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13 Costa Malta (Valletta) Cruise Reviews

1. Cabin had layer of dust on furniture and carpet hadn't been cleaned in ages. It only got a good clean after complaining - only to be bitten by dust mites. Balcony furniture is in very poor shape and needs replacing. Hair dryer was ... Read More
1. Cabin had layer of dust on furniture and carpet hadn't been cleaned in ages. It only got a good clean after complaining - only to be bitten by dust mites. Balcony furniture is in very poor shape and needs replacing. Hair dryer was broken and dangerous with parts exposed. 2. Food is mediocre and often recycled ie desserts available in restaurants the night before are recycled for breakfast the morning after or at tea time. No great variety available and tiny portions in the restaurants. Food sometimes was too salty and inedible. 3. Disastrous customer service where excursions are concerned. Although pre booked and confirmed by email by Costa nobody in the excursion office bothered to inform us that the required minimum for a particular excursion had not been reached and therefore it was cancelled. Ended up spending the day on board in Barcelona as no port wifi was available to be able to view alternative arrangements. Was eventually offered an excursion in a completely different language. Hospitality desk wasn't much help only advising me to take the problem up with the excursion office at 16.30 when the ship left Barcelona at 1700! Nobody dared disturb the tour manager to ask for compensation for the lost part of this cruise and on the last day was made to return to the cash office twice after 45 minutes as tour manager was not available before 7.30am. Local Malta agent SMS-Mondial totally unhelpful with tour leader's phone switched off and unavailable. Subsequent emails were ignored. English speaking rep Gemma promised to speak to tour manager to ask for compensation but studiously avoided me for rest of the cruise not even bothering to give any feedback on the problem. Was more interested in her British clients and my booking an alternative excursion for Marseille which had also been confirmed by Costa by email and subsequently cancelled without notice. Eventually charged me an extra €15 over and above the published price which I took to be Gemma's commission as she asked for the booking to be put on her account! Only got refunded this amount after much toing and froing and much hassle just before disembarking from ship on final day. Gemma also advised me 'to move on and forget about it and relax and enjoy the cruise'..... after it had been completely ruined by Costa themselves! 4. Dance floor was full of infants and toddlers and one had to be careful they were not trodden upon as parents were too busy enjoying themselves to look after their offspring. Absolutely no control over children who ran up and down corridors screaming and shouting. 5. Just before disembarking from ship on the Sunday I was bitten by what seemed to be a flea in the Cheri lounge on deck 5. Had to resort to medical care to get it seen to as the bites were on my right hand and wrist and finger and also on my abdomen and upper left arm. Bites on my wrist became infected. 6. Water is not available during dinner and one is obliged to buy a drinks package for plain water worth €36. If this is ordered by one person in the cabin and there are 2 people in the same cabin they have to be together as the package bought only shows on the cabin card of the person who placed the order. It cannot be split over two cabin cards which is ridiculous seeing as two friends travelling together are not always together all of the time whilst on board. 7. It took 3 days for a table with a decent view to be given to us. One evening we were seated at a table laid for 11 people when it could only hold 8 people comfortably. To add insult to injury we 6 were made to sit facing 5 empty seats whilst trying to eat all squashed up as the maitre d' absolutely refused to re set the table even though we explained that 3 people had left to go to the buffet and therefore there would be more space. Our view was of oxygen tanks and lifeboats on deck 4 in the Otto e Mezzo restaurant and we eventually got a table with a view after vociferously complaining to the local agent. 8. The 'entertainment' in the theatre wasn't much to write home about and was flat. The only enjoyable night was the concert by the male tenor. The rest is not worth mentioning. 9. The peace and quiet in the library was often disturbed by people chatting and discussing their receipts and it was only by shushing them that one got some quiet time to read. Plenty of other places to discuss financial problems but for some reason people would congregate in the library. Even the cruise advisor was in the library when they should have had a desk near the reception downstairs to discuss and advise clients. 10. Avoid the Samsara spa at all costs. I booked a taster session which promised 15 minutes each of a variety of services but ended up being given a most uncomfortable body scrub on curved mosaic couches. I wasn't even laid flat but made to bend forward over my knees whilst the beautician scrubbed my back whilst talking 15 to the dozen. The facial was just a quick wipe with 2 cotton pads and a mask plastered on and left on my skin. She didn't even bother to clean it off but sent me into the jacuzzi totally covered in oil and salt and my face mask and told me it was ok to rinse it off in the jacuzzi! She even.made me help her rub the salt/oil mixture on my legs! So much for being pampered. She then tried to sell me another treatment for €110 plus some toiletries which I refused thereby losing all interest in me. 11. The waiting staff was unhelpful and rude in the Otto e Mezzo deck 4 restaurant refusing to help when we had a seating problem and thumping down plates in front of us. We were made to feel very unwelcome and it was only after our table was changed that the situation improved. 12. The excursion staff seem to suffer from a 'take it or leave it' attitude as well as dementia as when I complained about why I was not informed that the excursion had been cancelled I was told that a note had been left in the post box outside our cabin. When I informed them no such paper had ever been placed there all I got was a shrug of the shoulders. Not even an apology or offer of compensation. Nothing at all. 13. The entire ship needs a thorough clean. The windows were filthy, streaked with dirt and difficult to see through. Even the balcony cabin glass was dirty. My advice is to totally avoud booking with Costa cruises as since their Concordia disaster the quality and service have drastically gone downhill. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We wanted a break in mid April.. . . . . . it turned out to be very disappointing. 1. All jacuzzis were always full of people with no control of time limits so we stayed out. 2. Very young children (some with dummies) were ... Read More
We wanted a break in mid April.. . . . . . it turned out to be very disappointing. 1. All jacuzzis were always full of people with no control of time limits so we stayed out. 2. Very young children (some with dummies) were uncontrolled, both on the dance floor and at the evening meal. No problem with children playing at the right time and place.. 3. The evening's theater music reverberated in the theater, your ears and at close cabins. 4. A solely Staff Drill was announced in a blurring volume inside our cabin. What for? 5. Hospitality staff told us to go ashore to find out info regarding the next port of call!. 6. Hospitality staff never answered the telephone whenever we needed them and queuing at their desk took at least 20 minutes to get serviced. 7. Coffee after dinner is taboo. You have to go to a bar and buy it. 8. Shows were about acceptable, and the illusionist performed some acts in darkness! 9 I was taken aback when I found that while meals were included, plain water was not. The above points were raised with the Costa local agents. They were grateful for raising these shortcomings and promised to look into the points raised for future passengers, but no refund of any sort was forthcoming. Our compensation was therefore their gratitude for raising the matter!. I am not rushing to book another cruise with Costa. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The ship is of course not new. We booked on April/2017 (two adults and a child) a balcony cabin. The check in was very smooth since we embark from Malta and very few people embark from there. The total price was very cheap and we sailed 3 ... Read More
The ship is of course not new. We booked on April/2017 (two adults and a child) a balcony cabin. The check in was very smooth since we embark from Malta and very few people embark from there. The total price was very cheap and we sailed 3 years ago with Costa Mediterranea and we liked it. But Costa Cruises have changed everything since then. There is no free coffee 24hrs only in the morning and one hour in the afternoon. Other hours you have to pay. No free sunday anymore for the kid. Again you have to pay each scoop. No free pizza (are you serious? we are in an italian ship). The breakfast was awful. No eggs on the eleven floor only on the 3rd floor which you had to wait for a table. The cabin was ok but nothing else. It was overcrawded and you had to wait for the buffet and then if you are lucky you could find a table to sit. No smoking to the casino and service at the bars was awful. We are really dissapointed with Costa. I even mentioned it to a ship manager and his answer was: "Well you pay less than other cruise ships you must expect less" Yeah sure I paid less but with all extras (coffee, pizza, ice-cream, not finding a table, not good entertainment etc) at the end of the cruise it cost us more. So trust me Costa Cruises is out of our list from now on. We cruised with MSC and Carnival until now and Carnival Vista was the best cruise. We almost cry when our cruise was over. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We choose this cruise because we wanted to see a bit of France and the fact that it was from Malta to Malta our country. it was rather a late booking so we had to be content with the dates available. The cheaper price made it more ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we wanted to see a bit of France and the fact that it was from Malta to Malta our country. it was rather a late booking so we had to be content with the dates available. The cheaper price made it more attractive. Embarkation went smoothly but disembarkation at Malta port terminal was rather hectic. We had to walk a long way with considerable luggage since there were no trolleys available. The ship was clean, though refurbishment in some places is needed. The cabin clean, towels soft and bed comfortable. Room temperature rather warm. Dining average. The cruise attracts many seniors with multiple health problems, most of the food was very salty, and food for diabetics limited. Fruit salad offered for dessert contained high sugar content fruit so not suitable for those who cannot take sugar Entertainment was very good and varied. Particularly liked the entertainment team with their great sense of humor and jokes, and the excellent latin dancers and their dancing lessons. Service excellent. Shuttle buses in ports very welcome. Shore excursions varied, rather dear, and mobility problems hindered our joining, I would go again but not too soon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Just returned from a cruise. This time with Costa, the Costa Pacifica. My wife and I are cruising enthusiasts. We have travelled on several cruising lines. Being both retired,we prefare to travel in the off season quiet months. We ... Read More
Just returned from a cruise. This time with Costa, the Costa Pacifica. My wife and I are cruising enthusiasts. We have travelled on several cruising lines. Being both retired,we prefare to travel in the off season quiet months. We are Costa Club members. On the past cruises with Costa, we were greeted in our cabin with champaigne and a fruit basket. This time we were greeted with the misery of a bottle of water with a silly note hung around its neck. On touring the ship we discovered that the chapel had to do without a religious minister. I am not too much of a devotee, but Costa used to boast of its Italian roots and values, which made it stand out among others. During the late hours some guests had to close the insulation corridor doors to cut off some of the noisy fracas made by the night revellers on the reception/piano lounge. I encourage economy on waste, but not on reputation standards. The staff was as usual fantastic and really did all what they could to keep up the hospitality of Costa. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have been on several cruises and cruise lines and this was our 2nd on the Costa Favolosa. Our first on Costa was in October 2014 and we had a good time but this year was a complete disappointment. Hot food in the Buffet has been ... Read More
We have been on several cruises and cruise lines and this was our 2nd on the Costa Favolosa. Our first on Costa was in October 2014 and we had a good time but this year was a complete disappointment. Hot food in the Buffet has been discontinued and only available in the main restaurant where you are seated like in a PRISON hall. Took a long time to be served. Lunch in the Buffet is a free for all, with pushing, queqing and no sound control. The cabin staff are wonderful and polite and the cabin clean. Unfortunatly it was noisy at 4am when the cleaners moved furniture right above our cabin. (8428). The entertainment was very good and quite enjoyable. Booking excursions was a shambles, getting an excursion in English was almost impossible, excursions were almost all fully taken and we never got the excursion of our choice. With tickets in hand these were cancelled at the last minute and we either had to go in other languages or go on our own. Shuttle bus prices to the port entrance were expensive. The staff are not helpful at all. Having an all inclusive package it was almost inpossible to get drinks unless you went to get them yourself from the bars. I do not think I will ever use Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
If you respect yourselves, do not even think of going on the Costa Favolosa (and by extension, on any Costa ship). We are experienced cruisers, this was our 12th cruise with various lines. The balcony cabins are spacious, but cleaning the ... Read More
If you respect yourselves, do not even think of going on the Costa Favolosa (and by extension, on any Costa ship). We are experienced cruisers, this was our 12th cruise with various lines. The balcony cabins are spacious, but cleaning the room was only done in a perfunctory manner. Breakfast was a nightmare. Either a cold selection in the buffet. Believe it or not, no warm food in the buffet! Or a very long wait for some hot food in a restaurant. Once we waited 45 minutes between giving our order and the food arriving on the table. The far eastern crew do their best, but it is obvious that there are not enough of them. Lunch: the food can best be described as uninspiring, dull, routine. Dinner was better, if you prefer tiny portions of everything. All the evening entertainment was in the hands of the same twelve dancers, who presented a dance routine under different guises for 6 nights. Thanks goodness for a couple of intervening clowns! Then there are two Formal or Gala nights. What an insult! The majority of diners were allowed into the main restaurants wearing shorts and tee shirts. This is clearly catering to the lowest element, for fear of losing some passengers. Obviously, the ship is being run on a cost cutting exercise, if not on a shoestring. But this is not reflected in the prices, which are about equal to those of many superior cruise lines. Definitely our worst cruise ever. Never again Costa. Pity some first timers will be taken in. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our second Costa cruise, our previous was on the Costa Concordia a few weeks before she sank and we found the Concordia much more glamorous and classy. We boarded in Malta and that was very efficient. We were also impressed with ... Read More
This was our second Costa cruise, our previous was on the Costa Concordia a few weeks before she sank and we found the Concordia much more glamorous and classy. We boarded in Malta and that was very efficient. We were also impressed with the emergency drill was was done prior to sailing. Our cabin with a balcony was clean and beds were comfortable cabin 8372. The dinner was the second sitting at 2130 which is far too late for us and we tried to change it so we dined one night and was really disappointed with the food and length of time between courses. Our only dinning experience on the first night lasted starter and main then we gave up waiting for the other courses and dessert. Hence we ate in the afternoon and had a pizza late at night on two occasions. We had continental breakfast in our room and lunch was very busy at certain times and it was difficult to find a seat. This upset my partner on several occasions with pushing and bad manners. You have to buy bottle water which is not included in the all inclusive package. We had no complaints about the quality of alcohol drinks or the efficiency of the hard working staff. Most were smiling. The English speaking guest services lady, Holly was brilliant. However, when we attended a quiz in the lounge we could not understand the Italian lady who asked the questions in English so we gave up going. In fact we could not hear or understand the announcements that were in English. The swimming pools we dare not use as they were usually crowded and we feared for our health. The animation worked very hard and the shows were reasonable. With regards to the excursions we found it better doing our own thing, although we did catch the bus to Rome organised by the ship. Positives were the drink package and the overall price. Negatives the late dining for us, and the only late snack which you pay for is PIzza. We probably won't sail with Costa again and we are still waiting for our Costa Card and questionaire regarding the cruise. We will sail with another company.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Do not believe the negative reviews, this was the 7 th different cruise, and I can say that costa is worth the money, great ship ,nice shows ,good food, but, if you want a perfect cruise book with the seaborn or oceana cruises but ... Read More
Do not believe the negative reviews, this was the 7 th different cruise, and I can say that costa is worth the money, great ship ,nice shows ,good food, but, if you want a perfect cruise book with the seaborn or oceana cruises but don't forget you have to pay 5 times as much the price of the costa. For me costa is a nice entertainment cruise ship and a very modern and tidy ship , just two drawbacks is the pool area is very poor when compared to an msc cruise and the Italian language is a must for me is not a problem because iam maltese a neighbour of italy.I recommend costa cruise to all young people and who has a family on the other hand costa is not good for elderly people or for people who wants a classic or luxury cruise. Costa is disco party and nice shows. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our first ever cruise!! and It was SuperB!!! Our cabin was on Deck 8, very comfortable; bed and the shower was good & we also had a sofa. Loads of wardrobe space, not noisy.. and with Balcony. Near the lifts, all we had to do ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise!! and It was SuperB!!! Our cabin was on Deck 8, very comfortable; bed and the shower was good & we also had a sofa. Loads of wardrobe space, not noisy.. and with Balcony. Near the lifts, all we had to do is go up 1 flight of stairs for breakfast and Lunch; & use the lift to go to the Restaurant on Deck 3 or other bars etc. on Deck 5. Room was kept very clean; Our steward who was in charge of our Room was amazing he came twice a day and everything was spotless...always smiling & ready to help! Thanks for everything Roel!! The food was Excellent, the buffets at lunch and breakfast will be a little packed, some queuing to be expected but alot of seating available, as one can also sit in the bars outside which are connected to the restaurant, which also has upstairs where there is also a Sandwich station. For Lunch the Grill will also be open serving burgers, hot dogs etc. Coffee, tea, milk and water was available free of charge in the buffet 24hrs. The evening meal in Duca D'Orleans one of the two MDR, was simply excellent with alot to choose from. We had an All Inclusive package and therefore had unlimited amount of drinks through out the cruise which was very worth buying; MDR served tiny portions of food but if you like a particular plate one can opt to ask his server for a larger portion, but having a 6 course meal be sure that you will be full by the end of the evening, if You will not than there will be Buffet in Deck 9. Not everyday is the same for the Dinner Buffet; sometimes only Pizza will be available. Our Servers at the MDR were simply amazing, they went out of their way to make sure that we are satisfied and having a great time! Way to go Eugene & Putu!!! The cruise is mainly for Italians, however all the announcements were in 5 different languages, Italian, English, French, German & Spanish. Nathalie our English host was available to chat an hour a day, and she was very helpful. Great Shows & good entertainment, always having something you can do. A daily program is delivered to the cabin that let you know of what will be happening on the ship. We went to 1 excursion- Classical Rome costed 96€; Could have been cheaper, but we had 2 guides who were very informative & explained the History of Rome, and lunch included (3 course meal incl. wine and Water) Excursion was not available in English, but this depends on demand. When visiting Savona, we were told that there is nothing to see there, but at the Port there is an information centre where you can get a map with all the spots worth visiting- make sure to visit the Sistine chapel in Savona (tickets 1eur), and you can also swim in a nearby Sandy beach just 10 mins walk from the Port. Photos are quite expensive 20€ each. We were only disappointed about the handling of the luggage when disembarking, as we had one of the luggage damaged. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Reading previous reviews confirms that our terrible experience was not an isolated occur acne. Firstly, the English speaking hostess was totally useless and did not care about the passengers, just about promoting tours and what she thought ... Read More
Reading previous reviews confirms that our terrible experience was not an isolated occur acne. Firstly, the English speaking hostess was totally useless and did not care about the passengers, just about promoting tours and what she thought was her wonderful self. We boarded from Malta, knowing that it is one of the most beautiful harbours in the med. She chose the exact time of our leaving the port to have us in the muster stations doing a safety drill. When we suggested that next time she ought to organise it a little later so passengers could enjoy the harbour experience, she blamed legalities, which state these drills should be made within half an hour of leaving port, exactly Natalie, not whilst leaving port! Reception staff were always very abrupt and annoyed that you dared to bother them.i agree with previous reviews, food was not appetising, fish previously frozen and bland and fruit tasteless. Ship to overcrowded, staff too pushy to sell you tours and next cruise. I went for a message & reflexology session and came out more stressed having to repeatedly decline from buying products forced onto me by therapist. They even have therapists near the bar in the evening, accosting you and not letting you move on until you listen to beauty treatments they have on offer. Loud speakers going on in the corridors incessantly announcing excusions. If they put as much effort into ensuring that passengers were having a good time, it would have been a great cruise for all. The lift situation is ridiculous. My mother is unable to walk up stairs and when we had to go anywhere an extra 15 minutes had to be added on most occasions. The gym was overcrowded, never any clean towels in changing room, only 2 showers so a long wait or just give up and go to cabin. Pools overcrowded and noisy, never managed to get in. They have a wellness spa which looked more relaxed but all extortionately priced.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Check in started at 1pm. Embarkation was quick here in Malta since there was a group of about a hundred staring their cruise. They don’t give you your cruise cards, but you find everything on the bed once you go to your cabin. No white ... Read More
Check in started at 1pm. Embarkation was quick here in Malta since there was a group of about a hundred staring their cruise. They don’t give you your cruise cards, but you find everything on the bed once you go to your cabin. No white glove attendants to show you to your cabin (as on MSC), you have to find it yourself. But they were already available when we boarded. Not too big, compared to the Outside and Balcony Cabins we had on MSC, but probably their Insides are the same size. We had no sofa or chair, just a stool. There was just enough closet space for our family of 4. The thing I hated most in the cabin were the wardrobe door knobs. They are not knobs but loops of rope which after a couple of times opening the wardrobes and drawers start hurting your fingers. Totally stupid idea! Cabin was always kept clean by our attendant, Agnelo and here is another difference from MSC….. only 1 cabin attendant per cabin and not 2! Bathroom was of a good size, but they still have the silly shower curtains. Cabin door was very light, making it easy for our 2 year old to open by himself. There was a flat screen in the cabin. The beds were very comfortable, nothing to complain here. Our cabin no 2350 on Deck 2, was situated close to the lifts which take you next to the pool and buffet. After putting our luggage in the cabin, we made our way to Ca d’Oro Buffet on deck 9. It was not too crowded this time but sometimes we had to walk around it 3 or 4 times to find a table. Choice of food items not too big but what was available was good. The stupidest thing about it was that even if you wanted just one item, you had to queue after everyone since all the food items were next to each other. There were no separate pizza station or soup station, just one thing after each other, probably a money saving idea from Costa so people would not go more than a couple of times to get different food since at certain times there were long queues and when an item finished it was not replaced immediately, so people just stopped in front of food and waited. Sometimes queuing took even 10 mins. This is another difference from MSC, where they had various stations and the choice was much better, especially after the big change MSC made to the Buffet after July 2012, where they started having more choices available and the buffet started opening all day until 9.30 pm everyday. Not the same case on Costa though. Apart from having too few choices of food, food was available until around 3pm and the grill until 4pm. The grill was only available outside near the pool, so if you wanted some fries, you needed to queue outside as well. The grill consisted of fries, burgers, sausages and a different type of grilled meat (chicken, pork or beef) everyday, plus some grilled vegetables. At least the food on offer was always of good quality. There were 5 stations (all having the same food) where you could queue which were all open at peak times. Then there was 1 station offering pizza, cheese and 3 types of pasta. Coffee, tea, milk and water was available free of charge in the buffet 24hrs. There were different kinds of sweets available everyday in the buffet, just simple sponges, nothing fancy. I hardly ever liked any of them. Same as on MSC. Both lines need to employ some good pastry chefs! But at least there was soft serve ice cream available at lunchtime and tea time. We had dinner at the Duca di Borgogna 5 times during our cruise. The other 2 nights we had table service pizza at the Buffet. We liked most of the food we had at the MDR, but the service was not that great. The waiter seemed to be serving too many tables and they were not next to each other, which seemed stupid to us, because he was always in a hurry, running from one side of the restaurant to the other. On the other hand, the assistant waiter seemed to be taking it too easy! I hardly ever had any dessert here because most of the time it was either forgotten or they took the order so quickly they forgot to ask us about dessert. The pizzeria was nothing fancy, just 4 different types of pizza every day which you can choose from, but both times we went, it was quite busy. There is only pizza and salad available in the buffet after tea time. Although most people prefer to eat in the MDR, Costa should leave it up to the guests to choose where they want to eat and open the buffet for dinner as well. We know it would be very popular because it was always busy on MSC. Most people with young children like us, prefer casual dining and the buffet is ideal. In the MDR we were seated with a young couple who had no children, therefore we felt we had to give them a break from ours for at least 2 nights. Service in the MDR was much better on MSC and even the variety of food available was better. We ordered room service breakfast every day and it was promptly delivered without any problems. The coffee was very nice and hot. Same things available as on MSC. I ordered room service once in the afternoon, just a bread roll with shrimps and the bread was not fresh. The menu was very basic, just a couple of salads, soup and about 5 different types of bread rolls. Really nothing to write home about! There was a sandwich bar on deck 10, open until 6pm where they had 4 different types of rolls available every day. They were ok, especially when toasted. We did not like the décor of this ship, you either love it or hate it! We found some places too flashy to the point of looking cheap. MSC are much sleeker in their modern yet simple designs. The ship is overall quite clean, but not perfectly clean like MSC, and you do not see people cleaning all day long as you do on MSC. We got the all inclusive drink package as part of a package from the tour operator. It is very good value for money if you like to drink. The quality of the drinks was always very good. Service depends on the bar staff. Some of them were very attentive and others seemed to be taking it easy, even at peak times. Our favourite bar was the atrium bar, where Christopher was always so nice and helpful. We used the retractable roof Pool most of the time. The water was comfortably heated and they closed the roof at around 4pm every day. There was no one to guard the pool apart from the ‘at sea’ day. There were a lot of Sicilian young men who were partying all the time by the pool, diving and smoking and no one was stopping them. This made it difficult for us to swim with a 2 year old. My son and I used the slide once and it was not very busy. But after about 4 goes, I got dizzy and had to stop. My son could go on forever though, if I let him! The infant pool on the top deck was closed every day during our cruise, probably because the weather was still slightly cold. Now to Smoking, a hot debate on Costa ships. People were smoking in smoking zones only inside, but sometimes you could smell the cigarettes even in non smoking areas. But outside, passengers were smoking everywhere, even on the non-smoking side on deck and the problem was that no one stopped them. Smoking policy is stricter on MSC. We would really prefer if smoking is abolished at least from inside. Kids club was very well organised. My son spent a few hours nearly every day at the Squok Club and they even organised a show by the kids in the theatre. The trick is to look at the kids activities programme so you get to know what and where anything is happening. It took me a couple of days to get used to this, and my son ended up missing a couple of interesting activities because I did not carry the programme with me all the time. They even gave a token to the kids the night before leaving the ship. My son got a Costa Squok Club hat and he absolutely loves it! I felt Squok Club was more organised on Costa than MSC and it seemed to be more popular too. The ports of call on this cruise were very interesting. Here is a brief description: Malta – our home country. Valletta, the capital city is easily accessible on foot, either by walking up the hill or by using a public elevator. It is a beautiful city. The hop on hop off bus is also available at the port, and it is possible to go around the island on these buses. Catania. We have often been here, and we love it! We used the port bus from the ship to the port gate, very good idea! Not many people seem to know about it because we saw most people walking. Then we walked around the city, visited our favourite spots, visited the market and then spent some time in Giardino Bellini. We would have liked to stay here longer. Naples. It was our first time here. I had planned a route of around 2 hours walking. First we walked to the Galleria and then to Piazza del Plebiscito. Both of them are a must if you are visiting Naples. Then we walked along Via Toledo, a shopping street, and then into the old town centre, along Via San Biagio to see the crib shops. Most of the shops were open even though it was a Sunday. Again, we felt we did not have enough time to see Naples. We plan to go back. Savona. It was also our first time here. The sight of Savona from the ship makes you think it is a beautiful city. Via Paleocapa with porticoes and Art Nouveau buildings, is the high street. It is the most interesting street in the town, nothing else to see here. The port itself is beautiful though, as is the view of Torre Leon Pancaldo, just across from the ship. There was a market here in Piazza del Popolo. Barcelona. We used public transport from the ship to the Ramblas. Tickets cost Eur 3.50 per person, compared to Eur 9 for the Costa Shuttle. And public transport actually stops you closer to the Ramblas than the shuttle! We have been here a couple of times and we always end up walking the narrow streets to the right of the Ramblas. We always walk around the cathedral and up to Piazza Catalunya. It is such a beautiful and vibrant city. For first timers, the hop on hop off bus is a very good idea. Palma de Mallorca. We felt this was the highlight of this cruise. It is such a beautiful place. The Eur 9 we spent for the Costa shuttle was a bit high, but well spent, since we did not waste any time to arrive in Town, under the beautiful cathedral. We spent 3 hours walking the beautiful streets of this lovely town. They have beautiful squares where you can sit down and enjoy the ‘dolce vita’ and they have some good shops too. We would surely love to go back. And now to the big questions: Would you cruise with Costa again? Although we have experienced better, we would surely cruise with Costa again if we get a good deal. Do you prefer Costa or MSC? Sadly, I would say I prefer MSC because their ships are more beautiful, they give better service and they have better food!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
First impression: The ship is huge. Even walking from one end to the other takes time, and this creates a 'village' feel, where numerous people attend any event or activity, be it lunch, darts, aerobics, casino or nightlife. ... Read More
First impression: The ship is huge. Even walking from one end to the other takes time, and this creates a 'village' feel, where numerous people attend any event or activity, be it lunch, darts, aerobics, casino or nightlife. Meals: Breakfast is on par with a land-based good 5-star hotel. Cooked varieties of all types, including custom-ordered pancakes, eggs or sausages. 4 choices of cereal in the normal section, and 2 more choices in the 'healthy' section. 3 choices of milk including soy. Fresh fruits, yoghurts, sweets and pastries. French toast, bread of all kinds and everything in between. The missing component: A good (Italian) coffee. Granted, you can help yourself to unlimited machine-poured coffee or take a sachet of Nescafe's "Grand Aroma" available in sachets, but if you want a proper Espresso or Capuccino, you must pay for it. More about pricing later. Lunch is a choice of the buffet on the 9th floor or free seating on the 4th floor (My Way and New York, New York). We preferred the 9th floor, where the food was simply incredible. At the extreme end of the restaurant next to the pool there was always some cooking station going on, which cooked fresh pasta, fresh fish, spicy beef on the Mexican night, and so many other delicacies which would have cost an entire day of cruising in an equivlent restaurant. Portions are unlimited, and the food quality was excellent. Desserts always included a huge variety of fresh fruit, unlimited ice-cream in chocolate, strawberry and vanilla, and a massive variety of mousse or cream-based sweets which were individually presented in bowls. Pizza in 4 flavours was available 24-hours, as was (machine) coffee, ice and water. Water was also freely served during dinner, in jugs which were continuously re-filled. Tea-time was 1 hour between 4pm and 5pm. This offered a huge variety of sweets and fruit. Tiramisu featured regularly, as well as apple strudel, cream cakes, and fruit cakes of all types. Not to be missed! Dinner was based on 2 fixed-seating arrangements. The tables are huge so it is shared with other families. Our table seated 11. Food was a' la carte, with a 7-course meal with choices at each stage. You can also choose 'off-the-menu' dishes, such as spaghetti bolognese, fries, chicken and meat choices .. the meal always included a cheese platter and dessert. Food quality again was extremely high and presentation of dishes was superb. My only complaint would be the cheese platter, where the same 4 cheeses were offered each night, even though the menu stated things differently! If you fancy wine at dinner, a purchase of 6 bottles as a 'pack' will set you back 99 Euro. The wine itself is usually sold closer to 4 Euro a bottle from a normal shop, but I expect you need to pay the premium as in good quality restaurants. We were almost 'conned' by the waiter telling us that the menu we had picked up on deck was the 'old' one, and the 'new' one offered 5 bottles of wine for 92 Euro, but we held firm and got the 6 bottles after all. On deck they were still touting what had been called the 'old' menu. On the 7th night there is champagne served during the Gala dinner anyway. Entertainment during dinner was great with waiters doing their best to dance and sing. Highly entertaining, and very enjoyable. On the Spa/gym side, there is a gym reserved for over-18 although it said over-16 in other places. However, the staff insisted on over-18. Gym is very well equipped, lots of machines, although it can get pretty full at peak times. The view from the gym is incredible while using the treadmill or cycles. On the cruise downside, you feel that there is an element of over-selling. One time during lunch we were approached 7 times or more by waiters selling the drink packages, which we had already bought anyway. Also, several Spa 'informative' sessions are just marketing their products and treatments. No hard selling however - the moment you indicate non interested you are set free :) Pools are crowded as expected with some 3,000 people on board. Of course it depends on timing - the decks get very quite when ashore and during lunch. The water slide is pretty cool, and the jacuzzi was fun too, although kids were uncontrolled, and were jumping the queue to the water slide, or jumping wildly in the jacuzzi. Could have been just the group of kids on our cruise though :) However the crew did nothing to prevent it happening. Excursions were either pre-booked or else there was usually a help-desk at port to help the individual travellers. Usually offering some money-saving advice too, like purchasing the day-card in Rome (Civitavecchia) and taking the public shuttle (rather than the Costa shuttle) in Barcelona! Midnight buffets were especially spectacular. Ice sculptures, carved fruit, staff entertaining .. each night was an event by itself. This was mainly on the deck on the 9th floor. Apart from this, the Stardust theater had a performance nightly - some were absolutely fantastic events, but other nights can only be classified as amateurish. It was all good entertainment, however. On the 'good' nights the place gets crowded, with people even sitting on the stairs and standing all around. After midnight, two areas were heavily attended: The Rhapsody bar with dancing for the older generation, and the Fever disco for the younger generation. On some nights there were parties on the 9th floor in front of the massive screen, with animators leading the way. Incidentally, the animators had an excellent control of english, but this varies in the ship. A large percentage of the crew are either from the Philippines or possibly Brazilian, so both English and Italian were not their native language! The Playstation area was a disappointment, since the consoles were there but you needed to somehow purchase the games to play. On the other hand, the F1 simulator was great. Although it was not as realistic as promised, since there was no 'manual' mode, it was great fun. Euro 10 gets you the sample 3 minute ride, then Euro 20 gets you into the feel of racing. Excellent fun, and the feel of the full-sized car is incredible. Overall, a cruise to remember and recommend! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
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