My review is written in 2 sections for reasons that will become apparent. I'm reviewing the service and food etc, then an incident that had a major impact on our trip.
This is our 5th Costa cruise. Despite what is written by others we have always had a great holiday. Yes, there are issues, things aren't quite what is expected, the management are surly and short (not height!), but that happens with many holidays, not just cruises. And perhaps many things are down to language differences.
Booked this a month after the last one, in November last year. Got an excellent price and the Euro was cheap. We book it with a travel agent in Italy and got on board credit as well.
Was looking to get an outside cabin, I am aware that on Mediterranea the outside are behind the life boats, but they are like a balcony. Sliding door and all. But....they are categorised as Classic and for breakfast and room service, we need Premium! The price of a premium Balcony was too good to miss.
We flew Ryanair to Treviso the night before, after school finished! Got there around 22:30. Stayed opposite the airport. It always amazes me that here in UK we have such tight security around airports but in some European destinations, the terminal is doors off the main highway!
We walked across the road to the (cheap) hotel. (Reviewed as are many things from the cruise, on Trip Advisor).
Up next morning, breakfast on the street looking in the terminal and waited for our transfer. With smallish kids and luggage for 12 days, (we were staying on after the cruise), I couldn't face bus and train. Transfer arrived on time and we were in Venice at 10:30 at the terminal.
Boarding was from 14:30 so we left the bags and went into Venice for a walk around. Many must have done this as were given a boarding number, 4, to present on our return.
Took the boat ferry bus to Venice, that's not cheap! Enjoyed our walk around, bought a few bits, were amazed at the amount of water traffic. Headed back from a different ferry bus stop as we walked so far! And had our first Ice Cream!!!
Back at the terminal for 15:00 and we were on the ship in about 15 minutes. It was busy but with the number 4, we were waved through. First stop lunch.
Then the cabin, it that was made up for 4. Standard Costa cabin, room enough for us but mental note that as the children get bigger, we might need 2 cabins...... We were one person short this year as the eldest decided at 18 not to come with us.......or we would have had 2.
The Mediterranea is decorated out in an amazing fashion. Its surreal!! I think its the best Costa ship so far. Has to be seen to be believed. Odd figures dotted around everywhere, very Gothic. Very over the top...typical Costa and thats why we go!
Now here is one controversial bit. We usually go all inclusive drinks. But this time my wife said lets not...lets get the packages for soft drinks and water. buy anything else. Have to confess, we aren't big drinkers and we would drink more because it was included! But we didn't need a bottle of wine a day....etc. I was sceptical. I didn't want to worry about drinks but she won the argument so we purchased 40 soft drinks around 110 Euro i think and 15 bottles of water 35 Euro i think. If we needed more water we could fill up at the dispensers, Ice in the room from room service.
We had asked for early dining, but found our cards said late. So we went to the dining room and the man in charge looked at the girls and adjusted it with no problem. Last time we had to join a throng and wait for hours......
Food at dinner was as always, great. Lots of choice. Except for the children. The childrens menu is a little restricted, but saying that, the 7 yr old always found something in combination with the main menu. The 10 yr old ate from the main menu each night, always enjoyed it.
And this is where I started to see, my wife may be right not going all inclusive. Each night there was a wine special. Generally half price. So I bought a bottle every other night, drank half and the rest was waiting for me next day. Bottle of fizzy water and still plus soft drinks. Take the water away if any left. I was also surprised that the kids started to request water not soft drinks!
But no ice cream for desert. Ridiculous, no ice cream for the children's menu. A cost saving too far.
So our first day was perfect. Good and everyone was as always, very attentive.
Woke up in Trieste. This place is so close to Venice I find it an odd choice for next day. I think we could have been there in a n hour or 2....but if you look at the route we take, we go out into the gulf and meander around for a while!!! Then into Trieste.
Ship docked in town. Walked through town, more ice cream, stopped and watched a wedding party, made our way to the Tram up the hill. Nice trip, interesting rife, great views. Had lunch at the town and made our way back to the ship to walk along the waterfront, looking at jelly fish in the water. Nice stop.
We always dress for dinner....its a tradition, off we went, had another good meal.
Woke in Split where we had arranged a private tour with bike tour and sea kayaking. Had a great day, picnic lunch on the way, did many firsts!
Normal routine in the evening, dinner, cocktails, some non alco others normal, show, walk around, outside, then bed about 11.
Kotor next, again ship docks in town, I mean right in town! Not here long, so walked in old town, coffee, ice cream, shopped. Back on for lunch and off we go. Very scenic sail out, sat on deck as the girls were swimming and wife baking, this really is the life!
It was on this night there was a very strange and unfortunate incident. Not the crew who were looking after us, but the officers and Captain. It made the rest of the cruise a bit difficult but I will list it after this and scoot over the rest of the cruise.
Katakolon, visited Olympia, walked off the ship and booked a local coach, 10 Euro, kids free. Interesting place!
Normal routine on the ship in the evening.
Corfu was a nice day, we walked to town, took about 20 minutes. Had lunch and just walked around seeing sights!
Dubrovnik we didn't get off, arrived early and away by lunch. Seemed a waste of a stop for the ship really. Nice to relax on board.
As we were independant, we got off the ship in Venice at around 11:30, had breakfast and snacks, then off to a beach holiday for a few days.
Couple of other comments.
The shows were typical Costa. Easy on the eye, just good all round stuff. The singing was a bit off, but hey, I'm on holiday and it was good to have dinner and a show, we saw them all except 1, when we felt we couldn't listen to the off notes any more!!! We knew what to expect from previous and got what we expected!
The room steward was nothing like the other cruises. We aren't early risers, rarely get cooked breakfast. (That's another bug bear, too early finish for cooked!). But he was knocking at 9 saying he needed us out to make up the room. I explained he couldn't as were still in it. So he looked at me as if I was mad! Off he would go....only to come back 10 minutes later....you have to go!!!! He got the message eventually, broke an ornament we purchased in Venice (he told us), no folded towels. I think he didn't like it! But I also don't think he is representative of cabin staff.
Now, the incident.
My children are very media aware. The study news at school and watch TV. They have watched disaster movies, have heard about the Concordia when everyone asks us what ship and we say Costa! The 7 yr old is a nervous cruiser...she thinks we might sink. The 10 yr old similar but lesser, age makes it better i think. They like to be in control!
So the first few days she is listening and looking....but eventually it goes away. Life boat drill is always trauma, lots of noise, lots of people. I don't think its done very well, as I am tall I am separated and put to the back of a line and they are small so they go to the front. They both cant be next to my wife. It needs done, I'm happy for that. I also sit them down and give them a brief about not leaning over...where we go....what to expect. That sorts it!
We left Kotor going to Katakolon. I showed them the map, its a straight line down the sea, nothing on our side of the ship, just water! Simple.
We went to bed at 23:00 as always and they were asleep in minutes. I leave the balcony door open to hear the sea and feel the breeze, the weather was still and calm. I dropped off about midnight.
At about 01:00 we were woken by the ships horn blasting. I knew that's not right, it jolted me awake and I guessed something was up for this in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. It is very loud. I decided to have a look outside, see what I could see. Imagine my horror to look out on the balcony to see a cliff. It seemed only a few hundred metres away. I looked down and could see we were making way forward, and at that moment the emergency sound went off in the cabin and throughout the ship. Go to lifeboat station. The ships horn continued to blast, the go to muster stations alert was sounding. Its piercing as it needs to be. By now the children were distressed. That's an understatement. I actually thought we should be far out to sea, we had come in and were about to go aground. I grabbed the life jackets, put them on the kids, looked outside the cabin and others were on there way.
Just as I managed to get them sorted, the sounds stopped. Dead silence. Nothing. What should we do.
To try and see where we were I put the TV map on, far from being at sea we were in a narrow channel between mainland Greece and Corfu. I turned the forward camera on thinking perhaps a ship was in front of us, nothing.
People were now still in the corridor and faces were looking out the balcony railing on the ship. After 10 minutes, a voice, the off note singer, came on and said only in English it was a false alarm and good night. As you all know, Costa have many languages, English is usually 2nd or 3rd. So now, the very few English people knew something, but not the French, Germans, Italians.
After another 10 minutes, other languages came on one at a time. And they kept saying it for an hour or so as I don't think people believed them. Im not suggesting we were off course, they can sail any where they want, just I wasn't expecting it having looked at a map of a route. It seems they usually go between the many islands. But like I say, I nearly had a heart attack to look out and see in someones lounge.
We never heard another thing. No information about the cause, nobody wanted to talk about it. I asked officers when we saw them, which isn't often, they shrugged shoulders and walked away. It was like it was a dream, only it wasn't.
This incident caused our children to want to sleep in life jackets that night. It took a long time to get them to sleep, and each night after, was trauma to get them to sleep. Daylight was fine, Breakfast, lunch, swimming. All normal. It would start at dinner. Any strange sound, which you will get on a ship, any vibration out of the ordinary, they would start getting nervous. The dining room is right at the back of the ship, I have to say, there was more vibration and resonance than other ships we have been on, that would not help. And as soon as it was bed, the 7 yr old was terrified. I don't want to say it ruined the cruise, but the effect was devastating on all of us around her. Its not her fault, that's how she felt, she would eventually fall asleep and we would wake to her crying. And that never stopped until we got off. And my wife and I were helpless to give her confidence, there aren't many places to go in the middle of the sea. The 10 yr old was affected but not so much, but when the small one started it set her off too!
If we had been told what happened I think it would have helped. But the fact it was ignored was an error.
Interestingly she said that on previous cruises, the Captain has been seen in many different places, being kids they think he is the boss! They have always said hello to him and the Captains have been good enough to have conversations. This time no Captain anywhere. I believe he did go to the Costa Club evening for a quick picture, we didn't make it.
I think this is a mistake on Costa thinking. The Captain is a figurehead, they seem to be separating the hotel side as the main part of the trip, the ship is just a method of transport. No weather charts up as it always was, no route charts displayed as before. It seems they want to sell a hotel holiday.
So that's our cruise. A tale of 2 cruises. Would we go again, that depends, I have written to Costa and lets see their response. We are Pearl club members so they can see we cruise a lot with them, it would be a shame for this to ruin that relationship. Plus where would we go next..... Time will fade the memory for our children, and I love cruising! Read Less