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294 Costa Mediterranea Cruise Reviews

Prior to our cruise on Costa Mediterranean we stayed in Genoa at Best Western City Hotel. It is clean, tidy and has a great breakfast plus is well situated for walking and exploring the old part of town, plus there are several restaurants ... Read More
Prior to our cruise on Costa Mediterranean we stayed in Genoa at Best Western City Hotel. It is clean, tidy and has a great breakfast plus is well situated for walking and exploring the old part of town, plus there are several restaurants close by. We were a group of four and used "Airports Shuttle" for all our transfers from the airport plus to and from the port of Savona, they were prompt, efficient and good drivers. Arriving at Savona port our luggage was promptly taken away as soon as we got out of our vehicle and we were given boarding cards no 11 even though I had requested wheel chair assistance in our original booking. On pointing this out to check-in staff we were put on priority 1 for embarkation. I noted that Italians and Germans seem to get preference with higher boarding numbers. The stateroom was clean and fairly roomy, a desk and chair plus a 2 seater lounge and room under the bed for suitcases. Thank goodness we had a balcony as it was one of the few places to sit and get away from the heavy smokers. We were informed at our welcome talk that most shore trips would not be available in English so the choice was very limited.We were also informed that Italians and Germans do not know how to queue but tend to push and shove and jumped ahead.This we were informed we should tolerate and not get upset about.Well that set the scene and true to form that is just how they behaved. The ship is over the top in its decor, many announcements were only in Italian and the English announcements were very brief.The non smoking areas are limited and right next to smoking areas in all lounges. In fact to walk from one end of the ship to another it is necessary to walk through the smoking areas. Thank goodness we had a balcony that jutted out and was the first in the row so that no smoke blew onto us from other smokers on their balconies. This was my escape during the cruise. The main dining has set meal times and the seating is allocated. On the booking form it says 7pm or 9pm. We chose 7 pm only to discover on board it was actually 6pm and 8.30pm. The food was average and over cooked at times. Our 2 waiters were exceptional and our dinner companions made up for what was lacking in the food we were served.At least dining is smoke free. The self service alternative was just that long queues, cafeteria style cooking, plastic kids type plates and bowls. Plus then the hassle of trying to find a seat and get a drinks waiter. We purchased an all inclusive drinks package, thank goodness, as drinks and even water were very expensive. It included a basic white or red wine, beer, water and basic spirits or cocktails. No bottled wines, better quality beers or top label spirits were included, that was all extra.. I did not join in the deck activities as there were too many smokers in that area. Our cabin staff were excellent, friendly, helpful and always smiling. The majority of the bar staff, junior waiters, cabin crew and deck staff were very keen to help. Although several wait staff confided they would not be renewing their contracts.These staff are the best thing Costa have going for them and perhaps Costa should improve their pay and conditions and look at why they are leaving.As for the senior officers they were hard to find unless there was a photo opportunity. Evening entertainment in the main show room was very good some nights and mediocre other nights. At lease there is no smoking in the show room. There is no cinema on the ship, this was surprising considering the size. The alternatives at night for entertainment are the smoke filled Casino, or the smoke filled bars to listen to music or dance. Most shore tours were not available in English. We were only informed about this once on board,nowhere in their literature does Costa suggest this fact or state that they cater for mostly Italians and Germans. English speaking guest were just tagged on a tour that was short on numbers so that the bus was full. We along with some friends joined a French tour by choice and even though the guide spoke fluent English no announcements or any information were given in English over the PA, we had to ask occasionally what was happening. Thank goodness I had organised many shore trips privately. I do believe private shore trips offer a much better option. You get to see more in the time and can choose to spend as much or as little time at any one place. Disembarking was quick, thanks to Adam's help on the day as we had a plane to catch in Genoa and private transfer arranged. Would I go on another Costa cruise NO definitely not, we chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Costa do not cater at all for English speaking guests and there are no areas dedicated to non smokers that are truly smoke free. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We have decided to go on a cruise for our first time. We checked the internet and found this very interesting deal. We embarked in Savona and observed that the ship was half empty, which was great for us. Generally the check in process was ... Read More
We have decided to go on a cruise for our first time. We checked the internet and found this very interesting deal. We embarked in Savona and observed that the ship was half empty, which was great for us. Generally the check in process was very smooth, the luggage was delivered promptly to our cabin which was quite comfortable, or at least better than what we expected. Or route had its first destination in Malaga, which is a nice town. We have decided not to waste the money on Marbella and our neighbors confirmed how right we were... We had only a few hours so we just relaxed in the old town, had a glass of wine and some delicious tapas. As a general rule I would say to be cautious in selecting the tours offered on board. They are quite expensive and some are really not worth the while. The second destination was Funchal, Madeira. Lovely! Then Teneriffa; we missed La Laguna and Teide but got ourselves at least some good deals on clothes as the VAT is very low in Teneriffa. Casablanca, is a nightmare, Marrakesh, as well... got a new carpet now :-) Then Barcelona, Wonderful; Marseille, very good as well but spending a day in Marseille on a Sunday is not quite smart as all shops are closed. Now to the Ship again: We are swiss and hence speak a lot of languages, English, french, german and italian are no problem. So we understood what the others were saying and the information the others got. It was quite upsetting that the information in the various languages is quite selective, to put it diplomatically. The majority was italian, which has its charm, given the fact that the German were like bees all over the place. The food in the restaurant was quite good given the vast amount of food that needs to be prepared every day. Our wait staff and room attendants were mainly, indonesian, philippinos, indian or peruvian and they were excellent! That needs to be said and they are a real credit to costa. Without them, I would never travel with them again. The reason is the management. I have never seen such arrogant staff in my life. I am a hotelier and I am very sensitive with these things. I have complained on the spot, asked to see the hotel Manager (which I haven't seen during the entire cruise except on a picture), the executive chef was smoking on the guest floors with his buddy the main Maitre D' etc. the list goes on and on. They would not greet, not smile, not leave the floor when guests are passing. They were generally walking with their chin above their nose. I have written a long list of "recommendations" as I am not a complainer per se. I just try to give feed back. Unfortunately, I have never received a feedback. I have even tracked down the corporate Quality improvement man who hasn't replied either. Anyway, I would recommend the tour and the company again but with keeping in mind that the management is very, very poor. I just consider ourselves very lucky as we have always good staff around us, fantastic table-mates at dinner, whom have become friends and interesting destinations discovered while returning back to work very relaxed :-) Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We were on the Costa Mediterranea for 11 nights from 3 to 14 September 2011. This was our first time on Costa, having previously cruised with P&O, Princess and Thomson. The cruise was a round trip from Sovana around the eastern ... Read More
We were on the Costa Mediterranea for 11 nights from 3 to 14 September 2011. This was our first time on Costa, having previously cruised with P&O, Princess and Thomson. The cruise was a round trip from Sovana around the eastern Mediterranean. As with most ships these days the cabins had a mini-bar, an ice bucket that was topped up daily, and a free safe. There were six different nationalities onboard, the majority Italians, but with quite a few Brits. I am going to do this review as pro's and con's, although one mans pro might be another's con and vice versa. PRO'S: Basic price - we paid £74 pppn for a balcony cabin, including flights and transfers. Good size cabins - one of the largest we have had on a cruise. Evening dress code only recommended, not enforced, even on the three formal nights. Although shorts in the main dining room were frowned upon. The ship was beautiful, especially the interior (wow factor), which the wife described as opulent. The ship was kept spotlessly clean. Everything was well organised, and in the one port that was tendered (Santorini) we were very impressed with how quickly they got the passengers off. Drinking water always available. Plenty of sun beds and chairs. Loads of bars and lounges, most with entertainment in the evenings. Costa made sure the same nationality sat together during set dining in the evening. We had a table of eight, and luckily we all got on. Despite all the different languages, the entertainment was pretty good, a lot of it visual, and if it included any singing, some of the songs were in English. The grill bars by the pools were very good, with a much better choice than on P&O and Princess. Smoking areas in most of the bars. This is pro to me as I smoke, but I realise that to many people this would be a con. CON'S: Compulsory gratuities - 6 Euros PPPN 15% service charge on drinks. No tea and coffee making facilities in the cabin. Only set dining in the evening with the buffet not open, although you could get Pizza in there. Free tea and coffee was only available when the buffet was open - this was for most of the day until about 5pm. However, a free hot drink was available after dinner if requested. No food or drink was allowed to be bought onto the ship, even in a suitcase. However, we had no trouble bringing a bottle or two of water onboard. Alcoholic drinks purchased ashore were taken from you and given back at the end of the cruise. Only hair and shower gel and a bar of soap provided in the cabins, but could ask for complimentary body lotion, a shower cap and a sewing kit. Announcements were made in up to 6 languages. This meant the muster drill lasted around 20-30 minutes, and there were two of them during the cruise. Very few English channels on the cabin TV. Films available, but they were pay per view. No self service laundry or ironing facilities. Overall we enjoyed the cruise and we would go again if the same sort of deal was available. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We cruised on the Mediterranea in September this year. We boarded the ship in Rhodes which was uneventful. Quickly processed and on board within about half an hour. Our suite was lovely, plenty of storage and an excellent bathroom. Our ... Read More
We cruised on the Mediterranea in September this year. We boarded the ship in Rhodes which was uneventful. Quickly processed and on board within about half an hour. Our suite was lovely, plenty of storage and an excellent bathroom. Our luggage arrived very quickly. We enjoyed the champagne ready and waiting for us in our suite. The Canapes delivered a little later too were a nice touch and we certainly enjoyed the fresh fruit each day. The bed was comfortable with lovely soft pillows. The cabin staff were efficient and helpful. Breakfast - As the restaurant offering waiter service closed far too early we chose to have breakfast in the self service restaurant. It was utter chaos. Not all serving areas were open and those that were would suddenly close even if there was a queue of people waiting to choose their breakfast well before the closing time. The drinks queue was always hectic due to coffee running dry or water running dry then milk packing in or juice. Rolls and bread seemed to be in alien places and butter in a totally different area. Nothing flowed. Tables however were cleared quickly " too quickly sometimes when you had put a plate down and turned around to search for milk for your cereals or butter for your bread when you returned your plate had gone! Lunch - this too in the self service area was just the same. Utter chaos. The area serving food by the pool was very basic too - chips and burgers mostly. Dinner - We chose to have dinner at the earlier time at 7.00 and found ourselves seated at a table of 8 which suited us as we all got along well.. The dining room is beautiful and our table was by the window. However, we found the food extremely disappointing. For example, the first night we both chose Lamb Shank as our main course and when it came it was a few thin strips of tough lamb on a bed of sloppy instant mash " no taste " no seasoning. It was tasteless and not what we expect of Cruise Dining. The following evening I selected the veal and I think it was the same meat as the previous night, again on a bed of instant mash and tasting of absolutely nothing! We took the option one evening of dining in Medusa Restaurant (extra supplement of around 22 Euros) NOW THIS WAS MORE LIKE IT! We were back to what we expect of cruise dining. The napkin was placed on our lap, we were made to feel special, the food was an absolute dream. The service wonderful " just like it used to be; but in this restaurant there were enough staff to provide this excellent service not like in the main restaurant where the staff were trying to give a good service with far too many people to attend to. The bars on this ship are lovely, very comfortable, plenty of them and good entertainment to suit all tastes, plus quieter areas if you want them. The service from the waiters was good even though they were rushed off their feet. We had taken the all inclusive option and the variety of good quality drinks was very extensive and generous. We would certainly recommend this package. The sundecks are pleasant and well laid out with room for everyone. Only slight criticism here is that the sun beds are very close together making it difficult to get on and off them and also not giving an inch of personal space. Must say though that each time we wanted to lie and relax we found a sun bed every time. The waiter service on the deck areas was very good and we regularly had morning coffee for me and a pot of tea for my husband sitting at one of the many tables on deck (then a couple of other drinks as the day progressed!) Entertainment by the pool was provided but it did not take over; there were enough quiet times too. We liked this ship, lovely polite staff who work so hard but the catering left a lot to be desired. It let Costa down. Part of the joy of cruising is enjoying fine dining with attention to detail. Somehow this did not happen " shame isn’t it? So come on Costa get it sorted. You have a gorgeous ship, great staff, lovely suite, fantastic bars. First time in a decade hubby and I have stayed up until 2.00 am enjoying the other parts of the cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
On arrival at port we were herded into what is best described as a holding bay.There we sat for approx one and a half hours.Poor quality orange juice was provided in plastic cups,but no food.Things did not get better.We joined the ship to ... Read More
On arrival at port we were herded into what is best described as a holding bay.There we sat for approx one and a half hours.Poor quality orange juice was provided in plastic cups,but no food.Things did not get better.We joined the ship to a somewhat cursory welcome.Now past lunchtime we headed for the self service buffet.However no food was available as it had all been cleared away.When we asked where we could find something to eat we were told,sorry all closed now.Hot and cold water were provided when available,as more often than not the machines were empty.Tea bags were at an absolute premium.In any event only plastic cups were provided.Food in the restaurant was poor,mostly frozen,and the service not much better.Entertainment was a joke,the only highlight being the crews own show which surpassed the so called professionals by a mile.The ship was overcrowded,if you could find a seat,which was not easy,you sat in very close proximity to your neighbour.Blackpool on sea.An abundance of children who overran the ship.Adults only pool was constantly used by children.Occasional pathetic attempts to control the situation failed.The staff appeared to have a could not care less attitude.Complaints fell on deaf ears with the crew defending company policy.Just about everything was charged as extras.Smoking in just about all the recreation areas was the order of the day,the areas for non smokers were tucked away.Cabin was good but noisy on the balcony.Definitely biased to Italians who seemed to like it.Worst cruise ever.We are seasoned cruisers,but I will never set foot on a Costa cruise ever again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Our first joint adventure on the high seas started at 0700HRS on the 22st July 2011 at Gatwick. It was booked through Virgin Cruises and was a Costa package cruise. This is what happened. We flew from Gatwick to Rome Leonardo Di ... Read More
Our first joint adventure on the high seas started at 0700HRS on the 22st July 2011 at Gatwick. It was booked through Virgin Cruises and was a Costa package cruise. This is what happened. We flew from Gatwick to Rome Leonardo Di Vinci, great flight (BA) under 2 hours. Arrived at Rome and our baggage arrived one hour and 20 minutes later. There were no seats at the airport and it was HOT! Found the Costa reps and they seemed happy enough to just chat amongst themselves. Finally we got our luggage and then we all galloped with our big cases, cabin cases and hand luggage to the taxi cabs waiting for us. We then travelled to Civitavecchia all snuggled up nice and tight and very hot, but excited! We arrived at the embarkation port. First real Costa criticism coming up, the 'helpfull' staff were patronising and next to useless, it was hot pacjked and there was only orange juice to drink. We finally got on the ship, straight to cabin, it's now 1500HRS. Tipped the porter who hovered around saying 'is there anything else I can do?' untill we got the message. Then we unpacked. Absolutely fantastic looking ship at first glance and the cabin was roomy with loads of storage and a surprisingly comfy, big bed. Mini bar was open so got a drink and sat on the balcony, phew! We had arrived. Fantabulosious ship (needs a new descriptor to explain the decor), very decorative and very big and well, very very big and decorative! The non Italian staff and customers were superb in everyway and we had alot of fun and laughter. This laughter often became subdued because of all the dead pan looks from a certain majority on board, initially, this bothered us. After four days the non Italian speakers were ganging up. It only mattered that you were not Italian, we where French, Spanish, German, Swiss, Irish, Icelandic and British, language was not a barrier to fun and puns! We had a purpose! That purpose was to refuse to change our manners. We would still smile and thank people in lifts, hold doors, move out of the way, make room even though this would never be reciprocated. So we spoke for them, thankyou! Your welcome! Have a nice day! which floor? Pardon me! Sorry? Can I help you get up off the floor? Thankyou for letting your 6 teenage sons stamp all over my feet while you look the other way, that kind of thing, we learned these phrases in another language. We learned from our new social techniques teachers all around us how to intimidate people out of your favorite spot. How to jump in front in a line and avoid eye contact. We bribbed people too! And then we all had a really great time! Seriously the food was generally very good, lots of choice. Coffee, cocktails and icecream very good! Breakfast in your room really nice sat on the balcony at 0700hrs with your coffee, and selection of pastries and cereals, juice and preserves. Lovely jubbly! Apparently the theatre entertainment was soso to bad, but we never went so it did not matter. Lounge music was generally very good. Casino was a casino and we learned new types of black jack. The decks were never too busy with loungers always available. J2 all inclusive package great, especially for multiple speciality coffees and, well everything fluid, nothing was off limits. Very little fluid of any description is available free. Itinerary very good, but its just way too hot in the eastern med during July and August. Everything was really well cleaned all the time, never a fingerprint on the shiny chrome, which was everywhere! Would we go Costa again? Yes we would because the new guests from Italy came aboard in Savona when the others left, and they were a completely different set of people. However, there was two disembarkation meetings, Italians and basically others. I was sent to ours and hubby stayed slumped in the cabin. So he decided to watch the event on TV instead. What he watched was the one before ours, the Italian one. He asked as I came back, did we win anything? or anyone we know win? Confused I watched the other meeting. Envelopes had been secreted under the chairs with prizes in them. If you had an envelope you where presented with your prize on stage by the cruise director and other notables. Word of outright discrimination soon spread, it was the principle, official complaints started going in. One person complained about this to customer services and was asked ' were you offended?' Like he would be complaining if he was not and he was a man of the cloth! Then when complaints really spread, because we were all on for another day and had plenty of time to get angry, they shut off the TVs and said it never happened LOL! Then the really horrid bit that left us needing another holiday. We disembarked at 0900hrs and our, and others peoples flights started leaving at the earliest at 1810hrs. We asked if we could have the 1230hrs or 1500hrs disembarkations made available for some, but got a flat no! We were all stuck in Rome airport all day and some people had children. So - yes even after being ethnically discriminated against we would go with Costa again, but not in the med in July or August (too hot to enjoy the ports), not embarking in Italy and not as a package arranged through Costa ;) Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Arrival at Nice airport for transfer to Savona, we have an hour delay for the coach to transfer us, but this was ok. We arrived on the ship and our cases arrived straight away to our cabin. The cabin was good size, very clean and we ... Read More
Arrival at Nice airport for transfer to Savona, we have an hour delay for the coach to transfer us, but this was ok. We arrived on the ship and our cases arrived straight away to our cabin. The cabin was good size, very clean and we were very pleased with it - slightly larger than the Royal Caribbean cabins we thought. In a nutshell - positives: Very clean ship Lovely interior, different than others Good entertainment, lots of different types of activities Negatives: Children allowed to run the ship Adults wore trunks and swim wear in the dining area - rather gross Food is NOT available 24/7 - pizzas stop at 1pm After lunch which stops at 2.30 - there is only cheap small sandwiches and cakes available at 4.00 - 5pm before meals Lots of languages spoken so announcements take a long time Most entertainment in Italian They would NOT get you chilli flakes for the pizza in the evening - told they only come out at lunch - we laughed that there were like gold dust! The drinks are really expensive - a coke 2.70 euros plus 15% gratuity Overall a good cruise although we prefer the food on Royal Caribbean. The itinery - Greece and Turkey was super and this is the main reason that we choosed the cruise. We would perhaps cruise with Costa again if we managed to get another good deal. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Getting on the ship was a breeze.Only 10 of us embarked from our flight and we were the last group to arrive and walked right on the ship.The ship itself was amazing.We loved the over the top decor with art,mirrors and lights ... Read More
Getting on the ship was a breeze.Only 10 of us embarked from our flight and we were the last group to arrive and walked right on the ship.The ship itself was amazing.We loved the over the top decor with art,mirrors and lights everywhere.Our cabin was clean and neat and our luggage was brought up within minutes.FOOD.The food was great and plentiful we always found something we liked in the buffet and the dining room menu was always varied in the choices offered,but the best part was the food all tasted so good.We bought a wine and a non-alcoholic pkg. and found they were both a good deal.Did find the cocktails and drinks on the whole a bit steep but your on holidays so it did not stop us from sampling a few of them.Some reviews mention the difference in the European culture but we totally enjoyed being on board with many different people.We are both born in Europe but grew up in Canada maybe that helped but we never felt we were treated different because we spoke english on the contrary staff went out of their way to include us.STAFF.All the staff we had the pleasure to come in contact with friendly, helpful,and a lot of fun to deal with,they really made our holiday.PORTS OF CALL.We did not book any trips on board,choosing instead to grab a taxi on our own or with other passengers sometimes from other ships.In summarizing my wife and I had a wonderful time with Costa and are already thinking of booking a cruise next year with them.I know we are novice cruisers but I really cant think of any part of the cruise that we didnt like. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Buying the Cruise We bought a 10 day all inclusive Hotel + East Caribbean Cruise holiday from a travel bureau in our hometown Espoo from our regular travel agent whose services we have used for many years. At first there was no ... Read More
Buying the Cruise We bought a 10 day all inclusive Hotel + East Caribbean Cruise holiday from a travel bureau in our hometown Espoo from our regular travel agent whose services we have used for many years. At first there was no more cabins with balconies left on the cruise ship although it was the 1:st of October almost 4 months before the Ship was going to sail. We decided not to go if we do not get a cabin with a balcony. Luckily our dear agent managed to the wished cabin with a balcony so we invested the 2315 EUR / person and started choosing excursions from the catalogue printed out from the Costa-Cruises website. The average monthly wage in a steady job in Finland is about 2800 EUR so it takes years of saving and planning to take the cruise. Day 5 Tuesday Bus to Cruise boat After sleeping 4 nights at the Hotel the bus to La Romana started at 8:30 so we had ample time to eat the breakfast. We had to take all our luggage with us and give away the room, towel cards and safety box lock. The bus driver stopped at some roadside pick nick cafe in Nagua where the new road across the Dominican Rrepublic over the central mountain to the Caribbean Ocean side started. After driving over some rice fields the road came to a check point gate where a soldier armed with a machine gun made sure that everyone paid their dues. Before arriving to La Romana the bus driver maid another stop at the "Three legged Dogs roadside cafe". People in the Dominican Republic are so poor that they do not bother to tidy up litter or any trash on their yards. Even the cars have license plates only on the back. Over 80% of the population are coloured , but the big roadside signs had pictures of president candidates that all had white faces. The bus made to the harbour some 13:10 where we had to sit and wait under an open air roof (with toilet) in a ribbon coral for an hour until the customs procedures took place. All food and alcohol was put into a safe for the duration of the cruise. After the checking of the pre filled papers and passports we got our Costa Cards and where ready to embark with our hand luggage. The heaviest suit case was tagged and delivered to our cabin. The Ship Costa Mediterranea was build in Helsinki 2003. It is a magnificent vessel about 300 meters long and 30 meters wide and 12 decks high. It can carry 2680 passengers. The interior is designed in Italy. One can feel the luxurious touch in the blending colours of fabrics and building material. The stairs have high lighted glass commutes for unique craft works of ceramics and silver. The lampets of the Orientale Lounge staircase fountain are colourful Murano glas. The Cabin We had the unbelievable luck in getting the first (front) cabin with a 5 meter wide balcony on deck 6 other cabins had only a 2,5 meter balcony some of them even with lifeboats limiting the view. The balcony is furnished with 2 fabric chairs and a small coffee table. The cabin it self is approximately 15 square meters. The floor space is occupied by the double bed a little table and 2 small chairs. There is a little bathroom with shower sink and toilet. What is more important there is a 230/110 V socket to charge the mobile phone and use the razor in the bathroom. There are also 3 closets and many drawers. There is no suitcase table so we kept the suitcases on the floor corner. Each cabin has a mini bar and TV. The floor is covered with a wall to wall carpet. Our Cabin servant Cedi was on an 8 months conract. Some 6 months was still left before he could trawel back to see her litle daughter back home in Indonesia. He was always polite friendly and smiling altouch he had 20 cabins to look after. Info Desk At firs we had to put some money on the Costa Card at the Info Desk. No money is used on the boat. Instead everything is debited from the Costa Card account. We had changed most of our currency to dollars but euros was used on the boat so we lost 40 EUR because of the bad exchange rate. So we deposited 1500 dollars on the other Costa Card and assigned the other Costa Card to Visa. Then we reserved a table for dinner on the first serving at 19:00 The Italian origin girl at the Info Desk was very arrogant and bored and was poorly acquainted with English language. It was about 20 minutes to 15:00 when we got us organized and decided to have a quick bite of something to eat before the self service cafeteria was closed at 15:00 on the Harmonia (Hamburger) deck 9. Again a bad synchronizing of eating times, and again missing the lunch. We could have had a good lunch at the Hotel before leaving the room at noon and still made it to the customs at 18:00 and to dinner at 19:00, because the boat was NOT leaving until midnight. Perhaps it would be a good idea to let some of the staff members participate on a Costa Cruise on some other Costa ship as "SPY"-passengers. Maybe they could get a better idea how it feels to be a passenger on the cruise. We are sure that they would come with lots of good new ideas how to develop the services. The Tax Free Shop There is a big Tax Free shop on deck 3. We did not buy anything from the shop because the buying was so difficult. It seems that the Italian origin shop clerks did not want to sell anything for English speaking passengers. One other reason, why the buying was so difficult, was that the shop was CLOSED from 11:00 to 17:00 when we would have had time to shop. One thing we can not understand why the shop selection included lots of Italian design articles, when most of the passengers where Italian so they could get the SAME stuff at home. Since the ship was built in Helsinki why not get a repertoire of Scandinavian design articles? Cruise Hostess for English speaking passengers A splended idea from Costa Cruises was to have an English speaking hostess Deborah Dalati on the ship. She belonged to the entertainment staff. She was keeping lectures about safety and how to fill the official documentation. We missed her great personality especially at the start of the excursions. Cruising is a big industry and the ship is like a floating city (with a grew of 900). Navigating , Hotel service , Customer service, Eexcursions, Eentertainment functions are all performed by separate entities that know nothing of each other. The only ones who experience the whole picture are the passengers and Captain Giancarlo Cha. It would be a great help to see the timelines of all functions on a single chart for the whole cruise. It would then be easier to see the time windows available for different events and tasks. The Tour office and the Tax free coud be open from 2 pm to 5 pm.. In the morning there is only a 15 minute timewindow to reserve an excursion after breakfast and before excursion meeting. The Lifts We used the lifts only 2 times during the cruise and maybe thanks to this we did not gain so much weight. There was 3 lifts side by side so that you could not see the other lifts coming if you where standing in front of one lift. Inside a lift there was an announcement in Italian that the doors where opening, but you could not hear this from the outside when you where waiting for another lift. From the outside you could hear again in Italian from the departing other lift, an announcement that the doors where closing, but then it was already too late to make it to that other lift. Sauna Of course if a passenger comes from Finland to a boat that is made in Finland the sauna is a must. The sauna interior was unfortunately also designed in Italy. The sitting height was too low. The sitting height is measured from the stones of the stove. Your feet should be on the stone level when you are sitting. The seat should be so high as you are sitting with straight back your fingers should touch the roof if you put your hand on top of your head. The sitting board was also too narrow. The lighting should have been dim, but the whole side wall was a milk-glass window to the deck day light. The only thing that was correct was the air ventilation with incoming air under the door and out going air from the roof hole. There was no thermometer on the wall only an hourglass for some mysterious reason? On the locker room wall there was an instruction written, to keep your swimming suit on at all times on the premises - also in the sauna. Keeping your swimming suit on in the sauna is considered unhealthy and it is therefore forbidden in every public sauna in Finland. On the corridor opposite the sauna door there was a row of nameless doors that led to private shower rooms that you could lock from inside. The shower was again nailed to the wall. You could not let out water with a temperature suitable for your use, with out getting a gold sprinkle on your shoulders first. Hot water was not hot enough as high as the deck 9. The Ships Hospital A family with 3 teenagers was among the passengers. The two boys where looking quite ill already on the bus to La Romana and the husband got the fever also. They had to stay in the ships hospital for 2 days. Although there is a doctor on the ship he can not prescribe any antibioses because there is no laboratory on the ship. Dining Breakfast 7:30 - 9:15, Lunch 11:30 - 13:00, Dinner 19:00 - 21:00 We ate most our meals at the restaurant at the back end deck 2. During the breakfast and lunch we where escorted to the nearest table (free seating). At lunch we always took the "Single Dish" because everything was pre selected on the same plate so it was quick and effective. At dinner we had the permanent table reserved with the other 6 passengers from Finland. We had bought the water and beer package and we drank from them during the Dinner.. At dinner everyone got to choose a 5 course dinner. About 3 alternatives per course. There was a different menu every night. It was a small miracle how the waiters got everyone served in 40 minutes. Only once in Guadeloupe the dinner was served so late that the angry people eating at the 21 serving where waiting at the restaurant door, when we where the last ones to leave the 19 serving at 21:10. At the info desk they did not know that you could buy beautiful Italian ice cream portions at the Armoinia pool bar on deck 9. We asked the bartender of the main hall opposite the info desk and the bartender knew. The Drink Packages Drink packages are sold and a logistic miracle is keeping track of the bottle count. Every time you get a zero priced receipt to sign. If You looked hard enough You could see the number of the remaining bottles on the receipt The meaning is to save a few Euros if you can forecast your consumption in forehand. Unfortunately the Beer package consisted of 20 bottles which we never managed to finish in a week. After spending thousands of euros to come on this cruise it does not make any sense to try to save some 20 euros. Consuming the drink package feels like work. You wind up drinking more than you really want to when you do not want to loose the 3 last free bottles. The Evening Shows Every evening there was a show in the Osiris Theatre after dinner. Every show was better than the previous one. The same artists performed, but it was always a different story and costumes. Some of the artist where exceptionally talented both to sing and dance. There was also a one man circus show by a multitalented man. One could honestly say that the shows where world class entertainment. One evening there was a show where all the performers where members of the ships own grew. At the end of the show they came to receive their applauses in their usual working clothes and went back to work. The Excursions There was a selection of excursions to attend to at each port of call. Usually the get together for the excursions was 30 minutes after the ship reached the port. We had in good faith used 2 months to choose the excursions of interest in forehand from the Web. The excursion tickets are reserved from the excursion counter that is CLOSED from 11:00 to 17:00 There is only 1 hour time window after breakfast or before dinner and a huge row of passengers at the counter aiming to reserve an excursion ticket for next day. The touch screen computer aided excursion reserving machines where broken. We never found the reserving system from the TV with the remote. There is something terribly wrong with the logistics and organising of the guests to an excursion. The guests do not know how to stand in a row or have forgotten how they used to do it in school. The excursion managers are waving their hands and speaking in tiny voices to get the guests to understand what they are trying to achieve. The English speaking guests do not have a clue what is going on. Finally somehow different number tags are clued to excursion guests chests, according to the selected excursion and language and the managers start leading the different groups to the waiting busses. The only way to find the busses is to follow where most of the guests are going, because the managers vanish at this stage. You are compelled to ask for the right bus when you get to them. We suggest that Costa Cruises gets the same kind of ribbon corals that are used in the airports where guest going to excursions destined to different places and guided in different languages know right away witch line to take. Perhaps the attendees would get a card (stating destination and language) that is collected at the bus to keep count that everyone is on board. If they would have told us in forehand that we had picked such an exotic excursion guided in such an exotic language as English that only a "MIXED excursion" (Italian/English 80/20) or (French/English 95/5) was possible we would have accepted that, but with a reasonable reduction in price. There was altogether 49 brave ones from Finland (Aurinkomatkat) on the Cruise. We think everyone would have gladly paid a 100 EUR more for the Cruise if we would have had an own Guide from Finland. Day 6 Wednesday Catalina Island (7,5 hours) Catalina island is a small uninhabited island with white sand beaches just 15 km from La Romana. The ship anchors nearby and the tender boats commute the guests to the shore and back to the ship every 15 minutes. There are hundreds of sun chairs on the beach and the guests are allowed only to stay on the stretch reserved for the Costa passengers. An armed guard is prohibiting to walk further along the shore. The 3 beach bars sell drinks debited to the Costa Card no potato chips are sold . Some souvenir shops accept dollars. Everybody can get a compliment lunch from the pick nick open air barbeque on a paper plate. We try to find a secluded place under the shade of a tree. We decide that this will be enough of laying on a beach on this holiday. In the evening we dress up formally for the captains Welcome Gala Cocktail before dinner. Day 7 Thursday Tortola - Road Town (9 hours) The ship stops on a pier opposite to another big cruise ship. The pier is located right at the centre of Road Town. We had not reserved any excursion on Tortola. We where thinking of going to an all day trip to Josh Van Dyke that allegedly has the most beautiful sand beaches in all of Caribbean. But the excursion has been removed from the list. So we decide to walk to the Botanic Garden in the city. The garden was a little bit dry because of the season. On the way back we found a fabulous intimate 3 table bakery "Bamboushay pottery" located behind the Sunny Caribbee Spice Co and had the best coffee and upside down cake we have ever tasted. On the way back we stopped at a block of little cabin shops built on the waterfront for the tourists. One man was playing a catching reggae tune with his self build electric guitar equipped with a rhythm machine. The feeling is so cool that we buy a Hawaii shirt with pictures of palms and parrots and a blue large transparent beach dress Day 8 Friday Antigua - Saint John´s (6 hours) The ship stops at the pier of Saint John´s centre. There are lots of pre advertised jewellery shops built just for tourists at the harbour. Antigua is the only island on the cruise where East Caribbean Dollars are accepted along with US Dollars. We walk along the streets lined with nicely painted wooden houses to St John´s Cathedral on the hill but it is closed for restoration. We find a marvellous shop called "Island Creations" on #3 Redcliffe Quay, where also big sized dresses made of batik fabric are sold. We buy 2 dresses and one shirt. In the harbour pier there is a charter sailing boat named Black Pearl. The Costa Mediterranea crew is constantly maintaining the ship in shape - the anchor is being painted. Day 9 Saturday Barbados - Bridgetown (9 hours) We have reserved tickets for the Orchid Garden - Sunbury Plantation English excursion. If the boat docks in the morning at 9:00 the excursion guests gather at the meeting point at 9:30. We have had ample time for breakfast delivered to our cabin. The usual hullabaloo commences at the meeting point, and we just follow the other guests along the long pier and trough the customs building to the busses. The excursion managers have clued a number sticker on each quests chest. We find the buss with the same number easily. The guide is a local girl who has studied Italian in the University of Barbados. She has even spent 4 months in Italy. She thinks that this is an Italian excursion and talks only Italian and is very surprised to find out that half of the quests have bought tickets for an English excursion. So the guide tries to make a mixed Italian/English tour in about 80% / 20% ratio. (Her native language is English). Another disappointment is revealed because the excursion is not going to the Orchid World like it says in the Web. The Orchid Garden is changed to Flower Forest although the number of the excursion is kept the same. The Flower Forest is still a fine place worth seeing. We are astonished by the size of the plants that grow wild here, when we are used to grow them in pots inside the house. ST John Parish church Next we stop at St John Parish church that has a wonderful view point from the cemetery terrace. Sunbury Plantation House Next in the program is the Sunbury Plantation House, which is like a doll house in real human scale. All the furniture and household things are left untouched, just like the folks would still be living there. We see the first gas stove ever used on Barbados. It is so soothing to sip fruit juice in the shade of the big platan trees in the Plantation House garden. You really can feel how the upper class life was at the time of the sugar cane industry. All over the countryside You can also see that people taking good care of their little houses. They all have a small garden. Romantic Dinner Back at the peer we buy a couple of rum cakes for souvenirs and a pretty orchid painted tray. In the evening we get a second change to wear our formal wear and dine at the Medusa restaurant at deck 10 and have a huge T-bone steak. It's a very romantic dinner with candle light and grand piano music. Day 10 Sunday Guadeloupe-Pointe a Pietre(12 hours) We arrive at this French town at 11:00. It is the ugliest city on the cruise but luckily we have reserved tickets for the Carbet Waterfalls English excursion. Again excursion hullabaloo at 13:00 and we find our selves on an French instead of an English excursion. The guide holds a mixed French/English tour in about 95% / 5% ratio. The waterfall (middle height one) is magnificent. The road to the buss parking place is steep, narrow and has many 180o curves. We make the rest 200 m along a boardwalk to the fall. It is forbidden to go under the fall because of the falling stone danger but every one wants to have a picture taken under the water fall anyway. On the way we see the bananas ripening inside blue plastic bags. The blue bags are kept on the bunches for 4 months because they don't lure so many insects. Day 11 Monday Sint Maarten - Philsburg (5 hours) When we arrived at Philsburg at 13:00 the harbour was filled with cruise liners. We where on the Dutch side of the island divided by the Dutch and French. US Dollars where accepted in the shops. We had reserved tickets for the "See and Sea Island Tour". A trip with a glass bottomed boat to view the corals. We had a note in our cabin the previous evening in Italian about the tickets. At the Info desk the man had a Websters Italian / English dictionary where we looked at the only word that was strange - it translated to "FORGET" . We could not understand the meaning that they could not deliver our tickets because the printer did not work. The excursion was postponed because of the bad weather. That meant we had ample time to watch the tourist shops on the pier. Before we went a shore we took the "Single Dish" again to save time. On the pier area there was a very good shop with quality beach clothes (US made) called "Island Living". We took a cold beer on the bench and listened to a steel pan orchestra playing in a gazebo on the square. We also bought a pirate calypso CD under the counter from a kiosk. The stores where built on a fenced tourist area. You could not walk along the beach even if the distance to the city was not far. Couple of brave ones took a private taxi to Maho Beach to watch the airplanes landing over the beach. They almost missed the boat because of the heavy traffic jam on the way back. When the boat was leaving the harbour we had a safety drill that everyone had to attend to. We stood at the lifeboat stations women and children in front and men in the back row in lifejackets while they announced what we had to do in case of an emergency. This was the only time the English announcement came first and the French announcement last after 6 other languages. The staff was inspecting the passengers with a hard look on their eyes when the announcement where played to emphasize that this was a serious matter. Day 12 Thuesday Bus trip back to Hotel In the morning we sat on the balcony admiring the beautiful white sanded beaches of the Saona island. At the horizon you could see the diesel generator smokes of La Romana . All the electricity on every Caribbean island is produced by huge diesel generator power plants pushing un cleaned carbon dioxide and micro-particles boldly in to the atmosphere. Caribbean islands would be an ideal place to try out small 70 MW under water nuclear power plants designed by Flexblue. After breakfast there was only one hour 9:30 - 10:30 at Dionysos Lounge deck 3 to settle the Costa Card account and get the unspent euros back. Euros were still accepted at the tax free shop before docking. The ship arrived at La Romana port at 13:00. The heaviest suit case was left outside the cabin door the night before. The passengers leaving the ship at La Romana where gathered to to the Osiris Theatre for passport and embarking document control at 13:15. On the pier we collected the heavy suit case at the customs. Everything went efficiently and smoothly. All 49 of us where sitting in the buss at 14:00 ready to return to Puerto Plata. The driver stopped at a tidy cafe right outside La Romana. I had reserved a smooth jazz CD to play during the buss journey. We where a bit tired of the loud meringue music. That was a mistake - the driver started to feel drowsy and would soon fallen asleep if one of the passenger would not have kept him awake by talking to him. We drove trough a dried up palm plantation and stopped for photos. It is forbidden to cut down living palm trees so the palms are deliberately left to dry standing to get timber. 2 stops one before the central sierra and one after. And then non-stop driving from Nagua to Puerto Plata 80 km/h trought the towns way over the speed limit with loud merengue music. We arrived tired and hungry just in time for dinner at 19:10. We requested for the most peaceful room and got the most noisiest room 2354 abowe the animators theatre. We went back to reception to complain and got a wonderful quiet room and went right to bed after dinner. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
The Ship: The Mediterranea is a well-reviewed ship so I won't repeat many details other than to say it's big, considered one of the medium size cruise ships of recent construction : 12 decks, 292 meters long and 32 meters wide. ... Read More
The Ship: The Mediterranea is a well-reviewed ship so I won't repeat many details other than to say it's big, considered one of the medium size cruise ships of recent construction : 12 decks, 292 meters long and 32 meters wide. Max passengers 2,500. 1 main restaurant on two levels, 1 specialty restaurant, and a self-service buffet. 1,057 cabins, most outside with balconies. It was the itinerary that made this cruise unique because the stop at Tripoli was the first for Costa in over three years. Embarkation: Basically a piece of cake. After leaving our car in the port parking (€90 for the duration of the cruise), a shuttle bus brought us directly to the ship where, being Costa Club Pearl members, we were immediately checked in and went on board. There were relatively few passengers boarding at the same time, approximately 16.00 in the afternoon. The Cabin: We had a "panoramic suite," cabin number 6176, cat. PS, on the 6th deck, in the mid-section. The cabin was reasonably large (about 30 square meters) with a main sleeping/living area, dressing room, bath, and a large balcony. The bed was comfortable but we asked the cabin steward to bring us two extra pillows and to remove the hot synthetic duvet leaving only the cotton cover There was a three-person couch, easy chair, desk and chair, minibar, safe, and an oval table. There was a four-drawer dresser, two-door wardrobe next to the bed and another in the dressing room, besides several cabinets for additional storage. The carpet was clean and free of stains. There were large mirrors in the dressing room and over the desk. The hair dryer was in one of the drawers of the dressing room. Our suitcases fit under the bed. The TV had satellite channels in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Russian. In addition there were shipboard channels advertising excursions and the onboard shops, spa, etc. The interactive TV had a webcam showing the view from the bridge and a channel with a so-called "scan display" which showed the ship's current position, wind direction and speed, outside temps, weather and sea conditions. The bathroom was good-sized with two side-by-side sinks and storage space above and under them, a toilet, and a jacuzzi bathtub/shower. We always had fluffy white towels (four bath and four hand), four facecloths, and two bathmats, as well as two nice robes and slippers. A sliding glass door led out onto the balcony which was equipped with a sun lounger and a chair and table. The cabin steward changed the towels twice a day as necessary and the sheets/pillow cases every third day. Being a Costa Club member, we always had fresh fruit in the room which was replenished frequently. We did not use the minibar. We did not feel any discomfort even when the seas were rough a couple times. Vibration was non-existent and I felt only the slightest movement on the worst days. Service and Staff: I found the staff members in the Reception and Excursion Offices to be professional, friendly, and very helpful. They were of several different nationalities and spoke two or three languages each. At no time was any of the crew or staff rude or discourteous in any way. To the contrary, almost everyone I had occasion to meet had a smile and/or greeting for me. In the cabin area, our butler Furlan from Costa Rica was professional and very helpful, always available for whatever we needed. Our cabin steward was Cho from Myanmar whom we found to be the best we have ever had in many years of cruising on a dozen or more ships. Passenger Mix: On this cruise there were 2280 passengers aboard. Most were Germans - some 820 of them; there were also 780 Italians, 290 French, 92 Spanish speakers, about 50 English-speakers (including 3 Americans), and a mixture of Russians, Polish, Japanese, etc. The multi-language announcements were few. Not being during the school holidays, children aboard this cruise were relatively few, thus we had very little chaos. Cleanliness: Costa is a line that prides itself on keeping everything clean. There were squads of men constantly going about rubbing and shining the brass, polishing mirrors and glass doors, vacuuming the carpeting, cleaning and sanitizing tables and surfaces. One nice thing were the numerous hand sanitizer machines found at the boarding points and prior to entering the restaurants. Smoking: This was one the few cruises we have taken recently that tobacco smoke was an issue for us. One morning early in the cruise we had a strong smell of tobacco in the cabin, probably from the air conditioning. We complained and something was fixed because we didn't have the problem any longer. In the bars and lounges however, it seemed the smoking areas were much larger than the non-smoking. On most ships we have been on, the lounges were divided, smoking on one side, non-smoking on the other. The Mediterranea's lounges were smaller, with the two areas right next to one another so it was hard to avoid the smell. One lounge (the Roero/Orientale) that had an excellent piano-violin duo that we enjoyed listening to had the smoking area directly in front of the stage so if you wanted to listen to the music you had to sit with the smokers. To go to the restaurant on deck 2 you had to pass through the Talia Lounge which was a smokers' haven. Not good. Naturally smoking was prohibited in the restaurants, theatre, etc. Restaurants and Bars: The Mediterranea's main restaurant (MDR) was on two levels aft, on decks 2 and 3. The self-service buffet was also aft on the 9th deck, while the Medusa Club specialty restaurant was on the 10th. I didn't count all the bars but they were many and scattered all over the ship. MDR: We elected the second seating (usually at 20:30; first seating was too early at 18:00) and were assigned to table 19 with two other Italian couples. Our table companions were great and we enjoyed their company throughout the cruise. We judged the food served nightly to be very good, not exceptional, and certainly not bad. International but for the most part Italian cuisine which we naturally enjoyed. To save on costs and wastage, Costa has recently reduced portions and cut out many of the more expensive items previously found on cruise menus. This was no problem to us because we don't cruise to eat, and if there was something that we really liked we could always ask for seconds. No big thing. My wife eats mainly vegetarian and she was very satisfied with what they served her. Aside from MDR food, the wine list was extensive and during the course of the cruise I selected different wines in the €23 to €25 range. The waiter corked and saved the half-full bottles for the following evening Some people had bought wine packets but I noticed that most these wines were unknown or nothing special. We always had a huge jug of ice water on our table and only used bottled water in the cabin. Other than for the three gala evenings, we dressed casually for dinner. Self-Service: The self-service buffet was on the 9th deck and was open for breakfast and lunch only. There was a pizzeria open in the evenings I believe. Available for breakfast was an assortment of Italian pastries, muffins, Danishes, cornettos, etc. plus four styles of eggs, scrambled, omelettes, and hard-boiled; sausages, bacon, potatoes, cold meats and cheeses, fruit, yogurts, industrial fruit juices and American style coffee. Lunch saw a carvery with roasts or meatloaf, pasta and rice dishes, hamburgers and wurstel, fries, oven potatoes, salads and desserts. We generally used the self-service for both breakfast and lunch because we did not want full meals, usually only taking pastries for the first and either a salad, pasta dish, or hamburger for the second. Two or three times we took lunch in the MDR Bars: We generally had espresso coffee mornings and afternoons in one of the bars. The coffee was surprisingly good and cost €1.10, little more than at a bar on mainland Italy. Some evenings I enjoyed an after-dinner drink in bars where live music was being played. Very recently Costa has changed their prepaid water and coffee packet system which in the past was made up of individual vouchers or coupons that you simply gave the waiter when you wanted a coffee or a bottle of water. Now you buy the water or coffee packages (13 bottles of water and 25 cups of coffee respectively) and your on-board account is automatically debited each time you order one or the other until the number of coffees or bottles are used up. The advantage of the old system was you just gave the waiter a coupon and didn't have to sign anything. Plus, any unused coupons could be used on your next Costa cruise. Now you have to sign a zero-cost ticket each time and if you have unused credit, it's lost at the end of the cruise. We used all our water credits but probably gave up at least ten coffees. Library and Internet: Both were on the 3rd deck The selection of English language books in the library was good. There were many computers available for internet users in the. The cost was €10 for 30 minutes (minus 20% for Costa Club members). The Mediterrenea had Wifi throughout for personal computers and we used ours in the cabin. Here again you had to pay for a password - €24 for three hours (€19.20 for Costa Club). Laundry: We used the ship's laundry service twice, including having my suit dry-cleaned the first day. The service was excellent with everything being returned within 24 hours. Gym and Spa: The gym was a large open space at the front of the ship on the 9th and 10th decks with huge windows looking out over the sea. There were plenty of exercise machines available. I used the gym every day and rarely had to wait for a particular machine. The spa area was extensive and staffed primarily by girls from the Philippines who gave great massages. I bought the four massage packet for €327 and had Ada who was wonderful. The 11th had a good but short oval running track which I used after dinner for a few fast-walk laps, and in the early morning on at-sea days. Entertainment: We went to several shows in the evening after dinner as well as either listening the piano-violin duo mentioned above, or even dancing in the large Casanova lounge or disco. We had a great time. Weather and Climatic Conditions: We had grey rainy weather sailing down the Italian coast on day two and then again when we were returning through Italian waters. The rest of the time the weather was good with temperatures in the low 30's at both sunny Alexandria and Limassol. Malta was cooler, maybe 25 degrees or so, but no rain, while Tripoli was warmer in the morning but by late afternoon it was quite cool and windy. The sea was a little rough south of Italy and Greece but not felt too bad aboard the ship. For the rest of the time we had fairly calm seas. Port Calls and Shore Excursions: After boarding at Civitavecchia we had two at sea days before reaching our first port, Alexandria. Day 1-3 - At Sea Day 4 - Alexandria. Warm and sunny with that particular smell we always find at the Alexandria port. The majority of the passengers all boarded buses for the long haul to Cairo but since we've done that and have been in Alex several times, we elected to remain on the ship and go ashore only for lunch. We took a taxi from the dock to the "Fish Market," one of Alex's best seafood restaurants. After a great lunch of red mullet, jumbo shrimps, squid and vegetables, we took a long walk along the Alexandria waterfront and eventually caught a taxi back to the port. Day 5 - Limassol. Warm and sunny. We've both been to Limassol before on other cruises but my wife wanted to see Curium. She took the excursion to Curium and Omodos (€49) and I opted for the jeep safari (€79) up into the mountains. We both had a good time but were glad to get back to the ship. Day 6 - Rhodes. Warm but overcast. We've also been to Rhodes before but my wife wanted to return to Lindos to visit the acropolis. I wasn't feeling up to it so she took a taxi to Lindos (€57 one way) and I contented myself to a short walk into the old town. The visit to Lindos must have been great because she still talks about it. Day 7 - At Sea. Day 8 - La Valletta, Malta. Here my wife and I decided on two different excursions. I took the all-day best of Malta tour (€78) while she went to see the megalithic temples at Tarxien (€42). My tour consisted of a walking tour through Valletta followed by a bus tour to Mdina, plus the ever present shopping experience at an old air base turned into a shopping center. We were supposed to see the megalithic temples as well but this somehow got dropped from the agenda. In any case, the lunch in a local restaurant was very good. Day 9 - Tripoli, Libya. All passengers whether they were planning on disembarking or not were debited a mandatory €14.00 a head Libyan visa charge - apparently required by Libyan authorities for any ship entering their territorial waters. Four disembarking possibilities were offered: ship excursions to Leptis Magna, Sabratha, or a tour of Tripoli, as well as being able to disembark and walk around Tripoli on your own. The two excursions out of Tripoli were by bus and passengers were required to remain as a group on the individual buses leaving the port and returning. On return you had to reembark on the ship. Those opting for the Tripoli tour or walk around could not leave the city limits but were free to stay ashore all day. It was clear that the Tripoli tourism people were not geared for masses of excursionists and we literally swamped them - buses of varying age and condition had been sequestered for our visit from all over the country it seemed. There was ample confusion and delays as they tried to accommodate more than 2000 passengers. My wife and I opted for Leptis Magna for which we paid €107 each (which included the visa and lunch). Our group of about 45 people went on one of the buses (not the newest) with a very good archaeologist guide and enjoyed the six hour tour of the site along with about an hour for lunch under a huge Khaddafi-type tent (chicken and couscous preceded by an interesting spicy soup and followed by sweets and fruit). On return our bus took us back along the Tripoli waterfront (with huge photos of the Colonel on every corner) directly to our ship. Needless to say, Leptis was magnificent. The few Libyans we had occasion to meet were courteous and friendly. Day 10 - At Sea. Rain and overcast. Day 11 - Savona. Nice day. Later in the morning we went ashore to walk around the town and do some shopping. Day 12 - Civitavecchia. Disembarkation. Disembarkation: Being suite occupants we were given red luggage tags so when we leisurely disembarked at Civitavecchia port out bags were waiting for us and we left immediately on the shuttle bus to retrieve our car. Conclusions: The Mediterranea is a nice ship and the itinerary for this cruise was particularly interesting. The only real criticism we had was the smoke in the lounges which was annoying to us and probably intolerable for many others. Costa should see if a separate enclosed smokers-only lounge could be established and leave at least some of the others smoke free. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Embarkation was from the Costa terminal at Savona and was both efficiently and professionally handled. Within an hour we were on board and in our cabin with our luggage and Costa cards. Aesthetically pleasing initially, the cabin soon ... Read More
Embarkation was from the Costa terminal at Savona and was both efficiently and professionally handled. Within an hour we were on board and in our cabin with our luggage and Costa cards. Aesthetically pleasing initially, the cabin soon revealed some unpleasant surprises. There was a strong odor of former passengers which persisted throughout the first half of the cruise, and only dispelled through the constant use by ourselves of a disinfectant and air freshener. The bed linen too, was also "tired" and the mattress and pillows too hard for comfort. The bathroom towels were also very well used and quite gray in color from frequent use. Our feeling was that the cabins at least were in dire need of refurbishment. We also discovered that our cabin had an inter-leading door into the next cabin, and even though it was locked, did not block out sounds from next door. Our first overall impression of the ship met with our expectations and indeed, the decor in the public rooms on the Costa Mediterranea lives up to its four star status. The wooden paneling, luxurious furnishings and Murano light fittings faithfully live up to its theme of a Venetian palace. Unfortunately, one major disadvantage is that there are too few areas designated for non-smokers, and this proved to be most unpleasant throughout the cruise. Smoking and non-smoking areas run alongside each other, and therefore one is forced to inhale smoke even in a non-smoking area. Generally the food is of an acceptable standard although presentation in the main dining room, compared with three other cruises we have enjoyed during the past five years, was not very imaginative. Breakfasts in the self-service buffet were the same every day, and did not meet the four star standard of the ship. Being an Italian vessel, Mediterranean type dishes and pastas were excellent, but when it came to catering for those requiring a low cholesterol diet, it was often difficult to find anything suitable on the menu. The afternoon teas were enjoyable and very welcome to those returning from a day's outing on shore. The drinking cups and glasses provided in the buffet area were plastic, and more suitable for children, whereas even melamine could have been more preferable. The entertainment provided in the theater was very limited and we only truly enjoyed four of the thirteen performances during the whole cruise. At least three of the shows were frivolous and more suitable for a child's matinee, while the overall production and choreography of the musicals lacked imagination and professionalism. We also found that some of the port visits were too short to enjoy, such as in Mykonos, Izmir and Yalta, and better planning is required in future to make the most of these visits. Very often, passengers who had decided to explore on their own, were told to return to the ship at a certain time, only to find that the ship's organized tours ran up to an hour after the designated times, thus delaying timeous departure. Being an Italian vessel, even though Costa is owned by the American Carnival Corp, the majority of the passengers are Italian. The balance of the passengers on this cruise were French and German. We did not come across any Americans and the few English speakers were from Australia and the United Kingdom. Even though each passenger had to pay the same fare for the cruise, we came across many instances where non-Italian speakers were not catered for, such as the many fun events in making costumes for a carnival and the deck games. All the officers and members of the entertainment team are Italian and most of them only have a smattering of English to converse with. Unless one greeted an officer, they would walk right past one without even an acknowledgement. Overall, having spent a considerable amount on this cruise, we decided to make the most of the situation we found ourselves in, and our choice of ports of call played an important role in our enjoyment of the cruise. However, we would urge all those who prefer to speak English to be cautious when selecting a Costa cruise, and we ourselves would certainly not consider another one. Whilst our allocated time to visit Rome was very short (9 hours), and even though we have been to Rome on several different occasions, the "Eternal City" is always worth a visit. On this occasion, we elected to travel from the port to the city by train, and opted for the "hop on hop off" bus tour which enabled us to see many of the famous sights during the shortest time possible. Mykonos is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating Greek islands, and worthy of a visit. Not only is it picturesque, but has some wonderful little restaurants and shops. Try to select a cruise where one can spend a full day on the island which allows one to enjoy the sandy beaches as well. With the limited time available to us in Izmir, (5 hours), one has to make a choice of travelling to Ephesus (a wonderful experience) or of shopping for bargains in the Kemeralti market. On this occasion, we chose the latter, and had a most enjoyable time shopping, especially knowing that the Grand Bazaar in our next port of call, Istanbul, would be closed (being a Sunday). The selection of every conceivable item such as leather ware, shoes, handbags, etc. was more than satisfying. We had a most enjoyable day in Istanbul. Having previously visited the Blue Mosque and the Haggia Sophia, we opted to visit the Topkapi Palace including the Harem, and found this to be most fascinating. We had an pleasant lunch of local fare (a wrap filled with lamb similar to Souvlaki) and enjoyed shopping in some of the city stores. Yalta - After sailing through the Bosphorus - a truly memorable experience - we visited Yalta in the Crimea. Situated on the Black Sea, Yalta is certainly worth a visit, and has many splendid palaces, the most famous of which is Livadia Palace, summer residence of Tsar Nicholas II and his family, as well as being the venue for the signing of the Yalta agreement whereby the leaders of Great Britain, Russia and the United States divided Europe into the Western and Eastern blocs towards the end of the World War II. Odessa, also on the Black Sea, is worth a half day visit, as it has many beautiful buildings and promenades. Thereafter, we visited Athens (always a pleasure to visit) and the tiny Greek island of Katakolon/Olympia , a really quaint little island, worth a half day visit. Disembarkation was once more at Savona, and within an hour we had collected our luggage and were on our way again without any problems. All in all an interesting cruise itinerary, but maybe next time with another cruise line! Read Less
Sail Date August 2010
My wife and I decided to cruise on Costa for the first time for our Baltics cruise. The Costa Mediterrania had an itinerary we really liked and the cost for a balcony cabin was reasonable. We had read mixed reviews for Costa, but wanted a ... Read More
My wife and I decided to cruise on Costa for the first time for our Baltics cruise. The Costa Mediterrania had an itinerary we really liked and the cost for a balcony cabin was reasonable. We had read mixed reviews for Costa, but wanted a more European versus American experience with this cruise. We figured we were really cruising for the itinerary and not the ship. We had a 10 night Baltic cruise with 8 ports of call including embarking and disembarking in Copenhagen starting on September 2nd. It was a port intensive itinerary with only 1 day at sea. I have broken our review of the cruise into the categories below followed by the ports of call. Embarkation Embarking the ship was truly a fascination to watch. Costa is cruising Italian style and this was clearly shown with the embarkation process. The best way to try and describe it is "Organized Chaos." When we arrived to check in, we were given a group number. You do not check in as you arrive. Once our group number was called, everyone in that group herded through a corded off line up to about 4 check-in attendants. The group sizes appeared to be 150 to 200 people. It was over 1.5 hours from the time we arrived at port until we were on the ship. When you enter the ship, they take your photo for your cruise card and then you can go to your cabin. Our cruise cards and luggage was waiting for us in the cabin. Overall, the check-in process seemed very disorganized until you boarded the ship. The Ship The Costa Mediterrania is a very beautiful ship. Very Italian in decor with Murano glass in the main hall areas. Some of the colors are quite loud in the main hall, but overall the ship is very nicely decorated. There are several lounges throughout the ship for drinks. There were 2 pool areas and a waterslide. The hot tubs were supposed to be restricted to 16 and older, but we always saw children in the hot tubs anyway. Dining The ship had the main dining room, the buffet area, an upscale restaurant, and a pizzeria. They also would have buffets in different lounges and in the pool area at certain times. We dined in the main dining room every evening. For breakfast and lunch we split between the main dining room and the buffet. The buffet was the usual fare along with egg stations for breakfast and pasta stations for lunch. There were also tables for fresh fruit as well. The pasta stations and pizzeria were quite good. We enjoyed the food in the main dining room very much. It was interesting to try different dishes and we liked everything we tried. Our waiters were very friendly and fun. Sometimes service can be slow, but I think this is due to how Europeans dine as compared to how Americans dine. But we were usually done with dinner within an hour and a half. Drinks We had the X1 package with unlimited house wine, beer, soda and bottled water during lunch and dinner. The house wines were Italian and very good. We would enjoy a bottle or two with dinner. Drinks in the lounges are a little expensive with the dollar to euro exchange rate. However, they would have the drink of the day special and 2-for-1 specials as well. Entertainment We only went to a couple shows as we were exhausted from being in port all day. We went to the first show that had a piano and violin duet and to the Russian folklore dancers. We did enjoy the two shows we saw. Excursions We did not participant on any ship excursions. We did all of the ports ourselves and had private tours in St. Petersburg, Tallinn and Gdansk. We did take the ship's shuttle in Riga as we docked 15km from the old town area and in Travemunde as we docked in a secure area and could only leave by shuttle. Staff The staff was nice and our English speaking hostess, Melissa, was great. Since we prepared before the trip with info on our ports of call, we did not have much need to interact with the staff with many questions. We only went to the Guest Services desk a couple times with quick questions and were treated nicely. We would also ask some questions to the port and shopping guide, Andrea, to find out which berth we were docking in to prepare our day. One thing we did notice compared to other cruise lines we have been on is that the staff does not bombard you with sales pitches for drinks, collector glasses, etc. If you are in the pool area or setting in a lounge, a server will stop by and ask if you need anything. If you don't then they leave you alone until you call them over. We liked this because on other cruise lines we sometimes felt like we were always being hit up to buy something. Communication Every day you would get a newsletter with all of the activities for that day and port information. They did not announce the activities over the intercom. We found this refreshing compared to other cruises where they were announcing some activity every few minutes. The lifeboat drill was the afternoon of the first full day as it was our sea day. This did take some time as the announcement is done in several languages. However it only took about 30 minutes and did pass quickly. Disembarkation Compared to the embarkation process, disembarking was really smooth. We were given color-coded luggage labels the evening before disembarkation. We then set our luggage outside the cabin for collection. The daily newsletter tells you which lounge or theatre to wait with an approximate time for your color to be called. When our color was called, we walked off the ship, right to our luggage, and out the door. It was very quick and easy. Overall We enjoyed the cruise and the ship very much. It was nice to try something different and have a different experience. There were times that some passengers could be a little rude, but we did not experience this much. We also enjoyed that they were not always trying to sell you something when you are trying to just relax in a chair by the pool or sitting in a lounge. Then main thing we feel they need improvement is in their embarkation process. The X1 package is a great deal if you like to drink wine for dinner and have beer or wine for lunch. Ports of Call Stockholm, Sweden Stockholm was our first port of call. We ended up docking in Stadsgarden near the old town instead of Frihammen. This worked better as we could just use the hop-on-hop-off boat to get around instead of taking a bus from Frihammen. We met up with another couple from the ship and went to the Vasa Museum first. This museum is dedicated to the Swedish Man of War, Vasa, as it sank in the harbor on its maiden voyage in 1625. It is a very impressive museum built around the recovered ship and a must see in my opinion. The ship itself is well preserved and quite large. They also have several artifacts from the ship on display as well. We then went over to Gamla Stan, the old town. We spent our time walking around the old town, shopping, and had lunch in a nice little cafe. We then walked by the town hall and over to Nybrokajen to get on the hop-on-hop-off boat back to our cruise ship. Stockholm is a very beautiful city and we enjoyed it. Helsinki, Finland Helsinki was our second port of call. We docked in Lansikartta, which is a little distance from the city center. There was a tourist information center at the dock and we purchased a 1 day transport card for all public transportation. One block from the dock is a public bus stop for buses 14B and 16 into the city center. We caught the number 16 bus into the city center and it dropped us off near the market square. We walked down to the public ferry port there to catch the ferry to Suomenlinna Fortress. The ferry was included in our 1 day pass. We walked around Suomenlinna for a couple hours or so. It is a well preserved fortress on an island a few minutes from the city center by ferry. We then headed back to the city center and had lunch in the market square. We then hopped onto the tram 3T and rode out to the Rock Church. This is a unique circular church blasted into pure rock. The inside was really intriguing and the acoustics inside are incredible. We then used the metro to go to Senate Square. After that we saw the Russian Cathedral and went back down to the market square to look around before catching the number 16 bus back to the ship. Helsinki was a nice surprise as we were able to leisurely take in the sights. St. Petersburg, Russia St. Petersburg was our third port of call and we were there overnight for 2 days. We had arranged a 2 day private tour with Anna at http://www.petersburgguide.com/. She is a licensed tour guide and capable of providing the "blanket visa" for cruise ship passengers so that you do not need to get a Russian visa. We preferred this option versus the ship's excursions because we could see more sights, not be herded around in a large group and have more control over our itinerary. Our ship docked at the new cruise ship terminal. The new terminal is very modern and efficient. Costa did not hamper or discourage in any way the disembarking of independent or private tour passengers. Costa did ask us to show our tour ticket with Anna to ensure we had a private tour arranged, but that was all. We were off the ship and through Russian immigration within 5 to 10 minutes. Thank you Costa for not harassing private tour passengers in St. Petersburg as some other cruise lines had been doing. We had a packed first day on our itinerary. Our guide's name was Ina and our driver's name was Sergei. From the cruise ship we stopped at St. Isaac's Cathedral on our way to Peterhof, the summer palace. At Peterhof, we toured the gardens and watched as they turned on all the fountains. We then toured through the palace. Ina took us through the rooms narrating each as we passed. She also explained how the palace was destroyed in WW2 and completely rebuilt. We then drove back to St. Petersburg and then took the metro to see some of the richly decorated metro stations. We then stopped at a Russian pie shop for lunch. Ina explained that this type of fare was left over from the Soviet era and very tasty. The pies were filled with meat, salmon, mushrooms and different fruits. We then headed over to the Winter Palace and The Hermitage. We toured the Winter Palace and Hermitage for a couple hours. The architecture and works of art at the Hermitage were incredible. After that, we proceeded to the Church of the Split Blood. This church was built on the spot where Alexander II was assassinated. The inside was decorated with amazing and colorful mosaics. Our last stop of the day was a farmer's market. Our second day was a little more relaxing. We traveled from the ship to Tsarskoye Selo to see Catherine's Palace. We toured through the palace and the Amber Room. Such a shame it was ransacked in WW2. We then toured the gardens outside the palace before heading back to St. Petersburg. For lunch, Ina took us to a local Russian Brewhouse where she would go with friends and colleagues. After this we went to the Peter and Paul Fortress. We toured the fortress, Peter and Paul Cathedral and the prison. After this we shopped for souvenirs before heading back to the ship. St. Petersburg was the highlight of the cruise for us and we really got to fully enjoy the city with a private tour. Tallinn, Estonia Tallinn was our forth port of call. It has an incredible medieval old town that is well preserved. We had arranged a private guide ahead of time for our own walking tour. A few people from the ship joined in with us also. Anne was our guide and she met us at the port. We walked from the port to the old town. It is a short walk and only took about 10 to 15 minutes. She took us through the lesser and upper towns explaining the history and architecture. She was also able to give us insight to the Soviet occupation and revolution. After our tour we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the old town. Tallinn is a hidden gem on the Baltic itinerary. Riga, Latvia Riga was our fifth port of call. One of the reasons we chose this itinerary was because it did stop in Riga. We docked about 15km outside the city center, so we took the Costa shuttle into the city. We started at the tourist information office and got a map of walking tours. We then found a guide in the square advertising a walking tour of the old town area for 5LATS ($10, 7 Euro) per person. We were with another couple and we decided to hire him for a tour. He took us throughout old town explaining the sights, architecture, history and cathedrals. He was a history major and very informative. We then did our own walking tour of the Art Nuevo area just outside of the old town following the map from the TI office. We then spent the rest of the afternoon shopping and walking around the old town before catching the shuttle back to the ship. Riga is charming and looks like a fun place to visit. Gdynia, Poland Gdynia was our sixth port of call. This is the port for the tri-city area of Gdynia, Sopot and Gdansk. We had arranged a private tour ahead of time and another couple from the ship joined us. Our guide, Magda, picked us up at the port and we headed out for Gdansk. Along the way we stopped at the Olive Cathedral. Gdansk has a colorful old town area that was completely rebuilt after WW2. Magda took us around the old town highlighting the most important points as our time in port was only half a day. We also did some amber shopping and had coffee at a cafe. We then drove to Sopot and when to the pier. This is the longest wooden pier in Europe. We then headed back to the ship. We wished we had more time to spend in Gdansk as we liked strolling around the old town. Travemunde, Germany Travemunde was our seventh port of call. It is a small seaside resort town in Germany. Since we docked in a secure port area, we had to take the Costa shuttle into town. From there we caught the train to Lubeck. Lubeck is an UNESCO World Heritage site for its medieval old town. We just spent our time walking around the old town, shopping and eating lunch in the square. We just wanted to relax at this stop. We then took the train back to Travemunde and walked around there for a while before heading back to the ship. It was a nice and relaxing stop before disembarking the next day. Copenhagen, Denmark Copenhagen was our eighth port of call and our disembarkation stop. We disembarked and a friend of ours there picked us up. We stayed with friends for a couple days as we toured the city. It is an easy city to walk and very enjoyable. We enjoyed our time and it was good to see our friends again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Booked this cruise on Costa Mediterranea a week before departure as it offered flights from Glasgow and a balcony cabin at a reasonable price. Flew independently to Copenhagen airport which has a metro connection running every 5 minutes ... Read More
Booked this cruise on Costa Mediterranea a week before departure as it offered flights from Glasgow and a balcony cabin at a reasonable price. Flew independently to Copenhagen airport which has a metro connection running every 5 minutes into the city centre. ( Took about 20 minutes) Then took a local train to the port terminal. Costa berths at the furthest away terminal in Copenhagen but it was only a 10 to 15 flat walk mostly through the terminal buildings.Costa check in was excellent and we were straight onto the ship without queueing. Only disadvantage of this was that the credit card still needed to be registered and this involved waiting in a long queue in the lounge at set times. Tried on a few occasions but the line was never less than half an hour.Our cabin was identical to last year's cabin on Costa Serena with a more dated bathroom. Fine if you like aqua plastic. The cabin was clean and well kept and showed no signs of wear and tear. The cabin stewards were lovely. Had first sitting dining at 7.30p.m. but noticed that most passengers were Italian and arrived nearer to 8 0'clock! Food in the main dining room was a bit lacking interest and tasted like mass produced Hilton hotel wedding fare. Fine but nothing to get excited by!  The only other evening option was pizzas in the buffet. Pizzas and pasta is the best served on any cruise ship we have been on. Main show entertainment was very "Euro" orientated and a bit like a holiday special circa 1980! However it was pleasant enough. Music in the lounges was very similar throughout and usually a bland combination of tea dance meets lift music.  Can't comment on the quality of the library books as they are kept under lock and key and can only be accessed at a few set times! The trip down the fjords was spectacular. The waterfalls stunning. Our cabin at the centre aft of the ship was ideal for viewing as the ship enters the fjords early in the morning. Overall a great cruise with interesting and quaint ports helped by the excellent weather in the high 70'sF throughout.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Having enjoyed a cruise on the Costa Med in 2007 that left from Venice, Italy and hit ports in Italy, Greece and Croatia, my friend Jim and I decided to try a longer transatlantic Costa Med cruise in 2008 that started in Savona, Italy and ... Read More
Having enjoyed a cruise on the Costa Med in 2007 that left from Venice, Italy and hit ports in Italy, Greece and Croatia, my friend Jim and I decided to try a longer transatlantic Costa Med cruise in 2008 that started in Savona, Italy and ended in Santos, Brazil. While some things could be improved, we had another great time overall. We flew from New York into Genoa, Italy on November 26 where we stayed at a Costa-arranged hotel called the Bristol Palace. Our large, spacious room and its modern bath were very pleasant as were the bar and reception area. We had an excellent dinner at one of the finest restaurants in Genoa, Zeffirino, that was located a couple of blocks down the street. Then we then were picked up on November 27 by a Costa-arranged van for our hour-plus transfer to the port in Savona. Unlike some other drivers we've had, the van's driver was polite and did a great job getting us to the port on time. He earned a tip from us. Unlike last year in Venice, embarkation at Savona could have been a bit smoother. The departure hall was very tightly-packed and our United States passports caused quite a stir for the Costa staff. They were quite anxious to confirm that we held valid Brazilian visas. We had arranged them at some expense through an expediter that Costa suggested called Zierer Visa Service so that wasn't a problem and we were finally allowed to board the ship. While other reviewers have also noted it, I'd be remiss if I didn't note that the design and style found on board the Costa Med are stunning. While most of the ship has Italian roots, parts of it are modeled after Asian (Roero Wine Bar) and Egyptian (Osiris Theater) influences. Even on my second cruise, I kept noticing new details, like winged cherubs on the ceiling on one bar, every day on board. The Atrium is particularly stunning with its colorful floating sculpture and glassed-in elevators. One of the exciting features about the Costa Med is that it attracts mainly European passengers while most of its staff still speaks decent English. Life on board feels different than it would on a different line in the same family like Carnival where most of the passengers speak English. Along with Jim and I, there was only one other United States citizen on board out of about 1800 passengers. Since this cruise was for 17 nights but was affordably-priced like most repositioning cruises, we decided to book a Panorama Suite. It was well worth it for the top-notch bathroom and spacious veranda. The bathroom had two granite sinks and a real Jacuzzi bathtub with shower. Last year's bathroom, like most I've used on board other ships, featured only a narrow, coffin-like shower. The veranda had four chairs and seemed to take up about half of the aft of the Costa Med. Our Cabin Steward, Florence, did an amazing job keeping the Suite clean throughout the cruise. Our Butler, Desmond, had to cover 11 other suites on the Costa Med so he didn't do much except deliver a fruit plate to our room each day. The Suite did benefit from a few other nice small touches like enhanced bath amenities, terry cloth robes, advance copies of the main restaurant menus and one free meal in the pay restaurant. You should definitely book a Suite if bathrooms or verandas matter to you. Another exciting feature about the Costa Med is that it offers an excellent wine list at affordable prices in its main restaurant, pay restaurant, and in its wine bar. There were thirty to forty full bottles available, mainly from Italy but also from other leading wine countries like France or Spain, for about 20-25 Euros per bottle. One of our wine waiters in the pay restaurant and wine bar, Tatiana, was extremely attentive and knowledgeable. If you love wine like we do, then this is a great line to try out. The main restaurant was very good. While we never were awake in time for Breakfast there, we did have most of our Lunches and Dinners there. Each Dinner featured at least three Appetizers, three Soups, two Pastas, four or five Main Courses, one or two Salads, a Cheese platter, and then four or five Desserts to choose from. While the food wasn't quite as good as on our previous Uniworld, Windstar or Oceania cruises, it was still very good. On both of our Costa cruises, I was impressed that the Maitre D' made an effort to seat us with other passengers who spoke English and were roughly our age. We had three charming young ladies at our table this year. Two from Germany spoke enough English to be a lot of fun. And our Waiter, Benjie, who's a 7-year Costa veteran, did an amazing job handling his 24 passengers. The pay restaurant, Club Medusa, was very good too. We ate two Dinners there. It wasn't expensive or crowded. Some of the food items on a Michelin-starred Chef-selected menu were outstanding like the tomato bacon onion soup; others were just odd like one fatty beef shank main course I didn't enjoy. The buffet restaurant upstairs was at best good. Some of the food on the steam trays wasn't hot or fresh. The hot dogs, pizza, salads and desserts were fine. It was very difficult to get beverage waiters to take our order. So we mainly ate at the main restaurant downstairs. One area that could be improved a lot is the main stage. At least half of the shows we saw were mediocre at best. The eight-person on-board dance troupe did a good job as did a couple of singers but it was almost cruel for the Cruise Director to force some of the bar entertainers, like a talented piano soloist, Demetrio de Bellis, to take their turn on the main stage. The best show we saw was from a local Brazilian dance company, Interarte of Salvador, that was on board for one night only. Yet another exciting feature about the Costa Med is that it offers four to six bars with live music each night. The same entertainers who struggled on the main stage excelled in these smaller venues with room for 50 to 100 passengers. Most notable were Tango Trio, featuring a violinist, pianist and accordionist who were amazing and featured each night in the Roero Bar, and a couple of solo performers, Flavio and Dino, who did terrific jobs on their keyboards and on Dino's guitar in the Dionisio Bar. The solo performers both earned tips from us. And Flavio rewarded us by giving us his most recent CD. The Laundry on board did a great job with laundering my jeans and dress shirts and dry cleaning my blazers and dress pants. The Certificate of Crossing the Equator, signed by the Captain, that appeared in our cabin after we crossed it, was a very nice touch as was tooting the ship's horn when we crossed. I wish someone had warned us, though, about how easy it is to get sunburned when you're near the Equator. Jim and I suffered a lot from only an hour and a half out on our veranda that day. The Internet Cafe on board lost its satellite connection about halfway through the cruise so we lost our ability to access the Web for email or other sites. We were able to occasionally get email through our cell phones when we were close enough to shore. The new Costa Club card that I carried, for frequent Costa travelers, was supposed to lead to a 20% discount on service in the Internet Cafe, Laundry or Mini-Bar that never materialized on my final statement. Nor has Costa answered an email I sent over ten days ago on that point. We also had some difficulty getting an Excursion that Costa cancelled in Barcelona credited on my statement. It took visits to three different desks to get it done. And prior to the cruise, Costa needed prodding by CruiseCritic.com to admit that its unilateral switch from Dollars to Euros for our Excursion costs, months after we booked them in Dollars in advance on the Costa web site, left a bit to be desired. Costa needs to do better at customer service at its Reception and Excursion Desks. Since many of the ports on this repositioning cruise aren't regularly visited by Costa or other cruises, I'll only make a few comments on them. Along with several Excursions, we used the paid Costa Shuttle Bus service several times to get from the port to local sites of interest. I was quite impressed by Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. It may have been hundreds of miles away but it fondly reminded me of all the other cities I've seen in Spain. We had an excellent steak lunch there at Casa Carmelo on the waterfront. I thought the part of Fortaleza, Brazil where the Shuttle Bus dropped us was squalid with men sleeping on the streets and many empty buildings. Yet the shopping mall in Recife, Brazil where the Shuttle Bus dropped us was very affluent. We had an excellent buffet lunch at the Skillus chain restaurant. One of the young ladies from the kitchen adopted us since she spoke the best English there. And she earned a tip from us. We had an amazing lunch outdoors at Jardim Das Delicias in Salvador, Brazil featuring seafood stew served in a large bubbling pot. And the Excursion we took that night in Salvador to see a local dance troupe with gymnastic flair was excellent. The Jeep Excursion we took to Corcovado and the Rainforest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was outstanding but a bit long. Unless you love beaches, I wouldn't recommend visiting Brazil with Costa or otherwise for another five or so years so that it can build up its tourism infrastructure a bit more. After killing a couple of hours on board waiting, our disembarkation on December 14 in Santos, Brazil went smoothly. We were able to claim our luggage, clear Customs, and get on our Excursion bus that toured Sao Paulo, Brazil and then took us to its Airport for our flight back to New York. We had a great experience with arranging our two separate flights here using the www.vayama.com website that specializes in international travel. While we wondered in advance if a 17-day cruise would be too long and if we'd be eager to get home, that wasn't the case here. We really enjoyed sleeping late, eating at the main restaurant, and enjoying the wine and live entertainment in Costa Med's bars a lot. We'd definitely travel on the Costa Med or a different Costa ship in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
This was a repositioning cruise from the summer northern routes to the fall Mediterranean routes. There were four of us on this cruise (2 cabins), we are all Canadians in our mid to late thirties and have all cruised before. This was ... Read More
This was a repositioning cruise from the summer northern routes to the fall Mediterranean routes. There were four of us on this cruise (2 cabins), we are all Canadians in our mid to late thirties and have all cruised before. This was our second cruise on the Mediterranea having cruised on it in 2006 in the Eastern Mediterranean. You should also know that we are pretty laid back and not particularly demanding. We purchased the X1 drink package before the trip and it was great. We really got good value for money with it. Every night we had two bottles of wine, beer, soda and bottled water with dinner. Some people have complained about slow service with the X1 package but we had excellent service. Well worth the money! We do not usually attend the formal shows on the cruises so this review will not cover that aspect of the cruise. Also before this trip we had never taken a ship organized shore excursion, we like to explore the ports on our own. We finally did take one in Lisbon, more on that later. We flew into Copenhagen two days before embarkation. Copenhagen is a nice city but very expensive. $11 for a glass of beer is a bit steep in my opinion. It is a very pleasant city for walking around. I highly recommend the Carlsberg Brewery tour for any beer lovers. Embarkation: We arrived at the port around noon and were on board within a half hour. It was the fastest boarding I have ever experienced. They told us our rooms would be available at 1:30 pm but were ready when we boarded, our luggage arrived not too long after. All in all the embarkation was awesome. Food: I have read a lot of complaints about the food on board Costa but I just don't get it. The food on board was really good. We ate in the dinning room each night (early sitting) and found the food to be of excellent quality and taste. We did not like every dish served but when trying new things you should expect this. We ate at the buffet for a few breakfast and lunches. The food was good, not spectacular but decent. We had room service one afternoon, the menu is quite limited but the Caesar salad was awesome. Bars: We would get drinks from the Bars on Deck 2 and 3 at the back of the ship. The service there was always good. We did find that the drink specials were not always great. Laundry: We all used the Laundry service at some point. It was reasonably priced and the clothes were cleaned over night and back in the room the next afternoon. The Ship: The ship itself was immaculate. I think the layout of the ship is great, it never really seemed crowded, lots of space everywhere. It was a little smoky in some of the lounges, but you could easily find non-smoky ones. The Room: I was in room 5289 at the back of the ship. It was a balcony room. I loved this room, it was quiet and clean. The steward was excellent. First day was at sea, we just ate and relaxed. We borrowed a game from the library and had a few drinks while playing, a nice relaxing day. Bring your own dice if you want to play a game that needs it, all the games in the library are missing their dice! Dover: The first port of call was Dover, England. We went to the Dover Castle and took the tour of the World War II tunnels. It was an excellent tour, highly recommended! After that we just explored the town and were back on board with a few hours to spare before sailing. Le Havre: The second stop was Le Havre, France. If you are awake we coming into port it is quite something to see how close you get to other ships when docking. We rented a car (right at the port) and drove to the D-Day beaches. First stop was The Juno Beach Center, a small but very good museum about the Canadians at D-Day, I wish we had more time but we had a lot on the agenda for that day. Second stop was Omaha Beach, the US Memorial there is quite moving, we climbed down the hill to the beach, it was amazing to imagine what the soldiers went through. After that we had a nice lunch in a near by beach town and then back to the ship. Next day was at sea, again nice and relaxing. Vigo: At Vigo, Spain we took the train to Santiago de Compestella, the burial place of St. James. It was a lot of travel to spend 10 minutes in the church where he is buried. I don't think it was worth the effort, having to do it again I would rather have just explored Vigo. Lisbon: Lisbon was fantastic! We took our first ship organized shore excursion; it was a jeep tour of Lisbon and the surrounding area. It cost $60 Euro and was worth every penny. The excursion was well organized in getting off the ship and took only a few minutes. The jeep tour itself took us through Lisbon to the cliffs outside of the city and then into the hills (offroad) and finally to a nice little hill town. It was an excellent day. Cadiz: In Cadiz, Spain we decided not to go to Seville, it was a Sunday and we figured a lot of the town would be closed. We just walked around Cadiz and the headed back to the ship for a nice relaxing day. Malaga: We disembarked in Malaga, Spain. The cruise was continuing to Savonna, Italy but due to our travel plans we arranged to leave two days early. Disembarkation was a breeze, just walked of the ship with our luggage. Conclusion: I would highly recommend Costa to anyone, great food, service and interesting ports of call. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
We are a married couple who have been on 19 previous cruises. This was our first cruise with Costa and also therefore with Costa Mediterranea. This was a 7-night Baltic Cities cruise from Copenhagen. The reason for my husband and myself ... Read More
We are a married couple who have been on 19 previous cruises. This was our first cruise with Costa and also therefore with Costa Mediterranea. This was a 7-night Baltic Cities cruise from Copenhagen. The reason for my husband and myself booking this cruise was that we received a special super deal. Otherwise we would not have selected this itinerary. We prefer an itinerary where you have the possibility for more warm weather Living right outside Oslo, Norway, we decided to drive our car to the cruise terminal in Copenhagen, an 8 hours ride. The boarding process: The check in was quick and efficient. However, we found it annoying that we had to go to a dedicated lounge on board to have a credit card registration. You had to take a number and wait until your number was called. We had booked a cabin on deck 7 with a large balcony, and we were very pleased with this nice cabin. We did not saw much to our cabin attendant, but we were very pleased with his job looking after our cabin in a proper way. Public Rooms: Mediterranea is a very immaculate ship. The ship has an atrium in the centre of the ship that extends up trough several of the decks, but in our opinion the dEcor of the atrium was far too gaudy. Spa & Fitness: The ship has three very nice pools, on deck nine, one is adult only (aft), and one with a retractable roof. Dining: We were pleased with the large Buffet restaurant on deck nine. The restaurant itself was a bit confusing. It is several serving stations which offer different dishes, so it is highly recommended to use some time to go around and explore, also to visit the outside grill. We were impressed with the crew in this restaurant. They were very efficient in cleaning the tables, opposed to what we experienced on our last cruises with RCCL in their buffet restaurant, Windjammer. We were in the first seating in the Dining room, 7 pm. We had a friendly waiter from India, but the service was not as good as we have been used to on other cruise ships. Once the wine had been served by the assistant waiter, you then had to continue to serve yourself, and we rarely saw any-thing more to her during the whole dinner. Menu-comments: We found unfortunately the main courses mostly mediocre, especially the meat dishes. Coffee is not offered at the end of dinner. We had four breakfasts in the Dinning room. The waiter service was unfortunately very unorganized, and we were e.g. rarely offered refilling of coffee or tea. I think there is a huge lack of management in this Dinning room. There is also an upscale dinner restaurant, Club Medosa, that you could pay extra to eat a la carte. The food was very good, the service excellent, but unfortunately it was very expensive. You have to pay for each dish. They do not have a fixed menu-price like on most other ships. They have tea time on board which was good, but the female crewmember in charge of the service was a bit grumpy. Bar services: The ship has many bars, and we enjoyed them, but the drinks were more expensive than on any ship we had been on before, and sodas were expensive too. The itinerary was a mixed bag. Not to be missed, the sailing through the beautiful archipelago of Stockholm, Sweden. Disembarkation: This was quite routine, and it was easy to find our luggage in the Terminal. Conclusion: If a great deal pops up and with a nice itinerary, we would cruise again with Costa Mediterranea or other of Costa's newest ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
BACKGROUND INFORMATION We are Americans who currently live in Germany. The opportunity to visit 5 countries in 7 days... including Russia, Denmark and Sweden was very tempting. We realized if we were to visit each of them by flying and ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION We are Americans who currently live in Germany. The opportunity to visit 5 countries in 7 days... including Russia, Denmark and Sweden was very tempting. We realized if we were to visit each of them by flying and staying a weekend each, the cost would be astronomical. Those northern countries are extremely expensive. Cruise ships are definitely an economical travel option! You never get lost, and you never have to unpack except when you get on the cruise ship! HOTEL INFO BEFORE AND AFTER Before the cruise we stayed downtown Copenhagen at the Maritime Hotel for an extra day. It was a good location. They called us a taxi to get to the ship. After the cruise we stayed at the Hilton Hotel, which is attached to the Airport. We discovered that you can also access the train system which goes into downtown by tunnels connecting it all. It was very convenient, and also easy to get to the Airport for an early departure. We were easily able to get taxis from the port to our hotel after the cruise. The cruise ship offers transportation on a bus to the airport, but we found it to be cheaper to use the taxi, and just took the risk that there would be a taxi at the port. We had a category 9 cabin so we were among the first to debark. Perhaps it would be harder for those debarking later to find a taxi. STATEROOM We had a stateroom with a balcony. It looks exactly like the little movie on the Costa Cruise website of our category stateroom. I think even the art on our wall was the same. Agreeable colors. Nice big closet space for us. I think there were 3 closet cabinets with space above to the ceiling. Our empty suitcases fit under the bed. There were drawers and cabinets under the mirror/desk. A phone in the room. A television. The channels include ship channels with programs that have been taped from briefings, as well as port information, etc. However they also receive channels from the country we are near. Cartoons in Swedish. Interesting. The TV also has video ports in the front, so we happily hooked our portable DVD player to it. It was in black and white. I mentioned it to our steward, who said that is because it is designed for the European system. We had one multi-region DVD and it was in color, of course! The bathroom had (plastic) Italian tile in the shower. Nice big mirror. Shelves with a little rail to store things on each side of the sink, and under the sink. Not large space but adequate. We've never had trouble with hearing anything in our cabin before, but we must have had someone loud above us. We sometimes heard clomp, clomp from above, like they were dropping their shoes and other things on the floor. SHIP INFO Friends from fellow Americans commented that the decor of the ship felt gaudy. It has lots of bright colors mixed together in public area and lots of gold molding. But it also has a classy feel to it, with Roman statues and columns around. The Atrium area covers many floors and has 3 glass elevators. It is fun to use them and observe the activity below. The atrium has the main desk and excursion desk as well as a bar. The second level of it has the ship's photography display. A lot of cabin stewards and servers are Filipino. The majority of them speak English. Much of the Italian staff also speaks English. Each language group on the ship has a Hostess. We found our English Speaking hostess to be an invaluable source of information. She has a table in the Atrium every morning to field questions. DINING In the dining room the breakfast is buffet style. You are shown to a table. They take your order for a drink. Cappuccino is available as an option at breakfast but only at breakfast. For the rest of the meals, you need to buy your cappuccino at the bars. But there is a handy coupon book you can buy and they are cheaper that way. The breakfast is very European with cheeses and meats. But cereal and other treats. The best breakfast pastries are in the fine dining room. Eating breakfast at the Lido deck is fine if you go early. After 9:30-10 AM it gets pretty crowded. The ship is very much a late night culture, as the second dining starts about 9 PM. I get the impression many party late into the night and get up about 10 or 11 if there is no excursion or if the excursion is later. On the Lido deck no cappuccino. Just ordinary coffee (rather weak for my taste) or tea. And juices. Lunch is nice in the fine dining, but it takes more time. It is sit down and order. And often has courses. Lunch on the Lido deck you can get as much or as little as you want. However it is very busy at noon. We often had trouble finding a place to sit. If the weather is nice you can sit by the pool. Out by the pool you can often get burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches, fries, salad… soft serve ice cream, fresh fruit. This is at lunch, but even available later. There's a schedule in your daily program delivered every night to your door when each food place is open. There's also mid-afternoon tea. This seems to be English style with scones and clotted cream, and other delicacies. Formal service. It was sometimes in a bar area, and another time on the Lido deck. Dinner - we had the first seating at 7 PM. We always felt the food was great. A steak meal, Salmon meal, or pasta meal were offered every day. The other choices were varied and wonderful. Soup. Salad. Pasta. Entree. Cheese. Dessert. You could take all or a couple each time. They usually had a cold soup choice among the three. Cheese usually had fruit with it. There's the wine package or mineral water package you can buy. They only serve table water free. However, if you don't want to buy the wine package, you can buy a glass of house wine for something like 5 Euro on occasion. No sodas here. We never did any midnight buffets or chocolate buffets. We ate plenty. One morning we ordered room service breakfast. It is free and you fill it out the night before, except for a 2 Euro gratuity charged for the service. It was lovely to eat on our balcony. You can get cappuccino with that breakfast or regular coffee or tea. ACTIVITIES There are pools, ping pong table, bacci ball, running track, the workout room. We found the outdoor whirlpools to be less busy than the one inside. There's one area that has a retractable roof for more inclement weather. There's also tartan colored blankets that you can curl up in on deck after a swim or time in the whirlpool. Honestly, there are so many things you can choose to do. They have dancing classes that go on, games by the pool, etc. There's a schedule that comes out in the daily newsletter. There are craft sessions. I believe there's a cost for that. The card room kept busy with card games going on on the days at sea. The library has a number of English books. It's probably the quietest place on the ship. There's also the art auction (silent by written bids) with free champagne for the introduction day. SERVICE We found our cabin steward to be very attentive. No complaints. Our table service was great at the evening meal. I mentioned above our English Speaking Hostess. She was a great help navigating questions we had. While Italians tend to clump in lines, I had an experience at the Excursion desk where the Italians were trying to clump and they made them get in line and wait their turn, to the protest of "that's the Italian way!" The ship's photography really got on my husband's nerves. They take photos of you at every turn… when you get on the ship, getting off at every port with some dressed up mascot… at the formal dinner nights, during events. They are displayed and it is fun to look for your photos. But the price to buy them is very expensive. Like 20 Euro a piece. Just take photos with your own camera and bring home the memory. For my husband the every present camera in the face was invasive. My favorite person was the travel expert. He gave seminars about a couple of the ports. He was multilingual and gave them at various times in different languages. It is too bad that hardly anyone attended his English ones as they helped me understand and appreciate the locations we visited much better. He also had a table set up before each excursion day, where he gave advice, passed out maps and drew on them individual information you might need. A fabulous resource. I had one poor incident with someone who served wine complaining about how Americans drink a lot. I had one glass at a function, and I felt this comment was inappropriate; first of all, to single out a cultural group with a disparaging remark on a multi-national vessel. It went into my evaluation at the end of the week. ENTERTAINMENT Overall we went 2-3 times to the theatre. The best night was in St. Petersburg when they had Russian performers come on the ship. They were lovely. The ships' entertainment was fine. Good singers. No new records or budding recording artists, but entertaining. Almost all songs (except for the Russian night) are in English because that is the pop music of the world. There was a comic entertainer one night but language is a barrier. When things need to be said in 4-5 languages it gets hard to keep ones attention. One night there was a sort of circus taking place in the Atrium. More of a distraction than truly entertaining. Kids would enjoy it. SHORE EXCURSIONS Of course the ship has shore excursions promoted. You cannot go into Russia (St. Petersburg) without a visa pre-planned… unless you go with a shore excursion by the cruise company. I heard great feedback from those who went on excursions, saying it really enriched the experience at each place. The only cruise sponsored excursion we took was in St. Petersburg. It was great. It was a wonderful way to see Russia. Two complaints there. They took us to two separate State sponsored shopping areas for ½ hour each which were very pricey. I suppose the cruise ship, or tour guide, got a commission. But the sad part was that we didn't have time to enter some of the great churches on the way. Just park in the parking lot and look from the outside. The second complaint is that all the tours from our Costa ship seemed to arrive at the Hermitage Museum at about the same time - and there were about 6-10 tours going on, in the various language groups. That meant that there was a bottleneck all at the same time to see the most prized pieces at the museum. I noticed after we passed through, the key items were wide open. But we were required to stick with the tour group, being Russia and all. For all the rest of the ports, we brought along our Rick Steves book on Northern Europe. He had a walking tour laid out for Estonia, Helsinki, and Stockholm. The upside of that was that I walked so much I only gained 2 pounds on the cruise. At Estonia we were close enough to be able to walk from port into town. At Helsinki, the ship arranged for tour buses to drive us to drop off point downtown for something like 5 Euro a person. It was worth it. In Stockholm, they planned the same thing, but the day we were there, the buses weren't available. It was about a 1 ½ to 2 mile walk into the old town. Still, it was fortunately nice weather that day and good exercise for us. DISEMBARKATION I truly hate this part. Is this because I hate to see my cruise come to an end? Anyhow - it is tough to make your way along with 2000 other people to various lounges to wait till you are told you can get off. We went early to our spot with reading material and hunkered down at a table. When we got off, finding our luggage and getting a taxi was easy. SUMMARY If you ever take a Costa Cruise as an American, you should know a few things... it is an ITALIAN cruise line. • The decor is bright colored and glitzy. • The food is great but it is constantly Italian. • The music in the lounges is Italian. I had a hard time getting Italian love songs out of my head for a week when we left the ship, like "Volare," and "That's Amore." • Italians clump, they don't get in line. The cruise workers try to encourage lines, but it is a constant battle. • Announcements for the whole ship are given in about 5 or 6 languages. The life boat drill is quite a challenge. Just imagine. On the European cruise, English speakers were about 5% of the ship. • Italians seem to become one big happy family. However in their reunions in the narrow passageways it was sometimes hard to get past chattering groups of family gatherings. Would we do it again? Yes, we would. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
We booked a suite for our 30th anniversary cruise to Norway. There were only 2 things that didn't disappoint us. The suite, and the English hostess who was very, very helpful. The first problem was language. We had been told that 5 ... Read More
We booked a suite for our 30th anniversary cruise to Norway. There were only 2 things that didn't disappoint us. The suite, and the English hostess who was very, very helpful. The first problem was language. We had been told that 5 - 20 % of the passengers would speak English. There were well over 2,000 passengers, and only 46 had English as their native language. Every announcement had to be given in about 5 languages. Below I try to list the problems that we had by category. Food: Food in the dining room was mediocre. The buffet was confusing, with many things mislabeled or not labeled. Different entrees or salads were at different stations. The chefs can't cook a steak to medium rare. I ordered my first medium rare steak at their specialty restaurant, and it was almost raw and purple inside. I ate that one. I ordered a medium rare steak in the dining room. It came out purple too, virtually raw. I sent it back. It was replaced with a steak as bad as the first. I told them I didn't want another, but they brought one anyway. I left it on the plate uncut. Excursions: There was little or no information about shopping at the ports. Most of the port maps were poor. The excursion staff could not control their guests at the desk. When there was a line to change or order excursions, people cut in frequently and were helped by the staff instead of being politely sent to the back of the line. The excursion from Flam needs more info on Norway. Also, it was almost impossible to hear the talk while out on deck as we sailed through the fjord. Telephone assistance before the cruise: Most of the time they would not try to answer my question, but instead advised me to call my travel agent. They had the wrong information about the last day of the cruise. I wanted to order an excursion and then get to the airport. They told me that if I ordered an excursion the transport to the airport might no longer be available when we got back to the ship. When I boarded the ship, I was told that since I already had purchased transportation to the airport, if I purchased an excursion I would be brought to the airport directly when the excursion was over. Unfortunately, the only available excursion I could choose at that time never sold enough, and was canceled. Announcements: Not always in English. The crew: Only a few crew members were nice. Most of them were just doing their job or cold and indifferent. Rarely did an officer ever speak to or acknowledge us when we passed them on board. Gouging the customers: It was advertised to bring your postcards to the photo shop to mail. Their fees for stamps were much more than the local costs. We paid 4 Euros on board for each postcard, and 11 kroner in Stavanger. That is about $2.17 in town, and $6.35 on board for the same stamps. Every drink was measured in a shot glass to be sure they didn't give you any extra. On all of the other cruise lines I have sailed on ( 5 ) they always gave us a nice drink. Read Less
Sail Date June 2008
Of all the cruises we've been on, our spring break trip on the Costa Mediterranea was one of the best! Embarkation went smoothly and quickly, due to the fact that Costa had many agents available to answer questions and point us in the ... Read More
Of all the cruises we've been on, our spring break trip on the Costa Mediterranea was one of the best! Embarkation went smoothly and quickly, due to the fact that Costa had many agents available to answer questions and point us in the right direction. Also, our bags were delivered to the room shortly after we boarded the ship. The rooms were much more spacious than the other cruises we have been on. We were able to fit 3 of us in an interior cabin comfortably. The cabins were also kept neat and clean, with the only problem being that we had some difficulty with our safe. However, our cabin steward took care of that immediately. Our first day was a day at sea, and we had no difficulty finding lounge chairs on the deck. However, as on other ships, there were not many chairs around the pool area or in the shade. The ship was complete with a water slide, bocce ball court, tennis/basketball court and small track. There were also two main pool areas in the center of the ship with plenty of hot tubs. The casino and theater were also much larger. As far as the food was concerned, every meal was good. The pizza and paninis offered at the buffet were delicious, as well as the pasta and soups in the main dining room. For dinner, there was always a variety of choices and the food was cooked perfectly. While there was not a lobster night, we were very satisfied with the crab legs and varieties of fish and meat that were offered. Also, the service in the dining room was fabulous. The entertainment was also very impressive. The shows were great, including the sets and special effects. We especially enjoyed the comedian. There were many activities offered on board, however I felt that there were not enough fitness classes available. Also, most of the fitness classes that were offered were held in the disco on a glass floor. This was very uncomfortable and mats were not provided. As far as the ports of call are concerned, our first stop was San Juan. We arrived at 4:30 at night and had just enough time to visit the forts. We then walked around the town and were back on the ship in time for dinner. Then we went to St. Thomas, where we took a cab to Megan's Bay and then went back into town to shop. Due to the number of ships in port that day, we were docked at a port that was farther from town than the rest of the cruise ships. We chose to walk back to the ship from town (2 miles). Then we were headed to La Romana, where we ended up taking a cab for $8 a person each way to Bayhibe Beach. The public section of the beach was in between the Wyndham and Iberostar. It was a beautiful beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas that could be rented for an additional fee. Our last stop was Grand Turk, where we did the excursion to Governor’s Beach. This was the only aspect of the entire cruise that we were not pleased with. The beach was a very short ride from the ship and snorkel equipment and chairs were provided. This was $33 per person. However, the snorkeling was not as good as we had expected and there was a beach right by the port. After our day at the beach, we went back to the port and walked around the shops and got some drinks at Margaritaville. This Margaritaville had an entrance to the beach as well as a nice pool area. After one more day at sea, we disembarked in Fort Lauderdale. The disembarkation process went as quickly and smoothly as the day we arrived. We were off the boat and able to find our bags easily. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise. It was by far one of the best values available and we will definitely be cruising with Costa in the future! Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
This is our first ever cruise. We were excited to be off. We left Calgary in minus 30 Celsius and arrived in Fort Lauderdale later in the day. We were travelling with two great friends who had been on a number of other cruise. They spent ... Read More
This is our first ever cruise. We were excited to be off. We left Calgary in minus 30 Celsius and arrived in Fort Lauderdale later in the day. We were travelling with two great friends who had been on a number of other cruise. They spent some time filling us in on what to expect and how to check in efficiently. We arrived at the dock together and check on was quick and efficient. We were stepping onboard before we knew it and then spent the next hour in amazement as we explored the ship. The main lobby was absolutely beautiful and the greetings from crew made us feel welcome. Check into our cabins was an hour later but we felt no delay due to our exploration. The cabin was way larger than what we thought from the virtual tour. We were in an outside cabin one level below the veranda. I called it Irish first class as it was probably a step or two above the steerage my Great Grandparents had travelled from Belfast to Halifax in 1907. I wander!The decor looked gaudy on the virtual tour> Typically Italian we thought. Nothing was further from the truth. We were on the cruise looking to escape our everyday life, to experience something different and the ship was different. The gaudy on the virtual tour in real life seemed fantasy like. Bright, golden and colorful was everything we needed for spring break. We all teach high school and it was a transport back in time and age for us. No kids around, ours are just leaving university or just recently married, just us and the romance of Italy all around us. I have read other reviews of this ship and was personally surprised at the somewhat flat reviews or even critical reviews of the buffets,both breakfast and luncheon as well as the dining for evening. We found the many choices between the hot and cold buffets were exactly to our tastes. Variety was way more than we needed and yes there was no lobster but the Italian cuisine was wonderful and the service at our table even better. The captains supper was a blast and the baked alaskan evening and the toga night were wonderful. We purchased the wine package and the wines were presentable at their price and let us enjoy them wherever we were on ship. Service by the crew was friendly and Sanjay our waiter was a gem. He had the knack of keeping away and letting us visit and get to know the other guests at our table and being there when we needed something. The fitness center was empty at the time we used it which was early. I exercised to eat and we made a pact never to use the elevator which made for a 9 story walk for breakfast. It was so much fun and took us by the amazing Ricardo Biavatti sculptures present on every floor. Some of the evenings entertainment was not great but Sasha was definitely a treat. We did not expect top notch entertainment and we did not get it but it was fun every evening regardless as it gave us a chance to be out with new and old friends. Stephano was the best. I loved his sense of humor and great command of 5 languages. He really grew on us and became like a brother to us. The Captain was great. We talked with him on many occasions and he always was pleasant and never seemed like we were a bother. The pools were fun and the dance areas were fun at night. The disco atmosphere was not to my taste but then neither is disco. The lounge entertainers were nice especially the piano bar with the violinist. The tours were bought were great and the destinations were awe inspiring. Visiting Roatan really made us realize how fortunate were are to be born where we were born, Canada! I saw people haggling over a dollar or two that back home would not have bought a beer but that dollar or two would nave made a great difference in tat ladies take home money. Our taxi driver, not a ship tour, took us to a number of requested out of the way places like an orphanage and a number of schools. We are so lucky and it put any complaining of treatment on disembarking that day in perspective. That brings me to my only heads up about this cruise ship. It Roatan if you had a ship arranged tour a passenger disembarked earlier that those with private tours. This was announced a number of times and apparently not believed by a number of groups of english speaking people. Their nationality I'll not disclose. Those groups seemed to think they could jump the queue, so to speak, and bully their way off. The young gal who was handling the lineup off the ship did an amazingly patient job of holding her ground. It was so aggressive we decide to go back upstairs and wait till all was clear. We were invited up to one of the staterooms by a couple who dined at our table. You talk about luxury. Larger but the same beautiful decor as our cabin. Who goes on a cruise to stay in their cabin? Definitely a step up on ours though. Wonderful people, english speaking same nationality as the vocal group at disembarking. Goes to show you should only judge people by their actions. Our new friends, absolutely a lovely set of ambassadors for their country!!! Beautiful ship, beautiful romantic locations, Western Caribbean, amazing time. We would use this cruise ship again in a heartbeat. Our new guests had been on over 50 cruises taking their entire extended families a Christmas. They considered this cruise rated as amongst the best they had experienced. Different but just as fun. I agree! Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Embarkation...an utter breeze. We arrived at 1130 waited on line outside terminal for 5 minutes until they opened the doors and were on the ship in 20 minutes.painless and lots of friendly smiling faces leading the way.Got on ship and were ... Read More
Embarkation...an utter breeze. We arrived at 1130 waited on line outside terminal for 5 minutes until they opened the doors and were on the ship in 20 minutes.painless and lots of friendly smiling faces leading the way.Got on ship and were pleasantly greeted by members of the animation team. Cabin..obstructed view outside cabin with french doors to let the air in. Was 200sft, incredibly comfortable with lots of storage and very comfortable bed and couch.Room steward was great. we always had fresh fruit. Food...FANTASTIC...After 33 cruises it's hard to get to excited about food anymore, but the food and service on this ship were outstanding. the buffet lines at lunch were better than most mainstream lines dinner food. everything we ate was incredible from eggplant napolitana( that we so enjoyed that the chef came out of the kitchen to tell us how to make it) to one of the best hamburgers I have ever had anywhere. Pizza was great, salads were great..The bread was to die for and always incredibly fresh..There were abundant fruit and vegetables. there were not huge desert trays like on mainstream cruises,but instead wonderfully prepared fresh food.they even used porcelain dish ware to keep the food warm on the lines versus big tins and were constantly rotating out the food. We had early seating in the dinning room..table 7, a table for 8 and had a great time at dinner every night. The waiter and assistant were fantastic..some of the things to try....swordfish,veal scallopini, eggplant parmigiana,veal shank,red snapper,beef carpacio,lamb chops and on and on . everything we had was excellent and the service top notch. the dancing waiters and air of every night being a celebration was great. and loved going to dinner in a toga.the animation team was great and every day at the pool had fun campy games. We won human tick tac toe without anyone breaking a hip and played many other fun and silly mindless games. every afternoon there were dance lessons poolside and they were very fun and enjoyable. the pools and pool areas were fantastic. tons of deckspace and the pool drink service was not in your face but raise your hand and they were there to serve you. Entertainment....every night the animation team did something fun and campy. i wa sin Mr.Pizza and my dad won the John travolta contest.The outdoor deck party in san juan was great fun and hundreds of people were dancing for over 2 hours. the shows were good to excellent. do not miss Will and Anthony the twin brothers or the musical comedian if he is still on board. production shows were very good also. There were several lounges with large dance floors and nice ensembles playing that were great to dance to. The casino was tight but in an area with many people passing through so always had a happy fast paced attitude. i broke even for the week. my mom and dad loved playing every night.. The ports were your typical caribbean ports, but it was the crew and ship that made this an incredible cruise. Have not laughed and been so relaxed in years and can't wait to sail costa again. and all the cruise critic people we met on board were great fun and hope everyone made it home ok..i hope this covers everything..debarkation was a breeze also. we were off the ship by 815.I miss it already the spa and gym were also fantastic and very well laid out,especially the gym and the steamroom and sauna were the perfect temperatures Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
My husband and I were "first timers" and traveled with another couple who had gone on a previous cruise. Costa was a new name to us, but our travel agent assured us that it was an excellent cruise line. We booked rather late, ... Read More
My husband and I were "first timers" and traveled with another couple who had gone on a previous cruise. Costa was a new name to us, but our travel agent assured us that it was an excellent cruise line. We booked rather late, mid-February for a March 1 cruise and chose the option that included airfare. We were a little upset at having to leave home at 3:30 am to make a 6:00am flight, but this is often the time the airline schedules flight from our nearest airport. Our flight was uneventful and a very nice gentleman with a large "Costa" sign was waiting at baggage at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Mr. Cadena was extremely helpful and we were soon on a bus to the port with very little effort on our part. Due to health problems, I can not walk very far and each step of the way, a wheel chair was waiting. It was mid-afternoon when we arrived at the ship, and every step of the way was handled with efficiency and grace. We couldn't have asked for an easier time. Although we had eaten a breakfast at Atlanta between flights, we were pleased to be able to go right to the buffet and get a late lunch. FOOD: My husband and I, along with our traveling companions, are typical midwesterners and hardly "gourmets" when it comes to food. The selections from the buffet were very good and well presented. One of the most delightful aspects of the trip was that every meal, whether in the dining room, at the buffet, or on deck near the pool, has a large variety of fresh fruits and melon. We ate most breakfasts and all lunches at the buffet. A few times we went to the dining room for breakfast, and we were seated a the early dinner starting at 5:45 pm. I was not sure about this and almost chose the late seating, but the choice of the early seating turned out to be perfect. Our excellent waiter made a very difficult task of serving each table their different courses at the correct time seem effortless. He did his job with good humor and a wonderful smile - and managed to visit with each table while doing his job. Each evening was a dining adventure. There were seven courses to choose from, but we always chose less. We all decided to try something new each evening. I had never tried chilled fruit soups before and found that I enjoyed them so much that I have started looking for recipes to prepare for the summer. There were always at least five "special" entrees each night along with approximately that many regular entrees such as grilled salmon. The food was prepared well and served even better. Desserts were delightful. I was a little apprehensive about that many courses, but there were served at a leisurely pace that was just the thing for allowing us to relax between dishes. Our waiter was exceptional and, after the first night, remembered our little special requests for the rest of the cruise. Almost every night had a theme with the wait staff seeming to enjoy the fun. There was singing and dancing and laughter every evening. We enjoyed the time to visit with the families seated around us and each evening shared our daily adventures. My husband surprised me by wearing one and really getting in the Toga Night our last night on the cruise. A few times, we decided to have room service delivered to our room. The room service menu was somewhat limited, but the sandwiches were large and tasty, the fruit was always chilled and delicious, and the coffee and tea the correct temperature. The best hamburger I have ever eaten was from the hamburger grill located on deck close to the pools. It was large, correctly cooked to my "medium well" request with warm (not hot) fries on the side. I give the food an "A" the serve staff and "A+" ROOM: We booked balcony rooms on the seventh deck. Our room was very clean, and brightly decorated. There were three closets, two for handing clothing and one with shelves. I am not a light packer, but all of our clothes fit into the closets easily. The ship was generous with hangers, but there were not enough for all the handing clothing. I would recommend bringing some hangers from home. Our suitcases fit nicely under the bed. The vanity drawers were large enough to hold everything we needed to store in them. There was a mini bar in which I was able to keep my medicines and a safe. The television was easily seen from both the couch and the bed. The selection of channels included American networks, a variety show channel, a vintage movie channel, various channels with information about the ship, and others. The bed was comfortable and a good size and there was light enough to read easily whether day or night. Our balcony contained two chairs and a table with enough space to move around easily. The balcony was very private, so we almost always opened our curtains. It made the room seem even larger and we enjoyed the sunlight. The bath, while not extremely large, was just the right size for one person to be able to manage nicely. The entire room was kept very clean and used towels, etc, were replaced and the room checked at least three or four times a day. I have breathing problems and must sleep with a number of pillows behind my back. I asked for the extra pillows and they were delivered very shortly. Phillipe, our room steward, was one of the main reasons our cruise was so wonderful. He had cool damp clothes waiting for us in our room first thing. To be able to sit with a cool cloth on your face after hurrying all day is the best way to start a cruise. Excellent first impression! On the second day, I asked for a pitcher of ice water to be brought with my room service order and each day after that, we had a pitcher of ice water waiting for us when we returned to our room. He spent the entire cruise noticing and remembering what we preferred. Each evening when we returned to our room, our bed was turned down and a little something (chocolates, cookies, etc) was waiting for us. It is little touches like these that make you want to take another cruise on the same ship. Room steward receives an "A++" PUBLIC AREAS: The ship is ornately decorated in rich colors and gold guilding. It is very much in an Italian style of the past. The lounges and open areas flow nicely from one to the other giving the ship a nice open feel. There were plenty of comfortable chairs and couches for most everyone to sit and be comfortable. The library was also the internet area. Comfortable seating and nicely sized carrels allowed us to easily use the computers. The shops were nicely sized and easy to move through. There were plenty of elevators and stairs. Deck 3 was the only level with an outside deck on which you could walk. It was wide enough for a leisurely stroll while the dedicated walkers and joggers could also enjoy the deck. I am vehemently anti-smoking, but I knew up-front there would be some smoking allowed. I also knew that Costa was popular with Europeans (more on that later) and they smoke more than most Americans. For the most part, I was not bothered by the smoking. The smoking areas were plainly labeled and most people abided by the rules. In a few places you would see No Smoking signs and ashtrays on the same table, which was rather a mystery. I just assumed the smokers brought the ash trays and ignored the signs. I was only bothered really bothered once by smoking. On deck 10, in an area with chaise lounges set up to sun, there are No Smoking signs placed approximately every 10 - 15 feet or so. While my friend and I were sitting there, I was surrounded by cigarette smoke. A woman, sitting two chairs away was blatantly smoking right next to a No Smoking sign. I showed her the sign and asked her not to smoke, to no avail. I eventually went to another part of the deck to sun. Too bad smokers come so late to reading -- at least the universal No Smoking signs. I didn't let this ruin my trip. Almost every night we went to the theater after dinner. The shows were entertaining and varying. The lower level of the theater is equipped with comfortable couches facing individual tables. This is a nice touch in case you want to have a drink or a place to set your purse or whatever you are carrying. It is somewhat stuffy on this level. The upper level has stadium style seats, but has a nicer breeze flowing the seating area. A movie theater would be a nice addition to the ship's public areas. While I enjoy the live entertainment, there are times when I would like to be able to sit and enjoy a newer movie. I know many ships do have movie theaters and Costa should think about installing one. CRUISE EXPERIENCE: The fact that the passengers on the cruise seemed to be about evenly divided between American and European allowed us to meet and get to know people from any countries. At the table next to ours, was a lovely couple from Belgium. We met and visited with people from England, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and from many other countries along with Americans from many states. With one possible exception, everyone we met was friendly, courteous, and having a wonderful cruise. We took pleasure in making so many excellent acquaintances. Heaps of praise to the parents with children on my cruise. At no time did I ever see or hear any children misbehaving. All children were allowed to have fun without disturbing the other passengers. I am very happy to see parents who are teaching their children the correct way to behave!! Bravo!! PORTS: The ship stopped at San Juan, St Thomas. La Romana, and Grand Turk. Charlotte Amalie was my favorite stop. Of course, we had to try the "Original" Banana Daiquiri on top of the mountain. We did not book any of the cruise excursions, instead opting to leisurely shop and take a local taxi or bus on a tour. The tour guides were knew their islands well and spoke English well. They pointed out many old buildings with the dates and historical significances associated with each. We enjoyed the beach at Grand Turk with a Pina Colada from Margaritaville. Next time we cruise, we will be looking at the excursions offered by the cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Costa Mediterranea- March 29-April 5, 2008 Background: We were a group of 28 kids and adults, 14 kids in tow ranging from 2-10 and 14 adults from our early 30's to mid- 40's. Most in my party were experienced cruisers and my ... Read More
Costa Mediterranea- March 29-April 5, 2008 Background: We were a group of 28 kids and adults, 14 kids in tow ranging from 2-10 and 14 adults from our early 30's to mid- 40's. Most in my party were experienced cruisers and my family goes on a cruise at least once a year so we are not new to cruising. I traveled with Costa about 15 years ago and had a great time, I remember the attentive service, the fabulous food and terrific kids programs so I was enthusiastic to be the cruise director for our group of 28. We were determined to have a good time but this was not easy with Costa. Sadly not one of the 28 who sailed with me will ever sail on Costa again. Embarkation: We arrived at noon and embarkation went relatively smoothly, we were on the ship by 12:30. Upon boarding we were met by a few people dressed as clowns for a super quick picture. Further down the ramp we saw the "Squok Club" handing out flyers. The Squok club is the Costa club for kids ages 3-teenagers. MOST cruise lines start the kids clubs at age 2....but much more about the Squok club later (really disappointing). We were then shuttled on board and told to go the 9th deck for the buffet, we choose to go the rooms so that we could have our room keys and find out our dining arrangements. Normally other ships give you this information as soon as you board, but with Costa it was all laid out on the bed. No picture was ever taken that would be associated with the Costa sail and sign card. Costa needs MAJOR improvement with their security. First impression of ship: Decorated in a classic Italian style with very ornate touches throughout the ship. A little gaudy for my taste but I did admire the Tang Dynasty artwork that was behind glass in the shops and around the ship. The center atrium which was 8 or so stories high was beautiful with what appeared to be floating modern sculptures of dancers in various positions and painted differently for each floor. The entire ship had opera characters depicted in every nook and cranny, on the elevator we were greeted with poster sized images. Again it was nice, a little over the top, but at least it was something to look at. I did notice sanitizing stations by every buffet and dining room. Ship was clean. Cabins: The cabin was spacious and clean(outside cabin on Deck 2 with no balcony). It should be noted that 70% of all outside cabins on this ship are balcony cabins, great if you do not have young kids. We had a quad and unlike Carnival or Royal the beds were not one on top of another; the two twin beds were pushed together with the single twins against one wall (one being an upper level twin attached to the wall). The cabin had plenty of closest space for the 4 of us (2 adults and 2 kids) and we always bring our own hangers and get rid of the ultra bulky hangers that Costa provides, you can fit many more clothes if you bring your own wire hangers (easier to pack then plastic and you can trash them as you use them). The bathroom was clean and standard, nothing fancy but it fit our needs. Our cabin steward cleaned the room twice a day, never was a consistent time, no chocolates on the pillows or the towel animals that the kids love, we were told there was a shortage of towels. Dining room and Buffets: To sum up the food aboard Costa, bland and unimpressive. The buffets were similar to what you find on most ships, carved meats, and hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch. Pizza was available at different times but no later than around midnight Everyday was a different food so one day you might have an Oriental corner, the next was Chinese but there were always the standards hot dogs/burgers and assorted lunch meat. Nothing fancy, nothing over the top. Personally we never went to the dining room for breakfast or lunch but I heard the breakfast in the dining room was quick and very good compared to the food served at the buffet. Breakfast was scrambled eggs, an omelet station, bacon, assorted breads and fresh fruit. Dinner service (Early seating at 5:45) was soooo slow, my overall impression was that this must be a new cruise and the kinks were not worked out. I never saw our waiter slacking but I had empty plates sitting for 15-20 minutes while I waited. This did not improve over the course of 7 days. We had 4 large tables in the dining room and 3 different waiters and all experienced the same painfully slow service. The entire staff was of Philippine decent and we had a different busboy each night which I found unusual and it didn't help that we had to continually ask for ice tea and water. The food was bland and boring. It didn't seem as if I had enough choices and my guess would be that most of the food was frozen and not fresh. The meat portions were relatively small and not seasoned well. To my knowledge, there was no lobster night. Overall the food wasn't horrible but not one dish sticks in my head as being a "wow" dish. Deserts were very limited as compared to other ships. Since this was a 7 days cruise I was expecting more and was disappointed. Dinner generally took a good 1 ½ to 2 hours from start to finish. The mid-night buffet was lunch meat and deserts. Kids Club"Squok Club": This was the most upsetting aspect of the entire cruise. We booked the cruise with the "kids sail free" promotion which was a real saving since we all had children traveling with us. With so many people taking advantage of this program one would expect a great kids program, this was not the case. The kid's room was in the front of the ship, it was supposed to be two rooms, one for the mini campers ages 3-6 and one room for the maxi campers age 7-11, but one of the doors was broken and was never opened the entire cruise. Security for the kids was horrible; I have never experienced such poor security in my life. Costa's requires you to sign n in your kid and upon signing them out did not request any type of ID although a password was supposed to be given, no one ever asked for any and on the first day I managed to pick up 3 kids from different families, one was never even signed in and I was asked to sign him in and out at the same time. This was a major security flaw, basically anyone could go in and request a child and no questions were asked. We reported this to the Sqouk director the next morning but really saw little improvement over the next 6 days. The camp counselors were older, looked bored to be there and many of the children did not want to go back. The activities consisted of watching a movie and then being asked questions about the move to earn Squok dollars, and they grouped all the kids together so you had the 3 year olds watching High School Musical 2 along with the 11 year olds and THAT WAS IT, no entertainment. My 5 year old was bored to tears and my 11 year old refused to go back and sit with 3 year olds. The counselors were not happy to be there. There were no windows to check on the kids, the doors were always shut so you basically had to have your child see you come in each time to check on them, and we all know how young kids can be when they see mom or dad. Also, unlike other cruise lines, Costa DID NOT have any type of beeper or notification service to check on the kids, you were given a little piece of paper with the clubs number on it and had to call to check on your kid. THEN, to make matters worse, no name tags were never given to the kids so when you call to check on them they are screaming you kids name and then asking then if they are ok, no one ever bothered to learn the kids names. The club was opened VERY limited hours, 3 hours in the morning, closed from 12-3 maybe open from 3-4:30 and then closed till 9pm. Then they only offered activities till 11 or maybe 11:30 and although they mentioned they had late night babysitting every time I inquired they were not offering it that night. Having an adult night is not possible on Costa. I would never just dump my kid for hours at a time but it is nice to have the kids do some activities and have fun; basically they hated going and were stuck with the parents all night. Casino: The dealers were not friendly, no enthusiasm was shown. A few of us do like to gamble but when you have a dealer with a sour puss on their face it doesn't make it any fun. I play roulette and on one round the dealer actually put the marker on the wrong number and proceeded to clear the table, she just looked at us with a dumb look on her face. It was a good idea to know how much you should be paid when wining on roulette as I found it necessary to correct the dealers on a few occasions when I was paid out. There were several slot machines but the craps table seemed to be missing. Shows: YAWN! Boring and lame. I walked out of 2 shows. The late night comedian was doing Jerry Lewis impressions and singing Doors and Led Zeppelin songs, I am 35 and found this to be boring and walked out half way thru the show. The talent show the last night was ok, but I swear it seems like the entire entertainment personnel were on the ship for the first time, nothing seemed rehearsed or practiced and everything seemed to be impromptu which came across as amateurish. San Juan: Walked around the Port area and did some shopping, a few of us went to the Fort. Nothing special, no great deals. I was in San Juan a few years ago so this was going to be a ship night for me anyways. St Thomas: We all went to Coral World and then to the adjoining Coki beach. Paid $20 Round trip, per person to CoralWorld/Coki beach, I managed to get 7 kids for free but we were 28 people on a large open aired bus/taxi. Coral World was $19 per person and the cab driver gave us $4 off coupons when we asked for them, so we ended up paying $15 per person. Coral World is small with few attractions. Coki beach is very clean but crowded; the beach had soft sand and turquoise water. We paid $5 for a few chairs and enjoyed the day. Grand Turks: This was everyone's favorite port. We spent the entire day at the beach and the nearby Margaritaville pool. BRING cash with you, the food and drinks are not cheap at Margaritaville but everyone enjoyed the pool area, the music and the swim up bar. Casa de Campo(Dominican Republic): Half of our group went shopping in La Romana($7 round trip taxi ride) and I went to Altos De Chavon($5 r/t), I enjoyed Altos since it was quiet, up on a hill, and in the gorgeous resort of Casa de Campo. Not much to do on the hill but the view was beautiful. Dance Clubs/Disco: Most nights you could find the dealers and entertainment staff dancing the night away, they took over the club. Bars/ Drink Cards: We purchased the "Boys and Girls" card which for $59 you were entitled to 20 soft drinks and or virgin drinks (pina coladas and Daiquiris). The ship supposedly ran out of Strawberry daiquiri mix on Friday and Diet Coke. I would get the X-1 card if you like to drink since it can not be purchased while on board the ship. Pools: Expect lots of splashing and kids running around. Also, if you want a chair, you will need to save one at 7am and hold it till you decide to use it. This was done every single day and was soooooo annoying. We sat around the edge of the pool on most days since we didn't arrive to the pool until 9am and the chairs were already taken. Security was even called on one of us since apparently we sat in a chair that was occupied by a lone cruise towel on the seat, this started and argument and the other party called security. Crazy people! I would not travel with Costa again. I did not get that warm and fuzzy feeling while on board, the cruise tends to cater to the over 70 crowd. The kids club was a definite downer for all of us and the food and entrainment left much to be desired. I couldn't wait to get home and have a "good meal". I REALLY wanted to have a great time and our group did have lots of laughs, the Toga party was a lot of fun. My hubby was coerced into entering the belly flop contest which he won...too funny. Thank God for the company that was with us. Overall Costa has a lot of improvement to make; the sad thing is they were once great, now I think they are only known for cheap cruises and no frills. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
My husband and I were a bit apprehensive to take Costa since the reviews were so-so. Either they were great or very negative! We left home the day before in case of a snowstorm (we had a lot) and we didn't want to miss our cruise. ... Read More
My husband and I were a bit apprehensive to take Costa since the reviews were so-so. Either they were great or very negative! We left home the day before in case of a snowstorm (we had a lot) and we didn't want to miss our cruise. It was our second one, but first without the kids. Embarkation: Really great and fast!!!!! Compared to Carnival, excellent!! Debarkation: Really good, also. Lots of Europeans on the cruise, but we didn't mind. We had to change our dinner time, since they had given us the second seating. The Maitre D, said we had asked the second seating. I said that I would not be standing in line to change it if I had asked the 2nd. That is the only one who was not "really nice" on the cruise. The Cruise Director should speak just a bit slower when he speaks English so that we can understand him a bit better. Food: Great food!!! Everything I chose, was good!! Don't really know why people complain about the food. I would say that the for lunch, the buffet, the variety could have been a bit better, but otherwise, I didn't go hungry at all. The cabin was spotless. We had a cabin with balcony, which we used a lot. But, I think they should add more "furnishings" in the bathroom, like shampoo, and all the necessities, like Carnival. But since I had read that they didn't furnish them, I had brought my own. Call of Ports: We really preferred Key West and Cozumel. Were disappointed with Roatan (Honduras). It rained, but still we thought the beach and the place would be nicer, since I had read in books that it was a great place. Grand Cayman, the sea was agitated, so we didn't accost at George Town, like we were supposed too. We took a bus/taxi to get to George Town, extra $, but it was ok. No fault to Costa. We were able to enjoy George Town anyway. Cozumel, very nice day. Shopped in the morning and in the afternoon took a taxi to the beach. We did snorkeling and enjoyed our afternoon. We did not take an excursion. We went by ourselves and we thought it was much better. Also, what we did, is that in the morning we made ourselves sandwiches that we brought with us to eat at the beach. Much more convenient and less expensive. All in all, we had a great cruise and we would probably have no hesitation of taking Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Why Costa? - If you know me, you know I'm a die-hard Holland America fan. Then why in the HAL did I elect to cruise "Italian Style" with Costa Cruise lines? Well, let's go back about a year ago, when we initially ... Read More
Why Costa? - If you know me, you know I'm a die-hard Holland America fan. Then why in the HAL did I elect to cruise "Italian Style" with Costa Cruise lines? Well, let's go back about a year ago, when we initially scheduled. SunFlower (my better-half) wanted to do a Western Caribbean, which included Key West. She's never been there and was really looking forward to hoisting a few at Sloppy Joes, seeing Hemmingway's 6-toed cats, Audubon's house and the treasure of the Atocha. So, I booked an inside cabin on Holland America's ms Veendam, out of Tampa, on a one week Western Caribbean. In April, after finishing with the Internal Revenue, we decided to invite our daughter, her husband and two boys to join us. They accepted and I changed the single inside to two adjoining/connecting outsides. Everything's going along nice and smooth. In July, DD informs us that she's not going to be able to cruise, as she's expecting our fifth grandchild in March. Cancel the two outside cabins and transfer to a single verandah for Grub (our oldest grandson), SunFlower and me. August and Hurricane Dean just about wipes Costa Maya (one of our stops) off the face of the Earth. Change four, drop Holland America and book the Costa Mediterranea, as she was on a similar itinerary and included a stop at Key West. Pre-Cruise - Once we had our booking number, we did all our shore excursion and amenities bookings on-line, through Costa's website (http://www.costacruise.com). I suppose I changed excursion selections a half-dozen times as SunFlower and Grub kept me appraised of their choices. I never had a problem making or changing the bookings. Kudos to Costa for this feature. We elected to drive from Michigan to Florida, as we had a lot of property from my mother's estate, which we needed to deliver to DD. So, with the Town & Country loaded up to the windows, we headed south on Wednesday morning, right after I got off work. Nine and a half hours later, we stopped at the Hometown Inn in Ringgold, GA (http://www.hometowninnringgold.com/). I definitely recommend this motel. Very nice, easy to get to, safe neighborhood a good rate and CLEAN! The next morning, a quick continental breakfast and we're back on the road. We arrived at DD's at 5:00 pm and checked into our hotel, the Masters Inn - Tampa Fairgrounds (http://www.mastersinns.com/)... Danger, danger, Will Robinson! ... Stay away from this place. It's probably great for migrant workers and fleet truckers (maybe), but the smell of industrial strength disinfectant was too much. SunFlower was afraid of bedbugs and I agreed. We split, immediately. I wouldn't even book my ex- into this dump! Avoid it. We checked with the Ramada Inn - Tampa (http://ramadatampa.com/). Excellent facility. I highly recommend them. The next morning, DD brought the most recent addition to the family over for breakfast (the I-Hop is right next door). He may have been four weeks early, but is healthy and doing well. We headed on down to Ft Lauderdale on Friday as soon as Grub got home from school. We had a late arrival at the Day's Inn at 4211 North Federal Highway in Pompano Beach. DUMP! The lock on the door to our room was broken. The card reader latch worked and so did the "Y"-shaped, flip-over latch, but the whole mechanism was loose, held in place by only one screw and the dead bolt was broken/jammed. Apparently there had been a forcible entry previously, and repairs had not been made. The desk clerk was worthless. He barely spoke English and just kept repeating "No more rooms". Since I have a permit to carry concealed, we were safe that night, but I'd hate to think what would have happened if someone had made a mistake and tried to come in the wrong door. We had invited our good friends, and fellow Wolverines Chris and Jane, to join us. They jumped at the chance and booked an inside cabin (6199). Rather than ride with us, or drive down on their own, they elected to fly into Fort Lauderdale and meet us there. We made sure we had their cell numbers with us and met them at the airport on departure morning. That really was a very painless process. I dropped SunFlower off at their arrival terminal and drove to the cell phone waiting area. This is a parking lot away from the terminals. Once your arriving party picks up their luggage, they call you and two minutes later; you're pulling up at curbside. No traffic jams. No security concerns. What a great idea! Embarkation - Breakfast at a local Denny's and it was off to the airport to meet our friends. They were about 30 minutes late arriving, but they made it in safely and no luggage was lost. Four minutes later, we're unloading the luggage at the cruise terminal and I'm parking in the adjacent long-term lot. Luggage tags were generated at curbside, and we headed in for processing. After a grueling five or six minutes we were through the final security checkpoint and across the gangway. Very easy check-in and well run processing. More kudos to Costa! Grub was intercepted by a couple of Animators (Activities staggers) from the Squok Club. They gave him a set of head-bongers and a schedule of club events for the week. We couldn't get him to wear the bongers (at 12 they just aren't very 'cool'), so I put 'em on! To quote George Lopez, "Yeah, and I looked good too!" Entering the ship, we were met by a dozen staff officers and various department representatives. Dragging the carry-ons, we headed for the Perla del Lago buffet and to explore the ship until the cabins were released. At 1:00 pm we headed for our cabin and SunFlower got her surprise. She had originally booked a standard verandah cabin (5177). Without her knowledge, I had coordinated with Costa and had gotten us a seven category upgrade to a Panorama Suite (6182). In the cabin, we found a bottle of imported Champagne, two crystal flutes, a bowl of fresh fruit, and a plate of canapEs. The ice bucket was full and our cruise cards and Grub's drink card were waiting on the counter. As we began exploring the cabin, Phillipe, our steward, and Oresto, our butler, arrived and introduced themselves. These two charming gentlemen are a credit to Costa Cruise Lines. I gave Phillipe a description of our luggage, and it began arriving within the next 30 minutes! Oresto insisted on unpacking for us and made our conversion from landlubbers to sailors absolutely painless. Well, I suppose the champagne probably helped a bit. The cabin was spacious. The verandah was about 6' x 14' and had a tinted glass railing. Even though there were two nice lounge chairs and a small table, there was room to walk around. Inside was the standard queen bed, with lighted nightstands on either side, a daybed (twin), also with a lighted nightstand, a ceiling stowed Pullman (which we did not use), an easy chair and adjustable coffee table. The main cabin had two counter areas, a well-stocked refrigerator, a chest of drawers, television, safe and plenty of storage cabinets. There were two roomy closets in the main cabin and two more in the dressing room. Yes, there was a dressing room between the cabin and the bath, with a vanity, large mirror and great lighting. The bath was more than adequate, with the infamous 'cruise ship toilet' (do not flush while seated!), twin sinks, a large counter, Jacuzzi-tub and shower with sliding glass doors. There was also a very nice selection of toiletries, which Phillipe kept stocked at all times. Happy birthday and congratulations on your retirement SunFlower! The Cruise - This was an eight day/seven night cruise, out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with Ports-Of-Call scheduled for Key West, Florida; an 'At Sea' day, Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, Mexico, and a final 'At Sea' day. At least, this was the planned itinerary. Unfortunately, events were underway which would change those plans ... just a bit. On our first morning, we were scheduled for Key West. There was some confusion as to what time that would be, as we had "Spring Forward" that night, so we were not sure exactly when we would dock. Regardless, we all headed down to the Degli Argentieri Restaurant for a big breakfast. Looking out the windows, I noticed that we were heading North, which I though a bit strange, but I wrote it off to maneuvering in the approach channel to Key West. Around 7:45, we were interrupted by an announcement, "Ladies and gentlemen, we regret to inform you that at last night a passenger was seen going overboard. The ship has been conducting a search all night and has not been released by the Coast Guard. Unfortunately, we will not be stopping in Key West as scheduled. All scheduled tours have been cancelled and the cost will be credited to your accounts. We will remain on station until we are released." Around 8:15 am, a male passenger was making a scene in the main lobby, at the customer services desk. Security personnel took up positions in the immediate vicinity, quietly ushering other guest from the area. I saw two plainclothes personnel with handcuffs in hand. The man was yelling, cursing and threatening the staff. Eventually, the calmed him down and took him into one of the nearby offices, ending that episode of the drama. Around 10:30 am, an announcement was made that the ship had been released by the Coast Guard from further searching, and was returning to Miami for "technical reasons". By 11:00 am the ship held position off the entrance to the Port of Miami channel. There it was met by a small boat (20'-25'?, similar to a sport fishing boat). Two men (a CSI team?) got off the boat, each carrying a large black suitcase. Then, the man from the lobby was escorted off the ship. I could not tell if he was restrained or not. After the man was taken off the ship, we set sail for Grand Cayman, with Key West nothing but a memory. We were credited for all shore excursions, port charges and other fees. Our missing passenger was never found. At the time of this writing, the case remains "under investigation" by the FBI. According to the more popular rumors a couple (boy and girl-friend), with a balcony cabin, had been arguing ever since they boarded. Supposedly, there was a second, ex-girlfriend somehow involved, who left the ship before sailing. When she found that she had been invited to be a third-wheel? The couple had been seen arguing with each other all day previously, and well into the night. But no one reported them ("Don't want to get involved, you know."). Around 11:15 pm, someone reported that they thought they had seen someone go overboard, from the side of the ship. Just about the same time, the yelling from the cabin ended. Forty-five minutes later, the boyfriend reported that, while they were arguing, she suddenly climbed the balcony railing and jumped overboard. The Ship - Wow! To some eyes, the dEcor may be over the top, but personally, I liked it. Lots and lots of marble, mirrors and light. The atrium is the focal point of the ship and the center of activity. Reaching 11 decks and topped by a huge skylight it will draw your attention. There are three glass elevators, which are in constant use and afford knockout views. OK, starting at the top, let's wander around ... 12 (Madera) Deck - Only accessible aft, via a stairway leading from Club Medusa, the forward portion is a topless sunbathing area. Grub was not expecting this and only tripped over two lounge chairs before exiting the area. Moving aft, we took a stairway down to ... 11 (Pandora) Deck - This deck is in three sections. Forward is a basketball/tennis court and jogging track with a non-skid surface. Amidships there is a small sunbathing area above a bar. This area is also topless. Internally, the aft section hosts the Club Medusa balcony. Outside there is a baby wading pool between Club Medusa and the water slide. A very nice, quiet area with a windbreak surrounding the pool area. At the very aft are the steps leading up to the water slide. The slide was not open al the time. Check the sign for availability. When it was operating, the wait was about 4-5 minutes between runs, but Grub felt it was too long. Oh well, his loss. I had a great time. The slide ends on ... 10 (Cleopatra) Deck - Frequently used as an additional jogging track, Cleopatra has a bar amidships, between the forward and aft family pools. Great views and, as previously mentioned a second topless area. Immediately aft of the aft pool opening is the (bocce) bowling alley. Plenty of lounge chairs. No waiting ... 9 (Armonia) Deck - Forward are the Ischia Spa, Venus Beauty Salon and Gymnasium. Very good selection of machines and free weights. There is also a hot tub for those who don't want to soak outside and don't want young people around. I enjoyed this area too. It's nice relaxing my cares away; with a frozen thingy in hand and watching others sweat their sins away. Heading on back, past the ping-pong tables, is the Armonia Pool. This is one of the two family pools. The second being the Cadmo Pool. They each have an elevated hot tub, but Cadmo has a sliding cover, allowing it's use during bad weather. Between them there are two bars, which do a brisk business all day and night. Again, lots of lounge chairs and tables for casual dining. Immediately adjacent to the Cadmo Pool is a bandstand with a 3-4 man combo playing throughout the day and evening. Stage right (starboard) is the poolside grill - hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken filets, etc. There is also a drink and desert station on this side. Portside is a deli/sandwich bar with yet another drink station. Continuing aft, you'll come to the Perla del Lago Buffet area. There is a glass stairway extending out into the atrium and connecting Armonia with Cleopatra Deck allowing entrance to Club Medusa ... Club Medusa is the reservations-only exclusive dining experience, now being offered on most cruise lines. The club is on two levels, Cleopatra and with a balcony on Pandora). As Panorama Suite passengers, we had a complementary dinner there one evening, and were very happy with the meal. The service was excellent and the atmosphere was quite romantic. Non-suite passengers may also dine there, but the menu is a la carte, and a full meal will run you around $30-35 per person, plus drinks and gratuity. Worth it? That'll have to be your call ... OK. Back to the Perla del Lago Buffet. There are four serving lines for meals and one of these usually serves ethnic food (German one day, English another, etc.). At breakfast, there are two omelet stations adjacent to the atrium. In the afternoon and evening, these change over to pasta selections. Yummy! Another change, in the late evenings, is that the aft-starboard buffet section becomes the Poilliso Pizzeria. With the ever-present Pizza Margarita (pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and basil) and two other choices, which change daily. Aft is the "adult-only" Apollo pool, hot tub and bar. There are plenty of lounge chairs and towels available. 8 (Pagaso), 7 (Prometeo), and 6 (Narciso) Decks - are cabins only ... 5 (Orfeo) Deck - Likewise, is also primarily cabins only, except for the forward most portion. Here you'll (eventually) find the Squok (children's) Club. What's interesting is that this area is only accessible from a stairway leading up from a landing on 4 (Teseo) Deck; and, that landing, in turn, is only accessible via two stairways which lead up from 3 (Bacco) Deck! All in all, it's a very convoluted routing to get to the children's area. However, this also significantly insulates the children from the adults. The Animators (youth counselors) were numerous and kept a very busy schedule for each age group. The only children who really didn't participate were the teenagers. There were activities available for them, but it's "that" age. So, they basically entertained themselves. A lot of basketball, ping-pong and just hangin'... 4 (Teseo) Deck - As mentioned above, at the far forward end is a landing, which takes one up to the Squok Club. On the port side of this landing is the Chapel. Catholic Mass is conducted daily (would you expect anything less on an Italian ship?). Starboard is the video arcade. There is a very extensive assortment of machines available, and my grandson never complained of a wait. Indeed, those times when I was searching for him, I seldom, if ever, found anyone there ... 3 (Bacco) Deck - On either side of the Osiris Theater are the Winter Terraces. These are two very intimate, semi-secluded areas offering tables for two and large windows. The deck slopes up as you head aft, arriving at the upper entrances to the Osiris Theater Balconies. On port side is the library/internet cafe. You can access the Costa website at no charge, but are limited to 5 minutes of free connect time per hour. If you need more time, or want to surf anywhere else, you'll need to insert your Costa Card into a reader. The cost was never very clear, but thankfully there is an onscreen counter, which allows you to see how fast your charges go up (as opposed to how slow your downloads are). The connect speed is terrible, verging on the order of around 350-500 bps! That is, it takes about 2-3 minutes to load the average web page. Longer if there are pictures involved. My recommendation? Save your money and avoid the Internet. You're on vacation and there's nothing going on back in the world that you can really influence anyway. As far as the library itself goes, the selection is limited, but that's primarily because they are carrying a general selection in six languages. If you're multi-lingual, you won't have a problem finding good materials for your leisure time. Continuing on, is the Oriental Lounge. This was a favorite hangout of many, as it is quiet, easy to get to and afforded a nice degree of intimacy. There is also a very nice fountain surrounded by a stairwell, which led down to 2 (Teriscore) Deck. Following the Via Condotti, you'll progress through the on-board shops. If there's anything you forgot, they can probably provide it (at 2 to 3 times the 'back-home' cost) ... Halfway along, you'll arrive at the photo galleries, which surround the Maschera D'Argento Atrium. As with all cruise ships these days, the ubiquitous photographers are everywhere during the cruise and the results are on display in glass cabinets. Each cabinet has a sign identifying the general time the photos were taken. If you manage to find one you wish to purchase, you'll have to find one of the staff and have them unlock the cabinet and ring up the sale. Takes time, and I'm sure that they will eventually find a better way to do this. Once the photos are replaced, you won't see them again until the last day. Then they'll be stacked in open baskets. This is a very inefficient way to find your photos. They missed a lot of sales because passengers grew tired of searching and went on to something more interesting. Next, you'll come to the Dionisio Lounge. This is a great little area to meet up with your table companions for pre-dinner cocktails, appetizers and a recap of the day's activities, before entering the upper portion of the two-level of the Degli Argentieri Restaurant ... 2 (Teriscore) Deck - From the bow (that's the pointy end of the ship) and heading aft; we start with the Osiris Theater. Seating over 1,700 guests, this is the primary venue for the production shows, contests, indoor games and that good ol' reliable standby ... Bingo. There were two shows nightly. The early show was for the second seating passengers, and the second reversed the process. We enjoyed the shows and even got the grandson to attend on a regular basis. Just outside the theater, you'll find the card room and the Piazza Casanova at the bottom of the fountain and stairs. The Piazza was used for many shows, dancing and games. The Grande Canal Casino is next, and fully extends across the deck. Therefore, there will be heavy pedestrian traffic, including children, through the gambling area. Personally, I did not appreciate the young people hanging around, searching the floor for dropped tokens, or even playing some of the slots. Yes, the casino staff did move them along, but not with any serious consistency ... Amidships, is the Maschera D'Argento Atrium. This will be the first thing you see as you enter the ship, and your last as you leave a week later. Extremely impressive, the atrium extends up Cleopatra Deck and is capped by a huge skylight. Guest Services (manned 24/7) and Shore Excursions (very limited hours) offices are on the port side. Dancing along the walls are three glass-enclosed elevators, 19 stylized figures and lights in the shape of jellyfish. Aft, is the Talia Lounge. As with the Dionisio Lounge on Bacco Deck, it's a great place to meet up with friends before, or after diner. This is the entrance to the Selva Disco, extending down to 1 (Circe) Deck. Aft is the lower entrance to the Degli Argentieri Restaurant ... 1 (Circe) Deck - Whew, finally! OK. Forward is another of the Mediterranea's quiet little secrets, the Giardino Isolabella Lounge. This one deck show lounge provides a great location for smaller performances, dance lessons, classical music and meetings. At the very aft end of Circe is, as mentioned above, the lighted dance floor of the Selva Disco ... The Degli Argentieri Restaurant - This is the main restaurant and is on two levels. Well lit and nicely decorated, the Degli Argentieri did not see the crowds I expected. Oh, on the first night, yes. Almost every table was full. Everyone wants to meet their new tablemates, wait staff and check out their view. We were fortunate to be at table 50, a window table for six, just starboard of midline, on the stern. We had a fantastic view of the sea, the glorious sunsets and where we had been. Our waiter, Dominick (Dom), and Assistant Waiter, Joseph, were not Italian, but were both from the Philippines. Even with that twist, they did a marvelous job of introducing us to the various offerings and the impressive creations of the Chef. Our drink preferences were always remembered and service was both prompt and invisible. Dom had no problem with a discrete shake of the head if one of us ordered something that was, shall we say ... 'less than excellent'. Dinners are your standard cruise offerings, three or four appetizers, three soups (two hot and one chilled), two salads, and then two pasta courses (Italian style dining), followed by five to six entrees. There were also some standards offered every evening, for those who did not want to experiment - sirloin steak, broiled/poached/grilled salmon, broiled chicken, Caesar salad, baked potato, etc. The desert selection was fairly good. There is also a children's menu, offering hamburgers, mac'n'cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken fingers and fish sticks. Grub did me proud. He took one look at the children' menu and informed Dom that he, "wasn't going to be eating any of that junk." He ordered off the adult menu, and insisted on the chilled soup and two portions of grilled salmon every night. In addition, he also tried (at least) one new dish at each meal. There were a couple he didn't care for, and Joseph made them quickly disappear. There was what SunFlower and I both considered to be a glaring omission for an Italian cruise line ... no canoli! Honest, eight days and seven nights on an Italian ship, with an Italian Head Chef and no canoli anywhere, at any time! Shame on you Costa ... Shame. Special Events - There are two Formal Nights (second and sixth), which is pretty much standard for a one-week cruise. Costa does one thing that sets it apart from their competition. On the final night, when you have packed your bags and are now limited to your next day's carry-ons (carry-offs ??), Costa hosts "Roman Bacchanal Night. That's right ... TOGA, TOGA, TOGA! Your cabin steward will leave extra bed sheets in your cabin, along with instructions on how to tie and wear a toga. A bit of prior research allowed SunFlower and I, along with our friends and our grandson, to purchase togas before the cruise. We were five of around 15-20 who went this route and were glad we did. We were recognized and really felt special. It made the night a lot more fun. Although some people, even after a week, still hadn't learned to relax enough to join in the fun. Most did. I saw some strange combinations. Bib-overalls with a toga over hem. A toga with cowboy boots and 10-Gallon hat. You never know ... The Final Evaluation - Here we go. First, let me say that I have problems with folks who go on a cruise (or other vacation for that matter) and expect to find faults. "The cold water wasn't cold enough. The hot water wasn't hot enough. I saw a worn spot on the carpet. The lounge singer wasn't as good as Enrico Caruso. One of the stewards failed to smile at me one morning." Yadda, yadda, yadda. Come on people ... Lighten up. If you go looking for problems, you'll find them. How sad. I prefer to look on the sunny side of life. No, everything isn't going to be absolutely perfect. But, is the cruise line honestly trying to give you a good experience for a fair price? There were plusses and minuses on this cruise, to be sure. The only issues, of any consequence, were: The Cons - The biggest problem was that we cruised during Spring Break. We will not do that again. Many of the American parents were failures at that responsibility; i.e. - they did not 'parent'. They tended to let their children run wild. It was not uncommon to get on an elevator and find that every button had been pushed. More than once I found chewing gun stuck under tables in the lounges. Young people (teenagers, primarily) tended to take over whole sections of the lounges or the Osiris Theater and were uniformly rude to the other passengers. And ... NO CANOLI !!! The Neutrals - Announcements are made in five languages. English, Italian, German, French and Spanish. This can make some events (the abandon ship drill) a bit longer than some may be willing to bear. Also, because many passengers are European, you'll find smoking much more common than in the States. Personally, neither of these were a problem for me; however I did hear others complaining. The Pros - I liked Costa. The staff were good and put out a good product. The ship is very well decorated and I did not have any problem finding my way around. The entertainment was varied and interesting. The casino was friendly (I won enough on the penny slots to pay for the next cruise!). Shore excursions were many, interesting, timely, escorted, and safe. The food was more than plentiful and was varied enough that everyone was able to find something to his or her liking, just about any time of the day or night. I was pleased to note that they did not serve food American Style, i.e. - quantity vs. quality. Portions were small, but they were never-ending! The French, German and Italian kidlets were very well behaved. The tragedy of the first night was handled well and was not allowed to dampen the spirits of the rest of the passengers. Will I cruse again? - Absolutely! There is no better way to vacation, and no better value for your money! Will I cruise again with Costa? - That remains to be seen. For now, I'll give a tentative ... Perhaps. Will I cruise again during Spring Break? - Absolutely not! Please, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. Thank you. - Calgon (Calgon1@Yahoo.Com) Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Costa Mediterranea Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.2
Entertainment 3.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursions 5.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 1.0 N/A
Service 4.0 3.7
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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