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6 Costa Smeralda Cruise Reviews

(Costa Smeralda Italy, France & Spain 7 day cruise Jan 4-11, 2020) It's a huge brand new ship that is sailing on a 7 day continuous loop between Rome, La Spezia, Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, and Palma. We were on the ship for ... Read More
(Costa Smeralda Italy, France & Spain 7 day cruise Jan 4-11, 2020) It's a huge brand new ship that is sailing on a 7 day continuous loop between Rome, La Spezia, Savona, Marseille, Barcelona, and Palma. We were on the ship for its 3rd week of cruising. Here are a few of our observations and a couple of tips. Positives: - Price was very reasonable (but watch out for all the extras). - Clean and brand new. - Plenty of hot water in shower. - Beds were firm but comfortable. - Crew members were friendly and helpful for the most part. - Ferrari and Campari bars were nice to visit once you could figure out your drink package (you need at least the 2nd level from the top). - 21 bars and lounges - Tours were well organized. - Water park on deck 18 had 4 slides for kids. - Other sports areas and activities such as tennis and basketball. Negatives: - Costa smartphone app can’t be downloaded for USA passengers so you can't use the app for any information on board. - On board Internet did not work. - Very difficult to purchase bottle water to bring back to our cabin. - All of the restaurants were at the back of the ship on decks 8,7,6,& 5. - Buffet meals for breakfast & lunch in all restaurants, not just the buffet. - Waiter service at breakfast and lunch means that they will show you to a table and then clean the table after you leave. No option for a sit down meal except at dinner. - Food was only available at designated times (including the buffet). - At some meal times only 1 restaurant would be open which resulted in huge lines and running out of coffee, cups, plates, etc. - Breakfast food was exactly the same everyday. - Be aware that you will have to search high and low for coffee. - Pizza was only available for an extra fee at one designated restaurant. - Burgers were only available for an extra fee in the sit down dinner restaurants and NOT at lunch or during other times during the day. - Ice cream was only available at one location (for an extra fee) and NOT in the dining room. - Drink packages are very confusing (we upgraded to the middle priced one) - Beer is only Heineken on draft. That's it.... nothing in bottles or cans. - There are just 3 small swimming pools and 4 hot tubs. - Spa pool was small and very crowded. - Entertainment was one 30 minute show per evening in a very small theater with first come first sit down and then everyone else is standing up and blocking your view. No drinks are served in the theater. - Rehearsals in the center theater spanning decks 6,7,&8 were running throughout the entire afternoon and the actual show was performed only at 11:30pm one time per day. - Our Passports were taken from us when we boarded the ship in Italy. After speaking with other people from the USA who were able to keep their passports in their possession it took us 4 trips to the Reception desk on deck 7 to have ours returned to us. Be sure to keep your passport in your possession. - It was very difficult to understand what was happening because announcements were made in many different languages. - Elevators were super crowded at meal times. We used the stairs for extra exercise. - Completely separate from Carnival so your prior cruises and status doesn't apply. So what are our tips? - Not a ship for adults looking for a relaxing, romantic, peaceful, calm, restful, quiet Mediterranean cruise. - A ship with a lot of rules. - Not for people that like pizza and burgers. You even have to pay for ice cream! An extra fee for everything. They don’t offer any snacking between meals as an option. Is this a new type of cruise diet? - Not for people that need assistance walking and getting around (wheel chairs or walkers) because the elevators are very crowded and the ship is extremely big and spread out. In summary this is NOT for people that like pizza, burgers, ice cream, wings, coffee, bottled beer, or relaxed fine dining. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
The good: (1) It is a lovely and HUGE ship. Well designd lovely interiors. And because it is so big, people get "difused" among different areas (2) One particularly great idea, their "kitchen lab". You cook a surprise ... Read More
The good: (1) It is a lovely and HUGE ship. Well designd lovely interiors. And because it is so big, people get "difused" among different areas (2) One particularly great idea, their "kitchen lab". You cook a surprise ingredient meal, it gets graded by the chef, lots of laughs, a bit of cooking school and really fun. Highly recommend the idea AND the guys at the Lab who where absolutely great! (3) Also, a great staff that tried so hard to keep up with the volume of people, crazy in/out policies of constant embarkation, disembarkation at every port, not quite for prime time systems, overall mayhem. (Neal and Vanessa at the restaurant - thanks!! - Maria Luisa and Ana, the lovely lady at reception who heard me loud and clear -- many thanks too) Then the not-so-good news: (1) Smeralda was not ready for a holiday cruise so soon after the ship got finished (several previous departures were cancelled due to the ship not being "delivered"). Too much money on the line, so they went for it anyhow. The staff tried hard to put a good face as Management pushed them to be ready. We felt for them, and my kudos to their efforts and attitudes. (2) Never seen before: Costa, in its quest to fill the ship, had EVERY port accepting incoming and departing passengers, so EVERY day was hectic, people coming in, existing passengers leaving, suitcases in/ out, a total mess. (3) In their quest for diners at their "gourmet" $ places regular dining room was less than acceptable. We had two grandkids, so gourmet was not a choice. Again staff tried and apologized. The buffet was OK, but crazy busy. (4) I gave feedback to their customer service staff about my experience while on the ship and they were receptive. I appreciate their concern and their time. BUT, (not their fault) then I was confronted by one of the Maitre d's about my comments (which were not that critical) (5) Entertainment shows are at the most basic. Except for some professional dancers from Hungary (who have great line dancing at 10 pm), the rest of the dancers on shows were sadly amateurish. (6) And FINALLY, forget about not paying the full service charge. Like the "resort fee" in hotels (that Congress is trying to stop as being deceiving price advertisement) you have to pay it in fult. When I inquired I was referred to a sentence in website that the amount is not "changeable". Keep that in mind when comparing overall costs. We had 3 cabins so it was substantial and most importantly not clearly stated in price. Particularly if your cruise ends having issues such as ours. You must pay service the service charge irregardless of the quality of the service. Costa has not sent me a survey feedback request as is usually the practice of other cruise lines. Wonder why? Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
we choose the cruise to celebrate my sons 60th. Birthday The whole experience was horrific I had previous experience of Costa cruises some six years ago so was confident that the cruise would meet our need at this time. The cabin was ... Read More
we choose the cruise to celebrate my sons 60th. Birthday The whole experience was horrific I had previous experience of Costa cruises some six years ago so was confident that the cruise would meet our need at this time. The cabin was very small but clean and maintained daily. The food and service in the restaurants was a very poor standard. The evening dinner in the restaurant was served cold and most evenings returned to be reheated. At other times water was not available at lunch times and had to be purchased. The restaurant staff were the most incompetent I have ever encountered. We waited up to an hour every evening before the aperitif was served. There were hordes of customers everywhere all describing the service as disgraceful, incompetent and staff who were working away beyond their capabilities. I complained to the Maitre de's on numerous occasions but that was a waste of time and energy. this was the most horrific experience of my cruising experience ( all 22 of them )11 Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Decided to enjoy Christmas on a cruise around Italy Spain and france . This is a new ship . It had been delayed in leaving for its maiden voyage a few weeks earlier as it wasn’t quite ready . We had hoped it would be ready for our cruise ... Read More
Decided to enjoy Christmas on a cruise around Italy Spain and france . This is a new ship . It had been delayed in leaving for its maiden voyage a few weeks earlier as it wasn’t quite ready . We had hoped it would be ready for our cruise on the 23rd of December 2019. Reassuringly we were told our cruise hadn’t been cancelled and our cruise dates were to be the maiden voyage. Arriving to board in the port of Barcelona we found the check in process at the terminal straightforward. The terminal in Barcelona is huge and spacious but no where to have a coffee or drink as the only cafe was closed. Not too big a problem because we boarded fairly quickly. Once boarding the ship there appears to be zero information of any kind whatsoever. In fact we had to ask a member of the animation team (who was dancing around) what we had to do . Do we have to check in to reception? and how to get to the rooms ? and even if the rooms were ready ? Nobody knows . Just hedge your bets and make a trek to your room. We had a balcony room on deck 12. Room 12267 . My mother-in-law and our son shared a separate internal Cabin on deck 9, room 9145. Of course the ship is brand new so all the furnishings are very clean and tidy . The faults I found with the room is firstly you cannot switch off the air con facility.either cold or warm air constantly. Secondly all the balconies are joined together with locked partitions . Great idea but not so great if the cleaner decides to unlock every balcony door so that all rooms in the corridor are then accessible without a key . There is no mini fridge in the room . I’m on the best drinks package but I don’t even get a daily bottle of water in my room. There’s a ridiculous curtain which hides a full lengthwise Dow looking into the shower cubicle. Don’t get the point of this at all. The nicest part of the cabin is that you don’t need to pay extra for the locked safe and the bed is relatively comfortable. Being English speaking it’s nice to have some English tv . You would think that’s possible on such a big ship especially as it’s such a popular language . Over 40 plus tv channels and only have one bbc news channel . You can’t even change language settings on the tv remote to watch programs in their original recording . Some points I’ve listed 1. RECEPTION. Being a ship of almost 4000 passengers the designer of the ship felt a reception desk with only 5 computer terminals was enough . The actual size of the receptiion area will be space enough only for two parked cars and then not even all of these desks are open at all times . During one visit to make another complaint at reception I was in a que of almost 61 people waiting to be served . You guessed it, I didn’t wait . A special thank you to the receptionist called Mstyslav. He was a truly useless receptionist . I was Trying to make a complaint to him but it got me nowhere. He then refuses to offer any help, refuses even to give me a pen to write down his name .This was exceptional service from an ignorant reception member . I can’t imagine he will last long with this attitude . Perhaps I caught him on his period. 2. SPA. Just beautiful to look at . Again being brand new everything was furnished nicely . Brought two 7day passes to use the spa. Had a rubbish 190euro massage . After the massage I was given a lecture on what I needed to buy to maintain my Colon and Intestines in order to prevent my neck pains . Can’t see the connection between the two myself. Lovey large sauna area and small Hammam . There is a snow room also which is a novelty but after a couple of minutes it’s just way too cold. The annoying parts are that none of the locker wristbands in the spa ever worked correctly so you are forever changing them over to get one to actually lock . Of course this is frustrating to the clients as well as the spa team who are constantly huffing and puffing when you are changing wristbands maybe 4 or 5 times . By day two of the cruise every one of the 26-27 sun beds in the spa were occupied . There appears to be no crowd management control , and it filled up very quickly. Whilst you are in the sauna the staff are giving tours around the spa to other guests that they want to entice to visit them . This includes children (who are not even allowed in the spa). The tours are given around the wet areas of the spa while passengers are wearing their own clothes and shoes . The people being shown around are peering I tot he sauna as you sit there in your pants. Perhaps they should consider using shoe covers if they want to have passengers visiting for a tour of the spa as that would be more hygienic then allowing them to walk through these areas in their own footwear and fully clothed 3. SWIMMING POOL . We were told there are four pools . In reality there is a jacuzzi pool in the spa ( of course you pay extra for this ) There is one Centre pool on deck 16. It’s a tiny pool to cater for this many passengers. My son was desperate to try the lovely slide. Of course it was shut the first few days because they were still testing it (don’t take our money if you can’t provide a service). Once it did open it was only open for two hours per day. It was useless timing when trying to entertain a young child. It’s the only novelty of the ship that the children can enjoy if it’s open long enough 4. KIDS CLUB. Used this on two occasions . My son is 8. He didn’t enjoy the club. He got bored and refused to go by the third day. If you don’t book lunch for your child with the kids club then when lunchtime arrives then you will have to collect your child because they actually close the kids club to take the prebooked children for their lunch . How crazy is that . Perhaps consider keeping the club open and having more staff to take the other children to lunch . You have to book lunch for them before 10:30. It was 10:45 and I had to argue with the rep at the door to get a meal for my son . Cannot comment further on the club as adults are not allowed inside and rightly so . 5. THE GYM. Don’t worry about this because there is so much walking to do from your room in order to go to the reception desk to lodge a complaint that you won’t need any additional exercise. Your trips to reception to lodge your complaints will help you shed pounds and inches . 6. PIZZA RESTAURANT. Ordered two takeaway pizzas here. We were given the wrong pizza once we arrived into our room to eat them . Complained the next day . My drinks package was the highest drinks package but the pizza restaurant (where you pay additionally for food ) is only able to provide the basic red and white wine of the basic package . What’s the point of a drinks package that you can’t actually use ???? 7. PANORAMA RESTAURANT. Lovely warm food. And nice service by Aimee and Dino . Had a fillet steak here ( paid extra to eat here) was a pleasant experience. Again having the more expensive drinks package was a waste of time 8. TEPANYAKI RESTAURANT. This was the nicest restaurant to eat in ( again you pay extra here ). Being much like a show it was a more pleasant experience. Again us having a higher drinks package meant they have to go to another bar to bring you your better quality wines. They can only bring it by the glass because if I ask for a bottle then I’m charged full price . 9. BUFFET RESTAURANT. Do you like wrestling and begging ?? Then this is the place for you . Ate here a couple of times . Every thing is spread so far apart that it’s just too big to negotiate. There is a coffee machine located in an area the size of an aeroplane toilet. The queue for the coffee go for miles. When you get to the front they have no cups left . Sometimes you are given coffee cups. Most of the time your are begging a waiter to provide more cups. It’s a buffet restaurant but everything is placed behind glass so you cannot help yourself . In principle a great idea as people are not touching the food needlessly . If you visit the dessert section you will see a member of staff trying to serve 20 people at a time with no order of service . People shouting at him to give them puddings 10. Rigatoni II restaurant. This was our allocated dining room . Although some of the food is ok it is never hot. I like my food to be very hot when it arrives. They won’t give you a bottle of water . You are served cups of water . Seems a rubbish way to serve water. All in all it was disappointing in the quality of the food . 11. Some of the toilets on different decks only serve women or only serve men ! So if yours is a mixed party then be prepared to walk around looking for the correct gender toilet or do what I do and use any ! 12. There is an open air cinema screen on deck 16/17. It appears only to show adverts for costa cruises . What a waste . They genuinely should consider having movies shown here. I understand you are a new ship but if you are not fully ready then do not open for boarding or pay back the money you took off the passengers. 13. Painting . They hadn’t finished painting the ship so some of the deck areas were cordened off whilst they paint. A lovely aroma of fresh paint . Perhaps the passengers should have helped as they had nothing else to do on this ship . 14. Was it Christmas . ??? You wouldn’t have guessed it was actually Christmas on this ship . The lack of any Christmas decorations or any acknowledgement of the Christmas festivities except my free panatone delivered to my room . Maybe Costa Cruises don’t believe In Christmas or Santa Claus ? 15. Shows. A couple of the shows were ok. But repeated on consecutive days . They should have booked a special act for Christmas Day but they just did a repeat show . The dancers and show teams were good. Not so difficult when you are young and have a perfect physique. 16. Bars . Some bars have menus of drinks that they don’t actually serve . Don’t ask for any novelty drinks . They seriously will only serve you what’s on the bar menu . The mixologists are not capable of making anything else. You are better off requesting the individual drink ingredients and mixing it yourself if it’s an unusual drink . Unusual your asking, what could I mean ??? I only asked for an expresso martini !!! 17. Disembarkation. You will be counting the days to your disembarkation. If you cannot wait then of course you could try the excursions . There is no information of procedure. Our two cabins were booked on a joint booking but given different luggage tags for disembarkation. I was advised the night before not to worry . The incorrect details for disembarkation (actually no details) were left at my door. Hence the morning of disembarkation another trip to dreaded reception . 18. Excursions . We got off at Palma and made our own way in a taxi to sightsee . We got the small train excursion in Rome also and then did our own thing again . Half our party were given pre printed transfer tickets for the Rome transfer then the other half given nothing . Another trip to complain to reception was needed where I’m advised no ticket is needed. Very chaotic. I really cannot recommend this boat . It’s such a disappointment and such a waste of money . I would call it a ferry at best . It’s gets to you each port but there is actually nothing to do on this boat. Please consider a trip with a different cruise company as you will truly regret the visit into this monumental disaster from costa cruises . The lack of any sort of organization and lack of any activities on this ship is truly mind blowing . I can truly confirm never to use costa cruises again . We met not even one happy customer on this trip . Some of the passengers complaining are expert cruise users . I heard they are building another ship to match the smeralda. A waste of money Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I chose the cruise not because of the ship but mainly due to the dates 22/12 from Barcelona suited my work break and family commitments. Living on the island of Lanzarote my plan was to take an internal flight to BCN and catch the cruise ... Read More
I chose the cruise not because of the ship but mainly due to the dates 22/12 from Barcelona suited my work break and family commitments. Living on the island of Lanzarote my plan was to take an internal flight to BCN and catch the cruise ship for our 7 day festive trip. Boarding the ship at Barcelona was fast and efficient although be aware in the departure lounge there is no cafe/bar in fact no place selling cold drinks or food however as the boarding was extremely fast it wasn’t an issue. Once onboard we weren’t greeted by anyone nor we we offered any kind of instructions as what or where we should go. I sought advice from a a member fo the crew who gave me some directions of where to find my mothers cabin. We had booked 2 cabins an internal on the 9th floor ( room 9145 ) this room was super small and at this point i decided to ask for an upgrade. My own room was 12267 an external with a balcony. The room itself was more than adequate with nice new furnishings and fixtures. The reception staff were not able to offer me any kind of upgrade as the ship was full. At first they thought i wanted the upgrade for free, i explained that i was more than happy to pay for it but the response was no upgrade available. Not to worry “or so i thought”. Each restaurant we very well furnished and clean I can not express how clean and new everything was so much so that the crew were mostly clueless as to where things are or what entitlement was for drinks. I had upgraded to the Intendore Package This is a big mistake as you don’t really get anything extra for this. Absolute waste of money. The wine list is set out so any bottle of wine you have to buy but i could have a glass of certain wines but if i wanted a bottle it was to pay for. All very very confusing. All the bars onboard display the same drinks menu but be warned as not all the bars serve the drinks on the menu. Example .... in the sports bar i asked for a cocktail from the menu but was told no, then in the pizza bar i asked for a red wine i was told no and so on. The guys in the Campari Bar really are a great bunch and were the saving grace for the night time crew. The Spa Solomeio Spa what can I say. I paid 110e x 2 for the week pass but be warned as it has a small spa pool and 24 sun beds and they fill up extremely quick and you find yourself pacing the rounds looking for a bed. The sauna and steam room are new and well kept and there in a novelty snow room. None of the key fobs for lockers were working and consequently the staff were getting very frustrated with passengers who were complaining either too full or locker fobs etc. I did complain to the Spa staff about the size of the Spa and pool for 6000plus passengers. There needs to be some form of passenger traffic flow applied especially when people like us paid upfront to use this facility. The WiFi packages are all a joke. Again i paid up front 110e for the 3gb package it didn’t work and after 4 days of complaints i received a refund. The Buffet restaurant is like Piccadilly Circus in rush hour, that was quite unpleasant and the food items are scattered across such a vast area it becomes impossible to sit and have a timely meal without entering back into the scrum for you next course. Again no wines available other than the basic white. I did ask if there was any other selection as i do like my wines and enjoy trying different varieties but once again I was told no. Reception area on this ship was like a war zone from mornin until night throngs of people hanging about waiting in line to lodge their complaint. All nationalities all angry people. I myself became one of many to take my ticket and join the line waiting to lodge one of many complaints. It’s an open area with 4 or 5 counters that afford no privacy so we can all hear each other. The crew are human and would snap under the pressure and often became quite rude to passengers, myself included. This design is quite stupid and should be scrapped. I appreciate that staffing a ship like this is a mammoth task however it was evident that many of the crew had no desire to be there on that ship and perhaps felt that they had little or no option. Recruited from the Philippines or India with little to no interest of passenger hospitality. This i found had a massive impact on the feel of the ship, the ignorant leading the ignorant springs to mind. The upper deck swimming pools are 3 the main pool in under cover on deck 17 and is way too small for the passenger flow. The two extras pools are equally smaller and do not equip a ship of this size it turns the area into a municipality swimming pool from the 1980’s England not the Italian Lido that it aims to convey. The water park was a massive disappointment it remained closed for the first 3 days excuse as it hadn’t been tested when it did open it was only for two hours. My 8 year old was disappointed but perhaps the weather didn’t allow for it to be opened for longer periods. It was obvious that this ship wasn’t ready not only were the crew ill prepared but they had painting crews everywhere on upper deck painting during the day two of the bars on upper deck permanently closed. It was all very disorganized. My overall opinion is that this ship is not s cruise ship but a ferry boat that is only suitable for 2-3 night trips (any longer is simply too long). It’s not really a holiday feeling its more of a means to get to a holiday. Very disappointed and after paying 7300e it hasn’t been an economic lesson to learn. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Worse cruise I have ever gone to. Terrible food. They promote 17 restaurants. These include nutella bars, ice cream, sports bar, and like three or four light meal/tapa places. One is only available to costa members and one only for those ... Read More
Worse cruise I have ever gone to. Terrible food. They promote 17 restaurants. These include nutella bars, ice cream, sports bar, and like three or four light meal/tapa places. One is only available to costa members and one only for those with families. You’re left with the assigned restaurant which serves terrible food, a pizza place, and a teppanyaki. The buffet basically serves italian food with very limited options. The restaurants and constantly closing and opening. At one point there was nothing open and we refused to eat at the buffet. We initiallu thought that maybe the real italian food was simply different to the italian food we are used to at our home town. However, the food in the different cities we visited was fantastic. The breakfast is basically an expanded continental breakfast. The ship is new and we were excited since cruises deteriorate with time. However, staff members were not trained. None of them could tell us where the different restaurants or different things were in the ship. The excursions are a ripoff. For a 5 hour excursion you’d spend 2 hours getting there and 2 hours getting back, with an hour to take quick pictures of the monument. You barely have enough time to eat. One of the excursions was at 2:30. By the time we arrived, it was already starting to get dark. The fitness room is too small for the amount of people. And they don’t even let you use the aerobic room which was for paid classes. However every single time I went to the gym, the aerobic room was completely empty while I was trying to find some space to use the dumbbells. If you’re still planning to go, make sure you check your credit card constantly. We were charged 200 dollars for no reason. Which came at no surprise since during our trip to the spa, about 3 other persons were there to complain about mystery charges to their credit cards. Other than that, the staff was nice and the rooms and cruise were very clean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Costa Smeralda Ratings
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