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7 Costa Magica Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Having cruised with MSC, Norwegian, Carnival and Royal Caribbean before plus one time with Costa, I can hardly be categorized as loyal to any particular cruise line. To me, any cruise is a good cruise and I always try to find the perfect ... Read More
Having cruised with MSC, Norwegian, Carnival and Royal Caribbean before plus one time with Costa, I can hardly be categorized as loyal to any particular cruise line. To me, any cruise is a good cruise and I always try to find the perfect match of itinerary and value for money. This Costa cruise included a number of interesting ports such as Tangier and Casablanca where we participated in excellent excursions offered by the ship. In Marseille, we walked about 900 metres and then took a local bus (no 38) to the city centre ( at 3.60 Euro for a day pass) - much cheaper than the shuttle bus offered by the ship. We then took another bus up to see the church Notre Dame de la garde from which there is a fabulous view of the old harbour. Furthermore, iif you do not mind walking, you can easily experience both !Lisbon and Cadiz on your own on foot. In recent years, Costa has limted the places where onboard smoking is permitted, which suits me fine. However, unless my memory fails me, they have also cut back on their buffet breakfast options, leaving out hot dishes such as scrambled egg and bacon. Consequently, you have to go to the restaurant in the morning if you want to have an international brakfast. However, if you choose to do so, you can both serve yourself from the buffet in the restaurant or order from a comprehensive menu of different types of breakfast items such as Belgian waffles, American pancakes and various omelettes. If you are back late onboard after having been ashore and are hungry, you will often have to stand in line for a long time at " The Grill" which on many days is the only place to get hot lunch options in the middle of the afternoon. On a more positive note, the various types of beef served in the main dining room in the evenings were all very delicious, and the menu never failed to offer something to my taste. I would, however, have welcomed "icecream" on the list of " always available" items. If you are a night owl you may be rather disappointed to find that the bars close rather early, and even the disco - which mostly semed tobe full of very young teens - stop serving the guests at 3 am. As on other cruises, many guests were up early hoarding sunbeds, but as Costa had limited the space between the sunbeds to sqeeze in as many beds as possible, I never had any problem finding a sunbed. Furthermore, unlike on MSC, no decks were reserved for frequent cruisers with special membership which again increased the possibility for finding a vacant sunbed. Costa is known as the budget cruise liner, but you should be aware that their service charges are as high as € 10 a day. Also, most cocktails cost € 7.45 (plus 15% service charge) which may make you consider opting for the Piu Guso beverage package ( € 29 a day). You can also get a beverage package of 40 softdrinks/ non-alcoholic cocktails for € 110. As on MSC, water is not offered for free in the restaurant, and coffee and tea is only available for breakfast and the afternoon snack. Furthermore, juice is only available in the morning. The fitness centre was larger than what we have experienced on most other ships, but unfortunately some of the machines did not work. We did not go to see more than a few of the shows in the theatre but instead spent several hours listening to a fantastic duo called "Gisele & Daniel" who performed each evening in the atrium on deck 3. Costa has really hit jackpot by signing on this charming and talented Brazilian couple who outperformed any duo we have ever listened to on our previous cruises. Weighing the pros against the cons, I think we got good value for money by choosing this Costa cruise. However, Costa is far from ever becoming our favourite cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We are experienced cruisers - this was our 35th or so cruise. We have sailed on RCL, NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival and Costa through the years. We chose this ship due to the departure date and exotic itinerary - figured how bad ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers - this was our 35th or so cruise. We have sailed on RCL, NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival and Costa through the years. We chose this ship due to the departure date and exotic itinerary - figured how bad could an Italian cruise be and it could be fun and lively. Well we were very wrong. This was the WORST cruise we have ever taken and our sentiments were echoed by our Norweigen and British tablemates who had cruised numerous times in the past as well. I will list Pros and Cons. PRO - Embarkation from Rome (Civitavecchia) - Exotic Itinerary (5 of the ports we had never visited including 2 cities in Morocco) - Large ship with attractive public rooms - Cabin - interior on 8th deck (only available at time of booking) was kept clean with a fridge and had enough space for both of us - Entertainment - Flamenco dancers, Cruise ship singers and dancers did a good job; White Night deck party was festive with DJ, dancers, confetti; lounge bands were lively, piano bar was busy nightly; casino was fairly busy; the ship had lots of music in various lounges in the evening and The Voice gameshow with 7 contestants which was entertaining. CONS - Embarkation fiasco - no idea we could not be dropped off w/rental car to embarkation entrance...no info provided...husband left son and I on port access road with big pieces of luggage - no bus or cab would stop to pick us up...port police intervened and forced a shuttle bus to stop and let us load our luggage under the bus (seems we should have loaded our luggage on shuttle bus in town of Civitavecchia - we had no info on this procedure. - Only approx 20 Americans on board ship of approx 2800 passengers - 70% Italian extended families; 25% mostly French & German; 5% Brits, Americans, Spanish & other - Msgs repeated in 5 languages all day long - Food was HORRIBLE!! WORST of any cruise we ever have ever taken! Buffets very limited, no real selections, same cold cuts, cheeses, breads and salads daily, same buffet choices both sides...grill outside on decks was normal fare; eggs at breakfast were only possible at the formal breakfast and were set types of eggs pre-made; formal dinner was barely edible - the menu choices were bizarre fare and not tasty - minute steaks, thinly sliced chicken breasts with no sauce, pastas with odd sauces, appetizers no one enjoyed - night after night we all felt the same....what type of menu is this - this food is unsatisfactory - we complained to guest services - we were told the menu was supposed to have been changed; dining onboard was such a huge disappointment - we dreaded our days at sea! We later found out by a fellow American traveler that all the food onboard was PREVIOUSLY FROZEN!!! She said look at the snowflakes next to every item on the dinner menu - the key says previously frozen. We realized thats why the food was soooo bad!! There was no fresh produce and no dishes being cooked onboard!!! Never heard of this policy on a cruise ship. There were NO speciality restaurants either - I guess not if they are not cooking on board the ship! - No late night buffets or special touches like a chocolate fountain or specialty food events. - Air Conditioning barely worked in our cabin - technician came twice said it was a bad, weak system in this line of cabins and close to pool deck with hot air coming in. - Pool deck extremely crowded - 3 pools and 1 slide; slide was always closed; no adult pools - all pools overrun with kids and teens - one day at sea - two of the 3 pools were closed - they claimed seas were too rough - early morning yes - a bit rough but by noon sea was very calm and pools never re-opened. - Rear deck cabins felt a terrible vibration almost nightly when the ship was traveling at 20 knots - made it hard to sleep. - The ship had a lot of movement daily - you could feel it pitching and rolling onboard - we never noticed this onboard any other ships we took and we cruised from Southhampton, England in a rainstorm in the North Sea. - Disco and late night club could not be used by adults (well, it was open to all) however, the 12-16 year olds used it nightly as a teen club occupying it until 3am - most adults would feel uncomfortable dancing in the club with 12 year olds late at night - seemed odd yet, the bar was serving liquor to whoever ordered it. We brought this to the attention of Guest Services and they said this is normal on Costa. - Crew had a private party directly above our cabin on the pool deck with a DJ - our whole cabin was shaking with the music and dancing - we complained 3 times to no avail and even went up to the party to speak to the officer - nothing was done and we were kept awake until 3 am! Other passengers went up to complain and were told sorry party is authorized. - Crew did not seem very concerned about issues or complaints - they seemed indifferent to our concerns and we were not offered any form of compensation either for a bad Costa tour experience we had with some aggressive passengers towards our daughter or the crew party till 3 am above our cabin and the lack of air conditioning every night in our cabin and our 2nd cabin....we both had barely any A/C. - We found out an American couple had chosen to opt-out of mandatory tipping - which was only possible for Americans who booked through American companies - we opted out also and tipped those deserving of tips. All in all this was a difficult cruise experience for us - my kids were bored - 19 and 24 year olds - they always meet others passengers their age on ships - there was no one in their age range....only families with small children or older couples traveling alone. Our two cabins were extremely hot every single night although turned to lowest temps. This was our 5th or 6th European cruise of over 11 nights and we NEVER experienced these negative issues or ever complained about the food on board. We will never sail with Costa Cruises again and would not recommend it for any Americans familiar with cruising. This was not up to American cruising standards. It seems to be a "no frills" operation, with many cost cutting measures in place. The most disappointing was the food and the fact that the dishes were all previously frozen. I had no idea cruise ships - which are known for their food would do this. Fortunately, some of the ports were very exotic and educational. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We have been cruising with the Costa Magica in May 2011. Our veranda stateroom on deck 6 was nice but a little cramped for 2 adults and two children. Because of the promotion "children stay for free when sharing a stateroom with the ... Read More
We have been cruising with the Costa Magica in May 2011. Our veranda stateroom on deck 6 was nice but a little cramped for 2 adults and two children. Because of the promotion "children stay for free when sharing a stateroom with the parents" we choose to stay in one stateroom. We loved sitting on the balcony because of the good weather and the nice views. Breakfast was not so good. For lunch there was an option between the self service buffet and the normal restaurant. At 4 o clock there was a high tea at the self service Lido deck. 7 course dinner was OK. The soups did not taste well. Hardly any vegetables and fruit are served. You can eat some good tasting pizza all day long. There were two formal nights. On this nights a children's dinner was being served. Child entertainment was OK. There is children's entertainment from 9 o clock in the morning till 10.30 o clock in the evening, but there are only two children dinners. A lot of the miniclub crew don't speak English very well and sometimes activities are skipped. Children are not allowed in the whirlpools. The water-slide is fun, but really bad for your swimming-clothes. We embarked in Savona. The check-in was quick and there were good parking-facilities for 10 euro per day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
We booked this cruise because it fit the kids spring break, good price, good ports. I liked that it left from Rome because you need more than one day to see Rome. But getting from Rome center to port was long and expensive. We took the ... Read More
We booked this cruise because it fit the kids spring break, good price, good ports. I liked that it left from Rome because you need more than one day to see Rome. But getting from Rome center to port was long and expensive. We took the train to port, not expensive but train station had no elevator, had to carry luggage up and down stairs, signs at station were horrible, no one to help, no announcements for stops. Cruise port to airport we sucked it up and took a taxi for $200.00.Only 10% of passengers are native English speakers so it was interesting hearing all the different languages, crew does speak English. Cleanest ship I've ever been on-never saw a dirty glass or dish even early morning! My 14 year old LOVED hanging out with European teens in the disco and made lots of new friends! 9 year old only went to kids camp once- intimidated by kids speaking italian and Spanish. Really nothing for the 12 year old she was between age groups. We loved the smerelda lounge after the show, they played bingo every night then had a game with audience participation. Kids were allowed which you don't see on American ships! Music was from all countries and everyone danced-it was great fun!! Their version of the midnight buffet is great-every night at midnight waiters walked through the whole ship with trays of appetizers and sweets, much nicer than one night gluttony. We did not care much for the food but did not go hungry. Shows were great-many different kinds not just same dancers every night. Ports were great! Very different experience for kids with all the languages, they saw that the United States is not the center of the universe!!! Europeans are lots of fun and more free spirited than Americans-they must not need much sleep because all ages were in lounge dancing after midnight and up by 7 in the morning!! This is a circle cruise meaning passengers are getting on and off at all ports-this was great because there was not 2000 people trying to disembark at the same time! Cruise was a great cultural experience for all of us!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We sailed out of Rome with 6 adults and 2 small kids (3yrs and 9 mos) Boarding the ship was confusing and because we never received any tickets in the mail we had to fill out a bunch of paperwork when we got there. The building is ... Read More
We sailed out of Rome with 6 adults and 2 small kids (3yrs and 9 mos) Boarding the ship was confusing and because we never received any tickets in the mail we had to fill out a bunch of paperwork when we got there. The building is small and was unorganized but fortunately because it was January it was not too bad to get through. We got on and the crew were all very nice and almost all of them spoke English. Our cabin was very spacious and had a large space like a window sill for my 3 year old to sit in and watch the ocean. They provided a crib and we had a twin bed and still had plenty of room to get around. Our steward was more than accommodating but finding him sometimes was difficult but others were more than helpful to get him in when we needed him. The ship is very pretty it reminded me of a Carnival ship but less flashy but nicer than a Princess ship. There were not alot of activities to do onboard during the day on the ship but because we had a port to go into each day we were ok with that. They do have a round the clock kids room that we took the kids to and they really liked that. Most of the activities that were offered were fitness related like dancing or aerobics. The food in the buffet was ok... breakfast was good, there were some traditional American eats like pancakes, waffles,cereal and bacon and eggs every day. Alot of meats and cheeses and a fish dish each morning! The afternoon and evening buffet offered hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and other finger foods. All ok, nothing spectacular. The dinners in the dining room were much better but I have to say that Carnival has better food. We bought a wine and water package for 99 euros and that was the best way to go for us. It gave us 6 bottles of wine and 10 bottles of water and that lasted the entire cruise. The reviews about getting around on the ship are over exaggerated. Every cruise I have taken is like this. You just have to get it figured out and remember what elevators go where. We feel that by the end of every cruise that we have finally figured it out! So I think that is normal. There are alot of Italians and other Europeans on board and some are rude but so are Americans. I just pushed back when they pushed me and that seemed to work. That only happened a couple of times. For a layed back culture they sure are in a hurray to cut you off in the food lines or to get on and off the ship. Its actually quite funny. I just let them cut. We had our 9 month old daughter and that brought alot of positive attention. Everyone loves a baby! Actually there were ALOT of kids and babies on this cruise. I was surprised. Getting on and off for port tours was easy. This cruise has embarking and disembarking in 3 different ports so it can get crowded at times in the atrium. But they seem to be pretty organized with all that going on. They only thing I dont care for was the smoking section in the atrium. But Europeans are very much into smoking and was expected. Its just stinky and I hated walking through it every day. The Tours offered were nice. We had to deal with the riots in Tunisia and therefore were sent to Corsica instead and then in Marseille there was a strike and had to be rerouted to Tulon which put us about an hour away but those situations were out of Costa's control so I cant blame them. Overall we had a great time. Disembarking was not hard to get through either. I would take this cruise again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
We are a Canadian family of four experienced cruisers, who cruised the western Mediterranean with Costa over Christmas 2010. The seven-day cruise is a loop, with guests embarking and departing at every stop. We boarded in Marseilles.The ... Read More
We are a Canadian family of four experienced cruisers, who cruised the western Mediterranean with Costa over Christmas 2010. The seven-day cruise is a loop, with guests embarking and departing at every stop. We boarded in Marseilles.The itinerary is ideal - hitting all the major cities. We disembarked at all stops, and made our way independently into the city. The ship-organized excursions had restrictive itineraries (and were expensive), and we wanted the freedom to explore on our own. While little information is available on the ship, we found it very easy to navigate each city on our own. Onboard, we were not happy with the food, in terms of either quality or quantity. The ship is confusingly laid out (something other cruisers have noted), and it was very hard to orient ourselves. The gym was well-equipped, and we used it every day. Otherwise there were few activities on board - the intent seems to be that the ship is a floating hotel, moving from city to city. Overall, we were very disappointed with our Costa Magica cruise to the western Mediterranean. There were very few activities on board the ship for English-speakers, and literally no programming for children (12 and 14). In light of how bored the children were, I decided to try to download a movie for them to watch. After visiting the front desk and being assured that the very expensive 3 hour internet package (27 euros total) was high-speed, with excellent access throughout the ship, I purchased the package. Within 20 minutes, I had downloaded 0.0001% of our movie - which would have need 400 hours to download! I immediately requested the cancellation of my package, and the return of the fee. Front desk staff told me to come back the next day: this was repeated 4 more times on our 7 day cruise. I wrote to Costa in early January to request the refund - I heard nothing from the company for 7 weeks. After follow-up, today, the office has finally explained that "because I used the service" I cannot be refunded. I would not cruise again on the Magica, and encourage other English-speaking families to think carefully about choosing this ship. Certainly, know that you will need to independently organize all your children's activities, and cannot depend on the cruise to offer options. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Let me start off by saying I had expected this to be a totally different experience than any of my previous 13 cruises. However, I never expected it to be the worst cruise I've ever been on. It was my first cruise out of a European ... Read More
Let me start off by saying I had expected this to be a totally different experience than any of my previous 13 cruises. However, I never expected it to be the worst cruise I've ever been on. It was my first cruise out of a European port. I realize it left out of Italy, but I really thought it would be more amenable to the different nationalities on the cruise. They were not! I DO NOT recommend this cruise to Americans unless they are fluent in Italian. The cruise line made very little effort to speak anything but Italian. It was near impossible to participate on any of the on board activities. The entertainment staff did say a lot of things, ie., Bingo and other games, in English but it was so fast and so mixed in with 5 other languages they rattled off, you could not follow at all. All the ship announcements were in Italian. It seemed that there were only a few announcements that they ever said in English. I was truly terrified that if there were an emergency on this ship, I would never have known what to do. This brings me to the Safety Issues. There was no safety drill upon embarkation at Civitavecchia. This cruise is a circle cruise; meaning people are embarking and disembarking at every port. They do consider Savona the first port, which was the last day for us. That is when they did a life boat drill. Guess it was our tough luck if anything happened the 6nights before that. This is an EXTREMELY budget cruise. It is advertised in Italy dirt cheap with kids sailing free. You truly get what you pay for. The Italians on this cruise were extremely rude. They do not believe in lines or waiting their turn. They were pushy and arrogant. The lack of communication was a huge problem. They also smoke like crazy and smoke anywhere they like. This ship has more smoking areas than non smoking areas. If this is a problem for you, be aware! If you are not used to horrible food and and plastic cups, do not take this cruise. You can see Costa has cut back everywhere they possible can. The only thing you could get 24/7 was coffee and water. They shut the ice cream machines all hours except buffet hours. You had to go to dinner every night in the dinning room. There was not a dinner buffet option. For this reason, people were dressed anywhere from formal to grunge in the dinning room. I'm a 100% Italian American. I am used to good Italian food. There was NONE to be found on this cruise. The pasta dishes at dinner were the only thing that was near what I would call authentic Italian food. The buffet food was hardly edible. Dried out pizza, tasteless burgers and fries. How you can ruin french fries is beyond me. The cabins are good size like all Carnival products. The Entertainment on the first night was okay. The second night, okay, after that it was downhill right to the bottom at horrible. There were three nights where the highlight of the show was juggling. Each night they repeatedly dropped what they were juggling....pretty poor performance. You can tell the cruise lines was spending NO money on entertainment. They were also spending NO MONEY on Air Conditioning. It was almost was an unhealthy hot through out the entire ship. The dinning rooms was unbearable. I left every night as quickly as I could because of the heat. The poor staff was always sweating as were many of the guests. I think it was a health hazard, but I'm sure the cruise lines just looks at it as saving money. The cruise lines provided very little direction when trying to find your tour buses and exit the ship. They never announced you were in port and could start disembarking or what deck to disembark from. It was always a guess if it were deck 3 or 0. The only saving grace at all on this cruise were the staff. The dinning room and other working crew all spoke English and were always willing to help you out. The were great. All in All I wish I had not gone on this cruise. I will gladly pay double or triple on my next cruise to get a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
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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