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101 Costa Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Reviews

The good: (1) It is a lovely and HUGE ship. Well designd lovely interiors. And because it is so big, people get "difused" among different areas (2) One particularly great idea, their "kitchen lab". You cook a surprise ... Read More
The good: (1) It is a lovely and HUGE ship. Well designd lovely interiors. And because it is so big, people get "difused" among different areas (2) One particularly great idea, their "kitchen lab". You cook a surprise ingredient meal, it gets graded by the chef, lots of laughs, a bit of cooking school and really fun. Highly recommend the idea AND the guys at the Lab who where absolutely great! (3) Also, a great staff that tried so hard to keep up with the volume of people, crazy in/out policies of constant embarkation, disembarkation at every port, not quite for prime time systems, overall mayhem. (Neal and Vanessa at the restaurant - thanks!! - Maria Luisa and Ana, the lovely lady at reception who heard me loud and clear -- many thanks too) Then the not-so-good news: (1) Smeralda was not ready for a holiday cruise so soon after the ship got finished (several previous departures were cancelled due to the ship not being "delivered"). Too much money on the line, so they went for it anyhow. The staff tried hard to put a good face as Management pushed them to be ready. We felt for them, and my kudos to their efforts and attitudes. (2) Never seen before: Costa, in its quest to fill the ship, had EVERY port accepting incoming and departing passengers, so EVERY day was hectic, people coming in, existing passengers leaving, suitcases in/ out, a total mess. (3) In their quest for diners at their "gourmet" $ places regular dining room was less than acceptable. We had two grandkids, so gourmet was not a choice. Again staff tried and apologized. The buffet was OK, but crazy busy. (4) I gave feedback to their customer service staff about my experience while on the ship and they were receptive. I appreciate their concern and their time. BUT, (not their fault) then I was confronted by one of the Maitre d's about my comments (which were not that critical) (5) Entertainment shows are at the most basic. Except for some professional dancers from Hungary (who have great line dancing at 10 pm), the rest of the dancers on shows were sadly amateurish. (6) And FINALLY, forget about not paying the full service charge. Like the "resort fee" in hotels (that Congress is trying to stop as being deceiving price advertisement) you have to pay it in fult. When I inquired I was referred to a sentence in website that the amount is not "changeable". Keep that in mind when comparing overall costs. We had 3 cabins so it was substantial and most importantly not clearly stated in price. Particularly if your cruise ends having issues such as ours. You must pay service the service charge irregardless of the quality of the service. Costa has not sent me a survey feedback request as is usually the practice of other cruise lines. Wonder why? Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The ship is a very beautiful ship. It is a Carnival Destiny (Sunshine) class ship that has a slightly different layout. The decoration is very well done with some odd art work here and there. The cabin was standard to all other ships I ... Read More
The ship is a very beautiful ship. It is a Carnival Destiny (Sunshine) class ship that has a slightly different layout. The decoration is very well done with some odd art work here and there. The cabin was standard to all other ships I have been on. This was my first time on an Italian ship. I have cruised on British and American ships more times then I can count. The ship did pick up an drop off passengers at every port which I had never experienced before but did not affect our vacation in any way shape or form. The biggest difference was of course the language for all activities (except the production shows) were all in Italian (Production shows were fabulous by the way)... which is understandable. I'm not much of a dance lesson, trivia contest guy anyway. The dining was the biggest not so good surprise... The food on this Italian ship is the most different then any other ship I have sailed on ... The breakfast was always continental not the typical huge American/british fatty breakfast. The pizza and ice cream which is normally free on the American/ british ships was an upcharge (our kids were disappointed). There was not a free coffee, tea, water dispenser available all day like other ships... It was only available for buffet meal times which kind of forces you to get the drink package... The food in general compared to carnival, rccl, norweigen, celebrity, etc. you could see how this cruise line pays significantly less for quality and if you do want the quality food you have to pay an upcharge (do not expect to get a free lobster night and chocolate molten cake). On to the service... The service from waiters, bar staff, was wonderful... The room steward service on this ship and all other ones I have been on gets worse every time I sail so that was not surprise. All the workers I met spoke English along with Italian, and other languages so was very impressed and humbled as I am in the typical American that only knows English. I admire anyone that can learn other languages. The ports are the main reason why we picked this ship... We were in a port every day except one and got a chance to explore castles, cathedrals, and beaches. We chose to travel on the busiest month in Italy so we did pay extra for that but it was the only time work permitted average was $1000 per person. I do overall recommend this cruise line but as an American and having cruised on more American and British ships... I will go out of my way in the future to make sure the next cruises we go on are American or British mainly because of the comfort level of the language and food make the whole experience way more appealing and on a vacation that is very important. That is why I gave this ship an average rating... This ship was lacking overall a feeling of southern hospitality if you know what that means then you will understand... All other ships and lines I have been on have a deep feeling of southern hospitality but this one did not. That is the best way I can describe it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This ship was chosen by a friend,we were a group of 8, because of price,doing research after cruise ended this became evident.We are from U.S.A.and have cruised Carnival to Alaska,Celebrity 2 years ago to Mediterranean and others and this ... Read More
This ship was chosen by a friend,we were a group of 8, because of price,doing research after cruise ended this became evident.We are from U.S.A.and have cruised Carnival to Alaska,Celebrity 2 years ago to Mediterranean and others and this ship was the least enjoyable.This line is owned by Carnival along with many others so when we saw that even water at lunch was extra unless you had a USA on your the back of your card. The standard formal night even charged $25 extra for lobster. The cabins were pretty standard,we had booked a balcony but the smell of cigarette smoke and overflowing toilets were in hallways or in room was an issue.Unlike other ships we traveled on this one picked up passengers at several stops during our 7 days on board so instead of resting in your room your got the alarms and intercom blasting for muster drills. The ship carried people from multiple countries so things were repeated in each language,and this continued on excursions the tour guides spoke in at least 2 languages.One tour was English and Spanish but the accent was enough that I had trouble understanding the english. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I choose this cruise, primarily because I was able to coordinate dates with a friend and because it is a newer ship. I didn't appreciate how large it is and I found it too large for my taste, and there was a lack of information about ... Read More
I choose this cruise, primarily because I was able to coordinate dates with a friend and because it is a newer ship. I didn't appreciate how large it is and I found it too large for my taste, and there was a lack of information about some services on board - such as which bars actually will serve a cappuccino? The atmosphere was very much family oriented which made it noisy and hectic. If I had read the ship features more closely I would have realized that this ship would be catering to families. As some other reviews have pointed out, what you get for your money is the ship. No information about the ports you stop at, and the shuttle was for a fee 10 - 12 euros per person at each port. It seemed like they are pinching pennies in ways that detract from the overall experience - being changed for water in our room even though we had a drinks package, being able to get a cappuccino at the bar, but the pastries at the bar were for a price, even though you could go to the dining room and get all the pastries you wanted. Overall the food was ok to good. A little disappointing given the Italian pride in their cuisine. The staff were very friendly and helpful, and our waiter in the dining room was very thoughtful. Getting off and on was well organized and delays were kept to a minimum. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Our first cruise on Costa was great. We took 4 children and everyone had a great vacation. All food was included - there were no "excluded" items for extra $ such as lobster. There was all the ice cream you wanted. You ... Read More
Our first cruise on Costa was great. We took 4 children and everyone had a great vacation. All food was included - there were no "excluded" items for extra $ such as lobster. There was all the ice cream you wanted. You could eat pretty much any time you desired. I am not a cruise snob but I have now been on 9 cruises on 6 different cruise lines both with and without children. My expectations are not unreasonable, simply based on previous experience. Unfortunately Costa has changed and not for the better. For example, There is no "free ice cream" available. Many of the best food items you now have to pay extra for. The dishes offered were definitely not as good as on the previous trip. The buffet closes prior to ending time and runs out of food. Much of the food is the same every day. However our waiter, Joey, in the dining room was wonderful. Very attentive, trying constantly to please. Internet/wifi costs an exorbitant fee and many at the hospitality desk are not very helpful. However, Matteo was the epitome of what an ideal customer service representative should be. The evening entertainment (singers not including the opera soloist) was less professional than on previous cruises. The on shore excursions were pricey. And a heads up to those who have not cruised before. There is a "service fee" every day on your account which you may or may not be made aware of until check out. You can opt out but it is a major undertaking to get this accomplished. Conflicting information and requirements from different employees at the same hospitality desk. Thank you again Matteo for your help. We had a good time doing out own agenda on shore, the food was adequate and the employees mentioned, along with help from Jessica, (the english liason), made it a good trip for our family. However I think I will be looking at other cruise lines in the future unless Costa Cruise Line makes some major modifications to their current policies. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
After booking this cruise, I started reading the reviews posted by Cruise Critic and I started worrying I may have made a mistake. 53% say they loved it I thought was low. So we were forewarned of possible issues with the ship. The ... Read More
After booking this cruise, I started reading the reviews posted by Cruise Critic and I started worrying I may have made a mistake. 53% say they loved it I thought was low. So we were forewarned of possible issues with the ship. The cruise itself was great! The problem starts right from the beginning when you board, there are serious language issues and that is our fault not the cruise lines. We should have checked out their clientele, the VAST majority were Italian, Spanish, German and French. Barely a word of English was heard the whole cruise and when you're asking important information mistakes were made in conveying to us what to do. To start, there seemed to be a rush, EVERYTHING IS A RUSH..... you're on an elevator, getting off at a floor, you have these people who absolutely have to get on before you get off as if the thing will drop.... People seem to lose common decency, they barge through you shove you out of the way, respect seemed to go out the window on this cruise. The buffet restaurant was passable at best, the staff were not very helpful and for cleaning off tables so you can use it, a soiled napkin was fine,,, Not once were tables actually strayed with some cleaning solution and wiped down... I hope this is done in quiet times it certainly wasn't done during mealtime. COSTA is gonna COSTYA everything they do is to make extra money off you. We purchased a drink package but Costa did not put it on our card we had to constantly tell the staff we have a paid package, understanding that was pretty difficult it appears, the serving staff would look at us as if you;re nuts... Just to give you an example of the cheapness of this line,, THEY HAVE WARNING SIGNS NOT TO FILL WATER BOTTLES AT THE WATER Dispensers.... Can you believe that? We had an excellent waiter at the evening restaurant, he was well versed in English and was very fast and pleasant and made us feel very welcome. Same with the room person, he was very pleasant and was always asking if everything was good. He kept our room clean and fresh and it was much appreciated. The various excursions were nice, okay but for what you paid, not worth the money.... Again there was a major language issue... We actually had one excursion cancelled at the last minute since there were either not enough English speaking people OR they could not find an English speaking interpreter... Very disappointing .. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first on cruise on Costa (Favolosa) and did not meet our expectation compare to other cruises we had taken in the past. Although, the ship was fairly new (4 years), we were disappointed by the lack of customer care, limited ... Read More
This was our first on cruise on Costa (Favolosa) and did not meet our expectation compare to other cruises we had taken in the past. Although, the ship was fairly new (4 years), we were disappointed by the lack of customer care, limited food selections with average quality and staff professionalism. We paid for the premium cabin service but could never get a hold of room service. When I complained to the customer service desk, her answer was "we cannot do anything since we have a big crowd you need to keep trying". Excursions were another disappointment. Length of tour was shorter than advertised. Tour guides were ok. We will not use Costa again on future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
I have never encountered such an ineffective customer service (and I mean the customer desk and e-mail customer service, the other staff at the ship was ok). We were 9 in our party and had an altogether good time at the ship based on our ... Read More
I have never encountered such an ineffective customer service (and I mean the customer desk and e-mail customer service, the other staff at the ship was ok). We were 9 in our party and had an altogether good time at the ship based on our own company, the excellent dinners and the party-crew. On the bad side were: It was really cheap of costa to charge for water and coffee and tea were only free at certain times and quite poor quality. In total the cost is more expensive than other better cruiselines after all the extras. We took some proffessional photos and wanted to buy them but somehow we got the wrong instructions on when to pick them up and had to finally disembark without the pictures (which we had already paid for). We left all contact information to the customer service desk and they were to contact us when they got hold of the photografer. That didn't happen. I tried to find contact information online and wrote about the situation, no reply. After a few more e-mail I got an answer that they were forwarding my question to another "customer service". By then I didn't want to wait two moore weeks for them to answer so I wrote directly and actually got an answer that they would get back to me after they've heard from the staff on the boat. I guess they haven't, beacause I haven't heard from them since then even though I have e-mailed them several more e-mails and asked for a phone number etc. We still havent heard (now about 6 weeks later) and certainly haven't got our money for the photos back! They just have no idea of what customer service is. I'm pondering sending them a basic online course in my next mail. If you want to cruise (which in general is lovely) don't choose Costa! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
1. Food and services: the food in general in the dining room and buffet was good. However at lunch time and sometimes during breakfast it was very difficult to be seated as it was packed. After a certain time (like 7-8pm) the water ... Read More
1. Food and services: the food in general in the dining room and buffet was good. However at lunch time and sometimes during breakfast it was very difficult to be seated as it was packed. After a certain time (like 7-8pm) the water dispensers were all closed and if you are thirsty you have to purchase water from one of the bars. 2. Animation and shows were amazing. I really enjoyed the dance lessons by the pool during the day and the shows in the theatre were really really good. 3. The excursions were too expensive. I didnt attend any of them 4. All if the announcements were in Italian and Spanish ( which i hardly understand) i had a hard time understanding the English announcements. 5. The pools and jakuzi were always crowded. The "adult only" pool was full if children. I never saw them empty the water in the pools. They opened the pools a hit late (8) and was not able to go for an early swim. 6. You have to pay extra if you want to attend the saunas.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
As a group of four Canadians travelling together, this is the first time we have had so many negative things to say. Embarkation went well. Ship itself was nice with excellent teen club. Cabin and Dining Service was excellent, and we ... Read More
As a group of four Canadians travelling together, this is the first time we have had so many negative things to say. Embarkation went well. Ship itself was nice with excellent teen club. Cabin and Dining Service was excellent, and we really appreciated the guys we got to know. Other staff seemed more stand-offish. A lot of them did not look like they were happy in their jobs. Nightly entertainment was appreciated, and some were totally awesome. Cabin with window was very nice--more spacious than inside cabins we have been in on other ships. Disembarkation also went well. **Pet Peeves: ----Smoking was disgusting. We were so used to non-smoking in public places in Canada we were grossed out on the ship. We all were stuffed up every morning onboard and found bars etc too smoky. Non-smoking areas right beside smoking tables did not work. --- Rude, loud children yelling and screaming in hallways outside our room ....up til 1:30 at night. Did not stop until guest services called several times. --- Forced to be assertive/aggressive which is not usually the "Canadian" way.... otherwise you would **:never get off the elevator as some of the mostly Italian guests would plow onto the elevator as soon as it stopped ** never get through the self-serve line as some people continued to butt in front -- Shore excursions cancelled in English several times, because of lack of numbers -- Nickel and diming by Costa... were told not to bring drinks on board ship because of health concerns. Water bottle in fridge was going to cost $2.99! Had no filling of water bottle signs by water dispensers in self-serve restaurant areas. Pops/Sodas extra cost. -- Shuttle service to edge of port given $6 charge per person...would find out night before in newsletter and required to get a ticket if we wanted to use it. They did not tell patrons that in Malaga, for example, there is a cheap public bus that comes right into port, as well as the Hop On Hop Off Bus. Sad! Even some staff that we talked to found some of the Italian patrons rude and bold. -- English was usually the fifth or sixth language used for messages on the loud speaker or stage, (if used at all)   Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
People smoking everywhere. Eatable food but not the Italian experience we were expecting. I had better food at the train station in Rome. Crew and staff very disorganized. It was very hard get to our Muster station and once there the ... Read More
People smoking everywhere. Eatable food but not the Italian experience we were expecting. I had better food at the train station in Rome. Crew and staff very disorganized. It was very hard get to our Muster station and once there the safety exercise took almost 2 hours.which we took in Savona, one full day after our departure. Two months after the Concordia disaster! Safety is not an issue with Costa. Crew did not have time for questions, even a simple one. We were always directed to the exceedingly long line at customer service desk. Italian, German, Spanish, Russian take precedence over English. The decoration was a crazy to our taste. Seems like the owner had a son studying art with a Major in Psychedelic 60's and he just let the boy design and decorate the interior of the boat. Disappointing if you have seen Rome/Venice architectural heritage. Itineraries are great, but very disorganized. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
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
We intentionally arrived at the port after 1:00pm hoping that many would have already embarked. Unfortunately, embarkation did not even begin until after we had arrived so we had to wait for one hour and 45 minutes before getting on the ... Read More
We intentionally arrived at the port after 1:00pm hoping that many would have already embarked. Unfortunately, embarkation did not even begin until after we had arrived so we had to wait for one hour and 45 minutes before getting on the ship. The embarkation area was clean, as were the restrooms and they offered water to the passengers. Italians don't understand the meaning of a line, so when they call your number, just elbow your way in or you'll keep getting pushed to the back of the crowd. The ship's decor is very gaudy and there is definitely a party atmosphere. If you are looking for a sophisticated, easy going cruise, this is not the place for you. Like I mentioned above, I have never experienced how the Italians don't understand the concept of waiting their turn. Many times at the buffet, guest services desk, shore excursion desk, and boutique they would just get right in front of you. You really have to elbow your way in and stand wide to keep them from going around you. It was really unbelievable and so rude. In the cabin: They never could got the air conditioning right. We had them come 3 times and they never got the temperature below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This was really unbearable for my husband. There is only one TV channel for English speaking passengers - BBC news. If you are anywhere near the back of the ship be advised that the Teen Zone starts every night between 11:00pm and 12:00am. For at least 2 hours there will be loud music, chairs scooting and a loud DJ. This was not stated anywhere on Costa's website. We had to ask the people in the cabins on both sides of us to please stop letting their balcony doors slam. Another Italian thing I guess. There is no dinner buffet on this ship; only pizza in the evening. The service in the dining room was just okay. Not on par with Celebrity, Princess, Oceania. The food was okay, but not as good as many other ships I've been on. The food is Italian for the most part; don't expect a lot of steak and baked potatoes. Be advised that few shore excursions make for English speaking passengers. I was very displeased about this and let them know it. The main reason I booked this itinerary was for the ports along with the excursions I could choose. If I had know that half of the excursions I had purchased would not make, I would have chosen a different cruise line altogether. Each day all of the Italian speaking excursions would make, but only 3 to 4 in English and ever then, there would be another language spoken on your tour. I did not have a problem with that. There is no craps table in the casino even though they teach how to play it on one of the TV channels in the cabin. I thought that was strange. Why show it on TV if you aren't going to offer it. The pit boss said Italians don't like craps as it's too hard to understand. Compared to Princess, RCCL, NCL, etc. the photo area is very disorganized. You just have to wade through picture after picture until your find yours, as they only put a few up on the walls. There is a daily hotel service charge of $14.00 added to your bill. We questioned guest services about this twice asking if it was for tips for our room steward, waiter, etc. They were very vague, but did end up saying no. We verified this by asking multiple bartenders, a person in the salon, and our room steward. They do not see any of this money, nor do they receive the surcharge that is on every bar tab. If you want any of them to receive a tip, you need to write it in on your bill and give it separately to your room steward, waiter, etc. We got them to remove the daily service charge from our bill. Also, I know it cannot be helped, but be advised that they take your passport twice while you are on this cruise. All in all, the ports were nice and the excursions we ended up going on were good, but I will never book another Costa cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
I had read all the reviews and boards to know what to expect on Costa. It had a good itinerary and fit our schedule perfectly so we booked it anyway. Here is my list of positives and negatives of our cruise the week before Easter. ... Read More
I had read all the reviews and boards to know what to expect on Costa. It had a good itinerary and fit our schedule perfectly so we booked it anyway. Here is my list of positives and negatives of our cruise the week before Easter. Embarkation: We took the train from Rome which is easy until you get off in Civitivecchia where there are two staircases to negotiate (no elevator) so be ready to haul luggage down and then up some stairs. Once at the castle by the port, hopped on the shuttle to the ship. We arrived with no luggage tags (never arrived) so we had them printed when we arrived. Staff was very helpful with this and sent us to the boarding area. Folks were sitting around but we just jumped in the boarding line. When asked where our boarding number was, we answered we didn't have one (apparently you were supposed to get one when you turned your luggage in) so they just let us through. Easy. They don't give you your cards or do the credit card thing until you board. The sea pass cards were waiting on the bed and we immediately found a kiosk to connect our credit card to the sea pass cards for purchases on board. By the way, passengers embarked and disembarked at almost every port. Cabin: Positives: Lots of storage and tame decor. The cabin was kept clean and fresh towels always provided even if you hang them up to use again. Lots of shelves in the bathroom. Negatives: There is no bed sheet, just a light comforter (which was too warm for me). There is only one outlet (one european and one western). There are no toiletries except for a bar of soap and the dispenser in the shower so bring your own. The doors to the corridor and balcony slam themselves shut, so guess what you hear from your neighbors, yes, slamming doors. The TV system is fair, not many channels (only one in English) and no free movies. No music channels unless you are watching the ship cam or the location channel. Ship: Positives: Lots of elevators (especially the most forward stack) so not much waiting for elevators. But be ready for folks NOT to wait for you to get off the elevator, apparently Italians wait for the elevator to arrive and barge right in. The Samsara spa is an oasis of quiet (mostly) so pay the extra money to get away from the crowds. With new passengers everyday, they are always trooping through new passengers on a tour to see the amenities. If you like to dance, this line is for you. There were huge dance floors in many of the bars. Negatives: The circulation is poor, the only way to get from the front to the back is either on deck 9 or deck 5. It gets crowded around the atrium around dinner time with the shops shoving tables into the walkways (which are skinny to begin with). To get to the restaurants, you have to go up and over them to find your way around. The promenade decks only have entrance and exits at the center of the ship, so if you walk to the front or back, they are dead ends. Not a good design. Costa does the lifeboat drill outside next to the boats. The gym has no elliptical machines but everything else. Oh, and the mandatory sanitary hand gels you see on RCCL or Celebrity: yes, they are there but not enforced at all so not many folks use them at all. The two main pool areas are covered and the one with the jumbotron TV is LOUD. Very loud. Remember that kids are free on Costa and we were there on their Spring break. Kids were running up and down the corridors but were mostly well behaved. There is more smoking than U.S. cruisers are used to, but just stay on the starboard side in most common areas to avoid it. No smoking in the main restaurant. There is a huge lack of public restrooms (must be the common Carnival design?) on this ship. I saw only two. Food: Negatives: Don't expect Lobster and steak. This is an Italian line. That said, the meats were not that good. Brewed coffee in the buffet was not good. Positives: The pasta was good along with the vegetarian choices. The Blue Moon restaurant is another oasis of quiet and worth the extra money. The signature ice cream prepared tableside was amazing. All the bars have espresso machines which were good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Booking Alitalia to Rome was a mistake as even our Italian friends tell us. It is Western Europe's version of Aeroflot. We had only allowed six and a half hours until our cruise left. The plane was three late in landing. The first ... Read More
Booking Alitalia to Rome was a mistake as even our Italian friends tell us. It is Western Europe's version of Aeroflot. We had only allowed six and a half hours until our cruise left. The plane was three late in landing. The first bag off the belt appeared 45 minutes later. After an hour and forty five minutes, we received two of our three bags. During the delay, we had tried several times to file a missing luggage report with Alitalia; they had always refused--"just wait five more minutes." Now, we had no alternative but to head for the cruise terminal (the shuttle cost E125, so much for our plan to take the train) without filing a report. Boarding was simple—it always is when you're the last to board. We reported our missing bag to the Costa purser; they contacted Alitalia on our behalf with a full description of the bag; they gave us an overnight kit and slippers, loaned us two bathrobes, and comped out laundry (express service!) for our entire stay aboard. No,Alitalia has yet to return or reimburse us for our luggage; we've tried contacting the phone numbers and email addresses on their website, but all are out of service. Cabin incredibly spacious; one of two diagonal-shaped cabins over fantail. We could and did sit in the window. Bed quite comfortable, firm mattress. Warm comforter. Excellent temperature control. Very helpful cabin stewardess. But woke one morning to the smell of bacon--and, alas, breakfast was not served for another hour. Choice of buffet sit-down breakfast (with possibility of ordering over-cooked eggs) or buffet on upper level with truly wonderful omelets. Breakfast best meal of the day. Dreadful pizza always available. Was it us or the Pizza? I asked an Italian passenger who said, "Pizza was dreadful." (Majority of passengers were European--Italians, French, German, Brits and made for interesting company.) Entrees, appetizers and soups were almost always inedible. The exception were the wonderful Italian cheeses. Serving staff surly and quick to forget requests for water or tea. Music everywhere, afternoon and evening. We danced each night and many joined us on the floor--musicians excellent. (And after the ballroom dancers left, the discos opened). No free in-room movies or lectures. Our itinerary was excellent, but Costa, quick to sell their own tours, provided little aid on getting to town. The exception was free shuttle in Civitavecchia and $6 per person shuttle in Barcelona. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
I went on this ship in May with my husband and my 20 year old daughter. We liked the cruise very much especially the itinerary as we thought we saw a lot of ports in 7 days a lot more than on the Caribbean cruises we have been on. The ... Read More
I went on this ship in May with my husband and my 20 year old daughter. We liked the cruise very much especially the itinerary as we thought we saw a lot of ports in 7 days a lot more than on the Caribbean cruises we have been on. The food was ok not great typical I guess for a carnival ship which is what this ship essentially is I would not recommend it if you want a quiet journey there were more and more passengers as we went along. Also this ship is geared more to Europeans in the food area esp pasta pizza and gelato and the entertainment was too though we were some of the few who understood the shows as a lot of them were in English and the Italians and such did not understand them. We were seated with Americans in the dining room otherwise we had a little trouble communicating with some of the Europeans onboard as not all spoke English but they did have an English speaking guide for the Americans. We liked our trip to Carhtage that was very interesting and we saw a lot of history there. I am sure for the US this ship will have to change the food entertainment and also it will have to have English programs on the TV which it did not have plus they should have movies you don't have to pay for. The ship is very pretty the cabins were spacious and very nice the service was good. I would give it about a 75 out of 100 in cruises I have been on personally it was a good value for the money to see Europe. I prefer Princess and Holland America cruise lines myself but this wasn't a bad ship just not up to par with those lines. Best for families not really adult groups. Great gym enjoyed using it every day and the view was great from there of the front of the ship. Shops were pretty good kind of like what's on Carnival's US ships. Casino crowded but otherwise nice. Internet was available but not real fast as other ships. Dining room food better than buffet Italian specialties were best. Wine and water card was a good value. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
This was our 35 th cruise, and our first one in Europe. The ship was beautiful and very clean. However, they served a repetitive, cheap, and limited menu. There were only a few desserts to choose from during dinner, and no coffee served ... Read More
This was our 35 th cruise, and our first one in Europe. The ship was beautiful and very clean. However, they served a repetitive, cheap, and limited menu. There were only a few desserts to choose from during dinner, and no coffee served which surprised me even though we bought the beverage package. We had to get coffee at the bar area after dinner. The buffet areas were extremely crowded and a cheap repetitive selection of food. Sit down breakfast was limited and confined to one dining room. In order to eat a nice sit down lunch with a menu you had to pay. When I go on a cruise, I like to sit down elegantly for a breakfast or lunch and be served. My husband and I felt like there was a lack of communication from the captain. On every on of our previous cruises the captain usually gives a daily report from the bridge on weather etc. The entertainment left a lot to be desired. We didn't stay for many of them. After dinner, my husband and I would try to walk on the Promenade deck but couldn't because it was wet due to their early cleaning. Also, there were too many smoking areas on the Promenade Deck so as you walked for exercise you had to breathe in all of that smoke. Finally, we had a room on Deck 9 which was a mistake because the buffet area was above us and we could hear noise all night. After a few nights they finally moved our room to deck 8 which was much better. We will never go on a Costa Cruise again especially in Europe! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
we choise the internal cabiin guaranteed gty and with our surprice costa give to us a samsara internal cabin but without the benefits of the samsara mean the access to the spa . the ship was clean but not organizated for all people. ... Read More
we choise the internal cabiin guaranteed gty and with our surprice costa give to us a samsara internal cabin but without the benefits of the samsara mean the access to the spa . the ship was clean but not organizated for all people. inifinite queque for eat. and some point of buffet are closed. the show are ok whit beautifull coreography. no servicer and no securyty on board. children in adult pool and no one that say something.. port are good itinerary with ibiza palma de mallorca and genova and rome. the not accreditate point on costa club, no response by the company. and the costa member on help desk are so unpleasant. the good of the ibiza excurtion are that you can rebnt a scooter and go to all the beaches i do no invite you to choice costa excurtion on ibiza its only lost very very very mnoney Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This was my fourth crossing and my 20th cruise. My first time with Costa Cruise. Pros: Well laid out ship. Entertainment around the ship was excellent. The entertainment staff wanted you to have fun. They worked very hard. Drinks ... Read More
This was my fourth crossing and my 20th cruise. My first time with Costa Cruise. Pros: Well laid out ship. Entertainment around the ship was excellent. The entertainment staff wanted you to have fun. They worked very hard. Drinks were very reasonable. Wine bar, Atrium bar very nice. Cabins were very nice and ship was very clean. Cons: The food was sub par. Some nights it was truly inedible. They charge for pizza and ice cream!!! No kidding. Coffee was limited. It was available at breakfast, at 4:00 and 9:00. You had to ask for coffee at dinner. The shows were sub par. Some nights were terrible. They penny pinch you at every opportunity. Do not take tour to Fez, it was a rip off. They basically took us shopping. I have been to Marrakesh and it is wonderful. Unfortunately, I will never cruise on Costa again. It was my worst cruise ever. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We are experienced cruisers - this was our 35th or so cruise. We have sailed on RCL, NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival and Costa through the years. We chose this ship due to the departure date and exotic itinerary - figured how bad ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers - this was our 35th or so cruise. We have sailed on RCL, NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival and Costa through the years. We chose this ship due to the departure date and exotic itinerary - figured how bad could an Italian cruise be and it could be fun and lively. Well we were very wrong. This was the WORST cruise we have ever taken and our sentiments were echoed by our Norweigen and British tablemates who had cruised numerous times in the past as well. I will list Pros and Cons. PRO - Embarkation from Rome (Civitavecchia) - Exotic Itinerary (5 of the ports we had never visited including 2 cities in Morocco) - Large ship with attractive public rooms - Cabin - interior on 8th deck (only available at time of booking) was kept clean with a fridge and had enough space for both of us - Entertainment - Flamenco dancers, Cruise ship singers and dancers did a good job; White Night deck party was festive with DJ, dancers, confetti; lounge bands were lively, piano bar was busy nightly; casino was fairly busy; the ship had lots of music in various lounges in the evening and The Voice gameshow with 7 contestants which was entertaining. CONS - Embarkation fiasco - no idea we could not be dropped off w/rental car to embarkation entrance...no info provided...husband left son and I on port access road with big pieces of luggage - no bus or cab would stop to pick us up...port police intervened and forced a shuttle bus to stop and let us load our luggage under the bus (seems we should have loaded our luggage on shuttle bus in town of Civitavecchia - we had no info on this procedure. - Only approx 20 Americans on board ship of approx 2800 passengers - 70% Italian extended families; 25% mostly French & German; 5% Brits, Americans, Spanish & other - Msgs repeated in 5 languages all day long - Food was HORRIBLE!! WORST of any cruise we ever have ever taken! Buffets very limited, no real selections, same cold cuts, cheeses, breads and salads daily, same buffet choices both sides...grill outside on decks was normal fare; eggs at breakfast were only possible at the formal breakfast and were set types of eggs pre-made; formal dinner was barely edible - the menu choices were bizarre fare and not tasty - minute steaks, thinly sliced chicken breasts with no sauce, pastas with odd sauces, appetizers no one enjoyed - night after night we all felt the same....what type of menu is this - this food is unsatisfactory - we complained to guest services - we were told the menu was supposed to have been changed; dining onboard was such a huge disappointment - we dreaded our days at sea! We later found out by a fellow American traveler that all the food onboard was PREVIOUSLY FROZEN!!! She said look at the snowflakes next to every item on the dinner menu - the key says previously frozen. We realized thats why the food was soooo bad!! There was no fresh produce and no dishes being cooked onboard!!! Never heard of this policy on a cruise ship. There were NO speciality restaurants either - I guess not if they are not cooking on board the ship! - No late night buffets or special touches like a chocolate fountain or specialty food events. - Air Conditioning barely worked in our cabin - technician came twice said it was a bad, weak system in this line of cabins and close to pool deck with hot air coming in. - Pool deck extremely crowded - 3 pools and 1 slide; slide was always closed; no adult pools - all pools overrun with kids and teens - one day at sea - two of the 3 pools were closed - they claimed seas were too rough - early morning yes - a bit rough but by noon sea was very calm and pools never re-opened. - Rear deck cabins felt a terrible vibration almost nightly when the ship was traveling at 20 knots - made it hard to sleep. - The ship had a lot of movement daily - you could feel it pitching and rolling onboard - we never noticed this onboard any other ships we took and we cruised from Southhampton, England in a rainstorm in the North Sea. - Disco and late night club could not be used by adults (well, it was open to all) however, the 12-16 year olds used it nightly as a teen club occupying it until 3am - most adults would feel uncomfortable dancing in the club with 12 year olds late at night - seemed odd yet, the bar was serving liquor to whoever ordered it. We brought this to the attention of Guest Services and they said this is normal on Costa. - Crew had a private party directly above our cabin on the pool deck with a DJ - our whole cabin was shaking with the music and dancing - we complained 3 times to no avail and even went up to the party to speak to the officer - nothing was done and we were kept awake until 3 am! Other passengers went up to complain and were told sorry party is authorized. - Crew did not seem very concerned about issues or complaints - they seemed indifferent to our concerns and we were not offered any form of compensation either for a bad Costa tour experience we had with some aggressive passengers towards our daughter or the crew party till 3 am above our cabin and the lack of air conditioning every night in our cabin and our 2nd cabin....we both had barely any A/C. - We found out an American couple had chosen to opt-out of mandatory tipping - which was only possible for Americans who booked through American companies - we opted out also and tipped those deserving of tips. All in all this was a difficult cruise experience for us - my kids were bored - 19 and 24 year olds - they always meet others passengers their age on ships - there was no one in their age range....only families with small children or older couples traveling alone. Our two cabins were extremely hot every single night although turned to lowest temps. This was our 5th or 6th European cruise of over 11 nights and we NEVER experienced these negative issues or ever complained about the food on board. We will never sail with Costa Cruises again and would not recommend it for any Americans familiar with cruising. This was not up to American cruising standards. It seems to be a "no frills" operation, with many cost cutting measures in place. The most disappointing was the food and the fact that the dishes were all previously frozen. I had no idea cruise ships - which are known for their food would do this. Fortunately, some of the ports were very exotic and educational. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
this was my first and last time on the favolosa ferry we were treated like cattle from the start the food was ok if your Italian cabin was supposed to be a prestige upgrade it was the same as any other back to the food always being pushed ... Read More
this was my first and last time on the favolosa ferry we were treated like cattle from the start the food was ok if your Italian cabin was supposed to be a prestige upgrade it was the same as any other back to the food always being pushed around in the buffet no English breakfast on the buffet you could only get it in a restraunt and it was cold I was with my wife and 4 friends one good point the underpaid bar and restaurant staff were very good disembarkation was a complete cock up my wife and I got off the ship first and waited for the others with all the cases my friends were put on a bus without their cases so my wife and I stayed with them they did not bring my friends back so we phoned them and the costa staff tried to blame us so they had to take a 3 hour train jurney to the airport at their own cost and we went by 45 min transfer with 6 large cases all in all it was a rite mess needless to say costa has lost 6 future travellers to sum up don't go on the ferry Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
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
My husband and I were celebrating our 25yr wedding anniversary. My husband chose the Costa Pacifica ship for its itinerary and price. Shore excursion desk and customer service not at par with other cruise companies such as Celebrity (see ... Read More
My husband and I were celebrating our 25yr wedding anniversary. My husband chose the Costa Pacifica ship for its itinerary and price. Shore excursion desk and customer service not at par with other cruise companies such as Celebrity (see comments on Egypt below). Shore excursion locations are good if you are able to get in english-speaking ones. We talked to British, Americans and other english-speaking cruisers - found this company not amicable to english-speaking people. We liked the food - it is a Mediterranean fare with small portions in the sit down restaurants. A food theme is available almost everyday. Restaurants are very clean. We visited the kitchen - spotless. If you have diet restrictions or concerns, they help you and follow strict guidelines. Drinks are expensive out of happy hour - however they have happy hour two times a day. We found the European cruisers in this ship rude. They reach over your shoulders and cut you in line as if the food was going to be finished or too famished to wait. Do not know if this is normal behavior or not for Europeans. Room was good. We had a handicapped room - bathroom was palatial. However, if you are in a wheelchair and/or have mobility problems this is not the cruise company for you. They have NO handicapped transportation to/from the port or shore excursions. Since ship is new, the surrounding were nice and clean. A bit whimsical but perhaps due the theme of the ship - music. Entertainment was a mediocre compare to other cruise lines we have been. I would have expected a fabulous programming given their ship's theme - music. Beware - the ship keep your passport at all times except in Egypt for which you need to show it personally to Egyptian custom agents. Once you return from the excursion in Egypt, they must get it again. On disembarkation, it was efficient and fast. Luggage was easy to find. Bus drive back to airport was efficient. By the way, on our return we stay one night at a Best Western called Hotel Riviera. Great price for this little hotel. Great service, great transportation to/from airport and Rome city center. Hotel is nearby the old city port with a nice boardwalk you could stroll during the day. Restaurants nearby, on the ocean side, are EXPENSIVE but it was the best risotto I have ever tasted. We went to the Il Pescatore restaurant. Breakfast in the hotel was fantastic! Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
This was our 10th cruise and 5th cruise line. We were really looking forward to our first mediterranean cruise. We really thought it would be more of an upscale cruise line and wonderful food. Much to our disappointment, it was far less ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise and 5th cruise line. We were really looking forward to our first mediterranean cruise. We really thought it would be more of an upscale cruise line and wonderful food. Much to our disappointment, it was far less than that. The ship itself is not as upscale as other lines we have been on. It is very minimal at that actually kind of plain but that really wasn't that big of a deal. The problem was the total disorder that we faced once on board. Now we new it was an Italian cruise line with mostly european guests however, we were not prepared for the total chaos and rudeness of our fellow passengers. We have never experienced anything like it. The Buffet (which we nicknamed the "jungle") was exactly that. Very over crowded, not enough seats to accomodate everyone, people cutting in line or what resembled a line, children running everywhere , and people literally hoarding huge plates of food. There was no regard for any manners whatsoever. The food was adequate at best, the coffee was always cold, and water and ice only worked at intervals. The sit down restaurant was much more organized however the portions were much smaller than normal, the food options not always appealing however again we were kind of prepared for that being it was european. The staff, all though they worked very hard, did not go out of their way to form a relationship with you like other cruises. They didn't offer coffee with dessert you had to ask more than once, and we always felt like we were rushed so they could prepare for the 2nd seating. The elevator and pool situation were similar to the "jungle". No manners, pushing and shoving on and off and no regard for any rules especially no children in "adult only" pool. The parents seemed to allow their children to do whatever they wanted, and the minimal security was only able to control the situations temporarily and then they would resume as soon as they walked away. We witnessed soccer balls being kicked in the lobby, children screaming and lying on the floors of the restaurants, running up and down halls till late night hours, jumping on and over people in the pool, and playing with window shades (which hit me in the head once). We talked with fellow passengers from the U.S.,Canada, Germany, the U.K. and even Italy which were just as disappointed and shocked as we were. The ports and excursions were nice , but not alot of accomodations for english speaking guests. We booked one tour that was all in Italian and no discount or anything even after we told them that it was not communicated to us that noone spoke or understood English. This was true to most of the cruise. Very minimal announcements in English. The disembarkation was also very unorganized and we nearly missed our flight. Needless to say it was a very horrible experience and I don't know if we will give Costa another chance or not. We found out only after returning that apparently Costa offers great deals to the Italians even some offers of kids cruise free.(which may account for our situation) So be prepared and ask before you book. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Overall: Thumbs down, our first unsatisfactory cruise in many years. We like Costa because it is the least expensive way to see Europe, Asia, and Africa in a week to ten days. Costa's galaxy of itineraries feature a new country ... Read More
Overall: Thumbs down, our first unsatisfactory cruise in many years. We like Costa because it is the least expensive way to see Europe, Asia, and Africa in a week to ten days. Costa's galaxy of itineraries feature a new country virtually every morning, with exotic destinations like Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. As soon as Israel gets a little safer, we are sure Costa will be the first to regularly schedule port calls. The Magica is Costa's newest ship and one of their largest. With beautiful styling everywhere, from the public rooms to the hallways, the ship is jammed with art without being garish. You'll be playing hide and seek with the Esmerelda main dining room (sometimes even following the signs won't help you find it) and the ship's small public passageways create traffic jams of pushy passengers. We did not want to believe the legions of cruise reviewers who criticized the Magica's food. It just can't be that bad, we thought. Wrong. The Magica's food was the worst we've ever had at sea. Bland, tasteless dishes and truly awful coffee. Because of it, we won't be taking a planned trip on the Magica in the spring. Poor food quality, however, doesn't stop hordes people from mobbing Deck 9's buffets, taking every single seat. It's shoulder to shoulder, so plan on escaping to Deck 10 to find open seating. Service, on the other hand, is quite good -- in five languages. Costa has mastered serving the Euro market. Sure, some of the evening shows are super lame, but then again it's pretty hard to find entertainment to simultaneously satisfy English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish tastes. Strangely, shows featuring opera, mime, and fashion generally knock the socks off of any comedian, singers, or dancers. Small Changes -- While shore excursions have been bookable through cabin TV for some time, now you can book excursions and even entire cruises through special kiosks on Deck 3. -- Room service now costs 2 Euro except for the conventional continental breakfast. There are now a variety of breakfast pay-options, from a few Euro on up to 59 Euro for the true breakfast gourmet. Given other food, though, I'd be skeptical of getting your money's worth. -- The waterslide is an open tube and limited to children. This is good news, because closed tubes can cause injuries to adults (I was hurt on one of Carnival's ships in a closed tube, as have others). Embarkation Civitavecchia is the port for Rome, about an hour outside the city. Its embarkation area consists of a few large tents. Departing from our usual taxi strategy, we used Costa's transfers from the Rome Airport. Transfers are $60 roundtrip per person, A taxi costs $200 roundtrip at a minimum. Be sure to check with Costa as to availability of transfers. At Rome's international Airport, there may be only one scheduled Costa bus a day. Ports Savona in Italy is a typical mid-sized Italian town but unremarkable. A large market at the Piazza del Populo, a few castles, a few large churches. Barcelona is a grand European city with much to see in a mere six hours in port. Palma in Majorca is home to the jetsetting Eurochic (plus Michael Douglas). The Caves of Drach in outlying Porto Christo are lovely but not worth four hours of bus riding to see. Take the Valldemosa tour instead. In Tunis, try the trip to Carthage if you are into history. You will be surprised how modern the country is. In Malta, the jeep trip is long but covers all the fabulous scenery around the island and views of neighboring Gozo. Palermo, much like Savona. Good Deals -- Buy 13 liters of mineral or sparkling water for 23 Euro, much cheaper than sodas and better for you. The 44 Euro soda card is a value too if you just gotta have Cokes or Diet Cokes. This card also gets virgin drinks, shakes, specialty coffee drinks, and fruit drinks. The Magica moves to the Americas the last few days of November, so catching the last Med run gives you cool weather and a lack of tourists in the ports. Sales are 75% off on Med-branded clothing before they relocate to Florida or Brazil for the winter. -- To increase bar revenue, Costa used to take shore bought alcohol and hold it until the end of the voyage. Similarly, they take and hold alcohol purchased onboard. Costa is testing a new and much more common sense policy on the Magica -- buy all you want ashore or on board and bring it directly to your cabin. Costa has realized that old policy annoyed passengers and cost too much for screening, holding, and moving all that booze multiple times. Not So Good Deals -- The spa is expensive and offered very few discounts during the week. No wireless internet anywhere on board, and no free wireless in port. The Internet cafe is still quite high at 30 Euros per hour and runs at barely 56K over satellite. Pay wireless is available only in Malta, but it's high speed and cheap. The casino has no conventional poker tables. I guess the world's Texas Hold'em craze evidently has not reached the Italians. -- There are unusually long lines to get on the ship in port. Costa cut back on security and there is often just one guy to process hundreds of returning passengers. This route is not a good choice for the first time cruiser, who should do Costa's 7-day Venice to Istanbul run or an 11-day trip featuring Athens, Cairo, Turkey, and a few spectacular Greek islands. For the Magica, we suggest that Costa drops the ports of Palermo and Savona in favor of Monaco, Nice, Cadaques, or Sete. Hello to Jan and Bob, and shop 'til you drop Celia and Jimmy! To see all our reviews, see www.georgesmart.com/travel. Happy cruising, George and Eleanor Durham, North Carolina Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
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