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This was my 10th and 11th cruise, 2nd on Costa. I sailed the Atlantica two years ago on a transatlantic. In my opinion, Costa does a lot of things right but there are some rough spots that need to be addressed. Still, it's just my ... Read More
This was my 10th and 11th cruise, 2nd on Costa. I sailed the Atlantica two years ago on a transatlantic. In my opinion, Costa does a lot of things right but there are some rough spots that need to be addressed. Still, it's just my opinion from my perspective. Others on the same cruises might very well disagree. Pre-Cruise We booked the Sheraton Airport through Priceline for a very good rate. The hotel is very nice and the management was helpful and friendly. We arrived early afternoon and after checking around, we chose to eat dinner at The Rustic Crab, a casual restaurant with a varied seafood menu, but specializing in Garlic Crab. Delicious! But it's quite busy and there will be a wait. Embarkation Long and tedious with not enough chairs in the terminal for those waiting. It seemed organized, but obviously not enough help to process the number of people very quickly. Cabin The Victoria was launched in 1996, before the balcony phase, so no balcony. I decided some time ago that if I could not book a balcony I would book inside, since I am not real impressed by a window I cannot open. Our inside cabin #80243 was about 160 sq ft and quite comfortable. Nicely designed with plenty of storage space and a mini bar. The bathroom was cramped but had an excellent shower. The TV had cable stations but no CNN or ESPN, one English movie channel, the rest in other languages. The Ship I won't go into great detail about the design of the Victoria since that information is available at various sites. The ship is very clean and well maintained and quite beautiful. Even at capacity, the layout presents an open, uncrowded feeling. There are plenty of elevators, some glass enclosed which allows a view of the atrium. Perhaps my favorite thing about the Victoria (which is true of the Atlantica as well) is the open bars which serve both coffee and alcohol. The bar areas are open to public walkways which makes it easy to stop in for a coffee or drink and listen to music without feeling trapped in a bar. This is especially nice if you're alone at the time. Some have couches where you can sit and read, sip coffee, listen to music and not feel out of place. Great idea! The pool is about average size and there are two hot tubs on each end of the pool. There are many, many deck chairs on all of the decks for sunning, and I do think that there were enough to go around. The ship has about all of the other amenities of any modern ship except the mega-mega liners. Card room, spa, fitness center, Internet cafe...it's all there. The Casino The casino is large with the usual table games and tons of slot machines. It is often crowded after dinner and into the night. I played a fair amount, lost a little but did meet a few that hit a jackpot. The bar staff circulates and it is easy to order a drink. Overall, the casino is appealing and comfortable with good ventilation. The Food There is certainly plenty of it in various spots so I will try to break it down, with comments specific to the area. Formal Dining -- The two main dining rooms are on deck five, separated by the kitchen. Passengers are assigned early (6:30 PM) or late (8:30-8:45 PM) seating in one or the other. My first cruise I was assigned to the Sinfonia, the 2nd to the Fantasia. I found no difference. Both rooms are attractive, but not awesome in any way. I would describe the dining room food as fair overall with an occasional entree that excelled. The dinner menu offered six courses, including desert, with a number of selections. Pasta was one of the courses and was the most consistent. The bread was always hard rolls and I felt the deserts were uninspiring. I did not eat in the dining room for breakfast or lunch so I cannot comment. Casual Dining -- Most of the casual dining is located on the pool deck, deck 11. The Nettuno grill is open from about noon till 2:30 PM and serves hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries, with all the trimmings, including bacon, cheese, sauerkraut and sautEed onions, but no pickles. All the food at the grill is excellent, but I did miss the pickles. The grill reopens about 4 PM and offers pizza (not great) and a selection of fruit. The Bolero Buffet, off the pool deck, is open for breakfast, lunch and light snacks throughout most of the afternoon and evening. I would categorize the food there as fair, and selections rather limited. Costa does not offer very good bread. La Terrazza, on the aft of the pool deck, is open for lunch and serves fresh pasta, pizza, and a different International cuisine each day. The pasta is excellent, and the rest of the selections are usually very good. The Pizzeria, on Deck 12 is open from 6:30 PM till 1 AM for pizza or ice cream. The late night buffets (except for the Gala night) are spread out through the bar areas and offers pasta, pastries, fruit, cheese, desserts. A nice selection and a great way to do it. The Gala buffet, a much grander affair, takes place in the Fantasia restaurant. Unfortunately, once you serve your plate, that's pretty much the end of grand for you have to trudge through the very long kitchen in formal attire to the other dining room in order to sit down and eat. This makes no sense. Perhaps the original thought was that there would not be enough tables left since the buffet takes up space, but it's just not the case. The buffet is not that well attended and there are plenty of available tables. At any rate, it turns an enormous effort by the kitchen staff into something rather unappealing. And it needn't be that way. Alternative Restaurant -- Cafe Magnifico is the alternative restaurant, a sampling of Genoa's finest restaurant. Cost is $20 per person and a 15% gratuity. I did not eat there but one of my tablemates who did was truly impressed. He called it most definitely 5 star and in his opinion would cost several times the price on land. Room Service -- Room service is offered 24 hrs although the menu varies after 1 AM. The breakfast menu which can be hung on the door is strictly continental. Coffee, tea, milk, pastries, fruit, yogurt. A variety of sandwiches are offered that are truly excellent. Room service is very quick and courteous. The Service Very, very uneven. My first table steward was barely marginal, the second absolutely outstanding. My room steward ranked with the best I've had. Some of the bar staff were friendly and efficient, a few others not. The tour staff was the worst I've encountered, often rude, abrupt and impatient with questions. The administrative staff was quite nice and tried to be helpful but often delivered the wrong information. Language problems were the culprit at times, I think, regarding wrong information, but frustrating nevertheless. Entertainment I am not a big fan of shipboard production shows, so I solicited the opinions of those who are. For the most part, they were pleased with most of the shows and except for two they thought were terrible, ranked the entertainment about average. The musicians throughout the ship in the various bars are all quite good. The band on the pool deck was always entertaining. They offered the usual deck activities such as bingo, horse racing etc. Miscellaneous Toga Night is a special Costa thing. Bed sheets and a cardboard crown with instructions on how to create a toga are delivered to your room on the afternoon of toga night which is the final night of the cruise. Most participate, and it's fun to see the different creations. Smoking -- I have read many reviews on Costa which made an issue of the smoking, but I have to say I didn't find it to be an issue. There is no smoking in any of the restaurants or the Fantasia showroom. The pool deck has a smoking side and non-smoking side, separated by the width of the ship. All bars have both smoking and non-smoking areas. I didn't encounter anyone smoking in public walkways or at elevators. The casino allows smoking however it is very well ventilated. But the bottom line is Costa is a European based cruise line with a loyal European following and is protective of the rights of both sets of passengers. I think they do it as well as they can. Announcements -- This is another area where Costa has been criticized. Announcements in several languages. Well, there is no way around that since Costa's passengers represent multiple languages, but I will say, since my cruise on the Atlantica, the announcements have been cut way back. On this cruise, there were very, very few announcements. How few? Well, I went through an entire day an hour off in time since I didn't know to turn my clock back. Didn't realize it till dinner when we were the only ones waiting to get in an hour early. Coffee -- Coffee gets it's own heading because Costa's coffee is exceptional throughout the ship. No doubt, the best I've had on any cruise line. And I am particular about coffee. Now if they could just improve their bread. Ports The ports were all popular ports that have been reviewed many times, so I will only list the ones where I have some special input. Catalina -- Costa's private island and I think they do it better than any other cruise line I have been on. They are extremely organized. You are met at the island by chair runners who will set up your lounge chair anywhere you want it. No need to try to chase one down no matter how late you arrive. The bar staff circulates selling drinks (of course) but the downside is that the drinks are jacked up in price. A $1.50 shipboard coke is now $1.95. Why? Anyway, the island is lovely, typical picnic food is offered at more that one location and you can always drink juice or iced tea for free. Cozumel -- Try eating lunch at Pancho's Backyard. Delicious Mexican food in a garden environment, all prepared from fresh ingredients and absolutely outstanding Margaritas. Even better, ask for Manual and mention his web page and get a free (small) Margarita. Adjacent to Pancho's is an interesting shop with a variety of crafts and souvenirs. From downtown, you can get a taxi to the Mayan ruins roundtrip (he will wait for you). The paths at the ruins are uneven and not easy walking so if you want to go at your own pace, this may be the best way. The cost was no more than the tour. Progresso and Merida -- The shuttle drops you off at the craft bazaar in downtown Progresso. Right there, you will find double decker painted busses that will take you on a $2 tour of the little town. Only takes about twenty minutes. Just a few blocks from the bazaar is Progresso's beautiful beach. At the entrance to the bazaar tickets are sold to Merida. A round trip bus ticket is $8. A roundtrip with tour is $20. Take the tour. Merida is very difficult on your own. Very few people speak any English. It takes about 45 minutes by bus to Merida. I don't think any of the busses are air conditioned. Key West -- The Conch Train tour is well worth the money. $18 at the station in Key West. The driver talks non-stop and covers every important bit of history and information you ever wanted to know. The trolley also offers a tour and you can get off and on the trolley at any stop you want to explore. Summary By now, you know my opinion of Costa's good points and problem areas. But I think the positive definitely out weighs the negative. I personally enjoyed the rather relaxed atmosphere and I think the passenger mix was a positive. We were the only Americans at a large table of British passengers and I have never had better tablemates. They were fun and gracious and we made lasting friends. Overall, I felt my fellow cruisers were friendly and courteous and I enjoyed getting to know several of them. The age was mixed, and although the group was generally lively and fun loving, they were not boisterous or brawling drunks. I feel that Costa genuinely tries to deliver a fine cruise experience even though they may at times fall short due to language barriers. I do think that some areas can be improved and that they should make an effort to do so. That said, I feel they offer an excellent product for value and I would not hesitate to cruise Costa again. GSDDAW@aol.com April 2003 Read Less
I do not have a reference point because this was my first cruise. The bar has been set very high for future cruises. Everything about my experience was exceptional. Our stewardess seemed to know when we left the room and would turn down ... Read More
I do not have a reference point because this was my first cruise. The bar has been set very high for future cruises. Everything about my experience was exceptional. Our stewardess seemed to know when we left the room and would turn down the beds. Everyone had a smile and a good morning/afternoon/evening. Our head waiter and assistants made sure we did not go hungry or thirsty. Very friendly and efficient. The menu was varied and very good. The dining area was very richly decorated. The 9th deck buffet was very handy when you felt like a more casual breakfast or quick lunch. Pretty tasty food there as well. Our cabin was small but larger than I expected. I would highly recommend a balcony room, I spent several hours watching the ocean go by and sunrises explode in the east. The shore excursions were well planned. When tendering onto an island, there were plenty of boats and seats to keep the lines moving. The destinations were great, with the possible exception of Cozumel (thanks to a few hurricanes). The rest were unforgettable. If in Jamaica and you want a more personalized tour of the country, bypass the busses and ask for "Marva". Everyone seems to know her and you won't be disappointed. She will take you to the shops were the locals go as well as the tourist spots if you want. The cost is about the same as the cramped busses and you get to see the real Jamaica-mon... She can also hook you up with her son in Grand Cayman. Over-all, I would recommend Costa and the Mediteranea in particular Read Less
Sail Date: February 2000
My family and I just got back from our 7 night cruise on CostaMagica. It was an amazing experience!!! After reading so many mixed reviews, we were afraid of what to expect. The ship was very spacious and we did not experience the long ... Read More
My family and I just got back from our 7 night cruise on CostaMagica. It was an amazing experience!!! After reading so many mixed reviews, we were afraid of what to expect. The ship was very spacious and we did not experience the long lines or rudeness of the Europeans. For the contrary, people were very nice and just relaxed. The atmosphere was friendly and once again just very relaxed. The crew members were very attentive to the needs of everyone. If you are looking for a ship with rock climbing walls or other things to that matter, this is not for you. But there was plenty to do. The children in our group were very entertained at the squok club. They had various activities and were very good with the kids. Anyway, I am not much of a writer, but felt the need to give this cruise its justice. It is great, and I would book it again. The only thing I would really recommend is that you make sure they list everyone in our party to the credit card in the begriming of the cruise. The Costa cashless system works great, but at the time of paying your bill you may have problems as we did. The cruise line did not list our 16 year old daughter on our credit card, when we went to pay at the last day, they would not take the same card (which we did not have another one), so we had to pay cash or sign a promissory note with a 12% rate. That was the only major problem we found with this cruise. I highly recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2000
Having cruised on 43 previous cruises these are my impressions of the Magica. Carnival Conquest ship. Poor embarkation requiring passengers to wait in another long line to register credit cards. Ship felt crowded with lines and clogged ... Read More
Having cruised on 43 previous cruises these are my impressions of the Magica. Carnival Conquest ship. Poor embarkation requiring passengers to wait in another long line to register credit cards. Ship felt crowded with lines and clogged hallways. Gaming tables often full, which is inconvenient for passengers and lost revenue for ship. Have been on other sister ships (Liberty, Glory, and Valor) did not have same problem. Open seating lunch we waited 40 minutes for our first course. Found lunches to be better at upstairs buffet. Dinner service was good but food quality was poor to average with soups being the highlight of dinner. I find it hard to comprehend how this ship's dining cuisine is accepted in Europe. Experienced excellent service in the wine bar with Piano and Violin entertainment. Gym has great workout machines and never had a problem waiting. We were only in Bermuda 24 hours, since this is the reason most passengers book this cruise I would suggest a longer stay in Hamilton and a shorter or elimination of Nassau. Debarkation offered no early walk off for passengers who carry own luggage. We did not leave parking lot until 11:00 am. We probably would only cruise Costa again if price was low and itinerary outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2003
Was on the Costa Med for the 28 Dec 03-4 Jan 04 New Years cruise. We did the Western Caribbean and went to Key West, Progreso, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. I had an early flight, arrived at Ft Lauderdale airport, met my friend, and got my ... Read More
Was on the Costa Med for the 28 Dec 03-4 Jan 04 New Years cruise. We did the Western Caribbean and went to Key West, Progreso, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. I had an early flight, arrived at Ft Lauderdale airport, met my friend, and got my luggage by 11:15 AM. Took a taxi to the pier. We were in the first group. Had to wait for security to open, did security and then waited for Costa to open the ship for people at 1:30 PM. We were on the ship and eating in the buffet, all before 2 PM. Eight ships in port that day. We were told two flights were delayed in Europe and Costa held the ship for what they claimed to be 300 passengers in the evening. We did not leave on time and my friend and I stayed up and saw some taxis arrive and only one bus of 40-50 people get on the ship during the time we were watching. We departed port approx 2 AM. Since we left late, we got to Key West later than planned on Monday. They extended our time in Key West from a 4 PM to a 6 PM departure. We didn't arrive until a little after 12 PM. We were at the old Navy dock and had a free tram take us to downtown by Duval Street and back. We did a trolley tour on our own and also walked/shopped on Duval street. Lifeboat drill took place Monday morning and took about a 1/2 hour. Seemed to go as well as I have seen elsewhere. Caught the tram to take us back. Had about 4 hours altogether in Key West, as we had to be back on the ship by 5:30 PM. Tues was a sea day, and we made it to Progreso on time Wed morning. Took the ship tour to Chichen Itza. It was a good day and good tour if you have not been there. One lady did the carriage tour and she said she did not like it. She was not expecting the living conditions she saw in Mexico. Our tour included a buffet lunch at a hotel nearby. They told us we had 13 buses from our ship going to Chichen Itza. Thursday was to Cozumel. We did not book any ship tours. We docked out of town at the international pier with two other ships. 5 ships in port that day. We took a cab to town shopped, met some people, then took a cab back to the ship. We had people come back late and they lowered the gangway for two. We were to be back by 3:30 PM and the ship left at least two people we saw on the pier at 4:15. We were to leave at 4 PM. Our ropes at the pier were under the ones from the Carnival ship next to us and they stopped all the people inside the pier terminal building to undo the ropes. Thus it was easy to see the people they let out and talk to the port authorities, as they needed to get on our ship. One interesting aspect of our cruise was somebody brought bagpipes and would sit on their balcony and play them as we were departing. It was nice! There was a storm during the night to Grand Cayman and the ship rocked some. My room was in the front on the 5th deck. You could feel it a little. I got up early to walk and the water in the pool was sloshing approx 2-3 feet up and down from front to back. We made it to Grand Cayman and the skies cleared. Because of the storm, the stingray tours were cancelled and perhaps some other water events. Costa did try to provide other tours for those affected. We were not on the first tenders and when we went, it was not crowded, took at taxi to the seven mile beach, stayed a few hours, and then through town to look at stores and tender back to the ship. It was a nice day! Sat was another sea day and relaxing. I was up early walking and did see people start to put things on lounge chairs to save them. I claimed a pair of chairs when I was done walking and my friend met me on deck. We got breakfast and ate on our lounge chairs. I know some chairs remained empty for 5-6 hours as I was there and saw it, but yet people had their stuff in them. No one took any action as far as I could tell nor did there seem to be a big problem as there were plenty of chairs. Sun the ship seemed to go well. My friend had a late flight and she booked a tour so she and I got off early, approx 9 AM, and things went well then too. They had several lines for non-US citizens set up, and from what we could tell that was working well to get people cleared. Found our luggage right away and she go on her tour bus and I caught a cab for the airport. Food was okay, but not great. I lived in Germany for 6 1/2 years and have been on 6 other cruises, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Carnival, so I have something to compare to in terms of other cruise lines or European food preparation. I am vegan now, so I eat no meat, eggs or dairy. They knew in the dining room on the first night of my diet, so I thought things would go better for me on this cruise. It did not. I could eat some things they had on the vegetarian selection Sunday and Monday, but on Tues I sent every course back at least once. Finally the Head Waiter came and he took orders from me on the next two nights. One night I had wonderful food, and the following night even ordering the same things it was not as good. We were late seating. It was to start at 9:15 PM but they did not open the doors until almost 9:30 some nights. Some families had small kids and babies in the dining room as well and they cried, were cranky and some slept. Our waiter was slow and we did not finish with meals some nights until 11:45. Our table was one of the last each night. No need to rush to a midnight buffet then, right! I was at a table of 8 and the others also were disappointed in some of their food, but also had a few good things. It was hard to tell what would be good or not. My friend said she did not have a beef dish she liked, even after sending some back. Others enjoyed theirs. For instance, Costa features a different region of Italy to highlight each evening. On the Napoli evening with pizza being the veggie main dish, I asked for artichoke hearts and mushroom pizza, made without the cheese. They brought me a pizza made with canned mushrooms. Hardly what would be considered a fresh showcase item anywhere. Salad dressings were canned and not fresh. Costa seems to use a lot canned and frozen items, not fresh. In this regard, I do believe Costa is not up to what their advertising claims. We were to have two formal nights and they added a third on New Years. They did not tell us ahead of time this would be done. Some people had only two formal outfits. This should not be a normal problem for future cruises. All New Years activities took place inside. Toga night was the last night. I saw maybe 15% of the people wearing togas at late seating. I thought the shows were excellent. That said, I know they would not appeal to a lot of Americans. We had two production shows that were as good or better than any I have seem on a cruise ship. Also a tenor, and classical pianist. Finally, the steel drum concert by Island Magic should not be missed. The show with the magician was cancelled and they had a singer the first night. The lounges/bars were all excellent groups too, and we enjoyed those before or after dinner. There was some singing in Italian or other languages, so again that may not appeal to some Americans, but I enjoyed it, as did others I talked to. I did miss a good reggae band by the pool in the afternoon and evening, as most other cruise lines have in the Caribbean. I didn't see problems with people cutting lines or being rude. The crew was not "warm" but this is typical from what I observed while living in Europe. We went to the hospitality desk several times and were waited on just fine. We did not get the repeat cruiser perks from being a Carnival member as we were told would happen. I had an interior room and my friend had an obstructed balcony room. The lifeboat top was right in from of her glass under the balcony railing. You could look out, but not right down at the water. Her room was also bigger and had a couch. My room just had a small chair. I turned on the TV twice all week. I found a half hour of news in German to watch/listen to once while I got ready. I ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet each day, as well as "exotic" tea at 4 - 5:30 PM. It was okay, but again a lot of canned fruit and not a huge selection or variety during the week. Several automatic coffee pots were broken and not in use and the juice machines seemed watered down. Lines did not seem long when we went and we found open table to sit easily. Buffet, Dining room, and theater are nonsmoking areas. The big slide was not being used and later we found out it was in operation on the last sea day. Lots of kids packing into the hot tubs. Gym has new and nice equipment, but I walked outside each day and did not use any. Spa treatments were more expensive compared to what I remember from the other cruises I have been on. I did not go into any of the ship stores all week. The casino seemed busy but not crowded. The ship has a larger than average crew of photographers. They took nice pictures. We know we had several made, but could not find them all week. As with most cruise lines, the photos are expensive, but no more costly. I did not go to any shopping talks but info was out and available. The TV feature to check my bill worked the times I tried it. Altogether it was a good cruise and enjoyable. The ship was very nice and interesting to look at. I did see/smell smoke in many areas and there were a few nonsmoking areas marked but people then smoked everywhere else. This was bad waiting to get in for dinner or in some of the lounges. Food and dining room service could be greatly improved. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2003
I was on the Costa Med for the 28 Dec 03-4 Jan 04 New Years cruise. We did the Western Caribbean and went to Key West, Progresso, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. I had an early flight, arrived at Ft Lauderdale airport, met my friend, and got ... Read More
I was on the Costa Med for the 28 Dec 03-4 Jan 04 New Years cruise. We did the Western Caribbean and went to Key West, Progresso, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman. I had an early flight, arrived at Ft Lauderdale airport, met my friend, and got my luggage by 11:15 AM. Took a taxi to the pier. We were in the first group. Had to wait for security to open, did security and then waited for Costa to open the ship for people at 1:30 PM. We were on the ship and eating in the buffet, all before 2 PM. Eight ships in port that day. We were told two flights were delayed in Europe and Costa held the ship for what they claimed to be 300 passengers in the evening. We did not leave on time and my friend and I stayed up and saw some taxis arrive and only one bus of 40-50 people get on the ship during the time we were watching. We departed port approx 2 AM. Since we left late, we got to Key West later than planned on Monday. They extended our time in Key West from a 4 PM to a 6 PM departure. We didn't arrive until a little after 12 PM. We were at the old Navy dock and had a free tram take us to downtown by Duval Street and back. We did a trolley tour on our own and also walked/shopped on Duval street. Lifeboat drill took place Monday morning and took about a 1/2 hour. Seemed to go as well as I have seen elsewhere. Caught the tram to take us back. Had about 4 hours altogether in Key West, as we had to be back on the ship by 5:30 PM. Tues was a sea day, and we made it to Progresso on time Wed morning. Took the ship tour to Chichen Itza. It was a good day and good tour if you have not been there. One lady did the carriage tour and she said she did not like it. She was not expecting the living conditions she saw in Mexico. Our tour included a buffet lunch at a hotel nearby. They told us we had 13 buses from our ship going to Chichen Itza. Thursday was to Cozumel. We did not book any ship tours. We docked out of town at the international pier with two other ships. 5 ships in port that day. We took a cab to town shopped, met some people, then took a cab back to the ship. We had people come back late and they lowered the gangway for two. We were to be back by 3:30 PM and the ship left at least two people we saw on the pier at 4:15. We were to leave at 4 PM. Our ropes at the pier were under the ones from the Carnival ship next to us and they stopped all the people inside the pier terminal building to undo the ropes. Thus it was easy to see the people they let out and talk to the port authorities, as they needed to get on our ship. One interesting aspect of our cruise was somebody brought bagpipes and would sit on their balcony and play them as we were departing. It was nice! There was a storm during the night to Grand Cayman and the ship rocked some. My room was in the front on the 5th deck. You could feel it a little. I got up early to walk and the water in the pool was sloshing approx 2-3 feet up and down from front to back. We made it to Grand Cayman and the skies cleared. Because of the storm, the stingray tours were cancelled and perhaps some other water events. Costa did try to provide other tours for those affected. We were not on the first tenders and when we went, it was not crowded, took at taxi to the seven mile beach, stayed a few hours, and then through town to look at stores and tender back to the ship. It was a nice day! Sat was another sea day and relaxing. I was up early walking and did see people start to put things on lounge chairs to save them. I claimed a pair of chairs when I was done walking and my friend met me on deck. We got breakfast and ate on our lounge chairs. I know some chairs remained empty for 5-6 hours as I was there and saw it, but yet people had their stuff in them. No one took any action as far as I could tell nor did there seem to be a big problem as there were plenty of chairs. Sun the ship seemed to go well. My friend had a late flight and she booked a tour so she and I got off early, approx 9 AM, and things went well then too. They had several lines for non-US citizens set up, and from what we could tell that was working well to get people cleared. Found our luggage right away and she go on her tour bus and I caught a cab for the airport. Food was okay, but not great. I lived in Germany for 6 1/2 years and have been on 6 other cruises, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Carnival, so I have something to compare to in terms of other cruise lines or European food preparation. I am vegan now, so I eat no meat, eggs or dairy. They knew in the dining room on the first night of my diet, so I thought things would go better for me on this cruise. It did not. I could eat some things they had on the vegetarian selection Sunday and Monday, but on Tues I sent every course back at least once. Finally the Head Waiter came and he took orders from me on the next two nights. One night I had wonderful food, and the following night even ordering the same things it was not as good. We were late seating. It was to start at 9:15 PM but they did not open the doors until almost 9:30 some nights. Some families had small kids and babies in the dining room as well and they cried, were cranky and some slept. Our waiter was slow and we did not finish with meals some nights until 11:45. Our table was one of the last each night. No need to rush to a midnight buffet then, right! I was at a table of 8 and the others also were disappointed in some of their food, but also had a few good things. It was hard to tell what would be good or not. My friend said she did not have a beef dish she liked, even after sending some back. Others enjoyed theirs. For instance, Costa features a different region of Italy to highlight each evening. On the Napoli evening with pizza being the veggie main dish, I asked for artichoke hearts and mushroom pizza, made without the cheese. They brought me a pizza made with canned mushrooms. Hardly what would be considered a fresh showcase item anywhere. Salad dressings were canned and not fresh. Costa seems to use a lot canned and frozen items, not fresh. In this regard, I do believe Costa is not up to what their advertising claims. We were to have two formal nights and they added a third on New Years. They did not tell us ahead of time this would be done. Some people had only two formal outfits. This should not be a normal problem for future cruises. All New Years activities took place inside. Toga night was the last night. I saw maybe 15% of the people wearing togas at late seating. I thought the shows were excellent. That said, I know they would not appeal to a lot of Americans. We had two production shows that were as good or better than any I have seem on a cruise ship. Also a tenor, and classical pianist. Finally, the steel drum concert by Island Magic should not be missed. The show with the magician was cancelled and they had a singer the first night. The lounges/bars were all excellent groups too, and we enjoyed those before or after dinner. There was some singing in Italian or other languages, so again that may not appeal to some Americans, but I enjoyed it, as did others I talked to. I did miss a good reggae band by the pool in the afternoon and evening, as most other cruise lines have in the Caribbean. I didn't see problems with people cutting lines or being rude. The crew was not "warm" but this is typical from what I observed while living in Europe. We went to the hospitality desk several times and were waited on just fine. We did not get the repeat cruiser perks from being a Carnival member as we were told would happen. I had an interior room and my friend had an obstructed balcony room. The lifeboat top was right in from of her glass under the balcony railing. You could look out, but not right down at the water. Her room was also bigger and had a couch. My room just had a small chair. I turned on the TV twice all week. I found a half hour of news in German to watch/listen to once while I got ready. I ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet each day, as well as "exotic" tea at 4 - 5:30 PM. It was okay, but again a lot of canned fruit and not a huge selection or variety during the week. Several automatic coffee pots were broken and not in use and the juice machines seemed watered down. Lines did not seem long when we went and we found open table to sit easily. Buffet, Dining room, and theater are nonsmoking areas. The big slide was not being used and later we found out it was in operation on the last sea day. Lots of kids packing into the hot tubs. Gym has new and nice equipment, but I walked outside each day and did not use any. Spa treatments were more expensive compared to what I remember from the other cruises I have been on. I did not go into any of the ship stores all week. The casino seemed busy but not crowded. The ship has a larger than average crew of photographers. They took nice pictures. We know we had several made, but could not find them all week. As with most cruise lines, the photos are expensive, but no more costly. I did not go to any shopping talks but info was out and available. The TV feature to check my bill worked the times I tried it. Altogether it was a good cruise and enjoyable. The ship was very nice and interesting to look at. I did see/smell smoke in many areas and there were a few nonsmoking areas marked but people then smoked everywhere else. This was bad waiting to get in for dinner or in some of the lounges. Food and dining room service could be greatly improved. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2004
COSTA Mediterranean Western Caribbean Jan. 11 - 18, 2004 By Mary & Vincent Finelli The Costa Mediterranean has been dubbed "The Pearl of the Mediterranean" since Costa Lines is the premier line of Europe and this ... Read More
COSTA Mediterranean Western Caribbean Jan. 11 - 18, 2004 By Mary & Vincent Finelli The Costa Mediterranean has been dubbed "The Pearl of the Mediterranean" since Costa Lines is the premier line of Europe and this spectacular ship cost over 400 million Euros (c. $500 million). Although this Spirit class ship was six years in the designing stage, this ship was just eight months in construction. The conceptualization of a new class of ships requires more time because there will be more than one ship made to these specifications. From the Spirit plan Carnival has constructed four ships: The Spirit, The Pride, The Legend and The Miracle; and Costa has built two: The Atlantica and The Mediterranean. These Spirit class ships have been built at Kvaerna Masa Shipyards in Helsinki, Finland, where 25% of the world's latest cruise ships have come. Costa Mediterranean is a Panamax 982 ft. long, 104 ft. wide, 196 ft. tall and the gross tonnage of 85,700 tons. She has twelve decks; 1,057 cabins, 742 of which have balconies. She has six diesel generators and a maximum speed of 24 knots. Her total passenger capacity is 2,680 with a crew of 920. Costa ships are easily distinguished by their yellow smokestacks with the large blue "C" on them. She is sleek with a pointed prow like a huge yacht and her motto is "Mai visto niente di simile" (You've never seen anything like it). EMBARKATION Ft. Lauderdale's Port Everglades is a nicely organized port, where security is present and reassuring, but not overwhelming. The tickets had an embarkation time of 1:30 pm and it was accurate. Cabin keys are left in the stateroom doors and credit cards are taken on board. Priority boarding is given to wheelchair passengers and suite occupants. It took just ten minutes to check in and then we waited to board at 1:30pm. We did not have the usual Costa assistance on board to our stateroom, but once there the steward and butler were prompt in welcoming us and giving us excellent service. THE SHIP What primarily distinguishes the Mediterranean from her sister ships is the interior decor. Joe Farcus has long been Carnival's principal interior designer and Costa, as a member of the Carnival Corporation, now has the Farcus touch everywhere: detail, repetition and extravagant use of art work. This ship spectacularly features the works of over 34 contemporary artists (mostly Italian) with works commissioned specifically for the Mediterranean (paintings, sculptures, photographs, silver works, ceramics, etc...). If you enjoy art as we do, then the Costa Mediterranean is the place for you. The whole ship is a floating museum. The main dining room contains over 175 sculpted silver pieces in 96 niches, the work of Pampaloni Argentieri a Florence, Italy based studio. These pieces were created from designs of famous artists like Giovanni Maggi (c. 1600). The Costa Mediterranean is a combination of new and old with something to intrigue every passenger --- myths, legends, and modern art present much to be admired and enjoyed in the particulars and the details --- educational too! The Mediterranean's decks are named after mythological and historical people and her theme encompasses many Mediterranean countries. Deck 1. Ponte Circe (Greek sorceress, daughter of Helios and Oceanid) forward has the Salone Giardino Isolabella, a lounge with huge scallop shells circling the room interspersed with ocean pebble columns topped with marble balls. The stage is flanked with two larger than life sculptures of Poseidon. The scallops on the carpet and the excellent hammered copper tables give warmth to this room used for club style shows and the Captain's cocktail receptions. Midship on this deck are inside and outside staterooms. Aft is the bottom floor of the Discoteca Selva (Disco). Deck 2. Ponte Tersicore (Terpsichore, Muse of Song & Dance) forward has the Teatro Osiris (Egyptian god). The theater's Egyptian theme is carried out with stylized slender pyramids and Egyptian Pharaohs on each side of the stage. Down front on the right is the T. Eskelinen (Finland) sculpture of a charioteer driving four horses. It is dated MMIII, a gift of the Kvaerner Masa Shipyard Personnel. The theater's sea blue Chandeliers shaped like medusa (jelly fish) are reminiscent of the Aegean ones we had seen near Piraesus, Greece. Once, while sailing into this port, we were mesmerized by the many delicate and beautiful ones. Going toward midship is the Piazza Casanova, a study in heavy white alabaster ceiling and wall drapery supported by white putty (cherubs) in amusing positions. The design owes its origin to the Celbrizzi Palace in Venice. Midship is the Casino Canal Grande, which combines Baroque and Gothic architecture just like the Barbaro Palace in Venice after which it is styled. Next is the Hall Maschera d'Argento, the eight deck tall atrium with Giorgio Tani's six costumes from the Commedia d'Arte by Nodolini, and the many white medusa on each deck. Here are Francesco Petrollo's excellent bronzes: "L'Angelo del Mare" (recalling the Greek "Boy on a Dolphin") and "Le Torri" (the towers). Toward aft is the Talia Lounge and the Discoteca Selva (Disco). All the way aft is the lower level of the Ristorante Degli Argentieri, a beautiful room of muted colors with silver, copper and the sepia tone oval photographs of ancient Roman ruins. Here are the many silver objects, (goblets, vases and candle sticks) mentioned before, displayed in niches. Some are stunningly unique; Maitre D' Umberto (Torre del Greco, Italy) arranged for the Keeper of the Keys, Ian, to give us a tour of these amazing objects. Some of these are like Aladdin's lamp, others were birds or fishes, from 17th century designs. Umberto, an old friend of ours, is very proud of these pieces and the restaurant ---- rightly so (more on Umberto later). There are unique white blown glass globes which give a festive look to the dining room. There is a two deck high tower near the staircase, which displays ancient silver smith tools and fiber glass sculptures leaning from the tower windows and holding silver objects by Sergio Benvenuti (Lucca, Italy). Deck 3. Ponte Bacco (Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and feasting, equivalent of the Greek Dionysus) forward are located the first balcony of the theater, and the entrances to the Winter Garden walk that encircles the theater. This is a serene quiet place to sit at tables overlooking the ocean, a well kept secret. Going toward aft is the Library/Internet Cafe where many philosophers', writers', and artists' portraits hang; one of them is that of Joe Farcus, the architect of the interior of this and several other ships (a challenge to the future cruisers is to locate him). Next is the Salone Orientale, based on the Roero Di Guarene Palace, Cuneo, Italy. The elegance of this room is lovely. Midship are the Via Condotti Shops with many designer boutiques (i.e. Versace) and the photography gallery. Toward aft is the Sala Dionisio (this cruise used for the "Kosher Cruise" services). The Dionisio Bar and lounge are surrounded by many murals of grape draped youths. Here Miranda, a wonderful singer, sang and played piano beautifully every evening. All the way aft is the second level of the dining room. Deck 4. Ponte Teseo (Theseus, the Greek mythological slayer of the Minotaur) forward is Mondo Virtuale (Arcade) for the young cruisers, and the Chapel with fifteen beautiful panels "Way of the Cross" by Roberto Bixio (Genoa, Italy). Both the Arcade and the Chapel seem to be accessible only from the Winter Garden walk on deck 3 by stairways. Here is also the second balcony of the theater. The rest of this deck has cabins, some with obstructed view and some with veranda. Deck 5. Orfeo (Orpheus, son of Apollo, famous lyrist), Deck 6. Narciso (Narcissus, the beauteous youth in love with his own image), Deck 7. Prometeo (Prometheus, the Titan who stole fire from heaven and gave it to man) and Deck 8. Pegaso (Pegasus, the legendary winged horse) are mostly staterooms and suites. Deck 9. Ponte Armonia (Harmonia, daughter of Aphrodite and Ares, wife of Cadmus) is all public areas. Forward has the first level of the Olimpia Gym, the Health Spa with sauna and whirlpool and the Beauty Salon; midship are the twin pools with whirlpools of Cadmo (Cadmus, son of Agenor, founder of Thebes) and Armonia with bronze statues of these two mythological figures by Sara Righi (Parma, Italy). Toward aft is the buffet "Ristorante Perla del Lago" ("Pearl of the Lake Restaurant") and the Pizzeria Posillipo. Finally, aft are the Bar and Lido Apollo with a small pool and whirlpool. Deck 10. Ponte Cleopatra forward is the upper level of the Olimpia Gym, then the solarium and the alternative dining Club Medusa. This striking room looks best at night with all of its glorious lighting. All the way aft there is the children's play area with wading pool and the water slide arrival from deck 11. Decks 11. Ponte Medea (a sorceress who helped Jason steal the Golden Fleece, then she married him) has the Lido Squok for children with the water slide to Deck 10. Deck 12. Ponte Pandora (the curse of mankind, she opened the box unleashing all evils, leaving in only hope). Here is balcony of the Medusa (a monster with hissing serpents for hair) Club. This is a ship that words cannot adequately describe. All the passenger corridors to their staterooms are decorated with art by Augusto Vignali (Parma, Italy). The staircases have large fragmented paintings by Leo Borghi (Padua, Italy) and whimsical white ceramics by Riccardo Biavati (Ferrara, Italy). These must be seen to enjoy, like "Le Pupe," the ceramic dolls of Domenico Caretta (Grottaglie, Italy), they are all different, and they all make the viewer laugh. Then, in the hallway from the Lounge Talia to the Atrium there are the stunning photographs of ballet dancers by Angela Cioce (Bari, Italy) which celebrate the athleticism and beauty of the dance. CABIN Panoramic Suite #6023 was the exact replica of our Costa Atlantica suite. The Costa line has standardized the interior decor and why not, if you get it right then repeat it. There are three types of wood: Teak pillars with ebony capitals and cabinetry and 12 inch mahogany ceiling trim boards. The desk, bar, night stands, dressing table and bathroom counters are all granite. Lamps are elegant copper and brass with Murano glass shades. The art work is Andreescu's (Timisoara, Romania) painting of a girl with a cat at sunset and a background of blue domed white buildings recalling Santorini, (which was like her painting on the Atlantica --- a girl with a green eyed cat). The other painting was a Borghi geometric background of a medieval Italian town, with a sail boat, church and compass. Entering on the left is the anteroom to the bath with vanity and lighted armoires. The bath has twin sinks, six shelves, and a shower and jacuzzi tub. Next is the bar with TV, personal safe, a cabinet with four huge drawers, a double armoire and a queen bed. The far wall is all windows to the balcony with teak wood chaise and table. When entering on the right there is a mirrored wall, a lighted desk/vanity and refrigerator, then a double peach leather sofa/bed, granite coffee table and an upholstered chair. The feel of the cabin, with all the wood, brass, and copper is one of an elegant Captain's cabin, very nautical. Our steward Dace (Latvia) and Butler Desi (Bulgaria) were superb. Many thanks! FOOD & SERVICE These aspects of ship life always come under the supervision of the Hotel Director, in this case, Walter (Italy) ---- a very genial task master, who has set the highest of standards for the Mediterranean. His warm demeanor filters down to those under him. Guest Relations Manager Francesco (Sicily) was cordial and helpful in every way. Bar Manager Sanzio (Italy) was even helpful in pointing out many exquisite details; he knows his ship. This ship is top notch in service. Under Maitre D' Umberto (Torre del Greco, Italy), the food and service in all the dining venues is superb. On formal nights, Umberto is resplendent in his cut away and pin stripe trousers and he is constantly alert and mindful of the passengers needs. His two assistants Francesco (Italy) and Lino observe each table and insure excellent service. We had a table for two #275, near the staircase and were ably served dinner by Waiter Nilo and his assistant Michael. At lunch we had waiters Aldwino and Ronald, who were excellent. Breakfast, we had in our suite each morning. It was always prompt, hot and delicious. Butler Desi went the extra effort to please us and she succeeded. Breakfast can be ordered from the dining room menu which includes the following: Fresh fruit juices and fruit compotes, yogurt; cereals both hot and cold; eggs any way; pancakes, Belgian waffles, French toast; bacon, ham, sausage, chopped steak, hash browns and hash; herring, salmon lox; croissants, rolls, Danish, bagels; and a wide variety of coffees, teas, hot chocolate and milk. The buffet has an equal selection, but we usually avoid the buffet, since it is not easy for Vincent to carry his tray. Lunch, we usually do in the dining room. The Mediterranean luncheon menu has five or more appetizers, from fruit plates to eggplant Parmigiana, to both hot and cold soups. The salads are varied and abundant (radicchio, romaine, arugula, Boston Bib and escarole are some of the offerings). A pasta course is served and it is always excellent and different: ravioli, vegetarian lasagna, rigatoni, fusilli, and farfalle. Lunch entrees include Spanakotiropita, Boneless chicken breast (excellent, tender and juicy --- Mary had this twice), Flounder with parsley butter, Lamb kebabs, and Beef Stroganoff, for example. Desserts are a wonderful mix of American and European favorites, such as the following: Pecan pie, eclairs, sorbets and ice creams, Tiramisu (sugar free too), Italian cheese cake, etc.... Dinner menus are quite interesting, especially for those passengers taking Italian lessons on board. The menus are in Italian with English, French, Spanish and German translations. Each menu emphasizes a different Italian region and its culinary style: Piemonte, Liguria, Emilia Romana, Campania, Sicilia and Sardegna. Executive Chef Villardo Purificacion offers the best of these regions, yet he does not forget to give the best of other famous cuisine like French and Caribbean. Chef Antonio was in charge of the Kosher Cruise, but he always made time to discuss the menu with us and offered us excellent light, flavorful pastas and sauces. We highly recommend the pasta on board as the best at sea. We suggest trying the Italian dishes since they are original. Antonio and Maitre D' Umberto gave us a wonderful gourmet cruise, and we surely appreciated it. Mille grazie! ENTERTAINMENT & ACTIVITIES Cruise Director Paul oversees many activities, but perhaps the funniest comes on the last evening, when Paul as Julius Caesar holds a Roman Bacchanal with passengers providing the entertainment. The rest of the passengers may vote "Thumbs Up" and send the performers to the Buffet , or "Thumbs Down" and send them off to the Lion's den. By the end of the cruise the passengers are warmed up and very vocal! The shows during the week had some high spots: John Ciotta, lead singer of the Costa Reviews, has a fine voice, and the singers and dancers are quite good. Two concerts not to be missed are Maestro Mauro Bertolino performing Chopin, Mozart, Scarlatti, Beethoven and Gershwin on piano. Magnifico! And secondly, Mario La Manna, singing Neapolitan songs --- "Non ti scordar di me," "Mamma," "O sole Mio," etc. This is the super fine voice of the tenor of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican --- Pure beauty. Both of these performers received well deserved standing ovations. There are many other activities on board such as the following: Bingo, the Casino, Dance classes, Exercise classes, Children's programs and there is even a Golf Pro on board and golf reservations at each port. PORTS OF CALL Recently we have significantly reduced the number of shore excursions we take at the ports of call, mainly due to Vincent's limited mobility and to the fact that we have visited these ports many times. We generally spend our port days enjoying the semi deserted ship by having soothing hydromassages in the whirlpool, visiting our favorite spots, admiring the artwork and, most of all, relaxing. Some of the suggested excursions listed here are either the ones we did before or have been recommended to us by fellow passengers. 1. Ft. Lauderdale, FL USA Departure: 7:00pm 2. Key West, FL USA Arrival: 8:Pam Departure: 4:00pm For first time visitors the Conch Train or Trolley Tour (1 hr., $19) will give a quick overview of this city. The rest of the day can be spent visiting Hemingway's home, trauma's Little White House or meal Fisher's Treasure Museum. 3. Day at sea. 4. Progresso meridian, Mexico Arrival: 7:Pam Departure: 5:30pm For those interested in Mayan archaeology, chicken Tour is a must (8.5 hrs., $93, including lunch). 5. counsel, Mexico Arrival: 8:Pam Departure: 4:00pm The clear waters and the beautiful coral reef near this island make Snorkel and Scuba the best available excursion at this port: Fury Sail & Snorkel Beach Tour (4 hrs., $43.50); Unlimited Snorkel Adventure (2.5 hrs., $31); Scuba Adventure (3 hrs., $75), designed for non certified divers; Certified Scuba (3.5 hrs., $76). 6. Georgetown, Grand Cayman Arrival: 9:Pam Departure: 6:00pm Last year we had a wonderful experience in the "Bubble Sub." It is a small submarine for 2 people which dives 50 - 60 ft. to the coral reef and is guided by an outside pilot. It was a great 360 degree view in a pressurized cabin of colorful fish, coral and sea turtles. The information for this excursion can be found on the web . Other notable excursions are Stingray City and Island Tour (4.5 hrs., $43.50) where it is possible to snorkel with the friendly stingrays. 7. Day at sea. 8. Ft. Lauderdale, USA Arrival: 7:Pam Debarkation: 9:00 CONCLUSION This was our eighth cruise on Costa ships and a great one. It is nice to come aboard and find out that we already know several crew members: the Captain, with whom we have cruised twice before; Maitre d' Umberto, whom we had met two years ago on the Atlantica; the Chef Antonio, who in 1999 prepared the food for our son Marcello's wedding banquet aboard the romantic; etc.... It is like coming back home, when we encounter the many familiar faces and feel the special attention that these people have reserved for us. That for sure makes our day, or better said, our cruise! It is nice that Costa is initiating a new program for repeaters, the Costa Club, with three levels of membership (cards): Aquamarine (2,000 points), Coral (2,001 - 5,000 points) and the Pearl (5,001 or more points). The points are assigned for the number of cruising days (100 points per day) and the amount of money spent aboard (40 points for 52 euros). The privileges associated with these memberships vary from discounts on selected cruises, fruit baskets and bottles of spumone in the cabins, discounts aboard on Costa merchandise and beauty treatments, to free dinner in specialty restaurants, etc.... This was a great cruise, a cruise Italian Style! We look forward to cruise again on Costa ships, perhaps on the new Costa fortune and Costa magical. Our next cruise will be on RC's new ship, Mariner of the Seas, Fe. 2nd, 2004. Happy Cruising! apse enter your review. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2004
2-12-04 As background, during the past decade I have had the responsibility and pleasure of writing numerous restaurant and hotel reviews. In addition, we have enjoyed personal cruising for more than 20 years, having had the pleasure of ... Read More
2-12-04 As background, during the past decade I have had the responsibility and pleasure of writing numerous restaurant and hotel reviews. In addition, we have enjoyed personal cruising for more than 20 years, having had the pleasure of such about 50 times on lines such as Royal Caribbean, Holland America, NCL, Princess, Carnival, Costa and many others. Our stateroom preference has been and remains a balcony veranda, or suite with veranda. What follows is our opinion of our cruise which departed Fort Lauderdale on February 1, 2004. While the cruise aboard the Costa Mediterranean in and of itself was pleasant, its one that we would not promote for the American marketplace. Little if any improvements were apparent in the ten years since we had last sailed on this line. Most visible change was that the dining room serving staff were now a mix of nationalities, e.g., Filipino, as opposed to Italian, which on other lines has been excellent. Late seating for dining was at 9 PM and not the 8:15Pm we had been told. We considered it lucky if indeed we were seated by 9:10pm. Service was erratic; noted that Europeans/Italians were often attended to first; that orders were not taken for at least 10-15 minutes after being seated; table not always set proper (lacking butter, cream and so forth); served pasta first one night, salad first another night, soup first another night...pitchers of cream for coffee were passed from table to table...... no consistency, and somewhat hurried service once food was served. Rolls & bread were on the verge of being stale; not crusty but stale! Grated cheese not offered unless requested for pasta dishes. Nor was the Bussboy attentive to needs. To order a bottle of wine one must use the Bussboy as they had no wine steward in the dining room. Cafe Espresso or Cappuchino had to be ordered from the bars as it was not prepared in the dining rooms. One couple at dinner asked for "straws" for their drinks and they were brought a high-chair! Food itself was at best but "fair"..................the last dinner aboard was a total disgrace....... very poor quality as agreed to by the other 12 couples aboard from our Italian Lodge. At the early seating our group, confirmed in advance by the booking agent that they would be seated together, were placed helter skelter......... and the Maitre'd refused to make adjustments for such. Ourselves with another couple were the only ones from our group that elected for second seating. A complaint made by all Americans we met was the 2 formal nights. This was likened to overkill! (I cannot help but question if the quality of service is directly related to gratuities automatically being charged to ones shipboard account. changeable yes, but how many take the time to do such?). Entertainment was not what Americans would expect. For example, one night the featured show was an Italian tenor, excellent voice, singing alone for one hour with recorded background music (no shipboard band/orchestra), all in Italian....... and when he spoke it was only in Italian. The dancers performed what was European in approach, not the Las Vegas type reviews. English speaking comedian I understand was very good but his show came on well after midnight...we were in the casino. Clubs, lounges, featured a variety of dance music, the Spanish trio and their song selections most appealing to American tastes. When in Italian, although in a public cocktail lounge, several Italians on board were outright rude, belligerent, would loudly proclaim that Americans are "ignorant" if one spoke a word while the piano player/singer sang in his native Italian language. Having lived and worked in Rome, Italy it was their ignorance that did not surprise me, and being of part Italian ancestry this is not an easy thing for me to say. Staterooms were clean and comfortable; balconies small. Cabin Stewards like dining room service were inconsistent; never delivered bottles of Aqua Minerale and so forth as asked for, et.al. Mini bar in room was a nice additive. Bar staff , not Italian, and their service was very good; prices however were noted to be higher than on several other lines. Typical drink was $ 4.75 plus 15% tip. Room service left alot to be desired. Not once did we receive what was ordered. Ask for 2 large pots of coffee, 1 orange juice and 1 roll with cream for coffee, and we would receive a different variety of such each morning such as 1 small pot of coffee; 2 juices, no roll and no cream. Cleanliness of the ship was extra ordinary! Spotless, magnificent. Ship itself is beautiful; European accents. Configuration is identical to the Carnival Pride with only minor changes and different decor. Topside Deck # 9 breakfast & lunch buffets were more than adequate with varied selections. Scrambled eggs were horrid however; dry as dust, very much overcooked. Fortunately there were exterior Omelet Stations which were fine (not Italian cooks). Hamburgers etc. poolside were like leather; dry and flavorless; liken such to hockey pucks! Passengers aboard were a mix of Europeans, many Italians, Americans, a few Australians. Our having lived in Italy for 3 years made it quite easy to identify who was who, and we also had the advantage of understanding some of the language. Ports of call left alot to be desired because of late arrival and early sailing times. San Juan for example was a 4:30pm arrival, could get off ship at 5:20pm (first seating for dinner was 6:30pm and presented problems for many). Stores closed at 8:30pm. Little for people to do. As we had lived in Puerto Rico for 3 years, years ago, I still remember my way around so for us it wasn't bad, but for others, it was a waste of time. Nassau also presented a problem for some as it too was at most a 5 hour stop over. Again, we've been there at least two dozen times so we knew our way around. Catalina Island/Dominican Republic (formerly referred to as Serena Cay) we've also visited several times so we stayed on the beach which was excellent, and the beach barbecue was good. Those that elected to take tours had difficulty trying to fit in both beach and tours. We were told the tour of Casa de Campo and the show was excellent. While in the USVI, again we've been there numerous times, we knew our way around and elected to snorkel at St. Johns via a "Champagne Catamaran", not really worth the $ 138 price but enjoyable and fun for all that were aboard. Languages spoken aboard were Italian, English, French, Spanish, German. General announcements presented in each language. If Costa would adopt the American likes/dislikes when sailing from American ports they could offer a great product as their new ships are magnificent. However, there is little difference in their product between now and 1990-1992. I was hoping for something more, better, as they have 2 more new ships being built for delivery this year and next. If God grants me another 10-20 years of life I might consider sailing with them again a decade or more from today. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2004
I sailed on the Costa Mediterranea with my husband and our two children ages 15 and 11 and we all had a great time. I would like to let everyone who has read any of the negative reviews about this ship should not belive any of them. Just ... Read More
I sailed on the Costa Mediterranea with my husband and our two children ages 15 and 11 and we all had a great time. I would like to let everyone who has read any of the negative reviews about this ship should not belive any of them. Just for the record this was NOT our first cruise but our 10th. In the past we have sailed on Princess, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian cruise lines. All were good but we seemed to really enjoy this ship. Check-in in Port Everglades was very quick and smooth. We arrived at the pier at approx. 11:15am and we were on the ship in less than an hour. It was great because we were able to explore the ship and we could enjoy the buffet lunch (which by the way was very good). We had access to our cabin at about 1:00 if not earlier in the afternoon. We had a room with a balcony cabin number 5197. Our room steward Walter was very kind and made sure all of our needs were met. There is a mini-bar in the cabin that you are welcome to use. Anything that you decide to eat (candy bars) or drink will be charged to your room. The dining room staff was good. They seem to be more serious then some of the other waiters we have had. The service was great and we enjoyed the food. Of course like any other cruise line if you order something you do not like feel free to tell your waiter and he will get you something else. Please remember that this is a European cruise line and they really seem to cater to those people. By that I mean all of the announcements were done in 5 different languages. If the show had a musical theme then at least 3 or more of the songs were sung in Italian or French. I did speak to some people who did not enjoy their cruise as much as we did. They complained about the food, service and anything else the could think of. Perhaps they did not enjoy the food because they consumed so much liquor that their taste buds were shot!!! Sorry if anyone takes offense to that but it is the truth. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. We did not leave Fort Lauderdale on time (4:30pm) we finally pulled out at approx. 11:30pm. The delay was due to a late airline arrival that had over 100 people on the flight that were sailing on our ship. The captain really made up time. We were "flying" at 23 knots belive me that is pretty fast!! We pulled into Puerto Rico only 2 hours later then we were supposed to. In St. Thomas we took a cab to Meagans Bay. We have been there several times before but we wanted our kids to see this beautiful beach. The private island was very nice with a large BBQ on the beach. This was the only port of call that you will need to tender into. In Nassau we chose to take a cab (on our own) to see the Atlantis Hotel. It was nice but you can not go to the beach at this hotel. As a matter fact, you could not really do much at the hotel other than visit the shops and the casino. This cruise was not only a great value and we all had a great time!! I really hope to read some more GREAT reviews. If you are going on this ship I hope you enjoy if as much as we did. Have fun!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2004
Just returned from the Costa Mediterranean on a 7-day cruise to the western caribbean. I have cruised in the past with Royal Caribbean on the same western caribbean itinerary. I found the Mediterranean to be gaudy and distastefully ... Read More
Just returned from the Costa Mediterranean on a 7-day cruise to the western caribbean. I have cruised in the past with Royal Caribbean on the same western caribbean itinerary. I found the Mediterranean to be gaudy and distastefully decorated. Overkill is the word. The cabins were very nicely done and very comfortable. We had an outside cabin with a veranda. I was travelling with an adult and one child. We had no complaints about the room or our steward Francis who was more than accommodating. The food on this ship was mediocre at best. The deserts were dry and non-extravagant and repetitious when eating cafeteria style. Ice cream but no cones. I found our table staff to be polite but not friendly. Couldn't get them to warm up to us. Completely opposite of what we experienced on the past cruise. The entertainment was just OK. Also, not up to par with other cruise lines. The guests aboard this ship were mostly European, I'd say 75% of them were from Italy and France and with the staff aboard the ship who were mostly Italian and French made me feel like a 3rd class citizen. From talking with other Americans who were on this cruise, they felt the same way. I have never experienced such rude, pushy, arrogant people in one place at one time as on this cruise line. All instructions were tedious and boring because we had to listen to them in four languages at all times. With keeping the Caribbean in mind, one would expect to hear live entertainment pool-side with a steel drum band or at least caribbean music (cd style). Nope, not on this ship. Same piped-in cd's playing over and over again pool-side to the point of getting on your nerves. The weather was absolutely beautiful and I enjoyed the ports of call thoroughly except for Progresso, Mexico. This port should be eliminated from the itinerary. Not much to do there, very poor area of Mexico. Dirty beaches also. This was one time that I actually looked forward to getting back on board the ship. If anyone is stuck taking this cruise, do yourself a favor and swim with the dolphins at Chakannab Park which is in Cozumel, Mexico. This experience was terrific! Definitely worth it's price in gold! Also the Fury Catamaran is alot of fun also. Wish I had more nice things to say about this cruise, but unfortunately, I couldn't wait to get off this ship. Classless, tasteless, definitely not worth the expense. My daughter, who is a mature 9-year old, found the Squok Club to be boring at times. I left her the option to leave without my signing her out of the club and found her wanting to be out of the club more than in the club. She also said the staff was rude at times and didn't really try to make her feel comfortable. My daughter and I had 2-way radios aboard the ship and I felt good knowing that I knew where she was at all times. I would recommend anyone traveling with children to think about using the 2-way radios. Purchased them at Radio Shack for $30.00 in Ft. Lauderdale. Read Less
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