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6 Costa Magica Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean

We had a generally nice cruise (2 adults, 2 children). The crew was very polite, the ship very clean and well decorated, the program of free entertainment very rich. However, it was relatively expensive everything it was not included in ... Read More
We had a generally nice cruise (2 adults, 2 children). The crew was very polite, the ship very clean and well decorated, the program of free entertainment very rich. However, it was relatively expensive everything it was not included in the cruise package (excursions [well organized] etc). Our cabin was in the size I imagined, well climatized and served. No problem with the food; well cooked and satisfactory variety. You can also fill small bottles with water on the 9th deck. No smoking rules were strictly kept throughout the cruise. You have to know english or italian to communicate easily with most people (the tourists are mainly italians). In reception some speak more languages (french, german etc). The pools are rather small. It's not a good idea to take a bath in them with many others aroynd you. The free time we had in some ports (Venice, Corfu) was less we expected. I would travel again with Costa. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
As we got a good deal we decided to try Costa cruises. We have previously done NCL, RCCL, HAL, Celebrity, Carnival and MSC and after MSC we actually decided not to go fo a Italian cruise again. The MSC wold charge you for anytthing and not ... Read More
As we got a good deal we decided to try Costa cruises. We have previously done NCL, RCCL, HAL, Celebrity, Carnival and MSC and after MSC we actually decided not to go fo a Italian cruise again. The MSC wold charge you for anytthing and not much was included compared to the american ships - but money talks and we had the AI drink package included in our offer, which turned out to be excellent value. In order to help to understand the difference between the American shps and Costa I will try to make comparisons during the review. Enbarkation: Arriving at the port we delivered our luggage after having been in a line. At this point you get a boarding number, that should be used n the terminal later. The luggage delivery station was approximately 400 meters from the terminal, so you had to walk from the luggage delivery station to the terminal. At US ships you arrive at the ship and stewards are ready to take your luggage immediately at arrival - no line and not necessary to walk to the terminal. Arriving at the terminal you will wait until your assigned boarding number is called. Then you are put in a new line to wait for document checking. You don't deliver your credit card details here nor is your photo taken for your key card at this point (New lines for you is coming up). After the document checking a new long line is waiting for you for security check. Then you are on your way to board the shp, but has to pass to other lines: 1 for another document check and another line to get your photo taken. Finally on board you have 48 hours to provide your credita card details on the machines onboard. On US ships all of the previous is done at check-in and decrease the embarkation time significant. IT took us 2-3 hours from delivering the luggae to board the ship - area for improvement. The ship: The ship itself is beatiful and very well maintained. The decor is quite nice and italian which we did like, though it was difficult to navigate between the parts of the ships, as you could only pass from one end to the other on deck 5 -on deck 3 and 4 you have to go to deck 5 if you had to move from one end to another. Cabin: We had balcony cabin 9281, which had an excellent location, as it was near the elevators, lido, buffet and bar. There was no noise from the public areas. The cabin itself was slight wider than on the US ships, so you felt that the cabin was larger than on US ships. It was in good condition and had quit hard beds (Which I liked. Restaurant & food: Well this is where the big difference between Costa and US ships really is big. If you want decent food you HAVE to eat in the main restaurants at your specific seating, as the alternative buffet was nearly none exiting. We tried to the buffet one evening and it was a huge mistake: They only have slad and poor poor quality pizza (2 flavours). The pizzas was the worst we have had ever - there was barely no toppings on these, so I would compare those to a flat bread with a bit of cheese and oil on the top - very poor. On US ships you have a broad variaty of dishes during the evening buffet which are very tasty. While at the buffet, there is the usual stuff for breakfast including an omelet station. The variaty is OK, but not as much as on US ships. For lunch it was OK, though it was limited variaty. On US ships you can have Limonade, fruit punch, ice tea or water throughout the day - on Costa you are offered water only, so you had to get other drinks from the bar. There are only very limited personnel to deliver the drinks for you so you will have to line up at the bars to get your drinks. You can also choose to have dinner in the speciality restaurant but did not try that (25 cover charge). The quality of the food in the main restaurant was so so. Sometimes quite delicious - at other times no taste at all. My wife ordered steak on evening and got a small flat piece of dry meat and approximately 30 french fries - that was all. Portions are small and the variaty are again limited compared to US ships. The US ships will beat Costa by far on the food choices, quantity and quality - so don't go Costa if food is a priority for you. Pools: If you don't have kids - forget the pools - they are really overcrowded with kids so it is impossible to have a swim or even to find a spare spot where you can dip. Fellow pasangers: Mainly italians, where you can expect that they smoke more than average, though smoking was not an issue for us - nor inside or outside. You are allowed to smoke in one side of the ship, but the italians smoke all over the ship. On US ships you have very limited smoking and yoiur fellow passangers are US, which we prefer instead of the quite selfish and noisy italians. Drinks: Hey this is great if you are on the AI package. You can order any drinks from the barmenu - except those with a star. The list of drinks available on AI is large and they deliver great drinks including Pina Colada, Daquiries etc. You can also have specialty coffee on the AI package, but not freshly squizzed juice. Other points - Don't expect all the "extra" service you get on the US ships. - The time you are in port is very limited (5 hours or so) compared to the US ships where you will have the most of a day in port. Entertainment: We did see a show or 2 and liked what we saw. We actually prefer the shows on the italian ships compared to the shows on US ships, as the singers and dancers perform very well. At the US ships it seems like the singers try their best to be the new star like Whitney Houston, Tom Jones etc and it becomes often ofthe a pain to listen too. We prefer if the US singers would relax a bit more and just be themselves. Would we go Costa again? - not sure even if we felt that it was a better deal than going with MSC. We prefer US ships as you get better overall deals when you include service, quality, quantity and fellow passengers   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
SMOKE OR DIE, OR BOTH. Great Cruise if you like second hand smoke everywhere you go. We booked a 7 night cruise on Costa Cruises from Venice to Greece particularly to visit the sites of Olympia and Athens, for our daughter who had studied ... Read More
SMOKE OR DIE, OR BOTH. Great Cruise if you like second hand smoke everywhere you go. We booked a 7 night cruise on Costa Cruises from Venice to Greece particularly to visit the sites of Olympia and Athens, for our daughter who had studied the Greek legends. She is 4.75. This was accomplished. Before offering my negative comments, I do want to say that the staff on the boat was wonderful. Rarely have I seen so many people working so hard to make the cruise a success, and for so little in wages. It is clear the the cruise line pays extremely low wages because almost all the staff was from disadvantaged countries in Central America, South America, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines. These hard workers not only provided service, they did it in 4-6 different languages! Italian, English, Spanish, French, were basic, plus some Portuguese and Russian, and other languages. Unlike some other reviewers, we did not have any language problems with the other passengers or any staff. However, Costa Cruises is not friendly to NON-smokers and it was like riding in a smoke filled room for 7 days and nights. I felt like our boat was trailing a smoke cloud down the Adriatic Sea. Costa allows smoking in all the bars and lounges, including Guest reception. This interior smoke permeates the entire boat, and can be smelt in the cabin and even in other areas and on decks that do not have smoking. By the pool, there are supposed to be both smoking and non-smoking areas. I could never find any non-smoking area, there was smoke everywhere. It was so bad that on the last morning when there was smoke inside the non-smoking restaurant, no smoke alarm went off, and most people ignored it, even though it was clear that the smoke was not from cigarettes. I became ill from the smoke with a sinus infection, beginning day 2, as did my wife and daughter. Although Costa purports to offer a free medical checkup if you develop signs of influenza (and I had at least 4 symptoms) we could not obtain one. This was not my previous cruise experience and in my opinion, it is completely inappropriate to put a persons unhealthy recreational habit in higher priority to the good health of another. We did not book a cruise to be sneezing, coughing and uncomfortable for 7 days just so others could puff away like a teepee of American Indians. It is also my opinion that Costa needs to come into the 21st Century. Smoking is now recognized as a serious health hazard to non-smokers, and smoking is banned in offices, restaurants and modes of transport (planes and trains) in respect to the health of others. Smoking bans on planes also are a recognition that smoking constitutes a FIRE HAZARD, something that is really a problem on a cruise ship. I see a lot of reviews making negative comments about the food, deservedly so. First, the tap water is not drinkable in the cabin, rather important because you must pay 7.50 E for the bottle of water (I thought it was complementary until I read the fine print, but I could replace it once I got the drink package.) THEREFORE, YOU MUST GET THE DRINK PACKAGE for 19.50 E per person per day, everyone in the reservation must get it. Lunch buffet was pretty ordinary unless you were able to find a carving station, but they moved them from day to day and you had to search by the smoke filled central pool area to find them. Any pasta station had a long line. The breakfast buffet was good but it took me several days to realize that they were offering an omelette station. No ketchup/chili sauce/salsa/condiments with breakfast. The dinners were great if you had just been released from prison in Bulgaria. We shared a table with another couple and I think everyone sent back at least one plate during the cruise. There were 7 courses per meal, Appetizer, Soup, Pasta, Main plate, Salad, Cheese and dessert. The portions enabled you to order all 7 courses and not be stuffed. In all fairness, though most of the choices were pretty bland, I enjoyed the Osso Bucco and the Veal Shanks on separate nights, just the portion was so small, 4 bites. We also had service issues the first night, table not set up correctly, missing plates, glasses, cutlery that was not provided during the meal; and one of our group got 3 courses served so late that we had all finished our course before his came. When I reported this to management, I was told that this happens first night of a cruise, but this does not make any sense, because the staff was not there for their first night. I must say that the problems were resolved immediately, and our serve staff was very attentive after that. We won't be booking on COSTA again, until it changes its policies towards smoking and bans smoking from the interior of the ship and in any eating area, including around the pool. I want to commend our Steward, Juan Alvarado, our waiters Jose and Jorge at table 16 in the restaurant. and our photographer, Michael who each provided wonderful service. Juan Alvarado was an absolute pleasure and greeted us with warmth and a smile every day. He made us fell like were there for a family visit. The boat- claims to have 5500 works of art. Well, if you count the nudes on the wallpaper in the corridors, maybe. Some of these "works of art" are large pixeled photo reproductions of actual art. There are some very nice sculptures by the pools, if you can see them through the smoke. (jk :)) We did see the tea set but no coins. The marionettes were nice. But we mostly saw them the first day when exploring because these were in bars and lounges where smoking was mandatory and we could not stand to go into them after day 2. I am still coughing as I write this. The boat was a comfortable cruise. But we missed Santorini because "there was no comfortable anchorage due to winds and waves, not good for the transfers". So the chart of our cruise showed a hard right turn after we were 5 hours out of Athens. Then we cruised to Corfu at 9 knots, after having gone SSE at 17-19 knots. The smoke cloud we were trailing caught up to us. In all fairness, we did have some rolling during the cruise between Athens and Corfu, and at a higher rate of speed, even the 100,000 tons could have been unsteady. One bad aspect of sharing the cruise with 3450 smokers and 50 non smokers (jk, again) was that we created our own crowds everywhere we went. When we arrived at Katakolon for Olympia, there were 25 buses lined up for the Costa Cruise excursions. We took Katakolon Express and were the first bus out and to Olympia 20 minutes earlier than the other ones. By the time we left, we could have walked back to the harbor on the tops of the buses. BTW- HIGHLY RECOMMEND KATAKOLON EXPRESS/PIRAEUS EXPRESS for their Olympia/Athens tours. I thought the furnishings were very tasteful and comfortable, lounges, restaurants and theatres. Our cabin had 2 drop down twin beds to sleep 4. But we all piled into the 2 twins pushed together. The Internet package was $$$$$$$, unbelievable in this day. Equal to 3 months of service at home, at least. Squok Club for kids was conducted in Italian, but daughter is flexible and made friends in all languages. She produced coloring and a mask. They had a stage production the 5th day that they all participated in, very nice with lots of costumes. They did show movies, in Italian, which included Tangled and Wreck it Ralph, both of which we knew. Since daughter is a movie-a-holic, she was happy. Daughter was sold on going to Squok Club from day one and never said she did not want to go. We explored Corfu without her, and while I was sorry she missed the Mon Repos museum and Mouse Island (which is a little itty bitty teeny weeny island at the end of the peninsula near the airfield on which there lives a little itty bitty teeny weeny itsy bitsy mouse) I am sure she would have complained about the walking, she was happy at Squok Club. I used the fitness club a couple of times, particularly to avail myself of the steam room to try to clear up my sinuses. Good variety of machines, busiest from 9-11, very quiet before and after. Steam room was great. There was an internal Jacuzzi there, co-ed, but mostly a geriatric hot tub party. I did not see anyone under 55 use it. Overall: so so, even through the smoke. Poor because of it.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I normally cruise with a friend on an 'adult orientated' ship, however my niece turned 18 and I accompanied my sister in law on this cruise as her birthday gift. I had read reviews on Costa and was not looking forward to this ... Read More
I normally cruise with a friend on an 'adult orientated' ship, however my niece turned 18 and I accompanied my sister in law on this cruise as her birthday gift. I had read reviews on Costa and was not looking forward to this trip that much. However, after the initial shock to the senses, noise, smoking areas, I settled down and ended up really having fun. Fun is what Costa is all about, and they certainly go all out to make every day as good an experience as you can have. Now, smoking.....I am almost militant about non smoking, and I was prepared for the fact that smoking is allowed throughout the ship, but unlike the previous reviewer I did not find the whole ship to be 'filled with smoke'. It is allowed on one side of the ship, both inside and out, and throughout the Casino. I found that people did stick to this most of the time, and never found it an issue to find somewhere smoke-free. The idea that it would give you sinus problems is frankly ridiculous, and if you have problems with your sinuses, perhaps it is better to travel on another line. In Europe the anti-smoking lobby is far smaller than in the UK, or USA, and Costa would go broke if they banned smoking altogether. Surely this is what the member reviews are for, and if you take the trouble to write one, surely you must have read some! That's all about that. The ship is decorated in a style which is not to my taste, full of bright colours and I found the cafeteria restaurant to be quite dark away from the windows, not helped by the paint used. The food at breakfast was varied, and although the food was not of a luxury standard, it was well cooked and fresh. The lunchtime buffets, were dotted around the decks, and each day was a different nationality buffet, Spanish, German, Italian, and the seafood was really lovely, there was calamari, mussels and large prawns on more than one occasion. In fact, we almost enjoyed the lunches above dinner. Dinner service was not of the standard of Celebrity, but we had a waiter and a bus boy who were pleasant, and helpful, and remembered our drinks order. We personally could never have eaten the 7 courses, and normally a starter, main and possibly an ice cream was enough. My niece generally had the pasta starter as a main, and there was no problem with this, in fact they were always accommodating, even though they were run off their feet. Several evenings they had a 'party' type night, and the poor waiters had to either stand with torches, and our waitress even took part in some dancing on the balcony! Although my niece is 18, she is slightly special needs, and as we took the drinks deal, they also allowed her to just have the children's one, saving my sis in law about 70.00. I looked all over for a comparison to see if the drink deal was good value and couldn't find one, so I'm giving some examples here. Cocktails are 6.95, spirits 5.30, cappuccino 2.50, soft drinks (glass) 2.95, beer 4.90. All these are in euros, and plus 15% service. It doesn't take much adding up to see that 19.50 euros per day including the 15%, is an amazing deal. We're not big drinkers, but with a couple of coffees, and 3 or 4 drinks per day, we saved hugely! The shows were amazing, and not all in Italian at all, as good as West End, and although I don't usually attend on other lines, I found myself looking forward to them! In all, the crew and staff were really friendly, the officers much in view, and everyone went to so much trouble for you to have a good time. In the end, you get what you pay for, and you need to check on smoking, as they say, you pay your money and you take your choice. If you want value for money, great service, and lots of fun...give them a try! Go Costa! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
The good (and there were lots of good areas) are as follows, beautiful ship exceptionally clean in all areas, lovely inside cabin 8239 on deck 8,spacious not claustrophobic excellent staff! The catering/bar staff were hard working ... Read More
The good (and there were lots of good areas) are as follows, beautiful ship exceptionally clean in all areas, lovely inside cabin 8239 on deck 8,spacious not claustrophobic excellent staff! The catering/bar staff were hard working courteous and always smiling and a pleasure to chat to ! Lots of choice for breakfast and lunch in the buffet restaurant but if you wanted to eat there in the evening only Pizza/Salad is available it would appear.This didn't bother us as we like to dress up and ate in the restaurant every evening.If you like to have large portions in the restaurant then go for the 7 courses that are available, we didn't feel any more than 4-5 was needed ourselves but that's just our opinion ! The drinks package was amazing providing most premium brands of beers spirits wine and cocktails, also fruit juices large bottled waters and speciality coffees but not coffee with alcohol content. Lots of bars all very different from each other all with music/singing ! The ports of call were amazing ! Value for money exceptional !! The not so good- EMBARKATION - this has got to be the longest time we have ever had to wait to get on board over 3 hrs from getting to Port to getting on board! SAFETY DRILL - long winded, drawn out, little information regarding what was going on staff keeping watch over us constantly counting rows of people and the public address in so many languages we lost count, muster station with lots of people all wearing life jackets for so long in the heat that thought we would all pass out before we really new what was going on. Think these areas could be worked on !! ENTERTAINMENT - not bad on occasions however on others quite boring and amateurish in fact the show on the last night which was done by many on board crew members was by far the most entertaining and memorable. Room for improvement - The food, not the worst we have ever eaten but certainly not as good as other cruise lines we have been with. The words " could do better " spring to mind. AREAS TO WATCH OUT FOR- mandatory daily charge which CANNOT be opted out of, INTERNET please please keep a watch on this !! we had very poor coverage most days with little or no signal, my partner needed access on a daily basis to keep in touch with his business at home, he opted to buy a Internet package which should not have cost him more than around $30 however when our final bill was made up he realised something very wrong as he had been billed completely different from what he had requested and had a bill for over $170 !! as it was only presented to our cabin in the early hours of the morning he went straight to customer services upon waking to be told that nothing could be done by them as the bill was already made up and that he would have to correspond with Costa upon return to UK, this did spoil things for us and we are currently in discussion with Costa over this. A WORD OF WARNING - CHECK YOUR BILL WITH RECEPTION BEFORE THEY PRINT IT OUT JUST IN CASE ANYTHING IS AMISS AS YOU HAVE TO PAY REGARDLESS ONCE IT HAS BEEN PRINTED OUT !! We loved this itinerary of Ports visited on this cruise however we were disappointed to find that Santorini and Dubrovnik were only for a few hours and would have preferred longer here and due to ship not docking at quayside and a tender system for transfer we actually only had around 2 hours ashore by time our numbers were called. Overall opinion of Costa Magica- would we use this line again? a very easy answer Yes we would !! Was it good value ? - It was exceptional value ! - Would we recommend to others ? - we certainly will be !! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
The selection of this cruise was 1. By season, as we can only close our own place certain times of the year, 2. by itinerary, 3. By home port, from Bavaria to Savona it is a 1 day drive, and 4. yes the price did play its part when deciding ... Read More
The selection of this cruise was 1. By season, as we can only close our own place certain times of the year, 2. by itinerary, 3. By home port, from Bavaria to Savona it is a 1 day drive, and 4. yes the price did play its part when deciding between candidates. My parents (DH's parents in law) paid for the cruise as a gift this was not foreseen but a gift very much appreciated. As a result they booked through the Costa Antwerp (Benelux) callcentre as it serves Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands where they live. Epic fail: the callcentre has trouble communicating in Dutch, they are essentially francophone... and since then all communications came in French (in which we are very very rusty) or in Italian (which to us is all but incomprehensible). Epic fail #2: the website loses all your details once you put them in. And we tried several times. In the end we got lucky once, but the parents did not, so had to fill in the papers again by hand in Savona. Epic Fail #3: when the cabin assignments came (we had booked 2 identical standard insides, as we do not tend to spend much time in there anyway), they were 8239 (deck 8, starboard almost all the way forward) and 1414, (deck 1, port side, almost all the way aft) They could not have put us further apart if they tried; and they were unwilling to change us to 2 cabins remotely together or even near the same elevator shaft. I mean we are all adults and adjacent cabins are not needed, but being the entire length, the width, AND the height of the ship apart is surely over the top? In the end we were instructed to ask at Guest services onboard. Upon arrival at the port, we were directed the wrong way down a 1-way lane, almost causing a head-on collision with a shuttle bus, and then our pre booked valet parking was nowhere to be found. After losing our temper with a parking attendant, we were directed to the right place. In the terminal, we got priority boarding to be able to ask about a cabin change. Very nice. On board, we got a very blunt NO. The ship was allegedly fully booked. We now know that there are two standard answers of guest services on board - sometimes even before you finish your sentence. The whole attitude is "Oh why don't you just go away". After unpacking we proceeded to have a look around Costa Magica and it is a very nice ship, if sometimes a bit OTT. Then to the muster drill which was very thorough, and very polite but firm with those who thought they should be exempt. When we met the parents, they told us that their cabin steward did not understand why we could not be together since his whole corridor was basically empty. Father and daughter went back to guest services, where we said that we were furious about being lied to, the ship was far from full. One employee said rudely to the other in Italian: "they booked a cheap inside, I am surely not going to do anything about this, and if I start moving them everybody will want to move". I understand some basic Italian and translated in English to my father. My father then even volunteered to pay for an upgrade, but they insisted this was not possible either. Instead of being ashamed that we had understood what they said, we were still being treated as second rate citizens. The whole attitude for the duration of the cruise at the guest relations desk was "I don't know, I don't care and why don't you just go away".The service in the restaurant and by the cabin attendant was exemplary, really friendly and correct. The cabin was spotlessly clean and everything was in working order. In my parents' cabin there was a TL-light which started flashing in the bathroom during the cruise, this was immediately fixed and they even received a phone call later in the day to check if everything was ok now. The food in the restaurant was fabulous. The portions are very small, but this allows you to sample all the 7 courses. Note: the buffet is closed in the evening during the meal times in the main dining rooms, you can get pizza until 6 pm and after 9.30 pm, but that is it. If you are a buffet diner, do not go on Costa. We found all the staff to speak english, italian and at least 1 other language. Shows: a bit loud (the volume level), but not badly produced and taking into consideration that when there was spoken content they tried to do text in 5 languages, still 'all right'. That said, the shows just were not as entertaining as on other cruises, and were at just under 45 minutes a bit short. They were also squeezed in between early and late dinner seatings making people rush in from dessert of their early seating, or rush out early not to keep their tablemates waiting for the late seating. If we do not sail Costa again it will be because of the reservation/ guest service desk experience. The operational side excepting the front desk of the ship runs very well, but other lines in our opinion can match that experience without the drawbacks. If you are not dealing with the Antwerp callcentre, your experience with the reservation department might differ from ours. Whether the front desk of Magica is representative of the line as a whole? We would guess so, as it was most of the team reacting as they did, but who knows, if we do take another Costa cruise they might show us different. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Costa Magica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.2
Enrichment 1.0 2.7
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.2
Rates 3.0 3.9

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