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16 Costa Victoria Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

I was not impressed by Costa Cruise Lines. We sailed on the Victoria Nov. 19, 2011. They do not communicate well (with Americans)seemingly by choice. The cruise got off to a bad start in Venice (where we were to board). The port fogged in ... Read More
I was not impressed by Costa Cruise Lines. We sailed on the Victoria Nov. 19, 2011. They do not communicate well (with Americans)seemingly by choice. The cruise got off to a bad start in Venice (where we were to board). The port fogged in and the ship had to divert to another port 2 hours away. We had to sit in the ships terminal building for about 5 hours. They loaded the passengers onto tour buses and did not tell anyone where we were going. I will never "assume" the other knows important info(such as this)again. We rode in silence for 2 hours in the dark foggy night to be dumped off in the town Trieste and take a 10 min walk to the ship. We then had to wait another several hours for the ship to disembark, be cleaned, etc. We finally got to line up and board. What line? it was a mad house with everyone pushing and shoving. NO security and the cruise employees did not care or seem to notice. Anyone could have boarded the ship. Very lax in security. On board, there was no rhyme or reason to order. The English speaking guests went into a public area to get "numbers" to get off the ship in a port and push and shove once more. I think the cruise staff must have been tired ? Not very organized. We then sailed and were behind to our next port in Croatia and only got few hours there in the dark. It was very pretty place however I was disappointed we could not ride the cable car there The port of Naples....that is a nightmare. Dirty, congested and pickpocket city! We got a cab and went out of town to see the Pompeii ruins. We hurried along as there is not much time in the ports. We boarded when we were supposed to and sat on our balcony and watched as others boarded late - we could have stayed another hour. I do not think Europeans know what "rules" mean. The food on ship was much like hospital food. And the guests did not dress properly to dine in the dining room. So much for the clothes I packed. The food was better on the back of the ship in the outside area. They only served water - no ice tea. Drinks (both Cola and alcohol were expensive). Our waitstaff was good and our stateroom steward was great and kept our room very tidy. The bad grades would be for the management staff level. They seemed to ignore the passengers and very haughty attitudes. The shows in the lounge were worst I have ever seen and costumes were ugly. I was embarrassed for them (dancers/singers). Only went to that once. I do recommend a cruise - just not on Costa. I will not go on another Costa cruise. But again, I got what I paid for. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
just returned from a week on the Costa Victoria and could not fault it, i did not want to get off the ship. embarkation was a breeze free shuttle provided by Costa from piassa Roma to the port and then luggage taken, and strait to check ... Read More
just returned from a week on the Costa Victoria and could not fault it, i did not want to get off the ship. embarkation was a breeze free shuttle provided by Costa from piassa Roma to the port and then luggage taken, and strait to check in, i arrive around 2pm and was on the ship in 20 minutes every thing went smoothly and even helped to the cabin. a good size inside cabin better than some and near to the central lifts with glass elevators this was quite stunning. the Costa Victoria is mid sized and has a sedate interior con-paired to the newer Costa ships but that suited me fine. lots of quite spaces if needed and lots of things going on around the ship if you wanted to be-lively. on the 7 th deck there was a small inside pool and spa area this was a nice place to get away from the hot sun and and action from the two pools on the top deck. there were quite a few children on board of various aged and the team that look after them did a good job keeping them happy with lots of things going on. i found the entertainment on this cruise some of the best i have ever had and to keep so many nationality happy this took some planing. the sinfonia restraunt had two sitting one at 7 and one at 930 pm and around 600 passengers at a time the service was good and the food choice was good not so much steak or beef as American lines but thoroughly enjoyed the food. and the x1 package is very good value and with good table wines provided . as the cruised progressed the happy hour in all the bars kept extending to later as the prices our on the high side so this was a welcomed relive. i found the trips on the pricey side and on the two occasions paired up with the French on tours but both sides kept quite so at least we all herd the commentary. found the crew very friendly and the animation team worked very hard with lots of things going on. i felt that we could have done longer port time as in one port just over 5 hours with tendering even though fast and efficient it was just not long enough. this is my second on Costa and thoroughly enjoyed this and will be back on another costa ship. i have sailed with 4 other lines and this is well up there in service and standard, good 4 star line Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We decided to use the opportunity of the low cost of cruising in 2009 by booking 4 different cruises on 4 different cruise lines in the Mediterranea in November and December.It took a lot of research,but finally we booked consecutive ... Read More
We decided to use the opportunity of the low cost of cruising in 2009 by booking 4 different cruises on 4 different cruise lines in the Mediterranea in November and December.It took a lot of research,but finally we booked consecutive cruises on the Costa Victoria,the MSC Splendida,the Azamara Quest and the NCL Gem.Even though at first sight these ships seem to fall in different categories,the daily price for a balcony cabin was very similar ,so direct comparisons between the ships was realistic.The cruise on the Victoria was the first one and we started it in Venice coming from Berne by train. Costa supplies a shuttle from the bus terminal to the ship but that shuttle is hard to find since there are no sign to indicate its location .The embarkation process was one of the worse ones we have experienced so far. Even though we arrived at 15h50 at the check-in ,the process took 55 minutes before we sat foot in the ship .There were only 3 Costa staff members to complete the check-in and we had to wait in a dirty area without water and a distant toilet.What was surprising was that the disembarkation process was one of the best ones we have seen so far : everything was on time,fast and disciplined ! Since it was past 17h00 when we got to the restaurant,it was too late to grab a bite since they were all closed ! Our room was small when compared to the other ships; it does offer enough space for the clothing and the bathroom area is well used . We had some problems on the second day with the sink not draining and the toilet not flushing but it was the situation was quickly looked after and the service desk made 2 follow-ups with us afterward .The choice on the T.V. was the best we had on the 4 cruises even if there were channels in 5 different languages. The public rooms were a bit of mystery for us : the Buffet Bolero is way too small for the number of passengers,the restaurants Fantasia and Sinfonia are spatious and on this cruise ,the restaurant "Il Magnifico" was deserted !The Theater Festival is too small and 2 screens were added for spectators to see the shows and the Concorde Plaza is huge for the activities performed there.The Gym is small and overcrowded while the Casino is very big . The main lobby is grandiose and the areas around the pool are overcrowded when it is sunny ! The reading areas have both smoking and non-smoking portions ; it would be better to concentrate the smoking areas in a couple of locations on the ship . The entertainment was good as long as it did not involve comedians or magicians.It is about impossible to talk to an audience in 5 different languages. Most of the passengers on this cruise were Europeans,in fact 2104 out of a total of 2234 and while the majority was Italian speaking,there were a good number of French,Germans and Brits.It was a school break period so there were a lot of children on board,we found most of them to be respectable of the not so young and Costa had a lot of activities for them . The majority of the passengers was quite participative of activities proposed by Costa and it was a lively cruise around the pools and the bars .There were no seminars nor cultural presentations probably because of various languages . The quality of the food was mixed.Breakfast,lunch and dinner were not too good at the Buffet and very often not warm enough; breakfast in the restaurant was medium at the best ; lunch and dinner at the Sinfonia and Fantasia were very good, even though the cheese was served cold and desserts were limited in choice and quality .The wine package was a good bargain Generally speaking,the service was very good ! The atmosphere around this ship is very lively and the crew participates a lot to it !The service in the restaurants is very personalized and the staff would remember our preferences.The management is available and people looked after our problems very effectively. The only negative point was that the nurse that I met for a bad cold did not speak English nor French ! The syrup she gave me was very effective though !Our room was very clean and our steward changed his cleaning schedule to accommodate us. Shore excursions were mixed ! In Santorini it was quite good but in Ancona,French and English speaking groups were joined under one guide making it impossible for both groups to ear the descriptions of the sites .Information on ports of call for passengers not taking the ship's excursions was non-existent. The price per day for a balcony cabin was the highest of the 4 companies we used during our trip . The itinerary was interesting but the stay in each port of call was short.The value for the money we paid was still good but this is probably exceptional for 2009 . We have sailed on the Costa Mediterranea in the past and it was much better than this ship. I will have to try another Costa ship before making a final judgement. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
I organized a group of friends (both American and Italian) for a week together without the need for being a host. We booked in April and wanted a fall cruise from Venice as that port would be convenient to all 10 of us. Pre ... Read More
I organized a group of friends (both American and Italian) for a week together without the need for being a host. We booked in April and wanted a fall cruise from Venice as that port would be convenient to all 10 of us. Pre registration. The english Costa site was a nightmare. Some of us were not able to pre-register and had to wait until the e-docs were received so that we could fill them out manually and bring them with us. Embarkation. Once you arrived at the terminal, you were given a number. There were two lines. One for Costa repeat customers, the other for the rest of us. You can imagine which moved faster. On the minus side, there were only four processing stations open when we came through. Costa had more staff hawking drink packages than they had processing the passengers. On the plus side, you did not have to stand in line until your number was called and there were ample seats available while you waited. On previous cruises, one card was issued that served as a charge card, embarkation card, and room key. Costa gives you a separate room opening card and you find your charge card on your bunk. You then have to validate the card at a kiosk. I had to go back several times before finding a functioning machine. Cabin. Bunks were put together to make a double bed. Although requested at 2 PM, it took until after 9 PM for the steward to separate it to single bunks. Furniture was definitely dated. Several plumbing issues during the cruise while the maintenance staff did repairs. Steward did a good job of keeping the cabin clean and furnished for remainder of the cruise. Don't expect little extras like shampoo and mints. Ports of call: Generally there was very little time available to spend on shore (typically 6 hours or less). Taking the Costa excursions lets you off the boat sooner and you can make the most use of your time ashore. Dining. Costa did manage to assign all ten of us to one table. Even though we booked in April, we were told that there was no tables available for the second seating. That meant we had to fore go dinner in the dining room at ports such as Mykonos. On arrival there is one card in your stateroom that gives the seating assignment for dinner. There is nothing that says you must present the card when you go to the dining room. So, with a group of ten, we had five cards between us. We went separate ways and agreed to meet at the dining room at the appropriate hour. One member was turned away because she did have the card although she knew the time and table number. The Maitre D' directed her to the Reception Desk where she was given another card to gain admittance. Our table waiter was excellent. Too bad, the Maitre D' was so unhelpful. The buffet was quantity but not quality. I would suggest the Sinfonia dining Room for breakfast as you can get eggs to order and cappucino (not available elsewhere without cost.) Food quality was varied. Some nights it was good, others not. On Italian night, it was terrible. The native Italians at our table said there were ashamed to be associated with what was served. The lasagne was so salty that I only had one bite. At least the waiter allowed me to substitute some bread and cheese. On a positive note, there were always fresh baked rolls available. Entertainment. Entertainment in the main theater was pretty good considering it was multilingual. There was a variety of things to do that would suit a variety of tastes. General. Kat, the Costa staff member who did the English speaking orientations warned that the concept of lines (queues) was foreign to Italians. She said that it was just because they were hungry. It turns out they were also in a hurry for places anywhere a line formed. Generally, Costa had rules for how long the lounge chairs could be unattended, how many people could be in a hot tub, no children in the hot tubs,reserved seating for handicapped, etc. These were ignored by and large, and there was no action taken by staff to enforce them. Although, it was during the school year, there were children running rampant and unsupervised by their parents who seemed to be taking a vacation from parenting. Bottom line. I have been on six cruises. This was the next to the worse cruise ever. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Our expectations were not high as we knew the Victoria was an old ship-we had been on the Indy media launch and knew what a superb vessel she was. We couldn't,t fault Victoria. Our cabin was small but very comfortable and ... Read More
Our expectations were not high as we knew the Victoria was an old ship-we had been on the Indy media launch and knew what a superb vessel she was. We couldn't,t fault Victoria. Our cabin was small but very comfortable and spotless,with a cheerful steward who kept us supplied with iced water. The food couldn't be faulted whether in the buffet or in the dining room. We had a window seat in the dining room and sailing down the Grand Canal on the first night was a wonderful experience. We had bought the X1 drinks package and thought this was value for money. Thought the tours were very poor value and would do our own thing another time. Entertainment was first class but often difficult to find a seat-one night we just stood at the back. Although it is made clear that a sum is added to final account for 'service' some people were having a moan after receiving their final account. We actually left a tip for our steward as he was so good. Do check your final bill as there were mistakes on mine and my daughters bills. Although this year we are flying to Cuba it will be at least a two weeks cruising every year from then on. I only wished more cruises would cater for the lone passengers-I don't say singles because this implies you are looking to become a double. Can recommend cruising for all ages Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
I took my mam on a cruise last year as we wanted a holiday and had never been cruising. We flew from Dublin to London and then stayed overnight in a hotel in London before we flew out to Venice. I had been to Venice before but had flown To ... Read More
I took my mam on a cruise last year as we wanted a holiday and had never been cruising. We flew from Dublin to London and then stayed overnight in a hotel in London before we flew out to Venice. I had been to Venice before but had flown To Bergamo on that occasion which was a bit of a nuisance as it was not a direct journey to get to Venice from there! We embarked in Venice after a trip from the airport on a speed boat! What wonderful views of the area we got! the embarkation was so straight forward and organised it was great to hand over the bags and then have them in the cabin when we got to it! The Ship was well organised and signposted well. There were different styles of decor in the various bars and restaurants which was lovely. We chose to eat in the Top Deck restaurant on two occasions as a treat! We had a ball - the food was gorgeous - the staff were wonderful - they had lovely manners and paid great attention to detail. We took advantage of the spa and pool facilities on more than one occasion! We did an excursion on every day except the first one! It was great to see the best bits of each port in an organised way. We went to the theatre every night and had a few cocktails also! The different bars had selections of entertainment which was a change to being stuck with the same entertainment when out at home!! I would totally cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
I booked the cruise on Costa because I wanted a European experience for the cruise. I felt that a European cruise line would give me that. Thia was not correct. It didn't seem any different from other cruise lines. Here are my ... Read More
I booked the cruise on Costa because I wanted a European experience for the cruise. I felt that a European cruise line would give me that. Thia was not correct. It didn't seem any different from other cruise lines. Here are my thoughts. 1--The ship Costa Victoria is a very nice ship--updated a few years ago. I would not say it was as good as their literature says, but it was nice. The cabin--we had a veranda cabin--was small. The ship had converted many cabins to verandas and they cut off some of the room. There was no sitting area as other ships have. There was a strong urine smell in the bathroom. This was corrected by the 3rd day thanks to a great cabin attendant. Other than that all was well. 2--The FOOD was not as good as other cruise lines. For an Italian line, there was not that much Italian fare offered. I would rate the food about a 2 on a scale of 5. The main dining area was nice, but the service was just ok. The cafeteria style dining areas did not have enough seating in the peak times and the food was average. The only free beverage was coffee and water. Other cruises I have been on had at least lemonade or a fruit punch free--not on Costa. We ate breakfast in the main dining room because of the above facts and by the end of the cruise it seemed that a majority of the other cruisers did too because the food and space was better. The same is true of lunch. A major disappointment was that there was NO food available after 3PM. All food concessions close until 7PM dinner. Pizza restaurant was closed all day until 7PM. The food experience is one of the reasons people cruise. This is not very acceptable to me! 3--SERVICE--Average--nothing exceptional--tips or service charges are added whether or not you want to so there is no incentive for the servers to be extra good. However, I will praise our cabin attendant. 4--EXCURSIONS were good--no real complaints except for the costs which seemed high. 5--COMPUTER ROOM was poor. They have the slowest server. In fact, I could not get to the places I wanted many times. At .50 Euros a minute, it cost $2-3 Euros just to get connected. 6--Announcements--Could not hear very well and by the time they got to English, I stopped caring. 7--I found the European guests on the cruise very rude. They were always pushing and shoving in lines for the excursions and waiting for the main dining room to open. The entertainment was so-so and the theater was too small to accommodate all the guests. I would not take a Costa cruise again or recommend it to others. On a scale of 5, I would give Costa a 2. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
This was our fifth cruise in the last 8 years, and our first one on Costa, although all of our other cruises have been on other ships in the Carnival Corporation network (Princess three times and once on Holland American). We picked this ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise in the last 8 years, and our first one on Costa, although all of our other cruises have been on other ships in the Carnival Corporation network (Princess three times and once on Holland American). We picked this cruise for its itinerary, which was spectacular. The cruise itself was OK, but not up to the standards we have enjoyed on our other trips. Embarkation was poor. Our bags were taken away expeditiously and were at our cabin when we arrived on board. Passengers were given group numbers and told to wait to be called: we then had to wait of more than two hours before we could complete the few minutes of paperwork and go on board. There were four clerks to handle the two thousand passengers. This was totally different from our previous experiences (all in the USA or Canada) where there was no waiting. Not a good way to start a vacation! The interary and shore excursions were excellent. Only problem was in Athens, where there weren't enough people for a trip in English to the Acropolis. After a little bit of confusion, we booked on the Spanish-speaking trip (my wife is fluent...I tagged along). We walked around town on our own in Mykonos and Dubrovnik. Excursions in Ancona (Urbino), Corfu and Santorini (Ia) were great. Food was generally very mediocre. While there is plenty of it (lunches and dinners included one or more appetizers/soup, a pasta course and a main dish plus desert), but the quality was generally fair at best. Lots of seafood (frozen fish and shrimp) and veal, very little beef. Quality and hours of the upstairs buffet were very limited. All dinners were in the main dining rooms or the extra-price premier location (we didn't try this); there was no dinner buffet. Like other ships, all drinks other than coffee and water were extra. Dinners have assigned seating. Our waiters were extremely nice, helpful and friendly. Cabin steward spoke almost no English and was minimally helpful (we had great difficulty getting shampoo and extra towels). Pools were adequate but, despite crew requests not to, people claimed chaise lounges for many hours at a time. Entertainment ranged from cheezy dancing at the pool to mediocre magicians and singers after dinner. The shows had much less costuming, dancing and almost no scenery (very different from our Western Hemisphere cruises). Overall, we loved the travel and thought that the vacation aspects were only OK. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
First the good...Embarkation was very easy.  The service was great, from the fantastic cabin steward to the pleasant waitstaff in the restaurants to the helpful English-speaking hospitality person.  The local tour guides were very good. ... Read More
First the good...Embarkation was very easy.  The service was great, from the fantastic cabin steward to the pleasant waitstaff in the restaurants to the helpful English-speaking hospitality person.  The local tour guides were very good. The excursions are a little expensive, but overall were very good.   The food in the sit-down restaurants was excellent.  The ports were absolutely beautiful.  The cabins were small but always very clean.  The frozen drinks were good but a bit pricey.The bad...The tours were very early in the morning.  Also, we didn't have much time in each port.  The pool area was a disaster.  There were only two small outdoor pools and four small hot tubs.  There were never any chairs and the area was always a mess.  The kids overran the pool area.  There were rules at the pool but they were never enforced, such as you couldn't reserve chairs and kids weren't allowed in the hot tub, but people would leave their stuff on chairs and leave for hours.  Also, there were babies in the hot tub.  The buffet was equally as bad.  They had the same food everyday, very few vegetarian options and the labels on the food weren't accurate.  The buffet was always packed and people cut the line and pushed and shoved and took huge portions so there was no food for the rest of us.  There was never anywhere to sit.  The only good food was the ice cream, but the machines were always broken or empty because people hogged them and there weren't enough machines.The other cruisers-The other cruisers were rude, pushy, cut lines and hogged the food.  It seemed like parents decided they were on vacation from being parents as all of the children were unruly, screaming, splashing, cutting lines, pushing, etc.  My mom saw one child lying on the floor of the restaurant and the parents didn't do anything about it.The website description is also inaccurate.  It said there was an all day ice cream bar, which didn't exist and an all day pizzeria, but the pizzeria was only open in the evenings.Recommendations--Get a cabin with a balcony-Do the Frasassi Caves tour in Ancona - they are amazing!-Do sit-down meals whenever possible-If you drink a lot of water, get the water plan.  There is never free water available on the ship except at meals.Things to be aware of-Most cruisers are European and not English-speaking so announcements take forever because they are made in a variety of languages and excursions may get cancelled because there are not enough English-speaking guests.There is not a lot of nightlife for 30-somethings.  Most entertainment was geared towards kids or retirees. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
I'm American & my wife is Polish. We picked this cruise for the warm weather & sunshine in the Eastern Med at this time of year. We had previously cruised on the Costa Concordia in February 2008 & knew what to expect with ... Read More
I'm American & my wife is Polish. We picked this cruise for the warm weather & sunshine in the Eastern Med at this time of year. We had previously cruised on the Costa Concordia in February 2008 & knew what to expect with Costa overall. I was hoping that Victoria being a smaller ship would have better food and it certainly was true. We were very pleased with our dining experience. At our first dinner we noticed that there were several vacant tables for 2 next to the windows. We requested a seating change and very much enjoyed a table for 2 window seating for the rest of our cruise. Our waiter Sirinc from Mumbai India was very pleasant and we enjoyed his service. The first night I had prime rib that was a good start and the food selection was excellent during the whole cruise. Our E1 outside cabin on deck 5 was fine but Victoria being built in the mid 90's has small cabins compared to the new ships today as their was no sofa with extra room to relax. Our steward Chris did an excelent job looking after our cabin. I would not recommend cabins on deck 5 as I didn't notice they are under the jogging track when I booked & it was a little annoying hearing the joggers above us in the morning & late afternoon. Victoria has a large sun deck with 2 pools. One can lay in the sun by the pools and hear all the noise from the entertainment team or find more quiet at the bow or stern. For Northern Europeans that want a sun tan, this is the perfect ship for them! Being a Californian, I was happy to sit in the shade with a cold drink. After dinner we would enjoy walking around deck six and enjoying the sunset then go to the Concord Plaza Bar for drinks listening to the music & then back to bed. I don't care much for the new "Joe" designs from Carnival that are installed on the latest ships with Costa having all the garish plastic colors. I enjoyed the sedate interior of Victoria. All in all we enjoyed our cruise and for the price I think Costa delivers a good product. It's true the port stays are short and I would wish for less ports but longer stays. Since most of the passengers are Italian, I've read this is more of just a boat trip for them as many have already seen the ports visited. I didn't visit the casino & only saw one show, the magic act whick was OK.I was impressed with Venice as we spent 2 days there on our return. It is certainly a "one-of-a-kind" place. My take is that this cruise a good value for the money. If you are American & have never been to Europe before, you might enjoy this Italian experience or be frustrated many fellow passengers don't speak your language. It depends on your own comfort level of not being surounded with everyone being the same as you.  Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
We have just returned from 7 nights on board Costa Victoria cruising Eastern Mediterranean. This was our second cruise, the first being on Ocean Village 2.I was slightly filled with trepidation once on board Costa Victoria when I realised ... Read More
We have just returned from 7 nights on board Costa Victoria cruising Eastern Mediterranean. This was our second cruise, the first being on Ocean Village 2.I was slightly filled with trepidation once on board Costa Victoria when I realised how few British were on board!!! But soon I realised I liked this as we felt more 'abroad' than if we were on a ship full of Brits!!!  All anouncements were made in all languages, all staff spoke English and the shows were predominently english spoken/sung.Our cabin (as was the whole ship) was spotless and everytime we returned to it, the room had been tidied, bed re-made. The only thing it was lacking was a kettle in the cabin for tea/coffee-making (we had this on Ocean Village), but I accept they can be a fire hazard. Food was exceptional, you can choose from self-service buffet to waiter service in the restaurant with a very full menu. The Italian ice-cream is to die for!!!  You are allocated a table for the week (for evening meal only) in the restaurant, but the staff are happy for you to change table if you are not satisfied for any reason. Each evening meal ends with the waiting staff making some fun and entertainment by various means, Italians really know how to party!!!!!Fellow cruisers were largely Italian but there was also some french,spanish and a few germans and british. I found the Italians wery friendly and quite able to queue as well as the Brits!!!!The evening shows were all a very good standard with the exception of the female 'magic' act, (would go down well at a childrens party probably though!!!!).We only had half days in port which we found very rushed, I would not choose an itinery with half days again. We did not do any ship excursions as they are very overpriced (as with all cruise ships). We did our own thing using available local taxi's.Ancona - lovely old town, but everything closed as we visited on a Sunday.Santorini - you have to choose between Cable Car or Donkey to get up to the town!Mykinos - very lovely with a beautiful sunset.Corfu - very expensive taxi's!!! Lovely Old Town.Athens - shame about all the scaffolding around the Acropolis. Facinating changing of the guard outside the palace.Disembarkation was very organised but long and needlessly drawn out, we had a midday check-in for our flight home so we had no time to explore Venice which was a bit of a disapointment.We would definately use Costa Cruises again, 9 out of 10 for value and satisfaction!  Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Though I am not a passionate cruiser, I had looked forward to this cruise as a convenient and relaxing way to explore the Greek Islands. Indeed, the ports were very interesting, so it was a shame that we were hardly able to enjoy ... Read More
Though I am not a passionate cruiser, I had looked forward to this cruise as a convenient and relaxing way to explore the Greek Islands. Indeed, the ports were very interesting, so it was a shame that we were hardly able to enjoy them. The already short stops were further shortened by Costa's inept handling of the ship-to-shore procedures.  We chose not to participate in most of the cruise-sponsored excursions since most of the towns appeared to be easily accessible to the ports. While we expected that those who chose to participate in a ship-sponsored excursion would get to leave the boat first, we did not expect to have to wait up to two hours (AFTER the stated disembarkation time for those not taking excursions) each day to leave the ship. Even after arriving early to receive a number, we still waited almost an hour for the boats to take us from the ship to shore. We waited even longer on the days we needed a bus. (These buses into town were recommended by Costa to help us "make the most of our time" (for an extra fee). Though we were tempted to find ground transportation on our own, it was not clear whether this was even possible at several of the ports and we did not wish to waste our time finding out. (We did take the Metro from Piraeus into Athens, which worked very well.) In short, we only had a few hours each day to enjoy our destination.  Had it been explained in the literature that Costa-sponsored excursions were strongly recommended, due to the the short duration of our stay, we would have felt much differently. The suggestion that Costa transportation would help us make better use of our time was misleading.  When we appealed to the English-speaking cruise director about how to avoid the long wait, we received no guidance and were reminded (somewhat indignantly) that Costa had successfully transported 2,000 people off of the boat the day before. Apparently timeliness is not part of their definition of successful.  The ship itself was far from impressive, comparable to an outdated 3-star hotel. The rooms were satisfactory in size and comfort but the furniture, decor, and facilities were tired. Food was decent, with the exception of the buffet, which was a mundane spread that did not change all week. The dining rooms were quite noisy and often warm. Service was acceptable by European standards. Americans will be disappointed.  I went on this cruise with no expectation other than to sample a bit of Greece and Croatia. The transportation procedures were so disorganized that we barely had time to do even this. Further, the environment onboard was not pleasant and was compromised by frustrating encounters with staff, hours of waiting, and outmoded accommodations.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Wow, were we excited One son graduating law school and the other finishing his first year in law school. It was THE BEST OF TIMES. My wife and I decided, as a graduation gift, to take our sons on a cruise to the Greek Islands. There we ... Read More
Wow, were we excited One son graduating law school and the other finishing his first year in law school. It was THE BEST OF TIMES. My wife and I decided, as a graduation gift, to take our sons on a cruise to the Greek Islands. There we were, sitting in front of Linda B. at Liberty Travel previously in Aventura now in Hollywood. We told her what we wanted, a high end ship, great food and great ports. She sold us on a Costa cruise, the Victoria, which went to the islands in Greece that we had heard and read about. She guaranteed us that this was a high end ship, only one step below Windstar. The anticipation was great over the next few months waiting to go on our family cruise. The flights that we booked, of course not through Liberty Travel, since they make no money on booking airline tickets, were great. We arrived in Venice, Italy and went to the ship. CRUISING INTO THE WORST OF TIMES: The boys' room was made up as single instead of a double and our room, which had already been made up, was filthy. There was a half full Coca-Cola can on the dresser; there was dust on the top of the counters and there were fingerprints on every window and mirror. We called Housekeeping who assured us that they would immediately rectify these problems. Still hoping for the best, we went upstairs to the buffet and upon return to our room 2 hours later, nothing had been done. We began to realize that our travel agent had terribly mislead us and we were not on the high end ship that we had demanded and paid a premium for. There were fresh cut flowers on our bed that the travel agent had sent. To this day, I don't understand why anyone would put fresh cut flowers on a bed. When we asked for a flower vase, we were told they did not have any and a champagne bucket was delivered to our room for the flowers. Next, we learned that although Linda had assured us we would have late seating, we were booked on early seating. It made no difference, the food on that ship was so awful that I would equate it to eating in a high school cafeteria. On the second night of the cruise, my wife actually ran out of the dining room crying, when for the second night there was nothing for her children to eat. The food was so bad, the boys didn't eat. Unfortunately, we had depended on a travel agent, a big mistake, and things only got worse. The ports of call and the times that the ship arrived at these ports were ridiculous. The first day, we arrived in Bari, Italy. The shore time was from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The four of us disembarked the ship and looked for a taxi to take us to a restaurant for a good meal. The taxi driver laughed at us and said, this is siesta time, everything is closed until 4:00 p.m. In Santorini, we had to be back on the ship by 2:00 p.m., however at that time of day, the gondola ride down from Santorini to the shore is a one and one half hour wait in the hot sun. Then, there was Mykonos, beautiful, beautiful Mykonos; we dreamed about the beaches and our sons looked forward to the night life. No way, the shore time for Mykonos was from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., too late for the beaches and too early for the night life. I will not bore you with every detail, however, every single day there was something else on that ship to prove that we were not on a high end class cruise. Espresso and cappuccino were not provided. Even at breakfast and dinner, we had to pay for coffee. The cigar bar was not a cigar bar but a small humidor in the back of one of the lounges. The waiter who assisted us did not have a cigar cutter or even matches. On one of our excursions, the bus they put us on had an inoperable air conditioning system for a bus trip that took one half hour in each direction in 90 degree weather. If this ship was one step below Windstar, then Holiday Inn is one step below the Ritz Carlton. Finally, we arrived in Venice, the city of beauty and romance. Arriving at our hotel, the Regina-Europa, we thought we were done with Costa and Linda B.. You already know that's not the case. The Worst Of Times continued because we had used a travel agent. We had prepaid Liberty Travel for two rooms, ($400 per room per night). We were ready for our beautiful rooms, some good meals and to explore Venice. Not yet, Linda blew it again. They told us that the hotel was full. It also turned out that the room that was booked had no shower nor view. My wife was in tears again. Finally, a manager was called, found a room where the party had not arrived, apologized for the actions of our travel agent and we were finally done with Liberty Travel and Linda B. The children kept our lousy room and my wife and I received a beautiful room with a view. I have learned a lot from this experience. The best of times is to make time to travel with your children. My wife and I and the 2 boys had a wonderful time together despite the circumstances. Next, never, ever, ever go on a Costa cruise ship if you are used to American food and service. You will be terribly disappointed. Last, unless you prefer the Worst Of Times over The Best Of Times, do not use a travel agent. Obtain recommendations from friends and use the Internet. Because we wanted to go on a high end cruise in the Mediterranean, we thought we needed a travel agent. What a mistake As it turned out, in retrospect, my wife and I would have done a much better job than Linda B. Looking back, life is good, however, if you ever happen upon Liberty Travel, either in their store in Hollywood or on the Internet, turn around, do not look back, hit the escape key and remember me. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
My wife and I started planning our cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean just under a year ago as a gift to each other for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had been on one cruise previously, with another line and had been extremely ... Read More
My wife and I started planning our cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean just under a year ago as a gift to each other for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had been on one cruise previously, with another line and had been extremely impressed by the quality of service and the friendliness of the staff. Our expectation with Costa was therefore quite high. We were not intimidated by the multicultural environment offered by Costa as we both speak French and English quite well and can get along in Italian. Venice was our port of embarkation and we made independent arrangements to get there, spending most of a day and a night in that beautiful city before getting to the ship. In Venice, there is a shuttle bus service from Piazzale Roma to the ship. Near boarding time, the buses come at +/- 20 minute intervals. We got there in plenty of time and hooked up with a small group of fellow travellers who were boarding the ship that day. We actually got into a queue at the point where the bus was expected and as only a few people were ahead of us, we were expecting an easy shuttle. Wrong! When the bus arrived, a throng appeared out of nowhere and pushed and shoved its way onto the bus. My wife and I managed to get our suitcases into the compartment and found standing room on the bus. Then we were told to get off and take the next bus, our suitcases would wait for us at the port. When we did get to the port, 20 minutes later, our suitcases were there, on the parking lot, unattended. We picked them up and lugged them towards the check-in, following the Costa signs for some 500 meters. Once there, we realized that we should have left our luggage at the drop-off point near the area where the first bus had deposited our luggage. So we went back, with our luggage, for another +/- 500 meters. At the luggage drop-off, things went rather smoothly as did the subsequent check-in. Our stateroom was a standard category 10 stateroom with ocean view and balcony. Were talking pretty small here, perhaps 150 square feet plus perhaps another 40 square feet for the balcony. The use of the space, however, is quite efficient and the stateroom was very comfortable. We were on the port side and got the chance to see some spectacular views along the cruise. A small irritant was the room safe. It was quite finicky, requiring several attempts to open or close and occasionally requiring reprogramming. Moreover, it operates with only one of the ID cards issued by Costa for the cabin, which means that I had to stay on my wifes good side for the whole duration of the cruise. On the first day, we rushed to the front of Deck 12 to get a good place in order to observe our departure through the spectacular Canale della Giudecca which we had been observing for a few weeks on the ships webcam. Each time, the ship had departed, like clockwork at 6:00 PM sharp, local time. This time, 6:00 PM came and went. We waited and waited. At 6:45, we had to go to our meal sitting. The ship left shortly after that, having been delayed by some late passengers. We had been at sea for the first day when we had our emergency drill. Much effort was made to place the passengers by height so that the ships photographer would be able to get a snapshot of everyone. The drill took forever as all announcements had to be made in six languages (Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, and Portuguese). The ship is just about the right size. It is big enough to offer a variety of services and enable passengers to roam without feeling constrained, and yet not so big so as to preclude them from finding their way about. All the main services are available: shops, casino, enough bars to satisfy a very large number of thirsty people, a theatre, a spa and a very small space serving as a gym. In all honesty, the gym could use more space, more equipment, and longer opening hours. My wife and I enjoy a brisk walk and we often used the jogging track on Deck 6. The problem here is that people will run or walk, at whatever pace they see fit, in any direction they see fit. The jogging track could use a couple of lanes, fast and slow, as well as directional arrows. The meals are pretty good, although, given the Italian reputation for superb eating, not quite up to our expectations. The coffee was nowhere near the rich dark brew one would expect. The breakfast buffet presented a rich selection of fruit together with a wide choice of artery clogging foods including all sorts of eggs, pancakes, waffles, bacon and sausage. A small section is reserved for the Health Corner where one can find a bit of stewed fruit, some yoghurt, and a limited selection of cereals. For dinner, we were told wed share our table with two other couples. We were surprised to find ourselves at a table for two. Each dinner consisted of a seven-course meal. The food was plentiful, servings were generous and the preparation was quite good albeit not exceptional. The wine selection is varied and suggestions are offered on the menus. During the cruise, we got to know our waiter and assistant quite well. They were friendly, helpful and quite competent. Entertaining a complement of passengers speaking at least six different languages has got to be a nightmare, and the staff did an impressive job in this respect. Roberto, the cruise director, was a riot and he was ably assisted by his colleagues. The after dinner show every night was different and entertaining. The talent was varied and competent. DO NOT miss the Roman Night on the last night of sailing. I cant remember the last time I laughed so hard. The shore excursions were handled efficiently. Each group was individually led off the ship and handed over to the tour guide. Overall, the tour guides were quite good and knowledgeable. On two occasions, however, the tour guide would give us instruction for place and time to return to the ship, and then drop off in order to give the passengers free time for sightseeing and shopping. This is quite good except for one thing. When you have to board a tender by a specific time, you may encounter a bottleneck at the port if more than one cruise ship is anchored offshore. We started heading back with what we thought was a good margin for making the tender only to encounter long queues of people trying to do the same thing at the same time. Not good for the blood pressure! The disembarkation procedure was exactly the opposite of our first days boarding. On the day prior to our return to Venice, we were invited to a meeting at which the disembarkation procedures were clearly explained. Our luggage was picked up as promised. We got our suitcases within five minutes of getting off the ship. We breezed right through out to the shuttle bus and were back at Piazzale Roma within ten minutes. My wife and I both enjoyed the multi-cultural composition of the passengers although it did tend to slow down communication at times. There is probably less mingling among passengers than there would be if there was a more common background. We certainly did not notice much mixing between the cultural groups. This may please people who want to keep to themselves but disappoint more outgoing types. As a general impression, I would say that we got good value for the price of our cruise. Our opinion is mitigated by the fact that our previous cruise experience had left us with very high expectations. One might say that the Costa Victoria suffered by comparison. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
This is going to be a difficult review to write. At 37 this is my 27th cruise and it becomes more and more of a challenge to be objective when writing a cruise review. I run the Cruise Division of Australia's largest retail agency ... Read More
This is going to be a difficult review to write. At 37 this is my 27th cruise and it becomes more and more of a challenge to be objective when writing a cruise review. I run the Cruise Division of Australia's largest retail agency chain. This cruise was my first taste of Costa - being a new product for us - and was basically for me to assess what a Costa Cruise is really like. Please excuse me if the review is long - or over-critical, I will try to make it as 'objective' as possible. Embarkation The transfer from Genoa Airport to Savona was a smooth as it could possibly be. We were met at the airport by a Costa rep and were able to sit in a designated Costa lounge while waiting for other flights to arrive. The transfer seemed very quick along the Autostrada - no more than 40 minutes. The cruise terminal in Savona is very new and stylish - very pleasant - complete with outside sun deck and cafe. The terminal was a blessing though - as the embarkation process was SLOW to say the least. We arrived at about 12.30pm where we were handed a number (19 in our case). Boarding began at about 1.00pm and we did not board until about 3.30pm. A very long wait!!! Cabin We were in a Balcony Stateroom - Costa Victoria only had balconies added in Jan this year. You couldn't tell that the balconies had been added - seemed like they were there all along. The cabin was an ok size. Seemed a little smaller than other balconies I have stayed in - I believe they did forsake a small amount of space in the construction of the balconies. Certainly not 'inconveniently small' however. Bathrooms were typically small - with a cylindrical shower. Cramped to say the least but again bearable. Unfortunately the shower tray didn't have a very high lip which meant a flooded bathroom floor every shower. Not really an issue - just don't leave anything on the floor!! Public Areas Being used to more modern ships (Costa Vic is 8 years old) I found this ship lacked a certain 'wow' factor but was still clean and comfortable with 'nice' public rooms. Our BIGGEST issue with the ship was the smoking. We had christened her the 'Costa Ashtray' by the end of the cruise. Seems the ship was basically 'smoking' with only a few dedicated 'non-smoking' areas. Now - smoking does not normally bother me at all - in fact I am pretty tolerant of it - however in this case PHEW was there a lot of it. Not only was there smoking in all the bars, but people would walk along corridors smoking, stand in line for reception smoking .. basically EVERYWHERE. Service In a word - inconsistent. On the plus side, 3 particular crew stood out. Ron, our cabin steward, was the best I have ever had on any cruise. At the beginning he introduced himself as our 'angel' and was true to his word. Every night on our return to the cabin we had a new surprise - whether it be a towel animal - or fresh flowers scattered all over the bed - there was always a nice, personal touch. Nothing was a problem for him. Just excellent. Christiana at reception was our God-send. You see, 3 of us in the party had luggage lost by the airlines. Not a nice way to start a cruise!! Christiana took ALL our details, told us not to worry about the luggage as Costa would find it .. no matter what. And lo and behold they did. She was a gem. The 3rd was Michael in the specialty restaurant. An excellent waiter. On the down side, sometimes the service was dreadful. Questions were answered with 'who knows', 'no' or simply ignored. On the first day we ordered tea and cookies for the cabin in the afternoon. They arrived. ON the second day we were told "no cookies on the room service menu" - but we insisted we got them the day before and .. so they came. On the third day we were told "no cookies on the room service menu" - and again we insisted that we had got them for the last 2 days. This time though .. NO cookies. And never again after that. Petty? Maybe - but this is an example of the inconsistencies we experienced. Entertainment Don't even start me on this one. A shadow puppet show. A guy who created dresses out of one piece of material. Tragic to say the least ... Food I am starting to sound like a whiner. Sorry!!! I usually only have good things to say - but .. I'm struggling!! The food was disappointing. We were expecting a feast of Italian delights. It wasn't forthcoming. The food was certainly OK .. but not outstanding. Ports AHA - finally something good to say. Very unusual ports - Naples / Messina / Katakolon / Corfu / Kotor / Dubrovnik. None disappointing - particularly Kotor which is incredibly scenic. Really enjoyed the itinerary. From the above you have probably worked out that I won't necessarily be recommending Costa as my first choice for Europe. The cruise was ... ok ... but by choice I wouldn't sail with them again. Perhaps the newer ships would be a different case - a few based on Carnival designs - I'm not sure. But i am hesitant to try one just in case. For those of you who love Costa, I am sorry. But I would be curious to know ... is my review typical?? Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Overview: We were attracted to this cruise by the reasonable price and interesting itinerary (visiting Italy, Egypt, Turkey and Greece). Before booking I read 'official' cruise guide reviews, which gave the ship a fairly good ... Read More
Overview: We were attracted to this cruise by the reasonable price and interesting itinerary (visiting Italy, Egypt, Turkey and Greece). Before booking I read 'official' cruise guide reviews, which gave the ship a fairly good rating. I however became a bit concerned after reading a number of critical 'customer reviews'. I think it is however very much about perception and what sort of person you are. I can appreciate some regulars perhaps giving the ship a lower review if they have been on many cruises that they preferred, however it should be remembered that this is a mass-market cruise at a great price. For value for money, it was excellent. The Costa Victoria is a modern, well-maintained ship. Everything looks like new and is spotless. Especially after walking around places like the interesting but hectic Alexandria, we were very pleased to see our beautiful white ship in the harbour on our return. I have only sailed with Orient Lines/NCL previously and there were areas that both companies excelled in. The crew on the Victoria seemed a little more rushed perhaps, especially during the dinner service. However none were unfriendly and my parents, who had never sailed previously, thought the service was fantastic. So much so that they have booked to travel with Costa again in September. Food: I can honestly say that we never had a bad meal on board. The main restaurant served a 5-course dinner which featured quite a lot of fish and was Mediterranean in terms of oils/sauces etc. It was all of a high standard and the staff were really wonderful. It is however true that if you like, say, steak and hot puddings then these featured on rare occasions. I read a review stating that the pizzeria served frozen food, this simply isn't true. The poolside grill had lovely well cooked chicken and the cafes throughout the ship were relaxing and pleasant. Breakfast/lunch buffets could be a little busy but we always found a table somewhere. There was the midnight buffet (disappearing from some lines) that was outstanding. There was also complimentary coffee/juice most of the day at the back of the ship. It is worth buying a 'honeymooners card' (you don't need to be on your honeymoon) for a set number of drinks for one reduced price. Alcoholic drinks were quite expensive although the duty free shop did actually let you take your purchased back to your cabin for consumption, if you so desired. Shows: The cruise featured 'the entertainment team' a group pf Italian performers, which it perhaps took a couple of days for me to get on to their wavelength, however they were very talented. Costa goes in for quite a lot of audience participation shows, which you either love or hate. They could be very amusing to watch and there was little pressure to join in. Cabin: The cabin was a reasonable size and well designed. The hairdryer was damaged but I reported it to the reception and it was replaced with a whole new unit by the time we returned to the cabin. Itinerary: This was a very interesting voyage. One negative was that in most ports, you had to travel some distance to get to the main attraction (eg Pyramids, Taormina, Olympia etc) however only in Alexandria and Messina did we feel we had little option but to take the official tour. On all other occasions we just took local transport. In Katakolon I would recommend taking a taxi, and in Piraeus, if you don't mind some walking then head around to the train station. On our cruise someone was taken ill while we travelled to Alexandria and the boat needed to turn around and due to the delay we missed out Rhodes. The situation was handled professionally although information could perhaps have been more forthcoming. Misc. Others have commented about smokers onboard. As a non-smoker I feared the worst, but really there wasn't too much of a problem. Some bars could be a little smoky but I never saw anyone smoking in the corridors or waiting for the lift etc as others have reported. Summary: I'm sure that many of the criticisms of Costa will be genuine (otherwise why would people write them) however I believe much is down to Costa being very different and very European. We met French, Germans and Italians on board, who were all very friendly. Yes, one couple did push in the queue in front of us on an occasion but this was very rare. Yes, all the announcements in different languages do take some time, but really - is it that such big a deal? If you are an average easygoing person, then I think you will like (and perhaps even love) Costa. If you want to moan and find fault with anything and everything then this is possible too. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
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 3.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.0
Rates 3.0 3.8

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