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39 Costa Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We booked this cruise because of its destinations and reasonable price. Having been on Costa before on several occasions, we were aware of the potential problem with few english speaking passengers but this did not detract from our ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of its destinations and reasonable price. Having been on Costa before on several occasions, we were aware of the potential problem with few english speaking passengers but this did not detract from our enjoyment. We travelled as a group of 8 younger pensioners into dancing and activities, all of which were excellent. Even the six days at sea from Tenerife to Buzios in Brazil were busy, dance classes, Stretch classes and the entertainment team were excellent. The decor of the entire ship was top class and the cabin, [an outside one for the first time] was well worth the extra. The buffet area was often a bit too hectic for us and we ate in the restaurant on most occasions. The food was certainly not as described by some reviewers and the menu changed constantly. We were more than happy with the quality and the service. We found that the shore excursions were way overpriced as is every cruise ship we have ever been on. Being fairly resourceful people, we just get outside the docking area and find a mini bus or similar and negotiate with the driver a price for where we wish to go. Invariably, the price is around one third of the book on board price. All in all an excellent cruise at a good price which is apparently going in reverse in March/April. Look for a deal!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
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
Positive comments: Room steward was excellent but overworked, on other ships we never saw a room steward working every night at ten pm. The waiters were overworked but excellent The theater shows were consistently very good. ... Read More
Positive comments: Room steward was excellent but overworked, on other ships we never saw a room steward working every night at ten pm. The waiters were overworked but excellent The theater shows were consistently very good. Indeed they were the best shows we have seen than on any other cruise line we cruised with including Carnival, Princess and Celebrity. The animation team was very good. Negative comments: We only saw Max, the cruise director, at night for three minutes at the end of the theater show. No morning show on TV to announce the daily activities. In 26 days we met him once and his assistant we never met her personally. We were told that he was very busy in the office managing his duties. I expect that he would have had the same duties of cruise director as on other ships, but we saw all of them. The captain did a very good job in handling the ship in good and foul weather but he never communicated with the passengers. On other cruise ships we always had an announcement at noon by the captain. The persons at the tour desk were not informed and were not interested in finding information when asked for. They did not even know the location of the port on the Maya Coast and when we asked for a map they made no effort of finding the information. No lectures about the coming ports, thus we arrived in port and had no idea of what to expect. We are Canadian residents and we bought the cruise tickets in Italy. The first night at the restaurant they told us that there is no water on the table, only bottled water. Thus, we had to buy a water package since we could not have dinner with no water. When we boarded the ship there was no welcome, we were told to make our way to the stateroom. We had many sea days and no lectures. On other cruise lines such as Princess and Celebrity we consistently had very good speakers that every sea day lectured on topics of general interest, such as astronomy, famous explorers, economy, forensic science, use of radioactivity in science and health, etc. Given the high number of sea days on this crossing we were expecting such lectures but none were offered. The Diario had notices not to hoard the chairs near the swimming pool and on the decks with the warning that the towels would be removed if the chairs were unoccupied. However, with the Costa line policy of cutting positions there were no pool personnel, as there are on other cruise lines, so it was impossible to enforce. The only personnel near the pool were the bar waiters and the animation team. Neither group was interested in enforcing the no hoarding rule. Costa Club should have contacted us as first time users of Costa to a meet and greet and make sure we understood their policy and point system. The manager of the customer desk had no customer manners. As mentioned above we were surprised of the fact that there was no drinking water at the restaurant at dinner and that we had to buy bottled water. When we questioned her on the night of December 2, 2015 she told us, quote: ”Avevte pagato cosi poco per la crociera che vi aspettate anche l'acqua a tavola ?” (translation, you have paid so little for your cruise that you expect water at the dinner table ?”). We paid what we were asked to pay and nobody told us that water was not included. No buffet in first cruise, from December 2 to December 21. That meant no alternative to a seat down meal . When other cruisers boarded in Fort Lauderdale, the hotel director had the buffet opened at night as well. It was our dream to travel with Costa for their excellent cuisine. Very disappointing, sometimes we had a hard time knowing what was on the plate, a lot of sauces covering dishes with no flavor. The vegetarian choices were not much better. Finally quality for money: Costa's strategy seems to be to charge a reasonable daily fee to fill up the ship and then charge for everything possible to increase their profit. This strategy might work out well for Costa but most cruisers from different nationalities were not happy with the outcome. We often heard the comment that people would not come back. If Costa lowers the quality, then people would not come back even at a low price. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We had booked a classic without view and were amazed when 3 weeks before sailing we got our cabin assignment - upgrade to a mini suite. The cabin was comfortable and clean and was our oasis of calm helped by a very efficient stewardess. ... Read More
We had booked a classic without view and were amazed when 3 weeks before sailing we got our cabin assignment - upgrade to a mini suite. The cabin was comfortable and clean and was our oasis of calm helped by a very efficient stewardess. This was the best thing about the entire cruise. I have had 11 cruises on Costa over the years but this cruise will be the last. In Europe the ship turned into a ferry with passengers who appeared to be starving pushing and shoving and trying to knock you out of the way at the buffet. After Savona it settled down but it was not helped by the number of beverage stations being out of order in the buffet. So we ate breakfast and lunch in the dining room which was acceptable. Dinners soon went downhill with what appeared to be a menu of leftovers. Halfway through the voyage they opened the buffet in the evening for 1 1/2 hours and remarkably it was quiet so at least you could get a salad/veggies etc instead of sitting for 2+ hours in dining room for a 2" piece of salt cod and cabbage! Entertainment was geared towards Italians/Germans/French and I have never felt on a cruise before that Brits/US were not invited or not expected to participate. Shouting/screaming through the night was the norm in europe. There was really no activites - even the ping pong balls were for 2 for a euro and it was a hassle to get paddles from a bartender in exchange for your sea pass. TV was replays of pavarotti - when the ship neared the caribbean we looked forward to seeing the news - nothing in english - only european channels! Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My husband and I are avid cruisers, having cruised on NCL, Princess, Holland America, Carnival, MSC, Celebrity and even a Costa Caribbean cruise. We booked a back-to-back leaving Venice, going to Italy, Greece and Turkey and the 2nd leg ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers, having cruised on NCL, Princess, Holland America, Carnival, MSC, Celebrity and even a Costa Caribbean cruise. We booked a back-to-back leaving Venice, going to Italy, Greece and Turkey and the 2nd leg back to Florida (36 days total). The first problem was the itinerary change AFTER we paid our final deposit and had already booked our airfare. We really wanted to see Turkey (2 stops) but they changed the itinerary and substituted Croatia and Montenegro. So, this wasn't a deal-breaker but we were disappointed as there were other ships that were going to Turkey. Then, the 2nd problem - we were to embark in Venice but when we arrived at the port, the ship was not there due to weather. They ported the ship in Trieste and we had to be transported for a 2 hour coach ride to Trieste. The whole process was a nightmare (totally disorganized and a complete disregard for passenger comfort). We had to sit in the Venice terminal for 2 hours before our bus got there, with not even water being offered. Third problem, once we got on the ship in Trieste, they closed the buffet line 10 minutes after we got there so food was limited and we had not eaten since breakfast. There were hundreds of passengers still being transported so I'm sure they were not happy when they got there with no food until dinner at 7:30. Fourth problem, our cabin was fine for the first leg but we had to change for the transatlantic portion. This cabin (6234) was the cabin from hell...next to the steward station, crew stairway and below the room service prep area. Banging, clanging and slamming all day and all night. We complained and requested a cabin change but were told nothing was available. After 3 nights, we were so fed up we were ready to disembark the ship and fly home at the next port. I told the Cruise Director and, somehow, they miraculously found us another cabin (which actually was a good one). Fifth problem - my husband and I eat 2 meals a day (late breakfast and late lunch) at the buffet as eating late meals just do not work for us. This was not a problem on all the American-style ships we have cruised on. The Deliziosa meal schedule was quite different. Breakfast in the buffet was predominately pastries, breads, a few cold cereal choices, yogurt and fruit. There was no skim milk for our cereal so we basically diluted it with water. On the transatlantic portion of the cruise they did add eggs and bacon to the buffet. Hot drinks (coffee and tea) were only provided at breakfast and during "snack hour" which was 4:00 -5:00 p.m.- there were none at lunch or dinner. If you wanted them, they had to be ordered from the bar staff and charged to the cabin. The only cold drink you could get without being charged was water (no iced tea or flavored beverages at all). They actually turned off the water and ice machines after lunch. Snack time was a zoo - they only opened one station (food and beverage) so the lines were horrific to get finger sandwiches and hot coffee/tea. Pizza was available free for about 3 hours each day (plain - tomato sauce with cheese). If you wanted a different kind of pizza, you had to pay for it at night. There was a charge for room service (I think 5 euro per person) but we never used it. The buffet usually closed by 3:00 p.m. and did not re-open until 7. Even then, the choices were pretty limited. LOTS of pasta available, though, at lunch. We enjoy other ships because they provide popcorn, ice cream, etc. but Costa did not provide anything at all except what was available at meal time. We found the entertainment to be mediocre. I realize it's hard to schedule entertainment for people who speak so many languages so I hate to bash them for this. I was disappointed, however, at how obnoxious and rude many of the passengers were. During the shows, they would talk loudly and leave once the announcements had been made in their particular language. Meal time was especially exasperating as they would basically run you over, push you out of the way, talk and even SING loudly and generally make meal time an annoying affair. We enjoy using the dry sauna for relaxation but again found the people to be loud and annoying while we tried to relax...I realize the ship cannot do anything about this but it is something you may to consider when taking this ship or this cruise line. All the English-speaking people we talked to on the ship seemed to have the same opinion of this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Greetings, fellow cruise lovers, I write a review like this one once in a blue moon, but this time, in view of the "terrible press" this ship has been having here, I felt that I had to. I understand that other cruisers have ... Read More
Greetings, fellow cruise lovers, I write a review like this one once in a blue moon, but this time, in view of the "terrible press" this ship has been having here, I felt that I had to. I understand that other cruisers have not much appreciated this ship lately (to put it mildly). My companion and I had a rather different experience. We boarded the ship in St. Petersburg which turned out to be a smart move as very few people have done so that day (most passengers boarded in Stockholm). To be more precise, when we came we were the only ones checking-in and the whole process, which included a passport control, took less than five minutes. We were warmly received by several crew members, and in no time found our premium balcony cabin. It was spotless-clean, and very well maintained, its equipment working perfectly. All and all, a very typical cabin for the category, no different from the various balcony cabins we've booked on all our previous cruises, taken with Celebrity, RCI and (once) with MSC. The only difference was that its balcony seemed to be a bit bigger than usual. The room's attendant was quick to service us when we needed something (which only happened twice). He kept the cabin clean and tidy throughout the cruise. Generally speaking, the service on the ship was very good without being pushy. Waiters and bartenders alike worked quickly and efficiently. Breakfast (continental being the only room service option) was delivered on time to our cabin every morning. The wines we ordered were always available (not always the case) and were delivered ahead of the food as they should be (again, not always the case). Every crew member we've talked with spoke English fluently. The ship was kept clean and orderly, and featured very nicely designed public rooms, that didn't feel crowded at any time. Finding your way was easy. Getting off the ship in ports and on board again was also quick. So was disembarking (we walked out with our luggage). I cannot rate the enrichment activities, entertainment, and fitness facilities since we didn't partake in, or have used, these. I did want to have a massage but gave it up after I had a look at the Samsara Spa price list... The ship's weak link was the dining room's and casual diner's food, which left a lot to be desired. It was not bad, but definitely mediocre. However we did enjoy very much our meal in the specialty Club restaurant. Its service was excellent as well and overall, for 28 EUR per person, it presented good value for quality. As far as our experience went, the same could be said about the ship in general, as the cruise's rate was very reasonable. The other cruisers seemed very content as well. Our fellow cruisers, mostly Italians, Spaniards and Russians, smiled, laughed, relaxed and had a good time – not signs of a bad, malfunctioning, ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
After reading many negative reviews was a bit hesitant to book and wasn't expecting anything exceptional, well We were surprised we travelled as a group of eight and found the cruise to be very enjoyable. have cruised with ... Read More
After reading many negative reviews was a bit hesitant to book and wasn't expecting anything exceptional, well We were surprised we travelled as a group of eight and found the cruise to be very enjoyable. have cruised with four other lines and found costa to be the most memorable. boarding was quick as was disembarkation . the entertainment and activities were well planned, Décor at first was overwhelming to many patterns on the walls couldn't tell a door from a wall but we got used to it. after the third day. we were in minority as only minimal English speaking passengers on board but staff were courteous and tried very hard to communicate with us. We had a balcony cabin on deck 6 our room was always clean even though we never saw our cabin steward. we only took a few organized tours and did other ports of call independently. The ship offered shuttle buses to town at ports where transport was needed, in our opinion it was not expensive and worth the cost as it was convenient due to being easy not having any hassles trying to find your own way as you are only in port a minimal amount of time. Time is whats valuable. only negative we had was the drinks package while it was good value if you are a heavy drinker everyone in the cabin was expected to buy it. was not catered for individuals. we were three in a cabin and two drank little alcohol so there would of been no value for everyone to buy the package . also the food was ok but the same thing every day with no variety at the buffet . restaurant food was just ok nothing flash .but same food just a different name each night with a different dressing . if you wanted anything special on the menu you had to pay extra for it . all in all the cruise had a European vibe and that's why we took it . it was a fun ship to be on . We would cruise costa again ports visited Savona, Marseilles, Palama Majorca, Cadiz, Malaga, Lisbon, La Coruna, Le Havre, Dover , Amsterdam. only regret we had was we opted to take a shore tour in Lisbon . advertised 5 hrs 4WD to see all the country sites around Portugal. It was useless spent most of the time sitting in traffic and driving through bush stop for a quick photo stop at a lookout then only had 30 minutes at the final destination which was beautiful needed at least two hours there better to have spent the day in Lisbon town independently. Traffic Not Costas fault but this tour was overrated not worth the money spent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We have not travelled on the Costa line for 3 years and the change was beyond belief. No carafe water was served in the dining room at any time. Bottled water was available, of course, at a cost and including a service charge. Tea and ... Read More
We have not travelled on the Costa line for 3 years and the change was beyond belief. No carafe water was served in the dining room at any time. Bottled water was available, of course, at a cost and including a service charge. Tea and coffee were available at breakfast, but not at lunch or dinner, unless one was prepared to pay for specialist drinks. The buffet closed at 5 p.m. for everything except iced water, (no hot water available after this time). We do not drink alcohol or soft drinks so this made it more difficult. Food quality was very poor. One lunch time we left the dining room, after an inedible meal, and were so hungry we had to go to the buffet. There was no steak served at any time, in the dining room, and one could have prawns or lobster, but at a price-- this in the ordinary dining room. We remember the quality and variety of the meals that used to be served, and it seems such a shame that it has deteriorated so badly. We are pearl members and chose this cruise for the excellent itinerary, but will never travel with Costa again, while present policy holds. The entertainment was poor, probably more suited to children. Shore excursions, that we were able to do, were excellent, but few available on the first leg of our cruise, as there were few English speakers. After having two tours cancelled we had to tell the tour office that we would be happy to take any tour, but still had tours cancelled late on the day before a tour, and after the tour office closed, so too late to organise anything else. We had pre- booked, weeks before embarkation. Staff and crew were generally excellent, except in the dining room, where there were too few waiters for meals, and too many drinks waiters. The ship was very pretty, but lacking in lounge areas; standing room only in the evenings, after first dining, unless one wanted to sit in the theatre. Comparing it to the 5 other cruise lines we have travelled, Costa does not give value for money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I have always loved Costa, going back to the Fredrico C, Carla C, and Flavian. Service was very European and luxurious-we had this 3 years ago on the Costa Serena, so when we decided to go westbound transatlantic we chose the Costa ... Read More
I have always loved Costa, going back to the Fredrico C, Carla C, and Flavian. Service was very European and luxurious-we had this 3 years ago on the Costa Serena, so when we decided to go westbound transatlantic we chose the Costa Luminosa for the trip - the itinerary contained 8 ports we never docked at (impressive sine we have over 100+ cruises under our belts. The ports were interesting but the ship's excursions were VERY EXPENSIVE compared to other Carnival Corporations other lines offerings. The cruise staff while always trying, was not very understandable in English - and all activities were mostly in Italian unless you asked for some English, and then it was not understandable and very very brief. The cruise director was no where to be found during the day or evening except for his MCing main shows or evening events including the Master of the vessel who was always interacting with his cruisers. In the daily program, dining options were listed but never appeared, craft projects were scheduled and the ship did not have the supplies. The food on the ship always sounded great, but was tasteless, meat extremely tough as rubber and over cooked, and vegetables consisted of one or two morsels. The Indian and Phiiipine food staff were very accommodating and always communicative and smiling as were the Maitre D's assistants. The bar staff was friendly and accommodative, but NOT the bar supivisors (managers) who spoke down to the passengers. we spoke to other passengers and got the comments like the cruise was rubbish, disappointing, etc. In the last three years you have to pay for pizza, ice cream, deck games, etc. Cruises were always all inclusive except for bar, laundry, excursions, etc. Every time you turned around you had to pay, so while the fares appear to be lower, Costa makes it up by"nickel and diming" the passengers. While everyone was friendly, and smoking has been contained to designated areas, the passengers would not give others the opportunity to get out of an elevator before pausing you out of the way and pushing their way into elevators. The most exciting event was while in the North Atlantic we experienced an engine room fire that was quickly extinguished, but the passengers were milling about and groups going to the muster stations as information was not being given frequently from the bridge or cruise staff. The event awoke the whole ship about 4:30 am. Al and all I don't think I would recommend Costa or sail Costa in the future - I will cruise on other Carnival Corp's other lines aimed at the American/Canadian customer.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
After reading all the negative reviews we were very apprehensive about stepping aboard Costa Luminosa for our 28 day trans Atlantic cruise. All I can say is you don't believe all that you read. The first issue was language as ... Read More
After reading all the negative reviews we were very apprehensive about stepping aboard Costa Luminosa for our 28 day trans Atlantic cruise. All I can say is you don't believe all that you read. The first issue was language as Australians & English as our only language ,we had no difficulty in communicating with the staff and crew ,all shows included English and shore excursion are offered in English . Next was food. We found the food in the Taurus restaurant excellent and staff went out of their way to cater for my dietary requirement , they even had a gluten free only section. Smoking is now restricted to very few areas of the ship. Another plus was that we were seated with other English speaking passengers who had the same itinerary as we did. The staff on board are so professional , friendly and helpful. Finally I want to say that was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable cruises we have been on and were sad when it was time to disembark. We have no hesitation in sailing with Costa again Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
I am retired and have so far 121 cruises on 51 different ship. We flew into Amsterdam and arrived at the cruise terminal at noon. There were about 2000 people, in the venue with 200 seats, and people were still disembarking.When they ... Read More
I am retired and have so far 121 cruises on 51 different ship. We flew into Amsterdam and arrived at the cruise terminal at noon. There were about 2000 people, in the venue with 200 seats, and people were still disembarking.When they called to start boarding at 1 p.m. utter chaos started, because the majority of the passengers were Italiens with at least 4 children each. We finally made it on board. The ship is "Costa" but not as overdecorated as the other ships. Cabin 7821 was a standard cabin with a shower, with a larger balcony than usual. First seating for dinner was at 6:45 p.m. a bit late for some. The restaurant was nicely decorated, but the waiters have to many tables compared to other cruise lines, so they are constantly running, still the service takes very long. The food was Italian, and we found it to be quite good. On the 5th day we stopped the maitre D when he passed by and told him our complaints. He had not been to our table before, after that he made it an issue to pour the water into our glasses. Since there were more than 1200 children on board, which could do whatever they wanted, the rules and regulations were not observed at all. e.g. 12 year olds were playing the machines in the casino, 4 year old naked girls were in the mens sauna, the whirlpool reserved for adults was constantly full of children, and all the people in charge or the officers looked the other way. When we finally approached them, because the no smoking signs were not observed at all, and people smoked heavily everywhere, he said: so far nobody has complaint. I said "am I a nobody", he shrugged and left me standing there. The shows varied in quality, some were so bad that we left, some were ok. BUT it seems to be an Italian custom to come 15 min. late into the show. So everybody has to get up and there was fighting over the vacant seats. The on board activities catered exclusively to the Italians, English was spoken by 20 % of the crew, the rest of them did not understand a word. Tips are automatically added to your bill, drinks are relatively expensive, but still international standard. We stopped in Cork, nice to visit Cough after you have done the Blarney stone. Vigo is a wonderful port, lots to do, Lisbon is always one of our favorite stops. Cadiz was very nice and unfortunately we arrived in Barcelona at 8;30 and left at 1 p.m. already. Disembarcation in Savona was as it is with other cruise lines, BUT the minute you step out of the terminal, chaos starts, no order at all, and we took the Costa Bus to Milan, which was a good deal, since it took the bus 2:30 h to get there, but 1 hour to get out of the parking lot. We had too many passengers on the bus, so they had to off load 4 people. As a resume we strongly suggest to avoid Costa during Italian vacation time. Children travel for free and some parents in an inside cabin bring their five children. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Cruise from Santos (Brazil) to Venice (Italy) in 23 days (including flights from Europe) on board the COSTA FORTUNA, a large ship of 102,000 tons with a capacity of 3,200 passengers launched in 2003. On this trip, we were about 2,300 ... Read More
Cruise from Santos (Brazil) to Venice (Italy) in 23 days (including flights from Europe) on board the COSTA FORTUNA, a large ship of 102,000 tons with a capacity of 3,200 passengers launched in 2003. On this trip, we were about 2,300 passengers on board. We are a French Canadian couple and traveled with our close friends, a couple living in Paris. Because of the world media attention regarding the circumstances of the tragic wreck that befell the COSTA CONCORDIA and then of another COSTA liner in the Indian Ocean that ended up being towed to the Seychelles Islands, some friends were actually concerned that the writer and his spouse were going to spend over three weeks on board the COSTA FORTUNA. There were many e-mails with humorous advise, the most common being to follow the captain as he was sure to get out of the ship safely...! This was no joke for some people; on the first day at the lifeboat drill while talking to another passenger, this reviewer was told that a couple of his friends had cancelled their cruise and were quite willing to loose half of its cost. There were no such fears on our part. Before leaving however, our friends teased us with a great deal of joking about: 1) navigating near the coast, 2) if our captain was a happy-go-lucky playboy like his (former) colleague, 3) to be sure to follow the captain in an emergency as he would be safe, and so on. One thing for sure, the regrettable incidents noted above were (and remained) on people's minds. COSTA thus has an enormous challenge to restore its image as a credible cruise company. Negative points: Internet access is an outright "King's Ransom" by these later day web buccaneers of the High Seas. For the princely sums of $10 for one (1) hour or $24 for three (3) hours, you can check your e-mails, etc. The only respite is logging in just to take your messages and log out. But even then, they have it figured out; this is not High Speed broadband but some "dialup" that seems to date from the days of Alexander Graham Bell. One night, out at sea between the Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, 16 messages took over 20 minutes to come in...! This is a 21st century version of extracting booty from unwilling and helpless hostages, when one thinks that, in my country, a month's broadband service is cheaper than six hours on board the appropriately named COSTA FORTUNA. Fortuna indeed! While the COSTA FORTUNA is very nicely appointed, one wonders about the management of some of the furniture upon which the passengers sit. 1) The bench-like arrangement in the dining areas, at least those sat upon, were invariably sinking one's bottom alarmingly low; this can be a real and painful experience for the more elderly who have backbone, sciatic nerves and kneecap pains. 2) Two chair's whose wooden armrests were broken and detached themselves were noted on deck 3, Buenos Aires hall. It is surprising that these "health and safety" issues are not attended to. Having a suitable dining table can be an experience... In our case, our two couples had: 1) a table at the other end of the ship at the late second service whereas a table at the restaurant almost next to our rooms and at an earlier service was, for various mobility and medical reasons, preferable. 2) Having obtained table 22 at the Michelangelo Restaurant nearby soon proved to be the coldest frigid air spot on the ship as well a being rather minuscule. Staff told the writer that no one wanted to sit there and directed us to the Maitre D who was under assault by a horde of dissatisfied clients. 3) At length, another table was assigned, consisting of benches under a stairway, which now proved unsuitable when one of us, who has serious back problems and mobility issues, could only rise with great effort and much pain from this unholy bench of penance. Even the staff, kind as always, was alarmed at seeing him gasp in agony as he grasped the wall panels and the Maitre D quickly assigned another table for the next night's diner. On the 4th try, this simple but welcomed round table with chairs proved to be relatively suitable, but it was noisy around and conversation difficult. Our kindly waiter eventually solved the difficulty by putting us at another free nearby table, the 5th and last after a week and a half of diligent efforts. The daily "Today" newsletter that listed the next day's activities was always delivered rather late on the COSTA CONCORDIA, usually at about 10 pm or so. This was annoying because it either prevented us to plan activities with our traveling companions for the next day, or else made it a late night affair. It would be very helpful if it could show up earlier, as has been our experience on past cruises. On Thursday March 29, the daily "Today" day's program announced that N. Carta Llenas, international singer, would be giving a representation at the "Rex Theatre", but when we got there, we were turned back, rather rudely I would say, by what seemed to be an enormous "bouncer" telling us that there was a cocktail for the German passengers instead. Why was this not announced in the "Today" for the information of passengers? The COSTA Tours were, well, an expensive mixed bag. The buses were comfortable and the guides adequate. However, nearly every tour in Brazil took us to the "world's most beautiful beach" and to a handicraft market whose offerings seemed usually similar at every stop. (Hence this reviewer's theory that there exists somewhere a huge factory for these items...). It was frustrating to be whisked rather quickly through the lovely historic quarters of Salvador de Bahia and Olinda (both UNESCO World Heritage Sites) only to be deposited two (frustrating) hours in a beach restaurant at Salvador's outskirts and to a prison turned into craft market at Recife, thus missing the intensely unusual and interesting 17th century Dutch forts in that city. Beaches and handicraft markets don't have entry fees so that COSTA Tours' greed was proven considering a museum entry rarely exceeded $5. In fairness, it must be said that the tour of Salvador seemed somewhat better. The tours averaged $200 to $300 for four people, which was ridiculously expensive for hours at beaches and old prisons turned into doubtful crafts markets. We had regrettably reserved COSTA Tours in advance for stops in Brazil, but gave up on the COSTA Tours as not offering value for the money paid and took taxis at European ports, which proved to be much cheaper and far more enjoyable. Indeed, there seemed to have been a "passenger revolt" of sorts once we reached Europe. A tour of Malaga was suddenly offered at $39, which was still a waste since one could walk there in 15 minutes. Few must have "bitten" because tour buses at the ship were few. On the other hand, Costa now charged $7 for shuttle buses that were previously free... Always expect a new twist with those tour buccaneers! To top it off, stops in Malta and Corfu were only a few hours and, in Dubrovnik, passengers were landed at about 10 am, which left roughly two hours in that lovely place before heading back to the ship. It proved to be impossible to find shaving cream, shoelaces or a cord for securing one's eyeglasses in this 102,000 tons ship. This in spite many shops within selling eyeglasses, perfumes, purses and every imaginable souvenir trinket and jewellery. The ship's minuscule "library" is woefully short of books. There were hundreds of passengers from France as well some from Quebec to share about 30 or so books their native language! The situation did not seem very hopeful for other languages, not even English. There were some nice hardcover books, most about COSTAs glory days, but these could not be loaned and read in one's cabin. So...bring your own books or iPad with previously downloaded books, etc. Being "nickeled and dimed" to death is a disagreeable, but seemingly inescapable feature of life on a cruise ship. However, thanks to these later-day buccaneers, a peak of sorts was reached by the offer to visit the ship's machinery, command deck, kitchens, etc. for a mere $69 per person (or $138 per couple)! Certainly something that should be offered for free to passengers who, after all, paid several thousand dollars each to be on board. A kitchen tour was later offered free, but for a "limited number" of passengers... The food was generally all right, but cannot be rated as outstanding for cruise ships. Some Canadian and British passengers told this writer they ate better on CARNIVAL cruises in the West Indies where such things as good smoked salmon and shrimps were always offered at buffets. A German passenger confided much the same from his recent cruise experience in other lines. Recollections of our own previous three-week cruise to the Tierra del Fuego on the COSTA ROMANTICA bears this out. It does not seem the chefs and their staff are unable to present a good fare; the root of the faults was that some of the "upper notch" ingredients were not as readily available, presumably because of budget restrictions. Thus the old adage that one eats better on a COSTA ship because of its Italian origin seems, sadly, no longer true. The ventures into French cuisine were disappointing. One night the menu proclaimed "confit de canard" which turned out to be a dentures-defying affair that also should have been served sliced; the "crepes Suzette" were, at our table, as good as thin cardboard; a cup of orange sorbet was strangely reminiscent of the "Tang" American powdered drink and the "Poire Helène" while made with decent ice cream, did not seem to have much in common with Chef Auguste Escoffier's inventive recipe. The writer did mention duck "confit" to the Matre D when asked how the food was. On the whole, the Italian dishes usually were the better ones on the COSTA FORTUNA, at least the for pasta dishes and the pizza was also always a good simple fare. The evening meals of the last three or four days were noticeably better... The wine list was not outstanding, but decent with, as expected, a varied offering of Italian wines. Regrettably, they were overpriced and certainly not in line with the recent price tumbles of many European wines due to market conditions and of the Euro's devaluation versus the dollar (US and Canadian). While the writer and his spouse were once active in wine societies, they are not addicted to overpriced wines and were quite happy to drink water instead, especially as the food did not usually create an overwhelming desire to order wine. Had the wine been more reasonably priced and the quality of the dishes proposed more predictable, we would have been pleased to spend our money. The COSTA training schools might devote more time to basic proper service of wine. One night, our most kindly, but obviously insufficiently trained waiters, brought half of a remaining bottle of white wine warm and, rather than put it in a bucket with ice, served it warm and left the bottle on the table. Needless to add that, after this, we did not order any more white wine. Another odd instance of insufficient instructions was that, at the beginning of the cruise, the writer (who does not mind paying for good coffee) was told that such thinks as espresso, cafe latte and cappuccino were not served at breakfast in the dining room...until the last day when it turned out that it was. Personally, this mishap was lamented as a great pity. There was a "Club Costa" supposedly superior restaurant on the COSTA FORTUNA. However, a hefty $33 charge per person was also levied. That, for four, comes to $132 (or about €100), which, from the wine and food performance experienced elsewhere on board, seemed like an overoptimistic bet. The writer went to see the premises, which apart from being on an upper deck and smaller, did not seem all that extraordinary; there was further doubts about the place having its own real "Cordon bleu" chef of repute, which seemed unlikely having tasted the general downgrading in the ship's kitchens. So we decided to invest the money in a good restaurant we know in Venice instead. A rather odd event was an unabashed "pitch" given at the final meeting. A good part of it concerned the COSTA comments form we were asked to fill out. This writer (who has attended French, American and British learning institutions and published widely in both languages) was interested to learn that there were great differences between the French and American meaning of the word "excellent". Francophones should know that the Americans bandied about "excellent" all the time, that the form was provided by COSTAs American owners so that the answer "excellent" was really what was meant by "very good". So Francophones should mark "excellent." Mmmmhhh... Further reasons given were that, after all, it was a wonderful cruise, the crew tried its hardest, the American owners were watching (but it was not mentioned that the Costa family had sold the line to the American Carnaval cruises and a British booking firm since the mid-1990s) and everyone loved us. For our part, the four of us were not especially well disposed after this unabashed pressuring. Neither great or bad: Entertainment was, in general correct, the best show being that put on by crew members. An odd and annoying practice was that performers (of "international" fame, naturally) were announced in the "Today" program, but what they would play or sing was almost never announced. One night, there was the exception of the "Trio Tango" who would play "Classics" so we expected classical music, but what they played instead were musical themes of various cinema classics such as "Love Story", "Casablanca", etc. It can be added that a lot of the entertainment was of rather loud "rock" music with "go-go" dancers and so on that was certainly "out of sinc" with the age of most passengers, the great majority seemingly in their 60s and 70s. This betrays a lack of considerate effort on the part of they who plan the entertainment, especially as the COSTA line has the age group data weeks if not months in advance through the bookings. One wonders why there was no cinema offered (as the writer recalls on an earlier three-week COSTA cruise). Indeed, it might have been much better and less expensive for the shipping company than some of the entertainment on this Atlantic crossing. One night, the four of us evoked just for fun the "classic" films that could have been presented and came up with about a dozen European and American films. The elevators are fast and efficient for the number of passengers therein. Well, most times except diner time. Positive points: First and foremost: the staff of the ship. They were seemingly mostly from the Philippines with a large contingent of Brazilians led by Italian managers. Ever smiling and cheerful, ever polite and trying to do what they could to ease the problems that faced many passengers on the COSTA FORTUNA. They were remarkably versed in languages generally being able to have a basic understanding of English, French, Italian and Portuguese. They obviously had undergone a rigorous training and generally applied it well, although diner service tended to be long and there was an instance when lunch took some 45 minutes to arrive in spite of having signaled that we had an early tour to catch -- we made it just in time, but it was a disagreeable experience. The staff's efforts and good cheer can only go so far by what are, by our observations, faults in various levels of management control and resolution processes. One must also praise remarkably patient staff putting up with some truly horrid passengers who seemed to think they were the world's navel. This reviewer recalls a disgraceful "dressing down" by a lean and bearded young man in a rage at an Italian staff member because the stern of deck 9 only had plastic cups and that he never drank out of those (a wise COSTA regulation to prevent broken glass on a deck with many barefooted bathers). Or the irate mature lady proclaiming that she was a "hostage" who was imposed a table, a menu, a dining hour, etc., and that she would therefore only be served in her room, which of course was declined in spite of great exclamations of dubious anger. Then there were the bullies who charged in elevators, stairways and doorways, practically knocking ladies down on their hurried ways; whoever they were, they were not gentlemen (or ladies in some cases). The COSTA line has something of a long-standing reputation for having consistently hired some of the best designers for the interior decoration of its ships. The COSTA FORTUNA is indeed a very tastefully appointed ship, the decorative themes being about early explorers and cruise ship travel from the 1930s. The buffet restaurant featured reproductions of a fine collection of early maps on wall panels and table tops, which are a delight and intriguing to examine. There are several fine models of some of COSTAs past ships such as the "Michelangelo" that used to do the Italy to New York run in the 1950s and 1960s. It was a joy just to walk about the ship. The COSTA FORTUNAs cabins are also quite nicely appointed; the decoration is very relaxed and yet quite thoughtfully set up. We had a balcony and certainly recommend it. The rooms seem practically sound proof from other cabins. The air-conditioning was not at all aggressive and "out of control" as on older COSTA and MSC ships, which was a great bonus. All in all, a very comfortable ship. Barmen were cheerful, knew their business and swiftly prepared good drinks. Naturally, there was a good offering of Italian wines (and the white ones were served chilled). Curiously, ten year or older Tawny Port was not on board (I would not recommend old vintage Port on a moving ship). Pity. Staff was invariably very helpful to solve minor problems. Our cabin's door sometimes jarred so that, at times, we wondered if we might not have to phone for help to get out. Our Stewart was advised and he quickly had it fixed. In conclusion One can't be too sure about what COSTAs policies are just now, but, from what was observed, a comprehensive management review of this firm by its owners would seem a good idea. At this point, the Italy-based management appears to be waging a desperate struggle to retain its independence from its owners. To show profits, it appears to cringe on some passenger benefits and also influence those same passengers to say everything is excellent. Which is, in this writer's view, rather dubious. Otherwise, apart from some most frustrating tours and rather odd food at times, it was a nice crossing. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
The first two things that really strike you about Victoria is the amount of space in her public areas inside & out, and (more importantly to some) the almost complete lack of revenue driven areas on board. These two aspects are hand in ... Read More
The first two things that really strike you about Victoria is the amount of space in her public areas inside & out, and (more importantly to some) the almost complete lack of revenue driven areas on board. These two aspects are hand in hand in many ways, for example, Orpheus Grand Bar on deck 6 has a huge amount of unused floorspace, this is the same on deck 7 in the casino where large swathes of floorspace has been intentionally left furnishings & thus revenue free. The space in her public rooms is quite unique for a purpose-built cruise ship of her size, one of the big complaints against some cruise ships is the way that tables & chairs seem on top of each other & crowded, this is far from the case on Victoria.Design wise, Victoria is a very elegant ship...as close to an ocean liner as you can probably get in a cruise ship. She has curves everywhere, her external & internal architecture has been beautifully designed and, as with all German built ships, her build quality, attention to detail and overall atmosphere is second to none, she really is quite exceptional in most areas.Technologically speaking she is actually very advanced, especially in her propulsion systems. Her four main powerplants drive two screws, she has two large rudders and 5 thrusters...2 aft & 3 forward. The thrusters are how she manages to parallel park so efficiently. She can berth in about 15 minutes from arriving to roping up, equally getting away is just as quick, a case of drop the ropes and let the thrusters do the work....no hanging about for tug assistance at all. Despite a minor blip off Brazil when she lost all power for about 20 minutes, she has had no major problems...and that is with one engine out of action. Incidently, the engine with the fault will be put right before she leaves for Asia next year, so she should be firing on all cylinders without any difficulties.Boat drill...as per all Costa cruises, you will get a boat drill every 7-8 days and unlike most modern ships, Victoria has her muster stations outside on the boat deck (deck 6) and they have 6 muster stations - A, B, C, D, E & F - three down each side. The drill takes around 15-20 minutes depending on languages required, so be prepared to stand a long while in possibly hot/humid temperatures (especially in Asia).Concorde Plaza is almost cathedral like in its design & build, stretching from deck 7-11 and with two incredible mezzanine floors that are both user friendly and elegant, again the attention to detail is just superb. Another of the main rooms is the theater on decks 6 &7, superbly designed, very thoughtfully built to enable 90% of theater goers to see without obstruction, there are screens on each side of the stage for those in the upper level on deck 7 so that no-one misses anything on stage.Music lovers will really enjoy Victoria...Orpheus (deck 6), Planetarium (deck 5), Capriccio (deck 7), Concorde Plaza (deck7 thru 10) & Tavernetta (deck 12) all have live music in the evenings, Orpheus & Planetarium starting early evening. There are bars in each lounge too, with long drinking hours, so the drinkers will be happy.Dancers are also very well catered for, Victoria has a variety of dancefloors, all with live music in the evenings...ranging from ballroom to disco. A disco is also available on deck 6. Daily dance lessons are available to those wishing to learn from expert dance teachers.Kids & teens....the usual teen & Squok programmes are available and were well organised on my cruise. The children on board seemed to enjoy their experiences, which appears to be standard on Costa, so kids are definitely well looked after aboard Victoria.Sun worshippers will enjoy Victoria. There are no shortages of loungers anywhere on the ship, the sun deck area stretched to the equivalent of around 3 football fields, and as in the inside areas, there are large swathes of space to stretch out in without having to clamber over others to get to a lounger. The upper decks (11, 12 & 14) all have loungers, deck 11 has two bars, an outdoor buffet counter and two very large pools, 4 whirlpools, a stage for live music and plenty of areas to just watch the world float by.One unusual aspect to Victoria is her indoor pool on deck 6. It is alongside the gym & spa and is very popular...the pool itself is larger than most ship's outside pool, so if a few lengths is what you want to do when the weather is not good, then you will be pleased.Eating....often a bone of contention with some people, but in Victoria's case, there is no problem. The service is very good, food quality is very high, I personally did not have any bad meals or slow nights service wise. The pizza is to die for...absolutely wonderful at lunchtime. There were apparent issues with the Sinfonia restaurant at breakfast & lunch which seemed to have been sorted after a couple of days. I had evening meal in Fantasia. Both Sinfonia & Fantasia are on deck 5...Sinfonia is aft whereas Fantasia is midships.Drinking water at evening meal......just ask the waitstaff and they will happily provide jugs of iced water for your table, along with lemon slices too if you so wish. Never a problem for me or countless others in the dining room and always waiting there on my table for when I arrived in the evening.Posh frock nights & cocktails parties....on this cruise we had 4 Gala nights & a total of 3 cocktail parties over the 3 weeks. The buffet & pizza restaurants were either closed or partially closed most nights as most passengers preferred to eat in the main dining rooms, so it would have been pointless to open up both sides of the buffet. Obviously this changes according to itinerary/passenger mix & demand.Powerpoints in the cabin.....standard two voltage shaver point in the bathroom and a two voltage powerpoint in the cabin area (at least in my cabin). Lighting consists of two bedside lamps, 2 spotlights over the desk with independent switches & overhead spotlights, again with independent switches.Theater....the entertainment is very professional and varied, the crew show was standing room only as usual and extremely enjoyable. Overall the shows on Victoria were of an excellent standard - most of the performers were aboard Allegra last year, so it was great to see & hear them again, The animator crew are hysterical, they play pranks on the passengers and crew daily and can always raise a laugh, even when the weather is miserable...whether it be dressing as babies and throwing tantrums in the casino or chasing each other like cops & robbers, these guys & gals put their all into having fun with everyone....brilliant to see and watch.Smoking...another bone of contention...again, I think it really depends on the nationalities & region/itinerary - some are more attached to their ciggies than others and in many respects this showed a little during the cruise. The usual smoky areas to avoid...casino & to some extent Capriccio next door. However, on the whole the smoking was not too much of a problem for the majority of passengers...there are ways and means to avoid the worst areas.Cabins....as with any purpose built cruise ship, the cabins are a tad compact & bijou but since they are just for sleeping, dressing & washing in, they work perfectly fine. My cabin was 80456 a grade I1 inside that was a standalone...with a crew access behind one wall, a linen cupboard behind another wall and the aft elevators behind another wall. Noise transmission was pretty much none existant, the elevators are quiet and foot traffic across the marble landings/stairs is negligible. The bathrooms have a large wooden sliding entry door (be gebtle with these doors as they can be tempermental) and the shower has a curtain to play with. Water pressure is excellent, as is the hot water...very hot and compared to other ships (inc QM2) your tightie whities will stay white, not go an attractive shade of orange. Access to the cabins is via a perforated door key, identical to Costa Allegra. There is a push button safe in the cupboard. Other storage in the cabin comprises of a double wardrobe with a chest of drawers to one side, two bedside chests of drawers, a small desk or table (depending on grade), a fridge and a cupboard with shelving. The TV is a CRT type, therefore not interactive...BUT...there are totems around the ship where you can book shorex, check your ship account, book the speciality restaurant etc, so you do not need to go to the tour desk on deck 6 or the reception deck on deck 5 for everything, it can be done remotely using the totems.There are also several totems for registering credit cards around the ship too.Hosts & hostesses...this is unique to Costa, they always have hosts & hostesses who can speak a variety of languages and they are the point of contact for passengers if they have a problem or just want to ask a question. This time around the English hostess was Rachel and the German hostess was Elke...there were also hosts/hostesses for the Portugese, Spanish & French. They had specific hours where they were available on deck 5 and passengers could just drop by for a chat or whatever. Other lines should take this on as it really does break down barriers tween crew and passenger. All the hosts/hostesses were excellent on this cruise, very hard working, polite & efficient,Secret spaces.....yes, she does have a few areas that you can often have to yourself. Apart from the stern rail on deck 6 (boat deck), decks 7 thru 10 have full width stern balconies that are reached via doors in the cabin corridors. Deck 8 stern balcony also has the Italian flag flying from it when in port. These balconies are brilliant for sailaways...and yes, you CAN smoke on them if you so wish (quite often you'll find crew on them having a quick ciggie]. Many people do not realise that passengers have access to these balconies, but you can and they offer unobstructed views from the stern along with limited wind/weather cover at each end.Ship's photographers...again an area of some consternation on other lines. Yes you will see them and they will see you, but a polite 'no thank you' will suffice and they will leave you alone. They will not continually hassle you to take photo's...if you want to have a photo taken whilst eating, having fun at the pool or whatever, then they are happy to oblige and the standard of the photo's is actually very good, with some unusual and unique montages that make lovely souvenirs for those wanting to purchase them. Costs range from $9.99 to $14.99 each depending on size/event.Potential drawbacks.....with the benefit of hindsight & the fact that nothing is ever perfect, Victoria does have a couple of areas that need to be taken into consideration when booking a cruise on her, especially with your choice of cabin.With the theater behind the aft stair tower from deck 6 thru 7, anyone wanting a siesta in the afternoon or are early/light sleepers might want to book a cabin forward of the aft stair tower due to the inevitable noise issues. Inside aft cabins on deck 8, 9 & 10 aft do pick up noise, this cannot be avoided, obviously deck 8 is probably the worst with 9 & 10 offering some improvement. Outside cabins on these decks aft of the stair tower also experience some noise too but to a lesser extent since the insides are right over the stage area.Concorde Plaza at the very front of the ship could potentially cause noise issues for the outside cabins on decks 6A, 7, 8, 9 & 10 (there are no insides forward of the forward stair tower).Another potentially difficult thing to consider in regard to Concorde Plaza is that with the loss of the inside cabins to accommodate the huge expanse of lounge area, Victoria can be a very bow light ship, so even the slightest of swell could be a problem for those with even slight motion sickness...she does move a lot she has quite a pronounced shimmy and she actually bounces too, especially when fully fuelled/ballasted. In all honesty I actually felt that her center of gravity was too high and that had been messed up by the balconies being added, combined with the weightless bow and engines/fuel tanks aft. The amount of movement IS excessive for a ship of this size and could put some off booking her, but I do suggest that you give her a try, making sure that if you are prone to motion sickness that you take appropriate precautions. You can obtain anti-nausea pills from reception or the pharmacy free of charge if you think you might require them. My inside cabin on deck 8 was right next to the aft stair tower & elevators and I felt every single roll, pitch & shimmy.So the old addage of a cabin midships & low comes into play...if there were low cabins, midships.....Victoria is essentially an upside down ship...her main public areas are deck 5, 6 & 7, there are cabins on deck 4, 5 & 6A but mainly midships to forward. The bulk of her cabins are decks 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12 (the suites are on the upper decks). The retrofitted balconies are mainly decks 9 & 10. The midships cabins are probably the best if you want to avoid the noise of the theater aft or the excesses of movement forward due to the lack of weight in that section of the ship.Seeing the sea.....I have to admit that I found Capriccio & Orpheus a little disappointing when it came to seeing the sea...Capriccio - well you can't and in Orpheus its glimpses via 3 vertically stacked large portholes, so I feel the design (which is otherwise superb) has let the ship down a little in these two areas. Tavernetta on deck 12 has huge picture windows, so seeing the sea is excellent, albeit too high to take in the wildlife very easily. Concorde Plaza has the huge wall of windows overlooking the bow....however, although the visibility forward is good (albeit slightly obstructed by the huge steel trusses), I personally feel that I have been spoilt by Costa Allegra and her Flamenco Ballroom at her stern where she has huge picture windows that look over the wake. Had I designed Victoria I think I would have swapped the theater over with Concorde Plaza and made more of the view by having Concorde at the stern with big windows on three sides...that, IMHO, would have been spectacular. On decks 6 & 7 you can sit on some very comfy wicker chairs or on round sofa's around the atrium, these either look down onto the Planetarium bar on deck 5 or out to sea on 6 & 7. Another 'problem' about both Capriccio & Orpheus is that both lounges are used as corridors to other parts of the ship, so there is always a constant flow of foot traffic and that can spoil an otherwise very pleasant atmosphere.The marble used on the stairs & landings might prove to be a problem for those with sight deficiencies. All passenger stairs & landings are in cream marble and it is not always easy to see where the stair riser is against the landing. Grooves have been cut into the riser surface but they are still cream, thus no clear demarcation, so greater care is required when using the stairs if your eyesight is not great. This could (and did) cause a few stumbles, so be aware of it and don't rush up or down the stairs too often.None of these potential drawbacks are meant to put people off Victoria, she is a stunning ship and ahead of her time in many areas, they are my own observations of how certain areas of the ship could have been made much better than they already are, and to act as guidance for those looking to book a cruise on her and wondering where to go for the quietest or most stable cabins. Costa is by no means responsible for the bad sea handling, crew that I spoke to are equally critical of her sea manners, they too feel that it is her achilles heel in many respects.Visually Victoria is stunning inside and out, her curves and attention to detail is exceptional, her crew are her heart and soul and they are a pure joy to be around, I cannot praise them enough during the 3 weeks I spent aboard her. She is extremely easy to get around...even for those with mobility issues...the flow of her rooms is perfect, access is via either one of 12 elevators (4 of which are glass in the atrium that go from deck 5 thru 12) or via 2 stair towers.So in summary.....is she a good fit for Asia...yes, definitely. She will be very well received out there and will give Legend o/t Seas & SuperStar Virgo a real run for their money. By introducing Victoria to Asia, Costa should be able to capitalise on their already popular itineraries with a very capable ship. However, one part of the itinerary might have to be curtailed, the cruise up the river into Saigon might have to go, this is an uncertainty at time of writing this report, but I fear that her draught & her height could cause a problem with the depth of the river and the new suspension bridge outside Saigon. Time will tell on this.Victoria delivers a great product, her crew are superb, her eating & drinking venues are excellent & her entertainment is varied and very professional. Yes she has her potential drawbacks but they are not really deal breakers, but should be taken into consideration by those they are most likely to affect. By booking a cruise aboard Victoria you are assured of a really friendly & happy ship and some marvelous itineraries. Wherever she is in 2013, I will definitely try to get another cruise on her (2012 is Costa Classica's turn for 37 days) in the knowledge that she is a very different vessel to those I have sailed in the past.One thing that is quite strange, and I know it is never wise to compare ships too much, but when chatting to other passengers, its become clear that many rate Allegra & Marina higher than Victoria. The two main reasons are cabin size & the way that Victoria reacts with weather/sea state. When you consider that both Allegra & Marina are less than half the size/weight of Victoria and the consensus is that they handle the sea better than Victoria, it is quite a surprise to hear that opinion. However, both Allegra & Marina were originally containerships, so their hulls were V shaped and thus built to take any & all weather conditions, Victoria is a purpose built cruise ship with a flat bottom and a shallow draft. As I have already said though, Victoria is slightly hobbled by her weight & balance issues and her high center of gravity.I have a huge amount of gratitude towards Captain Massimo Pennisi & his crew, especially Rachel, Elke (and the other hosts), Alvin, Marianna, Pian & all the crew in Fantasia, Lucas in Orpheus, Brian in Planetarium, Heri my wonderful cabin steward, Alex & the reception staff....and well everyone on board who made my cruise very special & one that I will remember for a very long time to come. A very big thank you to you all & I hope to see you again someday aboard either Costa Victoria or one of the other Costa ships.I would have no hesitation is recommending the Costa Victoria for the Med or for Asia, my only reservations are as I have already pointed out in regard to cabin position & basic 'sea manners' of the ship itself, you will always find some cabins are better than others, just as some ships handle the sea better than others. Do your homework, keep your expectations realistic and you will have a wonderful cruise aboard Costa Victoria. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Having enjoyed a cruise on the Costa Med in 2007 that left from Venice, Italy and hit ports in Italy, Greece and Croatia, my friend Jim and I decided to try a longer transatlantic Costa Med cruise in 2008 that started in Savona, Italy and ... Read More
Having enjoyed a cruise on the Costa Med in 2007 that left from Venice, Italy and hit ports in Italy, Greece and Croatia, my friend Jim and I decided to try a longer transatlantic Costa Med cruise in 2008 that started in Savona, Italy and ended in Santos, Brazil. While some things could be improved, we had another great time overall. We flew from New York into Genoa, Italy on November 26 where we stayed at a Costa-arranged hotel called the Bristol Palace. Our large, spacious room and its modern bath were very pleasant as were the bar and reception area. We had an excellent dinner at one of the finest restaurants in Genoa, Zeffirino, that was located a couple of blocks down the street. Then we then were picked up on November 27 by a Costa-arranged van for our hour-plus transfer to the port in Savona. Unlike some other drivers we've had, the van's driver was polite and did a great job getting us to the port on time. He earned a tip from us. Unlike last year in Venice, embarkation at Savona could have been a bit smoother. The departure hall was very tightly-packed and our United States passports caused quite a stir for the Costa staff. They were quite anxious to confirm that we held valid Brazilian visas. We had arranged them at some expense through an expediter that Costa suggested called Zierer Visa Service so that wasn't a problem and we were finally allowed to board the ship. While other reviewers have also noted it, I'd be remiss if I didn't note that the design and style found on board the Costa Med are stunning. While most of the ship has Italian roots, parts of it are modeled after Asian (Roero Wine Bar) and Egyptian (Osiris Theater) influences. Even on my second cruise, I kept noticing new details, like winged cherubs on the ceiling on one bar, every day on board. The Atrium is particularly stunning with its colorful floating sculpture and glassed-in elevators. One of the exciting features about the Costa Med is that it attracts mainly European passengers while most of its staff still speaks decent English. Life on board feels different than it would on a different line in the same family like Carnival where most of the passengers speak English. Along with Jim and I, there was only one other United States citizen on board out of about 1800 passengers. Since this cruise was for 17 nights but was affordably-priced like most repositioning cruises, we decided to book a Panorama Suite. It was well worth it for the top-notch bathroom and spacious veranda. The bathroom had two granite sinks and a real Jacuzzi bathtub with shower. Last year's bathroom, like most I've used on board other ships, featured only a narrow, coffin-like shower. The veranda had four chairs and seemed to take up about half of the aft of the Costa Med. Our Cabin Steward, Florence, did an amazing job keeping the Suite clean throughout the cruise. Our Butler, Desmond, had to cover 11 other suites on the Costa Med so he didn't do much except deliver a fruit plate to our room each day. The Suite did benefit from a few other nice small touches like enhanced bath amenities, terry cloth robes, advance copies of the main restaurant menus and one free meal in the pay restaurant. You should definitely book a Suite if bathrooms or verandas matter to you. Another exciting feature about the Costa Med is that it offers an excellent wine list at affordable prices in its main restaurant, pay restaurant, and in its wine bar. There were thirty to forty full bottles available, mainly from Italy but also from other leading wine countries like France or Spain, for about 20-25 Euros per bottle. One of our wine waiters in the pay restaurant and wine bar, Tatiana, was extremely attentive and knowledgeable. If you love wine like we do, then this is a great line to try out. The main restaurant was very good. While we never were awake in time for Breakfast there, we did have most of our Lunches and Dinners there. Each Dinner featured at least three Appetizers, three Soups, two Pastas, four or five Main Courses, one or two Salads, a Cheese platter, and then four or five Desserts to choose from. While the food wasn't quite as good as on our previous Uniworld, Windstar or Oceania cruises, it was still very good. On both of our Costa cruises, I was impressed that the Maitre D' made an effort to seat us with other passengers who spoke English and were roughly our age. We had three charming young ladies at our table this year. Two from Germany spoke enough English to be a lot of fun. And our Waiter, Benjie, who's a 7-year Costa veteran, did an amazing job handling his 24 passengers. The pay restaurant, Club Medusa, was very good too. We ate two Dinners there. It wasn't expensive or crowded. Some of the food items on a Michelin-starred Chef-selected menu were outstanding like the tomato bacon onion soup; others were just odd like one fatty beef shank main course I didn't enjoy. The buffet restaurant upstairs was at best good. Some of the food on the steam trays wasn't hot or fresh. The hot dogs, pizza, salads and desserts were fine. It was very difficult to get beverage waiters to take our order. So we mainly ate at the main restaurant downstairs. One area that could be improved a lot is the main stage. At least half of the shows we saw were mediocre at best. The eight-person on-board dance troupe did a good job as did a couple of singers but it was almost cruel for the Cruise Director to force some of the bar entertainers, like a talented piano soloist, Demetrio de Bellis, to take their turn on the main stage. The best show we saw was from a local Brazilian dance company, Interarte of Salvador, that was on board for one night only. Yet another exciting feature about the Costa Med is that it offers four to six bars with live music each night. The same entertainers who struggled on the main stage excelled in these smaller venues with room for 50 to 100 passengers. Most notable were Tango Trio, featuring a violinist, pianist and accordionist who were amazing and featured each night in the Roero Bar, and a couple of solo performers, Flavio and Dino, who did terrific jobs on their keyboards and on Dino's guitar in the Dionisio Bar. The solo performers both earned tips from us. And Flavio rewarded us by giving us his most recent CD. The Laundry on board did a great job with laundering my jeans and dress shirts and dry cleaning my blazers and dress pants. The Certificate of Crossing the Equator, signed by the Captain, that appeared in our cabin after we crossed it, was a very nice touch as was tooting the ship's horn when we crossed. I wish someone had warned us, though, about how easy it is to get sunburned when you're near the Equator. Jim and I suffered a lot from only an hour and a half out on our veranda that day. The Internet Cafe on board lost its satellite connection about halfway through the cruise so we lost our ability to access the Web for email or other sites. We were able to occasionally get email through our cell phones when we were close enough to shore. The new Costa Club card that I carried, for frequent Costa travelers, was supposed to lead to a 20% discount on service in the Internet Cafe, Laundry or Mini-Bar that never materialized on my final statement. Nor has Costa answered an email I sent over ten days ago on that point. We also had some difficulty getting an Excursion that Costa cancelled in Barcelona credited on my statement. It took visits to three different desks to get it done. And prior to the cruise, Costa needed prodding by CruiseCritic.com to admit that its unilateral switch from Dollars to Euros for our Excursion costs, months after we booked them in Dollars in advance on the Costa web site, left a bit to be desired. Costa needs to do better at customer service at its Reception and Excursion Desks. Since many of the ports on this repositioning cruise aren't regularly visited by Costa or other cruises, I'll only make a few comments on them. Along with several Excursions, we used the paid Costa Shuttle Bus service several times to get from the port to local sites of interest. I was quite impressed by Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. It may have been hundreds of miles away but it fondly reminded me of all the other cities I've seen in Spain. We had an excellent steak lunch there at Casa Carmelo on the waterfront. I thought the part of Fortaleza, Brazil where the Shuttle Bus dropped us was squalid with men sleeping on the streets and many empty buildings. Yet the shopping mall in Recife, Brazil where the Shuttle Bus dropped us was very affluent. We had an excellent buffet lunch at the Skillus chain restaurant. One of the young ladies from the kitchen adopted us since she spoke the best English there. And she earned a tip from us. We had an amazing lunch outdoors at Jardim Das Delicias in Salvador, Brazil featuring seafood stew served in a large bubbling pot. And the Excursion we took that night in Salvador to see a local dance troupe with gymnastic flair was excellent. The Jeep Excursion we took to Corcovado and the Rainforest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was outstanding but a bit long. Unless you love beaches, I wouldn't recommend visiting Brazil with Costa or otherwise for another five or so years so that it can build up its tourism infrastructure a bit more. After killing a couple of hours on board waiting, our disembarkation on December 14 in Santos, Brazil went smoothly. We were able to claim our luggage, clear Customs, and get on our Excursion bus that toured Sao Paulo, Brazil and then took us to its Airport for our flight back to New York. We had a great experience with arranging our two separate flights here using the www.vayama.com website that specializes in international travel. While we wondered in advance if a 17-day cruise would be too long and if we'd be eager to get home, that wasn't the case here. We really enjoyed sleeping late, eating at the main restaurant, and enjoying the wine and live entertainment in Costa Med's bars a lot. We'd definitely travel on the Costa Med or a different Costa ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
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