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8 Costa Mediterranea Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Baltic Sea

We had used Costa once and were not very pleased, the only reason we chose it again is because it was the only cruise that we found that would go to Norway on the dates we had available. The ports of call were spectacular, enjoyed the ... Read More
We had used Costa once and were not very pleased, the only reason we chose it again is because it was the only cruise that we found that would go to Norway on the dates we had available. The ports of call were spectacular, enjoyed the views, the fjords, nature, falls and train rides. It was a multicultural experience with people from a lot of nationalities. The food was average, being vegetarian, I had usually one option on the menu. On our last cruise with Costa, in South America, the pasta was superb, so I was looking forward to that, but was very disappointed. The menu was very weird. They need an italian chef to bring good pasta. Going to the buffet was a challenge for me because I had a walking disability and used a cane, and you had a station for fruit, another for salads, for deserts, for water, and for hot foods. So there was a lot of walking, and it was usually crowded and hard to find a place to sit. One day I felt like eating pizza and found out that they charge for pizza! and also for ice cream! (which was a free option when we cruised with Costa before) Being from USA we were not charged for water, but the rest of the passengers had to pay. Our server for dinner was I Nyoman Darsana from Indonesia. Great person, very polite and courteous. The programming was average. The best shows were the acrobatics and Mimes. The room cleanliness was average. The carpet was stained and needs to be cleaned (room 4181) The sheets and towels in general seemed old and grayish colored. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
I do not normally write a review on cruises. I do always rely on my other half to do this. I have read so many bad and negative reviews about Costa which I was not very keen to sail with them this time. I have traveled a lol, done so ... Read More
I do not normally write a review on cruises. I do always rely on my other half to do this. I have read so many bad and negative reviews about Costa which I was not very keen to sail with them this time. I have traveled a lol, done so many cruises with Royal, Azamara, Cunard, Princess and so on. You just imagine how well they are by name. So I was quite worried to embark on Costa Mediterranea due to my experience with the best ones on the sea. I cannot praise to anyone to give a go, to try it at least once. It was amazing. We sailed this month and we went to the Norwegian Fjords. The ship was glizzy, beautiful though. It's like a Las Vegas Hotel if we want to compare to something. It's not new but no old at all. It has got that sparkle which it makes everything good to be on. We were for 10 days and we enjoyed everyday. We are definitely going back again. Also we have found out that Costa had a free shuttle from Amsterdam (from a station to the port, which no so many cruise liners do that.... On the other hand I just would like to pointing out few things.... We do feel citizens of the world, Costa is a multicultural environment and of course we do not expect everyone to speak with the same accent or this perfect English. Sometimes demand is it perhaps we do want this or that in our own way? Why cruiser just accept what it is without making huge fuss? The only problem is some the passenger itself which they do not know what it does mean respect. To be honest criticize and write a bad review to a cruise company is easy but sometimes we should ourselves understand why sometimes things don't go how we want. Perhaps we expect too much, we treat badly those people who are really working hard on board for us. Just be nice, try to see yourself on the other side and just think how you would like to be treated, perhaps your perception will change a bit. I can't personally knock anything down. It's us we should respect each other when traveling. That's my personal opinion. If you don't like it then you can go with Silversea, Seabourne, Oceania where you pay a high standard rate and you get what you really want. Sorry to be harsh but we just need to stop winging and criticise everything. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Yes, It Can be Sweet in a Costa Suite We are recently back from a nine day Costa Mediterranea cruise to the Norwegian fjords. We typically sail HAL, Celebrity, or RCI and usually in a balcony cabin. To be honest, the reviews have kept ... Read More
Yes, It Can be Sweet in a Costa Suite We are recently back from a nine day Costa Mediterranea cruise to the Norwegian fjords. We typically sail HAL, Celebrity, or RCI and usually in a balcony cabin. To be honest, the reviews have kept me away from considering Costa. This time we were traveling with another couple and were looking for an itinerary that departed from and returned to Amsterdam. Costa fit the bill. We booked this cruise less than two months out due to a last minute change in plans. As this cruise was a few days shorter we were able to book a suite for about the same price as our balcony cabin on the other line. If you enjoy traveling to Europe and the pricing is within your budget, sailing in a Costa suite will be a very similar experience to the other lines I have mentioned. It could even be better if you don’t usually book a suite. Embarkation in Amsterdam We arrived around 12:30 and check-in took about 20 minutes. We had one family member with mobility issues so the combination of this along with priority boarding sped things along. We then took the lift up to Deck 9 for lunch in the buffet. When we arrived in our cabin an hour later our luggage had been delivered and the security video was playing on the TV in anticipation of the muster drill, which would be held before our late afternoon sail away. Cabin Our cabin was a corner aft on deck four. The layout consisted of a sofa and desk area, a dressing area with walk-in closet, the attractively tiled bathroom had dual sinks and combo tub/shower with sliding door, and the bedroom was adjacent to that with its own TV and drawer space. We found the bed comfortable. The huge balcony had two chairs with footstools as well as two loungers and small table to hold your drinks, snacks, phone etc. Décor colors in the room were a bit retro but I loved the small Murano lamps. Plenty of storage space, a safe, and frig also. The non-alcohol mini bar and bottled water are one of your amenities. Demographics No worries if you only speak English as the hard working staff were multi-lingual. Italian was the primary language followed by English, French, and German. We didn’t feel it was that tedious for announcements but you can appreciate the effort made for entertaining everyone! On this sailing there were mostly Europeans, and though many also spoke English, aside from the staff you didn’t hear a lot of English spoken among the guests. Don’t let that deter you as the daily “Diario di Bordo,” menu, and signage are also offered in multiple languages. Food & Drink I attribute our positive cruise experience to two perks included in our Costa suite amenities, the Intenditore drink package and the Medusa (suite) restaurant where suite guests can eat B-L-D. This doesn’t mean you can’t grab a burger in the buffet at lunchtime or order room service. We were able to get coffee, water, a cocktail, or glass of wine /beer anytime we wanted from the bars or at meal time in the rstaurants. We found the food in the suite restaurant to be quite good and except for a few sugary cocktails were never disappointed in our drinks. The Medusa Restaurant was for suite guests but could also be purchased as a dinner package for other guests, though suite guests would get priority seating. We usually arrived for dinner around seven and never had to wait or make a reservation. There are no other specialty restaurants on this ship. The space held about 100 people and had a variety of table configurations. Each night featured choices from a particular region of Italy. A copy of the Medusa menu was delivered ahead of time to your room. It was a four course meal but that can be filling so we started to order two of the “primi” courses for the table to share among the four of us and that worked well. Food is always subjective but the consensus among us was that the seafood, pork, or lamb were always very good. The steak, which was an option every night, was not so tender. There was also a “Chef’s Choice” menu option that you could order or swap around for some of the a la carte choices. Wine by the glass was part of our drink package and there were a few that we particularly liked. We often would pair a different wine with a different course so a benefit of “by the glass.” There were also vegetarian food options offered each night. Sufficient staff made it a pleasure to have a relaxing dinner. We usually chose the Medusa restaurant for breakfast and one day for lunch. There is a cold buffet station as well as a pastry table in addition to ordering hot choices off the menu. The food is quite good but hope you aren’t in a hurry! The hold up appeared to be on the kitchen end not in the dining room. We did have lunch in the Perla del Lago buffet restaurant a few times. My favorite was to select ham, cheese, and choice of bread and build your own sandwich. There were also a variety of salads, pizza, and burgers. Lunch is served noon-2:30 pm. Between 4-5 pm the Perla del Lago opens for “La Merenda” or afternoon snack. You will find people cueing up for little sandwiches and pastries. If you aren’t eating in the Medusa restaurant for dinner, the Main Dining Room seating is either 6:15 pm or 9pm. Between 7pm-1am you can purchase a higher quality burger or pizza in the designated section of the La Perla buffet restaurant. The informal dinner option is in the buffet restaurant on deck 9 between 7-8:30pm. Crepes are also available for purchase between 10pm-midnight. The bars are open late, midnight and some beyond. A lot of the reviews I’ve read are filled with complaints about the food, paying for water, not having coffee available etc. I think a “must do” item is to clip the sunshine yellow “Buon Appetito” guide in the daily “Diario” and keep it handy until you sort where and when the meals are available. There are many options but limited timing so you don’t want to be disappointed. Having the premium drink package included avoided really simplified things. Life on Board If you have cruised before you know what your expectations are. I will just mention a few things that stood out for me. We were cruising at the end of summer so you knew children would be onboard. There is the Squok Club to keep them entertained. This was also a colder climate so not everyone was in the pool and there were no chair hogs. The ship is lively. At night there were multiple venues with live music. The dance floor was actually a good size for a ship. In fact, as we were getting off a dance workshop group was getting ready to board. Drink service was adequate but they weren’t pestering you if you just wanted to sit and listen for a bit. Photographers were around taking pictures but they were less intrusive and didn’t pester you to buy. A few of ours actually came out nice and we did buy them with a package that also included the digital version. We had a minor issue with our club number and they fixed it on the spot! Room service was on time and nothing missing. Tender tickets were given out the day before saving time the day of. This is an older ship so didn’t have the specialty restaurants that are popular on newer chips. The spa had treatment rooms but not much space for relaxing around the whirlpool. The gym had a variety of equipment. The theater was nice and we went to a couple of shows which were good. We were invited to a wine tasting which was fun to do on a sea day and they even served grapes and cheese to go along. There also was a large attractive game room area that was popular with people playing board games, cards, etc. Accessibility As I mentioned earlier, a family member had mobility problems. We booked too late to get an accessible room. We booked a Panoramic Suite and were able to accommodate both a mobility scooter from Special Needs at Sea, wheelchair, and walker in the cabin. As the tub was fairly deep, we inquired with our attendant if they had a step to assist getting in the tub. The next day we were given a two foot long step that served the purpose. Getting ashore on the two tender stops was also possible with the help of the crew lifting the wheelchair onto the tender and our fortune of having calm seas. Ports-our intent was for relaxing port visits rather than action packed Bergen-able to get ashore with a mobility scooter; docked in Jekteviken close enough to town to walk to cable car which also has a lift and allows for access to the top where there are shops and a café. Olden-Tender, very scenic; spent time taking photos Andalsnes-able to go onshore with mobility scooter. This was also scenic but not a lot to do unless you plan an excursion. We walked along the lake; The train station is very near where the ship docked and is accessible for wheelchairs and smaller mobility scooters. Check the timetable for return. Geiranger-This was our second visit here. Able to get around with mobility scooter. Very scenic and great ice cream! Two of us walked up along the waterfall trail near where the ship is docked. Great photo ops. Look for the goats nearby! There is also a very nice artist’s studio, Geiranger Gallery, between the waterfall and the mainstreet . It is not clustered with the other tourist shops and cafes but set back a little on the left as you walk towards the fall. A nice choice of quality gifts, pottery, and glass objects. Stavanger-One of my favorite port stops; Visit the old section of town where the white houses are. We were docked nearby. The streets are quite steep so not accessible with a mobility scooter and would be difficult with a wheelchair. If you can walk up, after you visit the white houses continue to walk to Breidablikk Mansion on Eiganesveien, 40A. It is about a 25 minute walk through a beautiful neighborhood to see this well preserved home with most of the original furnishings. Your ticket will than allow you to enter many of the other small museums in town for either half price or less. Back in the town center the walkways are flat. You will find the Stavanger Cathedral here and a large shopping area. Bremerhaven-a brief stop to disembark and embark some passengers. It was a Sunday morning and rainy so stayed onboard. There was a shuttle available for €12 r/t to the center of town about 4.5 km away. Tickets must be purchased on the ship at the kiosks or Hospitality Desk. Maximum waiting time was 40 minutes. Disembarkation- Your cabin must be vacated by 8am but you could still enjoy breakfast at the appropriate restaurant, in our case the Medusa Restaurant. There was also a hand luggage deposit for you to use so you didn’t have to bring everything with you to breakfast. After breakfast we left the ship and retrieved our luggage in the Customs Hall in Amsterdam. In summary, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with my Costa Cruise experience. It definitely was value for money in this category. Their shorter itineraries to different ports could work for us and I am interested to try some of their newer, larger ships. But, I would probably only do so with the Intenditore Drink Package, access to a smaller restaurant venue and not the MDR……fingers crossed for a sweet, suite deal! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Let me just start by saying this: if Costa cruise line offered me an all expenses paid cruise to any of their destinations, I wouldn't take it. Costa is H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E. If you haven't booked them yet, please trust me and save ... Read More
Let me just start by saying this: if Costa cruise line offered me an all expenses paid cruise to any of their destinations, I wouldn't take it. Costa is H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E. If you haven't booked them yet, please trust me and save your money. I am on the ship right now as I type. I simply couldn't wait until I got home to do this review because I am so angry and disappointed. We are so miserable and unhappy on this ship that we hardly enjoy the cities once we arrive. Mostly lousy food, terribly uncomfortable and dirty accommodations make for a stressful, awful vacation.  We are seriously considering getting off at the next port and heading home from Hamburg instead of Amsterdam, which is where the cruise ends. Our first impression of the ship (Mediterranea) was that the outside looked tired and dingy. The check-in process was very hectic, disorganized and chaotic. The hallway carpet is absolutely filthy, with clearly visible dirt and stains. The carpet in our room is completely disgusting, to the point where we dare not walk around without shoes. The ship's decor in the public areas is VERY cheap looking, gaudy and dated. We booked a 7-day cruise in a 3 person cabin. It is decorated in colors of the 1980's - light peach, mauve and turquoise.  The bedding is very minimal: one thin comforter, no flat sheet. So, if you get hot at night and only need a light covering, too bad. All you get is a comforter. The extra blankets they provided are very old and worn, they smell awful, and they have rips and tears in them. One extra blanket actually has a huge, yellow stain. I have no idea what it is but it looks like urine. This ship is in DESPERATE need of updating/renovation and of a deep, thorough cleaning. The beds are extremely, ridiculously firm (like nothing I've ever felt, like sleeping on wood) so we can barely get up each morning as we are aching all over, in pain from the awful beds. Food in the buffett is mediocre and it is THE SAME EVERY DAY! Sure, you might have mashed potatoes one day then sliced, roasted potatoes the next but there is very little change to the menu, for breakfast and for dinner. The meats are pretty much always overcooked, and most food items are luke warm, rarely piping hot. Very limited desserts at the buffet...one day, there were only two choices! The waiters/waitresses walk around like unhappy zombies, never smiling and interacting with passengers grudingly and with zero enthusiasm. And  most of the employees in other areas are snarky, rude, barely tolerant and blatantly disrespectful to passengers. If you dont purchase a drink package of any kind, all you get to drink is water, except at breakfast and at "tea time", which is from 4-5p daily. At breakfast, you get unlimited juice, coffee and tea and at tea time, you get coffee and tea, no juice. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy water. We considered buying a drink package until I figured out that the cheapest, non-alchoholic drink package is like €69 (approximately $77 per person USD), and you only get a total of 20 drinks per person for the whole 7-days! That amounts to about $3.85 per drink. That is a total ripoff. So, in our luggage, we brought empty, leakproof plastic bottles from home (Dollar Tree) and fill them with juice at breakfast every morning. We dont let the waiters see us but it's pretty easy to do. Just fill the provided cups with juice (pineapple, grapefruit, orange and apple), bring them to your table, and when the waiter isnt looking, fill your container. There is a little refrigerator in the room so we kept it in there. Had we known, we would have also brought a thermos for hot water or coffee, so we could have it later in the day, without having to pay for it. I'm only giving this advice to those who've already booked and will lose money if they cancel. Otherwise, JUST DON'T BOOK ANY CRUISE ON COSTA!!!! They nickel and dime you for everything! For example, ice cream isn't free on Costa...you have to pay extra for it. The restaurants and buffets completely close down for hours and, unless you pay, there is nothing to eat until they open back up or you are willing to pay for the pizza station or something else that remains open. The buffet closes at 9 or 10 at night and doesn't reopen until 7am! It also closes for some hours before opening back up for dinner. There is nothing for my 12-year old son to do. There are stand alone activities here and there (a lot of them you must pay extra for, like playing Xbox games and air hockey), but no actual kids' club for his age range. There is no movie theater and the shows are kitschy, amateurish and just not well done. At port, they charge you to take a bus into the city center. Yesterday, we arrived into LeHavre, France and were told that it would cost €13 ($15 or so USD) roundtrip, per person to take the Costa provided shuttle to the city center. Turns out the ride is literally about 4 minutes! We opted to walk (for free) and it only took about 20 minutes. The library was closed during prime daylight hours on our day at sea, so my son (who'd run out of his own books to read) had to sit and do nothing. We went to the library 4 or 5 times, at different times of day, and although the room was open, all of the books were locked away. This cruise is BOOOOORRRRIIIIINNNNNGGGG. I could go on writing for hours about how awful this cruise is but suffice it to say: Celebrity is world's above Costa, absolute perfection from beginning to end. They make a laughingstock of Costa...there is absolutely no comparision. Save your money and book pretty much any other cruise line but Costa. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The ship sailed from a different port in Amsterdam than all the other ships. Many people went to the wrong port on embarkation day and had to take a 40 Euro Uber ride to the correct port. The itinerary was good with long days in port. The ... Read More
The ship sailed from a different port in Amsterdam than all the other ships. Many people went to the wrong port on embarkation day and had to take a 40 Euro Uber ride to the correct port. The itinerary was good with long days in port. The dining options were VERY limited. There were times that all the restaurants & buffets were closed. Not even coffee or Ice Cream machine. When they were open there was not a good selection in the buffet.... a lot of repeat items and the staff actually scooped it out for you so that you didn't take too much. The quality and flavors of the food was not very great. The beer & wine package during lunch & dinner was limited to very cheap quality. The spa only had 4 lounge chairs and the packages were double the price of normal. The room was clean but showing age. The shows were not memorable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Crew and staff are very nice and all the Port excursions are well organised in different languages. Food is very good , especially Italian food, Entertainment is awesome during the cruise. Cabin comfort is good although it was an ... Read More
Crew and staff are very nice and all the Port excursions are well organised in different languages. Food is very good , especially Italian food, Entertainment is awesome during the cruise. Cabin comfort is good although it was an inside cabin, next time it will be one with a balcony. Overall the cruise exceed my expectation. Looking forward for the next one in the Mediterranean next year. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This cruise was chosen by Altius Insurance Cyprus (my husband work in this company) as a reward. It was my first cruise, but definitely I will do it again!!! The ship was so clean, nice odor, you could smell the cleaning odors ... Read More
This cruise was chosen by Altius Insurance Cyprus (my husband work in this company) as a reward. It was my first cruise, but definitely I will do it again!!! The ship was so clean, nice odor, you could smell the cleaning odors everywhere. We had cabin 6109. The service was amazing. The man that was cleaning our cabin was so polite. The dining on the second deck was amazing. I was wondering how they could serve so tasty food to thousand people "a la carte". The waiters were amazing...so polite! What impressed me the most was the guy and the team in charge with the entertainment!! I remember his name! Louis...was everywhere...dancing...singing... presenting...amazing humor and energy! But what amazed me the most was the assistant bar manager: Pantelis Zoografos! What a personality! I am a marketer and maybe I evaluate different than other people but his eyes were everywhere, ready to offer his services, to say a joke or to say something nice! Make me wonder if this man was born for this job or maybe the job was invented for him!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
My wife and I decided to cruise on Costa for the first time for our Baltics cruise. The Costa Mediterrania had an itinerary we really liked and the cost for a balcony cabin was reasonable. We had read mixed reviews for Costa, but wanted a ... Read More
My wife and I decided to cruise on Costa for the first time for our Baltics cruise. The Costa Mediterrania had an itinerary we really liked and the cost for a balcony cabin was reasonable. We had read mixed reviews for Costa, but wanted a more European versus American experience with this cruise. We figured we were really cruising for the itinerary and not the ship. We had a 10 night Baltic cruise with 8 ports of call including embarking and disembarking in Copenhagen starting on September 2nd. It was a port intensive itinerary with only 1 day at sea. I have broken our review of the cruise into the categories below followed by the ports of call. Embarkation Embarking the ship was truly a fascination to watch. Costa is cruising Italian style and this was clearly shown with the embarkation process. The best way to try and describe it is "Organized Chaos." When we arrived to check in, we were given a group number. You do not check in as you arrive. Once our group number was called, everyone in that group herded through a corded off line up to about 4 check-in attendants. The group sizes appeared to be 150 to 200 people. It was over 1.5 hours from the time we arrived at port until we were on the ship. When you enter the ship, they take your photo for your cruise card and then you can go to your cabin. Our cruise cards and luggage was waiting for us in the cabin. Overall, the check-in process seemed very disorganized until you boarded the ship. The Ship The Costa Mediterrania is a very beautiful ship. Very Italian in decor with Murano glass in the main hall areas. Some of the colors are quite loud in the main hall, but overall the ship is very nicely decorated. There are several lounges throughout the ship for drinks. There were 2 pool areas and a waterslide. The hot tubs were supposed to be restricted to 16 and older, but we always saw children in the hot tubs anyway. Dining The ship had the main dining room, the buffet area, an upscale restaurant, and a pizzeria. They also would have buffets in different lounges and in the pool area at certain times. We dined in the main dining room every evening. For breakfast and lunch we split between the main dining room and the buffet. The buffet was the usual fare along with egg stations for breakfast and pasta stations for lunch. There were also tables for fresh fruit as well. The pasta stations and pizzeria were quite good. We enjoyed the food in the main dining room very much. It was interesting to try different dishes and we liked everything we tried. Our waiters were very friendly and fun. Sometimes service can be slow, but I think this is due to how Europeans dine as compared to how Americans dine. But we were usually done with dinner within an hour and a half. Drinks We had the X1 package with unlimited house wine, beer, soda and bottled water during lunch and dinner. The house wines were Italian and very good. We would enjoy a bottle or two with dinner. Drinks in the lounges are a little expensive with the dollar to euro exchange rate. However, they would have the drink of the day special and 2-for-1 specials as well. Entertainment We only went to a couple shows as we were exhausted from being in port all day. We went to the first show that had a piano and violin duet and to the Russian folklore dancers. We did enjoy the two shows we saw. Excursions We did not participant on any ship excursions. We did all of the ports ourselves and had private tours in St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Gdansk. We did take the ship's shuttle in Riga as we docked 15km from the old town area and in Travemunde as we docked in a secure area and could only leave by shuttle. Staff The staff was nice and our English speaking hostess, Melissa, was great. Since we prepared before the trip with info on our ports of call, we did not have much need to interact with the staff with many questions. We only went to the Guest Services desk a couple times with quick questions and were treated nicely. We would also ask some questions to the port and shopping guide, Andrea, to find out which berth we were docking in to prepare our day. One thing we did notice compared to other cruise lines we have been on is that the staff does not bombard you with sales pitches for drinks, collector glasses, etc. If you are in the pool area or setting in a lounge, a server will stop by and ask if you need anything. If you don't then they leave you alone until you call them over. We liked this because on other cruise lines we sometimes felt like we were always being hit up to buy something. Communication Every day you would get a newsletter with all of the activities for that day and port information. They did not announce the activities over the intercom. We found this refreshing compared to other cruises where they were announcing some activity every few minutes. The lifeboat drill was the afternoon of the first full day as it was our sea day. This did take some time as the announcement is done in several languages. However it only took about 30 minutes and did pass quickly. Disembarkation Compared to the embarkation process, disembarking was really smooth. We were given color-coded luggage labels the evening before disembarkation. We then set our luggage outside the cabin for collection. The daily newsletter tells you which lounge or theatre to wait with an approximate time for your color to be called. When our color was called, we walked off the ship, right to our luggage, and out the door. It was very quick and easy. Overall We enjoyed the cruise and the ship very much. It was nice to try something different and have a different experience. There were times that some passengers could be a little rude, but we did not experience this much. We also enjoyed that they were not always trying to sell you something when you are trying to just relax in a chair by the pool or sitting in a lounge. Then main thing we feel they need improvement is in their embarkation process. The X1 package is a great deal if you like to drink wine for dinner and have beer or wine for lunch. Ports of Call Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm was our first port of call. We ended up docking in Stadsgarden near the old town instead of Frihammen. This worked better as we could just use the hop-on-hop-off boat to get around instead of taking a bus from Frihammen. We met up with another couple from the ship and went to the Vasa Museum first. This museum is dedicated to the Swedish Man of War, Vasa, as it sank in the harbor on its maiden voyage in 1625. It is a very impressive museum built around the recovered ship and a must see in my opinion. The ship itself is well preserved and quite large. They also have several artifacts from the ship on display as well. We then went over to Gamla Stan, the old town. We spent our time walking around the old town, shopping, and had lunch in a nice little cafe. We then walked by the town hall and over to Nybrokajen to get on the hop-on-hop-off boat back to our cruise ship. Stockholm is a very beautiful city and we enjoyed it. Helsinki, Finland Helsinki was our second port of call. We docked in Lansikartta, which is a little distance from the city center. There was a tourist information center at the dock and we purchased a 1 day transport card for all public transportation. One block from the dock is a public bus stop for buses 14B and 16 into the city center. We caught the number 16 bus into the city center and it dropped us off near the market square. We walked down to the public ferry port there to catch the ferry to Suomenlinna Fortress. The ferry was included in our 1 day pass. We walked around Suomenlinna for a couple hours or so. It is a well preserved fortress on an island a few minutes from the city center by ferry. We then headed back to the city center and had lunch in the market square. We then hopped onto the tram 3T and rode out to the Rock Church. This is a unique circular church blasted into pure rock. The inside was really intriguing and the acoustics inside are incredible. We then used the metro to go to Senate Square. After that we saw the Russian Cathedral and went back down to the market square to look around before catching the number 16 bus back to the ship. Helsinki was a nice surprise as we were able to leisurely take in the sights. St. Petersburg, Russia St. Petersburg was our third port of call and we were there overnight for 2 days. We had arranged a 2 day private tour with Anna at http://www.petersburgguide.com/. She is a licensed tour guide and capable of providing the "blanket visa" for cruise ship passengers so that you do not need to get a Russian visa. We preferred this option versus the ship's excursions because we could see more sights, not be herded around in a large group and have more control over our itinerary. Our ship docked at the new cruise ship terminal. The new terminal is very modern and efficient. Costa did not hamper or discourage in any way the disembarking of independent or private tour passengers. Costa did ask us to show our tour ticket with Anna to ensure we had a private tour arranged, but that was all. We were off the ship and through Russian immigration within 5 to 10 minutes. Thank you Costa for not harassing private tour passengers in St. Petersburg as some other cruise lines had been doing. We had a packed first day on our itinerary. Our guide's name was Ina and our driver's name was Sergei. From the cruise ship we stopped at St. Isaac's Cathedral on our way to Peterhof, the summer palace. At Peterhof, we toured the gardens and watched as they turned on all the fountains. We then toured through the palace. Ina took us through the rooms narrating each as we passed. She also explained how the palace was destroyed in WW2 and completely rebuilt. We then drove back to St. Petersburg and then took the metro to see some of the richly decorated metro stations. We then stopped at a Russian pie shop for lunch. Ina explained that this type of fare was left over from the Soviet era and very tasty. The pies were filled with meat, salmon, mushrooms and different fruits. We then headed over to the Winter Palace and The Hermitage. We toured the Winter Palace and Hermitage for a couple hours. The architecture and works of art at the Hermitage were incredible. After that, we proceeded to the Church of the Split Blood. This church was built on the spot where Alexander II was assassinated. The inside was decorated with amazing and colorful mosaics. Our last stop of the day was a farmer's market. Our second day was a little more relaxing. We traveled from the ship to Tsarskoye Selo to see Catherine's Palace. We toured through the palace and the Amber Room. Such a shame it was ransacked in WW2. We then toured the gardens outside the palace before heading back to St. Petersburg. For lunch, Ina took us to a local Russian Brewhouse where she would go with friends and colleagues. After this we went to the Peter and Paul Fortress. We toured the fortress, Peter and Paul Cathedral and the prison. After this we shopped for souvenirs before heading back to the ship. St. Petersburg was the highlight of the cruise for us and we really got to fully enjoy the city with a private tour. Tallinn, Estonia Tallinn was our forth port of call. It has an incredible medieval old town that is well preserved. We had arranged a private guide ahead of time for our own walking tour. A few people from the ship joined in with us also. Anne was our guide and she met us at the port. We walked from the port to the old town. It is a short walk and only took about 10 to 15 minutes. She took us through the lesser and upper towns explaining the history and architecture. She was also able to give us insight to the Soviet occupation and revolution. After our tour we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the old town. Tallinn is a hidden gem on the Baltic itinerary. Riga, Latvia Riga was our fifth port of call. One of the reasons we chose this itinerary was because it did stop in Riga. We docked about 15km outside the city center, so we took the Costa shuttle into the city. We started at the tourist information office and got a map of walking tours. We then found a guide in the square advertising a walking tour of the old town area for 5LATS ($10, 7 Euro) per person. We were with another couple and we decided to hire him for a tour. He took us throughout old town explaining the sights, architecture, history and cathedrals. He was a history major and very informative. We then did our own walking tour of the Art Nuevo area just outside of the old town following the map from the TI office. We then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping and walking around the old town before catching the shuttle back to the ship. Riga is charming and looks like a fun place to visit. Gdynia, Poland Gdynia was our sixth port of call. This is the port for the tri-city area of Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk. We had arranged a private tour ahead of time and another couple from the ship joined us. Our guide, Magda, picked us up at the port and we headed out for Gdansk. Along the way we stopped at the Olive Cathedral. Gdansk has a colorful old town area that was completely rebuilt after WW2. Magda took us around the old town highlighting the most important points as our time in port was only half a day. We also did some amber shopping and had coffee at a cafe. We then drove to Sopot and when to the pier. This is the longest wooden pier in Europe. We then headed back to the ship. We wished we had more time to spend in Gdansk as we liked strolling around the old town. Travemunde, Germany Travemunde was our seventh port of call. It is a small seaside resort town in Germany. Since we docked in a secure port area, we had to take the Costa shuttle into town. From there we caught the train to Lubeck. Lubeck is an UNESCO World Heritage site for its medieval old town. We just spent our time walking around the old town, shopping and eating lunch in the square. We just wanted to relax at this stop. We then took the train back to Travemunde and walked around there for a while before heading back to the ship. It was a nice and relaxing stop before disembarking the next day. Copenhagen, Denmark Copenhagen was our eighth port of call and our disembarkation stop. We disembarked and a friend of ours there picked us up. We stayed with friends for a couple days as we toured the city. It is an easy city to walk and very enjoyable. We enjoyed our time and it was good to see our friends again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Costa Mediterranea Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.4
Enrichment 1.0 2.9
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.9

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