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6 Costa neoRomantica First-Time Cruisers Cruise Reviews

After reading a lot of the reviews on this website concerning Costa, we were very worried about how our cruise holiday would turn out. This was our first time going on a cruise and we are a family of four - two kids who are 4 yrs old and 6 ... Read More
After reading a lot of the reviews on this website concerning Costa, we were very worried about how our cruise holiday would turn out. This was our first time going on a cruise and we are a family of four - two kids who are 4 yrs old and 6 yrs old. We took a bus transfer from Nice, France, to Savona, Italy, which was arranged by Costa. This went without any troubles and the driver stopped after about 90 minutes of driving for a 30 minute rest stop, then we continued our way to the cruise terminal in Savona. When we arrived there, we were all given embarkation cards with a number on them to indicate in which order we could board the ship. We were given a card for group number 21 and we waited in a very comfortable terminal for around 45 minutes before our number was called. There was a little children's room available where our kids could play while we waited. Also, there was a cafe and outdoor seating on a nice terrace, if you preferred to wait in the open air. Once on board, we had our photos taken by the crew to go with our Costa Cards and then we were directed to our cabin. I had already looked at the floor plan for the deck we were on, so I knew where to go to find our cabin. I would suggest people do this before getting on board, as the cabins did not appear to be in sequential order! So, ensure you know which direction to head in once you are on the ship! We got to our room and our luggage was brought to us about 5 minutes later. The cabin we had was a classic sea view cabin. We were on deck 5, towards the front of the ship. Our kids were very happy, as their beds were folded down from either side of the cabin, over the top of the king-sized bed in the middle of the cabin (this was made up of two beds pushed together, but it was very comfortable). Everything was made up nicely and I was happy with the cleanliness of the cabin :) We were excited to explore the ship but decided to stay in our cabin until the emergency training drill was ready to take place. We put on our life jackets and headed up to deck 9 where we were 'herded' towards our muster station. The training is useless and just lip service, honestly! I didn't learn a thing. But I guess that Costa have to say they have given us the training and it was all over after 15 minutes. We found 99% of the staff members on board of the neoRomantica to be beautifully polite and willing to help us. After reading other reviews, I had expected the worst, but everyone doted on our daughter and were very nice to us despite the fact we only speak English! Our kids were fine in the Squok club but it was a little bit small. The kids went there for about 3 hours minimum each day and also experienced 3 squok dinners, which allowed us (mum and dad) to have a few nice quiet dinners on our own! The Squok club hours are in three 3 hour lots during the day, usually 9am - noon, then 3pm-6pm, and then 9pm-midnight. Our kids NEVER went to the last session, as it is very late for little ones. For older children, that may not be a problem. We also were informed that we could leave the children with the Squok staff for a continuous period if we were going on an excursion that was booked through the Costa Tours. So if a tour is scheduled to leave at 8am and return at 3pm, we could drop the children off at the club at 7.45am and then the staff would be with them until we returned. We did this twice on our cruise, as sometimes our kids did not want to spend a long day sightseeing. Remember that you cannot leave your children in the Squok club if you are planning to go on a self-organised excursion. On days when the ship is at sea for the entire day, the second session of Squok is from 3pm-5pm, and then the third session begins at 7pm and the children all have a themed dinner together, followed by a movie or games. We found the food on the ship to be acceptable, it's not 'amazing' but it's not revolting either. It is what it is, but don't go in with huge expectations. There were a couple of standout dishes that I can remember from my 10 day cruise and there were a couple I would rather forget, but overall, it was okay. We realised after the first few days that we didn't have to always eat at the restaurant with table service, as Giardino's restaurant actually turns into a self-service buffet for breakfasts and lunches! We much preferred this option as we could make big salads and eat much healthier, balanced meals. You can't rely on getting a nice salad or main meal with vegetables at dinner, so get all the greens and fresh produce you can at lunch time. By the tenth day of our cruise, we were beginning to tire of the multi-course dinners and felt a bit unhealthy. Thank goodness for the salad bar at lunch! We sometimes took fruit back to our cabin to eat at other times. This seemed fine with the staff, as no one tried to stop us. Generally, you can get breakfast from 6.30/7am up until about 10.30/11am. Lunch is at noon. Late lunch is from 2-4pm, then there is afternoon tea from 4-5pm. Early casual dining for dinner begins at 5pm in the Pizzeria (but you have to pay 7.50 euros per person for all you can eat pizza), and 6pm in the Grill (free). The other restaurants are serving from 6.30pm. There is a club restaurant that anyone can book into and pay for their dinner. It looked beautiful but we never went there. Also, if you are not in a Samsara cabin but would like to eat in the Samsara restaurant, you can either buy an upgraded dining package or pay for a one-off dinner at 25 euros per head, excluding drinks. We did not do this, so I cannot comment on the food in that restaurant, but it was said to be 'healthier'. As for drinks, we purchased the all inclusive package. We did not have to purchase this for our daughter, as she is 4 yrs old. 5yrs and upwards do have to have a drinks package. Please be aware that you cannot get bottles of water with the package, only GLASSES of water. We did bring a couple of drink bottles from home and filled these up in our cabin for the excursions. The water on the ship is totally FINE for drinking, so do not be scared by some people's photographs of the water quality!!! We made friends with a couple of the waiters and barmen and they gave us a few cans of ice tea that were unopened for our journey home when we disembarked on our last day. Also, at dinner, if you do not finish the bottled water, just take it back to your cabin at the end of the meal. There is no problem in doing this and you might as well not let it go to waste. Other comments on the ship - the cabins seemed to be pretty sound proof, as I didn't hear our neighbours at all. Sometimes I could hear people in the hall, but this did not bother me. On the contrary, we were probably the noisiest people around with our young kids... We tried our best to keep them quiet! There was a good selection of in-house movies available to purchase through the tv in the cabin. Yes, there were available in all languages, including English. We paid 8.95 euros to watch The Croods and the kids loved it. We also brought our laptop, loaded up with movies, Don't forget to bring a power adapter and a power board/ power strip so that you can charge all of your devices/cameras/etc. The only toiletries provided are soap. There are no shower caps, or shower gels, shampoos, etc. You can purchase those things in the dutyfree shop on deck 9 if you come unprepared. The entertainment on the ship is a number of little bands which are directed at old people, not very exciting for us (in our 30's). The dancers were pretty good though. There was a magician one evening, and we thought he was good, as did our kids. He did the show in Italian, French and English! Other nights there were events that we didn't attend, but that is because of our kids needing to go to bed. I am not going to rate the shore excursions, because everyone would be different. We took an excursion to Ephesus from the port of Izmir, Turkey. This was a good tour, but we were taken to a rug shop after seeing Ephesus were we were hassled to buy a rug. These people were nice enough and I would have liked to buy a rug but I do not like being forced into a situation like that! We were given wine or tea here too, and a little demo about how the silk is farmed and the rugs are made. After refusing many times to buy a rug, we had to find the exit which was at the end of numerous rooms containing jewellery - we have never seen so much jewellery in our lives! The actual tour in Ephesus was very interesting though! The other tour we took was to see the volcano in Sicily called Mount Etna from the port of Messina. It was quite a drive to get there (2 hours, not 90 mins as stated in the tour guide). However, it was cool to see the volcano. Take very warm clothes if you go here during the colder months. It was incredibly windy and FREEZING. I used the gym a number of times. It is sufficient for keeping up fitness on the cruise but if you go at peak times, you will need to wait to use a cardio machine. The machines are meant to be used for 20 minutes per person, but keep your eye on people, as some rude individuals may try to restart their session as soon as the 20mins are up! As for weights, there are 3 benches and dumbells ranging from 4kgs upwards. There are some weight machines but I didn't like them and never attempted to use them, as they weren't the traditional type but some weird ergonomic sort. There is a stretching area with a few yoga mats and an ab ball or two. The view from the gym is directly over the front of the bow of the ship, so quite nice. Disembarkation took a while and we were given an approximate time of 10.30am as our timeslot (the ship docked at 9am). We ended up getting called off at about 11.15am. We were not allowed to be in our cabin after 8am, so after we had breakfast, we sat in the main bar, where we could get drinks, etc. It is very comfortable there, so we didn't have a problem. I even took my daughter back up to the Squok club for a play. You are able to utilise anything on the ship until you are ready to leave, except your cabin, ofcourse. This review is getting very long but I just wanted to say that if you go on the cruise with an open mind, you realise that some Europeans can be a little rude at times, you are polite to the people who are serving you - you will have a nice time. Honestly, the neoRomantica was fine! Each ship can speak for itself, I suppose. But I wouldnt hesitate to go back again to this one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
As first time cruisers we had a lot of questions. Cruise critic was very helpful for many of them. Neo romantica is a really beautiful ship and the staff are superb. The Baltic Northern Capitals are really beautiful and there are plenty of ... Read More
As first time cruisers we had a lot of questions. Cruise critic was very helpful for many of them. Neo romantica is a really beautiful ship and the staff are superb. The Baltic Northern Capitals are really beautiful and there are plenty of opportunities to see great art and design which we took full advantage of. We picked the all inclusive drinks package and enjoyed the range within in it. We really enjoyed the smaller bar entertainment where we found an excellent extempore pianist Akos who really had us sitting up and taking notice and a silver trio with sax, electric piano and excellent singer who provided a great atmosphere. Listening to the night out band in the background whilst drifting out of port looking out of the full length windows with a cocktail in hand and some nibbles of nuts, mini pretetzels and crisps was another pleasure. The other entertainment was also fine, the other standout being an italian tenor whose name I have misplaced - sorry that I have. We hardly ate or drank ashore just took a small bottle of water, a bit of fruit and hardboiled eggs from the breakfast buffet and a flask of spirits from our all inclusive package for pain relief for an osteoarthritic knee! We found the public transport affordable and clear and convenient meaning that we did not have to do much walking. St Petersberg did private tour which was three times what we paid for the actual cruise which we got on late avail..! At Stockholm we concentrated on the Museum of Modern Art which has an exhibition stuffed with Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton, Matisses including his metal work, Piccasso etc etc. In Copenhagen we concentrated on the Museum of Design and saw some really unique beautiful things, again concentrating on maximum things to see per pace walked.Visby was on the itinerary but most people including ourselves never got to see it because the conditions were not right for the tender boat transfers and we have little time on Bornholm where we had to go to a small town on the other side rather than Ronne due to the sea and wind combined conditions making tender boat transfer too challenging. Also we went at the advertised time to pick up tender transfers and ended up at the end of the list as they were doling out tickets before the time advertised - my only real criticism. Strategically I think if you really want to be sure of seeing most of a tender boat destination with shorter time ashore then you need to pay out for the ship tour as they seemed to go ashore first and be least affected by the situation - understandably I suppose. Evening meals on board Neo Romantica were served; not buffet. The menus were varied and especially good if you like fine dining,italian approaches to food. Fruit was available throughout but vegetables tended to be nodded at through foams etc so ensure you get your fibre through salads and lunch buffet items if this is important for you. There was plenty of food overall. When ordering you need to say I want the soup, cheese etc though as at first we just told them what we wanted where there was a choice and so didn't get served the other items at all. If you did not like anything they were responsive to this, being willing to offer an alternative. As service is tailored to people relaxing and enjoying a leisurly meal rather than a fast food fill up, those with demanding stomachs may find it advisable not to miss an odd item from the grill or tea menu earlier. Snacks are not available at all times so keep an eye on food opening times! The hot chocolate drinks from the Chocolate bar are a particularly delicious fall back!The spa prices are nowhere to be found on costas website or by enquiry. On board we decided to avail ourselves of the spa access package for the whole 12 night cruise at 199 Euros for a couple or 123 Euros single. This provided access to facilities which were beautiful, clean and relaxing including thallostherapy pool, saunas at two different temparatures, steam room , frigidarium, tepidarium, foot baths, a relaxing warm room with sofas and heated ceramic ergonomic leaners and a japanese tea room with three choices of ayeravedic tea and a daily solarium session if wanted. Daily prices were 38 Euros and sometimes 25. There were plenty of clean towels available and hot and cold water to drink as well as showers. Lockers were digital which saved the issue of having to have coins available. There were plenty of treatments available and a hairdressers also on board. Prices were in the league of what people pay when when they are not going for cheapest end of the market but there were various package offers available on some days. All in all prices were nowhere near what we would would ever pay for anything being natural cheapskates but not sufficiently high for us to be tempted to make sarcastic remarks! Air hockey, table football, a small library with books in different languages and other entertainments were also around. The swimming pools are more accurately water holes to cool off in on deck - if you want to keep fit you'll have to use the gym or jog round the track on deck. You cannot plug any devices into the TVs in the cabins and we couldn't see any way of viewing your own media on the TV. The only TV channel in English is BBC and France 24 is sometimes in English. I think they may have had movies on demand but we didn't have time or inclination to explore what they were, another couple of nights and we probably would have done. One of us speaks a little of other languages and this made the cruise experience more fun too as we were able to chat a bit with other guests who also tried to utilise their English a bit. People who only speak English and want access to TV English programming may feel more isolated unless they bring their own media - a great chance to potentially connect with that other person who shares the same living space with you but is always busy doing something else! On a final note Amsterdam railway station is a nightmare as there are no porters or trolleys available and the left luggage lockers only work with credit and possibly debit cards and there are too few lockers for large suitcases and some of those available are at head height - you have been warned. It may be worthwhile trying to get a hotel added at Amsterdam when you book as this is of course one of the most beautiful cities with so much to see and do and will ensure you have somewhere to leave those cases. There was hardly any alcohol available at Costa's embarkation point. I think there may have been a bottle of wine, not sure whether it was openable there or not. After a long journey to the embarkation point access to a beer would have been great. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
My wife and I received an email from Cruise Nation offering an eleven night cruise on the Costa Neo Romantica at what we thought was a very good price. Having never been on a cruise before and also being only in our mid 50s we were unsure ... Read More
My wife and I received an email from Cruise Nation offering an eleven night cruise on the Costa Neo Romantica at what we thought was a very good price. Having never been on a cruise before and also being only in our mid 50s we were unsure as to whether to book or not. In the end we looked at the destinations to be visited, Barcelona, Casablanca, Santa Cruz, Funchal, Malaga, Civitavechia and Savona and decided to go ahead. Travel to the port of embarcation was supposed to be with Iberia from Gatwick and this was changed by the travel agent, without notification, to Vueling from the other Gatwick terminal. The plane was overbooked and all cabin luggage had to be packed into the hold. Legroom was at the legal minimum and the whole operation was less impressive than low cost operators such as Ryanair and Easy jet. The ship was one of the smaller ones in the Costa fleet and newly refurbished throughout. We joined it on the final leg of a world cruise. We had an inside cabin which was quite comfortable and serviced twice daily by wonderful staff. The neighbours were at times quite noisy though and they could be heard through the walls. The food onboard was generally excellent with formal dining or an anytime option being available. Here again the staff were excellent and no request was too much trouble. The formal dining is in a restaurant called Boticelli's, though not every evening was a formal occasion. Giardino's is where you can have buffet food during the day, including afternoon tea, and this too seemed to be of a good standard. We used the gym on a daily basis and found it to be well equipped and clean. It overlooks the bows of the ship and offers good views. The downside is that it is like excercising in a green house - beware! We were pleased to find that we were not the youngest on board and we made good friendships with other couples of a similar age and younger (most of whom seemed to have taken up the same "deal" as us). There is no Theatre on board and the entertainment is more Butlins than Las Vegas. The visiting cabaret acts were of a good standard, but the repertoire of the in-house musicians was very "samey" and began to wear thin when repeated night after night. We thought long and hard about whether to take the drinks package or not and were glad that we had decided to do so, for as only moderate drinkers it still worked out more economic to do so. Water, tea/cofee etc was not included in the base price of the cruise The ports of call were interesting to us, but Casablanca was culturally very different to anything we'd ever experienced (not in a good way). Savona was an absolute delight, not at all what we were expecting, as someone had said it would be like Hull!! I wouldn't look to book an excursion when docked here as there is definitely plenty to see and explore, all within walking distance. Due to the nature of the itinerary, we had little time in Malaga and to make the most of our time there we had to disembark whilst it was still dark and everywhere was closed! We took one excursion (to Rome) and everywhere else we explored either alone on foot, or with travelling companions. The hop on, hop off buses are good if you have limited time/mobility and want to see/learn as much as possible in a short space of time. Avoid the yellow one in Funchal, as although it offers a reduced rate for a ride up the cable car, it has much more limited frequency than the red bus. On one of our at sea days, Costa offered a behind the scenes tour of the ship, for (I think) 29 euros per person. We would love to have taken this opportunity, but felt that this was just a way of milking captive guests for a bit more money. Overall we enjoyed the experience, but would not now consider ourselves converts to cruising as some had suggested we would undoubtedly become. Enjoyable? yes certainly. Something we would do again? Very probably - and we are certainly glad to include it into the repertoire of holiday types that we select from Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We went on Costa NeoRomantica on 26th July for 8 nights departing from Dover and visiting Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Oslo and Le Havre. There's a lot to say so for ease I will break it down. We travelled two adults age 40 and our ... Read More
We went on Costa NeoRomantica on 26th July for 8 nights departing from Dover and visiting Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Oslo and Le Havre. There's a lot to say so for ease I will break it down. We travelled two adults age 40 and our twin boys age 9. We are new to cruising so nothing really to compare it to but I hope this helps: The ship It has been newly refurbished and it stunning. Everything is new, beautifully designed and very Italian looking. Some of the facilities are: - Fabulous spa with numerous steam and sauna rooms and Jacuzzis (extra charge) - Two outdoor saltwater pools but they were freezing and we couldn't use them, even our children found them too cold - Fabulous chocolate cafe serving hot chocolate and chocolates (extra charge) - Shops -- large general duty free shop, sweet shop, jewellers, gifts, all very nice and different promotions every day - The most amazing fine wine and cheese rooms, totally under used but exquisite (extra charge) - Games room and Casino Cabins We had cabin 6060 and 6062 for our children. Avoid these if you can as 6060 is directly opposite a cleaning station and we were woken at 7am every morning by staff clattering around. No amount of complaining stopped this! The cabin itself was so much nicer than expected. A large double bed (made of two singles) plus a single pull down too. A huge porthole with an outside cabin, much bigger than I have seen before. Lots of cupboard space and hanging space and hangers. A small table and chair, a dressing table and stool too. Large flatscreen TV but beware only English channel is BBC World Service so a bit disappointing. A minibar fridge is in the room but if you want a coffee its 1.50 euro in your room and tea is not available. If you like tea and coffee during the day or before breakfast, bring a travel kettle! Food Breakfast was lovely, fresh and plentiful. Hot food, cereals, pastries, cakes, juices, toast, I could go on and on! We ate in the Giardinno every night which is anytime seating usually between 630pm and 9pm. This suited us very well with young children. The Botticelli had set times of usually 6pm or 830pm, however their menu was identical. Always a varied choice of 3 appetizers, 2 pastas, 3 main courses and then dessert. On the gala nights (two of them on the sea days) also a soup and cheese plate included. Small portions but could not fault it. Loved the food. Lunch time you could eat in Botticelli for a 3 course meal or Giardino for a buffet which again was fantastic. Also a late lunch always served from 2-4pm in the Grill bar. Then 4-5pm tea and cakes. Drinks These are not included in the price and so you can pay for all inclusive which is quite expensive but you can do this on board and don't need to do it in advance. We purchased on board a package of I think 20 or so soft drinks (included non-alcoholic cocktails) for Euro 50. Otherwise a can of coke is Euro 3 each time! Can work out expensive. Staff Absolutely fantastic. Never came across a single staff member who did not speak English and considering there were so few English people on board this was impressive. Entertainment Major disadvantage is that there is no theatre. This has been replaced with a spa on two levels which is stunning, but I assume this is because it brings in extra money whilst a theatre doesn't. Singers were average. Hard to get a seat to see any of the performances. Very smoky in the lounge areas even though this was on one side only it really carried across. On a cold sea day not much to do unless you like folding towels, making necklaces, bingo or learning to tango. Definitely not aimed at our age group. Most of the guests seemed to be over 60 so would suit a lot of people I'm sure. Nothing sporty at all. Kids club Our 9 year olds went on a couple of occasions but weren't over keen. I think they were a little old for this, but too young for the teen club. Very few English speaking children even though it was in school holiday time. Ports Every single one was fabulous. Worth it all just for that. We didn't do any organised excursions. In most places we took a hop on hop off bus which was at least a quarter of the price of a tour. Costa often offered transfers into the centre of town for 10 euro per person return which we took once before realising that a taxi for 4 people was only 8 euro each way. If you are on a budget the ports are all very close so a taxi is better value, or in most cases you can walk. There is lots more to say but if you have any specific questions feel free to ask here and I will try to answer them if I can. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
I was with a family group of 25 on this cruise, so interacting with and meeting others was not a priority. If I had been alone, however, the predominantly foreign crowd and lack of English announcements and activities would not have been ... Read More
I was with a family group of 25 on this cruise, so interacting with and meeting others was not a priority. If I had been alone, however, the predominantly foreign crowd and lack of English announcements and activities would not have been conducive to socializing.The stateroom was very nice, and I liked the layout of the ship. I'm not big on activities, and with early and late happy hours, when not on excursions or eating, a lot of my time was spent in the bar. The happy hour is 2 for price of 1, but they must be identical drinks. OK, so I'll drink some more. Wine and soda/water packages kept the price down at meals. The dining room was very nice, with elaborate multicourse meals. The ingredients are put on board at the beginning of a cruise, and I would have preferred simple, fresh foods. The pizza at the bar is good late at night, and I never went to the midnight buffet (except on a tour). I went on all the official Costa sponsored land excursions, as I figured they are guaranteed to get back to the boat on time. Every tour was excellent, with good busses and guides.My main gripe was the poor air conditioning. When the dining room doors open and hundreds of bodies pour in, the temperature rises 20 degrees and the AC can't keep up. The mediterranean is hot and humid in the summer, and it was uncomfortable most of the time on board. The heavy cigarette smoke doesn't help either.For a follow-up cruise I would be inclined to look toward a cruise line that is geared to Americans, as I believe the AC would be up to snuff and smoking would be curtailed. Read Less
Sail Date June 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
Costa neoRomantica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 2.9
Public Rooms 4.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 4.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.3
Enrichment 3.0 2.9
Service 3.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 4.0 3.5

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