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1,822 Costa Cruise Reviews

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
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 February 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 April 2000
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 December 2003
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 January 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
Sail Date February 2004
I don't know where I read it, but I agree with the person who wrote that a Costa cruise is not the worst time he ever had -- just the worst time he ever had and paid for it. I also love the one about feeling like the woman Sigourney ... Read More
I don't know where I read it, but I agree with the person who wrote that a Costa cruise is not the worst time he ever had -- just the worst time he ever had and paid for it. I also love the one about feeling like the woman Sigourney Weaver rescues in "Alien Resurrection," where she simply says, "Kill me." That is how my husband and I felt when we finally got off this hellish nightmare of a cruise. I'm new to this board, but I wish so much that I had found it before deciding to go on a Costa cruise. My husband and I joined a group from NJ for the February 21-28 western Caribbean tour on the Mediterranean. I'd never been on a cruise before, and after this unbelievable experience, I doubt I'll ever go on one again. It was truly the worst money I've ever spent in my life. Good points: 1. embarkation: I thought the embarkation process was extremely well-organized, efficient and speedy. No complaints. 2. Cleanliness: The ship itself was very clean and well-appointed. However, the decor was Vegas times ten -- gaudy to the point of garishness. Our cabin (8219) was a good size with a nice little balcony. The bathroom was adequate and the shower water pressure was good. The room steward kept the room very clean. 3. All-inclusive: The tips are charged at the end of the trip and were reasonable. We chose to give our waiter and waiter's assistant an additional tip in cash. It was nice to be able to order our drinks without concern for cost. However, you are only allowed a drink up to $7.00. Any drink costing more than this will be charged to your room. This made going to the wine bar a bust because the ones I wanted to try were over this limit. Bad points: There are really too many to list, but here is a smattering of the worst offenses: 1. The food was truly awful. I had a feeling it was going to be bad when our first meal consisted of greasy burgers and scary-looking hotdogs by the pool. But we were tired and hungry, and several Long Island iced teas helped lubricate the meal. Most lunches were of this caliber, including cold cuts or pizza from the buffet. On one truly frustrating day, we went on a 7-hour outing in Grand Cayman and were not given the opportunity to stop for lunch at any point. When we returned to the boat, lunch had stopped being served both in the buffet and the grill by the pool. Once again, pizza was the only food available regardless of the hour. The room service menu was laughable -- continental breakfast (no eggs or meat), sandwiches and salads. No real dinner food was available from the room service menu -- not even a burger. The dinner food tasted like it had all been frozen, defrosted and cooked to lukewarm. Everything tasted bland. The meats were tough, overcooked and stringy. The vegetables were forgettable and sauceless. The grilled salmon, which is always available on the menu, tasted very fishy and smelled bad -- inedible. The desserts were mediocre; all of the sherbet we ordered was half liquid by the time it was served. The gourmet restaurant on the 10th floor, Club Medusa, was hugely disappointing. For an extra $92.00 for four people ($20.00 surcharge plus a service charge), we got to enjoy the likes of, for instance, a very confusing whipped parmesan cream cheese swirl served alone in a parfait glass (do you eat it straight, spread it on bread or what?), cold sliced veal with a disgusting pureed tuna sauce (tasted like canned tuna and mayo blended in a food processor), a watery, tasteless soup, and just-okay filet mignon. We did not have one really great meal the entire time. We had expected good seafood, fresh fruits (and there were a few on the breakfast buffet), lean meats, lots of salads and decadent desserts. Instead, it was crusty-stale breads, pizza, a lot of pasta, greasy-to-tough meats, and soft-serve, machine ice cream. We were really disappointed with the food. 2. Uncomfortable temperature We were hot the entire time. This is unforgivable in the stateroom, where we struggled to get the temperature below 80, even with the lousy A.C. on full-blast. We all sweated in the restaurants and in the casino. The only relief we got was when we went on deck and could enjoy a windy breeze to cool us. 3. No access to swimming pools There were three pools, one purported to be adult-only. However, all three were filled with people and children the entire time. We could not get into any of the three hottubs because they were constantly filled with children. The pools are filled with seawater and are drained each night. So much for a midnight swim or sitting in the hottub after dark. Worse, there were not enough deck chairs or towels. So if you wanted to get some sun on the days at sea, you had to have claimed a chair by 8:00 a.m. or they were all filled. We finally got chairs in a shaded area, but there were no towels. The only swimming we did on the entire cruise was on an excursion in Grand Cayman. (Swimming with the sting rays was probably the only fun we had on the cruise). 4. Slow and excessively expensive internet access -- $.50 per minute, and each page takes minutes to load. 5. Major sicknesses acquired on the trip -- all four of our traveling group were stricken with what the doctors are calling "cruise ship virus" or "traveller's virus." Each of us have missed several days from work after returning from the cruise due to flu-like symptoms with nausea, fever, upper respiratory infections. I got it the worst due to the salmonella or e-coli poisoning I had from eating something on the boat. This gave me two straight weeks of diarrhea which made me so dehydrated that I couldn't weather the viral part. I was in the hospital for dehydration issues and missed more than a week of work. Today is the first day since we returned (2/29) that I am well enough to write these comments. I'm thinking about filing a complaint and trying to get a refund -- if anyone has heard about someone being successful in doing this after getting sick on a Costa cruise, please e-mail me. 6. Nothing to do on the boat There were only two real "shows." Unfortunately, we had the second seating for dinner, and to attend a show, we'd have to go to the 11:00 p.m. show. Why they didn't offer a showtime before the seated dinner is beyond me -- but I imagine it had something to do with the Europeans eating later and going to bed later than we Americans do. In any case, unless you liked cards or the casinos (or over-priced "art" auctions of cheesy, reproduction artwork), there was almost nothing to do on the boat but drink. And that was only fun for the first afternoon. 7. Too little time at ports of call Plan on five hours, tops at any given port of call. They were all touristy and a waste of time anyway, unless you really like t-shirt shops in Key West and cheesy diamond jewelers in Cozumel. Grand Cayman was the only stop worth getting off the boat. 8. Unbearable beds The beds, if you can call them that, are plastic and metal frames with a solid plastic slab foundation. Atop this is a horridly thin, 4" foam sheet covered with a bedsheet. There is a hard ridge of plastic running down the middle of the bed, which made intimacy impossible -- not that we'd have wanted to do anything like that, given the diarrhea, seasickness and general nausea from the wretched food. 9. Rude, rude rude Europeans Many of the staff and the European guests were exceptionally rude. The majority of guests had no concept of waiting in line and would physically push us out of their way. The staff were not helpful when we were hot and complained that there surely must be something wrong with the A.C. in our room or when I became ill from eating spoiled food. Requested a single extra pillow to prop up my excessively swollen feet (edema from the high salt content of the crappy food) and was given extra pillowcases folded into another pillowcase. Apparently, the cruise line does not anticipate that anyone would need an extra pillow, which was bizarre. Worse, more than a few European guests stank, frankly, to the point that we had to abandon a meal from the buffet when some unwashed Italians sat next to us at lunch. One exception was the wait staff, who were attentive and charming. However, when their superiors were not watching, they would tell us stories of exploitation, of being forced to work 18 hour days with no time off for the first seven weeks, then only two afternoons off per month. They complained about the low pay and the poor treatment. They told vivid stories of poverty to explain why they stayed; all were heart-wrenching. It was clear the majority are disgruntled with their employer and feel enslaved, which made us feel somewhat guilty for accepting their service. This dynamic put a damper on the cruise (as if it needed additional negativity!) 10. Chaotic disembarkation process Plan on spending the morning sitting in a big room waiting to go through a cattle-call process. Don't plan on anyone caring about you in any way, shape or form, including your need to make a scheduled flight. You are assigned a color to tag your bags. If you don't have red or green, your morning will be screwed entirely. Enough said. Overall, it was an awful waste of money. We felt like, as my husband put it, we were on a floating prison without bars. We truly contemplated flying back from Cozumel and abandoning the rest of the trip. I wish we had. At least then, we could have returned home to edible food, a bed in which we could approach sleep, and an escape from terminal boredom. Instead, we are $5,000.00 down the toilet and a week of vacation time from work completely wasted. Top that off with two weeks's straight of hospital-level sickness, and all I can say about Costa cruises is that I regret this trip more than I can possibly ever say. Read Less
Sail Date February 2004
This is going to be a difficult review to write. At 37 this is my 27th cruise and it becomes more and more of a challenge to be objective when writing a cruise review. I run the Cruise Division of Australia's largest retail agency ... Read More
This is going to be a difficult review to write. At 37 this is my 27th cruise and it becomes more and more of a challenge to be objective when writing a cruise review. I run the Cruise Division of Australia's largest retail agency chain. This cruise was my first taste of Costa - being a new product for us - and was basically for me to assess what a Costa Cruise is really like. Please excuse me if the review is long - or over-critical, I will try to make it as 'objective' as possible. Embarkation The transfer from Genoa Airport to Savona was a smooth as it could possibly be. We were met at the airport by a Costa rep and were able to sit in a designated Costa lounge while waiting for other flights to arrive. The transfer seemed very quick along the Autostrada - no more than 40 minutes. The cruise terminal in Savona is very new and stylish - very pleasant - complete with outside sun deck and cafe. The terminal was a blessing though - as the embarkation process was SLOW to say the least. We arrived at about 12.30pm where we were handed a number (19 in our case). Boarding began at about 1.00pm and we did not board until about 3.30pm. A very long wait!!! Cabin We were in a Balcony Stateroom - Costa Victoria only had balconies added in Jan this year. You couldn't tell that the balconies had been added - seemed like they were there all along. The cabin was an ok size. Seemed a little smaller than other balconies I have stayed in - I believe they did forsake a small amount of space in the construction of the balconies. Certainly not 'inconveniently small' however. Bathrooms were typically small - with a cylindrical shower. Cramped to say the least but again bearable. Unfortunately the shower tray didn't have a very high lip which meant a flooded bathroom floor every shower. Not really an issue - just don't leave anything on the floor!! Public Areas Being used to more modern ships (Costa Vic is 8 years old) I found this ship lacked a certain 'wow' factor but was still clean and comfortable with 'nice' public rooms. Our BIGGEST issue with the ship was the smoking. We had christened her the 'Costa Ashtray' by the end of the cruise. Seems the ship was basically 'smoking' with only a few dedicated 'non-smoking' areas. Now - smoking does not normally bother me at all - in fact I am pretty tolerant of it - however in this case PHEW was there a lot of it. Not only was there smoking in all the bars, but people would walk along corridors smoking, stand in line for reception smoking .. basically EVERYWHERE. Service In a word - inconsistent. On the plus side, 3 particular crew stood out. Ron, our cabin steward, was the best I have ever had on any cruise. At the beginning he introduced himself as our 'angel' and was true to his word. Every night on our return to the cabin we had a new surprise - whether it be a towel animal - or fresh flowers scattered all over the bed - there was always a nice, personal touch. Nothing was a problem for him. Just excellent. Christiana at reception was our God-send. You see, 3 of us in the party had luggage lost by the airlines. Not a nice way to start a cruise!! Christiana took ALL our details, told us not to worry about the luggage as Costa would find it .. no matter what. And lo and behold they did. She was a gem. The 3rd was Michael in the specialty restaurant. An excellent waiter. On the down side, sometimes the service was dreadful. Questions were answered with 'who knows', 'no' or simply ignored. On the first day we ordered tea and cookies for the cabin in the afternoon. They arrived. ON the second day we were told "no cookies on the room service menu" - but we insisted we got them the day before and .. so they came. On the third day we were told "no cookies on the room service menu" - and again we insisted that we had got them for the last 2 days. This time though .. NO cookies. And never again after that. Petty? Maybe - but this is an example of the inconsistencies we experienced. Entertainment Don't even start me on this one. A shadow puppet show. A guy who created dresses out of one piece of material. Tragic to say the least ... Food I am starting to sound like a whiner. Sorry!!! I usually only have good things to say - but .. I'm struggling!! The food was disappointing. We were expecting a feast of Italian delights. It wasn't forthcoming. The food was certainly OK .. but not outstanding. Ports AHA - finally something good to say. Very unusual ports - Naples / Messina / Katakolon / Corfu / Kotor / Dubrovnik. None disappointing - particularly Kotor which is incredibly scenic. Really enjoyed the itinerary. From the above you have probably worked out that I won't necessarily be recommending Costa as my first choice for Europe. The cruise was ... ok ... but by choice I wouldn't sail with them again. Perhaps the newer ships would be a different case - a few based on Carnival designs - I'm not sure. But i am hesitant to try one just in case. For those of you who love Costa, I am sorry. But I would be curious to know ... is my review typical?? Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
Overview: We were attracted to this cruise by the reasonable price and interesting itinerary (visiting Italy, Egypt, Turkey and Greece). Before booking I read 'official' cruise guide reviews, which gave the ship a fairly good ... Read More
Overview: We were attracted to this cruise by the reasonable price and interesting itinerary (visiting Italy, Egypt, Turkey and Greece). Before booking I read 'official' cruise guide reviews, which gave the ship a fairly good rating. I however became a bit concerned after reading a number of critical 'customer reviews'. I think it is however very much about perception and what sort of person you are. I can appreciate some regulars perhaps giving the ship a lower review if they have been on many cruises that they preferred, however it should be remembered that this is a mass-market cruise at a great price. For value for money, it was excellent. The Costa Victoria is a modern, well-maintained ship. Everything looks like new and is spotless. Especially after walking around places like the interesting but hectic Alexandria, we were very pleased to see our beautiful white ship in the harbour on our return. I have only sailed with Orient Lines/NCL previously and there were areas that both companies excelled in. The crew on the Victoria seemed a little more rushed perhaps, especially during the dinner service. However none were unfriendly and my parents, who had never sailed previously, thought the service was fantastic. So much so that they have booked to travel with Costa again in September. Food: I can honestly say that we never had a bad meal on board. The main restaurant served a 5-course dinner which featured quite a lot of fish and was Mediterranean in terms of oils/sauces etc. It was all of a high standard and the staff were really wonderful. It is however true that if you like, say, steak and hot puddings then these featured on rare occasions. I read a review stating that the pizzeria served frozen food, this simply isn't true. The poolside grill had lovely well cooked chicken and the cafes throughout the ship were relaxing and pleasant. Breakfast/lunch buffets could be a little busy but we always found a table somewhere. There was the midnight buffet (disappearing from some lines) that was outstanding. There was also complimentary coffee/juice most of the day at the back of the ship. It is worth buying a 'honeymooners card' (you don't need to be on your honeymoon) for a set number of drinks for one reduced price. Alcoholic drinks were quite expensive although the duty free shop did actually let you take your purchased back to your cabin for consumption, if you so desired. Shows: The cruise featured 'the entertainment team' a group pf Italian performers, which it perhaps took a couple of days for me to get on to their wavelength, however they were very talented. Costa goes in for quite a lot of audience participation shows, which you either love or hate. They could be very amusing to watch and there was little pressure to join in. Cabin: The cabin was a reasonable size and well designed. The hairdryer was damaged but I reported it to the reception and it was replaced with a whole new unit by the time we returned to the cabin. Itinerary: This was a very interesting voyage. One negative was that in most ports, you had to travel some distance to get to the main attraction (eg Pyramids, Taormina, Olympia etc) however only in Alexandria and Messina did we feel we had little option but to take the official tour. On all other occasions we just took local transport. In Katakolon I would recommend taking a taxi, and in Piraeus, if you don't mind some walking then head around to the train station. On our cruise someone was taken ill while we travelled to Alexandria and the boat needed to turn around and due to the delay we missed out Rhodes. The situation was handled professionally although information could perhaps have been more forthcoming. Misc. Others have commented about smokers onboard. As a non-smoker I feared the worst, but really there wasn't too much of a problem. Some bars could be a little smoky but I never saw anyone smoking in the corridors or waiting for the lift etc as others have reported. Summary: I'm sure that many of the criticisms of Costa will be genuine (otherwise why would people write them) however I believe much is down to Costa being very different and very European. We met French, Germans and Italians on board, who were all very friendly. Yes, one couple did push in the queue in front of us on an occasion but this was very rare. Yes, all the announcements in different languages do take some time, but really - is it that such big a deal? If you are an average easygoing person, then I think you will like (and perhaps even love) Costa. If you want to moan and find fault with anything and everything then this is possible too. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
This ship was nice enough, although not nearly as lavish as some we have cruised on. We had an inside room ( a first for us), and it was comfortable with a workable bathroom. The ports of call were interesting, especially Egypt. We had 3 ... Read More
This ship was nice enough, although not nearly as lavish as some we have cruised on. We had an inside room ( a first for us), and it was comfortable with a workable bathroom. The ports of call were interesting, especially Egypt. We had 3 couples traveling together and we didn't want to do the "herd thing", so we hired taxis and found a great adventure everywhere we went. Salvador in Naples was a romantic. Guiseppi, Abdul, Dionisis, to name a few! We rode through the "old town" section of Alexandria with Abdul, the godfather of taxi drivers in Alex and Cairo! The ship paper reported that Euro and Dollars could be used in Egypt, but we found they really couldn't. Need to exchange to Egyptian money. Other places took the other fine. I was surprised that all the taxi drivers spoke enough English to give us some good information and to converse. We were all extremely disappointed in the quality and variety of food on this cruise. You know how you usually look forward to dinner in the evenings?...well, we didn't. The service was good, but the food was bland, even desserts were not especially creative or flavorful. The shopping was not very good on this ship and the over the counter medicine selection was very limited. You have to go to the infirmary to get dramamine,etc. One of our group members was very ill one day with a kidney stone and spent the day in the infirmary where she received wonderful attention. This is the first ship I've been on where people began crowding against the door and hour early to see an after dinner show. Many guests on board were rude and paid no attention to lines and pushed ahead.. or elbowed out of elevators. Guess my Southern upbringing just does not understand that! Shows were mildly entertaining, the young variety dancers/singers did a good job, but the rest was rather blah. If you are into big "groupie" events, that seems like the hit on this ship. At the end of the cruise we had an overnight in "Milan", which turned out to be a small town outside of Milan. By the time we arrived at our hotel in Cardano and hauled all our luggage up a couple of flights of entrance stairs, (hotel was cool by the way), it was too late and too complicated to get into Milan. I would have liked to have done some good shopping there. It was disappointing to be stuck there for the evening without even a good place to eat. We did have a good time overall, but mainly because we were with good friends and visited interesting ports. I would not choose to sail with Costa again. I guess we have been spoiled on other ships! Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
One Couple's Point of View COSTA MEDITERRANEA......... Our group cruise.................... February 1-8, 2004 Excitement permeated the air, being fed by lively conversation, laughter and smiles as people arrived at the Fort ... Read More
One Couple's Point of View COSTA MEDITERRANEA......... Our group cruise.................... February 1-8, 2004 Excitement permeated the air, being fed by lively conversation, laughter and smiles as people arrived at the Fort Lauderdale pier to board the new Costa Mediterranea for a week in the Caribbean sun. Soon the chill of the Florida morn would be long past with minds drifting to what awaited ....... the warmth of the sun, the midnight blue and crystal clear waters of the sea, the ambiance of the luxury liner and all its amenities. From the first Buon Viaggio celebration to the last Bacchanal Parade all were ready for it to begin! Festa Italiana! And, so it was, as all looked forward to a week of unforgettable enjoyment whether wrapped in a Toga, the carnivale atmosphere, fine dining, tarantella dancing, Italian karaoke, pizza dough tossing, or intimate romance........all were ready! All eagerly anticipating the days at sea, San Juan, St. Thomas and St. John, the Dominican Republic.....Catalina Island and Casa de Campo, and Nassau in the Bahamas. This magnificent floating luxury liner, 960' in length, with a beam of 106', reaching to a height of 200' at funnel top, carrying 2,114 passengers and a crew of 920, quietly sliced through calm waters at 24 knots with stabilizers engaged to assure its smooth passage. Staterooms with balconies above the sea, air conditioned, with TVs, hair dryers, safe deposit box, stocked mini-bar and ship-to-shore telephones, the ship was in its inaugural year. The cleanliness of this liner was extra-ordinary! Everything spotless, magnificent! Adorned in European/Italian accents that some might consider as gaudy, bright and showy, with color combinations one might never use within their homes, but works well aboard ship. And then like a splash of ice water upon a sizzling grill it was learned that our group seating in the main dining room had fizzled. A hurried meeting with the Maitre'd resulted in no more than raised palms in an expression that nothing could be done to seat people together as requested months before. Thus the saga began. Some had cruised before, some had not. Never-the-less, over all, all had enjoyable moments that will last a life time. Ourselves included. As in every facet of life, what appeals to some may not appeal to all. And, so it was. This would be no different. For "first timers" it was viewed, overall, as momentous. For "past cruisers", like ourselves, it was a series of highs and lows, overall pleasant and enjoyable, but one could not help but make mental comparisons whether consciously or sub-consciously. The European or more appropriatedly stated, the Italian approach, was immediately obvious once boarded. What was found 10-12 years before when aboard Costa still prevailed, even though they plough the American waters and Caribbean from American ports of call. Their advertising is directed to the American marketplace yet surveys of what the American cruiser prefers, and looks forward to, may be found lacking once aboard. Those with Italian heritage, background, may have little trouble with this, but those that do not have at least a basic understanding of the Italian language and mentality, may have difficulty with such. Am I being critical about this? Perhaps, but I attempt to approach this and what follows from the American marketplace and what the majority as Americans have come to expect. While the cruise in and of itself was pleasant, it's one that overall may not appeal to the American marketplace. Other than being a new ship, little if any improvements were apparent in the ten years since sailing this line. Most visible change was that the dining room serving staff were now primarily Asian/Phillippino as opposed to Italian. This is not a bad thing as many other lines have done such. Holland America for example, have Indonesian dining room staffs and Phillipino bar staff, all of whom are excellent! Early dining room seating for our group was at 6:30 pm with the helter-skelter seating very upsetting. My wife and I and another couple had opted for the second seating which we had hoped would be better. Unfortunately, second seating for dining was at 9 PM and not the 8:15 pm we had been told. We considered it lucky if indeed we were seated by 9:10 pm and had finished dinner by 10:45 pm. Service was erratic at the second seating; noted that Europeans/Italians were attended to first. Possibly the old adage that the squeaking wheel receives first attention. Orders were not taken for at least 15 minutes after being seated; table never properly set, e.g., no butter, no salt/pepper, cream and so forth, rolls that were near stale....not to be confused with crusty; 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. Grated cheese not offered unless requested for pasta dishes. It quickly became obvious that the Busboy could not be attentive to our needs as he was near held "captive" by the Europeans/Italian cruisers with their demands. To order a bottle of wine one had to order such through the Busboy as they had no Sommelier (wine steward) in the dining room. Cafe Espresso or cappuccino had to be ordered via a cocktail waitress, at a cost, from the bars, as it was not prepared in the dining rooms. Food itself was at best but "fair" which came as a surprise as Costa promotes their cuisine as being prepared by European Chefs and culinary school graduates, who are members of the world famous Chaine des Rotisseurs. Menu items were varied with an assortment of entrees including vegetarian. The Risotto alla Milanese with Porcini Mushrooms was both a pleasant surprise and tasty, although a few minutes under-cooked. Pasta, Lasagne, Chicken, Steak were available each evening on the alternate menu. Lobster tails were mealy in taste and flavor. We elected not to dine in the Club Medusa on Deck 10/11 @ $23 per person plus wine and gratuity as we were not that impressed with the food and assumed it would be no better there as it all came from the same kitchen/chefs. Our last dinner aboard, pork cutlets, was poor quality and little flavor, with little or no presentation, served with plain boiled egg noodles and plain steamed vegetables. A complaint made by several people we met was the need for 2 formal nights on a seven day cruise when so many other cruise lines are now promoting what is referred to as "California casual" or "country club casual" attire. Entertainment was not what most Americans would expect. There was no on-board orchestra nor band. One night the featured show was an Italian tenor, excellent voice, singing alone for one hour with pre-recorded background music, all in Italian. And, when he spoke it was only in Italian. Fortunately we understand much of the language having once lived in Rome, Italy, while on a corporate assignment. Where we were seated many non-Italians walked out of the performance. The dancers performed what might be best termed European in approach, not the true Las Vegas type reviews, always with intense strobe lights, and "smoke" in their choreography which hung above the audience. Comedian I understand was very good but his show came on well after midnight while many of us were "contributing" in the casino. Clubs, lounges, disco featured a variety of combo's, pianists, dance music, with a Latin/Spanish trio and their song selections appealing most to American tastes. When in a public cocktail lounge, some Italians on board were outright rude, belligerent, proclaiming that Americans are "ignorant" if one spoke a word while the piano player/singer sang in his native Italian language. If this were occurring in a theater it would be understood, but in an open, public cocktail lounge? I don't think so. Staterooms were very clean and comfortable; balconies although a tad small were certainly adequate. Drawer, storage space, and closets met our needs. Small bottles of hand lotion, shampoo and conditioner were not provided although each shower had a dispenser of pre-mixed shampoo with conditioner. Cabin Steward, our own experience while aboard, like dining room service, was inconsistent; never delivered bottles of Acqua Minerale and other items as requested. The stocked Mini bar in the cabin room was a nice additive. Bar staff, primarily Asian/Phillipino, and service was very good; prices however were noted to be a tad higher than on several other cruise lines. Typical mixed drink was $4.75 plus the added-in 15% tip equaling $ 5.47 apiece. Cordials often were priced at $7.50 each plus 15% tip. Wine, on average priced at $4.50 - $5.00 per glass plus 15% tip. Our experience with Room Service left much to be desired. Not once did we receive what was ordered. Each morning we'd order 2 large pots of coffee, 1 orange juice and 1 roll, with cream for one coffee. We would receive a different variety of such each morning e.g., 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 ship "Carnival Pride" with only minor changes and different decor. Topside Deck # 9 breakfast & lunch buffets were more than adequate with varied selections. Scrambled eggs however were always dry, very much overcooked and flavorless. Fortunately there were exterior Omelet Stations which were fine. They would also prepare eggs sunny side or over light, however requested. Hamburgers, poolside, were well done, dry and flavorless; "hot dogs" spongy and flavorless. The Calamari and New Zealand Greenshell Mussels, at lunchtime, were magnificent! Carving stations offered various roasts; however, it was noted that near all were cooked medium to well, with most well done. For those like ourselves who prefer medium rare or rare such was not enjoyable. Coarse ground lamb, made into meatballs in a tangy creamy sauce, were quite tasty. Ports of call were somewhat disappointing because of late arrival and early sailing times. San Juan was a 4:30 pm arrival, could not get off ship until 5:20 pm which created a concern for first seating dining at 6:30 pm. Most stores and shops closed at 8:30 pm. A number of people were overheard saying it was a waste of time. We agree. Nassau also presented a problem for some as it too was at most a 5 hour stop over. The beach at Catalina Island/Dominican Republic was excellent and the beach bar-b-que was enjoyable. Those that elected to take tours had trouble fitting in both the beach and land tours. We were told the tour of Casa de Campo and the show was excellent. While in the USVI we elected to snorkel at St. Johns aboard a "Champagne Catamaran", perhaps not really worth the $138 price in our opinion, but enjoyable and fun for all that were aboard. Golfing at "Teeth of the Dog" at Casa de campo we were told cost $200 per person. Languages spoken aboard were Italian, English, French, Spanish, German with general announcements presented in each language. We believe if Costa were to adopt the American likes/dislikes when sailing from American ports they could offer a great product. As they have two new ships being delivered this year and next, we keep our fingers crossed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
I love Costa. This was our 12th cruise and 3rd Costa Cruise. My husband and I traveled with 2 children 9 and 5. also my Sister and Brother-in-Law and my 82 year old Mother. We were celebrating a very big birthday for me but I won't ... Read More
I love Costa. This was our 12th cruise and 3rd Costa Cruise. My husband and I traveled with 2 children 9 and 5. also my Sister and Brother-in-Law and my 82 year old Mother. We were celebrating a very big birthday for me but I won't say which one. First impression was a little strange we checked in around noon (very swiftly because my Mother was in a wheelchair) but once we got on the ship everyone was waiting in a public area until our rooms were ready. But, this gave us time to stand in another line to register our credit card for onboard charges. Something new I noticed was that security was tighter than ever (we've cruised twice since 9/11), picture ID, Cruise Cards AND children's birth certificates were required each time someone got on or off the ship. Personally, I felt very safe with the extra security, but it did make lines longer. Our cabins were fine, (the last time we sailed with Costa we had a suite and nothing can compare to a suite), we had enough space and loved the verandah. It was always a challenge to find our cabin steward and we didn't get any special treatment (like towels folded, etc) and he really wasn't very friendly. One reason for the lack of attention, may have been due to the fact that he only had our two cabins in our area, most of his cabins were around the corner. The other cabin with our relatives faired even worse, he constantly forgot that there were 3 people in the cabin and never left enough literature or supplies and the first night my poor Mother didn't have a bed made up (it was still the couch without sheets, pillows). After a call to the front desk, the head of housekeeping a few others came to make up the room. But the first response was "Cabin Stewards finish by 10pm", I suggested getting any supervisor or the Captain to come up and make sure my Mother had a place to sleep. OK that's all the negative stuff...everything else was WONDERFUL. Our waiter was one of the best we've had (out of 12) he went out of his way to accommodate us, including rushing dinner at our request and insisting we come back for dessert on a night when our kids were in the talent show at 9:30 (which of course was right in the middle of dinner). The food was very good, (the only thing I wouldn't recommend was the fish) if our waiter even sensed that something was wrong he wanted to replace it. This has been my experience with all 3 Costa cruises. Even more amazing, all the food servers on the ship were great, at the buffet, during open breakfast or lunch, the service was excellent and very personable. All over the ship personnel went out of their way to assist my mother who uses a wheelchair or walks with a cane, I was very grateful and impressed with this. I thought the shows were great, very professional and something different every night. I've never cruised twice on the same ship, but next year I will booking a suite on a Costa ship. These days, it's a little sad that all the new ships look alike. I preferred the decor on the Atlantica much more than the Mediterranea. Another thing about Costa is that a family with two children can't find a better price for this quality of cruise experience. Oh, I can't forget that my kids thought the kids club was great. Before we boarded the ship our travel agent (who I wasn't thrilled with) told us the kids club closed at 7pm, that was not good because we'd rather take the kids to the buffet for a fast dinner and enjoy our long, leisurely dinner which can drive kids crazy. Most days the kids club was open from 9-12 3-5 8-10:30. Two nights they had special dinners for the kids at 6:15. I enjoy traveling with people from other countries, but if you want to be surrounded by all American's this isn't the cruise line for you. We had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
We have been on 7 cruises prior to this one. First of all, we are very objective people and find the good in most things, HOWEVER, this is the first cruise that I must say was one I care not to repeat. There were 12 of us on the cruise and ... Read More
We have been on 7 cruises prior to this one. First of all, we are very objective people and find the good in most things, HOWEVER, this is the first cruise that I must say was one I care not to repeat. There were 12 of us on the cruise and not one time during dinner did the waiter get things right, we had early seating, 6:15 and were receiving our main course at 8:15, not to mention not refilling the water and here is the kicker, my grandson was dipping his French fries in the small bowl of catsup the waiter had brought him, the waiter returns 10 minutes later, scoops up the bowl of catsup, walks to the table beside us and uses a spoon to dip into the catsup to give to other people, this is unspeakable behavior. I was in such shock. The assistant waiter did give us our water when we arrived in the dining room, then, never saw him again. At a table for 6 we had 4 pads of butter, after asking anyone who walked by for more butter, I finally go up and went to another table with no one there and got my own. Needless to say, the food and the quality of service was bargain basement. The grill had great hamburgers, we had 5 of them, fruit was out of a can. Coffee was almost never past luke warm. The ship was clean and over decorated, the shows were, at best, comparable to the dinner, we went to one show, anyone who likes classical music is going to love the shows. We had a fun time as we were a family who finally got to get together for a week long visit, so most of the negative was put aside, the ports were fine, we had all been to them before. The cabins were acceptable and the cabin personnel try hard to please. Think about this one and compare, we made the best of it, but Costa will not be our choice again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
COSTAMEDITERRANEA WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE March 5 - 12, 2006 By Mary & Vincent Finelli "Con te Partiro`...," once again we are cruising "Italian Style" on the Costa Mediterranea --- our third trip on this ... Read More
COSTAMEDITERRANEA WESTERN CARIBBEAN CRUISE March 5 - 12, 2006 By Mary & Vincent Finelli "Con te Partiro`...," once again we are cruising "Italian Style" on the Costa Mediterranea --- our third trip on this excellent ship. Naturally, if we return to the same ship, we must have enjoyed ourselves immensely on previous cruises --- and we did! So, this poses the question, what is so good about Costa that we find ourselves returning twelve times in all? Let's start with the crew. Captain Massimo Garbarino, we have considered a friend since he commanded the CostaRomantica where our son was married on February 14th several years ago. He always takes a personal interest in passengers' views of cruising. CostaMediterranea Hotel Director Ann Ryan, whom we had previously met on the CostaAtlantica, is dedicated to following up on any inquiry by a passenger. She ensures that each passenger has the most enjoyable trip possible. When speaking with her, she proudly noted that recently the Mediterranea in the last two sanitation inspections by CDC (Center for Disease Control) has received two perfect scores of 100. This is a nearly improbable feat, denoting that the ship is impeccably run. There are many countries represented among the crew and passengers leading to a wonderful international feeling on board. The Mediterranea was built in Kvaerna Masa Shipyards in Finland and Captain Garbarino oversaw the entire construction. She was outfitted in Italy and many crew members were on site studying and practicing their Italian, and then each summer the Mediterranea returns to her home port in Savona, Italy and cruises the Mediterranean Sea. From the moment passengers board, the air is full of the melodic Italian language. A very nostalgic sound to Vincent's ears since he was born in Italy. There are many languages spoken among the passengers from USA, Europe, S. America, and Asia. Our butler Ronald delivered the morning papers in both English and Italian, making us feel at home (where we normally listen to CNN and the BBC while Vincent reads the local US and Italian papers on line). It seems that old academic habits die hard! We are both retired teachers. The continental influence and the opportunities for speaking a foreign language always draw us back to Costa. Then, of course, the food on board is deliciously incessant. Thus, when you can't afford to go to Europe, but want a taste of the Continent --- Sail Costa. EMBARKATION -- Ft. Lauderdale's Port Everglades is easily accessed off I-95, just beyond the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Security is well organized and Pier numbers and Ship names are clearly posted. Embarkation was set for 1:30pm, but boarding began shortly before noon. We arrived at 12:30pm and went straight on with wheelchair assistance. We were in our suite before 1:00pm, where champagne, fresh fruit and canapEs greeted us. This suite was all the way aft on Deck 6 with a large balcony. We checked on our dinner reservations: early seating (5:45pm) a table for two near the entrance to the restaurant --- excellent! We were off to the buffet of rare roast beef, fresh salads, pastas, fruits, fine cheeses and desserts --- very nice. SHIP -- We have reported in detail on this ship before (see 2004 and 2005 reviews), so here we want to draw more on how the ship's layout is conducive to creating an Italian atmosphere. The Costa Mediterranea was launched in 2003 and is registered in Italy; she is 86,000 gross tons and 960 ft. long with 12 decks and 1,057 cabins of which 678 have balconies. Double occupancy is 2,114 passengers with a crew of 920. Her cruising speed is 22 knots and a top speed of 24 knots. Her design is based on Carnival's Spirit Class and the Costa Atlantica is her sister ship. She has 2 Azipods and 6 diesel electric generators. According to Captain Garbarino, she can do one mile on eighty-five gallons of fuel. The flow of the promenade on Deck 3 Bacco is reminiscent of the classic liners of yesteryear where the passenger could walk all around the ship on the promenade deck. The Winter Terrace Walk is accessed from the outside promenade forward or the doors adjacent the theatre. This lovely indoor promenade has large porthole shaped windows overlooking the sea. There are many tables and seats by each window, which are great for conversations, doing puzzles, playing cards, reading, or just relaxing and sea watching. This is an example of excellent flow, since this walk way goes all around the prow of the ship, back to the promenade. Toward midship on Deck 3 is the immense Oriental Lounge with its huge curving bar and piano strains of music. Continuing toward midship are the Via Condotti Shops. When leaving the Osiris Theatre on Deck 2 Tersicore, passengers pass the Piazza Casanova (with its multitude of "putti": white cherubs), a spacious room which has constant activities throughout the day and evening --- trivia, games, dancing lessons and live music. Going aft from Piazza Casanova on Deck 2, passengers pass through the Grand Canal Casino, one of the most spacious casinos afloat, no crowded aisles here. The same flow is also evident on Deck 9 Armonia with the two Pools forming open spaces. When passengers leave the Ischia Spa they pass the pools and on into the Perla del Lago Buffet, then toward aft to the Apollo Spa and pool with its fine Apollo statue by Rigamonti. From the moment passengers enter the ship they are surrounded by artifacts and motifs of that inimitable Mediterranean area: Venetian Characters, Egyptian Obelisks, Grecian statuary, all contributing to a fantastic cruise atmosphere. FOOD & SERVICE -- Guest Relations Manager Daniele Puma is very visible and easily accessed through the Passenger Services Desk. He is very capable of answering and solving passenger needs, not to mention handsome and with delightful continental manners. Each morning our Butler Ronald, in white gloves, delivered our full American breakfast punctually at 7:15am: eggs, bacon, hash browns, toast, rolls, and fruit marmalades, including Mary's favorite apricot. Ronald set the table with a white linen cloth and a floral bud vase, which we collected daily, so that by the end of the cruise, there were six on our shelf, but, with the mirror behind them, they gave the optical illusion of twelve vases..., lovely. The Buffet on Deck 9 is abundant with many stations, so lines are short. Salad Bars, fresh fruit displays, hot entrees and made to order sandwiches are all available; the perfect touch is the Pizzeria and ice cream/dessert area. We had lunch there on the first day. However, we prefer lunch in the main dining room, Restaurant degli Argentieri, with its walls lined with vitrines displaying copies of famous silver pieces (vases, candle sticks, pitchers, etc.) and murals depicting Italian pastoral scenes. We enjoyed the special attention of Maitre D' Fernando Sanna (quite elegant in his tails) and the two 2nd Maitres D' Luigi Cuomo and Leonardo Moccia. They are all very observant and make sure every passenger feels special at every meal. Dinner each evening at Table #90 was enjoyable with our Waiter Valerio Olano and his assistant Victor D'Sousa. They were perfect and anticipated our every needs. Prosciutto and Grana Padana, Mozzarella di Bufala or Bruschetta magically appear as antipasto in addition to the menu's long lists of appetizers, soups, salads, pasta dishes, entrees, desserts, cheese plates and fresh fruit. If one cannot find a preference in these lists, there are the "Always Available" items: Caesar Salad; Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce or with meat balls and basil; Fillet of Salmon poached, broiled or grilled; Skinless Chicken Breast, also prepared as one likes it; and many side dishes of vegetable and potatoes, fried or baked with butter or sour cream, bacon bits and chives or anything also available upon request. Some of our favorite appetizers are the following: Beef Carpaccio with shaved Parmigiano and black olive tapenade, Escargots Bourguignon, Bresaola with tomato, arugula and Parmigiano, Vitello tonnato (thin sliced veal with tuna sauce), etc. Favorite soups: Cream of forest mushrooms, Pasta e Fagioli, French Onion Soup, ConsommE Stracciatella, etc. Favorite salads: Tossed Spinach Salad (with bacon bits, chopped hard boiled eggs and croutons), Seasonal Tender Leaves (Belgian endive and Radicchio) and other mixed salads (i.e. water cress, spinach and pine nuts, etc.). Favorite pasta dishes: Bucatini alla Amatriciana (long pasta with pancetta and onion in a piquant tomato sauce), Tagliolini alla Bolognese with Porcini mushrooms, Penne all'arrabbiata (with a piquant tomato sauce), etc. Some of our favorite Entrees: Roasted Rack of Lamb, Ossobuco alla Milanese (veal shank in a special sauce), Fillet Mignon grilled to perfection, Mahi Mahi filets, Veal Liver with onions, etc. Everything was "delizioso!" Compliments to the Chef. The Gala Dinners are especially enjoyable with candles and flowers on the tables and complimentary champagne for all. Desserts included Cannoli, Italian cheese cake, Baba`, Tiramisu and the typical pies: apple, cherry, pecan, lemon meringue, and all sorts of freshly made ice creams and sherbets, or International cheeses and fresh fruits, etc. The wait staff are on their toes and they greet passengers in many languages. Quite a number of the staff are budding polyglots! The festive atmosphere in the dining room includes many types of Italian music from Opera (Aida's Triumphal March), to Neapolitan Classics to Modern music. Passengers will most likely find themselves dancing the Tarantella with a waiter. Food is great, the atmosphere is fine, a taste of Italy is wonderful. We especially enjoyed 2nd Maitre D' Leonardo from Bari, Italy whose kind attentions we very much appreciated. The Club Medusa is the upscale Italian restaurant, reservations required ($20 per person). It features menus by Gaultiero Marchesi which have been improved and diversified from the earlier ones we had on previous Costa cruises. Dining is on Versace plates and service is top notch. We can report that service and food on this ship are excellent. CABIN -- Suite #6260 is on Deck 6 Narciso. Costa's suites are standardized: wide ceiling moldings of fine woods, granite tops on all furnishings and warm monochromatic colors of peaches, oranges and reds. Very sumptuous. On entering the suite, on the left there is an anteroom with a large lighted vanity, with a double armoire across from it. There is a door that leads to the bathroom with a full jacuzzi tub/shower. The room is tile and marble and has twin sinks and ample shelves for toiletries. The suite opens to the left with a large bar with TV, Personal safe and built in bureau and another double armoire. There is a king bed with copper and Murano blown glass lamps on the night stands. Opposite there is a desk with columns and mirrors, a refrigerator, a coffee table and a peach colored leather sofa. An arm chair completes the furnishings. The glassed far wall leads to the large balcony which holds two recliners and a table. Our suite had a picture of King Tut's golden mask and wall paintings from a pyramid, in keeping with the Mediterranean theme. There was another picture of a lady in summer attire. Our Stewardess Leonor, who is wonderful and has a sweet nature, kept the suite spotless. Thanks! ENTERTAINMENT -- The suave Cruise Director Paul Rutter leads the Costa Animation Team in the multitude of activities on board, which include Bingo, Casino Tournaments, Italian and Dance Lessons, Trivia Quizzes, Crafts, etc.... The shows nightly in the Osiris Theatre were entertaining. We especially liked the "Time Machine" on formal night and John Ciotta on Italian night. Most of all we enjoyed the Italian joy of life which pervades the Costa Mediterranea. On "Notte Mediterranea" each passenger is given a "passport," which they take to four different lounges set up featuring the cultures (food, music, games and customs) of Greece, France, Spain and Egypt. The passengers collect four "visas" and then turn in the passport to Passenger Services, and they will get a $100 discount valid for a Transatlantic or European Costa Cruise. Costa works hard to make cruises entertaining. DEBARKATION -- Sunday at 8:30am, a crew member came to our suite to help with the wheelchair. We had green tags, which were the third ones called. We were through the passport check, luggage pick up and customs in less than 30 minutes. We were on our way home by 9:00am. This was simple and rapid. PORTS OF CALL -- Day 1. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Sail Away 7:00pm Day 2. Key West, Florida Arrive 8:00am Depart 1:00pm Take the Conch Train or the Trolley Tour ($26) for a good overview. See the Little White House of Pres. Harry Truman and muse on how complicated life has become in the US in the last fifty years. Day 3. 3-7-06 Cozumel, Mexico Arrive 8:00am Depart 7:00pm Cozumel was hit hard by Hurricane Wilma Oct. 2005. It lost the new pier, but with tendering the tourists are returning. See the local San Gervasio Ruins and the Folkloric Show ($72). Snorkeling is great here, but for those who cannot swim go to the Sea Trek Helmet Diving tour ($88). Day 4. At sea Day 5. Ocho Rios, Jamaica Arrive 8:00am Depart 5:00pm Dunn's River Falls is the highlight to see; climbing them is a must for those with able bodies. Day 6. Georgetown, Grand Caymans Arrive 8:00am Depart 5:00pm Once again there is tendering in order to go ashore. Here among the favorite tours are those which include swimming with the Stingrays. Day 7. At sea Day 8. Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Arrival 8:00am CONCLUSION -- It is always pleasant to return to a ship we have already sailed on before, where most probably we'll be welcomed by some of the crew and officers we had befriended on earlier cruises. This was true on this cruise, where we encountered Captain Garbarino, Hotel Director Ann Ryan and Maitre d' Luigi Cuomo, all of whom we had met on previous cruises on the Mediterranea and other Costa ships. Needless to say, they welcomed us as old, special friends and made our cruise a great one. We have cruised on about three dozen ships of nine cruise lines, but we tend to cruise more frequently on those lines that offer special perks to "frequent floaters," such as occasional upgrades, Champagne, fruit basket, a Concierge, VIP treatment, etc. Costa is one of our favorite lines. We'll be cruising on Costa again, but our next cruises will be on Carnival Triumph, May 13th, on the Caribbean Princess, Sept. 23rd and on the new Freedom of the Seas, Oct. 15th. However, we'll keep our eyes open for special sales during the summer for a last minute booking. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
First I want to say thanks to previous reviewers for the Costa Mediterranea, it really helped to set expectations. Now on with the review... Embarkation went pretty quickly considering the number of people boarding during spring break ... Read More
First I want to say thanks to previous reviewers for the Costa Mediterranea, it really helped to set expectations. Now on with the review... Embarkation went pretty quickly considering the number of people boarding during spring break week. The line was long but moved well and the Costa staff was helpful and courteous. Port Everglades was very easy to navigate and determine where you needed to go for each ship. The ship itself really blew us away, up until this cruise, we had sailed with Norwegian and Royal Caribbean and the decor on Costa was just over the top. Sure we did our research and looked at their website and brochures and read the reviews, but seeing it in person just put it all into perspective. I still can't figure out how the made all those patterns and textures work together, but the effect was not garish as I had anticipated. We kept walking around and finding more and new things in the decor, it really was a visual feast. Speaking of feasts, they never stopped feeding you, which is true for more cruises I know. But it seemed like there was always something...and with almost 600 kids/teens on board, I think that was a good thing! I will agree that some of the offerings were on the average side (still haven't figured out how the traditional Thanksgiving type turkey dinner fit in with the coastal Italian menu), but overall we enjoyed the food and service. Especially the desserts, my husband tried a couple of the sugar free offerings and was extremely pleased, and he has a true southerner's taste for sweet desserts. Service in the dining room still needs some refining, but nothing worse than you would find at a local Applebee's or mainstream restaurant chain. The ship was extremely clean. My in-laws (who traveled with us) are usually very sensitive to dirty dishware and silverware and will routinely send silverware back to the kitchen to be washed when dining out, never sent back anything or had any complaints about the cleanliness onboard. The itinerary was great, we stopped in Key West, Progreso Mexico, Cozumel and Freeport. We enjoyed Progreso for the Mayan ruins (Dzibilichtun) and look forward to returning to see additional sites. The water was beautiful at the beach, although we only saw it in passing. We took a taxi from the stand when when you get off the ship. We spoke with Tony who was excellent, very fluent and reassuring. Previously, the bulk of our experiences with taxis outside of the US were limited to Nassau, whose drivers tend to be a bit aggressive in their approach, so I was very wary of talking to Tony when he first approached. My husband noticed while we were speaking that the service was recommended by the Yucatan Today website (very helpful) which further put us at ease. Next time we intend to reserve a car with Executive car rentals which also have a stand in the area just off the boat. unfortunately, they only have enough cars to accommodate their reservations. My 16 year old also had a great time and made a number of friends on this trip. I think there could be some improvements made in their program for teens. The activities for the 13-17 group were limited. The teen disco was only available for 1 hour a few nights out of the week which left a number of them wandering around getting into trouble. I was amazed that so many of them seemed completely unsupervised. We still have a couple of years to cruise during spring break, but after my son graduates, I think we will make it a point to avoid that particular week. Overall, we all had a fantastic time and will definitely plan on doing it again. Buon viaggoi!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2004
Just returning from the Costa Cruise line's Mediterranea yesterday, I have contemplated strongly just how to write a fair review of this cruise ship, the Costa cruise line, and the locations visited. Firstly- I am an American living ... Read More
Just returning from the Costa Cruise line's Mediterranea yesterday, I have contemplated strongly just how to write a fair review of this cruise ship, the Costa cruise line, and the locations visited. Firstly- I am an American living in Italy, familiar with the Italian culture and lifestyle. I speak enough Italian to communicate effectively and live in an Italian town without any problems. That said, I am writing this review geared towards any Americans considering flying over and using Costa for a cruise. Did I enjoy the cruise? Overall, yes. The destinations were tremendous and somewhat surprising once we got there. The ship was overall excellent, very clean, with an excellent mix of European and American passengers. Would I ever go on a Costa cruise again? Absolutely not. The "Italian hospitality" that the cruise line markets itself on is neither Italian, nor hospitable. I will site some of the many problems this cruise line has concerning customer service. Take note- I am an American, and our standards of customer service do differ drastically from European, and specifically Italian standards in many regards. Not all of these gradients are necessarily bad, as I have experienced many delightful experiences traveling all of southern Europe, extensively in Italy itself. Since I live only 45 minutes from Venice, travel to the port was easy and hassle-free. Those flying in will be jet-lagged and may have several hours to spare in Venice at the port, since you cannot board the ship until at least 2:30pm, which our travel agent was wrong about (she said noon was the time to board). We arrived at noon expecting to board, and had to find a way to burn 2 1/2 hours with a toddler. Not a problem- if you also arrive too early, take a brisk walk (don't get ripped off by a taxi) to the parking garage about 5 minutes from the port, and on the other side take a water taxi to Venice, and enjoy Saint Mark's square for the remainder. The ship is massive and impressively clean. Being my third cruise (one on Carnival and one on Norwegian), I found the ship's amenities to be on par with other cruise ships. Ship's services and features: Child services: Under 3, nothing. Over 3- a dumping ground for parents that want to drop their children and run. I spotted the "squawk" groups during the cruise being entertained by Italian babysitters, doing mindless games and eating snacks. If you are taking your children on a cruise, don't subject them to this extremely lacking and pathetic treatment- leave them at home, or incorporate them into the cruise and excursions- we did it with a 2yr old, and it was quite acceptable and enjoyable. Get a baby-backpack, do not use a stroller- Istanbul was incredibly crowded. Ship excursions- Costa offers these packages for each port- they range in price from 30 to over 100 euros for tours of the various sights. We did just one in Greece, in Olympia- because Costa neglected to tell anyone that the ruins of Olympia are over 45 minutes away from port. We jumped on a tour at the last second and found it terrible. We learned from the Greek trip and did everything else on our own- and had a blast. The tours are overpriced- the English speaking tour guide was hard to understand, rambled on longer than this review, and moved slower than pond water through the sites. Bari was the first stop- and since we live in Italy, we were disappointed. Other American visitors were as well, since Bari has little to see within walking distance of the ship aside from the famous castle and a few "ho-hum" cathedrals. My recommendation to Costa would be to shift the Bari stop to a further south Italian location- something with beaches or more history or something better than Bari. Olympia was the next day- we realized we needed transportation when an employee overheard us and told us the ruins were 45 minutes away. Another couple was in the same situation we were, and they jumped in a taxi. We did the excursion, and even ran into that couple later in the ruins. Their taxi fare was half of our excursion cost, and their taxi was parked at the entrance waiting on them- they had the better time. Olympia was less than expected- everything truly is in ruins- few of the columns are even standing. Izmir, Turkey- the third day. We expected this day to be uneventful- we planned on only walking around the immediate area of the port- when we encountered taxis right at the edge of the port. For 80 euro- they offered a round-trip transport to the ancient ruins of Ephesus- where one of the old Seven Wonders of the World lay in ruins. We gambled, and jumped in with our toddler. The hour-long taxi ride was worth it- the location was amazing- far more sights and rich history than Olympia. Istanbul- again, we avoided the tours- 100 euro for a 9 hour tour was the one we thought about; well- we did it on foot in less than seven hours (again- with a toddler in a baby back-pack), saw all the sights including more, had chai (tea) in a carpet shop, talked politics and world events with many friendly merchants, got lost in the Topekai Palace exterior gardens, hit most all of the Grand Bazaar, and walked back through the local quarter- an amazing exciting time. Grab a map, buy or use a library tour book, bring a compass (those little bubble ones you can slip on your watch band work just fine) and enjoy. Don't use Costa's tours unless you have a heart condition or just enjoy throwing your money and time away. Croatia- walled town of Dunkirk- overall very pretty- but too crowded by our own cruise tourists. The walled town is only about 1500 meters wide, and the nearly 1,000 tourists from the ship crammed it completely. We got out of the town, walked up some cliffs overlooking the city, and got amazing photos- found a nice little beach, avoided the tours and crowds. Finally- my biggest issue with Costa- Customer Service. Little things bugged me throughout the trip- but I didn't want them to bother me during my vacation, so I let them all go and concentrated on the enjoyable times- until the last day. Costa bills you a "standardized gratuity" which their guide clearly states you can adjust higher or lower, whatever you prefer. Nowhere is it stated that you must do anything prior to checking out. We even attended the "check-out day" briefing the day prior, and the woman again stated to the English speaking group that we could adjust the tip through Guest Services. My wife and I got our bill the day prior, and saw the breakdown- about 19 euros for the waiters, our housekeeper/maid, and the maitre'd (head waiter-type, for all you non-French speakers). Now, the maid was fine, and our waiters (Rex and Alex) were absolutely amazing. But the maitre'd?? For us, he would occasionally say "good evening," but he spent most of his time chatting with the Italian tables and ignored the German and English tables. I even watched as he walked around my wife's chair, and chatted with an Italian gentleman for 10 minutes while I ate my dinner staring at his backside, as it was pushed up against my wife's chair. Did he turn around and ask us how our meals were at least? Nope. So- we decided to move his tip over to our waiters, and add to it to make it an even 20 euros on top of their tip already. So, that morning, my wife went to guest services to check out and do that seemingly simple task. She returned an hour later in tears. After waiting in one long line, my wife was told to go to another line to do the tip change. After waiting in this second line another 25 minutes- the Italian woman there rudely told her that she could not do it either, that she had to go to yet another line. My wife politely expressed her dissatisfaction with the service so far, which resulted in a snide remark from the woman and a dismissing hand wave away from the desk. My wife then approached this third employee- an Italian man this time. She explained the situation- and he told her "no. You cannot change it now." She asked to speak with his manager. He then looked up at her, and said there was no manager available. He then went back to work, ignoring my wife standing over him. She was very upset by this time, and again asked if he was going to help her. This Costa cruise employee, demonstrating their "Italian hospitality" told my wife again that nothing could be done, and continued to ignore her. When she told me the situation, I took my toddler downstairs with her to take care of this myself. I approached the man my wife pointed out, and I interrupted his business to discuss the situation at hand. I had their Costa guide in my hand, and gave it to him with the area underlined stating that we could adjust the tips as we wished. He rudely told me we could not, and handed me the guide back. I asked him for his manager, and he told me "no" and went back to work. I again said "please get me your manager." He said, "no- but I can call security." I was shocked. Here I was, holding a toddler in one hand, requesting assistance with their own guidebook in my other hand, and this guy was threatening me with security???? All of this over just trying to tip our waiters more for their excellent service. Well- again, I maintained my composure and asked a third time- get me your manager. My wife found a phone nearby, and called the help desk and explained the situation. Eventually- we were directed to a manager, who would not leave his office to come see us; we had to go to his location. There- he told us that we could not change any bill amounts; it all had to be done yesterday. He agreed that their own guide book was "not correct" and their Costa briefing yesterday was "not correct." His crew was "not correct," but now he was empowering us with the "correct" information. I expressed my extreme dissatisfaction with the employee I dealt with, and informed the manager of my residency in Italy and current job with the US government, and that when fellow co-workers asked me of my Costa cruise experience- that this last day would define my overall assessment of the Costa cruise line. The manager seemed mildly interested, and very non-confrontational. He just wanted us to let it go- not change anything, stick to the status-quo. So- long winded, and if you read this whole thing; please understand that I truly enjoyed the trip, especially the Turkish ports. The food was fine, the ship was clean, and even with a high-energy toddler, we all had a great time overall until this last day. This last day may just have involved a few Costa employees that do not represent a systemic problem in Costa overall, but when confronted with their own printed regulations and their own briefings they provide passengers, they still were right, and the customer was wrong. In America, nearly any self-respecting business would have quickly helped us out, and perhaps serious consequences would have befell the rude employee we encountered- but right now, as I type this, that Costa employee is somewhere near Bari with another boat-load of passengers. Too bad those passengers won't find out until next Sunday that their maitre'd is getting his 16 euros whether they like it or not. Ben Z Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
We arrive one day early and stayed in ST. Mark square. Venice is a wonderfully romantic city. Embarkation was easy but this is our first experience in the EUROPEAN way. This is an Italian cruise so be prepared. Our bags arrive promptly ... Read More
We arrive one day early and stayed in ST. Mark square. Venice is a wonderfully romantic city. Embarkation was easy but this is our first experience in the EUROPEAN way. This is an Italian cruise so be prepared. Our bags arrive promptly and we toured the ship. Our first stop is Bari, Italy. It was a great city with lots to see and many great places to eat. We are not excursion folks. We like to see how everyday individuals eat and live. So we went downtown for shopping and dining. Next is Ismir, Turkey which is like alot of big cities. Great shopping and unique eating. Istanbul, Turkey has the Grand Bazaar which has everything you would ever want. Olympia, Greece is a fascinating place with a lot of nice ruins. Dubrovinik Croatia is the best port with a beautiful beach, excellent art work and interesting fort to tour. Food on the cruise was mediocre at best with pizza that was below average. Service was ok. Nightlife in the disco does not get started until 1am. The shows were ok. TV has bbc for english. disembarkation took 2 hours and was easy. Venice is again wonderful to visit. This was my wife and my first visit to europe and we enjoyed it overall but the other cruises (carnival, rcl) were better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
My wife and I took this cruise through a "specialty" travel agency that organizes computer-oriented technical conferences while the ship is underway and lets us take shore excursions when we're in port. This was the second ... Read More
My wife and I took this cruise through a "specialty" travel agency that organizes computer-oriented technical conferences while the ship is underway and lets us take shore excursions when we're in port. This was the second cruise we've taken through the agency and our third in all. Our first cruise was our honeymoon, taken on Royal Olympic in October 2000, which also sailed to the eastern Mediterranean, so we had that one for comparison. The high points for this cruise: The ship is new, clean and well lit. The ride was rarely rough, though I would expect a good ride on any ship this huge. Cabin service was excellent. The rooms were comfortable, at least by cruise ship standards; I was surprised to find that we could actually use the space under our beds for storage. I sure would like to see additional electrical outlets, though; is it a law that cruise ship cabins can only have one each? (Hint: bring several outlet strips with long cords. You will definitely need them.) We dropped off our bags early in the morning when we first arrived, and we were relieved to find them sitting in our cabins when we embarked. I did like having them all in hand well before leaving port! The shore excursions were comparable to those we had four years ago, which is to be expected since they're all major cruise ship stops and the same companies and guides handle all the ships. My wife and I are both fascinated by ancient ruins, but I'm sure they're not everyone's cup of tea. (If not, then there's not much point in cruising the Eastern Mediterranean!) Others complain about the cost of the organized shore excursions, but I still think they're a good idea on a first visit when you don't already know where to go and what to see in a limited amount of time. All of our guides were knowledgeable, friendly and spoke English reasonably well. Unfortunately, there were some bad aspects to this cruise. Topping off the list was the food and food service: both were uniformly terrible. Perhaps we'd been spoiled by the absolutely outstanding Greek food on our first cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean, on the Greek line Royal Olympic, but we heard many complaints from the other passengers. Food service hours were also very inconvenient; if you made the mistake of signing up for the late (9:30) sitting as we did to avoid schedule conflicts, there was no way to eat earlier, save for room service. Waiters were slow and frequently mixed up orders. And the food just wasn't that interesting. The only alternative to the dining room, besides room service, was a pizza buffet that invariably gave me severe heartburn -- and even it didn't open until 9:30. Breakfast and lunch buffets were somewhat better, but they still weren't anything to write home about. A lot of the food tasted like it had been sitting there for a while. Often forced to choose between sleep and food, we became rather sleep deprived during the week -- and that's not the best way to enjoy a vacation. More than once I simply left dinner early and went to bed when some phony "Italian celebration" started, the extremely loud music bringing all casual dinner conversation to an abrupt halt. (An Italian native in our group was quick to point out that no self-respecting Italian would do such things at dinner time; it was all a put-on for the tourists.) I also absolutely *detest* formal dinners; the very last thing I want after a long and tiring day exploring some city on foot is to have to put on a stupid jacket, tie and dress shoes just to eat dinner. There *has* to be a cruise line somewhere that just provides a simple, quick buffet with good hours and good food, and no dress code on any night of the week! The ship has four hot tubs that were quite welcome after long days walking on shore, but they were frequently closed for no apparent reason at the only spare time you had to use them. And they were all much too tepid. Many people seem to rave about the "art" on this ship, but we found most of it to be tacky in the extreme. (We took lots of photos, because we didn't think anyone would believe just how tacky it was.) Oh, some of the smaller items in the stairwells were interesting, but the main atrium and the theaters made us feel like we were trapped in an over-the-top Las Vegas mega-hotel! Perhaps if Costa hadn't ordered so much fake statuary and shiny chrome in constant need of cleaning and polishing, they could have put more of their staff on improving the food service. Speaking of tacky glitter, at least the casino was situated such that we could avoid it most of the time. The casinos on many smaller ships are almost impossible to avoid, probably by design. All in all, while we enjoyed our vacation. I don't think we'll go back to Costa unless we hear they've completely revamped their food and food service. There are just too many other better alternatives. Read Less
Sail Date October 2004
We have just returned from a 8 night pre-inaugural cruise on the brand new Costa Magica. I am pleased to say that that entire cruise was mostly a success - we were really pleased with all that Costa Magica offered us from boarding, ... Read More
We have just returned from a 8 night pre-inaugural cruise on the brand new Costa Magica. I am pleased to say that that entire cruise was mostly a success - we were really pleased with all that Costa Magica offered us from boarding, embarkation, cabin, food and the entertainment. Embarkation at Savona was a breeze. As I have a Costa card I was able to exchange our boarding card for one of a lower number and was among the first to board. We arrived at the terminal at 1330 - boarding commenced at 1400 hours and by 1415 hours we were in our cabin with our luggage being delivered. The lifts were super efficient and the stairs easy to climb. There were 2700 people on board - not quite full but with sensible planning you are able to avoid the crowds (especially at lunch times in the buffet). The buffet on Deck 9 has a balcony (Deck 10) which offered the best tables for a quiet buffet meal with wonderful views. Coffee/tea and juice as well as continental breakfast items (a wonderful fresh fruit yogurt type dish-don't miss it!) and cakes/ice cream at lunch times can be had from the balcony. As well as the main buffet counters there are 4 other areas which is where they offer the mexican, grill and other special dining events. Our assigned restaurant was the Portofino located on Deck 3 and 4 nearly in the middle of the ship. We were assigned our requested table of two on the balcony. It's quite a noisy meal. I am glad that they seem to have dispensed with the waiters dancing with the diners on Italian night and that is replaced by 3 waiters gyrating on the elevator which goes up the middle of the restaurant. First sitting dinner is at 1830 hours, second sitting at 2100 hours. The alternative dinner was offered every night from 2000 to 2130 hours and was quiet and peaceful after the restaurant as well as better food we thought. Continental breakfast is offered free of charge as on all Costa ships - if your coffee arrives and is not hot write HOT please on the menu and the next day it will be! The gym at the front of the ship on Deck 11 was large and very well equipped with the steam room and sauna having large picture windows looking out to sea. The ship is very light and colourful. The cabins very comfortable and well fitted with ample storage space. Bathroom adequate with the best shower we have ever had, mini bar, interactive tv. The Captains welcoming party and the Costa Club party need a little more planning. They are held in the theatre which is the only area to house half of the ship (1700). Dancing is offered on the stage (which is fine for those on Deck 3 level of the theatre but not so good for Deck 4 and 5 in the balcony) while awaiting the arrival of the Captain but if that's not your bag then the wise appeared to drink their glass of champagne and leave. As it was the pre-inaugural every evening in our cabin was a delightful gift from Costa to celebrate the Magica. Arrivaderci! - we had a great time! Read Less
Sail Date November 2004
The CostaMediterranea is a beautiful ship (score 9.5 of 10) and the big shows were very enjoyable (score 9 of 10). The service was very poor, food was fair to poor -- both service and food a 3 of 10 score and I am being generous at that! ... Read More
The CostaMediterranea is a beautiful ship (score 9.5 of 10) and the big shows were very enjoyable (score 9 of 10). The service was very poor, food was fair to poor -- both service and food a 3 of 10 score and I am being generous at that! The help is slow, getting water at your meal at the formal dining room (1st seating) was very slow and dinner a 2 1/2 hour ordeal. Not one time was the high chair cleaned off when we arrived. Head table waiter was very disorganized, the assistant waiter by the 3rd of the 5 days put himself together. The other members of our table after the 1st night went to the buffet, never to return to the formal dinner as did many other people. The cabin steward was slow and sloppy, getting to our cabin by dinner time, failing to do the cabin 2 days, and only fully cleaning our cabin 1 time, the day before we left. She stated she had been on the ship for several months and relied on tips for most of her money. She was painfully slow and never delivered our crib (thank goodness I brought a portable playpen). I cruised the Celebrity Summit over the summer and the service and food on Celebrity (5.5 star) was a 10 of 10. Here I give room service a 3. I tipped everyone except my head waiter because he deserved nothing because he did less than nothing. My son went upstairs to the 9th floor to get himself a drink and food faster than the waiter on the 3rd floor could do. This is the first time I failed to leave anyone a tip, although I believe no one deserved anything. The service at the desk was also awful. Upon leaving for an excursion, one of our 4 cards was not functioning properly to disembark (working fine to charge us but not to leave?) and we were told by security that they would contact the excursion and inform them we would be late. I RAN to the front desk only to find I had to wait another 15 minutes because so many other people had this problem too. By the time they let us off the ship, more lines, we missed the excursion and the head Costa Excursion Manager said too bad for us and was nasty and not helpful. We heard people all the time complaining about bad Service, bad food and lack of help. There was definitely a major language barrier for English; they say Yes, Yes, but evidently have no idea what you are saying. I would give the Celebrity Summit a 9.5 of 10 and the CostaMediterranea a very generous 3! So sad to have such a gorgeous ship and everything else LOUSY. Might I add, my baby was in their wooden highchair and a moment later my baby disappeared and I heard screaming. I look around and realize my child is on the floor, the middle piece of the high chair broke/or maybe was never put together properly and my child is lying on the floor to my horror and shock. I scoop up my child and after making sure she was OK and calming both her and myself down, and my other 2 shocked children, I tried to get someone FROM THE SHIP to help me and no one cared less, they just took the chair away. Afterward, I tried to go down to the service desk to report the incident, 15 minutes waiting in line with no hope in site, I realized this was no Celebrity Cruise ship and unless you are dying, or they want your money, forget it. I tried calling the desk from my cabin but it was busy, busy, busy, probably with so many people always complaining. Disembarkation was another joy. I was up clearing my account at 6:30 in the morning and again at 7 a.m. to readjust the tips. Upon leaving, my first child left first with the stroller, the security placed our cards in and again the baby was held up and we had to go back in the ship to clear the account. evidently the ship was able to charge soda to the baby's account and had not billed us. They would not allow my son (age 12) back on the ship and I was stuck inside the ship. I had to leave my 10 year old by the exit unable to leave, my 12 year old had just exited and I yelled for him not to move and I went back upstairs a 3rd time to clear the account. Although there were massive lines with more people than I could count in 6 lines complaining and trying to clear their accounts (also problem with Costa's credit card and computers), I cut up in front of the lines because my kids were downstairs without supervision and I couldn't get my son back on the ship. Unhappily again they assured me it was my problem that the soda tab was not paid because the baby did not receive a bill...whose problem is that given I have been there already twice since 6:30 a.m. and it was now 10ish in the morning? Another lovely note, I bought the 20 sodas card for $35 at the beginning of the ship and I asked if the kids could share one card and the gentleman told me that they could not (when in reality they could have). On the 4th day, the ship ran out of SPRITE, so with 9 sodas left, there was no more Sprite either at the 9th floor buffet or at at least 2 of the bars upstairs.... again their running out of Sprite Soda was our fault! Again, gorgeous ship, service lousy, help lousier!!!!! On Celebrity, we never heard anyone complain because if you had a complaint, they bent over backward to correct and improve immediately! CHOOSE ANOTHER CRUISE!!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
I've been on 5 cruises so far and this was the worst! EMBARKATION: This was easy, you hardly had any trouble. CABIN: Well I was in a balcony room and I must say, the decor got really annoying after 5 minutes. The bed was really ... Read More
I've been on 5 cruises so far and this was the worst! EMBARKATION: This was easy, you hardly had any trouble. CABIN: Well I was in a balcony room and I must say, the decor got really annoying after 5 minutes. The bed was really uncomfortable, kind of lumpy! I liked that they promoted Red Bull a lot so the fridge was always full ($4 a piece). The TV was horrible. It caught very little channels and only had movies available on the last day (how nice). When I ordered a movie it came out all static and I had to cancel it. EXCURSIONS: Everything was okay, except we didn't get to go to Jamaica which was the highlight of the whole cruise due to weather conditions. It wasn't Costa's fault but it sucked! DINING!!!!!!!: If you plan to eat upon your cruise, do not book Costa. The food was horrible!!! Not only did it taste horrible but it was prepared all sloppy. Most times I ended up skipping meals and getting pizza at midnight. Oh and try not to get a table at the back of the dining room because it vibrates and you'll get sick. I saw many people sitting around our table run off to the bathroom holding their stomachs. ENTERTAINMENT: Nothing special, typical cruise shows. But I must say, the boat is beautiful, lovely art everywhere. But I'd never book Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
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