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14 Costa neoRomantica Asia Cruise Reviews

1.We chose this cruise because we hadn’t cruised with Costa before and the itinerary included ports in Japan and one port in Russia, Vladivostok. We were disturbed to find that Costa Cruises allows smoking on the balcony of the ... Read More
1.We chose this cruise because we hadn’t cruised with Costa before and the itinerary included ports in Japan and one port in Russia, Vladivostok. We were disturbed to find that Costa Cruises allows smoking on the balcony of the balcony cabins. We are non smokers so we complained about the constant smell of smoke drifting int our cabin from adjacent cabins. We were told that passengers choose balcony cabins so that the can smoke. We replied that we choose balcony cabins to enjoy the fresh air and the ocean views. This was ignored as it is obvious Costa Cruises values the needs of smokers above non smokers. We were offered a change of cabin to an inside cabin but were refused compensation for the difference in price. We wrote a letter of complaint to Costa Cruises . They failed to reply directly to us , instead ,they issued a response through our cruise agent iCruises. Other cruise lines such as Princess, Cunard, do not allow smoking on balconies. I believe in this respect Costa Cruises has a long way to go . 2. Gratuities were supposed to be debited to our account at the END of the cruise. Instead they were charged DAILY to our account. The contract did not state how much would be charged. Who agrees to pay an undisclosed figure? We declined the gratuity scheme but were refused. 3. Port disembarkation. There was no order nor control of the disembarkation process, the shambolic likes of which I have never seen since the seventies when people surged to the exit door. People were distressed and tempers flared. Most cruise ships have a crowd control policy. Very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. ( see pics) Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
There is not enough time to see anything on land, even on tours. Food is so so and the same dishes are repeated over the week. Drinking water is not free in the restaurant and ridiculously expensive. Entertainment on board is boring and ... Read More
There is not enough time to see anything on land, even on tours. Food is so so and the same dishes are repeated over the week. Drinking water is not free in the restaurant and ridiculously expensive. Entertainment on board is boring and are outdated even for seniors. The cruise ship is too small and not ther is enough to do. Even the swimming pool is so small, just like a whirlpool. In general, the restaurant and bar staff are very friendly and accommodating. Most of them are happy to serve, even if you can tell that they hardly have any break. The service is the only one I have really good to say. Embarkation and going through immigration takes so long, at least an hour, when you only have 4-5 hours after disembarking. Overall, it’s a waste going on this cruise. If you expect to see Japan, fly directly to Japan and skip this cruise. There are also hidden fees that they won’t tell you until you are booked. They will also require for the tips on top of the cost. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Having already "sunny-days-cruise experience" with fun ships, this time, I was interested in the itinerary, Costa offers since 2017 in Asia: Japan, Korea, Taiwan. Be prepared that this cruise is not always nice weather. But, even ... Read More
Having already "sunny-days-cruise experience" with fun ships, this time, I was interested in the itinerary, Costa offers since 2017 in Asia: Japan, Korea, Taiwan. Be prepared that this cruise is not always nice weather. But, even with rough sea, we always felt safe. And it was a great experience, since the ports of call on this 15-niter were perfectly chosen. Begin the cruise in Tokyo and choose a hotel at Tokyo Bay with stunning view to Rainbow Bridge is the perfect start for this cruise. A "must". At Kobe, you can try the famous "Kobe beef" or just enjoy the relaxed atmosphere at the waterfront with illuminated Kobe Tower. For me, Shingu was a highlight. You can take a walk to holy Natchi waterfall and the most important japanese Shinto shrine where you will feel the energy of a 1000 year old pilgrimage place. The offered excursions cover all these places. Service on the ship was perfect. Everything clean. Very friendly staff. Monte Carlo Lido aft with its huge white sunbeds and the whirlpool. A wonderful spa. Gym equipped with the newest Techno Gym machines. I enjoyed a lot the sea view, you have from the treadmills and the crossfit trainer. On this Asian tour, buffet was never crowded. Food is a good Asian /European mix. Lots of fish, I appreciated. Also midnight snacks. Which I never took: for me, there was enough food offered from 6am to 9.30pm. Apart from sandwiches, always excellent cakes and puddings at the sandwich bar from 2 to 5pm. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Embarkation set the tone for this dire cruise, chaotic, badly organised, with total lack of helpful staff. From the dockside sight of the ship, she appeared tired and shabby, and the interior did nothing to improve that impression- she is ... Read More
Embarkation set the tone for this dire cruise, chaotic, badly organised, with total lack of helpful staff. From the dockside sight of the ship, she appeared tired and shabby, and the interior did nothing to improve that impression- she is dated, badly cared for, badly managed and long past her best. Stairwells are echoing , carpet-less, decor-less spaces, reminiscent of school corridors, except lacking artwork! Welcome aboard was a drinks package sales pitch, and there were no directions given for finding cabins. We found our way to our deck 4 cabin, with its large round window- this style was the norm for most of the ship, with the exception of a few balcony suites. the cabin was bland wood panelled, had ample wardrobe and drawer space and a comfortable double bed. Pillows were hard and slab-like, towels long past their pristine best, with only a tiny soap bar provided as toiletry, with harsh gel in the grubby-curtained shower. Requests for softer pillows were refused, and we were advised to phone room service for a few toiletries. Dining was dismal, with repetitive menus, no healthy choices, overcooked fish, poor salads and badly organised service, so tables were not served together. Alternative dining, the open buffet was very poor, with limited repetitive menus, very poor salads, and ran out of green salad in the second week, and , incredibly, butter disappeared from all menus after 10 days. Probably the best choice was a daily pasta, served with fresh parmigiano, but we expected that on an Italian cruise line, and even the most ardent pasta lover would not want it for every meal. Entertainment was very third rate, with tired dancers, poor singers and bizarre novelty acts. If you preferred dancing, then a live trio performed, but often this turned into strange line-dancing sessions. Day time entertainment would have disgraced a holiday camp, with childish, badly organised game like activities, shouted instructions,and little entertainment value. Several ports were tender disembarkation, which again was chaotic to the point of being worrying. Tickets were issued, by ineffective entertainment staff, on a first come-first served basis, to pushing, shouting crowds , and the whole process was so disorganised as to feel totally intimidating. This ship completely fails to deliver a product of acceptable quality, utterly fails to deliver the promised brochure experience and is a Costa concept that needs serious overhaul Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Well, we have no-one to blame but ourselves really. After our experience on Costa Classica from Dubai to Singapore in March 2009 (reviewed on this site), we said no more Costa small, older ships. We weakened, however, when we saw the Costa ... Read More
Well, we have no-one to blame but ourselves really. After our experience on Costa Classica from Dubai to Singapore in March 2009 (reviewed on this site), we said no more Costa small, older ships. We weakened, however, when we saw the Costa Romantica itinerary from Singapore to Makassar, Komodo, Bali, Jakarta, Malacca, Phuket and Port Klang (for Kuala Lumpur) and unfortunately we did live to regret it! The flight (booked via a Costa package) was the first bone of contention. Rather than flying direct for about 14 hours, we went via Dubai with a touchdown in Colombo, Sri Lanka, adding another 7 hours to the trip each way. We did know we had this flight home, but when we booked, the original outward flight was direct from Dubai to Singapore, saving about 4 or 5 hours, but that got changed. Having said that Emirates were very good, with good food and service and adequate leg room. We arrived on the ship at about 10.30 pm to find covered plates with two filled rolls and a few pieces of fruit in our cabin. This was all the food available on the ship at the time, not even a cup of tea could be found other than via room service (sandwiches and hot drinks) with a charge! Not very welcoming!! The cabin itself appeared fine, and our Chinese stewardess was very good throughout the cruise, apart from inexplicably throwing away our Today magazines and menus that we were keeping as souvenirs - that was a new one on me! She was very apologetic and did her best to replace them, but how long had she been throwing away passenger's belongings other than those in the rubbish bins? The cabin itself was fine, and reasonably spacious, but we had an ongoing issue with the toilet not working, and were reporting it once or twice a day at some points. Customer Service response varied from the fairly concerned to the totally indifferent, and it was usually mended fairly quickly, although only to break down again within a few hours. On one day, most of the passenger toilets failed for a period and there were areas of the ship with very unpleasant smells, plus a cabin along the corridor from us was being dried out using dehumidifiers/fans for several days. The toilet issue would not have been so bad, except that we were both ill with acute diarrhoea during the trip, and needed it in working order. My husband fell ill after two sea days (so no he couldn't have got it, whatever it was, anywhere else). I followed three days later and we subsequently found that many of those in our area of the dining room had had similar troubles. We tried to report this to Costa, but they were in total denial. Customer Services were just not interested, while the English-speaking host just kept repeating that there was no problem and we must have had too much sun! We felt that perhaps some additional measures should have been taken, although more basic ones, like ensuring the hand cleansing machines weren't empty most of the time in the buffet, would have helped. Generally, the food in the main restaurant was very good and our waiters were excellent (although we missed several dinners while ill). The buffet was another story - totally inadequate for the number of passengers, totally overwhelmed with people, tables seldom cleared of their dirty crockery, cutlery, etc. Also no alternative dining except for two evenings (Singapore before we arrived on the first evening and the evening in Phuket). Not even a hot drink after they closed at about 5.30 pm, or not after the hot water ran out anyway. We did try room service when I was recovering from my stomach troubles, which was mainly a selection of sandwiches, and despite having to pay EUR2 for the privilege we were much amused by my husband's order of a sandwich and two teas arriving as a sandwich and 2 plates of cheese!!! There appeared to have been staff cuts since our last voyage with Costa and this was evident in most areas - too few waiters, limited buffet openings, fewer animators and virtually no daytime entertainment, fewer pool attendants, fewer bar staff on deck and inside, and fewer evening shows (films on a couple of nights). The supply situation was also very poor; cruise ships often seem to run out of things on the last day or so, but this started early on Romantica, with butter being in limited supply the whole cruise and disappearing altogether on the last day; at dinner the silver dishes with ice were there, but empty!!! Other things absent for the last three or four days included water melon, bananas, yoghurt, skimmed milk and decent tea bags (other than herbal and Chinese black tea). But what of the itinerary, I hear you say! It was exceptional, but was rather spoilt by Costa's organisational abilities or lack of. Most significantly, you are on your own if you don't want to go on their excursions. I am sure this is true of other cruise lines, but sometimes we didn't even know where we were going ashore (staff didn't know or gave the wrong info if asked) and the maps were incredibly, with the Bali map showing the whole island (but not where the ship was!) perhaps the best example!! We did take two Costa excursions - one on Komodo and one in Jakarta and I have to say that they were both fairly good, although on Komodo there was no choice of excursion, just a 1.5-hour, 1 km trek to see the Komodo dragons, and we would rather have done something more ambitious, which was available privately, although Costa's tendering of those on excursions meant that independents would not have had enough time ashore to do any longer treks. Tendering was another issue. According to the itinerary we were only tendering in Bali, but in fact we also tendered in Komodo, Malacca and Phuket (for two days). As usual, Costa excursions went first (that is generally the same with all cruise lines), but the organisation of the independents was pathetic and on one occasion bordering on the dangerous. Hordes of (mainly but not exclusively) Italians mobbed the table where the tender tickets were being handed out and some even just took tickets, with no-one sending for security and no-one trying to stop them. Apparently down on Deck 3, a group was also trying to push past the excursion groups onto the tenders, although apparently they were turned back successfully. Knowing the Continental dislike of queuing, you would think they would have instigated a proper system rather than allowing such conduct, which was more like a riot than anything else! It was only the next day that they started a proper queuing area roped off and adequately staffed. Anyway, all this meant that the time ashore was very limited, particularly in places where we only had a half day stop, such as Malacca. In that case, the departure time was moved from 1.30 to 2.30 pm because of the delays, but many of those going ashore were not told, so we all had to rush round in about 1.5 hours (it was a fascinating place) only to return to the pier to find that we could have had had another hour. The excursions in Phuket were weird, as we arrived at 2 pm, and then there were excursions of up to 8 hours going out, meaning that parts of these trips, including beach trips, tours of temples and elephant rides, were carried out in the dark! Not sure what all that was about, but if I had been on them I would not have been happy! The stop in Port Klang for Kuala Lumpur was cut from a full day to a half day. This was announced the previous evening after we left Phuket, with technical problems blamed, although a rumour did go round that it was to save money on fuel by going more slowly. Personally I doubt that, as the amount of money lost on their excursions, with full-days going down to a limited number of half-days, would probably have cost far more than the fuel. It does illustrate many passengers' disenchantment and distrust of Costa by this stage, however. There were quite a few first time cruisers on the trip, and we tried to emphasise that Costa was not typical of cruising and that they should try with another company before deciding whether cruising was for them. The cut down time was still disappointing for those wanting a reasonable time in Kuala Lumpur, however, although we had been before so were not personally too concerned. The last day in Singapore, most flights left at or just after midnight. In 2009, after our cruise on Classica, we did not have to leave the ship until 8 o'clock, but that has all changed and we had to leave at 4.45 pm, giving us over 6 hours to wait at the airport, so we had plenty of time to contemplate the coming 21-hour flight!! So, although we saw some wonderful things, it was overall a very disappointing and exhausting trip - the ship was poor, which we suspected in advance, but there appear to have been additional cuts and problems even over Classica 18 months ago. And they shouldn't keep using a ship where the plumbing is so problematic!! Also, we didn't get enough time to see the fantastic destinations properly. Although you may say this is always an issue on cruise ships (and I would agree), we lost far more time on this trip that we should have, leaving the feeling that we had not seen the best of things, which is a great pity as we are unlikely to return to any of them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
upon arrival there were not enough staff to help with checking in.the food in the buffet was of a poor standard and never hot. our cabin toilet did not work for seven of the fourteen days after reporting it every day.the air conditioner ... Read More
upon arrival there were not enough staff to help with checking in.the food in the buffet was of a poor standard and never hot. our cabin toilet did not work for seven of the fourteen days after reporting it every day.the air conditioner did not work properly in our room ,always very stuffy.on the back deck(10) the tables where never cleaned and not enough staff.when it came to getting off the ship at a tender port it was a disaster,people pushing and shoving ,they only sent one staff member to control it.at one stage there was nearly a punch up.the management on board did not interact and had a attitude of not my problem when any issues arose.the entertainment was poor and not enough variety of venue's with different style of entertainment.we went to the nightclub at 11.30 one night and were told it was not open ,don't you read your today program.the next night we went there were children there at 1.00am ,when said they should not be here we were told by staff they could not do any thing about it ,we said not appropriate for children to be in a adult environment. the staff tried very hard to keep things rolling along and to them i say thank you,but to management i will never go on another Costa Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
I looked at Cruise Critic reviews prior to departure so wasn't expecting a great voyage. Only booked because good price and excellent ports of call. At least it partly reached my expectations. That was the price and ports of ... Read More
I looked at Cruise Critic reviews prior to departure so wasn't expecting a great voyage. Only booked because good price and excellent ports of call. At least it partly reached my expectations. That was the price and ports of call!!. I have never embarked on such a disorganised ship. There was little to no information available. We had booked a Costa package which included airport transfers. Out of about 30 people arriving on our flight they managed to lose 4 elderly ladies at Shanghai. Enough said about that because it just got worse. They "guide" only gave us information regarding trips nothing about procedures of boarding the ship. On arrival at the terminal we had to carry our cases a good distance without assistance okay for my husband and I but there were several elderly and very very tired passengers who like us had travelled from various destinations via Dubai. Enough said because I could write a great deal more! When we finally got to our cabins after chaos in the atrium. There was again no information! There is a person on board who is described as the English speaking host who is a total waste of space and makes information up as and when its suits him to do so. Again it is pointless in further describing the whole of his performance during the 16 days. Sadly my husband took ill and eventually had to seek medical treatment. The Doctor and two nurses on board did not have English as their first second or even third language! As there was a mixture of Australian English and Americans totalling over 400 travelling it was quite amazing. I am Not saying the competency was compromised but it was seriously uncomfortable. Food was not particularly good but given the price it was "okay" The waiters were excellent chefs...well certain dishes could have been "warmer" Drinks expensive not much in the way of packages..15% service was really over the top for such a class of ship. Too much smoking too! The small wine bar as it is described was above an open stairway leading from a huge lounge . As passengers could smoke there ...smoke rises so us non smokers got the smoke as well. This area also included the only "alternative" dining option which was a pizza place. As pizza was readily available at the Buffet from mid morning onwards it hardly offered a change of dining options! Also the buffet was in a miserable room although a good variety it was not a pleasant area! Utter chaos again on embarkation no information until late the day before and then utter chaos again in getting to the airport and checking in! To sum up as I am sure anyone reading this is probably bored..Ships Officers arrogant ships staff who make it happen friendly polite and undermined! For no cost whatsoever to Costa things could be improved. If they had an English speaking Host who was competent and didn't exaggerate and tell porkies a lot of passengers would be happier. Never again we shall put it down to a poor experience. Wonderful ports awful cruise line!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We were for warned that the ship was older and that the cruise was geared for Europeans and that we would be one of the few Americans aboard. We booked the cruise for the itinerary. Dining room service was inconsistent. I didn't ... Read More
We were for warned that the ship was older and that the cruise was geared for Europeans and that we would be one of the few Americans aboard. We booked the cruise for the itinerary. Dining room service was inconsistent. I didn't get two of my entrees and was served wrong desserts on several occasions. The morning cappuicino and espresso were cold(probably made ahead of time) It was difficlut to get decaf coffee. The ice cream was runny and we actaully got hot orange juice out of the dispenser. It was not uncommon to clean our own tables off in the buffet Dishes were left everywhere. The selection in the buffet and the dining room were good. The cabin was clean..our room steward was a joy. The ship was very outdated and was in need of some major updating. Carpets looked dirty but were just worn out. There was lots of smoking on the ship and lots of people just pushing ...Again were were warned that the Europeans will just push you out of line. THE BIG LIE.......This is a very long story and I will try to condense it. We asked to have half our gratuity taken off of the bill We like to tip according to the service received(we are good tippers). We met with Micheal the English speaking host on five occasions. If he had said no you can't do this we would've said ok and dropped the subject. The first meeting he told us that it was possible and that he would contact the American consulate and they in turn would call the IRS. In Singapore we could be detained up to Six months if we didn't pay but he would proceed if we wanted him to. On the second meeting he said that he hadn't heard from our consulate yet. Meeting three he said everything was taken care of and the charges wouldn't be on our bill, however they were still on the bill. Meeting four he contacted us let us know that he called The US Consulate to advise them that they might need to pick up out luggage. He also said that our luggage would be scrutinized and that we should be frightened . When we asked for the phone number of the consulate he said the Singapore authorities would take care of that. Meeting five and hour before we got off the ship the charges were still on the bill. Micheal told us that they would be taken off as soon as we got through immigration... We didn't go to jail and they did charge us...Needless to say the whole thing was a lie. We felt threatened and harassed. On the positive side the whole itinerary was very educational. The ports were very interesting. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We have cruised on many other cruise lines but this was our first with Costa. We would be unlikely to choose Costa again because we prefer specific "english speaking" ships. The Costa Romantica is showing its age and its origins ... Read More
We have cruised on many other cruise lines but this was our first with Costa. We would be unlikely to choose Costa again because we prefer specific "english speaking" ships. The Costa Romantica is showing its age and its origins (probably designed as a cargo ship and then converted). However, the cabins are very spacious and very comfortable. The cabin staff are excellent but unfortunately the management staff tended to be rude and unhelpful. The embarkation process was chaotic and frustrating. There was no organisation, no assistance and no information about what was happening. The food in the buffet area was very average but in the dining room it was very good, especially at breakfast time and lunch time. The dining room staff were helpful but there was some difficulty with language (I ordered two eggs and got two servings, each with two eggs...). We cruise for the ports of call and this cruise had some excellent ports. There were no bad ports but some of the shore tours could have been better organised and should have had a crew member present to address any problems. We loved Halong Bay, Hanoi, Hoi An, Hong Kong and Saigon. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and we would recommend it to friends. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We did a cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. This was our 17th cruise and so we certainly love the lifestyle. We were looking for an Asia cruise and this cruise provided the time and itinerary we were after. The whole trip ... Read More
We did a cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. This was our 17th cruise and so we certainly love the lifestyle. We were looking for an Asia cruise and this cruise provided the time and itinerary we were after. The whole trip was booked via an online agency and there were no problems with the booking. We found the Costa website a little difficult but managed to navigate it and booked our shore tours before we left. The ship left from Singapore. No problems with flights or arriving at terminal. When we went to embark there seemed to be some confusion. Embarkation was late and we were given three different times. However, we made it aboard but our cabin was not ready. We headed for a buffet lunch and then went to the cabin. The cabin was great. Roomy, spotless and a great ensuite. The cabin steward was helpful for the entire trip and nothing was an issue. His service was exemplary. We were on second siting dinner. Our table allocation was fine and the people on the table were tremendous. We made plenty of new friends with them and shared many laughs. We met up during the day and spent lots of time together. This was just as well as the entertainment during the day was woeful. It was very repetitive. As an example on one day there were three trivia quizzes! This is not much variety for entertainment. Teams needed to be titled by a country as the World Soccer Cup was on and so they were sticking with the theme. This was a good idea but the scores for the trivia quizzes were accumulative over the whole cruise. If you didn't attend one session you couldn't possibly win. There was no activities for younger people at all. Often an activity was led in multiple languages which was great but if you couldn't follow the accent you just missed out. We often felt belittled as we didn't speak Italian. One person we met on the trip was actually told by the office star that they shouldn't have come if they didn't speak Italian. The meals were fine and well presented. There was a great variety and never a shortage of any dish. The ship itself could be fine but needs some major refurbishments. The pools were crowded and small and the pool surrounds needed maintenance. The outdoor carpet needed replacing and so signs were placed warning of dangerous surface rather than having it repaired. There was no picture theatre on board or any other form of watching a movie. The TV in the room only had tow English speaking channels - one a news service, but over a dozen Italian language channels even though a large percentage of the passengers were English speaking. Due to language issues the night entertainment in the show room had to be limited. It would be difficult to run a comedy show in six languages. The entertainment in the show room was fine. Twice we went to karaoke only to find it had been cancelled. The disco often didn't open at all. The ports of call were brilliant but the shore tours were very mixed. The ship berthed in Tianjin and we were able to purchase a ride to town on shuttle service. We were given a map of Tianjin form the ship staff only to find that the shuttle bus actually took us to Tugganu which was 40 kilometres out of Tianjin. The bus driver explained that we were nowhere near where the map was and we needed to catch a taxi for a one hour ride to get to the town centre. We were in a starbucks coffee carpark and there was nothing around so we, along with everyone else on the bus, went straight back to the ship. The same issue happened with Cheju where we told it was a shopping tour but we were taken to a duty free shopping centre and as the ship had collected our passports we couldn't buy anything. When I put my grievances in writing to the shore tours manager when getting back on the ship I was informed that Costa had fulfilled their obligations and taken us to a shopping centre. It was not their fault that we couldn't buy anything! They were anything but helpful. We will continue to cruise but never again with Costa. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We've just returned from the May 1, 2010 sailing of the Costa Romatica out of Singapore (stops in Ho Chi Mihn, Da Nang, Hong Kong, Manila, Kota Kinabalu and Bandar Sari Begawan). While many reviews of the ship, staff and Costa line in ... Read More
We've just returned from the May 1, 2010 sailing of the Costa Romatica out of Singapore (stops in Ho Chi Mihn, Da Nang, Hong Kong, Manila, Kota Kinabalu and Bandar Sari Begawan). While many reviews of the ship, staff and Costa line in general have been pretty tough, my overall assessment is that this was a decent trip and the destinations were worth the problems. Having said that, many of the points raised in the tough reviews are true and lots of improvements are needed. This review comes from a very experienced business traveler with high but realistic standards and experience on four other cruises on Princess, Norwegian and Carnival. This cruise was my first experience with Costa. My wife and I are Canadians in our early 40s and traveled with our 1.5 year old son. We chose this cruise despite reading the negative reviews based on the itinerary. We really wanted to visit Vietnam and a cruise is a great way to see some harder-to-visit places with a young child. The Ship This ship is older, but is in decent condition and still has many elegant touches. The large lounge on the 8th level deck is particularly elegant, albeit quite retro-looking. It is a small one so is easy to figure out but lacks some amenities of other ships. As other reviews note, Costa appears to have a far more liberal smoking policy than other ships and the corridors had a fairly heavy smoke smell. I am very sensitive to smoke, so am pleased to report this did not penetrate the cabin at all. One of the other problems is that on three occasions, there was a strong smell of fuel on our deck. While it was quickly addressed (within an hour or so), it did lead me to wonder what was the source of the problem. One of the other issues was the very weak air conditioning. AC was non-existent in the common areas like elevator banks, weak in the halls and cabins, but decent in the dining rooms and show lounge. The Cabin We had an outside cabin (for some reason Costa would only allow us to book an outside cabin with our small child) on the 4th level. The cabin was in decent shape, a good size, and had a reasonable amount of storage space. The furnishings were fine and everything worked. The room had both European and American power outlets, which was helpful. The carpet was filthy - it had stains everywhere and needed replacing, not cleaning. The bathroom was functional but wasn't well cleaned upon our arrival. There were two dried contact lenses on the bathroom counter as well as some hair bands from a previous guest in the shower. The shower also had mildew in several places. On the positive side, I did mention this to our cabin steward and she did a "deep clean" of the shower on the second day and removed most of the mildew. One of the other complaints was the water supply. There was no cold water at all in the cabin. In fact, even when on a full cold setting, the water was almost hot. I am not sure if this was due to the steamy Asian itinerary, but was strange to me. More importantly, the water was also quite yellow on several occasions. I suspect this was due to receiving different water supplies in different ports, but it did seem to vary from day to day. Some days were fine, others less so. The Itinerary/Tours This was the primary reason for our choice of this cruise (and it appeared to be the same for almost everyone on board) and we weren't disappointed at all on this score. The itinerary was fantastic and the problems we encountered on board were certainly compensated by the fantastic itinerary and tours. We did Costa-arranged tours in Ho Chi Mihn (Exploration of Ho Chi Mihn), Da Nang (My Son Holy See and Shopping at Hoi An), Manila (Tagaytay Tour and Panoramic Manila), Kota Kinabalu (Rainforest Trecking, Sun and Sea) and Bandar Sari Begawan (Brunei City Orientation). I'd have to say that all tours were good and some were excellent. They were a bit expensive (not too much more than other lines though), but the tour operators were very good. Several tours provided bottled water and small gifts (like ballcaps) which were unexpected, but appreciated. Vietnam was definitely the highlight for us. We loved the Da Nang tour and despite the extreme heat, had a great time even with a 1.5 year old in tow. The Vietnamese were incredibly warm and generous and despite visiting about 60 countries in five continents, wowed me. We saw workers in straw hats behind oxen and water buffalo in rice fields - and it wasn't a Disney-like show for tourists. An old vendor selling trinkets offered my boy a little gift from his shop and wouldn't take any money when offered. The visit forced me to think about how well we live in the West and, like many other visits to developing countries, reminded me to worry less about the petty stuff about which we spend too much time worrying. Of course, many of the other places we visited were rich and wonderful in their own ways. Singapore is an amazing and fun Asian bubble and Brunei showed its enormous oil wealth alongside its rich and beautiful Muslim heritage. My photos of the mosques are amazing. As we had friends in both Singapore and Hong Kong, we did our own things and both ports are very easy to do that. As Costa was involved in choosing the local tour operators and setting the itinerary, I'd give them high marks for that. The Food/Dining The food quality was also quite high. It was clear that money was spent bringing in good quality ingredients (cheeses were excellent and portions were large). Each dinner had seven possible courses (appetizer, soup, pasta, main dish, salad, cheese and dessert). This is where the Italian heritage of the cruise line showed - the food quality and preparation was very good. Many pastas were fantastic (my favourite course). There were always many options for each course and the menu continued to change throughout the cruise (I'm not sure there were any repeats in 14 nights). As a North American, many options were more suited to the European palate (different meats and/or cuts and the preparation was quite different than at home), but I can't imagine anyone not finding something to their liking. I didn't like everything I ordered, but that's the case with anyone, anywhere. I think other reviewers were far too hard on this aspect of the cruise. Costa did a good job in the kitchen. I heard good things about the pizza restaurant, but due to its terrible hours (only opened from 9 pm to midnight), we didn't get to go a single time (remember, we had a 1.5 year old with us). My major complaint about the dining were the restrictive times and options. Several days into the cruise we skipped our early seating dinner and were surprised to learn that the buffet was not open for dinner. If you missed dinner, the only option was to order from a limited list of room service items (with a two euro charge). I have to admit, our Norwegian cruise really sold us on the "anytime" dining idea. The buffet was open for breakfast and lunch and was of surprisingly good quality. A few special stations were open (made to order eggs, fresh pasta and other items) at each meal time as well. I do not understand why a small buffet wasn't available for dinner. There were no specialty restaurants on board. There was an outside grill for hamburgers and hotdogs at lunch, but these again were not up to North American standards. Both the hotdogs and hamburgers were gross. Chicken and lunch steaks were available and were a bit better at the grill. As many have asked, the buffet had soft ice-cream machines open at certain times, but while it was ok, it wasn't great. My comments about the service in the dining area will follow. Staff/Service The service levels on the ship were a mixed bag to be honest. I struggle to write this section as several staff people were very good (Nilesh, our assistant waiter was a super nice guy), but overall, Costa staff were noticeably less friendly and service-oriented than other lines. I generally hate to make generalizations, but I will make a few. Typically, staff from the Phillipines (whether on a ship or not) are among the most kind and hardworking people you'd ever meet. You have to work pretty hard to get a Filipino to stop smiling, but it appeared that something did just that. Many, many staff seemed quite unhappy and I found that I would often say hello or smile long before they did. I suspect this may be due to the ship's management. I'm generalizing again, but the Italian management staff was quite unfriendly and seemed to brush by passengers without a greeting or even a smile. I did hear that staff wages were recently cut drastically and the ship wasn't full, so perhaps that affect staff morale. Still, the ship seemed to run reasonably well. Meals were delivered, rooms were cleaned, tours were arranged, so it wasn't all that bad. But as many of us travelers know, the attitude of staff towards the guests makes a huge difference in one's perceptions of the experience. If other Costa sailings are like this (and reviews suggest this may be true), a major tune up of management is in order. I will say that despite Costa being part of the Carnival family, it definitely does not have an American level of service. The Passengers Let me add that while other reviewers didn't like the fact that announcements were made in many languages or the degree of diversity among the passengers, this was a nice thing about the cruise from my perspective. I'd say that the largest groups on the ship were Italians, Australians, New Zealanders, Germans, French and Russians. As is typical of longer and pricier cruises, it was an older crowd. I really enjoyed meeting people from around the world and everyone was super nice to my little boy. I was surprised to see several children (perhaps 10-15) and even a baby younger than our son. We did visit Costa's children's program a few times and I can see why it is well-regarded. The Italian manager there was just excellent and his staff was very kind too. Pricing We paid about $2200 US per person for our outside cabin for a 14 night cruise. After an awesome deal on a South American cruise with Norwegian last year ($750 for a 12 night cruise for a balcony), this did seem high to us. I will say that staff was definitely not pushy about trying to get more money out of passengers like on other lines. I can't recall anyone asking us to buy or upgrade anything, which is a difference between the American lines. Photos were available, but not in your face or forced on you. There was a modest amount of shopping and prices didn't seem too bad. Internet usage seemed far less expensive than on other cruises. I believe I had 2-3 hours of time for about 30 euros. Everything was priced in euros, but the financial crisis seems to have helped us as even our Canadian dollar was at a decent exchange rate with the euro. Other than cruise tours, we didn't spend a great deal of money. We had the odd soft-drink or glass of wine and prices seemed about the same as other cruises (expensive but not ridiculous). I will say that bottled water seemed pricy especially as the ship water was so terrible. Either provide passable tap water or don't charge so much for the bottled stuff is my opinion. Laundry services were available but at a fairly high price. There was no ability to launder your own stuff in pay machines (I liked Princess for that). Other lines have at least had an occasional deal to do a bunch of stuff at a flat rate (all you can stuff in a bag). Costa did offer this, but only the second to last day. On such a long cruise, I would have thought they'd do this a few times (like other lines). Drinkers may have benefited from a drink package (some had to be purchased in advance). We didn't do too much of this, so a package wouldn't have made sense. Traveling with a Small Child As I mentioned earlier, I think a cruise is a perfect way for parents with small children to travel. This was Kennedy's second cruise. We took him on a South American sailing with Norwegian (Buenos Aires to Valparaiso) when he was six-months old and on this Asian sailing at 1.5 years. He is a good traveler (he's been on 150 flights and four continents now), but I think most kids could do this more exotic sailing with some degree of ease. The time zone change was tough (it is exactly 12 hours different for us), but our trip was almost three weeks in total so there was time to adjust. The ship was well set up for kids (high chairs for dinner, the ability to request certain foods, milk given to us by the litre, a play-yard to use for sleeping, a decent kids club and play area). I should say that while the ship had two small pools, both had salt-water and were very deep (the shallow pool was over five feet deep at a minimum). This wasn't great for our boy as even in my arms he didn't like being in such deep water. As a result of traveling with a child, I'm not able to evaluate the evening shows. We did attend a few lectures on Asian history with an Italian professor and they were very good. While it was some work (the heat, pushing a stroller in tight Asian streets and alleys), we had a blast showing our son another part of the world. We have some amazing photos of him in Asia which we'll proudly show him in future years. Cruises really do allow you as a parent to see some exotic places while offering your child a degree of structure, safety and standard food to eat. The best part for parents who have to pack a million items is that you can pack and unpack once, while seeing many terrific places. Kennedy has his Hep A and B shots (and the other standard shots for kids of his age), but we did not have to give him malaria pills or other tougher treatments. We enjoyed almost everything with him (we couldn't do the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam as he was too young). We were careful to bring a few food items with us to avoid having to feed him on the street, but otherwise, he enjoyed everything with us. The other passengers (likely as most were grandparents) were terrific and patient if he had the odd cry or fussy moment. Overall Assessment I'd give this cruise a B minus overall. The itinerary and tours were excellent, the food quality was very good, but the service and some ship amenities were lacking. I wouldn't recommend this cruise to those wanting the full, pampered experience available on some sailings and lines. My first taste with Costa was that it is a lower to mid-range line that is in need of some major management overhauls. Still, I'd give them another chance and would do this cruise again even with the problems as the itinerary was so fantastic. If you are looking for a great itinerary and don't mind some challenges on board, then this cruise is for you. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
The Ship: Romantica is quite old and dated. It is clean enough on first glance, but quite tired looking. No effort at all has been made to beautify it anywhere. There are no green potplants on the decks outside the lifts. There are no ... Read More
The Ship: Romantica is quite old and dated. It is clean enough on first glance, but quite tired looking. No effort at all has been made to beautify it anywhere. There are no green potplants on the decks outside the lifts. There are no bright paintings or art work on the walls anywhere the ship is basic and provided the means to get from port to port but not much else. We chose this cruise for the ports of call. We would not travel on Costa again. We found that the drinks were expensive, particularly for the southern hemisphere passengers as it was all charged in Euro. A can of coke was 2.7Euro!! Cabin: - Our cabin was on deck 4 and an outside cabin. It was quite roomy with plenty of storage space. The bed was hard and just OK but the mattress really needed to be renewed. It was sagging. The furnishings were once again adequate, but needed to be renewed. The ensuite was clean and a good size. The shower is on an extension hose and ours would not stay upright on the holder. Once the cabin steward knew that it was broken he got a maintenance person to come and fix it immediately. Our Cabin Steward - was Fillipino and he was great. I have read other reviews and they all commend the hardworking cabin staff and I do too. Ours was exceptional. I have heard and read on Cruise Critic that the cabin staff have had a pay CUT recently and they don't get paid the prepaid gratuties that we and I am sure many other passengers would have prepaid. This is unacceptable by Costa and should not be permitted, but unfortunately the cabin staff can't do anything about it as they need the jobs and any complaints mean they would nothave a job. Disgusting and greedy of Costa and something needs to be done about it. Our young cabin steward was wonderful. He was hard working and did longhours. He always had time to stop and talk to us and always a ready smile. My regret it that we could not do anything about ensuring his "tips" would be paid to him by Costa. The certainly work very hard and deserve and by rights should be given this money. Dining Staff: we had a wonderful Chinese waitress in the evenings and she was very good, my only criticism is that as we were first sitting the staff was under pressure to get us out of the dining room as quickly as possible to they could set up for the second sitting passengers. The food was just OK...... very monotonous afer a week. On this ship you can only eat dinner in the formal dining room. It would have been good to have the buffet offering food at night too as we and others didn't want to eat formally every night. The lunch was served in the buffet and probably the best food of the day, although getting it was difficult lining up like at a "Coles" Cafe trying to fill our plates along with all the other passengers and people butting in. Not good at all. Breakfast was also served in the buffet and once again a struggle to get to the buffet and get the food and then even more difficult to navigate through the queues to find a table. The aisles are far too narrow to walk down with everyone waiting to try and get their food and the ship staff trying to replenish the food too. The ONLY FREE thing on the ship was the "cold" water, Even this was never cold, usually very hot actually and oneneeded to add the ice from the same machine to get the water cold. We filled up our drink bottles at the water machine every night. There are about 5 machines and all of them are in the buffet on Deck 8.!!! Why don't they have them scattered around the ship. No sense really. SMOKING: - this was permitted everywhere it seemed. Certainly the Costa staff did nothing to discourage it and people were even smoking cigars and pipes!!!! The main lounge on Deck 8 was always smokey and stunk as did most of the corridors on the ship. The trouble with smokers is they don't care if you don't like it!!! and they certainly made no efforts them selves to be courteous about where they smoked. It was disgusting. Even out at breakfast smoke was puffed into people's faces. Air conditioning: - it was almost non existent in the cabin where it was really needed at night to try and get a good sleep. Other parts of the ship it was freezing cold. Swimming decks: - the pools were nice and warm but there was very little shade for passengers and Costa staff would just come and take the sun umbrellas down if a little breeze blew!!!! There was no consideration given to the passengers at all. Entertainment: - was uninteresting and unispiring apart from one show where there was a tumbling act and a comedian which was from USA. Apart from this the Costa dancers and singers worked hard, but it was all done on the cheap. Costa Officers: These are mostly Italian and could care less about pleasihg the passengers. No effort was made to help even when help was asked for. The officers are just full of their own self importance and no politeness in them at all. Entertainment Crew: these were young, loud and immature. They took no consideration of the age group of this cruise which i would estimate to be on average 55 - 65 yrs of age. The Entertainment crew were very young and just came out and taught the ChaCha or Samba every day for 2 weeks..... no variation.... It was boring. The young woman running the quiz's had a very strong Italian accent and her speaking was sometimes undecipherable,she could care less!!! Even when quite a few English speaking passengers said they coudn't understand her well, she just shrugged her sholders, looked down her nose at us and walked away. Not good customer service at all and yet another bad critisism of the ship and the crew. The meanness and penny pinching of Costa was also shown at the quiz times too, when they would not even give each winning team a small prize. They would only give one prize to one person and to get that if there was more than 1 winning team a member from each team had to throw a dice and the highest number won!!! I am not talkingabout expensive prizes either. Just cheap Costa writing notebooks, or a recycle bag jst big enought to hold a block of chocolate. We are not talking about expensive giveaways here. They were cheap and nasty prizes and the Costa meanness really showed. The ports we went to were great. We did not take any organised tours from the ship as they were expensive even in Euro. We would find a taxi on the wharf or outside the gates and after bartering we would agree on a price for the whole day and the taxi took us in airconditioned comfort to all the places the tours went to, but we didn't have to wait for the slow tour person or sit on an uncomfortable unairconditioned bus as one tour had to in Da Nang. I strongly recommend that you taxi everywhere it is cheaper and much more leisurely. Manila is so dirty and so many young homeless people and slums. It was disgusting place and made me very sad to see so many young children out on the streets begging for money. Filty place where nothing looks to be finished. The roads are rough and potholed, thefootpaths was unfinished and dusty and dirts. Everyone should see this country I think and then they would realise how lucky they are to live in relative comfort and have the oney to holiday from time to time. I now understand why Fillipino's work overseas. Even tho many of them are maids in Arab countries and poorly paid it would be preferable to the miserable brokenlives they would endure in their home country. I feel very sorry for the inhabitants of Manila. It was a dump. Sabbah was great and different again. Lots of slum houses and rubbish everywhere, so unkept, just like Maniala but not quite as bad. Brunei was great, clean and tidy but the port is about a 40 minute drive to the city. You need to get a taxi here and go to the Water Village. this is something else andwell worth the visit. Amazing place. Singapore is wonderful. Great people, great shopping, great sights too. Clean and orderly and a pleasure to be there. Ho Chi Minh was chaotic but exciting too. Loved Vietnam and its people, lots of poor people too and very untidy place with lots of rubbish but not nearly as bad as Manila. Da Nang was great and we also took a taxi to Hoi Ahn a wonderful little vietnamese village, no cars inthe streets and a very different place to visit. Would like to go back to Da Nang and really see the place. Loved China Beach there too. In 10 years time it will be full of resort type hotels as they were all being built already. Overall I would not recommend Costa Cruising to anyone. It was just a very basic cruise, but the price we paid was not basic and certainly all the prices on board were expensive. The shops on board are a waste of time. only 2shops. One of jewellery the other sold bags, cigarettes, cruise t-shirts and a few blingly tops and pashminas but nothing really to even be bothered buying. Very disappointing cruise over all. Arrogant main staff and overworked and underpaid cabin staff. Wake up Costa and start paying your staff what they deserve. You know that they can't fight for themselves as Costa would just put them off so the staff are stuck and obviously Costa don't want passengers to know that staff are not getting their gratutities. Don't go Costa but do go the the ports, each and everyone was different and really worth the visit. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We have never tried a Costa cruise before and when a 7 night itinerary came out for Singapore to Hong Kong (part of a 14 night Singapore - Singapore cruise) we thought we would give it a go. Costa were trying to encourage the Australian ... Read More
We have never tried a Costa cruise before and when a 7 night itinerary came out for Singapore to Hong Kong (part of a 14 night Singapore - Singapore cruise) we thought we would give it a go. Costa were trying to encourage the Australian market and were offering reasonable fares considering the lateness of our booking. We decided to give it a go. I will be making some negative comments in this review, but I must preface them by saying that the weekend we left for Singapore was the very same weekend that left thousands of people stranded all over the world. This was to create some problems for Costa, and may have had an influence on some of our complaints. I should also state that Costa also had many good points, so I do not wish to have people perceive that this is a negative review, just an honest one. We availed ourselves of the on-line check in pages to record our basic data, and when we arrived into Singapore, the bag drop and check in procedures were handled quite well. We walked down the gang plank and onto the deck 5 reception area, only to be met with the pungent smell of stale cigarette smoke. What have we done, we asked ourselves. We did not realize that smoking was allowed inside the boat in every area, except for the Juliette bar and the restaurants. For non smokers this can be a nasty surprise. Australians have now become used to smoking restrictions in public areas, and even the Australian smokers we spoke to, were surprised at the lack of restrictions. This freedom to smoke was to restrict our involvement in many activities that were held in lounges that allowed for smoking. Continuing on the theme of the pursuit for fresh air, leads us to the outdoor areas. The Romantica does not have a promenade deck, only a sun deck (on two levels). There is very little usable shade on these decks, and in essence I expect that the boat was purpose built of Mediterranean cruising, that involved daily port calls. It is more of a floating hotel with a roasting deck on top. To emphasis the "hotel" comment, the non smoking Juliette bar, where we spent most of our time whilst at sea, had port holes, but so high that we could not see out them. Meals and seating. The buffet restaurant delivered both breakfast, lunch and afternoon teas. Whilst the food was palatable, it's menu items were generally of a lesser quality than the main dining room. Hot breakfast selections never seemed to change, and by day 3, cereals and pastries seemed to be the only appetizing items. Conversely, the evening meals were very well presented and of a much higher quality. One looked forward to the evening meal. However, there was one negative, and that was the set seating arrangement. The first sitting was usually at 6:30pm and the second at 8:45pm. We had booked for the first sitting, but were told on day one that we were on the second. We never eat that late, so we complained. We were asked if we could accept the 2nd sitting for that night and it would be sorted out the next night. We complied with the request, knowing the problems that the volcano had caused. (Costa allowed disembarking passengers to stay on the cruise if they could not get back to Europe). Anyway, we actually had room service instead. The next day we were place on a table where no one spoke any English. That was their offer for the remainder of the cruise. We found an unused table in entry to the restaurant and insisted that we use that one, and they obliged. The cabin was wonderful, with a very spacious feel (we had a 2 berth double). The bathroom was equally spacious and was quite a surprise based on our other cruise experiences. The cruise line quoted a refurbishment in 2005, but the room did appear to be much older, but non the less it was very comfortable. The entertainment (after dinner) was also very good, with a much larger variety that most cruise lines we have been on. If you do not like cultured entertainment, like classical piano, opera, etc then you might have a different opinion, but we enjoyed it. It came with the obligatory, dancers and acrobats to boot. Great stuff. We cannot comment the extra activities that were arranged as they were held in a smoking lounge, and so we did not participate. Excursions were handled with great efficiency, and we never had to wait too long to place our order for the next day. They were fractionally more expensive than we expected, and were in Euro's which made it worse. Not terribly good value, but that is more an effect of the poor exchange rate. Because of the smaller numbers disembarking in Hong Kong, the whole process was quite painless, although, they wanted your suitcases out for collection by 1am, which was a bit of a nuisance - just had extra hand luggage for our personal items until we retrieved your baggage quayside. Other comments. The majority of the passengers were Italian, German or French, with some Spanish and about 100 Australians. We never encountered any cultural issues or conflicts other than the smoking one. We were told that Europeans in general do not regard smoking as the health hazard that we have been educated to understand. So, if you don't mind the smoke, and don't mind the exposure to the sun when outside, and don't mind if you cannot speak to your table guests at dinner, then you will love it. Others will find it a compromise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We had a cruise on Costa Romantica from Singapore for 14 nights around SE Asia visiting 6 ports. Had never cruised with Costa before and reading some reviews was a little apprehensive, but this was totally unfounded. Embarkation was simple ... Read More
We had a cruise on Costa Romantica from Singapore for 14 nights around SE Asia visiting 6 ports. Had never cruised with Costa before and reading some reviews was a little apprehensive, but this was totally unfounded. Embarkation was simple yet the Customer Services Desk on board was chaos (luckily we didn't need it on boarding), due to passengers who were afforded a free 14 night cruise because Costa, through no fault of Costa, could not fly them back to Europe and UK due to the volcanic ash problems. Once things had settled down in that area we found no problems, language was possibly an issue but could be overcome. We had breakfast and lunch when on board in the dining room, the buffet was crowded usually and much of the same each day. The comfort of waiter service in the dining room, even if we were at a table with non-English speaking people, was well worth while. At dinner we were seated with fellow Aussies and around us were other Aussies, Kiwis and English. The food at Dinner was, great, as was breakfast and lunch in the dining room, and a testimony was the excess weight I now have to work at getting rid of. Entertainment was good, probably since there were some UK entertainers who had joined the ship. Excursions, while seeming to be expensive were no more than on other cruises we have been on, and provided an opportunity to experience the various ports we visited. While a couple of lounges provided smoking areas we always found smoke free zones and were not inconvenienced. The only drawback was the poor yet expensive Internet facilities on board, I found it easier to wait until in port and use an internet cafe. All in all it was a very pleasant holiday, and the good weather made it more so, the only seas which wee not like a mill pond was in the trip between Hong Kong and Manila. I would definitely consider Costa again for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 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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