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8 Costa neoRomantica Africa Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because we wanted to try a whole new destination for us. The cruise started in Port Louis, Mauritius and went on to Seychelles, Madagascar and Reunion before returning to Mauritius. Things started off well when we ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to try a whole new destination for us. The cruise started in Port Louis, Mauritius and went on to Seychelles, Madagascar and Reunion before returning to Mauritius. Things started off well when we saw the large cabin, but things went rapidly downwards when the cruise started. I'll start with the worst: The food. Every day, it's the same sad story. And it doesn't matter where you go. The "formal" restaurant on deck 8 serves the same food as the buffet on deck 10, only they bring it to your table and it's more aesthetically pleasing. We tried the "pay-Pizza restaurant" on deck 11. This pizza had less taste than the frozen pizza you buy at home for €3, so it was slightly better than the shameful thing they served in the complimentary restaurants. The "soup of the day" was occasionally decent. The free water often had a strong taste of chlorine. (I found that the water on deck 11 often was better). Service: Most of the staff are friendly and helpful, but when it comes to issues regarding money they turn quickly. If you paid for internet and it didn't work, don't go to the reception because they will only trash you for asking for your money back. It's a problem with the signal, not the ship. Entertainment: Well.. what can I say. It was poor. Very poor compared to what we got used to with Royal Caribbean. It was entertainment, but as long as someone takes their job seriously I don't know if it can possibly be worse than the entertainment on board that ship. The female singer(s) was unable to pronounce any words in English (but all singers has decent voices - however that's a minimum) The dancers knew how to more but the choreography was off off off. The songs the singers had to sing were mostly boring and dull, and there was no good or logical pattern in the shows. Activities: Didn't care to join as most of them were about dancing like animals, play some obscure variant of volleyball or learning how to dance. I hoped to play chess in the library, but when I came for the scheduled time for that event, there was no staff there to even unlock the locker where they had the chess board. Excursions: Costa is limited to what the visited places has to offer, and it was ok. We went on boat/hiking/beach excursions and they were all good experiences. Sum it up: Horrible food. It's disrespectful towards the Italian kitchen which I'm quite a fan of. Bad entertainment and activities. Decent service (as long as it's not about getting money back) and a nice cabin. I would recommend my friends and family to stay FAR AWAY from Costa. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
We boarded in Port Louis Mauritius for an Indian Ocean cruise. Itinerary was good - perhaps would have preferred an extra day in Reunion at the expense of one of the three days in Madagascan Ports. Staff/ crew were exemplary. The ship ... Read More
We boarded in Port Louis Mauritius for an Indian Ocean cruise. Itinerary was good - perhaps would have preferred an extra day in Reunion at the expense of one of the three days in Madagascan Ports. Staff/ crew were exemplary. The ship condition was good but equivalent to the 7 previous ships we had been on - it did not warrant the 'luxury' hype it was given. It had recently been extended and capacity increased. This was probably why it was free dining as opposed to the traditional two sittings. There were times that the restaurants could not cope - waits for tables were too long, waits for food were too long; we were served ice cream in warm bowls and food that should have been hot was tepid at best. I cannot remember the Gala Dinner. Another loss was the theatre. I completely disagree with a previous reviewer who thought the show lounge was an adequate replacement. It was not! It was actually on a thoroughfare to two other venues, it was too small, the sightlines were atrocious - an embarrassment to the high quality performers. The gym was [free!] and well equipped but it was too small. The ethos on board seemed to be to make as much money as possible - there were 9 opportunities each day to pay extra food, there was no 'free' food after 22:00, there was no midnight feast, tea coffee and water was not freely available [it should have been] Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We found the boarding process unlike any other cruise we have been on. You fill in a registration card on the dock and have your passports taken from you, passports are returned to you after a face to face interview with one of the many ... Read More
We found the boarding process unlike any other cruise we have been on. You fill in a registration card on the dock and have your passports taken from you, passports are returned to you after a face to face interview with one of the many immigration officials that come on board the ship the day before the cruise finishes. Then you have a photo taken and have to take your own luggage on board and leave it in one of the restaurants and collect it later and take it to the cabin yourself when the cabin is ready. Your key cards are on the bed in your unlocked cabin, it’s then your responsibility to swipe a credit card at one of 3 automated machines on board so that any spending onboard or excursions can be deducted from your credit card (we had issues with amounts being debited to our account that we did not spend and found these very hard to rectify even though you have to give the staff your “ship card” to be swiped in there terminals and sign for everything you purchase). Small very informal ship, very few people wear “formal clothes” in the evenings it’s rare to see a jacket, tie or evening dress. Many nationalities on board, announcements usually made in five or six languages, entertainment in many languages, all staff we encountered understood and spoke very good english. Food and drink on board good, service in restaurants excellent, free tea or coffee not available between 11am and 4pm even in dining rooms. Staff not allowed to serve tap water in main restaurants but tap water is available at all meals in the self service restaurants. Bottled water is €3.05 per litre. The cabin walls are paper thin and even low conversations can be overheard, opening and closing of drawers or toilet door, flushing toilet etc sounded loud. There are large grills in the external doors and any conversations or noise in the corridors outside can be heard clearly, all in all a very noisy ship to try to sleep or even rest on at times. Not many shaded/covered areas on the sun deck, this may sound silly but when it’s sunny and over 30c most days it would be nice to find a shaded spot for some of the day and when it’s raining be able to use a sun lounger under cover. Entertainment was a violin quartet, a pianist, a Peruvian sounding duo who I believe come from Paraguay, a man playing an electric organ, a dance band and the show team who put on several shows, single performers singing, a local group came on board in the Seychelles to perform and a magic show plus of course the late night disco. Vocals were in each of the five main languages. There is no theatre on this ship, there is a cabaret area but its not very large. Excursions were as usual on cruise ships very expensive, there were always many taxis waiting at the ports that offered similar trips for far less money and you could decide on the day whether to go on a trip or not depending on the weather. If you pay for a ships excursion and it’s raining or you are not feeling too well you cannot cancel or they may cut the trip short (for example not go to a beach etc) but there will be no refund. Most port towns we walked to or took the shuttle bus, (there is a charge for shuttle busses) taxis from these towns can be cheaper than from the dock for excursions or a trip to the beach. We did not go to one port (Nosy Be) where tenders were to be used as the waves were to high for it to be safe Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Overall friendly helpful staff, excellent service and small, modern clean boat with comfortable atmosphere. Good points: varied entertainment, hardworking animation team, trips mostly good value for money, cabin comfortable size, good ... Read More
Overall friendly helpful staff, excellent service and small, modern clean boat with comfortable atmosphere. Good points: varied entertainment, hardworking animation team, trips mostly good value for money, cabin comfortable size, good destinations, plenty to do throughout day, lots choices in buffet and Capri Grill. Suggestions: Need free 24 hour water /ice/ tea/ coffee could be located in Capri Grill. Could do with current FILMS on deck 11, every night,could rotate languages or subtitles. INDEPENDENT TRAVELERS need more info e.g. local bus services When disembarking, all guests need input whether COSTA transfers or not. (Ensure they all are promptly organised and not left in the sun for hours). A pleasure to be on a ship with so many lovely people (crew and guests) of varying nationalities. Fabritzio made the quizzes highly entertaining. Dancing on deck11 good fun. Good to watch all deck activities, made entertaining by animation team. Cooking competition good fun. Main entertainment in Cabaret Vienna Deck 9 singers, magicians, dancers some brought aboard others ship dancers, crew and entertainers. Grand bar had Guiseppe playing on keyboard and singing and alternated with Jack's band. Anticipate either a drinks package 28 euros a day for all inc (this is water/tea/coffee/juice as well as alcoholic drinks) or just drink couple a night. There is a variety of packages. One of the quiz teams was called Costalot!! Lot people managed to be independent travellers and raid the buffet for snacks juice and water. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The Ship: The Romantica is an older medium-size cruise ship (53,000 tons, 221 mt. long and 31 mt. wide) built for Costa in 1993. It has 14 decks of which decks 4, 5, 6, and 7 are for standard passenger cabins with suites on decks 10 and ... Read More
The Ship: The Romantica is an older medium-size cruise ship (53,000 tons, 221 mt. long and 31 mt. wide) built for Costa in 1993. It has 14 decks of which decks 4, 5, 6, and 7 are for standard passenger cabins with suites on decks 10 and 11. Decks 8 and 9 are the main entertainment decks, bars, shops and restaurants while the self-service buffet is on Deck 10. The pools and spa are on Deck 11. Passenger capacity is 1,350. Embarkation: The port of embarkation for this cruise was Port Louis, Mauritius. I went solo for this one and had decided to fly down to Mauritius a few days early to get acclimated. I flew business class on Air Mauritius from Paris and arrived refreshed early in the morning after a good nights sleep in a seat that reclined into a bed. After a few days in a paradisiacal resort (the Sands Resort & Spa) at Flic en Flac, about 20 km. south of Port Louis, I took a taxi to the cruise terminal arriving at about noon on 6 Feb. Check-in was fast and smooth and I went immediately aboard and to my cabin. My baggage arrived within 15 or 20 minutes. The Cabin: I had booked Cabin 5079, a standard outside which turned out to be just fine for me. Not huge, about 16 sq. mt., it was more than adequate for one person. Right away I asked my cabin steward (named Emmanuel from the Philippines) to separate the two beds so I could walk up and look outside through the large round porthole. The now single bed was fine for me and quite comfortable. The cabin thus was furnished with two single beds, two nightstands and lamps, a small easy chair and a small round table. Built-in was a desk with two drawers below a large mirror, but only a stool for sitting. On the other side was a cabinet for the minibar refrigerator and a small-screen TV on top. In the corridor inside the entrance door were two good sized wardrobes, one full with two doors and a single with three drawers and three shirt slides, below the hanging space. The larger even had a tie/belt rack. Between it and the minibar cabinet was a piece with five drawers below and a storage cabinet above, with the electronic wall safe in between. Opposite the wardrobes was the bathroom, small but adequate. It had two bath towels, two hand towels, and a bath mat which were changed as necessary twice a day. I mentioned to the steward that the carpet in the cabin had seen better days and two days later when I returned from an excursion I found they had torn out the old carpeting and replaced it with new wall-to-wall. Very nice. I was impressed, but I had to smell the glue for two or three days. As a Costa Club member I received a fruit bowl and a bottle of Prosecco to enjoy. The fruit bowl was never refilled and the pieces I did not consume remained on my table almost to the end of the cruise - here they could have done better. The cabin was quiet, no vibrations, and sea movement minimal even when the sea was rough. I always select a mid-ship cabin with cabin decks above and below which usually ensures lowest noise levels and ship movement. Service and Staff: I found the staff members in the Customer Service and Excursion offices to be professional, friendly, and very helpful whenever I had need of their services. I'd say all of the excursion staff was pretty great while at Reception, Daniela was probably the best. Our captain was Mario Moretta and one of the more visible captains I've run across. He was friendly and always available to answer questions or chat a few moments. The other hotel staff members were almost all quite friendly and seemed to enjoy their work. Passenger Mix: We had a pretty full ship. I queried Daniela at the Reception who checked the computer to find there were 1350 passengers of whom 370 were French, 290 Italians, 150 from the U.K., Australia, South Africa or New Zealand, 130 were from Germany, and 3 held US passports (myself and a couple from Texas), plus a mixture of Russians, Spanish and Portugese. There were also many islanders aboard mainly from Mauritius and Rèunion reflecting the ethnic makeup of those islands: Indian, African, Chinese, and a mixture of all. There were only about 20 children aboard and most were involved with "Squok Club" activities. Cleanliness. Costa is a line that prides itself on keeping their ships clean and shining. Notwithstanding the Romantica's seventeen years, she was kept sparkling by squads of men constantly rubbing and shining the brass, polishing mirrors and glass, vacuuming the carpeting, cleaning and sanitizing tables and surfaces. There were hand sanitizer machines outside of the restaurant and buffet and when boarding the ship. Smoking: As is usually found on Costa ships, the bar and lounges were divided one side for smokers and the other not. Same thing up on the pool decks where ashtrays were laid out on one side but not the other. Unfortunately in the lounge where a very good pianist played each evening (Theatre Foyer), all the tables had ashtrays but even here the smokers tended to sit on just one side. I did not notice any smell of smoke from the cabins near me or in the corridors. Naturally smoking was prohibited in the restaurants, theatre, card rooms, library, etc. Restaurants and Bars: The Romantica had one main dining room (MDR) called the Botticelli Restaurant on the 8th deck open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the 9th was the Romeo Pizzeria open every evening, and the self-service buffet on the 10th, open for breakfast and lunch. There were seven bars scattered around the ship. MDR: I always book the second seating at 21.00 and was assigned to table 142, the "singles" table. There were five females and only two males, all Italian speaking. Our waiter was Sismundo Herman from the Philippines and his assistant was Richard from Peru. For myself and my table companions the food served was good with only mild complaints on a couple occasions when something wasn't up to expectations. Food was always served piping hot. The only real complaint was the refusal to serve pitchers of free tap water instead of the pay-for bottled water. The first evening at our table and many others, the waiters when asked, brought out jugs of ice water to quench our thirst. On the following evening they had to apologize because word had been passed down not to serve free water any longer. I, along with some others, went to the maitre'd who very apologetically said that a directive had been received from the head office of Costa in Genoa canceling this previously common benefit. He suggested we complain to the Customer Service Office which I did the following day. Here again the answer was that it was a directive the ship had received from Genoa, presumably to all ships in the fleet. For the remainder of the cruise the only option was to bring water from your cabin (which I did once with no problems), buy the bottled, or do without. Since I usually drink only wine at dinner it was no big problem for me but the others went ahead and bought a bottle each evening. Buffet: This was the first cruise that I can remember that there was no problem finding a place to sit for either breakfast or lunch in the buffet. There seemed to be always plenty of open chairs at the large ten-person tables. In addition there was outside seating as well in the Terrazza Caffè. The buffet had two similar serving lines with salads, pastas, hot foods, carvery, pizza, various breads, plus an Italian pasta station and two specialty stations where cooks prepared on the spot a variety of items. The selection of cheese was especially interesting. Fruit and deserts of many types were on display. I found both breakfast and lunch to have so many things to choose from I don't see how anyone could go away hungry or dissatisfied. Again, hot items were always served piping hot. Pizza: The Romantica also had a pizzeria on deck 9 called the Romeo Pizzeria. It was open afternoons from 15.00 to 18.00 for pizza by the slice, and evenings from 21.00 to 01.00 for pizzas made to order. I did not try it (I live near Naples!) but there seemed to be many that did. Bars: The huge Piazza Italia bar & lounge on deck 8 received most of the bar business throughout the day and evening with entertainment by the ship's animation team and professional musicians. I preferred the more intimate Giulietta Bar on deck 9 where Felix, the head bartender, made an excellent espresso coffee for me each morning. On the question of prices, simple aperitifs or after dinner liquors were priced at €4.70 while most mixed drinks cost €6.70. Espresso was €1.30. To these amounts was added the 15% service charge. The water package was €25.99 (plus 15%) for 13 bottles. Library and Internet: The library and internet point was on deck 8. The selection of English language books was reasonably good, as were the selections in other languages. There were many computers available for use for a cost of €10 for 30 minutes. Like all Costa ships now, wifi was throughout and I used my laptop in my cabin extensively. The cost was €3 registration and €24 for three hours, renewable. Costa Club members can deduct a 20% discount bringing that €24 down to €19.20. Laundry: I used the ship's laundry early in the cruise and then again at the end. The quality of the service was excellent and the traditional "magic bag" at end cruise was very economical (€19.99 for up to 25 pieces of laundry). Gym and Spa. The Romantica's gym was rather small but had a half dozen or so treadmills and a variety of other machines. Normally I make extensive use of a ship's gym but this cruise it seemed I never had enough time for it. The spa was really just the beauty center and massage rooms with a sauna. I booked four one-hour massages but when I found how good my masseuse was, I signed up for two more. Her name was Michelle (also from the Philippines) and she was absolutely wonderful, resolving a long standing problem I've had with my feet. It would have been worth extending the cruise just to continue receiving her care. As with all Costa ships the spa was run by the Steiner organization and the prices are standard. The full body one hour massage is listed at €109 but they have the pay three and get four for €327, plus I received a 25% discount on the second two massages I ordered. Entertainment: I went to a couple of the evening shows which were pretty good. Two British singers plus the ship's dancers performed beautifully. Those passengers that attended every evening were consistent in their praise. The ship's animation team was very active and received good cooperation from participating passengers. They weren't really entertainment, but the ship's lecturer, Prof. Carlo Scopelliti gave two excellent history and nature presentations during the course of the cruise; one on the Seychelles and another on Madagascar. Weather and Climatic Conditions: Summer weather in the tropics is characterized by warm sun, white clouds, stable temperatures and frequent rain showers particularly in the afternoon or evening. Such was the case in the Indian Ocean. Daytime temps were usually always in the 28 to 32 degree range, dropping only a couple degrees at night. It was very pleasant indeed and the rain showers were generally brief. HOWEVER, we had to put up with tropical cyclone Bingiza which beat rather heavily the eastern coast of Madagascar and caused several changes to the established itinerary causing the captain to cancel the scheduled port call at Nosy Be, Madagascar and remain an extra day at Victoria, Seychelles until the cyclone moved on. During the days we were anchored at Victoria we had absolutely beautiful weather. Port Calls and Shore Excursions: Day 1 - Port Louis, Mauritius. Warm and sunny; rain in the evening. Perfect for departing and arriving passengers. While many of the newly embarked passengers went ashore after checking in, I decided to remain on board since I had already been on the island for several days. I had previously booked via the internet all the shore excursions I wanted, I used the time to get organized, register my credit card, and get to know the ship. Day 2 - Port Louis, Mauritius. Cloudy day. I had booked the shore excursion to Ile aux Cerfs (Deer Island). It took us about an hour to get there with the bus having to wend its way through heavy Port Louis traffic all the way to the east side of Mauritius where a small boat took us to the island, passing through mangrove swamps. The area wasn't exactly pristine as it was a small resort catering to tourist groups with mattresses on a secondary beach and palm leaf covered tables for lunch. The weather didn't cooperate that day so many didn't go swimming. The lunch however was good, chicken and fish creole specialties. Traffic returning to the ship was horrendous passing through Port Louis. The original itinerary had us remaining at Mauritius for an additional half day but it had been changed. We sailed in the evening. Day 3 - At Sea. Rough seas and cloudy weather as we passed on the far edge of the cyclone activity. First gala evening. Day 4 - At Sea. Sea continued to be rough but the weather improved. The sun loungers around the pools started getting good use. Day 5 - Victoria, Mahè, Seychelles. Arrived right on schedule at 09.00. Nice warm sunny weather but very humid. Walked into the town and did some souvenir shopping in the colorful market. In the afternoon I went with the "Creole Night" shore excursion to Takamaka Bay on the south west corner of Mahè. Very pretty beach with nice swimming before dinner at "Chez Batista" with Creole singers and dancers. Barbequed pork and huge fish along with a multitude of Creole specialties (don't ask - just enjoy!). Entertainment very lively. Nice enjoyable evening. Day 6 - Victoria, Mahè, Seychelles. Beautiful sunny day. Left ship at 10.00 on a big catamaran that was moored right under the ship for Praslin Island (pronounced PRA-lin). After a 45 minute crossing our guide got us on a comfortable bus that took us to the jungle center of the island and the Valle de Mai. Coco de mer trees, coconut palms, and dozens of other strange species producing bread fruit and weird forms of nuts and things. Many birds, black parrots, special spiders, lizards, gekkos, etc. We went back to the little port for a short catamaran ride over to La Digue Island, another paradise. No cars and only a few trucks with benches in the bed to carry tourists around. Most people on bicycles going to the houses of the few inhabitants. We left the little settlement by the jetty and rode a bouncing truck over a narrow paved road that soon became a bumpy sand track to the eastern side of the island and the beach called Grande Anse - a spectacular wide white sand beach with huge granite boulders delimiting the far ends. There was no coral barrier here so the waves were substantial, allowing some local fellows to ride their surfboards. We swam, played with the waves, and roasted in the sun. Lunch was in a little sandy restaurant right on the beach called "Loutier Coco." The Creole barbeque was very good, fish, fish, fish. Before leaving La Digue we went to the Union Estate to see the giant tortises (in a large pen, not walking around freely), and the production of coconut oil. A short walk took us to what is billed as the island's most spectacular beach, Source d'Argent. It was very pretty but not much sand, shallow water with a coral surface that hurt your feet. At least there was plenty of shade trees to block the sun a bit for our by now red skins. Two catamaran rides and we got back to the ship at 20.00. A great but tiring day! Day 7 - Victoria, Mahè, Seychelles. We were supposed to leave the Seychelles today but Cyclone Bingiza caused our itinerary to be changed. It was announced that two of the Madagascar port calls were cancelled but we would make the one for Diego Suarez and have an extra day at Rèunion. A lot of passengers went off on private excursions today but I remained on board trying to cool my sunburn from the day before. Day 8 - Victoria, Mahè, Seychelles. Sunny and warm. I went on a sailing catamaran excursion this morning all around the north end of Mahè island and landing at a small deserted cove beyond Belle Vallon on the northwest corner. Wonderful swimming with multicolored fish. We returned to the ship (sunburned again) by noon and at 13.00 to the voice of Andrea Bocelli singing Con Te Partiro, we sailed away from Victoria, the smallest capital in the world (I think I heard). Day 8 - At Sea. Rough sea and overcast approaching the cyclone area. As the day wore on we were advised that the cyclone was moving southwest and would leave Madagascar shortly. Consequently we received the third change of itinerary since the start of the cruise: we would land not only at Diego Suarez but also make the scheduled stop at Tamatave, so Rèunion was back to just a one day call. Second gala night. Day 9 - Diego Suarez, Madagascar. Gray and overcast, choppy seas. Very humid. We docked on schedule at 07.00 and at 9 I left on a shore excursion (ex Emerald Bay, cancelled due to choppy sea conditions) around the eastern side of the bay. We first went through the very wet town trying to dry out after the cyclone passed. A town with a lot of character with dilapidated colonial buildings, roughly built habitations, stores and shops of every variety (beautiful wood carved products), pot-holed roads that became red-dirt tracks as we left the town proper. Friendly people who seemed very happy to see all the tourists (Costa banners waving around) in town. On the track around the bay (with the island called Pan di Zucchero in the middle) we stopped in one location where ladies were selling bright colored pareos and children displayed large sea shells, men with iguanas or lemurs on branches, some women with white designs painted on their faces, all in all a very interesting setting. We stopped at a beach where a couple brave souls went swimming notwithstanding the less than perfect weather. Returning toward Diego Suarez we stopped at a hotel resort for lunch. I think we were the only customers at Diego's premier Blue Note Resort. A local reggie-type group entertained us with their music while we sipped on chopped-off coconuts with a straw sitting around the pool. Lunch was started off with everyone receiving a first course plate containing a big crab which we had to break open with pliers. The white meat was delicious. The second course was rice with pieces of fish on skewers; also very good. For dessert we served all kinds of local fruits, papaya, mango, pineapple, bananas, etc. Day 10 - At Sea. Overcast and choppy seas. Italian night in the restaurant with the usual singing O'Sole Mio, Volare, etc., waving of the napkins, with the waiters leading the serpent dance around the dining room and dancing with the ladies. A good time was had by all. Day 11 - Tamatave, Madagascar. Sunny with scattered clouds. A very large container port. No excursion today but I took the shuttle bus (€6 round trip) from the ship to the Bazar Be market in town. The streets were horrible, semi flooded after the passing of the cyclone, full of pot holes. The market consisted of hundreds of tiny stalls selling souvenirs, tee shirts, pareos, vanilla, carved wooden handicrafts, model ships, etc. in addition to the food, meat, and houseware stalls for the locals. Here there was a different atmosphere from Diego as there were armies of little children and women with their hands out begging. There was no way you could give them anything or they would chase you forever. I made some purchases and went back to the ship early. Last gala night. Day 12 - At Sea. Sunny and rough sea. Much time was spent around the pools. Day 13 - St. Denis, Rèunion. Sunny and warm. Sea conditions improved. Actually the ship docked at Le Port, about 20 km. south of the capital of St. Denis. Rèunion is an overseas province of France so the currency was euros, French language, French license plates on the cars, and a completely French atmosphere. I went on the excursion to the "Cirque de Salazie" today, passing first to visit a Hindu temple and then a vanilla plantation. We eventually arrived up in the hills passing through green valleys with dozens of high water falls in the clouds, and got into the little alpine town of Hell Bourg. Souvenir stores, crêperies, little bars ; a neat town. We went to lunch at a little hotel complex called « Les Jardins d'Heva. » As usual, it was all quite good. On the return we stopped for an hour at St. Denis for a walk through the market. Back to the ship for the last evening. Bags had to be outside the cabin door by 22.30. Day 14 - St. Louis, Mauritius. We arrived on schedule at 02.30 and by 5 many people were already disembarking. My flight to Milano was supposed to depart at 09.40 but was delayed until 14.30 so I remained on board until noon (cabin vacated at 07.30). Disembarkation: My baggage was waiting for me on the dock so I disembarked on my own. I had arranged a taxi to take me to the airport (Taxi Mauritius - €35 instead of the €60 the port taxis wanted), which took only 45 minutes, being a Sunday. Unfortunately the flight was further delayed until almost 17.00 but since I had a business class ticket I spent my time in the VIP lounge eating good little things and drinking French champagne. What a life! Conclusions: It was a great cruise on a very nice ship. I had previously read a lot of negative comments about the Romantica, being old and small but I'm glad I didn't give it any thought. The number of passengers on a smaller ship allow so much more freedom of movement, both on board and ashore that makes it well worth while. I'll give both the Romantica and the cruise their well deserved five stars. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
After reading all the harsh reviews on the net prior to embarking on the cruise, I must say I was pretty much concerned about whether I had made the right decision to cruise with the Costa Romantica. However, after having spent 22 fabulous ... Read More
After reading all the harsh reviews on the net prior to embarking on the cruise, I must say I was pretty much concerned about whether I had made the right decision to cruise with the Costa Romantica. However, after having spent 22 fabulous days cruising on the Costa Romantica, I felt that I owed to write this review. Here goes my itinerary and cruise dates - 22 days of cruising from 20 November 2010 to 12 December 2010 - Singapore, Port Klang (Malaysia), Langkawi (Malaysia), Phuket (Thailand), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Cochin (India), MalE (Maldives), MahE (Seychelles), Reunion Island and Mauritius. Embarkation - The embarkation process in Singapore was fairly quick but clearly not well structured. Three ladies were standing in front of a very small desk trying to check the passports and get people to fill in a health declaration form. After the formalities were completed, we then proceeded to the gate and had our souvenir picture taken. Upon arrival in the main deck, we were handed over our Costa Card, cabin key and our identification picture was taken. We then proceeded on our own to our cabin which was fairly easy to find. Our luggage was delivered to our front door within 30 minutes. Cabin - we had an outside stateroom with a porthole. It was great to be able to see outside especially when we were nearing land. Our room was tidied every night and day and towels were changed. Our cabin steward was always very nice and discreet. Every night, our cabin steward would make a different bed decoration with the bed cover. Very nice! We read that some people had noise issues or blocked toilets. We never had any flushing issue with the toilets and apart from particularly noisy neighbours, it was just fine. The daily programme "TODAY" was delivered to our cabin every night along with a map of the next port. As far as air conditioning was concerned, we were not even using the air conditioning in our cabin as the air extractor was largely sufficient. Food - Breakfast was served either in the Giardino buffet (buffet style) or in the Botticelli Restaurant (formal table seating). There was a wide variety of food ranging from eggs, bacon, cereals, pastries to fruits. Late breakfast was available in the buffet for late bed risers till around 11.00. Lunch as well was served either in the Giardino buffet or in the Botticelli Restaurant. We mostly went to the Giardino Buffet where we had a variety of food to choose from. There was a new theme everyday for lunch in the buffet area (Mediterranean, Chinese, Creole, Indian, etc). On some sea days, we had special lunch "Chef Surprise" by the poolside or in the corridor leading to the Piazza Italia when it rained. On the Terrazza, there was also an outside grill with French fries, on the spot hamburger and hotdogs for lunch. The Terrazza was my favourite place on the ship in the afternoon when it was not too crowded. Loved the views and the sea breeze there. The buffet area was always like a beehive, always opening up and closing up for something else - breakfast, late breakfast, lunch, teatime, kids buffet, teens buffet and sometimes alternative dinner. One can imagine how big an organisation this must be to run the buffet everyday all day. The buffet supervisors and the snacks stewards worked really hard to keep the place always up and running and always attended to guests' requests (even the most eccentric ones) with a smile. Dinner was served in the Botticelli Restaurant with the first seating being served at 18.15 and second seating at 20.45. The first seating was served by far too early taking into consideration that we always had to rush to shower after a full day out. Service by our charming waitress and assistant waiter was always excellent. The daily menu consisted of appetizers, soup, pastas, main course, salad, cheese and dessert. One could choose as much courses as one wanted. We had a number of very good and appetizing courses. On two occasions, we were entertained by a nice waiter show. Everyday at 23.30, snacks were served in the Tango Ballroom and on some nights, we had midnight buffets. Food arrangement was always very nicely done. The midnight buffet in the kitchen was also truly amazing. We felt like visiting an art gallery. The kitchen was decorated with very nicely and finely carved fruits and vegetables which had been done by talented Filipinos. Due to the weather, we only had one midnight party and a midnight buffet by the poolside. There was a live ice carving demonstration and we had so much fun at the party. Coffee, tea, chocolate and a wide variety of infusions were readily available until midnight at the Giardino buffet area. There was so much food on board but so much waste as well. I have read other people reviews complaining about the lack of food or lack of variety. Personally, I have never ever in 22 days felt hungry because there was not enough food onboard. On the contrary, the food was so plentiful that we felt we were eating all day long! We have however been appalled by the fact that all remaining good food on the line is thrown away as the majority of the crewmembers do not have the right to eat the same food as passengers. Such a waste and such a pity! Only a happy few arrogant crewmembers had the right to eat at the buffet. The English host kept saying: well, anyway we're not wasting food. We use it to produce steam and it is much cheaper than diesel! Oh come on! The buffet area was cleaned spick and spine every night and it was a pity to see some people making such a mess in the buffet area. I often wondered whether they behave like that in their own house. Some people filled their plates with monstrous portions of food as if with the fear that they would starve to death on the ship and then obviously, left aside terrible heaps of leftovers. Gala nights - We had a total of 4 gala nights on our cruise with formal dress code being required. The first one, the captain conveyed everybody in the Opera Theatre for a free champagne toast and a very short address to the public. We would have appreciated that the number of gala nights be communicated to us prior to embarking on the cruise in order to bring appropriate outfits and in sufficient number. Maybe next time! Night Entertainment - The night shows at the Opera Theatre were of a good level and varied. The best shows were the Romanian acrobats, Rob & Miky and the Flamenco dancers, Trio Mulero. Thumbs up! The worst shows: Singer Jo Lis and Tenor Alberto Jelmoni. The Costa Romantica dancers were very good as well. I missed the crew show as I was too exhausted after going out that day. Daily activities - Daily activities were conducted by the animation team. The dance lessons with the Brazilian dance instructor were always excellent. (Bachata, cha cha cha, latin dance, mambo, merengue, tango to name a few). This was among the few things that kept us alive during sea days and I must say probably one of the things that helped us not take on any extra weight. However, generally speaking, there were repetitive animation activities such as quiz, manual works and lectures. Other one-off activities included live fruit carving demonstration, kitchen visit, chef culinary demonstrations, spa demonstrations or Chinese lessons. Roman catholic religious activities were performed daily by the capellano. Information desk - I was not particularly impressed by the information desk staff. It was usually very crowded with lots of people queuing up. The staffs, mostly Italians were not very welcoming in their approach. Spa and Beauty Centre - The spa and beauty centre was a total waste of time. The spa staff never seemed to know whether they had to run spa activities as mentioned on the TODAY and almost always seemed to be annoyed to have to conduct these activities. The activities were also mostly repetitive. The spa staffs were also almost always using the spa for their own personal benefits/grooming. Excelsior Casino - opens at sea only. Did not use that one Photo - On gala nights, a team of photographers would go around in the Botticelli Restaurant to take individual or group pictures of the guests and they would also set up several photo booths with various accessories near the Piazza Italia so that people wishing to take professional pictures could do so. I had a couple of these and the photographers were always so friendly and talented. However, the minus point was that the photos were really expensive (Around EUR 20 each). Duty free shops - Duty free shop was open only at sea. Everyday, there was a different array of goods on offer. We certainly made some good buys and it was always nice to do some window-shopping in the night. Cruise Excursions - The cruise excursions were really overpriced. So, we mostly did our own thing which was by far cheaper and applied a simple rule whereby we only took excursions requiring boat transfers (e.g Phuket and Seychelles). The excursions were hassle free and well organised. However, we did not understand why the tour office had such limited opening hours. This was very frustrating. This resulted in endless queues and chaos since the tour officers were so overwhelmed with passenger queries. No explanations were given as to why the volcano tour in Reunion was cancelled. We eventually learned it through hearsay. However, for the excursions that we booked through the cruise, I must say we were very satisfied with our day. The local tour guides were very friendly, professional and did their best to please the guests. Crewmembers - I must say I really enjoyed this cruise for the friendliness, smile, openness, simplicity and courtesy displayed by Costa's crewmembers. The bartenders, waiters, assistant waiters, buffet supervisors, snacks stewards, cabin stewards, animators, gym instructor, duty free shop attendants, photographers were so great. They were so easy to talk to. Very open and generous people who work damn hard. We found out that they work extremely long hours 7 days a week for a not so great pay and most of them have a first bachelor degree. We were appalled to see the waiters carrying trays of dining wares endlessly. But despite them being tired, they were always there with a smile on their face, happy to be able to help. With such an international crew, I was so glad to get to know people from the Philippines, China, India, Honduras, Peru, Romania, Croatia, Latvia, Brazil, Morocco and Spain. Generally speaking, I noted that crewmembers originating from these countries were far more friendly and open than crewmembers coming from Italy or UK. Moreover, as a general rule, the ship's admin staff and higher officers were arrogant and almost never smiled to passing by passengers in the corridors. They would also almost never exhibit any sign of friendliness or courtesy towards the guests. The English host was damn arrogant. Not to say the least about the doctor! At first, we thought he was the captain. Walking around with his superior looks! The photo manager had such a bad look in the eyes that he almost certainly frightened all the guests away from the photo exhibit area. Fellow cruise passengers - we made countless number of friends of all age groups coming from countries as diverse as Switzerland, UK, USA, South Africa, France, Reunion Island, Spain, Croatia and Mauritius. Generally speaking, the passengers were very open and friendly and it was always very interesting to meet so many people coming from so many different countries. All we had initially in common was that we either spoke English and French. It was on the cruise that I realised how lucky we were to be able to converse in both languages. And 3 weeks onboard the same ship certainly creates some ties. The bad side of it was that there were many grumpy passengers as well. Passengers complaining for as little as why it is raining or complaining about why they lost the little funny games organised onboard. It was such a pity! It was only a game after all! Why bother?! We were on holidays! There were also a bunch of rude passengers as well who seemed to be annoyed to see people around. I often wondered why they left their home to come on a cruise where obviously you will get to see a lot of people. Disembarkation - Upon arrival in Mauritius, we were required to have a face-to-face meeting with the Mauritian customs in the Tango Ballroom and this was really bad! Monstrous queues. We had to queue up to collect our passport and then queue again to have it validated by the Customs officials. Costa should really take care of that. Disembarkation guidelines by the French hostess were also not very clear. We were asked to vacate our cabin at 7.00, which was by far too early and we were required to wait in the Opera Theatre at 8.30 perhaps for some more formalities but at 8.30, we were told we could get down freely whenever we wanted. This took a matter of minutes. Luggage could be found very easily and there were luggage personnel to assist. Issues with Costa Romantica - Smoking - Smoking was the main issue we faced onboard. Costa should really cater for this issue and should have a segregated smoking area in the open air. This was totally unfair towards those not smoking. I am particularly sensitive to smoke and on several occasions, I felt unwell with the smoke. This issue was particularly acute in the Piazza Italia and the Tango Ballroom (the two main common rooms) and with children and non-smoking people around, this was really awful. Tendering - We had to use tenders in Phuket and Maldives. The tendering process was not always very well structured. People were rushing in and out of the tenders and we often wondered whether the tender was not filled well above capacity and frowned at the idea of an emergency. I do not believe that the tenders were fully equipped with life jackets for so many people. Pool - Did not use the pool at all. The pool was definitely too small for such a big ship and for so many passengers. Great itinerary - The itinerary was the primary reason why we chose to do this trip and it certainly paid off. We definitely think it was well worth value for money. We certainly had the best time of our lives and we really did not want to get off the ship. Reflecting on our cruise, I must say we were very lucky. We almost always fell on nice taxi drivers (except in India) who spared no efforts to show us around. Plus we had such a beautiful weather during the days at port. On several occasions, it rained at the end of the day when we were back on the ship or nearing the end of the day and one whole day at sea. Many passengers groaned about it. But we took it well. Mother Nature had been good enough to give us the entire day out, well, it was fair enough that she should take the night. Throughout our journey, there were never any signs of pirates and we never felt insecure. We had rough sea from Phuket to Colombo while crossing the Bay of Bengal and from Seychelles to Reunion Island. Some passengers were seasick when the ship rocked. Fortunately, I was spared. Plus point is that seasickness pills are available free of charge at the information desk. All in all, if I were to do the cruise again, I definitely would! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We chose this cruise based on itinerary. Having been on the Romantica before, and having been with Costa in the Indian Ocean before, we had very low expectations for the level of service, the quality of food, and our fellow passengers. ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on itinerary. Having been on the Romantica before, and having been with Costa in the Indian Ocean before, we had very low expectations for the level of service, the quality of food, and our fellow passengers. Everything was a little better than we expected, but we still wouldn't have chosen Costa except for the itinerary. Also, this was the first time I've ever been bored on a ship - if you don't speak Italian, there's not much for onboard entertainment. Background This was a 21 day repositioning cruise from Mauritius to Singapore, with stops in the Seychelles; the Maldives; Cochin, India; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Phuket, Thailand; Langkawi, Malaysia; and Port Klang, Malaysia and overnight stays in Mauritius and Singapore. Getting to the Port We booked our own airfare. Having sailed out of Mauritius with Costa last year, we expected to be able to buy a Costa transfer to the pier at the airport. That turned out to be the case, but the price had tripled. In 2009, we paid 10 Euros a person for the transfer, which takes close to an hour. This time, we were told it would be 30 Euros per person. That seemed so outrageous that we asked three different Costa reps before we were convinced they were serious. Unless you're traveling alone, the transfer is a rip-off - we paid only 35 Euros for a taxi for four people and all our luggage. Embarkation We arrived at the ship around 8:45AM. Embarkation was fairly quick, but quite odd. There were no signs and no humans to tell us what to do with our luggage or where to go. There were 2 very nonchalant women at desks. One slowly flipped through our papers and then said that we hadn't filled out some additional forms that no one had given us, so we were sent over to sit at some tables and fill out some more forms. Then she slowly flipped through the papers again and sent us to wait in a line to get on the ship. The line moved fairly slowly since a single member of the ship's security staff was checking documents again at the bottom of the gangway. At the top of the gangway, they took pictures, sent us through security and collected passports. We were told that cabins wouldn't be ready until 11:00 and that we could go to the buffet in the meantime, but the buffet was closed. Once we got to our cabins, one of the four people in our group did not get her cruise card - the card in her cabin belonged to someone else. Registering credit cards was painless with an ATM-like machine. It took almost 6 hours for the luggage to be delivered to the cabin. The Cabin We had a minisuite on 11 with panoramic windows, which was fairly spacious and gives you a great view when you want to get away from the crowds - there are virtually no balconies on this ship. Service was a bit spotty - several times we had to leave notes to get glasses, beach towels, toilet paper, etc. We were told that due to crew reductions, the stewards are taking care of a lot more cabins than they were a year ago, and the drop in service was evident. One day we came back to the cabin to find a pile of dirty towels in the middle of the bathroom floor and no new towels - apparently the steward had been distracted by something and never came back. Our bathroom almost always had a sulfur smell and an ominous gurgling noise under the shower whenever we ran water in the sink. The minisuites are also very noisy - they are near the marble stairs and the door to the pool (which is where the band sets up for outdoor parties). On the nights with an outdoor party, you will be able to hear all the action from your bed. There wasn't much to pick from in English on the TV. For three weeks we never had cold water and I never took a shower with the water set on anything other than the coldest setting - that's how warm the "cold" was. A couple of days the water in our bathroom was so discolored I wouldn't drink it. Entertainment There is no place to listen to music before dinner if you are first seating (and most of the passengers are European, so second seating is later than on most ships). Similarly, if you eat at first seating, there is nothing to do after dinner until 9:00 on most nights. Many nights featured an Italian language game show in the piazza. The live music was pretty mediocre. One duo consisted of a man on piano who sang and a woman who stood next to him swaying - she almost never did anything except stand there. When she did sing, she sang in English but her accent was so heavy that it was hard to determine what song it was. Giorgio was a man who played electric guitar along with the karaoke version of songs, which was not very exciting but tolerable, but some nights he sang too. Unfortunately, he couldn't sing, and he couldn't remember lyrics, but that didn't stop him from butchering everything from the Bee Gees to George Strait, sometimes playing the same song list in the same order night after night. Poker Band was much more talented, but they played songs that were largely unfamiliar to me (even the English ones). There's not much for daytime activities. Trivia was played in several languages, and sometimes things got lost in translation, so some passengers who took it a little too seriously complained about some of the answers. There were also cooking demonstrations, which lasted only a few minutes, and some pool games. The production shows were pretty good (although definitely a step down from RC), but more European in flavor than on the average ship - more suggestive dancing and lots of costumes (for men and women) involving thongs. The acrobatic acts, the classical pianist, the tenor and the boleador were very good. A couple of nights they showed movies, but the English movie was shown at 10:45 - too late for us. The crew show was excellent. Other shows were more of a mixed bag and it seemed that several acts did not have enough material for a whole show, which resulted in variety shows with a couple of different acts, which I didn't enjoy much. The "performance art" by the cruise director's staff was quite entertaining. Several crew members in costume would follow passengers around the atrium and shops until the passenger noticed, crew would pretend to sleep on the floor outside the shops, etc. We'd never seen that kind of performance on a ship before and it was fun. This was the first time I've been bored on a ship, but there was generally nothing to do on a sea day except go to dinner and then maybe the show. Since there aren't many English speaking passengers, there aren't many English books in the tiny library or at the book swap, so bring a lot of reading material if that's your thing. The Internet cafe is tiny and very expensive. The Food Food at the grill was awful. Hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries, etc. were made ahead of time and piled up to be taken buffet-style, so everything was cold. Nothing was made to order. Dinner is almost always limited to the dining room or the pizzeria, which doesn't open until 9:00. There is no alternative restaurant and the buffet was only open for dinner on a couple of nights when excursions came back too late to eat in the dining room. The food in the dining room was better than we expected, and certainly better than on the Europa, but definitely worse than on most other cruise lines. By the third week the menu felt a little repetitive and some nights it was hard to find anything that really appealed. The seafood options were definitely geared towards European tastes - if you don't care for cuttlefish and shellfish and huge whole shrimp, you'll probably end up eating beef, pork, or the vegetarian option. There were two pasta dishes every night and they were excellent. The vegetables were all previously frozen and mostly overcooked. Service was mostly fine but nothing special - the waiters didn't introduce themselves or try to make any connection with us until late in the cruise. Sometimes dishes were delivered to the wrong people, and we never really succeeded in getting the waiter to bring us enough ice in the water. Lunch was served in the dining room (open seating, with table service) or at the buffet. Breakfast was served in the dining room (open seating, with table service only for hot items, cold items were buffet) or at the buffet. For breakfast and lunch, service in the dining room ranged from disinterested to poor. Some days, it seemed like there simply weren't enough waiters. Mostly, they just seemed like they didn't want to be there. Breakfast was inconsistent. For example, if you ordered hash browns, sometimes you got one piece, sometimes two, sometimes three. Almost all of the bacon on the ship was badly undercooked and the pineapple was always brown. The buffet is still the worst I've encountered at sea. The food is always cold. You can see the steam rising from the steam tables, so it's clear that the food isn't hot when they put it on the buffet, and the steam table is insufficient to heat the food to a palatable (or safe) temperature. The setup is also awful, both for the foodservice and the seating, and there's an ice/water machine plunked in the middle of the tables. If you don't arrive very early, it will be very difficult to find a seat. The coffee card is worthwhile if you like good coffee anytime other than breakfast. Cappuccino is available in the dining room at breakfast for no extra charge. The gelato, sorbet, pasta, and breads and pastries were consistently good. The pizza at the buffet was good but it was never hot. We didn't try the pizzeria because it opened too late for us. Tea time on the buffet was good, with small sandwiches and cookies. Excursions As we have found to be the case on other Costa cruises, the descriptions of the excursions sometimes bore little resemblance to reality. On one of our trips in Phuket, the English language hostess (who happened to be on our boat), the local guide, and the boat captain were negotiating the itinerary for our day as we went along, after we pointed out that we weren't doing the things we were supposed to be doing. We booked our excursions online far in advance of our trip, and had no trouble getting English language trips. Passengers who waited until they were on board, however, found most of the English trips sold out. We were sent forms to fill out if we wanted to take an excursion on embarkation day, but no one ever asked us for them or told us where to turn them in. Service & Shipboard Life I'm not sure how much could have been done about it due to the geography involved, but the pacing of the cruise could have been better. The second half of the cruise was very hectic, with long port days almost every day - it would have been nice to have another sea day or two. The ship is showing signs of age and there is no prom deck. The tiny area designated for jogging up top means dodging all the deck chairs. The ship was also having intermittent problems with the toilets, which would not flush properly. The wakeup call system stopped functioning properly once we started to turn the clocks ahead. At one point, the call would come an hour and a half after we set it for. After we told the front desk, they adjusted it so the call was only a half hour late. It also appeared that if you wanted a wakeup call on the morning after the clocks changed, you couldn't put in for it until after midnight, or the call would come at the wrong time. We quickly lost faith in it and started setting an alarm clock we had packed. Air conditioning on the ship is almost nonexistent except for Tango lounge. It was especially unbearable in the dining room and the theater. You won't get as many wearings out of your dinner cloths as you think. It was just very uncomfortable trying to eat dinner in nice clothes with sweat running down your back, and it was unappetizing to be served by waiters dripping with sweat. There are no paper towels in any of the public bathrooms. This is presumably intended to save paper, but then they only put out s few facecloths to use as individual hand towels, so they quickly run out and everyone resorts to using the boxes of Kleenex. There is a lot more smoking on this ship than on most others. The smoking section in the piazza filled the air with smoke even if you sat in the nonsmoking area, and the main exit from the piazza for purposes of going on excursions was through the smoking area. Our butler told us that the fruit bowl in the cabin wouldn't be as good as usual and there wouldn't be any berries because it was a repositioning cruise. We were on board for Easter, and they decorated the cabin doors and put a big chocolate egg in each cabin. They also decorated the lounges for various theme nights, which was really nice. The ship's tenders seemed to be in disrepair. All of the tenders I rode in had broken chairs or leaks (either around windows or in the ceiling) requiring you to sit in a puddle. I don't think they were unsafe in an emergency, but the lack of maintenance made me wonder. There were two English speaking hosts, one for Aussies and one for US/UK. Ours was terrific - she had the perfect personality for the job and frequently made rounds during dinner to see if anybody needed anything. Our fellow passengers were a much different mix than we had experienced on prior Costa cruises, and it made for a much more enjoyable cruise. This time, we had a lot more English speaking guests and lots more passengers from Germany and France. On the whole, there were a lot more people willing to wait their turn instead of pushing and shoving than we've found on other Costa cruises. Disembarkation Disembarkation was effortless. We actually got off several hours later than the time assigned to our luggage tag color because our flight had been cancelled due to the volcanic ash, but that did not cause us any problems. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Ports of call. Port Louis, Mauritius, Victoria, Mahe (Seychelles), Nosy Be, Diego Suarez, Tamatave (all 3 in Madagascar) and St. Denis (Reunion). Travel to Port of Embarkation: With the long plane ride, I decided to stay in Mauritius for ... Read More
Ports of call. Port Louis, Mauritius, Victoria, Mahe (Seychelles), Nosy Be, Diego Suarez, Tamatave (all 3 in Madagascar) and St. Denis (Reunion). Travel to Port of Embarkation: With the long plane ride, I decided to stay in Mauritius for 5 days before the cruise (get rid of jet lag). I stayed at a guesthouse in Blue Bay (less touristy than other areas of Mauritius), and about a 45-minute taxi to Port Louis. Embarking: I have to admit it was the best embarkation ever! By the time the taxi dropped me off, I was on the ship within 15 minutes. (There was no line up when I arrived, so keep that in mind) Stateroom: I liked my stateroom, however, I had the worst sleeps on a cruise ship ever (and normally I get my best sleeps on cruises). It was noisy. The second week was the worst (would have been too late to try and change but my error for not trying to ask). Creaked all the time while sailing (I heard others say the same thing of their room). The cabin crew's workroom is behind my room so I heard noises from them. Ship and other miscellaneous: 1. Costa Romantica is a baby in size compared to other ships (53,000 tons) so less people BUT when it came to eating outside on the deck for lunch, it felt crowded then. 2. The one thing that I love about Costa is that the air conditioning isn't freezing. Unlike other ships, I didn't need a sweater! That was great! I do not like when the air condition is so cold. 3. There are five languages spoken (e.g. the cruise director announces the show in all those languages). The only thing that's done over the intercom in all the languages if the safety drill that all passengers must participate in. Anything else, they'll only announce if it pertains to the specific nationality, which didn't happen too often. 4. They took passports and kept them for the two weeks! I think that's a great idea as one less thing to worry about even though there is a safe in the room. 5. The biggest annoyance was the amount of kids on board and how misbehaved they were. Others who commented as well on the ship had not one favourable thing to say (comments such as: what kind of vacation is this for the kids; there was no way our kids would have gotten away with behaviour like that). I was advised by the social hostess to next time maybe ask for the demographics of the cruise. Others as well as I never thought we'd see so many kids on the cruise this time of the year (though I realize for the islands it's summer holiday but lot of kids were from Europe). 6. Our social hostess held a meeting (9:30 p.m.) the first evening at the same time I was having dinner (I wanted to see who my table mates were). I managed to get in the last 15 minutes and do a catch up the next day. 7. I ordered for myself 7 bottles of water and 4 bottles of wine as a package deal for 69 Euros (regular priced 107.) I thought that was a deal considering a glass of wine was Euros 6.00 plus service charge and a bottle of water was Euros 2.50 plus service charge. And for the two weeks I used all coupons except one for the water, which I gave away the last day to couple. 8. Tea, coffee and water (in the buffet area) are available all day. 9. Wait until you get ashore to use the Internet, way too expensive on the ship plus I heard from other people it's too slow! 10. Daily activities, but staff has to translate in the five different languages, which some people may like, or not have the patience to hear ... I honestly didn't mind but I didn't go to a lot of activities 11. Charged Euros 6.00 return for shuttle service in Port Louis (to the Cauldron Waterfront) and Tamatave (to the market). In Port Louis you could take the water taxi for Euros 1.00 (but no scheduled departure as they'll wait until they can fill the boat). Personally I don't think we should have been charged for the shuttle, but hey, that's business these days Dining: 1. I had the best tablemates ever!!!!!! We had a lot of laughs. 2. The food was good (I'm not a fussy eater). 3. The waiters were good, attentive. Hard workers! 4. The buffet breakfasts and lunches were good. Again I'm not a fussy eater. Entertainment: 1. The shows were OK, but like almost everywhere you go it's the same type of entertainment (not to take away from the talent of the young kids who work hard). I only went to 3 shows (the second last night was good with the other staff and one waiter was absolutely excellent he should be in the entertainment field.). 2. One night was local music/dance from Seychelles. That was OK. 3. There was entertainment before dinner in the Piazza Italiana ... was OK. Port/shore excursions 1. They dropped Kenya, which I found out two months earlier (3 days after I got yellow fever shot!). That was a disappointment. The cruise line extended Port Louis and Victoria each ½ day more and added Tamatave. I think what would have been better was stay overnight in Reunion (see points #4 & 5) or maybe added a port in South Africa. I think they could have skipped the Tamative port. 2. It was understandable due to heavy rain causing impassable road, all tour excursions in Nosy Be were cancelled (I was looking forward to my jeep tour)............ 3. ......... but they cancelled my tour in Reunion because not enough participation. I found out there were at least two or three others. They could have still gone on the tour and hired a small van. In fact, the half day tour to St Denis (which I thought would be the most popular) was cancelled as well! 4. The lecturer on the ship sucked for a lack of better word. I don't really need to hear a lot of history of a place as I can find out myself, but what he needed to tell us how to go about getting somewhere, what to do, etc. He messed up big time. With the ship docking very far away, he didn't give good directions on how to get to St. Denis from the ship. He was right that a cab would cost between 30 -50 Euros to get there. BUT he missed the boat when he told us it was a 20-minute bus ride costing Euro 1.40. Not so! It was a 20-minute bus ride to Le Port first at Euro 1.50 THEN about a half an hour bus ride to St Denis for Euro 1.40. Total approx. 1 ½ hrs. includes waiting for buses. The bus ride to St. Denis was scenic. 5. And sticking to St Denis, Reunion. Some of the passengers I talked to couldn't figure out why the ship had to dock so far away. It would have been nicer if they anchored near St. Denis and had tenders go in, or if that was not possible, then overnight in Reunion so we didn't have to feel rushed. 6. If you need to cancel your tour due to illness, forget getting your money back unless you go to the doctor first (which costs Euros 35.00) to get a medical certificate then you can get your tour refunded. Send in the medical bill to your insurance and see if you can get your money back. 7. The tour (Praslin/La Digue) was a disappointment for Euros 184. Yes, it was the ferry that was expensive I was told, but still. I felt like being herded like cattle couple of times. In La Digue, it would have been better to stay longer at Anse Source D'Argent beach with calming waters and more shade than Grand Anse beach (we had lunch here) hardly any shade which most people scrambled for under one tree or back inside where lunch was served until the next group of tourists came along to eat. I'm not a swimmer so waves were too strong for me. We only saw one thing on Praslin and were rushed through because we had to hurry and catch the ferry back. This tour was a real disappointment. 8. I booked my tours online simply to avoid line-ups. I don't think I'll do that again. I think I'll wait next time and if not, hook up with some people to share a cab ........ some did that and had fun ... you are taking chances though. Disembarking: 1. Luggage had to be outside your cabin the night before disembarking no later than 11 pm. Next day pick up the luggage at the dock. 2. I had to be out of the cabin by 7:30 am. Passport pick up was between 8-9 am (earlier in the morning for those that had to leave early). 3. Even though my plane didn't leave until seven that evening, I was able to stay on the ship. 4. They would provide a cabin should you need to shower and change, and held your carry on in another room. I used neither. After the cruise: I decided to stay a week in Mahe (Seychelles) before heading back to the long cold winter ahead. Summary: I had looked forward to visiting the island, especially the Seychelles. What would I have done differently? I'll give you a tip should you decided to take this trip, which I would like to say I am not sorry I went even though it wasn't the most exciting wow trip I've ever had. 1. I would definitely take the social hostess advice and ask what the demographics of the cruise would be. (i.e. kids on board) 2. For my stay in Mauritius, I would have stayed at another area first near Port Louis, where I caught the cruise, stayed only 3 or 4 days in Mahe then gone back to Mauritius and stayed at Blue Bay (which is closer to the airport by about 20 minute taxi) for the last 2 days. 3. I wouldn't book all tours online ... I'll take a chance and wait ......... except for maybe Madagascar where I'm not so sure I want to hire a cab by myself. Would I recommend this cruise? Yes and no. This is a tough one to answer as I enjoyed the cruise (with the people I met, the staff were good, the itinerary wasn't bad) and yet there were some disappointments. I guess you'll have to decide for yourself with this article, which I hope is helpful. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Costa neoRomantica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 2.9
Public Rooms 4.0 3.6
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.3
Shore Excursions 3.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 3.0 3.8
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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