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109 Costa Victoria Cruise Reviews

We have sailed on Costa before and promised that we would not do so again, but the dates and the length of the cruise and the ports to be visited made us get excited again, and it was a different ship this time, so we thought, why not? ... Read More
We have sailed on Costa before and promised that we would not do so again, but the dates and the length of the cruise and the ports to be visited made us get excited again, and it was a different ship this time, so we thought, why not? Great views from the balcony, but on the wrong side of the ship, we were always on the water side never got to watch the port from ours. Very small room, don't let the photos on the web pages fool you, just enough room to walk between the wall and the bed. the balcony itself is only 1m x 2m with 2 chairs and a very low table, the door is extremely heavy as you would expect, however, my wife struggled to open it most times. The bathroom is exactly the same size as every other stateroom, so no extra space, and for a person who is 6ft tall and weighs 220 pounds that does not leave a lot of room for anything! let alone getting in the shower. Sadly, the airconditioning unit in the hallway burst a pipe and flooded our cabin and six others around it, we were disappointed with Costa's compensation offer ( a bottle of wine and a bowl of fruit ) to put up with an industrial dryer in our room for the next 3 days of the cruise and one outside the door for 4 days, not to mention the smell of wet carpet for 4 days. Bad, Bad, Bad! The ports that we visited were Semarang, Benoa, Lombok, Singapore, Penang, Langkawi, Phuket (Patong) and back to Singapore. I would pass on Semarang, Lombok and possibly Benoa, but the other stops where terrific. The Costa entertainment crew, they call them the "Animation Team" now, were a bit of a let down compared to the entertainment team on the Costa Romantica that took us to similar ports just 2 years before. Being the Christmas and New Year cruise the staff had made pretty red bows to go on all of the cabin doors and there were a few tinsel pieces around the place, the atrium had a lovely decorated Christmas tree but that was about all. For NYE the crew let go of a net full of balloons on the strike of midnight, but because of the layout of the ship, there was not really many people in the area to enjoy this. I think that the deck layout on the Victoria made for a difficult time for them, there is not just one spot to be entertained in but many small areas, but we made our own fun. the good thing is that Costa has stopped people smoking anywhere on the ship that is inside, you have to go to the outdoor areas. Given that we have now had two cruises through Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, I think maybe the next one will be to the Phillipines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Japan etc. Just next time won't be a Costa cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My wife and I were looking forward to some decent Italian cuisine when we booked a mini-suite on Costa Victoria.. Cabin - A good sized 310sg ft of space with a very comfortable queen sized bed and a wardrobe area with 2 bunks. A bottle of ... Read More
My wife and I were looking forward to some decent Italian cuisine when we booked a mini-suite on Costa Victoria.. Cabin - A good sized 310sg ft of space with a very comfortable queen sized bed and a wardrobe area with 2 bunks. A bottle of chilled Prosecco and daily fresh fruits were very welcoming. Butler and Steward were excellent in their services. Breakfasts served in the room were a delight. Toilet - Full range of toiletries and bath salts for the Jacuzzi. Problem arises when you shower - water fills the trough between bath tub and wall. To solve the problem, they conveniently blocked both ends with pieces of plastic - and the water overflows onto the floor and finds its way into the bedroom !! Incredible. Dining - The Pizzeria's offering of a selection of pizzas was acceptable. The other dining options were nasty in comparison. On the first Gala dinner, the soup tasted like bilge water. (Yes. I actually know the taste). The other items on the menu were not much better. We skipped all the lunches, preferring to have a full breakfast instead and not disappoint ourselves with the lunch offering. The second Gala dinner promised Grilled Boston Lobster - and so it was. Lobster was virtually disintegrating and not deveined. To top it off, both claws were missing! The 'special' dessert - bomb Alaska - was a joke. Never have we been so disappointed with the cuisine on board ship. Entertainment: Showtime featured a Michael Jackson impersonator - and he was good! Performances by the ship's dancers; singers; magicians etc.. were comparable to other cruises. Casino - Bets start from US$25 for blackjack and Baccarat. Minimum bet for Roulette is $5. Tables were mostly empty except for the 1Cent jackpots. Tours - Borobudur - Tour was escort by 2 or more police cars which helped clear the way for the buses. Police cars even went head on against traffic to force the oncoming traffic to halt and make way for us. Convenient for us but inconveniences the folks going about their daily business. Is this promoting tourism or is it a blatant display of force. Anyway, even with their 'assistance' we were 2 hours late in returning to the ship. Banish the idea of ever taking a private tour to Borobudur - you'll never make it back on time. Bali - ship was supposed to dock at 2pm at Padang Bai where there's a good beach and local entertainment. This was delayed to 4pm and subsequently arrived at 6pm at Benoa Port - far away from the excitement that is Bali. Lombok - A private tour is far cheaper and offers more time/places than the ship's organised tour. We had the good fortune to travel with Agung in his new Toyota MPV. To book his services, email him at agung040372@yahoo.com Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
If you,ve never been on a cruise ship before you might think not bad but if you have then 6 out off 10. We had a balcony cabin which was ok but have seen bigger and cleaner for the same price.Food was ok but never had a really hot meal in ... Read More
If you,ve never been on a cruise ship before you might think not bad but if you have then 6 out off 10. We had a balcony cabin which was ok but have seen bigger and cleaner for the same price.Food was ok but never had a really hot meal in 7 days, entertainment was just above working men,s club standard although the dancers tried hard, bar staff were mainly young people from China but they were really nice and had such lovely smiles you couldnt get angry with them. Emebarcation was fine but the evacuation drill was a joke 25 mins standing in the sun, people still rolling up 30 mins late in the end people saying sod this I,m going and wandering off. Ports of call were Semerang cant say a lot as we only walked to the docks, Bali what a joke arrived 7pm had a private taxi , outside of the docks there were gangs of men everywhere and the town Kute was a doss hole , dont go to the beach at night very dodgy one woman was mugged and the week before a man was stabbed Costa should be ashamed to stop here at this time of night where was it Alan Whicker went it wasnt were we went. Lombok was the last stop and we went on a ships tour , really interesting for sure the best island and people very friendly unlike Bali, children were really friendly waving and really excited to see you although 3rd world it was so facinating. In summary ports of call were very poor and expensive on the ship , would we go with Costa again then no. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I don't normally take time out to write reviews, but I feel I owe Costa one. =) After all the reviews I had read about Costa Victoria, I was expecting the worst, but hoping for the best. We boarded Costa Victoria at the Shanghai ... Read More
I don't normally take time out to write reviews, but I feel I owe Costa one. =) After all the reviews I had read about Costa Victoria, I was expecting the worst, but hoping for the best. We boarded Costa Victoria at the Shanghai port with ports of call at Jeju, Yeosu and Incheon. It was a 6 day cruise. We took this cruise because the it was right smack during our long holidays and tThere are 17 of us in the group and we booked 4 balcony staterooms and 2 inside cabins. Contrary to the bad reviews I had read, all 6 rooms we booked were above complaint. They were clean, everything in the room worked well and storage spaces were more than enough to store everything from our luggages. Since most of the passengers were from China, it is to be expected that the food will mostly be catered to their needs. There are some Italian choices for the sit-down dinners, pizzas during afternoon and midnight snacks, a burger, fish and sausage grill available daily and some daily variations like a mexican station during one of the days we were there. Breads and pastries are also available daily. But mostly, food is chinese food. If one keeps in mind that this ship is primarily catering to the Chinese clientele, then one could say that the food, though not gourmet, is pretty good. Since the passenger profile were mostly from China, there are certain cultural differences which one has to consider. They don't respect lines and taking turns very much. I find this annoying but then, this has nothing to do with Costa. Just something one has to take note of when one decides to choose this itinerary. One family in our group has kids aged 4-5. They were very happy with the Squok Club. They were able to leave the kids there while they enjoy the entertainment on board by themselves. Kids were kept busy and happy. Maybe the ship can offer more activities for the pre-teens and teeners because there were none to speak of. There were arts arts and crafts as well as some cooking demos which our teener would like to attend but it was specifically stated for adults only. Entertainment was okay, though nothing great. I would also like to recommend that they specify if shows are for adult consumption only or also fit for kids. We brought our kids aged 8-13 to shows which we watched for only a few minutes because the show was suggestive and attires were skimpy. Knowing beforehand would allow us to plan our activities better. Costa would do well to enforce "smoking areas" and make sure passengers follow the rules since a number of common areas smell badly of smoke. I read really bad reviews about embarkation and disembarkation but we didn't encounter any problems at all. It would help if they had more signs and instructions at the Shanghai port so passengers will be directed accordingly but aside from that, everything was ok. We did not join their shore excursions so I don't know how the disembarkation procedure went. However, we explored the ports of call on our own and during all 3 ports of call and final disembarkation, everything was very efficient. Overall, I had a very good experience with Costa Victoria. All my fears were unfounded and all of us in the group were happy with our cruise. Will I join Costa again? Definitely. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We sailed from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong. We travelled with 4 adults and 1 child. Our cruise was 3 sailings in 1 for us so three times people got off and on. I am one that looked at the reviews and thought oh it ... Read More
We sailed from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Hong Kong. We travelled with 4 adults and 1 child. Our cruise was 3 sailings in 1 for us so three times people got off and on. I am one that looked at the reviews and thought oh it cannot be that bad. Many issues that have been reported are now fixed. Embarking in Singapore, excursions, Visas, passports and shuttles. All justified and not a problem. The bad review is due to numerous things that took place. Day 1. We were awakened at 3:30am the first night as something fell down from the upper bunk from my daughter's bed. We turned on lights to hand her back her bear when I looked over to my pillow I noticed a bug round and flat. I flicked it off the bed thinking nothing off it as I was tired and then I realized OMG that's a bed bug. I threw back the duvet to find 6 more in plain sight. I got dressed and ran down to reception. They had a manager come confirm the issue and supplied us a new cabin and asked that we follow up in the morning about new cabin. So at 4am we moved our belongings without assistance and moving our young child from bed to a cabin down the hall. The manager on duty insisted we see the dr. on board and when she told me the expense I stated we had to bites and we would be fine as it would have been over $400 for this first. It took us nearly 1 hour to get moved and no person was in sight. Day 2. We woke up had breakfast and then went to reception to find out what was to happen next. Might I add that there is usually 1 person at this desk at all times and minimum 30 min wait on any occasion due to translation issues. At this time we were told our original cabin was being fumigated and the temporary cabin was vacant the rest of cruise and awaiting manager approval to move permanently. The new room toilet broke every time we used it and cabin smelt of sewage. The maintenance came 3 times that day to fix it and in the end we ended up using the toilet in old cabin as it was not working. The AC is another issue it did not work at all. Something about a clogged vent and while in a climate of 90 degrees plus left us no other option but to sleep nearly unclothed. So the conditions of the temp cabin were just as bad as old. Day 3. This day we went on our excursion to return to room with a note to see reception. Another 45 minutes waiting in line and 30 minutes to reach a resolution. They were moving us back to original cabin due to it being ALL CLEAR. I through a fit and the reception didn't even blink an eye. She said they sold the cabin we are in for new leg of trip and stated the bugs were gone and won't come back. So instead of sit down dinner we placed our daughter in kids club and moved yet again. Since they wanted us moved before stewards came on shift. Oh I forgot that it was my holiday for a second not to put anyone else out. Seriously. So we moved back to the original cabin. Day 4. This day our Costa cards froze due to being swapped around so much so no drinks for us today. Took another 45 minutes in line to sort that out. We had been in contact with our agent in the states and that evening we received a fruit bowl for all our troubles. I guess an apple, orange and mango will fix it right. Day 5. Came back from day in Singapore to have our steward tell us other rooms around us had bed bugs too now. 6 in total on the floor we were on. After numerous fumigations they were not dying. Well great I thought. So the evening comes and after dinner we settle in for the night. Watching movies in bed on the IPad until I felt something on my leg and I jumped out. Sure enough they were back and this time 3 fold. Steward was on duty and I called him in right away to look at them. He radioed manager on duty and I went down to reception. This time I was greeted by a manager MariaLuisa. She was genuine and concerned about everything. She ordered that our clothes be washed and our bags be fumigated. We were being upgraded from inside to outside cabin far away from our original cabin. She had 3 stewards assisting in moving our things and called once we moved to ensure we settled in. Everything was fine in cabin except the smoke smell that was so bad. This evening they offered to pay for the dr. visit if required. Day 6. We had a very early morning excursion and decided since we upgraded to premium we should order in breakfast. Well they showed up 30 minutes after time they were intended to and then demanded we pay for a service we already paid for. Stated our cabin was not listed on premium and that to hand over $21 for a late and cold breakfast. I asked her kindly to leave our cabin and speak with management or steward about breakfast as we were not having it. As we run down stairs with moments to spare as out excursions was literally leaving the ship my husband got us a coffee and croissant each. On arrival we find the tenants next to us are smoking in there room that is connected to ours and the smoke was coming through the cracks in the door. This was fixed by using tape around the door and spraying our room down with a perfume of some sort. 45 more minutes in line at customer service. Our steward provided us with fruit and prosecco for our troubles with breakfast as he was unaware either about premium. Day 7. Costa Cards frozen again and more time wasted fixing something that we should not have been. This day also entailed us calling our US bank to verify in front of manager that it was not a prepay debit we were using for cruise purchases. Day 8-12 were a combination of lost excursion tickets due to them swapping us numerous times. The desk had them for nearly 6 days before telling us our Vietnam tickets were placed in the temp cabin not occupied by someone else. This was done wrong even after we told excursion desk we moved a 3rd time. Excursion for Hong Kong was cancelled after booking 2 months in advance. They were charging service charge for my child even though their site specifically stated no service for under 14. A heated 9pm argument with desk about that left me bitter and upset with Costa even more. You take what's not yours and I have stayed in hostels cleaner than that of our cabin. They froze up our friends cards too from same bank and there room became infested with bed bugs during their linen change. Day 13. Last night on cruise and we were pulled in by management about our fees. We were told our agent had been on contact with the ship and we did not have to pay gratuities in the end due to all the trouble we incurred. So the people that helped us in room, restaurant and spa won't get a fee that is made for them due to issues that customer service caused. Does not seem fair at all in my opinion and we signed the paper we would pay them on our own and we did. In the end our cruise itinerary was amazing. My daughter loved the kids club apart from the fact that while we sailed over New Year's they were due to have a party for them and cancelled it due to lack of participation. In fact it was due to crew wanting to party it up as I spoke with other parents who looked forward to the event. Oh and as we went to bed early due to closing the kids club early we were awoken at 11:45pm by a Italian screaming over intercom counting down till midnight. Not just once but numerous times and over whole PA system. By the end of the cruise 9 rooms became infested and it's rather sad that sanitation is not better. They ruined a large percentage of clothes they washed as well as they were combined with what looked to be a dark blue towel in which ever thing turned blue. So for the last week I wore items that were discolored and I disappointed as the items were still new just for our first cruise. I wasted my time with my family waiting in lines for things that should not be an issue. I spent no kidding upwards of 7 hours dealing with the customer service staff to resolve issue after issue. The pool was closed on nearly both sea days and not a lot was offered on board to do during this time. So a lot of dead time was spent in the cabin. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My family of 8 (booked in a total of 4 inside cabins) spent 2 weeks (17 Nov -- 1 Dec) on the Costa Victoria, departing from Singapore. When we originally booked this cruise, it was sold as a 14 night cruise but it was subsequently broken ... Read More
My family of 8 (booked in a total of 4 inside cabins) spent 2 weeks (17 Nov -- 1 Dec) on the Costa Victoria, departing from Singapore. When we originally booked this cruise, it was sold as a 14 night cruise but it was subsequently broken up into 3 separate cruises (a 4 night cruise from Singapore visiting Langkawi and Penang, a 3 night cruise visiting Port Kelang and Malacca, and finally a 7 night cruise visiting Kuantan, Laem Chabang and Koh Samui) We booked this cruise due to the interesting itinerary and the unbelievable price. After reading the reviews of the Victoria, I was a bit apprehensive but not to fear. Everyone had a fantastic time on the cruise, making the best of the sometimes frustrating situations we encountered on the Victoria. Embarkation: We booked online and the Costa website indicated that the Singapore port is at Harborfront, so we headed there. However, at the Harborfront Port, we were advised that a recent change now had the Costa Victoria pulling into Marina Bay, resulting in an additional taxi ride. Not a good first impression of Costa! However, once we got to Marina Bay, the rest of our embarkation went smoothly. Interestingly, our room card was separate from our Costa Card (used to swipe for on board purchases, drinks, etc) which forced us to carry 2 cards at all times. Our inside cabins (quite small) were ready, and we quickly unpacked before the evacuation drill. Provided in the room was a power strip (sufficient for our power needs), a kettle/tea bags, and a bucket of fresh ice (replaced quite often thanks Imelda, our fantastic Cabin Stewardess). The evacuation drill was an exercise in patience, as instructions were repeated in numerous languages at a volume that was indiscernible. Whoever set up Victoria's public announcement system needs remedial training...very ineffective and we could hardly understand 75% of the announcements made. Dinner at the Fantasia Restaurant (located mid ship) was great. On the first leg of the cruise (Days 1-4), we had a very attentive staff of Vietnamese waiters (the fantastic husband/wife duo of Tran and Ha), which we thought was a very thoughtful move on the Maitre d' as half of our group hailed from Vietnam. Dinners were more than adequate, with lots of choices (Western and Asian dishes) and we never left the table hungry. Not sure of what to order? No worries, our waiters would bring multiple dishes so a sampling could be tried. We had read (prior to the cruise) that getting iced water might be a problem with Costa, as other members reported being forced to purchase bottled water. However, this was never a factor and we had plenty of ice water during the entire duration of the cruise. Annoyances: Passports were necessary for disembarkation for Singapore and if overnighting at Laem Chabang. Obtaining passports for Singapore disembarkation was fairly straightforward, but for the Laem Chabang port, this was utter chaos. Tempers were high and we witnessed several passengers in hysteria the morning of, and all of this could have been prevented if Costa had better organizational skills and a much better trained front desk/reception staff who appeared quite indifferent to the hordes of angry/upset passengers. Here is the background to this entire debacle: The day before Laem Chabang (sea day), Costa staff put out that passports could be obtained anytime in a 2 hour period during the day. However, that was not the case. When we tried to get our group's passports, we were advised to "come back tomorrow morning after we pull into Laem Chabang and you can get your passport then". Thankfully, we had several inquisitive members of the group, who managed to find out that there was an official "Costa List" for passengers who intended to stay overnight while at Laem Chabang. This list would be used to by immigration to pull those individual's passports, stamp them for entry to Thailand and allow them to disembark the ship. Why this information was not put out by the Costa staff managing the front desk is a mystery. My father approached the front desk at least 3 times before obtaining this nugget of information. As a result, our names/cabin numbers were added to the "list" and magically, our passports were ready for us the next morning at Laem Chabang, but for all those who had been advised to simply "show up and get your passport", that was not the case. Tempers were flaring as many of our fellow passengers had coordinated private tours and they were severely delayed in their disembarkation process due to not being able to obtain their passports in a timely manner. We were able to get off the Victoria about 30 minutes after arrival, and have no idea how long it took the rest of the passengers to finally get their passports and disembark...VERY very poor service on Costa's part for this port. This could absolutely have been prevented by Costa and is an absolute disgrace that it was allowed to happen. Ports of Call Singapore: We flew in early to spend a few days here. Fantastic hawker food (cheap and delicious). Bought a 3 day MRT card which cost $30 (with a $10 refund if you turn the card back in) so for a whopping $20, you can ride unlimited MRTs and buses throughout Singapore...great deal! We stayed in Chinatown which has a vibrant and lively atmosphere. Visited the zoo, jurong bird park, Arab Street, the merlion, Marina Sands rooftop pool/bar, Gardens by the Bay. Great stop...this island nation is so very well organized and super easy for the independent traveler to get around. Bit pricey though compared to the rest of Southeast Asia. Langkawi: We decided to do our own thing here and booked an island hopping tour for just over $100 for 8 people (our own private boat) for a 3-4 hour tour. Much cheaper than what was offered through Costa. We booked it right at the end of the port where motorbikes can be rented (40 Malay Ringgit for the day). Visited 3 islands (Pulau Beras Basah , Tasik Dayang Bunting and Pulau Singa Besar) which included eagle feeding at Pulau Singa Besar. It started pouring with rain, so after the tour, we headed back to Victoria for lunch, and afterwards the rest of the group hung out while my husband and I rented a motorbike for a scenic ride into Kuah. Langkawi is where you can stock up on super cheap duty free..great prices here! Penang (Georgetown): A walkable city. Just ignore the taxis swarming you at the port and armed with a map, this is an easy city to navigate. Loved Georgetown...very pretty with gorgeous architecture. The blue hued Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is only open for a group tour at 11 am so we admired it from outside. Lots of pretty temples here. For a glimpse of yesteryear, head to the Weld Quay Clan Jetties, home to five main Chinese clans -- Lim, Chew, Tan, Lee and Yeoh. An easy stroll back to the cruise where we had lunch before leaving pretty Penang. Port Klang/Kuala Lumpur: My dad wasn't feeling 100% today, so the rest of us (7 total) hopped on the free Costa shuttle to the awaiting taxi mafia. Here we tried to negotiate for a ride into KL but kept getting referred back to a "negotiator" who had a "fixed price" list. We ended up getting a full day tour for the 7 of us in one taxi van (plenty of room) for $160 which included a visit to Batu Caves, Merdeka Square, Railway Station, National Mosque, Petronas twin towers (where we lunched at local hawker stalls on the second floor of the towers ) and had some nice photo ops of the towers themselves, a brief shopping trip in Chinatown, and a quick photo opportunity at the King's Palace. Our driver, a friendly female muslim, was fantastic and we really enjoyed the day trip. Note: leave plenty of time for travel....there was an overturned truck on our ride back and it took us over an hour to negotiate through that traffic jam. Malacca: Gorgeous city. Had to tender here. I downloaded a free "walking the Dutch Trail" tour and led my family on it...very easy to do this on your own, don't book a tour here unless you absolutely love crowds and being herded from one spot to another. Our tour took us to Dutch Square (Stadthuys & Christ Church), St Paul's Hill & Church, Baba Nyonya Museum, the famous Jonker street (where Wah Aik Shoe Maker still sells shoes for bound feet - one of the last shoemakers in the world to make these), onward to Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, Kampung Kling Mosque, Portuguese Fort A Famosa, and the replica Sultan's palace. This is a very pretty port of call and we enjoyed it very much, rain and all. Kuantan: Ugggh! Please drop this port of call. Its horrible. The extortionate taxi mafia wanted a ridiculous $80 round trip for a ride to the Teluk Chempedak beach (visible from the top deck of the Victoria) but who wants to pay a small fortune to hang out at the beach? Not us...we stayed on board and didn't feel like we missed a thing, lounging by the salt water pool and enjoying cocktails. This port could have been a complete miss... Laem Chabang: We had already visited Bangkok so we opted to stay overnight in Pattaya. Read above for the nightmare scenario in securing passports for an overnight stay. Costa really disappointed us with their horrible organizational skills at this port. The reception staff was less than helpful and dozens of our fellow frustrated passengers crowded the front desk without getting adequate support...not good! Once we got off the Victoria, we hopped in our pre-coordinated ride to Pattaya (van for 8 pax was 1200 Baht). We stayed near Walking Street, and headed immediately to the excellent Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Gardens for elephant show, thai kickboxing, tigers, cultural show. Tickets were 500 Baht per person, the gardens were excellent. After heading back to Pattaya, we strolled by the beach, did some shopping (bargains to be had here but be sure to negotiate) and had fantastic street food. Lots of sights to be sure. Walking Street more tame that we expected, lots of fun. Ko Samui: We had to tender to Nathorn Port. It was pouring with rain here, so instead of our plan to hire motorbikes around the island, we settled on a van to drive us around for a 4-5 hour tour, cost was $110 for 8 people. We visited Na Muang waterfall, Wat Khunaram (where a mummified body of Ko Samui's best known monk, Loung Pordang can be seen), the natural geological formations known as Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks (the Grandpa and Grandma rocks), which look, respectively, like male and female genitalia, Chaweng Beach and Fishermen's Village. Since the last boat tender was at 3:15 pm, we headed back to Nathorn Port for some last minute shopping before catching one of the last tenders for the Victoria Overall thoughts: We had a fabulous time cruising around Asia and enjoyed most of the ports of call. Costa Victoria isn't for everybody, but we enjoyed it despite the setbacks (uncoordinated and misinformed front desk staff). In terms of value for money, this holiday couldn't be beat. Would we cruise with Costa again? Yes, but next time we would know what to expect of a Costa holiday. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
The booking process started well good information from our Uk travel agent. We only needed a single entry visa for Shanghai this was confirmed by the Chinese visa section in Madrid. Although ports of call included Hongkong and Island ... Read More
The booking process started well good information from our Uk travel agent. We only needed a single entry visa for Shanghai this was confirmed by the Chinese visa section in Madrid. Although ports of call included Hongkong and Island of Sanya we were told for Hongkong no visa required Sanya Landing visa available in terminal building. Flight out to Singapore was with Emirates so high expetations?? We were booked in as Mr and Mrs but on the plane from manchester to Dubai the A380 we were not seated together not even in the same row but booking agents seated us together. Second leg Dubai to Singapore same thing only this time plane was full and no free seats. Embarcation was a joke, boarding staff gave us a form saying as we only had a single entry visa for Shanghai we could not get off the boat in Hongkong or Sanya and it also cleared Costa of any blame and if I did not sign it I would not be allowed on the boat. I endorsed the form that I sign under duress as all the information had originated from Costa. On board I asked for a complaints form after I explained why the staff said " you don't need a visa for Hongkong" its a small landing card and Sanya you can get a visa on landing costs 7 euros. Generally cruise was poor meals average staff poor best person on the boat was our Chinese cabin steward LU she made up for the rest of the crewClearly some one at Costa get this very wrong it was not just the English the info had gone out world wide but they had enough time to produce a form to absolved themselves of any blame. This was our third cruise with Costa because we like the ports of call and only a few days at sea. but I think we have reached the end with them. One thing of note in Shanghai all the notices in the cabins and on board were changed to Chinese there was a big do on the dockside with the CEO of Costa coming down and all the high ups from Shanghai there. Rumours had it the Chinese had bought the Costa Victoria or even the whole company. It could become "THE SHANGHAI BOAT COMPANY " SOON. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Having just rturned from a 17 night cruise on board Costa Victoria, embarking in Singapore, calling at Laem Chabang/ Ho Chi Minh/ Danang/ Halong Bay/ Sanya / Hong Kong and disemarking at Shanghai. We chose this cruise for the interesting ... Read More
Having just rturned from a 17 night cruise on board Costa Victoria, embarking in Singapore, calling at Laem Chabang/ Ho Chi Minh/ Danang/ Halong Bay/ Sanya / Hong Kong and disemarking at Shanghai. We chose this cruise for the interesting itinerary. Embarkation in Singapore was a little messy - the journey from the airport to the terminal was approximately 30 minutes so quite a way and checking in was tedious not organised and few seats for elderly people to sit on! Cabin was ok if a little tired - it was obviously a disabled cabin had 2 bathrooms, can't think why we were in it as we had booked 12 months previously ie not last minute? Costa Victoria is quite an old ship but obvious that some refurbishment had taken place. I also realise that as an Italian ship Italian is the first language but throughout the voyage there were too few announcements in English ie i feel we missed out on somethings Food was poor, menu selection in the Buffet and Fantasia dining room wasn't very good and sauces for food didn't seem to exist Some staff on board seemed to be quite down and some of the reception staff were quite rude but i have got to say our cabin steward was great and our table waiter (table 39) at dinner was also great Entertainment on board was ok the staff worked hard and the guest entertainers were good too Shore excursions were ok but every time we docked we seemed to be a long way from the centre of things One very big negative was that we missed Shanghai!!!!!!!!!! due to Costa, nowhere did it state clearly that when we docked in Shanghai even if we were not going ashore that day we still had to get off the boat and go through customs. Our intention was to go ashore the next day for all day but reception took our passports off us and didn't return them until 8pm that night, so thanks Costa for a wasted day! Disembarkation was good and easy but yet again the port was miles from anywhere - 70 minutes to centre of Shanghai and 90 minutes to Pudong Airport. Overall the cruise was ok but i will not be cruising with Costa again as i feel the nice touches were lacking! Word of warning Costa Victoria is now sailing out of Shanghai for the foreseeable future and i would imagine is very much geared u for the Chinese market! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
I was not impressed by Costa Cruise Lines. We sailed on the Victoria Nov. 19, 2011. They do not communicate well (with Americans)seemingly by choice. The cruise got off to a bad start in Venice (where we were to board). The port fogged in ... Read More
I was not impressed by Costa Cruise Lines. We sailed on the Victoria Nov. 19, 2011. They do not communicate well (with Americans)seemingly by choice. The cruise got off to a bad start in Venice (where we were to board). The port fogged in and the ship had to divert to another port 2 hours away. We had to sit in the ships terminal building for about 5 hours. They loaded the passengers onto tour buses and did not tell anyone where we were going. I will never "assume" the other knows important info(such as this)again. We rode in silence for 2 hours in the dark foggy night to be dumped off in the town Trieste and take a 10 min walk to the ship. We then had to wait another several hours for the ship to disembark, be cleaned, etc. We finally got to line up and board. What line? it was a mad house with everyone pushing and shoving. NO security and the cruise employees did not care or seem to notice. Anyone could have boarded the ship. Very lax in security. On board, there was no rhyme or reason to order. The English speaking guests went into a public area to get "numbers" to get off the ship in a port and push and shove once more. I think the cruise staff must have been tired ? Not very organized. We then sailed and were behind to our next port in Croatia and only got few hours there in the dark. It was very pretty place however I was disappointed we could not ride the cable car there The port of Naples....that is a nightmare. Dirty, congested and pickpocket city! We got a cab and went out of town to see the Pompeii ruins. We hurried along as there is not much time in the ports. We boarded when we were supposed to and sat on our balcony and watched as others boarded late - we could have stayed another hour. I do not think Europeans know what "rules" mean. The food on ship was much like hospital food. And the guests did not dress properly to dine in the dining room. So much for the clothes I packed. The food was better on the back of the ship in the outside area. They only served water - no ice tea. Drinks (both Cola and alcohol were expensive). Our waitstaff was good and our stateroom steward was great and kept our room very tidy. The bad grades would be for the management staff level. They seemed to ignore the passengers and very haughty attitudes. The shows in the lounge were worst I have ever seen and costumes were ugly. I was embarrassed for them (dancers/singers). Only went to that once. I do recommend a cruise - just not on Costa. I will not go on another Costa cruise. But again, I got what I paid for. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
On our way to Venice, KLM managed to lose our baggage in Amsterdam and it didn't catch us up until 4 days into our one week cruise. Despite this we had a wonderful time thanks mainly to the efforts of the ship's crew who are ... Read More
On our way to Venice, KLM managed to lose our baggage in Amsterdam and it didn't catch us up until 4 days into our one week cruise. Despite this we had a wonderful time thanks mainly to the efforts of the ship's crew who are among the nicest,most caring people I have met. Having read some of the more unflattering reviews on this site, I wonder if those who wrote them were on the same ship. The decor certainly was not "tired" but highly imaginative and well maintained. The food was superb both in the buffets and the restaurants. Far from "never changing" I had no fewer than 17 different types of fish and shellfish in the first four days and I still have lingering memories of the tournedo Rossini I had one night. As a Scot and a committed European,one of the best features of the cruise for me was the absence of hordes of the sort of English people who so often mar our country's reputation when abroad. Seeing large Italian families with impeccably behaved chilldren at dinner was an educational experience and we saw none of the queue barging and rudeness that others have commented on. But returning to the crew, Costa must have a first class recruitment procedure.Our waiters were friendly without being in any way intrusive. Our cabin was immaculately maintained. The customer service people did everything they could to mitigate the loss of our luggage ranging from offering to lend clothes, giving us free use of the express (and excellent) laundry service, arranging for us to be invited to a number of events usually restricted to those in higher tariff cabins etc,etc. Our English speaking representative (who was Welsh) was also highly competent and approachable. In short, I would certainly cruise with Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My wife and I had a very enjoyable cruise. The stateroom had a balcony and was spotless The food was excellent and was '5 star' quality although I would have preferred a better choice of cereals for breakfast.The staff were most ... Read More
My wife and I had a very enjoyable cruise. The stateroom had a balcony and was spotless The food was excellent and was '5 star' quality although I would have preferred a better choice of cereals for breakfast.The staff were most efficient, and helpful as well as being very friendly. We would like to mention in particular our Indonesian waiter in the Sinfonia restaurant, Daniel, a Brazilian waiter in the bar and Mozart, another lovely Brazilian a most gifted and entertaining member of the entertainment group.The evening shows in the theatre were very good on some nights.On a negative side, we really felt quite upset at the behavior of some of the passengers who rushed and pushed to get first at every opportunity. We also felt angry at the practice of a number who took over seats in the theatre and held them for their late arriving friends. We remember seeing a whole row of the best seats booked by a group of Germans. The Germans were the main culprits, but some Italians also abused the system. We reported this , but nothing was done about it.As a small group of English speaking passengers, we travelled with a larger group of German speaking passengers on a tour in Salvador de Bahia. However, although the tour was meant to be in two languages,the German born guide spoke mostly in German. He only spoke in English when we asked him to translate what he had said in German. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
The first two things that really strike you about Victoria is the amount of space in her public areas inside & out, and (more importantly to some) the almost complete lack of revenue driven areas on board. These two aspects are hand in ... Read More
The first two things that really strike you about Victoria is the amount of space in her public areas inside & out, and (more importantly to some) the almost complete lack of revenue driven areas on board. These two aspects are hand in hand in many ways, for example, Orpheus Grand Bar on deck 6 has a huge amount of unused floorspace, this is the same on deck 7 in the casino where large swathes of floorspace has been intentionally left furnishings & thus revenue free. The space in her public rooms is quite unique for a purpose-built cruise ship of her size, one of the big complaints against some cruise ships is the way that tables & chairs seem on top of each other & crowded, this is far from the case on Victoria.Design wise, Victoria is a very elegant ship...as close to an ocean liner as you can probably get in a cruise ship. She has curves everywhere, her external & internal architecture has been beautifully designed and, as with all German built ships, her build quality, attention to detail and overall atmosphere is second to none, she really is quite exceptional in most areas.Technologically speaking she is actually very advanced, especially in her propulsion systems. Her four main powerplants drive two screws, she has two large rudders and 5 thrusters...2 aft & 3 forward. The thrusters are how she manages to parallel park so efficiently. She can berth in about 15 minutes from arriving to roping up, equally getting away is just as quick, a case of drop the ropes and let the thrusters do the work....no hanging about for tug assistance at all. Despite a minor blip off Brazil when she lost all power for about 20 minutes, she has had no major problems...and that is with one engine out of action. Incidently, the engine with the fault will be put right before she leaves for Asia next year, so she should be firing on all cylinders without any difficulties.Boat drill...as per all Costa cruises, you will get a boat drill every 7-8 days and unlike most modern ships, Victoria has her muster stations outside on the boat deck (deck 6) and they have 6 muster stations - A, B, C, D, E & F - three down each side. The drill takes around 15-20 minutes depending on languages required, so be prepared to stand a long while in possibly hot/humid temperatures (especially in Asia).Concorde Plaza is almost cathedral like in its design & build, stretching from deck 7-11 and with two incredible mezzanine floors that are both user friendly and elegant, again the attention to detail is just superb. Another of the main rooms is the theater on decks 6 &7, superbly designed, very thoughtfully built to enable 90% of theater goers to see without obstruction, there are screens on each side of the stage for those in the upper level on deck 7 so that no-one misses anything on stage.Music lovers will really enjoy Victoria...Orpheus (deck 6), Planetarium (deck 5), Capriccio (deck 7), Concorde Plaza (deck7 thru 10) & Tavernetta (deck 12) all have live music in the evenings, Orpheus & Planetarium starting early evening. There are bars in each lounge too, with long drinking hours, so the drinkers will be happy.Dancers are also very well catered for, Victoria has a variety of dancefloors, all with live music in the evenings...ranging from ballroom to disco. A disco is also available on deck 6. Daily dance lessons are available to those wishing to learn from expert dance teachers.Kids & teens....the usual teen & Squok programmes are available and were well organised on my cruise. The children on board seemed to enjoy their experiences, which appears to be standard on Costa, so kids are definitely well looked after aboard Victoria.Sun worshippers will enjoy Victoria. There are no shortages of loungers anywhere on the ship, the sun deck area stretched to the equivalent of around 3 football fields, and as in the inside areas, there are large swathes of space to stretch out in without having to clamber over others to get to a lounger. The upper decks (11, 12 & 14) all have loungers, deck 11 has two bars, an outdoor buffet counter and two very large pools, 4 whirlpools, a stage for live music and plenty of areas to just watch the world float by.One unusual aspect to Victoria is her indoor pool on deck 6. It is alongside the gym & spa and is very popular...the pool itself is larger than most ship's outside pool, so if a few lengths is what you want to do when the weather is not good, then you will be pleased.Eating....often a bone of contention with some people, but in Victoria's case, there is no problem. The service is very good, food quality is very high, I personally did not have any bad meals or slow nights service wise. The pizza is to die for...absolutely wonderful at lunchtime. There were apparent issues with the Sinfonia restaurant at breakfast & lunch which seemed to have been sorted after a couple of days. I had evening meal in Fantasia. Both Sinfonia & Fantasia are on deck 5...Sinfonia is aft whereas Fantasia is midships.Drinking water at evening meal......just ask the waitstaff and they will happily provide jugs of iced water for your table, along with lemon slices too if you so wish. Never a problem for me or countless others in the dining room and always waiting there on my table for when I arrived in the evening.Posh frock nights & cocktails parties....on this cruise we had 4 Gala nights & a total of 3 cocktail parties over the 3 weeks. The buffet & pizza restaurants were either closed or partially closed most nights as most passengers preferred to eat in the main dining rooms, so it would have been pointless to open up both sides of the buffet. Obviously this changes according to itinerary/passenger mix & demand.Powerpoints in the cabin.....standard two voltage shaver point in the bathroom and a two voltage powerpoint in the cabin area (at least in my cabin). Lighting consists of two bedside lamps, 2 spotlights over the desk with independent switches & overhead spotlights, again with independent switches.Theater....the entertainment is very professional and varied, the crew show was standing room only as usual and extremely enjoyable. Overall the shows on Victoria were of an excellent standard - most of the performers were aboard Allegra last year, so it was great to see & hear them again, The animator crew are hysterical, they play pranks on the passengers and crew daily and can always raise a laugh, even when the weather is miserable...whether it be dressing as babies and throwing tantrums in the casino or chasing each other like cops & robbers, these guys & gals put their all into having fun with everyone....brilliant to see and watch.Smoking...another bone of contention...again, I think it really depends on the nationalities & region/itinerary - some are more attached to their ciggies than others and in many respects this showed a little during the cruise. The usual smoky areas to avoid...casino & to some extent Capriccio next door. However, on the whole the smoking was not too much of a problem for the majority of passengers...there are ways and means to avoid the worst areas.Cabins....as with any purpose built cruise ship, the cabins are a tad compact & bijou but since they are just for sleeping, dressing & washing in, they work perfectly fine. My cabin was 80456 a grade I1 inside that was a standalone...with a crew access behind one wall, a linen cupboard behind another wall and the aft elevators behind another wall. Noise transmission was pretty much none existant, the elevators are quiet and foot traffic across the marble landings/stairs is negligible. The bathrooms have a large wooden sliding entry door (be gebtle with these doors as they can be tempermental) and the shower has a curtain to play with. Water pressure is excellent, as is the hot water...very hot and compared to other ships (inc QM2) your tightie whities will stay white, not go an attractive shade of orange. Access to the cabins is via a perforated door key, identical to Costa Allegra. There is a push button safe in the cupboard. Other storage in the cabin comprises of a double wardrobe with a chest of drawers to one side, two bedside chests of drawers, a small desk or table (depending on grade), a fridge and a cupboard with shelving. The TV is a CRT type, therefore not interactive...BUT...there are totems around the ship where you can book shorex, check your ship account, book the speciality restaurant etc, so you do not need to go to the tour desk on deck 6 or the reception deck on deck 5 for everything, it can be done remotely using the totems.There are also several totems for registering credit cards around the ship too.Hosts & hostesses...this is unique to Costa, they always have hosts & hostesses who can speak a variety of languages and they are the point of contact for passengers if they have a problem or just want to ask a question. This time around the English hostess was Rachel and the German hostess was Elke...there were also hosts/hostesses for the Portugese, Spanish & French. They had specific hours where they were available on deck 5 and passengers could just drop by for a chat or whatever. Other lines should take this on as it really does break down barriers tween crew and passenger. All the hosts/hostesses were excellent on this cruise, very hard working, polite & efficient,Secret spaces.....yes, she does have a few areas that you can often have to yourself. Apart from the stern rail on deck 6 (boat deck), decks 7 thru 10 have full width stern balconies that are reached via doors in the cabin corridors. Deck 8 stern balcony also has the Italian flag flying from it when in port. These balconies are brilliant for sailaways...and yes, you CAN smoke on them if you so wish (quite often you'll find crew on them having a quick ciggie]. Many people do not realise that passengers have access to these balconies, but you can and they offer unobstructed views from the stern along with limited wind/weather cover at each end.Ship's photographers...again an area of some consternation on other lines. Yes you will see them and they will see you, but a polite 'no thank you' will suffice and they will leave you alone. They will not continually hassle you to take photo's...if you want to have a photo taken whilst eating, having fun at the pool or whatever, then they are happy to oblige and the standard of the photo's is actually very good, with some unusual and unique montages that make lovely souvenirs for those wanting to purchase them. Costs range from $9.99 to $14.99 each depending on size/event.Potential drawbacks.....with the benefit of hindsight & the fact that nothing is ever perfect, Victoria does have a couple of areas that need to be taken into consideration when booking a cruise on her, especially with your choice of cabin.With the theater behind the aft stair tower from deck 6 thru 7, anyone wanting a siesta in the afternoon or are early/light sleepers might want to book a cabin forward of the aft stair tower due to the inevitable noise issues. Inside aft cabins on deck 8, 9 & 10 aft do pick up noise, this cannot be avoided, obviously deck 8 is probably the worst with 9 & 10 offering some improvement. Outside cabins on these decks aft of the stair tower also experience some noise too but to a lesser extent since the insides are right over the stage area.Concorde Plaza at the very front of the ship could potentially cause noise issues for the outside cabins on decks 6A, 7, 8, 9 & 10 (there are no insides forward of the forward stair tower).Another potentially difficult thing to consider in regard to Concorde Plaza is that with the loss of the inside cabins to accommodate the huge expanse of lounge area, Victoria can be a very bow light ship, so even the slightest of swell could be a problem for those with even slight motion sickness...she does move a lot she has quite a pronounced shimmy and she actually bounces too, especially when fully fuelled/ballasted. In all honesty I actually felt that her center of gravity was too high and that had been messed up by the balconies being added, combined with the weightless bow and engines/fuel tanks aft. The amount of movement IS excessive for a ship of this size and could put some off booking her, but I do suggest that you give her a try, making sure that if you are prone to motion sickness that you take appropriate precautions. You can obtain anti-nausea pills from reception or the pharmacy free of charge if you think you might require them. My inside cabin on deck 8 was right next to the aft stair tower & elevators and I felt every single roll, pitch & shimmy.So the old addage of a cabin midships & low comes into play...if there were low cabins, midships.....Victoria is essentially an upside down ship...her main public areas are deck 5, 6 & 7, there are cabins on deck 4, 5 & 6A but mainly midships to forward. The bulk of her cabins are decks 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12 (the suites are on the upper decks). The retrofitted balconies are mainly decks 9 & 10. The midships cabins are probably the best if you want to avoid the noise of the theater aft or the excesses of movement forward due to the lack of weight in that section of the ship.Seeing the sea.....I have to admit that I found Capriccio & Orpheus a little disappointing when it came to seeing the sea...Capriccio - well you can't and in Orpheus its glimpses via 3 vertically stacked large portholes, so I feel the design (which is otherwise superb) has let the ship down a little in these two areas. Tavernetta on deck 12 has huge picture windows, so seeing the sea is excellent, albeit too high to take in the wildlife very easily. Concorde Plaza has the huge wall of windows overlooking the bow....however, although the visibility forward is good (albeit slightly obstructed by the huge steel trusses), I personally feel that I have been spoilt by Costa Allegra and her Flamenco Ballroom at her stern where she has huge picture windows that look over the wake. Had I designed Victoria I think I would have swapped the theater over with Concorde Plaza and made more of the view by having Concorde at the stern with big windows on three sides...that, IMHO, would have been spectacular. On decks 6 & 7 you can sit on some very comfy wicker chairs or on round sofa's around the atrium, these either look down onto the Planetarium bar on deck 5 or out to sea on 6 & 7. Another 'problem' about both Capriccio & Orpheus is that both lounges are used as corridors to other parts of the ship, so there is always a constant flow of foot traffic and that can spoil an otherwise very pleasant atmosphere.The marble used on the stairs & landings might prove to be a problem for those with sight deficiencies. All passenger stairs & landings are in cream marble and it is not always easy to see where the stair riser is against the landing. Grooves have been cut into the riser surface but they are still cream, thus no clear demarcation, so greater care is required when using the stairs if your eyesight is not great. This could (and did) cause a few stumbles, so be aware of it and don't rush up or down the stairs too often.None of these potential drawbacks are meant to put people off Victoria, she is a stunning ship and ahead of her time in many areas, they are my own observations of how certain areas of the ship could have been made much better than they already are, and to act as guidance for those looking to book a cruise on her and wondering where to go for the quietest or most stable cabins. Costa is by no means responsible for the bad sea handling, crew that I spoke to are equally critical of her sea manners, they too feel that it is her achilles heel in many respects.Visually Victoria is stunning inside and out, her curves and attention to detail is exceptional, her crew are her heart and soul and they are a pure joy to be around, I cannot praise them enough during the 3 weeks I spent aboard her. She is extremely easy to get around...even for those with mobility issues...the flow of her rooms is perfect, access is via either one of 12 elevators (4 of which are glass in the atrium that go from deck 5 thru 12) or via 2 stair towers.So in summary.....is she a good fit for Asia...yes, definitely. She will be very well received out there and will give Legend o/t Seas & SuperStar Virgo a real run for their money. By introducing Victoria to Asia, Costa should be able to capitalise on their already popular itineraries with a very capable ship. However, one part of the itinerary might have to be curtailed, the cruise up the river into Saigon might have to go, this is an uncertainty at time of writing this report, but I fear that her draught & her height could cause a problem with the depth of the river and the new suspension bridge outside Saigon. Time will tell on this.Victoria delivers a great product, her crew are superb, her eating & drinking venues are excellent & her entertainment is varied and very professional. Yes she has her potential drawbacks but they are not really deal breakers, but should be taken into consideration by those they are most likely to affect. By booking a cruise aboard Victoria you are assured of a really friendly & happy ship and some marvelous itineraries. Wherever she is in 2013, I will definitely try to get another cruise on her (2012 is Costa Classica's turn for 37 days) in the knowledge that she is a very different vessel to those I have sailed in the past.One thing that is quite strange, and I know it is never wise to compare ships too much, but when chatting to other passengers, its become clear that many rate Allegra & Marina higher than Victoria. The two main reasons are cabin size & the way that Victoria reacts with weather/sea state. When you consider that both Allegra & Marina are less than half the size/weight of Victoria and the consensus is that they handle the sea better than Victoria, it is quite a surprise to hear that opinion. However, both Allegra & Marina were originally containerships, so their hulls were V shaped and thus built to take any & all weather conditions, Victoria is a purpose built cruise ship with a flat bottom and a shallow draft. As I have already said though, Victoria is slightly hobbled by her weight & balance issues and her high center of gravity.I have a huge amount of gratitude towards Captain Massimo Pennisi & his crew, especially Rachel, Elke (and the other hosts), Alvin, Marianna, Pian & all the crew in Fantasia, Lucas in Orpheus, Brian in Planetarium, Heri my wonderful cabin steward, Alex & the reception staff....and well everyone on board who made my cruise very special & one that I will remember for a very long time to come. A very big thank you to you all & I hope to see you again someday aboard either Costa Victoria or one of the other Costa ships.I would have no hesitation is recommending the Costa Victoria for the Med or for Asia, my only reservations are as I have already pointed out in regard to cabin position & basic 'sea manners' of the ship itself, you will always find some cabins are better than others, just as some ships handle the sea better than others. Do your homework, keep your expectations realistic and you will have a wonderful cruise aboard Costa Victoria. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
just returned from a week on the Costa Victoria and could not fault it, i did not want to get off the ship. embarkation was a breeze free shuttle provided by Costa from piassa Roma to the port and then luggage taken, and strait to check ... Read More
just returned from a week on the Costa Victoria and could not fault it, i did not want to get off the ship. embarkation was a breeze free shuttle provided by Costa from piassa Roma to the port and then luggage taken, and strait to check in, i arrive around 2pm and was on the ship in 20 minutes every thing went smoothly and even helped to the cabin. a good size inside cabin better than some and near to the central lifts with glass elevators this was quite stunning. the Costa Victoria is mid sized and has a sedate interior con-paired to the newer Costa ships but that suited me fine. lots of quite spaces if needed and lots of things going on around the ship if you wanted to be-lively. on the 7 th deck there was a small inside pool and spa area this was a nice place to get away from the hot sun and and action from the two pools on the top deck. there were quite a few children on board of various aged and the team that look after them did a good job keeping them happy with lots of things going on. i found the entertainment on this cruise some of the best i have ever had and to keep so many nationality happy this took some planing. the sinfonia restraunt had two sitting one at 7 and one at 930 pm and around 600 passengers at a time the service was good and the food choice was good not so much steak or beef as American lines but thoroughly enjoyed the food. and the x1 package is very good value and with good table wines provided . as the cruised progressed the happy hour in all the bars kept extending to later as the prices our on the high side so this was a welcomed relive. i found the trips on the pricey side and on the two occasions paired up with the French on tours but both sides kept quite so at least we all herd the commentary. found the crew very friendly and the animation team worked very hard with lots of things going on. i felt that we could have done longer port time as in one port just over 5 hours with tendering even though fast and efficient it was just not long enough. this is my second on Costa and thoroughly enjoyed this and will be back on another costa ship. i have sailed with 4 other lines and this is well up there in service and standard, good 4 star line Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Embarkation was smooth and generally quiet. The area for waiting was a bit hard to find but it was a pleasant enough wait which wasn't very long as we arrived early and had plenty of assistance from friendly Costa staff on the ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth and generally quiet. The area for waiting was a bit hard to find but it was a pleasant enough wait which wasn't very long as we arrived early and had plenty of assistance from friendly Costa staff on the ground. On board the ship, we were not able to get in our cabin right away so we looked around. Not as impressive as Luminosa yet as the days passed, the friendly service of the crew made up for th somewhat annoying attitude of many Italians on board. We thought we were the only ones who noticed they didn't like to line up, a bit pushy and smoked all the time, anywhere they liked, etc..But then we got into talking with a number of people, two Canadians who also complained about the excessive smoke in the lounges (even if there are non-smoking signs on many tables). These Italians (we could hear them talking in their language too!) just take any ash tray and put in any table they liked! So there was a problem with crew not being able to properly enforce this rule that only tables with ash trays are for the smokers. In all the ships we've cruised on the smoking areas are all outside the decks. I cannot understand why in Costa ships (Victoria & Luminosa) we found smokers are the kings and queens! Also it was tedious hearing around 7- 8 translations for a simple instruction, despite their claim that English was the main language for the crew. Just because it is an Italian ship, Italian was always first to be catered for. I thought it is an international cruise. The English speakers seem to be the minority, even in the bus tours, it was extremely excruciating listening to all the translations (we would always be grouped w/ other nationalities speaking German, or Dutch, etc..) what happened to a common internationally accepted language- English? I am sure they can understand English! Anyway the beauty of the ports/places we visited compensnated for the frustration with the annoying Italians on board. Hubby noted that they seem to be mostly country people out on a cruise of a lifetime as they didn't really showed much finesse and sophistication- track pants, cargo shorts/pants even on smart/formal nights. It was unbelievable! I don;t mean to sound like a snob but htat is why there are information available for the dress code, behaviour, etc.We also witnessed how some of t hem "scold" or talk arrogantly to the crew. I was a bit perplexed and embarrassed for some of the crew who had to endure their arrogance! I was also a victim, I was getting some drink and an older Itlaian man, speaking Italian took my hand and just shoved it near the ice machine..so rude!1 He just muttered in Italian. I was shocked and was tongue tied! I wasn't in the habit of cursing so I just told my husband about it after a while and not that time as i didn't want our trip to be spoiled by that rotten old man! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We decided to use the opportunity of the low cost of cruising in 2009 by booking 4 different cruises on 4 different cruise lines in the Mediterranea in November and December.It took a lot of research,but finally we booked consecutive ... Read More
We decided to use the opportunity of the low cost of cruising in 2009 by booking 4 different cruises on 4 different cruise lines in the Mediterranea in November and December.It took a lot of research,but finally we booked consecutive cruises on the Costa Victoria,the MSC Splendida,the Azamara Quest and the NCL Gem.Even though at first sight these ships seem to fall in different categories,the daily price for a balcony cabin was very similar ,so direct comparisons between the ships was realistic.The cruise on the Victoria was the first one and we started it in Venice coming from Berne by train. Costa supplies a shuttle from the bus terminal to the ship but that shuttle is hard to find since there are no sign to indicate its location .The embarkation process was one of the worse ones we have experienced so far. Even though we arrived at 15h50 at the check-in ,the process took 55 minutes before we sat foot in the ship .There were only 3 Costa staff members to complete the check-in and we had to wait in a dirty area without water and a distant toilet.What was surprising was that the disembarkation process was one of the best ones we have seen so far : everything was on time,fast and disciplined ! Since it was past 17h00 when we got to the restaurant,it was too late to grab a bite since they were all closed ! Our room was small when compared to the other ships; it does offer enough space for the clothing and the bathroom area is well used . We had some problems on the second day with the sink not draining and the toilet not flushing but it was the situation was quickly looked after and the service desk made 2 follow-ups with us afterward .The choice on the T.V. was the best we had on the 4 cruises even if there were channels in 5 different languages. The public rooms were a bit of mystery for us : the Buffet Bolero is way too small for the number of passengers,the restaurants Fantasia and Sinfonia are spatious and on this cruise ,the restaurant "Il Magnifico" was deserted !The Theater Festival is too small and 2 screens were added for spectators to see the shows and the Concorde Plaza is huge for the activities performed there.The Gym is small and overcrowded while the Casino is very big . The main lobby is grandiose and the areas around the pool are overcrowded when it is sunny ! The reading areas have both smoking and non-smoking portions ; it would be better to concentrate the smoking areas in a couple of locations on the ship . The entertainment was good as long as it did not involve comedians or magicians.It is about impossible to talk to an audience in 5 different languages. Most of the passengers on this cruise were Europeans,in fact 2104 out of a total of 2234 and while the majority was Italian speaking,there were a good number of French,Germans and Brits.It was a school break period so there were a lot of children on board,we found most of them to be respectable of the not so young and Costa had a lot of activities for them . The majority of the passengers was quite participative of activities proposed by Costa and it was a lively cruise around the pools and the bars .There were no seminars nor cultural presentations probably because of various languages . The quality of the food was mixed.Breakfast,lunch and dinner were not too good at the Buffet and very often not warm enough; breakfast in the restaurant was medium at the best ; lunch and dinner at the Sinfonia and Fantasia were very good, even though the cheese was served cold and desserts were limited in choice and quality .The wine package was a good bargain Generally speaking,the service was very good ! The atmosphere around this ship is very lively and the crew participates a lot to it !The service in the restaurants is very personalized and the staff would remember our preferences.The management is available and people looked after our problems very effectively. The only negative point was that the nurse that I met for a bad cold did not speak English nor French ! The syrup she gave me was very effective though !Our room was very clean and our steward changed his cleaning schedule to accommodate us. Shore excursions were mixed ! In Santorini it was quite good but in Ancona,French and English speaking groups were joined under one guide making it impossible for both groups to ear the descriptions of the sites .Information on ports of call for passengers not taking the ship's excursions was non-existent. The price per day for a balcony cabin was the highest of the 4 companies we used during our trip . The itinerary was interesting but the stay in each port of call was short.The value for the money we paid was still good but this is probably exceptional for 2009 . We have sailed on the Costa Mediterranea in the past and it was much better than this ship. I will have to try another Costa ship before making a final judgement. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
I organized a group of friends (both American and Italian) for a week together without the need for being a host. We booked in April and wanted a fall cruise from Venice as that port would be convenient to all 10 of us. Pre ... Read More
I organized a group of friends (both American and Italian) for a week together without the need for being a host. We booked in April and wanted a fall cruise from Venice as that port would be convenient to all 10 of us. Pre registration. The english Costa site was a nightmare. Some of us were not able to pre-register and had to wait until the e-docs were received so that we could fill them out manually and bring them with us. Embarkation. Once you arrived at the terminal, you were given a number. There were two lines. One for Costa repeat customers, the other for the rest of us. You can imagine which moved faster. On the minus side, there were only four processing stations open when we came through. Costa had more staff hawking drink packages than they had processing the passengers. On the plus side, you did not have to stand in line until your number was called and there were ample seats available while you waited. On previous cruises, one card was issued that served as a charge card, embarkation card, and room key. Costa gives you a separate room opening card and you find your charge card on your bunk. You then have to validate the card at a kiosk. I had to go back several times before finding a functioning machine. Cabin. Bunks were put together to make a double bed. Although requested at 2 PM, it took until after 9 PM for the steward to separate it to single bunks. Furniture was definitely dated. Several plumbing issues during the cruise while the maintenance staff did repairs. Steward did a good job of keeping the cabin clean and furnished for remainder of the cruise. Don't expect little extras like shampoo and mints. Ports of call: Generally there was very little time available to spend on shore (typically 6 hours or less). Taking the Costa excursions lets you off the boat sooner and you can make the most use of your time ashore. Dining. Costa did manage to assign all ten of us to one table. Even though we booked in April, we were told that there was no tables available for the second seating. That meant we had to fore go dinner in the dining room at ports such as Mykonos. On arrival there is one card in your stateroom that gives the seating assignment for dinner. There is nothing that says you must present the card when you go to the dining room. So, with a group of ten, we had five cards between us. We went separate ways and agreed to meet at the dining room at the appropriate hour. One member was turned away because she did have the card although she knew the time and table number. The Maitre D' directed her to the Reception Desk where she was given another card to gain admittance. Our table waiter was excellent. Too bad, the Maitre D' was so unhelpful. The buffet was quantity but not quality. I would suggest the Sinfonia dining Room for breakfast as you can get eggs to order and cappucino (not available elsewhere without cost.) Food quality was varied. Some nights it was good, others not. On Italian night, it was terrible. The native Italians at our table said there were ashamed to be associated with what was served. The lasagne was so salty that I only had one bite. At least the waiter allowed me to substitute some bread and cheese. On a positive note, there were always fresh baked rolls available. Entertainment. Entertainment in the main theater was pretty good considering it was multilingual. There was a variety of things to do that would suit a variety of tastes. General. Kat, the Costa staff member who did the English speaking orientations warned that the concept of lines (queues) was foreign to Italians. She said that it was just because they were hungry. It turns out they were also in a hurry for places anywhere a line formed. Generally, Costa had rules for how long the lounge chairs could be unattended, how many people could be in a hot tub, no children in the hot tubs,reserved seating for handicapped, etc. These were ignored by and large, and there was no action taken by staff to enforce them. Although, it was during the school year, there were children running rampant and unsupervised by their parents who seemed to be taking a vacation from parenting. Bottom line. I have been on six cruises. This was the next to the worse cruise ever. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Our expectations were not high as we knew the Victoria was an old ship-we had been on the Indy media launch and knew what a superb vessel she was. We couldn't,t fault Victoria. Our cabin was small but very comfortable and ... Read More
Our expectations were not high as we knew the Victoria was an old ship-we had been on the Indy media launch and knew what a superb vessel she was. We couldn't,t fault Victoria. Our cabin was small but very comfortable and spotless,with a cheerful steward who kept us supplied with iced water. The food couldn't be faulted whether in the buffet or in the dining room. We had a window seat in the dining room and sailing down the Grand Canal on the first night was a wonderful experience. We had bought the X1 drinks package and thought this was value for money. Thought the tours were very poor value and would do our own thing another time. Entertainment was first class but often difficult to find a seat-one night we just stood at the back. Although it is made clear that a sum is added to final account for 'service' some people were having a moan after receiving their final account. We actually left a tip for our steward as he was so good. Do check your final bill as there were mistakes on mine and my daughters bills. Although this year we are flying to Cuba it will be at least a two weeks cruising every year from then on. I only wished more cruises would cater for the lone passengers-I don't say singles because this implies you are looking to become a double. Can recommend cruising for all ages Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
I took my mam on a cruise last year as we wanted a holiday and had never been cruising. We flew from Dublin to London and then stayed overnight in a hotel in London before we flew out to Venice. I had been to Venice before but had flown To ... Read More
I took my mam on a cruise last year as we wanted a holiday and had never been cruising. We flew from Dublin to London and then stayed overnight in a hotel in London before we flew out to Venice. I had been to Venice before but had flown To Bergamo on that occasion which was a bit of a nuisance as it was not a direct journey to get to Venice from there! We embarked in Venice after a trip from the airport on a speed boat! What wonderful views of the area we got! the embarkation was so straight forward and organised it was great to hand over the bags and then have them in the cabin when we got to it! The Ship was well organised and signposted well. There were different styles of decor in the various bars and restaurants which was lovely. We chose to eat in the Top Deck restaurant on two occasions as a treat! We had a ball - the food was gorgeous - the staff were wonderful - they had lovely manners and paid great attention to detail. We took advantage of the spa and pool facilities on more than one occasion! We did an excursion on every day except the first one! It was great to see the best bits of each port in an organised way. We went to the theatre every night and had a few cocktails also! The different bars had selections of entertainment which was a change to being stuck with the same entertainment when out at home!! I would totally cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
I booked the cruise on Costa because I wanted a European experience for the cruise. I felt that a European cruise line would give me that. Thia was not correct. It didn't seem any different from other cruise lines. Here are my ... Read More
I booked the cruise on Costa because I wanted a European experience for the cruise. I felt that a European cruise line would give me that. Thia was not correct. It didn't seem any different from other cruise lines. Here are my thoughts. 1--The ship Costa Victoria is a very nice ship--updated a few years ago. I would not say it was as good as their literature says, but it was nice. The cabin--we had a veranda cabin--was small. The ship had converted many cabins to verandas and they cut off some of the room. There was no sitting area as other ships have. There was a strong urine smell in the bathroom. This was corrected by the 3rd day thanks to a great cabin attendant. Other than that all was well. 2--The FOOD was not as good as other cruise lines. For an Italian line, there was not that much Italian fare offered. I would rate the food about a 2 on a scale of 5. The main dining area was nice, but the service was just ok. The cafeteria style dining areas did not have enough seating in the peak times and the food was average. The only free beverage was coffee and water. Other cruises I have been on had at least lemonade or a fruit punch free--not on Costa. We ate breakfast in the main dining room because of the above facts and by the end of the cruise it seemed that a majority of the other cruisers did too because the food and space was better. The same is true of lunch. A major disappointment was that there was NO food available after 3PM. All food concessions close until 7PM dinner. Pizza restaurant was closed all day until 7PM. The food experience is one of the reasons people cruise. This is not very acceptable to me! 3--SERVICE--Average--nothing exceptional--tips or service charges are added whether or not you want to so there is no incentive for the servers to be extra good. However, I will praise our cabin attendant. 4--EXCURSIONS were good--no real complaints except for the costs which seemed high. 5--COMPUTER ROOM was poor. They have the slowest server. In fact, I could not get to the places I wanted many times. At .50 Euros a minute, it cost $2-3 Euros just to get connected. 6--Announcements--Could not hear very well and by the time they got to English, I stopped caring. 7--I found the European guests on the cruise very rude. They were always pushing and shoving in lines for the excursions and waiting for the main dining room to open. The entertainment was so-so and the theater was too small to accommodate all the guests. I would not take a Costa cruise again or recommend it to others. On a scale of 5, I would give Costa a 2. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
This was our fifth cruise in the last 8 years, and our first one on Costa, although all of our other cruises have been on other ships in the Carnival Corporation network (Princess three times and once on Holland American). We picked this ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise in the last 8 years, and our first one on Costa, although all of our other cruises have been on other ships in the Carnival Corporation network (Princess three times and once on Holland American). We picked this cruise for its itinerary, which was spectacular. The cruise itself was OK, but not up to the standards we have enjoyed on our other trips. Embarkation was poor. Our bags were taken away expeditiously and were at our cabin when we arrived on board. Passengers were given group numbers and told to wait to be called: we then had to wait of more than two hours before we could complete the few minutes of paperwork and go on board. There were four clerks to handle the two thousand passengers. This was totally different from our previous experiences (all in the USA or Canada) where there was no waiting. Not a good way to start a vacation! The interary and shore excursions were excellent. Only problem was in Athens, where there weren't enough people for a trip in English to the Acropolis. After a little bit of confusion, we booked on the Spanish-speaking trip (my wife is fluent...I tagged along). We walked around town on our own in Mykonos and Dubrovnik. Excursions in Ancona (Urbino), Corfu and Santorini (Ia) were great. Food was generally very mediocre. While there is plenty of it (lunches and dinners included one or more appetizers/soup, a pasta course and a main dish plus desert), but the quality was generally fair at best. Lots of seafood (frozen fish and shrimp) and veal, very little beef. Quality and hours of the upstairs buffet were very limited. All dinners were in the main dining rooms or the extra-price premier location (we didn't try this); there was no dinner buffet. Like other ships, all drinks other than coffee and water were extra. Dinners have assigned seating. Our waiters were extremely nice, helpful and friendly. Cabin steward spoke almost no English and was minimally helpful (we had great difficulty getting shampoo and extra towels). Pools were adequate but, despite crew requests not to, people claimed chaise lounges for many hours at a time. Entertainment ranged from cheezy dancing at the pool to mediocre magicians and singers after dinner. The shows had much less costuming, dancing and almost no scenery (very different from our Western Hemisphere cruises). Overall, we loved the travel and thought that the vacation aspects were only OK. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
First the good...Embarkation was very easy.  The service was great, from the fantastic cabin steward to the pleasant waitstaff in the restaurants to the helpful English-speaking hospitality person.  The local tour guides were very good. ... Read More
First the good...Embarkation was very easy.  The service was great, from the fantastic cabin steward to the pleasant waitstaff in the restaurants to the helpful English-speaking hospitality person.  The local tour guides were very good. The excursions are a little expensive, but overall were very good.   The food in the sit-down restaurants was excellent.  The ports were absolutely beautiful.  The cabins were small but always very clean.  The frozen drinks were good but a bit pricey.The bad...The tours were very early in the morning.  Also, we didn't have much time in each port.  The pool area was a disaster.  There were only two small outdoor pools and four small hot tubs.  There were never any chairs and the area was always a mess.  The kids overran the pool area.  There were rules at the pool but they were never enforced, such as you couldn't reserve chairs and kids weren't allowed in the hot tub, but people would leave their stuff on chairs and leave for hours.  Also, there were babies in the hot tub.  The buffet was equally as bad.  They had the same food everyday, very few vegetarian options and the labels on the food weren't accurate.  The buffet was always packed and people cut the line and pushed and shoved and took huge portions so there was no food for the rest of us.  There was never anywhere to sit.  The only good food was the ice cream, but the machines were always broken or empty because people hogged them and there weren't enough machines.The other cruisers-The other cruisers were rude, pushy, cut lines and hogged the food.  It seemed like parents decided they were on vacation from being parents as all of the children were unruly, screaming, splashing, cutting lines, pushing, etc.  My mom saw one child lying on the floor of the restaurant and the parents didn't do anything about it.The website description is also inaccurate.  It said there was an all day ice cream bar, which didn't exist and an all day pizzeria, but the pizzeria was only open in the evenings.Recommendations--Get a cabin with a balcony-Do the Frasassi Caves tour in Ancona - they are amazing!-Do sit-down meals whenever possible-If you drink a lot of water, get the water plan.  There is never free water available on the ship except at meals.Things to be aware of-Most cruisers are European and not English-speaking so announcements take forever because they are made in a variety of languages and excursions may get cancelled because there are not enough English-speaking guests.There is not a lot of nightlife for 30-somethings.  Most entertainment was geared towards kids or retirees. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
I'm American & my wife is Polish. We picked this cruise for the warm weather & sunshine in the Eastern Med at this time of year. We had previously cruised on the Costa Concordia in February 2008 & knew what to expect with ... Read More
I'm American & my wife is Polish. We picked this cruise for the warm weather & sunshine in the Eastern Med at this time of year. We had previously cruised on the Costa Concordia in February 2008 & knew what to expect with Costa overall. I was hoping that Victoria being a smaller ship would have better food and it certainly was true. We were very pleased with our dining experience. At our first dinner we noticed that there were several vacant tables for 2 next to the windows. We requested a seating change and very much enjoyed a table for 2 window seating for the rest of our cruise. Our waiter Sirinc from Mumbai India was very pleasant and we enjoyed his service. The first night I had prime rib that was a good start and the food selection was excellent during the whole cruise. Our E1 outside cabin on deck 5 was fine but Victoria being built in the mid 90's has small cabins compared to the new ships today as their was no sofa with extra room to relax. Our steward Chris did an excelent job looking after our cabin. I would not recommend cabins on deck 5 as I didn't notice they are under the jogging track when I booked & it was a little annoying hearing the joggers above us in the morning & late afternoon. Victoria has a large sun deck with 2 pools. One can lay in the sun by the pools and hear all the noise from the entertainment team or find more quiet at the bow or stern. For Northern Europeans that want a sun tan, this is the perfect ship for them! Being a Californian, I was happy to sit in the shade with a cold drink. After dinner we would enjoy walking around deck six and enjoying the sunset then go to the Concord Plaza Bar for drinks listening to the music & then back to bed. I don't care much for the new "Joe" designs from Carnival that are installed on the latest ships with Costa having all the garish plastic colors. I enjoyed the sedate interior of Victoria. All in all we enjoyed our cruise and for the price I think Costa delivers a good product. It's true the port stays are short and I would wish for less ports but longer stays. Since most of the passengers are Italian, I've read this is more of just a boat trip for them as many have already seen the ports visited. I didn't visit the casino & only saw one show, the magic act whick was OK.I was impressed with Venice as we spent 2 days there on our return. It is certainly a "one-of-a-kind" place. My take is that this cruise a good value for the money. If you are American & have never been to Europe before, you might enjoy this Italian experience or be frustrated many fellow passengers don't speak your language. It depends on your own comfort level of not being surounded with everyone being the same as you.  Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
We have just returned from 7 nights on board Costa Victoria cruising Eastern Mediterranean. This was our second cruise, the first being on Ocean Village 2.I was slightly filled with trepidation once on board Costa Victoria when I realised ... Read More
We have just returned from 7 nights on board Costa Victoria cruising Eastern Mediterranean. This was our second cruise, the first being on Ocean Village 2.I was slightly filled with trepidation once on board Costa Victoria when I realised how few British were on board!!! But soon I realised I liked this as we felt more 'abroad' than if we were on a ship full of Brits!!!  All anouncements were made in all languages, all staff spoke English and the shows were predominently english spoken/sung.Our cabin (as was the whole ship) was spotless and everytime we returned to it, the room had been tidied, bed re-made. The only thing it was lacking was a kettle in the cabin for tea/coffee-making (we had this on Ocean Village), but I accept they can be a fire hazard. Food was exceptional, you can choose from self-service buffet to waiter service in the restaurant with a very full menu. The Italian ice-cream is to die for!!!  You are allocated a table for the week (for evening meal only) in the restaurant, but the staff are happy for you to change table if you are not satisfied for any reason. Each evening meal ends with the waiting staff making some fun and entertainment by various means, Italians really know how to party!!!!!Fellow cruisers were largely Italian but there was also some french,spanish and a few germans and british. I found the Italians wery friendly and quite able to queue as well as the Brits!!!!The evening shows were all a very good standard with the exception of the female 'magic' act, (would go down well at a childrens party probably though!!!!).We only had half days in port which we found very rushed, I would not choose an itinery with half days again. We did not do any ship excursions as they are very overpriced (as with all cruise ships). We did our own thing using available local taxi's.Ancona - lovely old town, but everything closed as we visited on a Sunday.Santorini - you have to choose between Cable Car or Donkey to get up to the town!Mykinos - very lovely with a beautiful sunset.Corfu - very expensive taxi's!!! Lovely Old Town.Athens - shame about all the scaffolding around the Acropolis. Facinating changing of the guard outside the palace.Disembarkation was very organised but long and needlessly drawn out, we had a midday check-in for our flight home so we had no time to explore Venice which was a bit of a disapointment.We would definately use Costa Cruises again, 9 out of 10 for value and satisfaction!  Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Though I am not a passionate cruiser, I had looked forward to this cruise as a convenient and relaxing way to explore the Greek Islands. Indeed, the ports were very interesting, so it was a shame that we were hardly able to enjoy ... Read More
Though I am not a passionate cruiser, I had looked forward to this cruise as a convenient and relaxing way to explore the Greek Islands. Indeed, the ports were very interesting, so it was a shame that we were hardly able to enjoy them. The already short stops were further shortened by Costa's inept handling of the ship-to-shore procedures.  We chose not to participate in most of the cruise-sponsored excursions since most of the towns appeared to be easily accessible to the ports. While we expected that those who chose to participate in a ship-sponsored excursion would get to leave the boat first, we did not expect to have to wait up to two hours (AFTER the stated disembarkation time for those not taking excursions) each day to leave the ship. Even after arriving early to receive a number, we still waited almost an hour for the boats to take us from the ship to shore. We waited even longer on the days we needed a bus. (These buses into town were recommended by Costa to help us "make the most of our time" (for an extra fee). Though we were tempted to find ground transportation on our own, it was not clear whether this was even possible at several of the ports and we did not wish to waste our time finding out. (We did take the Metro from Piraeus into Athens, which worked very well.) In short, we only had a few hours each day to enjoy our destination.  Had it been explained in the literature that Costa-sponsored excursions were strongly recommended, due to the the short duration of our stay, we would have felt much differently. The suggestion that Costa transportation would help us make better use of our time was misleading.  When we appealed to the English-speaking cruise director about how to avoid the long wait, we received no guidance and were reminded (somewhat indignantly) that Costa had successfully transported 2,000 people off of the boat the day before. Apparently timeliness is not part of their definition of successful.  The ship itself was far from impressive, comparable to an outdated 3-star hotel. The rooms were satisfactory in size and comfort but the furniture, decor, and facilities were tired. Food was decent, with the exception of the buffet, which was a mundane spread that did not change all week. The dining rooms were quite noisy and often warm. Service was acceptable by European standards. Americans will be disappointed.  I went on this cruise with no expectation other than to sample a bit of Greece and Croatia. The transportation procedures were so disorganized that we barely had time to do even this. Further, the environment onboard was not pleasant and was compromised by frustrating encounters with staff, hours of waiting, and outmoded accommodations.  Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
A few tips from our Costa Victoria cruise to Dubai: - the buffet (on deck 11) is open 24 hrs and has free tea, coffee and cold water to help yourselves. (Although we did find the cold water some times luke warm, even though you were ... Read More
A few tips from our Costa Victoria cruise to Dubai: - the buffet (on deck 11) is open 24 hrs and has free tea, coffee and cold water to help yourselves. (Although we did find the cold water some times luke warm, even though you were meant to be able to get ice from it too.) There is also free tea, coffee and cold water out the back of deck 11 in the 'open restaurant' at dining times. - food quality and restaurant staff are fantastic. Food was really amazing, esp the pastas at lunchtime. - someone asked about minimum bets on the casino, from memory there were definitely 1 euro tables minimum, but I think like most casinos the min bet varied on different tables. - one thing I wished we had done before we went was printed some maps of the ports of call off the internet. The ship does give you a map, albeit it is so poor that it wasn't of use at all. If we had just spent some time printing off a few detailed maps with road names etc, we could have been a bit more adventurous walking round - esp so in Abu Dhabi (which is like Dubai, pretty affluent and easy to walk round) and Bahrain (which we found sandy and hustly bustly and a more traditional Arab place). Muscat is pretty small, so a map wouldn't be so needed there. - we took local taxis in most ports I'll give you a few tips re the ports we visited. Abu Dhabi - we did a 1 hour city tour for 100 dirhams (dhs) and asked to end it at Marina Mall, a large, good modern mall. Then got taxi from the Mall back to the boat. (Loads of taxis at the Mall). Worth driving out to the new Grand Mosque (looks amazing, like the Taj Mahal). Our favorite port - nice Corniche promenade along the front if you fancy a walk. You can't walk from the port entrance and need to get a taxi to the city centre. Bahrain - we got the Costa shuttle bus to the centre of Bahrain and had a wander round. Very old Arab feel to the city, found the souks (from the mini bus drop off head forward and to the left - down a few little alley ways, by the side of building site alleyway) worth going round the souks if you like that sort of thing. I wore a pashmina head scarf in the souks just to avoid the stares really. Fajarah (sorry can't remember the spelling). A complete waste of a cruise stop, and everyone we spoke to agreed. We got the Costa bus to Lulu mall - which is in fact a very poor excuse of a hypermarket. The trips didn't seem to go down with passengers better. I wouldn't know what to suggest here - everything seems a long way from the port and it seemed to be an Emirate with not much to see. Maybe stay on the ship?! Muscat, Oman - again took a 1 hour city tour for 100 dhs. Really interesting - firstly stopped at the souks, out to the Palace, then a post 5 star hotel for a look round and a stop at the museum. We squeezed a lot in to an hour. Nice port stop. There is a nice promenade on the front too, if you fancy a walk. (Don't walk to the souks from the port entrance - just too far in the heat). In all these places don't be frightened of getting taxis - they are really a good way to see the cities. If you are a bit adventurous you can get a lot out of it. If you don't mind spending more, of course the cruise tours have advantages - ie you don't have to organize anything and it is all done for you - each to their own I guess. But we were happy with taxis. They are everywhere, esp in Dubai where you flag them down like in London. They are outside all the malls and hotels in Dubai and queue up right where the ship docks up. The one and main tip for getting taxis is make sure the driver speaks pretty good English. You can do this when you are negotiating the price. Ask him to show you on the map where he would take you on a 1 hour city tour (or 2 hours if you want) and see if it is the same places you want to visit. If he can't show you or communicate to you in good English, I would just give him a miss and walk onto the next taxi driver. Ok, on to other tips: - we bought a couple of large 2 litre mineral bottles of water (2.50 euros each) on the ship. Then we were reluctant to keep spending this money to buy more water, so I nipped to the gym which has a water dispenser where you can easily refill the bottles up. No one said anything. I did see others do this in the buffet which gives free water, but the dispenser is not so easy to fill up bottles from. - X1 is only Carlsberg beer (no other beers) and only 1 choice of red or 1 choice of white wine. So if you are looking to save money and you like a drink with your lunch/dinner X1 is fab, if you are more choosey with your wine/beer you may not be happy with this. We found X1 fine for us - we ordered a last beer/wine just as leaving lunch - and took it to the pool, and the same in the evening and took our last drink to the bar we wanted to sit in after dinner. Just phone Costa Cruises directly if you want to find out more about the X1 package for your cruise - ours was around £55 per person for 8 days. - We have done an Ocean Village cruise and it was interesting comparing the 2 - entertainment on OV is far better. The entertainment on Costa was pretty poor really - Songs from the Shows, Belly Dancing, Puppet show. No comedians on Costa, which we liked on OV. - The checking in procedure is quite slick on Costa, yes they do take your passport and give you a copy of your photo page to use to enter the ship with your Costa Card, but that is all fine. Just remember to go to the Plaza Lounge on the last morning, to pick up your passport! - Depending when you check in you may not get your bags until 8pm outside your room. We took one large suitcase and one smaller 'pull along one' with our day clothes in so we could just get sandals/teeshirts out before they took our bags away. Also handy in that the smaller bag would fit in the large suitcase in our cabin, and that large case could fit under the bed to save space in the cabin. - We were on Virgin flights and got into Dubai around 10am and we had a 'service room' for the first day, before getting our proper cabin at 8pm. That was a godsend for a little sleep after a night flight. Not sure why we got this cabin, if it was a Virgin thing or what, but it was good. -You get your cabin on the last day until 4.30pm as Kevsgirl says, and you are allowed to stay on the ship until 10.30pm. We decided to postpone the flight home by 4 days and booked into a Dubai hotel so checked into the hotel, then came back to the ship for free dinner/drinks on the last night - only cost was a taxi there and back! - As to currency to take - Dirhams is needed for the UAE states, and in Muscat and Bahrain they all seemed happy to trade in Dollars. (Our rep said Euros would be OK too, but I'm not so sure - Dollars seems the currency which was sought after). - there are 2 'posh' dinners. The first was not the day we arrived but the next day. Really don't worry about what you wear for this - my husband wore a suit and tie but it was a complete mix. He wished he had worn a modern stripey shirt/cufflinks with no tie and trousers, rather than his work suit. As long as you don't have jeans on, you'll be fine. Lots of women just wore black trousers and a pretty top and fitted fine. Blokes tended to wear suits with ties or DJs, or chinos with nice shirts was absolutely fine. - we felt that the Reception staff were really rude (one elderly couple only had taken Nationwide Debit cards, no Credit cards - they didn't realize a Costa didn't accept Debit cards for payment at the end of your holiday - and the Reception staff were so rude to this poor elderly couple who didn't understand the difference between Debit/Credit cards). - we took water and cans of coke into the ship after each port. Although you put your bags thru scanners, no one said anything. We did it by mistake the first time and realized we had done it, and then we thought we could keep doing it and the worst that could happen is they take our water/soft drinks away. But I don't want to put anyone off a Costa cruise - overall we would definitely do it again - we just wished we had known the tips above before hand. Yes the service charge is a lot, but you know that when you book. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Costa Victoria Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 3.4
Dining 3.0 3.0
Entertainment 2.0 3.1
Public Rooms 3.0 3.3
Fitness Recreation 2.0 3.0
Family 2.0 3.0
Shore Excursion 2.0 3.1
Enrichment 1.0 2.7
Service 4.0 3.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.1
Rates 3.0 3.8

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