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4 Costa Magica First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

Embarkation was slow and a little chaotic but bags were waiting at our cabin. Don't stay in 8312, we were disturbed by the constant scraping of chairs in the cafe above. Cabin kept immaculate by our steward, towels changed daily and ... Read More
Embarkation was slow and a little chaotic but bags were waiting at our cabin. Don't stay in 8312, we were disturbed by the constant scraping of chairs in the cafe above. Cabin kept immaculate by our steward, towels changed daily and beach/pool towels on request. Plenty of storage, surprisingly spacious and a large comfortable bed. Very few TV channels. Tatty balcony and scratched windows. Main restaurants were good, waiters fantastic, food just nice not amazing. A couple of fun entertainment nights in the restaurant made the holiday. Most of the staff were pretty helpful but very slow service and not so friendly at the pool bar. Buffet restaurants were noisy and chaotic. Very average food. Holiday camp style entertainment at the pool venue, theatre was a little better but still very amateur. We decided to do one organised trip just to see what it was like. We hung around in a queue for over an hour before disembarking, were not advised that the shops would be closed on a Sunday but were dumped in the town in the Dutch side of StMaarten anyway. The trip was supposed to be English speaking but the Italian tourists on the coach were extremely rude speaking over the tour guide who did not do much to help.Photos/videos of our trip for sale were extortionate. The cruise line is money grabbing to say the least. There were very few English speakers on this cruise so if that bothers you be careful what trip you book. After a few days of being shoved out the way and trying to do the normal Brit queuing thing, we just had to give up and become one of the crowd... Not nice !!! Everywhere was very clean and pretty well organised. Disembarkation at La Romana was shocking, waiting for hours, for immigration, who stamped the paperwork and chucked it on the floor. We will not be cruising with Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Like most people, we chose Costa because it was the cheap end of the cruise market and we didn't even know if we'd enjoy the experience. If you are reading this, you are looking at the low end of the market and for a cheap cruise ... Read More
Like most people, we chose Costa because it was the cheap end of the cruise market and we didn't even know if we'd enjoy the experience. If you are reading this, you are looking at the low end of the market and for a cheap cruise in the sunshine. Don't let that stop you, because we had a ball! We were so nervous after reading all the reviews on this, and thankfully, not a single one turned out to be true in our case. The ship was full, that's over 3,800 passengers. You are in the hands of each of those 3,800+ people for how they behave and that can change cruise to cruise. On our ship the majority were Italians, second majority English speakers. Language is never a problem as the staff are all international speaking on average 5 different languages, with English as their second language. So from the beginning..... Embarkation - this was messy! We got there by People Mover and the signposts were inadequate to direct us where to go, and asking people that worked there took us to the wrong building twice, dragging heavy suitcases along the way. The crowds headed towards the ship - don't follow! It turned out to be a poorly signposted building where we dumped our cases and then had to proceed to a terminal building with a number. You then wait for your number to be called and join a massive line of people to check in, despite having to check in on line before you leave?! This whole process took around 3 hours and was the worst experience of our entire trip. On board - by the time we got on board it was getting late and the cabins were ready. If you had got there earlier, there was a buffet and welcome drink. We were not shown our cabin, we joined the masses and found it ourselves, cases in there waiting for us. We had a basic inside cabin on the 7th deck - brilliant deck! Excellently located for everything from restaurants to bars by using the stairs. Cabin was small and compact but had everything we needed and lots of space to put everything. It was immaculate. Bathroom was very clean, shower area only no bath, but large shower area and very good shower. The bed was large (2 singles pushed together) and incredibly comfortable. Our Cabin Steward was excellent - I expected a better level of customer service to those that paid for better cabins, but I was wrong. He treated everyone as if they were first class passengers and nothing was ever too much for him, and he was always helpful and cheerful. Each night the beds are turned down, and we walked into towel animals on the bed. Very small thing, but we found we looked forward to seeing what was on our bed each night! The initial pillows we had were too hard, not a problem, they were changed immediately for nice soft ones. Every day our cabin was cleaned to a very high standard, and never once did he get in our way, it all seemed to just happen. Breakfast and Buffet Bars - Breakfast was busy around 0800 - 0930ish. There were queues of people (yes, we had orderly lines the whole cruise!!), these moved fast. Food was always being put out, and in general European breakfast choices (it is an Italian Cruise, so to be expected), with bacon, sausages (European style, not Walls!), pancakes, French Toast, scrambled egg, etc. Always a lot of choice and very nice. There is an omelette station on the Lido Deck, which is where you can also get a later breakfast. Lunch was also Buffet bar - again orderly lines the entire week we were on board and a different theme each day (Mexican, Spanish, Greek, Chinese). The Lido and the Buffet bar tended to do different foods, so if you don't like what you see in one restaurant, then just walk through to the next and see what is on offer there. There was always fish, salad, hams, cheeses, prawns, squid, chicken and beef dishes on offer every day. Again, always fresh food being put out and more than enough choices for everyone to find something they liked. There was a selection of deserts and ice cream on tap. If you didn't fancy trying to find a table in the lunch rush hour, there was an open dining area with waitress service where you get a table on a first come first served basis. We didn't use this, as never really ate in the middle of the rush and enjoyed the food on offer so much, but the people we shared an evening table with enjoyed their lunches away from the lunchtime crowds. This is only available from 11.30 to around 1.30 though. All day Buffet - this is mainly pizza and salad. We only did this twice though as the amount of food on board was more than enough for us not to need to eat between meals. The pizza was margarita or a ham/tuna choice (no tomato - just cheese). I preferred the salad choices over the pizza for a snack, but the pizza was always being made fresh. Each evening there was always someone walking around on Decks 5 and 9 with a tray with different types of food on it too. Evening meals - We were sat at a table with another British couple and next to groups of Americans all travelling. They seem to put you in language groups, which is nice. The couple we sat with were wonderful and we really enjoyed our meals each night. There are 2 sittings, 7pm and 9.30pm. We got the 7pm slot which worked out in our favour in the end. Each night is a 7 course meal, each course is not big, but over the 7 courses it's more than enough for anyone. Some courses you get a selection (starters, pasta, main dish, desert), where there is no choice (ie salad course), select it any way otherwise you won't get it. We wrongly assumed that you got each course. On the other-hand if you don't like a course, you get to skip it. There are also certain foods available every day off the menu (burgers, spaghetti bolognase, beef steak). I stuck with the fish choices every day and not once did I have a bad meal. The food always arrived at a good temperature and I couldn't fault a single meal. Apart from one meat dish (veal), those that choice the meat options each night had no issues either. I can't vouch for the 9.30 sitting being the same service, but can see no reason why it wouldn't be. The waiters at the tables are incredibly busy the whole time, getting food to the tables, drinks, clearing up - they work like mad during this time, but you can always get service. Where we were sitting (Portofino restaurant), our waiters pre-empted our requests - they knew what drinks we would have after our first night, and everything was there waiting for us if we wanted it. There was never any issues getting wine topped up during the meals, or having wine at any point during the meal. We were always served with a smile and a "cheers!" Theatre shows - these were all multilingual shows. We enjoyed them all although some were far better than others. The Animation Team are really great to watch and listen to. Most songs are sung in a variety of languages and the costumes were lovely. A couple of the shows seems to be disjointed from one dance routing to another, but it made for good variety and did help everyone on board understand what was going on. The star acts were great. An acrobatic team from Hungary who were amazing to watch, a great Italian singer who sang in French, German, Spanish, Italian, English and Russian! And an entertainer who didn't actually speak but managed to pull of a silent film show that was so funny to watch using members of the audience. The shows are only on for around 45 minutes so are short enough to enjoy and still have a night afterwards. Bars - right first things first - DO get the drinks package!!!! Drinks are not cheap, and the package is a great package, even if you don't drink a lot. It includes wine, water, soft drinks, coffee, cocktails, and all drinks not marked with a red * on the bar menu. That's most drinks all included. You can get water in a glass throughout all the meals anyway, but you can get large bottles for excursions or sitting up on deck sunbathing during the day. In the reviews we read, smoking was a problem that came up a few times. As I said in the start of this, you are reliant on the other 3,800+ people on board with you. I can honestly say that during the entire week, the only time I noticed smoking was the outside area of the bar on Deck 3 and late at night in the casino. Most of the bars and dance floors are strictly non-smoking around those areas. All restaurants are very strictly no smoking. This was adhered to the whole week of our trip. There were people smoking on deck, but not in huge numbers or to the point that is interfered with our enjoyment. In fact, we didn't even notice it. But this was more to do with the other people on board that same week than anything else, so this can change on your cruise, or any other we take. There are numerous bars, all serving the same drinks, with different entertainment on each night. There is something that everyone will like somewhere on board from the bar point of view. Pools - the pools are small, salt water, not heated and not my favourite places. There weren't an awful lot of kids on board considering a fully booked cruise, but they did seem to fill the front pools in particular. The back one was more adult based, but the pool looked like a bath full of sun-cream rather than an inviting cool dip to cool down in. Jacuzzis are strictly over 16s only, but again, they did resemble a sun cream soup. Not really surprising considering the heat and numbers of people on board, but personally I didn't find them at all inviting and didn't actually use a pool at all, only the jacuzzi. Sun loungers - this is Europe - if you are not up at the crack of dawn with a towel and a personal belonging in hand to tie on a sunbed, then forget it. These are more available when the ship is in dock or shortly before leaving each stop. Despite that lack of them, it didn't bother us. There was more than enough deck space to find a space somewhere and just lie down. It was just more annoying that there were loads of empty sun loungers lying around with just a towel on them! The towels on board are all provided, and as the ship comes in to dock, the pool attendants go around collecting all these up, so this is generally when you can start finding sun loungers after 6am! Excursions - Very well organised really considering the getting on board fiasco! We booked 2 through Costa, but found out afterwards that there are always buses and taxis on hand at every port and you can do these places for very little cost. Getting on and off the ship for excursions was never any issue. The two we did through Costa was Olympia and Akrotiri in Santorini, both of which were excellent with incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides. The other stops we made our own way around. For example in Athens, you can get a taxi to and from the Acropolis for around 20 Euros. In Corfu, you can walk into town from the port. In Dubrovnik, you can get a local bus from the Cruise Terminal into the old town and back again for around 50 Kunas. Once in Dubrovnik centre through, you could use Euros. Disembarking - we drew the short straw with this. You dock at 0900, but have to be out of your cabin by 0800. Your cases have to be packed and out of your room by 0100 and are then taken away for you to collect when you get off the ship. You are each given a colour coded strip that is your disembarkation time. We had the last one - 11am. From 0800 to 11am is a long wait on a docked ship! Although breakfast was supposed to be served only until 0930, we found the Lido deck carried on serving it, and even making eggs to order. We could also still get drinks on board. Despite having to wait, the whole getting off the ship was a lot smoother than the getting on experience. Overall I was very concerned about this cruise because of the reviews. At the end of the day we had voluntarily chosen to cruise with the cheapest on the market, and on a ship designed to take as many people as possible, it was always quantity over quality. Once on board it will always be the other passengers and the staff that dictate your cruise. Maybe we were lucky, everyone lined up for everything, and were polite, courteous and friendly and the staff gave fantastic customer services and we had no issues with languages. At no point did I ever feel that this cruise was quantity over quality. Everyone we met, with the exception of very few bar staff, gave us incredible service and we were always welcomed with a smile. This is a massive ship with a very large number of passengers on board, particularly when fully-booked, but they have an adequate number of very hard working staff who seemed to genuinely enjoy their job and who want to make sure you have a great cruise. If this is the bottom end of the cruising market, then I am intrigued by the other end of the scale based on the experience we had on board. I wouldn't hesitate to go with Costa again, or to do this cruise. We had a fantastic experience where everyone was so friendly and great, but then maybe that's the secret - as my mother used to say, treat others how you expect to be treated yourself, and everyone will treat you like a Queen!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was the fourth time we had booked a cruise but the first time we managed to actually embark. Previous cruises were aborted due to cold feet, illness and snow.The GoodThe flights on BA and the embarkation process in Savona went ... Read More
This was the fourth time we had booked a cruise but the first time we managed to actually embark. Previous cruises were aborted due to cold feet, illness and snow.The GoodThe flights on BA and the embarkation process in Savona went smoothly with very little queuing. The ship is large with plenty of hiding places so only felt crowded between evening meal sittings when the bars get busy. Information was pretty good with a newsletter delivered to your cabin every evening.The staff are very friendly and helpful despite the long hours they work and the cruising public they have to deal with.We were travelling on a low budget so had an inside cabin on the lowest deck at the front of the ship. This working out fine as we were out most of the time, if a little noisy when the shipped docked due to the side thrusters being nearby.The food is adequate given the number of people on board. The restaurants are OK - we dined in the Portofino restaurant with 4 other Brits. You are usually allocated a table with people who speak the same language. The Bellagio buffet was pretty good with usually something to suit every taste, but get there early or late to avoid the crowds. There is also a grill serving junk food for those who need it. We purchased the X1 drinks package through Costa before we sailed. This cost around £80 but allows you unlimited drinks at meal times. It states drinks by the glass but we were given a bottle of wine and water at each evening meal so it worked out as a good deal. It does not seem to be promoted on the Costa website or if it is not easy to find! When embarking we also bought the packages for soft drinks which we fully utilised and the one for water which we didn't. Be aware that there are drinking water taps onboard, which you can use to fill up your bottlesThe theatre entertainment was generally good - not London West end but professionally produced shows with the exception of the staff production on the final night. If you prefer a seat in the upper tiers arrive early.The organised tours were mostly good if expensive. So much depends on the guide assigned to your group. They were OK but one was very difficult to understand and they had to give information in at least two languages so everything took longer. Next time we will do our own thing and use the shuttle buses, which operate at every port of call and charge a few euros to go into town. Incidentally, we are now experts on cathedrals in the western med.The BadThere was a mess up with the restaurant allocation at the start. A card is left in your cabin giving the table and restaurant allocation. Ours indicated the restaurant Smeralda at the rear of the ship. When we arrived our table was occupied! After about 20 mins of furious keyboard tapping and discussions we were finally directed to the correct table in the Portofino restaurant.We tried the Club Vincenza fine dining restaurant one evening but it was not worth the extra 20 euro p/p charge. My wife's lamb was tough and the sauce and potatoes very salty. The loo in our cabin stopped flushing twice but was quickly fixed.The ship is not easy to navigate initially with confusing signs at the lifts. You are never sure which way you are facing on the ship. We weren't alone in this respect!There appears to be no air conditioning so bars and restaurants were often very warm, I dread to think what they would be like in summer.The majority of the passengers were Italian with Germans, French, other Europeans and quite a few Americans. The Brits were in a distinct minority. The Europeans don't do queuing, so be prepared for a bit of shoulder barging to get your own way or just chill out and let them get on with it, which is what we did.Italians are extremely noisy with only 2 volumes - loud and extremely loud. If you value you eardrums try to find a table away from large groups. They also invade your personal space standing over your shoulder and shouting to friends and family and pushing recliners hard up against yours on the sun decks.The UglyThere is nothing exceptionally bad to report. My wife had a bit of a dispute with a large Italian, who wanted our theatre seats for his family. She told him in no uncertain terms to shift and he went of muttering about the English! Needless to say, I kept out of the argument to protect my health. Best policy is to have a laugh about the customs of our EU friends. Vive la difference!We enjoyed our cruise on the Costa Magica and are now looking forward to Christmas in Australia and New Zealand on the Diamond Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was my first time on a cruise, and I was told by others that other cruise lines are so much better. This is a summary of the good and bad of my trip: - embarking/disembarking: Poor organization is the best way to describe this. The ... Read More
This was my first time on a cruise, and I was told by others that other cruise lines are so much better. This is a summary of the good and bad of my trip: - embarking/disembarking: Poor organization is the best way to describe this. The building to wait in before getting on the boat was over-crowded and loud, and we waited 3 HOURS to board! Finally I got fed up and got in line before our number was called because the boat was supposed to leave in 45 minutes. It was at this time that I noticed that no one cared what boarding number you had, and people were boarding regardless of how high their number was. Getting off the boat was a little better. We found our luggage quickly, but the bus I was supposed to board refused to allow me on due to the luggage holding area being at capacity. After much confusion, Costa staff called a mini-van, saying it would take 20 minutes to arrive (it took 40). - the ship: The ship is nice looking and seemed clean, though the layout could have been better designed. Certain places could only be accessed by a specific stair-well, so it's necessary to become familiar with the boat quickly. Smoking areas are randomly placed where cigarette smoke can, and does, drift into non-smoking areas. Most of the common areas reak of smoke. The exercise room is small, and several of the treadmills were broken throughout the cruise. For some reason, a jacuzzi is in the middle of the exercise room, making the cramped room uncomfortably humid. Our room was an interior room, which was ok, but I heard the rooms with balconies were quite nice. There is a 6 euro service fee per person per day - surprise! There are no public laundry facilities, so either hand wash clothes in the bathroom sink or risk letting housekeeping overcharge you to ruin your clothes. Don't bother to write any washing instructions; they will ignore them. - food: This was the most disappointing part of the cruise. The buffet offered the same cafeteria-like food every single day. Everything was bland or stale, and people on the cruise didn't seem to understand how a line works (people would walk in and out of line, ignoring those who were patiently waiting). The ice dispensers and soft serve machines were frequently broken. The restaurant food wasn't much better. Our waiter would disappear for 30 minutes between courses while we stared at our empty plates. Courses were tasteless and sometimes inedible. Dessert was the only reason to show up. When I booked the cruise, I was told 2nd seating is at 7pm. It's actually at 9:15pm, and luckily we were able to change to 1st seating at 6:45pm. - activities/entertainment: Games and entertainment seemed mostly geared towards the very young or very old. There were no descriptions accompanying the bizarre names given to games, and the one time we went to play a game, no one else showed up. Bingo is 10 euro/card, which seemed overpriced. There were shows in the theater most nights usually featuring singing and dancing. The "magic" show, and I use the word loosely since there were only a few tricks, was mostly Disney songs with occasional scantally clad dancers - what a weird combination. We only attended 2 shows since I couldn't imagine sitting through more without the help of alcohol. There's a casino area with slots and some table games. We only walked through it since we don't gamble and the casino was a smoker's haven. There's also a disco, but young children hang out there in the evening and are replaced with teenagers around 11pm. The adults seem to go in after midnight, though don't be surprised if you see an 8 year-old sitting next to you at the bar at 1am. There are 2 pools, with the covered pool being only for adults. Never did I see an adult in the adult pool, though I saw plenty of children using it. There are lots of chairs on the deck and conveniently located towels and blankets. There's a jogging track, but it's so windy up there that it seems like a runner would be at great risk of being blown off the track. - ports: The stops were the only good part of the cruise. The ports included Civettechia, Alesandria, Limassol, Izmir, a stop in Rhodes, Pireus, and Katakolon. Some excursions were kind of pricey, but I recommend any of the Egyptian excursions. If you don't plan an excursion, it is possible to pick up a taxi or bus close to the port. Some ports are close enough to the city center to walk, as well. Regardless or your choice of transportation, get off the boat; there's nothing to do while it's ported. One thing that is important to note is that we were scheduled to fly home 3 days after a volcano in Iceland spewed ash in North and Western Europe's air space. Planes were grounded and airports were closed for days. Our flight was canceled, so we were stuck in Genoa for 4 extra days. Initially the hotel told us that Costa would pay for the extra nights and some meals at the hotel restaurant. We were also moved to a different (nicer) 4-star hotel with other North Americans. When called, Costa representatives in Florida denied that Costa was paying for anything extra. It took 3 days for a Costa representative to finally speak to us as group. I don't understand why this took so long, since they seem to have a headquarters near to the hotel where we stayed, and there was no announcement that a rep would show up (we happened to be at the hotel when she arrived). The rep said that Costa would pay for our extended stay and try to fly us out as soon as possible. I appreciated Costa absorbing the expense of having us stay at a nice hotel, but the communication was so poor that the extra days in Genoa were not very enjoyable. Needless to say, I will never cruise with Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date April 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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