1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Costa Cruises
  4. Costa neoRomantica Review
  5. Costa neoRomantica Cruise Reviews

63 Costa neoRomantica Cruise Reviews

Dining room staff, bar staff, cabin staff all very helpful and friendly English was not too good though. Reception staff though they wore English badges they could speak English but could not understand your problem in particular Jacques a ... Read More
Dining room staff, bar staff, cabin staff all very helpful and friendly English was not too good though. Reception staff though they wore English badges they could speak English but could not understand your problem in particular Jacques a French staff member was rude and abrupt to me. Food was good preferred the Giardino restaurant which we used at breakfast and lunch as it was buffet type though manic everyone rushing to find a table and one without plates piled up. The Botticeli Al La Carte restaurant which we used for the evening meal was only geared up to Italian food and the actual meal could take some considerable time to get served. Staff in dining room put on entertainment which was excellent. Was told only English & Americans tip though we were already paying compulsory tips in the cost of the cruise. We upgraded before the cruise to the drinks package for around 400 for the both of us we added up that it was worth it even though we are not serious drinkers as even a glass of water is charged for.No drinks offered with meals unless you paid for them, no offer of tea only 4-5pm in a designated dining area. No snacks between meal and no midnight buffets like we have experienced on other cruises. Odd mini snack handed out at the bar. Cabins are spacious and come complete with use of towelling robe which mosr wore to sit outside around the pool and slippers, mini bar which drinks are charged for and a coffee machine which any drinks taken are charged for we took our own kettle and adapter. TV in room we only found BBC World News majority of everything else was in Italian and French. Entertainment geared up for the Italians some seemed rather dated and childish things which the Italians seemed to like such as making a train of people dancing round the room or getting up on the dance floor and doing silly things with balloons. Enjoyed the dance groups and tenor singers but the nightly singer and her partners music was very repetative. The constant announcements in several languages got on your nerves especially as English seemed to be the last language. Very disorganised to get off the ship when the tender was required waited hours to get off and weather kept getting the blame majority of the problem was because they did not start letting people off sooner and in a more organised fashion, Italians do not believe in queuing and would push at customer services and to get off the ship. A time was anniunced to oick up tickets to nget off the ship to enter the tender boats but we found that these tickets had been handed out long before the time announced we always ended up with a high number, the first time tender boat was used to get off at Bornholm barely anyone other than the ship trips got to go there and weather was blamed some gave up and never went ashore others were taken to another place near Bornholm with barely anything there. The same happened when we was meant to used tender boats to visit Visby barely anyone got off to see that they abandoned it after ticket number 9 and we was 22 so never saw that place either. Why announce a time to collect tickets then hand them out a hour sooner. We had to pay to get on a coach at every port into the town and this was added to our cruise bill think this should have been included in the cruise. The chocolate bar was amazing every tyoe of chocolate drink and chocolates free if you had took the drinks package, next to their a cigar room where people could smoke if they did not want to go to the designated area outside. Outside we was told you were not allowed to reserve sun beds however on the adult deck only some had the same lounger and pods all the cruise by leaving their belongings there all day which seemed very unfair, the jacuzzi up there was amazing and water lovely and warm. There are 3 computers up on deck 10 in the library people forever queing to get on to them but not cheap at 10 a hour and connection rather poor I got a refund as argued that I had been charged when the ship had no connection they checked this out with head office and confirmed this. Wi fi available at a big cost but I never used it. A small selection of books in all languages in the library. Towels given out on the decks so no need to pack any No one dresses up on this cruise ship felt over dressed at times they only made an effort on the formal nights, even at evening meal many came in t-shirts which we feel should not have been allowed. Cannot comment on trips as we did our own thing much cheaper with exception to St Petersburg which we booked on line 3 weeks before the cruise wherever we tried the companies told us no group tours left so had to have a private one at the cost of 700 for 2 days this was more than we paid for the 12 day cruise we did not feel it was value for money the guides did not come as early as on the itinerary and got us back earlier than the itinerary and rushed us from one place to the other we had to snatch taking photos and lunch was 10 minutes manically eating our food same with a souvenir stop over that was 10 minutes rushing about to frantically find something not enjoyable at all as not able bodied to do this, guides very informative and friendly. Not nice having to be out your cabin by 8am when you luggage is taken off ship 1am previously so everyone looking for somewhere to sit waiting for their colour to be called to disimbark. All in all had a great time great company even though only 300 Brits on board made some great friends, liked the elegance of the ship and enjoyed the cruise even with a few things that got on our nerves so booked another one this November. Used the hairdressers 3 times whilst there which was good and around 30 for blow dry. Was told that staff have been informed that it will be compulsory to speak good English over the next couple of weeks so no idea if this as been an issue as we struggled to find staff that spoke both good English and understood what you was saying back. They did have a member of staff Sean who you could meet once a day with problems, he seemed to play things down as I assume they are instructed to do.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
My wife and I received an email from Cruise Nation offering an eleven night cruise on the Costa Neo Romantica at what we thought was a very good price. Having never been on a cruise before and also being only in our mid 50s we were unsure ... Read More
My wife and I received an email from Cruise Nation offering an eleven night cruise on the Costa Neo Romantica at what we thought was a very good price. Having never been on a cruise before and also being only in our mid 50s we were unsure as to whether to book or not. In the end we looked at the destinations to be visited, Barcelona, Casablanca, Santa Cruz, Funchal, Malaga, Civitavechia and Savona and decided to go ahead. Travel to the port of embarcation was supposed to be with Iberia from Gatwick and this was changed by the travel agent, without notification, to Vueling from the other Gatwick terminal. The plane was overbooked and all cabin luggage had to be packed into the hold. Legroom was at the legal minimum and the whole operation was less impressive than low cost operators such as Ryanair and Easy jet. The ship was one of the smaller ones in the Costa fleet and newly refurbished throughout. We joined it on the final leg of a world cruise. We had an inside cabin which was quite comfortable and serviced twice daily by wonderful staff. The neighbours were at times quite noisy though and they could be heard through the walls. The food onboard was generally excellent with formal dining or an anytime option being available. Here again the staff were excellent and no request was too much trouble. The formal dining is in a restaurant called Boticelli's, though not every evening was a formal occasion. Giardino's is where you can have buffet food during the day, including afternoon tea, and this too seemed to be of a good standard. We used the gym on a daily basis and found it to be well equipped and clean. It overlooks the bows of the ship and offers good views. The downside is that it is like excercising in a green house - beware! We were pleased to find that we were not the youngest on board and we made good friendships with other couples of a similar age and younger (most of whom seemed to have taken up the same "deal" as us). There is no Theatre on board and the entertainment is more Butlins than Las Vegas. The visiting cabaret acts were of a good standard, but the repertoire of the in-house musicians was very "samey" and began to wear thin when repeated night after night. We thought long and hard about whether to take the drinks package or not and were glad that we had decided to do so, for as only moderate drinkers it still worked out more economic to do so. Water, tea/cofee etc was not included in the base price of the cruise The ports of call were interesting to us, but Casablanca was culturally very different to anything we'd ever experienced (not in a good way). Savona was an absolute delight, not at all what we were expecting, as someone had said it would be like Hull!! I wouldn't look to book an excursion when docked here as there is definitely plenty to see and explore, all within walking distance. Due to the nature of the itinerary, we had little time in Malaga and to make the most of our time there we had to disembark whilst it was still dark and everywhere was closed! We took one excursion (to Rome) and everywhere else we explored either alone on foot, or with travelling companions. The hop on, hop off buses are good if you have limited time/mobility and want to see/learn as much as possible in a short space of time. Avoid the yellow one in Funchal, as although it offers a reduced rate for a ride up the cable car, it has much more limited frequency than the red bus. On one of our at sea days, Costa offered a behind the scenes tour of the ship, for (I think) 29 euros per person. We would love to have taken this opportunity, but felt that this was just a way of milking captive guests for a bit more money. Overall we enjoyed the experience, but would not now consider ourselves converts to cruising as some had suggested we would undoubtedly become. Enjoyable? yes certainly. Something we would do again? Very probably - and we are certainly glad to include it into the repertoire of holiday types that we select from Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
My wife and myself decided to leave all of the work of Christmas and new year and let somebody else do all of the work to somebody else. Finding this cruise was by accident whilst surfing the net for particular travel destinations rather ... Read More
My wife and myself decided to leave all of the work of Christmas and new year and let somebody else do all of the work to somebody else. Finding this cruise was by accident whilst surfing the net for particular travel destinations rather than seeking out Costa as a cruise of choice. Having never been on a Costa ship and the deal being ever so good, we took the plunge and booked the cruise thinking that an Australian-New Zealand cruise would see many other English speaking guests embark at Melbourne and enjoy a Christmas and New Year break at sea. That was not so as the total passenger numbers totalled approximately only 800 (can carry approx 1800), the majority being made up of Italian (it is an Italian cruise liner after all), French, German and Russian passengers. A significant number of these passengers could not speak or did not try or want to speak English. This was a bit disappointing. Still trying to be positive just after sailing and trying to engage with other passengers with our limited Italian or French speaking skills, we soon formed the opinion that we were a hindrance to some passengers who perhaps wished us not to be on board. An Italian speaking Australian passenger, travelling with her husband and friends advised us she was mortified by some of the comments made by some Italian passengers in their language that were very derogative to non European travellers. I suppose that is the risk you take when taking a cruise on a ship with full prior knowledge of English not being the primary language. Our cruise commenced in Melbourne, Australia and believe it or not the compulsory lifeboat training drill was at 1.00am in the morning of the first day of departure. Absolutely ridiculous and these sentiments where echoed by all and sundry who presented their required attendance card to staff who marked you off as attending. Those that did not attend promptly were identified and found in their cabins and marched to their stations. There certainly was an assortment of clothing attire ranging from bedtime wear to suits. Quite amazing picking that time to do a drill. It was an unusual cruise atmosphere for us and apart from the ability to veg out for 21 days reading or sleeping, their was very little else to do on board. This ship has no theatre having been removed during the recent refit and replaced with a lavish day spa type area where you apparently can pamper yourself silly for an exorbitant fee. Over all our experience of the Costa Line and this ship was quite poor. The meals in the dining room were good to average. The cafeteria meals were poor to average. The staff though were attentive and tried their best. Smoking on board the ship is woeful and it was very unusual to see Senior and Junior ships staff, smoking, drinking coffee and cool drink (hopefully) in lounges in full view of paying passengers. This is the first time we have seen this done. Personally, we do not think that is professional. To the ships credit, the costly refit has been done well, but again the rocking and rolling of the ship with associated creaking sounds is a bit disconcerting and irritating. Not having free tea and coffee and cold/hot water available 24hrs a day is also something new to us and although the coffee costs throughout the ship were 2 to 3 euro per tiny cup it just was not worth it. In summary, you pay for what you get but if I had paid a full fare to be on this cruise instead of the heavily discounted fare we got I would have been banging on someones door demanding my money back. My advice to English only speaking passengers intending to travel with Costa, think again or take language lessons prior to the cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
After reading the reviews on this and other sites I was a bit concerned. I need not have been. We only had a a small window to take our holiday due to work and other commitments. My husband, since starting cruising prefers not to fly. So ... Read More
After reading the reviews on this and other sites I was a bit concerned. I need not have been. We only had a a small window to take our holiday due to work and other commitments. My husband, since starting cruising prefers not to fly. So we booked. We embarked from Dover in fact within an hour and a half of leaving home we were in our cabin! We thought we were the only ones boarding but because we arrived early, we were allowed on. The ship is beautiful and our drinks deal was in operation from the start with no problems. Thoroughly recommended . Only one or two things that weren't included and the bar service staff were always happy to suggest an alternative. The food was superb both in the Gardino and the M D R. The staff in both dinning rooms could not have tried harder,even though there was a lot of training going on. The entertainment was mediocre but quite pleasant, no rush for theatre seats and just right for coffee and brandy post dinner. The flamenco show was outstanding. The animaters, Luigi, nico and Carlos got everyone up dancing. The only disco I have seen full on a cruise. Yes little english spoken on the ship but why should they? If it was important it would be announced, if not it was in the today. My husband would have preferred a few more sporting type competitions but apart from that there really were no issues. The value was fantastic as was the holiday as a whole.mwhat more can one ask? I would not hesitate in booking a Costa again should they sail from the uk. Just one more thing, we only booked one tour, in Le Havre to Honfleur in Normandy. Very well organised and our guide Pascal was very sweet and informative. Honfleur was the highlight of the trip so beautiful that we intend to go back soon to spend a few days. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We went on Costa NeoRomantica on 26th July for 8 nights departing from Dover and visiting Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Oslo and Le Havre. There's a lot to say so for ease I will break it down. We travelled two adults age 40 and our ... Read More
We went on Costa NeoRomantica on 26th July for 8 nights departing from Dover and visiting Amsterdam, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Oslo and Le Havre. There's a lot to say so for ease I will break it down. We travelled two adults age 40 and our twin boys age 9. We are new to cruising so nothing really to compare it to but I hope this helps: The ship It has been newly refurbished and it stunning. Everything is new, beautifully designed and very Italian looking. Some of the facilities are: - Fabulous spa with numerous steam and sauna rooms and Jacuzzis (extra charge) - Two outdoor saltwater pools but they were freezing and we couldn't use them, even our children found them too cold - Fabulous chocolate cafe serving hot chocolate and chocolates (extra charge) - Shops -- large general duty free shop, sweet shop, jewellers, gifts, all very nice and different promotions every day - The most amazing fine wine and cheese rooms, totally under used but exquisite (extra charge) - Games room and Casino Cabins We had cabin 6060 and 6062 for our children. Avoid these if you can as 6060 is directly opposite a cleaning station and we were woken at 7am every morning by staff clattering around. No amount of complaining stopped this! The cabin itself was so much nicer than expected. A large double bed (made of two singles) plus a single pull down too. A huge porthole with an outside cabin, much bigger than I have seen before. Lots of cupboard space and hanging space and hangers. A small table and chair, a dressing table and stool too. Large flatscreen TV but beware only English channel is BBC World Service so a bit disappointing. A minibar fridge is in the room but if you want a coffee its 1.50 euro in your room and tea is not available. If you like tea and coffee during the day or before breakfast, bring a travel kettle! Food Breakfast was lovely, fresh and plentiful. Hot food, cereals, pastries, cakes, juices, toast, I could go on and on! We ate in the Giardinno every night which is anytime seating usually between 630pm and 9pm. This suited us very well with young children. The Botticelli had set times of usually 6pm or 830pm, however their menu was identical. Always a varied choice of 3 appetizers, 2 pastas, 3 main courses and then dessert. On the gala nights (two of them on the sea days) also a soup and cheese plate included. Small portions but could not fault it. Loved the food. Lunch time you could eat in Botticelli for a 3 course meal or Giardino for a buffet which again was fantastic. Also a late lunch always served from 2-4pm in the Grill bar. Then 4-5pm tea and cakes. Drinks These are not included in the price and so you can pay for all inclusive which is quite expensive but you can do this on board and don't need to do it in advance. We purchased on board a package of I think 20 or so soft drinks (included non-alcoholic cocktails) for Euro 50. Otherwise a can of coke is Euro 3 each time! Can work out expensive. Staff Absolutely fantastic. Never came across a single staff member who did not speak English and considering there were so few English people on board this was impressive. Entertainment Major disadvantage is that there is no theatre. This has been replaced with a spa on two levels which is stunning, but I assume this is because it brings in extra money whilst a theatre doesn't. Singers were average. Hard to get a seat to see any of the performances. Very smoky in the lounge areas even though this was on one side only it really carried across. On a cold sea day not much to do unless you like folding towels, making necklaces, bingo or learning to tango. Definitely not aimed at our age group. Most of the guests seemed to be over 60 so would suit a lot of people I'm sure. Nothing sporty at all. Kids club Our 9 year olds went on a couple of occasions but weren't over keen. I think they were a little old for this, but too young for the teen club. Very few English speaking children even though it was in school holiday time. Ports Every single one was fabulous. Worth it all just for that. We didn't do any organised excursions. In most places we took a hop on hop off bus which was at least a quarter of the price of a tour. Costa often offered transfers into the centre of town for 10 euro per person return which we took once before realising that a taxi for 4 people was only 8 euro each way. If you are on a budget the ports are all very close so a taxi is better value, or in most cases you can walk. There is lots more to say but if you have any specific questions feel free to ask here and I will try to answer them if I can. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We flew from Boston to Madrid and then caught a connecting flight to Barcelona. There were six adults in our group. We were told just days before we left that we were upgraded to a suite. Never had been in a suite before. Since we were ... Read More
We flew from Boston to Madrid and then caught a connecting flight to Barcelona. There were six adults in our group. We were told just days before we left that we were upgraded to a suite. Never had been in a suite before. Since we were told we couldn't board til 3 and we arrived in the morning, we had arranged with Barcelona tours for a 4 hour tour. The tour was very nice, although with little sleep, we were anxious to get on the ship. When we arrived finally at the port, we were very surprised to see we were the only ones there to board the ship. I guess the vast majority of our shipmates had boarded in Savonna. So, boarding was quite easy! We all thought the ship was very beautiful, after all it had just been redone. Everything seemed new and sparkly clean. Although I had sailed before in balcony rooms, I had never really been bothered by the small rooms. Compared to those the suite we had on the 11th floor was very very roomy. Big comfy bed, a pillow menu, large flat screen TV that swiveled on its base so that you could watch it from the bed or sitting area. The bathroom was huge with both a tub and a shower. And of course a nice large balcony. There was a platter of assorted canapes, a basket of fruit, that was replenished every day and an ice bucket with a bottle of bubbly were all waiting for us. The butler...(butler!) and room steward came to meet us shortly after we arrived. They were both very pleasant and always asked when they saw us if they could do anything for us. We had others from our group on one side of our room, but the other side was vacant until the next to last day. The ship hold around 1800 guests, but we were told that there were less than 1000 during our week on board. This of course was no problem for us and allowed us to get deck loungers almost anywhere and at anytime of the day. We loved that! Although in a suite you get complementary room service, we really didn't use it that much. We did have a continental breakfast delivered each morning. Juice, coffee, fruit and rolls and danishes. But they weren't able to deliver a regular breakfast till 7:30 at the earliest, and well we were usually out and about by then. The continental came every day at 6 am. Since our room was on deck 11 near mid ship, we wee only steps away from the mid ship pool and the lido bar. It seemed like a perfect location. We had last cruised on Costa three years ago from Venice to the Eastern med. Although we certainly enjoyed the food on this trip, we all think we had enjoyed the last cruise food much better. Maybe our memories fail us. We did use the gym. It is at the bow of the ship, and if you use the treadmills as your ship is entering the harbor, it feels like the faster you walk or jog, the faster the ship will get in! There is a small walking/jogging track on the top deck. We tried to walk off several meals there in the mornings. We usually had it to ourselves. The ship has a cigar bar,wine bar, chocolate bar and a pizza shop. The entire week I rarely if ever saw anyone using these places. There was a specialty restaurant on board and since we were in a suite were offered one free meal there. We made a reservation, although it did not seem necessary because when we ate there we were practically the only ones there. This was our least favorite meal of the week. It wasn't terrible, just not as good as the others. Go figure. Since there were so few folks eating in there, well, the service folks could have backed up 2-3 steps and we might have enjoyed our meal better. But maybe that had nothing to do with the food. I have never been much of a fan of the entertainment provided on cruise ships in the theater. So much lip syncing and well, I tend to avoid them. This ship did not have a large theater and I thought that was a plus. Between the cigar bar and wine bar there were usually some sort of quartet playing classical music. I never sat around to listen to them but always enjoyed walking by. Sometimes I paused for a few minutes, they sounded great. There are 2 lounges on board. We usually spent most evening drifting from one to the other. The entertainment staff was great at getting people to dance together. We spent many a night dancing and very much enjoyed it. The singers and comedians were OK. I never stayed for a whole show but enjoyed it in little bits and pieces. The casino was very small and although I did win a little at the Roulette table, none of us really spent much time there. We were lucky to have great weather for the week. The pools are very tiny and none of us used them. Nor did any of us use the hot tubs.. Did I mention we had a whirlpool in our room? I tried it once, I guess I am just not a tub person, but my wife used it every day. We did purchase the all inclusive drink package before we left. Although we could have purchased it on board. It was easy to use at any bar or at any time of course. I had downloaded the list before I went, however any drink you asked for they were able to make for you and have it included. We were all glad we had the package. We visited Palma de Mallorca, Malta, Catania, Naples and Savonna. I had never been to any of these places and liked all of them. In Malta, we rented a car and went to a nice beach. Driving on the left with a manual using your left hand took a little getting used to, but it wasn't hard. We did not book any excursions, as we do the research ahead of time and prefer mostly walking and exploring. I found Palma to be the most pleasant city to walk in, but all were quite walkable. I wasn't sure what to expect from Naples. We were there on a Sunday and well...we loved it. Its crowded and a little dirty, but still, has a great deal of charm. We even were able to find a place open for authentic Naples pizza. We had really enjoyed our trip three years ago on the Costa Victoria and were looking forward to sailing with Costa again. We had been booked on the Concordia. I'm sorry for the tragedy that occurred with the Concordia, but I think for us, this was the better ship to be on. Much smaller and not crowded at all. I so often read negative reports on here about Costa. I just don't see what others are talking about. i am not at all bothered that as an English speaking American that I am in the minority. I really think that adds to the experience. And I have not, after two cruises on Costa witnessed the so-called rudeness of any Europeans. We always ate dinner in the MDR, but breakfast and lunch were in the two different buffets. I didn't witness any pushing or line cutting at all. Everyone. the ships crew and our fellow ship mates were always very pleasant and courteous. It wasn't perfect, no trip ever is, but we all had a great time. One thing that I did find somewhat amusing though, had to do with Caesars salad. On our room service menu I saw it was offered as an anytime item. It was never on any dinner menu though. On our second night I ordered it in the main dining room. It arrived with many many little bits of bacon. It wasn't what I expected but i just tried to eat around the bacon. As we were eating our desserts our waiter told us that if we wanted Caesars salad again, we should order it in advance. OK. Seemed we all wanted it for the next night, but asked if we could have it without the bacon. Sure, we were told. Well the next night they brought our salads. Now it had grilled chicken and bacon bits. I wanted croutons and anchovies..oh well. Never had a Caesars salad like that before. I just wondered why it was available always on the room service menu, but had to be ordered in advance in the dining room. Not a gripe, just found it amusing. My only gripes are two. The promenade deck is always my favorite on a ship. I like walking the deck where the lifeboats are kept. I makes me feel like I am really on a ship. This was for crew only. Also i always enjoy the outside eating area in the stern near the buffet. Love to have my meals sitting outside. On this ship this spot is missing. We will sail again with Costa. The food could be better, the stops could be longer, but the price is right and all in all everything was just fine.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
My wife and I boarded the NeoRomantica at Marseille for a cruise to LeHavre. Boarding was smooth and well organized. We boarded the ship and had to make our own way to our cabin. On arrival we were met by a bemused cabin attendant who ... Read More
My wife and I boarded the NeoRomantica at Marseille for a cruise to LeHavre. Boarding was smooth and well organized. We boarded the ship and had to make our own way to our cabin. On arrival we were met by a bemused cabin attendant who informed us we weren't in that cabin (a balcony cabin) and someone would come down and take us to our new cabin. That didn't happen, we had to get a security man to call customer service and find out where we should be, he then took us there. We were upgraded to a Samsara class cabin, we had a larger cabin on the 14 level. We thought that was great- We were wrong!!! This was typical of the cruise, so much is good - the ship is in superb condition it is clearly 4 star, food was good though inconsistent, service could be good but you couldn't depend on it. I waited 30 minutes for poached eggs one breakfast and all the matre de could say was " sorry for not being perfect"! While service at dinner was very good and staff were very attentive. Our main problem was the cabin which does vibrate a lot more than other cabins we have had. Also the water pressure in the shower was very poor, so I contacted customer service (3 times I reported it) they told me it was fixed. Next morning while I was in the shower the hot water stopped completely! I can only think that the alterations to the ship were not completed properly as this is a new section of the ship. But the good will disappears when it becomes obvious that they don't know what to do so they try to "fob" me off! Itinerary is good, we did 3 excursions and they varied as we were put with other nationalities and it was very obvious that English was not a priority. The crew especially waiters spoke good English and we tried to add what we could in French. We quite enjoyed the cultural experience and have travelled widely in Europe before. We took the "extras" drink package and it is excellent value! We had a good assortment of wines to choose from. Coffee such as cappuccino was include but you could not get it at the coffee shop! You had to go to the bar! So silly!!! Sound proofing is also a real issue on the ship. We could clearly hear other toilets, we could hear our neighboring cabin conversations and noise from the corridors is annoying! Much more than on any ship we have travelled on (we have cruised 6 times before) . How this has happened on a new section is unbelievable. Would I recommend the ship- yes and no! If they fixed the problems then yes definitely! If they don't well I would certainly say "do not under any circumstance accept or book a samsara cabin" Hopefully they fix the issues, because the ship is a great size has a good layout and is certainly very different in structure. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Cruising with Costa was perhaps one of the worst travel experiences I have ever had, from lousy service to overpriced (and terribly translated) excursions. My best friend and I went with an open mind despite what we read about it, taking ... Read More
Cruising with Costa was perhaps one of the worst travel experiences I have ever had, from lousy service to overpriced (and terribly translated) excursions. My best friend and I went with an open mind despite what we read about it, taking into account it was an Italian cruiseline. We are seasoned inernational travellers, and we realize different cultures, different countries provide different levels of service. But nothing prepared us for what we experience on the Oct. 21-28 eastern Med cruise from Rome to Greece and Turkey. We found out after we boarded that the ship, Costa Romantica, was on its final cruise before going to dry dock for an overhaul. Though I suspect the new version of Costa Romantica will have the same problems as the old version. The initial boarding was like a cattle call, with a climb up steep steps. Disembarkation was the same. For older folks and the disabled, this proved to be difficult. The ship has the ability to allow folks to use a gang plank, of sorts. But you had to demand to use it to get on and off the ship at the main embarkation and disembarkation at the port in Rome. Be warned, unlike other cruise lines, this one charges for water. And the price for water is astronomical (think airport prices in the U.S.). As you can't drink the water from the tap, you are essentially held hostage for water. There is a water dispenser in the buffet, though access to it is limited. Also, we found the price of alcohol was more expensive than other cruise lines. A word of advice, don't prepay your excursions with Costa. You can get better deals once you get onboard and they won't refund the difference. Also, you can't get out of them after you discover the overall poor quality of the tour guides. Two of the tours, including one of its big sellers -- the Parthenon -- were terrible. During the tour to the Black Madonna in Messina, we resorted to buying a guidebook in English rather than depend on the tour guide ... whose English was poor. That said, the Euphesus and Santorini tours were fantastic! The Romantica excursion staff took no responsibility for the quality of its excursions even after receiving a number of complaints from English speakers who complained heavily about tours in Messina and Athens. The excursions office manager told us that she would check with the tour company and then offered no solution. She took the word of the company over dozens of complaints by the people who were actually on the tour. The room was a fantastic size, and the oceanview we had was fantastic. Our cabin steward was also great. That said, there were problems with the plumbing and hot water. Nothing like being forced to take an ice cold shower two days in a row. A day before we docked, our last full day at sea, the staff was already preparing to dry dock the ship ... and therefore a number of services were not available. There seemed to be a greater concern by the English liaison officer, Sean, about tipping the staff rather than addressing any legitimate issues we brought to him. During his final shipboard presentation, he said that the staff works hard in tough conditions. But there seemed to be little recognition that many folks taking this cruise worked hard, in tough conditions ... in order to save money to take this cruise. Perhaps the most telling thing about the cruise -- an Italian cruiseline -- is that even the Italians we met complained about the service. And veteran cruisers told us not to base our experience on Costa. For those considering a Costa Cruise, you have been warned...   Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We selected this cruise because of the itinerary and our positive experiences with the aforementioned Carnival owned cruise lines. Given Costa is a subsidiary of Carnival, Inc., we felt comfortable booking with what we anticipated was a ... Read More
We selected this cruise because of the itinerary and our positive experiences with the aforementioned Carnival owned cruise lines. Given Costa is a subsidiary of Carnival, Inc., we felt comfortable booking with what we anticipated was a proven commodity. It is also relevant to note that we expected some cultural differences and perhaps even some service level inconsistencies. Between October 21st and October 28th, the Costa Romantica followed a seven day itinerary to include Messina, Izmir and three ports in Greece which included Santorini, Mykonos, and Athens. What we experienced was a reasonably positive experience with the front line staff (cabin stewards, waiters, etc.) and a tremendous amount of frustration with Costa policies, fees (notably drinking water), and an incredibly poorly conceived buffet (we understand this will be overhauled during dry dock). Below you will find a bullet point assessment of what we felt was positive (the good), less than desirable (the bad), and what was downright miserable (the ugly). We cruise approximately every 18-24 months and are uncertain of our future with Carnival owned cruise lines given the very disappointing experience last week on Costa Romantica. We hope you take our feedback to heart and consider ways to improve the experience. While we recognize North American travelers compose a small proportion of the passengers on the Costa lines, we would be remiss in sharing that the views expressed in this letter were replicated in conversations we had with several other English speakers at the end of the trip. There was a growing consensus that Costa must exhibit significant improvement to earn the business of repeat North American travelers or avoid being negatively reviewed on popular travel websites. Please note the feedback below. ---The Good Stanley and his assistant, server at Table 85, lots of fun, great service and attitude. Dinner "shows" with the wait staff were funny and energetic Cabin was terrific, comfortable and large, bed was very comfortable Sean, the English Liaison, was friendly and was an important reference for English speakers The Ports of Call (with the exception of Messina) were good to great (Santorini was especially wonderful) Dance/Entertainment team was very good and made attempts to cater to all major languages when possible Formal Dining Room options / quality of food were as good as we've had on prior cruises Bar wait staff was mostly friendly and attentive "Afternoon Tea" snacks were enjoyable and provided a good bridge between lunch and dinner We appreciated the English translations for announcements and the shows Cabin steward consistently respected the privacy signage ---The Bad Lunch wait staff was not unfriendly, but not particularly engaging. They looked exhausted at times. Not being able to get off the boat in tender ports until an hour after Costa based excursions made us feel like second class citizens and we had much less time in port as a result Toilet backed up, but was repaired quickly Pool music played one song consecutively for three hours straight; this is not an exaggeration or inaccuracy. We asked customer service to send someone to fix it. It didn't get changed until we requested involvement from a supervisor on the pool deck staff. All lounges (not the restaurants) were smoking areas that proved stifling for non-smokers and prevented us from enjoying entertainment areas or drinks without going outside. Smoke also seeps into cabin areas as there is little in the way of containing it in the lounge areas Messina was largely a wasted port. Shops and venues were largely closed and it appears the only reason we stopped there was to pick up additional guests. We really enjoyed Santorini, Izmir, and Athens, but we had little time to venture too far away given the very short port schedules. Another hour or two would go a long way toward making deeper port exploration possible Cabin ran out of toilet paper without excessive use-bathroom should have been stocked with at least one extra roll Cruise effectively shut down on the last day because of the pending dry dock. The buffet was closed which meant there was no water outside of required purchases of water bottles. Various goods were transferred to another boat the previous day while in Mykonos. Alcoholic beverages were extremely expensive. Had they been less expensive, we would have felt we were receiving more value and would have had many more drinks. Drink margins would fall, but I suspect gross contribution would improve significantly with a higher volume strategy Only one English television station (BBC) and Carnival parent company infomercials were looped throughout the trip. On the last couple days, a blank screen played with no programming on two channels limiting our already limited viewing options Internet crashed many times while I tried to log on and it charged me for full minutes each time; accounted for the majority of my internet charges Mini-fridge in cabin was locked the entire cruise Customer service desk could not tell me how our tip monies were distributed proportionally to staff. This really made it difficult for me to apportion additional gratuities. Gym was small and closed early in the morning and too early in the evening. No laundry facilities onboard, passengers required to pay 20 euros to have clothes washed and ironed as an alternative. There are two formal gala nights without an ability for men to iron their formal wear We were required to be back on the boat at 12;30 pm, yet, we didn't leave port until 1:45pm Shows did not start on time and most port calls occurred at times different than the itinerary. Also, "All Aboard" calls were always 30 min earlier than departure, so itineraries overstate the amount of already limited time in port The final night of the cruise featured crew members singing songs rather than providing a professional show. Many audience members walked out in frustration ---The Ugly Forced to buy water at all meals (water was provided in buffet until the last night of the cruise). We were forced to drink tap water at night in the cabins (no alternatives) and I got sick for three days; our dining room table-mates had the same problem. Customer relations told us to pay to see a doctor which cost 90 euros. Could not even buy cough syrup because Duty Free was closed back half of the trip. This is extremely upsetting and was a real turnoff to other North American travelers. Customer service was apathetic, at best. We heard from staff later that cabin water was not, in fact, potable and we should not drink it. Given we are captive at sea, it seems that basic life sustaining essentials like water should be plentiful and always free of charge. The buffet is a disaster, poor quality food, and not properly managed logistically. Crowds move in all directions with little regard for safety or efficiency Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
just got back from the most exasperating cruise i have ever been on, the good bits:- lovely room, evening food good Philippine and indian staff lovely lots of beds and no bed reserving_ a new experience for me!!! the awful ... Read More
just got back from the most exasperating cruise i have ever been on, the good bits:- lovely room, evening food good Philippine and indian staff lovely lots of beds and no bed reserving_ a new experience for me!!! the awful bits, complete cock up with payment details, they provided the wrong bacs details and it took 4 weeks to resolve!! (should have smelt a rat then) claustrophobic ship, dark below no window, felt cramped and unpleasant, embarkation was a complete shambles, took hours only 4hours at each port to try to force you to use the extortionate ship excursions, 2 posts were very isolated. independent travel at the post was was virtually impossible drinks very expensive plus 15 % !!! disembarkation was also very poor, the staff provided no help loading bags, the bus driver looked bored and just dumped everyone at terminal 3 of airport without any explanation that this may not be your terminal, noisy all the time, smokey in most of the bar areas and virtually nothing to do during the day at sea or evening unless you like bingo. The buffet restaurant was a virtual scrum area, closed in the evening , coffee not offered with evening meal, 2 coffees six euros, (non smoking areas a joke) tips are 49 euros compulsory each, result: apathetic staff i went to none of the evening entertainments but all were described as awful by others muster was a very poor affair no privacy in male changing rooms after sauna, pool attendant left door open!! not a pretty sight. spoke to some serial costa cruisers who said the larger ships were much better, this ship is about to go for refurbish, staff need to be properly educated as well changing the name to neu romantica equivalent to windscale being renamed to sellafield. I would have grave reservations about costa again. I went as i did not believe the summaries , i should have listened. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We were honeymooners. This trip was supposed to be our dream mediterranean vacation. It was my wife's first cruise and first time in Europe. We had a fantastic time during our land tour with Contiki around Europe. With that joyful ... Read More
We were honeymooners. This trip was supposed to be our dream mediterranean vacation. It was my wife's first cruise and first time in Europe. We had a fantastic time during our land tour with Contiki around Europe. With that joyful spirit, we expected to have a great and relaxing time with this cruise. As it turned out, Costa cruise ruined the 2nd part of our honeymoon trip. To start, arriving at the port, there was no sign or staff to show us where to go to embark. I had to ask around to find the bus that would take us to the ship. The bus had no AC. It was during a hot day during the first week of september, 2011. Once arrived, the "gate" which was just a big tent. Inside, it was so disorganized and chaotic, the staff had no sense of how to manage the crowd. Adding to the insult, there was the smell of portable toilet inside the same tent!!! We had to wait 1 hr in this smelly place before getting on board. What a good way to start!!! This should have been a warming sign for what to come next. Once on board, our cabin has no English speaking channels. I had to wait 2 days and over 10 calls to the italian staff to have it fixed. It was useless to talk to the italian crew, whose English skill was poor and did not care about our complaint. Finally, we had the chance to complaint to our English host, Sean, and the problem was solved. Going to our first lunch in the buffet, it was like a zoo. All the people in there were Italians and appeared not to have been fed for days. They were pushing, screaming and cutting the line like a pack of hungry hyenas. The word courtesy was totally foreign to them. The sad part was that they were fighting for poor quality food. Water was limited and dispened in water cooler, which was most of the time empty. Our toilet of cabin smelled like urine, not matter how hard our steward tried to clean it. The boat was old with little activities that a non-Italian would enjoy. We ended up staying in our cabin most of the time. We are not picky travellers but this company hit rock bottom in terms of service quality. The non-Italian staff were kind and helpful and deserved all the credit to make this cruise a little more tolerable. During the disembarkement, it took the cruise staff over 5 hrs to let us leave the ship. While waiting, there was no refreshment or entertainment offered. Overall, I would highly recommend to avoid Costa cruise. It is poorly managed by its Italian crew. However,the olive oil is the fine dining was excellent. That was the only positive of this awful experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We were very pleased with our cruise with Costa. Our only complaint was that we never seemed to have enough time at the port. The ship was built in 1993, not a huge ship (which was fine with us), but it was still very nice. The food in ... Read More
We were very pleased with our cruise with Costa. Our only complaint was that we never seemed to have enough time at the port. The ship was built in 1993, not a huge ship (which was fine with us), but it was still very nice. The food in the dining room was excellent and the wait staff were all excellent. The faster service buffet in the rear of the ship didn't have quite the quality of food but if you wanted to grab a meal in a short amount of time it was fine. Our cabin steward was always on top of everything. The staterooms were surprisingly roomy--including the bathroom! We went to all the evening shows--they were all quite entertaining and a fun thing to do in the evening. The pool deck was very nice. They had a quiet area at the front of the ship that was shaded by the circular glass lounge above which was great if you didn't want to be in the sun. One of the members in our family needed medical attention and we found the medical staff and facility exceptional. I would certainly recommend the ship to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We sailed on the Costa Romantica in June of 2011. The ship holds about 1500 passengers and 700 crew. On our trip we were 300 shy of being full. Of the 1200 passengers, 100 spoke English but all of the crew did. This was not an issue at ... Read More
We sailed on the Costa Romantica in June of 2011. The ship holds about 1500 passengers and 700 crew. On our trip we were 300 shy of being full. Of the 1200 passengers, 100 spoke English but all of the crew did. This was not an issue at all. We had a great time because of the English speaking staff from Philippines,China and Malaysia. The staff are great people trying to make a living for their families back home. Take a moment and get to know them. We met the Executive Chef, Massimo, who did an excellent job. Seek him out, a young man who has been on the cruise ships for 17 years. The food was great, the entertainment entertaining and an overall great experience. We have been on the big ships-Royal Caribbean , Carnival, etc.but this is much better. Last year we took a similar cruise with Louis Cruises and this too was small and great. People complain about the announcements in different languages,so what, if all you wish to hear is English, stay home. There are lots of passengers speaking different languages and they too deserve to hear the messages. All in all a great cruise and we will use Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
I was with a family group of 25 on this cruise, so interacting with and meeting others was not a priority. If I had been alone, however, the predominantly foreign crowd and lack of English announcements and activities would not have been ... Read More
I was with a family group of 25 on this cruise, so interacting with and meeting others was not a priority. If I had been alone, however, the predominantly foreign crowd and lack of English announcements and activities would not have been conducive to socializing.The stateroom was very nice, and I liked the layout of the ship. I'm not big on activities, and with early and late happy hours, when not on excursions or eating, a lot of my time was spent in the bar. The happy hour is 2 for price of 1, but they must be identical drinks. OK, so I'll drink some more. Wine and soda/water packages kept the price down at meals. The dining room was very nice, with elaborate multicourse meals. The ingredients are put on board at the beginning of a cruise, and I would have preferred simple, fresh foods. The pizza at the bar is good late at night, and I never went to the midnight buffet (except on a tour). I went on all the official Costa sponsored land excursions, as I figured they are guaranteed to get back to the boat on time. Every tour was excellent, with good busses and guides.My main gripe was the poor air conditioning. When the dining room doors open and hundreds of bodies pour in, the temperature rises 20 degrees and the AC can't keep up. The mediterranean is hot and humid in the summer, and it was uncomfortable most of the time on board. The heavy cigarette smoke doesn't help either.For a follow-up cruise I would be inclined to look toward a cruise line that is geared to Americans, as I believe the AC would be up to snuff and smoking would be curtailed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We cruised from Civitavecchia to the Greek Islands and back in June of 2011. One of the best things about the trip was the transportation from Rome Fiumicino airport to the port at Civitavecchia - we put our bags down next to the coach at ... Read More
We cruised from Civitavecchia to the Greek Islands and back in June of 2011. One of the best things about the trip was the transportation from Rome Fiumicino airport to the port at Civitavecchia - we put our bags down next to the coach at the airport and did not touch them again until in our stateroom on the ship. It was the best $24 we could spend. The ship, although somewhat old being built in 1993, was comfortable. Our shock came the first evening at dinner, when we asked the waiter for a pitcher of ice water. He said he could not, because a new Costa policy prohibits this. We asked for the Maitre D, and he repeated the new policy. The only way we could get water was to buy bottles of it for $4 each. This is price gouging to the extreme. I have a personal policy of never buying bottled water because studies have found it is no better than, and in some cases not as good as, ordinary tap water. We complained loudly but to no avail. So everyone at the table told the staff that 1. We would not sail on Costa again; 2. We would write reviews about the policy; and 3. We would consider reducing our automatic gratuity amounts. The next day the Maitre D brought our table a bottle of Proseco (sparkling wine) as a peace offering to calm our dismay. Another day we were given a bottle of wine. These were good getsures, but did not make up for not having a glass of water with which to take medications. A few other things made the cruise less than optimal, such as the inability of the "Animation Team" to speak English, which was within Costa's control, and the presence on board of some 100 under 5 year old children who pretty much ran wild with no limits due to their ultra permissive parents. It was not fun to try to dance in any of the venues when a dozen little ones were running in circles on the dance floor - no exaggeration. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We picked Costa having read tons of reviews ranging from horrible, would never go back experiences to rave reviews, so we went on the Costa Romantica with really no expectations and were pleasantly surprised. First of all, the Romantica ... Read More
We picked Costa having read tons of reviews ranging from horrible, would never go back experiences to rave reviews, so we went on the Costa Romantica with really no expectations and were pleasantly surprised. First of all, the Romantica was only 1/2 booked, which if you've cruise before that was a huge perk. There were no lines, no wait times and plenty of seats for everything. Our cabin (4049) was an ocean view and was really nice. I was surprised it had as much room as it did and a very large ocean view window. We usually book balcony rooms, but the Romantica only offers maybe 10-20 suites with balconies and with prices to match their limited selection, so we opted for an ocean view room and were not disappointed. The staff was fantastic and cannot say enough enough about their service. Keep in mind, this is an Italian cruise line and English is the last language they speak. French, Spanish and even German were more popular than English which means the staff members who do speak English aren't fluent. Most of the staff members who do speak English are servers and are from the Philippines as English is taught through their schooling. The guest services reps don't speak English well and I would definitely opt for the 1 hour daily Q&A session with the English speaking rep for any help you may need. The food was very good, especially the pasta, but Costa was lacking with the grand meals to accompany the Gala evenings like Royal does, so that was a little disappointing. The mixed drinks are terrible! Be forewarned, stick with beer , wine, or straight liquors drinks. The mixed drinks are nothing but mix and have very little alcohol despite their 6.75 euro price tag.The ship excursions were run very well and a Costa cruise member travelled with each excursion to ensure it went well. See my port reviews for more details on ports. Avoid the Jeep Excursion in Mykonos!Overall very pleased with the Costa Romantica and would sail Costa again. I understand they are remodeling the ship and adding more floors, 4x the number of balconies and activities like rock climbing walls which was definitely needed. My husband and I are under 30 and we struggled to entertain ourselves since the activities on the ship were really focused for a much older crowd, but Costa seems to know that and is working to remedy that on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
The Ship: The Romantica is an older medium-size cruise ship (53,000 tons, 221 mt. long and 31 mt. wide) built for Costa in 1993. It has 14 decks of which decks 4, 5, 6, and 7 are for standard passenger cabins with suites on decks 10 and ... Read More
The Ship: The Romantica is an older medium-size cruise ship (53,000 tons, 221 mt. long and 31 mt. wide) built for Costa in 1993. It has 14 decks of which decks 4, 5, 6, and 7 are for standard passenger cabins with suites on decks 10 and 11. Decks 8 and 9 are the main entertainment decks, bars, shops and restaurants while the self-service buffet is on Deck 10. The pools and spa are on Deck 11. Passenger capacity is 1,350. Embarkation: The port of embarkation for this cruise was Port Louis, Mauritius. I went solo for this one and had decided to fly down to Mauritius a few days early to get acclimated. I flew business class on Air Mauritius from Paris and arrived refreshed early in the morning after a good nights sleep in a seat that reclined into a bed. After a few days in a paradisiacal resort (the Sands Resort & Spa) at Flic en Flac, about 20 km. south of Port Louis, I took a taxi to the cruise terminal arriving at about noon on 6 Feb. Check-in was fast and smooth and I went immediately aboard and to my cabin. My baggage arrived within 15 or 20 minutes. The Cabin: I had booked Cabin 5079, a standard outside which turned out to be just fine for me. Not huge, about 16 sq. mt., it was more than adequate for one person. Right away I asked my cabin steward (named Emmanuel from the Philippines) to separate the two beds so I could walk up and look outside through the large round porthole. The now single bed was fine for me and quite comfortable. The cabin thus was furnished with two single beds, two nightstands and lamps, a small easy chair and a small round table. Built-in was a desk with two drawers below a large mirror, but only a stool for sitting. On the other side was a cabinet for the minibar refrigerator and a small-screen TV on top. In the corridor inside the entrance door were two good sized wardrobes, one full with two doors and a single with three drawers and three shirt slides, below the hanging space. The larger even had a tie/belt rack. Between it and the minibar cabinet was a piece with five drawers below and a storage cabinet above, with the electronic wall safe in between. Opposite the wardrobes was the bathroom, small but adequate. It had two bath towels, two hand towels, and a bath mat which were changed as necessary twice a day. I mentioned to the steward that the carpet in the cabin had seen better days and two days later when I returned from an excursion I found they had torn out the old carpeting and replaced it with new wall-to-wall. Very nice. I was impressed, but I had to smell the glue for two or three days. As a Costa Club member I received a fruit bowl and a bottle of Prosecco to enjoy. The fruit bowl was never refilled and the pieces I did not consume remained on my table almost to the end of the cruise - here they could have done better. The cabin was quiet, no vibrations, and sea movement minimal even when the sea was rough. I always select a mid-ship cabin with cabin decks above and below which usually ensures lowest noise levels and ship movement. Service and Staff: I found the staff members in the Customer Service and Excursion offices to be professional, friendly, and very helpful whenever I had need of their services. I'd say all of the excursion staff was pretty great while at Reception, Daniela was probably the best. Our captain was Mario Moretta and one of the more visible captains I've run across. He was friendly and always available to answer questions or chat a few moments. The other hotel staff members were almost all quite friendly and seemed to enjoy their work. Passenger Mix: We had a pretty full ship. I queried Daniela at the Reception who checked the computer to find there were 1350 passengers of whom 370 were French, 290 Italians, 150 from the U.K., Australia, South Africa or New Zealand, 130 were from Germany, and 3 held US passports (myself and a couple from Texas), plus a mixture of Russians, Spanish and Portugese. There were also many islanders aboard mainly from Mauritius and Rèunion reflecting the ethnic makeup of those islands: Indian, African, Chinese, and a mixture of all. There were only about 20 children aboard and most were involved with "Squok Club" activities. Cleanliness. Costa is a line that prides itself on keeping their ships clean and shining. Notwithstanding the Romantica's seventeen years, she was kept sparkling by squads of men constantly rubbing and shining the brass, polishing mirrors and glass, vacuuming the carpeting, cleaning and sanitizing tables and surfaces. There were hand sanitizer machines outside of the restaurant and buffet and when boarding the ship. Smoking: As is usually found on Costa ships, the bar and lounges were divided one side for smokers and the other not. Same thing up on the pool decks where ashtrays were laid out on one side but not the other. Unfortunately in the lounge where a very good pianist played each evening (Theatre Foyer), all the tables had ashtrays but even here the smokers tended to sit on just one side. I did not notice any smell of smoke from the cabins near me or in the corridors. Naturally smoking was prohibited in the restaurants, theatre, card rooms, library, etc. Restaurants and Bars: The Romantica had one main dining room (MDR) called the Botticelli Restaurant on the 8th deck open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the 9th was the Romeo Pizzeria open every evening, and the self-service buffet on the 10th, open for breakfast and lunch. There were seven bars scattered around the ship. MDR: I always book the second seating at 21.00 and was assigned to table 142, the "singles" table. There were five females and only two males, all Italian speaking. Our waiter was Sismundo Herman from the Philippines and his assistant was Richard from Peru. For myself and my table companions the food served was good with only mild complaints on a couple occasions when something wasn't up to expectations. Food was always served piping hot. The only real complaint was the refusal to serve pitchers of free tap water instead of the pay-for bottled water. The first evening at our table and many others, the waiters when asked, brought out jugs of ice water to quench our thirst. On the following evening they had to apologize because word had been passed down not to serve free water any longer. I, along with some others, went to the maitre'd who very apologetically said that a directive had been received from the head office of Costa in Genoa canceling this previously common benefit. He suggested we complain to the Customer Service Office which I did the following day. Here again the answer was that it was a directive the ship had received from Genoa, presumably to all ships in the fleet. For the remainder of the cruise the only option was to bring water from your cabin (which I did once with no problems), buy the bottled, or do without. Since I usually drink only wine at dinner it was no big problem for me but the others went ahead and bought a bottle each evening. Buffet: This was the first cruise that I can remember that there was no problem finding a place to sit for either breakfast or lunch in the buffet. There seemed to be always plenty of open chairs at the large ten-person tables. In addition there was outside seating as well in the Terrazza Caffè. The buffet had two similar serving lines with salads, pastas, hot foods, carvery, pizza, various breads, plus an Italian pasta station and two specialty stations where cooks prepared on the spot a variety of items. The selection of cheese was especially interesting. Fruit and deserts of many types were on display. I found both breakfast and lunch to have so many things to choose from I don't see how anyone could go away hungry or dissatisfied. Again, hot items were always served piping hot. Pizza: The Romantica also had a pizzeria on deck 9 called the Romeo Pizzeria. It was open afternoons from 15.00 to 18.00 for pizza by the slice, and evenings from 21.00 to 01.00 for pizzas made to order. I did not try it (I live near Naples!) but there seemed to be many that did. Bars: The huge Piazza Italia bar & lounge on deck 8 received most of the bar business throughout the day and evening with entertainment by the ship's animation team and professional musicians. I preferred the more intimate Giulietta Bar on deck 9 where Felix, the head bartender, made an excellent espresso coffee for me each morning. On the question of prices, simple aperitifs or after dinner liquors were priced at €4.70 while most mixed drinks cost €6.70. Espresso was €1.30. To these amounts was added the 15% service charge. The water package was €25.99 (plus 15%) for 13 bottles. Library and Internet: The library and internet point was on deck 8. The selection of English language books was reasonably good, as were the selections in other languages. There were many computers available for use for a cost of €10 for 30 minutes. Like all Costa ships now, wifi was throughout and I used my laptop in my cabin extensively. The cost was €3 registration and €24 for three hours, renewable. Costa Club members can deduct a 20% discount bringing that €24 down to €19.20. Laundry: I used the ship's laundry early in the cruise and then again at the end. The quality of the service was excellent and the traditional "magic bag" at end cruise was very economical (€19.99 for up to 25 pieces of laundry). Gym and Spa. The Romantica's gym was rather small but had a half dozen or so treadmills and a variety of other machines. Normally I make extensive use of a ship's gym but this cruise it seemed I never had enough time for it. The spa was really just the beauty center and massage rooms with a sauna. I booked four one-hour massages but when I found how good my masseuse was, I signed up for two more. Her name was Michelle (also from the Philippines) and she was absolutely wonderful, resolving a long standing problem I've had with my feet. It would have been worth extending the cruise just to continue receiving her care. As with all Costa ships the spa was run by the Steiner organization and the prices are standard. The full body one hour massage is listed at €109 but they have the pay three and get four for €327, plus I received a 25% discount on the second two massages I ordered. Entertainment: I went to a couple of the evening shows which were pretty good. Two British singers plus the ship's dancers performed beautifully. Those passengers that attended every evening were consistent in their praise. The ship's animation team was very active and received good cooperation from participating passengers. They weren't really entertainment, but the ship's lecturer, Prof. Carlo Scopelliti gave two excellent history and nature presentations during the course of the cruise; one on the Seychelles and another on Madagascar. Weather and Climatic Conditions: Summer weather in the tropics is characterized by warm sun, white clouds, stable temperatures and frequent rain showers particularly in the afternoon or evening. Such was the case in the Indian Ocean. Daytime temps were usually always in the 28 to 32 degree range, dropping only a couple degrees at night. It was very pleasant indeed and the rain showers were generally brief. HOWEVER, we had to put up with tropical cyclone Bingiza which beat rather heavily the eastern coast of Madagascar and caused several changes to the established itinerary causing the captain to cancel the scheduled port call at Nosy Be, Madagascar and remain an extra day at Victoria, Seychelles until the cyclone moved on. During the days we were anchored at Victoria we had absolutely beautiful weather. Port Calls and Shore Excursions: Day 1 - Port Louis, Mauritius. Warm and sunny; rain in the evening. Perfect for departing and arriving passengers. While many of the newly embarked passengers went ashore after checking in, I decided to remain on board since I had already been on the island for several days. I had previously booked via the internet all the shore excursions I wanted, I used the time to get organized, register my credit card, and get to know the ship. Day 2 - Port Louis, Mauritius. Cloudy day. I had booked the shore excursion to Ile aux Cerfs (Deer Island). It took us about an hour to get there with the bus having to wend its way through heavy Port Louis traffic all the way to the east side of Mauritius where a small boat took us to the island, passing through mangrove swamps. The area wasn't exactly pristine as it was a small resort catering to tourist groups with mattresses on a secondary beach and palm leaf covered tables for lunch. The weather didn't cooperate that day so many didn't go swimming. The lunch however was good, chicken and fish creole specialties. Traffic returning to the ship was horrendous passing through Port Louis. The original itinerary had us remaining at Mauritius for an additional half day but it had been changed. We sailed in the evening. Day 3 - At Sea. Rough seas and cloudy weather as we passed on the far edge of the cyclone activity. First gala evening. Day 4 - At Sea. Sea continued to be rough but the weather improved. The sun loungers around the pools started getting good use. Day 5 - Victoria, Mahè, Seychelles. Arrived right on schedule at 09.00. Nice warm sunny weather but very humid. Walked into the town and did some souvenir shopping in the colorful market. In the afternoon I went with the "Creole Night" shore excursion to Takamaka Bay on the south west corner of Mahè. Very pretty beach with nice swimming before dinner at "Chez Batista" with Creole singers and dancers. Barbequed pork and huge fish along with a multitude of Creole specialties (don't ask - just enjoy!). Entertainment very lively. Nice enjoyable evening. Day 6 - Victoria, Mahè, Seychelles. Beautiful sunny day. Left ship at 10.00 on a big catamaran that was moored right under the ship for Praslin Island (pronounced PRA-lin). After a 45 minute crossing our guide got us on a comfortable bus that took us to the jungle center of the island and the Valle de Mai. Coco de mer trees, coconut palms, and dozens of other strange species producing bread fruit and weird forms of nuts and things. Many birds, black parrots, special spiders, lizards, gekkos, etc. We went back to the little port for a short catamaran ride over to La Digue Island, another paradise. No cars and only a few trucks with benches in the bed to carry tourists around. Most people on bicycles going to the houses of the few inhabitants. We left the little settlement by the jetty and rode a bouncing truck over a narrow paved road that soon became a bumpy sand track to the eastern side of the island and the beach called Grande Anse - a spectacular wide white sand beach with huge granite boulders delimiting the far ends. There was no coral barrier here so the waves were substantial, allowing some local fellows to ride their surfboards. We swam, played with the waves, and roasted in the sun. Lunch was in a little sandy restaurant right on the beach called "Loutier Coco." The Creole barbeque was very good, fish, fish, fish. Before leaving La Digue we went to the Union Estate to see the giant tortises (in a large pen, not walking around freely), and the production of coconut oil. A short walk took us to what is billed as the island's most spectacular beach, Source d'Argent. It was very pretty but not much sand, shallow water with a coral surface that hurt your feet. At least there was plenty of shade trees to block the sun a bit for our by now red skins. Two catamaran rides and we got back to the ship at 20.00. A great but tiring day! Day 7 - Victoria, Mahè, Seychelles. We were supposed to leave the Seychelles today but Cyclone Bingiza caused our itinerary to be changed. It was announced that two of the Madagascar port calls were cancelled but we would make the one for Diego Suarez and have an extra day at Rèunion. A lot of passengers went off on private excursions today but I remained on board trying to cool my sunburn from the day before. Day 8 - Victoria, Mahè, Seychelles. Sunny and warm. I went on a sailing catamaran excursion this morning all around the north end of Mahè island and landing at a small deserted cove beyond Belle Vallon on the northwest corner. Wonderful swimming with multicolored fish. We returned to the ship (sunburned again) by noon and at 13.00 to the voice of Andrea Bocelli singing Con Te Partiro, we sailed away from Victoria, the smallest capital in the world (I think I heard). Day 8 - At Sea. Rough sea and overcast approaching the cyclone area. As the day wore on we were advised that the cyclone was moving southwest and would leave Madagascar shortly. Consequently we received the third change of itinerary since the start of the cruise: we would land not only at Diego Suarez but also make the scheduled stop at Tamatave, so Rèunion was back to just a one day call. Second gala night. Day 9 - Diego Suarez, Madagascar. Gray and overcast, choppy seas. Very humid. We docked on schedule at 07.00 and at 9 I left on a shore excursion (ex Emerald Bay, cancelled due to choppy sea conditions) around the eastern side of the bay. We first went through the very wet town trying to dry out after the cyclone passed. A town with a lot of character with dilapidated colonial buildings, roughly built habitations, stores and shops of every variety (beautiful wood carved products), pot-holed roads that became red-dirt tracks as we left the town proper. Friendly people who seemed very happy to see all the tourists (Costa banners waving around) in town. On the track around the bay (with the island called Pan di Zucchero in the middle) we stopped in one location where ladies were selling bright colored pareos and children displayed large sea shells, men with iguanas or lemurs on branches, some women with white designs painted on their faces, all in all a very interesting setting. We stopped at a beach where a couple brave souls went swimming notwithstanding the less than perfect weather. Returning toward Diego Suarez we stopped at a hotel resort for lunch. I think we were the only customers at Diego's premier Blue Note Resort. A local reggie-type group entertained us with their music while we sipped on chopped-off coconuts with a straw sitting around the pool. Lunch was started off with everyone receiving a first course plate containing a big crab which we had to break open with pliers. The white meat was delicious. The second course was rice with pieces of fish on skewers; also very good. For dessert we served all kinds of local fruits, papaya, mango, pineapple, bananas, etc. Day 10 - At Sea. Overcast and choppy seas. Italian night in the restaurant with the usual singing O'Sole Mio, Volare, etc., waving of the napkins, with the waiters leading the serpent dance around the dining room and dancing with the ladies. A good time was had by all. Day 11 - Tamatave, Madagascar. Sunny with scattered clouds. A very large container port. No excursion today but I took the shuttle bus (€6 round trip) from the ship to the Bazar Be market in town. The streets were horrible, semi flooded after the passing of the cyclone, full of pot holes. The market consisted of hundreds of tiny stalls selling souvenirs, tee shirts, pareos, vanilla, carved wooden handicrafts, model ships, etc. in addition to the food, meat, and houseware stalls for the locals. Here there was a different atmosphere from Diego as there were armies of little children and women with their hands out begging. There was no way you could give them anything or they would chase you forever. I made some purchases and went back to the ship early. Last gala night. Day 12 - At Sea. Sunny and rough sea. Much time was spent around the pools. Day 13 - St. Denis, Rèunion. Sunny and warm. Sea conditions improved. Actually the ship docked at Le Port, about 20 km. south of the capital of St. Denis. Rèunion is an overseas province of France so the currency was euros, French language, French license plates on the cars, and a completely French atmosphere. I went on the excursion to the "Cirque de Salazie" today, passing first to visit a Hindu temple and then a vanilla plantation. We eventually arrived up in the hills passing through green valleys with dozens of high water falls in the clouds, and got into the little alpine town of Hell Bourg. Souvenir stores, crêperies, little bars ; a neat town. We went to lunch at a little hotel complex called « Les Jardins d'Heva. » As usual, it was all quite good. On the return we stopped for an hour at St. Denis for a walk through the market. Back to the ship for the last evening. Bags had to be outside the cabin door by 22.30. Day 14 - St. Louis, Mauritius. We arrived on schedule at 02.30 and by 5 many people were already disembarking. My flight to Milano was supposed to depart at 09.40 but was delayed until 14.30 so I remained on board until noon (cabin vacated at 07.30). Disembarkation: My baggage was waiting for me on the dock so I disembarked on my own. I had arranged a taxi to take me to the airport (Taxi Mauritius - €35 instead of the €60 the port taxis wanted), which took only 45 minutes, being a Sunday. Unfortunately the flight was further delayed until almost 17.00 but since I had a business class ticket I spent my time in the VIP lounge eating good little things and drinking French champagne. What a life! Conclusions: It was a great cruise on a very nice ship. I had previously read a lot of negative comments about the Romantica, being old and small but I'm glad I didn't give it any thought. The number of passengers on a smaller ship allow so much more freedom of movement, both on board and ashore that makes it well worth while. I'll give both the Romantica and the cruise their well deserved five stars. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Embarkation set the tone for this dire cruise, chaotic, badly organised, with total lack of helpful staff. From the dockside sight of the ship, she appeared tired and shabby, and the interior did nothing to improve that impression- she is ... Read More
Embarkation set the tone for this dire cruise, chaotic, badly organised, with total lack of helpful staff. From the dockside sight of the ship, she appeared tired and shabby, and the interior did nothing to improve that impression- she is dated, badly cared for, badly managed and long past her best. Stairwells are echoing , carpet-less, decor-less spaces, reminiscent of school corridors, except lacking artwork! Welcome aboard was a drinks package sales pitch, and there were no directions given for finding cabins. We found our way to our deck 4 cabin, with its large round window- this style was the norm for most of the ship, with the exception of a few balcony suites. the cabin was bland wood panelled, had ample wardrobe and drawer space and a comfortable double bed. Pillows were hard and slab-like, towels long past their pristine best, with only a tiny soap bar provided as toiletry, with harsh gel in the grubby-curtained shower. Requests for softer pillows were refused, and we were advised to phone room service for a few toiletries. Dining was dismal, with repetitive menus, no healthy choices, overcooked fish, poor salads and badly organised service, so tables were not served together. Alternative dining, the open buffet was very poor, with limited repetitive menus, very poor salads, and ran out of green salad in the second week, and , incredibly, butter disappeared from all menus after 10 days. Probably the best choice was a daily pasta, served with fresh parmigiano, but we expected that on an Italian cruise line, and even the most ardent pasta lover would not want it for every meal. Entertainment was very third rate, with tired dancers, poor singers and bizarre novelty acts. If you preferred dancing, then a live trio performed, but often this turned into strange line-dancing sessions. Day time entertainment would have disgraced a holiday camp, with childish, badly organised game like activities, shouted instructions,and little entertainment value. Several ports were tender disembarkation, which again was chaotic to the point of being worrying. Tickets were issued, by ineffective entertainment staff, on a first come-first served basis, to pushing, shouting crowds , and the whole process was so disorganised as to feel totally intimidating. This ship completely fails to deliver a product of acceptable quality, utterly fails to deliver the promised brochure experience and is a Costa concept that needs serious overhaul Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Well, we have no-one to blame but ourselves really. After our experience on Costa Classica from Dubai to Singapore in March 2009 (reviewed on this site), we said no more Costa small, older ships. We weakened, however, when we saw the Costa ... Read More
Well, we have no-one to blame but ourselves really. After our experience on Costa Classica from Dubai to Singapore in March 2009 (reviewed on this site), we said no more Costa small, older ships. We weakened, however, when we saw the Costa Romantica itinerary from Singapore to Makassar, Komodo, Bali, Jakarta, Malacca, Phuket and Port Klang (for Kuala Lumpur) and unfortunately we did live to regret it! The flight (booked via a Costa package) was the first bone of contention. Rather than flying direct for about 14 hours, we went via Dubai with a touchdown in Colombo, Sri Lanka, adding another 7 hours to the trip each way. We did know we had this flight home, but when we booked, the original outward flight was direct from Dubai to Singapore, saving about 4 or 5 hours, but that got changed. Having said that Emirates were very good, with good food and service and adequate leg room. We arrived on the ship at about 10.30 pm to find covered plates with two filled rolls and a few pieces of fruit in our cabin. This was all the food available on the ship at the time, not even a cup of tea could be found other than via room service (sandwiches and hot drinks) with a charge! Not very welcoming!! The cabin itself appeared fine, and our Chinese stewardess was very good throughout the cruise, apart from inexplicably throwing away our Today magazines and menus that we were keeping as souvenirs - that was a new one on me! She was very apologetic and did her best to replace them, but how long had she been throwing away passenger's belongings other than those in the rubbish bins? The cabin itself was fine, and reasonably spacious, but we had an ongoing issue with the toilet not working, and were reporting it once or twice a day at some points. Customer Service response varied from the fairly concerned to the totally indifferent, and it was usually mended fairly quickly, although only to break down again within a few hours. On one day, most of the passenger toilets failed for a period and there were areas of the ship with very unpleasant smells, plus a cabin along the corridor from us was being dried out using dehumidifiers/fans for several days. The toilet issue would not have been so bad, except that we were both ill with acute diarrhoea during the trip, and needed it in working order. My husband fell ill after two sea days (so no he couldn't have got it, whatever it was, anywhere else). I followed three days later and we subsequently found that many of those in our area of the dining room had had similar troubles. We tried to report this to Costa, but they were in total denial. Customer Services were just not interested, while the English-speaking host just kept repeating that there was no problem and we must have had too much sun! We felt that perhaps some additional measures should have been taken, although more basic ones, like ensuring the hand cleansing machines weren't empty most of the time in the buffet, would have helped. Generally, the food in the main restaurant was very good and our waiters were excellent (although we missed several dinners while ill). The buffet was another story - totally inadequate for the number of passengers, totally overwhelmed with people, tables seldom cleared of their dirty crockery, cutlery, etc. Also no alternative dining except for two evenings (Singapore before we arrived on the first evening and the evening in Phuket). Not even a hot drink after they closed at about 5.30 pm, or not after the hot water ran out anyway. We did try room service when I was recovering from my stomach troubles, which was mainly a selection of sandwiches, and despite having to pay EUR2 for the privilege we were much amused by my husband's order of a sandwich and two teas arriving as a sandwich and 2 plates of cheese!!! There appeared to have been staff cuts since our last voyage with Costa and this was evident in most areas - too few waiters, limited buffet openings, fewer animators and virtually no daytime entertainment, fewer pool attendants, fewer bar staff on deck and inside, and fewer evening shows (films on a couple of nights). The supply situation was also very poor; cruise ships often seem to run out of things on the last day or so, but this started early on Romantica, with butter being in limited supply the whole cruise and disappearing altogether on the last day; at dinner the silver dishes with ice were there, but empty!!! Other things absent for the last three or four days included water melon, bananas, yoghurt, skimmed milk and decent tea bags (other than herbal and Chinese black tea). But what of the itinerary, I hear you say! It was exceptional, but was rather spoilt by Costa's organisational abilities or lack of. Most significantly, you are on your own if you don't want to go on their excursions. I am sure this is true of other cruise lines, but sometimes we didn't even know where we were going ashore (staff didn't know or gave the wrong info if asked) and the maps were incredibly, with the Bali map showing the whole island (but not where the ship was!) perhaps the best example!! We did take two Costa excursions - one on Komodo and one in Jakarta and I have to say that they were both fairly good, although on Komodo there was no choice of excursion, just a 1.5-hour, 1 km trek to see the Komodo dragons, and we would rather have done something more ambitious, which was available privately, although Costa's tendering of those on excursions meant that independents would not have had enough time ashore to do any longer treks. Tendering was another issue. According to the itinerary we were only tendering in Bali, but in fact we also tendered in Komodo, Malacca and Phuket (for two days). As usual, Costa excursions went first (that is generally the same with all cruise lines), but the organisation of the independents was pathetic and on one occasion bordering on the dangerous. Hordes of (mainly but not exclusively) Italians mobbed the table where the tender tickets were being handed out and some even just took tickets, with no-one sending for security and no-one trying to stop them. Apparently down on Deck 3, a group was also trying to push past the excursion groups onto the tenders, although apparently they were turned back successfully. Knowing the Continental dislike of queuing, you would think they would have instigated a proper system rather than allowing such conduct, which was more like a riot than anything else! It was only the next day that they started a proper queuing area roped off and adequately staffed. Anyway, all this meant that the time ashore was very limited, particularly in places where we only had a half day stop, such as Malacca. In that case, the departure time was moved from 1.30 to 2.30 pm because of the delays, but many of those going ashore were not told, so we all had to rush round in about 1.5 hours (it was a fascinating place) only to return to the pier to find that we could have had had another hour. The excursions in Phuket were weird, as we arrived at 2 pm, and then there were excursions of up to 8 hours going out, meaning that parts of these trips, including beach trips, tours of temples and elephant rides, were carried out in the dark! Not sure what all that was about, but if I had been on them I would not have been happy! The stop in Port Klang for Kuala Lumpur was cut from a full day to a half day. This was announced the previous evening after we left Phuket, with technical problems blamed, although a rumour did go round that it was to save money on fuel by going more slowly. Personally I doubt that, as the amount of money lost on their excursions, with full-days going down to a limited number of half-days, would probably have cost far more than the fuel. It does illustrate many passengers' disenchantment and distrust of Costa by this stage, however. There were quite a few first time cruisers on the trip, and we tried to emphasise that Costa was not typical of cruising and that they should try with another company before deciding whether cruising was for them. The cut down time was still disappointing for those wanting a reasonable time in Kuala Lumpur, however, although we had been before so were not personally too concerned. The last day in Singapore, most flights left at or just after midnight. In 2009, after our cruise on Classica, we did not have to leave the ship until 8 o'clock, but that has all changed and we had to leave at 4.45 pm, giving us over 6 hours to wait at the airport, so we had plenty of time to contemplate the coming 21-hour flight!! So, although we saw some wonderful things, it was overall a very disappointing and exhausting trip - the ship was poor, which we suspected in advance, but there appear to have been additional cuts and problems even over Classica 18 months ago. And they shouldn't keep using a ship where the plumbing is so problematic!! Also, we didn't get enough time to see the fantastic destinations properly. Although you may say this is always an issue on cruise ships (and I would agree), we lost far more time on this trip that we should have, leaving the feeling that we had not seen the best of things, which is a great pity as we are unlikely to return to any of them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
upon arrival there were not enough staff to help with checking in.the food in the buffet was of a poor standard and never hot. our cabin toilet did not work for seven of the fourteen days after reporting it every day.the air conditioner ... Read More
upon arrival there were not enough staff to help with checking in.the food in the buffet was of a poor standard and never hot. our cabin toilet did not work for seven of the fourteen days after reporting it every day.the air conditioner did not work properly in our room ,always very stuffy.on the back deck(10) the tables where never cleaned and not enough staff.when it came to getting off the ship at a tender port it was a disaster,people pushing and shoving ,they only sent one staff member to control it.at one stage there was nearly a punch up.the management on board did not interact and had a attitude of not my problem when any issues arose.the entertainment was poor and not enough variety of venue's with different style of entertainment.we went to the nightclub at 11.30 one night and were told it was not open ,don't you read your today program.the next night we went there were children there at 1.00am ,when said they should not be here we were told by staff they could not do any thing about it ,we said not appropriate for children to be in a adult environment. the staff tried very hard to keep things rolling along and to them i say thank you,but to management i will never go on another Costa Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
After reading all the harsh reviews on the net prior to embarking on the cruise, I must say I was pretty much concerned about whether I had made the right decision to cruise with the Costa Romantica. However, after having spent 22 fabulous ... Read More
After reading all the harsh reviews on the net prior to embarking on the cruise, I must say I was pretty much concerned about whether I had made the right decision to cruise with the Costa Romantica. However, after having spent 22 fabulous days cruising on the Costa Romantica, I felt that I owed to write this review. Here goes my itinerary and cruise dates - 22 days of cruising from 20 November 2010 to 12 December 2010 - Singapore, Port Klang (Malaysia), Langkawi (Malaysia), Phuket (Thailand), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Cochin (India), MalE (Maldives), MahE (Seychelles), Reunion Island and Mauritius. Embarkation - The embarkation process in Singapore was fairly quick but clearly not well structured. Three ladies were standing in front of a very small desk trying to check the passports and get people to fill in a health declaration form. After the formalities were completed, we then proceeded to the gate and had our souvenir picture taken. Upon arrival in the main deck, we were handed over our Costa Card, cabin key and our identification picture was taken. We then proceeded on our own to our cabin which was fairly easy to find. Our luggage was delivered to our front door within 30 minutes. Cabin - we had an outside stateroom with a porthole. It was great to be able to see outside especially when we were nearing land. Our room was tidied every night and day and towels were changed. Our cabin steward was always very nice and discreet. Every night, our cabin steward would make a different bed decoration with the bed cover. Very nice! We read that some people had noise issues or blocked toilets. We never had any flushing issue with the toilets and apart from particularly noisy neighbours, it was just fine. The daily programme "TODAY" was delivered to our cabin every night along with a map of the next port. As far as air conditioning was concerned, we were not even using the air conditioning in our cabin as the air extractor was largely sufficient. Food - Breakfast was served either in the Giardino buffet (buffet style) or in the Botticelli Restaurant (formal table seating). There was a wide variety of food ranging from eggs, bacon, cereals, pastries to fruits. Late breakfast was available in the buffet for late bed risers till around 11.00. Lunch as well was served either in the Giardino buffet or in the Botticelli Restaurant. We mostly went to the Giardino Buffet where we had a variety of food to choose from. There was a new theme everyday for lunch in the buffet area (Mediterranean, Chinese, Creole, Indian, etc). On some sea days, we had special lunch "Chef Surprise" by the poolside or in the corridor leading to the Piazza Italia when it rained. On the Terrazza, there was also an outside grill with French fries, on the spot hamburger and hotdogs for lunch. The Terrazza was my favourite place on the ship in the afternoon when it was not too crowded. Loved the views and the sea breeze there. The buffet area was always like a beehive, always opening up and closing up for something else - breakfast, late breakfast, lunch, teatime, kids buffet, teens buffet and sometimes alternative dinner. One can imagine how big an organisation this must be to run the buffet everyday all day. The buffet supervisors and the snacks stewards worked really hard to keep the place always up and running and always attended to guests' requests (even the most eccentric ones) with a smile. Dinner was served in the Botticelli Restaurant with the first seating being served at 18.15 and second seating at 20.45. The first seating was served by far too early taking into consideration that we always had to rush to shower after a full day out. Service by our charming waitress and assistant waiter was always excellent. The daily menu consisted of appetizers, soup, pastas, main course, salad, cheese and dessert. One could choose as much courses as one wanted. We had a number of very good and appetizing courses. On two occasions, we were entertained by a nice waiter show. Everyday at 23.30, snacks were served in the Tango Ballroom and on some nights, we had midnight buffets. Food arrangement was always very nicely done. The midnight buffet in the kitchen was also truly amazing. We felt like visiting an art gallery. The kitchen was decorated with very nicely and finely carved fruits and vegetables which had been done by talented Filipinos. Due to the weather, we only had one midnight party and a midnight buffet by the poolside. There was a live ice carving demonstration and we had so much fun at the party. Coffee, tea, chocolate and a wide variety of infusions were readily available until midnight at the Giardino buffet area. There was so much food on board but so much waste as well. I have read other people reviews complaining about the lack of food or lack of variety. Personally, I have never ever in 22 days felt hungry because there was not enough food onboard. On the contrary, the food was so plentiful that we felt we were eating all day long! We have however been appalled by the fact that all remaining good food on the line is thrown away as the majority of the crewmembers do not have the right to eat the same food as passengers. Such a waste and such a pity! Only a happy few arrogant crewmembers had the right to eat at the buffet. The English host kept saying: well, anyway we're not wasting food. We use it to produce steam and it is much cheaper than diesel! Oh come on! The buffet area was cleaned spick and spine every night and it was a pity to see some people making such a mess in the buffet area. I often wondered whether they behave like that in their own house. Some people filled their plates with monstrous portions of food as if with the fear that they would starve to death on the ship and then obviously, left aside terrible heaps of leftovers. Gala nights - We had a total of 4 gala nights on our cruise with formal dress code being required. The first one, the captain conveyed everybody in the Opera Theatre for a free champagne toast and a very short address to the public. We would have appreciated that the number of gala nights be communicated to us prior to embarking on the cruise in order to bring appropriate outfits and in sufficient number. Maybe next time! Night Entertainment - The night shows at the Opera Theatre were of a good level and varied. The best shows were the Romanian acrobats, Rob & Miky and the Flamenco dancers, Trio Mulero. Thumbs up! The worst shows: Singer Jo Lis and Tenor Alberto Jelmoni. The Costa Romantica dancers were very good as well. I missed the crew show as I was too exhausted after going out that day. Daily activities - Daily activities were conducted by the animation team. The dance lessons with the Brazilian dance instructor were always excellent. (Bachata, cha cha cha, latin dance, mambo, merengue, tango to name a few). This was among the few things that kept us alive during sea days and I must say probably one of the things that helped us not take on any extra weight. However, generally speaking, there were repetitive animation activities such as quiz, manual works and lectures. Other one-off activities included live fruit carving demonstration, kitchen visit, chef culinary demonstrations, spa demonstrations or Chinese lessons. Roman catholic religious activities were performed daily by the capellano. Information desk - I was not particularly impressed by the information desk staff. It was usually very crowded with lots of people queuing up. The staffs, mostly Italians were not very welcoming in their approach. Spa and Beauty Centre - The spa and beauty centre was a total waste of time. The spa staff never seemed to know whether they had to run spa activities as mentioned on the TODAY and almost always seemed to be annoyed to have to conduct these activities. The activities were also mostly repetitive. The spa staffs were also almost always using the spa for their own personal benefits/grooming. Excelsior Casino - opens at sea only. Did not use that one Photo - On gala nights, a team of photographers would go around in the Botticelli Restaurant to take individual or group pictures of the guests and they would also set up several photo booths with various accessories near the Piazza Italia so that people wishing to take professional pictures could do so. I had a couple of these and the photographers were always so friendly and talented. However, the minus point was that the photos were really expensive (Around EUR 20 each). Duty free shops - Duty free shop was open only at sea. Everyday, there was a different array of goods on offer. We certainly made some good buys and it was always nice to do some window-shopping in the night. Cruise Excursions - The cruise excursions were really overpriced. So, we mostly did our own thing which was by far cheaper and applied a simple rule whereby we only took excursions requiring boat transfers (e.g Phuket and Seychelles). The excursions were hassle free and well organised. However, we did not understand why the tour office had such limited opening hours. This was very frustrating. This resulted in endless queues and chaos since the tour officers were so overwhelmed with passenger queries. No explanations were given as to why the volcano tour in Reunion was cancelled. We eventually learned it through hearsay. However, for the excursions that we booked through the cruise, I must say we were very satisfied with our day. The local tour guides were very friendly, professional and did their best to please the guests. Crewmembers - I must say I really enjoyed this cruise for the friendliness, smile, openness, simplicity and courtesy displayed by Costa's crewmembers. The bartenders, waiters, assistant waiters, buffet supervisors, snacks stewards, cabin stewards, animators, gym instructor, duty free shop attendants, photographers were so great. They were so easy to talk to. Very open and generous people who work damn hard. We found out that they work extremely long hours 7 days a week for a not so great pay and most of them have a first bachelor degree. We were appalled to see the waiters carrying trays of dining wares endlessly. But despite them being tired, they were always there with a smile on their face, happy to be able to help. With such an international crew, I was so glad to get to know people from the Philippines, China, India, Honduras, Peru, Romania, Croatia, Latvia, Brazil, Morocco and Spain. Generally speaking, I noted that crewmembers originating from these countries were far more friendly and open than crewmembers coming from Italy or UK. Moreover, as a general rule, the ship's admin staff and higher officers were arrogant and almost never smiled to passing by passengers in the corridors. They would also almost never exhibit any sign of friendliness or courtesy towards the guests. The English host was damn arrogant. Not to say the least about the doctor! At first, we thought he was the captain. Walking around with his superior looks! The photo manager had such a bad look in the eyes that he almost certainly frightened all the guests away from the photo exhibit area. Fellow cruise passengers - we made countless number of friends of all age groups coming from countries as diverse as Switzerland, UK, USA, South Africa, France, Reunion Island, Spain, Croatia and Mauritius. Generally speaking, the passengers were very open and friendly and it was always very interesting to meet so many people coming from so many different countries. All we had initially in common was that we either spoke English and French. It was on the cruise that I realised how lucky we were to be able to converse in both languages. And 3 weeks onboard the same ship certainly creates some ties. The bad side of it was that there were many grumpy passengers as well. Passengers complaining for as little as why it is raining or complaining about why they lost the little funny games organised onboard. It was such a pity! It was only a game after all! Why bother?! We were on holidays! There were also a bunch of rude passengers as well who seemed to be annoyed to see people around. I often wondered why they left their home to come on a cruise where obviously you will get to see a lot of people. Disembarkation - Upon arrival in Mauritius, we were required to have a face-to-face meeting with the Mauritian customs in the Tango Ballroom and this was really bad! Monstrous queues. We had to queue up to collect our passport and then queue again to have it validated by the Customs officials. Costa should really take care of that. Disembarkation guidelines by the French hostess were also not very clear. We were asked to vacate our cabin at 7.00, which was by far too early and we were required to wait in the Opera Theatre at 8.30 perhaps for some more formalities but at 8.30, we were told we could get down freely whenever we wanted. This took a matter of minutes. Luggage could be found very easily and there were luggage personnel to assist. Issues with Costa Romantica - Smoking - Smoking was the main issue we faced onboard. Costa should really cater for this issue and should have a segregated smoking area in the open air. This was totally unfair towards those not smoking. I am particularly sensitive to smoke and on several occasions, I felt unwell with the smoke. This issue was particularly acute in the Piazza Italia and the Tango Ballroom (the two main common rooms) and with children and non-smoking people around, this was really awful. Tendering - We had to use tenders in Phuket and Maldives. The tendering process was not always very well structured. People were rushing in and out of the tenders and we often wondered whether the tender was not filled well above capacity and frowned at the idea of an emergency. I do not believe that the tenders were fully equipped with life jackets for so many people. Pool - Did not use the pool at all. The pool was definitely too small for such a big ship and for so many passengers. Great itinerary - The itinerary was the primary reason why we chose to do this trip and it certainly paid off. We definitely think it was well worth value for money. We certainly had the best time of our lives and we really did not want to get off the ship. Reflecting on our cruise, I must say we were very lucky. We almost always fell on nice taxi drivers (except in India) who spared no efforts to show us around. Plus we had such a beautiful weather during the days at port. On several occasions, it rained at the end of the day when we were back on the ship or nearing the end of the day and one whole day at sea. Many passengers groaned about it. But we took it well. Mother Nature had been good enough to give us the entire day out, well, it was fair enough that she should take the night. Throughout our journey, there were never any signs of pirates and we never felt insecure. We had rough sea from Phuket to Colombo while crossing the Bay of Bengal and from Seychelles to Reunion Island. Some passengers were seasick when the ship rocked. Fortunately, I was spared. Plus point is that seasickness pills are available free of charge at the information desk. All in all, if I were to do the cruise again, I definitely would! Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We were tempted by the itinerary. Who wouldn't be? In particular, cruising over to the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius sounded very exotic. While the itinerary was exceptional, I am afraid the ship itself leaves a lot to be ... Read More
We were tempted by the itinerary. Who wouldn't be? In particular, cruising over to the Maldives, Seychelles and Mauritius sounded very exotic. While the itinerary was exceptional, I am afraid the ship itself leaves a lot to be desired. We had no issues with embarkation as is mentioned in other posts. We checked our bags in and continued shopping until we were able to board. As is typical with all cruises, we were ambushed once on board by those selling beverage packages. We were disappointed but not surprised that any wine package purchased only incorporated Italian wines. We selected the premium package and must say the wine was not what we would call premium. It was average at best and for 5 bottles at $109 Euro was a bit of a rort. Plus service charge of course!! The room was sufficient. Although I must say the bathroom was scungy with mould in the shower and behind the taps on the vanity. I did 10 rounds with the shower curtain on a regular basis and in the end decided it was a lot easier to shower without it. The toilet system is continually under stress which is most unpleasant. Many times, the toilet would not flush and there were occasions where the system was blocked. When we advised our hostess of this, she checked and advised us that this was OK, the entire level had the same problem!! For the next few hours, I needed to use the public toilets instead of our own and the smell was putrid. The choice of television stations is interesting. There is one English movie channel which plays movies at certain times of the day. Over the 3 weeks on the ship, the movies were repeated 3 times. Other selections other than European channels were Russian news being read in English and details of the ship. In other words, the TV service is what I would call substandard. Other areas on the ship are tired and dated. While the leather chairs and sofas are a nice touch, the corners are worn and overall appear scruffy. I had to laugh when on the first day I ventured out to the pool deck for a quick drink. I kid you not, the pool is about 3m by 3m. More like a plunge pool than a traditional swimming pool. You cannot 'swim' in it. I just assumed that the other pool at the back of the ship must make up for this. No! It is exactly the same size. In all my time travelling, I have never seen anything so ridiculous to cater for 1,600 guests. Our room was located directly across from the Emergency Exit. On the first and second nights, we had constant slamming doors as staff were using this exit to transfer baggage. In addition, all room service came up through this exit. Next to this exit was the cleaning cupboard. If you end up with room 7146, don't expect a good night's sleep. On the 3rd day, I approached the 'service' desk to inform them of the noise issue and to ask if there were any alternate cabins available that we may move to. The 'service' attendant stated that the ship was full and she didn't understand why I would have any issues with the noise. She said if I had an issue, I should tell the people responsible to be quiet. Hmmm, I thought that was their job. She then proceeded to tell me pointedly that noise can be expected on all cruises. Then she smiled and asked for the next guest enquiry. I guess that is what they call service. The restaurant for dinner was the only option. We found this extremely inconvenient. Dress rules apply for dinner and it would have been appropriate to offer at least one alternate option (eg, the buffet) for dinner, especially considering the total number of days the ship was at sea. A pizza bar did open at 8pm each night, but one can only eat so much pizza. The one night we opted for pizza, the dough was not cooked and the while dish lacked flavour. Truly awful. The food was average. The choices were varied and always contained vegetarian options. Seafood was available on a regular basis which was good. The best offering of the day was generally the buffet at lunch - a great deal of variety and specials. However, in the end I compared this buffet with that of a pig's trough. I learned quickly not to get in between a hungry European guest and the buffet. If you did, you were in danger of losing body parts. People consistently were rude, pushing in front and eating in gigantic proportions. Poor hygiene was on full display. The buffet obviously is unable to cater for the entire number of guests on board and it is frustrating when other guests treat this buffet as the social centre of the ship instead of being efficient and completing their meal so others could be seated. The breakfast catered mainly for the European guests on board. Toast was more like a Cruskit, but there were plenty of pastries available if you wanted. In fact, over half of the buffet consisted of these pastries. Salami seemed popular for breakfast! The quality was a lot less than what I have experienced in hotels and on other cruises. The tours were limited for English speaking guests. This was further exaggerated by bilingual guests choosing the English speaking tours. We spoke with many other English speaking guests who had many of their tours cancelled. Worse still, it seemed that the cheaper tours were the ones cancelled (by cheap I mean $50 - $80 Euro) while the more expensive tours proceeded. There was a significant lack of organisation. Many tours were late and you were not kept informed by the tour organisers - just left sitting in the opera lounge waiting for your number to be called. On one tour in Seychelles, an announcement was made 15 minutes after the due departure time that we would be ready to go in 5 minutes. We were moved out 45 minutes late. For a $184 Euro excursion, an apology or explanation would have been nice. By this stage of our trip, we knew better. The same old issues arose on our tours as happens on all of them. Ignorant and selfish guests were consistently late back to the bus. However, the worst incident of lateness was a Costa staff member. The guests waited on a bus in Reunion Island for 25 minutes for a Costa staff member and his partner. We applauded them when they finally made it back to the bus. His comment? "Don't worry, the ship won't leave without me". This pretty much sums up the attitude of the staff on board. I truly believe that they are indifferent to the experience of the paying guests. The overall disorganisation by staff came to a head two days before we disembarked. Upon arriving at Mauritius, we were instructed to pick up our passports and that we would all individually undergo a customs interview with a Mauritius official. For those heading on tours for the day, we were asked to line up from 8am. Other guests wanting to go ashore were to follow at 8.30am. Knowing this could be a bit of a debacle, we started lining up at 7.30am. Already, there were around 12 people in front of us. Quite quickly the line grew and as usual, people consistently attempted to push in and get to the front of the queue. The Mauritius officials were late which added to the hysteria. Guests were shouting at each other, different nationalities were fighting each other, age was no barrier to aggression and I actually felt scared at one point that there was going to be an all in brawl. Finally at 8am, the Costa staff placed barriers up to stop people attempting to push in. The line ended up being from one end of the ship to the other. What a disgrace. This could have been organised so much better, I cannot believe with their experience that they would not intuitively understand how this frustrated some of the passengers. But again, as I have said, I really don't think they care. Due to the cost of the tours, it was evident that a lot of guests chose to stay on board or do their own thing. We had many days at sea and I must say the entertainment budget must be very constrained. Entertainment consisted of trivia competitions (skewed towards European trivia of course), a professor providing history talks, sessions from the Spa about keeping your tan, losing your kilos or having the perfect abs (same thing every day and more or less just a sales pitch), and some religious activities. Prizes for winning competitions were limited to Costa notepads, mousepads and other cheap gadgets. We just kept to ourselves when at sea and lucky I had several books and an IPhone handy. The ship provides WiFi which is great, but at $24 Euro of 3 hours is absolutely a ridiculous price. Some other things to note: Alcohol is ridiculously overpriced - if you like a drink, be prepared for a massive bill; Don't by any means get any laundry done unless you have a spare $150 Euro; Be prepared for massive currency discounts when changing into Euro's - worse than an agent; Take hand sanitiser with you - insufficient supplies on board. The good points? The service staff and the actual places we visited. We will never cruise with Costa again. When completing the feedback forms, we were told we were in with a chance at winning a free cruise. One, I do not believe Costa would give away something for free and two, even if I won, I would be loathe to take up the opportunity. Way better cruises available for similar prices. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
I looked at Cruise Critic reviews prior to departure so wasn't expecting a great voyage. Only booked because good price and excellent ports of call. At least it partly reached my expectations. That was the price and ports of ... Read More
I looked at Cruise Critic reviews prior to departure so wasn't expecting a great voyage. Only booked because good price and excellent ports of call. At least it partly reached my expectations. That was the price and ports of call!!. I have never embarked on such a disorganised ship. There was little to no information available. We had booked a Costa package which included airport transfers. Out of about 30 people arriving on our flight they managed to lose 4 elderly ladies at Shanghai. Enough said about that because it just got worse. They "guide" only gave us information regarding trips nothing about procedures of boarding the ship. On arrival at the terminal we had to carry our cases a good distance without assistance okay for my husband and I but there were several elderly and very very tired passengers who like us had travelled from various destinations via Dubai. Enough said because I could write a great deal more! When we finally got to our cabins after chaos in the atrium. There was again no information! There is a person on board who is described as the English speaking host who is a total waste of space and makes information up as and when its suits him to do so. Again it is pointless in further describing the whole of his performance during the 16 days. Sadly my husband took ill and eventually had to seek medical treatment. The Doctor and two nurses on board did not have English as their first second or even third language! As there was a mixture of Australian English and Americans totalling over 400 travelling it was quite amazing. I am Not saying the competency was compromised but it was seriously uncomfortable. Food was not particularly good but given the price it was "okay" The waiters were excellent chefs...well certain dishes could have been "warmer" Drinks expensive not much in the way of packages..15% service was really over the top for such a class of ship. Too much smoking too! The small wine bar as it is described was above an open stairway leading from a huge lounge . As passengers could smoke there ...smoke rises so us non smokers got the smoke as well. This area also included the only "alternative" dining option which was a pizza place. As pizza was readily available at the Buffet from mid morning onwards it hardly offered a change of dining options! Also the buffet was in a miserable room although a good variety it was not a pleasant area! Utter chaos again on embarkation no information until late the day before and then utter chaos again in getting to the airport and checking in! To sum up as I am sure anyone reading this is probably bored..Ships Officers arrogant ships staff who make it happen friendly polite and undermined! For no cost whatsoever to Costa things could be improved. If they had an English speaking Host who was competent and didn't exaggerate and tell porkies a lot of passengers would be happier. Never again we shall put it down to a poor experience. Wonderful ports awful cruise line!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We were for warned that the ship was older and that the cruise was geared for Europeans and that we would be one of the few Americans aboard. We booked the cruise for the itinerary. Dining room service was inconsistent. I didn't ... Read More
We were for warned that the ship was older and that the cruise was geared for Europeans and that we would be one of the few Americans aboard. We booked the cruise for the itinerary. Dining room service was inconsistent. I didn't get two of my entrees and was served wrong desserts on several occasions. The morning cappuicino and espresso were cold(probably made ahead of time) It was difficlut to get decaf coffee. The ice cream was runny and we actaully got hot orange juice out of the dispenser. It was not uncommon to clean our own tables off in the buffet Dishes were left everywhere. The selection in the buffet and the dining room were good. The cabin was clean..our room steward was a joy. The ship was very outdated and was in need of some major updating. Carpets looked dirty but were just worn out. There was lots of smoking on the ship and lots of people just pushing ...Again were were warned that the Europeans will just push you out of line. THE BIG LIE.......This is a very long story and I will try to condense it. We asked to have half our gratuity taken off of the bill We like to tip according to the service received(we are good tippers). We met with Micheal the English speaking host on five occasions. If he had said no you can't do this we would've said ok and dropped the subject. The first meeting he told us that it was possible and that he would contact the American consulate and they in turn would call the IRS. In Singapore we could be detained up to Six months if we didn't pay but he would proceed if we wanted him to. On the second meeting he said that he hadn't heard from our consulate yet. Meeting three he said everything was taken care of and the charges wouldn't be on our bill, however they were still on the bill. Meeting four he contacted us let us know that he called The US Consulate to advise them that they might need to pick up out luggage. He also said that our luggage would be scrutinized and that we should be frightened . When we asked for the phone number of the consulate he said the Singapore authorities would take care of that. Meeting five and hour before we got off the ship the charges were still on the bill. Micheal told us that they would be taken off as soon as we got through immigration... We didn't go to jail and they did charge us...Needless to say the whole thing was a lie. We felt threatened and harassed. On the positive side the whole itinerary was very educational. The ports were very interesting. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We have cruised on many other cruise lines but this was our first with Costa. We would be unlikely to choose Costa again because we prefer specific "english speaking" ships. The Costa Romantica is showing its age and its origins ... Read More
We have cruised on many other cruise lines but this was our first with Costa. We would be unlikely to choose Costa again because we prefer specific "english speaking" ships. The Costa Romantica is showing its age and its origins (probably designed as a cargo ship and then converted). However, the cabins are very spacious and very comfortable. The cabin staff are excellent but unfortunately the management staff tended to be rude and unhelpful. The embarkation process was chaotic and frustrating. There was no organisation, no assistance and no information about what was happening. The food in the buffet area was very average but in the dining room it was very good, especially at breakfast time and lunch time. The dining room staff were helpful but there was some difficulty with language (I ordered two eggs and got two servings, each with two eggs...). We cruise for the ports of call and this cruise had some excellent ports. There were no bad ports but some of the shore tours could have been better organised and should have had a crew member present to address any problems. We loved Halong Bay, Hanoi, Hoi An, Hong Kong and Saigon. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and we would recommend it to friends. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Costa neoRomantica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.5
Entertainment 4.0 2.9
Public Rooms 4.0 3.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.3
Family 4.0 3.3
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.3
Enrichment 3.0 2.9
Service 3.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 4.0 3.5

Find a Costa neoRomantica Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click