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Sail Date: June 2010
Where to start! We had read many reviews on the Cruise Critic website and frankly, were wondering if we had chosen the right holiday for our family of 2 adults and 3 children aged 13, 13 and 11. Many comments had us worried, but we can ... Read More
Where to start! We had read many reviews on the Cruise Critic website and frankly, were wondering if we had chosen the right holiday for our family of 2 adults and 3 children aged 13, 13 and 11. Many comments had us worried, but we can assure you that from the time we arrived at the port of Venice to board the Costa Fortuna to the time we disembarked 8 days later, we could not believe how much fun this cruise was for each of us. The staff, especially the Indian, Philippine and Brazilian staff had constant smiles on their faces and were always willing to assist us, no matter what time of day it was, how busy they were, or whatever else was going on, they always managed to make us feel as if we were the only guests onboard. The food was outstanding, the entertainment fantastic, the excursions wonderful. There wasn't enough time in the day to sample all of the food on offer or enough room in our stomachs. At the breakfast buffet, there was a whole table just for tarts and cakes, and a sign advising that they were sugar-free - we sampled everything on that table! The hickory-smoked bacon was the best I've ever tasted. The huge variety of cheeses still make my mouth water. We did excursions in Bari to see Alberobello, Katakolon to see Olympia, Mykonos, Santorini to see Oia and ride the donkeys down the cliff-face - excellent fun - once in a lifetime opportunity, and lastly in Rhodes. The only port we didn't do an excursion in was Dubrovnik, but we did walk around the town on our own and it is truly breathtaking. The only excursion we didn't much enjoy was in Mykonos, and we believe that next year, it's not on the agenda, we know why. Santorini is so beautiful, but unfortunately, we only had 1 hour there in Oia, but we'd love to return there one day. We had been taught some basic Greek phrases on the ship during a free language lesson. Melissa was our english speaking hostess on the ship and kept us informed on everything we needed to know and was most helpful throughout the cruise. Our cabin was spacious and always kept neat and tidy by our lovely cabin steward Emerico. Our bathroom had more than adequate space for all of our toiletries. We had the best waiters in the whole restaurant, who couldn't do enough for us - Mark and Romualdo. We were at the first sitting at 7.00pm in the Michaelangelo Restaurant at table 97, and were treated like royalty. On the special Italian night, it was so much fun to see the waiters let their hair down and join in some fun and dancing with the guests. We had read complaints about the announcements being made over the intercom in so many different languages, but, hey, guess what - there were people from all over the world on that ship and just imagine had they not given any messages in the language you speak, how upset you would have been. We found it fascinating, listening to the different languages. We also read how if you're not Italian, then you're not going to enjoy a Costa cruise. Well, if you're going to start with that attitude, you had better stay at home. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Even though this cruise line is known for its Italian flavour, we believe, it is actually now owned by an American company. If you want American food, entertainment, etc. go on an American ship - simple. If you want Australian food, entertainment, etc. go on an Australian ship - even more simple. THE WHOLE IDEA OF TRAVELLING AWAY FROM YOUR OWN HOME IS TO EXPERIENCE OTHER CULTURES, TRADITIONS, AND FOODS, not to have exactly what you eat at home and to follow the same routine you follow at home. We have already booked a cruise for next year on the Costa Mediterranea to leave from Savona, going to Cairo and Israel, among other places - another dream of ours to visit. Can't wait for some more new experiences. Ofcourse, we cannot say that absolutely everything was perfect and that everything went exactly to plan, but we have travelled quite a lot over the years, with three children since they were four months old and so now we know that when things don't always work out the way they should, all you have to do is "accept the things you cannot change, have courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference"! If you're thinking of going on a Costa Cruise, go and enjoy the adventure. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
Being avid cruisers we decided to try a European cruise company, and picked Costa Fortuna purely because of the price (175 pounds per person)departing 7th June from Venice. The embarkation went smoothly, the terminal building was adequate ... Read More
Being avid cruisers we decided to try a European cruise company, and picked Costa Fortuna purely because of the price (175 pounds per person)departing 7th June from Venice. The embarkation went smoothly, the terminal building was adequate with free cold drinks available. We boarded by numbers being called which went very efficiently, and we were in our cabin within 30 minutes and our cases were there waiting for us. First impressions were that it had the 'wow' factor, it was designed to imitate all the older ships of the Costa company, very different from the American cruise ships, but very well done. Although the ship was built in 2003, it had no signs of wear and tear and everywhere we went aboard the ship was spotlessly clean. The cabins were larger than normal, especially the bathrooms and had the usual hairdryer, tv and mini bar. The staff in all departments were all absolutely amazing, very friendly, couldn't do enough for you and were not pushy about selling you drinks like on the American ships. Our main restaurant waiter was especially friendly, he was from India and after we mentioned we liked curries, we went to the restaurant the next night and they had made a fabulous curry just for our table of 4. The food throughout the week couldn't be faulted, it was always hot and delicious with plenty of choices, we tried all the restaurants. The ports we visited were, Bari, Kataklon, Santorini, Mykonos and Dubrovnik. Even when having to tender it went efficiently with very little waiting.We didn't do any shore excursions, as we prefer getting around for ourselves. Our only gripe was that we never got long enough in port as we would have liked to. To sum it up we had a fantastic weeks holiday, even though we were very sceptical after reading some of the ships reviews, I don't know where these people get their opinions from, we couldn't have asked for better, and we have cruised with royal caribbean, crystal, P&O,Holland America. We will definitely be using Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
First off, let me say that we were originally booked on the Holland America cruise out of Ft Lauderdale. However, my travel agency guy screwed up our reservations and did not get them in on time so he said he put us on an upgrade on Costa. ... Read More
First off, let me say that we were originally booked on the Holland America cruise out of Ft Lauderdale. However, my travel agency guy screwed up our reservations and did not get them in on time so he said he put us on an upgrade on Costa. I had no clue what Costa was but none of my friends from work had never been on it, only knew it was Italian. So we got there and were quickly put on board so we were happy. We were parked next to the Carnival Freedom and the Celebrity Solstice so we got some good looks while we waited. From there on it just got progressively worse. On the first day while waiting in the dock we had found beer bottles laying all over the top deck next to plates left from the previous cruise! The cleanliness of this ship is the worst I have ever seen!!! They would never clean up the decks fast and plates of food were always just laying around on tables so you were always aggrivated when you had no where to sit. Then came the buffet, it was ALWAYS the same, they NEVER changed one thing from day to day for breakfast or lunch! It got so old quick. The ice cream maker was hardly ever open but a few hours each afternoon unlike other cruise ships like RCL. The dinners were ok but our waiter was never anywhere to be found, we would wait 40 mins before ever getting our dinners. I suspect because they already had their tips included that they did not care to work hard for it. The food portions were very small for americans and im a small guy! I would always be in the boring buffet around midnight for a snack cause of the pitiful meals they would serve us at dinner. The ports were great because we got got get off of this boat! Thats just sad that we wanted to be off the boat more than on it! But all things went smooth there so I have no faults in that department. All of the ports were nice but having only 3 days at port in a 7 night cruise was killing us because I am used to booking ones with 4 stops on 7 days, and when you hate the cruise ship, you can understand why we wanted more ports of call. Entertainment was the only good thing on this boat! We really liked all of the ports and had Gabi and Norbi as our gymnastic shows which all of the crowd applauded each time. We really like the Roman Toga night on Saturday night, it was lots of fun. One of the worst things we can say is how the pools and slides were always closed! We had a large group of vegans and another group there and whenever they held their meetings on the main deck they would close all pools!!! We paid the same for this cruise so why are we stuck with closed pools? They also would close the pools by 10pm! I had never heard of this before, I was used to it being open very late. The slide wasnt even open until the 3rd day of the cruise and then from only 10am to noon, and then reopened from 2:30pm till 5pm!!! And yet while in Ft Lauderdale waiting to get going, the Carnival ship next to us had their slide open and letting people on it. In the end this was a terrible cruise, the complaints box at the end of the week had a line of people trying to stuff the box full of complaints. Everywhere you went you seemed to hear someone grumbling over the situation and I dont doubt it. In St Thomas, I had a guy behind me eating and was on his cell phone to his buddy in the states and he was cursing up a storm of how bad it was! I was completely shocked! If your American and used to RCL or Carnival type cruises avoid Costa like a plague! No one I was around liked any bit of it. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
We just arrived home after a week on the Costa Fortuna in the US Virgin Islands. I also found the roll calls for Costa slower than NCL or Carnival but I think it may be a difference in cultures. North Americans seem to live on the ... Read More
We just arrived home after a week on the Costa Fortuna in the US Virgin Islands. I also found the roll calls for Costa slower than NCL or Carnival but I think it may be a difference in cultures. North Americans seem to live on the computer. Someone on our original thread said that Costa was completely different than the others because it was Italian but he couldn't explain what different meant. Embarkation was super quick & we were on the ship within 30 minutes!! Our room was ready & our luggage was to our room by noon. Unlike Carnival & NCL, they don't process your on-board credit account there. They have set up several machines around the ship to swipe your Costa card and your credit card. Done - 2 minutes and you have 2 days to get around to doing it! Debarkation was just as easy!! What I experienced was that it is multi-cultural. Everywhere you went, you were hearing different languages - Italian, German, Spanish, English, etc. On our other cruises, the staff was from all over the world but mostly the passengers were American. This time, the passengers are from all over the world and 50%+ of the staff were Italian and the rest seemed to be mostly from India and the Philippines. Very few American or Canadian staff. Staff are more flirty than on the other lines. You may have a hard time with the "behind the scenes" staff, as a lot of their English was so-so but all the staff that worked with you, all spoke English. The food isn't fatty and they have amazing pasta!! The desserts were really good (I have a sweet tooth and didn't like the desserts on the others ships). We were at table 242, 1st seating at the Michelangelo Dining Room and the food was ok but our waiters were really, really bad and didn't give us a good opinion of that portion of our experience HOWEVER, the waiter on the next set of tables was very attentive and our experience was the waiter & not the cruise. The Lido deck opens in shifts for each meal. It was constantly being switched from one section to another. With the constant time changes, it confused me a bit as to where I could eat ;) On the very back of the Lido deck (deck 9), they had the "healthy choices" breakfast - including soy milk and sugar free juices. I didn't find the food to be listed as "spa menu" but it certainly wasn't hard to make healthy food choices. In our group, we had 13, 17, 42, 43 & 68 yr olds with a variety of food tastes. My 68 yr old aunt is a country girl from rural Nova Scotia and always found good food. Even our 13 yr old boy enjoyed the food selection. Beverages were hot milk (great for hot chocolate) in the morning and ice tea the rest of the day. There was always a variety of teas, cold milk, coffee & decaf (which was pretty good). It's worth it to buy the $22 non-alcoholic drink package. It gives you 10 drinks of either soda or their virgin bar drinks. It includes the 15% gratuities. If you buy it when you're in port the first day, you have to pay $3 service fee but not if you buy it on-line or the next day. They have the same thing for coffee - 25 coffee for $32 but it's not brewed but espresso coffee. The entertainment on the ship was the same as the other lines. If you've been on one before, it's all the same. The spa will offer you $10 off massage treatments the first day but they go down by $20 mid-week (25 min massage - $59; 25 min massage with facial - $99). Manicures were $25 and near the end they offered manicure & pedicure for $50. Usually I don't use the spa but 4 of the 5 of us had treatments and enjoyed it. Both my aunt & I have back problems and worry about other therapist working on our backs. But Jacki was amazing & certainly knew her stuff!! They have a gym and my husband said it was pretty good (not much for free weights but the machines were good) and there are several treadmills & bikes. Our ship had both a dry & wet sauna with a hot tub. The ship was really, really clean and I always found the staff pleasant. I've read some Costa comments that said the staff were nasty and I would honestly take that to be a reflection of the one making the comment. The service desk was amazing & I never waited in line more than 5 minutes and the staff were always wonderful. Debarkation morning was smooth and NO huge line ups - even at the buffet!! Can't comment on the excursions desk because we did our own thing once in the port and for 1/2 the money the cruises charge. The thing I like the most about this cruise was the amount of activity. There were always people around!! We found on Carnival, everything shut down early & passengers weren't around. My husband & I are going to take dance lessons. There were always passengers dancing in the Grand Bar and it certainly wasn't the "high school waltz!" I'm 100% about service and expect 100% quality service. I'm a pretty tough judge and certainly not a fluff ball that things everything is roses & sunshine. If I weren't impressed, I'd say so (I was really upset at NCL Spirit & wrote a 4 page letter!) Would I recommend this line? Absolutely and it will be our next cruise after Bermuda in August. Have fun and enjoy this beautiful cruise line! Elizabeth Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
My husband and I have cruised many times before (on 5 different cruise lines) and wanted to introduce our friends to this type of vacation. It was the first time we had gone with Costa and we chose it based on price. We had read all the ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised many times before (on 5 different cruise lines) and wanted to introduce our friends to this type of vacation. It was the first time we had gone with Costa and we chose it based on price. We had read all the negative comments but went on the cruise with an open mind. The embarkation was probably the easiest we have ever experienced. The cruise card and credit card validation were not done at check in and this speeded up the whole thing. Our luggage arrived at our stateroom soon after we boarded. Last cruise in December, it was almost dinnertime before my husband's case arrived. The food reviews we had read were not good, however, we found the quality and choice of food excellent. The waiters were very friendly and helpful. After the first day we ate all of our meals in the dining room as we did find the layout of the buffet on deck nine a little chaotic. Our friends chose to have breakfast and lunch on deck nine and thought it was fine. Our balcony stateroom was very comfortable and spotless. It was nearly always cleaned while we ate breakfast. Allen our cabin steward was very thorough and always smiling. I must comment on the pillows though, as they were very hard and could be doing with being replaced. We did find it confusing that on some of the public decks you could not walk from one place to another without going up or down. The lack of a wrap around promenade deck was also disappointing as we love to walk 2 miles every day. There is a jogging track but it got very busy and was small enough to give you the feeling that you were going round in small circles! The quality of the entertainment was above average for a cruise ship and many of the shows were spectacular with laser lighting and extravagant costumes. The ports of call were the usual for the western Caribbean and we did not go on any tours. The time in each port did seem a little short and most days we set sail shortly after 2pm. Although I have outline some negative points, all in all, we all thought it was excellent value for money. All the other lines we have sailed with have their positive and negative points as well. Our friend said they really felt they were in Italy some of the time. Would we all repeat the experience? Yes Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
After planning a dream holiday for two people six months ahead of sailing date. My wife had kept up her job to pay for every detail in advance. It would be our 50th wedding anniversary and my birthday to boot. I only found out about the ... Read More
After planning a dream holiday for two people six months ahead of sailing date. My wife had kept up her job to pay for every detail in advance. It would be our 50th wedding anniversary and my birthday to boot. I only found out about the holiday a week before we flew to our connection for the cruise FT Lauderdale. We had asked the travel company: Reader offers Ltd, for good leg room seats on the air trip to Miami via Paris-this was not provided. Air France was the carrier from B-Ham to Miami.We had completed and were accepted for the American department of homeland security. ESTA visa waver program,with certificates issued to both of us. Our first shock and disappointment was the way in which we and at least 1300 other passengers were made to stand in a long zigzag line for over two hours in a very hot shed with our luggage. On reaching the US emigration desk we were not greeted but a harsh demand for "Papers" was made. The ESTA document was refused; we were ordered to the back of the queue to fill in emigration forms even though we were in transit from Miami to Ft Lauderdale. Exhausted and very thirsty we finally passed immigration two and a Half hours later.I should explain that I am 75 years old my wife is 72, I am a chronic diabetic requiring injections of insulin twice a day, my wife has to take heart tablets. After further immigration checks at Ft Lauderdale we were taken by bus to the ship Costa Fortuna Dock. We were not greeted onto the ship but friendly crew showed us the nearest lifts to use and the deck and cabin were found, on opening the door we saw our luggage had been put onto bed. After a shower and tidy up, a dosage of individual drugs taken. We went to the buffet area had a meal which was plentiful and well laid out. Seating was a problem as the table chosen was often taken when returning to it after leaving it to obtain other things. The trick being was for someone to stay on the table at all times. Every thing on board ship was Duty free, however every service or item purchased had a 15% service charge on it. There was no money on the ship a Costacard being issued against ones own credit card. on leaving ship the total cost + service charge was taken from the credit card. Trips ashore in and on various islands had to be booked and pre-paid using your Costa- card which was also your cabin key and pass to get on and off ship. On one trip ashore in Nassau. Bahamas we missed ship by accident due to the unclear method of time allowed on shore and last time to get ship. We were left in Nassau, even though we were at ship-side in port. doors had been closed and we could not attract attention of crew. The ship sailed away we were left without medication and what clothes we stood up in. Luckily we had our passports and credit-cards. We contacted the ships agents and evoked the repatriation procedures. we were found a cheap hotel for night, medication had to be found no pharmacy would supply, unless we had a prescription, no prescription unless we had a doctor.The doctor would only take us on his list for $550. After another flea pit hotel, in Ocho Rios an air flight to Miami and back to Jamaica we rejoined our cruise ship the Costa Fortuna. There was no one to welcome us aboard or to examine us medically. We had veiled threats not to cause trouble or complain while on board. No help or apologies were given to us. A very bad experience in all. costing 3 times the price of 1st class hotel Due to lack of space full report cannot be made Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
We are a family of 3 and this was our 6th cruise but First with Costa! We had booked with cruise because of the price and kids sail free program. I had read amny, many negative reviews about Costa but we decided to give them a chance. WE ... Read More
We are a family of 3 and this was our 6th cruise but First with Costa! We had booked with cruise because of the price and kids sail free program. I had read amny, many negative reviews about Costa but we decided to give them a chance. WE ARE GLAD WE DID! We had an Awesome time during our cruise. EMBARKATION: Well, we probably mest up by getting to the cruise port so early! We were the 2nd family in the terminal for this cruise. So, we had to wait about 1-2 hours to board. That was our fault though and we were not in a hurry. There were a form everyone had to fill out prior to boarding (it had to do with if you were felling ill). So, no big deal. They also had Boarding Forms (if you had not yet filled them out online.) We had ours already. We did ask the staff if we had to fill new ones out since we had changed rooms...They said no. Just scratch out the old room # and put in the new one next to it. Did this, and no problem!! After they opened the doors, we were on the ship in about 5 minutes!! SHIP: Beautiful decor! Very nice and clean! CABIN: We were originally booked in room 2352 on Deck 2. However, about a week before our cruise I called our T/A and she was able to get a Complimentry Upgrade to a Balcony Room on Deck 10 Room 1060!! This room was Beautiful, Spacious and Clean! We loved our room! Our room steward (Darvin) was Awesome! Always kept the room clean and was very nice. We learned a lot about him and he was very courteous! He was always around if we needed him. STAFF: Very courteous! Always greeted by staff members and very helpful when asked questions. We went to the pursers desk several times and only had to wait once (about 10 min). Otherwise, always quick and helpful. CRUISE DIRECTOR & ENTERTAIMENT: Max, he was ok...not too funny but he tried. At least he was attentive and the shows were pretty good. The Costa Dancers are good. We really enjoyed the Elton John show! There was always dancing on the pool deck and in the 5th foor lounge. Loved watching them dance! The Pianist and violinist were very good as well. Casino: Typical cruise casino...we liked the roulette tables...had luck on these and won something for a change! Plenty of Slot Machines. FOOD: Okay, we read so may bad reviews about the Costa food on cruise critic. HOWEVER, WE LOVED IT! Now, mind you, were are not picky or finicky eaters. We are hispanic and the most we know about Italian Food is Olice Garden!! I really thought my husband would be disappointed with the food but NO! They had a very large variety to choose from every night! We had First Seating at the Michael Angelo Reaturant. They always had beef, chicken, fish, or another kind of meat available. The pasta was great! And, you could get seconds if you wanted. They had shrimp 2-3 times during the week and crab legs once. My husband loved the steaks they served during the week! There was once thing we were disappointed in...that was our waitress and helper. They never made an effort to talk to us or for us to get to know them. I say thei because it looked like they only had 2 tables per session. And even though I know they were busy....they just never spoke? Just always hello, take order, pick up plates and good bye. Oh well, at least we always had good service!! Very fast and great food!! FYI----We were seated with 2 other families so, we had a total of 9 people at out table. WE GOT ALONG WELL WITH THE OTHER FAMILIES.Oh...forgot to mention that we ate Breakfast in the buffet once then went to the Micxhael Angelo Restaurant...AND WERE HOOKED AFTER THAT!! WOW...The food in the restaurant is no comparrison to the buffet! Nice and hot and always fresh!!! Take my advice and eat breakfast in the Restaurant!! Hardly ever ate lunch but...heard the restaurant was better than the buffet! Oh and they always has really good COOKIES and Pasteries in the Colombo Buffet from 3-4:40PM.....And yes....gelato always available!!! Yummyyyyy KIDS CLUB: In my 10 y/o Daughters words AWESOME!! Ok, we have used other kids clubs on the other cruises we have been on however, COSTA EXCEEDS THESE!!! Our daughter really enjoyed this place and did not ever want to leave with us when we would go and pick her up. The Costa Kids Staff is AWESOME. They are always friendly and have so much for the kids to do! There hours are form 9:30 AM to 11:30 PM...NONSTOP!! Now...of course we did not leave her there that long....but those hours are great!! I mean...you don't see that on other cruise lines!! My daughter also made many great friends and was so sad to leave the last day. PORTS: St. Thomas...we did a tour with Godfrey for $25...HAD A GREAT TIME! He is so proud of where he is from and very knowledgeable! Saw so, so much of the Island! San Juan: It was raining on this day and as we got off the ship THEY WERE GIVING EVERYONE PONCHOS!! WHAT AN AWESOME TOUCH COSTA!! There was another cruise ship in port and the people getting off of there had nothing! Anyway, we rented a car (from Carribbean Cars Online) here and drove around the Eastern Part of the country...Very beautiful!! Grand Turks: Beach day for us here! Also hung out at Margaritaville...Cool place! TIP: The beach chairs on the beach ARE FREE!!! They announced this to us on the Costa Ship! Although, we saw a guy on the beack (a local) who was scamming people for money to sit in the chairs!!! BE AWARE!!! Chairs and pool at Margaritaville are free too!! DISEMBARKATION: You have the option to sign up for early disembarkation in you want (only the 1st 500 people). We chose this option because we had to get an early start driving home to Texas! YOU HAVE TO CARRY OFF YOUR OWN LUGGAGE...Which was ok...We had breakfast in the restaurant and were off the ship by 7:50 AM!!! It was a breeze. Overall, my family and I had a FANTASTIC time and would DEFINTELY sail again with Costa if we have the opportunity!!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
Our family group of 5 sailed the Costa Fortuna the week of March 7. We booked 3 rooms back in October during "The World's Largest Cruise Night" promotion through a travel agent. This was my third cruise and I have booked ... Read More
Our family group of 5 sailed the Costa Fortuna the week of March 7. We booked 3 rooms back in October during "The World's Largest Cruise Night" promotion through a travel agent. This was my third cruise and I have booked three ways- directly through cruiseline, on-line travel agency and brick and mortar agency. This one was through a brick and mortar agency and I would not do this again. We chose Costa for the itinerary and price, as well as a promotion for OBC. They have the best price for singles. Our travel agent had a lot of difficulty dealing with Costa and we did not get our OBC, though we have looked into it and are supposed to be getting a refund for $150 ($50 a room). I also have to say that Costa's website is very difficult to navigate. We did get a small category upgrade, but found out by talking to a lot of different people that many got huge upgrades- inside rooms to balconies for instance and at a lower price than we paid. However, I am not complaining about the cost- Costa delivers a big bang for the buck and we all enjoyed ourselves. We flew down to Fort Lauderdale the day before and rented a minivan for $44 using a code from mousesaversdotcom. One thing to note is that there is a car rental center at the airport, but unless you come in at Terminal D, you will have to wait for and take a shuttle to it. We had rooms at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Cruise Port. This is a new hotel in Dania Beach, about 10 minutes from the airport. They do have a free shuttle from the airport and also one to the cruise port for $10 per person. We chose to rent the minivan so we would have more flexibility and we had found out that there were no restaurants within walking distance to the hotel. Hotel was fine, clean and basic, also had a free breakfast, though the cruise passengers cleaned it out by 8:00 am. We drove to Las Olas Blvd. for dinner which is a fun place to eat and people watch. Plenty of reasonable parking in either lots or garages, though we had brought our GPS which was handy. Embarkation Day: We ate breakfast in the hotel, then loaded up the van around 10:30 and dropped off 3 people and all the luggage at the cruise port, which is very easy to do. There were 5 ships in the port that day, and the hotel shuttles were taking people to all 5, which looked like a long process. Two of us took the van back to the airport and then took a $13 cab ride back to the port. We found out when dropping off the van that there is a rental car drop-off at the port, wish we had known about it. Embarkation was a breeze and if you want to bypass the photo line you can. Your ship photo is taken once you are on the ship, room keys are in your room and your credit card must be activated within 48 hours through a kiosk, but that is very easy to do. Sail-away was at 7:00 pm, so we got to watch the other ships leave. If you order a drink while still in port, you will have to pay a port tax in addition to the cost of the drink and the gratuity. Rooms: We all had inside rooms. They were all the same, typical cruise-ship rooms. One of them (8273) was very loud and next to some machinery that banged alot. We did experience a language problem with the customer service rep. When we asked to have someone come to the room to explain the banging she got very defensive and kept telling us the ship was full and we couldn't change rooms. We tried to tell her we did not want a room change, just a maintenance person to come check it out and make sure there wasn't a problem. She is pretty hateful and her name is Daniela. If you go on this cruise, I would suggest you wait until another rep is available before you try to deal with her. Several people in the line were frustrated with her. I think it would be a good idea for Costa to have service reps who are fluent in English when they are in the Caribbean. This cruise had a lot of senior citizens on board and the language barrier was difficult to a lot of them. Dining: We had the first seating in the Michelangelo Dining Room, table 109. Dinner is at 5:45 which is a little early, but the second seating is at 8:30 which was too late for us. The food was very good- we especially enjoyed the pasta dishes-Lasagna was awesome! Steaks were sometimes good, sometimes overcooked. The crab legs were great. Desserts were fine, but if you order Baba Rhum you need a sense of humor. The dining room entertainment was fantastic and occurs every night after dessert, so make sure you stay for it. One of the people at the next table had a gluten allergy and he was very well-attended to, the chef even made him a special gluten-free birthday cake, which he shared with us and it was very good. Drink service at dinner was spotty. We did not have a wine package and the wine steward rarely came by. We ended up stopping at a bar and bringing a glass of wine or a cocktail to dinner with us. This was a good solution, especially since the drinks were usually 2 for 1 between 4-6, so we could have one pre-dinner drink and then bring the other one with us. The mixed drinks are pretty pricey and very weak, so wine or beer is a better choice. A nice touch was the free champagne at the farewell dinner, and they were generous with it. Our waiter got better as the week went on, he seemed nervous, but it didn't look like he had more than 2-3 tables and one table was almost always empty. We tried both the buffet and restaurant for breakfast and lunch, both were good- different pastas at each buffet line. Lunch in the restaurant was a little slow and a lot of food, especially with the early dinner. Afternoon tea was everyday from 3:30-4:30 and had good desserts and sandwiches. Pizza was also very good and toppings changed daily. Entertainment: Entertainment was hit or miss. If you like the welcome show, you will like all of the rest. We liked the Elton John impersonator and the Tenor. The staff talent show was just okay, but the last night Toga Party and passenger talent show were really fun. There was a ballroom dance group on board and they were fun to watch in different areas of the ship. Lounge music was good also. Daily bingo games drew big crowds, with pots ranging from $50-$1000 and you never knew until someone won how big the pot was. We missed the Newlywed Game, but did catch it on the TV the next day and after that no one got near any hot tub based on one of the couples comments about where they last "did it". The pools were larger than on other cruise ships and not full of kids. There is a water slide, but it was only open a few hours a day. There did not seem to be many kids on this cruise and the ones we saw were well-behaved. The Squok Program got rave reviews from people we met. The spa was nice and we did use the steam room, saunas, gym and showers, as well as spa treatments. Ports: We did not take any ship excursions, but booked private ones based on Cruise Critic reviews. In St. Thomas we took a snorkel excursion with Captain Mike of the Fury and got to swim with sea turtles. In San Juan we spent the day with Albert Aguirre (surfcabs@yahoodotcom (787)317-6907), he is a great tour guide and we highly recommend him. He took us to the rain forest, a tour of old San Juan and a local roadside lunch stop. If you plan to buy duty-free alcohol, San Juan has excellent prices. Anything we bought did not get confiscated when we got back on board. Grand Turk was a beach day for us, no sightseeing. There were two ships in Grand Turk that day and they were on different time zones, so that was confusing. Also, when we arrived at Grand Turk we took our time getting off the ship which was a mistake because The Emerald Princess came in about 20 minutes behind us and they closed the port until they cleared customs, so we were forced to stay on our ship an extra 30-40 minutes. Plenty of chairs in the shade at Grand Turk. We really enjoyed our Costa Cruise even more than we expected to. We were a little worried after the lukewarm and negative reviews, but it was a great vacation. We loved the European flavor and the overall experience was well-worth it. The ship was beautiful, clean and comfortable and we would sail Costa again. In addition, we went to a Meet and Greet from this board and that was one of the highlights of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2010
Your vacation and cruise experience is ultimately what you choose to make it and is dependent on your initial expectations. When considering booking with Costa, I read many reviews of this particular ship and itinerary. Many were less than ... Read More
Your vacation and cruise experience is ultimately what you choose to make it and is dependent on your initial expectations. When considering booking with Costa, I read many reviews of this particular ship and itinerary. Many were less than flattering so I couldn't help but wonder what the expectations of those travelers were and what our experience would be. No matter what, there are going to be some people who experience some type of difficulty or "small situation" as the Jamaicans say and it is prudent to keep that in mind. A huge determinative factor in going ahead with this cruise was the almost ridiculously low price. Here's how the week stacked up.... I had Costa make our airline and transfer arrangements because they could actually get us plane tickets at a reasonable rate during spring break week, which I could not do myself. Everything went very smoothly; we were on board the ship within about one hour of our plane landing - very unexpected to do so that quickly. The accoutrements of the ship were comparable to those of Princess, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean which we have sailed in the past. A cabin is a cabin.... Our room steward performed an industry standard job taking care of us. No towel creatures, though. :-( For a Caribbean cruise, we found the area devoted to pools to be inadequate. Of particular note, there were no toiletries provided other than hand and shower soap. A huge negative were all the people who "reserved" lounge chairs around the pool for the day. Most of these people would leave for hours on end. I know, I walked the decks, regarding all the reserved-by-towel, -book, or -sandal chairs and finally simply appropriated one for myself. I stayed in that spot for roughly 3 hours and noted the chairs that no one ever claimed. Fortuna staff should have regularly made the rounds and taken up all the towels and personal belongings. Passengers should not feel they have a right to do this - they don't. I understand this is a problem industry-wide and people need to start figuring out they are not the only ones who paid for a vacation. Advice: appropriate whatever lounger you want. There is not enough open deck space on decks that are not connected to pool and food service areas, further congesting guests who just want to be outside. Oddly, there seemed to be many closed off, reduced access sections in a number of places. The entertainment overall was first rate. The dancers were spectacular each evening and the guest performers were all marvelous entertainers as well. All were definitely worth watching and enjoyable. Poolside, daily exercise classes were offered several times a day. I appreciated not having to pay extra to participate in an organized group fitness class; facilitators did a bang up job. Since the passenger list on Costa is purported to be more international than those of her more domestic counterparts, we anticipated meeting people from other parts of the world. In that we were not disappointed. We spent most of the week with our new friends from Australia. We heard an abundance of foreign languages spoken. It's interesting to try to have broken language conversations with others and try to get your message across! Be friendly to people! We had also expected a greater diversity and enhanced flavoring to foods prepared on board. Alas, cruise food is cruise food. It was good but not great. There were more limited choices in the buffet line than we have experienced on other ships. Entree choices were varied in the dining room, but still lacked flavor. They do NOT know how to prepare a rib-eye steak. I have never seen so much candied citron used in my life. Custom made omelets were tough and not worth waiting in line for. Beware some of your choices when you order breakfast in your cabin. A "breakfast roll" is last night's dinner roll. This cruise seemed more crowded than any other we have taken, either in the Caribbean or elsewhere. If I recall correctly, the in-cabin ship info indicated there were well over 3000 passengers rather than the 2700 noted in any online or published information. If true, that would explain the overcrowded feeling. It would also explain why it seemed there were fewer crew to serve the needs of the passengers. Food service was much less apparent, attentive, and responsive on this ship than others we have sailed. In the buffet and poolside areas, there is normally a plethora of crew to keep tables and dining areas clean and well-stocked, and see to any additional needs a passenger may have; not so on the Fortuna. There were few bartenders making their presence known poolside for drink orders. When ordering a drink pretty much anywhere except barside, it took forever to get that drink delivered and then off they went with my Costa card for another extended period of time. Made me not want to order at all. Somewhere along the line, nobody has bothered to teach the bartenders which glasses go with which drinks. In the dining room, we drank our water out of wine glasses and our wine out of the larger water glasses each night. Gin and tonic was also normally served in a stemmed water glass. Go figure. Some other reviewers have said there were no beverage packages offered on board. This is not true. You can get a wine and water package and a soft drink package on board. Both a good deal and recommended. They also said that water was not available at all times. Not true. Come on now, think about this. There would be a huge health/safety liability in not allowing passengers to hydrate regularly at no additional cost. Okay, so the water tastes really bad, but it is perfectly safe to drink if you choose not to pay for bottled water. Different from other cruise lines we have sailed, passengers who booked excursions with Costa meet on board the ship and then all leave the ship together to begin the excursion. When we got to Grand Cayman, the announcement was made that we had to tender in an alternate location because of rough seas. Don't lie to your passengers, Costa, you knew all along we would be in the second group porting there that day and have to use the alternate location. But I guess that's the only way they can get away with making us each pay cab fare to the central location where the first ship arrivals get to tender/dock. And that's bad form. Grand Caymans. Beautiful place. Expensive. A round of drinks (3 margaritas and a beer) should not cost $41 USD. Turtle farm much smaller than anticipated, especially for the entrance fee; nothing at Hell but a shop; the samples of rum cake at the stores have an extra infusion of rum that the purchased cakes do not. Easy to create your own excursion with all the guides hanging out portside. Should have planned to hang out at the beach. Looks like it could be anywhere on the Australian coast, according to our travelmates. Ocho Rios. Climb the waterfalls! You'll want a couple of bucks to tip your guide. The plantation was interesting if you like that kind of stuff. We booked a tour that included both of these places and probably could have done as well getting transportion portside. There was almost not enough time to climb the waterfall, but our tour guide, Joy, made sure we were accommodated and made it back to the ship in a timely fashion. Don't rent the water shoes to climb the falls; pack your own that you get for like $5.00 at Academy. Nassau. Be sure you see Atlantis at Paradise Island. Get a cab. Ridiculous lines in the hot sun to get back onboard the ship. Never had that experience before or since. Cozumel. Snagged a cab for the day a good rate. Be sure to check with several drivers and move just outside the secured area for quicker service and better price. If you don't want to spend all day traveling and still get to see some ruins, head over to San Gervasio. Your driver can recommend a great Mexican restaurant where you can probably also see a Mariachi band and maybe even Ballet Folklorico performance at no additional charge. More than enough places to souvenir shop. Also close to shopping is a new supermarket if you like to check out what is available for locals in different countries. Overall, was the cruise a good bargain for the money spent? Yes. Would we sail with Costa again? Possibly, but it certainly wouldn't be my first line of choice; reasons being the overcrowded feeling and lower quality of service experienced in the public areas of the ship. Also consider how important your time in port is to you. All portages were on the short side for us. Remember, your experience is what you make it; travel with an open mind and plan to enjoy yourself. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
For starters we have cruised on: In order of our favorites:) Princess Royal Norweigin Costa - this cruise Carnival Overall for the price, the cruise was great. I'm pretty easy going with food so I liked most of the food that had ... Read More
For starters we have cruised on: In order of our favorites:) Princess Royal Norweigin Costa - this cruise Carnival Overall for the price, the cruise was great. I'm pretty easy going with food so I liked most of the food that had some European flare. I think most Americans would enjoy the food as well. Pros Price 4 ports was awesome, even though it left a little early at some ports. Pasta was awesome! Pizza was Great despite needing more tomato sauce. Ship was clean Some of the Shows were good. Most of the food was great. Customer service was great. Cons I'm pretty active on the ship, or at least try to be. There wasn't too much to do on sea days. No rock wall like Royal, organized sports games did not occur due to lack of participation. Some of the Europeans on the ship were rude, by American standards, by being very impatient, almost childish if you asked me lol. Decors is gaudy! Gym needs more treadmills and felt a bit small. Given a choice I would still chose Princess, Royal, or Norwegin, over Costa, but the Price was right. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
This was our first cruise (wife, daughter and I). We were a little apprehensive because of some of the negative reviews but found the ship, crew etc. to be wonderful. The ship is beautiful, always clean and well appointed. We arrived ... Read More
This was our first cruise (wife, daughter and I). We were a little apprehensive because of some of the negative reviews but found the ship, crew etc. to be wonderful. The ship is beautiful, always clean and well appointed. We arrived four hours before sailing and were through the entire boarding and check in process without stopping for more than two minutes at a time (well organized). Our room with a balcony was very clean and large enough for the three of us. Our cabin steward Erickson introduced himself immediately. Our room was always cleaned several times a day and Erickson made sure our daughter always had a towel animal waiting for her, which she loved. The food was excellent in both the buffets and at the sit down dinners. If you cannot find great food and plenty of it then you are not looking very hard. The food is a mix of European specialities and American food, all was again excellent. The staff were all very nice, spoke very good English and always greeted everyone with a smile. It impressed us that the staff works such long hours and constantly, yet we never heard any complaints and they never looked like they were not enjoying themselves. Our four year old daughter enjoyed herself a lot. She was apprehensive at a "kids meet the captain" event at the Squok Club. The captain on his way out of the club saw her, came and sat down with us and had a ten minute conversation with her. He did not have to do this but it as great example of how the staff go out of their way to make sure the cruise is fun and a great experience. The other passengers were mostly European and Canadian which was actually nice. We did not encounter any loud, obnoxious Americans (we are American). Everyone we talked to were friendly and if there was a lack of English knowledge they still attempted a friendly exchange. This cruise is a great opportunity to encounter other nationalities and enjoy listening to their languages (especially Italian) and learning about their countries. It is almost like having a Mediterranean cruise with Caribbean ports of call. If you enjoy meeting interesting people, eating food from around the world and relaxing with great service, this is a good cruise to take. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
During the recent Christmas my family decided to go on a cruise for a change, we picked the Costa Fortuna as it was relatively cheap and the ports were very good. We should have upped the money we were forking out a little and gone on the ... Read More
During the recent Christmas my family decided to go on a cruise for a change, we picked the Costa Fortuna as it was relatively cheap and the ports were very good. We should have upped the money we were forking out a little and gone on the Independence of the Seas. I'll start off with the positives of the boat. The boat was truly beautiful. The art work and all of the designs located throughout the boat were stunning, but they were a little too bright and loud for my taking. Our room attendant Gizel was extremely sweet, but it seemed all she wanted to do was clean the room. She must have come into our room about 4 times a day. Sometimes i wanted to tell her to just calm down. Also, she cleaned the room even when we had placed the do not disturb tag on the door. Now for the negatives. The ship was very nice and all, but there was nothing to do. I mean nothing. The only thing me and my family did each day was play bingo, we won twice which was good, but that was all we did. Another complaint i have is the language barrier. I realize the Costa Fortuna is an italian ship but i would have thought if it was departing from an American port that they would have put more time to teach there employees english. Most of the announcements over the loud speaker were in a foreign language so it was very annoying. The food was horrible and they only had edible foods at times when you either werent on the boat, or were doing something else. In the main outside area of the buffet, they served burgers and fries and hotdogs, but at ridiculuous times of the day. It was from 2-4 i think, which was when my family was off the boat. So if we werent back on by 4 we would have to go inside the buffet area and eat the pizza that tasted like cardboard. It was terrble. Service wasnt all that great either. My famiy went down to complain to the front desk, i cant remember why, but while we were in line with about 7 other people they let some like 15 year old boy just cut the whole line, and they were serving him for about 15 minutes. Everybody in line was ticked off, and then when that boy left, the man that was standing at the front of the line and had been waiting patienty was heading up to the counter, when the attendees let another person skip the line. The man kept walking and physically moved her to the back of the line. We cheered for him and when he ask the attendee why they let the woman cut the line, he claimed he hadnt seen the line. IT WAS IN FRONT OF HIS FACE. You would have had to have been blind and wearing a blind fold to not have seen the 7 angry people staring at him. Ports were just outrageous. At one port, i believe it was Georgetown, Grand Cayman, the boat had to have tenders take people to shore because there was no pier. I think that all the cruise companys should pitch in and buy that city a pier because it was unreal. What you had to do was head down to the theater and collect a number for a tender boat. My family was lucky and got number 5, so we were only waiting about 35 minutes. Other people were unfortunate enough to get numbers 15, 16, 17, and 18. They were waiting for nearly 3 hours to get off the boat. And we werent staying in port that long so they didnt have time to do anything once they got off the boat. So if you are planning on going on the Costa Fortuna, just pay the little extra to go on something better, because this boat and company doesnt deserve your money. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
I have many friends and family that have cruised a number of times. None had ever used Costa. I have definitely been disappointed on my first cruise. The food was mediocre, the entertainment ok, the cruise staff for the most part, not very ... Read More
I have many friends and family that have cruised a number of times. None had ever used Costa. I have definitely been disappointed on my first cruise. The food was mediocre, the entertainment ok, the cruise staff for the most part, not very friendly. Costa is definitely the cruiseline if you are European, but if you are English speaking, don't bother. They pay very little attention to the ENglish speaking guests. There were quite a few crew members that were down right rude. I will however, compliment our Cabin Steward--he was fabulous!!!!!! Always had a smile, a kind word to say and kept our room immaculate. If we just went into the cabin to pick something up, we would make sure that anything we had disturbed was put back together. Very great service!! I unfortunately got seasick. When we went down to the pharmacy to get motion sickness patches, the staff couldn't speak English very well and I had a hard time understanding how to use the patch. Very disappointed, but I will cruise again--just never with Costa!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
I appreciate the reviews on Cruise Critic and let them guide my decisions for a new cruise booking. The Costa Fortuna cruise on January 10th was more than disappointing. It was extremely uncomfortable for passengers. I did not get Air in ... Read More
I appreciate the reviews on Cruise Critic and let them guide my decisions for a new cruise booking. The Costa Fortuna cruise on January 10th was more than disappointing. It was extremely uncomfortable for passengers. I did not get Air in my cabin for 2-days (on level one) and it took 4 attempts to get it corrected and then very little air was forthcoming for the rest of the cruise. After many passengers complained with the same issue they disclosed that there were generator issues. If you are at the front of the ship on levels 1 and 2 you will hear the crew announcements on the hour starting at 4 am in the morning. Customer Service was non-existent at the front desk, tour desk and on-shore staff. The Virgin islands visited on this cruise were fine. The food was OK, but was not as good as the Costa Atlantica. I am a big believer that it is the Cruise line and the ship that makes the cruise a good experience and recommend Holland America, Princess and NCL over Costa for service and overall experience. I hope that this message will steer you away from Costa Fortuna to any other line/ship. To make the point, when I asked not to pay the daily service charge, they didn't even question me, just credited my account. So much for service. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
This was our 5th cruise with Costa, and once again, we enjoyed every moment of it. It was another wonderful experience, where the memories will last forever. For us, Costa did it again: An overall outstanding cruise experience in every ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Costa, and once again, we enjoyed every moment of it. It was another wonderful experience, where the memories will last forever. For us, Costa did it again: An overall outstanding cruise experience in every aspect. Here's the detailed story of our cruise aboard of the Costa Fortuna, January 10 through January 17, 2010. DAY 1 - FORT LAUDERDALE & EMBARKATION: We live only about 2 hours away from Fort Lauderdale and arrived at Port Everglades around 11:20 am on an extremely cold (at least for us Floridians) morning. The Costa Fortuna was anchored at Pier 19, where I dropped off our luggage and proceeded to park the car in the parking garage right next to the pier. We proceeded into the terminal at about 11:30 am and had no lines at the security screening. Once security screening is completed, you are asked to complete a "Health Questionaire" mainly geared towards the question if you have any symptoms of H1N1. It's only a short form, and has to be completed before you check in (it's NOT part of your online/web check-in form!), so to make it easier for you, make sure to bring a pen. Once completed, you have two options: You can either use one of the self check-in kiosks (similar to airline check-ins), or proceed into the next hall, where you have Costa staff members checking you in at the counter. There was some confusion amongst some travelers, who thought they HAD to check in at the kiosk. We skipped the kiosks and proceeded to the check-in counter. Suite customers, as well as Costa club members of Coral status or above will have a separate check-in line, which we took advantage of. My parents did not have a suite, and they proceeded towards the "regular" check-in line. We experienced no wait and were promptly greeted by a Costa staff member, who checked our passports and reviewed the web check-in form I had printed at home. In less than two minutes we were ready and proceeded towards the ship. Due to the large amount of Costa check-in staff, my parents were done with their check-in in similar time. A small line formed, as a picture is being taken before you go onboard, followed by another security/I/D/ check point. We boarded the Fortuna, and before you enter the main lobby, your mug shot/head shot will be taken (used for identification when exiting/entering the ship at ports). We were all set and ready to enjoy the welcoming buffet at around 12:00 noon, even though the cruise documents state, that the check-in time starts at 1:30 pm. We enjoyed the buffet, which offered a variety of cold and hot specialties, salads and desserts. The buffet was quite busy. Apparently a lot of people checked in early, plus there were a lot of back-to-back cruisers still onboard. The poolside grill in the aft of Deck 9 opened around 12:45 pm, offering hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and other "domestic" food. The state rooms were ready at approximately 1:15 pm. Our Grand Suite #7289 was almost as home to us, as we had the exact same cabin on the Magica and the Fortuna once before. Room stewardess Merlina and our butler Jacob stopped by shortly after our arrival to introduce themselves to us and to inquire if we needed anything. If you are new to the ship or new to Costa, they will gladly give you a brief introduction about the cabin and the services offered. Our luggage arrived in our cabin at about 3:40 pm, which was great, as it gave us plenty of time to unpack before any scheduled activities and before leaving port. I noticed that somebody had locked the safe in the cabin and it was not possible to open it with our card. Jacob contacted somebody from the customer service and with 10 minutes the problem was solved. Upon check-in you are asked to register a credit card, in order to charge your expensed to your onboard account. This is now being done with kiosks, which you can find throughout the ship on Decks 3 and 5. Remember, you need your Costa Card (which you will find in your room) and your Credit Card in order to complete this process. There was a line at the kiosk on Deck 3, so I went to Deck 5. There are several kiosks just passed the Casino, which never seemed to have any lines. At the kiosk you simply select your language, swipe your Costa Card first, followed by swiping you Credit Card (within 60 seconds). If you are travelling with somebody else in your cabin, you have either the option to include or exclude that person from your onboard account. At the end of the process (less than 2 minutes) you will get a confirmation message on the screen and you are ready to go. We relaxed in our cabin, unpacked our suitcases and strolled around the Fortuna for the remainder of the afternoon. As we had second sitting dining, our first show "Welcome Aboard Variety Show" was scheduled for 7:00 pm, the time we were actually supposed to leave Port Everglades. Except for the Welcome Gala Night (Night 2), second sitting passengers will always enjoy a pre-dinner show, whereas first sitting passengers will enjoy their entertainment after the dinner. Due to a cocktail reception in the theatre on the first formal night, both sittings will have their show after dinner (9:00 pm for first sitting and 10:45 pm for second sitting passengers). The show was a great kick-off for our vacation and featured an acrobatic duo, Gaby & Norbi from Europe (Czech Republic if I'm not mistaken), as well as two really talented singers Umberto Noto from Italy and Liz Roxburgh from England, and of course the always fabulous Costa Fortuna dancers. Due to extreme weather conditions around the country and also internationally, our departure time was pushed back from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, as we were still missing quite a few passengers. After the show we were ready for our first dinner. We were assigned to table # 68 on deck 3 in the Michelangelo Restaurant (aft restaurant). The table was located along the side, and was a table for 4, with a bench and two chairs. Our waiter Edgar and assistant waiter Steve were great, but seemed a bit shy at the beginning. Dinner was wonderful (see separate post about Fortuna Menu's) and we were just getting up, as the ship started to pull away from the pier at about 10:20 pm. We were told that even with the delayed departure time, we would still be in St. Thomas on time. DAY 2 - AT SEA: We woke up to a sunny morning and had put in an order for breakfast in the cabin the night before. On the breakfast order forms which you will find in your cabin, you can determine a time frame, e.g. 8:00-8:30, 8:30-9:00, etc. We ordered our breakfast for 9:00-9:30, and promptly at 9:00 am, our butler Jacob knocked on the door with a huge tray of breakfast items. We had ordered some breakfast rolls, croissants, coffee, hot chocolate, espresso, butter, strawberry and apricot jam and enjoyed every bit of it in our wonderful cabin. We went to the sundeck on deck 12 (forward), where it was nice and quite, although it was a bit breezy and a bit cool from time to time, when the sun was hiding behind some clouds. At around noon, I had to check out the lunch buffet on deck 9. The assistant chef had a station with some fresh mussels in marinara sauce. The sauce had a nice little kick to it, and the mussels were simply outstanding. I lost count, but I think I had three plates or so. Of course I had to try some of the other items from the buffet too, such as the fresh mozzarella with tomatoes (Insalata Caprese) and some fresh Tuna-Tomato salad, some pasta, etc. I walked out with a nice sample platter of pretty much everything. It was fantastic! At 3:15 pm it was time for our muster/lifeboat drill. We went to the cabin around 3:00 pm and were ready. Make sure that you bring your Costa card with you, when you proceed to your muster station. The staff will scan your card, to make sure you're accounted for, as the life boat drill is mandatory. There were quite a few people who did not bring their cards, so the staff members had to manually put them in their scanner. Not a big problem, but it hold up the process. So bring your card! Yes, the lifeboat drill will be conducted in five languages (English, Italian, German, French and Spanish), which for whatever reason apparently upsets some passengers. We personally enjoy such things, as it makes your cruise vacation even more "international". After the lifeboat drill we enjoyed the remainder of the afternoon on the sundeck and our balcony. Max, the Cruise Director, mentioned that the ship had about 3000 passengers onboard... it really didn't feel like it. The evening offered the first formal night, the Welcome Gala Night. Costa has improved and streamlined the process of going to the cocktail reception in the Rex Theatre tremendously. If you like, you can have your picture taken with the Captain on deck 5, which is voluntarily. In the past, they took the pictures right by the entrance of the theatre, which caused a tremendous back-up of people in the lobby area. During the reception, you still receive champagne and non-alcoholic cocktails, as well as appetizers, although Costa has scaled back a bit on that. Of course, dinner was superb and excellent once again, with many delicious dinner choices. If you are curious what's for dinner that night, you may want to watch "The Breakfast Show" with Cruise Director Max, which is broadcasted on channel 12 on TV. Max usually visits Veal and Allessandro in the kitchen, and will give you an inside look of what the specialties and chef recommendations are for the day/evening. Buon Appetito! The later evening/night offered a 70's/80's Boogie Night at the Leonardo Lounge and Disco Fever in the disco with DJ Matteo. DAY 3 - AT SEA: We got up around 8:00 am and due to the wonderful food, decided it was time for us to get some exercise in. It was a nice sunny morning and we went running at the jogging track on deck 11 (midship/aft) for over an hour, before hitting the breakfast buffet on deck 9. The breakfast buffet offers a wide variety of items, from fresh breakfast rolls, different kinds of bread, croissants and turnovers, pancakes, muesli, cereal, fresh fruit, sausage links, bacon, eggs, smoked salmon or fresh tuna, yoghurt, boiled eggs and custom made omelets to your liking. After breakfast and a refreshing shower, we decided to give it a shot at "Super Bingo", where the guaranteed prize money was $ 750. If you got a full card with the first 46 numbers, the prize is $ 5000, with 47 numbers it'll be $ 2500, and with the first 48 numbers, it'll pay $ 1500. Not bad at all. The entry fee is either $10 for a single card or $ 20 for a triple card. I came close with two numbers left, but didn't win. At least it was a try. The lunch buffet offered delicious Mediterranean specialties, such as Greek Salad with Feta cheese, Dolmades (stuffed wine leafs - Greek), Tortellini in a creamy cheese sauce and flambEed peaches with vanilla ice cream. By the way, the ice cream machines on deck 9 were always working and always produced good soft ice cream as well. The wind started to pick up again in the afternoon and it started to sprinkle, so we went back to our cabin and took a short nap. The theme for the night was Tropical Night. As we were booked in a Grand Suite, a dinner for two at the Tuscan Steak House (Club Restaurant) is complimentary. We tried to get in for tonight, but it was already fully booked for the evening, so we made our original reservation for Thursday. I asked Jacob (our butler) if you could check once again, to see if anybody canceled. After a short time, he came back to our cabin, and said that it was still fully booked, but he would go upstairs and check with the restaurant manager himself. A few minutes later Jacob returned, and said that the restaurant would be glad to have us tonight at 8:30 pm. Awesome! Thank you Jacob, for making it possible for us! It started to rain before we went to the evening show "Blue Fantasy", which also features a small segment of laser show. I really wish they would have a longer, more exciting laser show, such as on the Magica. The show was fantastic. We also had a cocktail reception with the Captain that night, which is reserved only for suite passengers. There were only about 40-50 people who attended. They served us lots of champagne and plenty of delicious hot and cold hors d'oeuvres. The Captain, Massimo Garbarino, which we sailed with before on the Costa Mediterranea, took time to sit down with each passenger, talked and chatted leisurely. He's an amazing person, with a long career with Costa (he's with Costa since 1978, and back then become the youngest Captain within the organization). He was born in Genoa, Italy, which is also the home of Costa and is known for the history of navigation, seafarers and ship builders. He fluently speaks all five languages and it's a pleasure talking to him. Until that night I did not know that he is actually actively involved in the design and building of new Costa ships. After the cocktail reception it was time for our dinner experience at the Tuscan Steak House. All I can say: If you're not cruising in a suite, spend the extra $ 30 per person and have a dining experience of a lifetime. You'll experience magnificent service and food, which goes beyond your imagination! The piano player and low lighting improves the ambience of the entire experience. Due to the rain, the Tropical Night was moved from the pool deck to the grand lounge Conte Di Savoia, but the ice sculpture demonstration was cancelled. DAY 4 - ST. THOMAS: Even though we departed Fort Lauderdale almost 4 hours late, we arrived in St. Thomas even a little bit early and the Captain was able to secure us docking space # 1 in Heavensight. We got off the ship around 8:30 am, and had made a reservation with Budget for a Jeep rental. Budget was always located on the main street, just outside of the cruise ship area, but has relocated since January 1, 2010. The new office is now located within the port area, just off the cruise ship pier towards docking space # 2. When you get off the ship, exit the fenced area, then immediately walk along the cruise ship towards your right. There is a large "Budget" sign on the building. You will pick-up and drop off your vehicle there, which makes it even more comfortable for cruise ship passengers. We picked up our 4-door Jeep as reserved and we were off to explore the island. Just as a reminder: Although St. Thomas is part of the US Virgin Islands, you are driving on the LEFT. All rental vehicles are left-steered vehicles with automatic transmission, but if you've never driven on the left, it takes a bit to get used to, especially when turning! Just make sure you watch out for animals, especially on less travelled roads. Donkeys, chicken, pigs, dogs and other animals are roaming freely. There are a lot of winding roads on St. Thomas, with a lot of blind spots... just reduce your speed accordingly and watch where you're going. Our first stop was Coki Beach, which we knew from previous times. It's a nice little beach, with a lot of local vendors, offering anything from food and drinks to various merchandise. The beach is located right next to Coral World, if you have problems finding it on the map. The beach gets usually crowded later, as a lot of tours drop their passengers, before returning to the ship. We bought some good mixed drinks "The Bomb", which has a nice fruity taste, with lots of rum! Yummy! The beach is ideal for snorkeling, but watch for currents, which can be strong at times. We had some dog bisquits to feed the fish. A nice colorful selection of fish will surround you quickly, as soon as you start crumbling the bisquits. The beach got crowded by noon and we decided to move on with our island tour. Toured the remainder of the island, with nice stops along the way to take great pictures of this beautiful island. We stopped at one more local beach, which is the most relaxing and quiet beach you can imagine. We dropped our Jeep off around 4:45 pm, did a little bit of shopping around the harbor and went back on the Fortuna at around 5:20 pm. We set sail promptly at 6:00 pm as scheduled. The theme for the night was Italian Night, which you don't want to miss. It's a casual night, but you're encouraged to wear red, white and green outfits, which resembles the Italian national colors (tricolore). At 7:00 pm Antonio Colamorea performed a tribute to Andrea Bocelli. He is an amazing tenor, and probably drew the largest crowd in the theatre I had seen all cruise long. His voice is amazing... so if he's still on the ship performing, you don't want to miss this show. During the evening, the cruise staff will put on all kind of "Italian" entertainment, from Tarantella and Taccopunta Dance lessons to the "Election of Mister Pizza", which is absolutely hilarious - all these "shows" are audience participation, especially Mister Pizza. Don't miss it! Dinner that night was - of course - even more Italian than usual. It was fantastic as always, but I had to order multiple main courses, just because I could not decide what I wanted to try... so I tried them both! After dinner we attended the "Newlywed and Not so Newlywed Game", which was hosted by Max and took place in the Rex Theatre at 11:15 pm. I was surprised by the very low turnout. Usually that show draws quite a crowd, but not this time. It was still fun and entertaining. If you rather go dancing, at 11:30 pm the Excalibur Band perfomed the Most Beautiful Italian Songs in the Leonardo Da Vinci Lounge, followed by the Glamour Nigth of the 80's and 90's in the disco. DAY 5 - SAN JUAN: As soon as we woke up, I noticed it was dark and rainy outside. We had made a reservation with Enterprise Rent-A-Car to rent a Jeep, as we had planned to visit the rain forest and the Bacardi Rum Factory. We got off the ship at around 8:45 am and contacted Enterprise, who kindly offered to pick us up from the pier. Their office is about 10 minutes away from the cruise ship terminal. Within 10 minutes we got picked up and by 9:30 am we were on our own, and off to Bacardi, as we decided to do the rain forest later in the day, if it would stop raining. Everybody from Enterprise was extremely friendly and helpful. So if you're renting a car in San Juan, I can highly recommend the Enterprise office, which is located at 999 Ashford Ave. Just make your reservation online, and give them a call if you need a pick-up. If you decide in San Juan however, expect heavy traffic. This becomes even more of an issue when it rains, as the drainage is insufficient, and roadways are getting easily flooded, which brings traffic to a snarl. If you are used to road sign and direction signs from the US, Canada or Europe, don't expect it in San Juan. It took us forever to eventually select the correct turn to find the Bacardi Rum Factory... hardly any signs to get you there. The factory tour is in my opinion very interesting and informative. Even though you don't see the actual manufacturing process or bottling process, it provides you with a lot of history about Bacardi. And as an added bonus: the tour is absolutely free and includes two free drinks at the end of the tour... yummy! Due to the extreme heavy rain, we decided to bring the car back early, and returned to San Juan at about 2:00 pm. Enterprise arranged for us to be dropped off at the pier, and we had enough time to take a stroll to Old San Juan, which we had seen several times before. We bought some local cigars and stopped by "The Bonbonera", a locally owned baker/eatery in the heart of Old San Juan for some pastries and coffee, before heading back onboard at about 3:15 pm. The Fortuna departed as scheduled at 4:00 pm. This evening's theme was Circus night and was an informal night in the dining room. Michael B. Levin performed "Sinatra, Bennett and Me". He has a great voice and does a great Sinatra and Bennett, but was in my honest opinion the weakest performer in the entire lineup of entertainment throughout the week. Also, the Election of Miss Costa Fortuna took place at 10:30 pm, followed by "Blue's & Rock'n'Roll Session" with Max and the Excalibur Band. Don't miss out on the Galley Tour and Buffet. The chefs of the Costa Fortuna put an amazing array of ice carvings, food carvings and of course a huge selection of appetizers, desserts and other fine specialties together. Keep in mind, that there is no more "Buffet Magnifico" (Grand Buffet) on the second formal gala night. This kitchen and galley tour and buffet is the replacement! It's fantastic to take a peak behind the scene of the usually busy kitchen. Amazing and a must see! The galley opened at 11:45 pm. You will enter the galley through the center restaurant (Restaurant Rafaello) on deck 3, tour the kitchen, and exit in the aft restaurant on deck 3, where you can sit down and enjoy your culinary treasures. DAY 6 - GRAND TURK: We got up around 9:00 am and went to the breakfast buffet on deck 9. We relaxed afterwards on our balcony until we arrived in Grand Turk. We actually arrived and docked early at about 11:20 am. The Fortuna was the first ship to arrive, followed by the Emerald Princess, the other ship for the day. We got off the ship quickly at around 11:45 am. The cruise terminal Carnival built is very nice and appears still brand new. Just off the ship there are two beaches visible, with plenty of beach chairs. All facilities are free of charge, including the pool and the beach chairs. So take advantage, if you don't want to wander far from the ship. We decided to rent some motor scooters to explore the island, and had done some research prior to our cruise. Tony's Rental is set up just OUTSIDE of the cruise terminal, just passed the gate. Took us a minute to figure that out, but we found him. Rented two scooters, which includes the helmet and gas. All you have to bring is your driver's license and cash, as the renal place is not yet accepting credit cards. There is no security deposit necessary either... kind of interesting, but how far could you run with a scooter on this roughly 28 square mile island. The driving is on the left and the maximum speed limit around the entire island is 20 mph or 32 km/h. Traffic is extremely light, which makes it even more enjoyable to ride around with the scooters. Just watch for wild animals. You see wild horses, donkeys, chicken and other creatures just standing in the middle of the roadways. Not all roads are paved, but even the gravel roads are very passable. You can still see the results from Hurricane Ike, which hit this island, as you still see some ruins around the island. We found some beautiful beaches, which huge conch shells. We weren't sure if you're allowed to take them, so we took pictures of them and left them on the beach. We stopped at a hilltop bar ("The Bare Naked Conch") for some traditional conch fritters, and a nice cold local brewed beer. It's not cheap though, as everything has to be brought to the island. A local woman told us, that a gallon of milk is about $ 12.00. Wow! After touring the entire island, we settled on Governor's Beach, which is not far from the cruise ship terminal. The beach is sandy, with no rocks in the water and the most beautiful place to snorkel. The water is crystal clear, and you will find several reefs, just off the beach. There are also artificial reefs, which lots of colorful fish and stingrays. Absolutely amazing! I can just imagine to go diving off Grand Turk... it must be stunning! After returning our scooters and a brief stop at the duty free store, we returned to the Fortuna at about 5:20 pm. The duty free shop had really great deals, especially in regards of alcohol. The prices were a lot lower than in San Juan or St. Thomas! Tonight was the second formal night, the Farewall Gala Night and Dinner. The production show "H2O" was a fast-paced show, with lots of costume and scenery changes, and of course the always fabulous Costa Fortuna Dancers, and singers Liz Roxburgh and Umberto Noto. The show reflects a musical tribute to water and navigation, from Noah's Arc to the Costa Fortuna. Dinner was - as usual - wonderful and absolutely delicious. During the Farewell Gala night, Costa used to serve Baked Alaska, but replaced it with a layered cake with frosting. The cake is unique, but absolutely delicious. Michael B. Levin was scheduled at 11:15 pm and was advertised as Late Night Comedy. There was hardly any comedy, just singing. About 10 minutes in the show we left, as this was the weakest and most boring show of all. Not worth going to... I'd rather see more of the Costa Fortuna dancers! DAY 7 - AT SEA: On our final day we decided to order breakfast in our cabin. And as ordered, our breakfast arrived promptly at 9:00 am. I also ordered some smoked salmon from the restaurant menu, which is absolutely wonderful. Besides the coffee, espresso and juices, we had fresh rolls and croissants, jams and cream cheese. We went to the sun deck to enjoy our last day of the cruise. The lunch buffet was another hit, with lots of Italian and Mediterranean specialties. Costa also offered a Happy Hour that day, with 2 for 1 drink specials between 4 pm and 6 pm. It's good for all mix drinks, draft beer and wine by the glass. Don't miss the Costa Fortuna crew show "I have a dream", which only has one showing at 4 pm. Crew members show off their talent! This was an absolutely great production, with awesome music and great effects! The evening was dedicated Roman night! Bed sheets and "crowns" were delivered to your stateroom in the afternoon, to be used to make a toga. Don't use the sheets off your bed though! Your room steward/stewardess will not appreciate it. This is an absolute fun night. Where else can you go to dinner in a toga, without being questioned by law enforcement. Although not everybody is getting into the spirit, it appeared that the second sitting passengers were much more involved in wearing togas compared to the early sitting. You'll see all kind of creative togas! Funny, just to watch. We had our own togas packed and got right into the spirit of dressing up... so much fun! The Roman Night/Talent Show is at 10:45 pm (one show for both sittings). You may want to go to the theatre a little bit earlier than usual, if you want to have good seats, as it gets crowded. Max, the Cruise Director, did another great job as Julius Caesar. Apparently they had some guests dropping out of the talent contest, as there were only five participants. Usually they had at least eight or so... but it was a fun night. Very talented people on board, and nobody was sent to the lions! LOL... You'll see! The luggage has to be outside of your cabin door no later than 1:00 am. So if you're still wearing your toga, make sure you'll put a change of clothes aside. Otherwise you might have to explain to Customs & Immigration, why you're wearing a toga... Also at 1:00 am all Costa card accounts will be closed. If you are still up and want to get a drink at one of the bars, you have to pay in cash. The final account statement will be delivered to your mailbox outside of your cabin door by around 3:00 am. DAY 8 - FORT LAUDERDALE/DISEMBARKATION: Unfortunately our cruise is coming to an end and we're back in Fort Lauderdale. We got up around 7:00 am and went for breakfast one final time to the buffet on deck 9. We collected our belongs from our cabin, said good-bye to our room stewardess Merlina and our butler Jacob, and made our way towards the lobby. We had red colored luggage tags, which called for a disembarkation between 8:00 am and 8:15 am. At about 8:10 am they called for all red luggage tags. We scanned our Costa card one final time, before exiting for good - or at least for this cruise. Once in the terminal, our luggage was easily found. We did not experience any wait at the Customs & Immigration counter and were out of the terminal within minutes. Another wonderful Costa cruise has come to a conclusion. IN CONCLUSION: Costa has done it again and both, my wife and I, can't wait to board a Costa ship again. Despite negative comments and posts, I would give the Costa Fortuna a 5+ rating in every aspect, from cleanliness, entertainment, food, comfort, cabin, public areas, itinerary and friendliness! Gracie Mille, Costa! I would like to take a moment to express a SPECIAL THANKS to the following Costa staff members: Commandante Massimo Garbarino - for being an outstanding and personable Captain Max Bertolotto - for being (once again) such a wonderful and high energy Cruise Director Manuela Vaccalluzzo - for having so much fun with all passengers throughout the cruise and for being a great Assistant Cruise Director Edgar Cortez - our head waiter, for being attentive and for having so much fun with us... "Cheese Please!!!" Steve - our assistant waiter, for always keeping up with Edgar Merlina - our room stewardess, for keeping our cabin, clean and spotless, and for such cute towel animals! Jacob - our butler, for taking care of pretty much everything for us, from small to big. Veal, Allessandro and all other chefs and kitchen staff of the Costa Fortuna, for providing such excellent and wonderful meals throughout the week. Thanks to you, I definitely have to go on a diet now. The rest of the Costa Fortuna staff, for keeping the ship spotless and clean, for keeping us safe and for making our cruise truly memorable and outstanding! THANK YOU! Following now, is a brief overview of certain events, rather a day by day review, starting with the embarkation: EMBARKATION: We arrived at Port Everglades around 11:20 am on an extremely cold (at least for us Floridians) morning and dropped off our luggage in front of the terminal of Pier 19, where the Costa Fortuna was anchored. The parking garage is right next to Pier 19 and 21, where I parked the car. We proceeded into the terminal at about 11:30 am and had no lines at the security screening. Once security screening is completed, you are required to complete a "Health Questionaire", which is geared to find out if you have any symptoms of H1N1. It's only a short form, and has to be completed before you check in (it's NOT part of your online/web check-in form!). But to make things quicker and easier for you, bring your own pen! Once you've completed the form, you can either use one of the self check-in kiosks (similar to airline check-ins), or proceed into the next hall, where you have Costa staff members checking you in at the counter. There was some confusion amongst some travelers, who thought they HAD to check in at the kiosk. We skipped the kiosks and proceeded to the check-in counter. Suite customers, as well as Costa club members of Coral status or above will have a separate check-in line, which we took advantage of. My parents did not have a suite, and they proceeded towards the "regular" check-in line. We experienced no wait and were promptly greeted by a Costa staff member, who checked our passports and reviewed the web check-in form I had printed at home. In less than two minutes we were ready and proceeded towards the ship. Due to the large amount of Costa check-in staff, my parents were done with their check-in in similar time. A small line formed, as a picture is being taken before you go onboard, followed by another security/I/D/ check point. We boarded the Fortuna, and before you enter the main lobby, your mug shot/head shot will be taken (used for identification when exiting/entering the ship at ports). We were on board by 12:00 noon! It was the most efficient and smooth check-in so far yet! Costa has done a great job improving the check-in procedures over the years! THE SHIP: Even though the Costa Fortuna was build in 2003, she will not show that she is 7 years old. We were familiar with the Fortuna from our last Costa cruise in 2007 and have also sailed on her younger sister, the Costa Magica before. The interior of the ship is spotless, elegant, colorful and full of surprises. The Fortuna — named for the mythological goddess Fortuna, daughter of Poseidon, god of the sea — has a refined, occasionally whimsical, decor. Every public room is nostalgically inspired by, and named after, famous liners that provided trans-Atlantic service between Italy and America, such as the Rex Theatre, the Michelangelo and Rafaello Restaurant and the Grand Bar Conte Di Savoia. My favorite part is the open and colorful main lobby, with the glass elevators and "upside down" Costa ships, which are represented at the ceiling. Each area of the ship has it's own unique flair and flavor and represents a warm and vibrant Italian flair, in the style of Joe Farcus. THE CABIN: Our Grand Suite 7289 appeared like home to us, as we occupied the exact same room twice before, once on the Magica and once on our last cruise with the Fortuna. The Grand Suite offers an impressive open layout, with a large sitting area with couch, chairs and table, a marble desk, an impressive 3 closets, a dresser, a make-up/dressing area, a huge bathroom featuring a whirlpool tub/shower combination, bidet (yes, it's an European thing), a double sink with marble countertop and marble bathroom floor, and of course an oversized balcony with 2 chairs, a table and 2 loungers. The wall above the bed has a full length and height mirror, making this room appear even larger. This suite also features dimmable halogen lights and offers the most comfort you can imagine. Suites and Grand Suites enjoy a few extra perks, such as butler service, complimentary dinner for 2 at the Club Restaurant (Tuscan Steakhouse), a special cocktail reception with the Captain, bathrobes and slippers for your use, a pillow menu, full in room dining opportunities for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as priority embarkation and disembarkation privileges. If you want to cruise in comfort in style... this is the ultimate luxury! THE CRUISE STAFF: I saw posts here, where people are complaining about rude and unfriendly staff members. With all honesty, we did not encounter ONE staff member, who was not friendly. No matter where you went on the Fortuna, everybody is smiling and greets you promptly. From bar service staff members to the waiter in the restaurant and buffet areas, from the cruise entertainment staff to the casino staff/dealers, from the maintenance workers to the customer service staff, from the housekeeping staff to spa staff... during our week long cruise we did not encounter one unfriendly or rude staff member. Just walking along the corridor, you'll be promptly greeted, "Good Morning, Sir", "Good Afternoon, How are you?", or "Good Evening, Sir". Even though your cabin is not in their area, housekeeping staff will always greet you promptly and with a smile. Max, our cruise director, did another wonderful job. He is very people oriented and high energy and is there for you if you should need him. The assistant cruise director, Manuela, is doing an outstanding job with all kind of activities around the ship, including Super Bingo. Most of the entertainment staff is from Italy and is high energy 24/7. The Captain, Massimo Garbarino, seems to have the Fortuna fully under control. He's quite an amazing person and we had the opportunity to talk to him personally for some time during the special Suite cocktail reception. He is with Costa Crociere since 1978 and was born in Genoa, Italy, a city known for seafarer and ship builders. His ability to speak fluently five languages is amazing and it is a please to just sit down with him and "chat". THE FOOD: With most posters on Cruise Critic, this seems to be one of the most fought about issues when it comes to Costa cruises. Both, my wife and I, have always enjoyed the international flair of Costa, which is also represented when it comes to food. Please understand, that Costa is an Italian cruise line, which serves Italian style food, which may not appeal to all, especially to Americans which are not familiar with international cuisine, and may think that Pizza Hut or Olive Garden is as Italian as it gets. No offense, but we've seen it first hand this week, where fellow cruisers stated, they did not like the food and stated that Costa definitely needs to change and cater to the Americans... At this point I had to interfere and made my point clear as well: Costa is Italian. If you don't like it, cruise with Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian or Celebrity, where different food will be served. It would be the same as going to Italy and demanding that they need to change the way they cook pasta or bake pizza, just because I like it the American way. I hate when I read posts like "The food is horrible" or "Lost weight during my cruise". Just because the food is not the way YOU LIKE it to be, doesn't make the food horrible. The food on Costa is outstanding, and I'll post a complete menu from our cruise in a separate post. The dishes are mouthwatering, and I had a hard time to decide which main course I should choose... so I usually got two. Probably the main reason I have to go on a diet now. Most amazing is the pasta, which is always cooked al dente. Don't know how Costa does it, but it is always cooked perfect. The Italian specialties, such as lamb and veal are outstanding, the soups unique and flavorful and the appetizers are different and tasty. Costa offers Italian culinary delights from start to finish from appetizers to desserts, from the buffet restaurant to the formal restaurants and the specialty restaurant. The "Tuscan Steakhouse" or club restaurant is not to be missed. It offers a true culinary experience and is well worth a visit during your cruise. Just make sure to put in your reservation as soon as possible, as only 50 people per night will be served in the restaurant. For Suite/Grand Suite customers a visit for two is included, otherwise the dining experience will be $ 30.00 per person. Well worth it in my opinion! I will also include the menu for the specialty restaurant with the separate post! ITINERARY/PORT OF CALLS: Our port of calls were St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk for this cruise. I liked the itinerary, as it provided mostly full day stops, instead of only a few hours. We've been to St. Thomas several times in the past, although there's always something new, we've seen San Juan several times, but usually only by night, and Grand Turk was a new stop for us. St. Thomas: As in the past, we've rented a Jeep to explore the island on our own pace. We visited Coki Beach, which provides excellent snorkel opportunities, but will get crowded quickly, as the day goes on. It's not a big beach, and will get overrun by people in the early afternoon, as excursions end and people have time to hang out. Magans Bay is another beautiful and large beach, but can also get crowded, as it is one of the most famous and popular beaches on the island. Overall, St. Thomas is a beautiful spot and great stop on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. San Juan: We rented a Jeep from Enterprise which are not located by the piers, but are about 10 minutes away. They picked us up and we were off exploring the San Juan area, although it was raining all day long. We drove to the Barcadi factory, enjoyed the tour (and the sample drinks!) and were planning to drive to the rain forest, but weather changed our plans and returned the car in the early afternoon. Driving can be difficult, especially with very little or confusing signage. When it rains, everything seems to come to snarl, as drainage is backed up in the streets, causing flooding, even over major roadways. Strolled through Old San Juan, did some shopping and returned to the ship. Grand Turk: The most beautiful stop on this itinerary in my opinion. The island only has about 2500 permanent resident. The population easily doubles or triples when big cruise ships like the Fortuna roll in. The entire cruise center was build by Carnival and provides shopping opportunities, bars, a free use of a nice swimming pool and beach chairs. We rented two motor scooters from Tony's Car Rental. He is located just outside the gate of the port area and does NOT accept any credit cards. So make sure to bring cash along. Included in the scooter rental is the helmet and gas. Due to the size of the island, traffic is very minimal and makes it ideal for riding. The speed limit throughout the island is 20 mph, but remember, as Grand Turk is part of the British West Indies, you'll have to drive on the LEFT. Watch out for wild animals, such as horses, donkeys, pigs, chicken or dogs. They seem to roam freely throughout the entire island. This island offers the most beautiful places to snorkel, with crystal clear water and lots of marine life and reefs. You'll find plenty of large conch shells along the shorelines of Grand Turk as well. An absolutely stunning island; quiet, not touristy and the most beautiful turquoise water in the Caribbean! ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment on the Fortuna offered a variety of different venues. I read some posts about an Elton John impersonator, but he must have gotten off the ship already, as we did not have a show with him. Costa Fortuna Dancers: We had several variety/production shows with the Costa Fortuna Dancers. Great productions and a pleasure watching the dancers! Bravissimo! Singers Umberto Noto and Liz Roxburgh: Both singers are awesome and both singers are extremely talented! They usually appeared as part of the production shows with the Costa Fortuna Dancers. Great variety, great voices and great performances! Always a pleasure to watch any of the production shows! Acrobats Gabi & Norbi: They appeared a couple of times and are two extremely talented acrobats from Europe. I would not even want to attempt any of their stunts... Absolutely amazing!!! Tenor Antonio Colamorea: The Italian tenor Antonio Colamorea performed during the Italian night and featured a tribute to Andrea Bocelli. He drew one of the biggest crowds for the second seating passengers. What a great voice he has! Outstanding! Singer Michael B. Levin: He performed a show "Sinatra, Bennett and Me", which was okay, but kind of got old very quickly. Probably the least exciting performance. He also had a comedy show the following night at 11:15 pm. Thought it would be like stand up comedy, but instead he was more singing than anything else. Left about 10 minutes into the show, which was extremely weak. Rather see more of the other performances. Crew Show "I have a dream": This showcases some of the talents hidden within the staff members of the Costa Fortuna. From housekeeping to bartenders, singers to dancers, this is a show you don't want to miss. It took place on the last sea day at 4:00 pm in the afternoon. It was a great tribute to all Costa employees. The show was very well put together, with a Costa introduction! One of the highlights, really!!! Roman Night / Guest Talent Show: This is a most see event. Just make sure you wear your toga, it's even more fun! They must have had some drop outs of performers, as we only had five guests performing. In the past, I remember it was at least 8 or more. Max and Manuela, the entertainment staff and the Costa Fortuna dancers are doing an outstanding job with this "party"! Awesome!!! Don't miss it! DISEMBARKATION: Make sure you'll have your luggage outside of your cabin by no later than 1:00 am the day you are scheduled to arrive, and make sure you don't still wear your toga! LOL Disembarkation is easy and organized. Costa offers an early disembarkation at 7:00 am, for the first 500 passengers who are registering with Guest Services. Keep in mind, if you are signing up for early disembarkation, you MUST be able to get your entire luggage off the ship yourself, as the staff members are not cleared to go off the ship at this point. If you have only limited amount of luggage, this might be for you, but you must sign up with Guest Services. All other disembarkation is done in order by colors. You will receive color coded luggage tags in your cabin. According to your luggage tag color, you will be meeting/assembling in certain areas of the ship awaiting disembarkation. Here are the estimated disembarkation times, luggage tag colors and meeting points: 7:00 am - BLACK (Rex Theatre - Deck 3) 7:45 am - PINK (Rex Theatre - Deck 3) 8:00 am - RED (Grand Bar Conti Di Savoia - Deck 5) 8:15 am - WHITE (Leonardo Da Vinci Lounge - Deck 5) 8:30 am - YELLOW (Grand Bar Conti Di Savoia - Deck 5) 8:45 am - GREEN (Rex Theatre - Deck 3) 9:00 am - BLUE (Leonardo Da Vinci Lounge - Deck 5) 9:15 am - ORANGE (Rex Theatre - Deck 3) 9:30 am - PURPLE (Rex Theatre - Deck 3) 9:30 am - BROWN (Leonardo Da Vinci Lounge - Deck 5) THE CONCLUSION: Another memorable and enjoyable Costa cruise came to an end for us. Both, my wife and I, will be back for more Costa cruising. We enjoy the international flair and touch of Costa, its crew members and international passengers. For some, announcements in five different languages (English, Italian, German, French and Spanish) might be annoying, but for us it is enjoyable. It makes it even more of an international vacation than usual. Thank you to all the hard working Costa crew members, which made our 5th Costa cruise another exciting and memorable one. I truly hope that Costa will remain its course with keeping their cruising experience the Italian way and will not "Americanize". For now, it's time for me to start planning on the next Costa cruise (2011?). Until then... Ciao! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
I had four cabins booked on this Western Caribbean cruise, including our own stateroom. My sister shared the balcony cabin with my husband & myself. We checked in shortly after 1 pm. Embarkation was extremely smooth, probably the ... Read More
I had four cabins booked on this Western Caribbean cruise, including our own stateroom. My sister shared the balcony cabin with my husband & myself. We checked in shortly after 1 pm. Embarkation was extremely smooth, probably the most efficient that we have ever experienced. We went directly to our cabin which was far forward on the starboard side. The stateroom was very comfortable and the bathroom quite adequate and well laid out. My sister had a comfortable lower berth which was a very nice touch. We especially liked the light, warm wood in the decor which made the room feel brighter and more spacious than the darker woods we frequently encounter. The storage space alotted was more than adequate for the three of us, even though some of us always seriously over-pack. The ship is beautiful, spotless and immaculately maintained. Our waiter, Alan, did a fine job, as did our room steward, Olga. Breakfast & lunch were open seating and the wait staff did an exemplary job with both. The entertainment venues that we attended were exceptionally good, though we were not great fans of the female vocalist on the first evening. We especially enjoyed the Italian tenor, Antonio, the acrabats, and the dancers. The Elton John tribute was also very good. The itinerary and ports were excellent. Now for the bad news: the food. It ranged from outright bad to just mediocre. The lido buffet was consistently terrible, except for the pizza and the soft-serve ice cream. The Michelangelo dining room didn't fare much better. The prime rib and steak offerings were obviously inferior cuts of meat and were consistently served medium-well rather than medium-rare as requested. Shellfish was also consistently overcooked, tough and rubbery. The only dish I had all week that I would say rose to a level of more than just "okay" was the moussaka offered at Saturday's lunch. If Costa is serious about competing toe-to-toe with the other cruise lines in the Caribbean venue, it needs to take drastic and immediate measures to improve the quality of its food. It is a shame that with so much going for it, the Fortuna fell so short with its dining venues. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
Food was always the same, except the restaurants food, boring shows, air condition in the public rooms the cold, specially in the restaurant we need a warm jacket to eat there. The worst thing are the time on the islands, always to short, ... Read More
Food was always the same, except the restaurants food, boring shows, air condition in the public rooms the cold, specially in the restaurant we need a warm jacket to eat there. The worst thing are the time on the islands, always to short, costa arrives later and departs earlier than the royal caribbean, may be they save port taxes. Caymans: not enough tender boats, so you waste time by waiting. Never had so many times wasting by standing in a line and have to wait, for everything especially the checkout on the last day. You have to pay for the service twice, by buying drinks and again by costa checking about 300 dollar to our cabin for tipping. Ship was full on Christmas and new year, so you always have to wait a long time for food in the Buffet Restaurant. Deckchairs are all occupied, pool area was very loud, because of the terrible animation all day long, the covered quiet pool was forbidden for children, the security always send them out, so we had to stay in the loudness. Cabin was alright, we had a big balcony with 2 chairs and a table, we could sleep with open balcony every night air condition off, there was a bad smell from the bathroom, so we were happy to have fresh air from outside. The Cabin has a double bed, a single bed, and a pull out bed from the roof, that was scary for the kids, so my husband has to use it, fortunately it withhold his weight, even it doesn't look so in the first sight. Too many days on sea, only 7 stops on islands in 14 days. Don't book costa excursions, time on the island then is very short, st Thomas for 40 usd they drive you in a bus half an hour in the dusty mountains,then to the beach, after 1hour 20 minutes you have to go back to the ship. That's wasting time, better take a taxi at the port and go by your own, so you could stay as long as the ship is in the harbour. Children's club we couldn't use because our kids don't speak italian or English, there was no German animation for them. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
We are frequent cruisers and had sailed on the Costa Riviera many years ago. That was probably one of the best cruises I had ever taken. Due to my wifes job we were unable to take Costa, during the times it was in the Caribbean, and when ... Read More
We are frequent cruisers and had sailed on the Costa Riviera many years ago. That was probably one of the best cruises I had ever taken. Due to my wifes job we were unable to take Costa, during the times it was in the Caribbean, and when this opportunity came up we jumped on it. What a mistake. First of all I have to hit the "High" parts. Boarding was fast and efficient we had our cabin and luggage by 2PM, we arrived to board at about 1245. That Timing was unbelievable. Secondly the ship is beautiful and the cleanliness was impeccable and that was maintained during the entire cruise. Our Cabin Steward (Albert) was the greatest, he was very attentive and anything we asked for was done immediately. Our Assistant waiter was also great, this was his first contract and if he keeps up the good work he will be a great waiter. The Cruise Director Max was also great, the entertainment was some of the best I have ever experience, especially the Tenor that they had, all the other shows were very well produced and entertaining. Great Job Max!!! NOW...Customer Service and Tour Desks were the rudest and most disrespectful cruise employees I have ever encountered. If it was me I would "clean house" and start all over. "I can't help you"(in a very dismissing way) and ignoring you were common. Don't book a tour unless you are 100% sure, because there are no cancellations. You don't get all the information, on line and then when you get on board and find out there is a difference TOO BAD. Also having 4 1/2 hr tours when you are only in port 6 hrs doesn't give time for anything else. I could go on for ever about the tours, but you get the idea. The food was one of the BIGGEST disappointments of all. It was average at best. An Italian cruise line that makes terrible Tiramisu, what's up with that!! The steaks were tough, our table mate had to send the seafood dish back 3 times for something else and the majority of the pasta dishes were average, I've had better at Olive Garden. The stores, on board, we poor. We've had better selections and quality on smaller ships. Let me warn you, if you have allergies, don't book this one. There is a lot of smoking allowed and they use a recirculating system similar to airlines, so sinus allergies will act up quick. Rooms are not very cool-we propped our door open so we could get some cool fresh air. All I can say is COSTA-NEVER AGAIN!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
We are a family who went on a family vacation. We have been 4 other cruises with four other cruise lines. We are in our 40's with teenagers who are looking to find other teenagers to hang out with on the ship (to get away from their ... Read More
We are a family who went on a family vacation. We have been 4 other cruises with four other cruise lines. We are in our 40's with teenagers who are looking to find other teenagers to hang out with on the ship (to get away from their lame parents). Us, adults, are causal drinkers and are looking for some fun shows to watch, dance a little, get involved in some on board organized games/fun and maybe play a hand or two of blackjack and call it good. Our kids want to mesh with other teenagers and walk the ship looking bored (it's the thing!), dance with their teenage friends, play ping pong, play video games, swim and sit in the hot tub and talk about whom is "cute" on the ship AND at all cost avoid THEIR PARENTS! The Good: Beautiful Ship! The water slide was fun. Fun Activities (Toga night and talent show was FUN!!!!) Great deals on pictures - got all the digital negatives and ALL THE PRINTS for $150 at the end of the cruise. We probably had over 30+ pictures we took over 2 formal nights and New Years Eve Night. Great Drink Packages! I prepaid for the X1 packages for adults (includes alcohol) and kids (non-alcohol) for a little over $300 ... and we all drank enough carbonated drinks and, we adults, drank enough wine and beer to surpass the price we prepaid. Dining room service was IMPECCABLE and probably the best I have ever had on any of my cruises. The food presentation and wait staff presentation was extraordinary. On Italian night, in the main dining room, the wait staff danced down the steps and sang in Italian while everyone clapped. During NYE the wait staff danced around and lit off sparklers as they came down the steps. On the last night, Toga Night, they danced down the steps in Roman Get Up and said "All Hail Caesar!" ... it was FUN, very well planned and really entertaining. The shows on board were family appropriate without being so clean it was boring. The shows were everything from curse free comedians, Elton John impersonation show, and Broadway tunes show to a musical review of decades of music. We never encountered rude staff ANYWHERE on board this ship. Everyone was courtesy and very helpful. NYE was the best party we have ever been too ... will defiantly do NYC on a cruise ship again. The Bad: The ships pools were TOO SMALL. I wrote this in my comment card. We have been on 4 other cruise lines and ships. The pools on this mid range ship pale in comparison to ships of equal size we have been on. Additionally their pools were SMALLER then ships we have been on that don't even equal their gross tonnage. This is just bad design and they need more people to give this feedback so they can consider expanding their pool sizes in future ship designs. It's not fun when the pool so small that you aren't swimming but bumping elbows. The food was tasteless and just plain weird (tacos without cheese, lettuce or tomato ...What? ...that is their TexMex). It makes me feel guilty to say their food sucked because the food presentation and fun in the dining room almost made up for the lack of tasteless food. But hey I came back with absolutely no weight gain (I was HAPPY!!! ... so much I had to weight twice because I didn't believe it) and how many people can say that after a 2 week vacation? Anyway I had fun with everything else so in the end they DID me a favor with their bad food ... it's like I went to fat camp and had fun. Lowdown: I went to be with my family and have fun. Costa accomplished both of this for me. I had little to no problems with the cruise line. I wasn't at the customer service desk day and night with issues so this, of course, made for stress free time that I spent with the family. I didn't go to excessively eat or get drunk every day. I seen some great shows and found enough edible food to stay alive and enjoyed all the amenities and planned activities on board. We enjoyed our ports of call. Getting off and on the ship was easy and hassle free. I would go on anther Costa Cruise again ... you beat ... it's a good price for a newer ship and it was fun. Word to the Wise: PREPLAN! Seriously you need to preplan if you are going on this cruise. You can NOT buy X1 packages on board the ship. They will not sell them to you on board. You have to call Costa customer service and organized this BEFORE your cruise. A great tip here is to load up on the unlimited beverages and put them in your refrigerator. We came home with soda. We got our money back. READ your "Today" on board every day. By reading the "Today" we found out that you can buy your digital negatives for $75 on CD and print them yourself at home or send out for prints and enlarges (not copyrighted ... they will give you the digital negatives for $75). You do have to go down every now and then and pick up your pictures and have them place it in a folder for you. We did this every time we walked through the main atrium area (grand piano bar) which was every day. I will pick my own pictures if they give me the negatives ... then I can make my own prints through Clark photo's of formal photos and give to family ... all good. By having this information up front we took MORE pictures because we figured there was opportunity here to get some great photos for a really good price. We found out on the last day of the cruise when we went to pick up our CD of negatives we could buy all the photos we took too for an additional $75 ... which made it a $150.00. We took over 30+ photos so we bought it. When is the last time you got formal pictures AND the negatives (for future prints) for $150. It was a good deal. Shore excursions are always expensive on any cruise ship line. The cruise ship line MAKE $ off you taking their "provided" excursions because they are offering a service. If you do research on ports you go to you can take your own shore excursions for more than half the price. Remember all these ports of call have taxi's lined up and ready. Most beaches in the Caribbean are usually free. Walking around in Atlantis in the Bahamas is free and the taxi ride is a set rate $4 per person as set by the Bahamian government and posted at the pier. Puerto Rico is an American Territory along with St. Thomas VI. They all speak English and use American money. You can RENT a car on American soil (and it is) and go to the rain forest yourself for half the price with car rental, gas and entrance fee included. We don't do many shore excursions through cruise lines because of two factors ... TOO EXPENSIVE and TOO LITTLE TIME ... 20 minutes to stop and look and get back on the bus is not enough time at $65 a person. You can also use external shore excursion sites found through Google. Remember it's YOUR MONEY and with a little time and research you can do your own shore excursions for less money. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
Just got off a Western Caribbean itinerary on the Costa Fortuna. I love cruising with my family and have been to Alaska on Carnival, Western Caribbean with Disney and Costa and Eastern Caribbean with Century and Carnival in the past 18 ... Read More
Just got off a Western Caribbean itinerary on the Costa Fortuna. I love cruising with my family and have been to Alaska on Carnival, Western Caribbean with Disney and Costa and Eastern Caribbean with Century and Carnival in the past 18 months. The other cruises were awesome and had food, staff and entertainment that exceeded my expectations. Not so on the Fortuna. The staff were generally very nice. The food was poor. I like to cook and eat and the food we eat everyday at home is far, far better than on the Fortuna. They literally overcooked all meat. Fish, pork, chicken, beef - all thoroughly overcooked. Variety was also sorely lacking. I ended up looking forward to getting into port just so I could go get a descent meal on land that didn't resemble what I'd been eating on board. The entertainment was weak. Disney was by far the best for family entertainment but Century and Carnival had several shows that we could all enjoy. The Fortuna's shows were strange. Think scuba diver climbing a rope with projection fish in the background followed a bit later by Irish dancing and an Italian singing Oh Danny Boy. Weird... The positives- Kids camp was good and my daughters enjoyed it. On par with Carnival, not equal to Disney, better than Century. The New Years party was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, for me and my family, the poor food and so-so entertainment made this the worst of my recent cruising experiences. No desire to repeat on Fortuna or Costa for that matter. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2009
Please note that this review is for a cruise in the Mediterranean as I believe the experience in the Caribbean is different (as on MSC). For us the cruising is mainly about the ports of call. From the ship we want good food available ... Read More
Please note that this review is for a cruise in the Mediterranean as I believe the experience in the Caribbean is different (as on MSC). For us the cruising is mainly about the ports of call. From the ship we want good food available at convenient times, a comfortable cabin, efficient organization and friendly staff. We do not use the gym, spa, pools or bars and the only on board entertainment we are interested in is the occasional show in the theatre. We find the Med too hot in the summer and just about right in November (about 18C) which is fortunate as this is when the best prices are to be found. Most lines find it hard to fill their ships at this time of year. We sailed with Costa in 2001 & 2002 and have since sailed with RCI (2005 & 2007), MSC (2007), Celebrity (X) (2007, 2008 & 2009), NCL (2008) and Azamara (2009). Celebrity/Azamara has replaced RCI as our favourite mainly due to the excellent quality of food and the attention to detail. The cruise was booked 3 weeks before departure. The reason for our choice was that the sailing was from Venice, my wife's favourite place, and the price was right. I booked a B3 balcony cabin on deck 8 near the rear lifts which I find a convenient position. In retrospect this was not a good decision and I should have chosen the deck below. The cabin was immediately below the lido which has metal chairs. They made a horrendous screeching noise when dragged across the floor which was VERY audible in our cabin. Apparently many people have yet to learn that it is possible to lift the chairs quietly into position... the hurried staff were the worst culprits. The biggest problem pre-cruise was getting information e.g. we had selected second sitting for dinner but did not know the dining time and were getting concerned it would be too late with no where open to snack earlier in the evening. The Costa web site was of little use and I relied on Cruise Critic for much information. This was a bit hit and miss as many posts referred to Caribbean sailings. We stayed at the Best Western Hotel Olimpia the night before the cruise which was located immediately next to Piazzale Roma and can be recommended. We went shopping and it was a comfortable 15C outside so I was walking around in a polo shirt whilst the locals were in thick coats. EMBARKATION The cruise ticket was only sent by email to us a few of days before the cruise after we chased our TA. Embarkation was quoted as 1.30pm but following info from posts on CC we took the courtesy bus to arrive at midday. We were given ticket no. 4 and 1-3 were already boarding. I could not see any complimentary beverages but before looking any more our number was called. There were only 4 girls on the check in desks but this is not as bad as it sounds as they were only checking the forms. The actual handing in of forms, photographs for ID, issue of stateroom cards and credit card registration were handled on the ship. It took about 20 minutes to get on board. On boarding we were greeted by the English speaking host Andreas. He did not know the dinner times but told us where and when to see the Maitre'D for table changes. He said that there were about 2200 passengers on this sailing (fully loaded is about 1000 more) with 1000 crew. From the internet I already knew there very many unsold cabins. At least this brought the passenger/crew ratio down to that similar to X/RCI so I hoped we would not share any of the bad experiences posted on CC by people cruising on busier sailings. CABIN After lunch in the buffet (more of that later) we went to the cabin. The cabin was slightly larger than others we have had. This was put to good use in the bathroom which was the best laid out we have seen. The shower had a curtain but the cubicle was large enough so that this was not a problem. The air con was already set to minimum temperature and it proved to be more effective than on our other recent cruises. We take an electric fan to assist air circulation and usually sleep with the balcony door open. Fortunately for my wife the hairdryer was in a drawer rather than in the bathroom. As Coral Costa club members we got a bottle of Spumante (which we took to dinner on the 3rd night) and a fruit basket. I was looking forward to the fruit basket as on the Costa website it is described as having: 1 pear, 1 apple, 1 mango, 1 papaya, 1 banana, 2 kiwi, 6 strawberries, and assorted berries. I was a bit disappointed as what we actually got was 2 apples, 1 orange, 2 kiwi and some grapes. We found the beds to be much the same as on other lines (RCI, X, Azamara, NCL) in that they are far too hard for us. The stateroom attendant did not know of any foam toppers like we have had on other lines, but used the method we have experienced before of putting the spare duvet on top of the mattress below the sheet. Our experience with the attendant was similar to that of other staff we encountered in that they were polite but not as overtly friendly and talkative as on X/RCI. This could also be said of most of the European passengers who are more reserved than those we enjoy meeting on the US style cruises. The Costa Today programme gave us much needed information on dining times: The grill was only open till 4.30pm. Afternoon tea (sandwiches and cookies) was normally from 4pm to 5pm. Dinner first sitting at 6.15pm Dinner second sitting at 8.30pm (8.45pm on formal nights) NO EVENING BUFFET Pizza by the slice was available until 9.30pm then the area opened as a Pizzeria (choice of 4 daily offerings) from 10pm till 1am. The second sitting meal times were different to those on Costa's web site (9pm) and posted on CC (9.15pm). Apparently it depends on the season and is later in the summer. The sheet also gave details of the revised itinerary. Several ports had their stops brought forward by 30 minutes or 1 hour. This made sense due to the dark evenings at this time of year but I cannot see why this information could not have been emailed to us before the cruise as this would affect people who had organized independent excursions. Also on the sheet was stated the alcohol policy. This again is not clear from the website but you can find it by searching the FAQs for "alcohol". This reads: "No food or drink purchased on land may be brought aboard when boarding the ship. Any local products purchased during excursions may be handed to Costa staff for safekeeping and collected before disembarking at the end of the cruise". HOWEVER, at the end of the cruise the daily info sheet stated that CONFISCATED items would be returned the last evening. The minibar prices were a joke. 5.50 Euro for spirits, 4.50 Euro for a beer and 2.60 Euro for a soft drink. Now that most lines have stopped you bringing your own alcohol or buying it in the duty free for use in your cabin we have adopted a simple policy. Other than any freebies we do not drink alcohol whilst on board. On later days we found that reasonable maps were provided for the ports of call (like X/RCI but unlike MSC). We saw the Maitre'D at 2.30pm and asked for a table for 2 in a cool part of the restaurant preferably with some air movement. FOOD And so to the food... This is very subjective so I'll explain where I'm coming from. I'm a meat and 2 veg guy and will always go for the beef if available. I like gravy but not many other sauces (no tomato sauce on burgers, no dressing on salads, etc). I also like fresh fruit and ice cream. I am not keen on seafood. We find the MDR food on RCI and NCL to be too fancy with steak only appearing on the daily menu about twice a week consequently we choose the buffet in the evening on these lines. I find the MDR beef entrees on X to be fantastic, better than in the specialty restaurant on NCL. The lunch buffet was arranged canteen style with 4 lines. Each line had bread, pizza, salad, carvery, fresh pasta, hot food and deserts. They had proper electric Pizza ovens and the Pizza was good (not as good as in Italy but better than those on RCI or X and the inedible ones on NCL). The carvery never had beef but rather veal and sometimes lamb. There was no cook to order pasta like my wife loves on X. She did not have the fresh pasta offered as it was cream based rather than tomato based. The hot food had a reasonable selection of meats and fish. There was always one potato dish and one other vegetable dish... these were plainly cooked without sauces which suited me fine but I would have liked gravy which was only available some days at the carvery area. The selection of cake was very limited. There was usually fruit cocktail (unripe melon and pineapple) and occasionally some fresh whole fruit. I was surprised by the lack of fresh fruit... there were usually apples but little else, once bananas, once grapes, once pears and once oranges but that was it (this included breakfast). Unfortunately all 4 lines had identical fare and overall there was far less choice than on X/RCI/NCL. We never encountered any difficulties finding a free table at the buffet at lunchtime. There was sometimes a delay in the empty tables being cleared and cleaned. On average we had to reject the advances of three bar staff that were not at all busy. Every day in the buffet flies would settle on the table whilst you were eating. On one day they had a big pile of parmesan-reggiano cheese chunks. Having enjoyed some of this I later saw 2 flies crawling all over the pile! This seemed of no concern to the crew. This cruise was in November so I don't like to think what it would have been like in the heat of summer. We have never experienced this problem before on any other line. The grill in the Lido had burgers, hot dogs and fries. Like the buffet this was self service. At least the food was hot. The fries suffered from not being fresh but were better than the cardboard offerings on MSC. The burgers were tastier than those on X. The healthy eating options consisted of an often empty small chilled cabinet at the far end of the Lido next to the ice cream machine which I seem to remember sometimes contained some plates of cake. Even here there was no fresh whole fruit (unlike the excellent Aqua Spa cafe on X). They had one ice cream machine open in the buffet (chocolate & vanilla) and one in the Lido (strawberry & vanilla). This is like RCI & NCL whereas X has a wonderful (free) ice cream station in the buffet area. On MSC there is no free ice cream in the buffet. The machines closed for the day when lunch finished. There was also gelato for sale at the pool bar. Coffee and ice water were freely available whilst food was served so I believe this would have been till at least 1am. None of the MSC problems then! The coffee was better than on X. No iced tea and lemonade like X/RCI/NCL or the lovely fruit juice of X though. Afternoon sandwiches and cookies were served from 4pm-5pm. We only used the MDR for dinner. The menu had fewer options than that on Costa's Caribbean cruises: Appetizers - choice of 3. Not much in the way of seafood (OK by me). Shrimps cocktail only available on 1 night. No always available options. Soup - NO choice. No cold soups. Usually a creamed soup and very tasty. Pasta - choice of 2 + always available spaghetti. EntrEe - choice of 4 inc. 1 vegetarian + about 3 always available options. Steak appeared 3 times but was bland and not tender. On the first night the steak was the worst I have ever had... like rubber which I had difficulty even cutting through with the knife. Prime rib is normally one of my favorites but their aged prime rib was unrecognizable. The vegetables were cooked plainly. There was very little sauce. Salad - normally served alongside the entrEe - NO choice. Almost entirely iceberg lettuce. No Caesar salad or any other always available option. Cheese and crackers. Desserts - quite a nice selection. Coffee - freely available (unlike MSC) but not as good as in the buffet. Iced water was freely available. I did not have any problem with the MDR food other than the disappointing steaks. However, I would not describe the MDR dining experience as a highlight of the cruise. It was similar in quality to RCI and NCL (well below X) but without as much choice. We would have dined in the buffet if one were available in the evening. It was always hot in the MDR and I was glad that dressing up was optional on formal nights as I would not like to have had to put on a jacket or tie. I would agree with a posting on CC that on formal night the attire for men was about this: Tux 5%, Dark Suit 50%, Sport coat or dress shirt with tie 20%, Casual 25% Our table for 2 was at the far end of the room furthest from entrance and the kitchens. On the first night our waiter and assistant had only our table of 2 to serve and the whole meal took 1 hour. Subsequently they were serving 24 passengers at our sitting (2x tables of 2 and 2x tables of 10). They struggled big time and were very apologetic. I believe this is their full workload which I think is about double that on X. On most tables passengers seemed to be on drinks packages and it was the waiters' jobs to bring the bottled water and opened bottles of wine to the tables for the passengers to serve themselves from. I did not see any sommeliers or bar staff in the MDR and no one asked us if we wanted to buy wine or have anything from the bar. Our jug of iced tap water was usually waiting on the table for us to serve ourselves. We always arrived promptly and our waiter took our order first but the orders (inc. those for deserts) were taken from all his tables before anyone went to the kitchens so it was always 30+ minutes before the appetizers arrived. Our meals took 1 3/4 - 2 hours and we were often the last ones out of the restaurant. Soup usually was served with the contents splashed on the outside of the bowls. My salad often arrived after I had finished the entree. I was amazed to see the waiter cutting up blocks of cheese and preparing the cheese plates himself at his station during his "spare" time! On the last night they ran out of crackers so the waiter had opened his remaining packs and rationed us to one cracker per plate. I noticed that at the neighbouring stations behind me one waiter had only one table of 8 to serve for the whole cruise and another only one table of 6... the passengers on these tables would no doubt say the service was excellent in the MDR. One would have thought our assistant Maitre'D would have resolved the problem but he was not really interested in talking to us as he was too busy fawning over the large tables of Italians. The music was not too loud but apart from 1 night they played the same 30 minute CD over and over... we got Englebert Humperdinck's "the last waltz" etc. 4 times per night! Forget room service. It is chargeable and they only had snacks not meals... not even a burger!!! No chance of dining in your room from the whole MDR menu like on X. EXCURSIONS On Bari we took a ship's tour which started at midday and they conveniently opened lunch an hour early. We did the Sassi of Matera which was enjoyable and reasonable value. There were not enough English speaking people for the trip so they combined the German speaking one with ours. We had two tour guides on our coach and they took it in turns to speak. When we got back after 5pm the only choice was Pizza to last until dinner whereas we would normally hit the grill at this point. TENDERING With way less than a full ship and being the only cruise ship in port on all our ports of call I was not anticipating too many problems. It should not surprise anyone that the ship's excursions get priority tendering. I was pleased to read from another review that there were no priority passes for any cabin grades as I find this a form of queue jumping in front of what would become second class passengers. (We did not use the priority passes we got from X earlier this year on that sailing). We docked in Katakolon so no problem there. For Santorini I would criticize Costa in that I do not think they should advertise the hours in port as 7am-1pm when this only applies if you are on a ship's excursion. I believe it should be listed as a technical stop at 7am for those on ship's excursions and the timings for when positioned off Fira shown in the itinerary. After dropping off those on the ship's excursions, the ship was due to be repositioned and tendering due to start for the other passengers at 8.45. They were ahead of this schedule and when we went down to the theatre at 9.15 they were just about to go free tendering (without ticket). We went straight through to the tenders, then on the cable car (with no queuing) and were in Fira by 9.30. Since most ships' excursions leave you in Fira with a cable car ticket our idea was to go back down before the rush. We caught the cable car down at about 11.00 and once again there was no queue for the cable car or the tender. Despite the published schedule, the cable cars run continuously when cruise ships are in port even in November. In Mykonos our revised schedule was to be in port from 5pm-10pm. We arrived early and as many people were still at afternoon tea we decided not to wait until free tendering. When we got to the theatre the tender ticket was for the next number to be called so again it was almost straight onto the tender. After an hour we came back and again there were no queues for the tender. There was an evening buffet on the evening we were docked in Mykonos which seemed pointless to me as the opening time was only from 7pm-8.30pm. The seas were supposed to be rougher (I didn't feel it) for Dubrovnik so we docked instead of tendering. Shuttle buses were available for 6 Euros return. SHOWS The fantasy show on the first night was good (hand shadows) as were the acrobats on the second night. Soloist singers and pianists do not interest us so the only other two shows we went to were those featuring the ship's singers and dancers. The first of these was pretty dire and we did not last too long before leaving. The second was slightly better and we managed to stick it out to the end. These production shows were not as good as the ones on X/RCI. DISEMBAKATION We had already received our luggage tags but the time of leaving the ship was only announced in the Today sheet delivered whilst we were at our last dinner. That was OK for us but was leaving it a bit late for anyone who needed their tags changed to a different colour. There was no option offered allowing you to take your own suitcases off the ship. Guests were requested to leave their cabins by 8am and we were near the last of those leaving ship at 10.15. We were not given any option of staying on board for lunch as had been posted by some on CC. We then had our biggest delay as Costa had not paid for enough shuttle buses to Piazzale Roma and we had to stand in line for over 1 hour. We then checked into the Hotel Arlecchino (same management as the Olimpia) next to Piazzale Roma for 2 nights. This hotel can also be recommended. Just prior to our arrival in Venice it had just suffered the Acqua Alta. From our balcony we could see people wading through the flooded pavements outside St Marks square. By midday this had cleared and it was possible to walk the streets without wellies. SUMMARY We paid £349 ($570) inc. taxes per person for this 7 day cruise only in a balcony cabin. This was about half the price advertised by any other UK, US or German travel agents. We always book in the last 2 months before departure (after the "final payment" date) to get the best discounts and this price met my target of £50 per night for a balcony cabin although this is getting harder to do with the current value of the £. Daily gratuities of 6.50 Euro per person are automatically added to your on board account. I consider the cruise value for money for what we paid. After the cruise my wife was surprised at what the brochure price was as she thought the experience one of a budget cruise line. It is unlikely that we will sail Costa again. Costa is owned by Carnival and is not as penny pinching as MSC (Moneygrabbing Shipping Company?) but we just prefer the US style cruising of X/RCI to that offered by Costa and MSC in the Mediterranean. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
The ship was very clean, cabins well maintained ad comfortable and crew very pleasant and keen to help. Our itinerary took us to Bari,Katakalon, Santorini. Mykonos, Rhodes and Dubrovnik and we enjoyed all our stops - although Mykonos ... Read More
The ship was very clean, cabins well maintained ad comfortable and crew very pleasant and keen to help. Our itinerary took us to Bari,Katakalon, Santorini. Mykonos, Rhodes and Dubrovnik and we enjoyed all our stops - although Mykonos on a very cool October evening was perhaps the least enjoyable stop. Our biggest issue was that it felt as if we were being squeezed for money at every opportunity. Unlike other cruises with other companies that we have been on, on Costa Fortuna..... * we couldn't bring drinks of any type on board * a compulsory service charge was added to all drinks - even if you collected them yourself - 1.20 Euros on a cocktail costing 6.50 Euros seemed more than abit steep! * a compulsory service charge was added to our onboard account daily, removing our ability to tip those who we felt had served us well - unless of course you wanted/could afford to tip a second, separate amount! The crew told us that unless everyone ticked the excellent box on the passesnger questionnaires they wouldn'teven see these tips!! *the shows were very average. The crew talent show was just poor and seemed to us a cheap way of providing entertainment. However, those grumbles aside - we DID enjoy ourselves. Although I don't think we will be rushing to cruise with Costa again - mainly because of the hidden costs once you're on board Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
My wife and just returned from a cruise on the Costa Fortuna to the Greek Islands. Overall it was an enjoyable cruise. The ship is clean and our cabin was very nice. The stewards were excellent and pleasant. It was definitely worth the ... Read More
My wife and just returned from a cruise on the Costa Fortuna to the Greek Islands. Overall it was an enjoyable cruise. The ship is clean and our cabin was very nice. The stewards were excellent and pleasant. It was definitely worth the price. However ... Costa Fortuna could cost a fortuna. The excursions were so ridiculously overpriced that we skipped all of them on principle. We learned on the excursion to Bari, which is marginally worth seeing, that the ship was pushing organized excursions as a major cost center. Paying essentially $100 per person for a bus ride was, well, let's say, overpriced. Walking around the old city for free cost nothing. Olympia really proved the point. The ship was docked for about 6 hours to allow passengers to get from the port to Olympia, about 30 km away. Those who took the ship-arranged buses, paid around $120 per person. My wife and I paid, round trip on the very convenient train, $4 per person. Some markup. This occurred over and again. The staff pushed all sorts of exaggerated mark-ups, like wine, drinks, massages, etc. While many of these are justified and deserve a premium, the basic message came across: if you want to do anything, drink wine (which was confiscated if you brought it from the towns we visited), buy anything, expect to pay a high price. This alone irritated me to the point of not considering Costa again. The shows were mediocre compared to other lines. The acrobats and dancers were excellent, but the crew put on a talen show and it was somewhat like watching a local high school talent show. The food was pretty good, although I didn't really try to stuff myself like so many seemed to want to do. The gym was good and the saunas were convenient. The layout of the ship was odd, however, and getting to restaurants wasn't very easy. Having taken a Celebrity cruise to Alaska on the Summit, I would have to say that the Summit was far better in nearly all respects. However, the Costa cruise to Greece was fun and we really enjoy Italy and Italians. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
We went on this Grecian Splendour Cruise (Venice, Bari, Katakolon, Santorini. Mykonos, Rhodes and Dubrovnik & Venice) at the end of October & were very, very lucky with the glorious weather & sea state. The embarkation hall ... Read More
We went on this Grecian Splendour Cruise (Venice, Bari, Katakolon, Santorini. Mykonos, Rhodes and Dubrovnik & Venice) at the end of October & were very, very lucky with the glorious weather & sea state. The embarkation hall at Venice was rather spartan, and embarkation slow, but reasonably efficient considering the number of passengers being processed. The ship was spotless throughout and the cabins always clean & well tended by our cheerful and helpful cabin steward. The quest for extra income was ceaseless. Our bags were scanned or searched every time we embarked, so we could not even bring a bottle of water aboard. Drinks at the bar were expensive and the added service charge made them excessively so. Over €7 for a double whisky is unreasonably excessive. The food, considering the kitchens are catering for over 3,000 passengers, was excellent, and the waiting staff were smart, cheerful, hard working and efficient. The best cabaret of the cruise was undertaken by them, in between courses and to the surprise and delight of all diners. You would have to be there to understand! The evening shows in the superb Rex Theatre were a huge disappointment. I have seen far superior and longer shows in a ship half the size of Fortuna. An evening show should be longer than 50 minutes. The staff talent show is an insult to the paying guest, who expects professional entertainers, although this comment is not aimed at the crew themselves. The Entertainment Director should consider resigning. The mandatory service charge of €6.50 per person per day, added to our onboard account, and which we had to accept as part of the booking conditions, was regrettable. We would have preferred to tip those staff who gave us excellent service. The staff appraisal on the penultimate day left us in a quandary - we were advised that if we did not tick "Excellent", the staff would not get the tips, and the money would go to another well-known Italian organisation! Despite the previous comments, we had a wonderful, enjoyable cruise. Each and every member of the crew was efficient, polite and cheerful, and contributed greatly to the enjoyment of the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
I was anxiously waiting for weeks to experience my first cruise trip and to be among my relatives traveling from different countries that I have not seen for years An inside cabin on the 7th floor of Costa Fortuna line was reserved to ... Read More
I was anxiously waiting for weeks to experience my first cruise trip and to be among my relatives traveling from different countries that I have not seen for years An inside cabin on the 7th floor of Costa Fortuna line was reserved to my roommate and me by our travel agency in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This cabin happened to be located directly beneath the swimming pool and poolside music system. When the DJ was absent, his music system was locked in a silver metal box and played loud music all day and night long. My roommate, and I  heard the loud Boom...Boom music sound coming from the poolside all day and night long for two days and complained on numerous times to the ship's customer service manager, to our travel agency representative including y several customer service and crew members. However, our multiple complains fell on deaf ears. We repeatedly were told they can't do anything about it and they don't have another room for us. After three sleepless nights and days, they switch us to another couple's room with a noisy ventilation unit located directly behind our cabin wall (we later found out that couple were also complaining of that noise )knowing very well that this cabin also was a noisy one since they asked us if anything else bothered us beside the loud sound of music. How inappropriate! We were tricked to the second cabin. We spent three restless days trying to locate all of the above people to plead with them for a quiet cabin. The cruise line management failed totally to look after our well being and refused time and time again to accommodate us. No compassion, no consideration and no respect exercised from any of the crew members. At one point a crew member told me that his room is adjacent to the ship's engine room and why I am complaining about the noise in my room. I have never ever in my entire adult life being treated in such irresponsible way. It seems in their books customer service is none existent. It's unacceptable behavior. I was very fortunate to have a Physician cousin of mine on board and with his prescription medication we were able to sleep the rest of the 6 days trip. We requested a refund of the expenses and we were told in their cynical and laughable way that they were happy that we enjoyed the trip and they are looking forward to see us again. The first cruise trip was a complete disaster and we were so mistreated from day one that we will never ever consider traveling with Costa Lines again. Their breakfasts and lunches are third rated, however some of the nights they served us three star restaurant dinners.  After our return, we heard from several sources that Costa Cruise Lines 'customer service department has a bad reputation.  Make sure you ask in writing about a quiet room and ask all the questions before signing up with any of their trips. They are out to trick you big time. I give this Costa Fortuna's trip a one star rating!!! Read Less
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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