1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Costa Cruises
  4. Costa Mediterranea Review
  5. Costa Mediterranea Cruise Reviews

40 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to Caribbean - Eastern 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
OVERVIEW -- This was my third cruise and my second cruise with Costa. For the second time I was blown away by how wonderful my cruise with Costa was. From the beautiful decor of the ship to the wonderful staff, fun activities and overall ... Read More
OVERVIEW -- This was my third cruise and my second cruise with Costa. For the second time I was blown away by how wonderful my cruise with Costa was. From the beautiful decor of the ship to the wonderful staff, fun activities and overall service, this was one of the best vacations that I've taken (up there with my last Costa cruise on the Atlantica). Overall, I would recommend Costa to anyway. I believe it's one of the best cruiselines out there and prices are not outrageous by any means. Our itinerary was, as follows: Day 1: Fort Lauderdale Day 2: ...at sea.. Day 3: San Juan, Puerto Rico (5PM-Midnight) Day 4: St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (8AM-5PM) Day 5: Catalina Island, Dominican Republic (8AM-5PM) Day 5: Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic (6PM-Midnight) Day 6: ...at sea... Day 7: Nassau, Bahamas (1PM-6PM) Day 8: Fort Lauderdale EMBARKMENT -- This really didn't take us more than a half an hour and was a very smooth process! DINING -- The two dinner seatings were at 5:45PM and 8:30PM. We chose to do the later seating to make it so we could stay out longer at the ports of call and have more time to get ready. There is always a buffet for dinner as well if you'd rather do that than have a sit down dinner. Dinner can take a while ... mainly be cause there are so many courses. Like Italians do, Costa serves many courses to stick with the Italian tradition. The first course that's served is an appetizer followed by a soup, a salad, pasta, the entree and then the dessert. Not everyone orders each of these but they're definitely fun to try. The food, overall, was very good. There was one night where my steak was a little chewy but that was the only complaint I had. Our waiters were wonderful and paid attention to what I ordered to drink every night and brought it to me before I had to ask. There were two gala nights on our cruise (Monday and Friday nights) as well as some other FUN themed evenings, including a toga night on the last night of the cruise! As for lunch, we always ate at the buffet. I'm pretty sure there was a restaurant that's a place where you can sit down and order but we never used it. The buffets had a wide variety and plenty of food. Most of the time the pastas were wonderful and if you'd prefer straight up American food, the burgers, hotdogs and fries out by the pool were VERY good. There was a german day and a mexican day where one of the stations was devoted to those types of food which was nice. Overall, our lunches were pretty good and we definitely had our fill of good food. Breakfast was probably the most disappointing meal. Again, we never used the restaurant (I used it on my first cruise on the Atlantica and would recommend going there a couple of times). The buffet has the usual pancakes, waffles, toast, bagels, eggs, omelettes, fruit, etc. These foods were fine but nothing too amazing. Every night there are buffets or special foods that are presented at midnight. The only one we went to was the extravaganza buffet on the second to last night of the cruise. All I can say is WOW. I've never seen so much food and such a beautiful display. We had gotten out of our late seating only an hour and a half earlier so we weren't that hungry but found some room to try the amazing desserts. I HIGHLY recommend at least going to take pictures of the buffet as you will probably never see something like this again. Room service is offered 24 hours a day I believe but the menu is pretty sparse. We ordered a tuna sandwich a few times for lunch and it was very good. They bring you your food in a very timely fashion and the only downside is that there isn't much that you can order. PUBLIC ROOMS -- This ship is absolutely breathtaking. The lobby is absolutely gorgeous as well as the bars and lounges. I'm not sure how to describe this beautiful ship. It's fun just to walk around the ship to see the artwork, decorations and decor and really, the only way that I can describe it is breathtaking. The pools are nice and there's plenty of deckspace and chairs to lie out. It is, like all cruise ships, usually pretty crowded by the lounge chairs but it never took us more than 10 minutes (and usually much less than that) to find a lounge chair. The gym is very nice and is located with a wonderful ocean view at the front of the ship. It contains lots of nice equipment but is usually pretty crowded. The spa is nice and I used it to get a back massaged and a facial. They were running a special for a 25-minute massage and a 25-minute facial for $75 and I took advantage of that. My massage therapist ended up spending more than an hour between my massage and facial which is more than I paid for. CABINS -- We decided to get the balcony stateroom which was definitely a treat. I had an oceanview stateroom on the Atlantica which was definitely very nice as well. The decor is light peachy and greenish colors and it definitely makes the room very inviting. There was a lot of room to put our clothes and a lot of hanging space. The bathroom, like on most cruiseships is very small but isn't uncomfortable by any means. The bed was a little hard but overall we completely loved our stateroom. The balconies are very nice for a quiet place to relax and take in the beautiful ocean views. Our cabin steward was absolutely outstanding. He cleaned our rooms twice a day and always responded to our requests in a very timely manner. He kept our room spotless and always left something tasty on the pillow at night when he came to turn down our sheets for us. I can't say enough about him. ENTERTAINMENT -- There was always something to do or see on the Costa Mediterranea. Musicians and singers are always playing in the lounges and bars and were pretty good. The evening shows usually play twice a night (once for the early seating and once for the late) and very quite entertaining. The Costa Mediterranea dancers weren't my favorite and if you don't want your children seeing dancers parading around in thongs don't take them there. The act with the couple from the Moscow Circus was absolutely outstanding. The crew is very fun and you definitely have a good time. The activities that the crew holds during the evening like the Mr. Pizza contest can get pretty suggestive so there's a warning for families with children. I did not travel with kids but I saw many activities for kids including the Squok Club. There were also a lot of activities from teenagers including their own dance club. FITNESS AND RECREATION -- Again, the gym is very nice but tends to be pretty crowded and there are numerous yoga, gymnastics and stretching classes throughout the day. The running track is decent but it can get pretty windy up there (as well as the basketball court). The pools are fun as well as the relaxing hottubs (which tend to be pretty crowded). There is a retractable roof over the middle pool in case it rains and a waterslide. The waterslide is very fun but isn't open all that often (usually only for 2 hours or so on a few selected days). FELLOW PASSENGERS -- The majority of the passengers are Americans but there are many Europeans and some Canadians. While a lot of cruise ships tend to attract wild, drunk teenagers on spring break, Costa offers a more classy atmosphere. There's definitely plenty of places to get a drink and have fun but you don't have the loud, obnoxious drunk people running around all the time like on some cruise ships. The atmosphere is simply so much nicer than on other cruiselines. There were a lot of elderly couples, many families and some younger adults enjoying their college spring break but again, the atmosphere was always very nice. The one thing that can get a little annoying is that during announcements and shows, you hear the same thing in 3 or so different languages. So, when the cruise director introduces a show, you have to wait a while to actually see the show so he can get through all the languages. However, it doesn't really take away from the cruise at all, it just gets a little monotonous. PORTS OF CALL -- San Jan was our first stop and was a beautiful town filled with lovely architecture and an all-around fun city. We did not book an excursion with Costa but once we left the boat we found a tour bus that gave us an hour and a half tour of the Old City and the New City. We went to the capital building which was very nice and I'd recommend that. The Old City is much more impressive than the New City and I could definitely spend a long evening there. St. Thomas was my favorite spot and absolutely breathtaking. I haven't been to a place more beautiful since I travelled to the Mediterranean in Italy. We booked the Ultimate Island Experience with Costa and I highly recommend it. You go on a bus tour of the island and stop at a few spots where the view is absolutely AMAZING. Then you are taken to Megan's bay which is a beautiful beach where you get to spend 2 and a half hours or so. You are then taken to Blackbeard's Castle which is a lot of fun and has very beautiful old buildings. From there you are in the downtown area where there is lots of shopping and fun. St. Thomas was just awesome! Catalina Island was next and it's Costa's own island. It seemed pretty crowded but the beach was beautiful and so was the water. Costa serves a wonderful buffet lunch on the island and obviously lounge chairs and stuff like that are free. definitely a nice day to just relax. Casa De Campo came next and was honestly a little confusing. A lot of people did the show under the stars, although we didn't, but I would recommend doing that since we didn't have all that much to do. We took a bus to Casa De Campo where there were many gardens, beautiful views, lovely buildings all along a nice cobblestone street. The shops there were way too expensive for our liking (I found a cute purse but found out it was $3,500 and set it down immediately). We didn't get much information on this place and so I'm still not sure if it was a little town or a made up resort community. It was very pretty though. Finally, we went to Nassau. It was my second time there so we just shopped a little bit. If it's your first time I definitely recommend taking a tour of Paradise Island and the Atlantis resort. We weren't in Nassau for that long and all the nice beaches are a decent drive away so we decided just to shop. The water is absolutely gorgeous and it's a very pretty place. DISEMBARKMENT -- We decided to take an excursion after we disembarked to the Everglades (ending at the Fort Lauderdale airport) and it took us under 10 minutes to get off the ship and find our luggage which was amazing. They have different colored luggage tags so people with early flights and such can leave earlier than those who aren't in a rush. CONCLUSION -- I cannot say enough about Costa, the staff and the ship. I'm in love with cruising, thanks to my experiences on Costa, and although I've tried Royal Caribbean (and wasn't impressed with the Sovereign of the Seas, I don't know if I'll ever do anything other than Costa again. I simply love it and would recommend it to absolutely anyone. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
We flew to FLL and had arranged for transfer to Rodeway Inn Airport/Cruiseport. I would not recommend this hotel. We called the Rodeway 3 times and waited over 1 hour for pickup. We arrived at 11am and were told rooms would not be ... Read More
We flew to FLL and had arranged for transfer to Rodeway Inn Airport/Cruiseport. I would not recommend this hotel. We called the Rodeway 3 times and waited over 1 hour for pickup. We arrived at 11am and were told rooms would not be available until 3pm. The desk did lock up our luggage while we ate lunch. There is nothing close to this hotel. We ate at the hotel next door, just a greasy spoon bar/grill. We then sat by the Rodeway Inn pool and saw others going to their rooms. When we questioned the desk we were told that we were assigned specific rooms when we booked and our assigned rooms weren't ready yet. We had reserved 2 rooms and when 1 was ready at 2:30. When the desk personnel changed, at about 2:45pm, we inquired again and were immediately given a second room. The showers had mold and the water was rust colored. We took a cab to Las Olas Blvd. (about $15)and walked on the riverwalk, shopped, and ate. Cabs were easy to get, either phone or hail them down. Don't worry about the free transfers. Just get a cab to a nicer hotel. It is only about $15 cab fare to your hotel or cruise port. EMBARKATION: We had arranged for cruiseport transfers with the hotel but saw that our ship was to be the last taken, and there were 8 ships that day. Even the front desk suggested we call a cab (about $16). We checked our baggage immediately at the curb with the Costa personnel and got in line at about 11:00am. Embarkation didn't begin until after 12:00 and we were waiting in the sun and a light sprinkle. Once begun embarkation was smooth. The ship is very pretty, some may say gaudy, but I felt very Italian. Yes, there are naked statues and anatomically correct male cherubs on the ceiling. We found it quite comical. Some might be offended. ROOM: We had a limited view balcony. If you sat down on the balcony you couldn't see out. If you stood up you could see just fine over the lifeboat. There was much more storage in our cabin than on other cruises. Don't miss the drawers under the couch. I removed the drink and food items from the frig. and filled with the soda and wine I brought with me. I even saw some cruisers checking in cases of water with their luggage at the curbside. I carried 16 plastic bottles of soda and 2 bottles of wine through checkin in my rolling carryon and wasn't stopped. Our room steward was most helpful and kept our room very clean. FOOD: we had late dining, 8:30 pm. I felt the food was fair to good for a cruise, nothing spectacular. Some steaks weren't that great and were quite thin. There weren't any sweet breakfast rolls like on Carnival or Royal Caribbean. Most breads are hard rolls. However, we didn't go hungry and gained wait. Each dinner consisted of an appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, entree and dessert. Some meals were begun with bruschetta, before the appetizer. Service was the best, not one mistake and our beverage preferences were remembered from day to day. The hamburgers and fries in the dining room at lunch were much better than those by the pool. SHIPBOARD ACTIVITIES: Arts & crafts daily consisted of painting, paper folding, napkin folding, etc. Dancing by the pool, trivia, horse races, hairy chest contest, games, etc. were available. Introductions before the nightly shows and other activities are given in 5 languages. It gets a little tiring after the first night. We went to all of the shows and thought they were very good with one exception, the first night Costa interpretive dance show. However 1 out of 4 of us really liked it. One night they have a Mediterranean night and you visit 4 different lounges and are entertained with a show in each. They had an Italian tenor who was very good. They had 2 gymnast/jugglers who were good. We dressed for toga/talent show night and had a good time. PORTS: San Juan - We just walked around the area with a map off of the internet. The fort did stay open until 6 pm. St. Thomas - We had contacted Henry Christopher at eeetours.com and spent the day with him. I can't tell you enough about how great this tour was. He goes out of his way to take you and show you anything you want, including touring the area and the lookout spots as well as taking us to his house and talking about medicinal plants and herbs growing in his yard. He bought us all fresh coconuts at a roadside stand and showed us how to drink the milk and then crack and eat the inside. He took us to Coki beach for snorkeling and then on to town to visit the historical sites and shopping. He is a retired police officer and locked our packages and gear in the cab of the vehicle while we walked around. He was great. Catalina Island - Costa's private island day. We tendered to the island. This was a great beach day, with food, drinks, swimming, snorkeling, dancing, shopping, etc. We were greeted by local dancers and helped to find lounges and beach umbrellas only for a tip. Restrooms were available on the island. CASA DE CAMPO - I read on these boards that some people went to Casa de Campo and found a dirty town. We walked off the ship immediately and rode the shuttle into Altos de Chavron for $6 pp roundtrip. This is where the optional evening excursion goes. It is a very large old looking stone area with restaurants and expensive shops. However it was built in 1977 as an artists area with an art school. It was interesting and we could have stayed longer just to walk around. It seemed to be safe and we saw security guards around. We didn't stay long and caught the shuttle back to the ship in time for our 7:45 evening show. Nassau - We walked off the ship to the right, down the concrete sidewalk and took the water taxi to the Atlantis ($3 each one way). We walked up the sidewalk to the Atlantis, through the shops area and into the casino and the aquariums. We didn't pay for the entire viewing of the aquariums, you can see quite a lot by just walking through the casino and staying to the right until you find the stairs that lead down to the aquarium. You can also walk around the back outside the casino and look down into the aquariums. DISEMBARKATION - Carrying off your own luggage was not offered. We had purple luggage tags, which were 3rd from last, but we were still off the ship by 9:30. There was a long line waiting for cabs. It is about $15 cab fare to the airport. Airport shuttles were also available for $8 pp. These were the faster option this day. HOTEL AFTER - We took a cab to our hotel, Angela's Beach Resort. The motel was very clean with a heated pool. This is a long walk from restaurants, but a pleasant quiet retreat. They have beach toys, mats, umbrellas, etc. for you to borrow and a short 2 block walk to the beach. They are very pleasant and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
This was our second cruise in as many months. We sailed in January on the Crown Princess to the Southern Caribbean. I will occasionally make some comparisons in this review. As a point of information, we initially booked this cruise 2 ... Read More
This was our second cruise in as many months. We sailed in January on the Crown Princess to the Southern Caribbean. I will occasionally make some comparisons in this review. As a point of information, we initially booked this cruise 2 weeks before sailing as a 1 week cruise. Costa offered a second week while were aboard at a great price so we took it. On to the review. We began cruising in 19786 and cruised 1 or 2 times a year until 1997. For some reason we got away from cruising and did other things on our vacations. We began cruising again in 2005 and have now been on 4 cruises since then. We are glad to be back to it, but it has changed. More on that later. We live in Central Florida, so we were able to drive to Ft. Lauderdale. We did drive down the day before and stayed at the Embassy Suites on SE 17th Street. We have used them before and like them, in spite of the fact that they are a bit pricey for the accommodations. They did offer a cruise parking rate that included a shuttle to the pier, and allowed you to park for 9 dollars a day. We took advantage of this and it worked great, especially in view of the fact that the nearest parking facility in the port is not within easy walking distance of the Terminal 29 which the Mediterranea uses. One note about the hotel, that also applies to others in the area. I started checking prices when I booked the cruise, around February 4th. All, including the Embassy Suites, went down considerably as the date approached. The Embassy Suites went down a hundred dollars a night between February 4th and February 23rd. We arrived at the pier at about noon. Embarkation turned out to be a disaster. I have to state that I don't believe that it was Costa's fault, at least not entirely. We were told later that for one reason or another, Customs did not clear the ship until very late. When we arrived the line to go through security and check in extended a considerable distance outside the terminal. We were able to turn our luggage over to a porter almost immediately, and went to stand in line. It did start to move, but it took about an hour to reach the security screening checkpoint, and another hour to reach the actual checkin point. We were on the ship by about 2:30 PM, and immediately went to the buffet for lunch. The ship is beautiful. Some may term it gaudy, but in our opinions, it is absolutely stunning. As mentioned on previous reviews some may find some of the artwork a bit risque, but it is nonetheless beautiful. After all, this is an Italian ship. Since I found the decor and artwork on the Crown Princess to be dull and boring, this was a welcome change. We booked a guarantee in category 5, which is cabin with verandah, with obstructed view. We were upgraded one category, which eliminated the obstructed view. Costa lists these categories as cabin with verandah, but then the next 3 higher categories list as cabin with large verandah. We expected a small verandah, and were not surprised that it was in fact small. The room itself was beautiful and nicely sized. On the Crown we were greatly disappointed in the size of the cabin, there was room for a bed and a small desk/vanity, with very little room to move around. The Med had a bed along with a sofa, actually a sofa bed, with a lot of room. The bathroom on the Med was of sufficient size, with a shower that at least allowed one to move around a bit. On the Crown the bathroom was tiny with no storage space. I happened to drop the soap in the shower on the Crown, and had to step out to pick it up. The verandah on the the Med was much smaller than the one on the Crown, but on the Crown we purposely booked aft cabins, which have an oversize verandah. The verandah on the Med was large enough to sit on for morning coffee and/or snacks, which is all we are really interested in. As I stated we have been on 4 cruises since January of 2005, and a total of over 20 in all. We are Platinum on Princess and probably Pearl now on Costa. The biggest difference in the cruises we have now taken in the last four years and those taken over ten years ago is the food. It is also the biggest disappointment! I like good food. In the past there were few nights in the dining room where I did not order at least 2 entrees and a similar number of appetizers and desserts. Partly because I am a little older now, but primarily because of the diminished quality of the food, that is no longer the case. I seldom finish any course. This has been true on every line we have been on over the past 4 years, Princess, Costa, HAL and RCI. I would probably say that of the four, HAL had the best, most consistent food. That was on the Westerdam in February of 2006. The food on the Med was good, but neither great nor exceptional. This was true in the dining room as well as at the buffet. This is partly because the ship carried at least 50 per cent Europeans, many of whom were Italian, and I suspect the food was prepared according to those tastes. That is ok, and is probably as it should be. The exception to me at least, was the pasta. Pasta was served as a separate course every night in the dining room, and for several hours at a pasta station each afternoon in the buffet. While some of the sauces were unusual, to Americans, and not to my taste, they were all great. The pasta itself was always cooked to perfection. We found that the service on this ship was outstanding. We also found that to be the case on Princess and HAL last year. We were not impressed with the service on RCI 2 years ago. On the Med, because we extended the cruise a second week after we were already onboard, we had to switch cabins. Both stewardesses were outstanding. They were efficient and unobtrusive. Both of our cabins were always immaculate. I can't say enough about them. One hint that I discovered. Costa does not supply robes in verandah cabins. If you ask they will usually provide one. In the second cabin we were in, she put in a clean one every day for each of us. The dining room staff was great. Food was always served in a timely manner and at the proper temperature. Requests were granted quickly. Costa, as well as Princess, has eliminated the Sommelier, and relegated that duty to the Assistant Waiter. Our Assistant Waiter on Costa seemed knowledgeable about wines and made a couple of suggestions that turned out to be excellent. One thing I noticed on the Med, and that one of our dinner companions also remarked on, was the way in which the dining room staff seemed to get along and to interrelate. They obviously worked well together, which is an indication that someone is doing something right. We did not, and seldom do, attend any of the production shows on either ship. We do not find these terribly entertaining, and would much rather spend the time in a lounge with a piano bar, combo for dancing, or a classical duo or trio. There was plenty of that in the Med, not quite so much on the Crown. The second week of our cruise a singer-pianist joined the ship and played nightly in one of the lounges. His name is Luciano, and he is an Italian tenor, and is absolutely great. We listened to him at least part of each evening the second week. He is also a very pleasant individual. I highly recommend him. We did not partake of any formal excursions either sponsored by the ship, or that we found on our own. We shopped, and kind of walked around or took a taxi on our own. We had been to every port on both itineraries, except for Roatan previously and in general weren't terribly interested in sightseeing in any of them. St. Thomas, as always, is great for shopping. When we booked this cruise, since we had just gotten off of the Crown Princess and just kind of wanted to go again, my primary criteria were price and departure port (Florida so we could drive). I was able to book for just about 1300 dollars through an online agent, and also had Costa vouchers for 200 dollars, so the price was right. During the first week they offered through the daily program a second week at a reduced price, which turned out to be 399 dollars per person, we we took that, and were glad that we did. Overall Costa is a lot of bang for the buck. One thing that should be mentioned, simply because it comes up regularly in any discussion of Costa, is the number of Europeans on board. During both of these weeks I would guess that Europeans, including British, constituted at least half of the passenger list, probably as much as 60 percent. I have to say that I did not witness any of the actions that Americans tend to stereotype Europeans with, such as rudeness, pushiness or general anti-American attitudes. We talked with several, as much as possible given language differences, and found them to be pleasant. We did talk with several Brits, and enjoyed their company. Costa does do a good job of seating people with those that speak the same language, so the differences are not quite as noticeable. The only problem with the mix of nationalities is the fact that all announcements are in 5 different languages, and that gets a bit tedious after a while. I am sure that it is tedious in any language. The disembarkation from the Med went like clockwork. We finished breakfast at about 9:40 AM, and went to the disembarkation area and asked if our color had been called. It had and we walked off of the ship, found our bags without trouble, hailed a porter who got us into a cab. We were back at the Embassy Suites and on the road home by 10:15 AM One tip the porter gave me enroute to the cab. He told me to not tell the cabby our destination until we were loaded. Apparently the cabbies can charge a flat rate of 15 dollars to the airport, and the fare to the hotel area is metered. The fare was just over 9 dollars. I should also mention that even though our embarkation the first week was terrible, we watched the embarkation the second week, and that went perfectly smoothly. It appeared that people arrived, and within a very short period of time were aboard the ship. I will cruise Costa again, in fact I have coupons for 2 hundred dollars off trans Atlantic or European cruise and hope to use them later this year or next year. I will also cruise Princess again, and bought 200 dollars worth of future cruise credits, which is a great deal. I plan on using those next year. All in all, even though the food is not what it once was, and service in some areas has diminished ( I especially miss having a steward escort me to my cabin on boarding, and having a waiter find me a seat, and getting my water or iced tea when using the buffet), it is still impossible to have a bad cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
Ah, where to begin... Embarkation: We arrived at the port with transfers provided through our tour operator just fine. However, we discovered that we had not been provided with Costa luggage tags or the information/ticket booklet which ... Read More
Ah, where to begin... Embarkation: We arrived at the port with transfers provided through our tour operator just fine. However, we discovered that we had not been provided with Costa luggage tags or the information/ticket booklet which most other travellers seemed to have. Costa reps provided us with tags at the port and we were on our way. Inside the terminal, there are two lines to check in: one for US residents and one for non-US residents. As non-US residents we were directed to the second line. This line seemed to move forward in inches while the first line went very rapidly. After over an hour in line a Costa rep pulled us to a check-in agent and in a few minutes we were boarding the ship. We had about 10 minutes for a quick lunch before the 4pm muster drill. Moral of the story - Canadians can check in in the US resident line. Stateroom: Our stateroom was on deck 8 and had a fabulous balcony. Our room was larger than I expected and had plenty of storage space for our clothing & bathroom items. Even though we were three adults sharing the cabin, we never felt like we were really in each other's way. Other reviews complained about the firm mattresses. Yes, they were firm, but not uncomfortable for the 7 days we were on board. We spent many, many hours enjoying the balcony. Ship Info: Loved the daily Today publication. It contained tons of valuable information from sales in the gift shop, hours for dinner, navigational highlights, disembarkation information.... I imagine there was also more information in the ticket booklet which we never received. Decor is a little over the top. After a few days I started to appreciate it more and found it quite beautiful. Gym looked nice, although I didn't manage to work out once during the cruise. Considering how tight my clothes are upon return, that may have been a mistake! Dining: We ate almost every single dinner in the restaurant. We loved almost everything we ordered. If I paused while eating a course one of the waiters offered to replace it with something else, thinking I might not like it. Each day had a traditional Italian meal from a particular region, a healthy menu, a vegetarian menu, standard menu items always available and a few other options. We bought an unlimited wine & water package from our tour provider which was worth the money, especially if you're drinking wine with lunch and dinner. I'm not a huge fan of buffets, but I always found plenty to eat and a good variety. I loved the pizza! They definitely cater to a more diverse audience than the 'pizza hut and hamburgers & fries' group. Desserts in particular were more European and not super sweet/decadent/huge things we typically get in North America. We never, ever went away hungry. Service: Service was excellent. Our room was always spotless. Service in the dining room was efficient and always with a smile. Our waiter was quick to point out information about a menu item to make sure we understood what we were getting but was happy to bring a second item if we were unhappy with the food. Staff were constantly cleaning the ship. Its been really hard getting home and actually having to clean up after myself. Entertainment: I think the 'animators' never sleep. They were everywhere organizing some activity or another throughout the day and evening. The bars/lounges also had a selection of musicians performing. We went to the disco one night for the 70's Disco which was fun. Disembarkation: Waited for the longest time in the Osiris theatre for our colour tags to be called and then in line waiting to get off the ship. I'd have rather waited sitting down in the theatre instead of lining up for 30 minutes or more. The biggest peeve was with the tour operator who provided the transfers to the airport. Even though our bus was full and there was another bus for other passengers, it waited in the port area for about 30 minutes for any extra passengers. Then all buses arrived at the airport at the same time leading to more lineups at the check in counter. Didn't go to any of the shows in the theatre or do any Costa shore excursions so I can't really comment on that aspect. Other reviews also comment on the repetition of information in various languages, musical selection, food variety. We never had a problem or found it in any way unpleasant. I think Costa did a tremendous job catering to a huge variety of needs, considering there were something like 25 nationalities represented on board the week of our cruise. Would I travel with Costa again? For sure. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
We just returned home today after cruising the Eastern Caribbean on the Mediterranean and I wanted to write this while the cruise was fresh in my mind. We booked last minute on this ship on the advice of our travel agent because of the ... Read More
We just returned home today after cruising the Eastern Caribbean on the Mediterranean and I wanted to write this while the cruise was fresh in my mind. We booked last minute on this ship on the advice of our travel agent because of the fire and subsequent cancellation of the Star Princess cruise, which we were supposed to be on. This is our second cruise&our last was 9 years ago on Norwegian and we found this one to be very disappointing in comparison. To be fair, it seems to me that much of the experience aboard a Costa Cruise has to do with your personal tastes when it comes to the overall ambiance of the ship. By this, I mean that the ship has a definite European flair to it from the over-the-top decorations to the singers on board who rarely sing anything in English. Many people like this type of thing. I dont. I was expecting an Italian flavor on the ship but I figured it would be tempered for the primarily North American passengers. I was wrong. Embarkation: There were a couple of problems with getting on the ship which included long delay times due to security and luggage which was put into shipping containers for transfer to the ship without having the proper tags put on. While this was annoying, the fault here was not Costa's but had more to do with Sunquest, our tour operator and the port authority. The annoying part here was that there was an additional holdup of about 15 minutes at the Costa ticket desk. It looked like the computers were down and the agents just stood there talking to each other while we waited. There was no mention from anyone from Costa as to why we were waiting or for how long we may have to wait. When we finally arrived on the ship, the most striking thing to me was the noticeable absence of any type of customer assistance. There was plenty of crew around but nobody expressed any type of greeting and most stood around looking confused as to what to do. The passengers were pretty much left to fend for themselves to find their rooms, etc. Once we found the stateroom, we decided to look around the ship. I wanted to find the buffet and so we went up to deck 9 and found a crew member working at one of the bars. I approached and said how are you doing? He replied Im working and proceeded to glare at me until I asked where the buffet was. He then obliged by pointing in the direction I needed to go. I should point out that this rudeness wasnt a common problem on the ship. Most of the crew we encountered were quite pleasant and the ones we had the most contact with such as the wait staff and the cabin steward were very courteous and professional. However, we encountered rudeness on a few occasions and found such behavior surprising in that we could not recall any incidents of rudeness from our previous cruise on Norwegian. The room: Our room had a balcony large enough for 2 deck chairs and a small table. The bed was a queen size with a very thin mattress which was not particularly comfortable. The room was reasonably spacious with quite a bit of closet space and a safe for keeping valuables. There was also a bar fridge with a small quantity of pop, beer and liquor. This bar is locked on arrival and opened by the cabin steward shortly after arrival. The washroom was small with a stand-up shower but it did the job and the shower was good with lots of pressure and plenty of heat. The ship: If you like European design, you will be impressed with the decor of this ship. It isn't my particular taste but I was also impressed with the craftsmanship that went into the construction. The ship is very well maintained and very clean. It is also relatively easy to get around. There are plenty of bars and gathering areas and some very impressive looking facilities such as the gym, the theatre and the main atrium. There are three small pools and hot tubs (actually "lukewarm tubs")on the ship but two were filled with kids with the exception of the pool and hot tub at the stern of the ship which is reserved for adults. Getting a spot in a hot tub wasn't easy nor was getting a deck chair in the sun on a nice day. Go early if your objective is to lay in the sun. One thing I need to mention is that this ship rocked badly through pretty much the entire voyage, even though the sea was not particulars rough. Many of the passengers were sick and even the crew complained about the rough trip. This is a fairly new ship, and I would think it would have stabilizers. I can only assume they were not used in order to keep fuel costs down. Because of the constant motion it was difficult to sleep and the constant creaking noises in the cabin didn't help. The food: This area is the cause of most of my disappointment with this cruise. I'm a big fan of italian food and I had hoped that the food on this ship would represent the best that Italy had to offer. Boy, was I wrong. First, the buffets on the ship featured a lot of bland fare such as stale tasting buns with a piece of mozzarella cheese and a sliced grape inside. Breakfast at both the buffet and the formal dining was the same every morning and was really no better than anything found at the local Denny's and, in some cases, much worse. Two notable sore points were the coffee and the orange juice. Both of these items at the buffet were completely undrinkable. The coffee was incredibly strong and the orange juice tasted bitter, like it was made from lemons. The coffee at the formal dining area was better, but the orange juice was just as bad. A notable exception at the buffet were the pizza slices, which I thought were very good. There was also a Mexican buffet which I didn't try. It was nothing too special and had basic taco's etc. The formal lunches and dinners were better but still not great. And really, if I pay a good buck to go on a cruise, I expect great food. There were a number of times when we or the people seated with us had to send our food back because it was not hot or because it was not what the menu stated. For example, one night the salad selection from the menu was tomato and caramelized onion. What actually showed up was a bowl of lettuce with a tomato slice and two small pieces of caramelized onions. On the last formal night, lobster was on the menu. All the people at our table who ordered it were unable to eat it as it was rubbery and tasteless. One other thing that bugged me was the lack of thought that went into the menu planning. Note to Chef: When planning a menu for "Italian Night" you may want to change the soup from Louisiana Gumbo to something italian. I'm not Italian, or a chef and I could design a better menu for "Italian Night". Entertainment: I'll make this short. The entertainment was garbage that any high school drama class student could have organized. Compared to our cruise on Norwegian, the idiotic charades played by the group on this ship looked like a pre-school play. Let me give you a for-instance. On one particular night, they had an international evening followed by a buffet. For the Greek portion of the show, one of the crew dressed in a stupid looking wig insisted that members of the audience join hands in a circle and dance around yelling "opa!" One particular lady was coerced into participating against her better judgement and in the process of performing the required footwork, got tangled up with another woman, both of whom fell, almost smashing their heads against the ceramic step on the bar. Nobody from the crew lifted a finger to assist either of these woman or said anything to them as far as I could see. The singers in the various bars all sang in a language other than English or sang english badly and with a heavy italian accent. This could have sufficed for comedy but it wasn't intended as such. The spa: My wife and I both utilized the spa services. One great aspect of this spa is the free Turkish bath and sauna area, which I used regularly. The showers in the spa for use after the sauna were also particularly good. Both my wife and I also had massage appointments. Mine was quite enjoyable although I wasn't impressed that the "Health Questionnaire" I filled out before my massage was used to try to upsell me a bunch of product when the massage was over. My wife's massage wasn't so good. She had stated that she wanted a Swedish massage for relaxation purposes. The Massage therapist first gave her a sob story about having 4 kids to support and then proceeded to massage my wife's legs so roughly that she actually had bruising. This lady claimed that she needed to remove "toxins" from my wife's body and then proceeded to try to sell her on a $300.00 detoxification program. I wasn't entirely sure that I believed her at first about how rough the massage was until I saw the bruises and until we spoke with one of our dinner companions later that week who also had a massages she felt was excessively rough. The lady at our table claimed to have told the masseuse to ease up and was told "no pain no gain." Disembarkation: Disembarkation from this ship was, in a word "disastrous." On the morning of the disembarkation, we were told to be out of our rooms at 8:00 am. Each of our luggage was marked with a colored tag. A letter was given to everyone stating what time to disembark from the ship based on the color of your tag. We were to wait in the Osiris Theatre until our color group was asked to leave. Our group was to leave at 9:15 am. At 11:30 am we finally got to leave. Now, to be fair the holdup was with customs. The thing that bugged me is that we were flying back to Canada that day along with a large group of other people. Our flight was at 1:00 pm. I couldn't understand why we waited for over 2 hours for Customs when we didn't need to. When we finally got out of the ship we were quickly ushered past a U.S. Customs agent in a special line set aside for us simply by showing our passports since we had nothing to declare in the U.S. as we were leaving that day, all on the same flight. In conclusion: I read quite a few reviews about this ship before I left. Some were very negative and frankly, I felt that some of these people probably needed to lighten up a bit. The reason I felt that way was that I also heard people complaining while we were on our Norwegian cruise 9 years ago. I couldn't believe what I was hearing as our experience on Norwegian was absolutely fantastic. After having experienced Costa however, these negative reviews now seem fully reasonable. I am starting to think from reading reviews of other ships that possibly the problems are systemic throughout the industry. The more people choose cruising for their vacations, the cruise ship companies compete by lowering prices to attract guests and then, out of necessity cut back on the quality of their offerings. It wasn't any large problem that made this trip less enjoyable than it should have been. Rather, it was the small things. It was things like charging for cappuccino coffee and having to deal with crew members who obviously are not properly trained or familiar with the english language. Perhaps the problems on Costa are simply an indicator of an industry wide phenomenon. I would make the suggestion however, that there is a reason there were so many empty spaces on the ship one day before sailing that were filled with patrons from the cancelled Star Princess cruise. I certainly will not be coming back. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
Number 1 -- Please do not stay at the Days Inn close to the port its was the worst place I have ever been it was wright off of 95. ok just had to tell you that and save you your life !!! ok when we got to the terminal about 10:00 They told ... Read More
Number 1 -- Please do not stay at the Days Inn close to the port its was the worst place I have ever been it was wright off of 95. ok just had to tell you that and save you your life !!! ok when we got to the terminal about 10:00 They told us that they would not open the gates until 10:30 and they did I drove my wife to the unload our bags before I parked and that was ok so then I went with my father in-law to drop car and had to wait a good while. they will not let you in the parking places until most of the other passengers have left so keep that in mind. Boarding was ok with all the extra stuff they have to do now a days it went ok after you get in to the terminal they fly it was fast just the waiting for them to open the doors. Ok now the cruise I have been on about 6 or seven cruises with my wife so any cruise is a good one. The staff where nice and helpful very helpful. The food was great I read on here before we went that it was bland and all but I thought it was as good as any other line if not better. My father in law was with us and he is the pickiest eater I have ever known and he really enjoyed it so its pretty good from our point of view. Entertainment well lets see it was at the bets ok they really tried the dancers and stuff but it was not Broadway. The Italian singer was pretty good one of the better shows. Entertainment was lacking a little in our book but I think if you were in the Mediterranean the show would be great because it is what you would expect in some cases but for us here in the States. We are used to lots of great show so I guess me and my family have a high expectation of shows. Ok the Cruise director was never around only saw him at shows and at the two horse faces on the pool deck. That was it. He could do a lot more to make it a little more fun I guess. The SHIP -- The ship was the greatest cleanest ship I have ever been on. Everything was over the top marble glass everything really nice plenty of deck chairs every where just great very nice ship. Disembarkation oh man it was long and slow but what can you do? It was mainly the customs and having to check everyone's ID. In all it was a nice cruise relaxing which is what we where looking for I would go again for the price. They did a great job. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
Plain and simple, this had to be the worst cruise that my wife and I had ever been on. Only good part about this cruise was that we were familiar with the ship, since we recently had been on the Carnival Legend, which is identical except ... Read More
Plain and simple, this had to be the worst cruise that my wife and I had ever been on. Only good part about this cruise was that we were familiar with the ship, since we recently had been on the Carnival Legend, which is identical except for the decor. Mediterranea claims to be Italian? The only Italian we saw was the Captain and the majority of the Officers. Not should that make a difference, but the entire crew were mostly from the Philippines, and the food was not of the Italian fare. Which leads me to the service staff. One word was Horrible. The waiters were the worst I have ever encountered on a cruise line. The food was marginal, to say the least. Always brought to the table warm if not cold, and then you never got what you asked for, nor was the order complete. Terrible, terrible service. The dinning experience was so bad, that for the majority of our cruise we decided to opt for the buffet that was a few decks above the main dinning room. The buffet became an obstacle course. The lines ran almost the length of the ship (Exaggerating, but they were extremely long) so much so that I approached one of the officers that was officiating the buffet, and mentioned to him about the long wait, only to be told that this was normal? Interesting! I then saw the Captain passing through and signaled to him about the lines, when he ordered an Officer to open up another buffet line, since there was only this one buffet opened. The food on the buffet, like the dinner seating food, was cold and marginally fair. Beverages? Only beverage available, was iced tea. No Lemonade, or fruit punch. So if one did not want Iced tea, the only beverage available was soda. Now, what cafeteria have you ever gone too that didn;t supply trays. I mean even McDonalds allows to to take a tray with your selections. Well, this ship had no trays to be found! So what one would do is make a few trips back and forth to the table and hope that their previous food selection was still there. Believe me, this has happened to a few guests that we saw. Because there was no trays available they had to make a few trips back and forth to the table. Their previous food selections that they had placed on the table were gone. Perhaps, because of an over zealous waiter, but it still did not negate the aggravation of having to wait on the buffet line again. In short. The Buffet like the seated dinning was horrible. Entertainment? Better on a street corner in NY. I've heard of no ship to date that there was absence of a live band? I should reiterate there was a band on the last night of our cruise. The other nights we were serenaded with the sounds of a DJ. Oh! I have to mention the famed Midnight Buffet, which should be called the infamous Midnight Buffet. Here you have the inept servers that we had for dinner standing around this extremely long line. (Now, this ran the length of the ship) handing out tidbits of food on this 2"x2" single ply napkin, placed in your hand. It was almost comical. If you were lucky you got a server to give you seconds, otherwise they were ducking in any open door they could find. Again, this can only be described as one of the most horrible experiences we had. Again, the only good thing I can say about this cruise is the fact that the ship was astonishing clean, and neat. But I will be remiss if I fail to mention that no time, either on the closed circuit TV or mention otherwise was their any talk of personal hygiene and ship board viruses that seem to have plagued the cruising industry. By that I mean, that every cruise we went on, and so far in 2005 we have gone on 6 cruises alone, there was always talk about washing ones hands profusely, after touching railing, or public areas. This ship failed to mention anything about that. Nor, was there any hand disinfectant round the ship? It was interesting to say the least. I assume Costa Cruises was exempt from any diseases? I could go on and on, about the experience we had, and other passengers as well. Since the lines were long enough to strike up conversations, and make them part of my family. No one had anything good to say about this cruise. I would suggest since this line is part of the Mickey Aronson conglomerate, who owns Carnival, Princess, Holland America, etc. that they chose one of these lines, if they want to take advantage of their customer loyalty incentives. They are all interchangeable. But to use Costa Cruises. This cruiser will never again use this line. Nor will a lot of other passengers that I spoke with. Wish I had good things to say about this line since this is my namesake. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
The embarkation experience for the Mediterranea was a disaster. The ship was so far away from the parking garage that we had to unload our luggage at the parking garage to the street ,had it loaded onto a shuttle and then to the ship. the ... Read More
The embarkation experience for the Mediterranea was a disaster. The ship was so far away from the parking garage that we had to unload our luggage at the parking garage to the street ,had it loaded onto a shuttle and then to the ship. the ship was suppose to leave the port at 4:30 P.M. but didn't get underway until 6:00P.M. (No explanation.) The food was fair at best (with the exception of Pizza, which was good). On our last formal night they served lobster which was just plain awful, very dry and rubbery. They had the worst display of Pastry that I have ever seen on and cruise line (I've been on three other cruise lines) Pancakes and waffles were hard and rubbery ( Italians where I come from are noted for their good pastries. Not so on the Mediterranea. The itinerary left a lot to be desired. We got into San Juan around 4:30 P.M but all the stores closed at 6P.M. Any stores that were open were not quality stores. We had gone on a tour but it got so dark we couldn't see anything. The tendering at La Romana in the Dominican Republic was a 35-40 Minute trip one way which I didn't appreciate. On the plus side the staff was very good especially our waiters and cabin stewards. Which brings me to the cabins. They were too small and the beds were god awful it was like sleeping on bare springs. I don't think I will book another cruise on Costa. Oh,by the way trying to get through to Costa Cruise lines on the telephone was a complete joke. I would advise anyone trying it to bring their lunch your going to be on hold for a loooong time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
My family and I were on the Costa Mediterranea from 2/12 til 2/19. This was our third cruise (once on Celebrity Millennium and once on RCCL Radiance of the Seas) and it was our least favorite. We love cruises though so even though it ... Read More
My family and I were on the Costa Mediterranea from 2/12 til 2/19. This was our third cruise (once on Celebrity Millennium and once on RCCL Radiance of the Seas) and it was our least favorite. We love cruises though so even though it didnt compare to the quality of Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, it was still enjoyable, nonetheless. Embarkation: Embarkation took the longest time of the ships weve been on but still wasnt very long. It was about thirty minutes before we were on the ship. We arrived at the port at around 11:45 and the boarding of passengers began at 11:50, not 1:30, as the documents say. The Ship: The ship itself was spotless. It received a perfect 100 score in the CDC inspections and seldom did I ever see a place on the ship where a crew member wasnt cleaning. I, as well as many others on this site, believed the atrium was overdone but it grows on you. The glass elevators were nice but it was missing elevators that face the sea which the other two ships I went on had. The bars and lounges were always exciting and eventful -- Mr. Pizza, Karaoke, bands, etc. The beautiful, Egyptian inspired, Osiris Theatre was beautiful but had some bad seats. The first rows of seats on the balconies were no good because the metal bars that topped the glass railings of the balcony obstructed ones view. Many of the handicapped seats were situated behind poles and some seats were obstructed by poles. The entertainment was not perfect but the production shows were certainly up there with the ranks of Celebrity and close to Royal Caribbean. The pools on the top deck were somewhat small but never crowded and there were always events taking place on the pool deck such as horse races and live poolside bands. The waterslide, open to all ages but only open for a few hours a day had too little water in it as I and other kept stopping on it and had to push ourselves at some points just to get down it. The gym was spacious and had many different pieces of exercise equipment and a high quantity of each. Unfortunately, I didnt use the gym much but now, six pounds later, I regret that decision. Ship had a small chapel that I never actually used and a large arcade that I went to once. The layout of the ship; however, was somewhat eccentric as some places were tucked away and hard to find. I did not use the teen facilities but heard they were pretty good. Just a side note: When I first walked on the ship, I kept nearly running into metal and mirrors. The ship is so shiny and has so many shiny pieces of metal that at first it is hard to tell where you are walking and if there is anything in front of you. Cabin: We were in cabin 8215, a category 08, and it was about the same size as verandah staterooms on other ships. I really liked the layout, though. It made it feel like there was more space for the members of my family. The balcony itself was comparable to the ones we had on RCCL and Celebrity. Our cabin steward was a hard worker and she was always friendly. She came to our stateroom on the first day and introduced herself to us and was very courteous. Food: The food selection in the buffet and quality of food in the buffet for breakfast and lunch was lacking. The pizza and pasta were very good, however. Sweet desserts were not to be found. There were not nearly as many desserts as there was on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean and the majority of the desserts there were, were either sugar free and not sweet or just not sweet. Im not sure if thats a European characteristic of desserts or not. Dining room food was excellent. Close to or equal to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. The meat was tender and cooked to perfection but the desserts were still lacking. Our head waiter, Luis, catered more to his other table, seated with about twenty European people but our assistant waiter, Edwin, enjoyed talking to our table. We felt very bad for Edwin as he seemed homesick and sad. He told us stories o his life and while his service was not superb, his personality was. He told us that he thinks he can do better than clean tables for the rest of his life and we think he can, too. That is why we raised his tip. Note: Drink prices on this ship seemed to be more expensive than other cruise lines. Over $7 for a drink! Crew: The crew was friendly but not nearly as interactive as they are on Royal Caribbean or Celebrity. The exception to this was the Cruise director staff. Bepe and many others in the staff were funny and interactive with the guests. Paul Rutter, the cruise director was humorous but didnt have the kind of energy that Gordon Whatman did on the Radiance of the Seas. The last night of the cruise, the Roman Bacchanal, is where the cruise staff shines. It is toga night (extremely fun) and the passenger talent show. Paul becomes Julius Caesar, Bepe becomes Mark Anthony and the whole cruise director staff dresses up. Julius makes the decision whether to send the passengers from the talent show to the midnight buffet (good) or to the lions (bad). It was a very fun filled evening. Ports of Call: We went on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary for the second time. We first stopped at San Juan. If youve been to San Juan once, youve seen all that you need to, so we just went around to the little shops. I did not; however, like the times of arrival and departure 4:00pm-1:30am. It was an awkward time interval. St. Thomas was next. We stopped here from 8:00am to 5:00pm and I took part in an excursion. It was Windsong sailing and snorkeling and it was top notch. We went to a cove with endangered green sea turtles. The crew was hilarious and gregarious. I love St. Thomas and St. John. Catalina Island Dom. Republic was next. This is the cruise lines private island and it is the most beautiful place I have ever been to. It was like a postcard scene; white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. For those of you who have been to Labadee (Royal Caribbeans private island) Catalina Island is 110% better. The local vendors were in huts and were very friendly. It was a day at the beach. That night we left for La Romana, Casa de Campo. We decided not to get off the ship because last time we went there it was awful! Lastly, we visited Nassau in the Bahamas. I like the Bahamas but every time I go there, there are too many people. The vendors in the straw market are harder to haggle prices with because they know that if you dont buy something from them for the price they want, they can just get some other tourist to buy it. I think they need to learn how to drive down there because every car I saw had dents and marks on them, people were driving out of control and a horse and buggy almost ran over my cousin. Fellow Passengers: The U.S., European ratio on this ship was probably 60% American 40% European. Some American people are rude but there are many more European people who are rude. They push and shove, cut in line, and they are ignorant. There were not many other kids on board. I would estimate that 80% of the people on board were over the retirement age. I was quite surprised and a little taken back by the number of people in little Speedos. Conclusion: While we had a restful and relaxing time aboard the Costa Mediterranea and an experience that will last a lifetime, our future cruises will not be on Costa. While the cruise was not as good as Royal Caribbean or Celebrity, it was the best value as it was over $1000 cheaper with the kids sail free promotion. The defining factors of this cruise from Royal Caribbean and Celebrity were the extra perks it was lacking and interactive service. You get what you pay for I guess, but on cruises, we always seem to get a little more than that! Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
Ok here goes my first attempt at a trip report. I have chosen to break it up into sections, as I didn't take notes (hey I'm on vacation) it's all from memory. Embarkation/Debarkation- When I got to the port I checked my ... Read More
Ok here goes my first attempt at a trip report. I have chosen to break it up into sections, as I didn't take notes (hey I'm on vacation) it's all from memory. Embarkation/Debarkation- When I got to the port I checked my one bag with the porter and went and found a wheelchair. The employee that pushed me in the chair took me to the front of the line and I was the second person on the ship. I really don't like to cut in line but this is how they do it and nobody seemed to get upset. Once onboard I went to the Show Lounge and waited for the buffet to open. I'll discuss the food in a later section. Debarkation went very smoothly as I went to the top deck and waited near the pool, I was one of the last to get off of the ship. Try as I might I couldn't find a good hiding spot that would allow me to stowaway for the next cruise. Cabin- I had a balcony cabin towards the aft of the ship on the starboard side. It was very nice having a balcony which allowed me to go out and watch us we pulled into or out of port. As other reviews stated the beds were pretty hard but to me not unbearable. There was also plenty of storage and the shower was big enough. Food- I have heard negative reviews about the food on Costa but I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the food served in the dining room and the buffet. One night however I didn't see an entree that I liked so I just had pasta as an entree. Service- I found that the service in the dining room was outstanding, my waiter Jose Torres and his asst. waiter (can't remember his name) were great. My stewardess was good also and cleaned my cabin twice a day, the only thing I missed were towel animals. It's not a big deal but I kind of like them. The service on the rest of the ship left a lot to be desired, especially the photo shop. They weren't rude necessarily just indifferent. Entertainment- The shows were excellent. The props and costumes were great and stage changes were unbelievable during the Time travel show. I only went to two lounges, but the singers were great. The guy in the Talia lounge was a very talented singer and the Blue Note in the Casanova lounge were very good. Ports- I did not get off in St. Maarten so I don't have a review of that port. Catalina Island was the most beautiful beach that I have ever been to. The only drawback is the merchants that almost drag you into their shops. (I know that is common in a lot of ports, I just don't like it). La Romana, Dominica, I went to the Kandela show and it was worth the $36 that I spent, very high energy and I like seeing other culture's dancing and music. Nassau, went snorkeling and had a great time. This was my first time to swim in the Caribbean and I was surprised by the fact that the water was cold. I thought it was supposed to be warm down there. But then again I am a wimp when it comes to cold water. So there it is, my review. I had a wonderful time and can't wait until my cruise in Sept. Will I go on another Costa ship? Sure!!! It was a beautiful ship. I had a great time and I hope that future cruisers give this ship a chance, because it deserves it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
the crew wewe not as accomadating as all other cruise lines i have sailed on.from the guest services desk to the cabin stewarts quarters. request were met with an attitude of why are you bothering me. i traveled with my granddaughter who ... Read More
the crew wewe not as accomadating as all other cruise lines i have sailed on.from the guest services desk to the cabin stewarts quarters. request were met with an attitude of why are you bothering me. i traveled with my granddaughter who is 18, and one cre member(intertainment staff, juan)suggested she come to his cabin. matier d in main dinning room was not accomodating when asked to check for other seating, not just me but several others were told to get out of HIS dining room. our water(ansel cristy)was excellent. but he also was shouted at when trying to help us. the lady in charge of the photos was also quite condescending. the matter of digging through boxes of photos to find yours was a bad idea. we bought many photos but the settings were not the quality of other cruise lines. one photographer was excellent and really knew how to pose individuals, sorry i did not get his name. best part of all intertainmemt was toga night, but should have included more for cruisers, such as contests etc. this was my first costa cruise,and im sorry to say my last. the cleanliness of the ship was outstanding,rmbarkation was swift, but that is about the only good things on my list Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
I read Stef's review and I was so happy to finally find someone that liked CostaMediterranea. I totally agree with his/her review. I was on the CostaMediterranea at Christmas time (Dec. 2005). We did the Eastern Caribbean. ... Read More
I read Stef's review and I was so happy to finally find someone that liked CostaMediterranea. I totally agree with his/her review. I was on the CostaMediterranea at Christmas time (Dec. 2005). We did the Eastern Caribbean. Everything was wonderful for my taste, including the Filipino waiters and the steward, they were so polite and pleasing. It was so nice to come back to our cabin at night and find it tidy and with our beds inviting us to rest. We ate every night at the main restaurant. I loved the food and the portions were perfect. We even have room for their wonderful desserts. This was our first cruise and I'm afraid next time we go on a cruise I will be comparing everything to the CostaMediterranea. The only thing I didn't like was the cold water on the pool, so we just used the hot tub. What impressed me the most was the cleanliness. I have never seen cleaner public restrooms than these. I never saw any mess. Crew members were cleaning everywhere all the time. I would advise those people who are allergic to foreign accents Not to go on the CostaMediterranea. I speak English and Spanish and I loved it!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
I am in the Travel business and am a seasoned "cruiser". I have sailed on Holland America, Princess, RCL and Carnival. This was my first time on Costa. I read all of the reviews prior to making my reservation and I was somewhat ... Read More
I am in the Travel business and am a seasoned "cruiser". I have sailed on Holland America, Princess, RCL and Carnival. This was my first time on Costa. I read all of the reviews prior to making my reservation and I was somewhat nervous about the reviews I had read. But we do need a change and I also needed a holiday! Embarkation was a breeze, arrived at the pier at 11:15am and we were on board by 11:45am had lunch and were in our suite by 1:00pm...quickest ever and luggage was delivered by 3:00pm. We had a Panoramic Suite and it was wonderful, prior to this cruise we always had a balcony. The decor was both soothing and relaxing and I just loved the bathroom, double sinks, whirlpool tub and I also had my own private dressing area. My partner had his own closet space and drawers so we never bumped into one another. Our butler Yhen and cabin steward Victoria were just perfect. Our bed was too hard and on day two, an extra mattress and pillows were delivered. Our butler Yhen delivered our tea and coffee each morning which was a nice change from many different staff as on my previous cruises. This ship is beautiful, albeit somewhat overdone...but hey, we are on vacation and its nice to admire the various art and colours throughout this spotless ship. The staff are constantly cleaning and polishing. The staff on board are mainly from the Philippines and always have a smile and say hello to you. I would say probably 90% which I haven't encountered on other ships. The food...well...it wasn't as good as on my previous cruises, but I certainly didn't go hungry. The buffet for breakfast didn't have the choices that even Carnival had and it was very basic. Lunch buffet was just OK and the dinners in the main dining room were typical cruise fare. Though the pasta and the pizza were excellent! They serve hamburgers and fries on deck, I didn't try them as I do not go on a cruise and have a burger. We did have dinner one evening at Medusa (charge is 20.00us per person) it was wonderful and the service was excellent. But if it wasn't included with our suite I don't think I would have paid the extra to dine there! A few tips: I brought 3 bottles of wine in my carry on. My partner brought some pop and water Buy the 1/2 litre of wine instead of a glass Bring some snacks...chips etc... The average drink on board is quite expensive at 5.50us If you don't like your table and tablemates at dinner you can always change...we did... And lastly...try the "Wheel of Fortune" in the casino...my partner had a nice win the last night of our cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
We did the Christmas cruise to San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, Bahamas. Our 4th cruise. Overall a good cruise. The weather was great every day which makes it nice. We where in the welfare section on floor 1 in the bowels of the ship but we ... Read More
We did the Christmas cruise to San Juan, St. Thomas, Tortola, Bahamas. Our 4th cruise. Overall a good cruise. The weather was great every day which makes it nice. We where in the welfare section on floor 1 in the bowels of the ship but we had a very roomy outside cabin, (I recommend you unhook the speaker that is located just below the desk ,it has a plug so you can just unplug it, this makes for a nice quiet cabin), well appointed, and our steward, Jorge, (he liked to be called George)was very efficient and was always available. Actually the lowest floor has its advantages, as you can exit for ports in just a few steps. Initially getting aboard the ship was the typical long lines as a number of large ships where in port. Your MP3 will come in handy here. I would say the food on the ship was good overall. Nothing outstanding, but good, hot, fresh and plentiful. The Lido deck had your typical cruise fare of a buffet line breakfast with omelette stations, various lunch selections, burgers and dogs by the pool, and they would have different specials every day like Chinese or BBQ. The dining room was very nice, we had the 5:45 early seating, which is like eating at 4:45 after turning your clock ahead an hour. The dining room food was very good and the friendly staff didn't blink an eye if you requested more than one entree. They even made my wife a special HUGE bowl of ice cream every night for dessert. They had one formal dining night and you can get away with a golf shirt on the others, except for the last night everyone wears a Toga for the Toga Party.(sheets provided). The only complaint we had was the lack of dessert variety. We are dessert eaters and were disappointed by the lack of chocolate based sweets, etc. The desserts they did have were all the same the entire cruise. Mostly sponge type lemon cake, fruit tarts, and other boring items. No pie, cookies, brownies, flaky pastries, cheesecake, or other American type desserts. This may have actually saved a few pounds around the waist!! They did have a nightly midnight buffet which had plenty of food but all the same desserts. We don't drink so we saved some money there. We brought on a case of bottled water and I drank the free ice tea for most of the cruise. I also brought on a coffee maker and 2 lbs. of Dunkin Donuts coffee, I found that the early morning coffee on cruise ships can be iffy at best. We purchased a $55.00 drink card for our 13 year old daughter that we wouldn't do again, she didn't end up using the entire card. The casino was a typical cruise venue with plenty of slots and a few table games, and it never seemed real busy. We tried to make reservations in the alternative pay restaurant on our second night only to be told it was fully booked for the entire cruise. The place only seats 60 and obviously you must make your reservations the second you get onboard. We walked by the window on several nights only to notice the place was always half empty! You would think that they would have a cancellation list. The fitness room was very nice with plenty of modern equipment, steppers, treadmills, bikes, rowers, nautilus, and dumbbells. I'm an early riser and would be there every morning at 6am. The gym didn't officially open until 7am but it was always open. The only complaint we had was they have a hot tub in the middle of the fitness center that they fire up about 8am and the chlorine rises up to the elevated cardio area making for uncomfortable breathing...go early. We were docked at all the ports (no tendering) which was nice. They have to rethink their San Juan stop, you only get 8hrs at the port and it's at night. We arrived on Christmas night and there wasn't a lot going on. I guess if you're a night owl its fine. St. Thomas has great shops and beaches, we rented a Jeep at Budget ($80.00) and swam at Megan's Bay and Sapphire Beach. We had been here before and it was very nice. My daughter had her hair braided on Sapphire ($70.00 inc. tip). Tortola is truly gorgeous. My wife, daughter, and I rented 2 scooters from the first guy we saw when we got off the ship. (I don't recommend this !!) We rode to the other side of the Island to Long Beach, truly a beautiful beach with warm clear water for swimming. We also stopped by Sopers Hole, at the west end of the island, a really cool marina with some small shops, an open air bar/rest. and plenty of Big $$$$ Boats. Check out the grocery store (small box of Corn Flakes $4.59!). The reason I don't recommend renting scooters is it is way too dangerous! People blow by you on the narrow roads and the ones we had stalled on one of the tall hills and we ending up ditching it. We only had some road rash but were lucky. The bikes they rent are only 50 cc and are not powerful enough to handle the terrain with 2 people aboard. Get the jeep ..same price!! Bahamas was O.K., we all (9 of us), rented a van-taxi to Paradise Island ($4.00 each/each way). Nice beach but water was too cool for me. The natives are all over you the second you step on the sand renting chairs, jet-skis, boat rides and selling t-shirts, jewelry, coconut drinks, ganga, whatever you needed or didn't need. My wife and her sister got a nice half hour table massage on the beach for $40.00 with the tip. They leave you alone if you don't buy anything. Pretty clean beach though. Shops in Nassau all pretty much the same, T-shirts and jewelry stores. I never go to any shows but my wife thought that they where not that great, just O.K.. They seem to have a lot of activities, which I don't participate in, (I know, I'm a pain in the rear) the typical cruise stuff, bingo, toy horse races, sexiest men's leg contest, that kind of thing. The TV had no ESPN or FOX station which made watching football tough, but I did catch a couple on the network stations. They have an internet cafe (open 24/7) but the rates are extreme ($1.00 a minute !ouch!!) It's nice to have though if you need it. They have plenty of Pools with an adult only pool at the very back of the ship. The crew was very friendly and generally helpful. Overall we thought it was a good cruise and we would go again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
Costa Mediterranea Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.4
Enrichment 1.0 2.9
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.6
Rates 4.0 3.9

Find a Costa Mediterranea Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click