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Sail Date: May 2005
Actual embarkation was Naples with the following itinerary:Palermo, Tunis, Palma, Barcelona, Marseille, Savona. Getting to Naples is easy from Rome with a 2hr train ride. Here are some brief comments: -Lower levels outside/inside are a ... Read More
Actual embarkation was Naples with the following itinerary:Palermo, Tunis, Palma, Barcelona, Marseille, Savona. Getting to Naples is easy from Rome with a 2hr train ride. Here are some brief comments: -Lower levels outside/inside are a bit nosy as you can sometimes hear the ship ride over the waves. Try to get level 3+ if you stay in your cabin a lot. This won't matter if you are itinerary focused or spend your time at the sun/pool decks. -Try to pick up some Italian/French/Spanish if you plan to go to Europe. We didn't mind hearing 4x languages on the ship since after all you are in another country and shouldn't expect english to be spoken frequently. -Don't expect North American style of service and cuisine. Majority of passengers are Italian. But we didn't mind too much as we came to enjoy the different cultures although it was annoying to wait with everyone each nite as the second seating dinning room was never on time to open. Overall service of dinning, room attendant, buffet staff more like 3 star than 4-5 star as they are all very friendly but don't have the fine tuned training that they should have. -New ship, so facilities and technology is top notch. Ship arrived and departed each port on time and embarkation/debarkation was very efficient. -itinerary was excellent and information about each port of call was very good. Cruise tour was efficient although it would be nice to have it a little longer. Only port you really need to do some research is Savona....take the tour to either Genoa or Portofino. -Overall good value for new ship and excellent itinerary. Excellent way to visit and travel around Europe. This type of cruise is suited for itinerary focused vacations and a touch of language learning. Set your expectations about Europe and you will have a wonderful trip! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2005
Let me first start by telling everyone that is planning this trip =>> Make sure that your connecting flights from US to Savona or any other connecting city is at least a few hours apart. Mine was only 35 min and I missed it because ... Read More
Let me first start by telling everyone that is planning this trip =>> Make sure that your connecting flights from US to Savona or any other connecting city is at least a few hours apart. Mine was only 35 min and I missed it because we spent 45 min on the runway in New York's JFK airport due to traffic. Please take a small carry on with all the necessary toiletries and 2-3 days worth of underwear/clothing change in case they lose your luggage. Mine was lost due to AlItalia's negligence and I did not get it until Barcelona (6 days later). The lost luggage assistance is very poor (no proper tel numbers or contacts on board or on land) and there is nothing to buy on board to help. Costa Cruises do not offer anything except for a small survival kit (toothpaste, toothbrush and shampoo). Laundry is free, but what do you wear while they are washing it? The Carnival Corp. has purchased Costa Cruises and you can feel it right away. The food is very average and the service is just ok. The Costa Fortuna ship itself is big and nice, however the dEcor is dizzying. Typical of Carnival's luck of taste and limit. The cabin #9205 (suites class S) on the 9th deck is very nice, and not expensive if 3 people are sharing it. It is spacious and very clean. Early sitting dinner starts at 7-7:30PM and does not end till 9PM. Late sitting dinner is too late starts at 9:30PM. The crowd is mostly middle class Italians, French and Spanish, only a few Americans. Everyone pushes into elevators and there is no consideration for space or people. Very strange behaviors regarding other passengers, children are everywhere, even if it's specified that it be for adults only. Smoking is allowed everywhere except for the theater. There are non-smoking sections, but the air-conditioning is not working at all and it is very hot and stuffy everywhere. The cruises excursions are nice and worth the money, not the dinner and show, but the history and the city's sight seeing tours. The nightly shows are very primitive and uninteresting. The music in all lounges is very nice and there is lots of dancing going on everywhere. I do not recommend any Carnival cruises here in USA or Europe, very poor standards even for the money. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2006
My partner and I had a very nice time on this cruise. It was my first time with Costa. We loved the itinerary which included Rome (unbelievable), Cairo (yeah we saw the Pyramids, Sphinx and artifacts from King Tut... no kidding), Turkey ... Read More
My partner and I had a very nice time on this cruise. It was my first time with Costa. We loved the itinerary which included Rome (unbelievable), Cairo (yeah we saw the Pyramids, Sphinx and artifacts from King Tut... no kidding), Turkey (drank that tasty and intoxicating Lions Milk and purchased a carpet. Sure beats going to work), and many other dazzling sites. We had the cheapest room listed and it wasn't bad. 1252 is next to a staff hallway which didn't show up on any of the ships maps. It did get a bit loud (occasional banging?)at times. I would not book that room again. The room was clean and I have no complaints about the bed. I slept great . The breakfast was okay. Same menu different day. Blah. Lunch. Very good. Some folks complained but I thought they were nuts. The ship does make pizza all the time and it is always offered. Kids liked it, but many of the adults wanted the lunch buffet well after lunch hours. That didn't happen, it was just salad and pizza. Dinner. Mmmmmm. Nice menu with a lot of Italian dishes. Lots of seafood, pasta, soup/salad and don't forget the desserts. No one left hungry. Oh, I also loved the wine list. Good value for wines priced between $17-$25.00. The staff at the restaurant were wonderful, very professional. Note: As we left from MN and didn't want to take a bunch of clothes for the two week stay, we did not bring any "fancy clothes" for the 3 Gala dinners held. We just figured that we would go to the dinner buffet instead. Guess what? No dinner buffet. Just the salad and pizza bar. So, we went to the gala dinners feeling a bit under dressed. Men should bring at least one good suit and women one nice dress (with accessories). You'll feel better. Definitely book any excursions through Costa. Yeah it is a bit more, but they run a class act. Also, when we left a couple of ports we did leave a few people. They just missed the departure time and as they did not book thru the ship, were left. Be warned. I was on a Costa excursion in Turkey, we had a great time (House of Mary, Ephesus and St. John)!!! We ran 40 minites late (traffic) but there was no stress. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
We had a very good cruise overall. Transfers to and from the port were very smooth, however the wait for embarkation (there were 1,800 passengers on our trip) took hours, so take along a book to read. Our room was really comfortable and ... Read More
We had a very good cruise overall. Transfers to and from the port were very smooth, however the wait for embarkation (there were 1,800 passengers on our trip) took hours, so take along a book to read. Our room was really comfortable and well-designed with a huge king-size bed and excellent shower, and it was only a standard interior cabin. We were above one of the lounges so it was a bit noisy. There was little TV in English apart from BBC World, and no free films, but the maps of our location and the weather were very useful. Dining was good, with plenty of tasty choices at the buffet, and good service, although I wouldn't say food was top notch. Plenty of fun activities, especially the quizzes, which took a long time to do because everything had to be repeated in 5 or 6 languages. The dancing lessons were fun too. Service was excellent, but we found drinks a bit pricey, especially with service added on top, however it saved worrying about tipping. I would definitely recommend their cocktails of the day - all really good. The shops had a good choice but again we found them very expensive and the photos weren't cheap either. The shows were very enjoyable, quite spectacular and professional overall, with a comfortable and huge theatre. Our favorite shore excursion was Tripoli with the Roman ruins at Leptis Magna being truly exceptional. All the guides were interesting and knowledgeable. We saw the total eclipse, which was very well organised by the captain. The design of the interiors is interesting and excellent quality and everything was spotlessly clean. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2006
We travelled with our 2 kids (8 and 4)and were a bit apprehensive to start, because they never cruised before. It turned out to be a fantastic family holiday! We reached Savona by car, as we travelled all the way from England, where we ... Read More
We travelled with our 2 kids (8 and 4)and were a bit apprehensive to start, because they never cruised before. It turned out to be a fantastic family holiday! We reached Savona by car, as we travelled all the way from England, where we live, and were really happy with the parking arrangements; at the terminal, parking attendants took our car keys, parked for us and we found our luggage directly in our cabin without having to carry it anywhere. We had a cabin with balcony on deck 6 and found it very comfortable: a double bed and a bunk bed for the kids with plenty of storage, beautiful shower room and tasteful decor. The balcony was a bit of a luxury that gave us extra privacy late in the evening, after the kids had fallen asleep (incidentally, the balcony are pretty safe for kids as they have no railings but glass panels, my 4 year old couldn't reach the top but was happy to see though the glass. We found the staff to be generally helpful and everyone could speak English even though it clearly wasn't their first language. On the pool deck we liked the fact that staff was regularly going around to collect towels that people left on sun loungers after they left the deck, (instead of putting them in the laundry bin provided), so we could always find at least 3 available if not 4. We ate our dinner in the Michelangelo restaurant and never been disappointed, but lunches in the Colombo buffet could be a bit boring, unless you're happy with pizza every day. The kid's club has been a success with our children and they left the ship with bags full of gifts and things they made (oh joy!). We particularly enjoyed the evening slot, from 9 'till midnight, as it meant we could relax! We chose 2 child friendly excursions; in Naples we went to the top of Vesuvius (my 8 year old was thrilled to be on a real volcano) and in Palma we opted for the Catamaran tour and snorkeling. Both excursions were well organized and we all enjoyed them. In my opinion Costa Fortuna is a great Ship for a family holiday and of course you have to bear that in mind if you're going as a couple. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
(Actually, we started our cruise in Naples, but that wasn't an option under Embarkation.) We booked our cruise about a month before sailing and it included an overnight stay in Rome and transfers to/from Naples. Embarkation was ... Read More
(Actually, we started our cruise in Naples, but that wasn't an option under Embarkation.) We booked our cruise about a month before sailing and it included an overnight stay in Rome and transfers to/from Naples. Embarkation was relatively organized, though any North American should be prepared to wait longer to clear immigration and to surrender passport to ship's crew (receiving a photocopy that evening -- to be used for getting on and off the ship during the cruise). This ship is relatively large and often confusing to get around because several levels do not go from front to back. Decor is somewhat "striking" and "glitzy", but not too offensive. Our room was very nice and included a balcony with seating for two and a small coffee table. There was plenty of storage space. The bathroom was small but adequate. A hair dryer was included, but located in the desk drawer. The bed was relatively comfortable, though the mattress did contain some kind of buttons that could be felt through the bedding. I scrapped my elbow on one. There was a cigarette burn in bedspread and one large black mark on the wall (that wasn't cleaned until Day 4 of our cruise). Our room steward did introduce herself the first day, but was not very friendly and did not provide any services other than the normal making and turning down of the bed. Dining was mostly average. We enjoy all types of food, and were unimpressed with most offerings. For me, the best items were the pastas. Our table mates were also unimpressed with the food, stating that in comparison to other lines, it was sorely lacking. Portions however are reasonable and you have a choice of any or all of 6 courses. Buffet dining was also adequate (choice/quality), but the high proportion of big families and Mediterranean sensibilities, made for a lot of frustrating cutting in line. This itinerary stopped in Palermo, Tunis, Palma, Barcelona, Marseille, Savona and Naples. We particularly enjoyed the Spanish cities and Tunis. We only took a ship excursion in Tunis and this was more because of the relatively short time in port and wide area that needed to be covered. Regrettably, this excursion included a too long, mandatory stop/sales pitch at a carpet store. All other ports were walkable for us and we enjoyed doing our own thing. Note however that the ship-provided transfers to the "city centre" are recommended in Barcelona and (especially) Marseille. Ship entertainment was plentiful enough, though we would have preferred movies versus the shows, which were runner-up "Idol" quality at best. Staff (except for the bartenders) are relatively quiet and sometimes hard to find. Rules are posted for things like smoking, adults only pool times and no minors gambling, but rarely enforced. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise. If we had paid anywhere close to regular price, we would have felt cheated, but we did get a good "last minute" price, especially considering the Rome stayover. Those more familiar with North American cruise lines will probably compare the food and entertainment unfavorably. But if you are more interested in seeing a number of interesting cities, without packing/unpacking, and with adequate meals, you'll be pleased with this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2007
O Sole Mio ... the Costa Fortuna gave us a wonderful and unforgettable Italian summer experience in July 2007: a Mediterranean cruise with wonderful food, distinct Italian atmosphere, wonderful ports of call, and excellent service. We ... Read More
O Sole Mio ... the Costa Fortuna gave us a wonderful and unforgettable Italian summer experience in July 2007: a Mediterranean cruise with wonderful food, distinct Italian atmosphere, wonderful ports of call, and excellent service. We had done our first cruise just a few months earlier (Norwegian Dawn Western Caribbean in March 2007) and we totally loved it, except for the jet lag (we live in Holland aka The Netherlands, in Europe). So we decided to stay in Europe this summer and to do a European cruise to find out: 1) Would Costa have the same excellent level of service as Norwegian (YES) 2) Would Costa have the same quality of food as Norwegian (YES, even better if you like Italian food and lots of fish), and dining flexibility (NO - Norwegian's Freestyle concept and the number of restaurants on the Dawn is better). 3) Would Costa have the same wonderful entertainment as Norwegian (YES and NO, more details later). Travel to Port of Embarkation Savona We (mom, dad, son, girl friend) took a low cost carrier (www.ryanair.com) from Holland to Pisa Airport, Italy. Pisa Airport has a train station with frequent trains and a ticket to Pisa is 1.10 euro. The airport also has a frequent shuttle service to Pisa and to Florence. After spending a week around Pisa and Florence dad & girl friend returned to Holland, and mom & son took the train from Pisa via Genoa to Savona. Trains are cheap and comfortable in Italy. The journey took 3h30min and was about 25 euros for a 1st class ticket. Other non-Italian Costa passengers flew into Milan and then either took the Costa bus to the ship (which needs to be booked in advance) or the train (about 2h30 to 3h30 depending on which Milan airport you fly to). Italian train schedules and prices in English: http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html In front of Savona train station there were many taxis. Since we arrived early and our luggage had wheels we walked instead of taking a taxi. Via the city center to the port it's 1.9km which is about 1.2 miles (note: you need to cross water twice so if you decide to walk bring a printed route or map otherwise the walk will be much longer. We used www.viamichelin.com to find the shortest route, and selected the "On Foot" option). Check-in and embarkation was a breeze with almost no waiting time (everybody is given a plastic card with a group number, then after a few minutes (in our case about 10 minutes) they call the number and the whole group goes through the passport and security checks (these took another 10 minutes including getting pushed aside repeatedly by many Italians who force themselves to the front of the queues - a small frustration that was repeated throughout the cruise). Hotel Info In Pisa, we wanted a hotel very close to the train station, with a good breakfast. We have found 2 hotels each about 5 minutes away from the station on foot. The best choice is Hotel Terminus & Plaza - in July 2007 it was 75 euro per night per room with breakfast included. Equally good but a bit more expensive and with quite small but well appointed bathrooms is La Pace (a few steps closer to the station), 95 euro per night per room with breakfast included. The rooms in both hotels look a bit old but they are clean and comfortable and they have air conditioning. The leaning tower of Pisa is about 30 minutes away on foot through the pedestrian friendly city center. Stateroom We had an outside cabin (2399). The cabin was very clean, well maintained, spacious and quiet, it had a large window (not a porthole but larger and rectangular) a sitting area with a couch and a comfortable chair, and an excellent double bed which could be made into twin beds on request. There was a TV with the possibility to check your onboard account and to read about and see small videos of the shore excursions. TV channels depended on the ship's location (no satellite TV) and we got at least one English language channel most of the time. There are US and European power sockets, an insulated ice bucket that was kept full with ice by the cabin steward, a filled fridge (with price list), a safe that worked with the key card that you also need to buy anything on board, to open your cabin door, and to leave and enter the ship. There is adjustable air conditioning in the cabin which is very quiet and works well. The cabin steward also has additional blankets if required. The bathroom is large enough for one person at a time. There is a good shower with curtain and soap dispenser + a dish/shelf on which you can put your shampoo. There is an airplane-style vacuum toilet, several glass shelves, a drying line for laundry. For our 2 person cabin we got 2 large towels and 2 small ones and they were changed twice a day if we used them during the day. Otherwise just once when the steward made the bed. There is lots of cupboard space with several hangers. The "Today" program for the next day (including instructions for going ashore and instructions for gathering for the Costa shore excursions) was delivered every day around 10:15PM together with a high level map of the destination. A nice touch is that there is also a free mini newspaper every day (delivered to the cabin during the day, we got Britain Today in English). Ship Info The ship is large, clean, and there were always enough sun beds, tables, seats, roaming drinks waiters, music or (if preferred) quiet. The ship is nicely decorated and kept in excellent order. The best times to be on deck were when approaching and leaving the ports, especially the ones that are near the city centers, and during the wonderful passage of Capri and Anacapri (the ship sails very close to both sides of the island, towering above the Capri and Anacapri villages). Dining Breakfast and lunch can be taken in the a la carte restaurants but we opted for the buffet restaurant for lunch since the buffet has many more tables for two, and because during lunch two or more of the six buffets contained typical cuisine of the region where the ship was. Dinner was best enjoyed in the a la carte restaurant (first seating at 7:15PM, second seating at 9:45PM), followed by a special coffee or drink at one of the bars, or free regular coffee/tea in the buffet restaurant. The a la carte restaurant table, waiters, and fellow dinner guests remained the same during the cruise, although it was possible to ask the Maitre D' to be moved to another table if required (must be done a day in advance). There is also a midnight buffet every day but we have not sampled it during this cruise. There is a grill at the pool with nice burgers, hot dogs, fries, ice cream. Every day at 4:30PM afternoon tea with lots of cakes and fresh fruit. There is fresh pizza-by-slice in the buffet restaurant from about noon to 10PM and then the same restaurant is turned into a pizzeria from 10PM to 1:30AM. And there is an upscale restaurant for a charge on deck 11 that we did not try; we were told that it has a wonderful, upscale atmosphere and even better food than the rest of the restaurants. This must be really special because the food in other restaurants was outstanding (Note: the hostess warned us during the Welcome meeting that US-Italian food is prepared differently compared to Italian-Italian food … I cannot remember all examples she gave; one was that Americans prefer the pasta and vegetables to be cooked longer and more mushy than the present day Italians do so the pasta on the ship would possibly seemed uncooked to some US guests.) Activities and Entertainment If you like dancing and music and pool games there is plenty of it during day and night and the atmosphere is excellent. The performances in the theatre were a bit disappointing compared to what we've seen on the Norwegian Dawn a few months ago. We never had a dull moment on the ship though. The most special and surprising entertainment was that performed by the waiters during some of the evenings, during or right after dinner. Very, very nice! Children's Clubs The whole ship seemed a children club at times (lots of children about) but it was never a nuisance. Service Excellent service. Everybody from the crew we spoke with, spoke English. Our room steward and waiters remembered our preferences and were very sociable. Customer Service was also very helpful although it was always a mess at the Customer Service desk at busy times. They kept trying to organize queues but the queues fell apart almost immediately - people kept pushing and jumping the queue. Shore Excursions Hint: almost every time we disembarked there was a tourist information booth with a more detailed map of the city than the one Costa gave us (free and very useful). We had also bought Mediterranean By Cruise Ship by Anne Vipond but the book has so little info about some of the ports that you're probably better off reading information on the internet and planning what to see before you leave home. For other ports Anne Vipond's book did have good descriptions, and it's a nice book to read about the Mediterranean in general. Note about shopping: many shops close for a few hours during mid day, so if you want to shop a lot be ashore in the late morning or late afternoon/early evening. Naples: we walked into the city (10 minute walk from the port) and there was lots to see and to shop. Costa also had many interesting excursions, for example to Pompei (48 euros per person, 4 hours), or the Vesuvius crater (47 euros per person, 4.5 hours). Traffic was hectic and crossing busy streets in the center required some getting used to (there are not many traffic lights at the pedestrian crossings). Great city, although smelly and dirty and hectic. Recommended: walk to one of the Funicular stations (inclined railways going up the hills to higher parts of the city) and take the Funicular all the way up for a nice view and quieter neighborhoods. The one we took (Central, close to the port and the palace) was one euro to go to the top station, and one euro to go down again (ticket machines were out of order at the top but the newspaper stand inside the station at the top also sells tickets, for the same price as the out of order machines). Palermo: we walked into the city (just across the street from the port) and then walked for hours through the city, visiting the sights, for example the impressive cathedral, and the theater that was used in the final part of Godfather 3 (the daughter of Michael Corleone is shot when exiting the theater and cries "papa, papa"). Very nice city, lots to see and, again, to shop. Costa has a few shore excursions for example one that takes you to remains of the classic Greek civilization (8 hours, 65 euros per person). Tunisia: we should have taken one of the Costa tours to the Souk (market) + City Center, or to Carthage and Sidi Bou Said (each around 50 euros per person, 4 hours), or we should have taken one of the taxis (about 15 euros one way to the Souk, but can be negotiated down). Instead we walked to La Goulette. This is a small city next to the port with a big old fort that is now perhaps being renovated (or they are building something connected to it) so we could walk into the run down fort for free. They also have a nice long and clean beach (note: we saw some women at the beach but they were fully clothed, even when going into the water, so it’s probably not a good idea to go to the beach in a bikini). There were many small stores selling snacks and drinks (but we saw no possibility to buy postcards or any tourist items), and a vegetable and fish/meat market. The city has a small train station with a direct connection to Tunis and frequent trains (15 minutes walk from the port, just keep walking in a straight line from the port to La Goulette and after you cross a road you’ll see the railway and shortly after that the small station) but all trains / destinations were in Arabic and no French/English translation at that station so we did not want to take the risk of not being able to find our way back. Downside in Tunisia: extreme and repeated haggling by many taxi drivers (there were a few taxis just inside the port gate, and lots of taxis lined up outside the gate). However, we never felt unsafe (just a bit annoyed by the taxi drivers). Palma de Mallorca: wonderful city with great sights, nice narrow streets and an abundance of shops, cafes and restaurants. It is too far to walk from the port to the city center but there are lots of taxis and there is a frequent city bus (line 1, the bus stop is next to the taxi stop; this is the airportcityports bus, so make sure you take it in the right direction) to the center for 1,20 euro per person (make sure you have small change because the bus driver has almost no change). The bus system is very modern. The bus has a screen inside that shows the name of the next bus stop, and the larger bus stops have screens showing exactly in how many minutes the next bus will come and where it’s going. The bus drivers are very helpful (ask for city center or the cathedral) and he’ll point you in the right direction (the bus does not drive into the old center but goes around it since the center is mostly a low-traffic / pedestrian area with narrow streets). Barcelona: this is the best city of all. The Sagrada Familia is fantastic, parc Guel is very nice, La Rambla (pedestrian street) is very nice, and there are so many more things to see. I’ve spent a week her a while ago and I still have not seen it all. It’s a long walk from the port to the city so it’s best to buy a ticket for the Costa shuttle bus (5 euro return ticket) that leaves you next to the Maritime museum (very nice), and 0.5 miles from the column+statue of Columbus (there is an elevator up to the top of the column; it’s quite narrow at the top and crowded at times so bulky people will not be comfortable but the view is great). The column is also where La Rambla starts, a long street which is pedestrian-only in the middle and which leads to the city center (beware of pick pockets). Costa also has many excursions (around 50 euros per person). Marseilles: nice area around the old port. As far as I could see it is impossible to walk to the city from the cruise terminal. Costa provides a shuttle (5 euros per person for a return ticket). Best attraction in my view: steep walk through the city up to the cathedral/church that is overlooking the port. The view from the cathedral is magnificent. Nice pastries, fish food, lots of shops in the city. Beware of pickpockets (as in all cities and probably many other places as well). I was buying a T-shirt from a street merchant and while paying for it I felt that someone was feeling around inside my small backpack that was on my back. I turned around and the guy walked away, leaving my backpack open. Costa has 5 shore excursions ranging between 40 and 80 euros per person. During a previous visit to the area I’ve been to Aix en Provence (46 euros, 4 hours including the 30 minute return trip and a guided walk) and it’s a very nice city with romantic tree-lined streets and cafes. Savona: mid-sized city and home port of the Costa Fortuna. From the ship you cross the wooden pedestrian bridge into the city (5 minute walk). Old stately buildings, shaded (roofed) walkways, many cafes/bars. However, there are no notable sights in Savona. Costa has a few shore excursions in case Savona is one of your ports of call (for most people it’s the start and end of the journey). Most Spanish guests start their cruise in Barcelona, most French start their cruise in Marseilles, some Italians in Naples, so for those guests this is one of the ports of call. The shore excursions go to Genoa, Albissola, Portofino and are between 35 and 74 euros per person. Disembarkation There is a disembarkation presentation by the hostess (a different one for each language group). The procedure is quite standard – colored tags are delivered to your cabin, to be used for the luggage that you place outside your cabin during the night. In the morning there is enough time for breakfast (breakfast starts at 7AM, first group disembarks at 8:30AM) and at a specific time all disembarking guests with a certain tag color need to go to one of the public rooms (all this info is in the “Today” leaflet that you receive the day before disembarkation). From there they are escorted to the arrival hall where the baggage awaits. In front of the baggage hall there are taxis, behind them there are buses (I believe there was a shuttle to Naples airport, and it needed to be booked in advance). And behind the busses there are rental cars (if booked in advance). Behind them is a huge parking area for all passengers who come by car. One of the other passengers was telling the hostess that he had tried to buy tickets for another shuttle (probably to the Genoa train station, but I’m not sure) on the last day of the cruise but Costa had cancelled it. The train from Savona to Genoa is only 3.10 euros though in the weekend for a 1 hour train ride. We were at the Savona train station around 9:30AM. Unfortunately there was a railway problem or a strike (and nobody at the station to give any information about the trains, except for 2 railway police officers who told us to wait for announcements – which came about an hour later – and two train drivers who did not want to answer any questions in English or Italian) and the first few trains had been cancelled so the first train we could take was the 11:10AM train to Genoa. The same problem was repeated in Genoa for our onward journey to Pisa. Several trains had been cancelled and while we were waiting for a train to Pisa we heard the announcements (in Italian and English) that many other trains to other destinations were being cancelled as well. We arrived in Pisa at the end of the afternoon, at 5PM. Luckily we had booked another hotel night in Pisa and a flight the next day back home. Summary Pro: world class service, wonderful ship, great itinerary, very tasty food, great atmosphere (if you like extrovert, Italian). Con: the theater performances are a bit bland. Would we recommend this cruise to anyone? YES, absolutely. Would we sail with Costa again? Yes, Costa provide a wonderful cruising experience and they have the advantage of sailing in one of the nicest parts of the world: the Mediterranean. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
I've been on many cruises, but this was our first, but not our last Costa cruise. Embarkation and debarkation were among the quickest I've experienced on any line. Costa knows how to move a large number of people. Before the ... Read More
I've been on many cruises, but this was our first, but not our last Costa cruise. Embarkation and debarkation were among the quickest I've experienced on any line. Costa knows how to move a large number of people. Before the cruise, I read a lot about people butting into line, but only experienced this one time in seven days. The thing I found most annoying was the fact when the elevator doors opened, people would push their way inside, not allowing the people trying to get off access to the door. More than once, I was not allowed to get off the elevator at my selected floor due to those pushing in. The Fortuna is a lovely ship and a perfect size. Our stateroom was on the 11th floor and we were pleasantly surprised to find our "window" was actually a floor to ceiling window that slightly extended outward. A table and chair made the area as good as a balcony. The food on the Lido was better than most, especially the pasta selections which changed at every meal. Our dining room was lovely and our table overlooked the large windows across the back of the ship. We found the second floor to be far less crowded than the first and I would request it again. The shows were good although I did miss the comedy shows on other lines. I realize it would have been difficult to have such shows due to the language differences onboard. While the shows weren't as "glitzy" as others I've seen, they were entertaining. Max, the cruise director was pleasant and seemed sincere, not like some of the others I've seen. My husband thought there was more to do on other lines, but we were never bored. The meals for the most part were very good. I did have one meal where the fish was almost raw and the lemon sauce was overpowering. This was on the last night of the cruise. Others at our table for eight thought the menu selections for the evening were very poor, and we did have a hard time trying to select something we could eat. I noticed several of us only ate small portions of our last dinner. The desserts were good, but everything made of a cake or cake layer was very dry and lacking in flavor. We didn't take shore excursions, as we're experienced cruisers and do well on our own or with independent cab drivers. Our tour of Tortola on "The Happy Bus" was one of the best we've taken. We got on at the port and the driver gave us an entire island tour of almost 4 hours for only $15 each. Freddie was a very nice person and very entertaining as well. I really felt like I learned a lot about Tortola and her people. While in St. Maarten, we rented a car and headed to Orient Beach where we spent a great day. The people who own Club Orient rent chairs and umbrellas for a very fair price. We were not pleased with the time the ship arrived in San Juan (5:00 p.m.) or the fact we left at 10:00 p.m. The time there was too short to see much, plus the fact it was dark. A full day in San Juan and only 5 or 6 hours in Tortola would have been much better. My only real complaint about the cruise was that I cut my arm while in the boarding process and nobody helped at all. I was told I couldn't even get a bandage until after I got on board. I tried to do this only to be told that the pharmacy wasn't open yet and wouldn't be for several hours. So there I was walking around with a wet paper towel which I got for myself in the bathroom, applying pressure to my bleeding arm. I wasn't able to get bandages for my arm until later in the evening. I was even willing to go to the doctor on board but was told he wasn't open yet either. So anyone going on this ship, take a box of bandages with you. Be aware that when you get in Nassau there's a very long walk from the ship into the town, especially if you're docked at the far end like we were. We notice many older couples having to stop every little while to rest. They did have a few courtesy carts, but way to few. We only saw one going into town and one going back to the ships. There were four ships docked at the same time we were. Would I cruise on Costa again? Yes, without question. It was a lovely, refined, first class cruise on a beautiful ship, and a crew that was second to none I've seen. A special thanks to our room steward, Allen. If you haven't given Costa a try, do it once and I'm sure you'll go back. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2007
I unfortunately have to start my review out by saying our Costa Fortuna cruise was lacking in so many ways that it was really the only bad cruise out of 11 cruises that I have been on. To begin with embarkation was at best a Joke. Although ... Read More
I unfortunately have to start my review out by saying our Costa Fortuna cruise was lacking in so many ways that it was really the only bad cruise out of 11 cruises that I have been on. To begin with embarkation was at best a Joke. Although we arrived early at the port approximately 11:00, by the time Costa started checking everyone in they had 2 people doing this procedure. The process was taking so long, and there was no organization at all in the terminal that people were becoming irate. There were 2 people while in line that became ill, one collapsing totally becoming injured and there were no ship personnel available to assist. I personally felt that these families were left to fin for themselves but just by chance someone in line who was a nurse in training was able to assist until an emergency crew showed up. To my knowledge no Costa people ever assisted. When the Costa crew up front were told about it and asked to get help they did not seem overly concerned. We ourselves ran into an issue with our registration as they asked us for our documents and I explained they were done electronically and I was then told that we still needed to present a copy of them up front. My fault on that one I guess. So we had to fill out everything again on paper at that time which meant getting out of line to do so, they would not accommodate us doing it there after we had stood in line already over an hour. Additionally there were no chairs left to sit in and no tables to write on, and barely room to stand so that procedure was in itself extremely difficult. Be aware if you do things electronically, and make sure you have a pen with you in case of emergency, as you may need it. I figured electronic meant they pull it up there but they seemed to only find my name. And to add to that we had to re-register our charge card on board days later again being told that it gets screwed up on about 20% of the people at boarding. Continuing on with the embarkation we were funneled to the 11 floor where we were to wait at the buffet until our room was ready to occupy. That is normal for most cruises we have been on in the past but at least on the other cruises the buffet was open. This one did not open for another hour. And we found throughout the week the buffet hours seemed to be very odd and short as compared to other cruise lines we have been on. In reading other reviews on this ship I have to agree, service in the dining room was just fair. Be prepared for 2 hour dinners at a minimum with 15-20 minutes between courses. The waiter messed up our order a couple of times, and although corrected he just did not seem to be paying attention during the order process or throughout the meal. I really think they just had too many tables to wait on per waiter. If you are someone who drinks much tea or water you can hang it up as like others have noted you will not get refills often if at all. We went to the dining room 3 nights then just gave up and went to the buffet after that, which never started until 7:00 and only for 1 ½ hours. As far as the buffet is concerned it seemed minimal on variety but if you like pasta you are good to go although I felt it was lacking in taste considering this is an Italian ship. I personally cruise for food and entertainment and the food was lacking. As far as entertainment again I was a little disappointed. They did have an excellent pianist one night and one other night we had a very nice show including lasers, excellent dancing including a River Dance type show by the dancers and some additional talent brought in from off the ship. But it seemed that much of the entertainment was for the most part for a much older crowd. If you like Elvis and hearing songs like "I did it my way" and "Santa Baby" repetitively for 7 days then you would have been happy. One sad note on the spa, they did not open until 8:00 the first day out and then 7:00 the days after that. I know many people go to the gym very early in the morning so don't count on it on this ship. Additionally the few exercise classes they did have were centered around the pool area with people drinking walking in amongst the people exercising. I'm sorry, but when you have a multimillion dollar gym to work with, utilize it. To my knowledge there was not one step class or aerobics class the entire week although they did have about a dozen Reebok step setups stacked in the gym. I did also notice a few machines down needing repair. They were repaired about 4 days after the cruise began. As others have also mentioned the crew just did not seem friendly unless you spoke Italian. There were many Americans, Germans, and French on board and they very obviously did not get the same attention. Our room steward did speak to us when we passed him and was polite although we did not know who he was for the first couple of days as he never introduced himself and we never saw him in our room. But he did a very nice job keeping things cleaned up as needed and getting a repair to the room fixed that we needed done. Additionally all of the room Stewards and Stewardess were friendly and always spoke as you passed them in the hall. The crew in the buffet and dining areas though were not only unfriendly but really just did not seem to enjoy their jobs and seemed driven. Shore excursions on this ship is a buyer beware type of thing. We had one excursion cancelled 2 days before boarding ship, not in time to reschedule before taking off and then find out that many of the shore excursions that were online were no longer being offered at all once we got on the ship when we tried to rebook an alternative. We only did 2 through the ship but one that we purchased through Costa in St Maarten was just plain bad, not worth the money and totally unorganized. You book your excursion but do not know the time of it until you get their "Today" newsletter which one night we did not get until 11:30 so trying to plan a day in port is pretty much shot. Our excursion did not leave the dock until 1:00 and left an hour late and was 2 ½ hours long. You were supposed to be back on the ship at 4:30 so that left Zero time for delays. Although it was booked through the ship I still do not like cutting it that close and so we took a Taxi back to the ship early. Additionally the shore excursions were unorganized at the pier. Would it hurt to hold up a sign to let people know that a certain excursion meats at a certain location as other cruise lines do? People were wondering around asking each other if they knew where the Costa excursions were meeting and if it was the one they needed. I hate to have so many negative things to say about a cruise, as in the past there may be one thing here or there that is subpar and we truthfully go with the flow and are very easy going on cruises. Unfortunately Costa blew this one from the word go. This is the first time I felt like we did not get our money's worth on a cruise. We will cruise again and already have one booked but it will not be with Costa. I find it hard to believe they have the issues they do being owned by Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Well, all good things have to come to an end, and so did our wonderful cruise on the Costa Fortuna from December 9 to December 16, 2007 on the South-Eastern Caribbean run. And as always in the past, I'm always up for a detailed review ... Read More
Well, all good things have to come to an end, and so did our wonderful cruise on the Costa Fortuna from December 9 to December 16, 2007 on the South-Eastern Caribbean run. And as always in the past, I'm always up for a detailed review of our experience... So here it goes: THE SHIP: The Costa Fortuna is a beautiful ship and is a "Liberty" class ship, which features exactly the same layout as the Costa Magica, her younger sister ship. The ship was very well maintained on the inside and is well taken care of. In the public areas you'll find some minor wear and tear, which is totally normal for a cruise ship. On the outside it appears that the Fortuna could use some paint touch ups in some areas in the very near future (bow area, anchor, etc.). Otherwise she is impressive and beautiful. On the inside the Costa Fortuna is another Joe Farcus design which is always impressive by itself: sparkling, unique, surprising and elegant. Having sailed both, the Fortuna and Magica, I personally prefer the interior design of the Magica... in my opinion she is the more majestic ship which really relays the "magic". If you sail on a "Liberty" class ship the first time, just keep Deck 5 and 9 in mind, as both decks run from the front to the back of the ship without interruptions of other common areas (such as restaurants, etc.). Of course any other decks are fine as well, if you need to navigate quickly from one end to the other, just that you have cabins on each side. OUR STATEROOM: We originally were booked in a Suite (7282) on the Caracas Deck (Deck 7). About a week before sailing I got a phone call from Costa that they had to switch our stateroom, and that I would be able to decide if I'm satisfied with the change: They upgraded us to a Grand Suite!!!! Wow!!!! How can one NOT be satisfied with that? So we actually ended up in Grand Suite 7289... interesting enough, the EXACT same room as we had on the Magica. The cabin impresses by itself with the warm and comfy design, with plenty of wood, brass, mirrors, granite and hand-blown light fixtures. The cabin has a total of three double sliding closets, a dresser with 8 drawers, and additional closet/storage space in the dressing area, just prior to the main bathroom. The room has a large bed in front of a mirror, which stretches the entire width of the cabin, a large size leather sitting/sofa, two comfortable chairs, a desk with an additional chair. The dressing area features a large mirror a little stainless sink and a stool. The bathroom has granite tile flooring, a double vanity sink with granite counter, a bidet (yes, it's European!) and a large whirlpool tub/shower combination. The balcony had two regular deck chairs and two loungers... so plenty of room from R & R! THE CASINO: The casino was much quieter as on the Magica. The layout also seemed a bit more friendly and more spacious, so it never felt crowded at all. Some of the slots were nice to me, others not so much. The table games include Black Jack, Fun 21, Caribbean Stud, Roulette, Craps, etc.... so you should be able to find something to fit your interest and budget. The lowest bets on the tables started at $ 5, some $ 10 tables and highest minimum bet was $ 25. THE THEATRE: The Rex Theatre in the front of the ship is the same layout as on the Magica and is equally impressive... but once again, the theatre on the Magica had in my opinion the extra touch of elegance and glamour. The shows were great and the Costa Fortuna singers and dancers are absolutely talented! They did an outstanding job throughout the week!!! THE FOOD: The food was indeed wonderful once again. Although they made some changes on the menu. In the past, Costa always featured a specific region of Italy, each night a different region... I very much enjoyed the "localized" specials - but they got away with that theme. Instead you just have a menu featuring Italian and International specialties... I'll mention more to the food later... Overall, I would rate the food on the Fortuna with a 4, on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the best. It was delicious, yet has lost some of it's Italian flair and is more "americanized" than before. Sad, but true... THE PERSONNEL: I have not met one person on board of the Fortuna who was not friendly and greeted us with a smile. From maintenance worker, to hotel staff, to restaurant waiters and buffet attendants, everybody was as comforting and welcoming! We actually met several employees who we met on one of our previous cruises. It's always wonderful to meet old friends again! Okay... so let's get to the actual cruise now: DAY 1 - EMBARKATION & DEPARTURE, FORT LAUDERDALE As we're from the Westcoast of Florida it is only about a two hour trip for us to Port Everglades. Traffic was not as heavy as expected, so we arrived early at the port at around 10:30 AM. There were still plenty of previous cruisers at Pier 21, where the Fortuna (and actually our last two Costa cruises) was docked. After unloading the luggage at the curb, I parked the car in the adjacent parking garage (just more convenient, although you pay more - now $ 15/day). A porter quickly checked in our luggage and placed them in one of the heavy steal bins. So with our hand luggage we proceeded to the check-in/security. If you're arriving the first time in Fort Lauderdale, the check-in is at the FAR side of the terminal. Once you make the U-turn at the end, proceed all the way to the end of the passenger terminal, just before where you see the buses parked (loading area towards the right). That's the entrance to the terminal. As we were early, embarkation was open, but only three stations were open. I was told that they just had switched the procedures and location and it seemed apparent. Although a Costa guide was present, it seemed confusing. As more and more passengers arrived, we were lined up sitting and moving up (looked like one big musical chair production) as soon as the next representative became available. That got more confusing as people strolled in from the back to the front and got mixed up with people already waiting in line... Luckily we were trough this procedure fairly soon. I believe as later it gets, the main terminal and check-in will be opened and you won't have to go through this. Another change: Upon check-in you will register your credit card - which is great as it eliminates the registration on board (as in the past). After welcoming pictures, we were on board at 11:40. Once on board we proceeded to the buffet on Deck 9, which will give you the first taste of what's in store for you for the next week! After our delicious treat, we proceeded to our cabin (7289), which was located midship on the starboard (right) side of the ship. My parents cabin (7416) was also on Deck 7 in the aft on the port (left) side. A mandatory lifeboat/muster drill was conducted at 4:00 PM, just prior to our on-schedule departure at 4:30. The ship moves so smoothly, that it was even hard to recognize that sailed already. Upon exiting Port Everglades it was slightly windy and some minor white caps were visible. As we came back to the cabin from the muster drill we had our luggage in our room and were able to unpack and make ourselves comfortable. Both, our cabin steward Fanny and butler Jo stopped by to greet and welcome us on board. Both are the most welcoming and friendly people and we immediately became friends! After some relaxing, it was time for our first dinner: We had late-seating dinner and our dining location was the Michelangelo Restaurant (aft restaurant). We were seated on Table 252, which is on Deck 4, overlooking the lower deck of the restaurant. It actually is a table for 6, but as it did not seem that the cruise was fully booked, our table was arranged for 4 the next evening, which gave us plenty of room to stretch out. Michael Acol (head waiter) and Roger Carreon (assistant waiter) were our restaurant staff for the week. What an outstanding team they are! Be the second day we all had nicknames, Mr. President, First Lady, Madame Hillary and JFK... ;-) We had a blast - always looking forward to the next dinner service to find out what was in store for us. Both, Michael and Roger were an essential part of our outstanding vacation! Thank you so much for that! So please, if you are seated in their area (Tables 248-254), please say hello from Andy, Dianna, Wolfgang and Monika. DAY 2 - AT SEA After all the food (and plenty more to come) it was time to check out the Gym. The equipment is up to date, modern and very functional. The Gym/Spa is located forward on Deck 11 and features bikes, treadmills, rowing simulators, weight benches and other high-tech work out machines. In the center you have a hot tub, and a fitness trainer is always present in case you should have a question. Each side (mens and womens) feature also showers, Saunas and a Turkish Steam Bath. If you have personal belongings with you, you can get a locker free of charge (ask for a key at the spa front desk). The sauna and steam bath are great as they both have windows, overlooking the ocean - awesome! Both facilities seemed extremely quiet - many times I have been in the sauna by myself. After some sun bathing, it was time for lunch... some great pizza, fish and other specialties await you. Pasta galore or if you want the old fashioned burger and hot dog, the grills on each pool side grill will have it for you. The sea turned rough and although stabilized, you could see the motion of the ship and sometimes feel it hitting the high waves. This was all due to the developing Sub-Tropical Storm Olga... In the evening at the Captains Welcoming Gala we were informed that the Captain Paolo Benini had decided to switch to a more southern route (through the Caicos Islands) to make the ride smoother for the evening and night. At 41 years of age, the captain appears rather young (does not look like 41 my wife says - LOL) and has always an upbeat personality. The first formal night was beautiful. DAY 3 - AT SEA / PUERTO RICO Due to the extremely rough seas, the captain decided to slow down the ship to provide a smoother ride. It's hard to tell from the ship, but my guess was that we had between approximately 20-25 feet waves during the night and for most of the day. The decreased speed though would delay our arrival time in Puerto Rico from 5:00 PM (scheduled) to 6:00 PM (estimated). After all, we did arrive at 5:30 PM in Puerto Rico, but were finally cleared by local authorities at 6:20 PM when we departed the ship to explore Old Town. Many of the open-air markets had already shut down, but I was able to get my cigars from the local cigar maker!!! Yummy! We took a stroll trough Old Town and arrived back at the ship at 8:30 PM. We decided to go the club restaurant that night. It was nice and quiet and a wonderful experience. As a Suite passenger you will find your coupon for a free dinner for two in your cabin. Our butler made the reservation for us. The food, service and experience is phenomenal! A definite 5-Star experience... If you go without coupon, Costa changed the procedure. Before it was $ 23/person, but now it is a la carte. Appetizers are anywhere from $ 7 to $ 15, entrees on average $ 15. My opinion: Well worth it!!!! We set sail 30 minutes later than estimated (due to the late arrival) at 10:30 for St. Maarten. DAY 4 - ST. MAARTEN I knew St. Maarten would be a busy port that day, with 6 (!!!) other ships in port. We were originally scheduled to anchor and tender into Phillipsburg, then the Fortuna would dock after 2:00 PM at the pier as a spot would become available. But due to Olga (the storm that is) other ships were delayed (or never even showed up) and the captain was able to secure us a spot directly at the pier - what a great time saver! As normally you were asked to get tender tickets, which you would have received on a first come/ first serve basis. There were actually only 4 ships (including the Fortuna) in port the entire day, including the Costa Mediterranea on her transatlantic journey from Italy to Florida. As the storm was moving westward, the weather was clear, sunny and warm and could have not been any nicer. We had made a reservation with Hertz for a Jeep ahead of time to explore the island by ourselves. All rental car agencies are located by the bus ramps. Immediately make a right, as soon as you exit the pier area and proceed straight ahead, walking along the bus bays. At the end you'll find little "huts", which are the rental car offices. We picked up our Jeep and explored the island. Maho Beach (famous for the low flying/landing airplanes) is a definite must see. Traffic is very heavy on St. Maarten, especially in Phillipsburg. Don't cut your time too short and allow PLENTY of time for your return trip back to the ship. A few passengers almost did not make it! The French side is beautiful and seems more quiet than the Dutch side. If you find a beach, but you're in front of a hotel/resort, don't hesitate to proceed to the guard gate (many of them do have them). They won't charge you to use the beach and you'll find some of the most beautiful places on this island that way. At 5:15 PM we set sail towards Tortola. Dinner was casual style and was themed Italian Night (so dress in Red, White and Green - the Italian National colors). DAY 5 - TORTOLA We arrived early in Tortola and were cleared fairly quickly. The port is not big at all and only allows two large ships to anchor at the pier. Otherwise you have to tender in. The Carnival Liberty and the Costa Fortuna were the lucky winners for the pier spots. The Queen Mary 2 arrived later and had to tender their passengers in. Tortola is a more quiet island and features a hilly/mountain terrain with beautiful lush landscaping and amazing bays and beaches. The Hertz rental car agency is almost invisible and is also located just outside of the port/pier area on your left hand side. Once again, we've made reservations in advance and picked up our Jeep at 8:45 AM. Don't forget they drive on the LEFT hand side of the road, although they do use LEFT hand steered cars. The roads are sometimes narrow and have some awesome hairpin turns (I think my wife still has white knuckles! - LOL). Cane Bay is getting crowded as cruise passengers arrive later in the day by the bus loads. Either go early or visit some other, smaller beaches. We found a smaller beach on the north-east side of the island. There were only about 10 people on the beach the entire day, as it is secluded and off the beaten path. It has a little snack bar, which is operated by the owners who live right on the premises. The drinks were mighty tasty and the Carib Beer ice cold!!! The water is crystal clear, and the beach has some of the most soft and beautiful sand. A must see! Once again, it was casual night in the restaurant. After Tortola we set sail for Nassau, Bahamas. DAY 6 - AT SEA The seas are quiet and smooth and nothing compared to the "bumpy" ride before. After having a full fledged breakfast (rolls, smoked salmon, eggs benedict, etc.) in our cabin, we once again enjoyed Deck 13 (forward) for some sun, sun and more sun! The winds were calm and the sun quickly became fairly hot, so the cool pool was a refreshing alternative. The Reggae music on the pool deck just completed the tropical, Caribbean flair in the afternoon. In the evening, the production show in the theatre was quiet amazing, which took place prior to the second formal night, the Farewell Gala Night. You can't miss the midnight buffet, the Buffet Magnifico, even though you might not be hungry. Even if you're not planning of eating (again), it is worth a visit to see all the ice sculptures, the cheese carvings and the tour of the galley (kitchen). A must see! DAY 7 - NASSAU We arrived a bit early in Nassau at approximately 12:15 PM. Clearance from the authorities did not take long and we were off the ship at 12:45 to explore the island. We visited the Straw Market, stores and of course had a (okay, several!) ice cold Kalik and Sands beers! Almost a tradition, as you can walk around in the streets with your open container of beer! Great! Some conch fritters were also on the menu, which I truly enjoyed. After going back to the ship, we rested up a bit before proceeding to dinner... in our toga! Yes, it was Roman Night! Don't miss out on the fun and put your toga on (just make you won't have a "wardrobe malfunction", LOL LOL LOL). It was an evening filled with fun, laughter and entertainment! I can never get enough of that fun. DAY 8 - FORT LAUDERDALE/DISEMBARKATION Unfortunately our cruise has come to an end and it's time to disembark. After a leisurely breakfast at 7:45 AM, we strolled off the ship at about 8:30 AM. Keep in mind that disembarkation is done by colors (which equal your colored luggage tags). PINK = 8:00 AM (for those with outgoing flights only) RED = 8:15 AM (for Suites and other priority embarkation) WHITE = 8:30 AM GREEN = 8:45 AM YELLOW = 8:45 AM BLUE = 9:00 AM ORANGE = 9:15 AM BROWN = 9:15 AM For the first time, Costa also offered a self-embarkation at 7:00 AM for the first 600 guests who register with the Customer Service Desk. Keep in mind that those who choose this early option MUST handle their own luggage rather than utilizing crew assistance and should not have any pre-arranged transfer. This is ideal if you want to embark early and have your car parked in the garage and provide your own transportation. At this time, I would like to give sincere thanks to the following individual on board of the Costa Fortuna - they all very well deserve it: Jo (our butler): Thanks for your great assistance with everything, for your courtesy, friendliness and a happy smile every day of our cruise. You are wonderful and hope to see you again on board soon! You've done an outstanding job... Thanks so much! Fanny (our cabin steward): Thank for keeping our cabin always clean and neat. Our room was always as meticulous as possible! You can tell that you put pride in your work! Many thanks for a wonderful experience! Michael Acol (our head waiter): You have been fantastic!!! Not only did I get to try several appetizers and entrees during one seating, but you always had a positive attitude and always a laugh or smile for us. Thanks for all the fun you provided us - we sure will miss you! Thanks again for an outstanding experience on the Fortuna. Roger Carreon (our assistant waiter): So much fun! What a great person you are... thanks for your always attentive service, your strive for excellence and to make sure that we were well taken care of. You and Michael are a wonderful team and have fun working together. It shows that you have fun and that's what we appreciated so much! Thanks! Max (our cruise director): Thanks for providing us with quality, fun and exciting entertainment. You are always funny and humorous and obviously love your job. Great job Ceasar! Many, many, many thanks to the entire crew and staff of the Costa Fortuna, from buffet attendants, technicians, chefs, stewards, waiters, bartenders, service personnel... You deserve a big applause for making our cruise experience a happy, fun-filled, enjoyable, relaxing, entertaining and outstanding vacation. THANK YOU! Well, this was our cruise... another great experience which ended WAY too soon! If you have ANY questions, please don't hesitate to post it or e-mail me directly at PPPOWER96@aol.com... Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Early in 2007 we received a phone call from our daughter who said "Mom you've been hoping we could all go on a cruise over Christmas; I think I found one we will all enjoy". We immediately booked several cabins to ... Read More
Early in 2007 we received a phone call from our daughter who said "Mom you've been hoping we could all go on a cruise over Christmas; I think I found one we will all enjoy". We immediately booked several cabins to accommodate our daughter, judy, her husband, Bob, their children, Andrew 15, Kristine 18, Bob's parents, Helen and Marvin, and us, Donna and Art. Anticipation is half of the fun, so we all enjoyed looking forward to the holidays. We agreed: no other gifts. Our gift was being together with no one having to put up a tree, buy presents, cook multiple meals and clean up after it was over. Our daughter and granddaughter, who is in college, drove to our home in N. Florida and spent two nights before we drove to Ft. Lauderdale. Our son-in-law, Bob had booked rooms for us near the port where he and our grandson, Andrew had flown the day before. His parents arrived and we were all together ready to board the next day. The lines appeared to be rather long when we arrived. My husband and I had just qualified for the Coral card as part of the Costa Club, so we were given preferential boarding. The rest of the family followed soon after. We have always been impressed with the smiling welcome offered to guests when boarding and we were not disappointed! And then we noticed the beautiful Christmas decorations surrounding us. The huge Christmas tree reached several decks up and was covered with glittering ornaments. We were advised that the cabins were not quite ready, so we made our way to the Lido deck and the buffet. The only negative thing I have to say about the Fortuna is that there is no true outdoor dining. Glass surrounds the Lido, and smokers are forced to sit by the very noisy pool. Wonderful crunchy salads, tasty tender baked fish, and plenty of other choices made me wonder how they could do this with what they had left after a week at sea. After eating we made our way to our cabins which were on deck 6. All were clean and sparkling. We were greeted by our smiling cabin attendant who was always available and quick to grant our few requests. Luggage arrived quickly, and we were unpacked and ready to sail. We loved all being out on our balconies and waving goodbye to Ft. Lauderdale as we watched the pilot boat come out to collect the pilot after exiting the port. Since our whole family is into computers, my husband brought his laptop and set it up in our room. That was a magnet for our grandson, who loved coming in and playing on it. While they were engaged with that our granddaughter would come in and just sit and chat. I found out all the latest happenings in her college life. Great gab fests. Our daughter, Judy loves Bingo, so I met her one day to play. Fun, but we didn't win. We both love the slot machines, so spent some time and money in the casino. Marvin and Helen also enjoyed playing and would often go there before dinner. Judy treated herself to a body massage in the Spa and reported it to be totally restorative for mind and body. Andrew went to the teen center the first night and every night thereafter. He met lots of people and reported they played some games that were fun and then just "hung out". He said there were about 20 girls and 20 guys, so they must be doing things right to draw that many. Bob and Andrew signed up for excursions at St. Maarten and Grand Turk. They drove small rubberized boats that went very fast and "had a ball". Several of us enjoyed walking around Tortola and visiting all the open air vendors near the dock. St. Maarten was teeming with cruisers since there were 4 cruise ships there that day, but it is always fun to wander in and out of the shops, listen to the steel band, and stop for lunch. Christmas Eve dinner was absolutely the best dinner I have had on any cruise ship. Lobster tails that were at least 14 ounces with drawn butter. During the week we also enjoyed escargot, caviar, tender lamb, various shrimp entrees,crab legs, cooked to perfection vegetables and deliciously crisp salads. How anyone can complain about the food is beyond me. Of course there were also a wide variety of pasta dishes that I sampled and enjoyed. I am not a dessert lover, but I could not resist the coconut and mango sherbets. The rest of the table indulged in all kinds of chocolate and pastry delights. What a wonderful Christmas. We were with our family; no one had to cook, we were not troubled by the world news or unwanted telephone calls. We enjoyed caroling around a beautiful Christmas tree with people of many different nationalities, and watched Santa hand out presents to all the small children aboard. Costa even created a snowfall over the Christmas tree. Kudos to Costa! We would all love to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
We booked an advertised "Special Sailing" at the Costa Fortuna from San Juan to San Juan from 12/25/07 to 01/01/08. Embarkation was slow and no information or greeting were said to us. They directed us to the room to get our key ... Read More
We booked an advertised "Special Sailing" at the Costa Fortuna from San Juan to San Juan from 12/25/07 to 01/01/08. Embarkation was slow and no information or greeting were said to us. They directed us to the room to get our key cards. The ship is a replica of Carnivals Destiny with different decorations. Food at the Pool deck was awful, specially the coffee and iced tea, and there was no variety. They served the same breakfast the 7 days. Service at the dinning room was slow and food was not as expected. Midnight snacks were not found, only pizza which was not as expected. Entertainment was excellent at different bars and all the shows were great. The Cruise Director and Entertainers were great with passengers all through the cruise. The ports we visited (St. Martin, Tortola, Grand Turks and Ft. Lauderdale)were great and had a good time there. New Years Eve party was great and we had a great time. Debarkation was fast,since we were a special sailing they took us down directly to the baggage area. I must say the cruise did not meet our expectations, we had cruised before with Costa (and other cruise lines)and expected more attention and better service. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
ok well here goes as this was our first time on a ship besides my dads little 36 ft crisscraft named after my daughter on lake ontario. well we had a little trouble getting to the ship due to the weather our first flight out got cancelled, ... Read More
ok well here goes as this was our first time on a ship besides my dads little 36 ft crisscraft named after my daughter on lake ontario. well we had a little trouble getting to the ship due to the weather our first flight out got cancelled, then the airport shut down, then our new flight got delayed about an hour luckily our connecting flight waited. and our cab driver from the airport had me a little worried when he didn't take the first exit that says to the port everglades. but we made it there right at last minuet 3;30 pm and we weren't the only ones. got all of our luggage checked in no problem, went to get checked in the lady was a little frustrated by then got credit cards and each of us all mixed up, finally got on ship went to our rooms 8222 8226 , then the muster drill right away, which b4 it was over we were already set sail so we missed any sailaway party that may have happened a little disappointed. we walked around the ship getting to know where everything was nice beautiful vessel. everyone greeted us with smiles. over the course of the week only caught a couple people not smiling and I told them to smile!! and they did. our rooms were inside cabins and seemed big enough for us as we only planned to be in them to sleep. bed was very comfy! found the pillows to be too firm, so went to the closet and got out another pillow which was nice and soft!! the first couple nights for dinner we ate in the raffello restaurant late sitting then changed to the Michelangelo restaurant for early sitting table 93. we sat with another family and chatted with them each night. at both restaurants my waterglass was never empty they filled it up b4 i even finished a glass. our waiters were very friendly and always had smiles, and it was fun dancing with them too. tried some new food really enjoyed the chocolate souffle and baked alaska. had the beef and steak most nights and they were cooked to perfection first time by accident did get another person at our table meal which they had ordered it rare and they got mine which was medium cause I forgot to tell them how i wanted it. so always order your beef either medium rare or rare . medium is way over cooked. crab legs were so delicious didn't need to crack them. just sad i missed the escargots. but learned if there is anything you want again see the maitre'd at least one day in advanced as they need time to prepare it. only ate at the breakfast buffet once the first morning at sea and found the food cold, so after that ate at the raffelo restaurant every morning which was deliciously good with pastries, orange juice, hot chocolate, some had cappuccino (for free only at breakfast) bacon is delicious but salty everything made so fresh. one of the girls serving the pastries was unpleasant and looked like she really didn't want to be there. one day woke up a little late and thought everyone had gone of to breakfast without me so I went by myself and sat at a table with 5 other people one couple was from orlando (mom & daughter) another couple from Puerto rico, and an elegant lady in her 80's who was on her 54 th cruise(i believe, she did 39 with her husband). usually had lunch at the buffet/grill and was so happy to see gnochi first sea day. never had a bad pasta dish everyone was great. the only bad thing to me was having the icecream machine too readily available, ate too much lol. oh the midnight buffets weren't always a buffet sometimes they were waiters each carrying something different like strawberries and cream or sandwiches fruit kabobs etc and get there quick if u want anything I found they sometimes closed after about 10 min. if you don't usually go to midnight buffets makesure you go to the last one after the talent show and bring your camera!! and watch it cause you just can't believe all these people shoving to get in even b4 the doors opened. beautiful creations. the activities seemed like fun, played the ring game, u can tell who has played horse shoes b4 !! chocolate is a hoot he sure will get you going in any activity!! also played bingo but found it too much for $20 u only got 2 games the first being just a line and the second continuing on to a full card. though one young boy kept winning quite a bit. the casino was fun and they did try to enforce getting the kids out of the casino one young boy think his name was max with a mohawk chatted with me in the casino until they asked him to leave once again but it is hard as the disco is right there that the kids go to. I liked the 4 machines that u have to put coins in and it pushes them forward and there is a stack of$100 in one dollar bills I played for a few hours on that game with only $10 its a fun game of physics. the shows and lounges were good, lot of couples up dancing, you even get to hear max sing and play. the adult games weren't too bad the people tried to watch what they say as there was some kids in the audience but some answers have to be said lol. missed the acrobat show which wanted to see as my daughter amongst her many talents is an acrobat in fact chocolate was trying to get her to give him her resume for her to work on costa as a performer(u can hear her and see her in a couple videos on her myspace page www.myspace.com/alexianniapearson ) as for the ports: san juan - we went on our own walked down the streets with all the shops, went the the church which was closed took some pics, did a little shopping, saw a performance in a store by a woman named Lady bought her book and she autographed it for my daughter who just loved her stuff next door to starbucks which we just had to get a drink, at night it is beautiful, with all those christmas lights lit up, on the way back to the ship stopped in to senor frogs got our free blue shot which was more like half a cup, our free beads then back on to the ship. st.thomas- we did the ultimate island tour - which took us to a few stops that u could see all the islands and the ship, conveniently the stops were usually little souvenir stands, we had 2 hours at maegens bay which is the most beautiful beach and water I have ever seen, the fish swim right up to u. then we went to blackbeards hill where we climbed a tower the stairs might scare you a little as they move while u walk up or down, statues of some of the pirates, walk down part of the 99 steps (or all of them if u wish) into a few old houses/museums to see how they lived down to the rum factory where u can buy souvenirs and have either fruit punch or rum punch for free. there was also 3 swimming pools if you wanted to swim. then into town to shop mostly jewelry stores, went to the belgian chocolate factory they deliver to your ship which was nice but didn't find they taste as good as godiva , my daughter made me walk all the way back to the ship from downtown which sure felt like a long way. dropped off our bags in our rooms then went shopping by the ship at the grande they have this really cute store for your pets just so sweet had to buy something for my dogs, then to havensight mall bought our alcohol and my fav perfume. went in to this little grocery store called gourmet foods bought some chips(after seeing those pringle chips in the fridge in cabin) and drinks (their alcohol is cheaper then a ii rise). mom and her friend did the st. johns tour and loved it- though they were mostly on a bus and wished there were more chances to get off and look, they also said a lot of people got sick on the ferry over to st. johns and some even got wet. catalina island - what can I say it was a beach day, went all the way down the beach as it was a little quieter and not so crowded, some went topless down that way and a lot of the crew also went down there having fun. saw some people get flipped over while on the water rides. bars down there weren't as busy to get drinks as the other ones. la romana/caso de campo - went to the kandela (kandy - la) show it was very good, sat down at the front the fire kept us warm, dd got chosen to dance with one of the male dancers, she enjoyed that, we saw a little of the village b4 the show. nassau- we did the atlantis excursion - though i would recommend doing it on your own as it took us 1 1/2 b4 we got to atlantis then they tour u around, u see about just as much as the aquarium from the free side as from the inside except the one room that leads u to their gift shop , then out to their beach/pool which we were allowed to use. we skipped ahead of the tour group and did it on our own, saw the huge stingray getting fed, then hopped the ferry back towards the ship and looked through some of the stores. if you are looking for body jewelry the silver shop the ship recommends is really good they had some nice ones we don't see everywhere daughter picked up a belly ring and got diamond stud earrings for free. the only topless bathing we saw was little girls on the ship and on catalina island but only way down the beach which was also the best part of the beach to pick up shells and coral. we had a great room stewardess Rowena who talked to daily and kept our room clean (not that we are messy lol) gave us chocolate mints on our pillows, cookies,. showed us how to work the shower as we had cold water the first couple nights. met tons of people through out the cruise either at dining, shows, casino,hot tub, bingo, my daughter(19) met lots at the smoking lounge, disco, casino, bar, deck. toga night - not too many wore them to the dinner, one little boy looked cold as he wore it as a skirt and went topless at dinner, a lot more people wore them to the talent show. there were a few that brought their own and looked great, the sheet they gave you was quite see through, found had to keep my eyes up as a few went commando and some wore black underwear under their togas. as for disembarkation we were yellow suppose to meet in rex at 8:45 , we ate breakfast in restaurant then went to see what time we were suppose to get off by customer service, the staff holding the clipboards asked us if we would like to go now which is when red was going off we said sure and off we were. to the airport we were there by 8:30 am our flight wasn't until 3:45pm we switched our flights to an earlier flight and lucky we did as our later flight got cancelled. yes i would cruise costa again we enjoyed it, though my daughter would like to try carnival after everyone talking about it so much on the ship. also forgot to say we didn't really get sick on the cruise , when we started to feel little sick took those preggie pops they worked so good just little candies, I handed out a few to a couple women who weren't doing so good, some were surprised how good they worked. we had sea lag, can really feel the ship after getting off. also found deck 8 went all the way through front to back it was easy to take the elevator down to the Michelangelo restaurant without having to go through the casino on deck 5. also we navigated ourselves on the ship according to wear the glass elevators were this helped alot. 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Sail Date: December 2007
Hello fellow cruise enthusiasts! Below are the details of my cruise which took place from 12/16/07-12/23/07: Background Information/Embarkation I traveled with my college friend on this cruise. We are both 30 year old professionals with ... Read More
Hello fellow cruise enthusiasts! Below are the details of my cruise which took place from 12/16/07-12/23/07: Background Information/Embarkation I traveled with my college friend on this cruise. We are both 30 year old professionals with previous cruising experience. This was my 7th cruise and first on Costa. I've been on Royal, NCL, and Princess previously. I will try to address things in this review that have not already commonly been reported. I will also cut and paste this review to the Costa message board so folks can respond with questions. We both flew in early on the day of embarkation. The taxi from FLL airport is about a 20 minute ride with average cruise day traffic and will cost about $20 including tip. I found the check-in procedure to be a little slower than when I've left out of the Port of Los Angeles, but even so it only took about 45 minutes from curbside to on the ship. Costa doesn't hand you your cruise card... you go to your room (which is left open) and your cruise cards are on your bed. I thought this was a little strange. I'd encourage you to make your room your first stop so you can pick up your cards and secure the door. Ship Info Our first impressions of the ship were actually a little negative. Overall, the ship seemed very nice, but there were a couple things that Costa did that quite frankly took a step backward from other lines. For example, in the embarkation photo there is no background. So the line of people behind you is in the background of your photo. Who is going to buy a photo with a grumpy old man and the depressing port building hallway in the background? Once on the ship, we noticed a couple things like the basketball net was shredded. This is a $2 item - why didn't they bother to replace it? There were only 2 ping pong tables and they weren't in the best shape. Worse still, the balls and paddles for all games (ping pong, basketball, tennis, bocce, even foosball) were not available at the tables. You had to go to the info desk on Deck 3 to sign them out for the week. I can't tell you how many people asked my friend and I where we got the balls from while we were playing. Most people don't want to go down and back up 7 decks (not to mention lug around equipment) when on vacation. Please, Costa, put your sports equipment out at all times! What makes even less sense is that they told us they don't check you off when you return them (and they didn't), so what is the purpose of the sign-out process? Even if they lose a paddle or two or some ping pong balls, what is the big deal? They could probably replenish their stock at the end of each cruise for no more than $50. For comparison purposes, on the Golden Princess they had about 6 or 8 ping pong tables with balls all over the place. As you can tell, sports are an interest for both of us. The other small things we noticed were a number of the small deck lights out. Again, a simple inexpensive fix that makes a good first impression. All that said, once we got past those few things, we largely enjoyed the ship. I also want to say that we didn't notice smoking to be worse on this ship than any other, and the people seemed friendly even though there is a more worldly mix than on other lines... I think this added to the experience. Activities The big difference between a Costa cruise and a cruise on another line in my opinion is the difference in activities. On other cruises they had a lot of sports tournaments and pool games. Here, they had a very limited amount of tournaments (often tournaments were advertised in the daily paper, but it was just open play). There were a couple games done by the pool area (not IN the pool) which reminded me of something off of Sabado Gigante. It was like corny, silly games... not that ones on other lines are sophisticated, but these were even worse! Still fun to watch. The reason we like sports activities is because they are a good way to meet people, and when you are two single guys traveling, that is important. Most of the activities on this ship centered around music and dancing. If you like music and dancing, this cruise is definitely for you. If you don't, I hope you like sitting on deck and reading a book, since there is definitely a lack of other activities (unless you like bingo and art auctions). Speaking of bingo and art auctions, I have some words about each. As for bingo and the people that complain about it, let me say this: it is activities like these that allow the cruise lines to make a good deal of money and thus keep fares low. If you like to play, great - you get to play. But if you don't like to play, think of it as you saving $50 or $100 off your fare for you to hear a few announcements about bingo or horse racing or the slot tournament. If these activities didn't exist, you can be sure your fare would go up by at least that much. As for art auctions, buyer beware. They had original animation cells for sale on this ship from undesirable sources (i.e. Fred Flintstone from a 90s cartoon or a relatively unknown movie). These sold for $800-$1000. On land you could probably get these for a couple hundred dollars. You can get a Simpson's original for around $500 and even a low end Disney for under $1000. Just be aware before you buy. I've seen other warnings about this from other sources as well. Just remember the cardinal rule about art - make sure you like the piece first and foremost. Anyway, back to the ship activities. During the day there were several dance sessions on Deck 9. Just to show you how much they feature dancing, whereas most ships showcase the main pool in the center of their sports deck, the dance floor is instead the center of focus. At night, there was dancing from probably 6pm until 4am (live bands until about 1 or 2 probably and then the disco). Speaking of the disco, I personally liked the way Costa set this up. Whereas on other ships they have kids discos which probably close around 12 leaving the little ones to wander around the ship and maybe get into trouble, on this ship everyone is in the same place. The "teen disco" would start around 11 and then the adults would start to show up around midnight. The younger ones would stay until all hours. I think this is better all around. First off, I think kids around 15-17 think going to a kids club is lame, so they don't go. This leaves a limited number of kids who go. Folks 18-20 have problems because although they can get into the adult disco, they can't drink, thus they don't feel like they fit in. The 21+ crowd alone is sometimes limited, thus they don't want to dance since there are only a few people on the dance floor. When you combine the 3 groups, they coexist well and the dance floor is always packed. The groups still remain separate for the most part (if you are a parent worried about a 50 y/o dancing with your 16 y/o), but they are all on the dance floor. On this cruise we saw a mother dancing with her 12 and 16 y/o daughters almost every night. I thought that was really cool -- I mean where else can you do that? Kudos to Costa for this concept! Dancing in the other areas was fun too - the bands were great! Service We were fortunate that we ate in 2 different dining rooms at both early and late seating. We started late and went early for a few days to take better advantage of the evening ports before going back to late. We had great success with our tablemates - 3 30ish females with their Dad and another family group with slightly older parents and a 40 something daughter. We had a lot of fun and hung out at other times on the ship. At the early seating we were with two 20 something grad students. We found the service at both times to be quick and friendly. This is in direct opposition to what others have reported. We both ordered a lot of food, and it was brought with a smile, in a timely matter, and at appropriate temperatures. Staff at other areas of the ship were great as well and very friendly. We did not see any poor treatment of Americans as was also reported. Everyone was very nice all around. Shore Excursions We did not do any formal excursions, but here is a brief review of the ports: San Juan - Since this was an evening stop, we found it to be a bit of a bust. My friend enjoyed taking some photos of old San Juan (you dock right by the fort in Old San Juan), but other than meandering around the streets, there isn't much to do unless you had an excursion (none of which appealed to us). It was nice to walk around, but still not much to do. The good news is that you can walk around safely right by the port and there is no trouble getting back to the ship. St. Thomas - We really liked this port. We took a taxi to the Ritz hotel, as my friend wanted to rent some sailing equipment. He had arranged to do so online, and luckily brought copies of his emails, as the policy had changed and they no longer rent their equipment out to non-guests of the hotel. He was able to rent a couple things based on his emails. If you want a quiet, nice beach, this is a great stop. I'm more for a beach where you can do some people watching, so after a couple hours there we went to Magen's Bay Beach (a top 10 in the world beach). We both thought it was slightly over-rated, but still very nice. There is a $4 charge per person for this beach. If you like to shop, there is a lot of this by the pier. Make sure to leave yourself a good hour to get back to the ship since the traffic is pretty bad with multiple ships in port. Catalina Island (DR) - We both liked this port and it was my favorite. It was a great beach with a nice bbq (think fixed structure with picnic tables, not a temporary site). It was well staffed with a very limited wait to eat. The beach has free chairs available. Keeping with true Costa tradition (for this voyage anyway), the volleyballs were not put out until about 2pm instead of having them out all day. However, there was of course dancing by CD (instead of live band, which was playing on the ship for some reason). Still, it was pretty fun. Please bring some cash with you to this port as there is great local art for sale. They will pull the paintings off the frame and roll them up so you can bring them home. I got a very large piece for pretty cheap. The merchants are very nice but pretty aggressive. I thought this was the best shopping on the whole cruise. A great day overall! Stateroom We had an interior room, which was more than adequate. Plenty of closet space and a slightly larger bathroom than other lines. I always book an interior knowing that we won't be in the room much and it is actually nice to not have a window when trying to sleep late or to take a nap. Our cabin steward was great and did a great job with 22 cabins. Dining I've already touched on dining, but I will add that the food is great on this ship. I think the dining room food was comparable or even better than other lines I've been on while the buffet offered a few less choices than on other lines. Still, there was plenty to eat and I don't think I had a bad dish let alone a bad meal. They also had food available right by the pool at lunchtime on sea days and midnight snacks brought around to highly populated areas of the ship by waiters. The midnight buffet on the last night was very nice. I don't know how other people have complained about the food on this or any other ship. I read about people who didn't eat anything but salad or steak that was cooked wrong all week. I don't get it. I'm a bit of a picky eater (I don't like fish at all and don't eat "cute" animals), and I still did fine. Maybe these people are used to Chef Boyardee or something... who knows. I come from an Italian family and know what good Italian food is like, and this was good Italian! Entertainment We thought the shows were largely good. The only one that was a little bland was the soul singer the first night. We only caught a few songs, but that was enough. Don't get me wrong, she was talented, but didn't seem to warrant carrying the stage on her own. Other shows included a couple production shows, a Vegas music/comedy act, a New York Italian-American singer, a circus show, and the passenger talent show (happened to be all singing on our voyage). If you want to do this, make sure you look for the sign-up on day 2 or 3 in the daily paper. If you miss this, you will not be able to partake. Disembarkation This was a depressing process as always; it went pretty smoothly, however. We were amongst the last off the ship at around 9:30. We missed seeing our tablemates for the last breakfast as we were late getting up. One bit of advice - try to exchange email/phone info by the 4th or 5th day if you don't think you'll see folks again. There was a nice family from South Carolina we hung out with a lot, but didn't see them after day 5 so never got to trade info :( After we left the port, we took a taxi to the airport and rented a car for the day as we both had late flights. We spent the day at South Beach (about a 30-40 minute drive by the scenic route). This helped take the edge off of our return to the real world, but not by much. Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Just returned from our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on the Costa Fortuna and below you will find my thoughts. First about us: Me, 37, stay at home mom, former HR manager, native New Yorker living near Annapolis, MD for over 5 years. ... Read More
Just returned from our cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on the Costa Fortuna and below you will find my thoughts. First about us: Me, 37, stay at home mom, former HR manager, native New Yorker living near Annapolis, MD for over 5 years. This was I think my 17th cruise. Husband turned 45 while on board, executive, native of Alexandria, VA. This was his 11th cruise. Daughter age 8 in 3rd grade, this was her 6th cruise. My in-laws also traveled with us. He is 80 and she is 76 and this was their first cruise. Embarkation: Due to some impending bad weather in the Northeast we had some travel drama and ended up leaving a day earlier than planned, flying into Orlando, staying with friends and then driving to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday. This actually worked out okay but was stressful for me at the time. When we arrived at Pier 21 around noon with the rental car, we handed off all our luggage to the porters and dropped off Hannah and my in-laws. Matt and I then went to the airport to return the car and took a taxi back to the pier. Traffic was heavy getting back to the pier as there were many ships in port so this process took about 45 minutes to an hour. We entered the terminal, went through security and got in line for embarkation. The line moved very quickly and we waited a total of maybe 15-20 minutes. By the time we got on board around 1:30 the cabins were ready. We took our in-laws to their outside cabin (1362) on deck 1. And then we made our way to our balcony cabin (7339) on deck 7. The cabins were nearly identical in size and layout with the exception being ours having a balcony. Cabins: Both Ria, my in law's stewardess and Michael, our steward came by within minutes to introduce themselves and let us know the lay of the land. The cabins were both clean and spacious with lots of storage space. Plenty of room for me to unpack clothing and accessories for three people and store our empty luggage under the bed. The only amenity in the bathroom was a pump of gel cleanser on the shower wall however there was a sign saying that if we required other basic items (I forget what they listed) to just ask the cabin steward. Overall the cabin was great. Balcony had two chairs and a small table. On the minus side, the beds were very, very, very firm. They were thicker than the ones we had on the Magica but still a little too hard even for me and I like a firm bed. Pillows were also very firm. We all brought squishy travel pillows with us so that helped some but don't say I never told ya! Our cabin steward requested that when we were in our room to place the red do not disturb sign out and then upon leaving we should put out the green make up the room sign. We apparently did not fully grasp this instruction the first night and subsequently our room was not serviced the first night while we were at dinner and it took quite a while for him to get to it the next morning it seemed too. We finally got the system down though and the rest of the week was great. Fresh ice is supplied in the cabin twice a day. If you wanted bottled water however, once the initial bottle is gone, you must fill out a bar slip to request one - he did not just bring a fresh bottle whenever one was opened. Food: We found the food in the dining room and buffet to be very good to excellent. We tended to take most of our meals in the dining rooms but the times we did go to the buffet it was very good. My husband and I were doing our best to stay semi-within the Weight Watchers program and the portion control of the dining room suited our needs a little better. We enjoyed all of the fish dishes, the osso bucco, many of the no sugar added desserts. Our 8 year old typically got the fish dish, although she did order the spaghetti and meatballs one night and the always available grilled salmon. The last 2 nights she had the beef dishes and loved both of them. Lamb shanks on last night of cruise was not great but I should know better than ordering that particular cut. Crab legs on second formal night were enjoyed by all. We were seated at table 92 on deck 3 of the Michelangelo (aft) dining room. This was a round table for 6 people that was configured for our party of 5 giving us a little more room. The table configuration of this center portion of the dining room is poor at best and due to the waiter stations being around the perimeter of this section the service has no chance of being anything but inefficient. Our waiter and asst had 3 tables to service and because of having so many tables crammed together in this area they could not get around them to do their job well. Even when no one was seated in the chairs it was hard to get around the tables, having to turn sideways just to get between empty chairs - you can imagine how it was once people were sitting in them! They did an okay job but each night we had to ask for iced tea and many, many times our glasses were filled once at the beginning of the evening and then left empty for the duration. This was not just a problem we encountered at our regular dining table. Open seating in the Rafaello restaurant provided erratic service as well. To sum it up - we had WAY better service at the TGIFriday's in Fort Lauderdale than we did on our entire Fortuna cruise. I believe they all tried their best but I think that in many ways they were set up to fail. The club restaurant is billed as a Tuscan Steakhouse. In the past it was offered as price fixe menu where you pay a certain dollar figure per person. Now everything on the menu is a la carte. Aside from the Caribbean lobster tails we did not see anything on the menu that we could not order in the regular dining room or from a favorite land based restaurant. We figured that dinner would have run about 100-150 for two of us and decided it was not a good value as we were already very happy with the quality and variety of food in the main dining room. Entertainment and Activities: The Costa Fortuna Singers and Dancers were all quite good but Nicola Meehan from Scotland was a real standout for us. She just had a flat out gorgeous voice. Many times on cruises the singers get what I call showtunitis, where they are belting/shouting the songs to the point where the pitch gets distorted. Her tone was pure and her pitch was spot-on. I would have liked to see a showcase of just her singing. The first night's entertainment was a woman named Victoria Horne. We did not like her. A lounge act of the worst kind. If you have ever seen the Eddie Murphy movie Coming to America, she reminded me of when Eddie plays a singer and sings The Greatest Love of All. Just sort of "you're such a beautiful audience...it's so lovely to be here, in this lovely theater with all you lovely people". Maybe I am too critical but that kind of stuff just makes my skin crawl it seems so phony. First production show of the week was called H20 and I think was maybe the better of the 2. There was also a Circus Variety show that was just kind of e for me. Duo Markov was amazing, Duo Errani and the contortionist in the beginning were a bit too long. There was no real cohesive theme for this show. The final production show was In Concert which was just a variety of singers, Elvis, the Stones, Aretha Franklin, Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, a little bit of everything really. As much as I loved Nicola's voice though, I am a strong believer that ONLY Aretha can sing Aretha, sorry. As for entertainment in the other areas of this ship we found this also to be excellent. All of the musical groups playing live music in the lounges in the evening were fantastic. The pianist and violinist were very good, the Costa Fortuna Orchestra was TIGHT and the Trio Tringali and Duo Double Whiskey in the Conte de Savoie lounge were awesome. Giuseppe, the horn player in the orchestra also plays a mean jazz flute and has a great raspy jazzy voice - an all around great musician. My husband stayed up to see Stephen Sorrentino, the late night musical comedian and said that it was the best show he has ever seen anywhere - land or sea. We saw John Ciotta on our Magica cruise last year and he is just not our bag. See my comments about Ms Horne - too loungy for me. Hopefully next Caribbean season he and is hairpiece will stay on land. There were a number of activities throughout the day. A fitness class by the pool around 9 am and 5 pm every day. Some type of pool game or dance lesson everyday by the pool. Arts and crafts every afternoon by the aft pool that looked like it was well attended. We also saw Italian lessons on the schedule a few times during the week. Lots of things to do if you are not one to lay about the pool. We often sat in the card room or at the tables to the side of the Conte De Savoie lounge playing cards. One thing we really really like about Costa is that this area and the card room gets bar service. We had a lovely waitress from Columbia whose name began with an L and I won't attempt to spell who was just fab in this area. We purchased 2 boys and girls club booklets and used every last coupon on coke zeros for us and pink panther smoothies for Hannah (the smoothies were a real bargain with the coupon costing about $5 each without). She also brought us little trays of nuts and pretzels and rice crackers to have something to crunch while I beat the pants of my husband. We did not play Bingo but it was often held in the lounge so we heard it. I have no idea what his name is, but the guy who does bingo is a hoot. He was on the Magica last year too and he just cracks me up "B like Baaaarbieeeee", "chicky, chicky, chicky". We were all quoting him all week. My husband did participate in the final art auction of the week however even though he won an item he could never get the art guy to take care of him so he could pay for it. Very disappointing because the piece was apparently to be a surprise for me. ? Casino: Slots were very tight. They had denominations of 1 cent, 2 cents, nickels, dimes, quarters, 50 cents and dollar. I did not play any table games. The 2 cent slots were fun and I played on their money for a little while but I did not win what I would call a considerable amount. But then I only ever play $20 a day on slots anyway. Maybe if I had played more I would have won more. Don't know. Ports: SAN JUAN: Our excursion for the Latin Tradition show was cancelled before we even boarded due to technical difficulties, probably from Olga. The day before we arrived in San Juan the Tour desk called us and said they had fixed the problem and the tour was now back on but that we would have to sign up for it again and it was subject to getting a minimum number of participants. We signed up again but I guess not enough people were interested and it ended up being cancelled after all. We got of the boat for about 15 minutes, walked around the terminal and then headed out to make sure Matt's parents were doing okay on their own. They were coming down the pier as we were leaving so that was all we saw of San Juan. ST THOMAS: We did the ship's Snorkel Adventure excursion to Coki Beach and this was great. Hannah was still timid about snorkeling so we wanted some place where she could just walk into the water rather than jumping off a boat. She did great, getting braver and braver as the day went on and it turned out to be an excellent excursion. Since this was to only be a 3 hour trip we had planned to grab some lunch on board and then take a cab down town and do a little shopping however due to construction the trip back from Coki Beach took over an hour and a half and we were afraid we would not have enough time. Please keep this in mind if you go to St Thomas and allow yourself AMPLE time to make it back from town or if you book a private excursion. CATALINA ISLAND: This was Costa's Private Island. Lots of beach chairs and umbrella's. Snorkel gear sets for rent for $8 on your Costa card. They also had yellow floats for rent but unsure how much they were. You can find your own beach chair but there are locals waiting when you get off the tender to find/move them for you and they expect a gratuity for this service. There was a bar on the beach, an area with some shops, a covered area where they served the food, tents with many picnic tables. Also boats running banana floats, water tubing and water skiing. Not sure how much these were but it seemed to me that the further you got from the tender pier the more expensive things got and not all things could be purchased with Costa Card. Lunch on this island was fruit, a variety of salads, burgers, dogs, bbq chicken and ribs. They ran 4 lines so it seemed to keep the crowds moving or maybe we just went at the right time. This was all around a great beach day. We then took a short ride to Casa de Campo. We were beat from our day at Catalina so we did not get off the boat here. NASSAU: We had booked the Blackbeard's Beach break excursion but when we pulled into Nassau it was overcast and cool and we saw folks on the pier wrapped in their towels so we decided to stay on the ship. Since this was also our last day on board I had packing and such to do so this worked out well for everyone. Plus we've been to Nassau plenty of times before and don't feel like there is anything we absolutely MUST see there. Squok Club: Hours are 9-12, 3-6 and 9-11 most days. On the 2 formal nights they open at 5:30 or 5:45 and take the kids to the Lido for dinner and keep them until 11:30 or midnight. Hannah generally went to squok in the morning after breakfast and stayed until noon. They played games, danced, etc. The slide was open from 10-4 most sea days and Hannah wanted to spend much of her time doing that and swimming in the pools. She did earn 55 Squok bucks though and was able to pick out 5 prizes at the end of the cruise. Hannah also participated in the kids talent show which was in the Leonardo Da Vinci lounge at 9:30 on Roman night. This worked out okay for us as she was the first act but we ended up sending Daddy to get seats in the Rex at 10:15 and we left at 10:30 and it was still going. They might want to consider making this earlier or moving to a different night so that people can still get to the main event in the Rex theater - that fills up fast! One thing we did not like about Squok is that there is too much time between the end of 1st seating dinner and the evening opening time. On nights when she was not interested in the shows her only option was to sit around and wait an hour or so for Squok to open. The adult pool and hot tubs in the back of the ship were great and they were fantastic about enforcing the no kids rule. The hot tubs were hot but not unbearable. The other pools and hot tubs remained pretty crowded as we were sailing full capacity. Photos: We purchased 4 photos for around $80. The backgrounds they chose for our sailing were very busy and kind of ugly in my opinion. The ship was decorated for Christmas so shots in front of the tree turned out gorgeous but other than that no simple backgrounds where the people are showcased. I REALLY, REALLY hate having my picture taken during dinner but this is not unique to Costa so what are you going to do.... Passengers: Read a lot on Cruise Critic about Rude Europeans (RE) but I would like to set the record straight and say that I saw WAY, WAY, WAY more UGLY AMERICANS (UA) than REs! The UA's I saw were of a certain age (not young) more often than not of the NY/NJ/FLA variety. They were pushy, chair hogs, they spoke rudely and loudly about people around them. They seemed to have a sense of entitlement - like why on earth should I look where I am going on my scooter when I can look at the slots as I drive by and ride over your daughters toes - she has more of them what are you complaining about! They mainly appeared to come into the cruise looking for things to NOT like. They often spoke very quickly and with very thick NY/NJ accents to the staff and then got belligerent and down right nasty when they were not tended to immediately or correctly. If English is my first language and all my relatives have the same accent as you do and I ALSO thought you said apple martini then maybe you should not get pissy about getting such "bad service" from someone who's SECOND language is English! I saw exactly ONE Rude European and that was the last day. I saw packs and packs of Ugly Americans though - it was embarrassing. Disembarkation: We had dark blue and were to wait in the Rex theater at 9am. My in laws had brown and were to wait in Conte De Savoie at 9:15. We waited and disembarked with them. The line for immigration is very very long due to so many nationalities getting off. Customs was quick though and I would venture to say we were outside on the curb by 9:30 to 9:45 with all our luggage. The main problem with parking the ship at Pier 21 though is that the cabs must make a loop going past 2 other cruise ships (in our case Millenium and Westerdam) before getting to the Costa passengers. It was 11 am before any empty cabs started making their way to us at which time I had convinced my husband to call our hotel and see if they also ran shuttles to the cruise port, which they did so 20 minutes after his phone call we were in the shuttle on our way to the hotel. If only I could have convinced him to call sooner! So that it is my review. Some things that could use some tweaking but over all a great cruise and wonderful vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Let me start by saying this is only my opinion but i will try to keep it as objective as possible. I arrived at Pt. Everglades "Park & Fly" around 11:30 and found the lot full. I had taken advantage of the Costa deal ... Read More
Let me start by saying this is only my opinion but i will try to keep it as objective as possible. I arrived at Pt. Everglades "Park & Fly" around 11:30 and found the lot full. I had taken advantage of the Costa deal ($60.00 for the week) and my spot was waiting. Getting on the ship was a breeze and I dropped my carryon in my room, met Glenn my steward and was off to lunch. This ship is a duplicate of the Carnival Miracle which I was on last Xmas so navigation was easy. A word of caution not all decks run the length of the ship. So remember 5,8,9 are great for getting around. 5 is the casino and shops, 9 is food and pools and 8 is where I was. 8391 was my balcony cabin and it was nice with a mini bar and safe. Everything worked well and the ship was kept in great shape. I found the food just like the most of my cruises and that is good for feeding 2500 people at once. The pasta was fresh which I liked. Two comments about eating experience. First I sailed solo and truly enjoyed my dining companions. Two young ladies from NYC, a couple from Poland now living in the USA, a couple from way up in Newfoundland and a nice lady from Toronto. That being said Costa should make an effort to seat solo's together. Second my only disappointment was the pizza. I guess I expected something different. Carnival has the best and out of 3 cruise lines I have been on the only one available 24 hours. The food did have an Italian flair with plenty of things to choose from. We did have some announcements in multiple languages but the only time I really noticed was at muster but they had some fast talkers so it did not take too long. I spent most of my time in the casino and it was great to me in the beginning but took most of it back by the end. One thing I remembered was a smiling girl from Romania named Lidia that is the first dealer I have ever met with real personality. Our night in San Juan was Xmas day so much was closed. For those of you that have never been the dock is in the heart of Old San Juan so things are an easy walk away. I booked a tour with a pretty new company called Segway Tours of PR. Jose and his wife were 2 of the nicest people I came in contact with on the whole trip. Let me tell you this was a ball. For $70.00 I got lessons (piece of cake) then 2 hours of fun in this beautiful city. OSJ can be very hilly and no one had an easier time of getting around than we did. Jose can be reached at segwaytourspr.com and please tell him Preston sent you. Next was ST Martin and it was Boxing Day. Many stores were open and I walked and shopped in the morning then took the Rhino tour in the afternoon. My experience was not good but I will only say none in the party seemed thrilled. Off to Tortola and this was my favorite place. I discovered a street full of shops locally owned and had a great time. If you go to the ferry terminal a bar named Pussers is across the street. If you walk through Pussers it is the street in the back. Sorry I don't remember the name. Then we went to Grand Turk. At the dock is a huge complex anchored by a Margaritaville with shops and a big pool with some great beach. Most stayed there and it was pretty crowded. They say some days there are two ships and the place would be a zoo. Right outside the entrance is a scooter/golf cart concession and I rented a scooter. I went everywhere but there is not much to see. A lighthouse and a place where you can ride a horse into the ocean. The real find is about a mile from the entrance. Govenors Beach is beautiful with chairs, tables and restrooms. I could tell it had concessions but they were not open, so take some things from the ship. Out of the 2500 on the ship about 30 found this place and it is a gem. Never have I seen bluer water than in the T&C islands. I have been on 2 and the water is not to be believed. On the last day they wanted you out of your room by * but I was not hassled. I did leave at 8:15 because I was read too. I was supposed to go to the bid theater on deck 3. I went down to the glass elevators and down to 3 which put me by the exit. People were milling around looking for direction so I just walked off and no one stopped me. Customs was easy and I found my bag right away. P&F was waiting and took me to my car. Only 20 minutes from stateroom to my car. Its a new record. In closing the Fortuna is an Italian ship and many book from Europe to see the Caribbean. I met some fascinating people but must say they do some things different. I booked this ship for the ports but did not pay enough attention to the times there and this cruise had a little to much sea time for my taste. It was warm and the seas were calm. Would I book Costa again, you bet! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
If you are American, don't expect the same friendly, hospitable attitude of Royal Caribbean or Princess. I didn't meet a single American on this cruise that would recommend Costa. To the contrary, most were outspoken with their ... Read More
If you are American, don't expect the same friendly, hospitable attitude of Royal Caribbean or Princess. I didn't meet a single American on this cruise that would recommend Costa. To the contrary, most were outspoken with their disappointment. The itinerary seemed to be tailored to maximize shipboard time. In Puerto Rico and Nassau, there was little time to do anything except shop in the area closest to the pier. In the Dominican Republic, we docked at an industrial port. You had to pay for a bus ride into town, and there was only a couple of hours to do that. The only port that offered a full day in port was St. Thomas. Everything else was either their private island or a partial day. At the private island, you had to buy Costa beverages... A domestic beer on board cost $5.40 (US). A small pina colada was $7. If you don't like Italian food, then you're in trouble. Most appetizers were pasta. I guess it's nice to try new menus from time to time, but my kids struggled to find anything on the menu they liked. We frequently visited the pizza buffet after dinner, just so they could eat. If you don't like pizza or pasta, forget the buffet. That's all they served at the times I was there. The breakfast buffet was awful. We only went once. Expect a 2-hour dinner seating. The service was horrible. The seemed to assign several tables to each waiter/assistant combo. As a result, they were spread too thin and water/tea refills were scarce. I rarely even saw the assistant waiter. She was there at the beginning of the meal, then vanished. The waiter even appeared to be frequently looking around to find her. Twice, she filled other tea/water glasses at the table and left mine empty. However, on the last night, she was very attentive and friendly with our table. She even left a pitcher of water and tea on the table - too little, too late. Probably the most troubling was the Purser's desk (Customer Service). They were everything BUT helpful. There always seemed to be a very long line waiting to talk with them, and few seemed to leave happy. My mother-in-law witnessed an American that used the ATM machine, only to receive some form of foreign currency. He asked the Customer Service person to exchange the currency, and she refused. She simply instructed him to wait until he got home and exchange it at his bank. We were at St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) where the currency was US dollars. I went down to get a specific color of baggage tag a couple of days prior to debarkation. I wanted my tags to match the color given to the others in our group. At first the Customer Server person refused. Then when I explained that we were traveling with other family members, she reluctantly took two steps, opened a drawer and pulled out the tags - with attitude. I witnessed yet another older American couple trying to dispute a charge on their bill which they didn't make. They argued for quite awhile, but made absolutely no progress. Finally they simply said that they refused to pay and walked off. I can't imagine that this ship and crew will last very long sailing from an American port. They really don't like Americans. The only staff members that seemed to be friendly were the cabin stewards. Each time I passed one in the hallway they greeted me. Some of the waiters were friendly, others not. Few were actually attentive to the needs of their guests. They would frequently pass by and pour a fresh cup of coffee for one tablemate, and then walk away, leaving several other cups empty. If you weren't paying attention, they might just pass you by. I will never take this cruise line again, regardless of the ports of call or price. This was the worst cruise that I've been on. There were quite a few non-Americans on the cruise. Perhaps they got better service, I don't know. Sailing from an American port, I expected better treatment. Americans - you will be disappointed if you've ever cruised a different line. The ship was nice, but we never really learned our way around. It was confusing. Normally after a day or two, you don't need a map. We seemed to get lost everyday, trying to find one of the lounges or restaurants... On the last day, we never found the lounge we were supposed to wait at to disembark. Not even the cabin stewards could point us in the right direction. We checked the map and couldn't find it. Finally, we just went to the main lobby and waited. The only meal that I really enjoyed was the beef. The lamb was good, the roast, steak, all good. There was no steak/lobster night, like on Princess and Royal Caribbean. If you wanted lobster, you had to pay extra and go to the private dining club. $25 would get you two small lobster tails. The service up there wasn't any better. In fact it might have been even worse. We had a table for 4 and it took 2 hours. Other tables near us took even longer. One lady had to leave to get her small child from the babysitter mid-meal, then bring the child back to dinner. The whole time she was gone, no food was brought to their table. My kids didn't care for the kids club very much either. After the first night, they ran up to me begging that they not have to return. Later, they met a few other kids and went back once or twice. Costa definitely didn't have the quality programs and staff that Royal Caribbean has. It seemed more like a bulk babysitting service. Oh, I almost forgot the 1+ hour wait in a very, very long line just to get on board. I've never waited longer than 10-15 minutes on Royal Caribbean or Princess. This line went on forever.... On the plus side, when it was time to leave, we walked right out and into a taxi. I've never gotten off a ship that fast either. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Background: We are a couple in our early to late fifties and have been on other cruises, the last one December 2006 on Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas - this was our first Costa cruise. Traveled by car to Ft. Lauderdale on ... Read More
Background: We are a couple in our early to late fifties and have been on other cruises, the last one December 2006 on Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas - this was our first Costa cruise. Traveled by car to Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday, the night before our cruise. Stayed at the LaQuinta Inn at Hollywood in a very nice room. They allowed us to park our car there for the week at no extra charge and transported us to Port Everglades. Embarkation: We arrived at port about 12:30 and proceeded to the check-in counter immediately. We checked in and went right on board, very smooth. We went right up to deck 9 for a nice buffet lunch and chatted with another couple while waiting to get into our rooms after 1. Food was very good and the atmosphere was very festive. Proceeded to our cabin #7430 at 1:30 and everything was ready. The room was a bit bigger than other ships we have been on and we had a nice veranda aft of the ship. Everything was clean as a whistle and our costa cards were on our bed. One thing I did find strange was that the door was wide open and anyone could get in. A couple we were at dinner with told us that when they went to their cabin, another couple was in there enjoying their champagne and canapes (thought it was their cabin), but all got straightened out. Our bags came about 2:30 which I thought was very timely. I was able to unpack before dinner with enough time to go to muster and look around the ship. The Ship: It was the largest cruise ship we have been on and it was very beautiful but my husband and I both remarked on how dark it seemed. We have been on lighter ships on RCI which we like better. The most impressive public room in my opinion was the Leonardo DaVinci lounge which had beautiful Renaissance paintings. Food & Service: We thought the food was good to very good and had good service in the Michelangelo Dining room but our table unfortunately was in the back so we missed some of the festivities. The buffets were adequate to good and the pasta and pizza was excellent. We enjoyed wine every night at dinner courtesy of the X1 package we ordered. That went very well. Ports: San Juan was a waste as it was Xmas evening when we got there so we just walked around then came back. St. Marten was nice and we took a private excursion on the Lord Sheffield and had a great time although I took a little sea sick. My husband snorkeled right off the ship. On Tortola we enjoyed an excursion with the ship to Virgin Gorda and the Baths which were well worth exploring but a little scary. I did think the excursion group with Costa could have done a better job of keeping track of us and help guide us through the caves, however. Grand Turks was very pretty but we just stayed near the ship and went over to Margaritaville for a while and watched the festivities which were fun. Entertainment: We only caught two shows which were ok. The bands were good and the cruise director and staff were very entertaining. We especially enjoyed Italian night and the Roman Toga night which I wish had been earlier as we would have liked to stay up later for more fun but it was our last night and we had an early call. Debarkation: Very smooth. We were the second group out and were in our taxi by 8:30. Overall Opinion: We had rather low expectations of Costa due to some of the reviews we read but I believe they greatly exceeded our expectations. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and if the price were right would definitely cruise Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Our sixth Caribbean cruise was aboard the Costa Fortuna from December 9-16, 2007. We stayed in the 160 square foot but very spacious inside cabin 8294 and our room attendant Michael from the Philippines was very kind and efficient and did ... Read More
Our sixth Caribbean cruise was aboard the Costa Fortuna from December 9-16, 2007. We stayed in the 160 square foot but very spacious inside cabin 8294 and our room attendant Michael from the Philippines was very kind and efficient and did a great job of always having our room spotless. We stopped in San Juan, St. Maarten, Tortola and Nassau and had a great time shopping and souvenir hunting. Despite some early rough weather due to the off-season Hurricane Olga, we kept our Bonine handy and had a smooth cruise unlike some other people who didn't come prepared and suffered from major motion sickness. Meals were as tasty and plentiful as they were with our previous cruises aboard Carnival which didn't surprise us since Costa is owned by Carnival. Our dinners at the 2-person candlelit table 440 were romantic and had a panoramic view of the entire dining room. Our waiter Francisco from the Dominican Republic and his assistant Joyce from the Philippines were friendly and did an excellent job of taking care of us. Selections included old favorites such as grilled tuna steak and new treats like salmon with Gorgonzola cheese spread. The ship itself was very well-maintained and we had no problem finding our usual nightly hangout spot from the outset. The Bar Classico Roma was a relaxing place to enjoy a fine cigar and a drink after dinner and we had many pleasant evenings chatting with other guests about our cruise experiences. All in all, we'd highly recommend the Costa Fortuna as a great way to get a taste of the Mediterranean in a Caribbean cruise and you can visit http://davehertz.com to view photos from our wonderful time at sea! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
As long time cruisers and frequent Costa customers, we took a Christmas cruise for the first time last year on the Costa Magica. We enjoyed it so much that we sailed again with Costa for Christmas -- this time on the Fortuna. There were 9 ... Read More
As long time cruisers and frequent Costa customers, we took a Christmas cruise for the first time last year on the Costa Magica. We enjoyed it so much that we sailed again with Costa for Christmas -- this time on the Fortuna. There were 9 of us -- 3 generations, and we all had a great time. Despite the fact that it took longer than usual to be checked in at embarkation (presume that it was a new employee), everything was better once we were on the ship. Our cabin steward, Christian, was superb ---- among the best we have ever had! He was attentive, polite, and helped to make our cruise wonderful. Our oceanview cabin was comfortable for 2 -- always clean and the bed comfortable. Because we have cruised many times before, we did not take the tours (very expensive), but enjoyed the islands on our own. The decor of the ship is beautiful -- especially the Michelangelo dining room and the Leonardo da Vinci lounge. A unique feature is the ceiling of the atrium, which has models of all the former and current Costa ships. The atrium was decorated beautifully for Christmas -- with a large Christmas tree. Midnight mass, a visit from Santa, Christmas carols, and snow in the atrium made the holiday special on board the Fortuna. The buffet, which seemed like it was always open, had a great variety of food --- well prepared, at the proper temperature, tasty, and authentic Italian. As Italians (from Italy), we can certainly say that the ingredients are genuine and good quality. The staff was attentive and professional. In particular, we enjoyed exceptional service from the Restaurant Manager, Bartolo, and Assistant Restaurant Managers, Marco, Nello, and Raffaele. Our waiter, Roy, and assistant, Paul, were excellent --- always pleasant and professional. We especially enjoyed the "events" in the dining room performed by the crew --- Italian Night, Tropical Night, and Toga Night. The food in the dining room was excellent, especially the pasta which was always great and prepared "al dente". The shows were good -- not great. This is one area that could use some improvement. However, the Cruise Director, Max, is outstanding! The pool activities are very entertaining -- lots of music and dancing. Eugenio, the "bingo man" was lots of fun. Having sailed with other cruiselines, Costa has something special that I have not found with other companies. The Italian ambiance (crew, food, decor) cannot be matched! Without a doubt, we will sail Costa again and again! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Embarking was very smooth and easy. After that it was down hill. All meals from Sunday through Wednesday were served room temp at best. First hot meal was Thursday evening. We even tried the buffet hoping food would be hot but no luck. A ... Read More
Embarking was very smooth and easy. After that it was down hill. All meals from Sunday through Wednesday were served room temp at best. First hot meal was Thursday evening. We even tried the buffet hoping food would be hot but no luck. A lot of pasta was available at each meal with meat offerings slim. Water, coffee and tea were the only beverages available with meals. There was no lemonade or punch for non-coffee drinkers. Of course you could always purchase alcohol if you so desired. Entertainment was OK but not great. The shows with the dancers were a hodge podge of what to do next. Shore excursions were mass confusion. It was like the staff had no idea what to do and this was the first time dealing with the problem. Regretfully we signed up for an excursion on each of the 4 islands we visited. Once started, two tours were good but the other two of our tours left a lot to be desired. Very little about the island or history. Disembarking went rather smooth but the kicker was reviewing our bill only to find the cruise line rounds your bill up to the nearest dollar. Wonder if they need money that badly? This was cruise #12 for us since 1998 and the first and last on Costa. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Overall our cruise was a great experience. There were some things that were better than others but overall we had a great week aboard the Costa Fortuna (12/16-12/23). We are a family of 4 (two 30+ with 7 and 4 year old), traveling with ... Read More
Overall our cruise was a great experience. There were some things that were better than others but overall we had a great week aboard the Costa Fortuna (12/16-12/23). We are a family of 4 (two 30+ with 7 and 4 year old), traveling with my parents (60's). We have all cruised many times. I believe this was my parents 42nd cruise! We had also sailed Costa several times in the 90's. We arrived at Port Everglades by van at approximately 11:40 am and had to wait almost 15 minutes just to get through the port security. I believe there were at least 6 ships in on the 16th. Dropping off the luggage and proceeding to the check-in was very smooth. There was a short line out front but I believe it was for luggage tags. The wait for security was just a few minutes and then only a few more minutes to check in. It went extremely fast. We are Coral members of the Costa Club but didn't get our documentation until on the ship so we just checked in the regular lines and it was just about as fast as the expedited check in for Coral and Pearl members! We were in room 8271 a balcony room for 4. It was HUGE... as far a cruise ship rooms go. We were very pleased at the size of the room and the bathroom. They were both much bigger than the balcony rooms we have had on Princess and Royal Caribbean. We actually had three full size twin beds (the 4th was a bunk) and there was still carpet you could see (actually a real nice roomy space). The third twin bed was a couch in rooms for two. The bedding on the double bed was very nice and the bed was firm but we found that just to our liking. The balcony itself was a little small, it was kind of tight with 4 of us out there. Our room steward Christopher was excellent. We had 1st seating for dinner in the Michelangelo restaurant and Roy was our waiter. He was EXCELLENT. We had no trouble with slow service. The only complaint, if I had to make one, is that sometimes my water glass was empty for a while, but that is probably just me I drink a lot of water. The food in the dining room was excellent. I would highly recommend the chocolate soufflE the first night and the rack of lamb a few nights later they were my favorite. We also really enjoyed the pasta course. Costa really does have the best pasta. It just amazes me how they can cook pasta perfect every time when they are cooking for thousands and I can't get it right every time at home for 4! The food on the buffet upstairs was good. We enjoyed the omelet stations almost every morning. The food was also very hot. It seemed like Costa did a better job at keeping all the food hot then other lines. The pasta stations at lunch were also very good. Since this was a "kids sail free" sailing there were a lot of kids on board. We noticed it a lot at the two main pools and associated hot tubs during the day. You really couldn't just get in and swim as there were so many kids jumping and splashing constantly. We did use the adults only pool most of the time when the kids were in the squok club. Costa had a security person that kept the kids out the adult only pool. The kids didn't really like the squok club as much as they have enjoyed the kids program on other ships. They said they didn't really have a whole lot of scheduled activities but just more free time play. There were also many different languages being spoken and I'm not sure how the kids communicated between themselves but the counselors spoke many languages. They both gathered squokers and were able to get some nice gifts (hat, Frisbee, wallet, etc..) at the end of the cruise. We didn't do a lot at the ports, as either the hours didn't work for us or we had been there many times before. We did enjoy the beach day at Catalina Island very much. The kids and I didn't even get off the ship in Puerto Rico, La Romana, or Nassau. We didn't really like the layout of the ship as there really weren't any good areas to walk around and just get some exercise, but that has all been said before. However, the ship's central lobby was beautifully decorated for the holidays. There was some "sickness" going around the ship, both kids had it and my husband and I had just a very mild version. Towards the middle of the week the sanitizing wipes started coming out at the buffet entrances. It was disappointing but didn't ruin our cruise. I do think Costa could do better with having hand sanitizer available all the time. We didn't go to any of the shows so I can't offer anything on them. Overall it was a great cruise and I would definitely sail on Costa again, especially when kids sail free! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
At first, I was very worried with the few bad reviews that I read so I went in expecting the worst. Cannot really comment on check in since we had a suite and bypassed the majority of the lines. However one issue that I did see if they ... Read More
At first, I was very worried with the few bad reviews that I read so I went in expecting the worst. Cannot really comment on check in since we had a suite and bypassed the majority of the lines. However one issue that I did see if they you didn't have luggage tags you had to stand in line to get tags then drop off your bags then go into the terminal to check in. When you get onboard they direct to the buffet on deck 9, however you get no information on when you can go to your cabin. Therefore, we just figured our cabin would be ready at 1:30... and it was. The other cruise lines I have been on give you a little embarkation flyer which will explain a few things and when you can go to your cabin. The service in the dining room was just ok. No one in the dining room went above and beyond no one was rude to us, but no one in the dining room was very personable. The wait staff just did their job and did not really care to get to you know. One of the things we enjoy when we cruise is to chat with the staff to get to know them better, but most people were very standoffish. The Pasta and beef dishes were excellent. However, the fish dishes were horrible. Every fish dish they brought out tasted the same regardless what the menu item was. All the bread tasted the same. Dinner was between one and half hours to two hours. We really did not feel this was too long. At times, it was nice to have time between courses. We did go to the club restaurant the last night and we wish we had gone before. Since the food and service were excellent. We would have easily gone a couple of times if we knew the club restaurant was so superior. This is the first cruise that I have been on that I have lost weight, so I think that says a lot about the food. The buffets choices were very limited and the hours seemed to be a lot shorter then other cruise lines. In addition, they only had Ice tea and water available free. As you know, other cruise lines also provide punch, lemonade and such for free. I found Costa's policy in this regard very strange. One thing that my wife and I agree on is that the European passengers were not rude. The rude passengers were certain groups of fellow Americans on board. There were groups of people from the New York-New Jersey area and south Florida who were very rude to fellow passengers and to the crew. The shows were just ok. However, my family had great fun watching the Mr. Pizza contest. We did enjoy the music in the different bars. I think this cruise line is a step up from NCL and in line with Carnival and Royal Caribbean, however nowhere near our favorite, which is Celebrity. However, it is not fair to compare Costa to Celebrity... We would return if the price were right. However, there are many other choices to cruise on before we would consider Costa again. Not a great time, not a bad time, I guess I could say an above average time. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
I just returned from the Western Caribbean on the Costa Fortuna and was disappointed. I have taken cruises before on RC, and Costa does not measure up. Maybe I was naive thinking a European cruise line was the same, but the service was ... Read More
I just returned from the Western Caribbean on the Costa Fortuna and was disappointed. I have taken cruises before on RC, and Costa does not measure up. Maybe I was naive thinking a European cruise line was the same, but the service was poor in many areas. I will start with the room which was very clean and comfortable, although getting a wash cloth was almost impossible. We asked everyday and finally resorted to taking them off the cart ourselves. The ship needs some upgrading but everything was clean. The dining experience was terrible. Aside from the Italian dishes, most of the food was cold and unimaginative. The steak was always cooked the same - medium - no matter what you requested. Getting any condiments was impossible. One night we had baked potatoes and waited over 10 minutes for sour cream. I ordered a drink and waited 45 minutes, even after I asked twice where it was. The desserts were only so-so. The buffet was good and bad, depending on the time of day. Going to the dining room for breakfast was fast and tasty, by far the best meal of the day. The entertainment was very good, but you better enjoy Italian music. One of the most annoying parts was having the crew not speak English. One day I went to a "quiz" where the crew member could barely speak English, and she was harassing a group of elderly Americans who could not understand her speaking. This happened more than once where the crew was rude to Americans. The islands were great - Grand Turk being my favorite. We only did a couple of shore excursions and they were fun. Overall I had a good time, but would not sail Costa again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
COSTA FORTUNA Eastern Caribbean Jan. 27 - Feb. 3, 2008 By Mary & Vincent Finelli This cruise was like "Old Home Week" for us. It was another wedding anniversary cruise, in the company of our son Marcello, his wife Paige and ... Read More
COSTA FORTUNA Eastern Caribbean Jan. 27 - Feb. 3, 2008 By Mary & Vincent Finelli This cruise was like "Old Home Week" for us. It was another wedding anniversary cruise, in the company of our son Marcello, his wife Paige and their son Marcello (6 yrs). Once on board, we were reacquainted with so many of our Costa friends, that we now dispute the old saying "You can't go home." Costa's cruising Italian style delivers distinct hospitality which is wonderful, and we basked in it for a whole week. On Day One, at the boat drill, Guest Relations Manager Martina Fantoni greeted us so warmly and by name, that we felt special. She proved to be so helpful and kind throughout the cruise, that we can't wait to cruise on Costa again. In the culinary department, we have many friends including the following: Chef Antonio De Luca, Maitre D' Bartolmeo Vitiello, 2nd Maitre D' Raffaele Bailo (Music Man), and 2nd Maitre D' Marcantonio De Candia. Later we will enumerate our new acquaintances including the elegant Captain Paolo Benini. EMBARKATION Ft. Lauderdale is secure to a fault. Because we had an motorized wheelchair we arrived in two autos. Our son Nicolas brought his son Nicky (6 yrs.) along for the ride, just to see the ships in Port Everglades. Big mistake! We soon found out that this can be a problem, since Nicky did not have a picture ID with him. At the security gates entrance to the port, we were stopped and not allowed to proceed to the pier with Nicky in the car, so we had to go back a few hundred feet into a parking lot and transfer all the luggage into one auto. Nicky went home with his Dad, without ever seeing the ship. Nicolas was supposed to drive our car home. Instead we parked in the Port's Garage ($105 per week). There is a lesson to be learned here: Even small children cannot visit the pier without an ID. The security guards could use a bit more common sense in inspections and not being nitpick, when it is evident that a six year old boy accompanied by his father is no threat or danger to anybody. What normally takes one half hour, last Sunday took one hour. Once at the pier we had to wait for Marcello to return from the parking garage --- another half hour. Costa's boarding and check-in were swift, and we had wheelchair assistance to our cabin. Total time from home to cabin --- two hours. It was too long on the pier, but Costa's check-in time was fast. SHIP The Costa Fortuna is the sister ship of the Costa Magica; thus, we are quite familiar with the deck plan. The major differences are in the decorations and the theme of the Fortuna. On the Fortuna, Ship Architect Joe Farcus pays homage to many of the former Italian Liners (naming major rooms and restaurants after them) and to ports of call (naming the decks after them). On board are many ship models, some arranged as a fleet and suspended upside down from the atrium ceiling. This was very disturbing to us, and we speculated on a better way to display these marvelous models. They would look better if floated on a clear blue plexiglas sea and suspended in the Atrium so that they could be visible from both above and below from several decks. The nautical motif is instantly apparent at the Welcome On Board Buffet: Deck 9 Napoli, Restaurant Buffet Colombo, named after the liner Cristoforo Colombo 1954, is decorated with huge Cobalt blue globes of the Earth and the walls have a series of ancient maps, so interesting, that passengers stop and stand to admire them, while temporarily forgetting the food! The Costa Fortuna was built in 2003 at the Fincantieri Sestri Ponente Shipyards near Genoa, Italy. She weighs 105,000 gross tons, her length is 272 meters and beam is 36 meters; guest capacity is 3,470 with a crew of 1,030; there are 14 passenger decks and she has a top speed of 22 knots. Her registry is Genoa, Italy. Deck 1 Rio de Janeiro and Deck 2 Miami are all passenger cabins in Categories 1, 2 (inside) and 6, 7 (ocean view). Deck 3 Buenos Aires has the Costa Atrium Michelangelo. Aft is the beautiful Restaurant Michelangelo 1965 (all ships have their launch dates attached) with ceilings depicting the scenes of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City, Italy. There are gorgeous blue and gold (Costa colors)Murano glass ceiling lights --- so elegant. At the entrance is an accurate ship model of the Michelangelo launched in 1965, and on which we sailed in November 1968 from Napoli to New York, just before our marriage January 26, 1969. Midship is the Restaurant Raffaello 1965, named for the Michelangelo's sister ship and it also has the beautiful Murano ceiling light fixtures and on its wall are displayed enormous posters from the Raffaello's hey day. Midship is the main floor of the atrium. Forward is the main level of a three deck high Teatro Rex 1932, The most famous of all Italian ships and a Blue Riband winner. Deck 4 Santos aft holds the balconies of the two mentioned restaurants, the Atrium and the theater. Also on Deck 4 is the Library, Biblioteca Galileo Galilei 1963, and the Internet Cafe`. Deck 5 Genova aft has the Salon Leonardo Da Vinci 1960, the Conte Rosso 1921 Piano Bar all in red, and the Conte Verde 1923 Ballroom all in green. There was dancing in this room day and night, between lessons and parties. The ship has many venues with live music and dance floors. Next is the Casino Neptunia 1932 and the Grand Bar Conte Di Savoia 1932. Forward is the theater . Deck 6 Lisbona, Deck 7 Caracas, and Deck 8 Vigo are all passenger cabins including inside, ocean view, veranda and suites. Deck 9 Napoli forward has passenger cabins (inside and veranda). Midship is the Lido Oceania 1932 with its three interesting animal bronze statues (Koala bear, Kangaroo and joey, and the birds) representing the fauna of Australia by Giovanni Solci. Aft is the Restaurant Buffet Cristoforo Colombo 1954, all in lovely turquoise blue and marine colors with ancient maps and globes everywhere. All the way aft is the Solarium Lido Cristoforo Colombo with two whirlpools, a swimming pool and a retractable roof. This area is wreathed with beautiful tiles depicting the mythic monsters of the seas. Here is the statue of the kneeling American Indian Girl by Sara Righi. The lovely patina on this copper larger than life work blends well with the marine colors of the Lido. Deck 10 Barcelona forward again are cabins, and then the Lido Barcelona and aft is the upper level of the Ristorante Cristoforo Colombo 1954. Deck 11 Cannes aft has the Club Conte Grande 1927, an elegant Tuscan Steakhouse. Forward is the Gym Saturnia 1927. Deck 12 Funchal forward has the Squok Club, a children's area and supervised fun and games that little Marcello loved and a spiral water slide. Aft are the playing courts for adults. In addition to three sets of passengers elevators, the decks are connected by three grand stairways, each one decorated with a different theme: the forward stairway is decorated with panels painted by Luigi Voltolina representing the life aboard the old transatlantic liners; the midship stairway was decorated by the painter Paolo Grimaldi with panels dedicated to famous Italian navigators, Cristoforo Colombo, Marco Polo, Amerigo Vespucci, Sebastiano Caboto, etc.; The aft stairway is dedicated to the ports of call which name the decks of the Fortuna, decorated by Riccardo Benvenuti. Mr. Farcus dedicated the motif of the Costa Fortuna to two decades, the 1920's and 1930's, and the art on board is indicative of those years, when the grand ships were the major mode of crossing the oceans. It was during this era that the magnificent Italian Rex captured the The Blue Riband from the German Bremen in 1933 making the fastest transatlantic crossing to that date. For Italians, the Rex still remains the symbol of elegance, luxury and the magic of ocean voyages. The elevator doors show reproductions of stylized Commercial Art portrayals of 20s & 30s elegant travelers reflecting the internal art of the Rex 1932 originally done by Vittorio Accornero. While in the corridors, there are images of the same period dedicated to the life on board the Conte di Savoia 1932 done by Franz Lenhart. The Ship Neptunia 1932 was the first Italian passenger liner to have "Classe Unica" or one class. This is a democratic achievement that even to this day the Cunard Lines have not made. On Costa all passengers are equal. This has led to Costa's motto of Italian Style cruising, which includes international and cosmopolitan passengers. The conversations among passengers heard everywhere on board are generally in the following languages: Italian, French, German, Spanish, English, etc. It is the international mixture on Costa that makes it the No.1 cruise line in Europe. SERVICE & FOOD Guest Relations Manager Martina Fantoni should be proud of the service provided to the passengers. The credit for the outstanding service in all dining rooms goes to the 1st Maitre D' Gaetano Gerocarni, whom we befriended aboard. Of course, it is in the dining rooms, where most passengers recognize gallant treatment: Fine dining, fine linens, fine table settings with candles, fine music and of course fine food. This describes the main dining rooms; wait until you go to the Club Conte Grande 1927, the Tuscan Steakhouse on Deck 11, the highest point of the Fortuna! In this upscale restaurant the table is set with Versace chargers and china and the table cloths and napkins are gold brocade. All complement the fantastic recipes of the noted Genovese chef Zefferino. The ambiance is enhanced by the pianist Antonio Salomone's excellent repertoire of the following: "Le Mer," "Moon River," "Smile," "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," etc.... The warmth of the dEcor is created in rusts and browns, juxtaposed by black and white marble flooring in geometric patterns. We had an excellent meal of crab cakes, Bresaola con Rugala and Parmigiano Reggiano, Insalata Caprese of tomato and Mozzarella di Bufala, Caesar Salad; home made pasta; entrees were Beef Filet, a 12 0z. Veal chop, etc.; desserts were Tiramisu and Crème Brule` topped with raspberry coulis. Naturally, the mellow finish was Prosecco bubbly. Our Maitre D' Gustavo Portuondo and Head Waiter Roberto Gutierrez kept close tabs on everything. We felt the elegance of the evening for days to come. Dinner in the Raffaello restaurant each evening was a delight. With our friend of many years, 2nd Maitre D' Raffaele Bailo creating happy times with his recorded medleys of famous Neapolitan and classic Italian songs. Signor Bailo is retiring soon. Costa will have a hard time finding another man like him, for he is the Italian Festive flavor of the Costa dining rooms. We know that we will certainly miss him. Maitre D' Bartolo Vitiello gave us a special table near the entrance, which made it much easier with the wheel chair. On board our friend Chef Antonio De Luca treated us to al dente spaghetti with crab meat, and for our anniversary prepared for us a special Pastiera, a delicious Neapolitan Cheese Cake, which we shared with our new companions at the next table, all delightful French Canadians. We made a new friend Executive Chef Ciro Perfetto who should be congratulated on the excellent cuisine daily. Wonderful choices are perfectly prepared. We also met his son Chef Francesco Perfetto in the Tuscan Steakhouse. It's wonderful to see him carrying on his father's traditions so capably. Our waiter in the Raffaello Dining Room was Edwin Fernandez; he and his Asst. Collin Seguerira were marvelous all week, especially to our grandson. Little Marcello especially enjoyed the chicken tenders and fries and leading the Conga Line throughout the dining room! Frequently, we had lunch in the Michelangelo Dining room where our friend 2nd Maitre D' Marcantonio De Candia always accommodated us with a nice table and selected for us some special appetizers. Here we also met 2nd Maitre D' Carmelo Onorini, whom we had recognized from previous cruises on Princess ships. Both of them, Marcantonio and Carmelo treated us magnificently and made us feel welcome every time we entered the restaurant. CABIN Cabin #6207 on Deck 6, all the way forward, is nicely decorated in the traditional Costa woods and nautical colors. There are two framed sketches on the walls in keeping with the 20s and 30s art of the ship. When entering on the right is a large bathroom, with a shower seat and safety rails all around. The turquoise tiles were very pretty. Then, there is one end table with a lamp, a king size bed, a medium size coffee table and two upholstered chairs. We had continental breakfast here every morning. It was prompt, hot and delicious. When entering on the right there is a double armoire, a single one is across the door way. There are plenty of shelves and hangers, and a personal safe. Next, there is a lighted, mirrored vanity/desk with four drawers, a refrigerator and a TV. The balcony is small and not too private, since it is located near an exit to the prow of the ship. When compared with the handicapped cabins on the Princess Lines, Costa's are much smaller and located too far from the central elevators. Princess clusters these cabins near the elevators, and so do the Norwegian and Royal Caribbean Lines. The last two have much larger cabins and balconies; on the Norwegian Dawn last month both the cabin and balcony are huge. There is another problem of the prow location: the wind on the balcony is so strong that the balcony cannot be used in the evenings when the ship is going at full speed. It is actually dangerous. Next time, we will try for a mini suite or suite. This cabin was so small that we had to park the wheelchair in the bathroom! The cabin steward Francis Baldo was phenomenal. He anticipated our every need. ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Max Bertolotto is suave, debonair and handsome. He has the ship's activities running like clockwork. We met him on board the Costa ships over twelve years ago, but now he is truly magnificent. There's Bingo, Dancing and Dance Lessons, fitness programs, Italian Lessons, etc.... Cruising Italian style is great for making new friends. There are feasts with games like bocce, toga parties and Roman Bacchanals. The shows are many and varied with singers, dancers and comedians. We especially enjoyed hearing once again John Ciotta the tenor from New York, who wowed the audience and earned a standing ovation. There is something for everyone and even quiet places to read or do crossword puzzles. PORTS OF CALL Day 1. Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA Sail Away 5:00pm Day 2. At Sea, we are sailing southeasterly. Day 3. San Juan, Puerto Rico Arrive 5:00pm Depart 11:30pm An interesting excursion includes a visit to the Bacardi Rum Distillery and a tour of San Juan by night. Day 4. St. Thomas, USVI Arrive 8:00am Depart 5:00pm This is a great place for shopping. An interesting tour includes the Skyline Drive and the mountain top view of other Virgin Islands and the famous Magen Bay. Day 5. Catalina Island Arrive 8:00am Depart 5:00pm This is Costa's private island where the passengers can enjoy the beach resort facilities such as chairs and umbrellas and the BBQ offered free of charge. However, several types of water sport activities are offered by independent operators not connected to Costa. Costa Cruises discourages the use of these activities. Day 5. Evening La Romana Arrive 6:00pm Depart 11:00pm La Romana is only 5miles from Catilina Island. The only excursion offered in this port is a tour to Altos de Chavon arena which features a musical show with local rhythms and dances. Day 6. At Sea --- Sea Depth sometimes is approx. 5,500 meters. Day 7. Nassau, Bahamas Arrive 1:00pm Depart 6:00pm A favorite excursion for us is a visit to Paradise Island and Atlantis with its beautiful Aquarium. Day 8. Ft. Lauderdale, FL Arrive 7:00am DEBARKATION Guest Relations Manager Martina Fantoni arranged for wheelchair assistance from our cabin. We had a twenty minute wait in the Atrium, because ship personnel are not allowed to wheel passengers off, only Port workers with security clearance can go off the ship. We were off to passport check, baggage pick up and customs, all in a matter of 15 minutes. Nice job Costa! However, we had a half hour wait for Marcello to get the car from the Port Parking Garage. The traffic in port is extremely heavy and congested, since many other cruise ships arrive on Sunday; however, the I-95 traffic was light and we were home in Boca Raton, FL in less than 35 minutes. SUGGESTIONS The ship's atmosphere gives cruisers opportunities to meet so many cosmopolitan people. The fascinating Captains, Passenger Service Directors, Maitre D's and performers are all in extreme proximity, very friendly and most apt to strike up a conversation with cruisers. Meeting new people and seeing new places is what cruising is all about. That is why we love "cruising Italian style"! It has been more than ten years since our first cruise on Costa ships. But the last few years both of us have developed ambulatory problems, first Vincent and then Mary requiring wheelchair assistance, thus we book wheelchair accessible cabins. In our cruise reviews we have frequently suggested that wheelchair accessible cabins should be centrally located in order to facilitate the wheelchair bound people to access every important place, from the dining room to the theater, with minimal effort. However, our suggestions to make cruise ships more wheelchair friendly have not been heard by those individuals involved in the planning and design of new ships in the Costa and Carnival Cruise lines, since there has been no effort to centrally locate the wheelchair accessible cabins. In our opinion the cruise lines that have given the best effort in making their new ships most friendly to wheelchair bound passengers are Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Our next cruise will be on the Star Princess, Feb. 19th sailing from Buenos Aires to Antarctica. Happy Cruising! 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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