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86 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Costa Mediterranea Cruise Reviews

Of all the cruises we've been on, our spring break trip on the Costa Mediterranea was one of the best! Embarkation went smoothly and quickly, due to the fact that Costa had many agents available to answer questions and point us in the ... Read More
Of all the cruises we've been on, our spring break trip on the Costa Mediterranea was one of the best! Embarkation went smoothly and quickly, due to the fact that Costa had many agents available to answer questions and point us in the right direction. Also, our bags were delivered to the room shortly after we boarded the ship. The rooms were much more spacious than the other cruises we have been on. We were able to fit 3 of us in an interior cabin comfortably. The cabins were also kept neat and clean, with the only problem being that we had some difficulty with our safe. However, our cabin steward took care of that immediately. Our first day was a day at sea, and we had no difficulty finding lounge chairs on the deck. However, as on other ships, there were not many chairs around the pool area or in the shade. The ship was complete with a water slide, bocce ball court, tennis/basketball court and small track. There were also two main pool areas in the center of the ship with plenty of hot tubs. The casino and theater were also much larger. As far as the food was concerned, every meal was good. The pizza and paninis offered at the buffet were delicious, as well as the pasta and soups in the main dining room. For dinner, there was always a variety of choices and the food was cooked perfectly. While there was not a lobster night, we were very satisfied with the crab legs and varieties of fish and meat that were offered. Also, the service in the dining room was fabulous. The entertainment was also very impressive. The shows were great, including the sets and special effects. We especially enjoyed the comedian. There were many activities offered on board, however I felt that there were not enough fitness classes available. Also, most of the fitness classes that were offered were held in the disco on a glass floor. This was very uncomfortable and mats were not provided. As far as the ports of call are concerned, our first stop was San Juan. We arrived at 4:30 at night and had just enough time to visit the forts. We then walked around the town and were back on the ship in time for dinner. Then we went to St. Thomas, where we took a cab to Megan's Bay and then went back into town to shop. Due to the number of ships in port that day, we were docked at a port that was farther from town than the rest of the cruise ships. We chose to walk back to the ship from town (2 miles). Then we were headed to La Romana, where we ended up taking a cab for $8 a person each way to Bayhibe Beach. The public section of the beach was in between the Wyndham and Iberostar. It was a beautiful beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas that could be rented for an additional fee. Our last stop was Grand Turk, where we did the excursion to Governor’s Beach. This was the only aspect of the entire cruise that we were not pleased with. The beach was a very short ride from the ship and snorkel equipment and chairs were provided. This was $33 per person. However, the snorkeling was not as good as we had expected and there was a beach right by the port. After our day at the beach, we went back to the port and walked around the shops and got some drinks at Margaritaville. This Margaritaville had an entrance to the beach as well as a nice pool area. After one more day at sea, we disembarked in Fort Lauderdale. The disembarkation process went as quickly and smoothly as the day we arrived. We were off the boat and able to find our bags easily. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise. It was by far one of the best values available and we will definitely be cruising with Costa in the future! Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
This is our first ever cruise. We were excited to be off. We left Calgary in minus 30 Celsius and arrived in Fort Lauderdale later in the day. We were travelling with two great friends who had been on a number of other cruise. They spent ... Read More
This is our first ever cruise. We were excited to be off. We left Calgary in minus 30 Celsius and arrived in Fort Lauderdale later in the day. We were travelling with two great friends who had been on a number of other cruise. They spent some time filling us in on what to expect and how to check in efficiently. We arrived at the dock together and check on was quick and efficient. We were stepping onboard before we knew it and then spent the next hour in amazement as we explored the ship. The main lobby was absolutely beautiful and the greetings from crew made us feel welcome. Check into our cabins was an hour later but we felt no delay due to our exploration. The cabin was way larger than what we thought from the virtual tour. We were in an outside cabin one level below the veranda. I called it Irish first class as it was probably a step or two above the steerage my Great Grandparents had travelled from Belfast to Halifax in 1907. I wander!The decor looked gaudy on the virtual tour> Typically Italian we thought. Nothing was further from the truth. We were on the cruise looking to escape our everyday life, to experience something different and the ship was different. The gaudy on the virtual tour in real life seemed fantasy like. Bright, golden and colorful was everything we needed for spring break. We all teach high school and it was a transport back in time and age for us. No kids around, ours are just leaving university or just recently married, just us and the romance of Italy all around us. I have read other reviews of this ship and was personally surprised at the somewhat flat reviews or even critical reviews of the buffets,both breakfast and luncheon as well as the dining for evening. We found the many choices between the hot and cold buffets were exactly to our tastes. Variety was way more than we needed and yes there was no lobster but the Italian cuisine was wonderful and the service at our table even better. The captains supper was a blast and the baked alaskan evening and the toga night were wonderful. We purchased the wine package and the wines were presentable at their price and let us enjoy them wherever we were on ship. Service by the crew was friendly and Sanjay our waiter was a gem. He had the knack of keeping away and letting us visit and get to know the other guests at our table and being there when we needed something. The fitness center was empty at the time we used it which was early. I exercised to eat and we made a pact never to use the elevator which made for a 9 story walk for breakfast. It was so much fun and took us by the amazing Ricardo Biavatti sculptures present on every floor. Some of the evenings entertainment was not great but Sasha was definitely a treat. We did not expect top notch entertainment and we did not get it but it was fun every evening regardless as it gave us a chance to be out with new and old friends. Stephano was the best. I loved his sense of humor and great command of 5 languages. He really grew on us and became like a brother to us. The Captain was great. We talked with him on many occasions and he always was pleasant and never seemed like we were a bother. The pools were fun and the dance areas were fun at night. The disco atmosphere was not to my taste but then neither is disco. The lounge entertainers were nice especially the piano bar with the violinist. The tours were bought were great and the destinations were awe inspiring. Visiting Roatan really made us realize how fortunate were are to be born where we were born, Canada! I saw people haggling over a dollar or two that back home would not have bought a beer but that dollar or two would nave made a great difference in tat ladies take home money. Our taxi driver, not a ship tour, took us to a number of requested out of the way places like an orphanage and a number of schools. We are so lucky and it put any complaining of treatment on disembarking that day in perspective. That brings me to my only heads up about this cruise ship. It Roatan if you had a ship arranged tour a passenger disembarked earlier that those with private tours. This was announced a number of times and apparently not believed by a number of groups of english speaking people. Their nationality I'll not disclose. Those groups seemed to think they could jump the queue, so to speak, and bully their way off. The young gal who was handling the lineup off the ship did an amazingly patient job of holding her ground. It was so aggressive we decide to go back upstairs and wait till all was clear. We were invited up to one of the staterooms by a couple who dined at our table. You talk about luxury. Larger but the same beautiful decor as our cabin. Who goes on a cruise to stay in their cabin? Definitely a step up on ours though. Wonderful people, english speaking same nationality as the vocal group at disembarking. Goes to show you should only judge people by their actions. Our new friends, absolutely a lovely set of ambassadors for their country!!! Beautiful ship, beautiful romantic locations, Western Caribbean, amazing time. We would use this cruise ship again in a heartbeat. Our new guests had been on over 50 cruises taking their entire extended families a Christmas. They considered this cruise rated as amongst the best they had experienced. Different but just as fun. I agree! Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Embarkation...an utter breeze. We arrived at 1130 waited on line outside terminal for 5 minutes until they opened the doors and were on the ship in 20 minutes.painless and lots of friendly smiling faces leading the way.Got on ship and were ... Read More
Embarkation...an utter breeze. We arrived at 1130 waited on line outside terminal for 5 minutes until they opened the doors and were on the ship in 20 minutes.painless and lots of friendly smiling faces leading the way.Got on ship and were pleasantly greeted by members of the animation team. Cabin..obstructed view outside cabin with french doors to let the air in. Was 200sft, incredibly comfortable with lots of storage and very comfortable bed and couch.Room steward was great. we always had fresh fruit. Food...FANTASTIC...After 33 cruises it's hard to get to excited about food anymore, but the food and service on this ship were outstanding. the buffet lines at lunch were better than most mainstream lines dinner food. everything we ate was incredible from eggplant napolitana( that we so enjoyed that the chef came out of the kitchen to tell us how to make it) to one of the best hamburgers I have ever had anywhere. Pizza was great, salads were great..The bread was to die for and always incredibly fresh..There were abundant fruit and vegetables. there were not huge desert trays like on mainstream cruises,but instead wonderfully prepared fresh food.they even used porcelain dish ware to keep the food warm on the lines versus big tins and were constantly rotating out the food. We had early seating in the dinning room..table 7, a table for 8 and had a great time at dinner every night. The waiter and assistant were fantastic..some of the things to try....swordfish,veal scallopini, eggplant parmigiana,veal shank,red snapper,beef carpacio,lamb chops and on and on . everything we had was excellent and the service top notch. the dancing waiters and air of every night being a celebration was great. and loved going to dinner in a toga.the animation team was great and every day at the pool had fun campy games. We won human tick tac toe without anyone breaking a hip and played many other fun and silly mindless games. every afternoon there were dance lessons poolside and they were very fun and enjoyable. the pools and pool areas were fantastic. tons of deckspace and the pool drink service was not in your face but raise your hand and they were there to serve you. Entertainment....every night the animation team did something fun and campy. i wa sin Mr.Pizza and my dad won the John travolta contest.The outdoor deck party in san juan was great fun and hundreds of people were dancing for over 2 hours. the shows were good to excellent. do not miss Will and Anthony the twin brothers or the musical comedian if he is still on board. production shows were very good also. There were several lounges with large dance floors and nice ensembles playing that were great to dance to. The casino was tight but in an area with many people passing through so always had a happy fast paced attitude. i broke even for the week. my mom and dad loved playing every night.. The ports were your typical caribbean ports, but it was the crew and ship that made this an incredible cruise. Have not laughed and been so relaxed in years and can't wait to sail costa again. and all the cruise critic people we met on board were great fun and hope everyone made it home ok..i hope this covers everything..debarkation was a breeze also. we were off the ship by 815.I miss it already the spa and gym were also fantastic and very well laid out,especially the gym and the steamroom and sauna were the perfect temperatures Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
My husband and I were "first timers" and traveled with another couple who had gone on a previous cruise. Costa was a new name to us, but our travel agent assured us that it was an excellent cruise line. We booked rather late, ... Read More
My husband and I were "first timers" and traveled with another couple who had gone on a previous cruise. Costa was a new name to us, but our travel agent assured us that it was an excellent cruise line. We booked rather late, mid-February for a March 1 cruise and chose the option that included airfare. We were a little upset at having to leave home at 3:30 am to make a 6:00am flight, but this is often the time the airline schedules flight from our nearest airport. Our flight was uneventful and a very nice gentleman with a large "Costa" sign was waiting at baggage at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Mr. Cadena was extremely helpful and we were soon on a bus to the port with very little effort on our part. Due to health problems, I can not walk very far and each step of the way, a wheel chair was waiting. It was mid-afternoon when we arrived at the ship, and every step of the way was handled with efficiency and grace. We couldn't have asked for an easier time. Although we had eaten a breakfast at Atlanta between flights, we were pleased to be able to go right to the buffet and get a late lunch. FOOD: My husband and I, along with our traveling companions, are typical midwesterners and hardly "gourmets" when it comes to food. The selections from the buffet were very good and well presented. One of the most delightful aspects of the trip was that every meal, whether in the dining room, at the buffet, or on deck near the pool, has a large variety of fresh fruits and melon. We ate most breakfasts and all lunches at the buffet. A few times we went to the dining room for breakfast, and we were seated a the early dinner starting at 5:45 pm. I was not sure about this and almost chose the late seating, but the choice of the early seating turned out to be perfect. Our excellent waiter made a very difficult task of serving each table their different courses at the correct time seem effortless. He did his job with good humor and a wonderful smile - and managed to visit with each table while doing his job. Each evening was a dining adventure. There were seven courses to choose from, but we always chose less. We all decided to try something new each evening. I had never tried chilled fruit soups before and found that I enjoyed them so much that I have started looking for recipes to prepare for the summer. There were always at least five "special" entrees each night along with approximately that many regular entrees such as grilled salmon. The food was prepared well and served even better. Desserts were delightful. I was a little apprehensive about that many courses, but there were served at a leisurely pace that was just the thing for allowing us to relax between dishes. Our waiter was exceptional and, after the first night, remembered our little special requests for the rest of the cruise. Almost every night had a theme with the wait staff seeming to enjoy the fun. There was singing and dancing and laughter every evening. We enjoyed the time to visit with the families seated around us and each evening shared our daily adventures. My husband surprised me by wearing one and really getting in the Toga Night our last night on the cruise. A few times, we decided to have room service delivered to our room. The room service menu was somewhat limited, but the sandwiches were large and tasty, the fruit was always chilled and delicious, and the coffee and tea the correct temperature. The best hamburger I have ever eaten was from the hamburger grill located on deck close to the pools. It was large, correctly cooked to my "medium well" request with warm (not hot) fries on the side. I give the food an "A" the serve staff and "A+" ROOM: We booked balcony rooms on the seventh deck. Our room was very clean, and brightly decorated. There were three closets, two for handing clothing and one with shelves. I am not a light packer, but all of our clothes fit into the closets easily. The ship was generous with hangers, but there were not enough for all the handing clothing. I would recommend bringing some hangers from home. Our suitcases fit nicely under the bed. The vanity drawers were large enough to hold everything we needed to store in them. There was a mini bar in which I was able to keep my medicines and a safe. The television was easily seen from both the couch and the bed. The selection of channels included American networks, a variety show channel, a vintage movie channel, various channels with information about the ship, and others. The bed was comfortable and a good size and there was light enough to read easily whether day or night. Our balcony contained two chairs and a table with enough space to move around easily. The balcony was very private, so we almost always opened our curtains. It made the room seem even larger and we enjoyed the sunlight. The bath, while not extremely large, was just the right size for one person to be able to manage nicely. The entire room was kept very clean and used towels, etc, were replaced and the room checked at least three or four times a day. I have breathing problems and must sleep with a number of pillows behind my back. I asked for the extra pillows and they were delivered very shortly. Phillipe, our room steward, was one of the main reasons our cruise was so wonderful. He had cool damp clothes waiting for us in our room first thing. To be able to sit with a cool cloth on your face after hurrying all day is the best way to start a cruise. Excellent first impression! On the second day, I asked for a pitcher of ice water to be brought with my room service order and each day after that, we had a pitcher of ice water waiting for us when we returned to our room. He spent the entire cruise noticing and remembering what we preferred. Each evening when we returned to our room, our bed was turned down and a little something (chocolates, cookies, etc) was waiting for us. It is little touches like these that make you want to take another cruise on the same ship. Room steward receives an "A++" PUBLIC AREAS: The ship is ornately decorated in rich colors and gold guilding. It is very much in an Italian style of the past. The lounges and open areas flow nicely from one to the other giving the ship a nice open feel. There were plenty of comfortable chairs and couches for most everyone to sit and be comfortable. The library was also the internet area. Comfortable seating and nicely sized carrels allowed us to easily use the computers. The shops were nicely sized and easy to move through. There were plenty of elevators and stairs. Deck 3 was the only level with an outside deck on which you could walk. It was wide enough for a leisurely stroll while the dedicated walkers and joggers could also enjoy the deck. I am vehemently anti-smoking, but I knew up-front there would be some smoking allowed. I also knew that Costa was popular with Europeans (more on that later) and they smoke more than most Americans. For the most part, I was not bothered by the smoking. The smoking areas were plainly labeled and most people abided by the rules. In a few places you would see No Smoking signs and ashtrays on the same table, which was rather a mystery. I just assumed the smokers brought the ash trays and ignored the signs. I was only bothered really bothered once by smoking. On deck 10, in an area with chaise lounges set up to sun, there are No Smoking signs placed approximately every 10 - 15 feet or so. While my friend and I were sitting there, I was surrounded by cigarette smoke. A woman, sitting two chairs away was blatantly smoking right next to a No Smoking sign. I showed her the sign and asked her not to smoke, to no avail. I eventually went to another part of the deck to sun. Too bad smokers come so late to reading -- at least the universal No Smoking signs. I didn't let this ruin my trip. Almost every night we went to the theater after dinner. The shows were entertaining and varying. The lower level of the theater is equipped with comfortable couches facing individual tables. This is a nice touch in case you want to have a drink or a place to set your purse or whatever you are carrying. It is somewhat stuffy on this level. The upper level has stadium style seats, but has a nicer breeze flowing the seating area. A movie theater would be a nice addition to the ship's public areas. While I enjoy the live entertainment, there are times when I would like to be able to sit and enjoy a newer movie. I know many ships do have movie theaters and Costa should think about installing one. CRUISE EXPERIENCE: The fact that the passengers on the cruise seemed to be about evenly divided between American and European allowed us to meet and get to know people from any countries. At the table next to ours, was a lovely couple from Belgium. We met and visited with people from England, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and from many other countries along with Americans from many states. With one possible exception, everyone we met was friendly, courteous, and having a wonderful cruise. We took pleasure in making so many excellent acquaintances. Heaps of praise to the parents with children on my cruise. At no time did I ever see or hear any children misbehaving. All children were allowed to have fun without disturbing the other passengers. I am very happy to see parents who are teaching their children the correct way to behave!! Bravo!! PORTS: The ship stopped at San Juan, St Thomas. La Romana, and Grand Turk. Charlotte Amalie was my favorite stop. Of course, we had to try the "Original" Banana Daiquiri on top of the mountain. We did not book any of the cruise excursions, instead opting to leisurely shop and take a local taxi or bus on a tour. The tour guides were knew their islands well and spoke English well. They pointed out many old buildings with the dates and historical significances associated with each. We enjoyed the beach at Grand Turk with a Pina Colada from Margaritaville. Next time we cruise, we will be looking at the excursions offered by the cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Costa Mediterranea- March 29-April 5, 2008 Background: We were a group of 28 kids and adults, 14 kids in tow ranging from 2-10 and 14 adults from our early 30's to mid- 40's. Most in my party were experienced cruisers and my ... Read More
Costa Mediterranea- March 29-April 5, 2008 Background: We were a group of 28 kids and adults, 14 kids in tow ranging from 2-10 and 14 adults from our early 30's to mid- 40's. Most in my party were experienced cruisers and my family goes on a cruise at least once a year so we are not new to cruising. I traveled with Costa about 15 years ago and had a great time, I remember the attentive service, the fabulous food and terrific kids programs so I was enthusiastic to be the cruise director for our group of 28. We were determined to have a good time but this was not easy with Costa. Sadly not one of the 28 who sailed with me will ever sail on Costa again. Embarkation: We arrived at noon and embarkation went relatively smoothly, we were on the ship by 12:30. Upon boarding we were met by a few people dressed as clowns for a super quick picture. Further down the ramp we saw the "Squok Club" handing out flyers. The Squok club is the Costa club for kids ages 3-teenagers. MOST cruise lines start the kids clubs at age 2....but much more about the Squok club later (really disappointing). We were then shuttled on board and told to go the 9th deck for the buffet, we choose to go the rooms so that we could have our room keys and find out our dining arrangements. Normally other ships give you this information as soon as you board, but with Costa it was all laid out on the bed. No picture was ever taken that would be associated with the Costa sail and sign card. Costa needs MAJOR improvement with their security. First impression of ship: Decorated in a classic Italian style with very ornate touches throughout the ship. A little gaudy for my taste but I did admire the Tang Dynasty artwork that was behind glass in the shops and around the ship. The center atrium which was 8 or so stories high was beautiful with what appeared to be floating modern sculptures of dancers in various positions and painted differently for each floor. The entire ship had opera characters depicted in every nook and cranny, on the elevator we were greeted with poster sized images. Again it was nice, a little over the top, but at least it was something to look at. I did notice sanitizing stations by every buffet and dining room. Ship was clean. Cabins: The cabin was spacious and clean(outside cabin on Deck 2 with no balcony). It should be noted that 70% of all outside cabins on this ship are balcony cabins, great if you do not have young kids. We had a quad and unlike Carnival or Royal the beds were not one on top of another; the two twin beds were pushed together with the single twins against one wall (one being an upper level twin attached to the wall). The cabin had plenty of closest space for the 4 of us (2 adults and 2 kids) and we always bring our own hangers and get rid of the ultra bulky hangers that Costa provides, you can fit many more clothes if you bring your own wire hangers (easier to pack then plastic and you can trash them as you use them). The bathroom was clean and standard, nothing fancy but it fit our needs. Our cabin steward cleaned the room twice a day, never was a consistent time, no chocolates on the pillows or the towel animals that the kids love, we were told there was a shortage of towels. Dining room and Buffets: To sum up the food aboard Costa, bland and unimpressive. The buffets were similar to what you find on most ships, carved meats, and hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch. Pizza was available at different times but no later than around midnight Everyday was a different food so one day you might have an Oriental corner, the next was Chinese but there were always the standards hot dogs/burgers and assorted lunch meat. Nothing fancy, nothing over the top. Personally we never went to the dining room for breakfast or lunch but I heard the breakfast in the dining room was quick and very good compared to the food served at the buffet. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, an omelet station, bacon, assorted breads and fresh fruit. Dinner service (Early seating at 5:45) was soooo slow, my overall impression was that this must be a new cruise and the kinks were not worked out. I never saw our waiter slacking but I had empty plates sitting for 15-20 minutes while I waited. This did not improve over the course of 7 days. We had 4 large tables in the dining room and 3 different waiters and all experienced the same painfully slow service. The entire staff was of Philippine decent and we had a different busboy each night which I found unusual and it didn't help that we had to continually ask for ice tea and water. The food was bland and boring. It didn't seem as if I had enough choices and my guess would be that most of the food was frozen and not fresh. The meat portions were relatively small and not seasoned well. To my knowledge, there was no lobster night. Overall the food wasn't horrible but not one dish sticks in my head as being a "wow" dish. Deserts were very limited as compared to other ships. Since this was a 7 days cruise I was expecting more and was disappointed. Dinner generally took a good 1 ½ to 2 hours from start to finish. The mid-night buffet was lunch meat and deserts. Kids Club"Squok Club": This was the most upsetting aspect of the entire cruise. We booked the cruise with the "kids sail free" promotion which was a real saving since we all had children traveling with us. With so many people taking advantage of this program one would expect a great kids program, this was not the case. The kid's room was in the front of the ship, it was supposed to be two rooms, one for the mini campers ages 3-6 and one room for the maxi campers age 7-11, but one of the doors was broken and was never opened the entire cruise. Security for the kids was horrible; I have never experienced such poor security in my life. Costa's requires you to sign n in your kid and upon signing them out did not request any type of ID although a password was supposed to be given, no one ever asked for any and on the first day I managed to pick up 3 kids from different families, one was never even signed in and I was asked to sign him in and out at the same time. This was a major security flaw, basically anyone could go in and request a child and no questions were asked. We reported this to the Sqouk director the next morning but really saw little improvement over the next 6 days. The camp counselors were older, looked bored to be there and many of the children did not want to go back. The activities consisted of watching a movie and then being asked questions about the move to earn Squok dollars, and they grouped all the kids together so you had the 3 year olds watching High School Musical 2 along with the 11 year olds and THAT WAS IT, no entertainment. My 5 year old was bored to tears and my 11 year old refused to go back and sit with 3 year olds. The counselors were not happy to be there. There were no windows to check on the kids, the doors were always shut so you basically had to have your child see you come in each time to check on them, and we all know how young kids can be when they see mom or dad. Also, unlike other cruise lines, Costa DID NOT have any type of beeper or notification service to check on the kids, you were given a little piece of paper with the clubs number on it and had to call to check on your kid. THEN, to make matters worse, no name tags were never given to the kids so when you call to check on them they are screaming you kids name and then asking then if they are ok, no one ever bothered to learn the kids names. The club was opened VERY limited hours, 3 hours in the morning, closed from 12-3 maybe open from 3-4:30 and then closed till 9pm. Then they only offered activities till 11 or maybe 11:30 and although they mentioned they had late night babysitting every time I inquired they were not offering it that night. Having an adult night is not possible on Costa. I would never just dump my kid for hours at a time but it is nice to have the kids do some activities and have fun; basically they hated going and were stuck with the parents all night. Casino: The dealers were not friendly, no enthusiasm was shown. A few of us do like to gamble but when you have a dealer with a sour puss on their face it doesn't make it any fun. I play roulette and on one round the dealer actually put the marker on the wrong number and proceeded to clear the table, she just looked at us with a dumb look on her face. It was a good idea to know how much you should be paid when wining on roulette as I found it necessary to correct the dealers on a few occasions when I was paid out. There were several slot machines but the craps table seemed to be missing. Shows: YAWN! Boring and lame. I walked out of 2 shows. The late night comedian was doing Jerry Lewis impressions and singing Doors and Led Zeppelin songs, I am 35 and found this to be boring and walked out half way thru the show. The talent show the last night was ok, but I swear it seems like the entire entertainment personnel were on the ship for the first time, nothing seemed rehearsed or practiced and everything seemed to be impromptu which came across as amateurish. San Juan: Walked around the Port area and did some shopping, a few of us went to the Fort. Nothing special, no great deals. I was in San Juan a few years ago so this was going to be a ship night for me anyways. St Thomas: We all went to Coral World and then to the adjoining Coki beach. Paid $20 Round trip, per person to CoralWorld/Coki beach, I managed to get 7 kids for free but we were 28 people on a large open aired bus/taxi. Coral World was $19 per person and the cab driver gave us $4 off coupons when we asked for them, so we ended up paying $15 per person. Coral World is small with few attractions. Coki beach is very clean but crowded; the beach had soft sand and turquoise water. We paid $5 for a few chairs and enjoyed the day. Grand Turks: This was everyone's favorite port. We spent the entire day at the beach and the nearby Margaritaville pool. BRING cash with you, the food and drinks are not cheap at Margaritaville but everyone enjoyed the pool area, the music and the swim up bar. Casa de Campo(Dominican Republic): Half of our group went shopping in La Romana($7 round trip taxi ride) and I went to Altos De Chavon($5 r/t), I enjoyed Altos since it was quiet, up on a hill, and in the gorgeous resort of Casa de Campo. Not much to do on the hill but the view was beautiful. Dance Clubs/Disco: Most nights you could find the dealers and entertainment staff dancing the night away, they took over the club. Bars/ Drink Cards: We purchased the "Boys and Girls" card which for $59 you were entitled to 20 soft drinks and or virgin drinks (pina coladas and Daiquiris). The ship supposedly ran out of Strawberry daiquiri mix on Friday and Diet Coke. I would get the X-1 card if you like to drink since it can not be purchased while on board the ship. Pools: Expect lots of splashing and kids running around. Also, if you want a chair, you will need to save one at 7am and hold it till you decide to use it. This was done every single day and was soooooo annoying. We sat around the edge of the pool on most days since we didn't arrive to the pool until 9am and the chairs were already taken. Security was even called on one of us since apparently we sat in a chair that was occupied by a lone cruise towel on the seat, this started and argument and the other party called security. Crazy people! I would not travel with Costa again. I did not get that warm and fuzzy feeling while on board, the cruise tends to cater to the over 70 crowd. The kids club was a definite downer for all of us and the food and entrainment left much to be desired. I couldn't wait to get home and have a "good meal". I REALLY wanted to have a great time and our group did have lots of laughs, the Toga party was a lot of fun. My hubby was coerced into entering the belly flop contest which he won...too funny. Thank God for the company that was with us. Overall Costa has a lot of improvement to make; the sad thing is they were once great, now I think they are only known for cheap cruises and no frills. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
My husband and I were a bit apprehensive to take Costa since the reviews were so-so. Either they were great or very negative! We left home the day before in case of a snowstorm (we had a lot) and we didn't want to miss our cruise. ... Read More
My husband and I were a bit apprehensive to take Costa since the reviews were so-so. Either they were great or very negative! We left home the day before in case of a snowstorm (we had a lot) and we didn't want to miss our cruise. It was our second one, but first without the kids. Embarkation: Really great and fast!!!!! Compared to Carnival, excellent!! Debarkation: Really good, also. Lots of Europeans on the cruise, but we didn't mind. We had to change our dinner time, since they had given us the second seating. The Maitre D, said we had asked the second seating. I said that I would not be standing in line to change it if I had asked the 2nd. That is the only one who was not "really nice" on the cruise. The Cruise Director should speak just a bit slower when he speaks English so that we can understand him a bit better. Food: Great food!!! Everything I chose, was good!! Don't really know why people complain about the food. I would say that the for lunch, the buffet, the variety could have been a bit better, but otherwise, I didn't go hungry at all. The cabin was spotless. We had a cabin with balcony, which we used a lot. But, I think they should add more "furnishings" in the bathroom, like shampoo, and all the necessities, like Carnival. But since I had read that they didn't furnish them, I had brought my own. Call of Ports: We really preferred Key West and Cozumel. Were disappointed with Roatan (Honduras). It rained, but still we thought the beach and the place would be nicer, since I had read in books that it was a great place. Grand Cayman, the sea was agitated, so we didn't accost at George Town, like we were supposed too. We took a bus/taxi to get to George Town, extra $, but it was ok. No fault to Costa. We were able to enjoy George Town anyway. Cozumel, very nice day. Shopped in the morning and in the afternoon took a taxi to the beach. We did snorkeling and enjoyed our afternoon. We did not take an excursion. We went by ourselves and we thought it was much better. Also, what we did, is that in the morning we made ourselves sandwiches that we brought with us to eat at the beach. Much more convenient and less expensive. All in all, we had a great cruise and we would probably have no hesitation of taking Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Why Costa? - If you know me, you know I'm a die-hard Holland America fan. Then why in the HAL did I elect to cruise "Italian Style" with Costa Cruise lines? Well, let's go back about a year ago, when we initially ... Read More
Why Costa? - If you know me, you know I'm a die-hard Holland America fan. Then why in the HAL did I elect to cruise "Italian Style" with Costa Cruise lines? Well, let's go back about a year ago, when we initially scheduled. SunFlower (my better-half) wanted to do a Western Caribbean, which included Key West. She's never been there and was really looking forward to hoisting a few at Sloppy Joes, seeing Hemmingway's 6-toed cats, Audubon's house and the treasure of the Atocha. So, I booked an inside cabin on Holland America's ms Veendam, out of Tampa, on a one week Western Caribbean. In April, after finishing with the Internal Revenue, we decided to invite our daughter, her husband and two boys to join us. They accepted and I changed the single inside to two adjoining/connecting outsides. Everything's going along nice and smooth. In July, DD informs us that she's not going to be able to cruise, as she's expecting our fifth grandchild in March. Cancel the two outside cabins and transfer to a single verandah for Grub (our oldest grandson), SunFlower and me. August and Hurricane Dean just about wipes Costa Maya (one of our stops) off the face of the Earth. Change four, drop Holland America and book the Costa Mediterranea, as she was on a similar itinerary and included a stop at Key West. Pre-Cruise - Once we had our booking number, we did all our shore excursion and amenities bookings on-line, through Costa's website (http://www.costacruise.com). I suppose I changed excursion selections a half-dozen times as SunFlower and Grub kept me appraised of their choices. I never had a problem making or changing the bookings. Kudos to Costa for this feature. We elected to drive from Michigan to Florida, as we had a lot of property from my mother's estate, which we needed to deliver to DD. So, with the Town & Country loaded up to the windows, we headed south on Wednesday morning, right after I got off work. Nine and a half hours later, we stopped at the Hometown Inn in Ringgold, GA (http://www.hometowninnringgold.com/). I definitely recommend this motel. Very nice, easy to get to, safe neighborhood a good rate and CLEAN! The next morning, a quick continental breakfast and we're back on the road. We arrived at DD's at 5:00 pm and checked into our hotel, the Masters Inn - Tampa Fairgrounds (http://www.mastersinns.com/)... Danger, danger, Will Robinson! ... Stay away from this place. It's probably great for migrant workers and fleet truckers (maybe), but the smell of industrial strength disinfectant was too much. SunFlower was afraid of bedbugs and I agreed. We split, immediately. I wouldn't even book my ex- into this dump! Avoid it. We checked with the Ramada Inn - Tampa (http://ramadatampa.com/). Excellent facility. I highly recommend them. The next morning, DD brought the most recent addition to the family over for breakfast (the I-Hop is right next door). He may have been four weeks early, but is healthy and doing well. We headed on down to Ft Lauderdale on Friday as soon as Grub got home from school. We had a late arrival at the Day's Inn at 4211 North Federal Highway in Pompano Beach. DUMP! The lock on the door to our room was broken. The card reader latch worked and so did the "Y"-shaped, flip-over latch, but the whole mechanism was loose, held in place by only one screw and the dead bolt was broken/jammed. Apparently there had been a forcible entry previously, and repairs had not been made. The desk clerk was worthless. He barely spoke English and just kept repeating "No more rooms". Since I have a permit to carry concealed, we were safe that night, but I'd hate to think what would have happened if someone had made a mistake and tried to come in the wrong door. We had invited our good friends, and fellow Wolverines Chris and Jane, to join us. They jumped at the chance and booked an inside cabin (6199). Rather than ride with us, or drive down on their own, they elected to fly into Fort Lauderdale and meet us there. We made sure we had their cell numbers with us and met them at the airport on departure morning. That really was a very painless process. I dropped SunFlower off at their arrival terminal and drove to the cell phone waiting area. This is a parking lot away from the terminals. Once your arriving party picks up their luggage, they call you and two minutes later; you're pulling up at curbside. No traffic jams. No security concerns. What a great idea! Embarkation - Breakfast at a local Denny's and it was off to the airport to meet our friends. They were about 30 minutes late arriving, but they made it in safely and no luggage was lost. Four minutes later, we're unloading the luggage at the cruise terminal and I'm parking in the adjacent long-term lot. Luggage tags were generated at curbside, and we headed in for processing. After a grueling five or six minutes we were through the final security checkpoint and across the gangway. Very easy check-in and well run processing. More kudos to Costa! Grub was intercepted by a couple of Animators (Activities staggers) from the Squok Club. They gave him a set of head-bongers and a schedule of club events for the week. We couldn't get him to wear the bongers (at 12 they just aren't very 'cool'), so I put 'em on! To quote George Lopez, "Yeah, and I looked good too!" Entering the ship, we were met by a dozen staff officers and various department representatives. Dragging the carry-ons, we headed for the Perla del Lago buffet and to explore the ship until the cabins were released. At 1:00 pm we headed for our cabin and SunFlower got her surprise. She had originally booked a standard verandah cabin (5177). Without her knowledge, I had coordinated with Costa and had gotten us a seven category upgrade to a Panorama Suite (6182). In the cabin, we found a bottle of imported Champagne, two crystal flutes, a bowl of fresh fruit, and a plate of canapEs. The ice bucket was full and our cruise cards and Grub's drink card were waiting on the counter. As we began exploring the cabin, Phillipe, our steward, and Oresto, our butler, arrived and introduced themselves. These two charming gentlemen are a credit to Costa Cruise Lines. I gave Phillipe a description of our luggage, and it began arriving within the next 30 minutes! Oresto insisted on unpacking for us and made our conversion from landlubbers to sailors absolutely painless. Well, I suppose the champagne probably helped a bit. The cabin was spacious. The verandah was about 6' x 14' and had a tinted glass railing. Even though there were two nice lounge chairs and a small table, there was room to walk around. Inside was the standard queen bed, with lighted nightstands on either side, a daybed (twin), also with a lighted nightstand, a ceiling stowed Pullman (which we did not use), an easy chair and adjustable coffee table. The main cabin had two counter areas, a well-stocked refrigerator, a chest of drawers, television, safe and plenty of storage cabinets. There were two roomy closets in the main cabin and two more in the dressing room. Yes, there was a dressing room between the cabin and the bath, with a vanity, large mirror and great lighting. The bath was more than adequate, with the infamous 'cruise ship toilet' (do not flush while seated!), twin sinks, a large counter, Jacuzzi-tub and shower with sliding glass doors. There was also a very nice selection of toiletries, which Phillipe kept stocked at all times. Happy birthday and congratulations on your retirement SunFlower! The Cruise - This was an eight day/seven night cruise, out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with Ports-Of-Call scheduled for Key West, Florida; an 'At Sea' day, Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico, and a final 'At Sea' day. At least, this was the planned itinerary. Unfortunately, events were underway which would change those plans ... just a bit. On our first morning, we were scheduled for Key West. There was some confusion as to what time that would be, as we had "Spring Forward" that night, so we were not sure exactly when we would dock. Regardless, we all headed down to the Degli Argentieri Restaurant for a big breakfast. Looking out the windows, I noticed that we were heading North, which I though a bit strange, but I wrote it off to maneuvering in the approach channel to Key West. Around 7:45, we were interrupted by an announcement, "Ladies and gentlemen, we regret to inform you that at last night a passenger was seen going overboard. The ship has been conducting a search all night and has not been released by the Coast Guard. Unfortunately, we will not be stopping in Key West as scheduled. All scheduled tours have been cancelled and the cost will be credited to your accounts. We will remain on station until we are released." Around 8:15 am, a male passenger was making a scene in the main lobby, at the customer services desk. Security personnel took up positions in the immediate vicinity, quietly ushering other guest from the area. I saw two plainclothes personnel with handcuffs in hand. The man was yelling, cursing and threatening the staff. Eventually, the calmed him down and took him into one of the nearby offices, ending that episode of the drama. Around 10:30 am, an announcement was made that the ship had been released by the Coast Guard from further searching, and was returning to Miami for "technical reasons". By 11:00 am the ship held position off the entrance to the Port of Miami channel. There it was met by a small boat (20'-25'?, similar to a sport fishing boat). Two men (a CSI team?) got off the boat, each carrying a large black suitcase. Then, the man from the lobby was escorted off the ship. I could not tell if he was restrained or not. After the man was taken off the ship, we set sail for Grand Cayman, with Key West nothing but a memory. We were credited for all shore excursions, port charges and other fees. Our missing passenger was never found. At the time of this writing, the case remains "under investigation" by the FBI. According to the more popular rumors a couple (boy and girl-friend), with a balcony cabin, had been arguing ever since they boarded. Supposedly, there was a second, ex-girlfriend somehow involved, who left the ship before sailing. When she found that she had been invited to be a third-wheel? The couple had been seen arguing with each other all day previously, and well into the night. But no one reported them ("Don't want to get involved, you know."). Around 11:15 pm, someone reported that they thought they had seen someone go overboard, from the side of the ship. Just about the same time, the yelling from the cabin ended. Forty-five minutes later, the boyfriend reported that, while they were arguing, she suddenly climbed the balcony railing and jumped overboard. The Ship - Wow! To some eyes, the dEcor may be over the top, but personally, I liked it. Lots and lots of marble, mirrors and light. The atrium is the focal point of the ship and the center of activity. Reaching 11 decks and topped by a huge skylight it will draw your attention. There are three glass elevators, which are in constant use and afford knockout views. OK, starting at the top, let's wander around ... 12 (Madera) Deck - Only accessible aft, via a stairway leading from Club Medusa, the forward portion is a topless sunbathing area. Grub was not expecting this and only tripped over two lounge chairs before exiting the area. Moving aft, we took a stairway down to ... 11 (Pandora) Deck - This deck is in three sections. Forward is a basketball/tennis court and jogging track with a non-skid surface. Amidships there is a small sunbathing area above a bar. This area is also topless. Internally, the aft section hosts the Club Medusa balcony. Outside there is a baby wading pool between Club Medusa and the water slide. A very nice, quiet area with a windbreak surrounding the pool area. At the very aft are the steps leading up to the water slide. The slide was not open al the time. Check the sign for availability. When it was operating, the wait was about 4-5 minutes between runs, but Grub felt it was too long. Oh well, his loss. I had a great time. The slide ends on ... 10 (Cleopatra) Deck - Frequently used as an additional jogging track, Cleopatra has a bar amidships, between the forward and aft family pools. Great views and, as previously mentioned a second topless area. Immediately aft of the aft pool opening is the (bocce) bowling alley. Plenty of lounge chairs. No waiting ... 9 (Armonia) Deck - Forward are the Ischia Spa, Venus Beauty Salon and Gymnasium. Very good selection of machines and free weights. There is also a hot tub for those who don't want to soak outside and don't want young people around. I enjoyed this area too. It's nice relaxing my cares away; with a frozen thingy in hand and watching others sweat their sins away. Heading on back, past the ping-pong tables, is the Armonia Pool. This is one of the two family pools. The second being the Cadmo Pool. They each have an elevated hot tub, but Cadmo has a sliding cover, allowing it's use during bad weather. Between them there are two bars, which do a brisk business all day and night. Again, lots of lounge chairs and tables for casual dining. Immediately adjacent to the Cadmo Pool is a bandstand with a 3-4 man combo playing throughout the day and evening. Stage right (starboard) is the poolside grill - hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken filets, etc. There is also a drink and desert station on this side. Portside is a deli/sandwich bar with yet another drink station. Continuing aft, you'll come to the Perla del Lago Buffet area. There is a glass stairway extending out into the atrium and connecting Armonia with Cleopatra Deck allowing entrance to Club Medusa ... Club Medusa is the reservations-only exclusive dining experience, now being offered on most cruise lines. The club is on two levels, Cleopatra and with a balcony on Pandora). As Panorama Suite passengers, we had a complementary dinner there one evening, and were very happy with the meal. The service was excellent and the atmosphere was quite romantic. Non-suite passengers may also dine there, but the menu is a la carte, and a full meal will run you around $30-35 per person, plus drinks and gratuity. Worth it? That'll have to be your call ... OK. Back to the Perla del Lago Buffet. There are four serving lines for meals and one of these usually serves ethnic food (German one day, English another, etc.). At breakfast, there are two omelet stations adjacent to the atrium. In the afternoon and evening, these change over to pasta selections. Yummy! Another change, in the late evenings, is that the aft-starboard buffet section becomes the Poilliso Pizzeria. With the ever-present Pizza Margarita (pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil) and two other choices, which change daily. Aft is the "adult-only" Apollo pool, hot tub and bar. There are plenty of lounge chairs and towels available. 8 (Pagaso), 7 (Prometeo), and 6 (Narciso) Decks - are cabins only ... 5 (Orfeo) Deck - Likewise, is also primarily cabins only, except for the forward most portion. Here you'll (eventually) find the Squok (children's) Club. What's interesting is that this area is only accessible from a stairway leading up from a landing on 4 (Teseo) Deck; and, that landing, in turn, is only accessible via two stairways which lead up from 3 (Bacco) Deck! All in all, it's a very convoluted routing to get to the children's area. However, this also significantly insulates the children from the adults. The Animators (youth counselors) were numerous and kept a very busy schedule for each age group. The only children who really didn't participate were the teenagers. There were activities available for them, but it's "that" age. So, they basically entertained themselves. A lot of basketball, ping-pong and just hangin'... 4 (Teseo) Deck - As mentioned above, at the far forward end is a landing, which takes one up to the Squok Club. On the port side of this landing is the Chapel. Catholic Mass is conducted daily (would you expect anything less on an Italian ship?). Starboard is the video arcade. There is a very extensive assortment of machines available, and my grandson never complained of a wait. Indeed, those times when I was searching for him, I seldom, if ever, found anyone there ... 3 (Bacco) Deck - On either side of the Osiris Theater are the Winter Terraces. These are two very intimate, semi-secluded areas offering tables for two and large windows. The deck slopes up as you head aft, arriving at the upper entrances to the Osiris Theater Balconies. On port side is the library/internet cafe. You can access the Costa website at no charge, but are limited to 5 minutes of free connect time per hour. If you need more time, or want to surf anywhere else, you'll need to insert your Costa Card into a reader. The cost was never very clear, but thankfully there is an onscreen counter, which allows you to see how fast your charges go up (as opposed to how slow your downloads are). The connect speed is terrible, verging on the order of around 350-500 bps! That is, it takes about 2-3 minutes to load the average web page. Longer if there are pictures involved. My recommendation? Save your money and avoid the Internet. You're on vacation and there's nothing going on back in the world that you can really influence anyway. As far as the library itself goes, the selection is limited, but that's primarily because they are carrying a general selection in six languages. If you're multi-lingual, you won't have a problem finding good materials for your leisure time. Continuing on, is the Oriental Lounge. This was a favorite hangout of many, as it is quiet, easy to get to and afforded a nice degree of intimacy. There is also a very nice fountain surrounded by a stairwell, which led down to 2 (Teriscore) Deck. Following the Via Condotti, you'll progress through the on-board shops. If there's anything you forgot, they can probably provide it (at 2 to 3 times the 'back-home' cost) ... Halfway along, you'll arrive at the photo galleries, which surround the Maschera D'Argento Atrium. As with all cruise ships these days, the ubiquitous photographers are everywhere during the cruise and the results are on display in glass cabinets. Each cabinet has a sign identifying the general time the photos were taken. If you manage to find one you wish to purchase, you'll have to find one of the staff and have them unlock the cabinet and ring up the sale. Takes time, and I'm sure that they will eventually find a better way to do this. Once the photos are replaced, you won't see them again until the last day. Then they'll be stacked in open baskets. This is a very inefficient way to find your photos. They missed a lot of sales because passengers grew tired of searching and went on to something more interesting. Next, you'll come to the Dionisio Lounge. This is a great little area to meet up with your table companions for pre-dinner cocktails, appetizers and a recap of the day's activities, before entering the upper portion of the two-level of the Degli Argentieri Restaurant ... 2 (Teriscore) Deck - From the bow (that's the pointy end of the ship) and heading aft; we start with the Osiris Theater. Seating over 1,700 guests, this is the primary venue for the production shows, contests, indoor games and that good ol' reliable standby ... Bingo. There were two shows nightly. The early show was for the second seating passengers, and the second reversed the process. We enjoyed the shows and even got the grandson to attend on a regular basis. Just outside the theater, you'll find the card room and the Piazza Casanova at the bottom of the fountain and stairs. The Piazza was used for many shows, dancing and games. The Grande Canal Casino is next, and fully extends across the deck. Therefore, there will be heavy pedestrian traffic, including children, through the gambling area. Personally, I did not appreciate the young people hanging around, searching the floor for dropped tokens, or even playing some of the slots. Yes, the casino staff did move them along, but not with any serious consistency ... Amidships, is the Maschera D'Argento Atrium. This will be the first thing you see as you enter the ship, and your last as you leave a week later. Extremely impressive, the atrium extends up Cleopatra Deck and is capped by a huge skylight. Guest Services (manned 24/7) and Shore Excursions (very limited hours) offices are on the port side. Dancing along the walls are three glass-enclosed elevators, 19 stylized figures and lights in the shape of jellyfish. Aft, is the Talia Lounge. As with the Dionisio Lounge on Bacco Deck, it's a great place to meet up with friends before, or after diner. This is the entrance to the Selva Disco, extending down to 1 (Circe) Deck. Aft is the lower entrance to the Degli Argentieri Restaurant ... 1 (Circe) Deck - Whew, finally! OK. Forward is another of the Mediterranea's quiet little secrets, the Giardino Isolabella Lounge. This one deck show lounge provides a great location for smaller performances, dance lessons, classical music and meetings. At the very aft end of Circe is, as mentioned above, the lighted dance floor of the Selva Disco ... The Degli Argentieri Restaurant - This is the main restaurant and is on two levels. Well lit and nicely decorated, the Degli Argentieri did not see the crowds I expected. Oh, on the first night, yes. Almost every table was full. Everyone wants to meet their new tablemates, wait staff and check out their view. We were fortunate to be at table 50, a window table for six, just starboard of midline, on the stern. We had a fantastic view of the sea, the glorious sunsets and where we had been. Our waiter, Dominick (Dom), and Assistant Waiter, Joseph, were not Italian, but were both from the Philippines. Even with that twist, they did a marvelous job of introducing us to the various offerings and the impressive creations of the Chef. Our drink preferences were always remembered and service was both prompt and invisible. Dom had no problem with a discrete shake of the head if one of us ordered something that was, shall we say ... 'less than excellent'. Dinners are your standard cruise offerings, three or four appetizers, three soups (two hot and one chilled), two salads, and then two pasta courses (Italian style dining), followed by five to six entrees. There were also some standards offered every evening, for those who did not want to experiment - sirloin steak, broiled/poached/grilled salmon, broiled chicken, Caesar salad, baked potato, etc. The desert selection was fairly good. There is also a children's menu, offering hamburgers, mac'n'cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken fingers and fish sticks. Grub did me proud. He took one look at the children' menu and informed Dom that he, "wasn't going to be eating any of that junk." He ordered off the adult menu, and insisted on the chilled soup and two portions of grilled salmon every night. In addition, he also tried (at least) one new dish at each meal. There were a couple he didn't care for, and Joseph made them quickly disappear. There was what SunFlower and I both considered to be a glaring omission for an Italian cruise line ... no canoli! Honest, eight days and seven nights on an Italian ship, with an Italian Head Chef and no canoli anywhere, at any time! Shame on you Costa ... Shame. Special Events - There are two Formal Nights (second and sixth), which is pretty much standard for a one-week cruise. Costa does one thing that sets it apart from their competition. On the final night, when you have packed your bags and are now limited to your next day's carry-ons (carry-offs ??), Costa hosts "Roman Bacchanal Night. That's right ... TOGA, TOGA, TOGA! Your cabin steward will leave extra bed sheets in your cabin, along with instructions on how to tie and wear a toga. A bit of prior research allowed SunFlower and I, along with our friends and our grandson, to purchase togas before the cruise. We were five of around 15-20 who went this route and were glad we did. We were recognized and really felt special. It made the night a lot more fun. Although some people, even after a week, still hadn't learned to relax enough to join in the fun. Most did. I saw some strange combinations. Bib-overalls with a toga over hem. A toga with cowboy boots and 10-Gallon hat. You never know ... The Final Evaluation - Here we go. First, let me say that I have problems with folks who go on a cruise (or other vacation for that matter) and expect to find faults. "The cold water wasn't cold enough. The hot water wasn't hot enough. I saw a worn spot on the carpet. The lounge singer wasn't as good as Enrico Caruso. One of the stewards failed to smile at me one morning." Yadda, yadda, yadda. Come on people ... Lighten up. If you go looking for problems, you'll find them. How sad. I prefer to look on the sunny side of life. No, everything isn't going to be absolutely perfect. But, is the cruise line honestly trying to give you a good experience for a fair price? There were plusses and minuses on this cruise, to be sure. The only issues, of any consequence, were: The Cons - The biggest problem was that we cruised during Spring Break. We will not do that again. Many of the American parents were failures at that responsibility; i.e. - they did not 'parent'. They tended to let their children run wild. It was not uncommon to get on an elevator and find that every button had been pushed. More than once I found chewing gun stuck under tables in the lounges. Young people (teenagers, primarily) tended to take over whole sections of the lounges or the Osiris Theater and were uniformly rude to the other passengers. And ... NO CANOLI !!! The Neutrals - Announcements are made in five languages. English, Italian, German, French and Spanish. This can make some events (the abandon ship drill) a bit longer than some may be willing to bear. Also, because many passengers are European, you'll find smoking much more common than in the States. Personally, neither of these were a problem for me; however I did hear others complaining. The Pros - I liked Costa. The staff were good and put out a good product. The ship is very well decorated and I did not have any problem finding my way around. The entertainment was varied and interesting. The casino was friendly (I won enough on the penny slots to pay for the next cruise!). Shore excursions were many, interesting, timely, escorted, and safe. The food was more than plentiful and was varied enough that everyone was able to find something to his or her liking, just about any time of the day or night. I was pleased to note that they did not serve food American Style, i.e. - quantity vs. quality. Portions were small, but they were never-ending! The French, German and Italian kidlets were very well behaved. The tragedy of the first night was handled well and was not allowed to dampen the spirits of the rest of the passengers. Will I cruse again? - Absolutely! There is no better way to vacation, and no better value for your money! Will I cruise again with Costa? - That remains to be seen. For now, I'll give a tentative ... Perhaps. Will I cruise again during Spring Break? - Absolutely not! Please, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Thank you. - Calgon (Calgon1@Yahoo.Com) Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
This was my 19th cruise overall and my first on Costa. I am really going to tell you how I viewed this cruise and I hope others won't jump all over me. Because this is my opinion. This was the cheapest cruise I have ever gone on. The ... Read More
This was my 19th cruise overall and my first on Costa. I am really going to tell you how I viewed this cruise and I hope others won't jump all over me. Because this is my opinion. This was the cheapest cruise I have ever gone on. The prices were unbelievably low which was surprising since it was during Spring Break week. We had an inside cabin category 2 for $600 pp and a balcony cabin category 8 for $800 pp. Costa is a no frills cruise line. They have omitted tons of services you would get on another line and lowered the price considerably to make up for it. So consider this if you want to book a Costa Cruise in the future. We got to the ship at 1 pm and didn't wait in line at all. They don't hand out your room keys at check in or take your picture, so you proceed directly to your stateroom and your room key is waiting for you on your bed. It is your responsibility to get your credit card on file for all your expenses while on board. The beds were low to the ground and rock hard. I asked our room steward for an egg crate mattress to soften it up and he actually delivered another mattress to lay over the one on the bed. It was a pillow topper mattress and it made the mattress really soft and nice. The topper raised the height of the bed by about 5 inches so this was nice too. He gave us extra pillows and blankets. However, they don't wash the blankets in between passengers. You just get whatever is available from a closet or drawer in another room. I booked my shore excursions online months before the cruise and had no problems with their website. I even called their 800 # to verify that everything went through and talked to some nice people about my reservation. Costa does not make announcements in their hallways like other cruise lines, which is very nice. They won't wake you up in the morning with announcements about the day's activities or for crew training exercises. This was somewhat strange on debarkation day. They don't announce color tags and tell you when it is time to leave the ship. We just went down the elevator and left the ship at 8 am to make our 10:40 am flight back from Fort Lauderdale. You leave when you want and no one seems to care. If you want to carry your own bags off the ship, they let you do this at 7:30am. This ship does not promote hand sanitizing. In fact, if you want to use some it is not even easy to find the machine. My husband did get sick because of the lack thereof. Breakfast was eggs made to order with olive oil. However, I didn't prefer the taste of olive oil over butter in my omelet so only tried it once. Toasted bagels and bread are hard to find on the buffet at breakfast. You need to look for wrapped napkins and they are hiding inside. Buffet breakfast was cheese, lox, bagels, cream cheese, jams, scrambled eggs, bacon, has browns, fresh fruit, and corn beef hash. Great assortment and always tasty. Also will find all kinds of rolls and croissants. Drinks available are orange juice and grapefruit juice and coffee. Lunch was made to order sandwiches on french bread, burgers, very flat-crusted pizza with little sauce on it and a slight amount of cheese (not the kind of pizza you would find on the other cruise lines - almost tasteless), pasta made to order, and hot buffet food, which I always try to stay away from. Doesn't smell good to me. Dinner included appetizers, soup, salad, pasta, main course, and then limited desserts. Our waiters were awful. Both from India. They made us order dessert right while we were ordering our dinner. Never refilled our water glasses or replaced our bread sticks. I literally lived on breadsticks for dinner since I really didn't care for their food items. Our waiters didn't bring the courses together so there was always someone in our family eating their salad alone or pasta alone. I don't understand why they can't let someone eat their salad while someone else is eating their soup. It just didn't make sense to me. The food recipes were just a little off and didn't taste right to our American tastes. There are no soda cards on this ship. They do offer ice tea at meals for free. Cappuccinos are also available for a fee at dinner. Free at breakfast if you order from room service. Tea time was excellent. They served small sandwiches and different types of pastries. However, this is the first cruise line I have been on that the desserts really weren't tasty. They must have had a European flair to them that I just didn't care for. Soft serve ice cream was available all the time and most of the machines were working all the time. My favorite is ice cream in my coffee. But it is impossible to find the ice cream at breakfast time. In the evenings until about midnight, they have tablecloths on the tables in the buffet and you can order single size pizza with whatever toppings you like and they take your order and deliver it to your table. However, it is still this cardboard crust pizza that will be delivered. The best dessert foods are only presented at the Gala Midnight Buffet. This is when we finally found the really good cakes, cheesecakes, chocolate covered strawberries and canolis. At no other time during the week were really good desserts available. Not even at dinner. Dinner desserts were mostly different flavors of ice cream and a few other types of cakes, which weren't really very good. The way Costa cuts costs is by not putting a chocolate candy on your pillow each night before bed, and by never making towel animals. There are not movies playing continuously on your TV. If you want to watch a movie, you have to pay $9.00. However, something really nice, which I have never seen before, is that regular TV shows were playing on the TV in the room between 8 and 10 pm. So if you wanted to keep up with your shows from home you could go back to the room and watch them right there for a couple hours. They also allowed you to check your balance on your account from your stateroom, this was nice. There were no pressures to buy pictures in the photo gallery. All the pictures are locked in glass cases and your have to ask for them to be unlocked to view them. We found the gym to be crowded whenever we went to exercise and never got equipment when we wanted to. The promenade does not go all the way around the ship so you have to go inside to walk the promenade and the doors are really heavy and hard to open to enter. The cruise director Stephano was Italian with a heavy Italian accent. He never made a joke the entire week, but was full of energy. He had to repeat everything he said in four different languages and it was funny to watch him rush through all the different languages at the beginning of each show. The shows they had were strange at best. They said they repeat the same shows every week through the winter months. So if you were to go on the same ship again a few months later you would have to watch the same entertainers and shows over again. They never had a comedian on stage the entire week. We and many others walked out on many of the shows. The last night of the cruise was guest talent show and this was quite amusing. All of us were wearing our togas and the people on the stage were wearing togas too. It was a funny show, which was ad libbed as they went along. It was fun listening to people speak in the elevators. Lots of people speaking in Italian, French and Spanish on our cruise. Many of the people did not even speak English at all which was pretty amazing. The ship was decorated to look like Italy and Rome. Kind of gaudy looking with the same flair as Carnival, since the same ship builder builds both ships. This ship has the same exact layout as the Carnival Legend. There was no smoking allowed all over the ship. It was only allowed in selected areas and was not a problem the entire week. During many dinners, they had tall red candles, in silver candlesticks, lit on the tables. I have never seen a ship have lighted candles, not in a glass holder, on the tables in the dining rooms. During the Baked Alaska parade, the waiters lit sparklers. How would I rate this cruise. Well, it was a week of vacation and that was great, but I would fit it just one notch above HAL, which I didn't care for very much. If the price was right and the ports were great, I would probably try Costa again. However, I think I will probably stick to Princess, NCL and Carnival in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Back from a 7 day voyage on the Costa med all I can say is what a value for your vacation dollar. I have been on many lines and I kid you not I really enjoyed cruising Italian style. Embarkation: Arrived at 2:00pm in my cabin by 2:15 ... Read More
Back from a 7 day voyage on the Costa med all I can say is what a value for your vacation dollar. I have been on many lines and I kid you not I really enjoyed cruising Italian style. Embarkation: Arrived at 2:00pm in my cabin by 2:15 need I say more A+ Cabin I had a cat 9 balcony and it was bigger the most lines standard cabin. Loved the couch and the balcony was huge. Cabin gets an A, however bathroom amenities are not even there. Please bring your own soap and shampoo ect. In this case Costa gets a F. Entertainment not to bad but not RCCL or Princess. More on line with Celebrity will give it a C. Food most was very good some was good overall a B- Buffet gets a C- however the pizza and Pasta station gets and an A. Ports were the usual I will not even assign a grade we had all been to these ports numerous times and we enjoyed them. We had to miss Key West as we had a passenger go overboard. Debarkation was the worst I have never in 17 cruises never have I seen such a cluster mess. I will not even elaborate except to say bring your patience and be prepared for rudeness like you can't even imagine. F- Overall a great cruise we had about 40% passengers from Europe and 60% canadians and Americans with canadians being the majority. Many kids as it was Canadas spring break the kids club did a good job with keeping them busy. I would do Costa in the Caribbean again for a seven day cruise. I would never try them in Europe. I feel that if the Price was the same I would choose Princess or Celebrity over Costa. But would choose Costa over RCCL or Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Embarkation: very orderly, and quick. Best so far. Cabin: Spacious, beautiful decor and amenities with a wonderful cabin stewardess. Excursions: Grand Turk was by far me and my wife's favorite. The water and the beach are ... Read More
Embarkation: very orderly, and quick. Best so far. Cabin: Spacious, beautiful decor and amenities with a wonderful cabin stewardess. Excursions: Grand Turk was by far me and my wife's favorite. The water and the beach are glorious,and Margaritaville is a 2 minute walk from where the ship docks. Entertainment: The dancers were okay, Malambo show was boring, and the acrobat we walked out on...so the headliners were disappointing... EXCEPT twin brothers Will & Anthony Nunziata. They are amazing talents, and will be making it very far. Out of the 60 cruises we have been on, they are by far the most entertaining, endearing, and what voices...only 22 years old!! I can't wait to follow their career...they even gave us their card, and their website is WillandAnthony.com! I cannot brag enough about these two young men, and they were only given one night to perform....they should have been singing every night. BRAVO! Disembarkation: very nicely done, had to walk up very early though. Food: not the Italian we were expecting, but the buffets were wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
A little bit about my cruise experience. I have cruised seven times and have cruised on the Mediterranea in 2005. We cruised with my wife, two children (7 an 12), sister, her husband and her two children (9 and 14). We booked the cruise ... Read More
A little bit about my cruise experience. I have cruised seven times and have cruised on the Mediterranea in 2005. We cruised with my wife, two children (7 an 12), sister, her husband and her two children (9 and 14). We booked the cruise for $2147 for four of us which is a great deal for a cabin with a balcony on a holiday week. A month after booking the cruise Costa added a fuel surcharge of $35 per adult. I was not Happy about this. After booking one price and putting a deposit on it, they jack up the price. But overall I still feel I got a good price. To start embarkation was super quick as we missed a flight connection in Cleveland and landed in Miami at 3:15. Long story short we almost missed the cruise and was the last family on the ship. So we basically ran onto the ship. The Cabin was spacious. The carpet could have used a good cleaning as there were stains on it. The beds were firm, but comfortable. The cabin steward did a good job and replaced the towels twice a day. Here is where the fun ended. It appears that there was a virus going around the ship. My Brother in law got it first and never left the cabin. The symptoms were flu like with fever. I started getting it on the 3rd or 4th day and ended up going to the infirmary. I spoke to several other people waiting to see the doctor that had the same thing. The doctor said it was going around the ship. I ended getting 3 painful antibiotic shots in my rump (ouch). I cruised with Holland last year and it seems they did a better job of educating people about washing hands and handing out purell (hand sanitizer) all over the place. As for the food in the dinning room it was so so. The selection was horrible (at least for my taste) and I am not a picky eater. Like I said I have cruised on this ship once before and expected better. There was no lobster night which I always look forward to. I guess they are saving money. The service was shaky. The first night the service was horrible. So bad that the waiters apologized. They forgot some of the order, the wine steward never came to our table. There was a rowdy family at the next table with some children that were very undisciplined. The kids were loud and one of the kids was throwing food at us and the parents did nothing. We asked to be moved to another table and were accommodated. The service at the new table was much better with waiters with more personality. The breakfast on the lido deck was average. The lines were not long. We often had the clear a table of dirty dishes ourselves to get a table. It seemed that the ice and ice cream machines were often broken or empty. I cant say much for the entertainment as we got sick and tried to rest as much as possible. I saw one show and it was pretty bad. I don't think I will be cruising with Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
Embarkation was efficient, Destinations were really good But from there it went south really quick. Starting with the buffet, The first day it was really good, Especially the seafood pasta salad with squid. I thought we were in for a real ... Read More
Embarkation was efficient, Destinations were really good But from there it went south really quick. Starting with the buffet, The first day it was really good, Especially the seafood pasta salad with squid. I thought we were in for a real treat. So after lunch we decided to tour the ship and stumbled onto the main dining room. We decided to enter through the doors to take a peak when we were rudely yelled at by the Mater D (Sorry for the mispelling) to leave. Our initial reaction was "Wow, That was shocking, He could have handled it differently. He was an Italian with a huge attitude and bad manners. I thought from that point this guy can kiss his tip goodby! The first night we ate in the main restaraunt and both my wife and I had the French onion soup thinking that it should be a good choice. That was a big mistake! I took my first spoon full and lost my appetite right at the get-go. I called over the waiter and he offered up a salad as an alternative which I reluctantly accepted. Shortly after the same Mater D came running up to my table apologizing for the terrible soup and insisted to make it up with another menu choice. My first thought was he needed a Huge breath mint as his breath was that of halitosis. At that point my Dinner was ruined and we left immediately. Moving forward we really enjoyed our destinations, Which were Grand Cayman, Routan, Key West and Cozumel. The ship was very clean, The bartender "Leo" was excellent, But the Italians and europeans working on the ship treated my Wife and I like second class citizens. Specifically Customer Service. (NOTE: Customer Service is not a term that is understood on this ship) I almost got into a tussle with a Euro in the Casino after winning a $500.00 jackpot on the Wheel of fortune machine that he had left a couple of minutes prior. Funny thing is that the Italian Employees on this ship must not realize that their Employer is Carnival International and it is an AMERICAN Company that owns it. I reflect back to how I was treated by many of their staff and get a laugh at who is paying their paycheck. This Cruise was a nightmare. After our bad experience in the dining room on the first night we opted for the Buffets, But they closed at 8:00pm and the remaining choices were pizza and salad OR salad and pizza, Take your pick!! So, In reviewing the Buffets I will start with Breakfast which the choices were smoked salmon and a Tilapia wrapped pickle "Really"? I can see that the Euros may have a palet for that but not us Yanks. Note to Costa, You are cruising out of Ft. Lauderdale, It would only make sense to design the menu around the preferences of American cuisine, Correct? Breakfast was only good if you had the omlette which had huge lines or the fruit. Either way, It was not good. Now we go to Lunch. Bottom line it was terrible. The squid salad was served daily without change and every day it got a little more distastful and rotten as the week progressed. In summary of this waste of money, I would only recommend that people who are considering a cruise with Costa, To spend it with a Cruise line that really knows how to treat their Customers. IE: Royal Carribean or Princess. Sincerely One Very Disappointed Yankee! Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
The Costa Mediterranea. Feb 2 - 8, 2008. the eastern Caribbean with stops at San Juan, PR; St. Thomas; La Romana, DR; and Grand Turk. Altogether, Costa Mediterranea, was a real vacation value. Even though we booked a guaranteed ... Read More
The Costa Mediterranea. Feb 2 - 8, 2008. the eastern Caribbean with stops at San Juan, PR; St. Thomas; La Romana, DR; and Grand Turk. Altogether, Costa Mediterranea, was a real vacation value. Even though we booked a guaranteed obstructed balcony, we were assigned an unobstructed balcony on deck seven. Embarkation was easy. We had flown in the day before and rented a car to explore Ft. Lauderdale. There was a free shuttle from the car rental agency to the pier, and getting on board was painless. We snacked at the buffet then got into our cabin before 1 pm. This was our second cruise. Last year we were on the Carnival Conquest out of Galveston, which we found to be a very positive experience, even though it was loaded with over 3,500 passengers. This time we chose the Costa Mediterranea based on favorable reviews and descriptions of the international flavor, dancing and the itinerary. For us, both cruises were terrific, but different. Costa was far more relaxed and adult, and in the end, we enjoyed it more. The Mediterranea is a truly beautiful ship with an appealing dEcor that emphasizes 18th Century Italian themes, with lots of Venetian glass, modernistic silver pieces, antique Chinese ceramics (including Tang Dynasty horses), copies of Caravaggios, contemporary Italian paintings and playful ceramics, which we found appealing. Also, there is a Chapel, "Capella" which was beautifully decorated and always in use. The chaplain was a ship's officer. Our cabin was a virtual duplicate of our cabin on the Conquest, and both ships had been built at the same shipyard in Finland. We had a balcony cabin on Port side which was kept in perfect condition by our extremely friendly and intelligent steward, Archimedes. The food was plentiful and very good both on the buffet and in the dining room; however, we give the edge to the Conquest, perhaps because of our American taste. For example, lobster bisque on the Conquest was a smooth cream based delicate soup, while the soup of the same name on the Mediterranea was champagne based, clear and salty. However, dinner after dinner included pleasant surprises of new flavors and presentations followed by wonderful desserts. Of course, you could try multiple appetizers or entrees, and we did at the recommendation of our wonderful waiters. For us, the dinners were made even better by our dining companions, who started as strangers and became good friends. Theater entertainment was a step below Carnival Conquest, still plenty entertaining. We had about 600 Irish aboard, and although many of their events were closed to other passengers, they had many public activities of song and dance that we joined. In general, dancing was terrific. We took lessons on various Latin dances, and even though at home, we don't dance much, we danced every afternoon and evening on the ship - 1960s Rock-n-Roll around the pool, Salsa and Merengue, and lots of simple (we had to keep it simple) ball room dances before and after diner. We even tried to learn an Irish jig. The cruise director David Lawton and his staff were very professional, competent and funny (often along the lines of Monty Python or Benny Hill), and the musicians, both instrumental and vocal, were top notch. There were bands or duets at several locations. They kept the party rolling. Speaking of which, don't miss Roman night, and go ahead and wear the toga. It is much more fun if you participate. With so much activity, we actually did not gain any weight, despite our appetites. "That's Amore." Pool side was usually crowded, but there were three nice pools, and there was always room for one or two more. We actually enjoyed swimming in the ship's pools and using the whirlpools which never seemed congested with people. Despite, the large number of Europeans, I noted only one lady sunbathing topless, but I assume she just had a "wardrobe malfunction." Ports of call were fun and each very different. We created all of our own excursions. At San Juan, Puerto Rico, we docked within easy walking distance of the old city. The Tourist Information Center provided rum punch and samplings of various rums. We walked the exterior of the old city wall to enter at the old gate for a stroll to the Cathedral, to give thanks to God for safe passage as travelers have for nearly five centuries. The fort was not too much further, but as a US National Park Service property, it closed at 6; so we simply wandered the grounds which provided post card views of the sunset and the city. Shopping was plentiful at US prices, and by 8 we made our was back to the ship for our late diner seating. The next morning was St. Thomas. On advice of fellow cruisers, we shared a cab to Sapphire beach with our snorkeling gear. Sapphire may be the prettiest beach we have ever been to, and it wasn't crowded. The water was too choppy for good snorkeling; so we relaxed on the beach. It was easy to get a cab back into Charlotte Amalie for a walking tour of the town. Dominican Republic was a pleasant surprise. At La Romana, you have a choice of beaches, golfing, the cute resort town of Casa de Campo, and La Romana itself, which was an easy walk from the ship and has the "Jumbo" store, an open market and plenty of shops with real bargains. The people were fun to talk with. We stopped into a church on the square for Ash Wednesday, then on the way back to the ship, spent a pleasant hour watching Dominican boys playing baseball. Some of them talked with us about their passion for the American big leagues, with lots of easy big smiles. The last stop was Grand Turk which we love. The cruise terminal is new, and there are the usual duty free shops, but for $5 each, we took a cab into Cockburn Town where we seemed to go back in time a hundred years. Our cabby proudly showed us her small house and the near by spot were locals claim was the first landing place of Columbus in the New World. We were told that there is no unemployment and virtually no crime, and not much going on. Rotary Club meets on Tuesday nights. We went into the quaint 1887 Queen Victoria library with its small collection of musty books and internet access for a small fee. The librarian was glad to see us. The post office was even more amusing. We were the second customers of the day. I trundled upstairs to the Philatelic Bureau to buy stamps for postcards where for my $3 stamp purchase, the smiling clerk gave me a pen engraved, "Turks and Caicos Philatelic Bureau - We Love Our Customers." Meanwhile, my wife was asked if she would consider a job working for the post office since they had a position available. It was tempting. From there, we walked to the beach to snorkel in the clear, shallow water. Almost immediately, my wife found a large conch shell, a keeper. There were a half dozen species of tropical fish and plenty more shells, but we only took one. Had we been into scuba, there are excellent dive sites nearby. We stopped at a beachside cottage hotel, the Osprey, for a very large $6 pina colada while waiting for a cab to return to the ship. We are grateful we got to visit Grand Turk while it is still largely unspoiled. The next day was at sea for a rest and the toga party. Altogether, Costa Mediterranea, was a real vacation value. Embarkation was easy. We had flown in the day before and rented a car to explore Ft. Lauderdale. There was a free shuttle from the car rental agency to the pier, and getting on board was painless. We snacked at the buffet then got into our very cabin before 1 pm. Our only real negative was the Ft. Lauderdale Cruise Terminal and airport on returning at 8 am Saturday, and our flight didn't leave until 7 pm. Customs was not bad, but two other cruise ships arrived just before us, and no taxis were available for a long time with no place to sit except the hot curbside. When we finally got to the airport, it was mobbed with tens of thousands of returning cruisers who were camped out on benches and the floor for hours on end, as we were told it is every Saturday and Sunday. We were not allowed to check our bags for at least three hours before departure or enter the secured area prior to two hours before departure. So we got stuck sitting on our bags for hours. Ft. Lauderdale airport is none too pleasant. So you may want to consider staying over and enjoying an extra day or two in South Florida. Keep on cruising. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
Our only cruise experiences - Star Cruises (small,friendly but brilliant destinations) & NCL Pride of America in Hawaii (Disappointed). Got bargain deal on cruise in package so went thinking if it is not so good at least we haven`t ... Read More
Our only cruise experiences - Star Cruises (small,friendly but brilliant destinations) & NCL Pride of America in Hawaii (Disappointed). Got bargain deal on cruise in package so went thinking if it is not so good at least we haven`t spent alot of money! My partner & myself thoroughly enjoyed ourselves; would look for Costa again & would recommend particularly to Brits / Europeans for Caribbean cruising as the good mix of nationalities brought a good balance we felt instead of all being from the USA; it is mostly aimed at English speaking however. Getting on & off ship pleasant experience; good security but not such intense X-Raying,searching,checking etc.as Hawaii. All staff on board friendly, polite & efficient. Restaurant food good; could not say excellent but we found it nice & served well. We chose to eat at the buffet on the two formal nights as this is the only thing about cruising we do not enjoy; cannot be bothered to use luggage space taking suits etc. to have photos taken we don`t want. The buffet was as good for dinner as it was for lunch & breakfast; plenty of choice; comfortable seating with variety of tables to accommodate everyone & lots of big windows. Lots of bars & small tables in theatre so could enjoy a drink while watching shows, which we loved by the way. Only drink beer & this was reasonably priced.Production Dancers & Singers VERY good; modern themes but thoroughly professional & they are all friendly when not performing. Specialist acts- some old type variety & modern but all enjoyable. Continuous good musicians in bars. Two pool areas one with entertainment & one quiet, which was heaven for us & railings not too high so could get plenty of sun. Food available nearly all day either restaurant,buffet or pool areas & afternoon tea which was our favorite. The Costa Mediterranea being Italian deign is ornate but tastefully so; we have just had outside cabins on the cruises we have done as we feel the extra cost of a balcony will go towards another holiday (we like to do as many as poss) & if it is nice enough to be outside we are up on deck but the cabin was a good size. We didn`t go on ship excursions as we choose to book alternate or arrange them when we get off ships. Ports :- Key West was great day ;shuttle to downtown,tour of island,museum,shops & Sloppy Joes. Would love to go back to stay. Grand Cayman-on boat trip out to swim with Stingrays- No one should miss. Roatan,Honduras-Unpleasant place; maybe nicer when developed / cleaned up. Cozumel, Mexico-Travel to beach on other side of island necessary as only T-shirt,jewelry & Pottery shops at port but sunny, clean & modern. Immigration for non USA Citizens AWFUL when disembarking at Fort Lauderdale- 1 hour & 20 minute queue ! but this was the only complaint all week so can`t be bad. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
The Costa Mediterranea was one of the most beautiful ships my family and I have sailed on out of the eleven cruises we have sailed. The ship was also immaculately clean and well maintained. I was extremely pleased to see the efforts made ... Read More
The Costa Mediterranea was one of the most beautiful ships my family and I have sailed on out of the eleven cruises we have sailed. The ship was also immaculately clean and well maintained. I was extremely pleased to see the efforts made by all staff to shine the mirrors, clean the carpeting and polish the glass. Our Steward, Reggie kept the cabin neat and clean at all times. He also was the first Steward from all our cruises who, upon our arrival, immediately introduced himself, educated us on the use of the cabin safe and television, reviewed the items in the refrigerator and removed the alcohol at our request, and even placed our luggage in the cabin when it arrived and we were not present. He was an example of excellent service. However, I cannot say the same for other areas of the ship. I must admit that for the first time in my life during this cruise, I felt discriminated against as an American by many Costa crew members. There were many instances where a non-American received preferential treatment over me and my family. For example, I had a very bad experience with the Guest Services Desk that I will go into more detail later. From the first occasion that I visited the area to the last, I received very poor attitude. As soon as I spoke English, the attitude became apparent. Other non-English speaking guests were greeted with smiles and assisted immediately. I was made to feel that my questions were bothersome. I also must say that there were many unusual situations that occurred. It seemed for every good or positive about the cruise, there was a poor or negative that accompanied it. For example, the Costa Kids Program was amazing. My son found the theme nights each night to be exciting. The "Horror Night" on the first evening was a bit scary for a four year old; but, he thoroughly enjoyed each night thereafter. The negative was that the program didn't open until 9pm on most nights. My son's bedtime is 9pm and he had difficulty staying awake to enjoy the evening's activities. Most other cruise lines start their evening kids programs at 7pm where my son gets a good 2-3 hours of fun each night. My family and I were seated for 5:45pm dinner at a long table of eight. The three of us sat alone for the first two evenings until I questioned if we could be seated at another table where we could speak with fellow guests. We were moved to a round table of six where we sat alone for the next two evenings. When I asked if anyone else would be joining us, I was told that the other family was dining at the buffet and would I like to be moved again. We chose to stay and finally had other guests seated at the table for the last two evenings. My question is, why would we be seated alone in the first place when there were other tables open for us to join? Three people sitting at a table for eight is pathetic looking. The pizza was fantastic. The meatballs that were served for lunch as an entrEe were some of the best I have ever eaten. However, when I ordered the spaghetti and meatballs for dinner on the final evening of the cruise, I received three small meatballs that didn't even come close to those that I ate for lunch earlier in the week. These meatballs almost tasted like the frozen meatballs I make at home. Why would the chef serve one kind of meatball for lunch and another for dinner? My high expectations for a great spaghetti and meatball dinner were quickly dashed with this very unusual inconsistency. The tender and shore excursion organization was probably the best we've encountered. Issuing numbers at a central location and then ushering everyone to the tenders worked wonderfully. However, once we hit shore, there was mass chaos to get in a line for a wristband or to board a van. Non-Americans were pushing and shoving and it seemed whenever I finally got to the front of the line, the ticket-taker would move and I'd find myself back at the end of the line. By simply requiring guests to remain in a straight line to get a wristband or board a van, the mass chaos would have been avoided and this part of the shore excursion would have been much smoother. The embarkation and debarkation process went very smoothly. As a matter of fact, my family and other Americans exiting the ship noted quite vocally that there was some retribution for all the pushing and shoving that occurred during the cruise by non-Americans as they waited in an extremely long line for customs as we just whisked through with no wait. Funny thing was, ending my cruise was one of the positives. Our Spa experience was energizing yet relaxing. I booked the couples spa treatment for Monday, February 11 on-line prior to our embarkation. This treatment was a surprise present for my wife for our 7th anniversary. All information received on-line and through e-mail communications noted that we would be contacted by Spa staff on the day of embarkation to schedule times for the treatments. Thank God we visited the Spa during our original tour of the ship. The Spa had no record of my on-line booking and had no plans to contact me to schedule times for the treatments. In speaking with other guests during the cruise, they waited to be contacted and could not get the day they requested on-line because the Spa was already booked. There seems to be a communication problem between on-line bookings and the Spa on the ship. Also, the procedure as outlined in all communications that the Spa staff would contact guests on the day of embarkation is flawed. Finally, the absolute worst customer service experience takes me back to the Guest Services Desk. As I mentioned above, I want to describe in detail a situation that could have been resolved on Saturday, February 9 very simply; but, it became an everyday trudge to the Guest Services desk that almost ruined my vacation. I booked the "Welcome Aboard Ruby Package" on-line as a Valentine's Day surprise present for my wife. The package included: one bottle of sparkling wine, a plate of 12 canapEs, one beautiful fruit basket refilled daily, a Captain's welcome letter and an invitation to the VIP cocktail party or reception. When I arrived in my cabin on the 9th, there was no fruit basket. I approached the Guest Services desk to verify that my on-line order had been received. Knowing that the Spa had not received my order, I thought it was possible that my Welcome Aboard order was also not received. The Guest Services crew member told me that the fruit would be in my cabin later. I again asked her to verify that the ship had received my order and she became very terse with me. She rifled through a three-ring binder behind the desk for a couple of minutes and finally told me that the package was on record. On the 10th, there still was no fruit in the cabin and my wife's Valentine's Day surprise was ruined because I had to explain to her why I was going back to the Guest Services Desk. I was told that the fruit would be delivered later in the evening. On the 11th, there still was no fruit in the cabin. I asked the gentleman at the Guest Services Desk to speak with a manager. He rudely responded that he would handle the situation and that the manager would only give me the same response as he would give. I raised my voice a bit and told him that I was the paying customer and that I wanted to speak with a manager. Finally, he disappeared into the office and the manager appeared a few minutes later. I explained the situation to her and she informed me that I scheduled the package for delivery on Valentine's Day, February 14. I agreed; however, the package was to include a fruit basket refilled daily. Why would someone pay $50 for fruit everyday of the cruise and I pay the same and receive fruit only on Thursday and Friday of the cruise? The package states a fruit basket refilled daily. Finally, the manager agreed and sent the fruit on the evening of the 11th. All was well until 14th when I approached the Guest Services Desk and inquired when the VIP cocktail party was scheduled. I was informed that it was on Monday, February 11. I also was interested in when I would receive the Captain's welcome letter. I asked for the manager and told her that I would not pay the full package price of $50 when I did not receive all that was included in the package. She told me that she would look into it and would get back to me. On the 15th, I saw a charge for $50 on my statement and approached the long line at the Guest Services Desk. I asked to speak with the manager and was told she was handling the situation and that she would contact me. She left a message on the cabin voicemail about the same time I was at the desk. I received a phone call from Room Service asking me to sign the invoice for the package. I refused and was instructed to visit the Guest Services Desk and speak with the Administrative Director. After waiting in the long line again, I was told that the Administrative Director would not see me and the Guest Services manager was handling the situation. The Guest Services manager called later in the morning and informed me that she would credit my account $8. At that point I was very insulted since I had spent over $1,000 on board and told her I wanted a full credit of the $50 for my problems. This was a situation that I had to deal with almost everyday of my cruise vacation and if I were dealing with an American cruise line, they would recognize my hassle and have no problem with crediting me the $50 to keep me a happy customer. I was very vocal and expressed my displeasure. Finally she agreed to credit the account the $50. This whole situation could have been avoided if the crew member on the first day took me a little more seriously and checked with room service to see if they had received my on-line request for the package. Also, there is no procedure in place to identify an on-line "Welcome Aboard Package" purchased for delivery on a day other than the day of embarkation. The package included a fruit basket refilled daily; but, room service knew nothing of the purchase until five days after embarkation. I also never received an invitation to the VIP cocktail party nor did I receive the Captain's welcome letter. This was very poor communication between Costa's on-line special services department and the ship. And then, there was very poor customer service from the Guest Services crew. In conclusion, I go on vacation to get away from the everyday battles that life presents me. After sailing on the Costa Mediterranea, I feel like a battle scarred warrior who has to return back to my normal life's routine to get another vacation. This vacation was far from relaxing. Although I cannot say that the cruise was a complete bust since there were some very good positives, I can say that the many negatives have led me to a decision that my family and I will never sail with Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
After 8 cruises we decided to sail Costa for something different. And it was a wonderful cruise. The ship is beautiful, all week long some new discovery in art work or sculpture. Definitely felt like I have visited Italy. Enjoyed this ship ... Read More
After 8 cruises we decided to sail Costa for something different. And it was a wonderful cruise. The ship is beautiful, all week long some new discovery in art work or sculpture. Definitely felt like I have visited Italy. Enjoyed this ship as if it had been my first cruise. Embarkment: Arrived at ship 11:55am and boarded in about 10 minutes. Had the photo done and entered with music playing, a stewart handing out wipes. O yea a boun giorno greeting. Cabins: We were in ours a few minutes after one. Had an obstructed oceanview with a door that opened, with a railing of course, and a small view between the lifeboats. Cabin was large with 3 full closets, couch and table, mini frig., desk with drawers. Top drawer contained a hair dryer. There were two receptacles, one American and one European current. Standard bathroom with shampoo dispenser in shower. You could request shower caps, and body lotion if desired. The beds were very comfortable. At night there was either a pillow chocolate or cookies. The cabin was spotless at all times. The room steward was unobtrusive, but honored any request. Room service was fast and efficient. Entertainment: I can not say enough about this. Wonderful, fun, kept everyone involved. The pool area went nonstop with dance lessons, meringue, salsa, vampiro, mambo, and line dancing. Games were very different then what you're use to seeing. We got involved in most games. Prizes were cd cases, hats, duffel bags, cards, fanny packs, ect. All with ship Logo. Everyone who participated got one win or lose. Bingo was at the pool, as well as exercise classes and more. The evenings were all themed. There was Ballroom dancing, shows, disco all throughout the ship. Before diner and according to the theme there would be mask making, or paper flower making, face painting for the kids, bocce ball, and even staff in animal customs that always entertained. Dining: Buffet The food was excellent breakfast-lunch-and dinner. Everyday a section would feature a different country's food. Mexico, Germany, England along with the regular American dishes and a pasta station which made a variety of pasta and sauces. During casual dining diner, there was a checkered table cloth, candles, napkins and silverware on the tables. I found all buffets to offer a full variety of food that was superb. And again spotlessly clean at all times. Dining Room: The dining room experience was wonderful. Food was above average. Several courses were offered and there were a wide variety of choices. My favorite was the king crab legs and their caesar salad. I tried several of the veal dishes along with the filet of beef and it was oh so tender. It is definitely dining not just dinner. So it lasted a little bit longer then one might be use to. Service was great. Italian night after the entry in the dining room, we danced and did the congo line to the main area of the restaurant. And the waiters were dancing and singing. A lot of fun. Shore excursions: Only did one through the ship to Catalina Island. We were taken over in a sea horse (large catamaran) and again there was dancing. Beach area was beautiful, free chairs, welcome drink, clean restrooms, shops, and no vendors bothering you on the beach. A very enjoyable day in the sun. Grand Turk: We headed to Margaritaville. They have a huge pool and plenty of chairs for lounging. Again a lot of fun and a lot to see. Great photo opportunities, very clean, restrooms and lots of shops as well as a beautiful beach area. I did not use the spa or fitness center, or children's facility. So I can not comment on these. However, though there were many children on board they were never obtrusive or unruly. This cruise was a great value for the dollars spent. Service in all areas was wonderful. Toga night was quite interesting. You can super size your drink of the day for 50 cents. They offer a coffee deal for espresso, cappuccino, lattes, etc., they offer a 1x package for beer, wine, soda, and bottled water. I do want to mention that if you need cash be sure to go to the casino or the customer service desk before the last night. There is no ATM machine on board and there was no way to get cash on the last night. I am sure there is a lot I missed, but that is OK as I will surely sail Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
My wife and I just returned from a great week aboard the Costa Mediterranea!! This was our second cruise with Costa and out 11th overall. As I stated we had a great time and wonderful weather the entire week. After our most recent cruise I ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from a great week aboard the Costa Mediterranea!! This was our second cruise with Costa and out 11th overall. As I stated we had a great time and wonderful weather the entire week. After our most recent cruise I can begin to understand where some of the bad reviews come from, but Costa is still a great vacation value! If you are used to the RCL and NCL and like the rather homogenous cliental and market tilted toward Americans and Canadians, then Costa might not be for you. Costa does a great job catering to a wide group of people and they do it well. The food is good to very good at times. All the pasta and pizza were fantastic. We recently visited Rome and it was as good if not better. Dinner in the dinning room can be hit or miss, but it is always fresh and presented well. The spa and the workout room is top notch, although free weight's and space is limited, and often crowded. The free weights only go up to 50lbs, but I cant remember any other ship with any heavier dumbbells! There are 12 treadmills and 4 steppers and 6 bikes. There are three pools, one with a retractable roof. We loved the cliental and traveling with the mix adds the international flavor!! The Italians are very easy to be around and the cruise is very relaxing. The dress is a bit casual, but again we liked that also. One night I went to dinner in jeans and reef sandals... that would never happen on a Celebrity cruise!!! The short comings for some might be; the entertainment, very poor singers and music on board in the lounges.... very poor!!! My wife and I both remarked that the service is not as good/attentive as Celebrity or RCL, especially in the dinning room. My wife feels that the servers don't look as tired as they do on other ships(which we liked). This was never a problem for us, we are easy to please.. some sun and decent food and we are happy. However, this was (it seemed to us anyway) the source of many of the complaints that we heard. If top notch service and going the extra mile all the time is what you cruise for then Costa may not be for you. It is also important to remember that we did not pay "Celebrity" Prices!!!! Costa is not and dose not proclaim to be a four or five star line! it is a value/ three star line and dose a great job with it. Our other complaints center around room service. We ordered breakfast to the room and it was really bad with very little selection. Also, you could not order anything from room service, there was a room service menu and it left a lot to be desired. The privet dinning has changed to "ala carte" and it can be very expensive. Our last Costa cruise the privet dinning was a flat $20/pp but now you have to pay for everything individually, including an extra service charge!!! We did eat there and it was good, but not great. It was great to be out of the dinning room and have a piano player though. Lastly, there is not one "wine steward" on the ship? Good luck if you need some advice, the people we asked had very little knowledge. There is however a great selection of very reasonably priced Italian wine, our favorite was the "Mezzacorona" Teroldego for $24. People cruise for different reasons and experiences, we loved out Costa vacation and I loved the price even better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
This is our 4th cruise overall (Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean), but our 1st on Costa. We chose Costa because of the good reviews for dancing. We had a great time. It seemed like a lot of the other passengers complained ... Read More
This is our 4th cruise overall (Holland America, Princess and Royal Caribbean), but our 1st on Costa. We chose Costa because of the good reviews for dancing. We had a great time. It seemed like a lot of the other passengers complained about the service and entertainment. It is all in what you expect. Please consider that Costa is a more conservative, low key cruise line and probably lacks a lot of the more trendy features that some of the other cruise lines have. You won't find movies under the stars, golf, rock climbing, ice-skating, trendy Hollywood game shows, 5-star dinners, etc. For their budget prices, we found Costa to be a good option with great dancing, lounging in the sun, and reasonable drink prices.The smoking was about equivalent to other cruises. Nonsmoking areas were not enforced that well. It was impossible to avoid walking through smoking areas on the 2nd floor from the dining room to dance venues as the casino was in the middle. The ventilation was good however. A hint for dancers, organized dance cruises seem to know about the good dancing on Costa, so if you can, it might be a good idea to google and make sure you don't book a cruise that has an organized dance cruise group on board or you may find yourself fighting for floor space, on the other hand, perhaps that is what you are looking for. For starters we were a little nervous about embarkation because of some of the reviews we read. When we arrived at Ft Lauderdale airport a Costa Representative was clearly waiting for us. We booked our flight through the cruise line so it did arrive in the afternoon. The representative escorted us to the bus stop where we waited for the bus to the ship for about 30 min. When we got to the pier the baggage handlers met the bus and took our luggage. As we arrived at about 3:30, there were no lines. Upon boarding the ship, we were escorted to our floor and the keycards were in the cabin. After freshening up and reading the "Today" activity schedule, our luggage arrived at our room at 4pm. Then we went up to the deck for sail away. We were expecting a party and fanfare. There was a calypso band playing which was nice and the "drink of the day", "The Mediterannea" was delicious. But we were surprised that there were very few people and no fanfare. We didn't know where they were hiding. Things we really enjoyed were the international flavor of Costa. It is really hard to estimate the ratios, but it seemed like about 40% were American/Canadian with the rest a mix of Spanish, German, French, and Italian. We didn't experience any rudeness out of the ordinary on our trip. We did hear a few English-speaking people complaining about the service, shows, limited TV channels, and food in comparison to some more expensive cruise lines, but again, it is all about what you expect. A few people were annoyed at the 5-language announcements, but they were few and far between and I can't think of how they could do any better. We couldn't tell what the Europeans thought because of the language barriers. From our perspective, we enjoyed how there was basically minimal announcements and zero advertising on the ship. Tipping was automatic at a very reasonable $10/pp/pd and 15% on bar service and it was extremely refreshing not to be nagged to death about it like on some other cruise lines. Cabin Starting with our 2nd cruise we always book an inside stateroom. It saves a ton of money and all we ever used it for was sleeping and showering. Just make sure not to book below the pool deck or adjacent to bars/mechanical rooms, that is the same with all cruise ships though. Our steward was the best we have had. Always available but not overbearing. Dinner The first night was informal. We were seated in the dining room with 2 other American couples. Throughout the week our food was good and sometimes excellent, though not always what we expected from the menu description. For example, I was expecting a ribeye and it was roast beef. The menus were more international. A lot of fish and chicken, not as many steaks. My husband really liked the lamb and crab legs. The red wine by the glass was pretty good. The others at our table were not wine drinkers so we never tried the wine by the bottle (a reasonable $20-25 USD). The deserts were not as exciting, as other cruise lines, there were a lot of mousse and no rich chocolate tort. They always had some vegetarian options and sugar free options. Service was as you would expect for the price of the cruise. Good but not great. My water glass was often empty. The waiters often reached in front of us to serve the others. Occasionally we got the wrong food, which they corrected right away. I think this may have been due to the language barrier. If you point at the menu items you want as well as speak them, they seem to do just fine. Buffet Breakfast was pretty much the same every day except alternating between scrambled eggs with and without mushrooms. There was also sausage, bacon, French toast, pancakes, waffles, and yummy hashbrown medallions. On the lighter, more European side there was cold cuts, cheese, pastries and yogurt. For lunch we generally ate the pizza. It was very good but surprisingly little variety. There were always a few pasta choices but sometimes a little too unusual for our tastes. The last day the choices either had swordfish or chicken liver. The salad bar was good too. There was a grill with burgers and fries that we did not try. The buffet area was comfortable with ample comfy booths. We were also impressed by the granite tables by the pools.. The custom order midnight pizzas were a nice option but the Buffet Magnifico was not as we expected. There were a lot of deserts and little appetizers. There were waiters that came around with drinks to buy but no water. Live music and dancing on the ship was excellent. We enjoy Ballroom and Latin dancing opportunities. From 5:30-1:30 in three lounges every night. In the Cassonova, the only break was for BINGO as there were two duets(singer and keyboard) that alternated sets. The Cassonova and the Isolabella had large dance floors that were rarely over crowded. All the dance lounges were on the 2nd floor, which was convenient. The 5 pc band in the Isolabella was especially good. We got in lots of Tangos, ChaChaChas, Rumbas, Waltzes and Fox trots. The bands played a variety of songs and took requests. We now have some favorite Italian songs too. Overall, this was by far the best dancing on a cruise we have experienced. The only thing we missed was a dedicated Latin band like the trips out of San Juan. We never made it to the Disco as the dancing was so good in the 3 other lounges. Because the dancing was so available we were actually able to go to some shows. We had been unable to do in the past because the show schedules often interfered with the limited dance band schedules. The 3 shows we went to were good. We did hear from our tablemates that some of the other shows were not so good. The Crew had some theme activities, which we did not care for. They tried very hard to get audience participation but it seemed forced. Sailing was unexpectedly smooth. We aren't sure if this was because of smooth seas or the quality of the ship and crew. The Sun decks were plentiful. The area by the pool was a little crowed but there were plenty of more remote decks that were peaceful and sunny. Pool towels were free and plentiful, no weird taking names and room numbers like on Royal Caribbean. Chair hoarding was about the same as on other cruise lines, especially by the pools. Bar service was available on all sun decks but not overwhelming. The drinks were tasty and reasonable prices ($6 for Drink of the Day, $7 for mixed drinks of good quality). Unfortunately the pools and hot tubs closed in the evening. We always feel like the hot tubs at night after dancing, not during the middle of the day when it is 90 F. Ports Key West- We went on the bike tour. This tour is not for the athletic. The bikes were ancient rusty cruisers but thankfully with new seats. The tour was very slow. It was scheduled as a 2 hour excursion but took 4. The history lesson was good, though the shuttle bus driver had conflicting facts (we wondered who was right). After the bike tour we walked though town. We passed by Margaritaville as it looked too dark to stay for a drink. We heard Caroline's was good though. Many people that we saw took the time to hit the CVS pharmacy in town and stock up on water and pop/soda/coke. Although I think it is officially against Costa policy, we took the risk (Pepsi/MtnDew) and they didn't even flinch. That was nice because they are our favorite drinks and are never available on-board any cruise line we have seen. One couple had a whole case of water while we saw others bring aboard 12 packs of pop/soda/coke. Didn't see anyone try to smuggle booze onboard. GrandCayman- We signed up for parasailing but it was canceled due to wind. We did get a refund. Instead we walked down the beach to Eden Rock dive center for some scuba diving. The shore dives were really fun. This port was tendered by large tenders from the island. The shopping was convenient to the pier. Pepsi and Mountain Dew were available on shore! Roatan-This was our beach day. We took the ship excursion to Tabyana Beach. The snorkeling was excellent with beautiful coral reefs and cauldrons. We were given beach chairs for a tip and there was security. Massages and hair braiders were available. The palm trees were widely scattered and picturesque. The down side was the skimpy buffet and small variety of drinks. We also missed being able to order food from your beach chairs like some other beaches. We were disappointed in the amount of time at the beach too. Souvenirs were cheaper at the beach than at the pier. This port was tendered with the Costa life boats and was very slow. This definitely something Costa needs to work on. We heard from other cruisers that the snorkeling and kayak adventure was fun and well worth it. Cozumel- The ship was docked here with good shopping right off the end of the pier. Carlos and Charlies, Senior Frogs and Starbucks are also at the end of the pier. Pepsi and Mountain Dew were here too! We went on the ships diving excursion and again the time frame was off. It was suppose to last 2 hours and lasted 4. From the pier were went by taxi to a resort 20 min away and from there got equipment and caught a boat to the dive site. The boat had a toilet. We were told at the pier that we would be going to Santa Rosa and Paradise Reef but due to weather went to Palancar caves and some other reef. Both Dives were excellent. We were glad it was ship sponsored though because we got back to the ship only a half hour before departure. Overall the price of the ships excursions was less expensive than other ships. Avoid ports that require tendering if possible. Enjoy your cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
We are a couple in our fifties traveling without kids. Cruise was booked 8 days prior to sailing. I had one week off between jobs. Let's see....clean the house or book a last minute cruise..hmm....Internet research led us to the Costa ... Read More
We are a couple in our fifties traveling without kids. Cruise was booked 8 days prior to sailing. I had one week off between jobs. Let's see....clean the house or book a last minute cruise..hmm....Internet research led us to the Costa Mediterrannea. Seven prior cruises were all on NCL. We love NCL and freestyle, but after sailing Costa, we now love Costa too. Jetblue non-stop Boston to FLL Friday ...fog delay. in Boston...arrived at FLL 1:00 am Taxi to Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach....fare 21/plus tip Bid 90.00 for 2 ½ star in FLL beach, got Courtyard Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach. Seven eleven is right across the street, and the hotel is close to "Beach Place" shops and restaurants. We were assigned a suite with two flat screen TV's, free internet wireless, queen sized bed in one room, and a pull out sofa in another. This would be perfect for a family, In the morning we had a little time to walk around the beach area before checking out at 11:00. We asked the concierge to call us a taxi, but he asked if we would be amenable to using a shuttle...14.00 for both of us...flat fee (plus tip). It was a short pleasant ride to the port. We booked the same driver for our return. Boarding....Arrive at Pier 21 around 12:45 We obtained pre filled baggage tags at the pier, affixed the tags to our luggage, tipped the baggage handler, (5.00 for two bags) and proceeded to check in with our carry-on. Wewere in our cabins at 1:15 Cabin....#7112 We splurged for a balcony.. Nice cabin. Bathroom has plenty of shelf space for toiletries, and the shower had plenty of hot water, Water pressure was good. Queen size bed was comfy. Two closets with plenty of hangers, and lots of room to store clothing on the shelves and drawers. Hairdryer was not wimpy at all. We were happy. Viva la difference!!...Lots of Italian, German, French, and Spanish passengers. Lots of Americans too. Costa does a good job accommodating a very diverse population. The New England Patriots game was broadcast on the first sea day in one of the conference room and it was packed with happy fans,. Good call Costa.:) Animation staff worked hard to make sure that everyone felt welcome. Announcements were made in five languages, so no one would miss out. I did not encounter any pushy behavior from other passengers, as others have reported in their reviews. The public areas of the ship are very ornate. A center atrium is decorated in Venetian splendor with every inch of wall floor and ceiling space elegantly appointed. Lots of statues, sculptures and orate decoration everywhere. Venetian glass light fixtures everywhere, and plenty of outside space both secluded and busy, so you could choose. I avoided the casino for the most part, but played a little on the coin drop machine. It was a bit too smoky in there for me. The ship had a late night disco and two different venues with live music for dancing, which a number of the passengers seemed to enjoy. I haven't seen a lot of ballroom dancing on other ships. It was nice. The ship has a theme: La Dolce Vita (The sweet life), and the song "That's Amore" was Played over the PA system every time the ship left port. Cute. The Food Dinner: set dining times 1st seating 6:00 pm, 2nd seating 8:45 Room service cappuccino and breakfast pastries ..this was the BEST!!!! Eggs Benedict in the dining room on sea days. Buffet on deck 9 with nice variety of fish, meats, salads, breads. Different theme every day. Sunday was Greek day..kufte, grape leaves, mousaka, Monday was Mexican...taco's enchilada, fajitas, guacamole....you get the idea. I love well prepared food, and found the buffet to be excellent. Embarkation dinner Prime rib, pasta with shrimp. Salad with goat cheese, Monday...asparagus soup, banana and strawberry soup, snails, strip steak, lamb chops, broiled fish, crème brulee, ice cream and sherbet. Ice tea and water always filled...service was fast. Dining room food varied from excellent to just ok, depending on the dish. Food is subjective, but I thought it was pretty good. All 7 of our past cruises have been with NCL, so we are accustomed to freestyle. dining. This was our first experience with assigned seating. We liked it fine, and found our table mates to be very nice. There are two formal nights where various entertaining antics took place in the dining room. The napkin waving, dancing waiters, and baked Alaska parade were all new to me. It was actually kind of fun. Didn't try the fancy pay restaurant, as the prices were higher than I was willing to pay on the alacarte menu. Costa Mediterranea has three beautiful pools, on deck nine, one is adult only and enforced. Pool games take place at the Cadmo pool. Calypso band played sporadically and were excellent. Bar service at the pools was available but not overly obtrusive, which I appreciated. Since people like details...I will map out our day to day experiences: Sunday: Key West Docked at the Navy Pier..free trolley into town ran all day. State Park beach just outside the entrance to the Navy base. Beachgoers could get off the trolley and walk down the road to the beach. Monday...sea day Music by the Cadmo pool. Horse racing. bingo, crazy basket ball and other pool games Horse racing was fun. I bought a horse at the auction, Horsy needs to be named, and decorated for final judging on the last sea day. Horses advance along a track according to the roll of the dice. First Formal night...captains gala cocktail party prior to dinner. Free drinks and a nice speech by the captain. Tuesday - Grand Cayman Hopped on a 1 hour tour to Hell and the Tortuga rum store for $20/pp on a cute little bus. The ride went along seven mile beach, past the hotels, and to the town of Hell. Hell consists of a gift shop, post office and an interesting coral formation. Some people like to send postcards home from Hell. Then it was on to the Tortuga rum store to sample rum cake and rum past the turtle farm and back to town. I'm glad that I took the tour, as we got to see a little bit of the island. The beach looked outstanding, so next time we will probably go there. Tendering was fast and efficient Wednesday- Roatan Roatan is as unspoiled a place as I have ever seen. Garifuna dancers and drummers greeted the tenders and provided a beautiful welcome. We had booked the Jolly Roger Catamaran/Gumbalina Park tour through the ship After a half hour ride on a yellow school bus over a twisty mountain road, we arrived at the Gumbalina Park Nature reserve. The reserve has a small freshwater pool, snack bar, gift shop and beach. We boarded the catamaran at the park and motored out about a to the reef , where we snorkeled for about an hour or so. The water was fabulous. When the cat returned to the dock, we were taken on a guided tour of the animal refuge in the park. This was the coolest because the monkeys and parrots hopped on our shoulders for photo's. After a short stop at the gift vendors, it was back onto the bus for the ride back to the pier. I would like to return to Roatan some day. Thursday-Cozumel Docked at Punta Lagosta Pier...passed on the shopping and took a taxi to Mr., Sanchos's beach club. Taxi fare was around 15/plus tip, but we shared a taxi going back with another couple from our ship. Free admission and use of the pool, chairs, and beach, as long as you purchase something to eat or drink. There is some coral in the shallow water, so you may want to bring water shoes if you swim in the ocean. Horseback riding, massages, waterspout rental stuff was all available. Special Tamarind Margarita was very tasty. All in all a nice afternoon. Friday—Sea The last day at sea was a day to be savored. We spent the day at the Cadmo pool playing bingo, racing our horse(didn't win) and enjoying the music of the Bananiera Band. The final horse race was riot, complete with recorded horse whinnying over the PA system. My horse ( and I) had a small cheering section during the race, as did all of the others. After I lost the race, my tablemates bought me a consolations martini. The last night of the cruise is an optional toga night. About half the passengers wore ship provided. togas to dinner, When in Rome........ The fun continued after dinner at the passenger talent show which was complete with Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Roman Centurions and of course "real" lions. This was the funniest show I have ever seen on a ship, not to be missed. I don't want to spoil it for future cruisers, so I will leave it at that. The other shows during the week were hit or miss. We made it to two production shows featuring the Costa Dancers. One of the shows ended with an Irish dance finale which was impressive, and the other was called "Elements", featuring acrobatics and beautiful dancing. Saturday Morning- Disembarkation Day-Sigh After our last breakfast in the dining room.....Eggs benedict and cappuccino, it was back to the cabin for our luggage to vacate the cabin by 8:00 AM. ...we moved to our assigned lounge where our color tag was called and we were off the ship and on the shuttle to the airport by 8:45. In conclusion, this was a very nice cruise and I would book Costa again in a heartbeat. SammyM Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Hello - we are two 60yos who like rock and roll music, so decided to go on this one for the groups performing - Bill Medley, Davy Jones, Lovin Spoonful and Paul Revere - WOW! We stayed at Marriott Hollywood Beach the night before and it ... Read More
Hello - we are two 60yos who like rock and roll music, so decided to go on this one for the groups performing - Bill Medley, Davy Jones, Lovin Spoonful and Paul Revere - WOW! We stayed at Marriott Hollywood Beach the night before and it was nice to walk along the beach and eat dinner under the stars.....very romantic. Embarkation was very easy - we were on the ship within 20 minutes of getting to terminal....greeted and send on our way to our room.... I was very excited to see the ship as we had never been on Costa yet. The ship was very beautiful.... Our room was about 192 sq ft and was adequate for 2 people, with a small balcony that extended out it bit more than those on the side of the ship. Our room stewart - Marjorie - was very good at her job and we always had a clean room. Saturday night, we had music & dancing and I won a DVD of all the performers for winning the "hand jive" contest. We were at sea on Sunday and met up with several cruise critic members and chatted a while than went on our way. Then we had dance lessons with Chris & Alex - East Coast Swing. At 1:30, Paul Revere and the Raiders were performing and they were terrific. Tonight was the first formal night and we met up with the Captain for drinks and than went to dinner and had an autograph session with all the performers..... I learned early on that to get into the first row, you must wait at the door a few hours early - Monday, we had a q&a session with the stars and it was funny....they sure were wound up! Got it all on tape. More dance lessons and than at 5PM, we were in San Juan, where we saw a latin dance group who were wonderful and the guitar player was very masterful. We really enjoyed it a lot. Tuesday, we were at St. Thomas, where we did the Sea Trek at Coral World. This is a helmet dive where you go down about 20 feet and walk around on the bottom. It was really a lot of fun, as my husband has never been underwater before and cannot swim. He had no trouble with it. Bill Medley performed that night with his son, Darrin and daughter, McKenna. WOW that is some family. Wednesday, at LaRomana, we went on a boat ride up a River and than visited an old town made of stone. It was fun and relaxing. That night after dinner, we had an old fashioned sock hop - fun! Thursday, Grand Turk, we did the Gibbs Cay and stingray encounter - we had a blast and they took movies of everyone with the stingrays....we snorkeled too and had a good time. Second formal night - everyone looked great. The Lovin Spoonful were the entertainment that night. They were quite good and their age does not seem to bother them... Friday, the day I was waiting for, was our second day at sea and Davy Jones performed at 4PM. What can I say? He was terrific! WOW! That night was "toga night" and everyone dressed up in togas and had a good time. If I haven't mentioned it, the dining room was really great and we did not go to the alternative restaurant because we liked our tablemates so much. We sang with the waiters and danced and generally had a ball.... Disembarkment was really easy and we were in a cab to our hotel by 9:00 am. We stayed the night at Marriott Harbor Beach and it was really nice. I got a cabana on the beach and all I had to do to get a drink or food was put a flag up nearby and someone came running. I stayed there for 6 hours and finished up our trip in a relaxed atmosphere. We walked down the beach later that evening to watch the cruise ships going out. Wish I was back on the cruise - we came back to Kentucky to COLD weather. Any questions, ask away! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Booking: We needed a break, so we booked about 3 weeks in advance. My husband is a veteran of the Navy, so we booked an outside balcony cabin on the back of the ship for $549/piece. Were able to book airfare direct to Fort Lauderdale ... Read More
Booking: We needed a break, so we booked about 3 weeks in advance. My husband is a veteran of the Navy, so we booked an outside balcony cabin on the back of the ship for $549/piece. Were able to book airfare direct to Fort Lauderdale through Delta at $240/piece, so very affordable getaway! Departure: Flew out of Port Columbus at 9:40am, direct flight to Lauderdale on Delta. Flight took just over 2 hours, arrived at noon. Costa representatives were at the airport to greet guests in the baggage claim, but we did not book transfers, so we collected our luggage and hopped a cab. Cab was $15 to the pier plus tip. Transfers through Costa were $15/piece one way. Embarkation: The easiest I've ever seen. Took us about 15 minutes. We only had to stop walking once, when my husband had to have discussion with the local authorities about whether or not he could bring his dive knife aboard since it was over 4 inches. Local authorities said no, but Joseph with Costa Security stepped in and called the head of security for the ship, Savio, who agreed to hold the knife on board and allow my husband to pick up the knife as he departed the ship to go diving in the various ports of call. My husband was very pleased!! He just checked his knife in and out and was very impressed that Costa Security went above and beyond to ensure he was able to dive safely during his vacation. There were staff dressed in nautical theme to take our pictures as we boarded and when we entered the ship, there were many staff members there to greet us and help us in everyway. NO SALES PITCHES - we truly felt they were there just to welcome us onto our floating home for the week. Cabin: We always prefer a cabin on the back of the ship, seems more private somehow and my husband enjoys watching the wake and seeing the wide open sea behind us. We were able to get right into our cabin. We really liked the fact that we were able to get onboard so easy and early! My husband commented on the quality of the furnishings, lots of wood and metal vs plastic. I liked all the shelves in the bathroom, ample storage areas, powerful blowdryer in the drawer in the bureau, three separate closet spaces, and the lighting. One thing we noticed was how clean and polished everything was! They cleaned our balcony, windows and all, everytime we were at a port of call. Bed was firm and pillows were flatter than we were used to, but the bed was very comfortable. The beds were pushed together, but we did not experience the "separation in the middle" that we had experienced on other cruise lines. Day 1: Of course, I booked a spa appointment right away, as I like to get as relaxed as possible as soon as possible. Had a shiatsu with Laura. It was fabulous and exactly what I needed. They were running a special of $20 off on full body massages, so I was able to book for $79. Very affordable and well worth it! Then we toured the ship. I noticed how clean the ship was and how friendly the staff seemed, while my husband noticed the age of the other passengers. We were one of the few people under 65 years old. This didn't bother us at all, we are thirtysomethings and were looking forward to a relaxing, peaceful, kid free week. I would say that 90% of the passengers were over 65 years old. We figured the kids were still in school, and that's why the older crowd was prevalent. The other thing we noticed was the different nationalities on the ship. We would guess 50% American/English speaking guests, 25% French & German, and 25% other. Dinner was casual that night. We were seated at Table 49 and had excellent service from Jaime from Peru and Krishna from India. Very gracious hosts! We loved the other guests at our table as well, Lowell and Marilyn from Canada celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary (who became our best friends on the ship and spent wonderful time with them), and Christian and Rebecca from Florida who were on their honeymoon. We chose the late dining option, so dinner typically ran from 8:30-10:30pm. After dinner, we were tired from the day of travel, so we retired back to our cabin to rest up for an exciting day in Key West. Day 2: Key West: Shawn called a divemaster as he was anxious to complete his open water dives to complete his qualifications to recieve his PADI. He went on an open dive in the morning, while I stayed on the ship for breakfast, some time lounging in the pool, and another spa treatment. This one was a combo steam, lavendar cucumber exfoliation, massage, facial (an hour and a half total) for $99. Again, great value and very relaxing. I got off the ship and was pleased to see that we docked on a Navy base. We actually saw a ship arriving full of sailors and waved to them early in the morning! There was a shuttle waiting (cute train/trolley) that took me to the town square at no charge. Along the way, the driver gave us history on Key West. At the end, you could tip if you chose to. Met my husband on the square, did some shopping, and had a fabulous lunch at Caroline's. I highly recommend the shrimp wrap appetizer and the melon margarita! We would love to go back to Key West on vacation. Back on the ship, we experienced the muster drill. Not bad, very organized and the staff made it fun. Dinner that night was excellent, then after dinner, we decided not to do the show and see what other entertainment was available on the ship. Our favorite deck to walk on was 10, as you could walk along the entire length of the ship. By the pool, there was an amazing girl band playing a combination of Irish music and 80's rock. We summed it up as an Irish Dixie Chick, 10,000 maniacs sounding band. WE WERE SMITTEN! It was a little chilly up on deck, and where the towels were during the day, the staffed had rolled fleece throws, so you could cuddle under the blanket and watch the band. We thought this was a nice touch. We watched the band until they finished, then went to bed! Day 3: Day at sea. Got up early to get a seat by the pool. If you are down by 9am, you can get a great seat! Met some great people from Boston, Dave and his daughter Lynne, who I talked with for about 3 hours, while my husband slept in. Found out that there was a large Irish contingent on the ship, about 1700 of the 2500 passengers on board were traveling with an Irish entertainer by the name of Andy Keegan. The band we had heard the night before were called the Screaming Orphans and were part of the entertainment booked through this group. We found out that they were playing that night late in the Medusa Lounge on Deck 10. My husband was already familiar with the lounge as he loved going up there for a scotch and cigar after dinner the previous 2 nights as a nightcap before bed. Great day by the pool, loved the sounds of the Bandeira Band (Steel drum music), and thought the activities by the pool were fun. We also loved the pizza and the hamburger/hot dog/grilled chicken buffets that ran daily for lunch. Great dinner (formal night), went to the show, Elements, which was actually excellent and featured the Costa Mediterranea dancers, and then headed up to Medusa's to watch the Screaming Orphans again. Closed it down! Day 4: Grand Cayman: Again, Shawn took an open water dive and I went with him as he was diving at a dive resort called the Sunset House. No, beach, but the pool had an excellent ocean view with a waterfall, and an excellent oceanside restaurant and bar. Great day in Cayman! Day 5: Roatan: Tender service was painful, but the excursion we booked was fantastic. We booked the pirates, parrots, and monkeys excursion and it was fabulous! Lots of pictures and a small beach to relax on after the tour was over. Very affordable too at $45/piece. This would be an excellent tour for children. This port is not very developed, so I highly recommend booking an excursion through the ship rather than venturing out on your own. Day 6: Cozumel: Took the beach excursion to Playa Mia at $75/piece. This included transportation, beach chair, food & beverage (including alcohol) and non-motorized water sports. Massages and other water options available at a fee. I had a 1 hour massage on the beach for $70. Again, nice value and great quality. Used the floaties and floated in the water, very nice. I think next time we are in Cozumel, we will venture out on our own as I felt safe there. Dinner was fun (2nd formal night)and we experienced the Baked Alaska parade and the captain and the key staff paraded around the dining room. Very fun! Day 7: Sea: Great day. This time, we slept in, and did not arrive to the pool deck until around 11am. Had a late breakfast and lounged in the sun. This time, we were on Deck 10, which had a great breeze, but watch out! Just because you're not sweating doesn't mean the sun exposure is any less. Both Shawn and I would up with sunburns...ugh. Last night in dining room. Toga night. Hint - if you don't know how to tie your toga, ask your cabin attendant, they are very good at tying Togas! Newlywed Game and Guest Talent Show that night, which I heard was very good. We went to bed as we were parched from our sunburns. We packed and had our luggage out by 1am. Disembarkation: Had to be out of the cabin by 8am, but didn't feel rushed. We had purple tags, so we were the last off the ship and had to meet in the Roero Lounge on Deck 3 at 9am. Gave us time to have a leisurely breakfast and enjoy Deck 10 again before we had to leave. Disembarkation was as easy as embarkation. Very smooth and organized. Was a little concerned when I saw a longer line, but this was all the international guests entering the country, for our line, we didn't even have to stop walking. Caught a cab to the airport and were at the airport by 9:45am. Had to wait an hour to check our bags, as they only allow you to do so 2 hours before our flight. We flew out at 12:40pm and arrived back in Columbus at 3pm. THIS WAS OUR 4th and FAVORITE CRUISE! I will admit, I was a little nervous about Costa as I had read some of the reviews about the food and the service. I put it like this...your vacation is what you make of it. If you want white glove service and filet mignon everynight in the dining room, then spend $1500/piece and book Princess or Celebrity. If you want a great cruise for a great value, then book Costa. The food and service we experienced on board was excellent. We heard some people complaining about the food, but I would like to see them try to cook for 3,000 people of diverse nationalities and make everyone happy. My goodness, you are on a beautiful ship, in the middle of the Caribbean, with great people serving you and cleaning your room daily with a smile. What is there to complain about???? Relax, sit back and enjoy the ride! We did not feel pressured to buy anything, no hard sales pitches. Very relaxed, laid back, and if you needed something, the staff was ready to accommodate. Loved the little touches, like "That's Amore" playing everytime we set sail. Loved the pizza....loved the gelato...loved living la dolce vita. We will definitely cruise Costa again...best value out there.... Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
This was our first family cruise. We have two children, ages 14 and 16. Overall, the cruise was very good. The ship was magnificently decorated and extremely clean. The food was tasty. The formal dining room was very elaborate and nicely ... Read More
This was our first family cruise. We have two children, ages 14 and 16. Overall, the cruise was very good. The ship was magnificently decorated and extremely clean. The food was tasty. The formal dining room was very elaborate and nicely decorated. Although, most days the dining room was a bit chilly. The six course meals were very interesting and different from how we usually dine. It was fun to order from the wide assortment of appetizers, salads, soups, entrees and delicious deserts. The Kids activities were not well organized. There were not enough activities to keep the kids occupied and to help them meet other kids, especially the European kids on board. Our Steward Felipe and Butler Vincent were incredible! They were always around and were very cordial and responsive. The rooms were kept immaculate and we never lacked for fresh water, fruit, towels or any other amenities. We visited San Juan, St. Thomas, Grand Turk and Dominican Republic (Romano). We visited a lovely beach about 20 minutes away from dock by cab in the DR. The locals had some very nice crafts and gave away wood carved necklaces that were very cute. St. Thomas is a busy place. Lovely beaches (Koki Beach) though too crowded with too many cruise ships visitors. Koki Beach had a very nice aquarium that was bigger than expected. There were different kinds of sharks, birds (parrots) and a very interesting glass enclosed marine exhibit. Probably about half the ship's guests were non-American. Quite a few were from Italy, France, Mexico, South America and Germany. Also a number of guests from Canada. The language barrier made it difficult to get to know some of the non-English speaking guests. The international composition of guests and the Italian cruise line really gave the cruise an international flair. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
We had a fun family cruise aboard the Costa Mediterranea over Christmas week. It's a great ship with a wonderfully Italian flair. While English is the primary language on board virtually all the cruise staff speaks Italian and many of ... Read More
We had a fun family cruise aboard the Costa Mediterranea over Christmas week. It's a great ship with a wonderfully Italian flair. While English is the primary language on board virtually all the cruise staff speaks Italian and many of the activities will be in Italian/English. French and German are also widely spoken on board. This was our 16th cruise, the third on Costa, so there were no surprises in terms of cabin, on board activities, food, entertainment or life at sea. I'll leave that to other reviewers on here to elaborate on. I do have a couple of tips to offer. Costa is great in offering a "self-assisted" departure from the ship. Which means you carry ALL your bags off the ship if you want to make an early flight out of Ft. Lauderdale. It's a great option if you're physically able to carry your bags. My suggestion, which the industry seems to frown upon, is to take all your bags TO your room day of departure. It can take several hours for the bags to make it from the pier to the cabin. My wife and I took four bags on board, all on wheels, and we were unpacked in minutes. The other tip involves "fooseball" (table football/soccer) and ping-pong on board. If you're a fan of either pastime then make sure you bring your own "fooseballs" and ping-pong paddles. The wait at the front desk for a ball, behind an often long line of people with far more complex transactions such as flight arrangements, lost luggage or currency exchanges, can be excruciating. The front desk people are knowledgeable and courteous; it's just a big ship and two people there at busy times just didn't seem ample. Also if your itinerary includes San Juan, and the purchase of alcohol is important to you, then that seems to be the place to buy it. There were people at the ship terminal handing out flyers advertising liquor. I saved it to compare prices on board and found that virtually everything they were offering was cheaper by at least a dollar in San Juan and they often threw in a small bottle (350 ml) for every two liter bottles that you bought. Having said that the ship's prices for alcohol in the shop were extremely reasonable compared to regular U.S. retail prices and they claim they'll match land-based prices if you have the ad to prove it. My other suggestion is to closely review your itinerary before booking and figure out what's important. My priority was being on the Costa Mediterranea, with my family, over Christmas week. The ports of call and amount of time spent in those ports was kind of weird. We arrived at San Juan at about 5pm and pulled out at around midnight. The Dominican Republic stop at La Romana/Caso De Campo is sort of a waste. There is NOTHING in this port, not even a port! You get off the ship to board busses for shore excursions. A visit to a beach will cost you approximately $50 a person (as of December 2007) and take you 45 minutes by bus. Catalina Island is a nice island to visit nearby; although it can't be arranged without a ship's tour. Some cruise lines actually stop at the island first for time at the beach. Even St. Thomas was kind of weird for us this year. Typically most ships dock at Havensight which is extremely well known to cruise travelers. But there's a brand new port that's been built in St. Thomas; this one is Crown Bay. We stopped there and it appears to be a work in progress. While there are plenty of taxis at Crown Bay shopping is limited. You'll have to head downtown which is a $7 taxi ride (as of December 2007.) I'm told it's the "luck of the draw" as to where you'll dock. But Crown Bay is a disappointment if you're used to Havensight. We went to Magen's Bay for the day and had a nice time. Finally Grand Turk. Our family had a fun day at this port but we never saw the island! You get off the ship, walk through a shopping center (which as of December 2007 also appeared to be a work in progress) and arrive either on the beach or at a huge swimming pool. Use of the pool and beach chairs was free. We even saw a small stingray swimming along the beach! All in all a great day but we never really experienced Grand Turk! And just to answer a couple of questions posed on this board about the Costa experience. Yes, you can bring your own soda on board. There is a Costa beverage card for teens but it's not a great deal. There is a coffee card but basically you (or your group) have to consume 3 premium coffees a day for it to even approach it being worth the price. The kid's club had limited hours but my five-year-old had a ball whenever he went. And at approximately 44 inches he was tall enough for the water slide. Oh. Pools on board are salt-water. Our Costa experience was wonderful but it was the ports of call that were really on the weak side for this traveler! I'm not grumpy. Hey after 7 days of good food, sunshine and relaxation aboard the Mediterranea there's not a much to complain about except the itinerary! Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Glad to be going on an Eastern Caribbean cruise away from the Ontario winter weather? Flew into Ft Lauderdale 2 days early. Rented a car and stayed on Fort Lauderdale Beach. DD wanted to work on her tan but shopping at the Sawgrass Mills ... Read More
Glad to be going on an Eastern Caribbean cruise away from the Ontario winter weather? Flew into Ft Lauderdale 2 days early. Rented a car and stayed on Fort Lauderdale Beach. DD wanted to work on her tan but shopping at the Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall won out ~definitely beats shopping in Canada! Arrived at the cruiseport at around 11am, gladly handed our luggage to the porters and proceeded to the check-in. DH and self had panorama suite 6178 DD (almost 16), DS (17 and 19) had panorama suite 6176. Costa employee took our group of approx 20 suite /VIP guests to the xray counter and helped the first few through. This employee went on with them and left the rest of us to fend for ourselves. Of course people standing in line weren't happy since they thought we were cutting in line. Some tried to refuse to let my sons place their carry-on items on the conveyer belt (even tho everything was tagged suite-priority embarkation)until DH intervened and tried to explain the situation. The Costa employee at the xray machine did nothing to assist which didn't impress us at all. Costa definitely needs to work on this and we mentioned it on our comment cards. Went on to the suite check-in for registering our credit card. Tried 3 different cards but the employee couldn't get the registration thru, so told us to continue on and do it on board. She said it wasn't her usual station and she might be doing it wrong.! (Note. The Mediterranea does not have a VIP line at customer service like other ships ) With only 2 -3 people manning customer service this line can get quite long. On to the lido deck to enjoy our first meal and then to explore a bit of the ship. ROOMS Our rooms were ready by 1 pm so we went to explore our home for the week . Vincent (our Butler from the Philippines) and Felipe (our Room Steward from Columbia) took care of us for the week. They separated the kids beds so each had their own and we all enjoyed the extra drawers/cupboards/bigger balconies and bathroom with whirlpool. DD loved having her own vanity area to spread out everything needed to make her beautiful (LOL) and the boys loved the fruit basket and sparkling wine waiting for them on ice. Vincent was new at the Butler business and got a few of our orders mixed up, but he tried hard and was very pleasant so it was easy to forgive. We loved having eggs benedict , choc croissants, hot choc and cappuccino for breakfast on the balconies. We took advantage of the dining room lunch room service menu for suites a few times as well. SHIP and STAFF We all thought the Mediterranea was a beautiful ship and very easy to navigate. We did notice a bit of rocking and rolling and creaking (esp the first night), but nothing to really worry about. The theatre never seemed overly crowded and empty seats were plentiful for the shows. The children spent time on the lido deck, while DH and I enjoyed our big balcony. Our butler opened the balcony divider between the 2 suites so we had lots of room to relax. In the past, others have mentioned the unfriendliness of staff and other passengers, but overall we didn't notice this. One rather snippy photographer at the captains cocktail seemed a bit surely, but overall the staff seem friendly and cheerful. (The pictures were expensive and didn't seem to have good quality, but on the whole the photo shop staff was helpful. With the past guest party a free photo is offered - since we had 2 rooms they gave us 2 free pics - that was appreciated) Of course we were on the cruise video a few times, so felt obliged to buy it as well. This is a hard time of year for staff to be away from family, so I had brought stockings with goodies/pens/candies/choc bars and Christmas cards for a money gift for our steward, butler and waiters. Our steward from Columbia was so touched when dh told him we had a little something for him . He clutched it and was rather emotional and said "maybe so little to you, but means so much to me." We were left totally unimpressed with our waitstaff, so gave their extra Christmas tip to the steward and butler on the last night . We figured the automatic tip was quite enough for the dining room staff and that is a first for my husband - he has always tipped everyone extra on the last night. Vincent and Felipe were the ones who really took care of us and went above and beyond as far as we were concerned. On debarkation day, suite passengers are allowed to eat in the Medusa Club Restaurant for bkfst but our butler took room service orders from us on the last night and delivered our brkfst bright and early. He always gave the kids a wake-up phone call prior to delivering their bkfst just to make sure they were up.(LOL) Our youngest son spent time in the arcade and was the champ with the highest score on one of the games. None of our children were interested in the kids clubs, they were content to hang out with us or sun on the lido deck. Didn't really notice the negative interaction between different cultures on this ship (as some have reported). I personally was pushed by one man after the lifeboat muster drill (done just prior to sail-away) I guess I wasn't moving the wall of people in front of me fast enough, but didn't see repeated flagrant rudeness that others have reported. Maybe everyone was in a good mood because it was Christmas, or maybe we were just determined to enjoy ourselves. The muster drill was a little longer than normal since it was done in a number of languages. When it was done, none of us remembered hearing the English version ! I actually did enjoy hearing the captain giving his little speech at the cocktail party in various languages. The cruise director David Lawton and staff seemed pleasant and organized (something I have come to appreciate) and kept us informed without giving repeated messages over the PA system . David Lawton has a wonderful voice and we loved to hear him sing THAT'S AMORE. The ships captain Massimo Garbarino seemed quite personable and did everything he could to get us to ports early . That was esp appreciated on Christmas Eve in Puerto Rico. Of the 5 cruises we have been on, this is the first time the captain posed with families for pictures (before the welcome gala cocktail party.) He was also on hand to shake hands and greet at the past guest party and the VIP party. DH used the spa/salon service for the hot stones, back, neck, and shoulder massage and said it was great. Of course he was also duped into buying some of their massage lotion. DINING ROOM / BUFFET/ FOOD DH and boys thought this was one thing that has changed since our Costa Atlantica cruise 2005. The dining room staff did not seem as attentive and the food did not seem to have the same quality remembered from our previous costa cruise. They always said they thought costa had the best pizza, but felt that even the pizza was not as good on this cruise (mind you I saw plenty of it on room service trays LOL). Having said that, there was usually something on the menu to satisfy but let's just say the food wasn't a highlight of the trip. The service in the dining room was extremely slow. To some this might not be a problem, but I've had a hip and knee replacement due to bad arthritis and I'm waiting for the other to be done, so sitting for long periods is not comfy for me. One night the wait for 20 min between entrEe and dessert became unbearable, so we left and went up to the buffet for the same dessert!! It was tiramisu (and delicious) so I was glad to be able to get it on the lido deck. ( Note that the buffet hours for supper are 7 - 8:30 pm only. ) The next few nights our waiters served us in a much more timely fashion , thus proving that it could be done. Suite guests are allowed dinner for 2 per cabin in the Medusa Club Restaurant. We planned that for the final night and planned to pay for the 5th person ~ but the restaurant allowed all 5 for free. Needless to say, the staff received generous tips and the meal was outstanding. From the rolls and homemade pasta appetizer, entrees of lamb , salmon, and lobster and crème brule desserts this meal was a great ending to the final night. I crashed early, but my family went to the Magnifico Buffet. A sight to behold, but even there they thought the standard was not the same as on the Atlantica - they didn't think the selection was a good. They did order roast beef and brie sandwiches from room service and had pizza at night, so no need to worry....they didn't go to bed hungry . BTW Costa has not adopted the North American custom of drawn butter with crab legs and lobster. SHOWS Thought the Mediterranea singers (Nicolas Wyschna and Sasha Scott) and dancers did a good job (esp when you could feel the ship swaying at times.) Also enjoyed Victoria Horne, but we all thought the twins Will and Anthony Nunziata a bit hokey and the female gymnast/contortionist(?) routine looked quite painful. The shows were not as long as on some ships but that suited us just fine. EXCURSIONS FYI - I have seen people on these boards complain about some of these ports and the fact that they are a waste of time. I for one, and my family are thankful for these ports and the experiences we had. My advice : do your homework and see what is available. The segway tour in San Juan and zip-line canopy tour in D.R. were highlights for us. So we were really glad for the chance to stop in these ports SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico~ Christmas Eve (5pm - midnight) ~ had checked and was not interested in the Costa tour offerings so booked privately with segwaytourspr.com. What a blast we had. Jose and his beautiful wife Ana took us on a special tour of old San Juan and up to El Morro Fort on our own segways. Ana rode one segway and took DH camcorder and camera to record and photograph the highlights while Jose walked beside and gave the guided audio tour. This was one of the highlights of the cruise, and while touring elsewhere, the kids were wishing they had got segways for Christmas (they can dream!!!) I cant say enough good about this wonderful husband and wife and the tour they give. They are just starting out in the business so unfortunately they only have 7 segways so I'd advise pre-booking to ensure you get a chance to do this great tour. (A teaching and practice session in the area by their office is done first prior to going out among the crowds and on the road) ST THOMAS USVI ~ Christmas Day (8 am - 5 pm) Had been to St Thos last christmas and had done the island tour and shopping then, so decided to go around on our own this time. Unfortunately Costa does not use the main pier at Charlotte Amalie, but is on the other side of the bay. Guess if we had gone to the port talk we would have known that! When we got off we realized we were too far away from Havensight Mall and the downtown to walk. So we hopped in a taxi ($4/pp each way) and did a few hours of hour of shopping and then went back to the ship. Great for first time visitors that the shops were open and tours operating on a holiday. LA ROMANA D.R.~ (8am - 5pm)This is another stop where there is nothing to do when getting off the ship so it is best to book a tour. The island is very poor but Costa put on a nice little party for children from the island and Santa arrived to deliver gifts to each child. That was touching to see. We booked the zip-line canopy adventure through Costa and what a great time we had. We drove over an hour to a drop off area where we boarded all-terrain open vehicles for a very bumpy ride to the zip-line site. You definitely need to hang on to the strap handles hanging from the ceiling on this vehicle. We were then fitted in our harnesses, given a short demonstration and then climbed the tower to the first of 10 zip-lines. I think everyone had a great time and I'm glad we signed up for this excursion. At the end of the excursion fruit and drinks are offered and of course we all had to buy the 'I survived zip-line adventure' T-shirt . DD plans to break gym uniform rule on Monday and wear it - cant wait to tell her friends all about it and we've enjoyed watching our pictures/dvd of it since coming home. GRAND TURK~ (12noon - 6pm) A beautiful free beach with lots of chairs and cabanas right as you walk off the pier. And of course, all the usual shops and Margaritaville just steps away. A great final port and a beautiful day of sun and swimming. Did no tour here, just enjoyed a relaxing afternoon on the beach. DEBARKATION Since we were in suites, we were offered early debarkation. We were glad we did since we had to pick up a vehicle and get up to Orlando by mid-afternoon. The luggage was nicely grouped, not just according to tag color, but also according to family for us. That was a nice bonus to not have to search too hard. All in all, a good cruise with a comfortable room and great excursions. I would agree that Costa is definitely not the same as the other cruiselines in the Caribbean, but Costa does offer cruises for a lot less. Altho we didn't find the meals the greatest in the dining room, there was usually something to order. Only one meal, my son seemed to order all the wrong things that didn't taste good - so he went to the buffet instead. We didn't get to enjoy the kids sail free on this cruise, but we did get our suites for a good price. Personally, the suites made all the difference for us and was a nice treat . Would we book Costa again? If the price was right, and definitely in suites (I think that makes a big difference on this cruiseline) NOTE Some have said that only the Fortuna will be sailing in the Caribbean next winter. The cruise director made an announcement at the past guest party that Costa will start offering specials on the Mediterranea in the Caribbean in Feb (in celebration of their anniversary). I would think he would know since he is the cruise director. So now to watch and wait and see how great the sale is! Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
My family just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Costa Mediterranea. We sailed from December 15 - 22, 2007 and visited the ports of Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios and Grand Turk. Background: My husband and I are both 38 and have ... Read More
My family just returned from a wonderful cruise on the Costa Mediterranea. We sailed from December 15 - 22, 2007 and visited the ports of Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios and Grand Turk. Background: My husband and I are both 38 and have two sons, ages 10 and 11. This cruise was the 6th for me, 5th for DH and 4th for the boys. As a family we've only cruised on Carnival (Conquest and Spirit Class) ships and have always had a terrific time. We live in Beaufort, a beautiful, historic town on the coast of South Carolina. I'm a native New Yorker and Mike's a Naval Academy grad, so we've had the opportunity to enjoy many of the finer things in life and have chosen to raise our children in his hometown. No matter what type of vacation we go on, we always keep a very positive attitude. For us, a vacation is what you make of it and we choose not to let things bother us. For example, when it was raining on this sailing we said to each other, "It's better to be stuck in the rain on a cruise than in Beaufort." It's because of this attitude that we've never been on a vacation that we didn't totally enjoy. I had been considering Costa for over a year, because of their Kids Sail Free promotion, but had been worried that my family wouldn't enjoy it as much as we have come to enjoy Carnival. The whole idea of "cruising Italian style" confused me and I wasn't sure how we would adapt to a ship full of Europeans as my DH and children had never been across the pond. That being said, we decided to take a leap of faith (especially considering all of the negative posts on Cruise Critic) and book the Mediterranea simply because we couldn't pass up on the price. We're Off: We drove to Fort Lauderdale and parked at the Park and Drive. I had read on CC that they only charge $60 for a week's parking if you pre-pay online. The parking lot is located right off of I-95 and very easy to see and to get to. Once we parked, the shuttle drove right to our car and the driver loaded our luggage. It was about a 2 minute ride to the port and the driver removed all of our luggage from the shuttle too. I would definitely use Park and Ride again for the service and price. Embarkation: We arrived around noon and were on the ship within 10 minutes! What more can I say? We were greeting with beautiful Italian music coming over the speakers and the lines were very short and moved quickly. We didn't have passports yet so we used our driver's licenses, birth certificates and marriage license. For the boys, I got state issued photo ID cards from the DMV. I'd read on CC to get these and bring the marriage certificate...thanks! The ship's security guards looked very closely at our birth certificates and IDs. The guard noticed that my birth certificate had a different last name as my ID and I gave him my marriage license. He studied that closely too! My advice would be to bring the marriage license, just in case! After the obligatory boarding photo op a staff member was waiting at the gangway with handiwipes to clean your hands. I'm a germaphobe, so I was in heaven. In fact, whenever we came back on board from a port, there was always a steward at the gangway handing out the wipes. My husband jokes that as soon as the saw the handiwipes, he knew Costa was for me! Once we stepped on board there were stewards in tuxedos and white gloves waiting to point us to our cabin. All of the elevators were working and it was easy to make our way up to our room. It was then that we realized that we hadn't received room keys and we were concerned that maybe we had missed a key card registration table in the lobby. But we continued to our cabin and found the door unlocked and our Costa Cards on the bed! One interesting thing...Costa never took photos for the cards like Carnival does. Cabin: Our cabin was 6118 - and inside quad on the 6th floor. We used to book balconies, but now book inside rooms to save money. We decided as a family that we can either cruise once a year in a balcony or twice a year inside. Naturally, twice a year won! I have two "tween" boys, so the amount of time spent in the cabin is minimal. If I had girls it might be different! The cabin was configured almost the exact same as the one that we had on the Valor earlier this year. This cabin had a shorter dresser which actually gave us more floor space. The amenities in the cabin were very different from what we've experienced on Carnival. The beds were very firm (which I like), but definitely not the "comfort" beds we're used to. The pillows were flat, the linens basic and the blankets were the blue cheap ones that Carnival usually puts on their 3rd and 4th beds. That being said, nobody ever complained about being uncomfortable or had a hard time falling asleep! We were out as soon as our heads hit those flat pillows. There was no basket of goodies in the bathroom or bathrobes. There is one dispenser in the shower that has a blue shampoo/body wash. I found it to be harsh on my hair and wished that I had brought my own shampoo with me. But again, it kept us clean for 7 days so we won't fuss. The towels were large and thick and there were many of them in the bathroom. Even when I hung my towel up to reuse it, the steward replaced it with a new one. The T.V. in the cabin had 26 channels (my boys counted). Four of them were English to include Fox, ABC and CBS. There were no English speaking sports channels and no sports bar on board either. My DH had TIVO-ed the Navy bowl game before we left, but had hoped to see it on board. Oh well, he and the boys watched it as soon as we got home Saturday night. Lunch at Lido Buffet: Overall, my family found the food to be delicious! As soon as we walked into the Lido buffet and saw all of the pastas, cheeses, dried sausages, breads, olives, salads, pizza, calamari, veal, etc. we were hooked! As a family, we love good food. Going out to a fine restaurant is a big treat for all of us as we know we'll get to eat yummy things I can't cook at home. As for my kids, the boys wouldn't be caught dead ordering from a kids menu. In fact, one funny family story is about the time I had to stop and get them sushi on the way to their school's spaghetti supper because they refused to eat the school's spaghetti. Throughout the week, lunch on the Lido buffet was very good, but "uninspired" as my husband said. The food was delicious and cooked very well. The flavors and seasonings were on point and I never felt like I had to add salt or pepper. There was always an assortment of cheeses, dried sausages, fruits, breads, fish, hamburgers and hot dogs, salads, baked Italian specialties and carved meats, but there wasn't much variety. It seemed to be the same items, done just a little differently each day. That being said, I'm hard pressed to remember anything other than the hamburgers that we didn't like. My DH and youngest son got burgers once or twice and were not impressed. They love Carnival's burgers and found Costa's to be under-seasoned and flavorless. Some of the special things for lunch each day were freshly made pasta stations where a chef would make small portions of yummy pasta. Some of our favorites were gnocchi with fresh basil; spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes; fusilli with oregano; fettuccini alfredo with cauliflower, and spaghetti with tuna sauce. Also, for variety each day the buffet featured a couple of items from a certain region. There was Caribbean, Oriental, German, Indian and Mexican. These foods were also very well done and had great flavors, I just wished that there were more items from these regions. There was also a sandwich station at the pool which served ready-made sandwiches but I can't comment on them because I don't believe anyone in my family got one of these. One other thing I enjoyed was the bottles of olive oils and vinegars at the buffet. The varieties of breads were wonderful and we dipped them in olive oil often! I saw a lot of the Europeans dressing their salads with the vinegars and sometimes even just fresh lemon juice. Of course, no lunch is complete without ice cream and the Mediterranea had awesome gelato! Usually it was vanilla, vanilla/chocolate swirl and chocolate, but sometimes there was strawberry also. I've got to say that hands down, this gelato was sooooo much better than Carnival's ice cream or frozen yogurt. The only complaint that we had was that we would have to "hunt" for a machine that was working. Usually at lunch time most of the machines were full and working, but by dinner time and after, they became scarce. We were always able to find gelato, but sometimes we had to check every station...but the walking did us good! Also, the gelato was not available 24 hours a day like on Carnival. They usually closed the machines around midnight for cleaning. The service in the buffet was excellent. Cloth napkins were filled with a full set of silverware at each seat and replaced as soon as the tables were cleared. The servers were dressed in tuxedos with bow ties and always smiling. Bar service was available in the Lido and was quick to return with your order. We were disappointed that the only beverages available for free at lunch were water, milk, coffee and hot tea. At breakfast they added orange and grapefruit juice and at dinner they added iced tea. But we're a family of water drinkers so it was okay, but every once in a while I could've gone for some fruit punch or lemonade. Also, many times the ice machines were empty. More than once we had to drink warm water because we couldn't find ice. We ate breakfast every morning in the Lido buffet and found the same food every day. Although we planned to go to the dining room, we just never made it. The food was a mix between basic American breakfast and European specialties. There was toast, bacon, sausage, eggs, fresh fruits, cereals, home fries, eggs made to order and more. But there was also pork and beans, mortadella, dried sausages, sliced cheeses, lots of different kids of pastries, and fruit mixed with a liquid cheese. The coffee was good and strong and there were a variety of teas as well as hot chocolate available. Ship: The Mediterranea is almost an exact replica of the Carnival Miracle, so if you've ever sailed on the Spirit class ships you'll feel familiar on the Mediterranea. The public rooms are on the 2nd and 3rd decks and have a more open feel to them than the Miracle. There are less small bars and instead the spaces are large and open for live music and dancing. Most notable was the Casanova Lounge where many activities took place and there was almost always a 'duo' playing live music and passengers dancing. Also, there is no piano bar and in its place is another large, open area for music and dancing. This area was on deck 2 just outside the dining room entrance and was always full with non-Americans before the second seating. Overall, there was a lot of dancing and live music on the Mediterranea. Between dancing lessons at the Lido stage and the many lounges on the promenade, it seemed that everywhere we looked, passengers were cutting a rug. I was very surprised to see so many people dancing---and doing it very well! It appeared that the Europeans and South Americans REALLY know how to dance. I enjoyed watching the couples ballroom dance and do the Tarantella, etc. many evenings. My family spent a bit of time in the large card room that was just off the Casanova Lounge. There were many tables and a waitress often came through offering bar service. The card room was pretty busy most of the time and you could check out card games and board games at the Purser's desk. Also, used decks of cards could be purchased for $1.00 at the Casino cage. However beware that the casino cuts a semi-circle out of each side of the deck…I guess to distinguish it as used. Passengers: I felt that about ¼ of the passengers were American and Canadian. There were many Italians and French, and also a good amount of Germans and South Americans (Brazil and Columbia mostly), and just some Asians. I loved hearing all of the different languages being spoken all around me and seeing so many different fashion styles. My DH and I both felt like we were on a more exotic cruise than just one out of Ft. Lauderdale! We all picked up a little Italian and even some French! As for the attitudes of our fellow passengers…I hate to say it but it was the Canadians and Americans that were rude, pushy and often heard loudly complaining. Our experiences with the international passengers was nothing but pleasant and gracious. And I'll leave it at that. Restaurant: We enjoyed dinner nightly in the dining room. I was impressed to see however, that the same menu in the dining room was also served at the Lido buffet for dinner. Once my son went up to the Lido to get some more lamb chops after dinner! We had the early seating at 6pm and enjoyed the fact that there were quite a few empty tables. The second seating began at 9pm and was packed. We got our request for a table for four and were located on the first floor of the dining room. Our waiters were Manuel from Peru, and Percival from the Philippines. They both provided excellent service and quickly learned our names and preferences. Our water glasses were quick to be refilled and the flow of each course was very even. The first night dinner took 2 hours, but each night after we were finished in about 1 ½ . The tables were set with a full compliment of silverware, something we were not used to on Carnival, but very much appreciated! I ordered the fish each night and was given a special seafood fork and knife each time. On the two formal evenings, our linens were Damask and there were red candles in beautiful silver candlestick holders on every table. We were all a little surprised at having lit candles on a ship and it made the meal seem even more special. At the Farewell Dinner champagne was served to toast the Captain and his crew. We can't say enough good things about the food. There was an assortment of breads and breadsticks on the table as well as a bottle of imported olive oil and balsamic vinegar. One of my favorite breads was made with chopped walnuts. Yum! There are six available courses—appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, entree and dessert. Compared to Carnival, the portions were much larger. In fact, the pastas were usually enough for a meal. But somehow my family managed to adapt! Again, the food was very well prepared and seasoned. I don't recall using the salt or pepper shaker at all. Some of our favorites were the osso buco, chicken cacciatore, prime rib, risotto w/ lobster and champagne, snails alla Bourguignon, rack of lamb, and all of the seafood entrees. The desserts were also very good. I fell in love with the Chocolate Delight Costa! It's a chocolate ganache that's placed on a chocolate covered cookie and all covered in chocolate! I ordered this every night except for when we were served the baked Alaska. My husband really loved the zuppa Ingles, 5 deck carrot cake w/vanilla sauce, and nougat mille-feuille w/zabaglione sauce. They also offered 3 different flavors of gelato and 2 of sorbet each night such as hazelnut, banana, butter pecan, rum raisin, coffee, kiwi and pineapple to name a few. Cappuccino and espresso were available in the dining room for an additional charge. I believe they were $2.15 each. There were two formal nights - the Captain's Gala on the second night, and the Farewell Dinner on the second-to-last night. There was a Captain's cocktail party preceding dinner where champagne, whiskey sours, manhattans and fruit punch were served. They also had passed appetizers and you could get your photo taken with the captain. Some people were in formal attire and I noticed some tuxedos and full length gowns. Most were in dresses and suits w/tie. Evening Entertainment: Although we enjoyed the shows, this was the area which we felt needed some improvement. Usually there were 2 shows each night and it was never hard to find a seat except for the Toga Night when there was only 1 show. We're used to showing up at the theater 30 minutes early to get a seat on Carnival but never had to do this on Costa. I think some of this had to do with fewer passengers having the early seating and the popularity of dancing in the lounges. The first night's show was The Malambo Show which featured an Argentinean dancer and another unique performer. This was a odd show and a little scary too! The dancer began dancing with a large torch that was lit! At some point, he extinguished the flame and accidentally flung the torch into the 1st row of the audience. Additionally, the other performer's show consisted of swinging a VERY large box around. He too, dropped the box…more than once. To say the least, we were a little concerned about sitting in the front row again and worried about the quality of shows we were to experience. But everything after was good. The two shows featuring the Mediterranea dancers were very good. Although it was not the Vegas-type production we expected, we were entertained. The dancers were excellent technically. Their footwork was quick and precise and they all had strong ballet techniques. The shows were not theatrical with fancy backdrops and costumes, but instead had a more modern, even avant-garde, feel to them. The singer, Nick Wyschna, was very good and reminded us of Josh Groban in voice and appearance. Other shows included Van Pressley from the Platters, Will and Anthony Nunziata who sang Italian favorites and the silent comedian, Rob Torres. We all LOVED the comedian! We're still reenacting his gags at home! My DH and I agree that we would have liked at least one more comedian and maybe a late night comedy show too. The final night is Roman Night with the guest talent show. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say that it's a whole lot of fun and that you should definitely go! At the conclusion of this show, Costa gives away a diamond necklace worth $1,000. The gal who won was so happy she was crying. Cruise Director's Staff: Although we didn't participate in any of the games on board, we really enjoyed watching them. The Cruise Director is a Welch gentleman named David Lawton. We didn't see him around except to introduce the evening shows. His staff, however, were everywhere…and very funny! Bepe is the Activities Director and Pepe is his assistant. Both are Italian and very adept at giving instructions in 5 different languages at once. The games were silly, mostly involving costumes, balloons, and/or music. They also offered dance lessons at the pool stage a couple times a day that were very well attended, and staffed the Italian Night activities. Often times, my DH and I would say, "We wish we had their jobs," because they were always having a good time with the passengers. My sons and I enjoyed the activities of Italian Night (this is different than Toga Night.) They had pizza dough tossing competitions, Venetian mask making, paper flowers, balloon animals, Bocce in the lobby and other fun things to do. Kids Activities: There were not a lot of kids on board this sailing even though Costa was running a Kids Sail Free promotion. It was the week before Christmas and most of the schools were not out yet. I'd venture to guess that there were about 300 kids total and that the majority of them were between 1-7 years old. This cruise my boys were 10 and 11 years old. The Squok club that they were supposed to be in was for kids 7 - 11, but the 2 times that they went, they turned around and left because all of the kids were closer to 7 rather than 11. We happened to run into the older group of 12-15 year olds getting gelato the second evening and the counselor invited my boys to join them. I explained that they were just 10 and 11 and she said, "No problem." She told me that they were welcome to join the older group because some of the kids in it were younger than 12 also. My oldest took her up on it and had a good time. They had some organized activities such as a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, disco dancing and sports games. Other times they just "hung out," talking, playing in the pool and snacking. He didn't spend his entire day with the kids club, probably just 2-3 hours. The club was not on a very tight schedule and I think this worked well with kids of this age group. Sometimes they didn't really want to do a formal activity and would choose to go swimming instead. My youngest joined his brother for a couple of activities with the kids club and enjoyed them also. He's more of a mamma's boy, and we had fun playing cards and doing things together. I ordered the Boys and Girls drink coupon online a couple of weeks before we sailed. They come as a booklet of 20 coupons that's attached to a necklace and you just rip the coupons out as you use them. It was a great value as my boys like to drink smoothies while we're on vacation. They shared one booklet…I felt that 10 drinks a piece was more than enough. I even used a coupon or two for smoothies! I would definitely buy it again, but not online. We didn't receive our booklet until at dinner the first night. But if we'd bought it from the bar when we boarded, the boys could've had a drink before dinner. My kids played in the arcade whenever they had some down time. The arcade is a little hard to find, above the Squok club. It had about 20 games including 2 air hockey tables and 1 foosball table. Most of the games were current and they were all working. Each game used between 2 and 4 tokens for one play. The tokens are each worth 25 cents. The change machine was not working in the arcade so kids have to go to the casino cage to get tokens. They also have to be accompanied by an adult to purchase tokens. Even if working, the token machine in the arcade is not able to accept Costa Cards, so kids can't charge tokens onto their cards. Also, kids are not allowed to charge items, other than candy, on their Costa Cards in the gift shop. Although I gave my boys charging privileges linked to my credit card, it appears that they are not allowed to use them. It was a bit of an inconvenience to have to accompany them to the gift shop and casino cage. There are also arts and craft activities available everyday on board. You could paint a t-shirt, paint a glass, make a beaded necklace, etc. Unfortunately, the activity staff doesn't let children participate in these activities, even if accompanied by their parents. I'm not sure why, because it was never crowded. But we got around this by bringing the materials back to our cabin and doing the craft there. The kids enjoyed the 2 pools on board and the slide. The aft pool and hot tubs are adult only and we never ventured back there, so I can't say if kids in the aft pool was a problem. The hot tubs were a little warmer than a bath and very enjoyable. Sometimes kids would come into them but they never misbehaved so it wasn't ever a problem. However, I did see security telling kids to stop jumping into the pool, pushing each other into the pool or splashing. Security was firm but not mean. We were impressed by their professionalism. Info from my hubby on the Casino: There is no ATM on board the Mediterranea. No poker either. Craps was opened by request and as far as he noticed only one other craps player was on board (other than him.) The staff was professional, helpful but sometimes made mistakes counting the cards or issuing money at Blackjack. This could've been a result of this being the first sailing of the season in the Caribbean for most of the staff. They had been used to Euros for the past months and had to convert to American dollars in one day. He actually met a dealer that told him that this was the first time he'd touched American money. Observations: My husband and I both happily noticed the lack of sales pitches for ship merchandise and spa services. Twice we received a brochure for jewelry in the "Today" schedule, but otherwise selling was kept very low key. The intercom itself was used sparingly and never to promote a sales event. Bingo occurred at least twice a day in the one of the lounges on board. The activity staff had a table set up on the promenade where they would pre-sell bingo cards and the games took place at a certain time. It was a nice difference from Carnival where they play bingo prior to the evening's shows in the theater. Most of the staff, stewards and waiters were male. We found this interesting. In fact, we could only see 1 female waiter in the downstairs part of the dining room during our seating. The room stewards were very friendly. When walking down the hallways we found that they made eye contact and said hello. Again, we appreciated this because Carnival's stewards usually have their eyes down go about their business when we walk by. There was no Chinese station, Sushi or Deli on board the Mediterranea. My boys were a little worried about this before we boarded as they always eat sushi before dinner on Carnival. But once we got on board they never said a word about missing these treats. Towels are readily available at poolside. Stewards keep rolled-up towels on lounge chairs and there are towel stations where you can take a clean one or dispose of a wet towel. I found chair-hogging to be a problem by the pools. More than once it was the Americans and Canadians that were the major culprits. Again, there is no ATM machine on board. There were not a lot of professional photo opportunities. We were fine with this, because I think $20 for one photo is nutty. The backgrounds were not very professional looking and a little corny. I didn't see a lot of people getting their photo taken and for the most part I never saw any lines to get your photo taken. The exception to this was for the second seating on the first formal night for photos on the lobby stairs. In the evening, the Lido buffet restaurant was "dressed up!" The lights were dimmed and large candles were placed on the tables. They also had red and white checkered tablecloths and placemats. You could order pizza later on in the evening with waiters taking your order. We did this the last night and received our pizza about 5 minutes later. It was quick and yummy! Debarkation: Super easy! We had to have our luggage out in the hallway by 1am. We were given colored tags to attach to the luggage and a schedule of debarkation that corresponded to the color tag we were given. Depending on the color of the tag we were supposed to wait in a certain lounge until we were called. We woke that morning, and had to be out of the cabin by 8am. We had breakfast in the Lido, (the dining room was also open for breakfast)and headed off the ship. We were about 20 minutes early for our color to be called but this didn't appear to be a problem. As we approached the customs area we saw 3 HUGE lines of people—had to be 100 feet each. But then we were directed to the US Citizens section and were surprised to see nobody on line! We breezed through, found our luggage immediately, and were on the street within 5 minutes of getting off the ship. Now that's what I call debarkation! We had to wait about 45 minutes to get on the Park and Ride shuttle because 5 ships had arrived in Ft. Lauderdale that morning. Each shuttle that passed us was full! Overall, we had a magnificent vacation on the Costa Mediterranea. In fact, in the car on the way home, I booked another Costa cruise for this coming March! I would definitely recommend this ship to anyone who appreciated good service, fine food and a European flair on vacation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Costa Mediterranea Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursions 5.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 1.0 N/A
Service 4.0 3.7
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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