Comments also posted on TripAdvisor.
This was the second transatlantic cruise for us. This time from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. Last year we crossed the Atlantic on the Costa Favolosa from Savona to Guadaloupe. Both crossings were, for ... Read More
Comments also posted on TripAdvisor.
This was the second transatlantic cruise for us. This time from Venice to Fort Lauderdale. Last year we crossed the Atlantic on the Costa Favolosa from Savona to Guadaloupe. Both crossings were, for us, very good and fulfilled almost all our expectations.
Embarked in Venice on a cold, rainy day. Took a water taxi from our hotel directly to the ship. Boarding took a bit over an hour, but when 2000 passenger need to get on board, quite normal. You proceed directly to your cabin where the Costa Card - your identity card for the trip and the Diario (newspaper outlining the activities) are waiting. The luggage arrived soon. Three cupboards, two hanging, one with shelves and under the desk five drawers are sufficient. We never used the mini-bar.
The dining room is at the stern of the ship. The ship is 295 m (about 900 ft.) long . This meant each visit there at least half a kilometre walk! Great way to do some sport! We had a table for six in the "English" section of the dining room. Occasionally we enjoyed the company of a Scottish couple. They however seem to have preferred the buffet on the ninth deck. So, except two evenings when we were joined by families from Guadeloupe, we enjoyed a private table. Our waiter, Mat from the Philippines, was great. Friendly, curteous, helpful. Could not wish for a better one! Louis from Honduras assisted him. Always happy, always laughing and quick with serving.
The menus are available in several languages. The English copy was excellent and the food we selected was usually to our tastes. Once or twice, the meat was not our taste, but this is minor.
The other diner was on the 9th deck, the buffet. Breakfast and lunch were served there and people, often with youngsters or teens ate there.
Here I want to comment on statements made often in previous comments that the food was terrible. First of all these commentators forgot that they were on an Italian ship serving Italian food for its majority of passengers, Italians. Yes, there were no toasters, just a few stone hard pre-toasted slices. There was no porridge, no waffles, etc. However consider, when you travelled in Italy, in mass tourism hotels, did you find waffles or porridge? Italian breakfast means usually an espresso with a couple of sweet buns and maybe a bit of fruit. And that is it! You go to Italy not to eat your home foods, go you to experience Italian food.
Something worse than commenting on the food, were the overloaded plates in the buffet area. We have seen daily, for breakfast and lunch, passengers who selected so much food that they could not eat it all. For example, to just mention one of hundreds cases, a passenger took 6 slices of white bread, added six croissants, butter, cheeses, sausages and a few sweet rolls onto her plate. Started to eat. Soon left the plate and departed. The leftovers? Four slices of bread, five croissants, and most of the trimmings. And this in an age where there a millions starving. Costa tries to stem this waste. This year (not last year in the Costa Favolosa) the breakfast and lunch tables all had five three-sided displays with the heading “Taste do not Waste” and text in various languages urging the passengers to show restraint. In our opinion, the texts were to “nice” to carry fruit and should really be of the smoking category, showing examples of overloaded plates. Interestingly Costa removed those displays during the second part of the voyage.
Once a woman passenger came to our breakfast table with such an overloaded plate. My wife asked politely if she would eat all that. She got up and left.
In many previous comments, complaints were uttered regarding the waiters and often in general about the crew. Let me state that we almost never had an unfriendly or not helpful waiter or other crewmembers. They all responded gladly when you asked them politely for something or other. Most were happy to speak with you. Consider, they are working on a seven to nine months contract. Mostly work eleven hours a day with no day off.
In general, the old saying “Just as one calls into the forest, so it echoes back.” applies
Only a couple of staff members did not fit the above-mentioned attitude. In the dining room, neither the first nor the second maître d’hôtel ever came to our table to welcome us or inquire if we are satisfied. Never. In 31 days! And our table was not in a dark corner. What a difference to the maître d’hôtel on the Favolosa last year. There a smiling and friendly maître d’hôtel came by almost every evening to inquire, to tell of specials. Simply “normal” of what his job demands.
Many complaints in the blogs are about the speed of service. There again you have to consider that the Costa ships are Italian ships. Moreover, Italians take their time to eat! One evening the service was quite slow, however on the Lido deck a huge buffet was served, with a meter high shank and square meter sized cakes. That took many cooks and they were missing for the normal dinner service. A prior mention in the daily Diario would have been appropriate.
A previous comment on this same voyage stated that the dining room doors were not opened at the scheduled time. Let me state that for a specific reason I was at the door openings all except two nights, and the doors were always opened within a minute or two from the stated times of 6:15 or 6:30.
One last item re food and this item is truly a shameful item for Costa. As a Perla member (travelled enough with Costa), you are invited for one evening to eat in the Samsara restaurant without a normally applying surcharge. When you make the reservation, you are shown an exclusive menu. When you sit down you are shown a small narrow menu with only two choices of main dishes. Definitively a cheat in my opinion and we hope Costa will soon remove this falsification.
Sanitation: Norovirus on a ship is definitively bad. There have been cases and we were happy that we did not have an outbreak on the ship. To fight this there are many disinfectant dispensers at the entrances to the dining rooms and all around the buffets plus at many other places on the ship. Much to our annoyance, hardly anyone made use of these. Quite a difference to the German cruise ship we once travelled. There two men stood at the entrance to the dining room and made sure that everyone disinfected their hands. Well… that’s a bit if Germany vs. Italy. The other health problem was coughing. Typically, the infamous air conditioning coughs. Ice cold dining rooms against warm outside. I did catch it this time and brutally with high fever. A few visit to the ship’s hospital ensued. Great praise for the two doctors and the nurses. I was treated perfectly. The downside of those passengers, as necessary as those visits are, are the costs if you do not have a proper travel insurance, which also covers shipboard hospital visits.
There is more that could be mentioned, maybe another time.
To end my comments: During the crossing of the Atlantic Costa arranged (naturally a small charge applied – Costa has to be profitable) to tour the insides of the ship. Many places we saw. Not the engine room. We also had a visit to the bridge which was immensely interesting. Chatting with Captain Varese I asked if anyone on the bridge still uses the sextant, the clock and the admirality tables to fix the ships position. He said yes, the cadets still have to do this procedure same as I used before GPS became standard. I also told him that I always hope to once see a submarine surfacing alongside or at least see the snorkel. He, who has sailed a lifelong said “never saw one”.
Summary: We again enjoyed the trip and, yes, we will again choose Costa. Read Less