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12 Costa Singapore Cruise Reviews

Costa Fortuna Cruise max passenger capacity is 3,200 and thus not that huge to handle with around 1,100 crew members. Ship layout easy to understand and staff very easy to handle your technical or hospitality issues. 98% of the crew do ... Read More
Costa Fortuna Cruise max passenger capacity is 3,200 and thus not that huge to handle with around 1,100 crew members. Ship layout easy to understand and staff very easy to handle your technical or hospitality issues. 98% of the crew do their job with love and passion and are well trained to handle difficult demanding passengers . I recommend 1 crew from the bar Vietnamese Ngoc Tuan Vo . The food variety is truly huge with beef turkey fish pastas salads fruits . Their deserts are poor . Healthy and vegetarian options available too . Spa is very overpriced . The many jacuzzi are the best most powerful you can imagine. Clean and hygienic too . Pools with waves are interesting. Slide always closed despite good weather . Passengers onboard are polite and understand the rules . Internet connection is ok , especially with the cheap package" social internet package ". Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
I was quit apprehensive after booking for this cruise which fitted well with my schedule after having read some not so nice reviews. All these were dispelled after completing this cruise.I juz can't find any disappointment with this ... Read More
I was quit apprehensive after booking for this cruise which fitted well with my schedule after having read some not so nice reviews. All these were dispelled after completing this cruise.I juz can't find any disappointment with this trip except the embarkation process took slightly more than 2 hrs and some younger waiters were inexperienced during the breakfasts served in thr dining room. The ship had a very capable and hospitable crew though at times, it was difficult to communicate because of language problems. The food was good and more than sufficient which were served at my table. My room was exceedingly spacious and comfortable. The entertainment each evening was spontaneous, professional and exciting. I would however, appreciate if free water could be served for those having their dinners at Raffalelo and Michelangelo. I am glad that I have chosen this cruise. i will definitely participate in costa cruises again if my schedule permits Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This cruise is great for families with or without kids. From the moment we check-in our luggage to the queuing to go into the ship was a breeze. Staff at check-in was very efficient. When we finally got to embark on the ship it was fun all ... Read More
This cruise is great for families with or without kids. From the moment we check-in our luggage to the queuing to go into the ship was a breeze. Staff at check-in was very efficient. When we finally got to embark on the ship it was fun all the way. The staff gave a very warm welcome. Throughout the cruise, staffs were very courteous and helpful. Cabin was very clean although the mattress was hard. We had 2 pillows each and we slept very well. For our first meal we dined at Bolero. The food is good but not fantastic. Ambience of the restaurant was so-so. We decided that we will not be having our meals there anymore. We tried the other two restaurants, Sinfornia and Fantasia. They have better variety of food there. Still good but not fantastic. Much better than Bolero. Buffet menu is the same everyday. I must give good credits for the entertainment and activities. It was so much fun with all the parties, dancing and games. The live entertainment was amazing. I would give it 5 star for the dancers. Would I go again? Yes I would but hopefully they change their daily buffet menu. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I picked Costa Victoria because she is the only vessel that arrives in Penang in the morning. Most market areas are open early in the morning and most traditional shops close by early or late afternoons. Food is good(lots of seafood) ... Read More
I picked Costa Victoria because she is the only vessel that arrives in Penang in the morning. Most market areas are open early in the morning and most traditional shops close by early or late afternoons. Food is good(lots of seafood) and value for money as compared to my recent experience onboard Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess.I think Costa Victoria has a more experienced kitchen team. Food is available 24hrs a day in different parts of the ship. Onboard activities were less varied.Service from the different dining restaurants were top-notch.My only dissatisfaction is the drinking water.It tasted salty during my stay. There was no TV entertainment in English. I rang the reception to confirm there was no movie on TV. Every channel was in mandarin when most of the passengers are from India. There is an onboard app which can be downloaded before we board the trip. This app allowed me to ring the cabin, communicate with other passengers when we are in different parts of the ship.It's free and we could find the whereabouts of our family members in the ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
First cruise experience, and I felt like the review is not doing Costa Victoria the justice it deserved. All review was so negative, but in fact, it worth as far as the price we paid. It suitable for laid back Asian family, and that's ... Read More
First cruise experience, and I felt like the review is not doing Costa Victoria the justice it deserved. All review was so negative, but in fact, it worth as far as the price we paid. It suitable for laid back Asian family, and that's it. Don't expect too much for over 25 years old ship. The pool are too small, and overall facilities was not a state of the art. About the service, it's not as nightmare as described as the early years of operations. Not excellent also, though. Ports experience was not winning any first impression prize. They start late and people are all crowded in less than suitable condition. But after that, in Phuket and Penang, everything was much better coordinated. The room is definitely cleaner than public area. Especially on the last day, the queue for ladies toilet and how awful the smell was, was terrible - if not traumatizing. So, overall it worth the money, by means if you still get their promo prize of cabin upgraded. More than that, good luck. You will lost the good value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I became pessimistic while read some critics for this cruise, and my family already booked a trip for last December. But since I got into the cruise until the trip finished, my worries turned into satisfaction. First, the food was ... Read More
I became pessimistic while read some critics for this cruise, and my family already booked a trip for last December. But since I got into the cruise until the trip finished, my worries turned into satisfaction. First, the food was nice-I love their dessert and cakes!- and we got two times gala dinner with crab and lobster, which was delicious. Restaurants opened as promised, pizza station on midnight was a good idea, our favorite place after night games and dance. A bit critic is the drinking water, it would be much better if they provide more fresh water. Second, the staffs are amazing! They were friendly and nice, you can get information easily, the restaurant staff gave warm ambiance, and the dancers were so energetic. More interesting shows will be a good improvement, although we love the Michael Jackson show. Third, the cabin, pool, jacuzzi, and other facilities were well maintained. Yes, it is not a new cruise, but I saw almost no significant damage in it. Overall, I found it nice and cozy sailing with Costa, just want to give the credit and fair critic despite of bad reviews I saw. Good job! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
If you are looking for upper class society experience, this ship is not for you. Costa Victoria is a very laid back, relax ship. Overall, this is a ship without big wow factor like rock climbing or ice skating rink. It is quite an old ... Read More
If you are looking for upper class society experience, this ship is not for you. Costa Victoria is a very laid back, relax ship. Overall, this is a ship without big wow factor like rock climbing or ice skating rink. It is quite an old ship, but some hardware have been upgraded since the editor review was made. Costa card now opens the door as well, so you can just bring one card around the ship. The inside room is tiny but the beds are very comfortable. I fall asleep almost instantly every night. Bathroom is small but for Southeast Asian size it is good. The most fabulous thing about the cruise is the programme newspaper. It tells you literally everything. It have every info you need on board and even reminds you about things you might forget. Following the programs will make you sufficiently busy the whole day. Shows at night is nice but we all feel that the Michael Jackson show could be better... Maybe there's too much emphasis on that one show. The other shows are equally good, if not better than Michael Jackson show. Food are OK, be warned there are A Lot of bread and cakes. If you are a rice person, there is always a pot of rice at the end of buffet line at Bolero. Sit down restaurant have rice options as well. The indian food are nice. Guests on board are all really casual. Staffs are friendly and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Hi all, I would really like to share with you guys my cruise experience with Costa Cruise (Victoria). I went on 3 Dec 2015 with my family, cruising to destinations such as Penang and Phuket. (Malaysia, Thailand) Service: I felt ... Read More
Hi all, I would really like to share with you guys my cruise experience with Costa Cruise (Victoria). I went on 3 Dec 2015 with my family, cruising to destinations such as Penang and Phuket. (Malaysia, Thailand) Service: I felt very welcomed when I first entered the ship. All the staffs, officers and captains were there to welcome us. The staffs then led us to our room (Deck 4,Nabucco). As for room service, the staffs were excellent and skillful in their job; they tidied our room when we were out for breakfast & dinner and spent the fastest time to complete their job to make sure that the room is neat and tidy before we come back. The guest service was very helpful for us, as my grandparent's room' air conditioning was faulty, I called the guest service to send men to repair, and immediately the workers were here to fix it as fast as possible. Staffs were polite towards everyone and helpful to guide us and help us throughout the cruise journey. Dining: We all know that the origin of Costa Cruises is Italy. So maybe you guys will be wondering: Would the cuisine be Italian? My answer is no, there are all varieties of cuisine such as Chinese and Malay. For my case, I am a 13 year old Chinese boy (Singaporean) and I was worrying about the food, will it be close to Chinese food? But when I got on board the ship, it was quite a shock to me that it wasn't all Italy food, but International cuisine. The bolero buffet (Deck 11, Rigoletto) serves rice, fruits, pasta for sure and other international delicacies. Tip 1: Try not to go to the A La Carte restaurant at Deck 5, Boheme (Fantasia & Sinfonia) because the dishes are all the same as the Buffet on Deck 11, so might as well go to Deck 11 with unlimited servings. Tip 2: If you do visit the Bolero Buffet on Deck 11, you would notice that there are 4 sections divided throughout the restaurant (International/Halal/Vegetarian). But there are actually more dishes avaliable at the end of deck 11. So don't miss the chance! Cabin: The cabin is spacious and neat. The room service is twice a day in order to keep the room tidy. The staffs who help you to make up your room will often use napkins/towels to form animals/plants. The air conditioning's temperature can be manually controlled. The overall rating for the cabin is excellent however, the design is a little weird. The window is located above the beds, so in order to view the scenery, you might have to climb up. *Note: The room card is in your room* Embarkation: Singapore I was thinking that it would take very long for us to board the ship because I have read other reviews from other users that we were given a pass/queue number and had to wait for a long period of time, just like my Star Cruise, Gemini experience last year. To my surprise, after siting at the waiting area of 10mins, we could check in and board the ship already. Tip 1: Try to board the ship as early as possible to prevent "human jam" Embarkation: Phuket The ship travelled 2 days to reach this destination. The ship will anchor at the "mini port" at the entrance of Phuket. Therefore, to get on shore, there will be boats to ferry us to Patong Beach. Patong Beach is a place for relaxation for everyone, they have many activities along the beach such as water skiing, rides on speed boat. For my family, we went with the shroe excursion that costa: Highlights of Phuket and Island Safari. Island Safari is similar to Singapore Zoo, there were performances by Monkeys and Elephant. We even had a chance to ride on elephant, it was an enjoyable moment riding the elephant with my Dad. We also went to the famous temple in Phuket, Wat Chalong. Afterwards, we visited the first cashew nut factory in Phuket. We bought many dried fruits/nuts there and we went back to the ship. Our tour guide, Pao, he's an awesome person, he took care of my grandparents throughout the journey, sharing his life experience on the bus, chatting with us went we were bored. *Note: There are more choice of excursions* Embarkation: Penang After leaving Phuket, we headed for Penang. This time, my Dad did not book any shore excursion because my grandparents were not feeling well. So it was a Sunday, my family was walking along the streets, and happened to see many people at the street market nearby the port. It is on every sunday and the shop owners offer a reasonable price for their merchandise. It was quite troublesome before we had to walk one big round around the port to get out of the port. I suggest everyone to download the offline map of Penang in Google Maps. *Note: There are shore excursion available too* Tip 1: There will be taxi drivers outside the port waiting for you. Embarkation: Singapore (End) The had to wait till 3pm to disembark the ship although the ship reached Singapore at 2pm. There will be a colour tag for you to tag on your luggage and the colour will decide the time of disembarking. At 10am, we were requested to leave our room already. This is something I don't really like, there's still 4 hours to reach Singapore, and yet we have to leave our room so early. I had nowhere to rest but under the hot sun at deck 11, beside the pool. Entertainment: There are lots of entertainment on the ship, like Casino, Mini Arcade, Festival theatre for performances, the main hall of the ship for party and Deck 11, Pools. The Casino is only available for certain ages however the arcade is for all. Performances were held in the Festival Theatre such as "Angiolino&Janette La Fracci in Surreal Circus Comedy" and "Michael Jackson Tribute Show". The parties like "The Carnival of Venice Party" and many more are held at Deck 5. There are 4 pools of jacuzzi and 2 rather deep swimming pools. **Note: THE WATER OF THE SWIMMING POOLS IS SALTY** In a nut shell, I feel that Costa Victoria is worth the money and very suitable for family. There will be many activities for you to participate on board and board games/ balls (e.g. Basketball)/rackets (Table Tennis) can be rented by deposit. ***PLEASE DO NOTE THAT ALL MONEY SHOULD BE PAID IN US CURRENCY*** Tip: Register your credit card upon boarding the ship because at the end if the journey, you will be paying a service charge of US$48, because if you don't register your credit card, on the last day, you will have to pay US$48 and requested to queue up. I hope you like my review of Costa Victoria. Do ask me anything regarding the ship and I will try to answer it. Do share your experience with me! Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
I travelled with Costa and it was my first cruise experience. It was a short getaway with my JC friends as we wanted to get away from work for awhile before the year starts. As this was my cruise expedition, I didn’t know what to expect ... Read More
I travelled with Costa and it was my first cruise experience. It was a short getaway with my JC friends as we wanted to get away from work for awhile before the year starts. As this was my cruise expedition, I didn’t know what to expect but it was a good experience overall! However, as necessary as it sounds, I must remind anyone who’s about to take the cruise that COSTA CRUISE IS FROM AN ITALIAN COMPANY. It’s one of the cruises DNA and main selling point that separates this cruise from other cruise lines. So, logically, their menu will consist of Italian food like pizza and pasta! It’s funny that we met other fellow Singaporeans who complained to no end about the cruise, saying that the food has not enough Chinese variety. Furthermore, as crazy as it sounds, even though I am not a frequent cruise taker, I for one, know that due to the ship’s engine, the beds will vibrate slightly at night, and the food may not taste as delicious due to mass preparation! It was quite embarrassing for me to find out that the people who complained are Singaporeans, and they grumble about not having enough Chinese dishes and that the engine makes too much noise at night. To all reviewers out there, please have a fair judgment on this! Don’t blame Costa for your own unrealistic expectations and shallow reasoning. The beds may vibrate slightly at night, but it did not affect my sleep nor wake me up in the middle of the night. Furthermore, taking this cruise is to allow you to experience the different variety of Italian cuisine! Be adventurous and stop sticking to your Chinese appetite. Even so, when I was craving for some Chinese comfort, Costa did provide hot soup wanton noodles and dumplings at night during their supper meal. Absolutely wonderful and I see no reason to complain. Thumbs up for Costa for sticking true to your Italian roots and always keeping a smile despite dealing with unreasonable people. Ciao! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Services: 3.5/5 Paid services were much better than those that were free. Went for facial and spa that were on discount. Everyday there will be an event and sale and you can find good discounts on their paid services then Restaurant ... Read More
Services: 3.5/5 Paid services were much better than those that were free. Went for facial and spa that were on discount. Everyday there will be an event and sale and you can find good discounts on their paid services then Restaurant staff were very friendly and funny. They made an effort to converse and always ensured that we had out food quick and hot. They always made me and my daughters laugh. WIFI was expensive! This is the only reason why my rating isn’t 5/5. It is USD 10 per hour and even so, the connection is weak, particularly in our cabin rooms. Please do something about this Costa! Entertainment Activities:/ Facilities 4/5 Expect a lot of dancing. If you are not into dancing, you can win a quick buck at their gambling casino or play at their acrade. Seems like they hold nightly bingo sessions, but I didn’t play Most of the activities seem more catered for kids, such as basketball, party mask creation. I visited most of the gym facilities such as the gym and pool. Overall Experience: Definitetly unlike the other cruises like Royal Carribean, Costa is a more laid back cruise experience catered to young families and a relaxing holiday.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
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
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
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