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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
The cruise was chosen as part of travel package. I have cruises before, but this was the worst for the following reasons: - Lack of food choices and repetitive. They serve pasta and spaghetti with light sauce, lack of flavouring - ... Read More
The cruise was chosen as part of travel package. I have cruises before, but this was the worst for the following reasons: - Lack of food choices and repetitive. They serve pasta and spaghetti with light sauce, lack of flavouring - Entertainment all in Spanish (good for South American passengers) - Day of departure (must leave room by 8am) - Restaurants- can not chose where to sit and you get half hour slot to attend restaurant otherwise you will not enter. For instance, number 312 must attend dinner by 7-7:30pm. Furthermore, lido desk 9 all 5 restaurants serve same food - No English Channel on TV - You must pay tips at the end in American dollars, and must be on credit card. Coming from UK we only had debit card -Orange juice is waterly, and jo hot drink throughout the day apart from breakfast and afternoon tea at 4pm - Desk 2 is noisy and you hear music playing. It is annoying to hear at 11pm! Good: -Some islands were beautiful -We had nice guy who did the room -Gym - interior nice Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
A last minute purchase, at the urging of my wife I took the plunge (so to speak) and bought our 14 day Buenos Aires to Rio De Janeiro cruise. By the time I got to the actual purchase pickings were slim and I had to agree to have my cabin ... Read More
A last minute purchase, at the urging of my wife I took the plunge (so to speak) and bought our 14 day Buenos Aires to Rio De Janeiro cruise. By the time I got to the actual purchase pickings were slim and I had to agree to have my cabin selected by the Costa staff. I bought the tickets, and only a few days later got to sit down and read reviews of the Fascinosa. I actually told my wife "I'm prepared to eat the lost $2k, I made a mistake, sorry". But what with anticipation and Rio's carnival looming, she persuaded me to go anyway. One's memory tends to gloss over things later that were a big deal at the time, like the strong smell of excrement in the passageway outside our cabin at all times, The faulty toilet flush mechanism that failed 4 times during a 14 day cruise. Or the gritty feeling underfoot that forced me to demand our steward vacuum the carpet. I don't want this to become an encyclopedia but there is no way to pass on the experience without going into detail. The theatre hosted some splendid live productions, with truly gifted performers and a delightful repertoire. Marred by a self promoting "cruise director" who instructed the audience to give top marks for him. Taken tongue in cheek, this might be excusable but the relentless barrage of juvenile, racially toned "humor" had the audience too embarassed not to applaud. The restaurants were passable, portions were appropriate and well presente, service good. Shore excursions with Costa should be avoided in my opinion. Overpriced and "one size fits all" we were happy that we only signed up for one (Uruguay). Being new to cruising, perhaps I appear harsh but I am reporting what I saw. Alas time prevents me from continuing while things are fresh in my mind, but happily this cruise will eventually be forgotten. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise to extend our warm weather holiday and because the dates worked. We had just come off a 19 night Ft.Lauderdale - B.A. cruise on the Royal Princess plus a 2 day visit to Iguazu Falls. Your first ... Read More
We chose this cruise to extend our warm weather holiday and because the dates worked. We had just come off a 19 night Ft.Lauderdale - B.A. cruise on the Royal Princess plus a 2 day visit to Iguazu Falls. Your first impression starts at the cruise terminal check in which is disorganized. Once on the ship we were pleasantly surprised at the size of our premium balcony stateroom, but the balcony itself is small and the furniture is old,uncomfortable and soiled looking. We found out the next morning that the bathroom shower is poorly designed and the water leaks all over the floor because the shower curtain is too short. We pointed this out to our harried room steward who said he would have it replaced, but it never was. We used towels to soak up the leaking water every day for our 7 day cruise...how is this more efficient than fixing the shower? Our next disappointment was a the buffet restaurant which was chaos for breakfast and lunch. It is so poorly laid out that each meal turns into a free for all just to get your meal then another free for all to find a table.There seems to be a chronic shortage of seating which made us dread going up to the buffet. On sea days, when everyone is onboard the buffet situation is even worse, so we resorted to the dining room where it was marginally less chaotic for breakfast, but still unpleasant. We chose the early assigned seating for dinner in the dining room because they don’t offer open seating. Dinner was a relief because it was calm and collected and our waiter”Dino” was a Pro. The dinner menu’s were good as was the food quality, but beware that water is not included with dinner unless paid for i.e. bottled water. The wine prices on Costa are slightly less that other Cruise Lines i.e. a bottle of Chianti was $25 whereas the cheapest red wine on a Princess was $32. Aside from our balcony, which was never cleaned, the general condition of the ship was good. The decor could be described as “gaudy” The fitness centre had an adequate number of machines (some defective) but disinfecting wipes were not provided. There is a good sauna in the fitness center’s change room which was a welcome inclusion We usually cruise on Celebrity,Holland America and Princess, so if you are used to any of these lines you will be in for a culture shock. If you can get over it (as we did) you willappreciate the diversity of entertainment which is quite good on Costa, with many lounges,a very large theatre with excellent shows and a nightclub with good bands and dancing every night. Our itinerary along the Brazilian coast involved 3 stops in small ports that requiredtendering for each (one being 1/2 hour in each direction) English is not common on shoreso our general routine was walking around town,a bit of shopping then wifi and a drink allaccomplished with sign language. We both agreed that we would not sail on Costa again, which is a shame, because we felt the staff all worked hard,and the entertainment was good,but they could not make up for the buffet chaos,understaffing,poor ship design, and poor management. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We chose this cruise based on the ports of call and the price. We paid £1300 pp for a premium inside cabin and for a 19 night cruise this was amazing so you need to decide if you think that my negatives outweigh the positives (overall ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the ports of call and the price. We paid £1300 pp for a premium inside cabin and for a 19 night cruise this was amazing so you need to decide if you think that my negatives outweigh the positives (overall probably not but they may put us off Costa in the future). Included in the price: we flew to Lisbon, stayed 1 night B&B in an OK hotel and then had a full day in Lisbon; we then flew overnight to Sao Paulo and stayed B&B in the Marriott Hotel which was excellent. The following day we transferred to the ship in Santos. The cruise was 19 days taking in 5 stops in Brazil and then across the Atlantic to Teneriffe, Casablanca, Allicante and then to Genoa where we disembarked and were transferred to Milan where we had a further night B&B at the Hilton in Malpensa. Value for money was amazing overall but there were a number of issues; the entertainment in the main theatre was very poor, we have cruised with many cruise lines (including Costa before) and this was by far the poorest we have experienced and with a 5 day at sea crossing the Atlantic it was very disappointing. As dancers we enjoy the opportunity to dance on the ships and whilst we appreciate that on the Italian lines we get mainly Latin American dancing there were a number of Ballroom sessions which barely included any ballroom. The food was OK although my wife has Coeliac Disease which entails a wheat/barley free diet and whilst on previous cruises this has been very well catered for on this occasion the menu was very limited with many repeats. The overall service was good and our cabin attendant possibly the most pleasant that we have known, well done Soni... The other issue relates to the compulsory $12.5 gratuity which over a 19 night cruise proved to be very expensive. Overall some very good bits and some fairly poor. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
The organisation on this ship was terrible from the start, people pushing and shoving even fighting to get anywhere, food in the restaurant was not good, meat was mostly fat and grisly, potatoes mostly water I think they were made up with ... Read More
The organisation on this ship was terrible from the start, people pushing and shoving even fighting to get anywhere, food in the restaurant was not good, meat was mostly fat and grisly, potatoes mostly water I think they were made up with powder and water, not nice at all, No water served with the evening dinner unless you paid 2.50 a glass, no tea or coffee served after the meal. You could not get a hot drink, tea,coffee, etc if you missed breakfast which was 8-9 in the morning, or afternoon tea 4-5, if you wanted one any other time you had to pay. Hardly any deckchairs were available, this ship does not cater for so many people...3,500 thousand...(and only 1,000 staff,) with lots of young children running about day and night, even in the evening shows and evening restaurants disturbing everybody. We asked to opt out of the gratuity payment as we did not think we should pay for service that we did not receive, but we were denied this, we were told it was mandatory, so were made to pay an extra 500 dollars on top of our initial payment. Apparently no person was supposed to enter the dining rooms with only skimpy swimming ware, but this was not enforced as lots of people even sat in the self service restaurant with wet costumes on. We tried to sit in some comfortable chairs in the foyer, but stuck to the leather as they were filthy and I never saw a cleaner. The toilets around the ship were often blocked and overflowing onto the floor, such a health hazard, When we complained, the staff were very rude and never helpful. These cruises cost a lot of hard earned money, and you do expect better treatment than we got There were lots of passengers complaining about all the above, not just us. If you want a nice peaceful holiday DON'T go with Costa We have been on P&O cruises and 6 times on Cunard cruises with not one complaint, Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This is an 8 day cruise with three ( 2 consecutive ) sea days. I don't know why the crew insisted on keeping the lido pool roof closed during all sea days (despite of sunshine and 27oC) creating an awful combination of food smell ... Read More
This is an 8 day cruise with three ( 2 consecutive ) sea days. I don't know why the crew insisted on keeping the lido pool roof closed during all sea days (despite of sunshine and 27oC) creating an awful combination of food smell + pool chlorine + workout sweat, and isolating the others decks (10 and 11) from all the pool parties and contests. Nobody in our party of 22 wanted to go there. The lido buffet has insuficient lines for all the crowd on sea days, and many lines are permanently closed. Water machine on lido never had ice. No pizza, no ice cream or sandwiches on lido. No fruit juice machines after 11 AM. After 22:30h, it is very difficult to find food, there is only one line open at a time by night. By the way, some of the Costa Cruise Line policies are not kind: no free tap water during dinner, no laundries, no towel huts on pool. On the other hand, I saw top theater shows, entertainment staff is very good and guest services solved all my issues quickly. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
During the dates of 20-28 January 2012, I had a perfect experience aboard the Carnival Dream, for a 7-day Western Caribbean Cruise. Everything was spot-on, to include: dining, public rooms, the cabin, entertainment, value for money, and ... Read More
During the dates of 20-28 January 2012, I had a perfect experience aboard the Carnival Dream, for a 7-day Western Caribbean Cruise. Everything was spot-on, to include: dining, public rooms, the cabin, entertainment, value for money, and the service. I attempted to replicate this experience for my young-adult daughter’s college graduation present. I took leave from the Army and my daughter took leave from her new job. We traveled from the United States to Argentina to port. Our experience was traumatic, awful, perplexing, and cost approximately $10,000. If it was a great experience-awesome! However, I need to block out this terrible experience. Overall: Four of approximately 3,000 passengers spoke English. My daughter and I were two of those four. The remaining passengers were from Argentina or Brazil. All onboard and excursion activities were in Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Due to the low amount of English speaking passengers-no translators were available. We were ok in the beginning, as our strategy was to adapt and overcome. Dining: Our assigned seat was at 7:45 p.m., at the New York New York restaurant. Our waiters were excellent, very kind, prompt, and personable. The food was good. The 9th deck Buffet La Paloma equaled a feeding trough. During peak hours, the following was served: focaccia, focaccia with tomato sauce, and finger sandwiches. I think they served in this manner trying to ration the lunchmeat and cheese because that was the main fare during all 3 meals and open-for business-times. Seating did not exist. Children and adults pushing, shoving, kids sitting on the food and beverage bars, tables never had an opportunity to be cleaned. The food trough was, “Survival of the Fittest.” My daughter and I sat on the stairs leading to the cabins twice-as there was no place to sit in the Paloma. The staff could not keep up. PUBLIC ROOMS: This ship had 3 very small swimming pools and one water slide. All were saturated with mostly children and some adults. The same goes for the 3 hot-tubs. My daughter and I deemed them as cesspools. Children were running through the halls at all hours-screaming, blowing whistles…… There was no escape from screaming children. CABIN: We paid for a porthole room. Good space, however-the shower flooded the entire bathroom every time. Our stateroom attendant said, “If there are any problems, the toilets usually don’t flush.” However, he did an awesome job keeping up our room and providing towels so we could wipe up the floods. ENTERTAINMENT: It was limited because of the language barrier. I have never played so many games of cards in a short period of time in my life-in the cabin. VALUE FOR MONEY: Terrible. SERVICE: The staff was trying so hard with what they had. Our New York New York guys were great, and so was the stateroom attendant. One Senior Guest Service Attendant was our English lifeline. She offered her phone number and was scheduled for availability for one hour twice a-day. She also ensured we got to the right place at the right time concerning our shore excursions. STRANDED: At 7:00 p.m., the ship was scheduled to depart Montevideo, Uruguay. At 9:00 p.m., the passengers received an announcement that said, “Attention please, we are currently delayed from leaving the port because of weather. We will provide an update to you in approximately 3 hours.” That’s understandable. The next morning at 9:00 a.m. we were still there and had received no announcements. The stateroom staff went about their duties, but also did not know the update. When the announcements finally did occur, they were never in English. We tracked down our lifeline for updates. She told us, “You have to vacate your cabin at 2:00p.m., and the cruise line will assist in making new return arrangements for you at their expense.” While we waited, I tried to use my cruise card to access ship computers for internet so I could change our travel arrangements myself. The cards had been shut off. I was at the mercy of the ship. We were incarcerated. My daughter and I hunkered down in a corner. The 3,000 passengers were corralled to New York New York and the 9th deck food hell. Some passengers were handicapped and could not maneuver the crowd. Both locations had overwhelmed the staff. I was able to bring back several plates from New York New York. The waitress tried to tell me, “You can’t bring food in here (our campsite) several times. I disregarded and shared the plates with those around us. The passengers were becoming riled. I got back in line to check with our English speaking lifeline (2 hours). She said, “The cruise is not liable because of weather. I will help you find new tickets to purchase.” That price would have been $5,000 again. I said, “I am not paying for new tickets!” She told me to cut to the front of the other customer service line with approximately 300 irate passengers screaming and waving their arms. I said, “I can’t cut that line-they will kill me!” I need you to take me to the front!” She did. She took me to a computer and a phone behind the counter. I was able to change our tickets without extra charge. THE RIOT: Passengers had color-coded luggage tags that determined our order of disembarkation. The increments were supposed to begin departing at 8:30 p.m. Staging was in the theater. Now, passengers were beginning to riot and protest. One lady started this on the stage by chanting and screaming. Others were joining her and a petition was circulating the population. Staff and the 3 available security officers tried to intervene, but left. My daughter and I decided things were getting out of hand and we needed to find our lifeline. We found her with the other English speaking couple. She guided us to an alternate route that allowed us to depart with minimal confrontation. People were becoming physically aggressive. The last increment of passengers was scheduled to depart at 11:00 p.m. BOTTOM LINE: The passengers and staff of this cruise knew we were supposed to disembark on time so that a new group of passengers could board. The dollar was the bottom line. The Costa Pacifica strategy: contain current passengers to allow preparation for next group of passengers to expedite a further money-making opportunity. There is a line between making money and treating people humanely. I have been a loyal customer as I shared my original positive experience with so many people. I am both bothered and concerned by my and my daughter’s awful experience. I don’t think I could trust another cruise again. Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Introduction. If you only want to read a "short and sweet" review, stop now and read a different review. If you want to learn about the kind of cruise product Costa is offering the South American market, read on and you might ... Read More
Introduction. If you only want to read a "short and sweet" review, stop now and read a different review. If you want to learn about the kind of cruise product Costa is offering the South American market, read on and you might find this review informative. A brief word about my cruise experience to give a measure of insight into my observations. I have been on approximately 80 cruises on all level of cruise lines from Crystal/Seabourn/ Azamara/Oceania/ Celebrity/MSC/Royal Carib/ Carnival and others. In a prior life I was a lawyer. I'm not rich, but comfortable enough to take 3 or 4 cruises a year. I consider myself pretty sophisticated, but not elitist. I now live in both NYC and Bs As. My girl friend (a Portena) and I wanted to take a cruise and to take her daughter and the daughter's boy friend with us - their first cruise. I thought this mini cruise RT from Bs As to Punta del Este and Montevideo would be an appropriate first cruise for the kids (21 years old). Costa is not my favorite line by a long shot, but I had sailed on this same ship for about 14 nights on a transatlantic cruise about two years ago. I was in Samsara and it wasn't that bad. Moreover, 3 nights, no air purchase necessary, and Samsara was kind of nice because of the dedicated dining room. An easy intro to cruising for the kids I thought. I was a bit surprised with the pricing and terms available via the So Am travel agents my Buenos Aires girl friend consulted to book the cruise. First, you had to buy the drink package (brindiamo) when booking a Samsara cabin. No other option. The price for 3 nights for each of our two inside Samsara cabins with brinidamo and prepaid grats was about $1350 ($2700 for both). I thought that was kind of pricey (450/night per cabin), but what the heck, it was certainly not an expensive cruise and the Samsara level was pretty nice...so I thought. Embarkation/Disembarkation We planned to arrive around 3pm in hopes of avoiding the rush. The terminal is a 10 minute cab ride from my Recoleta apt. Unfortunately, boarding did not start on time (noon) as there was apparently some kind of problem (reported to be wind and cargo container related) so we became mired in the process along with most of the other 3800 pax whose numbers were waiting to be called to start the process, go through immigration, etc. Fortunately, we met a friend who worked at the terminal and he was able to help us check in "smoothly" (bypass the lines). Curiously, by order of the local authorities no refreshments can be offered by the cruise line in the pax terminal. There is only one café in the huge terminal and I suspect the owner is politically connected because this one café has a monopoly on refreshments. Why else would authorities prohibit cruise lines from offering guests even a glass of water? Corruption rears its ugly head once more in Bs As. Check-in struck me as unique because no onboard room cards were distributed prior to embarking. The cards were awaiting you on your cabin bed. One is required to register a credit (not debit) card within 48 hours of boarding at guest services or at one of the several machines located onboard designed for this purpose. That was a first for me. Pax are not assisted to their cabins, but we managed to locate our adjoining Samsara inside cabins without difficulty. By the time we got to our cabin, washed up, and looked for some lunch, it was about 4:30 pm. Gratefully, the buffet was kept open longer than the posted 5 pm closure as many pax simply did not get a chance to eat before then by virtue of the delayed boarding. Disembarkation was a joke. The ship's daily paper did not have info about disembarkation or breakfast availability. Though different colored luggage tags were left in the cabin , no colors were announced. People just filed off as they pleased. Luggage was available at the gangway alongside the ship so we had to shlep our own bags to board a bus that took us to the terminal. There were 3 large ships disembarking that morning (10,000 pax). Customs did not exist. We were herded like cattle through the terminal past customs, no declarations of any kind, to the masses waiting out side struggling to get taxis that were not going to overcharge. We walked a couple of blocks away from the terminal and caught taxis to take us to our respective destinations (nearby Retiro and nearby Recoleta to my apt). What a nightmare. Cabins. I had sailed a transatlantic cruise about 2 years earlier on the Fascinosa in a Samsara class cabin which is why I booked the Samsara class on this minicruise. Samsara cabin occupants had a dedicated dining room that was far superior to the MDR and alone justified the higher cost IMO (not to mention access to the restricted Spa facilities). I was soon to find out that as the result of a recent policy change even Samsara occupants are now required to pay $28.50 pp to dine in the "Samsara" restaurant. I found that out only after dining there the first night of the cruise. My inside Samsara cabin had a bed that was situated so close to a wall and desk that getting out of bed on that sde meant squeezing through an uncomfortably narraw space. Bad. Our flat screen TV (about 26 inches) was located as far from the head of the bed as possible making viewing a bit strained but that turned out to be unimportant because there was very limited programming and what there was, was not unexpectedly, in Spanish (or Portugues).There was sufficient closet and drawer space for a mini cruise, but I doubt it would have been comfortably sufficient for a longer cruise. The shower pressure in the bath was low which was a minor annoyance, but oddly there was no hair conditioner or shampoo. My girlfriend has hair like Shakira so conditioner is an absolute must. I have never been on a ship, much less in a supposedly superior cabin class like Samsara, where shampoo and hair conditioner was not supplied. I had to call guest services twice to get some little bottles delivered to the cabin. Not sure if this was SOP or our steward simply forgot to place the bottles in our bathroom. Bad. When we went to the dedicated Samsara spa we were told by reception there that in order to get robes we had to ask our room steward. Subsequently, our room steward told us to get the robes at the spa. Hello? I was now beginning to entertain some doubts about this cruise. Another call to guest services resolved the matter. Passengers. The older I get, the more I find myself liking little kids. They are a pleasure to observe and there were lots on board (summer vacation was just ending). A whole lot. Maybe too many to suit some, but in So Am, more so than in the US, little kids hang with the grown ups till all hours. It's the culture. Apparently, it's also the culture to dress down. Generally speaking, the dress of most passengers often bordered on unintentional punk. Good slacks and a collared shirt were rare even on gala night which, due to the brevity of this cruise, was combined with "white" night. I was one of few who even bothered to wear a sports jacket. Go figure. Shorts prevailed which was actually kind of interesting given the number of women with good legs. (Of course, lest my darling girl friend misinterpret this observation, it was purely for the purpose of reportage. I couldn't care less. Really, dear.) The culture of So Americans is also more dance oriented and the dance floors located throughout the ship were frequently full of pax learning a new step or doing salsa or cumbia or you name it. They really get into it. The music was great especially at the main lobby atrium lounge where a surprisingly "big" sound was generated by a couple of alternating, equally talented keyboard singers backed by recorded dance music. Dining. My Samsara package included the "brindiamo' beverage package. Unfortunately, mixed cocktails like cosmopolitans, negronis or pina coladas were not included in the package. Thankfully, waiters at all bars would serve non-alcoholic cosmos, pina coladas etc and then serve you a jigger of vodka or rum so you could mix your own cocktail and not pay the $11 you would otherwise have to pay notwithstanding "brindiamo." Go figure. As I mentioned, I bought the Samsara cabins anyway because I thought the dedicated dining room was part of the deal. I discovered it was NOT only after dining there the first night. I then really began to question why the inside cabins were each $1350 for 3 nights. The Samsara dining room was very good when I thought it was included in my package. Well prepared duck ala orange with chestnuts, A nice grilled salmon with a large langostina sitting atop it. Really nice food with excellent service. There were very few diners in the room so we had practically all wait staff to ourselves. However, at $28.50 pp surcharge, I wasn't sure it was THAT good. At least, I wasn't sure until I ate in the MDR on the 3rd and final night and had an atrocious meal. I 'd gladly pay the surcharge to avoid the slop they throw at you in the MDR. And that included a grilled lobster for a $17 surcharge. The lobster was dry and small. It was served without drawn butter and when I asked our pleasant and hard working waiter for some, he brought individual wrapped butter pats. He had no idea what drawn butter was. Bad training. As bad as the lobster was, it was much, much better than the advertised chef's special that night which I can best describe as a ground porkburger that tasted as if it might be reconstituted dog food. It was no better than the reconstituted powdered eggs I had for breakfast on the disembarkation day. Yuch. Inedible. To paraphrase an old joke: Gee whiz , Costa. What did you do with the money? What money? The money we gave you to buy food! We ate breakfast first morning in the MDR. We could order eggs, etc, from our waiter (nice guy and hard working as usual), but still had to leave our table to get fruit from a nearby buffet. Hmm. When we ate in the "lido" buffet the next day, I found it terribly difficult to locate bacon and eggs. There was bacon at the omelet station, but it wasn't visible and there was no easy signage informing you it was available at that station. So one walks around a large area looking for stuff. Ditto for bread. There was no toaster near a bread tray. Where the heck could I toast my bread. Go wandering some more. When I mentioned this to a chef he began to argue as if having a toaster was impossible- not enough space. Hmm. Bad. We did have one lucky break - sort of. We were assigned to the early seating in the MDR as appeared on the back of the room card. After the first night at the Samsara, I went to guest services to change our first seating (8;45) to second seating (10:15). (We eat late in So Am.) I was told I had to consult the maître 'd at 7:45 pm when he would be at the MDR. At about 7:55 my girl friend went to the MDR to change the seating. The maître said it was impossible, but treated her so impolitely my normally even tempered darling was upset and got angry, righteously so. We called the dining room mgr and after explaining what happened he comped us at the Samsara for that night and changed us to late seating for the 3rd and final night. He remembered me from my TA two years earlier. High fives all around. Entertainment. In the main theater/show room there was a magician on the first night who was good. We only caught part of his act. There was an acrobatic high rope duo the next night. Pretty good. On the last night, the ship's company put on a show (Radio) which as far as these kinds of shows go, I thought was not very good. Music was too loud, dancing was spotty - not my cup of tea and not all that well received by the audience as far as I could tell. However, the entertainment throughout other parts of the ship (grand bar Topkapi, atrium bar, outside pool deck) was all great. Lots of singing and dancing till the wee hours. So I was told - I crash at about 12:30. We danced a lot before that. Conclusion. For the price I paid this was a terrible cruise. The food in the MDR was laughingly bad. The cabin was smallish, poorly laid out and ill supplied. Service was only proper after several calls to guest services. Who wants to have to complain to get things right? Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Wife and I were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and decided to take the Costa Lines Fascinosa cruise from Argentina, to Brazil, Uruguay and back. Some things were good like the nice cabin with a balcony and a cabin boy (Joao) ... Read More
Wife and I were celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary and decided to take the Costa Lines Fascinosa cruise from Argentina, to Brazil, Uruguay and back. Some things were good like the nice cabin with a balcony and a cabin boy (Joao) that made life easy for us with great cabin service and a constant friendly smile. The Samsara Spa experience at their thermal baths package was a good value for a wonderful relaxing daily experience. Entertainment and music was good for our dancing and listening pleasure. The ship halls, walls and bars are luxurious although of an overloaded kind of decoration. The pool facilities are good and so are the hot water Jacuzzis. We can’t comment on the shore excursions because we found them to be expensive, several other passengers that had used them were unpleased and we decided to do our own excursions which turned out great. Boarding and unboarding the ship was orderly. On the negative side Costa Fascinosa had the worst food quality and food availability we had ever experienced in a cruise ship. Mostly lots of bread, pastries and cold pizza, very little prepared food and hardly any availability of grilled items. The dinning experience was unsatisfactory as the service between plates was unjustly slow and the waiting became obnoxious. The waiter was nice and attentive but apparently overburdened with too many tables to service or too slow of a kitchen service. Dinner was a 2-1/2 hours event at times, just too slow for our enjoyment. We made the mistake of purchasing one of Costa Fascinosas “unlimited daily wine and water packages” for $40 plus 15% service charge per person per day. They turned out to have the cheapest tasting lowest quality wine (we tried the 2 kinds of reds they had) we had ever experienced. The “unlimited water” part of the $40 per person a day package caused us the most anger. You had “unlimited water” yet couldn’t get a bottle of your own water to take to your room and they forced you to refill very small 7oz glasses, one by one, for all your daily water needs. Each 7oz glass of water of your “unlimited water package” requires you to go to a bar, put it on your cruise card and they wont give you more than one (1) glass of water per request. My wife and I had to go from bar to bar, several times a day, collecting and carrying multiple small 7oz glasses of water, in multiple trips in order to have some water back at our cabin, simply ridiculous. The water “scarcity” we experienced and the hours spent collecting ultra small glasses of water to get the benefit of our “unlimited water package” was indeed aggravating specially since a majority of the crew seemed angry or displeased with their work by showing a negative attitude when we asked for service. Some crew were nice and even smiled, the majority seemed very displeased with their work environment and treated us with contempt. Costa Line is very expensive when compared with other cruises we have been to. The Samsara’s Spa massage at $179 per person turned out to be an over short massage (40 minutes) that had as its goal trying to sell us an expensive package of high priced products we didn’t need. As a summary we can say that after having done over 12 cruises the Costa Fascinosa cruise has been our WORST ever vacation investment. In fact, it has been our only negative experience ever in cruise lines. We wouldn’t recommend Costa Lines to anybody that would like to get their moneys worth on a quality vacation cruise. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
I like to start off with good things to say, the bread, pastries, deserts, our table waiters and cabin steward and dance lessons were all good. Outside of that the experience on the ship was the worst. This was our 16th cruise and 9th ... Read More
I like to start off with good things to say, the bread, pastries, deserts, our table waiters and cabin steward and dance lessons were all good. Outside of that the experience on the ship was the worst. This was our 16th cruise and 9th with our son. So I will compare with my previous experiences. The Costa Deliziosa has interiors that are very tacky and gaudy, your reflection will follow you everywhere and after a while you will get annoyed that 12 of you are moving in unison everywhere. The color Red is overdone to a point where now it is no longer my favorite color. Everything is in Italian, and English is the 5th language after, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese. The food choices were very limited and the stations that they had setup had very long lines. Being a vegetarian limits your choice even more. For breakfast (because of their limited choices) everyone wanted fresh eggs or fresh omelets and the lines would move at a snail pace cause the poor guy (yes one guy) making the fresh eggs an omelets just could not keep up. By the way they use European powder mixes for scrambled eggs and I cant even describe to you the texture of that supposedly edible item. The other problem was the slick floor tile they used along the main isles, so along with the crowded lines one had to share the crowed isles cause by the second day on the ship everyone was walking slow in the isles. I did not know if staff was new, however most of them could not answer questions, they had to look for someone who knew the answer or they said I dont know. The Asian staff was helpful the rest of them did not speak English or at least conveyed that they dont understand English. Their shows were okay nothing with a wow factor, same old dancing groups, singers, magicians etc.. They were big into selling us a trip into diamonds international where they showcased the variety of the best products to get at bargain prices. We skipped a beautiful day in Costa Maya because according to the "authorities" it was choppy. Later we heard that Costa did not dock the pier cause they did not want to pay the dock fees. Dont know how far this is true, but its quite possible. Compared to my travels around the Caribbean and the world we have docked and tendered in far worse choppy conditions. Anyways we will never know the real reason for skipping a port with a pier to dock, especially because a ship from princess cruise had already docked before us. Lastly I was really shocked by the rudeness of the passengers. We had 3 incidents where we (my spouse, my son and I) were told off by the passengers. Im not sure if the Europeans hate Americans or it was just a racial thing, however in the 16 years we have traveled in cruises and made so many new friends from all over the world, this was by far the rudest crowd of Europeans. And I spoke to several Americans of different age groups and they all said it will be the last time they will cruise with Costa. I also got talking to the nicer staff who spoke good English and they were all telling us of how chincyer the Costa company has gotten with wages and other means of slashing salaries after the Concordia disaster. I have never written reviews however I felt that this one deserved one cause it truly was the worst cruising experience we had. I hope that your experience is better than ours. To end on a good note we had a great American family who were our dinner mates. They are now our friends for life. We requested special vegetarian meals for dinner which were good. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
Costa Cruises is really awfull. I have never experienced such a bad taste, bad service, bad food, bad acomodations and very bad common areas. I have done a lot of cruises including the "high end" like Silversea but also the ... Read More
Costa Cruises is really awfull. I have never experienced such a bad taste, bad service, bad food, bad acomodations and very bad common areas. I have done a lot of cruises including the "high end" like Silversea but also the "standard" ones like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, etc., which by the way they are also going down all the way in terms of quality and service; and ironically Costa costs as much as the other "standard" lines; but Costa could be compare with a one stra hotel or less. They are in this business just for the money. When you take a cruise you know you will be at their will for the time of your trip but Costa has cross the line between being at their will and trying to squeeze you with the most esential needs, not of a traveller but as a human being. The line doesn't even let you have drinking water for free in your room or in the restaurants, you have to pay for it; the bathroom in your cabin is more than essential. No shampoo, no conditioner, no body lotion (bring yours as lots of bottled water) and the cabin is so untasteful with also the more essential amenities that you feel like in a YMCA accomodation. Saying that so, imagine what happens on the rest of the ship: lines everywhere, bad service and even very angry personal doing guest services everywhere, even in the areas where you have to pay extra to get a relative decent service like the spa. The food is awful, the venues are imposible to be there, the pool area is horrible and you cannot find a place anywhere just, but just to sit down to do anything. So why pay 1700 USD per person for a trip that you are not going to even enjoy but also you would not be able to use the facilities or eat decently. So if you think "what the heck I'll give Costa a try", please don't do it even if the ports are going to be the most wonderfull ones in your life: just stay at home. Oh! and by the way, they change the itinerary of the journey with anticipation wirhout making any kind of notice to the passengers. I had already arrange some private excursions in the ports and because of the change of ports and dates I lost 2,000 USD (a family of 5) and they just said "that is not our problem, we can change the itineraries as we wish or need"; this was said literally to me by the guest relations manager. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
Where to start?.Buffet...food was good, but,it was like trying eat on a packked london subway train,plus a scramble for a empty table...rating 2/10 Enntertainment...utter trash 1/10 Main meals served cold, only the ice was not cold, ... Read More
Where to start?.Buffet...food was good, but,it was like trying eat on a packked london subway train,plus a scramble for a empty table...rating 2/10 Enntertainment...utter trash 1/10 Main meals served cold, only the ice was not cold, service needs a lot to be desired, 1/10 Costa have fleecing money from you down to a fine art, 1/10 Service charge was 11 u.s. dollars per person per day,which did not improve service by waiters who appeared to wish they were eslewhere,tips to those who provided the best aervive would have made a competative service..2/10 Television service,,good if you were german or italian,,,British dream on ..0/10 The rudeness of German and Italians, have not improved over the years,all europeans...joke!! 0/10 The ship and cabins with balcony, were quite nice 6/10 Embark..complete and utter farce ...0/10 If you decide to use Costa cruises, I honestly wish you well,boy! are you going to need it. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2013
This was a family cruise with eight family members, and we had a great time because our goal was to spend time together, and it was very enjoyable. But as far as the ship... 1. Our cabin was spacious, we had a private balcony,and we ... Read More
This was a family cruise with eight family members, and we had a great time because our goal was to spend time together, and it was very enjoyable. But as far as the ship... 1. Our cabin was spacious, we had a private balcony,and we were surprised with the amount of storage space. It was clean and comfortable. Housekeepers kept it very clean and neat. They don't provide wash cloths or facial tissue (Kleenex) 2. Decorations were not to my taste, art and colors were not attractive at all. Full of naked mythology men and half naked women. They had some mannequins hanging in the clouds at the atrium... really awful. All the doors had the same side view of a roman man that to me looked like Osama Bin Laden. Paintings were in loud colors, horrible. 3. There was smoking everywhere, in the casino, decks, it was hard to be outside and not be annoyed by somebody smoking next to you. No respect for laws that were published. 4. This ship is not equipped to handle the amount of passengers it carries. It was crowded wherever you went. There were three pools and Jacuzzis, I never went because of the crowds and smoking. 5. Food. I was pleased that for dinner at Vesta restaurant I always had several vegetarian options for my meals. Their pasta is great. The rest is mediocre. Crowds and long lines for meals, for juice or coffee (by the way, I would call it "brown water") Several times after standing in line for juice, when you got to the machine it was out of juice and it would take forever for the staff to replace it. At the Buffet, it was hard to find a place to sit at peak hours. The waiters were very slow to clear the tables most of the time. The plates would pile up and sometimes we had to remove them. There were long lines for pizza also. My husband stood in line for 15 minutes one day, and he was still 8th in line, so we gave up. I never found a salt shaker that had running salt, all of them had moist salt. 6. Customer "no" service. I had no hot water in my cabin one night. I called to report, but nobody would pick up the phone. The next night again there was no hot water. This time I stayed until somebody picked up the phone and they took note of it. The next morning I went personally to Customer service to ask if something had been done, I did not want to take a cold shower again. The man asked me "Do you have hot water now?" and I said yes. "Then you have to call us when you don't have hot water so we can see what the problem is" He never apologized. I also mentioned to him that after midnight, there were loud announcements of sales in the halls. He said that I must be wrong, there were no announcements. But several other persons had heard them also. 7. Ports of call were Rio, Angra dos Reis and Punta del Este. They were nice stops, we did not take any ship tours. At Angra the time was so short, only 4 hours. By the time you got your turn to get off the ship, you had to return. 8. Lastly... on the last informational debarkation meeting, our cruise director gave us a talk into giving them good reviews in the evaluation forms. Most of the passengers were Argentinian, and I guess they don't have anything to compare. But having cruised with other cruise lines, I place Costa at the bottom, bottom of the list. Sorry. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2013
PRE-cruise: All information received in German - despite the fact that I repeatedly emailed the company and asked to have the information sent in English. ARRIVAL cabin: cabin was much smaller than the described (mini-suite, 8 Days / ... Read More
PRE-cruise: All information received in German - despite the fact that I repeatedly emailed the company and asked to have the information sent in English. ARRIVAL cabin: cabin was much smaller than the described (mini-suite, 8 Days / 4800 USD 2 per) believe they have figured the balcony of the equation. No stewards in sight for the first 4 hours. The information - which lay on the bed - in German! In other a dull sour smell from the bathroom. Information from the speaker system: The first 2 days - no information in English. Therefore, we participated neither in the "mandatory" rescue exercise. And we were not wanted. Balcony: You pay for a mini-suite, so you must expect good 2 chairs and a table at balcony. It was plenty of room for this, but there were no chairs and only a small table (dirty with paint residues) EXCURSIONS: No excursions with English guide, neither in Buenos Aries. Montevideo, Porto Belo and Santos. It was a great disappointment to us that we did not want to conduct tours of the few English speaking guests. SHIP general: Crowded, unorganised and certainly not standard as Royal Caribbean. Self-service restaurant: Boring range, long queues, lack of cleaning. The restaurant (Dinner) Beautiful, tasty set menus good service. All in all, our fears struck. We will NEVER participate in cruises with Costa company more, and can certainly not recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
This cruise was something my wife & I had been planning & looking forward to for a very long time & in the end we were more than satisfied & happy with the overall trip! We are experienced cruisers across many lines & ... Read More
This cruise was something my wife & I had been planning & looking forward to for a very long time & in the end we were more than satisfied & happy with the overall trip! We are experienced cruisers across many lines & we mainly chose this cruise because it had an overnight stay in Rio during Carnival celebrations which was a major highlight for us. We knew this Cruise would be a little different & be mainly catering towards the majority of South American passengers, so we went in with an open mind & embraced the experience. Pre cruise we stayed in Buenos Aries for 3 nights at the Kenton Palace hotel, a nice new hotel in a good location. Embarkation at the port of B.A was relatively painless considering we were only two of a handful of people there that day that spoke English. But we understood enough to know what was going on & most staff spoke enough english to guide us along. We were some of the first to board which was very handy. The only bad thing about this port is that it is a working container port & from the Terminal you are ferried away on buses to wherever your ship is docked. This was our first Costa cruise, although we had been on an almost identical build of ship on 3 previous cruises with Carnival who own Costa anyway. The ship was beautiful, especially as it was approaching 10 years old. Most of the ship was in very good condition & was spotlessly clean throughout. As opposed to the Carnival sister ships we had previously been on, this ship had a slightly different layout on the Promenade deck allowing for more bar areas & a smaller casino which was fine for us. Once again there were hardly any English speaking passengers on board but that was fine for us. We enjoy travelling & mixing with other cultures. Any important announcements were made in English & the crew & officers spoke english too. The majority of passengers were from Brazil & quite a lot also from Argentina. These two groups provided for an excellent atmosphere on board, singing, dancing, partying in general. We had cabin 1050, a balcony cabin on deck 10. Great location close to the lifts & not far from the viewing deck at the front of the ship & also just a few steps down onto Lido Deck. The cabin showed a few wear & tear marks but was clean & had everything we needed. The only negative with the cabin was that it had an older TV & you could not check your account or order things off your TV like you can with a lot of other ships. The entertainment on board was pretty good & actually a bit better than expected. The dancers & singers were all of a very good standard & the rest of the bands throughout the ship were very good also. The food in general was good but I think Costa lacks in this area compared to other lines. Firstly, we have previously become big fans of Anytime Dining & this is not something yet offered on Costa. We were assigned a nice table for two in the larger dining room at 7.30pm. The food in the dining room was not awesome but never bad either. Usually enough choice but would have been nice to see regular things like steak, or lasagne offered as an everyday menu item. The buffet was fine for breakfast & lunch but did not offer as many different items as what you may see on other Cruise lines. It would also be great if Costa kept the buffet open for dinner or at least introduce more options as far as pizza's are concerned as these are the only option other than the Dining Room for dinner. As for Drinks, we had purchased a drinks package pre-cruise which worked out to about US$26.00 per day & included a mix of spirits, wines, beers, coffees, etc. It was of really great value however we seemed to think that a lot of the drink staff, especially the drink waiters were not working for tips on this cruise. Many would just walk right by your deck chair without trying to sell you a drink. It was sometimes quicker to go to a Bar & get it yourself. Overall the majority of staff & crew were very nice & professional. Port 1: Montevideo. We did a ships excursion of the general city, suburbs area. It was ok but probably spent a little too much time driving out to see monuments rather than tour grand old buildings, etc. Port 2: Portobelo. This was our first stop in Brazil. We did another ship exc. This was a good touristy day & finished at a popular beach area. Unfortunately the weather was not too great on this day & got very wet waiting for the tender back to ship. Port 3: Santos. This was the real surprise port. We organised a private tour from the Port & it was well worth it. The beach areas along the coastline here were very scenic & everyone so friendly. Port 4: Rio De Janeiro. This port had huge expectations & it delivered. We did a tour to the major sites which we organised at the Port. There were very long lines everywhere we went but this was to be expected due to the influx of tourists for carnival. At night we went to the Sambadrome Parade & this was the major highlight of our trip. Overall we had an excellent cruise. Both Costa & the ship were a little better than we imagined they would be & would not hesitate to cruise with them again! Post cruise we stayed at the very new Boca Juniors Hotel for 1 night & this would be my first choice next time I return to Buenos Aries. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
This is our first time to write review for cruises as this experience must be shared for future cruisers that are interested in South American sailings. This was our first Costa experience and will most likely be last... We chose ... Read More
This is our first time to write review for cruises as this experience must be shared for future cruisers that are interested in South American sailings. This was our first Costa experience and will most likely be last... We chose Costa Fascinosa bcos the port stops were exactly the ones we wanted and read some of the reviews that were more from Mediterranean sailings but still good enough that we felt quite confident to believe should be as good for South American sailings. We booked inside cabin, which we normally do if we plan to do lots of excursions and know we basically will just sleep in there. The cabin was towards front to mid ship to minimize the noise/vibration from engine but this ship's engine was quite noticeable. However, worse was this loud whistling sound coming from inside of one wall every 30 mins or so and we couldn't sleep!! It was like wake alarm !! so after first night we requested another cabin which they denied saying that the ship was fully booked, we demanded for crew member to stay in our cabin to hear the problem. Then suddenly they had a cabin available for us to move... They explained that it was hydraulic something that needed to be fixed, hmmm... the new cabin did not have the alarming whistle problem but we could hear/ feel the engine, granted it was towards back but it was on 7th deck!! However we were very tired from excursions and basically we slept ok. Following notes are very important for English speaking passengers; 90% of passengers were Brazilians,9% Argentinians, 1% English. We learned this when attended a meeting by English speaking host and there were about 30 including us. Nothing bad about this, just that we needed to request daily schedule and menus in English rather than Portuguese. Then remind them often that they need to speak English to you. We normally prefer to eat in restaurant to be served but food quality was just ok, nothing special. Then found that food in buffet style had more interesting choices and tastefully Latin. Only thing is the line that you stand will be cut in by other passengers and seemed normal for them. We guess that in S/America they don't teach about line in order to take turns. Smiling but no manners. Good things are; Fascinosa is fairly new and clean. Cabin was always cleaned quickly which was nice. Service at restaurants/bars were very good too. If you are party animal, this is the ship for you as the loud music never stopped at every bar/ lounge. We thought could be that it was carnival time. Over all, it was quite interesting cultural experience feeling of being in Brazil the whole time on board but we were quite sorry to have chosen Costa. However we made best of the situation and enjoyed all of our port stops. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
Costa Cruises Brazilian Holiday December 22 to 30 2011 / 8 nights Itinerary Embark in Buenos Aries Day 1: At Sea Day 2: At Sea Day 3: At Sea Day 4: Angra dos Reis (Brazil) Day 5: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Day 6: Ilhabela (Brazil) ... Read More
Costa Cruises Brazilian Holiday December 22 to 30 2011 / 8 nights Itinerary Embark in Buenos Aries Day 1: At Sea Day 2: At Sea Day 3: At Sea Day 4: Angra dos Reis (Brazil) Day 5: Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Day 6: Ilhabela (Brazil) Day 7: At Sea Day 8: Punta del Este (Uruguay) Disembark in Buenos Aires We were in Buenos Aires over the holidays for 19 days. We were looking for options to compliment our stay; either go to Mendoza, Igazu, stopover in Santiago or other. We found this cruise on the Costa web site and found the itinerary very interesting for the week of Christmas. I have cruised with Carnival twice before in the Caribbean. Costa and Carnival are sister companies and Costa is an Italian version of Carnival. Therefore, my expectations were set on what I experienced with Carnival which is basic and not to expect too much. I had cruised on the Carnival Victory twice. For this cruise, we cruised on the Costa Magica, a sister ship of the Carnival Victory so the layout of the ship was familiar. The passengers were mostly Argentinean and Brazilian; they sold this cruise from both ends so the crowd changed somewhat after the stop in Rio. Since this was a holiday cruise, we were expecting many children. What we did not expect were undisciplined children with parents that did not seem to care. Children of all ages over ran the ship. They were everywhere, running in the hallways, getting on and off elevators pressing all the buttons on the way out, in the casino gambling, in the adult pool, in the Disco, roaming around everywhere unsupervised. It was like being in an unsupervised day care. The crew did the most they could but since the parents did not seem to care there was not much they could do short from kicking them off the ship. I must add that some of the adults were just as disrespectful, stealing deck chairs, being loud and obnoxious, cutting in on the buffet line and so on. I have never seen such chaos on a ship or in a resort or hotel in all my travels. The lack of respect for others was unbelievable. The ship's crew was just as shocked since the ship had just crossed the Atlantic a few weeks before, so it was culture shock for them. However, I do hold the crew responsible for not applying the rules out of respect to all their passengers. They seem to have given up. They did remind passengers of the rules in the daily newsletter but the rules were never enforced when situations arose. Many crewmembers informed me that the ship had over 3000 passengers. According to the ships stats the capacity is 2700. If this is true, this may explain the reasons for the subpar service and disorganisation among the crew. Cabin: I always book a cabin with a balcony on a high deck, we were on deck ten and the cabin was identical except for the decor as the Victory cabins with balcony. Ironically, I was on deck 10 on the Carnival both times. The cabin decor surpasses the Victory, it is less tacky. Our cabin steward Caitano was impeccable. Courteous and was very attentively to details, thoughtful and always had a smile. We tipped him very well and he was very appreciative. He deserved it. Food and Beverage: Breakfast at the buffet restaurant was the same everyday and the taste and quality was awful. Fruit was rare and limited to a few choices. Watermelon every day, cantaloupe one day and it was not ripe. Mango on every other day and it was not ripe. No toast, eggs floated in some sort of liquid, potatoes were very oily, bacon was extra salty, and the sausage was more Chorizo style witch I find is not suitable for breakfast. They ran out of yogurt often, no spoons available at the buffet and the coffee is from concentrated liquid, very disgusting. There was an omelette station set up in a corner and the wait time was more than 25 minutes. The la carte breakfast option was available for 90 to 120 minutes each morning starting at 7am. Not very particle hours, we made it to the la carte breakfast on the last day. Nothing better here than what the buffet offered and the service was lousy. Coffee refills were never offered and the staff did not seem to want to be there. Lunch hours for la carte were just as impractical as the breakfast. They seem to have planned these hours so you cannot make it and they do not want you there. We had the lunch buffet twice. Again tasteless food and not very many healthy options. On one day, they had hamburger patties with no buns. I asked and the staff behind the buffet and she said there was none. After lunch on our way out passing, another buffet there was many buns. Staff did not seem to care or want to be there and had no idea what hospitality service is. I witnessed some of the worst hospitality service I ever experienced on this ship The buffet dining area was always disorganised. Dirty tables, tables full of used plates, uneaten food would stay there for long periods. It was difficult to find a table. We usually had to clear the table ourselves and clean it. They definitely did not have enough staff on hand; the staff present seemed disoriented and incompetent. The drink service was slow or nonexistent, most of our meals at the buffet were without beverages due to lack of servers. These situations happened everyday at the buffet restaurant during lunch and breakfast. After a few days, I saw eating on the ship as nourishment or as much as you can get out of the choices they offered. The buffets were not refilled fast enough and often had to wait for a refill. It was very frustrating and unacceptable but had no other choice if you were hungry. I am no fan of fast food but the golden arches would have been a welcome site after two days on the ship. The buffet was opened at night for a few days during the week for 90 minutes. I found this unacceptable when you are dining at the second seating at 22h15. We did not experience the evening buffet due to the limited times it was offered. Waiting until 22h15 at night to eat after a full day at a port of call was not practical. The seated dining at night was just as chaotic and the rest of the services. The dining room never opened on time, always late. Service at the beginning of the week was slow; as the week progressed, it got too fast. The food was mediocre at best. Cheese plates were served with soda crackers or soup crackers. On the Italian theme night, nothing tasted or looked Italian, very disappointing from an Italian cruise line. I know my Italian food since I am a meeting and event organiser for high-end clients and work for Italians. The cannoli served would have insulted any Italian. It was disgusting and an insult to serve such a thing or call it a cannoli. When I mentioned this to our waiter, he told me that they serve the real cannoli when in Europe. Then why not in South America? Tea was served everyday and offered the same options every day. Dry tasteless cakes, pastries, and sandwiches that had a slim piece of cheese or meat in bread 3 inches thick. Tasteless pizza served everyday with plain tomato sauce and hardly and cheese, just enough to make it somewhat white. Would it be that hard or too expensive to add some vegetables or event some pepperoni. I thought I was on an Italian ship, again very disappointing to find the same cardboard with tomato sauce everyday!! Salt and pepper was needed to make it taste like something. What surprised me is that no proteins were in tea or pizza afternoon choices. If you missed lunch and were dining at the second seating at 22h 15, you are out of luck and will be hungry until dinner; no other option for food was available when the pizza service was done at 19h30. When retuning from an excursion at the end of the day, no food or snacks were available. You better have eaten before boarding and get something decent. We ate as many times we could on shore before embarking the ship. We dined at the club restaurant twice during the week. It was excellent and the service was impeccable. The dishes were well presented and were very tasty. The Maitre D Justine was amazing and a very hospitable host. These were the only two times that we had a decent meal on the ship. Bar service at the bar was good, some bartenders were useless, they did not know their drinks or available liquors. We quickly noted these bartenders and avoided them. We purchased an all inclusive drink package that was offered for a few hours the day of arrival. It was an excellent choice and it was profitable for us. The quality of beverages was very good and the cappuccino at the bars was good, this was a relief since the regular coffee offered at the buffet was awful. Entertainment Music from a can is not my opinion of musical entertainment. Signers sit behind a piano or with a guitarist and the rest of the instruments and computer generated. Playlist were repeated every night. I think I heard Por Ti Volare and Quando, Quando Quando more times during the cruise than I did in my entire life, it was unbearable. I avoided the theatre shows after peaking at one. Bad singers, dancers, and animators are a standard on this ship. This was a Christmas cruise so Christmas music played over the ships loudspeakers all day for 8 days, the same songs over and over again. On the 27th I went to customer service and asked why they were still playing Christmas music. There response was that it was a Christmas cruise. However, Christmas has past and it is over move on! Ports of call This is the main reason we booked this cruise and we were not disappointed. Each port was amazing we visited places we would have never visited if it were not for this cruise. We booked excursions on all the stops except for Angra dos Reis. The excursion in Rio de Janeiro was not worth the cost. The English excursion was cancelled due to little demand so we took the Spanish one. The local guide was very kind and took the time to answer all our questions. I am disappointed that the ship did not offer a personal translator as they did for a French couple in Punta del Este. I would have paid the extra costs. Ilhabela is beautiful but we were there for only 5 hours. Way too short of time to appreciate this destination. Same for Punta del Este. All stops were tendered except for Rio. The wait times to board a tender in Ilhabela was 1 hour, an hour wasted waiting in the hot sun. The wait time for a tender was 45 minutes in Punta del Este. Bad planning and timing on part of Costa. At least they rented a tender service in Punta del Este to compliment their own to make the wait shorter by 15 minutes. It was always a relief to get off the ship and have a good meal. That was reward enough and made the wait tolerable. General Internet service was slow and we were charged for time we did not use. We did log off as they requested but our time kept being counted since their server never logged us off. We ended up purchasing 7 hours of internet time. We placed a complaint on day two after purchasing 3 hours and never used more than 1. After the third complaint, they informed us that an email was sent to Italy to see if they can refund some time. I asked that they provide a report of the quantity of KB uploaded or downloaded and at what times when we were connected. I also asked that they do not provide an answer to us the last night onboard, which is exactly what happened. They credited 90 minutes of internet time to our account not a refund. I will be contesting the internet charges with my credit card company. After this experience with customer service, I learned that they are only pencil pushers and cannot help you even if they wanted to. We also had to contest 4 charges on our account that were incorrect; these were credited after 2 days. Brazilian immigration took our passports when we boarded. I questioned many time as to when our passport would be returned. I got many different answers. None proved to be correct, again bad training and people that do not care. We read every piece of information we received since all announcements were in Spanish and Portuguese on board. We were looking for some sort of info as to when we would get our passports back. When we disembarked in Buenos Aires, I was waiting to see a counter where we would receive our passport. There was none. We were near the exit when I asked a Costa crewmember where do we retrieve our passports. She answered that they were given out on board last night. I became very upset and was infuriated. We were never informed that we needed to claim our passports in the theatre the day before or go to customer service to claim it. We had to re-board the ship to get our passports at customer service. They knew immediately who we where and what we wanted. They said they called us on our cell phone but it was busy. That is untrue since my phone was on and I have voice mail. They were calling names all morning for people to go to customer service but they never called us? Again bad planning and they prove again that they customer service cannot deal with any situation. Conclusion After this experience, I will never cruise with Costa again just as I will never cruise with Carnival again. I will also add every other cruise line this company owns. Holland America, Cunard, AIDA, P&O cruises, Seaborn, ibero and Princess. If this is the kind of service they give you on Costa and Carnival I cannot expect much more form the others, even if they are called or are higher categoroes. They do not pay attention to details; do not care about passengers, its all money grab. They give you the cheapest of everything. I do not like Wall Mart and Costa and Carnival are the Wall Marts of cruises. If I am going to spend what I spent on this cruise, I will make sure next time I get something decent for my money. I am a meeting and event executive; I work in the hospitality industry. I work with clients our office has had for over 20 years. Why? Because we treat all our clients with respect and give them the best there is with the budget they have. I can tell you if a hotel if a dump just by walking into the lobby. My expectations were low and they managed to go lower. I loved the ports of call but the rest was a nightmare. A crewmember even confirmed this. I hope this helps anyone planning a cruise. My advice is look elsewhere and spend a little more and get your monies worth. When you spend your hard earned savings on vacation you deserve it. PS: My review was written before the incident with the Costa Concordia in Italy. When I read about what passengers experienced during the evacuation it does not surprise me. Chaos, confusion and bad training were witnessed all week on the Costa Magica. The Captain of the Magica and his officers were in the ship's bars every night consuming alcohol and fraternising the female passengers. Many other crew members were also in the bars. This in my opinion is unprofessional and should not be tolerated. My sympathies to all the Costa Condordia passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2005
Costa Victoria February 12-19, 2005 Brazil: Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia, Ilheus, Buzios, Santos This is a cruise up the coast of Brazil designed for Brazilians but we found it quite enjoyable as Americans. We were 2 of 60 ... Read More
Costa Victoria February 12-19, 2005 Brazil: Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador de Bahia, Ilheus, Buzios, Santos This is a cruise up the coast of Brazil designed for Brazilians but we found it quite enjoyable as Americans. We were 2 of 60 Americans on board. The other 58 were with a corporate group that kept to themselves. Not knowing Portuguese and only a little French and Spanish, we anticipated difficulty but were delighted at Costa's surprisingly good logistics -- in six languages. Resourceful tour guide Angela and our lovely hostess Patricia were informed and attentive, close all the time on shore excursions for a quick translation in English or to point out something interesting. This was Patricia's first time hosting an English-speaking group (she usually hosts Germans or Italians) and she did a wonderful job. This particular week after Carnivale was, unknown to us, "Fitness Week." At least 1000 of the 2000 passengers were in rather awesome shape, making poolside people-watching an unusually attractive pastime. Victoria parties into the night, every night, as she cruises Brazil each February. Carnivale was especially hard on the crew, as Brazilian teenagers spray painted cabins, broke into storage lockers, ran down hallways late at night, often did not tip and drank illegally from booze they smuggled on board. This week, they merely ran down hallways and yelled a lot (bring earplugs). We were on deck 9 and it was pretty quiet except for two nights. If noise becomes a problem, demand the information desk gives you a second room in which to sleep. If the ship is not full, they will accommodate your request. Victoria is almost 10 years old but in the last year she's undergone some changes. There is a new captain and cruise director. Balconies were added to two floors of formerly porthole rooms in 2004. The best improvement? The food is *remarkably* better than late 2003 when we sailed her to Egypt. Each night we found cheeses or bruschetta waiting for us on the table. The seafood was excellent, especially the scallop and mussel salad. When we asked the waiter, a charming Filipino named Jay, why the food was so much better, he said, smiling, "The Victoria has had many changes. You know, we have added balconies in the last year." And with that, he left us wondering if this was a translation problem or he was just kidding! Note: the new balcony rooms are nice but you may want to get the exact same room, without balcony, for much less. Getting There and Back: Costa offers no transport to the port at Santos from the airport at Sao Paulo because, frankly, too few foreigners buy this great cruise. We took a taxi for $78 each way for the 75-minute trip. Embarkation, usually 15 minutes or less in other Costa ports, was a sweltering 90 minutes. Get to the port as soon as you can before 2 p.m. to secure a good place in line. You'll need to arrange for early disembarkation (red luggage tags) for any flights prior to 1 p.m. Using another cab, we got to the airport 5 minutes a harrowing 45 minutes before the flight and barely made it thru security and on the plane. Good Deals: 1) Due to a strong dollar against the Brazilian real, shore trips are a good deal. Rio de Janeiro is fantastic and more. Take the all-day Super Rio for $99 which includes a churriscaria (delicious meats) lunch, a train trip to Corcavado (The Big Jesus), a visit to Rio's contemporary Cathedral, shopping, and the trams to Sugarloaf (the big rocks you've seen in every travel poster of Rio). All the major places in about 8 hours, with plenty of nap time on the bus between stops. Everyone loves this tour. 2) Up the coast, the 4-hour "Salvador of Contrasts" features a ornate Cathedrals and monasteries, strolling through the old town plus shopping in the large central market. Ask the tour guide to go to the Donnini jewelry store. A special bus whisks you from the market up the coast to a gated cliff enclave. At Donnini, a guard checks you in, and an elevator takes you upstairs to an incredible display of emeralds and semi-precious stones. An English-speaking clerk shows you what must be a half-million dollars worth of jewelry and how to shop for color, grade, etc. Being the budget traveller, we bought a 7-carat blue topaz for $90. A taxi will return you to port, compliments of Donnini. There's free internet in the port building, all the way to the right as you enter from the ship. 3) Buzios is a picturesque town with nice shops to buy souvenirs, good lunch places, and quite a few nightclubs. Victoria docks here at 1130 p.m., then tenders passengers in to the nightclubs for a hearty party until morning. The ship leaves the next day at 430 p.m. 4) Deck 9 aft (all the way back towards the stern) has a deck with excellent views and relative privacy especially late at night (wink, wink). Not-so-Good: 1) At Ilheus, the "Itacare and Tijuipe Waterfall" tour is advertised at 5 hours but takes an oppressive 8. At least 3 of those 8 are on the bus, and the remaining 5 are three unimpressive stops (a beach overlook, another deserted and ugly beach, and a chocolate shop) and the waterfall itself. It is at the bottom of a long muddy road you walk - straight down. If it rains, as it did for us, that road turns to slush and becomes a long, wet, muddy hike up. Bring a towel and a bathing suit, but be a good swimmer. The rocks are slippery, the water is deep and the potential for injury is high. There's a restaurant adjacent serving good steak lunches for $10 and Brazilian beer for $1. We do not recommend this trip for anyone -- especially those with mobility problems. 2) A number of the public elevators and hallways strongly smell of mildew. This is normal for a 10-year-old ship but still undesirable. Bring a Stick-up for the bathroom, which may have its own special aroma (this is also normal for many ships). 3) Odds and Ends: Internet is slow and expensive at 50 cents a minute with no wireless service available. For that picture perfect cruise moment sipping coffee on your balcony, robes are no longer available except in suites -- even at the spa. Use Common Sense: Although crimes against tourists are few and tourist police are everywhere, use common sense in Brazilian ports. With the exception of Buzios, which is pretty much like Key West and very safe, leave your bling-bling (jewelry) in the cabin, along with your NASCAR tank top and your Budweiser hat. Carry money, your room key, your Costa card and your passport in a pants pocket, preferably zippered. Overall, spending a week on the Victoria is an easy, fun way to see Brazil with reasonably sized cabins and lots to do. For true pampering, choose another line like Princess or Celebrity. But for getting around inexpensively and comfortably to exotic places, Costa is the best. Hello to Mohammed and Rita from Switzerland, Charlie from England, and our waiters Jay and Frances! Happy cruising! George and Eleanor Read Less
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