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69 Costa Singapore Cruise Reviews

We have sailed on Costa before and promised that we would not do so again, but the dates and the length of the cruise and the ports to be visited made us get excited again, and it was a different ship this time, so we thought, why not? ... Read More
We have sailed on Costa before and promised that we would not do so again, but the dates and the length of the cruise and the ports to be visited made us get excited again, and it was a different ship this time, so we thought, why not? Great views from the balcony, but on the wrong side of the ship, we were always on the water side never got to watch the port from ours. Very small room, don't let the photos on the web pages fool you, just enough room to walk between the wall and the bed. the balcony itself is only 1m x 2m with 2 chairs and a very low table, the door is extremely heavy as you would expect, however, my wife struggled to open it most times. The bathroom is exactly the same size as every other stateroom, so no extra space, and for a person who is 6ft tall and weighs 220 pounds that does not leave a lot of room for anything! let alone getting in the shower. Sadly, the airconditioning unit in the hallway burst a pipe and flooded our cabin and six others around it, we were disappointed with Costa's compensation offer ( a bottle of wine and a bowl of fruit ) to put up with an industrial dryer in our room for the next 3 days of the cruise and one outside the door for 4 days, not to mention the smell of wet carpet for 4 days. Bad, Bad, Bad! The ports that we visited were Semarang, Benoa, Lombok, Singapore, Penang, Langkawi, Phuket (Patong) and back to Singapore. I would pass on Semarang, Lombok and possibly Benoa, but the other stops where terrific. The Costa entertainment crew, they call them the "Animation Team" now, were a bit of a let down compared to the entertainment team on the Costa Romantica that took us to similar ports just 2 years before. Being the Christmas and New Year cruise the staff had made pretty red bows to go on all of the cabin doors and there were a few tinsel pieces around the place, the atrium had a lovely decorated Christmas tree but that was about all. For NYE the crew let go of a net full of balloons on the strike of midnight, but because of the layout of the ship, there was not really many people in the area to enjoy this. I think that the deck layout on the Victoria made for a difficult time for them, there is not just one spot to be entertained in but many small areas, but we made our own fun. the good thing is that Costa has stopped people smoking anywhere on the ship that is inside, you have to go to the outdoor areas. Given that we have now had two cruises through Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, I think maybe the next one will be to the Phillipines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Japan etc. Just next time won't be a Costa cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We boarded the first week of a two week cruise, embarkation was okay but not really organized. We had a balcony cabin. Cabin was okay with everything in working order. GOOD POINTS: 1. Cabin was clean and functional 2. Casino staff were ... Read More
We boarded the first week of a two week cruise, embarkation was okay but not really organized. We had a balcony cabin. Cabin was okay with everything in working order. GOOD POINTS: 1. Cabin was clean and functional 2. Casino staff were very friendly especially pit boss Marcel. 3. Décor in ship was okay and functional. 4. Shows were good especially dancers. 5. Port selection was different and good and this is why we selected ship. Bad Points 1. Food in buffet was not up to standards compared to other ships even compared to other Costa Ships ,and very repetitive. 2. Buffet was not open at night thus if you missed your early sitting at night because of a tour you were out of luck and your only choice was pizza which opened at 8.30 p.m. Pizza was not up to snuff as on other ships. 3. Staff seemed were very green, service at buffet slow, almost impossible to get drinks from waiters and they seemed to be non existent at times especially deck 12. I would order drinks (pop) and I would have finished eating and drinks had not arrived had to cancel order twice. Slow at cleaning off tables in buffet and staff had hard time understanding English or French. 4. Wash cloths in room were almost non existent had to ask almost everyday. 5. Tours seem poorly organized waiting too long for buses to arrive at some ports. Tours did not leave on time. 6. Casino machines are very outdated plus they removed most machines in favor of tables and many children were allowed to play machines which is illegal. 7. Casino dealers were very green and hard time communicating in English but pit bosses were friendly and were still training dealers. 8. No towels were found on decks for exchange. 9. Service in general was lacking and not up to par with other ships. 10. Did not have good selection of souvenirs stores only high priced items. 11. Main problem was overall staff seemed new and they had a very hard time communicating in English. 12. Entertainment in music venues were very blah.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We sailed on 18th December visiting Malaysia and Indonesia. After reading some reviews we were apprehensive about this our first cruise with Costa. My advice; ignore the reviews judge for yourself when you try it. The ship was lovely, the ... Read More
We sailed on 18th December visiting Malaysia and Indonesia. After reading some reviews we were apprehensive about this our first cruise with Costa. My advice; ignore the reviews judge for yourself when you try it. The ship was lovely, the staff were fantastic, the entertainment especially Janos Olha Duo was excellent. Our cabin was kept sparkling clean by our ever helpful steward. The restaurant waiters couldn't have tried harder to provide for our different needs. The itinerary was varied and, here is my only criticism, it would have been nicer if a little more time could have been spent on shore, particularly in Bali. The thing we didn't like was the way in which some guests treated the staff. I realise that on occasions there were problems with language but how many cruisers could cope with so many languages and dialects? We witnessed some appallingly rude treatment of staff by a variety of nationalities. To these people I say try being polite and quieter with your requests, shouting is non productive. Also try reading the information sheets in your cabin, you could prevent many of the problems if you showed a little more care and consideration for the environment. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Last December(2013) we took an 11 night cruise out of Singapore with Costa Cruises to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. We thought that because it was advertised in the UK as a Far East Cruise, that it would be aimed at the European ... Read More
Last December(2013) we took an 11 night cruise out of Singapore with Costa Cruises to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. We thought that because it was advertised in the UK as a Far East Cruise, that it would be aimed at the European traveller. The cruise consisted of 3 mini cruises out of Singapore, up and down the Malaysian and Thai coast. We boarded the ship (Costa Victoria) at Singapore cruise terminal, it was a little drawn out out but we eventually got aboard, along with the rest of the passengers, 80% of which I would say were Chinese. We found our cabin 80423, it was small, as was the shower, but reasonable. When we went down for dinner we were shown to our table, 45, which we had booked in the "Fantasia" a-la-carte restaurant for our entire cruise, and met a nice couple from Sweden who were sharing our table. The food was ok, it was what I would describe as "good pub grub". That evening we noticed that a lot of the passengers (Chinese) seened to be just wandering around the ship aimlessly, and those that had sat in the bar were just there taking up all the seats to listen to the "entertainment" ( again pub level ), without even buying so much as a Coke! Their dress code left a lot to be desired, in fact some looked like refugees from a war zone. This was because most of the passengers disembarked in Singapore each time we docked to be replaced by more of the same, all they appeared to be doing was going from Singapore to Malaysia and back to possibly buy cheap goods, as Brits used to do on cross channel ferries to go to France for cheap alcohol. It was a Chinese ferry, nothing more. I also found these Chinese to be very rude people. It was almost impossible to get out of the lift if half a dozen Chinese wanted to be in, they would not wait! On our third evening we went down for dinner to be told at the door....."sorry we are full, but you can go and eat in the buffet on deck 11 if you want". I would not have eaten in that buffet if it was the only eatery on the ship! This happened on 3 evenings, each time I had to persuade the Maitre d' to find me a table, unfortunately it meant sharing a table for 8 with a badly dressed family of 6 Chinese. On Dec 17th, our Anniversary, we had booked the "Il Magnifico" a-la-carte resaurant, which was $33 each extra. While we were looking at the menu a couple came in and asked for a table, and he was wearing tee shirt and shorts. I got the impression the Maitre d' was going to let him come in dressed like that so I asked him if he would ask the gentleman to go and change. After about 5 minutes discussion at the door the gentleman did eventually go and change. I womder if I had not said anything if he would have been allowed in? It did appear to be very casual and not what was implied in the advertising. The excursions offered were expensive, and not really value for money, except for Koh Samui where we rode an elephant, and Malacca which was very nice. But Phuket, oh dear, we dropped anchor offshore and transferred by ship's tender to a rickety floating jetty in the bay of Kalim Beach. What a filthy, dirty place that was. If I had booked a holiday to Phuket, and ended up in Kalim Beach I would have demanded a refund. And to add insult to injury when we got our credit card statement as we left the ship we found we had been charged $121 each for "hotel services". This had never been mentioned to us by either Costa or the agent we booked with, Adore Cruises.co.uk. We left the ship VERY disappointed with our cruise, but wiser. NEVER again with Costa Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My wife and I were looking forward to some decent Italian cuisine when we booked a mini-suite on Costa Victoria.. Cabin - A good sized 310sg ft of space with a very comfortable queen sized bed and a wardrobe area with 2 bunks. A bottle of ... Read More
My wife and I were looking forward to some decent Italian cuisine when we booked a mini-suite on Costa Victoria.. Cabin - A good sized 310sg ft of space with a very comfortable queen sized bed and a wardrobe area with 2 bunks. A bottle of chilled Prosecco and daily fresh fruits were very welcoming. Butler and Steward were excellent in their services. Breakfasts served in the room were a delight. Toilet - Full range of toiletries and bath salts for the Jacuzzi. Problem arises when you shower - water fills the trough between bath tub and wall. To solve the problem, they conveniently blocked both ends with pieces of plastic - and the water overflows onto the floor and finds its way into the bedroom !! Incredible. Dining - The Pizzeria's offering of a selection of pizzas was acceptable. The other dining options were nasty in comparison. On the first Gala dinner, the soup tasted like bilge water. (Yes. I actually know the taste). The other items on the menu were not much better. We skipped all the lunches, preferring to have a full breakfast instead and not disappoint ourselves with the lunch offering. The second Gala dinner promised Grilled Boston Lobster - and so it was. Lobster was virtually disintegrating and not deveined. To top it off, both claws were missing! The 'special' dessert - bomb Alaska - was a joke. Never have we been so disappointed with the cuisine on board ship. Entertainment: Showtime featured a Michael Jackson impersonator - and he was good! Performances by the ship's dancers; singers; magicians etc.. were comparable to other cruises. Casino - Bets start from US$25 for blackjack and Baccarat. Minimum bet for Roulette is $5. Tables were mostly empty except for the 1Cent jackpots. Tours - Borobudur - Tour was escort by 2 or more police cars which helped clear the way for the buses. Police cars even went head on against traffic to force the oncoming traffic to halt and make way for us. Convenient for us but inconveniences the folks going about their daily business. Is this promoting tourism or is it a blatant display of force. Anyway, even with their 'assistance' we were 2 hours late in returning to the ship. Banish the idea of ever taking a private tour to Borobudur - you'll never make it back on time. Bali - ship was supposed to dock at 2pm at Padang Bai where there's a good beach and local entertainment. This was delayed to 4pm and subsequently arrived at 6pm at Benoa Port - far away from the excitement that is Bali. Lombok - A private tour is far cheaper and offers more time/places than the ship's organised tour. We had the good fortune to travel with Agung in his new Toyota MPV. To book his services, email him at agung040372@yahoo.com Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
If you,ve never been on a cruise ship before you might think not bad but if you have then 6 out off 10. We had a balcony cabin which was ok but have seen bigger and cleaner for the same price.Food was ok but never had a really hot meal in ... Read More
If you,ve never been on a cruise ship before you might think not bad but if you have then 6 out off 10. We had a balcony cabin which was ok but have seen bigger and cleaner for the same price.Food was ok but never had a really hot meal in 7 days, entertainment was just above working men,s club standard although the dancers tried hard, bar staff were mainly young people from China but they were really nice and had such lovely smiles you couldnt get angry with them. Emebarcation was fine but the evacuation drill was a joke 25 mins standing in the sun, people still rolling up 30 mins late in the end people saying sod this I,m going and wandering off. Ports of call were Semerang cant say a lot as we only walked to the docks, Bali what a joke arrived 7pm had a private taxi , outside of the docks there were gangs of men everywhere and the town Kute was a doss hole , dont go to the beach at night very dodgy one woman was mugged and the week before a man was stabbed Costa should be ashamed to stop here at this time of night where was it Alan Whicker went it wasnt were we went. Lombok was the last stop and we went on a ships tour , really interesting for sure the best island and people very friendly unlike Bali, children were really friendly waving and really excited to see you although 3rd world it was so facinating. In summary ports of call were very poor and expensive on the ship , would we go with Costa again then no. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We sailed from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong. We travelled with 4 adults and 1 child. Our cruise was 3 sailings in 1 for us so three times people got off and on. I am one that looked at the reviews and thought oh it ... Read More
We sailed from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong. We travelled with 4 adults and 1 child. Our cruise was 3 sailings in 1 for us so three times people got off and on. I am one that looked at the reviews and thought oh it cannot be that bad. Many issues that have been reported are now fixed. Embarking in Singapore, excursions, Visas, passports and shuttles. All justified and not a problem. The bad review is due to numerous things that took place. Day 1. We were awakened at 3:30am the first night as something fell down from the upper bunk from my daughter's bed. We turned on lights to hand her back her bear when I looked over to my pillow I noticed a bug round and flat. I flicked it off the bed thinking nothing off it as I was tired and then I realized OMG that's a bed bug. I threw back the duvet to find 6 more in plain sight. I got dressed and ran down to reception. They had a manager come confirm the issue and supplied us a new cabin and asked that we follow up in the morning about new cabin. So at 4am we moved our belongings without assistance and moving our young child from bed to a cabin down the hall. The manager on duty insisted we see the dr. on board and when she told me the expense I stated we had to bites and we would be fine as it would have been over $400 for this first. It took us nearly 1 hour to get moved and no person was in sight. Day 2. We woke up had breakfast and then went to reception to find out what was to happen next. Might I add that there is usually 1 person at this desk at all times and minimum 30 min wait on any occasion due to translation issues. At this time we were told our original cabin was being fumigated and the temporary cabin was vacant the rest of cruise and awaiting manager approval to move permanently. The new room toilet broke every time we used it and cabin smelt of sewage. The maintenance came 3 times that day to fix it and in the end we ended up using the toilet in old cabin as it was not working. The AC is another issue it did not work at all. Something about a clogged vent and while in a climate of 90 degrees plus left us no other option but to sleep nearly unclothed. So the conditions of the temp cabin were just as bad as old. Day 3. This day we went on our excursion to return to room with a note to see reception. Another 45 minutes waiting in line and 30 minutes to reach a resolution. They were moving us back to original cabin due to it being ALL CLEAR. I through a fit and the reception didn't even blink an eye. She said they sold the cabin we are in for new leg of trip and stated the bugs were gone and won't come back. So instead of sit down dinner we placed our daughter in kids club and moved yet again. Since they wanted us moved before stewards came on shift. Oh I forgot that it was my holiday for a second not to put anyone else out. Seriously. So we moved back to the original cabin. Day 4. This day our Costa cards froze due to being swapped around so much so no drinks for us today. Took another 45 minutes in line to sort that out. We had been in contact with our agent in the states and that evening we received a fruit bowl for all our troubles. I guess an apple, orange and mango will fix it right. Day 5. Came back from day in Singapore to have our steward tell us other rooms around us had bed bugs too now. 6 in total on the floor we were on. After numerous fumigations they were not dying. Well great I thought. So the evening comes and after dinner we settle in for the night. Watching movies in bed on the IPad until I felt something on my leg and I jumped out. Sure enough they were back and this time 3 fold. Steward was on duty and I called him in right away to look at them. He radioed manager on duty and I went down to reception. This time I was greeted by a manager MariaLuisa. She was genuine and concerned about everything. She ordered that our clothes be washed and our bags be fumigated. We were being upgraded from inside to outside cabin far away from our original cabin. She had 3 stewards assisting in moving our things and called once we moved to ensure we settled in. Everything was fine in cabin except the smoke smell that was so bad. This evening they offered to pay for the dr. visit if required. Day 6. We had a very early morning excursion and decided since we upgraded to premium we should order in breakfast. Well they showed up 30 minutes after time they were intended to and then demanded we pay for a service we already paid for. Stated our cabin was not listed on premium and that to hand over $21 for a late and cold breakfast. I asked her kindly to leave our cabin and speak with management or steward about breakfast as we were not having it. As we run down stairs with moments to spare as out excursions was literally leaving the ship my husband got us a coffee and croissant each. On arrival we find the tenants next to us are smoking in there room that is connected to ours and the smoke was coming through the cracks in the door. This was fixed by using tape around the door and spraying our room down with a perfume of some sort. 45 more minutes in line at customer service. Our steward provided us with fruit and prosecco for our troubles with breakfast as he was unaware either about premium. Day 7. Costa Cards frozen again and more time wasted fixing something that we should not have been. This day also entailed us calling our US bank to verify in front of manager that it was not a prepay debit we were using for cruise purchases. Day 8-12 were a combination of lost excursion tickets due to them swapping us numerous times. The desk had them for nearly 6 days before telling us our Vietnam tickets were placed in the temp cabin not occupied by someone else. This was done wrong even after we told excursion desk we moved a 3rd time. Excursion for Hong Kong was cancelled after booking 2 months in advance. They were charging service charge for my child even though their site specifically stated no service for under 14. A heated 9pm argument with desk about that left me bitter and upset with Costa even more. You take what's not yours and I have stayed in hostels cleaner than that of our cabin. They froze up our friends cards too from same bank and there room became infested with bed bugs during their linen change. Day 13. Last night on cruise and we were pulled in by management about our fees. We were told our agent had been on contact with the ship and we did not have to pay gratuities in the end due to all the trouble we incurred. So the people that helped us in room, restaurant and spa won't get a fee that is made for them due to issues that customer service caused. Does not seem fair at all in my opinion and we signed the paper we would pay them on our own and we did. In the end our cruise itinerary was amazing. My daughter loved the kids club apart from the fact that while we sailed over New Year's they were due to have a party for them and cancelled it due to lack of participation. In fact it was due to crew wanting to party it up as I spoke with other parents who looked forward to the event. Oh and as we went to bed early due to closing the kids club early we were awoken at 11:45pm by a Italian screaming over intercom counting down till midnight. Not just once but numerous times and over whole PA system. By the end of the cruise 9 rooms became infested and it's rather sad that sanitation is not better. They ruined a large percentage of clothes they washed as well as they were combined with what looked to be a dark blue towel in which ever thing turned blue. So for the last week I wore items that were discolored and I disappointed as the items were still new just for our first cruise. I wasted my time with my family waiting in lines for things that should not be an issue. I spent no kidding upwards of 7 hours dealing with the customer service staff to resolve issue after issue. The pool was closed on nearly both sea days and not a lot was offered on board to do during this time. So a lot of dead time was spent in the cabin. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My family of 8 (booked in a total of 4 inside cabins) spent 2 weeks (17 Nov -- 1 Dec) on the Costa Victoria, departing from Singapore. When we originally booked this cruise, it was sold as a 14 night cruise but it was subsequently broken ... Read More
My family of 8 (booked in a total of 4 inside cabins) spent 2 weeks (17 Nov -- 1 Dec) on the Costa Victoria, departing from Singapore. When we originally booked this cruise, it was sold as a 14 night cruise but it was subsequently broken up into 3 separate cruises (a 4 night cruise from Singapore visiting Langkawi and Penang, a 3 night cruise visiting Port Kelang and Malacca, and finally a 7 night cruise visiting Kuantan, Laem Chabang and Koh Samui) We booked this cruise due to the interesting itinerary and the unbelievable price. After reading the reviews of the Victoria, I was a bit apprehensive but not to fear. Everyone had a fantastic time on the cruise, making the best of the sometimes frustrating situations we encountered on the Victoria. Embarkation: We booked online and the Costa website indicated that the Singapore port is at Harborfront, so we headed there. However, at the Harborfront Port, we were advised that a recent change now had the Costa Victoria pulling into Marina Bay, resulting in an additional taxi ride. Not a good first impression of Costa! However, once we got to Marina Bay, the rest of our embarkation went smoothly. Interestingly, our room card was separate from our Costa Card (used to swipe for on board purchases, drinks, etc) which forced us to carry 2 cards at all times. Our inside cabins (quite small) were ready, and we quickly unpacked before the evacuation drill. Provided in the room was a power strip (sufficient for our power needs), a kettle/tea bags, and a bucket of fresh ice (replaced quite often thanks Imelda, our fantastic Cabin Stewardess). The evacuation drill was an exercise in patience, as instructions were repeated in numerous languages at a volume that was indiscernible. Whoever set up Victoria's public announcement system needs remedial training...very ineffective and we could hardly understand 75% of the announcements made. Dinner at the Fantasia Restaurant (located mid ship) was great. On the first leg of the cruise (Days 1-4), we had a very attentive staff of Vietnamese waiters (the fantastic husband/wife duo of Tran and Ha), which we thought was a very thoughtful move on the Maitre d' as half of our group hailed from Vietnam. Dinners were more than adequate, with lots of choices (Western and Asian dishes) and we never left the table hungry. Not sure of what to order? No worries, our waiters would bring multiple dishes so a sampling could be tried. We had read (prior to the cruise) that getting iced water might be a problem with Costa, as other members reported being forced to purchase bottled water. However, this was never a factor and we had plenty of ice water during the entire duration of the cruise. Annoyances: Passports were necessary for disembarkation for Singapore and if overnighting at Laem Chabang. Obtaining passports for Singapore disembarkation was fairly straightforward, but for the Laem Chabang port, this was utter chaos. Tempers were high and we witnessed several passengers in hysteria the morning of, and all of this could have been prevented if Costa had better organizational skills and a much better trained front desk/reception staff who appeared quite indifferent to the hordes of angry/upset passengers. Here is the background to this entire debacle: The day before Laem Chabang (sea day), Costa staff put out that passports could be obtained anytime in a 2 hour period during the day. However, that was not the case. When we tried to get our group's passports, we were advised to "come back tomorrow morning after we pull into Laem Chabang and you can get your passport then". Thankfully, we had several inquisitive members of the group, who managed to find out that there was an official "Costa List" for passengers who intended to stay overnight while at Laem Chabang. This list would be used to by immigration to pull those individual's passports, stamp them for entry to Thailand and allow them to disembark the ship. Why this information was not put out by the Costa staff managing the front desk is a mystery. My father approached the front desk at least 3 times before obtaining this nugget of information. As a result, our names/cabin numbers were added to the "list" and magically, our passports were ready for us the next morning at Laem Chabang, but for all those who had been advised to simply "show up and get your passport", that was not the case. Tempers were flaring as many of our fellow passengers had coordinated private tours and they were severely delayed in their disembarkation process due to not being able to obtain their passports in a timely manner. We were able to get off the Victoria about 30 minutes after arrival, and have no idea how long it took the rest of the passengers to finally get their passports and disembark...VERY very poor service on Costa's part for this port. This could absolutely have been prevented by Costa and is an absolute disgrace that it was allowed to happen. Ports of Call Singapore: We flew in early to spend a few days here. Fantastic hawker food (cheap and delicious). Bought a 3 day MRT card which cost $30 (with a $10 refund if you turn the card back in) so for a whopping $20, you can ride unlimited MRTs and buses throughout Singapore...great deal! We stayed in Chinatown which has a vibrant and lively atmosphere. Visited the zoo, jurong bird park, Arab Street, the merlion, Marina Sands rooftop pool/bar, Gardens by the Bay. Great stop...this island nation is so very well organized and super easy for the independent traveler to get around. Bit pricey though compared to the rest of Southeast Asia. Langkawi: We decided to do our own thing here and booked an island hopping tour for just over $100 for 8 people (our own private boat) for a 3-4 hour tour. Much cheaper than what was offered through Costa. We booked it right at the end of the port where motorbikes can be rented (40 Malay Ringgit for the day). Visited 3 islands (Pulau Beras Basah , Tasik Dayang Bunting and Pulau Singa Besar) which included eagle feeding at Pulau Singa Besar. It started pouring with rain, so after the tour, we headed back to Victoria for lunch, and afterwards the rest of the group hung out while my husband and I rented a motorbike for a scenic ride into Kuah. Langkawi is where you can stock up on super cheap duty free..great prices here! Penang (Georgetown): A walkable city. Just ignore the taxis swarming you at the port and armed with a map, this is an easy city to navigate. Loved Georgetown...very pretty with gorgeous architecture. The blue hued Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is only open for a group tour at 11 am so we admired it from outside. Lots of pretty temples here. For a glimpse of yesteryear, head to the Weld Quay Clan Jetties, home to five main Chinese clans -- Lim, Chew, Tan, Lee and Yeoh. An easy stroll back to the cruise where we had lunch before leaving pretty Penang. Port Klang/Kuala Lumpur: My dad wasn't feeling 100% today, so the rest of us (7 total) hopped on the free Costa shuttle to the awaiting taxi mafia. Here we tried to negotiate for a ride into KL but kept getting referred back to a "negotiator" who had a "fixed price" list. We ended up getting a full day tour for the 7 of us in one taxi van (plenty of room) for $160 which included a visit to Batu Caves, Merdeka Square, Railway Station, National Mosque, Petronas twin towers (where we lunched at local hawker stalls on the second floor of the towers ) and had some nice photo ops of the towers themselves, a brief shopping trip in Chinatown, and a quick photo opportunity at the King's Palace. Our driver, a friendly female muslim, was fantastic and we really enjoyed the day trip. Note: leave plenty of time for travel....there was an overturned truck on our ride back and it took us over an hour to negotiate through that traffic jam. Malacca: Gorgeous city. Had to tender here. I downloaded a free "walking the Dutch Trail" tour and led my family on it...very easy to do this on your own, don't book a tour here unless you absolutely love crowds and being herded from one spot to another. Our tour took us to Dutch Square (Stadthuys & Christ Church), St Paul's Hill & Church, Baba Nyonya Museum, the famous Jonker street (where Wah Aik Shoe Maker still sells shoes for bound feet - one of the last shoemakers in the world to make these), onward to Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Kampung Kling Mosque, Portuguese Fort A Famosa, and the replica Sultan's palace. This is a very pretty port of call and we enjoyed it very much, rain and all. Kuantan: Ugggh! Please drop this port of call. Its horrible. The extortionate taxi mafia wanted a ridiculous $80 round trip for a ride to the Teluk Chempedak beach (visible from the top deck of the Victoria) but who wants to pay a small fortune to hang out at the beach? Not us...we stayed on board and didn't feel like we missed a thing, lounging by the salt water pool and enjoying cocktails. This port could have been a complete miss... Laem Chabang: We had already visited Bangkok so we opted to stay overnight in Pattaya. Read above for the nightmare scenario in securing passports for an overnight stay. Costa really disappointed us with their horrible organizational skills at this port. The reception staff was less than helpful and dozens of our fellow frustrated passengers crowded the front desk without getting adequate support...not good! Once we got off the Victoria, we hopped in our pre-coordinated ride to Pattaya (van for 8 pax was 1200 Baht). We stayed near Walking Street, and headed immediately to the excellent Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Gardens for elephant show, thai kickboxing, tigers, cultural show. Tickets were 500 Baht per person, the gardens were excellent. After heading back to Pattaya, we strolled by the beach, did some shopping (bargains to be had here but be sure to negotiate) and had fantastic street food. Lots of sights to be sure. Walking Street more tame that we expected, lots of fun. Ko Samui: We had to tender to Nathorn Port. It was pouring with rain here, so instead of our plan to hire motorbikes around the island, we settled on a van to drive us around for a 4-5 hour tour, cost was $110 for 8 people. We visited Na Muang waterfall, Wat Khunaram (where a mummified body of Ko Samui's best known monk, Loung Pordang can be seen), the natural geological formations known as Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks (the Grandpa and Grandma rocks), which look, respectively, like male and female genitalia, Chaweng Beach and Fishermen's Village. Since the last boat tender was at 3:15 pm, we headed back to Nathorn Port for some last minute shopping before catching one of the last tenders for the Victoria Overall thoughts: We had a fabulous time cruising around Asia and enjoyed most of the ports of call. Costa Victoria isn't for everybody, but we enjoyed it despite the setbacks (uncoordinated and misinformed front desk staff). In terms of value for money, this holiday couldn't be beat. Would we cruise with Costa again? Yes, but next time we would know what to expect of a Costa holiday. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
Having just rturned from a 17 night cruise on board Costa Victoria, embarking in Singapore, calling at Laem Chabang/ Ho Chi Minh/ Danang/ Halong Bay/ Sanya / Hong Kong and disemarking at Shanghai. We chose this cruise for the interesting ... Read More
Having just rturned from a 17 night cruise on board Costa Victoria, embarking in Singapore, calling at Laem Chabang/ Ho Chi Minh/ Danang/ Halong Bay/ Sanya / Hong Kong and disemarking at Shanghai. We chose this cruise for the interesting itinerary. Embarkation in Singapore was a little messy - the journey from the airport to the terminal was approximately 30 minutes so quite a way and checking in was tedious not organised and few seats for elderly people to sit on! Cabin was ok if a little tired - it was obviously a disabled cabin had 2 bathrooms, can't think why we were in it as we had booked 12 months previously ie not last minute? Costa Victoria is quite an old ship but obvious that some refurbishment had taken place. I also realise that as an Italian ship Italian is the first language but throughout the voyage there were too few announcements in English ie i feel we missed out on somethings Food was poor, menu selection in the Buffet and Fantasia dining room wasn't very good and sauces for food didn't seem to exist Some staff on board seemed to be quite down and some of the reception staff were quite rude but i have got to say our cabin steward was great and our table waiter (table 39) at dinner was also great Entertainment on board was ok the staff worked hard and the guest entertainers were good too Shore excursions were ok but every time we docked we seemed to be a long way from the centre of things One very big negative was that we missed Shanghai!!!!!!!!!! due to Costa, nowhere did it state clearly that when we docked in Shanghai even if we were not going ashore that day we still had to get off the boat and go through customs. Our intention was to go ashore the next day for all day but reception took our passports off us and didn't return them until 8pm that night, so thanks Costa for a wasted day! Disembarkation was good and easy but yet again the port was miles from anywhere - 70 minutes to centre of Shanghai and 90 minutes to Pudong Airport. Overall the cruise was ok but i will not be cruising with Costa again as i feel the nice touches were lacking! Word of warning Costa Victoria is now sailing out of Shanghai for the foreseeable future and i would imagine is very much geared u for the Chinese market! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
The booking process started well good information from our Uk travel agent. We only needed a single entry visa for Shanghai this was confirmed by the Chinese visa section in Madrid. Although ports of call included Hongkong and Island ... Read More
The booking process started well good information from our Uk travel agent. We only needed a single entry visa for Shanghai this was confirmed by the Chinese visa section in Madrid. Although ports of call included Hongkong and Island of Sanya we were told for Hongkong no visa required Sanya Landing visa available in terminal building. Flight out to Singapore was with Emirates so high expetations?? We were booked in as Mr and Mrs but on the plane from manchester to Dubai the A380 we were not seated together not even in the same row but booking agents seated us together. Second leg Dubai to Singapore same thing only this time plane was full and no free seats. Embarcation was a joke, boarding staff gave us a form saying as we only had a single entry visa for Shanghai we could not get off the boat in Hongkong or Sanya and it also cleared Costa of any blame and if I did not sign it I would not be allowed on the boat. I endorsed the form that I sign under duress as all the information had originated from Costa. On board I asked for a complaints form after I explained why the staff said " you don't need a visa for Hongkong" its a small landing card and Sanya you can get a visa on landing costs 7 euros. Generally cruise was poor meals average staff poor best person on the boat was our Chinese cabin steward LU she made up for the rest of the crewClearly some one at Costa get this very wrong it was not just the English the info had gone out world wide but they had enough time to produce a form to absolved themselves of any blame. This was our third cruise with Costa because we like the ports of call and only a few days at sea. but I think we have reached the end with them. One thing of note in Shanghai all the notices in the cabins and on board were changed to Chinese there was a big do on the dockside with the CEO of Costa coming down and all the high ups from Shanghai there. Rumours had it the Chinese had bought the Costa Victoria or even the whole company. It could become "THE SHANGHAI BOAT COMPANY " SOON. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
upon arrival there were not enough staff to help with checking in.the food in the buffet was of a poor standard and never hot. our cabin toilet did not work for seven of the fourteen days after reporting it every day.the air conditioner ... Read More
upon arrival there were not enough staff to help with checking in.the food in the buffet was of a poor standard and never hot. our cabin toilet did not work for seven of the fourteen days after reporting it every day.the air conditioner did not work properly in our room ,always very stuffy.on the back deck(10) the tables where never cleaned and not enough staff.when it came to getting off the ship at a tender port it was a disaster,people pushing and shoving ,they only sent one staff member to control it.at one stage there was nearly a punch up.the management on board did not interact and had a attitude of not my problem when any issues arose.the entertainment was poor and not enough variety of venue's with different style of entertainment.we went to the nightclub at 11.30 one night and were told it was not open ,don't you read your today program.the next night we went there were children there at 1.00am ,when said they should not be here we were told by staff they could not do any thing about it ,we said not appropriate for children to be in a adult environment. the staff tried very hard to keep things rolling along and to them i say thank you,but to management i will never go on another Costa Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Embarkation set the tone for this dire cruise, chaotic, badly organised, with total lack of helpful staff. From the dockside sight of the ship, she appeared tired and shabby, and the interior did nothing to improve that impression- she is ... Read More
Embarkation set the tone for this dire cruise, chaotic, badly organised, with total lack of helpful staff. From the dockside sight of the ship, she appeared tired and shabby, and the interior did nothing to improve that impression- she is dated, badly cared for, badly managed and long past her best. Stairwells are echoing , carpet-less, decor-less spaces, reminiscent of school corridors, except lacking artwork! Welcome aboard was a drinks package sales pitch, and there were no directions given for finding cabins. We found our way to our deck 4 cabin, with its large round window- this style was the norm for most of the ship, with the exception of a few balcony suites. the cabin was bland wood panelled, had ample wardrobe and drawer space and a comfortable double bed. Pillows were hard and slab-like, towels long past their pristine best, with only a tiny soap bar provided as toiletry, with harsh gel in the grubby-curtained shower. Requests for softer pillows were refused, and we were advised to phone room service for a few toiletries. Dining was dismal, with repetitive menus, no healthy choices, overcooked fish, poor salads and badly organised service, so tables were not served together. Alternative dining, the open buffet was very poor, with limited repetitive menus, very poor salads, and ran out of green salad in the second week, and , incredibly, butter disappeared from all menus after 10 days. Probably the best choice was a daily pasta, served with fresh parmigiano, but we expected that on an Italian cruise line, and even the most ardent pasta lover would not want it for every meal. Entertainment was very third rate, with tired dancers, poor singers and bizarre novelty acts. If you preferred dancing, then a live trio performed, but often this turned into strange line-dancing sessions. Day time entertainment would have disgraced a holiday camp, with childish, badly organised game like activities, shouted instructions,and little entertainment value. Several ports were tender disembarkation, which again was chaotic to the point of being worrying. Tickets were issued, by ineffective entertainment staff, on a first come-first served basis, to pushing, shouting crowds , and the whole process was so disorganised as to feel totally intimidating. This ship completely fails to deliver a product of acceptable quality, utterly fails to deliver the promised brochure experience and is a Costa concept that needs serious overhaul Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Well, we have no-one to blame but ourselves really. After our experience on Costa Classica from Dubai to Singapore in March 2009 (reviewed on this site), we said no more Costa small, older ships. We weakened, however, when we saw the Costa ... Read More
Well, we have no-one to blame but ourselves really. After our experience on Costa Classica from Dubai to Singapore in March 2009 (reviewed on this site), we said no more Costa small, older ships. We weakened, however, when we saw the Costa Romantica itinerary from Singapore to Makassar, Komodo, Bali, Jakarta, Malacca, Phuket and Port Klang (for Kuala Lumpur) and unfortunately we did live to regret it! The flight (booked via a Costa package) was the first bone of contention. Rather than flying direct for about 14 hours, we went via Dubai with a touchdown in Colombo, Sri Lanka, adding another 7 hours to the trip each way. We did know we had this flight home, but when we booked, the original outward flight was direct from Dubai to Singapore, saving about 4 or 5 hours, but that got changed. Having said that Emirates were very good, with good food and service and adequate leg room. We arrived on the ship at about 10.30 pm to find covered plates with two filled rolls and a few pieces of fruit in our cabin. This was all the food available on the ship at the time, not even a cup of tea could be found other than via room service (sandwiches and hot drinks) with a charge! Not very welcoming!! The cabin itself appeared fine, and our Chinese stewardess was very good throughout the cruise, apart from inexplicably throwing away our Today magazines and menus that we were keeping as souvenirs - that was a new one on me! She was very apologetic and did her best to replace them, but how long had she been throwing away passenger's belongings other than those in the rubbish bins? The cabin itself was fine, and reasonably spacious, but we had an ongoing issue with the toilet not working, and were reporting it once or twice a day at some points. Customer Service response varied from the fairly concerned to the totally indifferent, and it was usually mended fairly quickly, although only to break down again within a few hours. On one day, most of the passenger toilets failed for a period and there were areas of the ship with very unpleasant smells, plus a cabin along the corridor from us was being dried out using dehumidifiers/fans for several days. The toilet issue would not have been so bad, except that we were both ill with acute diarrhoea during the trip, and needed it in working order. My husband fell ill after two sea days (so no he couldn't have got it, whatever it was, anywhere else). I followed three days later and we subsequently found that many of those in our area of the dining room had had similar troubles. We tried to report this to Costa, but they were in total denial. Customer Services were just not interested, while the English-speaking host just kept repeating that there was no problem and we must have had too much sun! We felt that perhaps some additional measures should have been taken, although more basic ones, like ensuring the hand cleansing machines weren't empty most of the time in the buffet, would have helped. Generally, the food in the main restaurant was very good and our waiters were excellent (although we missed several dinners while ill). The buffet was another story - totally inadequate for the number of passengers, totally overwhelmed with people, tables seldom cleared of their dirty crockery, cutlery, etc. Also no alternative dining except for two evenings (Singapore before we arrived on the first evening and the evening in Phuket). Not even a hot drink after they closed at about 5.30 pm, or not after the hot water ran out anyway. We did try room service when I was recovering from my stomach troubles, which was mainly a selection of sandwiches, and despite having to pay EUR2 for the privilege we were much amused by my husband's order of a sandwich and two teas arriving as a sandwich and 2 plates of cheese!!! There appeared to have been staff cuts since our last voyage with Costa and this was evident in most areas - too few waiters, limited buffet openings, fewer animators and virtually no daytime entertainment, fewer pool attendants, fewer bar staff on deck and inside, and fewer evening shows (films on a couple of nights). The supply situation was also very poor; cruise ships often seem to run out of things on the last day or so, but this started early on Romantica, with butter being in limited supply the whole cruise and disappearing altogether on the last day; at dinner the silver dishes with ice were there, but empty!!! Other things absent for the last three or four days included water melon, bananas, yoghurt, skimmed milk and decent tea bags (other than herbal and Chinese black tea). But what of the itinerary, I hear you say! It was exceptional, but was rather spoilt by Costa's organisational abilities or lack of. Most significantly, you are on your own if you don't want to go on their excursions. I am sure this is true of other cruise lines, but sometimes we didn't even know where we were going ashore (staff didn't know or gave the wrong info if asked) and the maps were incredibly, with the Bali map showing the whole island (but not where the ship was!) perhaps the best example!! We did take two Costa excursions - one on Komodo and one in Jakarta and I have to say that they were both fairly good, although on Komodo there was no choice of excursion, just a 1.5-hour, 1 km trek to see the Komodo dragons, and we would rather have done something more ambitious, which was available privately, although Costa's tendering of those on excursions meant that independents would not have had enough time ashore to do any longer treks. Tendering was another issue. According to the itinerary we were only tendering in Bali, but in fact we also tendered in Komodo, Malacca and Phuket (for two days). As usual, Costa excursions went first (that is generally the same with all cruise lines), but the organisation of the independents was pathetic and on one occasion bordering on the dangerous. Hordes of (mainly but not exclusively) Italians mobbed the table where the tender tickets were being handed out and some even just took tickets, with no-one sending for security and no-one trying to stop them. Apparently down on Deck 3, a group was also trying to push past the excursion groups onto the tenders, although apparently they were turned back successfully. Knowing the Continental dislike of queuing, you would think they would have instigated a proper system rather than allowing such conduct, which was more like a riot than anything else! It was only the next day that they started a proper queuing area roped off and adequately staffed. Anyway, all this meant that the time ashore was very limited, particularly in places where we only had a half day stop, such as Malacca. In that case, the departure time was moved from 1.30 to 2.30 pm because of the delays, but many of those going ashore were not told, so we all had to rush round in about 1.5 hours (it was a fascinating place) only to return to the pier to find that we could have had had another hour. The excursions in Phuket were weird, as we arrived at 2 pm, and then there were excursions of up to 8 hours going out, meaning that parts of these trips, including beach trips, tours of temples and elephant rides, were carried out in the dark! Not sure what all that was about, but if I had been on them I would not have been happy! The stop in Port Klang for Kuala Lumpur was cut from a full day to a half day. This was announced the previous evening after we left Phuket, with technical problems blamed, although a rumour did go round that it was to save money on fuel by going more slowly. Personally I doubt that, as the amount of money lost on their excursions, with full-days going down to a limited number of half-days, would probably have cost far more than the fuel. It does illustrate many passengers' disenchantment and distrust of Costa by this stage, however. There were quite a few first time cruisers on the trip, and we tried to emphasise that Costa was not typical of cruising and that they should try with another company before deciding whether cruising was for them. The cut down time was still disappointing for those wanting a reasonable time in Kuala Lumpur, however, although we had been before so were not personally too concerned. The last day in Singapore, most flights left at or just after midnight. In 2009, after our cruise on Classica, we did not have to leave the ship until 8 o'clock, but that has all changed and we had to leave at 4.45 pm, giving us over 6 hours to wait at the airport, so we had plenty of time to contemplate the coming 21-hour flight!! So, although we saw some wonderful things, it was overall a very disappointing and exhausting trip - the ship was poor, which we suspected in advance, but there appear to have been additional cuts and problems even over Classica 18 months ago. And they shouldn't keep using a ship where the plumbing is so problematic!! Also, we didn't get enough time to see the fantastic destinations properly. Although you may say this is always an issue on cruise ships (and I would agree), we lost far more time on this trip that we should have, leaving the feeling that we had not seen the best of things, which is a great pity as we are unlikely to return to any of them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We were tempted by the itinerary. Who wouldn't be? In particular, cruising over to the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius sounded very exotic. While the itinerary was exceptional, I am afraid the ship itself leaves a lot to be ... Read More
We were tempted by the itinerary. Who wouldn't be? In particular, cruising over to the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius sounded very exotic. While the itinerary was exceptional, I am afraid the ship itself leaves a lot to be desired. We had no issues with embarkation as is mentioned in other posts. We checked our bags in and continued shopping until we were able to board. As is typical with all cruises, we were ambushed once on board by those selling beverage packages. We were disappointed but not surprised that any wine package purchased only incorporated Italian wines. We selected the premium package and must say the wine was not what we would call premium. It was average at best and for 5 bottles at $109 Euro was a bit of a rort. Plus service charge of course!! The room was sufficient. Although I must say the bathroom was scungy with mould in the shower and behind the taps on the vanity. I did 10 rounds with the shower curtain on a regular basis and in the end decided it was a lot easier to shower without it. The toilet system is continually under stress which is most unpleasant. Many times, the toilet would not flush and there were occasions where the system was blocked. When we advised our hostess of this, she checked and advised us that this was OK, the entire level had the same problem!! For the next few hours, I needed to use the public toilets instead of our own and the smell was putrid. The choice of television stations is interesting. There is one English movie channel which plays movies at certain times of the day. Over the 3 weeks on the ship, the movies were repeated 3 times. Other selections other than European channels were Russian news being read in English and details of the ship. In other words, the TV service is what I would call substandard. Other areas on the ship are tired and dated. While the leather chairs and sofas are a nice touch, the corners are worn and overall appear scruffy. I had to laugh when on the first day I ventured out to the pool deck for a quick drink. I kid you not, the pool is about 3m by 3m. More like a plunge pool than a traditional swimming pool. You cannot 'swim' in it. I just assumed that the other pool at the back of the ship must make up for this. No! It is exactly the same size. In all my time travelling, I have never seen anything so ridiculous to cater for 1,600 guests. Our room was located directly across from the Emergency Exit. On the first and second nights, we had constant slamming doors as staff were using this exit to transfer baggage. In addition, all room service came up through this exit. Next to this exit was the cleaning cupboard. If you end up with room 7146, don't expect a good night's sleep. On the 3rd day, I approached the 'service' desk to inform them of the noise issue and to ask if there were any alternate cabins available that we may move to. The 'service' attendant stated that the ship was full and she didn't understand why I would have any issues with the noise. She said if I had an issue, I should tell the people responsible to be quiet. Hmmm, I thought that was their job. She then proceeded to tell me pointedly that noise can be expected on all cruises. Then she smiled and asked for the next guest enquiry. I guess that is what they call service. The restaurant for dinner was the only option. We found this extremely inconvenient. Dress rules apply for dinner and it would have been appropriate to offer at least one alternate option (eg, the buffet) for dinner, especially considering the total number of days the ship was at sea. A pizza bar did open at 8pm each night, but one can only eat so much pizza. The one night we opted for pizza, the dough was not cooked and the while dish lacked flavour. Truly awful. The food was average. The choices were varied and always contained vegetarian options. Seafood was available on a regular basis which was good. The best offering of the day was generally the buffet at lunch - a great deal of variety and specials. However, in the end I compared this buffet with that of a pig's trough. I learned quickly not to get in between a hungry European guest and the buffet. If you did, you were in danger of losing body parts. People consistently were rude, pushing in front and eating in gigantic proportions. Poor hygiene was on full display. The buffet obviously is unable to cater for the entire number of guests on board and it is frustrating when other guests treat this buffet as the social centre of the ship instead of being efficient and completing their meal so others could be seated. The breakfast catered mainly for the European guests on board. Toast was more like a Cruskit, but there were plenty of pastries available if you wanted. In fact, over half of the buffet consisted of these pastries. Salami seemed popular for breakfast! The quality was a lot less than what I have experienced in hotels and on other cruises. The tours were limited for English speaking guests. This was further exaggerated by bilingual guests choosing the English speaking tours. We spoke with many other English speaking guests who had many of their tours cancelled. Worse still, it seemed that the cheaper tours were the ones cancelled (by cheap I mean $50 - $80 Euro) while the more expensive tours proceeded. There was a significant lack of organisation. Many tours were late and you were not kept informed by the tour organisers - just left sitting in the opera lounge waiting for your number to be called. On one tour in Seychelles, an announcement was made 15 minutes after the due departure time that we would be ready to go in 5 minutes. We were moved out 45 minutes late. For a $184 Euro excursion, an apology or explanation would have been nice. By this stage of our trip, we knew better. The same old issues arose on our tours as happens on all of them. Ignorant and selfish guests were consistently late back to the bus. However, the worst incident of lateness was a Costa staff member. The guests waited on a bus in Reunion Island for 25 minutes for a Costa staff member and his partner. We applauded them when they finally made it back to the bus. His comment? "Don't worry, the ship won't leave without me". This pretty much sums up the attitude of the staff on board. I truly believe that they are indifferent to the experience of the paying guests. The overall disorganisation by staff came to a head two days before we disembarked. Upon arriving at Mauritius, we were instructed to pick up our passports and that we would all individually undergo a customs interview with a Mauritius official. For those heading on tours for the day, we were asked to line up from 8am. Other guests wanting to go ashore were to follow at 8.30am. Knowing this could be a bit of a debacle, we started lining up at 7.30am. Already, there were around 12 people in front of us. Quite quickly the line grew and as usual, people consistently attempted to push in and get to the front of the queue. The Mauritius officials were late which added to the hysteria. Guests were shouting at each other, different nationalities were fighting each other, age was no barrier to aggression and I actually felt scared at one point that there was going to be an all in brawl. Finally at 8am, the Costa staff placed barriers up to stop people attempting to push in. The line ended up being from one end of the ship to the other. What a disgrace. This could have been organised so much better, I cannot believe with their experience that they would not intuitively understand how this frustrated some of the passengers. But again, as I have said, I really don't think they care. Due to the cost of the tours, it was evident that a lot of guests chose to stay on board or do their own thing. We had many days at sea and I must say the entertainment budget must be very constrained. Entertainment consisted of trivia competitions (skewed towards European trivia of course), a professor providing history talks, sessions from the Spa about keeping your tan, losing your kilos or having the perfect abs (same thing every day and more or less just a sales pitch), and some religious activities. Prizes for winning competitions were limited to Costa notepads, mousepads and other cheap gadgets. We just kept to ourselves when at sea and lucky I had several books and an IPhone handy. The ship provides WiFi which is great, but at $24 Euro of 3 hours is absolutely a ridiculous price. Some other things to note: Alcohol is ridiculously overpriced - if you like a drink, be prepared for a massive bill; Don't by any means get any laundry done unless you have a spare $150 Euro; Be prepared for massive currency discounts when changing into Euro's - worse than an agent; Take hand sanitiser with you - insufficient supplies on board. The good points? The service staff and the actual places we visited. We will never cruise with Costa again. When completing the feedback forms, we were told we were in with a chance at winning a free cruise. One, I do not believe Costa would give away something for free and two, even if I won, I would be loathe to take up the opportunity. Way better cruises available for similar prices. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
After reading all the harsh reviews on the net prior to embarking on the cruise, I must say I was pretty much concerned about whether I had made the right decision to cruise with the Costa Romantica. However, after having spent 22 fabulous ... Read More
After reading all the harsh reviews on the net prior to embarking on the cruise, I must say I was pretty much concerned about whether I had made the right decision to cruise with the Costa Romantica. However, after having spent 22 fabulous days cruising on the Costa Romantica, I felt that I owed to write this review. Here goes my itinerary and cruise dates - 22 days of cruising from 20 November 2010 to 12 December 2010 - Singapore, Port Klang (Malaysia), Langkawi (Malaysia), Phuket (Thailand), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Cochin (India), MalE (Maldives), MahE (Seychelles), Reunion Island and Mauritius. Embarkation - The embarkation process in Singapore was fairly quick but clearly not well structured. Three ladies were standing in front of a very small desk trying to check the passports and get people to fill in a health declaration form. After the formalities were completed, we then proceeded to the gate and had our souvenir picture taken. Upon arrival in the main deck, we were handed over our Costa Card, cabin key and our identification picture was taken. We then proceeded on our own to our cabin which was fairly easy to find. Our luggage was delivered to our front door within 30 minutes. Cabin - we had an outside stateroom with a porthole. It was great to be able to see outside especially when we were nearing land. Our room was tidied every night and day and towels were changed. Our cabin steward was always very nice and discreet. Every night, our cabin steward would make a different bed decoration with the bed cover. Very nice! We read that some people had noise issues or blocked toilets. We never had any flushing issue with the toilets and apart from particularly noisy neighbours, it was just fine. The daily programme "TODAY" was delivered to our cabin every night along with a map of the next port. As far as air conditioning was concerned, we were not even using the air conditioning in our cabin as the air extractor was largely sufficient. Food - Breakfast was served either in the Giardino buffet (buffet style) or in the Botticelli Restaurant (formal table seating). There was a wide variety of food ranging from eggs, bacon, cereals, pastries to fruits. Late breakfast was available in the buffet for late bed risers till around 11.00. Lunch as well was served either in the Giardino buffet or in the Botticelli Restaurant. We mostly went to the Giardino Buffet where we had a variety of food to choose from. There was a new theme everyday for lunch in the buffet area (Mediterranean, Chinese, Creole, Indian, etc). On some sea days, we had special lunch "Chef Surprise" by the poolside or in the corridor leading to the Piazza Italia when it rained. On the Terrazza, there was also an outside grill with French fries, on the spot hamburger and hotdogs for lunch. The Terrazza was my favourite place on the ship in the afternoon when it was not too crowded. Loved the views and the sea breeze there. The buffet area was always like a beehive, always opening up and closing up for something else - breakfast, late breakfast, lunch, teatime, kids buffet, teens buffet and sometimes alternative dinner. One can imagine how big an organisation this must be to run the buffet everyday all day. The buffet supervisors and the snacks stewards worked really hard to keep the place always up and running and always attended to guests' requests (even the most eccentric ones) with a smile. Dinner was served in the Botticelli Restaurant with the first seating being served at 18.15 and second seating at 20.45. The first seating was served by far too early taking into consideration that we always had to rush to shower after a full day out. Service by our charming waitress and assistant waiter was always excellent. The daily menu consisted of appetizers, soup, pastas, main course, salad, cheese and dessert. One could choose as much courses as one wanted. We had a number of very good and appetizing courses. On two occasions, we were entertained by a nice waiter show. Everyday at 23.30, snacks were served in the Tango Ballroom and on some nights, we had midnight buffets. Food arrangement was always very nicely done. The midnight buffet in the kitchen was also truly amazing. We felt like visiting an art gallery. The kitchen was decorated with very nicely and finely carved fruits and vegetables which had been done by talented Filipinos. Due to the weather, we only had one midnight party and a midnight buffet by the poolside. There was a live ice carving demonstration and we had so much fun at the party. Coffee, tea, chocolate and a wide variety of infusions were readily available until midnight at the Giardino buffet area. There was so much food on board but so much waste as well. I have read other people reviews complaining about the lack of food or lack of variety. Personally, I have never ever in 22 days felt hungry because there was not enough food onboard. On the contrary, the food was so plentiful that we felt we were eating all day long! We have however been appalled by the fact that all remaining good food on the line is thrown away as the majority of the crewmembers do not have the right to eat the same food as passengers. Such a waste and such a pity! Only a happy few arrogant crewmembers had the right to eat at the buffet. The English host kept saying: well, anyway we're not wasting food. We use it to produce steam and it is much cheaper than diesel! Oh come on! The buffet area was cleaned spick and spine every night and it was a pity to see some people making such a mess in the buffet area. I often wondered whether they behave like that in their own house. Some people filled their plates with monstrous portions of food as if with the fear that they would starve to death on the ship and then obviously, left aside terrible heaps of leftovers. Gala nights - We had a total of 4 gala nights on our cruise with formal dress code being required. The first one, the captain conveyed everybody in the Opera Theatre for a free champagne toast and a very short address to the public. We would have appreciated that the number of gala nights be communicated to us prior to embarking on the cruise in order to bring appropriate outfits and in sufficient number. Maybe next time! Night Entertainment - The night shows at the Opera Theatre were of a good level and varied. The best shows were the Romanian acrobats, Rob & Miky and the Flamenco dancers, Trio Mulero. Thumbs up! The worst shows: Singer Jo Lis and Tenor Alberto Jelmoni. The Costa Romantica dancers were very good as well. I missed the crew show as I was too exhausted after going out that day. Daily activities - Daily activities were conducted by the animation team. The dance lessons with the Brazilian dance instructor were always excellent. (Bachata, cha cha cha, latin dance, mambo, merengue, tango to name a few). This was among the few things that kept us alive during sea days and I must say probably one of the things that helped us not take on any extra weight. However, generally speaking, there were repetitive animation activities such as quiz, manual works and lectures. Other one-off activities included live fruit carving demonstration, kitchen visit, chef culinary demonstrations, spa demonstrations or Chinese lessons. Roman catholic religious activities were performed daily by the capellano. Information desk - I was not particularly impressed by the information desk staff. It was usually very crowded with lots of people queuing up. The staffs, mostly Italians were not very welcoming in their approach. Spa and Beauty Centre - The spa and beauty centre was a total waste of time. The spa staff never seemed to know whether they had to run spa activities as mentioned on the TODAY and almost always seemed to be annoyed to have to conduct these activities. The activities were also mostly repetitive. The spa staffs were also almost always using the spa for their own personal benefits/grooming. Excelsior Casino - opens at sea only. Did not use that one Photo - On gala nights, a team of photographers would go around in the Botticelli Restaurant to take individual or group pictures of the guests and they would also set up several photo booths with various accessories near the Piazza Italia so that people wishing to take professional pictures could do so. I had a couple of these and the photographers were always so friendly and talented. However, the minus point was that the photos were really expensive (Around EUR 20 each). Duty free shops - Duty free shop was open only at sea. Everyday, there was a different array of goods on offer. We certainly made some good buys and it was always nice to do some window-shopping in the night. Cruise Excursions - The cruise excursions were really overpriced. So, we mostly did our own thing which was by far cheaper and applied a simple rule whereby we only took excursions requiring boat transfers (e.g Phuket and Seychelles). The excursions were hassle free and well organised. However, we did not understand why the tour office had such limited opening hours. This was very frustrating. This resulted in endless queues and chaos since the tour officers were so overwhelmed with passenger queries. No explanations were given as to why the volcano tour in Reunion was cancelled. We eventually learned it through hearsay. However, for the excursions that we booked through the cruise, I must say we were very satisfied with our day. The local tour guides were very friendly, professional and did their best to please the guests. Crewmembers - I must say I really enjoyed this cruise for the friendliness, smile, openness, simplicity and courtesy displayed by Costa's crewmembers. The bartenders, waiters, assistant waiters, buffet supervisors, snacks stewards, cabin stewards, animators, gym instructor, duty free shop attendants, photographers were so great. They were so easy to talk to. Very open and generous people who work damn hard. We found out that they work extremely long hours 7 days a week for a not so great pay and most of them have a first bachelor degree. We were appalled to see the waiters carrying trays of dining wares endlessly. But despite them being tired, they were always there with a smile on their face, happy to be able to help. With such an international crew, I was so glad to get to know people from the Philippines, China, India, Honduras, Peru, Romania, Croatia, Latvia, Brazil, Morocco and Spain. Generally speaking, I noted that crewmembers originating from these countries were far more friendly and open than crewmembers coming from Italy or UK. Moreover, as a general rule, the ship's admin staff and higher officers were arrogant and almost never smiled to passing by passengers in the corridors. They would also almost never exhibit any sign of friendliness or courtesy towards the guests. The English host was damn arrogant. Not to say the least about the doctor! At first, we thought he was the captain. Walking around with his superior looks! The photo manager had such a bad look in the eyes that he almost certainly frightened all the guests away from the photo exhibit area. Fellow cruise passengers - we made countless number of friends of all age groups coming from countries as diverse as Switzerland, UK, USA, South Africa, France, Reunion Island, Spain, Croatia and Mauritius. Generally speaking, the passengers were very open and friendly and it was always very interesting to meet so many people coming from so many different countries. All we had initially in common was that we either spoke English and French. It was on the cruise that I realised how lucky we were to be able to converse in both languages. And 3 weeks onboard the same ship certainly creates some ties. The bad side of it was that there were many grumpy passengers as well. Passengers complaining for as little as why it is raining or complaining about why they lost the little funny games organised onboard. It was such a pity! It was only a game after all! Why bother?! We were on holidays! There were also a bunch of rude passengers as well who seemed to be annoyed to see people around. I often wondered why they left their home to come on a cruise where obviously you will get to see a lot of people. Disembarkation - Upon arrival in Mauritius, we were required to have a face-to-face meeting with the Mauritian customs in the Tango Ballroom and this was really bad! Monstrous queues. We had to queue up to collect our passport and then queue again to have it validated by the Customs officials. Costa should really take care of that. Disembarkation guidelines by the French hostess were also not very clear. We were asked to vacate our cabin at 7.00, which was by far too early and we were required to wait in the Opera Theatre at 8.30 perhaps for some more formalities but at 8.30, we were told we could get down freely whenever we wanted. This took a matter of minutes. Luggage could be found very easily and there were luggage personnel to assist. Issues with Costa Romantica - Smoking - Smoking was the main issue we faced onboard. Costa should really cater for this issue and should have a segregated smoking area in the open air. This was totally unfair towards those not smoking. I am particularly sensitive to smoke and on several occasions, I felt unwell with the smoke. This issue was particularly acute in the Piazza Italia and the Tango Ballroom (the two main common rooms) and with children and non-smoking people around, this was really awful. Tendering - We had to use tenders in Phuket and Maldives. The tendering process was not always very well structured. People were rushing in and out of the tenders and we often wondered whether the tender was not filled well above capacity and frowned at the idea of an emergency. I do not believe that the tenders were fully equipped with life jackets for so many people. Pool - Did not use the pool at all. The pool was definitely too small for such a big ship and for so many passengers. Great itinerary - The itinerary was the primary reason why we chose to do this trip and it certainly paid off. We definitely think it was well worth value for money. We certainly had the best time of our lives and we really did not want to get off the ship. Reflecting on our cruise, I must say we were very lucky. We almost always fell on nice taxi drivers (except in India) who spared no efforts to show us around. Plus we had such a beautiful weather during the days at port. On several occasions, it rained at the end of the day when we were back on the ship or nearing the end of the day and one whole day at sea. Many passengers groaned about it. But we took it well. Mother Nature had been good enough to give us the entire day out, well, it was fair enough that she should take the night. Throughout our journey, there were never any signs of pirates and we never felt insecure. We had rough sea from Phuket to Colombo while crossing the Bay of Bengal and from Seychelles to Reunion Island. Some passengers were seasick when the ship rocked. Fortunately, I was spared. Plus point is that seasickness pills are available free of charge at the information desk. All in all, if I were to do the cruise again, I definitely would! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We did a cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. This was our 17th cruise and so we certainly love the lifestyle. We were looking for an Asia cruise and this cruise provided the time and itinerary we were after. The whole trip ... Read More
We did a cruise to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. This was our 17th cruise and so we certainly love the lifestyle. We were looking for an Asia cruise and this cruise provided the time and itinerary we were after. The whole trip was booked via an online agency and there were no problems with the booking. We found the Costa website a little difficult but managed to navigate it and booked our shore tours before we left. The ship left from Singapore. No problems with flights or arriving at terminal. When we went to embark there seemed to be some confusion. Embarkation was late and we were given three different times. However, we made it aboard but our cabin was not ready. We headed for a buffet lunch and then went to the cabin. The cabin was great. Roomy, spotless and a great ensuite. The cabin steward was helpful for the entire trip and nothing was an issue. His service was exemplary. We were on second siting dinner. Our table allocation was fine and the people on the table were tremendous. We made plenty of new friends with them and shared many laughs. We met up during the day and spent lots of time together. This was just as well as the entertainment during the day was woeful. It was very repetitive. As an example on one day there were three trivia quizzes! This is not much variety for entertainment. Teams needed to be titled by a country as the World Soccer Cup was on and so they were sticking with the theme. This was a good idea but the scores for the trivia quizzes were accumulative over the whole cruise. If you didn't attend one session you couldn't possibly win. There was no activities for younger people at all. Often an activity was led in multiple languages which was great but if you couldn't follow the accent you just missed out. We often felt belittled as we didn't speak Italian. One person we met on the trip was actually told by the office star that they shouldn't have come if they didn't speak Italian. The meals were fine and well presented. There was a great variety and never a shortage of any dish. The ship itself could be fine but needs some major refurbishments. The pools were crowded and small and the pool surrounds needed maintenance. The outdoor carpet needed replacing and so signs were placed warning of dangerous surface rather than having it repaired. There was no picture theatre on board or any other form of watching a movie. The TV in the room only had tow English speaking channels - one a news service, but over a dozen Italian language channels even though a large percentage of the passengers were English speaking. Due to language issues the night entertainment in the show room had to be limited. It would be difficult to run a comedy show in six languages. The entertainment in the show room was fine. Twice we went to karaoke only to find it had been cancelled. The disco often didn't open at all. The ports of call were brilliant but the shore tours were very mixed. The ship berthed in Tianjin and we were able to purchase a ride to town on shuttle service. We were given a map of Tianjin form the ship staff only to find that the shuttle bus actually took us to Tugganu which was 40 kilometres out of Tianjin. The bus driver explained that we were nowhere near where the map was and we needed to catch a taxi for a one hour ride to get to the town centre. We were in a starbucks coffee carpark and there was nothing around so we, along with everyone else on the bus, went straight back to the ship. The same issue happened with Cheju where we told it was a shopping tour but we were taken to a duty free shopping centre and as the ship had collected our passports we couldn't buy anything. When I put my grievances in writing to the shore tours manager when getting back on the ship I was informed that Costa had fulfilled their obligations and taken us to a shopping centre. It was not their fault that we couldn't buy anything! They were anything but helpful. We will continue to cruise but never again with Costa. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
We've just returned from the May 1, 2010 sailing of the Costa Romatica out of Singapore (stops in Ho Chi Mihn, Da Nang, Hong Kong, Manila, Kota Kinabalu and Bandar Sari Begawan). While many reviews of the ship, staff and Costa line in ... Read More
We've just returned from the May 1, 2010 sailing of the Costa Romatica out of Singapore (stops in Ho Chi Mihn, Da Nang, Hong Kong, Manila, Kota Kinabalu and Bandar Sari Begawan). While many reviews of the ship, staff and Costa line in general have been pretty tough, my overall assessment is that this was a decent trip and the destinations were worth the problems. Having said that, many of the points raised in the tough reviews are true and lots of improvements are needed. This review comes from a very experienced business traveler with high but realistic standards and experience on four other cruises on Princess, Norwegian and Carnival. This cruise was my first experience with Costa. My wife and I are Canadians in our early 40s and traveled with our 1.5 year old son. We chose this cruise despite reading the negative reviews based on the itinerary. We really wanted to visit Vietnam and a cruise is a great way to see some harder-to-visit places with a young child. The Ship This ship is older, but is in decent condition and still has many elegant touches. The large lounge on the 8th level deck is particularly elegant, albeit quite retro-looking. It is a small one so is easy to figure out but lacks some amenities of other ships. As other reviews note, Costa appears to have a far more liberal smoking policy than other ships and the corridors had a fairly heavy smoke smell. I am very sensitive to smoke, so am pleased to report this did not penetrate the cabin at all. One of the other problems is that on three occasions, there was a strong smell of fuel on our deck. While it was quickly addressed (within an hour or so), it did lead me to wonder what was the source of the problem. One of the other issues was the very weak air conditioning. AC was non-existent in the common areas like elevator banks, weak in the halls and cabins, but decent in the dining rooms and show lounge. The Cabin We had an outside cabin (for some reason Costa would only allow us to book an outside cabin with our small child) on the 4th level. The cabin was in decent shape, a good size, and had a reasonable amount of storage space. The furnishings were fine and everything worked. The room had both European and American power outlets, which was helpful. The carpet was filthy - it had stains everywhere and needed replacing, not cleaning. The bathroom was functional but wasn't well cleaned upon our arrival. There were two dried contact lenses on the bathroom counter as well as some hair bands from a previous guest in the shower. The shower also had mildew in several places. On the positive side, I did mention this to our cabin steward and she did a "deep clean" of the shower on the second day and removed most of the mildew. One of the other complaints was the water supply. There was no cold water at all in the cabin. In fact, even when on a full cold setting, the water was almost hot. I am not sure if this was due to the steamy Asian itinerary, but was strange to me. More importantly, the water was also quite yellow on several occasions. I suspect this was due to receiving different water supplies in different ports, but it did seem to vary from day to day. Some days were fine, others less so. The Itinerary/Tours This was the primary reason for our choice of this cruise (and it appeared to be the same for almost everyone on board) and we weren't disappointed at all on this score. The itinerary was fantastic and the problems we encountered on board were certainly compensated by the fantastic itinerary and tours. We did Costa-arranged tours in Ho Chi Mihn (Exploration of Ho Chi Mihn), Da Nang (My Son Holy See and Shopping at Hoi An), Manila (Tagaytay Tour and Panoramic Manila), Kota Kinabalu (Rainforest Trecking, Sun and Sea) and Bandar Sari Begawan (Brunei City Orientation). I'd have to say that all tours were good and some were excellent. They were a bit expensive (not too much more than other lines though), but the tour operators were very good. Several tours provided bottled water and small gifts (like ballcaps) which were unexpected, but appreciated. Vietnam was definitely the highlight for us. We loved the Da Nang tour and despite the extreme heat, had a great time even with a 1.5 year old in tow. The Vietnamese were incredibly warm and generous and despite visiting about 60 countries in five continents, wowed me. We saw workers in straw hats behind oxen and water buffalo in rice fields - and it wasn't a Disney-like show for tourists. An old vendor selling trinkets offered my boy a little gift from his shop and wouldn't take any money when offered. The visit forced me to think about how well we live in the West and, like many other visits to developing countries, reminded me to worry less about the petty stuff about which we spend too much time worrying. Of course, many of the other places we visited were rich and wonderful in their own ways. Singapore is an amazing and fun Asian bubble and Brunei showed its enormous oil wealth alongside its rich and beautiful Muslim heritage. My photos of the mosques are amazing. As we had friends in both Singapore and Hong Kong, we did our own things and both ports are very easy to do that. As Costa was involved in choosing the local tour operators and setting the itinerary, I'd give them high marks for that. The Food/Dining The food quality was also quite high. It was clear that money was spent bringing in good quality ingredients (cheeses were excellent and portions were large). Each dinner had seven possible courses (appetizer, soup, pasta, main dish, salad, cheese and dessert). This is where the Italian heritage of the cruise line showed - the food quality and preparation was very good. Many pastas were fantastic (my favourite course). There were always many options for each course and the menu continued to change throughout the cruise (I'm not sure there were any repeats in 14 nights). As a North American, many options were more suited to the European palate (different meats and/or cuts and the preparation was quite different than at home), but I can't imagine anyone not finding something to their liking. I didn't like everything I ordered, but that's the case with anyone, anywhere. I think other reviewers were far too hard on this aspect of the cruise. Costa did a good job in the kitchen. I heard good things about the pizza restaurant, but due to its terrible hours (only opened from 9 pm to midnight), we didn't get to go a single time (remember, we had a 1.5 year old with us). My major complaint about the dining were the restrictive times and options. Several days into the cruise we skipped our early seating dinner and were surprised to learn that the buffet was not open for dinner. If you missed dinner, the only option was to order from a limited list of room service items (with a two euro charge). I have to admit, our Norwegian cruise really sold us on the "anytime" dining idea. The buffet was open for breakfast and lunch and was of surprisingly good quality. A few special stations were open (made to order eggs, fresh pasta and other items) at each meal time as well. I do not understand why a small buffet wasn't available for dinner. There were no specialty restaurants on board. There was an outside grill for hamburgers and hotdogs at lunch, but these again were not up to North American standards. Both the hotdogs and hamburgers were gross. Chicken and lunch steaks were available and were a bit better at the grill. As many have asked, the buffet had soft ice-cream machines open at certain times, but while it was ok, it wasn't great. My comments about the service in the dining area will follow. Staff/Service The service levels on the ship were a mixed bag to be honest. I struggle to write this section as several staff people were very good (Nilesh, our assistant waiter was a super nice guy), but overall, Costa staff were noticeably less friendly and service-oriented than other lines. I generally hate to make generalizations, but I will make a few. Typically, staff from the Phillipines (whether on a ship or not) are among the most kind and hardworking people you'd ever meet. You have to work pretty hard to get a Filipino to stop smiling, but it appeared that something did just that. Many, many staff seemed quite unhappy and I found that I would often say hello or smile long before they did. I suspect this may be due to the ship's management. I'm generalizing again, but the Italian management staff was quite unfriendly and seemed to brush by passengers without a greeting or even a smile. I did hear that staff wages were recently cut drastically and the ship wasn't full, so perhaps that affect staff morale. Still, the ship seemed to run reasonably well. Meals were delivered, rooms were cleaned, tours were arranged, so it wasn't all that bad. But as many of us travelers know, the attitude of staff towards the guests makes a huge difference in one's perceptions of the experience. If other Costa sailings are like this (and reviews suggest this may be true), a major tune up of management is in order. I will say that despite Costa being part of the Carnival family, it definitely does not have an American level of service. The Passengers Let me add that while other reviewers didn't like the fact that announcements were made in many languages or the degree of diversity among the passengers, this was a nice thing about the cruise from my perspective. I'd say that the largest groups on the ship were Italians, Australians, New Zealanders, Germans, French and Russians. As is typical of longer and pricier cruises, it was an older crowd. I really enjoyed meeting people from around the world and everyone was super nice to my little boy. I was surprised to see several children (perhaps 10-15) and even a baby younger than our son. We did visit Costa's children's program a few times and I can see why it is well-regarded. The Italian manager there was just excellent and his staff was very kind too. Pricing We paid about $2200 US per person for our outside cabin for a 14 night cruise. After an awesome deal on a South American cruise with Norwegian last year ($750 for a 12 night cruise for a balcony), this did seem high to us. I will say that staff was definitely not pushy about trying to get more money out of passengers like on other lines. I can't recall anyone asking us to buy or upgrade anything, which is a difference between the American lines. Photos were available, but not in your face or forced on you. There was a modest amount of shopping and prices didn't seem too bad. Internet usage seemed far less expensive than on other cruises. I believe I had 2-3 hours of time for about 30 euros. Everything was priced in euros, but the financial crisis seems to have helped us as even our Canadian dollar was at a decent exchange rate with the euro. Other than cruise tours, we didn't spend a great deal of money. We had the odd soft-drink or glass of wine and prices seemed about the same as other cruises (expensive but not ridiculous). I will say that bottled water seemed pricy especially as the ship water was so terrible. Either provide passable tap water or don't charge so much for the bottled stuff is my opinion. Laundry services were available but at a fairly high price. There was no ability to launder your own stuff in pay machines (I liked Princess for that). Other lines have at least had an occasional deal to do a bunch of stuff at a flat rate (all you can stuff in a bag). Costa did offer this, but only the second to last day. On such a long cruise, I would have thought they'd do this a few times (like other lines). Drinkers may have benefited from a drink package (some had to be purchased in advance). We didn't do too much of this, so a package wouldn't have made sense. Traveling with a Small Child As I mentioned earlier, I think a cruise is a perfect way for parents with small children to travel. This was Kennedy's second cruise. We took him on a South American sailing with Norwegian (Buenos Aires to Valparaiso) when he was six-months old and on this Asian sailing at 1.5 years. He is a good traveler (he's been on 150 flights and four continents now), but I think most kids could do this more exotic sailing with some degree of ease. The time zone change was tough (it is exactly 12 hours different for us), but our trip was almost three weeks in total so there was time to adjust. The ship was well set up for kids (high chairs for dinner, the ability to request certain foods, milk given to us by the litre, a play-yard to use for sleeping, a decent kids club and play area). I should say that while the ship had two small pools, both had salt-water and were very deep (the shallow pool was over five feet deep at a minimum). This wasn't great for our boy as even in my arms he didn't like being in such deep water. As a result of traveling with a child, I'm not able to evaluate the evening shows. We did attend a few lectures on Asian history with an Italian professor and they were very good. While it was some work (the heat, pushing a stroller in tight Asian streets and alleys), we had a blast showing our son another part of the world. We have some amazing photos of him in Asia which we'll proudly show him in future years. Cruises really do allow you as a parent to see some exotic places while offering your child a degree of structure, safety and standard food to eat. The best part for parents who have to pack a million items is that you can pack and unpack once, while seeing many terrific places. Kennedy has his Hep A and B shots (and the other standard shots for kids of his age), but we did not have to give him malaria pills or other tougher treatments. We enjoyed almost everything with him (we couldn't do the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam as he was too young). We were careful to bring a few food items with us to avoid having to feed him on the street, but otherwise, he enjoyed everything with us. The other passengers (likely as most were grandparents) were terrific and patient if he had the odd cry or fussy moment. Overall Assessment I'd give this cruise a B minus overall. The itinerary and tours were excellent, the food quality was very good, but the service and some ship amenities were lacking. I wouldn't recommend this cruise to those wanting the full, pampered experience available on some sailings and lines. My first taste with Costa was that it is a lower to mid-range line that is in need of some major management overhauls. Still, I'd give them another chance and would do this cruise again even with the problems as the itinerary was so fantastic. If you are looking for a great itinerary and don't mind some challenges on board, then this cruise is for you. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We have never tried a Costa cruise before and when a 7 night itinerary came out for Singapore to Hong Kong (part of a 14 night Singapore - Singapore cruise) we thought we would give it a go. Costa were trying to encourage the Australian ... Read More
We have never tried a Costa cruise before and when a 7 night itinerary came out for Singapore to Hong Kong (part of a 14 night Singapore - Singapore cruise) we thought we would give it a go. Costa were trying to encourage the Australian market and were offering reasonable fares considering the lateness of our booking. We decided to give it a go. I will be making some negative comments in this review, but I must preface them by saying that the weekend we left for Singapore was the very same weekend that left thousands of people stranded all over the world. This was to create some problems for Costa, and may have had an influence on some of our complaints. I should also state that Costa also had many good points, so I do not wish to have people perceive that this is a negative review, just an honest one. We availed ourselves of the on-line check in pages to record our basic data, and when we arrived into Singapore, the bag drop and check in procedures were handled quite well. We walked down the gang plank and onto the deck 5 reception area, only to be met with the pungent smell of stale cigarette smoke. What have we done, we asked ourselves. We did not realize that smoking was allowed inside the boat in every area, except for the Juliette bar and the restaurants. For non smokers this can be a nasty surprise. Australians have now become used to smoking restrictions in public areas, and even the Australian smokers we spoke to, were surprised at the lack of restrictions. This freedom to smoke was to restrict our involvement in many activities that were held in lounges that allowed for smoking. Continuing on the theme of the pursuit for fresh air, leads us to the outdoor areas. The Romantica does not have a promenade deck, only a sun deck (on two levels). There is very little usable shade on these decks, and in essence I expect that the boat was purpose built of Mediterranean cruising, that involved daily port calls. It is more of a floating hotel with a roasting deck on top. To emphasis the "hotel" comment, the non smoking Juliette bar, where we spent most of our time whilst at sea, had port holes, but so high that we could not see out them. Meals and seating. The buffet restaurant delivered both breakfast, lunch and afternoon teas. Whilst the food was palatable, it's menu items were generally of a lesser quality than the main dining room. Hot breakfast selections never seemed to change, and by day 3, cereals and pastries seemed to be the only appetizing items. Conversely, the evening meals were very well presented and of a much higher quality. One looked forward to the evening meal. However, there was one negative, and that was the set seating arrangement. The first sitting was usually at 6:30pm and the second at 8:45pm. We had booked for the first sitting, but were told on day one that we were on the second. We never eat that late, so we complained. We were asked if we could accept the 2nd sitting for that night and it would be sorted out the next night. We complied with the request, knowing the problems that the volcano had caused. (Costa allowed disembarking passengers to stay on the cruise if they could not get back to Europe). Anyway, we actually had room service instead. The next day we were place on a table where no one spoke any English. That was their offer for the remainder of the cruise. We found an unused table in entry to the restaurant and insisted that we use that one, and they obliged. The cabin was wonderful, with a very spacious feel (we had a 2 berth double). The bathroom was equally spacious and was quite a surprise based on our other cruise experiences. The cruise line quoted a refurbishment in 2005, but the room did appear to be much older, but non the less it was very comfortable. The entertainment (after dinner) was also very good, with a much larger variety that most cruise lines we have been on. If you do not like cultured entertainment, like classical piano, opera, etc then you might have a different opinion, but we enjoyed it. It came with the obligatory, dancers and acrobats to boot. Great stuff. We cannot comment the extra activities that were arranged as they were held in a smoking lounge, and so we did not participate. Excursions were handled with great efficiency, and we never had to wait too long to place our order for the next day. They were fractionally more expensive than we expected, and were in Euro's which made it worse. Not terribly good value, but that is more an effect of the poor exchange rate. Because of the smaller numbers disembarking in Hong Kong, the whole process was quite painless, although, they wanted your suitcases out for collection by 1am, which was a bit of a nuisance - just had extra hand luggage for our personal items until we retrieved your baggage quayside. Other comments. The majority of the passengers were Italian, German or French, with some Spanish and about 100 Australians. We never encountered any cultural issues or conflicts other than the smoking one. We were told that Europeans in general do not regard smoking as the health hazard that we have been educated to understand. So, if you don't mind the smoke, and don't mind the exposure to the sun when outside, and don't mind if you cannot speak to your table guests at dinner, then you will love it. Others will find it a compromise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We had a cruise on Costa Romantica from Singapore for 14 nights around SE Asia visiting 6 ports. Had never cruised with Costa before and reading some reviews was a little apprehensive, but this was totally unfounded. Embarkation was simple ... Read More
We had a cruise on Costa Romantica from Singapore for 14 nights around SE Asia visiting 6 ports. Had never cruised with Costa before and reading some reviews was a little apprehensive, but this was totally unfounded. Embarkation was simple yet the Customer Services Desk on board was chaos (luckily we didn't need it on boarding), due to passengers who were afforded a free 14 night cruise because Costa, through no fault of Costa, could not fly them back to Europe and UK due to the volcanic ash problems. Once things had settled down in that area we found no problems, language was possibly an issue but could be overcome. We had breakfast and lunch when on board in the dining room, the buffet was crowded usually and much of the same each day. The comfort of waiter service in the dining room, even if we were at a table with non-English speaking people, was well worth while. At dinner we were seated with fellow Aussies and around us were other Aussies, Kiwis and English. The food at Dinner was, great, as was breakfast and lunch in the dining room, and a testimony was the excess weight I now have to work at getting rid of. Entertainment was good, probably since there were some UK entertainers who had joined the ship. Excursions, while seeming to be expensive were no more than on other cruises we have been on, and provided an opportunity to experience the various ports we visited. While a couple of lounges provided smoking areas we always found smoke free zones and were not inconvenienced. The only drawback was the poor yet expensive Internet facilities on board, I found it easier to wait until in port and use an internet cafe. All in all it was a very pleasant holiday, and the good weather made it more so, the only seas which wee not like a mill pond was in the trip between Hong Kong and Manila. I would definitely consider Costa again for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
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