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2 Costa Victoria Middle East Cruise Reviews

Our second cruise with Costa had some good points but some unbelievably bad points too. We chose a suite because my husband had worked interstate for the past year and we wanted some quality time together. Embarkation was a nightmare ... Read More
Our second cruise with Costa had some good points but some unbelievably bad points too. We chose a suite because my husband had worked interstate for the past year and we wanted some quality time together. Embarkation was a nightmare - over two hours standing outside in a queue outside in the sun to drop cases. The delay was the people checking for visa's could not read English. There were two people checking passports and a queue that stretched way to the back of the car park. There were over 1000 English speaking passengers on this voyage. So much for priority embarkation. That did not happen until after you were inside the port building. We had late lunch in the Club dining room - we asked if this was possible and were told that we had to go to the buffet and we couldnt access Club dining. We went anyway and found that we could. The meals in the Club dining room were quite nice. The menu is much the same as the rest of the ship with a few changes. However, the atmosphere is supposed to be "refined, exclusive and a private environment for suite guests". They forgot to tell you that the basketball court is overhead. Lots of thumping and banging from the courts use totally put us off our dinner and we ended up in the buffet regularly. The buffet - although very busy and noisy provided and excellent choice and all food that we had there was of a good quality. When we complained about the banging overhead we were told that the "teenagers have to have something to do". Around 2pm our cabins were ready and ours was old but nicely appointed and comfortable. Until that night!! We were tired after travelling and had an early night, the music from the Concorde Plaza was loud. At 10.45 it was deafening. I was wearing noise cancelling headphones and could still hear every word of every song. We thought ok this is the welcome party. However, 21 night cruise and the band played every night - deafening, tiring, outrageous that this could not be fixed by moving the band elsewhere. It kept all the suite guests awake for the sake of a few (6 when I went to investigate) late night partygoers. They played the same songs over and over every night. When we tried to rest in the afternoon they practiced most afternoons. When we complained about the afternoon practice we were told we were wrong that there were no bands playing. !!!! Our cabin was also inundated with smells - paint, varnish and turpentine smells from the maintenance room and the replacement of the outdoor carpet. The maintenance room surprisingly had an airconditioning system linked to the deck below -our deck. Once it was discovered where the smells were coming from maintenance was stopped on sea days (the day before we left). The suites do not have opening windows so for 9 of the 10 sea days it was impossible to breathe in the cabin and it caused headaches and vomiting. Entertainment was provided and was reasonably good. We attended quizzes and dance lessons. The people who did craft reported that they enjoyed those sessions. Although there was a majority of English speaking people there was no English speaking entertainment organiser. So you got weird translations that didnt make sense. Such as "which is the river with the most affluence" !! so we felt that the Italians and French had an advantage at quiz and it got to the stage where everyone was groaning when the same people won nearly every quiz. We took two Costa excursions and these worked well for us although we usually do our own as we do not like travelling with crowds of people where you cannot hear the guide. We also do not like waiting for people who can't make it back to the meeting place on time so the only Costa excursions we took were to places that we found difficult to get to on our own. We went to Matera from Bari and Masada and the Dead Sea from Eliat. These were excellent places to visit and we would go again. We went Petra from Aquaba with a private tour company and the rest we did with taxi's and public transport. We had two tender ports and both of these were well organised and we had no difficulty getting ashore. We felt the service from the crew that we dealt with on a daily basis was excellent, service in the bars, the room steward, the dining staff but the administration and management were either unwilling or unable to resolve any issues. They just did not care. We were told that they understood our cruise had been a disappointment and we had not received what we had paid for and were told we had to complain when we arrived home and we would be compensated. We were given an email address to write to. However, the complaint and request for compensation was viewed as "feedback" and an apology was given. So we felt we were brushed aside during the cruise and there has been no resolution from Costa. All in all our romantic holiday together for my 60th birthday turned out to be anything but. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
A few tips from our Costa Victoria cruise to Dubai: - the buffet (on deck 11) is open 24 hrs and has free tea, coffee and cold water to help yourselves. (Although we did find the cold water some times luke warm, even though you were ... Read More
A few tips from our Costa Victoria cruise to Dubai: - the buffet (on deck 11) is open 24 hrs and has free tea, coffee and cold water to help yourselves. (Although we did find the cold water some times luke warm, even though you were meant to be able to get ice from it too.) There is also free tea, coffee and cold water out the back of deck 11 in the 'open restaurant' at dining times. - food quality and restaurant staff are fantastic. Food was really amazing, esp the pastas at lunchtime. - someone asked about minimum bets on the casino, from memory there were definitely 1 euro tables minimum, but I think like most casinos the min bet varied on different tables. - one thing I wished we had done before we went was printed some maps of the ports of call off the internet. The ship does give you a map, albeit it is so poor that it wasn't of use at all. If we had just spent some time printing off a few detailed maps with road names etc, we could have been a bit more adventurous walking round - esp so in Abu Dhabi (which is like Dubai, pretty affluent and easy to walk round) and Bahrain (which we found sandy and hustly bustly and a more traditional Arab place). Muscat is pretty small, so a map wouldn't be so needed there. - we took local taxis in most ports I'll give you a few tips re the ports we visited. Abu Dhabi - we did a 1 hour city tour for 100 dirhams (dhs) and asked to end it at Marina Mall, a large, good modern mall. Then got taxi from the Mall back to the boat. (Loads of taxis at the Mall). Worth driving out to the new Grand Mosque (looks amazing, like the Taj Mahal). Our favorite port - nice Corniche promenade along the front if you fancy a walk. You can't walk from the port entrance and need to get a taxi to the city centre. Bahrain - we got the Costa shuttle bus to the centre of Bahrain and had a wander round. Very old Arab feel to the city, found the souks (from the mini bus drop off head forward and to the left - down a few little alley ways, by the side of building site alleyway) worth going round the souks if you like that sort of thing. I wore a pashmina head scarf in the souks just to avoid the stares really. Fajarah (sorry can't remember the spelling). A complete waste of a cruise stop, and everyone we spoke to agreed. We got the Costa bus to Lulu mall - which is in fact a very poor excuse of a hypermarket. The trips didn't seem to go down with passengers better. I wouldn't know what to suggest here - everything seems a long way from the port and it seemed to be an Emirate with not much to see. Maybe stay on the ship?! Muscat, Oman - again took a 1 hour city tour for 100 dhs. Really interesting - firstly stopped at the souks, out to the Palace, then a post 5 star hotel for a look round and a stop at the museum. We squeezed a lot in to an hour. Nice port stop. There is a nice promenade on the front too, if you fancy a walk. (Don't walk to the souks from the port entrance - just too far in the heat). In all these places don't be frightened of getting taxis - they are really a good way to see the cities. If you are a bit adventurous you can get a lot out of it. If you don't mind spending more, of course the cruise tours have advantages - ie you don't have to organize anything and it is all done for you - each to their own I guess. But we were happy with taxis. They are everywhere, esp in Dubai where you flag them down like in London. They are outside all the malls and hotels in Dubai and queue up right where the ship docks up. The one and main tip for getting taxis is make sure the driver speaks pretty good English. You can do this when you are negotiating the price. Ask him to show you on the map where he would take you on a 1 hour city tour (or 2 hours if you want) and see if it is the same places you want to visit. If he can't show you or communicate to you in good English, I would just give him a miss and walk onto the next taxi driver. Ok, on to other tips: - we bought a couple of large 2 litre mineral bottles of water (2.50 euros each) on the ship. Then we were reluctant to keep spending this money to buy more water, so I nipped to the gym which has a water dispenser where you can easily refill the bottles up. No one said anything. I did see others do this in the buffet which gives free water, but the dispenser is not so easy to fill up bottles from. - X1 is only Carlsberg beer (no other beers) and only 1 choice of red or 1 choice of white wine. So if you are looking to save money and you like a drink with your lunch/dinner X1 is fab, if you are more choosey with your wine/beer you may not be happy with this. We found X1 fine for us - we ordered a last beer/wine just as leaving lunch - and took it to the pool, and the same in the evening and took our last drink to the bar we wanted to sit in after dinner. Just phone Costa Cruises directly if you want to find out more about the X1 package for your cruise - ours was around £55 per person for 8 days. - We have done an Ocean Village cruise and it was interesting comparing the 2 - entertainment on OV is far better. The entertainment on Costa was pretty poor really - Songs from the Shows, Belly Dancing, Puppet show. No comedians on Costa, which we liked on OV. - The checking in procedure is quite slick on Costa, yes they do take your passport and give you a copy of your photo page to use to enter the ship with your Costa Card, but that is all fine. Just remember to go to the Plaza Lounge on the last morning, to pick up your passport! - Depending when you check in you may not get your bags until 8pm outside your room. We took one large suitcase and one smaller 'pull along one' with our day clothes in so we could just get sandals/teeshirts out before they took our bags away. Also handy in that the smaller bag would fit in the large suitcase in our cabin, and that large case could fit under the bed to save space in the cabin. - We were on Virgin flights and got into Dubai around 10am and we had a 'service room' for the first day, before getting our proper cabin at 8pm. That was a godsend for a little sleep after a night flight. Not sure why we got this cabin, if it was a Virgin thing or what, but it was good. -You get your cabin on the last day until 4.30pm as Kevsgirl says, and you are allowed to stay on the ship until 10.30pm. We decided to postpone the flight home by 4 days and booked into a Dubai hotel so checked into the hotel, then came back to the ship for free dinner/drinks on the last night - only cost was a taxi there and back! - As to currency to take - Dirhams is needed for the UAE states, and in Muscat and Bahrain they all seemed happy to trade in Dollars. (Our rep said Euros would be OK too, but I'm not so sure - Dollars seems the currency which was sought after). - there are 2 'posh' dinners. The first was not the day we arrived but the next day. Really don't worry about what you wear for this - my husband wore a suit and tie but it was a complete mix. He wished he had worn a modern stripey shirt/cufflinks with no tie and trousers, rather than his work suit. As long as you don't have jeans on, you'll be fine. Lots of women just wore black trousers and a pretty top and fitted fine. Blokes tended to wear suits with ties or DJs, or chinos with nice shirts was absolutely fine. - we felt that the Reception staff were really rude (one elderly couple only had taken Nationwide Debit cards, no Credit cards - they didn't realize a Costa didn't accept Debit cards for payment at the end of your holiday - and the Reception staff were so rude to this poor elderly couple who didn't understand the difference between Debit/Credit cards). - we took water and cans of coke into the ship after each port. Although you put your bags thru scanners, no one said anything. We did it by mistake the first time and realized we had done it, and then we thought we could keep doing it and the worst that could happen is they take our water/soft drinks away. But I don't want to put anyone off a Costa cruise - overall we would definitely do it again - we just wished we had known the tips above before hand. Yes the service charge is a lot, but you know that when you book. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Costa Victoria Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.4
Dining 3.0 3.0
Entertainment 2.0 3.0
Public Rooms 3.0 3.2
Fitness Recreation 2.0 3.0
Family 2.0 3.0
Shore Excursion 2.0 3.1
Enrichment 1.0 2.7
Service 4.0 3.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.1
Rates 3.0 3.8

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