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14 Costa neoRomantica Cruise Reviews

Having already "sunny-days-cruise experience" with fun ships, this time, I was interested in the itinerary, Costa offers since 2017 in Asia: Japan, Korea, Taiwan. Be prepared that this cruise is not always nice weather. But, even ... Read More
Having already "sunny-days-cruise experience" with fun ships, this time, I was interested in the itinerary, Costa offers since 2017 in Asia: Japan, Korea, Taiwan. Be prepared that this cruise is not always nice weather. But, even with rough sea, we always felt safe. And it was a great experience, since the ports of call on this 15-niter were perfectly chosen. Begin the cruise in Tokyo and choose a hotel at Tokyo Bay with stunning view to Rainbow Bridge is the perfect start for this cruise. A "must". At Kobe, you can try the famous "Kobe beef" or just enjoy the relaxed atmosphere at the waterfront with illuminated Kobe Tower. For me, Shingu was a highlight. You can take a walk to holy Natchi waterfall and the most important japanese Shinto shrine where you will feel the energy of a 1000 year old pilgrimage place. The offered excursions cover all these places. Service on the ship was perfect. Everything clean. Very friendly staff. Monte Carlo Lido aft with its huge white sunbeds and the whirlpool. A wonderful spa. Gym equipped with the newest Techno Gym machines. I enjoyed a lot the sea view, you have from the treadmills and the crossfit trainer. On this Asian tour, buffet was never crowded. Food is a good Asian /European mix. Lots of fish, I appreciated. Also midnight snacks. Which I never took: for me, there was enough food offered from 6am to 9.30pm. Apart from sandwiches, always excellent cakes and puddings at the sandwich bar from 2 to 5pm. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was our first cruise ever; and it will be not the last I think. The Norwegian Fjords are a super destination, Wonderfull sceneries, almost always daytime in this part of the year on the most Nordly destinations. The cabin (with ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever; and it will be not the last I think. The Norwegian Fjords are a super destination, Wonderfull sceneries, almost always daytime in this part of the year on the most Nordly destinations. The cabin (with seaview) was very comfortable and bigger then we thougt. The crew was very friendly and very international. The service and food was excellent (sometimes served a bit too cold). A lot of choise in the excursions, in all difficulties and prices. Embarcation was smootly and the quick desembarcation worked very fine. Tip 1: book also a drink package. It is much cheaper Tip2: avoid as much as possible the self service restaurant. Not for quality, but for the rude custumors. Tip 3: you are in a multi cultural invirement, so try the Samsara restaurant. Tip 4: check reguraly the prices before booking Minus point; entertainment, could be better, but this is not our cup of tea Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I preferred to try an European Line after have done many cruises with British and American Lines. I specially liked the food. The cabin was excellent as well as the cabin service. Entertainment and features of the ship very enjoyable. ... Read More
I preferred to try an European Line after have done many cruises with British and American Lines. I specially liked the food. The cabin was excellent as well as the cabin service. Entertainment and features of the ship very enjoyable. What really stood out for me and made my holiday very special was the Hungarian Latin Dance Group. They were four outstanding professionals and kind human beings. The two bands playing in the Grand Piazza were superb. I would like to do another cruise with Costa mainly because of them and the Entertainment Team, formed by Italian, Spanish and Brazilian nationals. Nothing was too much trouble for them. The one disappointment was Ingrid, the Hotel Officer. My wallet was stolen in the Port of Savona just before starting the Cruise. She just was not interested in my problem and frustration. With the help of my son from Britain I could get money sent to the next Port: Barcelona. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was our 3rd cruise and our first with Costa. We absolutely loved it. We had been on a Celebrity cruise before and found it much too big and impersonal. On the NeoRomantica we could find our way around and regularly bumped into people ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise and our first with Costa. We absolutely loved it. We had been on a Celebrity cruise before and found it much too big and impersonal. On the NeoRomantica we could find our way around and regularly bumped into people we got to know. There were not many English on the cruise but we went to the introduction meeting for English speaking and met a lovely American couple. Later at dinner that night they were sat on our table and we spent most of our holiday with them. The evening meal was amazing with 6 or 7 courses if you wanted. We paid extra for the all inclusive and enjoyed cocktails, wine with our dinner, coffees and hot chocolates. Well worth the money, infact considering the amount of food and drink we had I'm surprised Costa made any profit! There wasn't much in the way of evening entertainment, but I don't really expect it on a holiday. We ate late and with the good company, didn't finish eating until at least 11pm, we would then have a couple more drinks and go to bed, there was always tomorrow's new port to get up for. We were supposed to have a 7 hour wait at the airport on our way home but we changed our flights to earlier ones with easy Jet for no charge. All in all an amazing holiday, we arrived home relaxed and suntanned! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
After reading a lot of the reviews on this website concerning Costa, we were very worried about how our cruise holiday would turn out. This was our first time going on a cruise and we are a family of four - two kids who are 4 yrs old and 6 ... Read More
After reading a lot of the reviews on this website concerning Costa, we were very worried about how our cruise holiday would turn out. This was our first time going on a cruise and we are a family of four - two kids who are 4 yrs old and 6 yrs old. We took a bus transfer from Nice, France, to Savona, Italy, which was arranged by Costa. This went without any troubles and the driver stopped after about 90 minutes of driving for a 30 minute rest stop, then we continued our way to the cruise terminal in Savona. When we arrived there, we were all given embarkation cards with a number on them to indicate in which order we could board the ship. We were given a card for group number 21 and we waited in a very comfortable terminal for around 45 minutes before our number was called. There was a little children's room available where our kids could play while we waited. Also, there was a cafe and outdoor seating on a nice terrace, if you preferred to wait in the open air. Once on board, we had our photos taken by the crew to go with our Costa Cards and then we were directed to our cabin. I had already looked at the floor plan for the deck we were on, so I knew where to go to find our cabin. I would suggest people do this before getting on board, as the cabins did not appear to be in sequential order! So, ensure you know which direction to head in once you are on the ship! We got to our room and our luggage was brought to us about 5 minutes later. The cabin we had was a classic sea view cabin. We were on deck 5, towards the front of the ship. Our kids were very happy, as their beds were folded down from either side of the cabin, over the top of the king-sized bed in the middle of the cabin (this was made up of two beds pushed together, but it was very comfortable). Everything was made up nicely and I was happy with the cleanliness of the cabin :) We were excited to explore the ship but decided to stay in our cabin until the emergency training drill was ready to take place. We put on our life jackets and headed up to deck 9 where we were 'herded' towards our muster station. The training is useless and just lip service, honestly! I didn't learn a thing. But I guess that Costa have to say they have given us the training and it was all over after 15 minutes. We found 99% of the staff members on board of the neoRomantica to be beautifully polite and willing to help us. After reading other reviews, I had expected the worst, but everyone doted on our daughter and were very nice to us despite the fact we only speak English! Our kids were fine in the Squok club but it was a little bit small. The kids went there for about 3 hours minimum each day and also experienced 3 squok dinners, which allowed us (mum and dad) to have a few nice quiet dinners on our own! The Squok club hours are in three 3 hour lots during the day, usually 9am - noon, then 3pm-6pm, and then 9pm-midnight. Our kids NEVER went to the last session, as it is very late for little ones. For older children, that may not be a problem. We also were informed that we could leave the children with the Squok staff for a continuous period if we were going on an excursion that was booked through the Costa Tours. So if a tour is scheduled to leave at 8am and return at 3pm, we could drop the children off at the club at 7.45am and then the staff would be with them until we returned. We did this twice on our cruise, as sometimes our kids did not want to spend a long day sightseeing. Remember that you cannot leave your children in the Squok club if you are planning to go on a self-organised excursion. On days when the ship is at sea for the entire day, the second session of Squok is from 3pm-5pm, and then the third session begins at 7pm and the children all have a themed dinner together, followed by a movie or games. We found the food on the ship to be acceptable, it's not 'amazing' but it's not revolting either. It is what it is, but don't go in with huge expectations. There were a couple of standout dishes that I can remember from my 10 day cruise and there were a couple I would rather forget, but overall, it was okay. We realised after the first few days that we didn't have to always eat at the restaurant with table service, as Giardino's restaurant actually turns into a self-service buffet for breakfasts and lunches! We much preferred this option as we could make big salads and eat much healthier, balanced meals. You can't rely on getting a nice salad or main meal with vegetables at dinner, so get all the greens and fresh produce you can at lunch time. By the tenth day of our cruise, we were beginning to tire of the multi-course dinners and felt a bit unhealthy. Thank goodness for the salad bar at lunch! We sometimes took fruit back to our cabin to eat at other times. This seemed fine with the staff, as no one tried to stop us. Generally, you can get breakfast from 6.30/7am up until about 10.30/11am. Lunch is at noon. Late lunch is from 2-4pm, then there is afternoon tea from 4-5pm. Early casual dining for dinner begins at 5pm in the Pizzeria (but you have to pay 7.50 euros per person for all you can eat pizza), and 6pm in the Grill (free). The other restaurants are serving from 6.30pm. There is a club restaurant that anyone can book into and pay for their dinner. It looked beautiful but we never went there. Also, if you are not in a Samsara cabin but would like to eat in the Samsara restaurant, you can either buy an upgraded dining package or pay for a one-off dinner at 25 euros per head, excluding drinks. We did not do this, so I cannot comment on the food in that restaurant, but it was said to be 'healthier'. As for drinks, we purchased the all inclusive package. We did not have to purchase this for our daughter, as she is 4 yrs old. 5yrs and upwards do have to have a drinks package. Please be aware that you cannot get bottles of water with the package, only GLASSES of water. We did bring a couple of drink bottles from home and filled these up in our cabin for the excursions. The water on the ship is totally FINE for drinking, so do not be scared by some people's photographs of the water quality!!! We made friends with a couple of the waiters and barmen and they gave us a few cans of ice tea that were unopened for our journey home when we disembarked on our last day. Also, at dinner, if you do not finish the bottled water, just take it back to your cabin at the end of the meal. There is no problem in doing this and you might as well not let it go to waste. Other comments on the ship - the cabins seemed to be pretty sound proof, as I didn't hear our neighbours at all. Sometimes I could hear people in the hall, but this did not bother me. On the contrary, we were probably the noisiest people around with our young kids... We tried our best to keep them quiet! There was a good selection of in-house movies available to purchase through the tv in the cabin. Yes, there were available in all languages, including English. We paid 8.95 euros to watch The Croods and the kids loved it. We also brought our laptop, loaded up with movies, Don't forget to bring a power adapter and a power board/ power strip so that you can charge all of your devices/cameras/etc. The only toiletries provided are soap. There are no shower caps, or shower gels, shampoos, etc. You can purchase those things in the dutyfree shop on deck 9 if you come unprepared. The entertainment on the ship is a number of little bands which are directed at old people, not very exciting for us (in our 30's). The dancers were pretty good though. There was a magician one evening, and we thought he was good, as did our kids. He did the show in Italian, French and English! Other nights there were events that we didn't attend, but that is because of our kids needing to go to bed. I am not going to rate the shore excursions, because everyone would be different. We took an excursion to Ephesus from the port of Izmir, Turkey. This was a good tour, but we were taken to a rug shop after seeing Ephesus were we were hassled to buy a rug. These people were nice enough and I would have liked to buy a rug but I do not like being forced into a situation like that! We were given wine or tea here too, and a little demo about how the silk is farmed and the rugs are made. After refusing many times to buy a rug, we had to find the exit which was at the end of numerous rooms containing jewellery - we have never seen so much jewellery in our lives! The actual tour in Ephesus was very interesting though! The other tour we took was to see the volcano in Sicily called Mount Etna from the port of Messina. It was quite a drive to get there (2 hours, not 90 mins as stated in the tour guide). However, it was cool to see the volcano. Take very warm clothes if you go here during the colder months. It was incredibly windy and FREEZING. I used the gym a number of times. It is sufficient for keeping up fitness on the cruise but if you go at peak times, you will need to wait to use a cardio machine. The machines are meant to be used for 20 minutes per person, but keep your eye on people, as some rude individuals may try to restart their session as soon as the 20mins are up! As for weights, there are 3 benches and dumbells ranging from 4kgs upwards. There are some weight machines but I didn't like them and never attempted to use them, as they weren't the traditional type but some weird ergonomic sort. There is a stretching area with a few yoga mats and an ab ball or two. The view from the gym is directly over the front of the bow of the ship, so quite nice. Disembarkation took a while and we were given an approximate time of 10.30am as our timeslot (the ship docked at 9am). We ended up getting called off at about 11.15am. We were not allowed to be in our cabin after 8am, so after we had breakfast, we sat in the main bar, where we could get drinks, etc. It is very comfortable there, so we didn't have a problem. I even took my daughter back up to the Squok club for a play. You are able to utilise anything on the ship until you are ready to leave, except your cabin, ofcourse. This review is getting very long but I just wanted to say that if you go on the cruise with an open mind, you realise that some Europeans can be a little rude at times, you are polite to the people who are serving you - you will have a nice time. Honestly, the neoRomantica was fine! Each ship can speak for itself, I suppose. But I wouldnt hesitate to go back again to this one. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
We joined the ship at Sydney for the last leg of a round the world cruise and what wonderful places we visited! Sydney to Savona via Africa.. Costa delivered everything they promised and more.....free drinks at meal times and 6 free ... Read More
We joined the ship at Sydney for the last leg of a round the world cruise and what wonderful places we visited! Sydney to Savona via Africa.. Costa delivered everything they promised and more.....free drinks at meal times and 6 free excursions to mention some highlights.We learnt to play bridge( free of charge ) with a superb instructor, learnt to dance with the on board dance team and enjoyed the swimming pools, jacuzzi and gym.The food was excellent in every area with seven course meals in the evening and special Gala menus, The evening entertainment wasn't always to our taste and I found it rather old fashioned, rather stuck in the 50's, but the Italians and French loved it. The on-board musicians were very good but rather repetitive. The visiting acts were classical singers or Italian tenors on the whole, with some jugglers/ comics.The dancers were great considering they had such a small area in which to perform as the ship has no stage.The casino was well run. New Year's Eve was on a party on deck watching the firework display in Cape Town with plenty of free champagne. All the staff were polite, helpful and efficient. Everything was well organised and appeared effortless. I found my fellow guests, mainly Italian, lovely as individuals but rather overpowering as a group, often dismissive of others aboard the ship. I can't fault Costa though, they did everything to provide the holiday of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date December 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
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 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
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
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 had a cruise on Costa Romantica from Singapore for 14 nights around SE Asia visiting 6 ports. Had never cruised with Costa before and reading some reviews was a little apprehensive, but this was totally unfounded. Embarkation was simple ... Read More
We had a cruise on Costa Romantica from Singapore for 14 nights around SE Asia visiting 6 ports. Had never cruised with Costa before and reading some reviews was a little apprehensive, but this was totally unfounded. Embarkation was simple yet the Customer Services Desk on board was chaos (luckily we didn't need it on boarding), due to passengers who were afforded a free 14 night cruise because Costa, through no fault of Costa, could not fly them back to Europe and UK due to the volcanic ash problems. Once things had settled down in that area we found no problems, language was possibly an issue but could be overcome. We had breakfast and lunch when on board in the dining room, the buffet was crowded usually and much of the same each day. The comfort of waiter service in the dining room, even if we were at a table with non-English speaking people, was well worth while. At dinner we were seated with fellow Aussies and around us were other Aussies, Kiwis and English. The food at Dinner was, great, as was breakfast and lunch in the dining room, and a testimony was the excess weight I now have to work at getting rid of. Entertainment was good, probably since there were some UK entertainers who had joined the ship. Excursions, while seeming to be expensive were no more than on other cruises we have been on, and provided an opportunity to experience the various ports we visited. While a couple of lounges provided smoking areas we always found smoke free zones and were not inconvenienced. The only drawback was the poor yet expensive Internet facilities on board, I found it easier to wait until in port and use an internet cafe. All in all it was a very pleasant holiday, and the good weather made it more so, the only seas which wee not like a mill pond was in the trip between Hong Kong and Manila. I would definitely consider Costa again for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Dubai. This is not a city you can walk around. It is very spread out, take it from us we are walkers and can go gr8 distances but things you see in the distance in this city never seem to get closer as you walk towards them :-) Cabs are ... Read More
Dubai. This is not a city you can walk around. It is very spread out, take it from us we are walkers and can go gr8 distances but things you see in the distance in this city never seem to get closer as you walk towards them :-) Cabs are cheap though and the people here are very friendly. Everyone speaks English and the cab drivers don't give you the long route, they take you where you want to go and rather quickly... alright , very quickly , it was a little frightening at times. Also keep this in mind when you are out walking, it seems that pedestrians do not have the right of way here. Follow the signs, cross when you're supposed to and keep an eye out for fast moving traffic. We stayed at a clean inexpensive hotel near the port where we were boarding the Costa Romantica for a 7 day cruise from Dubai to Muscat Oman, Fujeirah, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and return to dubai. We found the hotel through Otel.com, we find this to be the most inexpensive way to find affordable hotels. We have used them several times now and you even get more of a discount the more you book through them . Our hotel was the Richmond Hotel and Apartments. This was one of many options in many price ranges from Otel.com. We chose this one for the price and it had a pool on the roof although it was a little cool. The room was clean and about a 3 star. The staff was very friendly, all spoke English and were very helpful. They even let us have late check out for a small fee as our cruise didn't board until night time. It was nice to spend the day out and about and still be able to come back and pack and shower before we boarded. This hotel was in the Bur Dubai area. There is the Sheak Sayid Road ( please excuse spelling ) area, where all the tallest buildings are. There area lot of hotels there too. The Jumeira Beach area with a lot of hotels on the beach. I'm assuming these would be the most expensive. And the Deira area, this is the old part of Dubai where the creek is. If you're going to cross the creek in a Dow ( again sp ) I suggest you do it on a guided tour. This is a crazy busy part of town. Personally I wouldn't stay in that part but I wouldn't miss seeing it, its very exciting. There are huge malls in Dubai as well as markets. Quite a diverse mixture of old and new. There is even a mall with an indoor ski hill! You can swim at many open beaches ( public ) as they call them. Jumeirah Beach is quite huge. We were on 3 different parts of it. The end closest to the port. The Jumeriah park area and then you can also swim right next to the famous Burj Al Arab hotel and Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Then next to those hotels are more hotels and a gr8 mall outdoor cafe/ restaurants all situated on a lagoon with canals. Its quite beautiful at night. In the future there will be many more rivers , canals, lagoon and man made islands... man made everything in fact. If you can dream it they will build it and they are. Its a city springing up from the desert right before your very eyes. Ok now the cruise! Loved Costa! Suzanne our English hostess greeted us very warmly in the terminal and told us where to go on the ship for food while our room was being prepared...as we were a little early still. But they let you on none the less and even let us stay on at the end as our flight wasn't until late. We didn't disembark until 10pm. They practically had to pry us out of Luigi, Petra and Suzannes' arms to leave. These three wonderful people showed us such a gr8 time , we will never forget them and this cruise! Not to mention the rest of the wonderful staff! Alex our waiter in the Opera Bar, Peirro at Romeo's and all the other guys there too, they were all so gr8! We even exchanged email info to stay in touch and opened or homes to them if they were ever to visit Canada. The ship is very nice with a lot of Italian marble everywhere. The food was gr8 and lots to choose from. The entertainment was also very good. Even the staff can sing , Suzanne did Madonna better than Madonna! Ok I don't want to go on too much because you may actually be disappointed if I give it too much of a rave and I wouldn't want that to happen. Its just that we took a Carnival cruise in November and we loved this one much much more! We thought Carnival was a floating tacky piece of crap and Costa was very classy and especially for the price...remember we are budget travellers. We LOVED Muscat but beware of the taxi drivers here , they will rip you off. Negotiate a price, or get in one with a meter even better. We thought we had negotiated a price in Omanny money but then he didn't want that and we ended up paying 30$ for a short ride, this was talked down from 90$. We should have just walked out and gone through the port where he would not be allowed to go and then seen what he would have taken with all the port guards listening then. Anyway , beware. Other than that , Muscat is beautiful and the people are very friendly. The city is clean and not that big. We went to the Gate Museum, the Palace ( not a huge palace but situated on the water and is quite nice. Muscat is very quaint. Abu Dhabi is beautiful. The Marina Mall is here we got dropped off , we walked back across the bridge to the Emirates Palace Hotel and walked through it. Its likely the most beautiful building I have ever been in. They are also building many exciting things in this city , keep and eye out , it should all be done in less then ten years and its being done by the worlds most famous architects. Its going to be incredible. Then we went to the Hilton and swam in the pool and beach area. it was very nice. There was a fee for this. In Fujeirah we did the same thing, went to the HIlton. We didn't think there was much to do in Fujeirah so we thought we would just go for a walk on the beach but couldn't really get to it. Then this really nice kid in a nice car offered us a ride for no money!!! Of course we were apprehensive but I feel I have travelled quite a bit and am a good judge of character. We got in , he studies in the U.K. and was just being nice to tourists. He took us to the HIlton and said go to their beach. We did this and the Hilton here charges us nothing! The water of beach isn't as nice here though so we swam in their pool which was fantastic. 32 degrees C. We had a wonderful relaxing day here for free , away from the other people on the boat for a while and it was only just down the road from the port. We thought we would walk back along the beach but again it became a little hard to navigate so we took the road again ( no sidewalks keep in mind) then yet another nice man pulled over and asked us if we needed a ride. He was actually a cab driver and we told him we didn't have any money ( which was true as we thought we were just going for a walk on the beach initially and left our money on board) He said... no get this... that his parents taught him that its not always about money and he would drive us to the port! Not only this he stopped at a store and bought us water!!! and accepted nothing but a thank you for all his kindness! Don't get me wrong , we don't look like vagabonds or anything, we are perfectly respectable looking people, this was just out of his kind heart! Which made up for the fat bastard that ripped us off the day before in Muscat! Bahrain... we didn't get off the ship, hung out by the pool on board, my friend wasn't feeling well. Back to Dubai and there you have it! We loved the cruise, we loved the ports , we loved the people and we Loved Costa! Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
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

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