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46 Costa Fortuna Cruise Reviews

We drove from Georgia to Florida the day prior and overnighted in Fort Pierce, about an hour and a half from Ft Lauderdale. Arrived at the pier by 10:30 am, unloaded our luggage and parked in the parking garage next to the pier. Very Easy. ... Read More
We drove from Georgia to Florida the day prior and overnighted in Fort Pierce, about an hour and a half from Ft Lauderdale. Arrived at the pier by 10:30 am, unloaded our luggage and parked in the parking garage next to the pier. Very Easy. After check-in we waited until 11:45 to begin boarding. This was our second cruise on Costa. We sailed the Mediterranea last March and enjoyed the european atmosphere. We have sailed on 18 cruises: Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America,and Celebrity. While I can say we have never had a bad cruise experience, Carnival is my least favorite and Holland America my most favorite. Royal Caribbean is great with all the kids and grandkids. We sailed with two other couples on the first week and just my husband and myself on the second week. So we explored late night fun the first week and rest and relaxation on the second. We had two different staterooms, the first was a balcony cabin at the very back of the ship the second was an oceanview forward. We found good things about both. The balcony aft was enjoyable while sailing, watching the ship's wake from here late at night is so peaceful. One drawback is while in port if the wind is blowing the soot toward the back of the ship it does fall onto your deck and deck chairs so beware. The other drawback is vibration, we had two days of rough seas in the beginning and experienced alot of vibration at the back of the ship during this time. Our other cabin was convenient to the elevators and on a lower level. Both cabin stewards were attentive and did a great job in maintaining our cabins. Since we were a group of six in the dining room we all sat together and had the best waiter and assistant, Patrick the waiter and Greg his assistant. Patrick's suggestions were right on and they both were very attentive. Our second week we requested a table for two and had very good service again. However, when at a table for two it seems you wait a little longer to order and between courses because the waiters take the orders in groups, I think. But we always had water or other beverages replaced frequently at both tables. The Italian night festivities in the dining room are great fun. Don't miss them. A word about the buffet, the design of this area causes a jam up of people. You need to navigate around it by utilizing the other areas where the buffet is placed. However, if you like PASTA, you will not go hungry. At lunch there are at least three different pasta dishes offered on the Lido, along with a hot meat carved to order and Pizza of course. You'll find the cookies served at tea time,3:45pm in the Lido. The dining room meals for dinner offered nice selections and good desserts. Costa does offer a children's program but there are other cruise lines better suited for families with kids. The international blend of passengers may not be enjoyable for children sighting communication differences. I must comment on the passenger participation onboard Costa ships, I have never seen so much passenger participation in the activities held on board. We never laughed so hard as we did on the oldies night. Great Time!! Just a word about the Ship's design, deck 5 is the only deck you can walk from front to back inside. Unless, you walk a cabin deck, like deck 6 or 7 through. We also liked the tiered top decks for lounging. We never had a problem finding a deck chair up on deck 11 or 12. In addition, the Fortuna offers many areas of piano and other music. These were very comfortable and we enjoyed them each evening. While a Costa cruise is not for everyone, it is all in what you make it. Each line has its niche and Costa offers a European experience close by. Listening to all the various languages is a part of the experience. We enjoy cruising Italian Style!!! and will do so again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
On this itinerary we sailed the new Costa Fortuna that started in Rome and included Barcelona, Palma de Majorca, Tunis, Savona (Portofino), Malta and Palermo. I've read some reviews and it's mentioned that Costa mix ... Read More
On this itinerary we sailed the new Costa Fortuna that started in Rome and included Barcelona, Palma de Majorca, Tunis, Savona (Portofino), Malta and Palermo. I've read some reviews and it's mentioned that Costa mix international guests on their tours. We did not find this at all. In every tour we took we always had English speaking guides. When you disembark the ship you are directed to a motorcoach that will display a sign "ENGLISH". I noticed all the other nationalities had their buses as well. The French had "Francais" on theirs, "Espanol" for the Spanish and so forth. The only tour that had mixed nationalities was a bicycle tour in Palma and that was more of a bike ride than "tour". I highly recommend these bike tours. If you can ride a bike you'll love these tours. We took the one in Barcelona as well and we loved them both. The one port on this itinerary that is a MUST for an excursion is Tunis. The port is in an industrial area and is not walkable nor safe. We elected to take the excursion that included Carthage and a local museum. The guide offered to include a bazaar although it wasn't in the itinerary. Everyone said "sure!" We later learned this was so he could take every one to his buddy who sat us all in a big room and showed us carpet after carpet after carpet.... I eventually decided to leave and take in a little shopping - half the room took my cue an followed! The tour finished up in a delightful seaside village with time to shop there. Incidentally when we disembarked for a tour you meet with your fellow English speaking guests in a designated lounge with the English speaking host or hostess. They then take the group as a whole to the gangway or tender. This assures that all of the guests are on the buses at the same time. Speaking of the English speaking host. This was one of the best parts of the cruise! A welcome aboard talk was announced in Today, the daily program the first day. We met Alex who gave us a very informative talk about suggested shore excursions and learned about what to expect during our cruise. They even included a comical video about some of the crazy European habits - it was a good laugh. I encourage everyone to attend this talk!!! The host or hostess also maintains scheduled times at desks (like a concierge) - these are listed in the daily program. This person also goes on select excursions, will host other events, etc. Their SOLE purpose on board is to be there for their respective language group - in our case the English speaking guests. If you have a problem, he's the person to go to - forget the Purser's desk, they have too many other things to deal with and sometimes can be a little curt. The dining was very good and we enjoyed their speciality restaurant also on several occasions. Try the tasting menu from which you get to try a great selection of dishes. Costa offers several drink packages such as the single glass package (X1) that does have to be purchased in advance. The single glass package allows for you to have sodas, mineral water, draft beer and wine during the meal hours in the restaurant and buffet areas. This can be purchased on line before you sail. There are also wine and water packages. This is what we decided on - we purchased the package(there are 2 types: good and better) that includes 5 bottles of wine, a bottle of spumante and 10 bottles of mineral water. You can redeem the mineral water coupons at any bar (they don't have to be redeemed in the restaurant). I usually redeemed a coupon for a liter of water before I retired for the night and when also when I went on excursions or ashore. It was a much better buy than purchasing the small bottles offered at the gangway. The ship was gorgeous. Anyone loving the "grand ships" of yesteryear will love the theme. I understand she was the first passenger ship to be built in the Genoa yards since the Michelangelo in the '60s. Thus, everything is themed after the great, Italian liners. One restaurant, for example, is the Michelangelo with a 20 ft long model of the ship in front. Each public area is similarly named and there is artwork throughout the ship with the same maritime theme. We loved the "upside-down" fleet of the Costa ships in the atrium area. May was a great time to sail as it was not during the European summer break for the kids. Also, the ports were less crowded. Unless you want a lot of children on board avoid Late July through August. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This was my first time on a 7 day cruise and on Costa. I have only sailed on a 2 night Celebrity cruise previously. Since I live in Ft Lauderdale and close to Port Everglades, travel to the ship was a short cab ride away. Embarkation: I ... Read More
This was my first time on a 7 day cruise and on Costa. I have only sailed on a 2 night Celebrity cruise previously. Since I live in Ft Lauderdale and close to Port Everglades, travel to the ship was a short cab ride away. Embarkation: I arrived at 1pm and the lines to pass through security were rather long, but once I checked in I was on the ship rather quickly. I didn't like the fact that my room key was actually in my cabin with the door open instead of given to me at check in but I was pleased with the size & decor of my cabin. My cabin was on Deck 2 with an Oceanview. I had a group to meet after the Muster drill so I relaxed in my cabin until the drill which I found very long due to the fact that they had to repeat everything in 5 languages. It was hot and humid and not a pleasing process. After the drill I met my Cruise Critic group on Deck 9. Our group which met on the Cruise Critic message board was great, we named ourselves Da Costa Rostas and made our own t-shirts. This group alone mad my vacation a wonderful experience and alot of fun! Dining: I was assigned late dining, even though I had requested early seating. I should have asked to have it changed because I didn't like eating that late and the fact the dinner was over around 10:30, most of the evening was over by then. I had dinner in the restaurant the first 2 nights and then just began eating at the buffet the remaining nights, I was having so much fun with the group, I looked forward to meeting them for drinks in the evening. The food was excellent both at the buffet and dining room. I had no complaints about the quality and availability of food on this ship. Next time I will insist on early dining. Customer Service: Customer Service I found to be great. My cabin steward constantly kept my cabin clean. I had no complaints about the any of the staff on the ship. They were all polite and customer friendly. Activities: There were plenty of activities to keep anyone busy. I only attended the Roman Night in the Rex Theater, I regret not having attended more shows there. I did sit through some afternoon craft classes which were fun. I also attended the Italian night which I enjoyed. The disco club was filled with very young kids the whole cruise, adults didn't really want to go because of that. They should have scheduled a few adult nights there. There was a club where a group called Brass Monkeys were playing, most of the adults hung out there. It was alot of fun and alot of dancing. Three Dog Night and Lovin Spoonful were also on the cruise and performed several concerts that were sold as part of a Rock n Roll package on Online Vacation Center. I did not have tickets but got to meet some of the band members and I heard from several group members that the concerts were great. Toga Night was our last night on the ship, most of us got into togas and took part in the fun. Ports of Call: San Juan: We arrived in San Juan at 5pm and were only scheduled to be there for 4 hours, so there was not much time. A small group of us walked around old San Juan while it was still light out, I really is a charming town lined with cobblestone streets and lots of shopping. St Maarten: We docked in St Maarten at 9am, I did not have an excursion booked,the sea was rough which caused many of the beaches to close. I had thought about going to Virgin Gorda but decided against it because of timing and the rough water. It was sunny and a nice day so I walked around the side streets close to the Port and did some shopping. I found a quaint outdoor bar on the boardwalk and had a few drinks with a group member. Our ship was only at the dock until 1:30pm then moved to an anchor position, so we had to take a tender back to the ship, what a fiasco that was. The lines were very long and loading passengers in the tender was disorganized at best bordering on dangerous, the tenders were crashing into the dock and one almost tipped over. The crew did not appear to know what they were doing or at least were not experienced with such rough water. Needless to say it was a frightening experience back to the boat. Tortola: We arrived at the Port at 8am. Several of the members of our group decided to meet at 8am and take a cab to Cane Garden Bay. We met on deck 9 and waited for an announcement that we were cleared to get off the ship. There was no announcement and we wasted up until 10am on the ship while others had already got off the ship much earlier. The sea was again rough and many excursions were cancelled and beaches closed. We were okay because we took a cab. It was a beautiful scenic ride to Cane Garden, we spent several hours on this beautiful beach taking pictures and walking around. We had a difficult time finding a cab to take us back so we asked a tour bus driver who happened to have some space on Freddie's Fun Bus Tours. This tour guide was funny and informative, this ride made our trip to this island, we had a blast on the way back to the port. Nassau: We arrived at 1pm and only scheduled to be there for 3 hours which isn't much time. Our same group members that had fun in Tortola booked the Discover Atlantis excursion. Though we had to take a boat to get there wand we were rushed to get back it was well worth the experience of Atlantis and it's beautiful grounds and aquarium. I tool some stunning pictures here. We jumped off the tour early and rushed back to catch our ferry back to Port. I wish we could have had more time there. We made it back in time for some of the group to do some quick shopping at the Straw Market. Disembarkation: We arrived back in Ft Lauderdale at 4:30am. They offered early disembarkation at 7am and I took it since I live local. It was a bit disorganized, they had us meet at the Rex Theater at 7am then we had to wait half hour or so and a very line started to form out side the theater and into the lobby, it became a rather large crowd with several lines, there was not enough room for a single line. The latecomers seemed to get off first which didn't make sense, then they changed plan and had the first to arrive drag our luggage all the way around the other side of the lobby and back to get off. Tempers were hot. Part of the deal was we had to take our own luggage off the ship. It was not a pleasant experience due to the fact that it was so disorganized. Once I made it through Customs I got a cab relatively quick and was home in 1/2 hour. Overall: It was a great cruise and I made many friends. I enjoyed the ship and it's activities. I was a bit disappointed at the short 3 hour stops at San Juan and Nassau but enjoyed the experience nevertheless. I will definitely cruise this ship again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Returned from a GREAT Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Costa Fortuna. We had the Easter sailing from March 23-30th. We are a family of 4 that traveled. Myself and Husband are in our mid-late 40's, and our twin sons who are 12. This is ... Read More
Returned from a GREAT Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Costa Fortuna. We had the Easter sailing from March 23-30th. We are a family of 4 that traveled. Myself and Husband are in our mid-late 40's, and our twin sons who are 12. This is our third cruise for myself and Husband, and second for our boys. This is all of our second time on a Costa ship. Last Easter we were on the Costa Magica that sailed to the Western Caribbean. The Fortuna is the "sister ship" to the Magica, and although we LOVED the "Fortuna", I have to give a slight edge to the "Magica". It is just a little more "magical!!" We are from Ohio (Go Bucks!!), so it is SO NICE to break away from the ice and snow and sail around the Caribbean!! PRE-CRUISE: Flew from Columbus, OH to Ft. Lauderdale Saturday before sailing. Stayed at the Bahia Mar Beach Resort on Ft. Lauderdale Beach. (Stayed there last year before our Magica cruise and liked the price and location to beach an Port Everglades.) Was looking forward to enjoying some sun and sand, but unfortunately, had RAIN most of Sat. and all of Sat. night. Oh, well......it was alot warmer than Ohio!! EMBARKATION: Checked out of hotel on Sunday around 10:45AM, dropped off rental car at Thrifty (right outside gate to Port Everglades), and rode their shuttle right up to ship terminal. Was there by 11:00AM. Got our luggage tags right there, attendants tagged and took them away, and we were in line for our cruise! Very easy! They didn't open the doors inside the terminal until 11:30, but once they did, we were right in, got through detectors, got right in line, checked our passports and documents, and we were on the ship by 11:45AM! Went up to the 9th floor buffet and were eating poolside by noon! Very smooth and easy!! CABIN: Booked a Category O8A quad balcony stateroom on the 6th floor. Identical to room on Magica last year, but closer to the front of the ship. Rooms have PLENTY of storage and space for the 4 of us! Not in room too much anyway, but LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have that balcony! Have never sailed without one, so I don't know any different. Got the "kid's sail free" promotion this year (kind of why we took another cruise this year...can't beat it!) Our room steward, Gerald, was very nice and so delightful. Even made towel animals for the kids! Room was always immaculate! One thing about the Fortuna vs. the Magica are the mattresses on the beds. Last year on the Magica, the mattresses were thin, foam rubber things. Had to ask for a mattress topper. This year on the Fortuna, they are real mattress that are nice, thick and comfortable!! Nice duvet covers as well! Maybe Costa is upgrading their mattresses, but they were GREAT!! Always slept well, and kept the balcony door open to hear the "crashing of the waves" at night. Also, LOVE to order room service coffee or cappuccino in the AM and sit on my balcony while kids are still sleeping and just look at that beautiful sea!! PUBLIC AREAS: Costa keeps the cleanest and most immaculate ships I have been on! They are beautiful and a "work of art" as well! Another reason we love Costa. Their ships are very European in style, so there is artwork everywhere!! The Fortuna has the exact same layout as the Magica, so we were used to that and it was so easy to navigate. I don't know why some people find this so hard! Even on our first time on the Magica last year, it was so SIMPLE to get around! Even our twins had it down the first day! Anyway, the Fortuna is a beautiful ship, but I still think the Magica has that extra special "magic touch" in most areas. We spend most all of our time on sea days by the main pool where all of the activity is going on. We love to participate in all the dancing, games, etc. and there is NEVER a dull moment on these ships. From the water slide to all the poolside dancing and games, if you are bored, then it's YOUR OWN FAULT!! Chairs were hard to come by near the center of activity, but my husband gets up early every single day to "work out" in the gym, so he would "reserve" some chairs for us by 8:00AM. They were getting pretty filled up by then!! Everyone on board from the passengers to the crew were so nice an friendly! Always so courteous and always smiling! SQUOK CLUB: Can't comment on this. My twins are "tweens" and don't quite fit in with the little kids, and are too young for the teen kids. They didn't participate last year on the Magica either. They are just as content to "hang by the pool", read, listen to their I-pods, or just entertain themselves. So much to do! From what I could observe, though, the kids that were in the Squok Club seemed to be having a ball! DINING: O.K....this is the BIGGEST reason why I wanted to submit this review! I read so many reviews last year before my Magica cruise about the food, etc. I, unfortunately, never took the time to set the record straight with a review last year, so that is why I'm taking the time now! We had early seating in the Michelangelo dining room. The FOOD COULD NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER!!!! Now, it was VERY GOOD on the Magica last year, but I felt the food this year on the Fortuna was OUTSTANDING!!! We are not picky people, but we like good food. Now, keep in mind, all you "foodies" that are reading this! Cruise food, in my opinion, is not "5-star" cuisine! How could it be when you're feeding 3,000 + people 3+ times/day?? BUT....having said that.....it should be palatable, hot, fresh, and a nice presentation! All of that was accomplished on this ship and THEN SOME!!! Food was always "piping hot" coming out to the table, selection was great, beef dishes were perfect and cooked to order, and the pasta was always PERFECT and DELICIOUS!! Can't say enough!! My kids tried alot of different dishes, and LOVED them, too! Now.....for a "little" of the down-side. Our waiter and assistant were very nice, friendly, efficient with the food, BUT it was hard to get a re-fill on iced tea. Water was filled pretty consistently, but you could never get the tea! He brought it out on the first two nights, and never asked after that. Now, I could have asked myself, but felt bad, as they seemed so busy and had several LARGE tables to attend to. This was just a MINOR complaint, so overall, I shouldn't be complaining at all! Food in the buffets for lunch and breakfast were always good, hot, and fresh! We just love all of the food offered by Costa, and especially like the omelette station for breakfast, the pasta stations at lunch, and the "pool Grill" as well! The burgers are so good, and the fries and salads, too! Bar drinks are reasonably prices, as are the virgin daiquiris. Beers, too! Friends just got back from a Royal Caribbean cruise and complained alot about the "expensive" drinks for adults and kids (plus all the other things RC nickels and dimes you on!) They wished they would have went on Costa with us!! ENTERTAINMENT: Saw a show every single night and thought they were all very good! Especially the comedian and acrobats!! Went to some of the lounge shows with karaoke, dancing, Pizza Man Contest, (GO BRAD!!) and others. All very entertaining! Italian Street Festival is great and of course, TOGA NIGHT!!! We loved it last year on the Magica, and couldn't wait for it again this year on the Fortuna!! (also, had an easier time this year getting the #$@% togas on!!) Max was our cruise director last year, so we also had the "extra bonus" of getting him again on the Fortuna!! Great guy! PORTS OF CALL: This trip was the Eastern Caribbean run that went to San Juan, St. Thomas, Catalina Island, La Romana,and Nassau. SAN JUAN: Got into port around 5:00PM. Booked the "San Juan by Night" tour from Costa. Had a fun tour guide and got to see alot of "old" and "new" San Juan. Walked around and did a little shopping afterwards, then back on the ship. Very nice city of what we saw. ST. THOMAS: Was here about 15 years ago on our honeymoon, and stayed at Sapphire Beach Resort, so HAD to make a trip back there to see it again!! Booked a tour independently through Sunny Liston Tours! They were GREAT and I would highly recommend them!! Picked us up at the port at 9:00AM, dropped us off at Charlotte Amalie for shopping, then back on their "open-air" bus for some Island sightseeing, trip to Mountain-Top, then the rest of the day at the beach of your choice. You could choose from Megan's Bay, Coki Beach, or Sapphire Beach. Been to all 3 before, but MUCH prefer Sapphire!! It was exactly like my husband & I remember! The day was beautiful, and the water was so gorgeous and clear! Used their pool and "swim-up-bar" and ordered the same drink I did 15 years ago! Kids thought we were a little "corny" reliving our honeymoon, but so what??!!?? All in all, a GREAT DAY!!!!!!! CATALINA ISLAND: GREAT beach day!!! BEAUTIFUL ISLAND!!! Clean, beach barbecue was great, drinks, bars, and bar service were plenty!! What more could you ask for?? PARADISE!! They had some independent excursion people there that were selling rides on banana boats, etc. Cruise ship discourages using these people, but there was a LONG line for their services. The four of us did the "banana boat" ride. For $10 bucks each, they take you around 2 long laps in the ocean near the beach! FUN!!! Did NOT want to leave this place. We took the last tender back to the ship!! Could have skipped La Romana, and stayed longer!! LA ROMANA: This is about 5 miles from Catalina, so didn't take the ship long to get there. Once back on the ship from Catalina, we showered, went down to dinner, and then saw the first show in the theatre. We had booked tickets to the "Kandele Show" through Costa in La Romana. The outdoor show didn't start until 9:00, so we didn't have to get on the bus until 8:30. The show was in the resort of Caso De Campo, which was lovely from what I saw in the dark. The outdoor "Roman Theatre" was beautiful as well. The show was very good, too! There wasn't any other excursions to book on this stop, so I thought it would be fun to go. I always get off the ship no matter what port we are at and do something!! I see no point in sitting on the ship when you can be exploring the caribbean! So, the show was a fun thing to do! NASSAU: Got to Nassau around 12:00-ish or so, but by the time you could get off the ship, it was around 1:00. Would have loved to book a Dolphin Encounter or something, but with the short time in port (1-6), didn't have alot of time. We just took a water taxi over to Paradise Island and walked around Atlantis. Beautiful resort (just like any in Vegas), but not much they will let you see (other than aquarium) without paying. Kids would have LOVED to go on the water slides, pools, etc., but for $105.00 each, that was too much money for the amount of time we were there! Took water taxi back to Nassau after about 2 hours, went to Straw Market. That was a CLUSTER!!! Lots of people jammed in there! Wasn't even worth fighting the crowds for a "knock-off" Coach purse!! Back on the boat, and got ready for dinner. Nice day, but wished we would have booked a snorkel excursion or something else. Felt like we wasted our time at Atlantis. DISEMBARKATION: Well, all good things must come to an end!! We got up that Sunday morning (the 30th), showered, had a nice breakfast, then headed to one of the lounges we were assigned to to wait for our color to be called. Unfortunately,they called it, and we had to leave the ship! Quick and easy debarkation! Overall, GREAT CRUISE!!! My family just loves Costa, and would sail them again in a heartbeat!! In my opinion, they have the BEST value for your buck!!! It is a top-notch cruise, clean ships, great service, great food!! What more does one need?? I get frustrated when I read some of the "not-so-nice" reviews this cruiseline gets! That is why I had to put my "two-cents in" this year. Alot of people are loyal fans on other name-brandlines, but I say: "Shake it up a little" and "get-out-there" and try something else! You will be pleasantly surprised (and have a little extra in your wallet!) I am not that you would consider "loyal" to any one particular line. I choose my cruise on the itinerary first, and value second. I do have to say, though, I could be VERY loyal to Costa. We are already booked on another cruise for next Easter, but want to try the Southern Caribbean. Since Costa does not offer that particular itinerary, I am booked through RC on that one. Even though I am looking forward to the cruise, I will SURELY MISS the gracious "Italian Hospitality" and "European" flair you get with Costa! THAT'S AMORE!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
Background Information: We are a family of five, but only four of us were on this cruise—DH and myself (early-mid 40s), and two boys ages almost 16 and 11 years. This was my 7th cruise, DH's 6th, and the boys' 3rd-4th. We have ... Read More
Background Information: We are a family of five, but only four of us were on this cruise—DH and myself (early-mid 40s), and two boys ages almost 16 and 11 years. This was my 7th cruise, DH's 6th, and the boys' 3rd-4th. We have previously cruised with NCL and Carnival on itineraries ranging from 3 to 7 days (3, 4, 5, and 7 days). We had previously done Western Caribbean itineraries and the Bahamas/Florida. We have previously sailed out of Miami, Tampa, Port Canaveral, and Charleston, SC. This was our first cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale, as well as our first try on an Eastern Caribbean itinerary, (with the exception of the cruise I did with my parents when I was about 12 years old). DH and I have now been on 6 cruises in 7 years, both with and without kids along. This was a "southeastern" itinerary on Costa Fortuna March 16-23, 2008, out of Ft. Lauderdale. The ports were San Juan, St. Martin, Tortola, and Nassau for 7 days. We purchased our cabins through an online cruise agent that we had used before with good results. There was a group on this cruise—rock and roll group there to see Three Dog Night and the Lovin' Spoonful. We were not part of that group, but they seemed to be having a good time, and their presence had no affect whatsoever on our experience of the cruise (other than meeting many of them through Cruise critic—great people!). I guess what I mean is, the fact that this was a themed group cruise did not change our cruise experience for the negative. Hardly knew they were there. Costa is an Italian cruise line, owned by Carnival. The Italian/European flair was different from previous cruises with Carnival and NCL, but was a positive aspect for us. If I do mention negatives in my review, it is only for the sake of objectivity. Any negatives were very minor, and did not affect our overall cruise experience. Pre cruise: We drove from Ohio to Florida beginning the Friday evening before the cruise. There were 5 of us in a mini-van with all our luggage. It actually wasn't too bad. We have been driving to Florida about once/year forever, and we prefer to drive all night while the kids sleep. Works out great for us! We spent the night Saturday with relatives in Melbourne Beach, FL, and drove to the port Sunday morning. I had booked parking via "Airpark" through my online TA's Website. It was "Continental Airport Parking" very close to the port. We paid $46 for the whole week. They had a shuttle bus to the port. The whole thing took about 30 minutes from check-in to drop off at the pier. Embarkation: I felt this went fairly smoothly. As I mentioned before, we have cruised from Tampa, Miami, Port Canaveral, and Charleston prior to this cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale. The shuttle driver went a bit too far past the porters to drop us off though! The porter I went to get was a bit rude about the whole thing...acted like he wasn't going to come get our bags. I gave him a look like, "I guess you don't want my %#* money then," and another porter saw this exchange and said he'd do it. However, then the first guy comes and gets the bags, complaining all the time about how the shuttle driver should have known where to stop...LOL! Whatever! This was day 1 and I was not about to let a hot grumpy man ruin my cruise. Next, we went inside to start the lines. Security line took about 10-15 minutes, and the check-in line about the same. We had an issue with our DS not being listed on the docs because we added a cabin at the last minute and had to switch me to the second cabin with one kid while DH was still listed in the first cabin with the other kid. Well, we had two sets of docs...both of which listed me, but neither of which listed DS #2...long story that I won't get into here, but we were told by Costa on the phone not to worry about it. We made it to yet another security point, upon which this was finally questioned. We then had to wait for an on-board Costa customs person to escort us onboard and get it cleared. This process slowed us down by about 20 more minutes, but at least we got to wait inside in the ship's atrium on deck 3. Muster Drill and Sail away: Muster drill was at 4:00 PM. Despite the 5 languages, it went very smoothly. A first for us was they had children stand in front, then women, then men…I guess chivalry is still alive in Italy! It was kind of strange though because we were separated from DH a little (a bit Titanic-esque for me). The crew had handheld computers with which they checked-in everyone at the muster drill…so, they will know if you do not show up! After muster, we returned life vests to the cabins and went to the deck 9 aft area to meet our fellow Costa Rosta members from Cruise Critic! What a great group of people! We met many of the folks we'd been chatting with on our roll call for quite a while. Michael made beads with Costa Rosta pendants on them for everyone. Most of us wore our Costa Rosta t-shirts, so we were easy to find. We had a meet-and-greet planned for the next morning. Since we had the 5:45 dinner, we didn't hang around too long. This was the first of many memorable times with fellow Cruise Critic roll call members! Love you guys!!! I highly recommend joining your cruise's roll call on Cruise Critic before your trip. Cabins: We were in two cabins, one inside and one outside, on deck 7, very far forward. In fact, our outside cabin is one of the four in the very front, right where the "secret" door is located. This was a handicapped cabin, and was oddly shaped (almost triangular). It had a huge bathroom to accommodate wheelchairs. The cabin was also spacious with plenty of storage space. The two twin beds could not be pushed together to make a queen. The window looked out onto a little-known front deck right under the bridge. We went out often on port days, but not so much on sea days as it was extremely windy! I would not recommend a cabin this far forward if you can avoid it--lots of motion, and too far to walk to most public areas. Why on earth they would put a handicap cabin up there is beyond me. Our second cabin was a standard inside cabin. I found it to be very much on the small side—especially the bathroom! I think the shower in there was about 3 by 3 feet at most. There was, however, ample storage space, and beds made into a queen, as well as a mini-fridge. I don't think I would book an inside cabin for more than 2 people on this class of ship. We have done insides on the older Carnival ships with 3-5 of us together---but would not do that here. The regular outsides and balcony cabins looked a bit more manageable, although I only saw them from the hallway. There were no towel animals. However, there were cookies one night, chocolate mints another night, and a wonderful chocolate Easter egg with a small stuffed animal inside on Good Friday night! What a wonderful surprise. Luggage arrived by 3:00 PM. We unpacked and got ready for muster and sail away. There was plenty of closet, drawer, and under the bed space for storage. You might want to bring extra clothes hangers. Public areas: The Fortuna was immaculate at all times! It was definitely the cleanest ship on which I have been. There was ample deck space if you were willing to look around and were not bent on having a lounger right by the pools. There are nice areas on decks 12 and 13 that are less used and much quieter. We liked Deck 12 forward on the port side (aft of the kiddy pool area). The same deck on the starboard side also had a bar. The buffet areas were large and there were many stations from which to choose, so lines were never very long (practically non-existent lines). Deck nine is where the action is, as well as the outdoor covered tables. The smoking area was on the port side on this deck (as far as outside table seating goes). The Columbo pool on deck 9 aft was completely non-smoking, and the pool and hot tubs were for adults only there. There were plenty of bars, drink stations, and places to get buffet food during the day from 6:00 am until maybe 9:30 pm. Late food was hard to find. You could get pizza until 1:00 am, and they had midnight snacks...no traditional all-out midnight buffets here. I'm pretty sure you could order limited room service all night, but we never did. We used it only for breakfast on three mornings. Inside areas of the ship were beautiful, clean, and varied. There were several areas from which to choose for hanging out at night. If you like music at night, this is your ship! Many opportunities for dancing of any kind, or just listening to a pianist or singers. Many smoking and non-smoking areas were available. Public restrooms were very clean! In my case, I got a bit annoyed at how often they were cleaned because it always seemed to happen when I needed to be in there! Maybe they should have female crew attend to the women's restrooms so passengers could use them while they are being cleaned. I am definitely nitpicking here, so keep that in mind. Also, the restrooms are quite hidden from view…took me a couple days to figure it out. Once you find them, you'll be good. The shops on Deck 5 were a bit annoying with the tables set up outside, causing a bottleneck in that area. The atrium was nice. The Rex Theater was 3 decks tall and seemed to have good views from most places. The dining rooms were each 2 decks and were very nicely laid out and decorated. Getting around could be tricky on decks 3 and 4 because the galley separates the dining rooms. You cannot traverse these decks on the inside from front to back. One just needs to remember to use any other deck to get from front to back—not decks 3 or 4. No big deal. There are three main pools and a kiddy pool area. One pool has a nice water slide. There were 2 hot tubs in the middle and two in the adults-only pool area. There are hot tubs in the spa as well, but we didn't use them. The aft pool also had a retractable roof in case of bad weather. A note about the ship—the largest ship we'd been on prior to this was the Carnival Sensation. That said, this ship was huge! There were several areas I never even got to see. Yes, there are issues on decks 3 and 4 as far as getting from one end to the other, but other than that, navigation was easily done and I knew my way around pretty well by the end of the 2nd day. Also, it is hard to find your family/friends if you do not have exact plans laid out as far as when/where to meet. We found our post-it notes very handy for letting each other know where to find us. It also helped to set up specific meeting times. The food: What can I say but Magnifico!!! This was by far the best food we've had on any cruise. I really don't understand the people who complain about the food on this ship. There is a wide variety, and everything is done pretty much perfectly. The buffets were all over deck 9 and there were many, many different stations to choose from. Salads and fresh fruit were plentiful. The pizza was great. They had steak and chicken on the hamburger/hotdog line!!! The pasta was always the best. One thing we missed was a lack of "free" drink choices. Only iced tea, water, milk, and coffee are available all day. Orange and grapefruit juices were available free only at breakfast (which goes until noon at one of the areas by the way…). Tip: make your own lemonade using lemons (always available) water, and sweetener. Now to the dining room…what a fantastic meal we had every night! Almost everything was excellent. I am one of those evil people who order steaks well done, and I know how hard it is to cook it that way without making it tough. They did an excellent job all around! We had crab legs on the second formal night. They were very good, and had been cut lengthwise in half so there was no need to fuss with the shells. Great fish and seafood choices each night. Soups and salads were excellent, as was the pasta every night! The desserts I tried were average to good. I can see where people might be disappointed with the dessert selection. Many in our group opted for the mousses and sherbets after dinner in the dining room. There is a dessert called Chocolate Delight that is available every night that was delicioso! It was a chocolate mousse covered in a chocolate shell…yummy. If you like Carnival's chocolate melting cake, this is a viable alternative (although not nearly the same). I had the cheesecake one night, which was good. Overall, best dining room dinners we've had on any cruise! Service: Again, service was excellent. Bar servers remembered your preferences fairly quickly. Bar servers on deck were available but non-obtrusive (no "special" drink hawking like on other lines). The buffet areas were well staffed, and tables were cleared relatively quickly. Our cabin stewardess, Anna from the Philippines, was very gracious. They are assigned WAY too many rooms, but do a good job keeping them clean and stocked. We asked to have the fridge emptied on the first day and used it to keep our personal beverages chilled. We also obtained ice for our cooler from Anna the day we went to St. Martin. I liked the system of using a red card on your door for do not disturb, and a green card when you are ready for them to make the beds or do the turndown in the evening. We don't keep regular cabin hours and I think that helped the staff know when it was safe to come in and do their work. Front desk staff was efficient and informative. No wait there ever, and they helped us get extra room keys, printouts of onboard accounts, etc. in a friendly, efficient manner. Photographers were un-obtrusive and professional…they actually made an effort to get several poses on the formal nights with the backdrops. However, it wasn't forced upon you at all times (ports, dinner, everywhere else) as we had experienced on past cruises. Our dining room waiter, Mario and assistant Guillermo (William) were excellent! They did a good job with keeping the courses coming, even though we had a pair of tablemates who were consistently 10-30 minutes late for dinner. The four of us were at a table for 8 with the two couples we knew. Yes, dinner was long (about 1.5 to 2 hours), but it was designed to be done European style. If you can't handle it, eat in the buffet. We had early (5:45) service in the Michelangelo (aft) restaurant. Basically, everything was done with class on this ship. No real complaints here! Entertainment: This is the one area we felt could be improved upon. The shows were just average. DH and our youngest DS went to a variety show one night and said it was just OK. The comedian was funny, but was mostly an impressionist, and his "adult" show was not adult at all. The acrobat show was cancelled due to rough seas (you would think acrobats could handle rough seas). I was disappointed as this was the one show I was really looking forward to. The kids program got mixed reviews from our boys. Our teen had a blast, but the activities were scheduled very late (e.g., disco from 10pm-midnight), and rather sporadically throughout the day. The programs for kids ages 11-13 or so were pretty much non-existent. However, I find this "black hole" on other cruise lines as well—there tends to be better programming for little kids and teens, and not so much for "tweens." However, our son found lots of other boys in his age group to hang out with. They enjoyed the arcade, pools/slide, and playing card games in the card room. Toga night was the last night, and was a lot of fun! Maybe half of the people wore togas. The show that night looked like fun, but I did not stay long as I arrived too late to find a seat, and could not find my friends. The casino was small. The slots were fun, but seemed tight. I did not really notice any big winners there. Same with DH at the blackjack tables. Disembarkation: All good cruises must come to an end. Since we used cash to pay our onboard account, I had to get up early and go pay the piper. You have to be there between 6:00 and 7:30 AM or something like that. It actually went very quickly. They had you take a number and there were chairs, but it honestly took only about 5 minutes. And, I'm happy to say we only owed $101 in addition to what I had already put down at the beginning. We did really good this time! We had yellow luggage tags which meant we were to go to the Rex Theater at 8:30 for debarkation. We got there around 8:40, and they told us we could go ahead and go. So we went to the atrium area of deck 3 and proceeded to follow the line out. The line was long, but it kept moving the whole way through customs and out of the building. We found a spot outside near where we'd been dropped off a week ago, and called our shuttle company. They were there within 10 minutes for the 5 minute drive to the parking facility. All-in-all, a fairly painless debarkation! I could go on and on! In fact, I did go on and on in my review posted on the main Cruise Critic Costa board here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=741915. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
We are two single 39 year old girls from Wisconsin. We flew in on 3/9 and embarkation was a breeze ~ room was ready and cocktails were on hand. Merilyn, our room steward was wonderful and sweet. She learned our routine quickly and never ... Read More
We are two single 39 year old girls from Wisconsin. We flew in on 3/9 and embarkation was a breeze ~ room was ready and cocktails were on hand. Merilyn, our room steward was wonderful and sweet. She learned our routine quickly and never bothered us and the room was always excellent. The passengers were mostly Italian and Portugeuse and Canadian and French. They were LOVELY! I did not encounter one rude Italian! Listening to my fellow passengers speak in French, Spanish and Italian was music to my ears. Every time an Italian lit a cigarette, one was offered. Every time I caught a European's eye, a smile was returned. Every time I approached or retreated from a table, the European's stood. Their children were all lovely and gracious and I was thrilled to be traveling with such a diverse cultural group of people. The only rude people we encountered was a couple from Ohio and a loud American yelling at her children on Magen's Bay. Other than that the people were lovely. The crew were mostly Italian and Spanish and Asian. They, too, were lovely. They learned our names, they went out of their way to be sure we were happy and they taught us to count in their languages. The food was excellent! The pizza and pasta on the buffet was some of the best I've ever had. The restaurant was great as well and the room service was speedy. Every morning they delivered croissants and coffee to our room and they were never, ever late. Puerto Rico was fantastic - we ate in the square at a Middle Eastern restaurant, bought soap from a New Jersey native and drank in the clubs. The live music in the clubs was wonderful. St Thomas was Magen's Bay, breathtaking but crowded. Private island in DR was gorgeous and La Roma was beautiful but dark and quiet. Even though we were warned how could we not leave the ship? We asked the crew for advice on what to do and we took a taxi to the Marina where luxurious yachts were docked, ate the best sushi in the world, outside, overlooking the yachts ($70 for two - sushi, chinese, cocktails, coffee), bought great coffee and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Nassau we had cocktails and beer at Cafe Europa and shopped a bit. We didn't go to any shows and although we looked at the fitness area, and it was lovely, we didn't have time to utilize. My friend had a spa service and was very pleased with her massage and with Argentina, her masseuse, who by the way was so sweet and spoke 7 languages!! The Fortuna was gorgeous, the officers in the smoking lounge were fantastic and taught us about the ship and the stabilizers. El Capitan was very gracious and always had kind words. It was the trip of a lifetime! When in Rome, do as the Romans. If you're not interested in other cultures, aren't willing to embrace all things Italian, and have no sense of adventure, this trip is not for you. Thank you Costa for your gracious hospitality! Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
My husband and I were on the Costa Fortuna, Eastern Caribbean itinerary, from March 23 - 30, 2008. This was our 15th cruise and our second with Costa. We are in our 40's, just the two of us traveling. We have previously cruised with ... Read More
My husband and I were on the Costa Fortuna, Eastern Caribbean itinerary, from March 23 - 30, 2008. This was our 15th cruise and our second with Costa. We are in our 40's, just the two of us traveling. We have previously cruised with Carnival, NCL, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Costa. Embarkation: We flew to Ft Lauderdale the morning of the cruise, something we don't normally do, as it makes me nervous! But, no problems on our flight and we arrived at FLL at 12:15pm. We got a cab without much wait, but the traffic to the pier was very heavy because of all the cruise ships that were in that day. We sat in traffic, across from the Fortuna, what seemed like forever, but there was no jumping out of the cab and running across the street with our luggage! Once in the terminal, check-in was fast and efficient. Cabin: We booked the lowest cabin category available (01A) and got a great gift from the upgrade fairy...a balcony!!! Our first ever! We were in 6411, which was slightly back from mid-ship, on the starboard side. Deck 6 was a great location, one deck from all the action on Deck 5, and just a short climb up to Deck 9 for the buffet and the pools. The cabin was a standard size (in standard cruise ship peachy-orange). But, oh, were the balcony and the view glorious! Every time we came into the room, we would stop and sigh, and say how beautiful it was to see the water outside our cabin. And sleeping with the balcony door open was lovely! The sound of the ocean and the waves. Wonderful! Unfortunately, our Cabin Stewardess wasn't the best we've ever had. The room was always clean, but we had towel issues. Some days, no wash clothes. One day, no towels at all, but 5 wash clothes! Costa has blue beach towels at the pool and green beach towels in the room, to take ashore. On our Catalina Island day, we didn't have any green beach towels, so we assumed there would be towels on the chairs at the beach. Wrong! We were supposed to have green towels, but since we didn't, we had to drip dry every time we got out of the water. Our cabin was towards the end of a corridor, so maybe by the time she got to us, she was just exhausted and missed things. Ship: The Fortuna is a beautiful ship. I didn't have any problem navigating it, as it was similar to the Carnival Glory, which we've been on before. Also, at the Welcome Aboard talk, Max, the Cruise Director, gave some hints to get around the ship that we're helpful ("Deck 5 goes all the way from front to back of the ship"). The Fortuna is decorated with drawings of cruising days past. These are large panels that are everywhere: on the walls, in the elevator, on the bathroom doors. I loved the look of the pictures and the feel it gave the ship. However, the public restrooms were a little tricky to locate at first! If you look up, above the door, it's easier to see the symbol for the ladies room, then if you are looking directly on the door. Onboard Activities: We were onboard during Spring Break week, and I have to say, you would never know there were kids onboard if you were at the Adult (aft) Pool. Security was on the ball back there, keeping the kids out of that pool. Also, they enforced the "no drinks in the pool" rule. The kids program must be very popular and busy...and hidden! Really, we hardly saw any kids at all! At the main pool, there were daily dance classes (which we really enjoyed), aerobics, and games. There were arts and crafts and painting sessions at the aft pool that seemed popular and looked fun. We saw t-shirt painting and bead-stringing going on. Great way to create your own souvenir. Regarding chair hogs, I think part of it is a "towel" issue. Costa has beach towels on the chairs in the morning (rolled up), so you are not responsible for a towel that you bring from your room. When you're done, you just through it in a dirty towel bin. But, almost no one did! When people gathered up their things and left the pool area, they just left the towels there. So how can you tell if the chair is being used or not? On other cruise lines, where they charge you if you don't return your towel to the cabin, it's easier to tell when a chair is available or not. Other Passengers: There were many languages being spoken on this cruise! We heard Italian, French, Spanish, German, and oh, some English. Everyone we encountered (including the crew) was very friendly. We even had some 2-languages-at-one time conversations with some folks! It was fun! Toga!: There was a good turn out for our toga night. Less than 50% in the dining room, but almost 100% at the show that night. You looked around and saw a sea of white sheets! If you have late seating, be sure to go right into the Rex Theater as soon as you're done eating in order to get a seat. There is only one show that night, so there are a lot of people trying to get seats. Dining: We ate breakfast and lunch at the buffets every day. For breakfast, we ate at the buffet at the aft pool, as there was never a line. The omelets are made right at the buffet, and there was never a wait. However, if you order a mushroom and cheese omelet, make sure you actually get some cheese in it! Two times I ordered and neither time had cheese! DH had fried eggs two mornings and said they were very good. We ate a lot of pizza and loved it! Never saw the famous "corn" pizza though! Lunch grill had lots of choices (burgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken beast, chicken "burgers") and the food was plentiful. Again, no line at the aft pool buffet. We were second seating in the Raffaello dining room. Food was very good, especially the fish dishes. DH said the beef was a bit dry. Lamb dishes were also good and the pastas were wonderful! Desserts were a bit bland, but who had any room for dessert anyway? Watch your Today for dinner times. It's not the same every night! Sometimes 8:45pm and sometimes 8:30pm. Service was just ok. Our servers had 6 tables that had a total of 28 possible passengers. One 6-top only had 2 people at it every night, except the last one. The waiter took all the orders, for all the tables, at the same time, before he placed any orders. Then all the food came out at the same time, which meant long waits to place your order (first night it was 30 minutes before we ordered), for food and between courses. DH had to ask for iced tea every night, and never got a refill. I drank water and had to ask for a refill every night. A few silly things: There were only 5 pats of butter for our 6-top table at dinner. We could never find salt and pepper on any of the aft pool buffet tables for breakfast or lunch. Ice machines were out of ice most of the day, especially early in the week. Definitely more drink stations are needed at the indoor buffet area and out by the main pool. Photography: We were not impressed with the photos that were taken on this cruise. The shots were either out of focus or over-exposed. But, that kept us from spending too much money in the photo gallery! Speaking of, if you want to find a photo, go the day after it's taken. The gallery is small, with locked glass doors. Once the next set of photos needs to be displayed, all the old photos go into a box. Nothing like going through 3000+ photos to find your shot from formal night! Ports of Call: Our ports of call were San Juan, St. Thomas, Catalina Island and La Romana, DR, and Nassau, Bahamas. San Juan: We arrived in San Juan about 5pm. We were able to get off the ship quickly, with just a short walk down the pier to Old San Juan. We just strolled through the streets and did some shopping. We walked through the casino near the pier, and it was rather small and freezing! Not many folks inside! We were on a quest for a "Channel" purse for a co-worker and there were vendors set up with a number of purses, "Coach" being the most plentiful. Found a great "Channel" and was glad I purchased it in San Juan, as it was a much better quality than any of the other "Channels" I saw at any of our other stops. If you are second seating, there is plenty of time to walk through the shops and still be back in time for your dinner. St. Thomas: We've had many stops in St. Thomas on previous cruises, but have never just been to the beach. So, this time, we decided to go to Sapphire Beach. We got a taxi van right next to the ship. It filled shortly after we arrived and we were on our way. Heavy traffic on the way there, but the driver took some alternate routes and we got there in about 45 minutes. The driver said he would return for us at a set time, but some of the group came out early, and he left early with them. The rest of us got a different taxi, this time an open-air. Had quite the adventure coming back, with the trip taking about 30 minutes. We loved Sapphire Beach and thought it was beautiful. Chair rental was $7 each (credit cards accepted) and there was a restaurant and convenience store as well. At about 2pm, the beach got fairly crowded. I guess that's when all the island tours are finished and everyone gets dropped off at the beach! Catalina Island and La Romana: Catalina Island is a small, essentially deserted island, on which Costa rents a beach. You must tender over and tender tickets are required. That whole process took about 30 minutes, but wasn't really any big deal. There are float rentals right when you get off the tender, plus photographers everywhere taking your picture. The beach was very crowded on that end (near the pier and the lunch buffet), but if you walk down the beach, past the little buildings, it is not nearly as crowded. Also, there is a bathroom on that end that doesn't require a long climb up a hill, and the bars are not too busy. There are massages available on the beach for $1 per minute that are booked in 20 minute increments. Stop by the tent and sign up early, as the times fill up fast. The tent is located right before the "straw market", on the beach side of the walkway. We each had a massage and it was great! We didn't get off the ship at La Romana, as we weren't interested in the Ship's shore excursion show, and there was nothing right at the pier to do. Some table mates got off and took the shuttle and said there was nothing to see (after a 20 minute ride) and it was too dark to see it, even if there was! Nassau: The approach to Nassau is beautiful! The water is an amazing blue and the lighthouse, with Atlantis in the background, very picturesque. It was fascinating to watch the Captain put our big ship in to a little parking spot! We were in Nassau for just a few hours, in the afternoon, so we just walked through the shops and in the Straw Market. Not a lot of bargaining going on there! They seem to have a set amount they will take, and if you try to bargain them down, they just turn their backs on you. Oh well, I already had my "Channel" bag! Spent a little time in Senor Frogs and found a Cuban coffee cafe walking back to the ship. Yum! The Captain: I have never been on a ship where I saw the Captain at any time except the Captain's Cocktail Party. We saw this Captain everywhere! All over the ship, in the dining room, even on the beach at Catalina Island! He was always friendly and spoke to us. Secret Decks: Definitely find these! Just walk all the way forward on Deck 6, 7 or 9 and enjoy the fabulous view, especially when you are pulling into a port. We liked Deck 7 the best, as it was right below the bridge and we could see the Captain. In fact, we became such regulars, that when we went up there for our Nassau arrival, he waved at us! Debarkation: We had a flight at 12:30pm, so we just took our time getting off the ship. Again, breakfast by the aft pool (main buffet had a huge line) and we relaxed pool side until about 9:30. There was a line to get off the ship, but our luggage was retrieved quickly once we got into the terminal. Customs for US citizens was fast, but the line for International Passengers was very long. When we got outside, there was a line for cabs that was 1 ½ hours long! We got on an airport shuttle instead (about a 20 minute wait, $9 per person). Once we got to the airport, we had a 45 minute line to check in with Southwest, 20 minutes to get through Security and 10 minutes wait at the Ladies Room. Wow! Keep this in mind when you are heading to FLL on a Sunday! All in all, we loved this cruise. Were there a few things that could have been a little better? Sure, but it didn't detract from the over-all cruise and vacation experience. I would definitely recommend Costa and hope to be on another Costa cruise in the future! Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
My husband, our 11-year old daughter and 9-year old son, and I just returned from the March 30, 2008 sailing of the Costa Fortuna to the Eastern Caribbean. Overall, we had a wonderful vacation. Here is a summary of our trip: EMBARKATION: ... Read More
My husband, our 11-year old daughter and 9-year old son, and I just returned from the March 30, 2008 sailing of the Costa Fortuna to the Eastern Caribbean. Overall, we had a wonderful vacation. Here is a summary of our trip: EMBARKATION: Although there were long lines at the port, they moved relatively quickly, and we were able to board, explore the ship, and find our cabin with relative ease. Upon entering our cabin, we discovered that our family was assigned to the late (8:45 p.m.) dinner seating instead of the main seating that we had requested. Since we are used to eating at 6 p.m. and go to bed fairly early, I attempted to change this. When I found the Maitre'D, I discovered that my family was one of dozens with the same problem. I was told to go to the restaurant at 6 p.m. to see if my family could get a table. When we arrived at the dining room, it was full of people complaining about being reassigned to the late seating. We politely asked to be put on the waiting list (we were #71), and went to the buffet to eat instead, which was fine. Our luggage arrived at our cabin by 9 p.m. CABIN: Our outside cabin was located on the first (lowest) passenger deck. It was extremely clean, and (from what I heard from other frequent cruisers) spacious. It featured a King sized bed, plus two bunks for our children, a small table and chair, dressing table, television, safe, refrigerator/minibar (there was a little space left for us to put water and soda that we brought on board), hair drier, and plenty of closet space. The bathroom was small, but very clean, with plenty of shelves for storage. The first night, our King bed was missing a top sheet, but when we saw our cabin stewardess the next morning, we told her of this, and she fixed the problem right away. Our cabin was, unfortunately, noisy because of a creaking sound in the hull (the seas were rough through most of the trip). I reported the noise to the front desk. They sent a technician to check it within a couple of hours, and we were told that it was just the ship flexing. After a few nights, we got used to the sound. DINING: My family ate all but one meal at the self-service restaurant (buffet), and I have to say that most of the food was fabulous. Breakfast consisted of a wide variety of foods, including eggs, various breakfast meats, fresh pastries, fresh fruit, pancakes, waffles, french toast, hot and cold cereal, yogurt, etc. There was also an omelet station. Coffee, tea, juice, milk and water were available to drink. At 11:00 a.m., the grill opened up by the pool, which featured burgers, hot dogs, fries, sandwiches, salads, etc. My kids loved this. The lunch buffet always included pizza, pasta, bread, salads, and dessert, plus it would feature other foods based on the theme of the day (Mexican, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Oriental, etc.). Self-serve soft-serve ice cream was available during the day as well. Although we did not eat in the dining room most nights, I always looked over the menu. I found that many of the dishes featured on the menu were available in the self-service restaurant each evening as well. The food was consistently delicious, especially the Italian specialties (and I'm half Italian!). The pasta dishes tasted homemade, and were always very flavorful. My only disappointment was that many of the desserts were a little bland, although I did have a sfogliatelle (Italian pastry) and cannoli one night that were the best I've ever eaten. Our one experience in the dining room was just okay. Most of the food that we ordered was good, but others at our table were disappointed with their choices, and the service was a little slow. We were much happier with the buffet. ENTERTAINMENT: The Costa Fortuna offered plenty of activities throughout the day to entertain it's guests, from games and dance lessons by the pool, to trivia quizzes, Bingo, Italian Lessons, health and beauty seminars, arts & crafts for adults, and art auctions. I attended a couple of the Italian language classes, which were a lot of fun. My family and our friends with whom we were traveling attended nearly every trivia quiz, and had a blast. My husband and I went to two of the evening shows, and I found the singers and dancers to be very talented and entertaining--I enjoyed both of the shows. Since we go to bed early, we missed a lot of the night life (dancing, contests, comedy shows, etc.), but Costa broadcast some on the television, including the Newlywed and Not-So-Newlywed Game, which was hysterical! PUBLIC AREAS: The public areas (lounges, casinos, etc.) were beautiful; however, my family and I are non-smokers who cannot stand the smell of cigarette smoke. The smoking areas were along the perimeters of the rooms, with the non-smoking areas in the middle. It was impossible to separate the two areas, so often the public areas were very smoky. As for the pool areas, we were up early and had no trouble getting lounge chairs. Another great time to lay by the pool is while the ship is at port and many other visitors are on shore. My family took advantage of the waterslide (which was a lot of fun) while most people were on shore at Grand Turk, and it worked out well. The fitness center was amazing. It had state-of-the-art equipment, and there was a trainer who helped explain how to use the machines. There was also a jogging track, tennis court, and basketball court. SQUOK CLUB (KID'S CLUB): This was a big downside to our trip. Our children (ages 9 and 11) did not enjoy the kids club at all. We toured the facility, which was clean and brightly colored. It also featured a small playground set and kiddie pool for younger children. The kids went the the club one morning and were not excited about it. We encouraged them to go that evening with their friends while the adults went to a show, and they check themselves out (they did have permission from us) after 30 minutes. For this reason, I would not recommend this ship to families with children. PORTS OF CALL: We had four ports of call on this trip: San Juan, St. Maarten, Tortola, and Grand Turk. My family and I got off the ship at each port, but did not participate in any Costa excursions, although a great variety are offered. Here is a summary of what we did at each stop: SAN JUAN: We walked around the town area near the port, which, in my opinion was very congested and confusing. My husband and daughter toured an historic fort (El Morro, I believe) that was in walking distance of the port. We were there in the evening 5:00-10:00, so we did not spend a lot of time in San Juan. ST. MAARTEN: We took a Water Taxi ($6 per person) to Phillipsburg to shop. There were many, many stores (jewelry, liquor, and linens seemed to dominate), as well as bars and restaurants along the shoreline. There was a small, but clean and pretty beach area where my kids swam as well. TORTOLA: My family and friends took a ferry to Virgin Gorda to see "The Baths." We paid a fraction of the cost of a ship-arranged tour to see the same thing. The baths are an area of beach dominated by huge boulders that were supposedly deposited there during the last Ice Age. There are grottos and beautiful areas for snorkeling, as well as beautiful beaches. I am normally afraid to snorkel, but felt very comfortable in the protected areas formed by the rocks. There were many beautiful fish, crabs, and coral to see. Unfortunately, we had very little time to explore, and would have liked a little more time in Tortola. The area is gorgeous though, and is a must-see for this port of call. GRAND TURK: This was the cleanest port of call. The ocean was absolutely breathtaking. There is a brand new, immaculately clean shopping area built right at the port, as well as a large swimming pool for cruise ship passengers and a beach with plenty of lounge chairs in the sun or shade. Cabanas are available for rent, as well. We spent some time at the beach, which my family enjoyed. Our friends rented a golf cart and toured the island. DISEMBARKATION: Disembarkation went as smoothly as can be expected. There were a lot of people, but again, Costa managed to move us through quickly. Overall, we really had a great week on the Costa Fortuna. It was the cleanest ship we have ever been on, the crew members were fun and friendly, the cabin was great, and the food was spectacular. I would recommend this ship to most people! :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
This was our first cruise so we don't have anything to compare it to. We went on this cruise with open minds. Overall a great time. Getting on the boat was busy but well organized. We didn't get to our cabin till noon and it ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we don't have anything to compare it to. We went on this cruise with open minds. Overall a great time. Getting on the boat was busy but well organized. We didn't get to our cabin till noon and it was ready. Our luggage was another 2 hours or so. Our recommendation is to put sunscreen and your bathing suit into the bags you carry on the ship. We got burnt on the first day. Silly Canadians. Our cabin boy "etiquio" was fantastic. He seemed to have our names memorized before we showed up. He took great care of everything. All announcements made on board were done in 5 or 6 different languages. The food in the main restaurants was very good. No temperature issues like some other reviewers. The wait staff was a little less attentive and less personable than we would have expected. Drinks and water were very slow. We were seated in the Rafaelle room early seating. We sat with a couple from Norway and NY and had a great time. The buffet when we went for breakfast or supper was never fantastic, just ok. Most of the food was warm but not hot. Same goes for the breakfast buffet. The choice of fruit was good at the buffet. One thing we did notice,being Canadians was the freedom of being allowed to smoke indoors in some of the lounges and casinos. Not sure if all cruise lines allow this but something to be aware of. Now let me speak about that orange juice. I love my orange juice, and it deserves a whole paragraph....COSTA TAKE NOTE....LOL The first time I went to the machine I thought I got the wrong stuff. It was almost drinkable but I thought it was some kind of punch mixture. Over the next few days it became a joke. "Would you like some orange juice sweety???" That stuff was much worse than no name from concentrate. It tasted like unsweetened dishwater with citrus cleaner in it. IF you don't drink alot, like me, get the "kids non-alcoholic coupons" You can get virgin daiquiris etc. for much cheaper that way. To avoid paying for drinks, your choices are really just unsweetened iced tea, water from the machine, milk from the cereal area, coffee, tea and and that pond water ala citrus we discussed earlier. There were lots of choices of Latin dancing and ballroom in a few of the lounges. Nothing particularly modern with regards to music. However we never hit the disco because it was close to March break and there was a fair amount of teenagers on the cruise and they had a few hours reserved for them at the disco every night. We were impressed with the overall ship and it was always being cleaned. The ship layout does make it a little confusing when trying to get from A to B. The entertainment was very good-night and day. The shows were very impressive. The comedy was very good for all ages, although a couple at our table stayed on for the western trip the next week and said all the shows were the same. So be warned if you are going for two weeks they will repeat. Seemed to have a good club for children called Squok club with about 20 crew members dedicated to kids programs. We didn't have kids on the cruise, but judging by the activities we saw for them, it looked like they kept them entertained for quite some time(so mom and dad could have some alone time) In Jamaica (Ocho Rios) we did the Dunns River Falls,but beware, there are usually a few excursions there at the same time so the time they say it will take to climb the Falls.....triple it due to crowds of people going up at the same time. The second part of our excursion was snorkeling,but it was in a dull area. 7 mile beach in Grand Cayman-nice port,beautiful beach! GET AN UMBRELLA as soon as you get there if you can rent one. Wow....that sun. Was not alot of shade around the beach area. We went to the Best Western part of seven mile beach. The Beach at Turks and Caicos was absolutely beautiful. Lots of chairs to use on the beach and at Margaritaville there are pools and chairs for you to use as well(all free of charge).Plenty of conch shells scattered along to sand to see. Back to the boat- Deck chair mayhem....Early in the morning this is what seems to happen. People get up. Put book, shoes, towels on chair. Go back to bed. All chairs reserved (although this is not supposed to happen) by 7:30-8:00am....Good luck. Overall we would go on Costa again-no real reason why we wouldn't, but I think we would like to try other cruise lines first to compare. Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
Well The Savvy Old Lady is on a roll or perhaps, I should say on a wave with two cruises back-to-back, following her passion for cruising and love of the sea. Last week I was on HAL's beautiful "Zuiderdam" with their Dutch ... Read More
Well The Savvy Old Lady is on a roll or perhaps, I should say on a wave with two cruises back-to-back, following her passion for cruising and love of the sea. Last week I was on HAL's beautiful "Zuiderdam" with their Dutch staff and this week I'm cruising Italiano style on Costa's charming "Fortuna" with the ever present romantic Italians. Since The Crabby Old Guy had to return to work this week I took the opportunity of cruising with an old friend of thirty years to share some excitement and adventure on the High Seas. All too often our lives become so hectic with our families and children that old friends are relegated to the occasional phone call and dinner. Now that my friend, Irma, and I have become "empty nesters" we have decided to renew our friendship and catch up on years of news and what better way than to enjoy a relaxing and fun-filled seven days onboard the "Fortuna". Since Irma is a third generation, jewelry designer, who has traveled all over the world her perspectives on cruising and shopping in the Caribbean were a real asset and an unbelievable eye opener to this Savvy Old Lady. As we arrived at the Port Everglades Terminal at 11:15 AM we could see at least five ships in port. The passenger lines for RCCL seemed to extend for at least two blocks outside the terminal. I was keeping my fingers crossed that we wouldn't be facing the same lines at Costa. Once at the Costa terminal, our luggage was quickly and efficiently taken from the van by the terminal baggage handlers and our only concern was our carry-on luggage. Although there was a line it went very quickly and within 15 minutes we were boarding the ship. We were greeted by the staff and crew with smiling faces and a lovely buongiorno. From the moment you board the ship it is not hard to realize that the flair and charm on this ship is one of European flavor and the wonderfully romantic Italians deliver a cruising experience that you will not find on any other ship. The Fortuna's dEcor is quite impressive in a European or perhaps an Italian style and is quite different from most other cruise ships. The central atrium has an enormous fresco by Giampaolo Amstici depicting all the ships in Costa's fleet both past and present and a sculpture composition created by Joseph Farcus with models of Costa's twenty six ships suspended upside down. I was told that these glorious ships are reminders of all the millions of passengers that have been welcomed and cruised on Costa since their first passenger ship the Anna C. which sailed in 1947 on route to South America. There are close to 5,000 works of art aboard the Fortuna for passengers to look at and enjoy. For the nautical history buffs there are small niches and display cabinets that encompass various antiques and historical artifacts. My favorite spot on the ship is the Conte di Savoia, the Grand Bar and dance floor. Although the room seats 300 people it still provides an area that feels cozy and comfortable and with the seating arrangement and tables it allows passengers to either sit and listen to the music or engage other passengers in conversation. It was so relaxing after dinner to sit down with a glass of chardonnay and watch the passengers trip the light fantastic (okay so I'm showing my age with that little description.) For all of you dancing fanatics the Fortuna's dance floor is the largest of any cruise ship and it often attracts many ballroom dancers and competitions. The complement of passengers on the ship was a broad mixture of cultures, ages (over 250 children onboard) and ethnic groups which made the cruising experience that much more enjoyable. We met passengers from France, Germany, Canada, the Czech Republic, Russia, Italy, Romania, and of course, the Unites States along with many other nationalities. There is no doubt that Costa is the United Nations of the Seas. Just watching and listening to all of these people join a global community on the seas sharing camaraderie and laughter really makes one pause and appreciate Costa's unique ability to bring together such diverse groups of people in such a peaceful and enjoyable environment. Perhaps, the politicians of the world should take a Costa cruise to see how peace can be achieved by nations. Although, there was often a language barrier between the passengers onboard it was interesting to see how easily we all communicated through gestures (the good kind) while recognizing that laughter and humor are definitely universal. The food onboard was very good. The buffet on the Lido deck was a mixture of Caribbean and Mediterranean with of course the Asian Station. However, I found the dinner entrees to be lacking in the zesty flavors that I found so apparent at the Lido Buffet each day. Chef Perfetto explained to me (read my interview with him and enjoy two of his great recipes on Chefs and Recipes on my website) that there has to be a fine balance of entrees at dinner in order to please all the palates. What really makes a Costa cruise different than most other cruises is their three celebratory galas...Italiano night, Circus night and of course the unforgettable Toga night. If you want to laugh so hard that tears stream down your face these are the venues for you. Each event sometime requires some passenger participation from tossing pizzas to playing Bocce ball to making masks and flowers to learning to dance the Tarantella and many, many, other wonderful events. Since it said that a picture is worth a thousand words I will cut to the chase and let you all see for yourselves what we on the Fortuna were able to enjoy. (The pictures can be found on my website www.thesavvyoldlady.com) Toga night is an absolute hoot but unfortunately since it was our last evening onboard I wasn't able to get any pictures so you will just have to cruise on Costa to see for yourself. More than 60% of the passengers take part in this fun and crazy night by wearing the traditional Costa "sheet" toga. Thankfully, the air conditioning is turned down so everyone at dinner is quite comfortable in their togas. I would recommend that you pack a white tee shirt and light colored pants to wear under your see through toga. Surprisingly there are passengers who bring their own professionally made togas on board but I personally think it's much more fun struggling with the sheet. If you want to be creative you can purchase some gold braid or a gold belt and bring it with you to spice up your toga. Max, the Social Director reminds everyone that since toga night is the last night on board and we all pack our bags and leave them outside our cabins...REMEMBER to leave out an outfit for disembarkation. He chuckles as he tells us that on more than one occasion passengers have shown up in front of the Immigration Officers wearing nothing but their togas. My one complaint and recommendation to Costa is that they place a diagram of the ship's interior at each elevator. The Galley on the ship is in the center and therefore you can't go directly from fore to aft. We found ourselves riding elevators up and down and constantly asking the crew how to get to one venue or another. Yes, they did place a small pocket diagram in each cabin but if you forgot it or misplaced it you were lost. However, since I try to always use my "half cup full" mentality I did get to meet a number of really wonderful people who also were searching for their venue. LOL Thankfully, the Fortuna is in the process of having their phone system updated and now you won't have to go down to the main desk to get your messages. The Hotel Director, Attilio Sissa was kind enough to arrange a meeting for me with Executive Chef Perfetto. My visit with the Chef and his two delicious recipes can be found on my website under Chefs and Recipes. The Captain and crew of the Fortuna made this a memorable and fun filled week. Cruising with my good friend Irma was a wonderful chance to rekindle old memories and have a fantastic "girls" week in the best of environments. So once again grazie mille to Il Commandante Benini and the Fortuna crew. The Savvy Old Lady will definitely be seeing you again. CIAO! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Well, all good things have to come to an end, and so did our wonderful cruise on the Costa Fortuna from December 9 to December 16, 2007 on the South-Eastern Caribbean run. And as always in the past, I'm always up for a detailed review ... Read More
Well, all good things have to come to an end, and so did our wonderful cruise on the Costa Fortuna from December 9 to December 16, 2007 on the South-Eastern Caribbean run. And as always in the past, I'm always up for a detailed review of our experience... So here it goes: THE SHIP: The Costa Fortuna is a beautiful ship and is a "Liberty" class ship, which features exactly the same layout as the Costa Magica, her younger sister ship. The ship was very well maintained on the inside and is well taken care of. In the public areas you'll find some minor wear and tear, which is totally normal for a cruise ship. On the outside it appears that the Fortuna could use some paint touch ups in some areas in the very near future (bow area, anchor, etc.). Otherwise she is impressive and beautiful. On the inside the Costa Fortuna is another Joe Farcus design which is always impressive by itself: sparkling, unique, surprising and elegant. Having sailed both, the Fortuna and Magica, I personally prefer the interior design of the Magica... in my opinion she is the more majestic ship which really relays the "magic". If you sail on a "Liberty" class ship the first time, just keep Deck 5 and 9 in mind, as both decks run from the front to the back of the ship without interruptions of other common areas (such as restaurants, etc.). Of course any other decks are fine as well, if you need to navigate quickly from one end to the other, just that you have cabins on each side. OUR STATEROOM: We originally were booked in a Suite (7282) on the Caracas Deck (Deck 7). About a week before sailing I got a phone call from Costa that they had to switch our stateroom, and that I would be able to decide if I'm satisfied with the change: They upgraded us to a Grand Suite!!!! Wow!!!! How can one NOT be satisfied with that? So we actually ended up in Grand Suite 7289... interesting enough, the EXACT same room as we had on the Magica. The cabin impresses by itself with the warm and comfy design, with plenty of wood, brass, mirrors, granite and hand-blown light fixtures. The cabin has a total of three double sliding closets, a dresser with 8 drawers, and additional closet/storage space in the dressing area, just prior to the main bathroom. The room has a large bed in front of a mirror, which stretches the entire width of the cabin, a large size leather sitting/sofa, two comfortable chairs, a desk with an additional chair. The dressing area features a large mirror a little stainless sink and a stool. The bathroom has granite tile flooring, a double vanity sink with granite counter, a bidet (yes, it's European!) and a large whirlpool tub/shower combination. The balcony had two regular deck chairs and two loungers... so plenty of room from R & R! THE CASINO: The casino was much quieter as on the Magica. The layout also seemed a bit more friendly and more spacious, so it never felt crowded at all. Some of the slots were nice to me, others not so much. The table games include Black Jack, Fun 21, Caribbean Stud, Roulette, Craps, etc.... so you should be able to find something to fit your interest and budget. The lowest bets on the tables started at $ 5, some $ 10 tables and highest minimum bet was $ 25. THE THEATRE: The Rex Theatre in the front of the ship is the same layout as on the Magica and is equally impressive... but once again, the theatre on the Magica had in my opinion the extra touch of elegance and glamour. The shows were great and the Costa Fortuna singers and dancers are absolutely talented! They did an outstanding job throughout the week!!! THE FOOD: The food was indeed wonderful once again. Although they made some changes on the menu. In the past, Costa always featured a specific region of Italy, each night a different region... I very much enjoyed the "localized" specials - but they got away with that theme. Instead you just have a menu featuring Italian and International specialties... I'll mention more to the food later... Overall, I would rate the food on the Fortuna with a 4, on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the best. It was delicious, yet has lost some of it's Italian flair and is more "americanized" than before. Sad, but true... THE PERSONNEL: I have not met one person on board of the Fortuna who was not friendly and greeted us with a smile. From maintenance worker, to hotel staff, to restaurant waiters and buffet attendants, everybody was as comforting and welcoming! We actually met several employees who we met on one of our previous cruises. It's always wonderful to meet old friends again! Okay... so let's get to the actual cruise now: DAY 1 - EMBARKATION & DEPARTURE, FORT LAUDERDALE As we're from the Westcoast of Florida it is only about a two hour trip for us to Port Everglades. Traffic was not as heavy as expected, so we arrived early at the port at around 10:30 AM. There were still plenty of previous cruisers at Pier 21, where the Fortuna (and actually our last two Costa cruises) was docked. After unloading the luggage at the curb, I parked the car in the adjacent parking garage (just more convenient, although you pay more - now $ 15/day). A porter quickly checked in our luggage and placed them in one of the heavy steal bins. So with our hand luggage we proceeded to the check-in/security. If you're arriving the first time in Fort Lauderdale, the check-in is at the FAR side of the terminal. Once you make the U-turn at the end, proceed all the way to the end of the passenger terminal, just before where you see the buses parked (loading area towards the right). That's the entrance to the terminal. As we were early, embarkation was open, but only three stations were open. I was told that they just had switched the procedures and location and it seemed apparent. Although a Costa guide was present, it seemed confusing. As more and more passengers arrived, we were lined up sitting and moving up (looked like one big musical chair production) as soon as the next representative became available. That got more confusing as people strolled in from the back to the front and got mixed up with people already waiting in line... Luckily we were trough this procedure fairly soon. I believe as later it gets, the main terminal and check-in will be opened and you won't have to go through this. Another change: Upon check-in you will register your credit card - which is great as it eliminates the registration on board (as in the past). After welcoming pictures, we were on board at 11:40. Once on board we proceeded to the buffet on Deck 9, which will give you the first taste of what's in store for you for the next week! After our delicious treat, we proceeded to our cabin (7289), which was located midship on the starboard (right) side of the ship. My parents cabin (7416) was also on Deck 7 in the aft on the port (left) side. A mandatory lifeboat/muster drill was conducted at 4:00 PM, just prior to our on-schedule departure at 4:30. The ship moves so smoothly, that it was even hard to recognize that sailed already. Upon exiting Port Everglades it was slightly windy and some minor white caps were visible. As we came back to the cabin from the muster drill we had our luggage in our room and were able to unpack and make ourselves comfortable. Both, our cabin steward Fanny and butler Jo stopped by to greet and welcome us on board. Both are the most welcoming and friendly people and we immediately became friends! After some relaxing, it was time for our first dinner: We had late-seating dinner and our dining location was the Michelangelo Restaurant (aft restaurant). We were seated on Table 252, which is on Deck 4, overlooking the lower deck of the restaurant. It actually is a table for 6, but as it did not seem that the cruise was fully booked, our table was arranged for 4 the next evening, which gave us plenty of room to stretch out. Michael Acol (head waiter) and Roger Carreon (assistant waiter) were our restaurant staff for the week. What an outstanding team they are! Be the second day we all had nicknames, Mr. President, First Lady, Madame Hillary and JFK... ;-) We had a blast - always looking forward to the next dinner service to find out what was in store for us. Both, Michael and Roger were an essential part of our outstanding vacation! Thank you so much for that! So please, if you are seated in their area (Tables 248-254), please say hello from Andy, Dianna, Wolfgang and Monika. DAY 2 - AT SEA After all the food (and plenty more to come) it was time to check out the Gym. The equipment is up to date, modern and very functional. The Gym/Spa is located forward on Deck 11 and features bikes, treadmills, rowing simulators, weight benches and other high-tech work out machines. In the center you have a hot tub, and a fitness trainer is always present in case you should have a question. Each side (mens and womens) feature also showers, Saunas and a Turkish Steam Bath. If you have personal belongings with you, you can get a locker free of charge (ask for a key at the spa front desk). The sauna and steam bath are great as they both have windows, overlooking the ocean - awesome! Both facilities seemed extremely quiet - many times I have been in the sauna by myself. After some sun bathing, it was time for lunch... some great pizza, fish and other specialties await you. Pasta galore or if you want the old fashioned burger and hot dog, the grills on each pool side grill will have it for you. The sea turned rough and although stabilized, you could see the motion of the ship and sometimes feel it hitting the high waves. This was all due to the developing Sub-Tropical Storm Olga... In the evening at the Captains Welcoming Gala we were informed that the Captain Paolo Benini had decided to switch to a more southern route (through the Caicos Islands) to make the ride smoother for the evening and night. At 41 years of age, the captain appears rather young (does not look like 41 my wife says - LOL) and has always an upbeat personality. The first formal night was beautiful. DAY 3 - AT SEA / PUERTO RICO Due to the extremely rough seas, the captain decided to slow down the ship to provide a smoother ride. It's hard to tell from the ship, but my guess was that we had between approximately 20-25 feet waves during the night and for most of the day. The decreased speed though would delay our arrival time in Puerto Rico from 5:00 PM (scheduled) to 6:00 PM (estimated). After all, we did arrive at 5:30 PM in Puerto Rico, but were finally cleared by local authorities at 6:20 PM when we departed the ship to explore Old Town. Many of the open-air markets had already shut down, but I was able to get my cigars from the local cigar maker!!! Yummy! We took a stroll trough Old Town and arrived back at the ship at 8:30 PM. We decided to go the club restaurant that night. It was nice and quiet and a wonderful experience. As a Suite passenger you will find your coupon for a free dinner for two in your cabin. Our butler made the reservation for us. The food, service and experience is phenomenal! A definite 5-Star experience... If you go without coupon, Costa changed the procedure. Before it was $ 23/person, but now it is a la carte. Appetizers are anywhere from $ 7 to $ 15, entrees on average $ 15. My opinion: Well worth it!!!! We set sail 30 minutes later than estimated (due to the late arrival) at 10:30 for St. Maarten. DAY 4 - ST. MAARTEN I knew St. Maarten would be a busy port that day, with 6 (!!!) other ships in port. We were originally scheduled to anchor and tender into Phillipsburg, then the Fortuna would dock after 2:00 PM at the pier as a spot would become available. But due to Olga (the storm that is) other ships were delayed (or never even showed up) and the captain was able to secure us a spot directly at the pier - what a great time saver! As normally you were asked to get tender tickets, which you would have received on a first come/ first serve basis. There were actually only 4 ships (including the Fortuna) in port the entire day, including the Costa Mediterranea on her transatlantic journey from Italy to Florida. As the storm was moving westward, the weather was clear, sunny and warm and could have not been any nicer. We had made a reservation with Hertz for a Jeep ahead of time to explore the island by ourselves. All rental car agencies are located by the bus ramps. Immediately make a right, as soon as you exit the pier area and proceed straight ahead, walking along the bus bays. At the end you'll find little "huts", which are the rental car offices. We picked up our Jeep and explored the island. Maho Beach (famous for the low flying/landing airplanes) is a definite must see. Traffic is very heavy on St. Maarten, especially in Phillipsburg. Don't cut your time too short and allow PLENTY of time for your return trip back to the ship. A few passengers almost did not make it! The French side is beautiful and seems more quiet than the Dutch side. If you find a beach, but you're in front of a hotel/resort, don't hesitate to proceed to the guard gate (many of them do have them). They won't charge you to use the beach and you'll find some of the most beautiful places on this island that way. At 5:15 PM we set sail towards Tortola. Dinner was casual style and was themed Italian Night (so dress in Red, White and Green - the Italian National colors). DAY 5 - TORTOLA We arrived early in Tortola and were cleared fairly quickly. The port is not big at all and only allows two large ships to anchor at the pier. Otherwise you have to tender in. The Carnival Liberty and the Costa Fortuna were the lucky winners for the pier spots. The Queen Mary 2 arrived later and had to tender their passengers in. Tortola is a more quiet island and features a hilly/mountain terrain with beautiful lush landscaping and amazing bays and beaches. The Hertz rental car agency is almost invisible and is also located just outside of the port/pier area on your left hand side. Once again, we've made reservations in advance and picked up our Jeep at 8:45 AM. Don't forget they drive on the LEFT hand side of the road, although they do use LEFT hand steered cars. The roads are sometimes narrow and have some awesome hairpin turns (I think my wife still has white knuckles! - LOL). Cane Bay is getting crowded as cruise passengers arrive later in the day by the bus loads. Either go early or visit some other, smaller beaches. We found a smaller beach on the north-east side of the island. There were only about 10 people on the beach the entire day, as it is secluded and off the beaten path. It has a little snack bar, which is operated by the owners who live right on the premises. The drinks were mighty tasty and the Carib Beer ice cold!!! The water is crystal clear, and the beach has some of the most soft and beautiful sand. A must see! Once again, it was casual night in the restaurant. After Tortola we set sail for Nassau, Bahamas. DAY 6 - AT SEA The seas are quiet and smooth and nothing compared to the "bumpy" ride before. After having a full fledged breakfast (rolls, smoked salmon, eggs benedict, etc.) in our cabin, we once again enjoyed Deck 13 (forward) for some sun, sun and more sun! The winds were calm and the sun quickly became fairly hot, so the cool pool was a refreshing alternative. The Reggae music on the pool deck just completed the tropical, Caribbean flair in the afternoon. In the evening, the production show in the theatre was quiet amazing, which took place prior to the second formal night, the Farewell Gala Night. You can't miss the midnight buffet, the Buffet Magnifico, even though you might not be hungry. Even if you're not planning of eating (again), it is worth a visit to see all the ice sculptures, the cheese carvings and the tour of the galley (kitchen). A must see! DAY 7 - NASSAU We arrived a bit early in Nassau at approximately 12:15 PM. Clearance from the authorities did not take long and we were off the ship at 12:45 to explore the island. We visited the Straw Market, stores and of course had a (okay, several!) ice cold Kalik and Sands beers! Almost a tradition, as you can walk around in the streets with your open container of beer! Great! Some conch fritters were also on the menu, which I truly enjoyed. After going back to the ship, we rested up a bit before proceeding to dinner... in our toga! Yes, it was Roman Night! Don't miss out on the fun and put your toga on (just make you won't have a "wardrobe malfunction", LOL LOL LOL). It was an evening filled with fun, laughter and entertainment! I can never get enough of that fun. DAY 8 - FORT LAUDERDALE/DISEMBARKATION Unfortunately our cruise has come to an end and it's time to disembark. After a leisurely breakfast at 7:45 AM, we strolled off the ship at about 8:30 AM. Keep in mind that disembarkation is done by colors (which equal your colored luggage tags). PINK = 8:00 AM (for those with outgoing flights only) RED = 8:15 AM (for Suites and other priority embarkation) WHITE = 8:30 AM GREEN = 8:45 AM YELLOW = 8:45 AM BLUE = 9:00 AM ORANGE = 9:15 AM BROWN = 9:15 AM For the first time, Costa also offered a self-embarkation at 7:00 AM for the first 600 guests who register with the Customer Service Desk. Keep in mind that those who choose this early option MUST handle their own luggage rather than utilizing crew assistance and should not have any pre-arranged transfer. This is ideal if you want to embark early and have your car parked in the garage and provide your own transportation. At this time, I would like to give sincere thanks to the following individual on board of the Costa Fortuna - they all very well deserve it: Jo (our butler): Thanks for your great assistance with everything, for your courtesy, friendliness and a happy smile every day of our cruise. You are wonderful and hope to see you again on board soon! You've done an outstanding job... Thanks so much! Fanny (our cabin steward): Thank for keeping our cabin always clean and neat. Our room was always as meticulous as possible! You can tell that you put pride in your work! Many thanks for a wonderful experience! Michael Acol (our head waiter): You have been fantastic!!! Not only did I get to try several appetizers and entrees during one seating, but you always had a positive attitude and always a laugh or smile for us. Thanks for all the fun you provided us - we sure will miss you! Thanks again for an outstanding experience on the Fortuna. Roger Carreon (our assistant waiter): So much fun! What a great person you are... thanks for your always attentive service, your strive for excellence and to make sure that we were well taken care of. You and Michael are a wonderful team and have fun working together. It shows that you have fun and that's what we appreciated so much! Thanks! Max (our cruise director): Thanks for providing us with quality, fun and exciting entertainment. You are always funny and humorous and obviously love your job. Great job Ceasar! Many, many, many thanks to the entire crew and staff of the Costa Fortuna, from buffet attendants, technicians, chefs, stewards, waiters, bartenders, service personnel... You deserve a big applause for making our cruise experience a happy, fun-filled, enjoyable, relaxing, entertaining and outstanding vacation. THANK YOU! Well, this was our cruise... another great experience which ended WAY too soon! If you have ANY questions, please don't hesitate to post it or e-mail me directly at PPPOWER96@aol.com... Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Early in 2007 we received a phone call from our daughter who said "Mom you've been hoping we could all go on a cruise over Christmas; I think I found one we will all enjoy". We immediately booked several cabins to ... Read More
Early in 2007 we received a phone call from our daughter who said "Mom you've been hoping we could all go on a cruise over Christmas; I think I found one we will all enjoy". We immediately booked several cabins to accommodate our daughter, judy, her husband, Bob, their children, Andrew 15, Kristine 18, Bob's parents, Helen and Marvin, and us, Donna and Art. Anticipation is half of the fun, so we all enjoyed looking forward to the holidays. We agreed: no other gifts. Our gift was being together with no one having to put up a tree, buy presents, cook multiple meals and clean up after it was over. Our daughter and granddaughter, who is in college, drove to our home in N. Florida and spent two nights before we drove to Ft. Lauderdale. Our son-in-law, Bob had booked rooms for us near the port where he and our grandson, Andrew had flown the day before. His parents arrived and we were all together ready to board the next day. The lines appeared to be rather long when we arrived. My husband and I had just qualified for the Coral card as part of the Costa Club, so we were given preferential boarding. The rest of the family followed soon after. We have always been impressed with the smiling welcome offered to guests when boarding and we were not disappointed! And then we noticed the beautiful Christmas decorations surrounding us. The huge Christmas tree reached several decks up and was covered with glittering ornaments. We were advised that the cabins were not quite ready, so we made our way to the Lido deck and the buffet. The only negative thing I have to say about the Fortuna is that there is no true outdoor dining. Glass surrounds the Lido, and smokers are forced to sit by the very noisy pool. Wonderful crunchy salads, tasty tender baked fish, and plenty of other choices made me wonder how they could do this with what they had left after a week at sea. After eating we made our way to our cabins which were on deck 6. All were clean and sparkling. We were greeted by our smiling cabin attendant who was always available and quick to grant our few requests. Luggage arrived quickly, and we were unpacked and ready to sail. We loved all being out on our balconies and waving goodbye to Ft. Lauderdale as we watched the pilot boat come out to collect the pilot after exiting the port. Since our whole family is into computers, my husband brought his laptop and set it up in our room. That was a magnet for our grandson, who loved coming in and playing on it. While they were engaged with that our granddaughter would come in and just sit and chat. I found out all the latest happenings in her college life. Great gab fests. Our daughter, Judy loves Bingo, so I met her one day to play. Fun, but we didn't win. We both love the slot machines, so spent some time and money in the casino. Marvin and Helen also enjoyed playing and would often go there before dinner. Judy treated herself to a body massage in the Spa and reported it to be totally restorative for mind and body. Andrew went to the teen center the first night and every night thereafter. He met lots of people and reported they played some games that were fun and then just "hung out". He said there were about 20 girls and 20 guys, so they must be doing things right to draw that many. Bob and Andrew signed up for excursions at St. Maarten and Grand Turk. They drove small rubberized boats that went very fast and "had a ball". Several of us enjoyed walking around Tortola and visiting all the open air vendors near the dock. St. Maarten was teeming with cruisers since there were 4 cruise ships there that day, but it is always fun to wander in and out of the shops, listen to the steel band, and stop for lunch. Christmas Eve dinner was absolutely the best dinner I have had on any cruise ship. Lobster tails that were at least 14 ounces with drawn butter. During the week we also enjoyed escargot, caviar, tender lamb, various shrimp entrees,crab legs, cooked to perfection vegetables and deliciously crisp salads. How anyone can complain about the food is beyond me. Of course there were also a wide variety of pasta dishes that I sampled and enjoyed. I am not a dessert lover, but I could not resist the coconut and mango sherbets. The rest of the table indulged in all kinds of chocolate and pastry delights. What a wonderful Christmas. We were with our family; no one had to cook, we were not troubled by the world news or unwanted telephone calls. We enjoyed caroling around a beautiful Christmas tree with people of many different nationalities, and watched Santa hand out presents to all the small children aboard. Costa even created a snowfall over the Christmas tree. Kudos to Costa! We would all love to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
ok well here goes as this was our first time on a ship besides my dads little 36 ft crisscraft named after my daughter on lake ontario. well we had a little trouble getting to the ship due to the weather our first flight out got cancelled, ... Read More
ok well here goes as this was our first time on a ship besides my dads little 36 ft crisscraft named after my daughter on lake ontario. well we had a little trouble getting to the ship due to the weather our first flight out got cancelled, then the airport shut down, then our new flight got delayed about an hour luckily our connecting flight waited. and our cab driver from the airport had me a little worried when he didn't take the first exit that says to the port everglades. but we made it there right at last minuet 3;30 pm and we weren't the only ones. got all of our luggage checked in no problem, went to get checked in the lady was a little frustrated by then got credit cards and each of us all mixed up, finally got on ship went to our rooms 8222 8226 , then the muster drill right away, which b4 it was over we were already set sail so we missed any sailaway party that may have happened a little disappointed. we walked around the ship getting to know where everything was nice beautiful vessel. everyone greeted us with smiles. over the course of the week only caught a couple people not smiling and I told them to smile!! and they did. our rooms were inside cabins and seemed big enough for us as we only planned to be in them to sleep. bed was very comfy! found the pillows to be too firm, so went to the closet and got out another pillow which was nice and soft!! the first couple nights for dinner we ate in the raffello restaurant late sitting then changed to the Michelangelo restaurant for early sitting table 93. we sat with another family and chatted with them each night. at both restaurants my waterglass was never empty they filled it up b4 i even finished a glass. our waiters were very friendly and always had smiles, and it was fun dancing with them too. tried some new food really enjoyed the chocolate souffle and baked alaska. had the beef and steak most nights and they were cooked to perfection first time by accident did get another person at our table meal which they had ordered it rare and they got mine which was medium cause I forgot to tell them how i wanted it. so always order your beef either medium rare or rare . medium is way over cooked. crab legs were so delicious didn't need to crack them. just sad i missed the escargots. but learned if there is anything you want again see the maitre'd at least one day in advanced as they need time to prepare it. only ate at the breakfast buffet once the first morning at sea and found the food cold, so after that ate at the raffelo restaurant every morning which was deliciously good with pastries, orange juice, hot chocolate, some had cappuccino (for free only at breakfast) bacon is delicious but salty everything made so fresh. one of the girls serving the pastries was unpleasant and looked like she really didn't want to be there. one day woke up a little late and thought everyone had gone of to breakfast without me so I went by myself and sat at a table with 5 other people one couple was from orlando (mom & daughter) another couple from Puerto rico, and an elegant lady in her 80's who was on her 54 th cruise(i believe, she did 39 with her husband). usually had lunch at the buffet/grill and was so happy to see gnochi first sea day. never had a bad pasta dish everyone was great. the only bad thing to me was having the icecream machine too readily available, ate too much lol. oh the midnight buffets weren't always a buffet sometimes they were waiters each carrying something different like strawberries and cream or sandwiches fruit kabobs etc and get there quick if u want anything I found they sometimes closed after about 10 min. if you don't usually go to midnight buffets makesure you go to the last one after the talent show and bring your camera!! and watch it cause you just can't believe all these people shoving to get in even b4 the doors opened. beautiful creations. the activities seemed like fun, played the ring game, u can tell who has played horse shoes b4 !! chocolate is a hoot he sure will get you going in any activity!! also played bingo but found it too much for $20 u only got 2 games the first being just a line and the second continuing on to a full card. though one young boy kept winning quite a bit. the casino was fun and they did try to enforce getting the kids out of the casino one young boy think his name was max with a mohawk chatted with me in the casino until they asked him to leave once again but it is hard as the disco is right there that the kids go to. I liked the 4 machines that u have to put coins in and it pushes them forward and there is a stack of$100 in one dollar bills I played for a few hours on that game with only $10 its a fun game of physics. the shows and lounges were good, lot of couples up dancing, you even get to hear max sing and play. the adult games weren't too bad the people tried to watch what they say as there was some kids in the audience but some answers have to be said lol. missed the acrobat show which wanted to see as my daughter amongst her many talents is an acrobat in fact chocolate was trying to get her to give him her resume for her to work on costa as a performer(u can hear her and see her in a couple videos on her myspace page www.myspace.com/alexianniapearson ) as for the ports: san juan - we went on our own walked down the streets with all the shops, went the the church which was closed took some pics, did a little shopping, saw a performance in a store by a woman named Lady bought her book and she autographed it for my daughter who just loved her stuff next door to starbucks which we just had to get a drink, at night it is beautiful, with all those christmas lights lit up, on the way back to the ship stopped in to senor frogs got our free blue shot which was more like half a cup, our free beads then back on to the ship. st.thomas- we did the ultimate island tour - which took us to a few stops that u could see all the islands and the ship, conveniently the stops were usually little souvenir stands, we had 2 hours at maegens bay which is the most beautiful beach and water I have ever seen, the fish swim right up to u. then we went to blackbeards hill where we climbed a tower the stairs might scare you a little as they move while u walk up or down, statues of some of the pirates, walk down part of the 99 steps (or all of them if u wish) into a few old houses/museums to see how they lived down to the rum factory where u can buy souvenirs and have either fruit punch or rum punch for free. there was also 3 swimming pools if you wanted to swim. then into town to shop mostly jewelry stores, went to the belgian chocolate factory they deliver to your ship which was nice but didn't find they taste as good as godiva , my daughter made me walk all the way back to the ship from downtown which sure felt like a long way. dropped off our bags in our rooms then went shopping by the ship at the grande they have this really cute store for your pets just so sweet had to buy something for my dogs, then to havensight mall bought our alcohol and my fav perfume. went in to this little grocery store called gourmet foods bought some chips(after seeing those pringle chips in the fridge in cabin) and drinks (their alcohol is cheaper then a ii rise). mom and her friend did the st. johns tour and loved it- though they were mostly on a bus and wished there were more chances to get off and look, they also said a lot of people got sick on the ferry over to st. johns and some even got wet. catalina island - what can I say it was a beach day, went all the way down the beach as it was a little quieter and not so crowded, some went topless down that way and a lot of the crew also went down there having fun. saw some people get flipped over while on the water rides. bars down there weren't as busy to get drinks as the other ones. la romana/caso de campo - went to the kandela (kandy - la) show it was very good, sat down at the front the fire kept us warm, dd got chosen to dance with one of the male dancers, she enjoyed that, we saw a little of the village b4 the show. nassau- we did the atlantis excursion - though i would recommend doing it on your own as it took us 1 1/2 b4 we got to atlantis then they tour u around, u see about just as much as the aquarium from the free side as from the inside except the one room that leads u to their gift shop , then out to their beach/pool which we were allowed to use. we skipped ahead of the tour group and did it on our own, saw the huge stingray getting fed, then hopped the ferry back towards the ship and looked through some of the stores. if you are looking for body jewelry the silver shop the ship recommends is really good they had some nice ones we don't see everywhere daughter picked up a belly ring and got diamond stud earrings for free. the only topless bathing we saw was little girls on the ship and on catalina island but only way down the beach which was also the best part of the beach to pick up shells and coral. we had a great room stewardess Rowena who talked to daily and kept our room clean (not that we are messy lol) gave us chocolate mints on our pillows, cookies,. showed us how to work the shower as we had cold water the first couple nights. met tons of people through out the cruise either at dining, shows, casino,hot tub, bingo, my daughter(19) met lots at the smoking lounge, disco, casino, bar, deck. toga night - not too many wore them to the dinner, one little boy looked cold as he wore it as a skirt and went topless at dinner, a lot more people wore them to the talent show. there were a few that brought their own and looked great, the sheet they gave you was quite see through, found had to keep my eyes up as a few went commando and some wore black underwear under their togas. as for disembarkation we were yellow suppose to meet in rex at 8:45 , we ate breakfast in restaurant then went to see what time we were suppose to get off by customer service, the staff holding the clipboards asked us if we would like to go now which is when red was going off we said sure and off we were. to the airport we were there by 8:30 am our flight wasn't until 3:45pm we switched our flights to an earlier flight and lucky we did as our later flight got cancelled. yes i would cruise costa again we enjoyed it, though my daughter would like to try carnival after everyone talking about it so much on the ship. also forgot to say we didn't really get sick on the cruise , when we started to feel little sick took those preggie pops they worked so good just little candies, I handed out a few to a couple women who weren't doing so good, some were surprised how good they worked. we had sea lag, can really feel the ship after getting off. also found deck 8 went all the way through front to back it was easy to take the elevator down to the Michelangelo restaurant without having to go through the casino on deck 5. also we navigated ourselves on the ship according to wear the glass elevators were this helped alot. 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Sail Date December 2007
Hello fellow cruise enthusiasts! Below are the details of my cruise which took place from 12/16/07-12/23/07: Background Information/Embarkation I traveled with my college friend on this cruise. We are both 30 year old professionals with ... Read More
Hello fellow cruise enthusiasts! Below are the details of my cruise which took place from 12/16/07-12/23/07: Background Information/Embarkation I traveled with my college friend on this cruise. We are both 30 year old professionals with previous cruising experience. This was my 7th cruise and first on Costa. I've been on Royal, NCL, and Princess previously. I will try to address things in this review that have not already commonly been reported. I will also cut and paste this review to the Costa message board so folks can respond with questions. We both flew in early on the day of embarkation. The taxi from FLL airport is about a 20 minute ride with average cruise day traffic and will cost about $20 including tip. I found the check-in procedure to be a little slower than when I've left out of the Port of Los Angeles, but even so it only took about 45 minutes from curbside to on the ship. Costa doesn't hand you your cruise card... you go to your room (which is left open) and your cruise cards are on your bed. I thought this was a little strange. I'd encourage you to make your room your first stop so you can pick up your cards and secure the door. Ship Info Our first impressions of the ship were actually a little negative. Overall, the ship seemed very nice, but there were a couple things that Costa did that quite frankly took a step backward from other lines. For example, in the embarkation photo there is no background. So the line of people behind you is in the background of your photo. Who is going to buy a photo with a grumpy old man and the depressing port building hallway in the background? Once on the ship, we noticed a couple things like the basketball net was shredded. This is a $2 item - why didn't they bother to replace it? There were only 2 ping pong tables and they weren't in the best shape. Worse still, the balls and paddles for all games (ping pong, basketball, tennis, bocce, even foosball) were not available at the tables. You had to go to the info desk on Deck 3 to sign them out for the week. I can't tell you how many people asked my friend and I where we got the balls from while we were playing. Most people don't want to go down and back up 7 decks (not to mention lug around equipment) when on vacation. Please, Costa, put your sports equipment out at all times! What makes even less sense is that they told us they don't check you off when you return them (and they didn't), so what is the purpose of the sign-out process? Even if they lose a paddle or two or some ping pong balls, what is the big deal? They could probably replenish their stock at the end of each cruise for no more than $50. For comparison purposes, on the Golden Princess they had about 6 or 8 ping pong tables with balls all over the place. As you can tell, sports are an interest for both of us. The other small things we noticed were a number of the small deck lights out. Again, a simple inexpensive fix that makes a good first impression. All that said, once we got past those few things, we largely enjoyed the ship. I also want to say that we didn't notice smoking to be worse on this ship than any other, and the people seemed friendly even though there is a more worldly mix than on other lines... I think this added to the experience. Activities The big difference between a Costa cruise and a cruise on another line in my opinion is the difference in activities. On other cruises they had a lot of sports tournaments and pool games. Here, they had a very limited amount of tournaments (often tournaments were advertised in the daily paper, but it was just open play). There were a couple games done by the pool area (not IN the pool) which reminded me of something off of Sabado Gigante. It was like corny, silly games... not that ones on other lines are sophisticated, but these were even worse! Still fun to watch. The reason we like sports activities is because they are a good way to meet people, and when you are two single guys traveling, that is important. Most of the activities on this ship centered around music and dancing. If you like music and dancing, this cruise is definitely for you. If you don't, I hope you like sitting on deck and reading a book, since there is definitely a lack of other activities (unless you like bingo and art auctions). Speaking of bingo and art auctions, I have some words about each. As for bingo and the people that complain about it, let me say this: it is activities like these that allow the cruise lines to make a good deal of money and thus keep fares low. If you like to play, great - you get to play. But if you don't like to play, think of it as you saving $50 or $100 off your fare for you to hear a few announcements about bingo or horse racing or the slot tournament. If these activities didn't exist, you can be sure your fare would go up by at least that much. As for art auctions, buyer beware. They had original animation cells for sale on this ship from undesirable sources (i.e. Fred Flintstone from a 90s cartoon or a relatively unknown movie). These sold for $800-$1000. On land you could probably get these for a couple hundred dollars. You can get a Simpson's original for around $500 and even a low end Disney for under $1000. Just be aware before you buy. I've seen other warnings about this from other sources as well. Just remember the cardinal rule about art - make sure you like the piece first and foremost. Anyway, back to the ship activities. During the day there were several dance sessions on Deck 9. Just to show you how much they feature dancing, whereas most ships showcase the main pool in the center of their sports deck, the dance floor is instead the center of focus. At night, there was dancing from probably 6pm until 4am (live bands until about 1 or 2 probably and then the disco). Speaking of the disco, I personally liked the way Costa set this up. Whereas on other ships they have kids discos which probably close around 12 leaving the little ones to wander around the ship and maybe get into trouble, on this ship everyone is in the same place. The "teen disco" would start around 11 and then the adults would start to show up around midnight. The younger ones would stay until all hours. I think this is better all around. First off, I think kids around 15-17 think going to a kids club is lame, so they don't go. This leaves a limited number of kids who go. Folks 18-20 have problems because although they can get into the adult disco, they can't drink, thus they don't feel like they fit in. The 21+ crowd alone is sometimes limited, thus they don't want to dance since there are only a few people on the dance floor. When you combine the 3 groups, they coexist well and the dance floor is always packed. The groups still remain separate for the most part (if you are a parent worried about a 50 y/o dancing with your 16 y/o), but they are all on the dance floor. On this cruise we saw a mother dancing with her 12 and 16 y/o daughters almost every night. I thought that was really cool -- I mean where else can you do that? Kudos to Costa for this concept! Dancing in the other areas was fun too - the bands were great! Service We were fortunate that we ate in 2 different dining rooms at both early and late seating. We started late and went early for a few days to take better advantage of the evening ports before going back to late. We had great success with our tablemates - 3 30ish females with their Dad and another family group with slightly older parents and a 40 something daughter. We had a lot of fun and hung out at other times on the ship. At the early seating we were with two 20 something grad students. We found the service at both times to be quick and friendly. This is in direct opposition to what others have reported. We both ordered a lot of food, and it was brought with a smile, in a timely matter, and at appropriate temperatures. Staff at other areas of the ship were great as well and very friendly. We did not see any poor treatment of Americans as was also reported. Everyone was very nice all around. Shore Excursions We did not do any formal excursions, but here is a brief review of the ports: San Juan - Since this was an evening stop, we found it to be a bit of a bust. My friend enjoyed taking some photos of old San Juan (you dock right by the fort in Old San Juan), but other than meandering around the streets, there isn't much to do unless you had an excursion (none of which appealed to us). It was nice to walk around, but still not much to do. The good news is that you can walk around safely right by the port and there is no trouble getting back to the ship. St. Thomas - We really liked this port. We took a taxi to the Ritz hotel, as my friend wanted to rent some sailing equipment. He had arranged to do so online, and luckily brought copies of his emails, as the policy had changed and they no longer rent their equipment out to non-guests of the hotel. He was able to rent a couple things based on his emails. If you want a quiet, nice beach, this is a great stop. I'm more for a beach where you can do some people watching, so after a couple hours there we went to Magen's Bay Beach (a top 10 in the world beach). We both thought it was slightly over-rated, but still very nice. There is a $4 charge per person for this beach. If you like to shop, there is a lot of this by the pier. Make sure to leave yourself a good hour to get back to the ship since the traffic is pretty bad with multiple ships in port. Catalina Island (DR) - We both liked this port and it was my favorite. It was a great beach with a nice bbq (think fixed structure with picnic tables, not a temporary site). It was well staffed with a very limited wait to eat. The beach has free chairs available. Keeping with true Costa tradition (for this voyage anyway), the volleyballs were not put out until about 2pm instead of having them out all day. However, there was of course dancing by CD (instead of live band, which was playing on the ship for some reason). Still, it was pretty fun. Please bring some cash with you to this port as there is great local art for sale. They will pull the paintings off the frame and roll them up so you can bring them home. I got a very large piece for pretty cheap. The merchants are very nice but pretty aggressive. I thought this was the best shopping on the whole cruise. A great day overall! Stateroom We had an interior room, which was more than adequate. Plenty of closet space and a slightly larger bathroom than other lines. I always book an interior knowing that we won't be in the room much and it is actually nice to not have a window when trying to sleep late or to take a nap. Our cabin steward was great and did a great job with 22 cabins. Dining I've already touched on dining, but I will add that the food is great on this ship. I think the dining room food was comparable or even better than other lines I've been on while the buffet offered a few less choices than on other lines. Still, there was plenty to eat and I don't think I had a bad dish let alone a bad meal. They also had food available right by the pool at lunchtime on sea days and midnight snacks brought around to highly populated areas of the ship by waiters. The midnight buffet on the last night was very nice. I don't know how other people have complained about the food on this or any other ship. I read about people who didn't eat anything but salad or steak that was cooked wrong all week. I don't get it. I'm a bit of a picky eater (I don't like fish at all and don't eat "cute" animals), and I still did fine. Maybe these people are used to Chef Boyardee or something... who knows. I come from an Italian family and know what good Italian food is like, and this was good Italian! Entertainment We thought the shows were largely good. The only one that was a little bland was the soul singer the first night. We only caught a few songs, but that was enough. Don't get me wrong, she was talented, but didn't seem to warrant carrying the stage on her own. Other shows included a couple production shows, a Vegas music/comedy act, a New York Italian-American singer, a circus show, and the passenger talent show (happened to be all singing on our voyage). If you want to do this, make sure you look for the sign-up on day 2 or 3 in the daily paper. If you miss this, you will not be able to partake. Disembarkation This was a depressing process as always; it went pretty smoothly, however. We were amongst the last off the ship at around 9:30. We missed seeing our tablemates for the last breakfast as we were late getting up. One bit of advice - try to exchange email/phone info by the 4th or 5th day if you don't think you'll see folks again. There was a nice family from South Carolina we hung out with a lot, but didn't see them after day 5 so never got to trade info :( After we left the port, we took a taxi to the airport and rented a car for the day as we both had late flights. We spent the day at South Beach (about a 30-40 minute drive by the scenic route). This helped take the edge off of our return to the real world, but not by much. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Just returned from our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on the Costa Fortuna and below you will find my thoughts. First about us: Me, 37, stay at home mom, former HR manager, native New Yorker living near Annapolis, MD for over 5 years. ... Read More
Just returned from our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on the Costa Fortuna and below you will find my thoughts. First about us: Me, 37, stay at home mom, former HR manager, native New Yorker living near Annapolis, MD for over 5 years. This was I think my 17th cruise. Husband turned 45 while on board, executive, native of Alexandria, VA. This was his 11th cruise. Daughter age 8 in 3rd grade, this was her 6th cruise. My in-laws also traveled with us. He is 80 and she is 76 and this was their first cruise. Embarkation: Due to some impending bad weather in the Northeast we had some travel drama and ended up leaving a day earlier than planned, flying into Orlando, staying with friends and then driving to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday. This actually worked out okay but was stressful for me at the time. When we arrived at Pier 21 around noon with the rental car, we handed off all our luggage to the porters and dropped off Hannah and my in-laws. Matt and I then went to the airport to return the car and took a taxi back to the pier. Traffic was heavy getting back to the pier as there were many ships in port so this process took about 45 minutes to an hour. We entered the terminal, went through security and got in line for embarkation. The line moved very quickly and we waited a total of maybe 15-20 minutes. By the time we got on board around 1:30 the cabins were ready. We took our in-laws to their outside cabin (1362) on deck 1. And then we made our way to our balcony cabin (7339) on deck 7. The cabins were nearly identical in size and layout with the exception being ours having a balcony. Cabins: Both Ria, my in law's stewardess and Michael, our steward came by within minutes to introduce themselves and let us know the lay of the land. The cabins were both clean and spacious with lots of storage space. Plenty of room for me to unpack clothing and accessories for three people and store our empty luggage under the bed. The only amenity in the bathroom was a pump of gel cleanser on the shower wall however there was a sign saying that if we required other basic items (I forget what they listed) to just ask the cabin steward. Overall the cabin was great. Balcony had two chairs and a small table. On the minus side, the beds were very, very, very firm. They were thicker than the ones we had on the Magica but still a little too hard even for me and I like a firm bed. Pillows were also very firm. We all brought squishy travel pillows with us so that helped some but don't say I never told ya! Our cabin steward requested that when we were in our room to place the red do not disturb sign out and then upon leaving we should put out the green make up the room sign. We apparently did not fully grasp this instruction the first night and subsequently our room was not serviced the first night while we were at dinner and it took quite a while for him to get to it the next morning it seemed too. We finally got the system down though and the rest of the week was great. Fresh ice is supplied in the cabin twice a day. If you wanted bottled water however, once the initial bottle is gone, you must fill out a bar slip to request one - he did not just bring a fresh bottle whenever one was opened. Food: We found the food in the dining room and buffet to be very good to excellent. We tended to take most of our meals in the dining rooms but the times we did go to the buffet it was very good. My husband and I were doing our best to stay semi-within the Weight Watchers program and the portion control of the dining room suited our needs a little better. We enjoyed all of the fish dishes, the osso bucco, many of the no sugar added desserts. Our 8 year old typically got the fish dish, although she did order the spaghetti and meatballs one night and the always available grilled salmon. The last 2 nights she had the beef dishes and loved both of them. Lamb shanks on last night of cruise was not great but I should know better than ordering that particular cut. Crab legs on second formal night were enjoyed by all. We were seated at table 92 on deck 3 of the Michelangelo (aft) dining room. This was a round table for 6 people that was configured for our party of 5 giving us a little more room. The table configuration of this center portion of the dining room is poor at best and due to the waiter stations being around the perimeter of this section the service has no chance of being anything but inefficient. Our waiter and asst had 3 tables to service and because of having so many tables crammed together in this area they could not get around them to do their job well. Even when no one was seated in the chairs it was hard to get around the tables, having to turn sideways just to get between empty chairs - you can imagine how it was once people were sitting in them! They did an okay job but each night we had to ask for iced tea and many, many times our glasses were filled once at the beginning of the evening and then left empty for the duration. This was not just a problem we encountered at our regular dining table. Open seating in the Rafaello restaurant provided erratic service as well. To sum it up - we had WAY better service at the TGIFriday's in Fort Lauderdale than we did on our entire Fortuna cruise. I believe they all tried their best but I think that in many ways they were set up to fail. The club restaurant is billed as a Tuscan Steakhouse. In the past it was offered as price fixe menu where you pay a certain dollar figure per person. Now everything on the menu is a la carte. Aside from the Caribbean lobster tails we did not see anything on the menu that we could not order in the regular dining room or from a favorite land based restaurant. We figured that dinner would have run about 100-150 for two of us and decided it was not a good value as we were already very happy with the quality and variety of food in the main dining room. Entertainment and Activities: The Costa Fortuna Singers and Dancers were all quite good but Nicola Meehan from Scotland was a real standout for us. She just had a flat out gorgeous voice. Many times on cruises the singers get what I call showtunitis, where they are belting/shouting the songs to the point where the pitch gets distorted. Her tone was pure and her pitch was spot-on. I would have liked to see a showcase of just her singing. The first night's entertainment was a woman named Victoria Horne. We did not like her. A lounge act of the worst kind. If you have ever seen the Eddie Murphy movie Coming to America, she reminded me of when Eddie plays a singer and sings The Greatest Love of All. Just sort of "you're such a beautiful audience...it's so lovely to be here, in this lovely theater with all you lovely people". Maybe I am too critical but that kind of stuff just makes my skin crawl it seems so phony. First production show of the week was called H20 and I think was maybe the better of the 2. There was also a Circus Variety show that was just kind of e for me. Duo Markov was amazing, Duo Errani and the contortionist in the beginning were a bit too long. There was no real cohesive theme for this show. The final production show was In Concert which was just a variety of singers, Elvis, the Stones, Aretha Franklin, Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, a little bit of everything really. As much as I loved Nicola's voice though, I am a strong believer that ONLY Aretha can sing Aretha, sorry. As for entertainment in the other areas of this ship we found this also to be excellent. All of the musical groups playing live music in the lounges in the evening were fantastic. The pianist and violinist were very good, the Costa Fortuna Orchestra was TIGHT and the Trio Tringali and Duo Double Whiskey in the Conte de Savoie lounge were awesome. Giuseppe, the horn player in the orchestra also plays a mean jazz flute and has a great raspy jazzy voice - an all around great musician. My husband stayed up to see Stephen Sorrentino, the late night musical comedian and said that it was the best show he has ever seen anywhere - land or sea. We saw John Ciotta on our Magica cruise last year and he is just not our bag. See my comments about Ms Horne - too loungy for me. Hopefully next Caribbean season he and is hairpiece will stay on land. There were a number of activities throughout the day. A fitness class by the pool around 9 am and 5 pm every day. Some type of pool game or dance lesson everyday by the pool. Arts and crafts every afternoon by the aft pool that looked like it was well attended. We also saw Italian lessons on the schedule a few times during the week. Lots of things to do if you are not one to lay about the pool. We often sat in the card room or at the tables to the side of the Conte De Savoie lounge playing cards. One thing we really really like about Costa is that this area and the card room gets bar service. We had a lovely waitress from Columbia whose name began with an L and I won't attempt to spell who was just fab in this area. We purchased 2 boys and girls club booklets and used every last coupon on coke zeros for us and pink panther smoothies for Hannah (the smoothies were a real bargain with the coupon costing about $5 each without). She also brought us little trays of nuts and pretzels and rice crackers to have something to crunch while I beat the pants of my husband. We did not play Bingo but it was often held in the lounge so we heard it. I have no idea what his name is, but the guy who does bingo is a hoot. He was on the Magica last year too and he just cracks me up "B like Baaaarbieeeee", "chicky, chicky, chicky". We were all quoting him all week. My husband did participate in the final art auction of the week however even though he won an item he could never get the art guy to take care of him so he could pay for it. Very disappointing because the piece was apparently to be a surprise for me. ? Casino: Slots were very tight. They had denominations of 1 cent, 2 cents, nickels, dimes, quarters, 50 cents and dollar. I did not play any table games. The 2 cent slots were fun and I played on their money for a little while but I did not win what I would call a considerable amount. But then I only ever play $20 a day on slots anyway. Maybe if I had played more I would have won more. Don't know. Ports: SAN JUAN: Our excursion for the Latin Tradition show was cancelled before we even boarded due to technical difficulties, probably from Olga. The day before we arrived in San Juan the Tour desk called us and said they had fixed the problem and the tour was now back on but that we would have to sign up for it again and it was subject to getting a minimum number of participants. We signed up again but I guess not enough people were interested and it ended up being cancelled after all. We got of the boat for about 15 minutes, walked around the terminal and then headed out to make sure Matt's parents were doing okay on their own. They were coming down the pier as we were leaving so that was all we saw of San Juan. ST THOMAS: We did the ship's Snorkel Adventure excursion to Coki Beach and this was great. Hannah was still timid about snorkeling so we wanted some place where she could just walk into the water rather than jumping off a boat. She did great, getting braver and braver as the day went on and it turned out to be an excellent excursion. Since this was to only be a 3 hour trip we had planned to grab some lunch on board and then take a cab down town and do a little shopping however due to construction the trip back from Coki Beach took over an hour and a half and we were afraid we would not have enough time. Please keep this in mind if you go to St Thomas and allow yourself AMPLE time to make it back from town or if you book a private excursion. CATALINA ISLAND: This was Costa's Private Island. Lots of beach chairs and umbrella's. Snorkel gear sets for rent for $8 on your Costa card. They also had yellow floats for rent but unsure how much they were. You can find your own beach chair but there are locals waiting when you get off the tender to find/move them for you and they expect a gratuity for this service. There was a bar on the beach, an area with some shops, a covered area where they served the food, tents with many picnic tables. Also boats running banana floats, water tubing and water skiing. Not sure how much these were but it seemed to me that the further you got from the tender pier the more expensive things got and not all things could be purchased with Costa Card. Lunch on this island was fruit, a variety of salads, burgers, dogs, bbq chicken and ribs. They ran 4 lines so it seemed to keep the crowds moving or maybe we just went at the right time. This was all around a great beach day. We then took a short ride to Casa de Campo. We were beat from our day at Catalina so we did not get off the boat here. NASSAU: We had booked the Blackbeard's Beach break excursion but when we pulled into Nassau it was overcast and cool and we saw folks on the pier wrapped in their towels so we decided to stay on the ship. Since this was also our last day on board I had packing and such to do so this worked out well for everyone. Plus we've been to Nassau plenty of times before and don't feel like there is anything we absolutely MUST see there. Squok Club: Hours are 9-12, 3-6 and 9-11 most days. On the 2 formal nights they open at 5:30 or 5:45 and take the kids to the Lido for dinner and keep them until 11:30 or midnight. Hannah generally went to squok in the morning after breakfast and stayed until noon. They played games, danced, etc. The slide was open from 10-4 most sea days and Hannah wanted to spend much of her time doing that and swimming in the pools. She did earn 55 Squok bucks though and was able to pick out 5 prizes at the end of the cruise. Hannah also participated in the kids talent show which was in the Leonardo Da Vinci lounge at 9:30 on Roman night. This worked out okay for us as she was the first act but we ended up sending Daddy to get seats in the Rex at 10:15 and we left at 10:30 and it was still going. They might want to consider making this earlier or moving to a different night so that people can still get to the main event in the Rex theater - that fills up fast! One thing we did not like about Squok is that there is too much time between the end of 1st seating dinner and the evening opening time. On nights when she was not interested in the shows her only option was to sit around and wait an hour or so for Squok to open. The adult pool and hot tubs in the back of the ship were great and they were fantastic about enforcing the no kids rule. The hot tubs were hot but not unbearable. The other pools and hot tubs remained pretty crowded as we were sailing full capacity. Photos: We purchased 4 photos for around $80. The backgrounds they chose for our sailing were very busy and kind of ugly in my opinion. The ship was decorated for Christmas so shots in front of the tree turned out gorgeous but other than that no simple backgrounds where the people are showcased. I REALLY, REALLY hate having my picture taken during dinner but this is not unique to Costa so what are you going to do.... Passengers: Read a lot on Cruise Critic about Rude Europeans (RE) but I would like to set the record straight and say that I saw WAY, WAY, WAY more UGLY AMERICANS (UA) than REs! The UA's I saw were of a certain age (not young) more often than not of the NY/NJ/FLA variety. They were pushy, chair hogs, they spoke rudely and loudly about people around them. They seemed to have a sense of entitlement - like why on earth should I look where I am going on my scooter when I can look at the slots as I drive by and ride over your daughters toes - she has more of them what are you complaining about! They mainly appeared to come into the cruise looking for things to NOT like. They often spoke very quickly and with very thick NY/NJ accents to the staff and then got belligerent and down right nasty when they were not tended to immediately or correctly. If English is my first language and all my relatives have the same accent as you do and I ALSO thought you said apple martini then maybe you should not get pissy about getting such "bad service" from someone who's SECOND language is English! I saw exactly ONE Rude European and that was the last day. I saw packs and packs of Ugly Americans though - it was embarrassing. Disembarkation: We had dark blue and were to wait in the Rex theater at 9am. My in laws had brown and were to wait in Conte De Savoie at 9:15. We waited and disembarked with them. The line for immigration is very very long due to so many nationalities getting off. Customs was quick though and I would venture to say we were outside on the curb by 9:30 to 9:45 with all our luggage. The main problem with parking the ship at Pier 21 though is that the cabs must make a loop going past 2 other cruise ships (in our case Millenium and Westerdam) before getting to the Costa passengers. It was 11 am before any empty cabs started making their way to us at which time I had convinced my husband to call our hotel and see if they also ran shuttles to the cruise port, which they did so 20 minutes after his phone call we were in the shuttle on our way to the hotel. If only I could have convinced him to call sooner! So that it is my review. Some things that could use some tweaking but over all a great cruise and wonderful vacation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Let me start by saying this is only my opinion but i will try to keep it as objective as possible. I arrived at Pt. Everglades "Park & Fly" around 11:30 and found the lot full. I had taken advantage of the Costa deal ... Read More
Let me start by saying this is only my opinion but i will try to keep it as objective as possible. I arrived at Pt. Everglades "Park & Fly" around 11:30 and found the lot full. I had taken advantage of the Costa deal ($60.00 for the week) and my spot was waiting. Getting on the ship was a breeze and I dropped my carryon in my room, met Glenn my steward and was off to lunch. This ship is a duplicate of the Carnival Miracle which I was on last Xmas so navigation was easy. A word of caution not all decks run the length of the ship. So remember 5,8,9 are great for getting around. 5 is the casino and shops, 9 is food and pools and 8 is where I was. 8391 was my balcony cabin and it was nice with a mini bar and safe. Everything worked well and the ship was kept in great shape. I found the food just like the most of my cruises and that is good for feeding 2500 people at once. The pasta was fresh which I liked. Two comments about eating experience. First I sailed solo and truly enjoyed my dining companions. Two young ladies from NYC, a couple from Poland now living in the USA, a couple from way up in Newfoundland and a nice lady from Toronto. That being said Costa should make an effort to seat solo's together. Second my only disappointment was the pizza. I guess I expected something different. Carnival has the best and out of 3 cruise lines I have been on the only one available 24 hours. The food did have an Italian flair with plenty of things to choose from. We did have some announcements in multiple languages but the only time I really noticed was at muster but they had some fast talkers so it did not take too long. I spent most of my time in the casino and it was great to me in the beginning but took most of it back by the end. One thing I remembered was a smiling girl from Romania named Lidia that is the first dealer I have ever met with real personality. Our night in San Juan was Xmas day so much was closed. For those of you that have never been the dock is in the heart of Old San Juan so things are an easy walk away. I booked a tour with a pretty new company called Segway Tours of PR. Jose and his wife were 2 of the nicest people I came in contact with on the whole trip. Let me tell you this was a ball. For $70.00 I got lessons (piece of cake) then 2 hours of fun in this beautiful city. OSJ can be very hilly and no one had an easier time of getting around than we did. Jose can be reached at segwaytourspr.com and please tell him Preston sent you. Next was ST Martin and it was Boxing Day. Many stores were open and I walked and shopped in the morning then took the Rhino tour in the afternoon. My experience was not good but I will only say none in the party seemed thrilled. Off to Tortola and this was my favorite place. I discovered a street full of shops locally owned and had a great time. If you go to the ferry terminal a bar named Pussers is across the street. If you walk through Pussers it is the street in the back. Sorry I don't remember the name. Then we went to Grand Turk. At the dock is a huge complex anchored by a Margaritaville with shops and a big pool with some great beach. Most stayed there and it was pretty crowded. They say some days there are two ships and the place would be a zoo. Right outside the entrance is a scooter/golf cart concession and I rented a scooter. I went everywhere but there is not much to see. A lighthouse and a place where you can ride a horse into the ocean. The real find is about a mile from the entrance. Govenors Beach is beautiful with chairs, tables and restrooms. I could tell it had concessions but they were not open, so take some things from the ship. Out of the 2500 on the ship about 30 found this place and it is a gem. Never have I seen bluer water than in the T&C islands. I have been on 2 and the water is not to be believed. On the last day they wanted you out of your room by * but I was not hassled. I did leave at 8:15 because I was read too. I was supposed to go to the bid theater on deck 3. I went down to the glass elevators and down to 3 which put me by the exit. People were milling around looking for direction so I just walked off and no one stopped me. Customs was easy and I found my bag right away. P&F was waiting and took me to my car. Only 20 minutes from stateroom to my car. Its a new record. In closing the Fortuna is an Italian ship and many book from Europe to see the Caribbean. I met some fascinating people but must say they do some things different. I booked this ship for the ports but did not pay enough attention to the times there and this cruise had a little to much sea time for my taste. It was warm and the seas were calm. Would I book Costa again, you bet! Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Our sixth Caribbean cruise was aboard the Costa Fortuna from December 9-16, 2007. We stayed in the 160 square foot but very spacious inside cabin 8294 and our room attendant Michael from the Philippines was very kind and efficient and did ... Read More
Our sixth Caribbean cruise was aboard the Costa Fortuna from December 9-16, 2007. We stayed in the 160 square foot but very spacious inside cabin 8294 and our room attendant Michael from the Philippines was very kind and efficient and did a great job of always having our room spotless. We stopped in San Juan, St. Maarten, Tortola and Nassau and had a great time shopping and souvenir hunting. Despite some early rough weather due to the off-season Hurricane Olga, we kept our Bonine handy and had a smooth cruise unlike some other people who didn't come prepared and suffered from major motion sickness. Meals were as tasty and plentiful as they were with our previous cruises aboard Carnival which didn't surprise us since Costa is owned by Carnival. Our dinners at the 2-person candlelit table 440 were romantic and had a panoramic view of the entire dining room. Our waiter Francisco from the Dominican Republic and his assistant Joyce from the Philippines were friendly and did an excellent job of taking care of us. Selections included old favorites such as grilled tuna steak and new treats like salmon with Gorgonzola cheese spread. The ship itself was very well-maintained and we had no problem finding our usual nightly hangout spot from the outset. The Bar Classico Roma was a relaxing place to enjoy a fine cigar and a drink after dinner and we had many pleasant evenings chatting with other guests about our cruise experiences. All in all, we'd highly recommend the Costa Fortuna as a great way to get a taste of the Mediterranean in a Caribbean cruise and you can visit http://davehertz.com to view photos from our wonderful time at sea! Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
As long time cruisers and frequent Costa customers, we took a Christmas cruise for the first time last year on the Costa Magica. We enjoyed it so much that we sailed again with Costa for Christmas -- this time on the Fortuna. There were 9 ... Read More
As long time cruisers and frequent Costa customers, we took a Christmas cruise for the first time last year on the Costa Magica. We enjoyed it so much that we sailed again with Costa for Christmas -- this time on the Fortuna. There were 9 of us -- 3 generations, and we all had a great time. Despite the fact that it took longer than usual to be checked in at embarkation (presume that it was a new employee), everything was better once we were on the ship. Our cabin steward, Christian, was superb ---- among the best we have ever had! He was attentive, polite, and helped to make our cruise wonderful. Our oceanview cabin was comfortable for 2 -- always clean and the bed comfortable. Because we have cruised many times before, we did not take the tours (very expensive), but enjoyed the islands on our own. The decor of the ship is beautiful -- especially the Michelangelo dining room and the Leonardo da Vinci lounge. A unique feature is the ceiling of the atrium, which has models of all the former and current Costa ships. The atrium was decorated beautifully for Christmas -- with a large Christmas tree. Midnight mass, a visit from Santa, Christmas carols, and snow in the atrium made the holiday special on board the Fortuna. The buffet, which seemed like it was always open, had a great variety of food --- well prepared, at the proper temperature, tasty, and authentic Italian. As Italians (from Italy), we can certainly say that the ingredients are genuine and good quality. The staff was attentive and professional. In particular, we enjoyed exceptional service from the Restaurant Manager, Bartolo, and Assistant Restaurant Managers, Marco, Nello, and Raffaele. Our waiter, Roy, and assistant, Paul, were excellent --- always pleasant and professional. We especially enjoyed the "events" in the dining room performed by the crew --- Italian Night, Tropical Night, and Toga Night. The food in the dining room was excellent, especially the pasta which was always great and prepared "al dente". The shows were good -- not great. This is one area that could use some improvement. However, the Cruise Director, Max, is outstanding! The pool activities are very entertaining -- lots of music and dancing. Eugenio, the "bingo man" was lots of fun. Having sailed with other cruiselines, Costa has something special that I have not found with other companies. The Italian ambiance (crew, food, decor) cannot be matched! Without a doubt, we will sail Costa again and again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
I've been on many cruises, but this was our first, but not our last Costa cruise. Embarkation and debarkation were among the quickest I've experienced on any line. Costa knows how to move a large number of people. Before the ... Read More
I've been on many cruises, but this was our first, but not our last Costa cruise. Embarkation and debarkation were among the quickest I've experienced on any line. Costa knows how to move a large number of people. Before the cruise, I read a lot about people butting into line, but only experienced this one time in seven days. The thing I found most annoying was the fact when the elevator doors opened, people would push their way inside, not allowing the people trying to get off access to the door. More than once, I was not allowed to get off the elevator at my selected floor due to those pushing in. The Fortuna is a lovely ship and a perfect size. Our stateroom was on the 11th floor and we were pleasantly surprised to find our "window" was actually a floor to ceiling window that slightly extended outward. A table and chair made the area as good as a balcony. The food on the Lido was better than most, especially the pasta selections which changed at every meal. Our dining room was lovely and our table overlooked the large windows across the back of the ship. We found the second floor to be far less crowded than the first and I would request it again. The shows were good although I did miss the comedy shows on other lines. I realize it would have been difficult to have such shows due to the language differences onboard. While the shows weren't as "glitzy" as others I've seen, they were entertaining. Max, the cruise director was pleasant and seemed sincere, not like some of the others I've seen. My husband thought there was more to do on other lines, but we were never bored. The meals for the most part were very good. I did have one meal where the fish was almost raw and the lemon sauce was overpowering. This was on the last night of the cruise. Others at our table for eight thought the menu selections for the evening were very poor, and we did have a hard time trying to select something we could eat. I noticed several of us only ate small portions of our last dinner. The desserts were good, but everything made of a cake or cake layer was very dry and lacking in flavor. We didn't take shore excursions, as we're experienced cruisers and do well on our own or with independent cab drivers. Our tour of Tortola on "The Happy Bus" was one of the best we've taken. We got on at the port and the driver gave us an entire island tour of almost 4 hours for only $15 each. Freddie was a very nice person and very entertaining as well. I really felt like I learned a lot about Tortola and her people. While in St. Maarten, we rented a car and headed to Orient Beach where we spent a great day. The people who own Club Orient rent chairs and umbrellas for a very fair price. We were not pleased with the time the ship arrived in San Juan (5:00 p.m.) or the fact we left at 10:00 p.m. The time there was too short to see much, plus the fact it was dark. A full day in San Juan and only 5 or 6 hours in Tortola would have been much better. My only real complaint about the cruise was that I cut my arm while in the boarding process and nobody helped at all. I was told I couldn't even get a bandage until after I got on board. I tried to do this only to be told that the pharmacy wasn't open yet and wouldn't be for several hours. So there I was walking around with a wet paper towel which I got for myself in the bathroom, applying pressure to my bleeding arm. I wasn't able to get bandages for my arm until later in the evening. I was even willing to go to the doctor on board but was told he wasn't open yet either. So anyone going on this ship, take a box of bandages with you. Be aware that when you get in Nassau there's a very long walk from the ship into the town, especially if you're docked at the far end like we were. We notice many older couples having to stop every little while to rest. They did have a few courtesy carts, but way to few. We only saw one going into town and one going back to the ships. There were four ships docked at the same time we were. Would I cruise on Costa again? Yes, without question. It was a lovely, refined, first class cruise on a beautiful ship, and a crew that was second to none I've seen. A special thanks to our room steward, Allen. If you haven't given Costa a try, do it once and I'm sure you'll go back. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
O Sole Mio ... the Costa Fortuna gave us a wonderful and unforgettable Italian summer experience in July 2007: a Mediterranean cruise with wonderful food, distinct Italian atmosphere, wonderful ports of call, and excellent service. We ... Read More
O Sole Mio ... the Costa Fortuna gave us a wonderful and unforgettable Italian summer experience in July 2007: a Mediterranean cruise with wonderful food, distinct Italian atmosphere, wonderful ports of call, and excellent service. We had done our first cruise just a few months earlier (Norwegian Dawn Western Caribbean in March 2007) and we totally loved it, except for the jet lag (we live in Holland aka The Netherlands, in Europe). So we decided to stay in Europe this summer and to do a European cruise to find out: 1) Would Costa have the same excellent level of service as Norwegian (YES) 2) Would Costa have the same quality of food as Norwegian (YES, even better if you like Italian food and lots of fish), and dining flexibility (NO - Norwegian's Freestyle concept and the number of restaurants on the Dawn is better). 3) Would Costa have the same wonderful entertainment as Norwegian (YES and NO, more details later). Travel to Port of Embarkation Savona We (mom, dad, son, girl friend) took a low cost carrier (www.ryanair.com) from Holland to Pisa Airport, Italy. Pisa Airport has a train station with frequent trains and a ticket to Pisa is 1.10 euro. The airport also has a frequent shuttle service to Pisa and to Florence. After spending a week around Pisa and Florence dad & girl friend returned to Holland, and mom & son took the train from Pisa via Genoa to Savona. Trains are cheap and comfortable in Italy. The journey took 3h30min and was about 25 euros for a 1st class ticket. Other non-Italian Costa passengers flew into Milan and then either took the Costa bus to the ship (which needs to be booked in advance) or the train (about 2h30 to 3h30 depending on which Milan airport you fly to). Italian train schedules and prices in English: http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html In front of Savona train station there were many taxis. Since we arrived early and our luggage had wheels we walked instead of taking a taxi. Via the city center to the port it's 1.9km which is about 1.2 miles (note: you need to cross water twice so if you decide to walk bring a printed route or map otherwise the walk will be much longer. We used www.viamichelin.com to find the shortest route, and selected the "On Foot" option). Check-in and embarkation was a breeze with almost no waiting time (everybody is given a plastic card with a group number, then after a few minutes (in our case about 10 minutes) they call the number and the whole group goes through the passport and security checks (these took another 10 minutes including getting pushed aside repeatedly by many Italians who force themselves to the front of the queues - a small frustration that was repeated throughout the cruise). Hotel Info In Pisa, we wanted a hotel very close to the train station, with a good breakfast. We have found 2 hotels each about 5 minutes away from the station on foot. The best choice is Hotel Terminus & Plaza - in July 2007 it was 75 euro per night per room with breakfast included. Equally good but a bit more expensive and with quite small but well appointed bathrooms is La Pace (a few steps closer to the station), 95 euro per night per room with breakfast included. The rooms in both hotels look a bit old but they are clean and comfortable and they have air conditioning. The leaning tower of Pisa is about 30 minutes away on foot through the pedestrian friendly city center. Stateroom We had an outside cabin (2399). The cabin was very clean, well maintained, spacious and quiet, it had a large window (not a porthole but larger and rectangular) a sitting area with a couch and a comfortable chair, and an excellent double bed which could be made into twin beds on request. There was a TV with the possibility to check your onboard account and to read about and see small videos of the shore excursions. TV channels depended on the ship's location (no satellite TV) and we got at least one English language channel most of the time. There are US and European power sockets, an insulated ice bucket that was kept full with ice by the cabin steward, a filled fridge (with price list), a safe that worked with the key card that you also need to buy anything on board, to open your cabin door, and to leave and enter the ship. There is adjustable air conditioning in the cabin which is very quiet and works well. The cabin steward also has additional blankets if required. The bathroom is large enough for one person at a time. There is a good shower with curtain and soap dispenser + a dish/shelf on which you can put your shampoo. There is an airplane-style vacuum toilet, several glass shelves, a drying line for laundry. For our 2 person cabin we got 2 large towels and 2 small ones and they were changed twice a day if we used them during the day. Otherwise just once when the steward made the bed. There is lots of cupboard space with several hangers. The "Today" program for the next day (including instructions for going ashore and instructions for gathering for the Costa shore excursions) was delivered every day around 10:15PM together with a high level map of the destination. A nice touch is that there is also a free mini newspaper every day (delivered to the cabin during the day, we got Britain Today in English). Ship Info The ship is large, clean, and there were always enough sun beds, tables, seats, roaming drinks waiters, music or (if preferred) quiet. The ship is nicely decorated and kept in excellent order. The best times to be on deck were when approaching and leaving the ports, especially the ones that are near the city centers, and during the wonderful passage of Capri and Anacapri (the ship sails very close to both sides of the island, towering above the Capri and Anacapri villages). Dining Breakfast and lunch can be taken in the a la carte restaurants but we opted for the buffet restaurant for lunch since the buffet has many more tables for two, and because during lunch two or more of the six buffets contained typical cuisine of the region where the ship was. Dinner was best enjoyed in the a la carte restaurant (first seating at 7:15PM, second seating at 9:45PM), followed by a special coffee or drink at one of the bars, or free regular coffee/tea in the buffet restaurant. The a la carte restaurant table, waiters, and fellow dinner guests remained the same during the cruise, although it was possible to ask the Maitre D' to be moved to another table if required (must be done a day in advance). There is also a midnight buffet every day but we have not sampled it during this cruise. There is a grill at the pool with nice burgers, hot dogs, fries, ice cream. Every day at 4:30PM afternoon tea with lots of cakes and fresh fruit. There is fresh pizza-by-slice in the buffet restaurant from about noon to 10PM and then the same restaurant is turned into a pizzeria from 10PM to 1:30AM. And there is an upscale restaurant for a charge on deck 11 that we did not try; we were told that it has a wonderful, upscale atmosphere and even better food than the rest of the restaurants. This must be really special because the food in other restaurants was outstanding (Note: the hostess warned us during the Welcome meeting that US-Italian food is prepared differently compared to Italian-Italian food … I cannot remember all examples she gave; one was that Americans prefer the pasta and vegetables to be cooked longer and more mushy than the present day Italians do so the pasta on the ship would possibly seemed uncooked to some US guests.) Activities and Entertainment If you like dancing and music and pool games there is plenty of it during day and night and the atmosphere is excellent. The performances in the theatre were a bit disappointing compared to what we've seen on the Norwegian Dawn a few months ago. We never had a dull moment on the ship though. The most special and surprising entertainment was that performed by the waiters during some of the evenings, during or right after dinner. Very, very nice! Children's Clubs The whole ship seemed a children club at times (lots of children about) but it was never a nuisance. Service Excellent service. Everybody from the crew we spoke with, spoke English. Our room steward and waiters remembered our preferences and were very sociable. Customer Service was also very helpful although it was always a mess at the Customer Service desk at busy times. They kept trying to organize queues but the queues fell apart almost immediately - people kept pushing and jumping the queue. Shore Excursions Hint: almost every time we disembarked there was a tourist information booth with a more detailed map of the city than the one Costa gave us (free and very useful). We had also bought Mediterranean By Cruise Ship by Anne Vipond but the book has so little info about some of the ports that you're probably better off reading information on the internet and planning what to see before you leave home. For other ports Anne Vipond's book did have good descriptions, and it's a nice book to read about the Mediterranean in general. Note about shopping: many shops close for a few hours during mid day, so if you want to shop a lot be ashore in the late morning or late afternoon/early evening. Naples: we walked into the city (10 minute walk from the port) and there was lots to see and to shop. Costa also had many interesting excursions, for example to Pompei (48 euros per person, 4 hours), or the Vesuvius crater (47 euros per person, 4.5 hours). Traffic was hectic and crossing busy streets in the center required some getting used to (there are not many traffic lights at the pedestrian crossings). Great city, although smelly and dirty and hectic. Recommended: walk to one of the Funicular stations (inclined railways going up the hills to higher parts of the city) and take the Funicular all the way up for a nice view and quieter neighborhoods. The one we took (Central, close to the port and the palace) was one euro to go to the top station, and one euro to go down again (ticket machines were out of order at the top but the newspaper stand inside the station at the top also sells tickets, for the same price as the out of order machines). Palermo: we walked into the city (just across the street from the port) and then walked for hours through the city, visiting the sights, for example the impressive cathedral, and the theater that was used in the final part of Godfather 3 (the daughter of Michael Corleone is shot when exiting the theater and cries "papa, papa"). Very nice city, lots to see and, again, to shop. Costa has a few shore excursions for example one that takes you to remains of the classic Greek civilization (8 hours, 65 euros per person). Tunisia: we should have taken one of the Costa tours to the Souk (market) + City Center, or to Carthage and Sidi Bou Said (each around 50 euros per person, 4 hours), or we should have taken one of the taxis (about 15 euros one way to the Souk, but can be negotiated down). Instead we walked to La Goulette. This is a small city next to the port with a big old fort that is now perhaps being renovated (or they are building something connected to it) so we could walk into the run down fort for free. They also have a nice long and clean beach (note: we saw some women at the beach but they were fully clothed, even when going into the water, so it’s probably not a good idea to go to the beach in a bikini). There were many small stores selling snacks and drinks (but we saw no possibility to buy postcards or any tourist items), and a vegetable and fish/meat market. The city has a small train station with a direct connection to Tunis and frequent trains (15 minutes walk from the port, just keep walking in a straight line from the port to La Goulette and after you cross a road you’ll see the railway and shortly after that the small station) but all trains / destinations were in Arabic and no French/English translation at that station so we did not want to take the risk of not being able to find our way back. Downside in Tunisia: extreme and repeated haggling by many taxi drivers (there were a few taxis just inside the port gate, and lots of taxis lined up outside the gate). However, we never felt unsafe (just a bit annoyed by the taxi drivers). Palma de Mallorca: wonderful city with great sights, nice narrow streets and an abundance of shops, cafes and restaurants. It is too far to walk from the port to the city center but there are lots of taxis and there is a frequent city bus (line 1, the bus stop is next to the taxi stop; this is the airportcityports bus, so make sure you take it in the right direction) to the center for 1,20 euro per person (make sure you have small change because the bus driver has almost no change). The bus system is very modern. The bus has a screen inside that shows the name of the next bus stop, and the larger bus stops have screens showing exactly in how many minutes the next bus will come and where it’s going. The bus drivers are very helpful (ask for city center or the cathedral) and he’ll point you in the right direction (the bus does not drive into the old center but goes around it since the center is mostly a low-traffic / pedestrian area with narrow streets). Barcelona: this is the best city of all. The Sagrada Familia is fantastic, parc Guel is very nice, La Rambla (pedestrian street) is very nice, and there are so many more things to see. I’ve spent a week her a while ago and I still have not seen it all. It’s a long walk from the port to the city so it’s best to buy a ticket for the Costa shuttle bus (5 euro return ticket) that leaves you next to the Maritime museum (very nice), and 0.5 miles from the column+statue of Columbus (there is an elevator up to the top of the column; it’s quite narrow at the top and crowded at times so bulky people will not be comfortable but the view is great). The column is also where La Rambla starts, a long street which is pedestrian-only in the middle and which leads to the city center (beware of pick pockets). Costa also has many excursions (around 50 euros per person). Marseilles: nice area around the old port. As far as I could see it is impossible to walk to the city from the cruise terminal. Costa provides a shuttle (5 euros per person for a return ticket). Best attraction in my view: steep walk through the city up to the cathedral/church that is overlooking the port. The view from the cathedral is magnificent. Nice pastries, fish food, lots of shops in the city. Beware of pickpockets (as in all cities and probably many other places as well). I was buying a T-shirt from a street merchant and while paying for it I felt that someone was feeling around inside my small backpack that was on my back. I turned around and the guy walked away, leaving my backpack open. Costa has 5 shore excursions ranging between 40 and 80 euros per person. During a previous visit to the area I’ve been to Aix en Provence (46 euros, 4 hours including the 30 minute return trip and a guided walk) and it’s a very nice city with romantic tree-lined streets and cafes. Savona: mid-sized city and home port of the Costa Fortuna. From the ship you cross the wooden pedestrian bridge into the city (5 minute walk). Old stately buildings, shaded (roofed) walkways, many cafes/bars. However, there are no notable sights in Savona. Costa has a few shore excursions in case Savona is one of your ports of call (for most people it’s the start and end of the journey). Most Spanish guests start their cruise in Barcelona, most French start their cruise in Marseilles, some Italians in Naples, so for those guests this is one of the ports of call. The shore excursions go to Genoa, Albissola, Portofino and are between 35 and 74 euros per person. Disembarkation There is a disembarkation presentation by the hostess (a different one for each language group). The procedure is quite standard – colored tags are delivered to your cabin, to be used for the luggage that you place outside your cabin during the night. In the morning there is enough time for breakfast (breakfast starts at 7AM, first group disembarks at 8:30AM) and at a specific time all disembarking guests with a certain tag color need to go to one of the public rooms (all this info is in the “Today” leaflet that you receive the day before disembarkation). From there they are escorted to the arrival hall where the baggage awaits. In front of the baggage hall there are taxis, behind them there are buses (I believe there was a shuttle to Naples airport, and it needed to be booked in advance). And behind the busses there are rental cars (if booked in advance). Behind them is a huge parking area for all passengers who come by car. One of the other passengers was telling the hostess that he had tried to buy tickets for another shuttle (probably to the Genoa train station, but I’m not sure) on the last day of the cruise but Costa had cancelled it. The train from Savona to Genoa is only 3.10 euros though in the weekend for a 1 hour train ride. We were at the Savona train station around 9:30AM. Unfortunately there was a railway problem or a strike (and nobody at the station to give any information about the trains, except for 2 railway police officers who told us to wait for announcements – which came about an hour later – and two train drivers who did not want to answer any questions in English or Italian) and the first few trains had been cancelled so the first train we could take was the 11:10AM train to Genoa. The same problem was repeated in Genoa for our onward journey to Pisa. Several trains had been cancelled and while we were waiting for a train to Pisa we heard the announcements (in Italian and English) that many other trains to other destinations were being cancelled as well. We arrived in Pisa at the end of the afternoon, at 5PM. Luckily we had booked another hotel night in Pisa and a flight the next day back home. Summary Pro: world class service, wonderful ship, great itinerary, very tasty food, great atmosphere (if you like extrovert, Italian). Con: the theater performances are a bit bland. Would we recommend this cruise to anyone? YES, absolutely. Would we sail with Costa again? Yes, Costa provide a wonderful cruising experience and they have the advantage of sailing in one of the nicest parts of the world: the Mediterranean. Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
We travelled with our 2 kids (8 and 4)and were a bit apprehensive to start, because they never cruised before. It turned out to be a fantastic family holiday! We reached Savona by car, as we travelled all the way from England, where we ... Read More
We travelled with our 2 kids (8 and 4)and were a bit apprehensive to start, because they never cruised before. It turned out to be a fantastic family holiday! We reached Savona by car, as we travelled all the way from England, where we live, and were really happy with the parking arrangements; at the terminal, parking attendants took our car keys, parked for us and we found our luggage directly in our cabin without having to carry it anywhere. We had a cabin with balcony on deck 6 and found it very comfortable: a double bed and a bunk bed for the kids with plenty of storage, beautiful shower room and tasteful decor. The balcony was a bit of a luxury that gave us extra privacy late in the evening, after the kids had fallen asleep (incidentally, the balcony are pretty safe for kids as they have no railings but glass panels, my 4 year old couldn't reach the top but was happy to see though the glass. We found the staff to be generally helpful and everyone could speak English even though it clearly wasn't their first language. On the pool deck we liked the fact that staff was regularly going around to collect towels that people left on sun loungers after they left the deck, (instead of putting them in the laundry bin provided), so we could always find at least 3 available if not 4. We ate our dinner in the Michelangelo restaurant and never been disappointed, but lunches in the Colombo buffet could be a bit boring, unless you're happy with pizza every day. The kid's club has been a success with our children and they left the ship with bags full of gifts and things they made (oh joy!). We particularly enjoyed the evening slot, from 9 'till midnight, as it meant we could relax! We chose 2 child friendly excursions; in Naples we went to the top of Vesuvius (my 8 year old was thrilled to be on a real volcano) and in Palma we opted for the Catamaran tour and snorkeling. Both excursions were well organized and we all enjoyed them. In my opinion Costa Fortuna is a great Ship for a family holiday and of course you have to bear that in mind if you're going as a couple. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
Costa Fortuna Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.2
Entertainment 4.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.3
Enrichment 3.0 3.1
Service 3.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.4
Rates 4.0 3.9

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