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11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our first cruise. We needed a cruise that fit in with pre-allocated holidays at work and also to discover somewhere new. The Western Mediterranean ports have mostly been visited on other, non cruising holidays, so we wanted the ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We needed a cruise that fit in with pre-allocated holidays at work and also to discover somewhere new. The Western Mediterranean ports have mostly been visited on other, non cruising holidays, so we wanted the Eastern Mediterranean and chose a cruise from Venice on Costa Luminosa. Some of the points highlighted in this review may seem trivial to seasoned cruisers but we had 101 questions before our cruise so hopefully this review may help others who are/were in the same situation as ourselves. To anyone like ourselves I would say "don't worry. A lot of things become self explanatory once on board" There are lots of variables when booking a cruise and I did some hefty research on sites like Cruise Critic. Some of the items we booked were merely a "fluke" like getting a drinks package included. We booked around 7 months in advance on the Costa website and chose a Premium Balcony cabin. This allowed us to choose the cabin we wanted and we opted for cabin 7260 which was mid-ship on the left hand side and had cabins above and below us to minimize the noise from bars, disco's, engines, theatre and the sundeck. As mentioned this also included the Brindiamo drinks package - more later. Also, by choosing this type of cabin we could specify preferences about meal times and we chose the first sitting (18:45) and specified a table for two in the upstairs dining room. My wife is on a Gluten Free diet so, a few days after booking, I telephoned Costa in Genoa and told them about the special request. We were advised that they could only guarantee gluten free food if we ate in the main dining room. They advised us not to eat in the buffet for this reason. We paid our deposit and I made a note to myself and paid the balance about 8 weeks in advance. Whilst the initial booking could be done online we could only pay the balance by telephone. Approximately 3 weeks before travel we received an email from Costa with boarding forms and luggage labels which we had to print out ourselves. We traveled from the UK to Venice by train and stayed the night before the cruise in a hotel in Mestre which is a few miles from Venice on the mainland. Our documentation from Costa said that boarding began at 14:00 so we headed from Mestre to Venice late morning and had a bite to eat. From Santa Lucia railway station in Venice it's a steady 25 minute walk to the cruise terminal. There's also a people mover which costs 1.50 Euro's and would reduce this transit time to about 12 minutes. Once at the port (at about 14:05) we handed our suitcases over and were given embarkation number 15. We proceeded to a waiting room and discovered that they were processing group number 12. We sat and waited for a short time before they called number 15. There were long queues but we seemed to move quickly. After checking in we had the obligatory pose for the camer-man and headed to the ship. It took exactly 1 hour from arriving at the terminal to getting to our cabin. The cabin was excellent. Plenty of room. A decent sized en-suite. Balcony with two chairs and a small table. Mini-Bar and a comfy bed. There was a selection of fruit and biscuits for us and a sign saying that they were gluten free (as we had told them). It was my wife's birthday on the day of boarding and there was a birthday card from the captain waiting for her in the cabin. On the bed were our Costa Cards, and some other information. At this point we discovered that people were allowed on-board from 11:45. So we had been killing time all morning waiting when we could have been on the ship 2-3 hours earlier. We had read many articles suggest things to do during the first few hours onboard. To put it mildly, we were overwhelmed. I think initially someone had suggested the pool. We didn't get this far until day 3 ! Each day a "Diary de Bordo" is delivered to your cabin. This shows navigation, weather and entertainment information and also information about shore excursions (where to meet and at what time etc). However, something that we almost missed was the "Welcome meeting" which was done at 15:30 in the Grand Bar Ellectra for English speaking guests. We found this very useful and would strongly suggest that any novice cruisers like ourselves seek this out on the first afternoon. We were advised that "English Speaking Guests" totaled 440 on this cruise. English speaking guests are those who don't communicate in the main languages used (French / German and Italian but not Russian). So included in this number were Swedish, Norwegian and Brazilian nationalities as well as British, Amercan and Canadians etc. I believe there was also a Russian host on board but ship announcements were not made in Russian. Whilst I am not privy to exact numbers I would estimate that the cruise consisted of 40% Italian, 25% German, 25% French and 10% split between other nationalities. It was rare to hear any other guest speak English on board. Most of the ships activities are on decks 2, 3 and 9. It's a beautiful ship. Very clean and well maintained. It was interesting to watch the officers do their inspections and pick up on the tiniest area that wasn't clean enough and tell staff to clean it. The Costa Card :- in our cabin was a Costa Card. This was our "passport" to the ship for the next week. It opened the cabin door and was used to obtain services on board. It was shown (and scanned) when leaving on shore excursions and likewise when returning to the ship. As our cabin included certain drinks we had to show it whenever ordering a drink. Each bar has a drinks menu. Next to each drink is a colour code representing the various drinks packages. I believe a grey dot represented a drink included in our package. Should we have ordered a drink that was not included in the package we would have been given a receipt and this amount debited to our room. Drinks on board generally ranged from 3 to 6 Euros. We subsequently discovered that our drinks package would have cost us 27 Euro's per day - that's between 5 and 9 drinks per day to make it worthwhile. We probably had about 5. Drinks that are included in your package convey no surcharge. However, anything not included has a 15% surcharge levied. Free water is available (by the glass) in the buffet area and pool area at the rear of the ship. Bottled water costs 1.70 Euro's (plus service charge) for 0.5 litres. One thing worth noting is that we were told that for environmental reasons all drinks are by the glass. When ordering a Pepsi it was poured from a 330ml can into a glass holding 250ml. What happened to the last bit I have no idea but we never saw them "recycle" a drink by pouring a bit from one can and the rest from another. The main dining seemed to be quieter (and smaller) on deck 3 rather than deck 2. Our waiter said the later sitting was the busiest. We found the food the be excellent. Yes, there is an Italian theme but also plenty of choices that are not just pasta. Each evening my wife was given a special "Gluten Free" menu which generally contain choices not available on the standard menu. Our waiter was slightly dour on the first day and we recalled some bad reviews with trepidation. However, we joked with him, talked to him and, by the end of the cruise felt that he was one of our best friends. A truly warm, genuine person. The cabin steward was also a very kind, warm person. Always smiling and kept the cabin in immaculate condition. When we got to the cabin on the first afternoon we could choose the time that would suit us best for it to be cleaned. We opted for the afternoon/evening as we would normally be having dinner. We had a very slight problem with a light not working and the cabin steward immediately stopped everything he was doing to fix it (it transpires that a previous guest had unplugged it) The bar staff were also great. Often remembering who arrived for drinks in what order and dealing with 3 people at once. On our subsequent feedback questionnaire to Costa we rated the ships officers quite badly as they hardly spoke and were miserable. However, without exception, the "normal" staff were incredibly attentive and cheerful. If you engage with them you would be treat like royalty. I received a free drink at the bar one day because, he said, " I had made him smile". Also, I had a daily ritual with one of the chefs at breakfast. Early in the cruise she was singing "You are my sunshine" as it was a beautiful sunny day. As the week progressed I asked her about the song of the day. As she normally was cooking omelets we had songs like "How do you like you eggs in the morning" and "Smile" though we changed the words a little from "Smile though your heart is aching" to "Smile though your eggs are breaking". Even though my wife was on a Gluten free diet we did use the buffet area on more than one occasion. My wife has an intolerance to wheat but if we are sensible we can work out what foods are likely to contain this substance. By 8am the buffet was busy. As early risers we were there at 7-7.30 and it was almsot deserted. The buffet restaurant opened about 11.30 for lunch. Usually at this time (until about midday) it wasn't that busy. However by 12:30 people were hunting for tables. There are four main serving areas. However there may be small variation with what's available at each one. For example, one may have carrots whilst another one may have the carrots swapped for Broccoli. Unless you are really picky and desperate there is certainly no need to visit more than one serving station. We only visited the buffet once in the evening and this was at 8pm and found it to be quiet. There is some repetition of food and some dishes (potato wedges appeared every night) In the main dining room you have an allocated table for evening meal but you are shown to a seat at Breakfast and Lunch which could be anywhere and generally only on deck 2 (the upstairs restaurant is only open on an evening). We had breakfast in the main dining room once and was bitterly disappointed. There is a small buffet area and you can also order one of a themed breakfast - so they had an American breakast, an English breakfast a Norwegian brekfast etc. We found, on the English breakfast that the bacon was like charcoal and the egg very "snotty". However for lunch and evening meal the food was spectacular. The portions are not huge but the menu is based on having 4 or 5 courses. We really enjoyed our meals and found them to well presented and very tasty. Dress code was varied. Each night there was a theme. Red & Black night / White night / Mask night. I would estimate that only 10% of guests actually took heed of this. People were having meals in shorts and t-shirts - even on gala night. The theatre has two showings. (I believe) at 19:30 if you have a late meal and 21:30 if you have an early sitting for dinner. Each show lasts 35-40 minutes. The first night was a magician who was "ok". Other nights we thoroughly enjoyed each show. One reviewer said "slapstick". We would vehemently disagree. Each announcement was made in Italian, French, German and English. Some people have said this was tedious. However we are an English couple sailing from Italy to the Greek islands. How lucky were we that they even took the time to speak English ? In our opinion - very ! Every member of staff was fluent in all the aforementioned languages. Also, we found it nice to be part of the minority. If, as an English couple, we wanted to be surrounded by English speaking people and visit a destination where everyone spoke English then we could have gone to Skegness. It was an eye-opener in our last port as a cruise ship with predominantly English speaking guests was also in port. Suddenly everywhere in town were British people and it spoilt what I would describe as the "exclusivity". We found the majority of other passengers to be miserable and very bad mannered. The staff would pass you and say "hello, Good morning". You would have been lucky to get a scowl from other guests. At the bar I would say " a cappuccino please". Many, many times I heard other nationalities just say "expresso" or "pepsi". No manners ! Needless to say that their bad manners persisted on shore excursions and meal times. We booked all of our shore excursions through Costa as we were unsure what would happen with self booked tours. This was, to us the worst part of our cruise. Generally, with fewer English speaking guests we shared our coach with other nationalities. French one day, Italian the next etc - however all announcements were multi-lingual Bari - Sassi de Matera We were in port for 6 hours but this tour took 5.5 hours. We were rushed with hardly any time for toilet stops. An audio/visual presentation was made in a cave. The tour guide cut in half way through say "got to go". We were given 30 minutes of free time at the end and told to meet "back here at 17:30". At 17:25 the tour guide took us back the coach, as she was in such a hurry, leaving some guests behind and a couple of these must have been in their 80's. Of course we were then delayed whilst she went back to find them... Keffalonia - Caves/Lake/Beach The visit to the beach was to "look at it" from 1000ft up a maintain. The caves and lake were good but very long queues for the lake (1 hour queue) Santorini - Oia and Fira Excellent tour guide. Excursion spoilt by very long wait to use the cable car. Queuing for 1 hour to use it. Worried about making the last tender back to the boat Mykonos- walking tour of Mykonos Waste of money. Tour guide took us on a 1 hour walk around Mykonos. "here's a windmill", "this is a shop", "that's a church". We discovered more in our own time that with him. Katakolon - Olympia We got a coach from Katakolon to Olympia with entrance included but no tour guide. We were disappointed by the short time we had there and also the lack of signage in Olympia telling you what things were. At the end of the cruise we were disappointed to leave. Whilst we didn't participate in many of the activities available time went by quickly - even our last day- at sea. We are now looking forward to our next cruise - but would like to try another company for comparison. Considering all of the negative reviews on Cruise Critic about Costa we were very impressed and they exceeded our expectations. I use an old adage "behavior breeds behavior". Treat the staff with courtesy and respect and they will treat you like royalty. The poor shore excursions and bad mannered, rude fellow travellers has stopped me rating this as 5* Even though we would like to try another cruise line we would not hesitate to book with Costa again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was extensive and awesome! We went in calling this a Motel 6 on water, having very low expectations. We were so wrong, it exceeded in almost every way. Pro's: The ship is very very ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary which was extensive and awesome! We went in calling this a Motel 6 on water, having very low expectations. We were so wrong, it exceeded in almost every way. Pro's: The ship is very very clean. The staff is very friendly, and helpful. The food was so good, we never had a bad meal! The food is extremely fresh and presented in a beautiful manner. Even the buffet was good. You do not need a water package, but if you are going ask for a free Water USA package, you will receive a large glass bottle of water with lunch and dinner. There is plenty of ice at the buffet a huge concern of ours, no worries. Ask for ice during sit down meals, had no problem. Our waiter Vipul was wonderful anticipating anything we needed. The entertainment is very good in a beautiful show room, we were sometimes lost with the Italian. Definetley pay for the 19.00 laundry deal. Getting on and off the ship was easy. Con's: The only bad thing was the isolation having nobody to talk to, other cruisers were not friendly at all. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose this cruise because it departs and arrives from a single location (Savona), where we can park our car safely. This is our third time to cruise with Costa and we always enjoy their friendly service and their on-board entertainment. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it departs and arrives from a single location (Savona), where we can park our car safely. This is our third time to cruise with Costa and we always enjoy their friendly service and their on-board entertainment. The itinerary included some of our favorite locations (Malaga and Barcelona), as well as some places we had not been before (Valencia and Cadiz). The length of stops was okay, except for Barcelona, which was only about 4 hours and was therefore pretty frustrating. Savona is always our starting and stopping place for Costa cruises. This is a lovely little Italian town. Boarding was well organized, with parking and luggage service. We dropped our bags off together with our car, then walked into the terminal and waited for our boarding time. The parking/luggage attendants are really friendly and they took excellent care of our luggage and our car. After boarding, we had time to have a drink or snack while enjoying a view of the harbor, waiting for the cabins to be ready. When our cabin was available, they advised us, and then our luggage was there waiting for us, without incident. Disembarkation at Savona is chaotic and not so well organized. Although Costa enforces the disembarkation schedule, there were too many people in the terminal at one time, making it very hard to negotiate with a wheelchair AND baggage cart. However, we were prepared for this and we just took it as it was. We were driving to our next location so we were not stressed about meeting a plane or train, but I can understand others who did have to deal with that stress. We highly recommend to others to NOT plan to drive a long way on the day you leave the cruise, because you will be really tired. We normally drive a few hours to Firenze (Florence) that day, and that is as far as we would want to drive that day. Prepare to be exhausted at the end of a cruise. On board, we enjoyed the evening shows with fantastic dancers and great musicians. They truly make it easy to have fun. This time we were less than impressed with the overall dining experience, where we felt that the variety was limited, and the qualify of food was not as good as on previous Costa cruises. Unfortunately, Costa does not really cater to travelers in wheelchairs. They have some accessible cabins, but very few accessible suites, and so far we have been unable to get a suite, even though we tried to reserve from the first day the cruise was available online. Maybe we have to have some other connection that we don't know about. More about the cabin below. Excursions organized by Costa do not offer wheelchair accessible buses, so it is up to us to organize ourselves. We gave the "Public rooms" category a lower rating because in many places, the music was way too loud, making it impossible to have a conversation. However, we found a piano bar where the music was to our liking and not too loud, and there we enjoyed snuggling with drinks and having time to just be together as a couple. Overall, we had a great time and are looking forward to another cruise in the next couple of years. One plus of traveling with Costa is that they are registered in Italy and therefore are subject to EU regulations. One of these regulations states that when traveling with a disabled person that needs constant assistance, the companion/carer does not have to pay other than drinks and taxes. Costa respects this regulation and therefore we pay full price only for one of us. However, beware that if you are eligible for this allowance, you must request it from Costa BEFORE departure. We learned about this during our second Costa cruise but too late to request it for that cruise, so this time we were wiser. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
I read a lot of bad critics before going but we really enjoyed the cruise. Sure there were things we would like to change but overall it was a good one. -the embarkation was at venice. We went with the people mover from piazza roma ( ... Read More
I read a lot of bad critics before going but we really enjoyed the cruise. Sure there were things we would like to change but overall it was a good one. -the embarkation was at venice. We went with the people mover from piazza roma ( tip- remember to buy tickets for the coming back to venice and skip the lines at the ticket machine). The embarkation is very very slow! We waited more then 2 hours, so no need to harry , come very early or very late. We came around 12 and and entered the ship around 3 o'clock. The rest of disembarkation at ports and at venice was pretty good )we had a flight to catch so asked to get first at venice). The ship was very clean, i thought the decor will be italian -something special, but i didn't like it- looked old fashion not at all impressive to my taste. The cabin was a little smaller the the celebrity but clean and the stewart was all the time there- very good. There was cigarette smoke in the corridor (i think from the inner rooms) , complained several times but nothing was done. The food- was very good in the restaurants, good attention and good quality of food. We were worried about the water but because our agency was from the usa we received free bottles at dinner. At the embarkation we did the water package - 13 bottles for 39 euro( don't remember exactly) - so we had water at night and at gym. About the drinking package - we were 2 adults and a 14 years kid - all of us are not great drinking - not soda or alcohol so didn't take the drinking package and bought a wine and water package- 6 wines and some 7 bottles of water for 130 euro. We were glad with this package. Had some beer (4-5 euro plus tax) and some cocktiles ( 7-8 euro). Cappuccino 3-4 euro at evening. During the last days they also selled some wine =very cheap =some 10 euro (not so good but we had for the evening at dinner). The entertainment was mediocre - had a great tenor one evening , the rest were the entertainment stuff - not at all the same level as the celebrity. The theater is very big and very well equipped. The buffer is chaos!! Very bad organised - the tables are for 6 and couples or singles occupy them leaving you no place to seat. Usually we strolled with plates and looked for a place to seat. A lot of noise and a lot of queues ...very bad experience and we preferd to go to the restaurant. Maybe less selection but quieter. The service was very good ! Last problem- there was supposed to be a teens club - a spacial room with play station and etc. No place like this just an announcement to gather near the disco...and the activity was at night with parties- this is a shame because our teen couldn't meet other children his age. OVERALL WE KNEW THIS IS NOT A CELEBRITY OR CARNIVAL CRUISE SO HAD LOWER EXPECTATIONS BUT ENJOYED IT AND HAD GREAT PORTS (AGAIN VERY SHORT TIME AT PORTS...) Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
What we liked about the tour: • The room was an ideal size and the placement of the bed was nice so you could walk around it and could see out the window. • Lighting in the room was more than adequate, except bedside lamps are ... Read More
What we liked about the tour: • The room was an ideal size and the placement of the bed was nice so you could walk around it and could see out the window. • Lighting in the room was more than adequate, except bedside lamps are ineffective. • Not having to listen to the Tour Director or Captain deliver a message each day. • Being able to disembark freely shortly after the ship arrives in port. • Being able to bring sodas and water onboard. • Great room service by Glen and excellent table service in the dining room (table 79). • Destinations of the ship on this voyage. No other cruise line offers package visiting all of these Southern Caribbean ports. • Cost of this tour was reasonable What we Disliked about the tour: • Bed to hard and needs a topper to get rid of crack when two twin beds are joined together. On the affirmative side the comforter was very nice. • Lamps beside the bed to too low to be of any good when trying to read in bed and there are no lights over the bed. • Shower curtain blows open allowing water to cover the floor and floor mat. Lip on shower need to be a couple of inches higher. • Milk or cream not available for your coffee before 0700 or in the evening. Could offer individual serve, powdered milk or a small pitcher out earlier in the morning or later in the evening. • Spouse came down with diarrhea and could not make a Costa tour. At the tour desk in the morning I explained this to the young lady. She said I would have to bring her a written doctor’s excuse to get credit for the tour. This is a stupid request showing lack of compassion for the customer. She would not get me a supervisor to discuss the situation. We went back a few days later with a doctor’s excuse from Martinique, written the day after the tour date, and man on the excursion desk said we had waited too long and credit could not be issued. We went to the front desk said the excuse had to be from the ship’s doctor as they could not trust any other doctor’s excuse. No one told us we had to use only the ship’s doctor or that there was a time limit on submitting a request for credit. Poor customer relations. • No written set of rules for procedures on ship. Where does it say we have to use the ship’s doctor for a written excuse to get credit for not going on a shore excursion? Where does it say you have to turn in the excuse within “X” number of days or you are too late to get credit? Poor customer service. • Not being able to bring wine on the ship to be consumed while on the cruise. Common practice on other cruise lines. Have to pay a reasonable corkage fee or allowed to bring “X” number of bottles aboard for free. • Constant smell of garbage at Deck 1, rear staircase, starboard side. • Cooler used to store ice instead of getting it directly out of the machine. Hands can be in contact with the ice and spread infections. Wife came down with diarrhea after day in Grenada (March 5, 2018). Went to doctor in Martinique (March 8th). • Room next to ours used to store stanchions and signs for controlling traffic flow. Workers in the room every night between 2130 and 2230. Wife got up this morning (March 10th) at 0430 as they were making all kinds of noise for 15 minutes. After she confronted them the noise stopped. There is a metal lip at the entrance to this room and that is where a lot of the noise is coming from. Should not store such items in area with passengers as it is very disruptive to sleep. • Almost impossible to open the four draws under the desk area as they stuck so badly. • Not enough hand sanitizers. As an example only one on Deck 3 entry to main dining room. Needed at least only per side. Only three units in the buffet dining room on Deck 9. • Step up in Deck 1 hallway going from center of ship to rear. Should be marked to prevent tripping hazard. • Only instant decaffeinated coffee served in the main dining room for breakfast. No coffee offered after dinner in main dining room. • Assigned seating for the birds. Sat with a nice couple from Germany who knew very little English and we had nothing in common with them. At a table behind us was a couple from Vancouver, BC who were very nice to talk with and we had much in common. We also had an interior seat and would have liked to sit by an outside window or elsewhere in the dining area. Do not like the assigned seating. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise especially for the weather in this region at this time of the year. We traveled with a group of sixteen people. Four families with children between 15 and 23 years old.The procedure for boarding and disembarking was ... Read More
We chose this cruise especially for the weather in this region at this time of the year. We traveled with a group of sixteen people. Four families with children between 15 and 23 years old.The procedure for boarding and disembarking was childishly simple and hardly time consuming. You can see that the ship comes at age but everything was in excellent condition. And the staff were visibly busy with her duties throughout the day. As if it were a military operation. Every day I put a fingerprint in the elevator, but within a few hours it was polished away. The ship is equipped with a diesel-hybrid propulsion. This results is an almost vibration-free experience. Noticeably better than all other cruises that we have previously made. And; no soot on the stern as we have experienced on previous cruises. Our cabin (Standard Balcony Hut) was fine, clean and had a spacious balcony. A few more wall sockets may be installed; there is only one wall socket installed at the desk. The dinners and other food on board are of excellent quality and you have more than enough choices. In any case much better than most of us eat at home! What is annoying is that there are many times that all restaurants are closed at the same time for several hours. You can not get anything to eat on the entire ship. This is especially difficult for our children who came out of bed late. You get the impression that it seems to have something to do with cost savings. That is a serious flaw of this ship and different than we have experienced on all our other cruises. In terms of entertainment, there is enough choice for everyone. Nothing special, however. An average experience compared to previous cruises. In general; the staff on board is fine. We had a not so customer-friendly cleaner at our cabin. If we wanted to go to our cabin during cleaning, this man was very irritated to us. The other participants from our group luckily did not have this experience. The Italian staff at the reception was not particularly friendly and helpful. But luckily we did not need that much. Our route took us to Dubai, Muscat, Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Due to a rough sea we unfortunately could not disembark to Sir Bani Yas Island. After a sea day, that was a minor disappointment. The ship therefore immediately headed for Abu Dhabi where we had an extra evening. In Abu Dhabi buses were ready to take us to a shopping center for free. Our children have had a great time on board. This was partly because we were with a group ourselves. I do not think we will choose this ship again for a next cruise. But if it just happens to have the right itinerary for us, then we do not doubt and we choose Costa again. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We took this cruise for two reasons: the great itinerary (initially 6 port stops in 6 days, although the last one in St. Maarten was cancelled after the Sept. hurricanes), and the fact that it was one of the only cruise ships departing ... Read More
We took this cruise for two reasons: the great itinerary (initially 6 port stops in 6 days, although the last one in St. Maarten was cancelled after the Sept. hurricanes), and the fact that it was one of the only cruise ships departing from the Dominican Republic where we were spending 3 more weeks on this trip. All-in-all, we weren’t disappointed. We expected that the other passengers would be mostly European, but we were flabbergasted to find out that we were the amongst the only English-first-language passengers on the entire ship! (we only heard English being spoken by any passengers between themselves once on the entire cruise). The passengers were about 30% Italian, 30% French (including many from Martinique and Guadeloupe, and some French-Canadians), 30% Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking (I think mainly from South America), and 9.99% Northern European, who mostly had to communicate with the service crew in English, who were mostly Fillipino, Chinese and Indian, and English was their only second language. Anyway, we didn’t view this as a disadvantage since it lent a decidedly European flair to the cruise, and this may have been the reason that they assigned us our own table-for-two at dinner. The Isla Catalina stop was basically a beach day at a very nice island beach just a few km off the coast of the D.R. near La Romana. The other four port stops were four very interesting and beautiful islands of the Lesser Antilles, St. Kitts, Antigua, Martinique, and Guadeloupe. We were not interested in beach, catamaran or scuba tours and wanted to see the interior, seascapes, and historical sites on these islands. We only took one Costa tour (in St. Kitts) due to the relatively short port stop, and we had previously booked the remainder of shore tours via the internet with private operators, all of which were probably better, longer, and cheaper than those offered by Costa. The food was generally very good, especially in the main dining room, where the dinners were six courses with fresh plates and the right cutlery for each course, and the service was excellent. It was mainly Italian with only limited pasta, with mainly fresh ingredients in imaginative dishes. However, beef and shrimp offerings were limited, and steak and lobster were never offered except for a significant additional cost, even for the gala dinner. The desserts at dinner, especially the chocolate ones, and also in the buffet at meal and snack times, were excellent. Every day they offered excellent small sandwiches, real Italian pizza, and those excellent desserts in the buffet. However, that was it for snack foods. The ship was very clean, with handrails and walls being wiped down often. The entertainment in the theatre was pretty good, as far as it went. The lead male and female singers, as well at the dozen dancers were very good, but most of the shows were limited to 45-60 minutes. However there was no show at all one night, and another night was wasted on “The Voice of the Sea”, basically a corny passenger karaoke show with judges (although this drew the largest crowd from the mostly European passengers – Italian culture at its finest!). However, we had recently taken an MSC cruise which, although no better in other regards, offered far superior, longer, and more varied theatre entertainment. In fairness, MSC seems to be head and shoulders above most other cruise lines in this one cruise feature. The bigger disappointment was the remaining entertainment in the lounges, where the singers and musicians were quite mediocre. In the main dance lounge, I kid you not, they actually sang that classic, great 1960s hit “Itsy bitsy teeny weenie yellow polka dot bikini” in heavily-accented English with a Latin beat with dozens dancing to it! Again, Italian culture at it’s finest! Drink prices were EUR 5-6 for basic beer/wine/liquor, up to EUR 10 for fancy cocktails. The basic drink package was EUR 188, so you would each have to have almost 6 drinks/day to break even. Like all cruise lines, they state that bringing alcohol on board is not allowed, but we put a bag of wine and a bottle of scotch in a plastic bottle in our luggage and it was not detected, saving us a few hundred dollars. Juice/water/coffee/tea was available free only at breakfast, but only water at lunch/dinner, and they had the audacity to put up a sign saying not to fill your water bottles with the free bulk water (yeah, right!). However, this is a remnant of European culture where one must never stoop to drinking safe tap water, but only expensive bottled water that costs as much as the wine or beer! As I said, the lower level Filipino, Indian and Chinese staff were generally hard-working, polite, and excellent at their jobs, but some of the mostly Italian senior staff were insufferably snotty. I asked one of them a simple question, which they replied in a haughty and rude tone, and then later it turned out the answer they gave me was totally wrong! One little thing, however, really showed their attempt to extract every Euro from the passengers: at the port stop in St. Kitts the ship docked at the commercial port some 3 km from the city centre where the two other piers were taken by other cruise ships. I would guess that the port authorities would charge more for the premium central piers, however its not unusual for a cruise ship to have to dock at a more distant pier and run a shuttle bus service to the town centre. What is unusual, however is to have the audacity to charge the passengers EUR 7 to take this shuttle! However, apart from these minor annoyances, this was a pretty good cruise, and is recommended if you want to see these particular ports and you can get the cruise for a good price. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Here is a review for those who are wondering about trying Costa. There are not many reviews on this site for Costa. For the reviews that do exist the type of traveler that wrote them is unclear. We have traveled to Europe a half dozen ... Read More
Here is a review for those who are wondering about trying Costa. There are not many reviews on this site for Costa. For the reviews that do exist the type of traveler that wrote them is unclear. We have traveled to Europe a half dozen times and loved it. We are only fluent in English but are perfectly comfortable traveling in non English speaking parts of the world. This was our ninth cruise, most of them on Princess and RCCL. We are not picky cruisers, do not expect perfection. Our main love of cruises is being out on the ocean and escaping the cold winter weather for a couple of weeks. We always get a balcony room but really have no interest in a suite. We enjoy good food but do not go on a cruise to find it. We have never been compelled to eat in a ship’s specialty restaurant. We picked this cruise because it fit our allowable dates, the price was very good, and we liked the features of the ship (promenade deck is a must). We also liked the itinerary because it went a couple of places we have not been to before. Showing the conclusion up front: Our cruise was good but we will probably not choose Costa again. Things we liked: Our room was good. Our room steward was great. We like ballroom dancing and it is true that Costa is great for this. The shows in the theater each night were some of the best we have seen at sea. The ship has a great promenade deck which we used for walking each day. We loved the way the Europeans partied and danced each night. Enjoyed all the nights the waiters did a show in the dining room. Enjoyed the captain’s cocktail party. The ship was clean and well maintained. Things we did not like but were not big issues to us: Our bags were very late getting to our room. Check in was not very efficient. Example, had to take our cruise cards to a kiosk on the ship to link a credit card instead of doing it with the lady that checked us in? We wanted a couple of postcards of the ship. First of all they cost and second there was only one available at the shop. I was told to come back the next day and they would have more printed. Really? One card for a ship with 2800 people on it? On disembarkation day we waited an hour past our time with very little announcement as to what was going on. We ordered a frozen drink one time it was so bad we never tried again. We ordered a Bloody Mary one time; it was so bad never again. After that we ordered beer or wine or a wine cooler. Things that influenced our thumbs down: Service in the restaurants and bars was definitely below what we have experienced on other lines. I would guess 1 waiter for 5 waiters on other lines. Our poor waiter at dinner was taking care of twenty people. Our dining time and table did not get linked to the other couple we were traveling with. The head maître d never did get this problem solved (unbelievable?). We didn’t like all the extra charge items on the menu every night (no lobster unless you pay for it). No coffee after desert unless you pay for it. I really think every cruise line should let you bring on at least one bottle of wine and some soft drinks if you want to. We hope this review is helpful for other cruisers like us. Costa is not horrible, just not quite good enough for us to come back. And for what it’s worth, the few other Americans we talked to during the cruise seemed to feel the same way. The Europeans on the cruise seemed to be having the time of their life. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
Have just returned from short cruise, and was concerned on the poor reviews on Costa Cruises. However, we found very little to complain about, and thought it excellent value. Embarkation was very easy, our premium balcony cabin was large, ... Read More
Have just returned from short cruise, and was concerned on the poor reviews on Costa Cruises. However, we found very little to complain about, and thought it excellent value. Embarkation was very easy, our premium balcony cabin was large, clean and comfortable.The decor on the ship in public areas is rather gaudy, but as someone pointed out, by the second day you didn’t notice it! The food was generally very good, although the amount of choice on the dinner menu in MDR varied from day to day, but always offered at least 5 courses. Had heard through CC that water in restaurants was only served by the glass. This was incorrect on this ship, and a large bottle of water cost around 2euros. Also available was 50cl carafe of red or white wine for 11euros, which was quite acceptable. The evening entertainment was varied, and the standard comparable to most cruise lines eg Princess, Celebrity and P & O. Although not many British on board, there was no problem with communication with the Crew, and we felt that there was a wide age range of passengers.Disembarkation was extremely easy, just walked off at passengers convenience. Would advise anyone to give it a try, and think that most people will be pleasantly surprised. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
To meet up with Italian friends this was the perfect venue. Every evening the shows were especially entertaining: the tenor Emanuele Servidio is world class, worth taking the cruise just to hear his voice. The shows had amazing singing, ... Read More
To meet up with Italian friends this was the perfect venue. Every evening the shows were especially entertaining: the tenor Emanuele Servidio is world class, worth taking the cruise just to hear his voice. The shows had amazing singing, dancing, production & lighting. Max, the cruise director, is hilarious-he speaks all the languages as fast as an auctioneer! The animation team has so much fun that it is infectious. There’s plenty of dancing & music after dinner, piano bar. You need never be bored unless you choose to. The staff is very attentive, helpful, & genuinely seem to like what they do. I really enjoyed the contests & skits that the different departments presented on the final day at sea. The staff is multi-talented(bartender juggler, choreography by waiters in dining room, etc.) There were many well behaved children on board with organized activities. The excursions were good without being great. This cruise was the most fun of the 20 cruises I’ve taken. Read Less
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