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100 Costa Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Reviews

We were very pleased with our cruise with Costa. Our only complaint was that we never seemed to have enough time at the port. The ship was built in 1993, not a huge ship (which was fine with us), but it was still very nice. The food in ... Read More
We were very pleased with our cruise with Costa. Our only complaint was that we never seemed to have enough time at the port. The ship was built in 1993, not a huge ship (which was fine with us), but it was still very nice. The food in the dining room was excellent and the wait staff were all excellent. The faster service buffet in the rear of the ship didn't have quite the quality of food but if you wanted to grab a meal in a short amount of time it was fine. Our cabin steward was always on top of everything. The staterooms were surprisingly roomy--including the bathroom! We went to all the evening shows--they were all quite entertaining and a fun thing to do in the evening. The pool deck was very nice. They had a quiet area at the front of the ship that was shaded by the circular glass lounge above which was great if you didn't want to be in the sun. One of the members in our family needed medical attention and we found the medical staff and facility exceptional. I would certainly recommend the ship to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Our first joint adventure on the high seas started at 0700HRS on the 22st July 2011 at Gatwick. It was booked through Virgin Cruises and was a Costa package cruise. This is what happened. We flew from Gatwick to Rome Leonardo Di ... Read More
Our first joint adventure on the high seas started at 0700HRS on the 22st July 2011 at Gatwick. It was booked through Virgin Cruises and was a Costa package cruise. This is what happened. We flew from Gatwick to Rome Leonardo Di Vinci, great flight (BA) under 2 hours. Arrived at Rome and our baggage arrived one hour and 20 minutes later. There were no seats at the airport and it was HOT! Found the Costa reps and they seemed happy enough to just chat amongst themselves. Finally we got our luggage and then we all galloped with our big cases, cabin cases and hand luggage to the taxi cabs waiting for us. We then travelled to Civitavecchia all snuggled up nice and tight and very hot, but excited! We arrived at the embarkation port. First real Costa criticism coming up, the 'helpfull' staff were patronising and next to useless, it was hot pacjked and there was only orange juice to drink. We finally got on the ship, straight to cabin, it's now 1500HRS. Tipped the porter who hovered around saying 'is there anything else I can do?' untill we got the message. Then we unpacked. Absolutely fantastic looking ship at first glance and the cabin was roomy with loads of storage and a surprisingly comfy, big bed. Mini bar was open so got a drink and sat on the balcony, phew! We had arrived. Fantabulosious ship (needs a new descriptor to explain the decor), very decorative and very big and well, very very big and decorative! The non Italian staff and customers were superb in everyway and we had alot of fun and laughter. This laughter often became subdued because of all the dead pan looks from a certain majority on board, initially, this bothered us. After four days the non Italian speakers were ganging up. It only mattered that you were not Italian, we where French, Spanish, German, Swiss, Irish, Icelandic and British, language was not a barrier to fun and puns! We had a purpose! That purpose was to refuse to change our manners. We would still smile and thank people in lifts, hold doors, move out of the way, make room even though this would never be reciprocated. So we spoke for them, thankyou! Your welcome! Have a nice day! which floor? Pardon me! Sorry? Can I help you get up off the floor? Thankyou for letting your 6 teenage sons stamp all over my feet while you look the other way, that kind of thing, we learned these phrases in another language. We learned from our new social techniques teachers all around us how to intimidate people out of your favorite spot. How to jump in front in a line and avoid eye contact. We bribbed people too! And then we all had a really great time! Seriously the food was generally very good, lots of choice. Coffee, cocktails and icecream very good! Breakfast in your room really nice sat on the balcony at 0700hrs with your coffee, and selection of pastries and cereals, juice and preserves. Lovely jubbly! Apparently the theatre entertainment was soso to bad, but we never went so it did not matter. Lounge music was generally very good. Casino was a casino and we learned new types of black jack. The decks were never too busy with loungers always available. J2 all inclusive package great, especially for multiple speciality coffees and, well everything fluid, nothing was off limits. Very little fluid of any description is available free. Itinerary very good, but its just way too hot in the eastern med during July and August. Everything was really well cleaned all the time, never a fingerprint on the shiny chrome, which was everywhere! Would we go Costa again? Yes we would because the new guests from Italy came aboard in Savona when the others left, and they were a completely different set of people. However, there was two disembarkation meetings, Italians and basically others. I was sent to ours and hubby stayed slumped in the cabin. So he decided to watch the event on TV instead. What he watched was the one before ours, the Italian one. He asked as I came back, did we win anything? or anyone we know win? Confused I watched the other meeting. Envelopes had been secreted under the chairs with prizes in them. If you had an envelope you where presented with your prize on stage by the cruise director and other notables. Word of outright discrimination soon spread, it was the principle, official complaints started going in. One person complained about this to customer services and was asked ' were you offended?' Like he would be complaining if he was not and he was a man of the cloth! Then when complaints really spread, because we were all on for another day and had plenty of time to get angry, they shut off the TVs and said it never happened LOL! Then the really horrid bit that left us needing another holiday. We disembarked at 0900hrs and our, and others peoples flights started leaving at the earliest at 1810hrs. We asked if we could have the 1230hrs or 1500hrs disembarkations made available for some, but got a flat no! We were all stuck in Rome airport all day and some people had children. So - yes even after being ethnically discriminated against we would go with Costa again, but not in the med in July or August (too hot to enjoy the ports), not embarking in Italy and not as a package arranged through Costa ;) Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
On arrival at port we were herded into what is best described as a holding bay.There we sat for approx one and a half hours.Poor quality orange juice was provided in plastic cups,but no food.Things did not get better.We joined the ship to ... Read More
On arrival at port we were herded into what is best described as a holding bay.There we sat for approx one and a half hours.Poor quality orange juice was provided in plastic cups,but no food.Things did not get better.We joined the ship to a somewhat cursory welcome.Now past lunchtime we headed for the self service buffet.However no food was available as it had all been cleared away.When we asked where we could find something to eat we were told,sorry all closed now.Hot and cold water were provided when available,as more often than not the machines were empty.Tea bags were at an absolute premium.In any event only plastic cups were provided.Food in the restaurant was poor,mostly frozen,and the service not much better.Entertainment was a joke,the only highlight being the crews own show which surpassed the so called professionals by a mile.The ship was overcrowded,if you could find a seat,which was not easy,you sat in very close proximity to your neighbour.Blackpool on sea.An abundance of children who overran the ship.Adults only pool was constantly used by children.Occasional pathetic attempts to control the situation failed.The staff appeared to have a could not care less attitude.Complaints fell on deaf ears with the crew defending company policy.Just about everything was charged as extras.Smoking in just about all the recreation areas was the order of the day,the areas for non smokers were tucked away.Cabin was good but noisy on the balcony.Definitely biased to Italians who seemed to like it.Worst cruise ever.We are seasoned cruisers,but I will never set foot on a Costa cruise ever again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
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
We cruised from Civitavecchia to the Greek Islands and back in June of 2011. One of the best things about the trip was the transportation from Rome Fiumicino airport to the port at Civitavecchia - we put our bags down next to the coach at ... Read More
We cruised from Civitavecchia to the Greek Islands and back in June of 2011. One of the best things about the trip was the transportation from Rome Fiumicino airport to the port at Civitavecchia - we put our bags down next to the coach at the airport and did not touch them again until in our stateroom on the ship. It was the best $24 we could spend. The ship, although somewhat old being built in 1993, was comfortable. Our shock came the first evening at dinner, when we asked the waiter for a pitcher of ice water. He said he could not, because a new Costa policy prohibits this. We asked for the Maitre D, and he repeated the new policy. The only way we could get water was to buy bottles of it for $4 each. This is price gouging to the extreme. I have a personal policy of never buying bottled water because studies have found it is no better than, and in some cases not as good as, ordinary tap water. We complained loudly but to no avail. So everyone at the table told the staff that 1. We would not sail on Costa again; 2. We would write reviews about the policy; and 3. We would consider reducing our automatic gratuity amounts. The next day the Maitre D brought our table a bottle of Proseco (sparkling wine) as a peace offering to calm our dismay. Another day we were given a bottle of wine. These were good getsures, but did not make up for not having a glass of water with which to take medications. A few other things made the cruise less than optimal, such as the inability of the "Animation Team" to speak English, which was within Costa's control, and the presence on board of some 100 under 5 year old children who pretty much ran wild with no limits due to their ultra permissive parents. It was not fun to try to dance in any of the venues when a dozen little ones were running in circles on the dance floor - no exaggeration. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We sailed on the Costa Romantica in June of 2011. The ship holds about 1500 passengers and 700 crew. On our trip we were 300 shy of being full. Of the 1200 passengers, 100 spoke English but all of the crew did. This was not an issue at ... Read More
We sailed on the Costa Romantica in June of 2011. The ship holds about 1500 passengers and 700 crew. On our trip we were 300 shy of being full. Of the 1200 passengers, 100 spoke English but all of the crew did. This was not an issue at all. We had a great time because of the English speaking staff from Philippines,China and Malaysia. The staff are great people trying to make a living for their families back home. Take a moment and get to know them. We met the Executive Chef, Massimo, who did an excellent job. Seek him out, a young man who has been on the cruise ships for 17 years. The food was great, the entertainment entertaining and an overall great experience. We have been on the big ships-Royal Caribbean , Carnival, etc.but this is much better. Last year we took a similar cruise with Louis Cruises and this too was small and great. People complain about the announcements in different languages,so what, if all you wish to hear is English, stay home. There are lots of passengers speaking different languages and they too deserve to hear the messages. All in all a great cruise and we will use Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We picked Costa having read tons of reviews ranging from horrible, would never go back experiences to rave reviews, so we went on the Costa Romantica with really no expectations and were pleasantly surprised. First of all, the Romantica ... Read More
We picked Costa having read tons of reviews ranging from horrible, would never go back experiences to rave reviews, so we went on the Costa Romantica with really no expectations and were pleasantly surprised. First of all, the Romantica was only 1/2 booked, which if you've cruise before that was a huge perk. There were no lines, no wait times and plenty of seats for everything. Our cabin (4049) was an ocean view and was really nice. I was surprised it had as much room as it did and a very large ocean view window. We usually book balcony rooms, but the Romantica only offers maybe 10-20 suites with balconies and with prices to match their limited selection, so we opted for an ocean view room and were not disappointed. The staff was fantastic and cannot say enough enough about their service. Keep in mind, this is an Italian cruise line and English is the last language they speak. French, Spanish and even German were more popular than English which means the staff members who do speak English aren't fluent. Most of the staff members who do speak English are servers and are from the Philippines as English is taught through their schooling. The guest services reps don't speak English well and I would definitely opt for the 1 hour daily Q&A session with the English speaking rep for any help you may need. The food was very good, especially the pasta, but Costa was lacking with the grand meals to accompany the Gala evenings like Royal does, so that was a little disappointing. The mixed drinks are terrible! Be forewarned, stick with beer , wine, or straight liquors drinks. The mixed drinks are nothing but mix and have very little alcohol despite their 6.75 euro price tag.The ship excursions were run very well and a Costa cruise member travelled with each excursion to ensure it went well. See my port reviews for more details on ports. Avoid the Jeep Excursion in Mykonos!Overall very pleased with the Costa Romantica and would sail Costa again. I understand they are remodeling the ship and adding more floors, 4x the number of balconies and activities like rock climbing walls which was definitely needed. My husband and I are under 30 and we struggled to entertain ourselves since the activities on the ship were really focused for a much older crowd, but Costa seems to know that and is working to remedy that on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Just returned from a very bad cruise ship. This was our first and last time on this cruise line. Very poor communications from them regarding itinerary changes. Some people given credit on board because of changes others were not.The worst ... Read More
Just returned from a very bad cruise ship. This was our first and last time on this cruise line. Very poor communications from them regarding itinerary changes. Some people given credit on board because of changes others were not.The worst part was how bad the ship smelled of smoke, beware if you are not a smoker this ship is NOT for you.I became sick on the ship after the first night from all the smoke, I asked for a pitcher of water for my cabin and was told you must order from room service. All food was served many different times until it all started to taste the same. No juice or ice tea available like on every other cruise ship I have ever been on.Could not even get coffee and tea except at certain times. Room service was charged each time it is used. This was not a cheap cruise and we expected much more than we received. Even the shows were poor quality.Oh and when you book a tour plan on being taken to some side excursion were they want you to shop. We were taken to a rug factory and spent more time there then on the excursion. We could not wait to get off this ship!After just returning from the Celebrity Summit which was fantastic what a disappointment this Cruise was! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I took 3 years to find the time, the cruise and the money for what was supposed to be the experience of my life.   An 11 nights cruise to Egypt, Holyland, Izmir and Athens, in the Costa Pacific, "the ship of the music".   ... Read More
I took 3 years to find the time, the cruise and the money for what was supposed to be the experience of my life.   An 11 nights cruise to Egypt, Holyland, Izmir and Athens, in the Costa Pacific, "the ship of the music".   We live in South America, so besides the $ 2,600 of cruise, have to add $ 2,000 for air tickets ( the cheapest ones ) Everything was OK until early January when disturbs in Cairo began. I checked Costa website everyday, but no warnings appeared, but when 90 days cancellation frame was over, immediately received "sorry, no Egypt" but 2 nights at Israel, and later "sorry, no Israel". I wanted to cancel or modify the cruise and they said "ok, we keep the $ 800 deposit"   However, I just could read at a Costa book in the cruise, that cancellation fee for Europe was only 30 euros within 45 days from departure.   My recommendation with Costa is "look at the small printing" every word in their favor, they will take.   Regarding the cruise, it was good, but how can you compare the pyramids and Jerusalem against a boring place like Limassol. Food was good, entertainment fair, and I must recognize this cruise was fun at nights.   And what about our travel agency, American Airlines ? They helped nothing.   I almost forget, Athens call was only 6 hours because of a "metallurgic workers" strike that nobody on town knew about.   PS Please, forgive my English, I speak Spanish. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We booked our first cruise with Costa back in 2010. We decided to go with them this time, as we had seen them all over the Mediterranean back in 2009. I was very apprehensive as we got closer to the time to go, we were suppose to go to ... Read More
We booked our first cruise with Costa back in 2010. We decided to go with them this time, as we had seen them all over the Mediterranean back in 2009. I was very apprehensive as we got closer to the time to go, we were suppose to go to Egypt and Israel, but due to the unrest those ports were cancelled. We had booked this cruise because of those ports, but for myself, I would much rather be safe then sorry. My husband and son were very disappointed, but after talking it out we figured that we would make the best of it. We did contact Costa to see what they were going to do, and we were told that they were going to add another stop in Turkey and another stop in Greece and one in Cyprus. So we figured that shouldn't be to bad. We got our airfare and all transfers included in the price and I am so glad that we did. We flew from Canada to Rome and were met by a very nice lady from Costa. We weren't expecting it, as alot of the reviews had said that they wouldn't be there! But there she was as soon as we got off the plane and helped to direct us to our luggage and our driver to the hotel. We stayed four days in Rome before the cruise and had a wonderful time! Embarkation day came and we were picked up at our hotel and driven with another very nice Canadian couple to the port. When we arrived we were greeted by the Costa shore staff and they took our bags and put all of our tags on them and said we were good to go in. When we got onto the ship we didn't know what to expect as we had to ask where our keys to the cabin were. I was shocked that they keep them in the room with the doors open. But when we got to our room, our keys were there and so was our luggage! What service! The food at the restaurant was amazing! We thoroughly enjoyed our dinners there, but we didn't like how at breakfast we always seemed to be put with people who spoke a different language. It is not always bad, but when you tell them you speak English and they say that's fine, you expect to sit with someone who you can understand! The Buffet was OK, the food was plentiful but the desserts lacked big time! Just way to much pudding for me! The biggest thing we found with this Cruise was that there was only limited times that the buffet was open, there was no supper buffet, which meant that you had to eat at the restaurant even if you didn't want to. I guess we could of had pizza, but you can only eat that so many times. The staff was amazing, we had gotten a Suite as we took our son with us, and the staff was always smiling and happy. They were always asking us if there was anything they could do for us. Yes, the announcements were done in five different languages, but we expected that as we were on an Italian Cruise Line. If we wanted only English we would have chosen a different line! But we did find that there was a very nice lady that worked on board that if there were any problems we could go to her and she would help us out. They even had times set up, so that you could learn more about the ship or anything else and it was run by her for those who only spoke English. Overall we had an amazing time on this ship. There are always some things that people will complain about, but overall this ship is much better than bad. For those of us who didn't like the smoking, there were ways around it and yes there was some smell, but to avoid it, stay out of the smoking areas! My biggest negative for this Cruise, is the disembarkation. We were suppose to be off at 0845am, but due to Customs it kept being put off, so by the time we could leave we had three other color groups leaving at the same time. Now that isn't bad, but when someone has mistakenly taken your luggage and left theirs, its a problem. I had asked the first Costa person I could find, as I was with our found luggage and my family was looking for the missing bag, and I was told that I was talking to the wrong person. I asked her if she could find someone to help me, as I was concerned, I was told the person you need to talk to is not me! This I found as unacceptable, but again this is not like all the other Cruises we had taken before. Luckily my husband found our bag, as the other person exchanged it back, but I found that lady as not very helpful. So I am not going to let that one thing sour my wonderful Cruise that I had on the Costa Pacifica! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
As first-time cruisers, we were a little apprehensive after reading all the reviews on this site, particularly about the food. But we had nothing to worry about.We chose Costa because we wanted a Latin/European experience to cruise the ... Read More
As first-time cruisers, we were a little apprehensive after reading all the reviews on this site, particularly about the food. But we had nothing to worry about.We chose Costa because we wanted a Latin/European experience to cruise the Med. We didn't want to be on a ship full of Brits, Americans and Australasians. This cruise appeared to be good value for money, and WAS. Balcony cabins appear much more expensive on most other cruise-lines, and choosing the balcony cabin was the best thing we ever did.A couple of bits of advice from this website, prior to the cruise, are just so true.1. Just go with the flow. The organisation for all the bits and pieces always gets there.2. If you want 5 star food (as so many seem to expect) then you are on the wrong ship. 5 star food can be found on a five star ship. (and for that, your cruise will be twice the price)3. If you want lavish American style breakfast/lunch and dinner buffets, with huge steaks and rich sauces - then again, you are on the wrong ship. Book an American cruise.4. But if you want a true Latin/Euro experience on a large, newish and clean ship, fantastic crew who help you at every turn, excellent activities, heaps to do, lots of space to get away from the crowds, roomy cabins cleaned at least 3 times a day - then this IS the cruise for you.5. "If it's your first cruise - then make sure you get a balcony cabin" - thanks to whoever advised this. The inside cabins looked great, but for a first-time cruiser, it just was so good to be able to sit outside and watch what's going on.With Israel and Eygpt dropping off the itinerary, the stopovers became superfluous really. We just ended up having a great time on the boat. Izmir was the best stopover. Limassol in Cyprus was the worst. A really poor alternative to the deleted ports. Our balcony cabin was just so good. Special thanks to our cabin steward, Kristian who made such a difference. We spent a lot of time just chilling, reading etc. Most importantly, we slept really well. Better than most hotel rooms.Enjoyed level 5 - the entertainment floor. Something for everyone to do. It's a great ship if you've got teenage kids. Tended to spend a few evening hours in the Latin dancing floor area. Entertainment in the Stardust Theatre was very good most nights. Good talent with excellent production values. Good value for the cruise price.Used the gym quite a bit. Is spacious and well run. Suggested at end of cruise, that a small movie cinema would be more than useful. I see some cruiselines are introducing 3D cinemas etc. We sometimes felt like taking in a movie, and didn't use the cabin movie videos available, because the screen was too small. Lots of chatter online about the cost of add-ons - but it wasn't a problem for us. There was no hard-selling going on. If you intend to drink a bit, then the drinks packages are good value. Re water. Many people just re-filled water bottles in the buffet areas, rather than pay for bottled water all the time.We upgraded to the Blue Moon restaurant one night only, and it was fantastic. Worth the 20E each to have dinner alone for one night, with a sea-view table.Food - Breakfast was the same every day, but that was fine. There's an eggs station, which we utilised most mornings, had nice fruit, cereals, hams and cheeses, pastries.Lunch had varied themes, and enjoyed some nice meals.Lots of chat about the absence of an evening buffet, but we always made our 6.30pm sitting in the MDR after excursions, without a rush.Have to say the evening a la carte evening dinner routine just made the trip for us. We had a great table with 2 Polish and Australian families, and enjoyed their company a lot. Great Italian style atmosphere at dinner, which we loved. Wouldn't have been the same, just sitting on our own at a buffet table. Was a classy dinner environment, and I can now see why the cruiseline prefer this system. Got caught out a bit with the formal nights, especially the Captain's formal night. It was really dressy. Next time, I will be packing a nice suit.Now - the a la carte routine - and some advice for non-Euros/Italians to work it to your advantage.1. For some reason, or maybe we just chose the wrong thing, the food for the first couple of nights was nowhere near as good as it became. Serving sizes also increased as the cruise progressed.2. If you're a fan of seafood, then you can't go wrong anywhere on the menu. When in doubt about any dish, have the seafood. There are 4 standard menu dishes at the front of the menu for every night - and the salmon is great.3. Dishes don't have added salt and pepper, so utilise you're salt and pepper shakers.4. Any meat dish that has "wild" in front of its English translation is a must. The wild duck, pork, beef and lamb were the best meals of the trip.5. Ask for your beef to be medium rare. Your waiter will arrange this. Otherwise you may find it too tough. 6. If there's a dish you don't like, just ask something else. They are very obliging.7. If you really need some fries - then just ask them if you can also have some fries. They will provide them.Two unusual, and well documented aspects to the ship's food on offer. The pizza available at the 9pm buffet is really average, and not authentic. I see MSC Cruises have just put a press release out about how they are going to start offering authentic pizza, so I guess Costa will follow. They need to.Also - the pasta in the MDR was average early on, then became great later in the trip. Not sure how that works. However - will always remember our MDR experiences. Just be careful with your selections, and don't hesitate to send something back, and get it replaced. Can't wait for our next Costa cruise. Was really critical of Costa HQ for the poor communication for the itinerary changes. However it's not fair on the great crew, to take this into account for our actual cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I,m going to try to be as fair as possible. I'll start with the embarkation process. We arrived to the port(Civitavecchia) early so we walked around town. When it was time, we didn't have any problems. Everything went completely ... Read More
I,m going to try to be as fair as possible. I'll start with the embarkation process. We arrived to the port(Civitavecchia) early so we walked around town. When it was time, we didn't have any problems. Everything went completely smooth. We went to our cabin and it was perfect. Nice decor and clean. We met our stewardess, Katerina and she was an angel. Really nice and helpful.Our first hiccup, was the fire drill. We asked several employees and no one knew where we had to go. Someone said it was in the theater, but it was empty, so after waiting for a while we went back to our cabin.Food in the MDR was very good. The portions are small but that's the way the Italian eat. If you order the five courses you will be fine. I always order no more than three and for me was perfect, since we had the late seating and I don't like to go to bed too full. The breakfast buffet was awful, the eggs look like egg soup, the oatmeal, completely watery. All this is understandable since Europeans don't eat big breakfast like we do. Lunch buffet was OK. Pizza not the way Americans eat them with a lot of cheese.Smoking is really bad, but again Europeans smoke a lot. It seems they haven't heard about cancer and smoking.We didn't use the casino, because of the smoking. In the open areas was OK.Ports visited were nice. We couldn't visit Tunis and Marseilles was a disaster. We got in to Marseilles and they had buses (7Euros) to take you to the city. We got in a bus and after waiting for one hour in a traffic jam, they stopped a bus that was coming from the town and took us back to the ship. We couldn't see Marseilles which was one of the places I wanted to see. Costa knew that there was a strike in the port and they put the people at risk. Later we learned that a bus was attacked and the strikers laid down on the streets so no one would go into the city. They even had to call the police.All in all, the cruise was OK. We were four couples, so we had a great time. Europeans in general are not as polite as the Americans. They cut the lines, they bump into you and not say sorry, they rush into the elevators even if they see that you were first, but at the end we did the same to them and laugh. Like they say Live and Learn!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We booked this cruise because it fit the kids spring break, good price, good ports. I liked that it left from Rome because you need more than one day to see Rome. But getting from Rome center to port was long and expensive. We took the ... Read More
We booked this cruise because it fit the kids spring break, good price, good ports. I liked that it left from Rome because you need more than one day to see Rome. But getting from Rome center to port was long and expensive. We took the train to port, not expensive but train station had no elevator, had to carry luggage up and down stairs, signs at station were horrible, no one to help, no announcements for stops. Cruise port to airport we sucked it up and took a taxi for $200.00.Only 10% of passengers are native English speakers so it was interesting hearing all the different languages, crew does speak English. Cleanest ship I've ever been on-never saw a dirty glass or dish even early morning! My 14 year old LOVED hanging out with European teens in the disco and made lots of new friends! 9 year old only went to kids camp once- intimidated by kids speaking italian and Spanish. Really nothing for the 12 year old she was between age groups. We loved the smerelda lounge after the show, they played bingo every night then had a game with audience participation. Kids were allowed which you don't see on American ships! Music was from all countries and everyone danced-it was great fun!! Their version of the midnight buffet is great-every night at midnight waiters walked through the whole ship with trays of appetizers and sweets, much nicer than one night gluttony. We did not care much for the food but did not go hungry. Shows were great-many different kinds not just same dancers every night. Ports were great! Very different experience for kids with all the languages, they saw that the United States is not the center of the universe!!! Europeans are lots of fun and more free spirited than Americans-they must not need much sleep because all ages were in lounge dancing after midnight and up by 7 in the morning!! This is a circle cruise meaning passengers are getting on and off at all ports-this was great because there was not 2000 people trying to disembark at the same time! Cruise was a great cultural experience for all of us!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Costa markets itself by highlighting their gorgeous fleet of ships. And how true! The Costa Pacifica could not have been more elaborate and gorgeously appointed. Truly a visual and comfort feast!Our veranda cabin was a decent size and ... Read More
Costa markets itself by highlighting their gorgeous fleet of ships. And how true! The Costa Pacifica could not have been more elaborate and gorgeously appointed. Truly a visual and comfort feast!Our veranda cabin was a decent size and gorgeous. Truly pleasant and comfortable. The precise temperature control mechanism on the shower was very nice (wish we had at home!). The air conditioning and control were absolute, quiet, and contributed much to our comfort. Closets and drawers were adequate. Lighting was more than adequate.The entire ship is spectacular and very well maintained.The problem with Costa is its passenger services model. Food quality was good but not excellent or up to the standards we experienced on Princess or NCL. The selections of foods and eating options was barely adequate. We much prefer the larger options available on other cruise lines.In fact, we are now fans of the Free Style Cruising offered by NCL. We so much more enjoyed choices, options, and food on NCL, compared to Costa.Entertainment on Costa two nights was professional and excellent. The other nights represented what I would call a good performance by a high school group.But one must keep in mind that Costa is a GOOD VALUE. Our Mediterranean Cruise on Costa was substantially less expensive than other lines. In short, eating is diminished, entertainment is diminished, the features and beauty of the ship and service are not diminished. You get what you pay for. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We had read other reviews of the Pacifica and were a little apprehensive but, in all honesty, were pleasantly surprised.Our cabin was very good and we did not feel cramped. There were plenty of drawers and closet space, along with a safe. ... Read More
We had read other reviews of the Pacifica and were a little apprehensive but, in all honesty, were pleasantly surprised.Our cabin was very good and we did not feel cramped. There were plenty of drawers and closet space, along with a safe. The bathroom and shower were more than adequate and larger than in some hotels we have stayed in.Our biggest kudo's are for the staff who were very customer service oriented and made you feel welcome. For example, I was trying to find some basketball scores (march madness) and could not. I asked the desk if they could suggest a solution. The following day, they sent the scores of all NCAA games up to that point to our cabin. I can not say enough for their courtesies, be it the restaurant, bars, housekeeping, etc.As it was lent, I was appreciative that Costa has a priest who is part of the crew and said mass each morning. I think others felt the same way as the chapel was always full.We signed up for two tours on the ship and were generally happy with them. The only negative is (and this is applicable to most all tours) is that you got herded along and had little time to linger at a spot that might be meaningful. However, they seem to stop longer than necessary at the souvenir stands.We felt the only downside was the small portions at mealtime. However, our waiter was good enough to get an extra desert or two if requested. We felt the meals could be upgraded. Also, there was no open seating restaurant for dinner like the Princess lines and therefore were stuck with the same dinner companions each night. The buffet was not an option and the food looked unappetizing the one night we went there when our tour got back late.Our biggest complaint with Costa was getting good information before we left. If you called to get a clarification of a previous answer, the information received did not seem related to the original answer. We never did get good information and often it was contradictory. All in all, we would sail on Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
This was our first cruise and we couldn't have been happier. We love visiting Europe and this cruise definitely had a European flair. Getting on the ship was very quick and easy and our luggage was delivered to our room later that ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we couldn't have been happier. We love visiting Europe and this cruise definitely had a European flair. Getting on the ship was very quick and easy and our luggage was delivered to our room later that evening. We had a interior cabin and it was bigger than I thought it would be. There were 3 closets with plenty of room for our clothes as well as night stands and a desk. Our empty luggage easily stored under the bed. The room had a 220 and a 110 outlet in it. I brought a power strip that made charging our cameras and electronics at night easy. Our cabin steward was very attentive. She made up the room each morning and turned down the bed each evening. Our cabin was on deck one and was very quiet. The TV had 2 English speaking channels (BBC and NBC Action) as well as channels with information about the next port of call and the web-cam of the front and back of the ship. There are also channels in French, Italian, German and Spanish. Since I speak French and am learning Italian I enjoyed watching some of those stations too.We had the first dinner seating at 6:30pm each night. Second seating was at 9pm. Every dinner had a lot of food to choose from. Appetizers, salad, soup, pasta course, main course, cheese course, and dessert. If you didn't find a main course on the menu you wanted, you had the option of ordering standard items that were always available for the main course (Salmon, Spaghetti, Chicken, etc). There were vegetarian options marked. You could order as many items from the menu as you wanted. Two appetizers - no problem; three desserts - no problem. The often had "no sugar added" desserts that were an option - all very good. They also often offered fresh fruit in the dessert section. I always enjoyed my meals and the variety of options that were offered. One night the grilled tuna was dry but with so many other courses I didn't let that spoil my meal. If someone at the table didn't like what they got - a quick mention to the waiter and he would bring something else. The waiter always had a smile and the highest level of service I've seen anywhere. He was from Bali and spoke perfect English.For breakfast we always ate at the buffet. There were omelet stations where omelets or fried eggs could be made to order. In the buffet line there was cheese, meats, hard boiled eggs, oatmeal, cereal, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, french toast, pancakes, waffles, fruit, rolls, toast and more. To drink there was coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milk, juice and water. Breakfast could also be taken in the dining room.Lunch could be taken in the dining room or at the buffet. The buffet offered grilled chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, salad, pizza, fruit, pasta stations, breads and more. They often had a midnight surprise dessert or a special activity with a buffet. The fruit included bananas, pears, watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, mango, apples, oranges, pineapple. One night they had peaches flambeE with ice cream.Each evening there was a show in the theater. This included a magician, ventriloquist, juggler, acrobatics, singers and dancers. Some shows were better than others but all were entertaining. Pietro has a marvelous voice and since we missed his show in the theater we made it a point to hear him sing in the Piano Bar where he performed each night. We also enjoyed the violin player and the trio in the Wein Wein bar. There was music for dancing in other areas too.There were activities during the day that kept us entertained. My wife attended a culinary demonstration. I attended 4 - 30 minute beginning Italian classes held during the cruise. They had dance lessons, bingo, Jacuzzis, pools, receptions for Rotarians/Lions/Kiwanis, and more. We used the jacuzzi that was on the top of the ship - even though the weather was a bit chilly. We also used one of the four jacuzzis on deck nine near the pools. Since this was early spring they kept the glass ceilings over the pool areas closed.I worked out in the gym on a stationary bike most mornings. The bike had an individual TV that could be listened to with your own headphones. Most of the equipment looked out at the sea. Relaxing site early in the morning. They also had treadmills and weight machines available. The gym was generally open from 7am to 8pm - sometimes 10pm. Some days we had to meet for our excursion by 7:45 so I only had time for a quick workout in the morning before showering and going to the excursion. My wife walked in the early morning on the top of the ship. There is a short "track" where you can walk an oval path around the smoke stack.The crew was always very polite and always greeted you with a hello, how are you today? Getting on and off the ship was efficient. You always passed through metal detectors and bags through x-ray machines but this went quickly.There were people on the ship from many countries. I met people from France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Ireland, Australia and the USA. I even made friends with two Italian couples and we plan to stay in touch. The crew are recruited and trained in different areas of the world. There was a session where they gave an overview of the ship. They explained that cabin stewards are often recruited and trained in the Philippines. Many of the culinary staff were from Indonesia and India. The security crew were generally from India. The officers school was in Italy. I was constantly amazed at how well they did working with so many different languages. The entertainment, announcements, signs, etc were done in many languages. There was an English host who had regular hours if we ever needed to talk to a native English speaker from Costa. Our menu was always in English and our daily bulletin was in English. Of course the passengers who spoke other languages received their bulletins and menus in their own languages. Most of the entertainment/bars were on deck 5. There were members of our group with cabins on deck 6 who heard the music quite loudly through the floor / walls until early in the morning. You might want to avoid deck 6 if you want a quieter cabin.Overall we loved the itinerary. Savona, Olympia, Jerusalem, Galilee, Izmir/Ephesus, Athens and Rome were all wonderful. This was a great experience for our first cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
(I am a former tour mgr/director with 40 yrs-on and off-under my belt and a restauranteur who has done it all from PEARL DIVER to owner)....my wife and I normally travel by land....train/car or just rent and apt so we can immerse ourselves ... Read More
(I am a former tour mgr/director with 40 yrs-on and off-under my belt and a restauranteur who has done it all from PEARL DIVER to owner)....my wife and I normally travel by land....train/car or just rent and apt so we can immerse ourselves in the local culture....most of my cruising was done for work...bringing 100-200 clients aboard(lived 4mos on NCL's Starr Odyssey)so this was our first Costa cruise and only our fourth cruise together....we choose the pacifica because of the itinerary and the timing met our schedule....we were concerned about missing out on Egypt and reading some negative reviews on the ship/food/service/entertainment and the mix of passengers(noisy/pushy/and smoking)and added to our concerns were the problems with Costa's web site and personnel who were at the end of our phone calls....but off we went and very glad we did....the ship was spotless/all the staff was very helpful/the food was great and plentiful/the smoking was confined to certain areas on the ship/the mix of passengers added to our enjoyment/and no one was pushy rude or whatever the negative comments suggested and the shows were more than adequate (actually some very good)....we spent 3 nights in Rome prior to our cruise and took the train to civitavecchia where we exited the train(no climbing stairs etc like I had read)and took a taxi right to the ship ($20)....check-in was very organized....places to sit/juice and toilets available...(we were given a number after they took our luggage)by 1:30 we were in our room with bags and info on our beds....we went up to the matre'd(Simone) to reschedule our seating from late to early with no problem and actually as the dinning rooms were quite full and we wanted a table for 2 we were put into one of the Samara's DRs with only 10-20 other guests with the same menu as the main DRs but very quiet and relaxed....we did eat 2 nights in the main DR and both venues had excellent service our cabin was on deck 2 at the rear of the ship and I picked it because of price and the fact that it was bigger then the normal cabin with 2 large windows(it was very QUIET)....at each port the debark and embark was handled very smoothly whether you were on tour or going off on your own....x-ray/pasport check etc....never a problem....Savona on our own where met friends and went to lunch....at sea then to Katakolon for a trip to mt olympus by rent-a-car(no problems locals helpful as they were everywhere)....at sea then Israel(Ashrod) for Bethlehem and Jerusalem(very long day on ship's tour but you have to do it)then on to Haifa for a ships tour of Galilee and Nazareth(well worth the time and money)....at sea then to Turkey(Izmir)and on to Ephesus(the highlight of the tour for us and our biggest adventure as we rent a car for the day)it has to be seen....vast and beautiful(pictures do not do it justice)a stop in Kusadarsi for lunch by the sea and again very friendly/helpful locals....at sea and finally Athens and the Acropolis(we take the metro-about 20 min walk along the pier-easy metro info and a nice walk at the end to the Acropolis and a walk through old Agora and a visit to the Plaka with lunch at a local rest then metro back to the ship....what a perfect ending to our trip.... Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We sailed out of Rome with 6 adults and 2 small kids (3yrs and 9 mos) Boarding the ship was confusing and because we never received any tickets in the mail we had to fill out a bunch of paperwork when we got there. The building is ... Read More
We sailed out of Rome with 6 adults and 2 small kids (3yrs and 9 mos) Boarding the ship was confusing and because we never received any tickets in the mail we had to fill out a bunch of paperwork when we got there. The building is small and was unorganized but fortunately because it was January it was not too bad to get through. We got on and the crew were all very nice and almost all of them spoke English. Our cabin was very spacious and had a large space like a window sill for my 3 year old to sit in and watch the ocean. They provided a crib and we had a twin bed and still had plenty of room to get around. Our steward was more than accommodating but finding him sometimes was difficult but others were more than helpful to get him in when we needed him. The ship is very pretty it reminded me of a Carnival ship but less flashy but nicer than a Princess ship. There were not alot of activities to do onboard during the day on the ship but because we had a port to go into each day we were ok with that. They do have a round the clock kids room that we took the kids to and they really liked that. Most of the activities that were offered were fitness related like dancing or aerobics. The food in the buffet was ok... breakfast was good, there were some traditional American eats like pancakes, waffles,cereal and bacon and eggs every day. Alot of meats and cheeses and a fish dish each morning! The afternoon and evening buffet offered hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and other finger foods. All ok, nothing spectacular. The dinners in the dining room were much better but I have to say that Carnival has better food. We bought a wine and water package for 99 euros and that was the best way to go for us. It gave us 6 bottles of wine and 10 bottles of water and that lasted the entire cruise. The reviews about getting around on the ship are over exaggerated. Every cruise I have taken is like this. You just have to get it figured out and remember what elevators go where. We feel that by the end of every cruise that we have finally figured it out! So I think that is normal. There are alot of Italians and other Europeans on board and some are rude but so are Americans. I just pushed back when they pushed me and that seemed to work. That only happened a couple of times. For a layed back culture they sure are in a hurray to cut you off in the food lines or to get on and off the ship. Its actually quite funny. I just let them cut. We had our 9 month old daughter and that brought alot of positive attention. Everyone loves a baby! Actually there were ALOT of kids and babies on this cruise. I was surprised. Getting on and off for port tours was easy. This cruise has embarking and disembarking in 3 different ports so it can get crowded at times in the atrium. But they seem to be pretty organized with all that going on. They only thing I dont care for was the smoking section in the atrium. But Europeans are very much into smoking and was expected. Its just stinky and I hated walking through it every day. The Tours offered were nice. We had to deal with the riots in Tunisia and therefore were sent to Corsica instead and then in Marseille there was a strike and had to be rerouted to Tulon which put us about an hour away but those situations were out of Costa's control so I cant blame them. Overall we had a great time. Disembarking was not hard to get through either. I would take this cruise again in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
This was our 9th cruise overall but 1st on Costa, with previous on Princess, Celebrity, and Carnival to the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, and Western Mediterranean. The cruise probably has the best itinerary with ports of call covering ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise overall but 1st on Costa, with previous on Princess, Celebrity, and Carnival to the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, and Western Mediterranean. The cruise probably has the best itinerary with ports of call covering 3 continents, 6 countries, and thousands of years of culture and history following the footsteps of Caesar, Antony, Alexander, Aristotle, and Cleopatra. Even a little bit wary after reading the user reviews before the cruise for going on an Italian ship with passengers of various background, the experience turned out to be highly positive and exceeded our overall expectations. We were also lucky in having good weather, dinner table mates, and a close call for visiting and getting out of Egypt at the last minute before the political riot really broke out. So the decision to take the off-season winter cruise to avoid the summer crowd, heat and humidity, and higher fares turns out to be an excellent choice! Highly recommended. Since we boarded a Western Mediterranean cruise from Civitavecchia in 2006, the same routine of staying in Rome for one night to adjust to the jet lag before and two nights after the cruise for visiting the attractions was followed. The port to city transfers were arranged through and seamlessly taken care of by Italian Airport Limousine. It may not have the lowest price but it was responsive, courteous, and speedy. The embarkation process was different from our past experience but very effective. We arrived early around noon, were given a number for 1:30pm boarding with our luggage taken, and then quickly hopped on the shuttle bus to Civitavecchia city center. After a walking and shopping tour of the port city with its community theater, open Farmer's Market (we bought 5 oranges from Sicily for less than $1), and tourist shops (we bought leather bag and wallet with good price), we went back by shuttle and were promptly directed for boarding. The only wait in line was to get though the security checkpoint for belongings for about 5 minutes. After that, it was a straight walk up the ship after submitting our check-in form without being asked for anything else including the passport. Once in our cabin, our cruise cards, ship and shore tour information sheets, and our luggage were already waiting for us! I feel that there is more trust and respect from Costa toward its clients. On the others, we were not allowed to board until we show them the money by registering with a valid credit card or cash deposit. May be it is the European way. We had the 1st seating for dinner at mostly 6:15pm. The waiting staff was wonderful - attentive yet non-intrusive. Our head waiter, Sherwin (Joseph) Toral from Philippines, was always calm, courteous, helpful in selections, accommodating, prompt in delivery under the obvious rush, and always wore a smile. I have the nasty habit of ordering multiple appetizers, entrees, or desserts while skipping some other courses, and Joseph handled the serving beautifully in synchronization with the dishes of other guests so I did not feel out of place. With the 2nd seating at 8:45pm, our table often had so much fun in our conversations and sharing of the onboard and shore tour experiences that we still sat there after 8:30pm. Not once did we feel being rushed. But obviously we felt a little guilty after realizing the time, or lack of it for the staff to prepare for the next seating, and left. Information on the dining venue choices the next day was always conveyed and a handshake extended by Joseph at the end of dinner. He even performed an excellent card trick at the end of the cruise! We've had excellent cruise waiting staff in the past who remembered all our preferences, but I have to say that Joseph is the best! We bought the Easy Selection beverage package that comes with 4 bottles of wine and 7 bottles of mineral water for €69 including the service charge. There are choices of 2 red and 2 white wines and the left-over bottle was always stored and brought back the next evening. The package seems to me a good value. The Classic Selection is €99 with 2 more bottles of wine. We read about the disappointments on the quality and selections of food onboard and we reluctantly echoed the sentiments. There are seven courses to choose, from appetizer, soup, pasta, salad, cheese, entrEe, to dessert. There are regularly choices of fish, meat, chicken, and vegetarian for the entrees. It was not bad food, and it was served warm, but rarely was it a delicacy. The taste may be bland sometimes for American palates. Please also do not expect lobster or escargot. Overall it is acceptable for us since we do not expect a feast. I also went to the midnight buffet for the 1st time in many cruises after dancing late right after the theater show. As expected, it was more of the visual than the gastronomical treat. We also learned that there is normally no dinner buffet available so the pizzeria was the only choice if the normal dining time is missed. The shows and entertainment onboard were good with varieties if not spectacular. Unlike the other cruise lines which share and ferry the entertainers onboard, the performers on Costa seemed to be resident and they were stationed in the various lounges and bars when not performing on the big stage in the theater. As the result, the level and quality of performance seemed to be higher in general. As classical music lovers, we enjoyed the daily performance by the Trio Rhapsodia in the Wien Wien lounge but only wished that they did not play the same old tiring Strauss waltz over and over again. Come on, you are a classical music trio and how about some real trios by Dvorak, Schumann, Beethoven, or Brahms. Of course we realized the general crowd may not appreciate what we like. Some classical music was better than none. On our Panama Canal cruise on Celebrity Mercury we really enjoyed the classical trios while being served the afternoon tea. One bonus on the sea days for me was the five free beginning Italian lessons offered, each lasted just over an hour with handouts. The instructor, Emanuela, is young, energetic, bubbly, helpful, encouraging, and persistent. We learned the basic greetings, numbers, time of day, 7 weekdays, 12 months, colors, basic grammar, and asking for and replying with names and directions. I really enjoyed the lessons with quite a few others. A final written test was given before a certificate was signed. It was interesting to hear the Italian spoken with the distinct accents from German, French, British, American, and yes, even Spaniard. There are quite a few treadmills, stationary bikes, and exercise stations in the gym in the front of the ship on the 11th floor. They are of good modern quality and I used them on the sea days with ocean but not horizon view. With the off-season crowd generally older in age, the gym was not crowded. There were volleyball events mentioned on the Daily program sheet but nobody showed up on this winter cruise so my bump, set, and spike had to wait for another day! As this was our first cruise on Costa, I was expecting some looseness in its logistic operation associated with the deserved-or-not Italian reputation. But my fear was proved unnecessary over and over again. For example, the evening show on the big stage started on-time every day. The dining venue opened before the specified time. The Daily program guide covered everything in detail with nice touches. Imagine it had to be published in at least five languages every day. The mandatory fire-safety drill with life vests was carried out like a military exercise with passengers actually lined up evenly and counted. The instruction and demo was done five times under five languages. So you can tell that I was impressed with the operational efficiency and effectiveness of Costa. As a retired IT worker who used to manage the corporate logistics, I know it is not easy to keep all the ducks in a row especially when they are of feathers of different colors and tongues. Both Costa and its parent Carnival ought to be applauded for running a tight ship under the soft economy. After learning that Costa sails around the world with destinations in South America, Asia, Northern Europe, and so on, we would not hesitate to book another Costa cruise in the future. All the greats and not-so-greats from the above do not distract from the focus of the cruise which for us is the unbeatable shore destinations without too much crowd, heat, and humidity. We booked all our shore tours in advance on the Costa website after a little difficulty with the web page was attributed to the hyphen in my registered name and was consequently resolved after a phone call. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
Here's a few of comments on our experience on the Costa Magica: We had a balcony cabin in the middle of the ship right off the elevator. Amazingly enough it wasn't noisy despite the high traffic area. The cabin was larger and ... Read More
Here's a few of comments on our experience on the Costa Magica: We had a balcony cabin in the middle of the ship right off the elevator. Amazingly enough it wasn't noisy despite the high traffic area. The cabin was larger and more spacious than we had on both NCL and Princess. As stated by others who have been on the Magica, it took the whole cruise to figure out how to navigate the ship. I highly recommend that you get yourself one of the larger maps of the ship that the information desk and learn how to find your way around. One of the cruise critic members posted a very good explanation on how the cabins were numbered and the decks broken up. The most important lesson he gave was to look at the picture of the ship located at each elevator. It will indicate where you are and what direction the ship is pointed. When you get off the elevator look to see which direction you need to go so you won't get too frustrated trying to find your way to dinner. The Magica had two seatings for dinner. We chose the first seating and found our table mates extremely pleasant. We were all English speaking and enjoyed each other's company. In fact, the evening meal was the best part of the day with these folks. The other valuable thing I learned on cruise critic was about the 1X package for beer, wine, and water. We called our agent who called Costa and got the package for us. It saved us lots of money on drinks. This package allows you beer or wine by the glass and bottled water at lunch and dinner only. We tipped our waiter at the beginning and during the cruise and he kept our glasses filled. He also poured some for our dinner partners at our request. So each night at dinner we went through one or two bottles of wine and several of water. Big savings there. The breakfast buffet was not as expansive as is on NCL or Princess but it was adequate. We did not take advantage of the buffet for lunch so I am unable to comment. Dinner most nights was good but not outstanding. We did have one evening when they served lamb chops that everyone asked for seconds. We liked the pasta and the bread was great. If you wanted something in between meals you had to find the grill which was located at the very back of the ship where the indoor pool is. It was not like NCL where you could find food at all hours. One of the reasons that you don't see many obese Europeans, the portions were normal sized instead of supersized. I was happy about that. The coffee was only fair however you could buy cappuncino's and lattes that were pretty good. We got our "coffee fix" at the various ports where the espressos were great. The staff worked seven days a week, and usually stayed on the ship for several months. They all spoke excellent English. In addition there was an English speaking "host" by the name of Sean who was available at certain hours if you had questions. He wasn't very helpful with finding out about doing the ports on your own. He said that his job was to support the excursion so he was unwilling to give info on how to get around on public transportation.I surprized and disappointed since I found that the cruise director on NCL to be more than happy to tell you about what cheaper options available once on shore. Embarking and disembarking was the easiest of all. They had everything ready when you got there so all you had to do was go through screening and show you E tickets. Once you got to your room you found your room keys and info on setting up your credit card as well as the daily itinerary in English. They also provided a daily synopsis of the world news in the form of a little newspaper that was created on board. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Let me start off by saying I had expected this to be a totally different experience than any of my previous 13 cruises. However, I never expected it to be the worst cruise I've ever been on. It was my first cruise out of a European ... Read More
Let me start off by saying I had expected this to be a totally different experience than any of my previous 13 cruises. However, I never expected it to be the worst cruise I've ever been on. It was my first cruise out of a European port. I realize it left out of Italy, but I really thought it would be more amenable to the different nationalities on the cruise. They were not! I DO NOT recommend this cruise to Americans unless they are fluent in Italian. The cruise line made very little effort to speak anything but Italian. It was near impossible to participate on any of the on board activities. The entertainment staff did say a lot of things, ie., Bingo and other games, in English but it was so fast and so mixed in with 5 other languages they rattled off, you could not follow at all. All the ship announcements were in Italian. It seemed that there were only a few announcements that they ever said in English. I was truly terrified that if there were an emergency on this ship, I would never have known what to do. This brings me to the Safety Issues. There was no safety drill upon embarkation at Civitavecchia. This cruise is a circle cruise; meaning people are embarking and disembarking at every port. They do consider Savona the first port, which was the last day for us. That is when they did a life boat drill. Guess it was our tough luck if anything happened the 6nights before that. This is an EXTREMELY budget cruise. It is advertised in Italy dirt cheap with kids sailing free. You truly get what you pay for. The Italians on this cruise were extremely rude. They do not believe in lines or waiting their turn. They were pushy and arrogant. The lack of communication was a huge problem. They also smoke like crazy and smoke anywhere they like. This ship has more smoking areas than non smoking areas. If this is a problem for you, be aware! If you are not used to horrible food and and plastic cups, do not take this cruise. You can see Costa has cut back everywhere they possible can. The only thing you could get 24/7 was coffee and water. They shut the ice cream machines all hours except buffet hours. You had to go to dinner every night in the dinning room. There was not a dinner buffet option. For this reason, people were dressed anywhere from formal to grunge in the dinning room. I'm a 100% Italian American. I am used to good Italian food. There was NONE to be found on this cruise. The pasta dishes at dinner were the only thing that was near what I would call authentic Italian food. The buffet food was hardly edible. Dried out pizza, tasteless burgers and fries. How you can ruin french fries is beyond me. The cabins are good size like all Carnival products. The Entertainment on the first night was okay. The second night, okay, after that it was downhill right to the bottom at horrible. There were three nights where the highlight of the show was juggling. Each night they repeatedly dropped what they were juggling....pretty poor performance. You can tell the cruise lines was spending NO money on entertainment. They were also spending NO MONEY on Air Conditioning. It was almost was an unhealthy hot through out the entire ship. The dinning rooms was unbearable. I left every night as quickly as I could because of the heat. The poor staff was always sweating as were many of the guests. I think it was a health hazard, but I'm sure the cruise lines just looks at it as saving money. The cruise lines provided very little direction when trying to find your tour buses and exit the ship. They never announced you were in port and could start disembarking or what deck to disembark from. It was always a guess if it were deck 3 or 0. The only saving grace at all on this cruise were the staff. The dinning room and other working crew all spoke English and were always willing to help you out. The were great. All in All I wish I had not gone on this cruise. I will gladly pay double or triple on my next cruise to get a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Our family had wanted to do something special - The Holy Land Cruise was just the thing. We loved the itinerary of this cruise, with the sale price by Costa, it was too good to pass up. 1. EMBARKATION: We embarked in Civitavecchia ... Read More
Our family had wanted to do something special - The Holy Land Cruise was just the thing. We loved the itinerary of this cruise, with the sale price by Costa, it was too good to pass up. 1. EMBARKATION: We embarked in Civitavecchia in what seemed to be a warehouse on the pier. It took a bit of time, though not unreasonable. We were then directed to the ship and up the gangplank into the ship and directed to the elevator along with everyone else boarding, nobody bothered to check to see where our cabin was. So we had to figure out for ourselves that we needed to go back down the elevator to get to our lower level cabin by looking at the ships map. 2. ROOM: The room was very nice and larger than most ships we have been on. We were quite pleased with our accommodations. We had a nice sized window, a couch you could actually sit on an additional chair with room around the bed, storage was plentiful (there were additional drawers under the couch. 3. STEWARD: Throughout the cruise our Cabin Steward gave us excellent service. Our room was made as soon as we would walk out the door. He was friendly, helpful, informational and spoke English well. In fact most of the cabin stewards had a warm smile and would readily answer questions or direct you where you needed to be. 4. DINING: The dining room was another story. We have traveled and stayed in Italy and Europe at different times. We KNOW Italian dining or European style. Costa just does not LIVE UP to this. The food was not tasty. Many people on board were also unhappy with the meals. We had the late dining - food was served cold, over cooked, undercooked (risotto is not suppose to be crunchy) It seemed the brown sauce was the same on different meats. The exception would be seafood- we did have some good fish dishes. Dining service was not good. Our waiter rarely got the order correct. Twice we were not served our main course. I truly believe they are quite short staffed in the kitchen and dining room. 5. BUFFET: The buffet was basically the same meal each and every day. There would be a theme dish of some kind IF you were there at the right time and a few additional salads, etc. Breakfast was exactly the same each day. Plenty of bland food. Boring after a week. The pastry's were very good - but the same choice of 5/6 every day. Coffee, hot water for Tea and Ice & water are there all day. Juice only in the a.m. 6. PAY FOR FOODS; The Blue Moon restaurant (20 euro) had excellent service. They go all out to serve you and wait on you. The food was good. Unfortunately they have the same menu each night. Few Surprises. HAVE the icecream - it is made at your table! it is quite good. Chocolate Bar - a selection of drinks, coffees, desserts and truffles. Tasty - but the costs add up after 11 days. Ice Cream cart - hard to find it up on deck 9 back of the pool area. It is only there in the evening - but serves a nice sundae. 7. ONBOARD: There is really not much to do. I believe the waterslide was opened only twice for a minimal time, though our weather was very nice. The water aerobic class was available a few times. Dance classes were up on deck near the pool - a little cramped (would have been really nice in the ballroom). The Theater shows were ok. The lounge shows were very nice. A good selection of musicians was good. Unfortunately we kept missing the music. The schedule posted daily was often wrong. We had the late seating for dinner and would like to have listened to music at a lounge for a couple of hours but it really did not start up until 8:00 or 8:30. Every announcement was made in several languages. We had an English speaking hostess. All of our tours had English guides. Disembarkation was a NIGHTMARE let me repeat NIGHTMARE . This was the Port of Civitavecchia problem. We nearly missed our noon flight (there were 10 of us) I cannot believe that this port was so completely disorganized and unprepared for the passengers getting of the ship. KATAKOLON; Interesting little fishing village. Lots of shops. If you choose to forgo the ship excursion, you can take a train to Olympia for 5 euro rt., it is a bit of a walk to the ruins - you may find a cab up there to take you. A bus at the edge of the port will take you to the ruins for 10 euro. The cabs were quite a bit more -- check out car rentals, there were plenty from 35 to 40 euro. PIREAUS; ATHENS; We walked to the light rail from the port (abt. 15 min) It takes you right to the bottom of the ruins. A bit of a walk up the hill gets you to the Parthenon, Mars Hill, etc. A city bus will take you all the way up to the entrance. The entrance fee was 12 euro. Near the rail station is a market area with shops and coffee stands and cute bistros. Walk around and enjoy the atmosphere. IZMIR: We had a private tour company take us to Ephesus. Very worth the trip. The ruins there are magnificent. Those on The ships excursions were equally pleased. Others went to the Bazaar near the port - it is quite a walk, so you may want a cab. Taxi's will also take you on a city tour and out Ephesus. ASHDOD: We took the excursion to Jerusalem, and saw several museums, and the wailing wall, etc. Not near enough time at this stop! CAIRO: There must have been 100 buses in the caravan. We went to Pyramids, Sphinx, lunch on river cruise, citadel & Mosque. Would not do that again - the lunch cruise was a laugh though the food was quite good. Should have gone to the Pyramids, Sphinx & Egypt museum where King Tut exhibition is. All the tours included a Papyrus institute visit - just very expensive souvenirs (disappointing). Take care at the pyramids - a 'free camel' ride will cost about $10 to get off. There are plenty of sellers there and you can find some inexpensive little gift items, if you are careful. There are some nice little gifts to be found at the Port of Alexandria if you have enough time after the very long day. 3/4 hours to the Pyramids, terrible traffic between each "site" then another 3/4/hours back to ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Chaos reigned at the embarkation point ( which we expected ) we did not wait for too long to board as we had joined Costa club beforehand and got through a bit quicker than some other poor souls who had to wait upwards of 3 hours ! Got ... Read More
Chaos reigned at the embarkation point ( which we expected ) we did not wait for too long to board as we had joined Costa club beforehand and got through a bit quicker than some other poor souls who had to wait upwards of 3 hours ! Got into our cabin and it was lovely..clean cool and spacious with a balcony and the bathroom was fine too..shower curtain but it did not stick to us and the shower was very powerful. Set off into gale force winds that night ( sailed very late due to a technical fault ) The Pacifica is not built to ride steady on any kind of rough sea and we had a terrible night sailing to Savona through 158km winds ! Was afraid the ship would tip over at some points. She sails fine with winds of up to about 40km hour and smooth sea at 20 knots but anything over that and she struggles ! just be warned if you like smooth sailing this is not the right ship..she dudders and shudders an awful lot. Ship itself is pretty and immaculately clean. Staff in restaurants and bars are amazing..can't do enough for you. Officers are snotty and stuck up and the pursers are not very helpful at all..quite curt with a lot of passengers we noticed. Yes Italians are noisy and this ship was crammed with them..they don't mind yelling at each other at 2am outside your cabin and banging, banging their their doors and they do push in line everywhere..it gets a bit tiresome after a few days. Food is okay but not special...lunch buffet has very good variety usually and the food seems to improve towards the end of the cruise when you will see things like shrimp and steak on the menu. Drinks are not too bad if you are from UK the prices seem to be in line with the UK prices. Noise levels on this cruise were very high...music is everywhere BUT it is the same old stuff EVERY day. The entertainment really is abysmal...on one night they showed a film of Riverdance at 10.45pm and that was the show for the night ! We only saw two shows that were any good and it is a shame as the theatre itself is stunning. Costa need to up their game in the entertainment area it was one of the major reasons we would not re-book with them. After 2 sea days we were bored out of our minds and glad to get off. Disembarking was relatively smooth apart from losing one of our cases that turned up about an hour later. Lucky we did not need to catch our flight too early. People DID dress up for Gala evenings ( we had 3 ) We had a couple of massages and they were good and the Spa area is beautiful but the prices are quite ridiculously high. Would we go again..no, as we think there are other cruise lines better suited to our wants Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Our primary reason for booking this trip was the itinerary and it did not fail us. It hit all the places we hoped to see someday all in one trip. While you really can't see a country in one day, you can get a feel for it and the ... Read More
Our primary reason for booking this trip was the itinerary and it did not fail us. It hit all the places we hoped to see someday all in one trip. While you really can't see a country in one day, you can get a feel for it and the desire to return to see more, which is what we hope to do. We absolutely loved their itinerary. For us, it made up for the food in the dining area. The second reason for booking this trip was that the price was very good, about half the going rate at the time of booking. I know a lot of others on the ship must have done this for the same reason. I was told by someone on the ship that they usually cater to Europeans and that there were a lot of Americans on that cruise. The ship itself was beautiful and clean. Our room was wonderful, probably about 20 or 25% bigger than other balcony rooms that we've had on other cruise lines. The man who took care of our room was extremely helpful. I think there's a few things they could do to make the ship 'better', by maybe redoing some of the things they have. It would be great if they had another specialty restaurant on the ship. How about a seriously Italian restaurant? And please, boot up the entertainment. There's a 'disco' room that I saw consistently empty. How about a small theater (like maybe use the lame disco room) with large screen and do really recent movies for a fee? How about doing a wine tasting room, come in and do a 'tour of Italy' (or a tour of France, etc.) wine tasting for a price? I think that would be a good money maker. LOVE their chocolate bar! It was the only spot on the ship to get decent hot chocolate. Wish they would start serving that yummy hot chocolate before 9. My husband's favorite was Rick's bar. Very attentive and stocked. Here's the bad. The food in the dining rooms is not up to what we've had on other cruise line dining rooms. Not even close. We were told that it's because we're American and are not used to what Europeans eat. This is what the young woman from Costa told us when we were all given the review sheets to fill out. I found that comment to be very condescending. We can't figure out what they eat in Rome? We've been to Rome and loved their restaurants and the ship dining rooms don't hold a candle to that. Dining room staff also seem to not remember requests or maybe they didn't always understand them, not sure. If you got there 15 minutes before they are scheduled to shut down, they don't hide trying to rush you. We had also heard that Costa had cut crew (this was obvious in the dining rooms), plus they had deleted the chefs that did the sauces and the salads. Not sure if THAT was true, but the salads (and choices of dressings, salad add-on's) were pretty sad. IF this was true, it was a bad choice. A hash cook cannot compete with a saucier. Costa Pacifica has two specialty restaurants, Blue Moon and Samsara. Samsara is supposed to be ONLY for the Samsara Spa guests (not sure if that is a big money maker for them. Why not just do a 'spa package' separately like their drink packages?). However, it is possible to eat at the Samsara Restaurant and pay the $20 extra without being a Samsara guest. Wow, what snobs in there. Definitely got the whole, 'And what are YOU doing in here?' vibe when we had dinner in there, so we didn't return. Blue Moon was wonderful. And the maitre d', Samuel, had a lot of class without being a snob. He made sure everything was fine; his customer service skills are excellent. After being told by someone that we should try dinner at the dining rooms because the formal nights food would be better, and found that they were only barely better, we spent most of our dinners at the Blue Moon. They use 'molecular cooking' to make fresh ice cream on the spot within just a few minutes. That was always fun to watch and tasty to eat. Again, $20 extra per person and well worth the expense. (A caveat: meat tended to be overcooked; please consider only ordering medium rare to rare) The rack of lamb (just a half-rack) was my favorite. The buffets were acceptable and we ended up eating our day food there instead of the dining rooms. The only downside is that the buffet has hours of serving, not like other cruise lines who basically have no hours on their buffets. The excursions were fine and competent, if not spendy; but the truth is that excursions are ALWAYS spendy on cruises. This is a way for them to make up money that they didn't receive by getting people to book with lower rates. I get that. Overall, a good cruise, a great ship, and fantastic choices for ports of call. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
The Ship: The Mediterranea is a well-reviewed ship so I won't repeat many details other than to say it's big, considered one of the medium size cruise ships of recent construction : 12 decks, 292 meters long and 32 meters wide. ... Read More
The Ship: The Mediterranea is a well-reviewed ship so I won't repeat many details other than to say it's big, considered one of the medium size cruise ships of recent construction : 12 decks, 292 meters long and 32 meters wide. Max passengers 2,500. 1 main restaurant on two levels, 1 specialty restaurant, and a self-service buffet. 1,057 cabins, most outside with balconies. It was the itinerary that made this cruise unique because the stop at Tripoli was the first for Costa in over three years. Embarkation: Basically a piece of cake. After leaving our car in the port parking (€90 for the duration of the cruise), a shuttle bus brought us directly to the ship where, being Costa Club Pearl members, we were immediately checked in and went on board. There were relatively few passengers boarding at the same time, approximately 16.00 in the afternoon. The Cabin: We had a "panoramic suite," cabin number 6176, cat. PS, on the 6th deck, in the mid-section. The cabin was reasonably large (about 30 square meters) with a main sleeping/living area, dressing room, bath, and a large balcony. The bed was comfortable but we asked the cabin steward to bring us two extra pillows and to remove the hot synthetic duvet leaving only the cotton cover There was a three-person couch, easy chair, desk and chair, minibar, safe, and an oval table. There was a four-drawer dresser, two-door wardrobe next to the bed and another in the dressing room, besides several cabinets for additional storage. The carpet was clean and free of stains. There were large mirrors in the dressing room and over the desk. The hair dryer was in one of the drawers of the dressing room. Our suitcases fit under the bed. The TV had satellite channels in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Russian. In addition there were shipboard channels advertising excursions and the onboard shops, spa, etc. The interactive TV had a webcam showing the view from the bridge and a channel with a so-called "scan display" which showed the ship's current position, wind direction and speed, outside temps, weather and sea conditions. The bathroom was good-sized with two side-by-side sinks and storage space above and under them, a toilet, and a jacuzzi bathtub/shower. We always had fluffy white towels (four bath and four hand), four facecloths, and two bathmats, as well as two nice robes and slippers. A sliding glass door led out onto the balcony which was equipped with a sun lounger and a chair and table. The cabin steward changed the towels twice a day as necessary and the sheets/pillow cases every third day. Being a Costa Club member, we always had fresh fruit in the room which was replenished frequently. We did not use the minibar. We did not feel any discomfort even when the seas were rough a couple times. Vibration was non-existent and I felt only the slightest movement on the worst days. Service and Staff: I found the staff members in the Reception and Excursion Offices to be professional, friendly, and very helpful. They were of several different nationalities and spoke two or three languages each. At no time was any of the crew or staff rude or discourteous in any way. To the contrary, almost everyone I had occasion to meet had a smile and/or greeting for me. In the cabin area, our butler Furlan from Costa Rica was professional and very helpful, always available for whatever we needed. Our cabin steward was Cho from Myanmar whom we found to be the best we have ever had in many years of cruising on a dozen or more ships. Passenger Mix: On this cruise there were 2280 passengers aboard. Most were Germans - some 820 of them; there were also 780 Italians, 290 French, 92 Spanish speakers, about 50 English-speakers (including 3 Americans), and a mixture of Russians, Polish, Japanese, etc. The multi-language announcements were few. Not being during the school holidays, children aboard this cruise were relatively few, thus we had very little chaos. Cleanliness: Costa is a line that prides itself on keeping everything clean. There were squads of men constantly going about rubbing and shining the brass, polishing mirrors and glass doors, vacuuming the carpeting, cleaning and sanitizing tables and surfaces. One nice thing were the numerous hand sanitizer machines found at the boarding points and prior to entering the restaurants. Smoking: This was one the few cruises we have taken recently that tobacco smoke was an issue for us. One morning early in the cruise we had a strong smell of tobacco in the cabin, probably from the air conditioning. We complained and something was fixed because we didn't have the problem any longer. In the bars and lounges however, it seemed the smoking areas were much larger than the non-smoking. On most ships we have been on, the lounges were divided, smoking on one side, non-smoking on the other. The Mediterranea's lounges were smaller, with the two areas right next to one another so it was hard to avoid the smell. One lounge (the Roero/Orientale) that had an excellent piano-violin duo that we enjoyed listening to had the smoking area directly in front of the stage so if you wanted to listen to the music you had to sit with the smokers. To go to the restaurant on deck 2 you had to pass through the Talia Lounge which was a smokers' haven. Not good. Naturally smoking was prohibited in the restaurants, theatre, etc. Restaurants and Bars: The Mediterranea's main restaurant (MDR) was on two levels aft, on decks 2 and 3. The self-service buffet was also aft on the 9th deck, while the Medusa Club specialty restaurant was on the 10th. I didn't count all the bars but they were many and scattered all over the ship. MDR: We elected the second seating (usually at 20:30; first seating was too early at 18:00) and were assigned to table 19 with two other Italian couples. Our table companions were great and we enjoyed their company throughout the cruise. We judged the food served nightly to be very good, not exceptional, and certainly not bad. International but for the most part Italian cuisine which we naturally enjoyed. To save on costs and wastage, Costa has recently reduced portions and cut out many of the more expensive items previously found on cruise menus. This was no problem to us because we don't cruise to eat, and if there was something that we really liked we could always ask for seconds. No big thing. My wife eats mainly vegetarian and she was very satisfied with what they served her. Aside from MDR food, the wine list was extensive and during the course of the cruise I selected different wines in the €23 to €25 range. The waiter corked and saved the half-full bottles for the following evening Some people had bought wine packets but I noticed that most these wines were unknown or nothing special. We always had a huge jug of ice water on our table and only used bottled water in the cabin. Other than for the three gala evenings, we dressed casually for dinner. Self-Service: The self-service buffet was on the 9th deck and was open for breakfast and lunch only. There was a pizzeria open in the evenings I believe. Available for breakfast was an assortment of Italian pastries, muffins, Danishes, cornettos, etc. plus four styles of eggs, scrambled, omelettes, and hard-boiled; sausages, bacon, potatoes, cold meats and cheeses, fruit, yogurts, industrial fruit juices and American style coffee. Lunch saw a carvery with roasts or meatloaf, pasta and rice dishes, hamburgers and wurstel, fries, oven potatoes, salads and desserts. We generally used the self-service for both breakfast and lunch because we did not want full meals, usually only taking pastries for the first and either a salad, pasta dish, or hamburger for the second. Two or three times we took lunch in the MDR Bars: We generally had espresso coffee mornings and afternoons in one of the bars. The coffee was surprisingly good and cost €1.10, little more than at a bar on mainland Italy. Some evenings I enjoyed an after-dinner drink in bars where live music was being played. Very recently Costa has changed their prepaid water and coffee packet system which in the past was made up of individual vouchers or coupons that you simply gave the waiter when you wanted a coffee or a bottle of water. Now you buy the water or coffee packages (13 bottles of water and 25 cups of coffee respectively) and your on-board account is automatically debited each time you order one or the other until the number of coffees or bottles are used up. The advantage of the old system was you just gave the waiter a coupon and didn't have to sign anything. Plus, any unused coupons could be used on your next Costa cruise. Now you have to sign a zero-cost ticket each time and if you have unused credit, it's lost at the end of the cruise. We used all our water credits but probably gave up at least ten coffees. Library and Internet: Both were on the 3rd deck The selection of English language books in the library was good. There were many computers available for internet users in the. The cost was €10 for 30 minutes (minus 20% for Costa Club members). The Mediterrenea had Wifi throughout for personal computers and we used ours in the cabin. Here again you had to pay for a password - €24 for three hours (€19.20 for Costa Club). Laundry: We used the ship's laundry service twice, including having my suit dry-cleaned the first day. The service was excellent with everything being returned within 24 hours. Gym and Spa: The gym was a large open space at the front of the ship on the 9th and 10th decks with huge windows looking out over the sea. There were plenty of exercise machines available. I used the gym every day and rarely had to wait for a particular machine. The spa area was extensive and staffed primarily by girls from the Philippines who gave great massages. I bought the four massage packet for €327 and had Ada who was wonderful. The 11th had a good but short oval running track which I used after dinner for a few fast-walk laps, and in the early morning on at-sea days. Entertainment: We went to several shows in the evening after dinner as well as either listening the piano-violin duo mentioned above, or even dancing in the large Casanova lounge or disco. We had a great time. Weather and Climatic Conditions: We had grey rainy weather sailing down the Italian coast on day two and then again when we were returning through Italian waters. The rest of the time the weather was good with temperatures in the low 30's at both sunny Alexandria and Limassol. Malta was cooler, maybe 25 degrees or so, but no rain, while Tripoli was warmer in the morning but by late afternoon it was quite cool and windy. The sea was a little rough south of Italy and Greece but not felt too bad aboard the ship. For the rest of the time we had fairly calm seas. Port Calls and Shore Excursions: After boarding at Civitavecchia we had two at sea days before reaching our first port, Alexandria. Day 1-3 - At Sea Day 4 - Alexandria. Warm and sunny with that particular smell we always find at the Alexandria port. The majority of the passengers all boarded buses for the long haul to Cairo but since we've done that and have been in Alex several times, we elected to remain on the ship and go ashore only for lunch. We took a taxi from the dock to the "Fish Market," one of Alex's best seafood restaurants. After a great lunch of red mullet, jumbo shrimps, squid and vegetables, we took a long walk along the Alexandria waterfront and eventually caught a taxi back to the port. Day 5 - Limassol. Warm and sunny. We've both been to Limassol before on other cruises but my wife wanted to see Curium. She took the excursion to Curium and Omodos (€49) and I opted for the jeep safari (€79) up into the mountains. We both had a good time but were glad to get back to the ship. Day 6 - Rhodes. Warm but overcast. We've also been to Rhodes before but my wife wanted to return to Lindos to visit the acropolis. I wasn't feeling up to it so she took a taxi to Lindos (€57 one way) and I contented myself to a short walk into the old town. The visit to Lindos must have been great because she still talks about it. Day 7 - At Sea. Day 8 - La Valletta, Malta. Here my wife and I decided on two different excursions. I took the all-day best of Malta tour (€78) while she went to see the megalithic temples at Tarxien (€42). My tour consisted of a walking tour through Valletta followed by a bus tour to Mdina, plus the ever present shopping experience at an old air base turned into a shopping center. We were supposed to see the megalithic temples as well but this somehow got dropped from the agenda. In any case, the lunch in a local restaurant was very good. Day 9 - Tripoli, Libya. All passengers whether they were planning on disembarking or not were debited a mandatory €14.00 a head Libyan visa charge - apparently required by Libyan authorities for any ship entering their territorial waters. Four disembarking possibilities were offered: ship excursions to Leptis Magna, Sabratha, or a tour of Tripoli, as well as being able to disembark and walk around Tripoli on your own. The two excursions out of Tripoli were by bus and passengers were required to remain as a group on the individual buses leaving the port and returning. On return you had to reembark on the ship. Those opting for the Tripoli tour or walk around could not leave the city limits but were free to stay ashore all day. It was clear that the Tripoli tourism people were not geared for masses of excursionists and we literally swamped them - buses of varying age and condition had been sequestered for our visit from all over the country it seemed. There was ample confusion and delays as they tried to accommodate more than 2000 passengers. My wife and I opted for Leptis Magna for which we paid €107 each (which included the visa and lunch). Our group of about 45 people went on one of the buses (not the newest) with a very good archaeologist guide and enjoyed the six hour tour of the site along with about an hour for lunch under a huge Khaddafi-type tent (chicken and couscous preceded by an interesting spicy soup and followed by sweets and fruit). On return our bus took us back along the Tripoli waterfront (with huge photos of the Colonel on every corner) directly to our ship. Needless to say, Leptis was magnificent. The few Libyans we had occasion to meet were courteous and friendly. Day 10 - At Sea. Rain and overcast. Day 11 - Savona. Nice day. Later in the morning we went ashore to walk around the town and do some shopping. Day 12 - Civitavecchia. Disembarkation. Disembarkation: Being suite occupants we were given red luggage tags so when we leisurely disembarked at Civitavecchia port out bags were waiting for us and we left immediately on the shuttle bus to retrieve our car. Conclusions: The Mediterranea is a nice ship and the itinerary for this cruise was particularly interesting. The only real criticism we had was the smoke in the lounges which was annoying to us and probably intolerable for many others. Costa should see if a separate enclosed smokers-only lounge could be established and leave at least some of the others smoke free. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
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