in the MDR after excursions, without a rush.Have to say the evening a la carte evening dinner routine just made the trip for us. We had a great table with 2 Polish and Australian families, and enjoyed their company a lot. Great Italian style atmosphere at dinner, which we loved. Wouldn't have been the same, just sitting on our own at a buffet table. Was a classy dinner environment, and I can now see why the cruiseline prefer this system. Got caught out a bit with the formal nights, especially the Captain's formal night. It was really dressy. Next time, I will be packing a nice suit.Now - the a la carte routine - and some advice for non-Euros/Italians to work it to your advantage.1. For some reason, or maybe we just chose the wrong thing, the food for the first couple of nights was nowhere near as good as it became. Serving sizes also increased as the cruise progressed.2. If you're a fan of seafood, then you can't go wrong anywhere on the menu. When in doubt about any dish, have the seafood. There are 4 standard menu dishes at the front of the menu for every night - and the salmon is great.3. Dishes don't have added salt and pepper, so utilise you're salt and pepper shakers.4. Any meat dish that has "wild" in front of its English translation is a must. The wild duck, pork, beef and lamb were the best meals of the trip.5. Ask for your beef to be medium rare. Your waiter will arrange this. Otherwise you may find it too tough. 6. If there's a dish you don't like, just ask something else. They are very obliging.7. If you really need some fries - then just ask them if you can also have some fries. They will provide them.Two unusual, and well documented aspects to the ship's food on offer. The pizza available at the 9pm buffet is really average, and not authentic. I see MSC Cruises have just put a press release out about how they are going to start offering authentic pizza, so I guess Costa will follow. They need to.Also - the pasta in the MDR was average early on, then became great later in the trip. Not sure how that works. However - will always remember our MDR experiences. Just be careful with your selections, and don't hesitate to send something back, and get it replaced. Can't wait for our next Costa cruise. Was really critical of Costa HQ for the poor communication for the itinerary changes. However it's not fair on the great crew, to take this into account for our actual cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We travelled from the uk and had booked the transfer from Milan to Savona, on arrival at the Airport there was no organisation at all we asked 3 different Costa Staff where our transfer coach was and no one could give us an answer.The ... Read More
We travelled from the uk and had booked the transfer from Milan to Savona, on arrival at the Airport there was no organisation at all we asked 3 different Costa Staff where our transfer coach was and no one could give us an answer.The Checking in procedure at Savona was a slow long progress.Our Cabin was great plenty of space, a good sized Bathroom , but the Air Conditioning was very poor we turned it up as high as possible but it never colded the cabin down, we asked but nothing was ever done.Dinner was edible however you needed to eat all 6 courses to feel as though you had eaten anything, sometimes the food was only just warm.Our main complaint was the price of Drinks on Board I know the ship is called Costa Pacifica but it really should be called "Cost a Packet" I have never been charged so much for drinks in any Hotel or Ship in the world their cheapest bottle of Italian plonk was 19 euros and it was yuk the price of a Gin & Tonic was 6.75 euors, please do not go on any costa cruise unless you are stone sober however you will still be charged 2.60 euros for a bottle of water.The excursions were also extremly expensive and you were rushed from pillow to post, wonderful places to visit but no time to look.Please do not spoil you holiday by going on costa. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Here's a few of comments on our experience on the Costa Magica: We had a balcony cabin in the middle of the ship right off the elevator. Amazingly enough it wasn't noisy despite the high traffic area. The cabin was larger and ... Read More
Here's a few of comments on our experience on the Costa Magica: We had a balcony cabin in the middle of the ship right off the elevator. Amazingly enough it wasn't noisy despite the high traffic area. The cabin was larger and more spacious than we had on both NCL and Princess. As stated by others who have been on the Magica, it took the whole cruise to figure out how to navigate the ship. I highly recommend that you get yourself one of the larger maps of the ship that the information desk and learn how to find your way around. One of the cruise critic members posted a very good explanation on how the cabins were numbered and the decks broken up. The most important lesson he gave was to look at the picture of the ship located at each elevator. It will indicate where you are and what direction the ship is pointed. When you get off the elevator look to see which direction you need to go so you won't get too frustrated trying to find your way to dinner. The Magica had two seatings for dinner. We chose the first seating and found our table mates extremely pleasant. We were all English speaking and enjoyed each other's company. In fact, the evening meal was the best part of the day with these folks. The other valuable thing I learned on cruise critic was about the 1X package for beer, wine, and water. We called our agent who called Costa and got the package for us. It saved us lots of money on drinks. This package allows you beer or wine by the glass and bottled water at lunch and dinner only. We tipped our waiter at the beginning and during the cruise and he kept our glasses filled. He also poured some for our dinner partners at our request. So each night at dinner we went through one or two bottles of wine and several of water. Big savings there. The breakfast buffet was not as expansive as is on NCL or Princess but it was adequate. We did not take advantage of the buffet for lunch so I am unable to comment. Dinner most nights was good but not outstanding. We did have one evening when they served lamb chops that everyone asked for seconds. We liked the pasta and the bread was great. If you wanted something in between meals you had to find the grill which was located at the very back of the ship where the indoor pool is. It was not like NCL where you could find food at all hours. One of the reasons that you don't see many obese Europeans, the portions were normal sized instead of supersized. I was happy about that. The coffee was only fair however you could buy cappuncino's and lattes that were pretty good. We got our "coffee fix" at the various ports where the espressos were great. The staff worked seven days a week, and usually stayed on the ship for several months. They all spoke excellent English. In addition there was an English speaking "host" by the name of Sean who was available at certain hours if you had questions. He wasn't very helpful with finding out about doing the ports on your own. He said that his job was to support the excursion so he was unwilling to give info on how to get around on public transportation.I surprized and disappointed since I found that the cruise director on NCL to be more than happy to tell you about what cheaper options available once on shore. Embarking and disembarking was the easiest of all. They had everything ready when you got there so all you had to do was go through screening and show you E tickets. Once you got to your room you found your room keys and info on setting up your credit card as well as the daily itinerary in English. They also provided a daily synopsis of the world news in the form of a little newspaper that was created on board. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We were tempted by the itinerary. Who wouldn't be? In particular, cruising over to the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius sounded very exotic. While the itinerary was exceptional, I am afraid the ship itself leaves a lot to be ... Read More
We were tempted by the itinerary. Who wouldn't be? In particular, cruising over to the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius sounded very exotic. While the itinerary was exceptional, I am afraid the ship itself leaves a lot to be desired. We had no issues with embarkation as is mentioned in other posts. We checked our bags in and continued shopping until we were able to board. As is typical with all cruises, we were ambushed once on board by those selling beverage packages. We were disappointed but not surprised that any wine package purchased only incorporated Italian wines. We selected the premium package and must say the wine was not what we would call premium. It was average at best and for 5 bottles at $109 Euro was a bit of a rort. Plus service charge of course!! The room was sufficient. Although I must say the bathroom was scungy with mould in the shower and behind the taps on the vanity. I did 10 rounds with the shower curtain on a regular basis and in the end decided it was a lot easier to shower without it. The toilet system is continually under stress which is most unpleasant. Many times, the toilet would not flush and there were occasions where the system was blocked. When we advised our hostess of this, she checked and advised us that this was OK, the entire level had the same problem!! For the next few hours, I needed to use the public toilets instead of our own and the smell was putrid. The choice of television stations is interesting. There is one English movie channel which plays movies at certain times of the day. Over the 3 weeks on the ship, the movies were repeated 3 times. Other selections other than European channels were Russian news being read in English and details of the ship. In other words, the TV service is what I would call substandard. Other areas on the ship are tired and dated. While the leather chairs and sofas are a nice touch, the corners are worn and overall appear scruffy. I had to laugh when on the first day I ventured out to the pool deck for a quick drink. I kid you not, the pool is about 3m by 3m. More like a plunge pool than a traditional swimming pool. You cannot 'swim' in it. I just assumed that the other pool at the back of the ship must make up for this. No! It is exactly the same size. In all my time travelling, I have never seen anything so ridiculous to cater for 1,600 guests. Our room was located directly across from the Emergency Exit. On the first and second nights, we had constant slamming doors as staff were using this exit to transfer baggage. In addition, all room service came up through this exit. Next to this exit was the cleaning cupboard. If you end up with room 7146, don't expect a good night's sleep. On the 3rd day, I approached the 'service' desk to inform them of the noise issue and to ask if there were any alternate cabins available that we may move to. The 'service' attendant stated that the ship was full and she didn't understand why I would have any issues with the noise. She said if I had an issue, I should tell the people responsible to be quiet. Hmmm, I thought that was their job. She then proceeded to tell me pointedly that noise can be expected on all cruises. Then she smiled and asked for the next guest enquiry. I guess that is what they call service. The restaurant for dinner was the only option. We found this extremely inconvenient. Dress rules apply for dinner and it would have been appropriate to offer at least one alternate option (eg, the buffet) for dinner, especially considering the total number of days the ship was at sea. A pizza bar did open at 8pm each night, but one can only eat so much pizza. The one night we opted for pizza, the dough was not cooked and the while dish lacked flavour. Truly awful. The food was average. The choices were varied and always contained vegetarian options. Seafood was available on a regular basis which was good. The best offering of the day was generally the buffet at lunch - a great deal of variety and specials. However, in the end I compared this buffet with that of a pig's trough. I learned quickly not to get in between a hungry European guest and the buffet. If you did, you were in danger of losing body parts. People consistently were rude, pushing in front and eating in gigantic proportions. Poor hygiene was on full display. The buffet obviously is unable to cater for the entire number of guests on board and it is frustrating when other guests treat this buffet as the social centre of the ship instead of being efficient and completing their meal so others could be seated. The breakfast catered mainly for the European guests on board. Toast was more like a Cruskit, but there were plenty of pastries available if you wanted. In fact, over half of the buffet consisted of these pastries. Salami seemed popular for breakfast! The quality was a lot less than what I have experienced in hotels and on other cruises. The tours were limited for English speaking guests. This was further exaggerated by bilingual guests choosing the English speaking tours. We spoke with many other English speaking guests who had many of their tours cancelled. Worse still, it seemed that the cheaper tours were the ones cancelled (by cheap I mean $50 - $80 Euro) while the more expensive tours proceeded. There was a significant lack of organisation. Many tours were late and you were not kept informed by the tour organisers - just left sitting in the opera lounge waiting for your number to be called. On one tour in Seychelles, an announcement was made 15 minutes after the due departure time that we would be ready to go in 5 minutes. We were moved out 45 minutes late. For a $184 Euro excursion, an apology or explanation would have been nice. By this stage of our trip, we knew better. The same old issues arose on our tours as happens on all of them. Ignorant and selfish guests were consistently late back to the bus. However, the worst incident of lateness was a Costa staff member. The guests waited on a bus in Reunion Island for 25 minutes for a Costa staff member and his partner. We applauded them when they finally made it back to the bus. His comment? "Don't worry, the ship won't leave without me". This pretty much sums up the attitude of the staff on board. I truly believe that they are indifferent to the experience of the paying guests. The overall disorganisation by staff came to a head two days before we disembarked. Upon arriving at Mauritius, we were instructed to pick up our passports and that we would all individually undergo a customs interview with a Mauritius official. For those heading on tours for the day, we were asked to line up from 8am. Other guests wanting to go ashore were to follow at 8.30am. Knowing this could be a bit of a debacle, we started lining up at 7.30am. Already, there were around 12 people in front of us. Quite quickly the line grew and as usual, people consistently attempted to push in and get to the front of the queue. The Mauritius officials were late which added to the hysteria. Guests were shouting at each other, different nationalities were fighting each other, age was no barrier to aggression and I actually felt scared at one point that there was going to be an all in brawl. Finally at 8am, the Costa staff placed barriers up to stop people attempting to push in. The line ended up being from one end of the ship to the other. What a disgrace. This could have been organised so much better, I cannot believe with their experience that they would not intuitively understand how this frustrated some of the passengers. But again, as I have said, I really don't think they care. Due to the cost of the tours, it was evident that a lot of guests chose to stay on board or do their own thing. We had many days at sea and I must say the entertainment budget must be very constrained. Entertainment consisted of trivia competitions (skewed towards European trivia of course), a professor providing history talks, sessions from the Spa about keeping your tan, losing your kilos or having the perfect abs (same thing every day and more or less just a sales pitch), and some religious activities. Prizes for winning competitions were limited to Costa notepads, mousepads and other cheap gadgets. We just kept to ourselves when at sea and lucky I had several books and an IPhone handy. The ship provides WiFi which is great, but at $24 Euro of 3 hours is absolutely a ridiculous price. Some other things to note: Alcohol is ridiculously overpriced - if you like a drink, be prepared for a massive bill; Don't by any means get any laundry done unless you have a spare $150 Euro; Be prepared for massive currency discounts when changing into Euro's - worse than an agent; Take hand sanitiser with you - insufficient supplies on board. The good points? The service staff and the actual places we visited. We will never cruise with Costa again. When completing the feedback forms, we were told we were in with a chance at winning a free cruise. One, I do not believe Costa would give away something for free and two, even if I won, I would be loathe to take up the opportunity. Way better cruises available for similar prices. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We are a family who went on a family vacation. We have been 4 other cruises with four other cruise lines. We are in our 40's with teenagers who are looking to find other teenagers to hang out with on the ship (to get away from their ... Read More
We are a family who went on a family vacation. We have been 4 other cruises with four other cruise lines. We are in our 40's with teenagers who are looking to find other teenagers to hang out with on the ship (to get away from their lame parents). Us, adults, are causal drinkers and are looking for some fun shows to watch, dance a little, get involved in some on board organized games/fun and maybe play a hand or two of blackjack and call it good. Our kids want to mesh with other teenagers and walk the ship looking bored (it's the thing!), dance with their teenage friends, play ping pong, play video games, swim and sit in the hot tub and talk about whom is "cute" on the ship AND at all cost avoid THEIR PARENTS! The Good: Beautiful Ship! The water slide was fun. Fun Activities (Toga night and talent show was FUN!!!!) Great deals on pictures - got all the digital negatives and ALL THE PRINTS for $150 at the end of the cruise. We probably had over 30+ pictures we took over 2 formal nights and New Years Eve Night. Great Drink Packages! I prepaid for the X1 packages for adults (includes alcohol) and kids (non-alcohol) for a little over $300 ... and we all drank enough carbonated drinks and, we adults, drank enough wine and beer to surpass the price we prepaid. Dining room service was IMPECCABLE and probably the best I have ever had on any of my cruises. The food presentation and wait staff presentation was extraordinary. On Italian night, in the main dining room, the wait staff danced down the steps and sang in Italian while everyone clapped. During NYE the wait staff danced around and lit off sparklers as they came down the steps. On the last night, Toga Night, they danced down the steps in Roman Get Up and said "All Hail Caesar!" ... it was FUN, very well planned and really entertaining. The shows on board were family appropriate without being so clean it was boring. The shows were everything from curse free comedians, Elton John impersonation show, and Broadway tunes show to a musical review of decades of music. We never encountered rude staff ANYWHERE on board this ship. Everyone was courtesy and very helpful. NYE was the best party we have ever been too ... will defiantly do NYC on a cruise ship again. The Bad: The ships pools were TOO SMALL. I wrote this in my comment card. We have been on 4 other cruise lines and ships. The pools on this mid range ship pale in comparison to ships of equal size we have been on. Additionally their pools were SMALLER then ships we have been on that don't even equal their gross tonnage. This is just bad design and they need more people to give this feedback so they can consider expanding their pool sizes in future ship designs. It's not fun when the pool so small that you aren't swimming but bumping elbows. The food was tasteless and just plain weird (tacos without cheese, lettuce or tomato ...What? ...that is their TexMex). It makes me feel guilty to say their food sucked because the food presentation and fun in the dining room almost made up for the lack of tasteless food. But hey I came back with absolutely no weight gain (I was HAPPY!!! ... so much I had to weight twice because I didn't believe it) and how many people can say that after a 2 week vacation? Anyway I had fun with everything else so in the end they DID me a favor with their bad food ... it's like I went to fat camp and had fun. Lowdown: I went to be with my family and have fun. Costa accomplished both of this for me. I had little to no problems with the cruise line. I wasn't at the customer service desk day and night with issues so this, of course, made for stress free time that I spent with the family. I didn't go to excessively eat or get drunk every day. I seen some great shows and found enough edible food to stay alive and enjoyed all the amenities and planned activities on board. We enjoyed our ports of call. Getting off and on the ship was easy and hassle free. I would go on anther Costa Cruise again ... you beat ... it's a good price for a newer ship and it was fun. Word to the Wise: PREPLAN! Seriously you need to preplan if you are going on this cruise. You can NOT buy X1 packages on board the ship. They will not sell them to you on board. You have to call Costa customer service and organized this BEFORE your cruise. A great tip here is to load up on the unlimited beverages and put them in your refrigerator. We came home with soda. We got our money back. READ your "Today" on board every day. By reading the "Today" we found out that you can buy your digital negatives for $75 on CD and print them yourself at home or send out for prints and enlarges (not copyrighted ... they will give you the digital negatives for $75). You do have to go down every now and then and pick up your pictures and have them place it in a folder for you. We did this every time we walked through the main atrium area (grand piano bar) which was every day. I will pick my own pictures if they give me the negatives ... then I can make my own prints through Clark photo's of formal photos and give to family ... all good. By having this information up front we took MORE pictures because we figured there was opportunity here to get some great photos for a really good price. We found out on the last day of the cruise when we went to pick up our CD of negatives we could buy all the photos we took too for an additional $75 ... which made it a $150.00. We took over 30+ photos so we bought it. When is the last time you got formal pictures AND the negatives (for future prints) for $150. It was a good deal. Shore excursions are always expensive on any cruise ship line. The cruise ship line MAKE $ off you taking their "provided" excursions because they are offering a service. If you do research on ports you go to you can take your own shore excursions for more than half the price. Remember all these ports of call have taxi's lined up and ready. Most beaches in the Caribbean are usually free. Walking around in Atlantis in the Bahamas is free and the taxi ride is a set rate $4 per person as set by the Bahamian government and posted at the pier. Puerto Rico is an American Territory along with St. Thomas VI. They all speak English and use American money. You can RENT a car on American soil (and it is) and go to the rain forest yourself for half the price with car rental, gas and entrance fee included. We don't do many shore excursions through cruise lines because of two factors ... TOO EXPENSIVE and TOO LITTLE TIME ... 20 minutes to stop and look and get back on the bus is not enough time at $65 a person. You can also use external shore excursion sites found through Google. Remember it's YOUR MONEY and with a little time and research you can do your own shore excursions for less money. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Just got off a Western Caribbean itinerary on the Costa Fortuna. I love cruising with my family and have been to Alaska on Carnival, Western Caribbean with Disney and Costa and Eastern Caribbean with Century and Carnival in the past 18 ... Read More
Just got off a Western Caribbean itinerary on the Costa Fortuna. I love cruising with my family and have been to Alaska on Carnival, Western Caribbean with Disney and Costa and Eastern Caribbean with Century and Carnival in the past 18 months. The other cruises were awesome and had food, staff and entertainment that exceeded my expectations. Not so on the Fortuna. The staff were generally very nice. The food was poor. I like to cook and eat and the food we eat everyday at home is far, far better than on the Fortuna. They literally overcooked all meat. Fish, pork, chicken, beef - all thoroughly overcooked. Variety was also sorely lacking. I ended up looking forward to getting into port just so I could go get a descent meal on land that didn't resemble what I'd been eating on board. The entertainment was weak. Disney was by far the best for family entertainment but Century and Carnival had several shows that we could all enjoy. The Fortuna's shows were strange. Think scuba diver climbing a rope with projection fish in the background followed a bit later by Irish dancing and an Italian singing Oh Danny Boy. Weird... The positives- Kids camp was good and my daughters enjoyed it. On par with Carnival, not equal to Disney, better than Century. The New Years party was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, for me and my family, the poor food and so-so entertainment made this the worst of my recent cruising experiences. No desire to repeat on Fortuna or Costa for that matter. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
First of all Costa does not recognize Cruise Critic Roll Calls and Meets, so my attempts along with others on later Dubai cruises to establish a Roll Call met with a dismal response. So I was not able to arrange any private tours as I did ... Read More
First of all Costa does not recognize Cruise Critic Roll Calls and Meets, so my attempts along with others on later Dubai cruises to establish a Roll Call met with a dismal response. So I was not able to arrange any private tours as I did on my last NCL Cruise. This is mainly due to the fact that there were not many passengers from the USA on board due to the long flights involved. Costa did inform me however, that there would be an English speaking briefing early in the cruise. Fly/Cruise or Independent? The first decision is whether to take the full fly/cruise or go independent from the UK. Costa will not give you the competitively priced flight details until the holiday is booked. We told our agent that the booking was provisional depending on the flights, as I did not want to be changing aircraft in the middle of Europe in winter. (Airports were closed all over Europe the day after we left!) After 10 days Costa still did not provide suitable flights, as they involved either changes in Germany or leaving early on the Saturday in Dubai. That would have lost a whole day in Dubai, so we booked our own non-stop flights which arrived at 2130 on the first Saturday and left at 0210 on the Sunday. The current packages now available in the UK (early 2010) include 2-3 nights in a hotel before the cruise. This is a great way to start the holiday as it means you beat the jet lag and the chance of winter weather delays. Dubai Airport On arrival at the airport you have a very long walk in Terminal 1 to passports and customs. You don't have to stop at the Visa desk if you are from the EU or N. America as you automatically get a 30 day visa. After passport control you have the opportunity to shop at the excellent Duty Free shop prior to going through a final security check and leaving the airport. The shop is a great way of getting some 10Dhr notes for tips, taxi change and stocking up on soft drinks! On leaving the airport you will be met by your Costa Rep if you can find them or get a taxi to the ship. No need to pay £30/$48 for a pre-booked taxi as there are lots of city taxis waiting in line. There are 3 types of taxi in Dubai: Ladies only taxis, normal taxis and family taxis which seat 7, or 3-4 with luggage. The cost to the ship was less than 60DHr which is £10/$16. The journey takes about 15 minutes in the evening. All Dubai taxis are metered and very clean. They are an excellent way for a small group to see the City. Embarkation On arrival at the Cruise Terminal we handed in our completed online tickets and signed a health declaration. We were told all our documents and cards were in our cabin. Next we handed in our passports which we would not see again until disembarkation, so keep the receipts! We now proceeded to the ship having given our luggage to a porter. We expected to be sprayed with antiseptic gel as we boarded the ship, but although there was a gel dispenser there nobody insisted on its use. This routine continued during the cruise. The gel was there outside the restaurants but its use was not enforced at all. Our late arrival time proved to be a bonus as you are not allowed to board the ship until 1500 on the first Saturday, but can leave your luggage at the terminal. Your cabin is available from 2000 on Saturday so we went to our cabin first and found our Costa cards which serve as the door key and onboard account. It had taken 90 minutes from walking off the aircraft to getting onto the ship including shopping - Fantastic! Within an hour our luggage appeared so our cruise had really begun. The Costa Luminosa The Luminosa is a beautiful ship, elegantly decorated and well laid out. A lot of thought has gone into the design from the spacious cabins to the layout of the theatre and bars. There are lots of lifts/elevators so getting around is very fast. The use of hi-tech information and booking "totems" reduced the lines at the enquiry desks and made booking of the facilities very easy. Even the registering of your credit card was done using an ATM style machine. Note, only Visa and Mastercard debit cards are acceptable, not Maestro and Cirrus only. The machines are in 10 languages and so are all the announcements and entertainment! The ship is efficiently run and everything appeared to work except the air-conditioning. We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 for 3 people. This was very convenient for getting refreshment from the cafeteria on deck 9! Normally it's a bit of a squeeze, but the cabin was much longer and wider than normal so we had no problems. The balcony was fairly large but had a large overhang from the restaurant deck above, this did not affect lower decks. I was informed that the cabins with the smallest overhang and largest balconies were on deck 4. There was a mini-bar in the room and a hair dryer, but no iron. The beds were very large and comfortable. Large cases fitted easily under the beds. However, we did not sleep very well as the room was always hot and humid, so we complained about the air-conditioning. Someone came to fix it but it wasn't just our cabin, the whole ship seemed humid compared to our other cruises. Other faults we had were quickly dealt with. The sockets are 110v US type and 230v Continental. You cannot use 2 UK adaptors together as the sockets are too close, so bring a lead with a US plug for charging your electronics as they are multi-voltage. There is a second dual outlet in the bathroom which only works with the light on. The cabin service was excellent. The room was made up twice a day and ice was re-plenished at the same time. We had breakfast in the room most days at no extra charge, but the timings were a bit erratic and the drinks were often cold. There is a €2 charge for room service at other times. There is one main dining room, the Taurus with two sittings. The Taurus was a lovely place to eat, the serving stations were all separated from the tables, but some tables were very close to each other. We had asked for a table of 6-10 and were paired up with a very friendly family threesome, also from England with a teenage daughter. This infinitely improved our cruise experience as there were few opportunities to meet other English-speaking guests other than on a tour, accidental encounters or if you were lucky enough to be sat with them at the open seating breakfasts and lunches. The food and service in the Taurus was quite good. The service at dinner was very slick as there was a time constraint, but there was still time for coffee. The food was good rather than sensational. The worst dinner was at the Christmas Eve Gala. We had dry turkey with no cranberry sauce, no Christmas pudding and not a mince pie in sight. I think it was the Italian style that affected the menu! The ice cream was lovely compared to the fare at the cafeteria. The lunch service was not as hurried and was not recommended if you wanted to leave the ship for a day out. There were two Gala formal dinners and one Arabian Theme night. However, there were still a lot of men who think that formal is a clean pair of jeans! The Samara guests had their own restaurant, but I'm sure it was the same menu as the Taurus. There was a fine dining restaurant called the Luminosa Club which we did not use. The main cafeteria was the Andromeda on deck 9 which served food and drinks most of the day. You could get tea, coffee, water and pizza all the time. The water dispensers were handy for refilling your own bottles prior to a day out as the ship's water was fine. There were ice cream machines available at meal times, but the ice cream was horrible. It was water based rather than milk. The Andromeda included a Grill Bar for burgers, etc and several pasta stations. This reduced the lines as there were several serving stations. The only time it got crowded was when the tour buses returned as it was the only place to eat. The food was again good, but not memorable. There were several bars which also sold coffee and cake. The main entertainment bar was the Elettra on deck 2 and then the Piano Bar Antares on deck 3, which was always less crowded. There was also a noise insulated disco frequented by the younger set. There did not appear to be a proper band on board, so things never really hotted up, as the music mainly consisted of aged Duos with music machines! The main problem with all the bars was the smoke. One half of each bar allowed smoking which eventually dispersed everywhere - ugh! The main evening show was held twice nightly in the fabulous Phoenix Theatre. As there was a show for each sitting there were always enough seats, but after watching all the shows I can see why! Costa tries to be all things to all men, so the constant 10 language announcements meant there was no room for a compere or comedian in the shows. Even the Bingo was in 8 languages! The theatre itself is very hi-tech with laser lights and turntables, etc and had an excellent layout. The shows consisted of a talented 14 strong Russian Dance Troupe, who did a 45 minute show, but did not sing. The next show was all singing from an Italian female singer who cleared most of the Italians away by singing in English for the first 20 minutes! The following show was 45 minutes of acrobatics and juggling from a very athletic Chinese Troupe. The shows would have been much better with some variety as they were all one thing or another. The usual Crew talent show was a bit of a fix as most of the acts were from the entertainment staff who sang in the Bars! On the final Saturday the theme was Arabian Dancing and again we had 15 minutes of one man twirling around in a traditional LED Illuminated Costume! This was followed by a Belly Dancer who insisted on pulling children from the front row to accompany her on stage - had she been checked by "the Child Protection Agency?" Life on Board The first day started with a Ship's brief in English at 0930. As most people had arrived between 2300 and 0200 the night before, it was a bit early and the information was repeated on the TV and also in the Daily "Today" ship's paper. The English host had a daily hour for any problems, but did not organise any "meet and greet" sessions for the 500 English speakers. If you asked any questions at her briefs you were told to see her afterwards and she would not discuss any problems even if they applied to the majority! The "Today" paper was delivered every evening and contained the relevant information for the following day. It was an essential read, especially when the clocks changed! The TV had the usual programs of excursions and the cruise events to date. The only English channel was BBC World and sometimes there was a free film in English, but as there was no TV schedule it was a bit hit and miss! You could pay €9 to see more recent films in English. As the ship's currency was the Euro, this made everything expensive for £ and $ guests. The cocktail of the day was €5, plus the 15% service for drinks. This was the bargain of the day, so we had a few of those during the week. There were drinks packages at extra cost, but the arrangements and rules varied, so Costa needs to be contacted directly to get the best deal for you as the internet wasn't very clear on what was available. The extra features of the Luminosa were the Golf and Racing car simulators. The car was €20-25 for 5-7 minutes and was quite exciting if you could drive well, as the car was very easy to crash. A lot of people spent most of their time impaled in a straw bale. A reset "on track" button would have been handy for novices. The golf looked good, but at over €100 for a round it should be. The 4D cinema at €8 for a 12 minute Disney style ride was good fun. Playstations were also available for rent and there was a Video Arcade. The big pool had a retractable roof and was mainly frequented by children. As the ship was docked during the day except the first and last days, there were plenty of sun-loungers available in quieter parts of the ship. There was also an adult pool at the aft end of deck 9. As the ship was in port most days there was not a lot happening on board during the day. There was an excellent gym and a spa which offered a wide range of treatments. There was a dance lesson most days around late afternoon which was well attended and good fun. I wish we'd attended that second Tango lesson! There was also a large Children's club and Teen club, the former being the more popular. The smaller children appeared very happy and were taught to perform a routine for the Arabian Night. The Arabian Night consisted of Folk dancing on the stage in the large pool area that also had a huge TV screen which showed all the action on stage plus the ship's TV channel during the day. The evening also had belly dancing by the Dance Troupe and a Conga dance of all those who had dressed in costume. It was an enjoyable evening that was followed by a Midnight Buffet around the pool. The Casino was quite popular. There were lessons for beginners for the table games and plenty of one arm bandits for those keen on losing their money. The casino was only open when at sea. Deck 3 had a small mall of shops selling the usual cruise memorabilia and jewellery. There were the usual watch and gold offers during the week. The duty free did not compare at all with the airport. The photo shop displayed most of the ad hoc pictures taken on arrival and in the dining room, but some pictures were left in your room with an order form. If you did not want to order they were collected the next day. There were plenty of opportunities for Formal photos on Gala nights. A DVD was available at the end of the cruise for €40 which highlighted your cruise. Christmas on Board The cruise was from 19th December to the 26th, so Christmas featured everywhere on board with illuminated trees and nativity sets on show throughout the ship. Door decorations were placed on every cabin door and the crew wore Santa hats. Christmas music was continuously played over the PA, but it wasn't intrusive. There was a Mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the Theatre. There was also a Christmas theme to some of the entertainment during the week. However, for British guests the lack of our usual Christmas fare and cranberry sauce was a bit of a downer. Christmas was also actively displayed ashore in the local Malls! Ports of Call and Tours At all the ports of call the ship advised that you could not walk out of the port. Most ports were out of town except Muscat. A free bus was provided to get you to the port gates. At every port except Muscat there is absolutely nothing to see within walking distance of the gates! Taxis are available from the gates but may not be metered, so you could get scammed! The souk and cafes are walkable from the gate only at Muscat. At Fujairah and Abu Dhabi there were shuttle buses to the shopping mall for €6. This was well worth the trip at Abu Dhabi as it was on the opposite side of the city from the port along the beautiful tree-lined Corniche. As there was not a lot to see in Fujairah it was an excuse to leave the ship and stock up at "no haggle" prices at Lulu's which is the UAE equivalent of Wal-Mart. At Dubai the shuttle bus to the Dubai Mall was free and again was well worth the trip if you didn't have anything else planned. The Mall is right by the Burj Tower, the world's tallest building by miles! Taxis were available in and out of Dubai right by the ship. There is a port charge of Dhr20-25 included in the fare. Taxis could only bring you back to the ship at other ports due to security. There was a hop on hop off bus tour available at the ship in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Full details of these tours including the maps are available on Google. As usual you could view the expensive Costa tours and book them online before you go. As previously described the tours were either of the city highlights or safaris into the desert with various lengths of transit time. Hotel tours included overpriced tea or lunch stops at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi or the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. The only alternatives were taxis, hop on/off buses or finding a reputable local tour guide. Just wandering off on your own is not recommended. The ship provides you with a useless map at each port but an up to date guide book is essential as everything is changing very quickly. The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi in my 2007 book had moved 10 miles! We ended up using the Hop on/off tours in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai after being quoted a ridiculous taxi fare at the gate at Abu Dhabi. The tour has only been running since December in AD. The bus picked you up at the ship then dropped you at the port gate in Abu Dhabi where another bus met you. The tour was very informative and had a 20 minute frequency if you got off. We bought a 2 city ticket which was discounted; it also included a Marina Mall Tower visit in Abu Dhabi and a Dhow cruise in Dubai. At Dubai the bus took you into town to pick up the Red City Tour. After a few minutes you arrived at the Wafi Mall, which is worth a visit. From there you could change to the Blue Beach Tour which goes out to the Atlantis on the Palm and back via the Emirates and Dubai Malls. Hint - if you are on the Beach tour and it's getting late, you can get off at the Dubai Mall and go downstairs to the shuttle bus area and get the free shuttle back to the ship which runs until 2100. This saves going back into town and changing buses twice to catch the last bus back to the ship which leaves at 1845! If you miss it the taxi fare to the ship is only about £5/$8. Compared to Europe there is not much culture to see apart from the Mosques and Palaces. The museums contain little more than weaponry and costumes until the Guggenheim opens in Abu Dhabi. The most amazing things to see are on a Las Vegas theme, i.e. Glitzy hotels and shopping malls, especially in Dubai. The Wafi Mall had an Egyptian theme and the Dubai Mall had a spectacular aquarium and waterfall. We booked the Mystical Muscat Tour as this should have included a visit to the Grand Mosque and Palace. In the end we just had a fleeting glimpse of the Mosque from 500 yards and a quick drive by of the Palace Entrance so you couldn't even get a photo! This was caused by the Sultan visiting the Mosque so everything shut down including the traffic. There were no real alternative sites to see apart from a distant view of the luxury Al Bustan Hotel. After the small Museum the final shopping trip to the souk was across the road from the ship! Even going with the Costa tour has its drawbacks. We are still negotiating a refund! Our tour above highlights the main problems of tourism in its infancy in this area. The local dignitaries can bring havoc to a city at short notice by closing everything down almost on a whim. Our mosque visit in Abu Dhabi was also denied by arriving during an unscheduled closure, but at least there was no traffic jam. We did not take part in any other Costa tours as we found the ability to see what we wanted much easier with the Hop on/off bus. This had the advantage of a direct connection to the ship and an excellent commentary in 8 languages on a known itinerary. However, Spanish was not available. We did not get off the ship in Bahrain as there was nothing there to get too excited about unless you want to visit the old Grand Prix track. Disembarkation You can leave the ship anytime from when it docks on the Friday until the early hours of Sunday morning and still use all the facilities. You can use your cabin until 1630 on the last Saturday. There are facilities to keep your hand luggage safe while your main bags are off-loaded depending on your departure time. We had a brief in English on Friday morning about the arrangements as well as comprehensive notes in the "Today." Final accounts were delivered to cabins early Saturday morning and if there were no problems they were automatically settled on your card. Queries had to be sorted before collecting passports from 0400 to 0930 on the Saturday in the Piano Bar. If you had lost your passport receipts your entire group had to collect in person, otherwise only one had to go. It was amazing that the line was only a couple of minutes long as everything was arranged efficiently. Most queries were about the compulsory service charge. As it was mentioned in the booking conditions I can't see why people have to complain about it at the end of their trip. It was mainly passengers who had eaten only in the cafeteria objecting to tipping a waiter they never saw in the Taurus. There were still staff in the cafeteria, folks. On the Wednesday you were asked what time you would be leaving the ship so you got the correct colour coded labels. Luggage had to be left outside your cabin with the coded labels at least 8 hours before you departed the ship. If you were leaving the ship and returning on the last Saturday you could leave your hand luggage under supervision in the Antares Disco on deck 2 until 2300. Anything purchased on board on the last day was payable in Euros or US dollars. For those travelling with Costa there were display boards around the bars and theatre with your flight and departure times from the ship shown complete with any flight delays. On finally leaving the ship you collected your luggage in the terminal and went through security and customs to your bus or taxi. There were no big lines and plenty of taxis. Twenty minutes after leaving the ship we were at the airport ready for the 8 hour flight back to London and not the 12 hour trip via Frankfurt Costa wanted us to use! Summary We all had a lovely cruise on the Costa Luminosa it's a fine ship efficiently run. We met new friends and saw some amazing sites, though not all complete, especially in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We were disappointed not to have seen inside a Grand Mosque due to the unforeseen closures. As Costa tries to appeal to all nationalities this does restrict the entertainment program. For English speaking guests there will soon be US cruise ships on this itinerary which should have greater appeal. Nevertheless, Costa had a competitively priced cruise especially if you had children. This advantage was reduced on board by the Euro prices. This itinerary will be great in 5 years when the area is completed and the building work stops completely instead of temporarily. Would we cruise Costa again? It depends on the itinerary and competition! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
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