Corporations exist to make money for their shareholders and there are two ways they can do it. Forming a long-term relationship with customers who love the product, remain engaged and delighted and want to return. Or short-term gains ... Read More
Corporations exist to make money for their shareholders and there are two ways they can do it. Forming a long-term relationship with customers who love the product, remain engaged and delighted and want to return. Or short-term gains through nickel-and-diming, cutting corners and slashing staff. In my opinion, Costa has clearly chosen the latter path to profitability for its parent corporation Carnival.
I used to love Costa, with great experiences on both the Atlantica and Mediterranea in the Caribbean. Maybe it's the Mediterranean versus the Caribbean experience from a few years ago, or maybe it's a genuine sea-change at Costa since I was last on one of their ships.
I'd looked forward with much excitement to this cruise, but Costa seemed to throw up impediments every step of the way. And while I encourage you to keep reading, all that I say in here has been previously stated in earlier reviews, which I chose to ignore thinking this wasn't the Costa line I'd known in previous cruises.
It's a great ship, with hard-working employees. But those employees are being asked to carry out short-sighted policies.
One example is the lack of tea and coffee outside of breakfast hours. Travel on any cruise line and tea and coffee are available in at least one location around the clock. The height of this absurdity came to a head on debarkation day when I wanted a cup of tea at 650am. Even though the tea/coffee station was set up, they weren't budging and wouldn't let people use it until 7am when the buffet line opened.
Fancy ice-cream? Not on Costa. There's a charge for ice-cream/gelato or you can use the machine by the swimming pool, at a cost. The machine just looked so out of place and not what you want to see on a cruise ship. (Both Disney and Carnival offer complimentary self-service ice-cream and some beverages around the clock.) I'm not opposed to a business making money, but it comes at a cost: I've taken three previous cruises on Costa and am so pissed by the nickel-and-diming that won't be taking another. Costa, by the way, also charges for what's billed a premium pizza. Other cruise lines deserve my business.
The main dining room on most cruise ships is a nice place to get breakfast, especially on seadays. Costa has a new approach: Get rid of waitstaff and let passengers get their own food from a buffet set up in the main dining room. Again, it might cut your costs but it's not the cruise experience. If I wanted a buffet, I'd be at the buffet on deck 9.
The number of menu options has been greatly reduced. Many cruise lines offer a minimum of five entrée options. Costa is down to about 3. The buffet food is virtually the same every day, with little variety. The ice and water machines were temperamental and didn't always work.
Another cost-cutting move was eliminating the daily menu that most cruise lines post just outside the main dining room. Not on Costa. A member of the wait staff told me it had been eliminated because of "security concerns," which I don't buy because that just doesn't make any sense. Whether that is the true reason, I'm not sure. In its place was a sign advertising paid dining options, which presumably creates less of a security risk. Just wondering why the menu information isn't posted to the MyCosta app that's available for download on the ship, or posted in a location that might be less disruptive.
And speaking of "security concerns," no one seemed too worried about the crowds created byfoot traffic caused by the portable beer sales kiosks near the buffet. Also the buffet lines can be long, causing traffic jams at peak times.
Also gone are the portable pasta stands which I've enjoyed on previous Costa cruises, presumably a casualty of cost-cutting. Passengers on cruises that I was on seemed to love it!
Boarding at Venice was a mess. Chaos at embarkation. We were given a boarding card that said number 6 and we'd have to wait for our group to be called. But when I went inside and asked where the check-in line was for suite passengers, all of a sudden I was given a number 1. Once in the correct line, boarding was a breeze. If you weren't in a suite, it was a crowded wait. Debarkation was much better and they had us off the ship quite promptly.
Rarely saw the cruise director, apart from the shows. The entertainment was lacking.
I was bored on this ship a lot and there is nothing to do, unless you're buying bingo cards or playing in the casino.
Port times were limited. We'd get into a port like Trieste around 7am and be gone by 2pm. Likewise for Dubrovnik.
On the plus side, cabin staff were hard-working and wonderful. Nelson the bartender in the karaoke/piano bar lounge was a genuinely nice guy.
I'm looking forward to getting the customer survey and hopefully it will provide an opportunity to provide detailed feedback to Costa about this cruise's shortcomings, with my name attached. I was quite surprised that cruise line officials openly pushed customers to only score a 9 or 10, saying that anything less was viewed as a failure. Costa executives have to think about the way they score. Despite being urged to give high grades, I won't hesitate to give low or barely passing grades where appropriate.
I really cannot recommend the Costa Luminosa, or the cruise line, based on this cruise and would certainly not recommend it to anyone who has cruised before and has a reasonable expectation of what a cruise should be. I've taken more than 30 cruises, with 4 of those on Costa and this was easily the worst. Read Less