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40 Costa Magica Cruise Reviews

First, before I even begin the report on this ship, I must say I cannot recommend any cruise ship that main preference is to smokers and that what the Costa Magica does. On the pool deck, only 5 percent of the space is given to non smokers ... Read More
First, before I even begin the report on this ship, I must say I cannot recommend any cruise ship that main preference is to smokers and that what the Costa Magica does. On the pool deck, only 5 percent of the space is given to non smokers and that section is off to one side and to the back where they have the most uncomfortable chairs I have ever sat on. There are no lounge chairs there because you are not even near the pool. The smokers can smoker everywhere else on the pool deck. Also, smoking is allowed in all cabins WHICH IS VERY DANGEROUS. The smell also goes out into the hallways and into all the cabins, its disgusting. Also, THIS IS NOT A FAMILY ORIENTED and is NOT A KID FRIENDLY cruise ship. They are topless women bathing at the pool and the Italians which are about 80 percent of the passengers like to wear T shirts with bad words on them that any kids can read, with the smoking, I must say AVOID THIS SHIP. Lets start the report. Costa Magica December 3, 2006 Before this year started I had been on 28 cruise. This is my fifth cruise of the year, so now I have been on 33 cruises. Since most cruises do most things right, I am going to start with the things they don't do right. THE BAD Costa is currently the lowest priced cruise around and is owned by Carnival and in many ways it shows. EMBARKATION is a joke and completely DISORGANIZED. In fact many things done on this ship is so DISORGANIZED I am amazed they get anything done. They have 3 security machines, but they were only using one. Everyone was complaining and it was hot, the building has no air conditioning. It took 2 hours to get on the ship, which is a very long time. LUNCH BUFFET is also a complete joke. I had read reports on here that the food was terrible, but I just thought they didn't know good Italian food. I have been to Italy several times and I know really good Italian food. But, I have to agree with all the others on the lunch buffet. I could barely find anything to eat for lunch. It was either a hamburger or some weird food or weird pasta. The hamburger weren't even that good, they were all over cooked and dry everyday. Have you ever heard of an Italian that doesn't know how to make a good pizza, on this ship the PIZZA WAS TERRIBLE, Princess has much better pizza. This ship has by far the fewest DAY TIME ACTIVITIES of any ship I have ever been on. The days at sea there is nothing to do and if you don't want to go to the port, forget it, you wont find anything to do on the ship. Boring. Contrary to what others are saying including the cruise critic report, this ship DOES NOT HAVE A REGULATION SIZED TENNIS COURT. In fact, it is half sized and barely usable. They do not maintain the tennis court and the nets around the court are all coming off and into the court, so you cant even hit the ball. The tennis courts were only open about 3 times the whole cruise and half the time it was being used for volley ball. Also they have only 2 used balls on this ship, so if you are a tennis player, forget about playing tennis on this ship. The MIDNIGHT BUFFETS are also mostly a joke. The main midnight buffet in the dining room was a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT. They only had cold cuts and pastries and people were waiting in very long lines for this. The POOL BUFFET wasn't much better either. But on the night where they have four different shows in the four different lounges they had food from the different countries and it was very good. Even though the people at CUSTOMER SERVICE were very nice, sometime you would get someone that spoke no English at all, so it was a bit frustrating. TURKS is a big disappointment. I have heard so much about it with people saying it has the best beaches in the world. The beaches were clean, the sand nice and the water calm, but it was full of rocks, no matter where you went. This is not even in the top 5000 beaches in the world. I have been to much nicer beaches in the US, not even to mention the great beaches elsewhere. Unlike most other ships, this ship does not have any kind of hand cleaning solution at any of the food locations or anywhere on the ship. I wouldn't be surprised if many people got sick on this ship. DISEMBARKATION is a joke also. This is the first ship I have ever been on that they wouldn't let you off the ship until your color was called. Also the building still had no air conditioning and was very hot. 80 percent of the passengers are Italians and most don't speak any English. Italians are definitely not the friendliest of people and that's definitely true on this ship. THE GOOD The SHOWS on this ship are THE BEST ANYWHERE. They have great singers and dancers. On most ships the girls can sing, but the guys cant sing for a dollar. But on this ship the girls and guys can really sing and dance. I really enjoyed the shows. The can can show on international night in the french room was incredibly. don't miss it. This ship has the most NIGHT TIME ACTIVITIES of any ship I have ever been on. There are 4 lounges and they are always things happening at night and the disco. The singers sing until 130 AM. They also have the largest casino I have ever see on a cruise ship. The DINNER is much better then the lunch, almost as good as celebrity. On only one night I had trouble finding something good to eat for dinner. Talking about the food at dinner, they have the absolutely WORST TASTING LOBSTER I have ever had. It was so bad it was uneatable. Do yourself a favor and skip the lobster. SHIP DESIGN is excellent. It doesn't even look like a ship, but a 5 star hotel, its really nice. Also all shops, lounges, casino and showroom is on deck 5. Even the disco, which is on deck 4 can be seen and got to from deck 5. The ship has a really nice design. If you like shopping, they have some of the NICEST SHOPS on this ship. The service in the buffet was excellent except for the one day we went to the Turks and you couldn't get off until 12. You couldn't find anyone anywhere to clear the tables. Other wise it was excellent. The service in the dining room was good, not great or terrible. The CABINS are also very nice and large and their service is excellent. The only other ship I have been on with a larger cabin is Princess. They have the most ELEVATORS of any ship I have ever been on. There is never a wait for an elevator. CONCLUSION Aside from the smoking issues on this ship, I cannot recommend anyone cruise on this ship. The Italian passengers on this ship are far from friendly. There is absolutely nothing to do on this ship during the day and the food for lunch is so terrible there is nothing to eat at all. Also the overall service on this ship is really not that good. SKIP THIS CRUISE. SINCE THIS IS THE LAST CRUISE OF THE YEAR I WOULD LIKE TO COMPARE ALL THE SHIPS I HAVE BEEN ON THIS YEAR. OVERALL Princess NCL Costa RCCL Celebrity DINING ROOM FOOD Celebrity Costa NCL RCCL Princess BUFFET FOOD Princess NCL RCCL Celebrity Costa SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS NCL by far the best Princess was not very good Costa didn't try it Celebrity didn't have any RCCL didn't have any ENTERTAINMENT Costa NCL Princess, Celebrity, RCCL all TIED for last STAFF FRIENDLINESS NCL Princess RCCL Costa Celebrity CABINS Princess Costa Celebrity NCL RCCL NIGHT TIME ACTIVITIES Costa Princess NCL Celebrity and RCCL TIED for last DAY TIME ACTIVITIES Princess NCL RCCL Costa and Celebrity TIED for last PORTS Costa NCL Princess RCCL and Celebrity TIED for last Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Background Information: This was my sixth cruise. I have previously been on Carnival Tropicale (4/00), Carnival Inspiration (3/02), Golden Princess (12/03), Carnival Glory (11/04), and Sun Princess (3/05). I went on this cruise with my ... Read More
Background Information: This was my sixth cruise. I have previously been on Carnival Tropicale (4/00), Carnival Inspiration (3/02), Golden Princess (12/03), Carnival Glory (11/04), and Sun Princess (3/05). I went on this cruise with my husband of almost two years. I was 14 weeks pregnant with our first child upon embarkation. This made for some unfortunate seasickness...which I was not used to. We are in our mid to late twenties. We love to cruise...this was our third together. Embarkation: There were very long lines at embarkation, even by 11:00 a.m. It took over an hour and a half to get through the lines. The system was not as good as Princess, but comparable to Carnival. Ship Info: The Costa Magica was beautiful. There were paintings on every wall. The atrium was beautiful as well. The ship is very large, and seemed very crowded. Cabin: We were in cabin 8311 (inside) on the Veronese deck. It was a good location. Not close to any elevators, but it was mid-ship and only one deck down from the pools and buffet. Cabin was smaller than both the Princess and Carnival cabins we have been in. Our room steward was great. He got us an extra mattress on the first night and always made our room up twice a day. We had a towel animal one day and we also got chocolates on our pillows on formal nights. (I liked getting chocolates EVERY night on Carnival and Princess, though). BRING AN ALARM CLOCK. The wake up call button in most cabins do not work. This requires you to rely on someone at Room Service to manually set the alarm. On two occasions, the alarm was set at the wrong time. One of the times when taking a nap, the alarm didn't even go off. We ended up sleeping through dinner and the show. Needless to say, we were not happy. Food: There were three locations we mainly ate - the buffet, the grill, and the restaurant. BEWARE Princess fans....there is not a 24 hour buffet. If you miss the lunch window at the buffet, you are forced to eat hamburgers and french fries until dinner. It got very tiring to eat the same thing over and over while waiting for late seating dinner. We decided to eat at the dining room for lunch on 4 of the days. The food there was MUCH better than the buffet and more filling as well. The dining halls were very pretty. They were well-lit and well-decorated. We were in the Portofino Restaurant for late seating (8:30). The maitre d' tries his best to seat you with people you have something in common with. At our table, there were 3 English-speakers, 2 Spanish-speakers, and 1 Polish-speaker. Needless to say, that made conversation difficult. However, as we are a young couple, we were happy to be seated with other young couples. We would have liked being seated at a larger table with English-speaking people, however. Service: The information desk and shore excursion desk services were not good. We had a couple of problems onboard and we were refused a manager. I found that the service people did not want to get their managers...and would tell you to come back the next day and you could see a manager. However, upon returning, no manager was ever available. They wouldn't do anything to fix our problems. They refused to compensate. We were very unimpressed with the service we received on Costa versus Princess, or even Carnival. If you want to be pampered...Costa is NOT the way to go. Entertainment: There were shows every night of the cruise. We attended a show every night, except the last night. The shows were good...but lacked variety. There was mostly singing and dancing. There was one show called Myth Trio that was absolutely phenomenal. It was an acrobatic show. Other than that show, I was not thoroughly impressed. Because of the variety of languages people spoke, we often had redundancy. Daytime Activities: There were minimal daytime activities compared to Carnival. There were a lot of trivia games and exercise programs. We did a little of those things. We really enjoyed the arts and crafts, which were offered on all sea days. They did mostly painting of pottery, as well as fans, T-shirts, etc. The activities were also redundant compared to Carnival or Princess' daytime activities. Shore Excursions: We were in San Juan, St. Thomas, Dominican Republic, and Grand Turk. We only did one shore excursion through the ship. In San Juan, we did the Bioluminescent Bay Kayak Tour. BEWARE: This tour has a 3.5 hour round trip drive. We stopped at a McDonalds to use the restrooms for THIRTY minutes. This cut the actual tour to about 2 hours. It was ridiculous to say the least. We were unhappy about the false advertisement. They advertised this as a 7 hour tour....but after the drive and the bathroom break (which they say nothing about in the brochures or online)...it really isn't much of a tour at all. The actual kayaking through the bay was fun...but difficult because of the language barriers. Alot of people did not speak English and were not listening to what the guides were saying. That made the kayak trip in the pitch dark fairly difficult. In St. Thomas, we took a private tour (Ike Witt Daysail) to St. James to snorkel. This was very fun. In the Dominican Republic, there are not many choices. We took a shuttle to Altos De Chevon, which was beautiful! We loved it there. It was very picturesque and romantic. However, don't go during lunchtime because there isn't a whole lot to eat there. In Grand Turk, we took a taxi ($3) to Governor's Beach, which was completely secluded and beautiful. The waves were fairly high, which didn't make for good swimming. However, the beach was much prettier than at Cruise Center, where we were docked. We were on the entire beach with only 4 other people. Because of its' seclusion, we couldn't find a taxi back. We walked the 20 minutes back to the Cruise Center. Shopping is very limited at this port. Disembarkation: Disembarkation was slow and not well-organized. We were to meet in the theatre at 9:00 a.m....but did not leave the theatre until after 9:30. It took until 10:00 to get off the ship. Summary: We will not travel Costa again. We will be sticking with the trusty ol' Princess. Costa did not meet our expectations, unfortunately. Don't get me wrong though...it was still a vacation. However, if you enjoy Carnival or Princess...I would not venture off. I would have rather paid the extra $300-400 to go on Princess. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
We just cruised Costa for the second time, our sixth cruise all together. This itinerary had three new ports for us, Old San Juan, LaRomana and Grand Turk. We would only wish to return to Grand Turk. That said our overall experience was ... Read More
We just cruised Costa for the second time, our sixth cruise all together. This itinerary had three new ports for us, Old San Juan, LaRomana and Grand Turk. We would only wish to return to Grand Turk. That said our overall experience was very good. Embarkment took 90 minutes,a bit slow but it moved along and we visited with folks and just relaxed. Our veranda cabin # 8255 had adequate space, a nice size bath. (We put lots under the bed)A/C worked well,mattress and pillows are firm but we like them that way. We ate breakfast and lunches from the buffets which provided a nice variety and better than average quality. We never felt crowded or had to wait in long lines. The evening dining experience did not measure up to our expectations. The menus were unimaginative and the quality was that of large hotel conference fare. Salads bland, desserts merely passing and entrees fair to good. Italian night was a bust-no Italian entree nor desserts! Great pizza and pasta offerings during the day however. Cabin service was very good. We requested to have ice available three times a day at it was always there--probably due to extending a tip on the first day. Room and bath was always clean Dining service was acceptable. Drinks, wine and food delivered on time. Staff made no attempt to be engaging even though our table of four was a fun,happy two couples. We enjoyed the entertainment very much. They had a good variety and Max, the Director, was a joy. Very professional.All the lounges provided enjoyable music and dance opportunities. I became ill the last night,a virus for sure. When I reported my situation and requested an early exit at disembarkment,Customer Service chose to ignore my rather uncomfortable situation. As this was the last few hours of an otherwise great trip we did not allow this to ruin the cruise experience. Costa again? Perhaps, based solely on itinerary however, as other lines can deliver an overall better cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
"It is amazing how one ship's service and quality can differ from another." -Overheard at Costa Magica Buffet on Day 1 of Voyage This cruise was to be the last for at least 5 years for my wife and I. We are about to start ... Read More
"It is amazing how one ship's service and quality can differ from another." -Overheard at Costa Magica Buffet on Day 1 of Voyage This cruise was to be the last for at least 5 years for my wife and I. We are about to start a family and know traveling will be difficult with little ones, and of course there is the financial cost to consider as well. We had taken four prior cruises and one other on the Costa Mediterranea. This in only three years of marriage! To say the least, we love cruising. And we thought we loved Costa. Things started going wrong almost immediately. Embarkation What a complete mess. We arrived at dock 22 at Port Everglades in less than a half hour from arriving at the airport. We were stoked. The flight, taxi, everything was flowing smoothly and quickly! We hadnt received luggage tags in the mail for our bags. We didnt know how this would be handled. A hint was definitely delivered when we didnt get our paperwork and later found out it had been filtered as spam and was now email only. Our last cruise on Costa Mediterranea was only in April, and that had DHL delivered documentation. That changed, apparently. I am all for electronic tickets overall. But not at the stake of a smooth delivery of service. That is exactly what happened when we got to the port. We had to wait in a line for luggage tags. And it was chaotic. No one knew where to go. Costas Florida crew, mainly elderly retirees, seemed as befuddled as most cruisers did. Why didnt we receive tags? What were we to do? So a line grew so that reps could verify documentation and hand out the tags. I waited in line for 45 minutes and finally one of the reps gave up and started handing them out. What a security risk! What a customer service fiasco. We finally got out of that line and entered the next fiasco. The luggage scan. We waited in this line for an hour and a half. The hold up wasn't actually security, it was Costa (once again). They did not have enough staff to check people in, so the line for that grew so long that security literally had to stop scanning luggage. However, I purchased a Suite. So I had priority embarkation. That didnt help in the security line. There was no security line for priority VIPs. After clearing security, I got right through to an agent to check me in. While the security scan generally isn't part of embarkation, nor is luggage check in, I give it very low scores here. I go into negative territory because after check in, once again we had to wait in line to actually get on the ship. That was another 20 minutes or so. I argued with the Costa rep that I had priority embarkation, but that did me no favor. With over two hours of rage built up, we got on the ship. We gave the photographer, models and greeters on board the cold shoulder. We were mad. Bad Costa, very bad. Cabin Despite being famished, we decided to unload our carry-ons in our suite straight away. I was immediately disappointed. The suite was small. It was definitely not the 600 sq ft advertised, closer to 275-300 sq ft. The bathroom was the major high point. The whirlpool and the rest of the bathroom were large and nice to use. We both took a whirlpool bath every other day of the cruise. Just outside of the bathroom is this poorly conceived walk-in closet setup. It has a dresser for a woman to put on her make up with the closet portion directly behind it. One could not get into the bathroom without bumping in and disturbing the wife. This was irritating. The rest of the cabin had wood accents and very nicely designed Magica artwork on the walls. We enjoyed it. It was enchanting and stylish. We immediately ordered mattress pads for the bed and feather pillows. We didnt expect to get them, but asked anyway. We got them, and a Suite Pillow Menu from Dorelan, an Italian based company. We could choose from 7 different pillows. We ordered two more pillows that had a very interesting design, with the temperpedic bed material (Dorelan calls it Myform). Our bed ended up having 8 pillows. Combined with the pads, sleeping was a true luxury and spending time in bed was our favorite activity ultimately on board. The balcony was another frustration. While it was long, it was not wide enough to easily get in and out without disturbing others on the balcony. Where this became annoying was when we tried to eat on the balcony. We had to play musical chairs and tables to avoid creating a mess. While any balcony is better than no balcony, I was annoyed. Later on in the day we returned to the cabin to find canapEs, Champaign and a fruit bowl with grapes, kiwis, mangos and apples. All very fresh and chilled. The canapEs included caviar, walnuts, brie and salmon. I ate the whole plate--my wife was not into them. The Champaign we decided to bring home as a gift for a friend, but when we had it wrapped by the duty free store, the attendant boldly said he wouldn't bother bringing it home because it was crap. LOL! Thats just great, Costa!! Our Butler introduced herself. Her name was Claudia and we thought she was very pleasant upon this first meeting. She cleared our refrigerator as requested in a love note, and arranged our pillows and pad delivery. My wifes first comment to me after meeting was, she looks utterly exhausted. She was right and this would have implications later. Our room steward, Julius, was a constant delight the entire trip. Very friendly, industrious and responsive. Overall, our room was really not very different in size from the room we had on the Costa Mediterranea in April. We had 7238 on that ship and Id estimate the size to be the same minus the walk in closet and luxury appointed bathroom. And the balcony was actually smaller! What exactly had I spent an extra 300 dollars per person on? Service? Maybe thats it.  (Note: Love Notes are what I call the notes I leave for the attendants of our rooms during our cruises. Instead of trying to track them down, I merely leave notes for them on the door whenever I need something. I call them love notes because I love to be pampered!!) Dining After checking out the room, we hit the buffet. Our experience on the Mediterranea was that food got progressively better as the cruise went on. We noticed this on our other cruises as well. We attribute it to staff exhaustion from the last cruise. It is our justification, anyway. So we didnt expect much. Food was OK, not stellar by any means. It continued to not be stellar through out the trip. We never ate in the main dining room, but had most meals brought to our room by our butler. Initially, she was quick to deliver, but she got slower and slower. One order never came and when we complained we were told dinner was over. Our final order of the cruise took over an hour and a half. With most orders, the food was warm to cooling by the time we got it in our room. Claudia seemed embarrassed but unable to do anything to remedy it. She looked lost and unempowered. Most orders were incomplete, lacked silverware, lacked salt and pepper, lacked butter for rolls obvious things. Claudia seemed to be making a very honest effort, guest services had a continuous line the whole trip. We didnt know who to complain to, and whose fault it was. We ended up doing nothing about this except note it carefully on our survey at the end. The buffet never got better. We had some outstanding pasta, of note was the gorgonzola gnocchi and bacon and onion spaghetti. The steaks were never cooked right and not flavorful at all. Sides were unpleasant green beans and other assorted things. The other option was to eat poolside at the grill. There my wife liked the deli sandwiches, and I enjoyed burgers and grilled fish. One frustration with the grill is that they wont make you a real cheeseburger, you have to put a cold slice of American cheese on your own burger. One day they ran out of American cheese and substituted Swiss cheese. I asked for American and was told they were out. . . only to find the next day that it was back on the menu there!! My wife started taking extra deli sandwiches to the room and putting them in the refrigerator to eat later. Costa, what are you thinking??!! Quality issues led to seeing lots of plates head to garbage cans pretty full. One night in the room after getting lackluster room service again, we sent nearly 75% of what we ordered to the garbage. We felt very guilty about this. A Suite perk is a free meal at Club Vicenzo, the for pay dining option on the Magica. Claudia strongly warned us to reserve a table early so we wouldnt miss it as it was very popular. We did so and reserved it for Monday night, on a day at sea. We expected it to be full. We walked in and it was empty at 7 PM. We stayed until 8:15 and no one followed us. The restaurant was empty minus us and one other couple. Service was very professional, with the laying of napkins in our laps and such. The table wear is from Gucci. We thought wed get a 5 star dining experience. No such luck. To say it was terrible would be an understatement. It was horrifically bad. We ordered t-bone steaks. I initially asked to see the steaks offered. The waitress looked perplexed and said we couldnt. The menu itself was confusing. There was an ala carte menu and then a tasting menu. You could taste 3 things for 25 dollars or 2 for 20. Suite passengers got to taste two things for 20. It would consist of a main entrEe and a type of salad, and then side items and dessert. We got Caprese salads that were decent. Bread and breadsticks were passable, but not spectacular. But then came the main entrees. We gasped simultaneously. The T-bones were these thin strips of meat with a humongous bone wedged between. It didnt matter how you ordered it, it came well done. It must have taken no more than 2 minutes to completely cook the poor thing. And the sides were laughable and so unprofessionally presented. They were on the same plate as the main entrEe. Three short and tiny asparagus? Four carrots? Corn and red pepper? A plate full of cold fries, not shoe string potatoes that we ordered? It was day 2 and we were fed up eating on the damn ship. Don't even ask me about the desserts at Club Vicenzo. Was there every a fantastic meal? No. There wasn't. If it wasn't cold, or the entrEe stunk, or the dessert stunk, it was something else that went wrong. We looked forward to deli sandwiches and ports so we could eat some real food. If that doesnt turn you off to this ship, continue I have plenty more, but first Entertainment This was the only highlight of the cruise. The shows were of good quality. The first night was a former member of the Platters (Sonny Turner??). My wife and I are not into that kind of music, but the singer did put on a good show overall. The Vegas style shows were well done and done without a hitch. Entertaining and fun. The Newlywed and Not So Newlywed show, which is something we look forward to on other occasions was poorly attended. The CD, Max Bartolotto, was not entertaining and seemed befuddled by responses of participants. Several times he looked annoyed with one particular couple. His irritation was easily apparent and it made for a very displeasurable experience watching it. I was amused by old people talking about their sex lives like they were 18 year olds. The much lauded Costa Talent Show was the true entertainment win of this cruise. The cruisers wowed us with their talent. Of particular note was the older lady comedian. She was outstanding. One unfortunate note was one particular cruiser sang an old hymn, and the response of the audience was to leave in droves during his performance. On our prior cruise, part of the fun was sending the performers to the lions. The talent was terrible, which made it enjoyable. No such luck here. The one area we were hoping would be bad, turned out to be good! Oh the irony!!! The CD overall seemed unenthused and uninspired. He looked tired and worn out, as did his staff. I recalled assistant staff members Silvio and Eugenio from the previous Mediterranea cruise, and they were much more outgoing then. To the point where we thought Silvio must be on stimulant drugs. Apparently this time they were handing out MaryJane. While we didnt participate in the Lido deck activities, we did often observe them from our sunbathing positions. They were poorly attended and participated. One of the staff members, Angelo, commented several times just how much he hated doing the Blackjack Tournament each cruise. That tells me there are fundamental problems among supervisors and staff. As mentioned before, I did the Blackjack Tournament. We also participated in Bingo and the Arts and Crafts activities. The Arts and Crafts entailed painting ceramics, t-shirts and fans. We didnt have to pay extra for them and got to bring them home as souvenirs. Bingo was held in Lounge Salento instead of the theatre. Eugenio hosted the Bingo. He is quite flamboyant to say the least. Spa & Fitness We used both the fitness center and sauna/steam rooms. The fitness center was difficult to find initially. There were no clear signs pointing it out. It is on the 11th floor behind the Saturnia Spa. You have to walk through the locker rooms to get to them. My wife used the running machines and elliptical machines. She found them difficult to use because instructions were only in Italian. She figured them out eventually. The equipment and the room itself seemed old and not well maintained. They have a whirlpool set in the middle of the room above the fitness machines. The placement is odd. I looked in to see if I wanted to get in, and it looked dingy. The plastic molding in many areas was stained. I turned around and headed to the sauna. I have been a long time fan of the sauna. I belong to a fantastic health club with outstanding Finnish built saunas and steam rooms. My expectations are high and my knowledge of how to use them is also high. I've been to the real thing in arctic Sweden. I was not let down here. It was as if a Swede or Finn built the fine Magica sauna. It had two heaters and the wood work was well done. It was a large room with capacity for around 15 men. It had a large window to the sea, which was enchanting. Lighting was just right; enough luminosity to get around, but not enough to make you overly self-conscious with a bunch of other sweaty guys. The temps were around 150-180 degrees, the professional sauna users preference, so to speak. It was perfect, and I did a full round of warm ups and cool downs. The problem with the cool downs was that you had to sit near the toilets in the locker room. And someone obviously had a bad trip to the buffet. The steam room was a let down; the steam was intermittent and the room didnt have the right aesthetics. It was white and blue and had no lighting at all. One out of two isn't bad. Shore Excursions Per our usual operandi, we did no ship organized excursions. The forums here at CruiseCritic are outstanding and provide the researching cruiser more than enough information to organize or find better excursion opportunities. We had nearly two relaxing days at sea before our first port of call, San Juan, Puerto Rico. This was a late arrival. We docked at 4:00 PM. This was misleading on the original viewing of the itinerary several months before. It said we arrived at 5 PM on Tuesday and left at midnight on Wednesday. It led me to believe we got nearly a day and a half there! Wrong! Read carefully! The worst implication of this was that one misses some of San Juans best treasures because they close at 5 PM! Namely, San Cristobal and El Morro! When we arrived at 4, I thought we could make a b-line for the doors, grab a taxi and perhaps spend at least a half hour at El Morro. No such luck. Despite the fact we departed a US port and made no stops in between, we still had to be cleared by immigration and that took an hour. We got off the boat at the pier in Old San Juan and found Royal Caribbean and Norwegian docked, with Carnival coming up behind us. The city was about to be flooded by at least 8,000 tourists. The pier was a madhouse. People shouting at each other, horns honking incessantly. It was disorienting. We ran to a Coldstone Creamery to escape. Later we started our tour of the old town. The temps were actually cool, but the humidity was unbearable for this sweat prone bear. I couldnt stand it. The locals were wearing winter coats. I know, I know you hate humidity and sweat but love the sauna.  I am a man of many contradictions. I am not sure where the 8,000 unwelcome guests of the city went, but most of them didnt get very far from the pier because within a block or two uphill, crowds dwindled considerably. Our goal was the restaurant Barrachina, home of the Pina colada. Just a bit further down the path is the Fortress residence of the Governor. It was lit up for the holidays and looked beautiful. At Barrachina we were treated to good service. It had started raining heavily by then and I felt sorry for those in the uncovered atrium of the restaurant. After I drank my pina colada, I became very nauseous. I am not sure what did it. I felt better several hours and half a bottle of maximum strength bismuth later. Our meal there was very good, a marinated beef dish, but pricey - 17.00. Barrachina also has a gift shop attached to it and is totally unfitting to the history of the restaurant. An interesting highlight was all of the Haitian gift shops in Old Town. They are worth a visit. I enjoyed using my limited French with the shop owners. We headed back to the pier at 9 PM and found a very long line. There was only one security agent allowing people back to the main pier! It took 45 minutes to get back on board. While in line a very intoxicated/stoned local entertained(?) the line with his bizarre little dance. I wasn't sure whether the man needed help or a kick in the pants. I was both horrified and amused. It is emotionally confusing encountering poverty and such social ills when on vacation. You are there to engage in pleasure--they are living their life devoid of it. A good friend of mine only does tropical forays to Hawaii for the very reason of the dichotomies of Caribbean tourism. Port two our eastern itinerary was St. Thomas. What can be said about St. Thomas that hasn't already been beaten to death? Our goal was to ferry to St. John and ultimately Trunk Bay beach. We arrived to a wicked rain storm and hoped for three hours that it would end. It did finally and we darted off. We picked up an overpriced tax (10pp each way) to Red Hook to catch the 15 minute ferry ride (5pp each way) to Cruz Bay, St. John. It is a very scenic ferry ride. One can also catch a ferry in Charlotte Amalie, but that makes it a 45 minute ferry ride and higher cost. Ferries ran from Red Hook and Cruz Bay on the hour. Once in Cruz Bay we grabbed a taxi (6pp each way) to Trunk Bay. It took 20 minutes and was a death-defying ride. The driver obviously knew the route well, and curves also!! Trunk Bay beach is extraordinary. It is your quintessential paradise. It is supposedly number 3 on the best beaches of the Caribbean and for good reason. While it is one of the few beaches in the US Virgin Islands that is public and requires a fee to enter (4pp), it is well worth it. After Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, this one is our favorite. We spent 3 hours there. Back in Cruz Bay later in the day, we found a cute place to grab some local fare. We got some Johnny Cakes and Pate pastries along with some Barritt's Ginger Beers. All of it was good and relatively cheap. Upon arrival at Red Hook, I found myself exasperated with the fact that wed spent nearly 60 dollars on just commuting around the islands. I didnt want to spend another 20 to get back to the ship. So I followed the advice of one of the posters and decided to grab a local bus back to Havensight. These 2pp transports are open air and at the time of the day we jumped on, it was loaded with school kids. Nearing the end of the day, it stopped frequently. I was nervous we wouldnt get back to port in time. Adding to my anxiety was the fact that I could not understand a word of the Creole the kids were speaking. I'd ask questions and they respond with indignity. One of the girls enjoyed my obvious discomfort and concern. Meanwhile, my wife soaked up the experience and adventure. We got back close to Havensight and hopped off. The bus driver stopped us and said he'd take us closer, but we knew we could beat the bus by foot. I thought this was very generous of the driver and was my best experience with a local of the day. Our third port was Casa De Campeo, Dominican Republic. In truth, the port is called Casa De Campeo, but is 30 minutes from the renowned resort and golf course. The port is actually across the channel from La Romanna Dom Rep's second largest city. We woke up early so that we could eat on the balcony with the city behind us. What was actually directly in front of us were large smoke stacks spewing back smoke into the air. It was never clear what was being manufactured there. Our intention was to take the port authority shuttle to Altos De Chavon, the Spanish village recreation at Casa De Campeo Resort. But an angry French Canadian warned us as we walked to the shuttles that they were a rip-off and to take a taxi instead. Shuttle rides to La Romanna and Altos De Chavon were 5pp each way. So we did the quick math and figured to do both would cost us 40 dollars. Our new Quebecois friend suggested we take a local taxi for 30 dollars and a tour. Great! We thought! As it turned out, none of the drivers spoke English and they wanted 35 for a 2 hour tour to both locations. We decided to take the adventure. Our driver was Daniel Jimenez. We communicated with a combination of my knowledge of Spanish and my wifes better knowledge of Spanish. We had these moments with him in the taxi where we would laugh in glee when we managed to communicate effectively. The taxi itself really was a circa 2000 Toyota Camry wagon in beat up condition, but comfortable. As with almost every taxi I've taken in the Caribbean, the gas tank gauge said it was empty and the fuel light was on. LOL! The tour of La Romanna consisted of the police station, fire station, main market square and shopping. The city was swarming with people, but no major apparent extreme poverty. It was relatively clean and orderly. The police presence was high, and they carried semi-automatic machine guns. This scared my wife, but didnt faze me. Id say the only point of poverty that I witnessed was a legless man with one arm on the bridge across the channel. That was it. Ocho Rios, Jamaica had far more observable poverty than La Romanna. An interesting point about the La Romannians is their lack of willingness to barter or negotiate. We found this with the insistent Daniel, and at the shop he took us to. They wanted their full prices and acted very insulted that we didnt want to pay them. I am quite serious about this point. In many other ports of call, they'll just wave you off if you cant agree on a price. In La Romanna, they got angry. I was very put off by this. The prices were high by American standards, let alone third world ones. I didnt want any part of it. They were trying to fleece us. My wife on the other hand was a different story. Her philosophy on the third world is that even if they are fleecing us, the price contributes to a better life for them and shed rather pay that than giving it through a third party like a charity. I tried to explain economic theory and reality to her, but she wouldnt have it. We ended up paying 51 dollars for two small sculptures of mediocre quality and a painting of good quality. To each their own. Altos De Chavon was the gem of this trip. On the way there we crossed through the famous sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic. They stretched for miles and miles. Upon arrival at Altos, the security guard tried to explain that we had to pay 5pp on the way out to visit the place. I had not read this elsewhere and was very dubious about it. We toured the place and found it enchanting and very true to the old world it was modeling. The view of the Chavon River was awe inspiring as well. We didnt have time to check out the shops or restaurant, but have heard from other cruisers that they are well worth checking out. We left Altos De Chavons main park area from a different end that we entered. We got slightly lost on the grounds. We found Daniel and the taxi and hopped in and left. I waved to unpaid security guard as we drove off. I was sick and tired of being ripped off for the day. Many people have stated that Dom Rep is wasted port stop. I would disagree. Plan your excursion and adventure carefully and you'll enjoy yourself. While I felt fleeced, the adventure was worth it. Our final port calling was Grand Turk, the city of Cockburn. As it turns out, the port is several miles south of the city of Cockburn itself. It was constructed by Carnival Corporation last year as an alternative to nearby Nassau. The port area reminds me a great deal of Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. Carnival has created a little shopping area with pastel colors, and the beach area is very reminiscent of Half Moon Cay, complete with free lounge chairs and cabanas. The great part is that you can just hop off the boat and walk to the beach instead of taking a tender at Half Moon. The caveat to walking off the boat and to the beach is that they make you walk through the shopping area to get to it. It immediately struck my wife and I that it is similar to the casino hotel experience in Las Vegas. They make you walk through the Casino to get anywhere. Most of the shops are locally owned, with a few large jewelry and Duty Free shops mixed in. A Margaritaville restaurant is the anchor. You have to take a taxi into town. There is nothing else there except for a condo development and bar. The beach itself was nice, but somewhat spoiled by the pier which blocks a view of the open ocean. We walked further down the beach and swam where it was less obstructed. Many others followed suit and brought their loungers and cabanas with them. We ate at Margaritaville. It was expensive and mediocre in quality. We didnt order the 10 dollar 10 ounce drinks. While there I was moved by a couple who were very obviously in love. As I watched them at their out of the way table, I built this imaginative scenario of their lives. I imagined they were some French couple who probably are in their first stage of romance and enamored with each other with that youthful lust we all have in that stage. The woman had this look on her face that made me feel joyful. As if she was deeply concerned about every word that came out of her mans mouth. Sometimes I wondered if she was waiting for him to pop some question out his mouth. She had this apparent look of expectation. Her eyes were wide and she had classical European looks. He looked very Mediterranean and chain smoked. They kissed often and held each other closely and tenderly. I felt satisfied that these tourists were enjoying themselves immensely on this trip. They were imbuing joy around them. We had an extra long day at Grand Turk and really enjoyed it. Wed gladly take it over Nassau. Finally, a miserable day at sea, getting sicker and sicker with a bad cold. I spent much of the last day resting in our suite. But I got out for a late lunch. When I was done eating this woman came by to pick up my plate. It was the woman enamored with her man I saw from afar at Margaritaville. I didnt realize it at first. Now, she looked downtrodden and exhausted. I looked closely at her name tag, she was from Romania, like our Butler. I felt so sad at that moment. Sometimes I wonder if cruise staff have worse lives than my cat, who I think comparably lives an easy life. This has led to mixed emotions about cruising in the past. The facts are that most service staff on cruises work for tips. However, these tips actually pay a relatively decent wage overall, given US standards, and are extraordinary when compared to their home standards. But they work generally 7 days a week, for six months or more at a time. My understanding is that most staff get a half day or full day off every few weeks, depending on the ship and itinerary. Their shifts are split into two 5 hour shifts every day. I can see where this wears on a person in a short period of time. And I saw this with nearly all service staff on the ship. My heart was broken for this woman. Disembarkation I wish we could have saved the survey so we could comment on this. By far, this is one of the best benefits of having a suite. Disembarkation was very good (On Holland America disembarkation is awesome no matter what level of cruiser you are). They separated us out from the rest of the cruisers by having us go to Club Vicenzo. There we were greeted by a continental breakfast being served by the romantic couple from Margaritaville. This time the woman looked rested and pleasant. Her boyfriend/husband(?) seemed no different from the restaurant, except that his interplay and communication with the woman was much more formal, of course. We waited for 20 minutes upon arriving at 8:30 AM to get off. That was smooth. Gathering our luggage was smooth as well. It is said that any day on a bad cruise is better than a good day working. I am not so sure about that. I get a high when I've had a particularly good day at work. When I cruise I have a certain level of expectation and nearly every one was shot down on this one. I am very happy with every port experience, however. We cruised this ship knowing that it had mixed reviews in the past, but wanting the itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
Poor Costa: Heres a cruise line that doesnt know what it wants to be. Lively Italian, sophisticated European, deep discount American. Or all of the above, overlaid with both panache and confusion. Costa, said a fellow passenger, is ... Read More
Poor Costa: Heres a cruise line that doesnt know what it wants to be. Lively Italian, sophisticated European, deep discount American. Or all of the above, overlaid with both panache and confusion. Costa, said a fellow passenger, is actually an Italian word meaning completely disorganized. No kidding. The cheapest cruise Ive ever seen offered 13 days across the Atlantic in May 2006 for just $499 - or 16 for $505 if you left from Florida. But the Costa reservationists were confused and the web site wanted $1499 for a berth which was really a grand cheaper. The boarding process lived up to the lines reputation: a 45-minute lineup because only one security screening station had been set up. Transfer from JFK was excellent, though, and the air arrangements, though complicated, worked. The ship is very large and very ugly inside, but the cabins are pleasant and well-equipped. It is singularly ill-suited for cruising oceans or non-tropical waters: there is no observation lounge, let alone a forward-facing one and the main route to the buffet goes out of doors. There is lots of public space, however, though seat-saving Europeans sometimes block access to it. The main show lounge is well-designed, though pillars obscure some sightlines. The ship has 20 elevators, so getting around is easy. Unless you are assigned to the aft dining room, which is orphaned away around a series of corners. Once there, the food is mediocre at best, though the service was eager, if occasionally inept. The Bellagio buffet got better reviews. Service in bars was dismal: servers would often make eye contact but not stop to offer a drink. Some bartenders needed basic drink-mixing lessons. Beds were hard, as I had read here, but my steward was a gem. In eight days crossing the Atlantic, the daylight hours were tedious: the need to communicate in five languages slowed any meaningful activity to a crawl. But at this price, no guilt attached to the idea of sleeping all day. At night, the ship came alive, with fine singers and musicians in the lounges and join-in activities galore. The main stage shows were energetic but suffered from homogenized multiculturalism - an Italians idea of what might appeal to an audience of many countries. Shore tours were adequate in the two ports we visited, though the departures were never on time and long lineups were common. The front desk operation was a disaster - confused and disinterested. The cruise staff worked hard though the cruise director was seldom seen. The Captain was, though, impressively. The mandatory tip was a mere six Euros daily, though a martini cost seven. Costa is an Italian cruise line and that wont change even if ownership is now entirely American. So if you speak the language or dont mind hearing it constantly, this might be a good choice, particularly in the Mediterranean, where the line is most at home. Elsewhere, I think, its a big fish out of water. At $499, no denying this particular cruise was good value for money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
I would not recommend this cruise line. I recently completed a cruise on 4/28/06 from Ft. Lauderdale to Bermuda and Nassau and back. This cruise line could become a world class line if management is willing to make improvements. The ... Read More
I would not recommend this cruise line. I recently completed a cruise on 4/28/06 from Ft. Lauderdale to Bermuda and Nassau and back. This cruise line could become a world class line if management is willing to make improvements. The Pros: The ship is well kept and clean. The crew and servers are helpful and courteous. The entertainment, though different from more traditional cruise lines, is very good. Cabins are adequate, though not large. The ship is lively and festive. Good dance floor and music. The Cons-The FOOD: Italian cuisine is amongst the world's finest, but you would hardly know it from that which is served on this ship. Pizzas, pastries, main courses cannot compare in quality to what you can get in a good Pizzeria or local Italian Restaurant or Bakery. I could go on with countless examples: Baba Rum (no rum)flat tasting. The Oso Bucho- fat and gristle covered up by a dark sauce. Shrimp & Mussels that are hard as a rock etc,etc.. You can find some things that taste good and the food is palatable, but not first rate. The selection of food is narrow in scope. You have to spend time figuring out what to order. No Saltimboca a la Romana, or the real good stuff. The Organization or lack thereof: The ship is large and it gives you a closed in feeling when inside. The Bellagio Buffet is a joke. You go through the chow line for breakfast and then must search for the whereabouts of a grapefruit. The coffee is here, but the sugar is far removed, in some cases. There are three chow lines and one of them is different from the other two. It is a disjointed operation, not a smooth linear procession. Minor annoyances: The cabin draws have small loops for handles making it difficult to open, especially for a woman with long finger nails. In some restrooms, the doors are so near to each other that entry is difficult- you must open both doors simultaneously or get trapped between the two doors. There are more things like this which are annoying. Their debarkation procedure is a joke. They tell you to be in a certain location at a certain time and that you must be out of your cabin by 8 A.M.. I just stayed in my cabin and did not leave at 8 A.M.. After 9 A.M. I saw many people passing by my open cabin door. I asked them "Where are you going?" They replied "we are leaving the ship," so I just followed along and left the cabin. Another annoyance is the long wait on line to activate your credit card-yes "I said activate," just like Microsoft Windows, from whom they were no doubt inspired-joke. Costa is not like HAL where things are well disciplined. Excursions are unorganized. You do not know the time of these excursions until you board the ship. So, if you booked two excursions on the same day (via the Internet), you do not know if there is a conflict with times. I had such a conflict, and it took me 3 times to finally get one of the conflicting excursions canceled. They exhort you to resolve excursion conflicts on the day you board, which is a burden on the traveler. Since you must wait on a line to activate your credit card, as alluded to above, you can see that this is not a pleasant experience. On board shops are pricey and limited in selection. If management changes these things Costa could be a first class cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
CostaMagica to Bermuda and Nassau 4/21/06 This was our 16th cruise. This was our Costa cruise. We decided on this cruise because of its itinerary to Bermuda and the price. Embarkation: We arrived at the airport the day of the cruise and ... Read More
CostaMagica to Bermuda and Nassau 4/21/06 This was our 16th cruise. This was our Costa cruise. We decided on this cruise because of its itinerary to Bermuda and the price. Embarkation: We arrived at the airport the day of the cruise and took a taxi to the pier. We arrived at appx 12:30. It seemed crowded but the lines moved quickly. The reason the lines were going so fast was there was no credit card registration, no room keys given and no security photos taken. Our room was ready upon boarding. There was a blank key in the door slot. Displayed on the bed were the room keys, along with a variety of paperwork, shore excursions, welcome information and the Costa Today, a daily paper reviewing all ship activities and meal schedules. The Ship: The ship is beautiful, extremely clean and well maintained. Costa does a fine job in this area. It was a little difficult to navigate around the ship. Getting from one the front of the ship to the back required going up or down a few decks to cross an area then back up or down again. Room: We had an inside cabin located mid ship on deck 7 directly across from the grand suites. We had plenty of room for all our things. There were 2 hanging closets, one closet with shelves and several drawers in the desk. We asked our room steward empty the refrigerator and add a mattress topper, which we had read about on previous reviews. She emptied the refrigerator right away and our topper was added when she turned down the sheets that evening. It really made a difference if you prefer a softer bed. Our cabin steward was excellent and the room location was wonderful. It was quiet and centrally located. Food: Food is very subjective on each persons tastes. Some meals we enjoyed, some not. We found the food on this cruise to be Hit and Miss. It was a little tricky trying to figure out what to order. We found ingredients mixed together that we thought were unusual combinations. Breakfast was the usual fare. Lunch & Dinner: We encountered a few surprises along the way. One lunch I had a deep fried shrimp and fish platter. It would have been excellent had the shrimp been peeled before being battered and deep fried. Biting into the shell was a surprise. The cheese cake had candied fruit in the mixture. I enjoyed the grilled chicken that was always available. The cold soups we tried were very good. We were disappointed in the buffet. No hand sanitizers. Every station served exactly the same thing. The selection was poor. Pizza had 2 choices each day, cheese and 1 other topping of the day. If you wanted pepperoni and it was Hawaiian day, you were out of luck. Dining Service: Hit and Miss. The first few nights it took 45 minutes to receive the 1st cup of coffee that was requested upon sitting down for dinner. On formal night my husband first received the wrong meal, only to be replaced with a steak that was raw. By the time the waiter came back, desert was being offered. My husband was so frustrated; he decided not to wait for another steak and went to the buffet. Other nights were very good. Service for lunch and breakfast seemed inconsistent. Some times great and sometimes very slow. Entertainment: There was a variety of music being played on the ship. Many people seemed to be enjoying themselves dancing or just relaxing with conversation. We only attended 2 shows, Roman Night and Tropical Night which we found enjoyable. Ports of call: We did not take any ships tours. Bermuda: We arrived at the Royal Naval Dockyard pier on a Sunday evening appx 7pm. Most everything was closed with the exception of a Pub. We just walked around the area picking up maps and tourist information then went back to the ship to review the information. The next morning, we purchased a one day bus and ferry pass at the tourist information office just off the ship for $12.00. This gave us unlimited access to both the busses and ferries all day. We took the ferry over to Hamilton and browsed the shops. We returned by bus for the scenic tour. Along the way we stopped at Warwick Long Beach for some awesome photo opportunities. This beach was pretty secluded with lots of rock formations in the water. The water was quite clear. The water was still a little to cool for swimming. After spending a few hours on the beach we went back to the bus stop and caught the next bus back to the ship. This is one place we will definitely return to. Nassau: We walked around the streets and straw market for a few hours. Disembarkation: Our meeting place was the theater to wait for our color tag to be called. When it was called we were told to go down the staircase to deck 0. It took a good 35 minutes to get down stairs to exit the ship. Once off their seemed to be a lot of confusion. Everyone was trying to figure out where to go to catch the bus to the parking lot, tours etc. We found our car rental courtesy busy and we were on our way. All in all, we enjoyed this cruise. We received what we paid for. Would we sail the Magica again? Not sure. We prefer American cuisine. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
The embarkation was crowded and slow at 12:00. I had to return to my car for a camera and returned at 3:00 and there was absolutely no line. I would recommend just arriving later and avoid the hassle. Our cabin was nice and at midship. ... Read More
The embarkation was crowded and slow at 12:00. I had to return to my car for a camera and returned at 3:00 and there was absolutely no line. I would recommend just arriving later and avoid the hassle. Our cabin was nice and at midship. However, we found out the first night that we were above the grand lounge, which played music until 1:30 AM every day. It sounded and the vibration felt like the band was in our cabin. The ship was fully booked, and no other cabin available. Sleep was impossible. We talked to others on our deck with the same problem. On the third day, I saw a couple disembark and spoke with them and got their cabin number, 1326. I went to the service desk and later managed to get moved to 1326. This was a nice window cabin on the first deck. The food was fair and the selections rather ordinary. The lobster night was a half of lobster, which amounted to about four bites. A friend had a fish dish one evening and received a special knife(?). I watched her trying to cut the fish and struggling. She gave up and had the veal Parmesan, which she said was even worse. The desserts were mediocre and not presented on a tray to help with the selection. All of the crew and staff were great as I have usually found on my cruises. The entertainment was exceptional. We enjoyed the shows. We did not care for the size of the ship. At some point, you have 3,000 people trying to do the same thing at the same time, board, go ashore, casino, buffets etc... We had a great price, but I would not recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
As we live only an hour away from Port Everglades, we cruise frequently and for seven day cruises generally prefer to drive to the port and park in one of their conveniently located garages. Embarkation was a seemingly endless queue, but ... Read More
As we live only an hour away from Port Everglades, we cruise frequently and for seven day cruises generally prefer to drive to the port and park in one of their conveniently located garages. Embarkation was a seemingly endless queue, but went fairly quickly as no photos were taken nor was credit card registration handled at this time which resulted in long lines for two days as people were asked to report to rooms at certain hours to register their cards. We have never sailed on a ship that allowed smoking in the cabins, so were unpleasantly surprised to find that our cabin reeked of cigarette smoke. Customer Service quickly saw to it that our cabin was cleaned to our satisfaction. The cabin was small but adequate for our needs, and our cabin stewardess was delightful. Passengers should be advised to bring their own shampoo and moisturizers because they are not available in the bathrooms. Towels, both in the bath and on deck, are threadbare. The Magica is a very large ship and it's easy to get disoriented when trying to find your way around. The Portofino dining room is mid ship on decks 3 and 4, so you have to go to deck 5 to walk the length of the ship. The gangway is on deck zero, but not all elevators stop at that deck, which resulted in a lot of confusion when passengers disembarked at ports. The library is a tiny room with few books, and is only open two hours per day. Internet service was fast as compared to our experience on other ships, but is was expensive and the chairs were much too low to be able to type comfortably. Communications are almost nonexistent aboard this ship. The daily newsletter has more ads than information, and few announcements are made via their speaker system. There are plenty of activities for everyone, but if you want to curl up with a good book you'll find there are no comfortable chair on this ship. One must also be careful while sitting on deck 10 because soot from the stacks can be a problem, which we found out the hard way. Customer service took care of cleaning our clothes. The buffet was good for breakfast and lunch, but the choices were not quite as nice for dinner as in the dining room. Food was generally good -the only disappointment being that Florida, not Maine lobster was served at the last gala dinner. Our steward recommended prime rib instead.) The dining room staff was very attentive and the service was excellent. Disembarkation was a little confusing because we did not get our final newsletter, and the ship arrived at a different terminal necessitating a shuttle transfer to the parking garage. But once we left the ship, the process went very quickly and we found a shuttle waiting for us at the curb. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
Good value for a second tier cruise line. The entertainment on the ship was awful. They used an acrobat show (just OK) as their headliner for their main show. They also use extensive lasers and strobe lights to cover-up for the low talent ... Read More
Good value for a second tier cruise line. The entertainment on the ship was awful. They used an acrobat show (just OK) as their headliner for their main show. They also use extensive lasers and strobe lights to cover-up for the low talent level. There are few activities on board. There were no on board movies in the theater. There were no lectures or talks and little variety of entertainment. Shows start really late in comparison to dinner times. Food is good, but the variety of food is limited. Service was excellent both in the dinning room and the buffet. The cabin service was also excellent. The pools are fine and well cared for. The interior of the ship and facilities are gorgeous. Shore excursions have good tour guides and the procedures for loading and getting to the excursions were fine. The itinerary of the trips left one wondering what you were missing that should have been included and was not. There was too little to do on the trips in comparison to the cost. However this often can be said of other cruise lines and is not a knock at Costa. The overall price was good, but is not up to higher standards of Princess, Holland America or Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
We just returned from the 7 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise, and found it to be the worst cruise we ever have taken. Although the cabin was lovely with a balcony, the bed was hard and uncomfortable, much like a folding bed. There were no ... Read More
We just returned from the 7 day Eastern Caribbean Cruise, and found it to be the worst cruise we ever have taken. Although the cabin was lovely with a balcony, the bed was hard and uncomfortable, much like a folding bed. There were no amenities in the cabin like shampoo, conditioner, hand cream, and only one bar of cheap soap was provided. Several nights the cabin steward (who was excellent) left us a small tube of a supermarket brand of hand cream. The towels were flimsy and worn, and looked to be older than the ship (one year old). The entertainment was mediocre, canned music and an "Ed Sullivan" style format of variety show. Max the cruise director was all over the TV, but I never actually saw him anywhere on the ship except on stage (but then again, it is a HUGE ship). There were lots of Europeans smoking everywhere, and pushing and shoving to get in front of you on lines or in and out of the elevators. The Off-Roading tour of the Dominican Republic was a waste of money, although the tour guide was informative and funny. We saw a sugar cane plantation , a smelly cigar factory, and a lunch stop where we had cold frozen pizza and fruit. (my stomach bothered me for 2 days after that meal). We also stopped in the parking lot of the Hotel Romana and looked at it for about 2 minutes, then the tour was over. The worst part of this cruise was the food. We have been on Princess Cruises, where the food and customer service was always impeccable. The service on the Costa Magica, however, was completely unacceptable. The waiter and his assistant tried their best, but had too many tables to attend to. The food choices, except for some of the pasta dishes were just plain bad. My impression was that the food was pre-cut into portion sizes, pre-cooked, frozen and then re-heated with a sauce thrown on. The desserts were awful. Several of them tasted like the recipes came from the back of a jello box. The sorbet was completely watered down and flavorless. When I gave up on the coffee after dinner and asked for tea with milk on the side, I was given (every time) a pint container of milk (never in a creamer) to serve myself from. Although we were told this was for health reasons of spoilage, the last container I was given was curdled. The disembarkation process went smoothly until we had to board the busses for the airport. Then, no on seemed to know what was going on. Several Costa employees, especially one named Ullee was downright rude, and actually shoved and elbowed several passengers. My husband and I will NEVER travel this cruise line again. The lack of attention to important details mentioned above, along with an itinerary that didn't provide enough port time in places like San Juan (4 hrs) and too much time in the Dominican Republic (the beach for the day would have been sufficient) have soured us on this expensive mistake of a cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
I just returned (Jan. 15) from a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the CostaMagica. The ship is only a little over a year old and is very well maintained. What hit me immediately is the gaudiness of the ships interior design. I know that ... Read More
I just returned (Jan. 15) from a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the CostaMagica. The ship is only a little over a year old and is very well maintained. What hit me immediately is the gaudiness of the ships interior design. I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder but this was one of the most overstated interiors of a ship I have ever seen. Although there were some nicely decorated areas, the colors of gold and red dominate the interiors. On deck 9 where the Bellagio buffet is located, the light fixtures are molded arms holding bare light bulbs  much too crazy for my taste. If you enjoy the atmosphere of the old Las Vegas casinos this would be great. Also, many of the chairs in the various lounges were rather low and small scale and quite uncomfortable. This was not my first cruise and I have experienced the grandeur of the Queen Elizabeth ll to the tackiness of the Magica. One of my avocations is cooking and I really enjoy cruising because I am an adventurous eater. I can usually remember most dinners and what I had to eat. There were only two dishes on the cruise that I can say were memorable  one was a pasta dish of gorgonzola sauced gnocchi and the other was a risotto with mussels. Im not saying the food was bad, rather Im saying that the food lacked creativity and did not live up to my expectations based on what people had told me who had cruised on other Costa ships. Most disappointing were the pastries and desserts. Dessert at dinner was much improved over the offerings at the buffet which tended to be average in taste, unimaginative, repetitive, and sometimes scarce. The nice thing was I saved some calories from not eating them. I did enjoy, however, the bake shops rolls which were crusty and delicious. One thing that concerned me was the Bellagio buffet area did not have hand sanitizers for the passengers. This made me feel a little uneasy especially after all of the outbreaks that occur on many cruise ships. We mainly ate our meals in the full service restaurant. On all of my other cruises I never remember so much cigarette smoke on board. Perhaps this was due to the large number of Italians and other Europeans on the ship. The persons in the adjacent cabin did nothing but smoke and order room service. Every time they smoked I could smell it through the door. It wasnt pleasurable to be awakened during the night and smelling smoke. I was surprised that there are no rooms or group of rooms that are strictly for non smokers. Since my cabin was forward on deck two, I heard the rough seas bang against the bow which sounded like a gun firing and kept me awake the first night. We had an outside stateroom which was spacious, nice and very well kept by the cabin stewardess. CostaMagica needs to learn something about entertainment for American passengers. The shows consisted mainly of disjointed dance routines with bad canned music. They werent my cup of tea. The most entertaining night featured a newlywed and not so newlywed game which consisted of 4 couples from the audience. They were so funny I was almost crying from laughter. The final night of the cruise was a toga party and the ship supplied sheets and a paper crown for all to wear. The Roman night entertainment was a talent show of passengers singing and dancing, culminating in a finale with the ships singers and dancers. Great fun was had by all that attended. The ports on the Eastern Caribbean were San Juan (arrived at 6pm and it rained) St. Thomas, the shopping capital of the Caribbean, Catalina Island (beautiful all day beach island which Costa owned), and Casa De Campo (La Romana, Dominican Republic), and Nassau (seas too rough to pull into harbor). I would have preferred to spend more time in San Juan and St. Thomas  be sure to look at the itinerary carefully. Perhaps Costa should try to fine tune the itinerary so that the stay in San Juan is more than a few hours at night. The ships gym was adequately stocked with equipment. There were 4 ellipticals, 4 treadmills, 2 step machines, several stationary bikes, free weights, and weight machines. As a Navy veteran, what really impressed me on this ship was the way it handled the rough seas when we sailed through the Atlantic both going to Puerto Rico and then returning to Florida. From my estimation we had some 6 to 8 foot swells with white caps. The winds were up to 80 km per hour and this ship sailed through it with very little pitch and roll. I found the service aboard the ship to be very adequate, although not the most attentive that Ive encountered. I would probably sail again on Costa, but not on the Magica, unless it was a deal that was too good to be true. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
Review of Western Caribbean Cruise on the CostaMagica January 15-22, 2006 I am writing this review primarily in response to reviews of the CostaMagica that I read prior to boarding our cruise and that contain a lot of misinformation. By ... Read More
Review of Western Caribbean Cruise on the CostaMagica January 15-22, 2006 I am writing this review primarily in response to reviews of the CostaMagica that I read prior to boarding our cruise and that contain a lot of misinformation. By way of comparison we have been on two other cruises in the past two years - one a Caribbean Cruise on NCL and the other a Mediterranean cruise on the Wind Surf which is a Windstar ship. The NCL cruise cost approx the same as the Magica cruise but the Wind Surf cruise was over twice as much per person. We arrived at Ft. Lauderdale airport and took a taxi from the airport to the ship. With tip, the taxi costs about the same as the cruise line bus for two so there is no advantage in taking the bus. We left our bags out front of the pier building and were checked in and boarded the ship - it took only 45 minutes from the time we landed at the airport until we boarded the ship. As soon as we boarded we were handed a ships guide and where told our cabin was likely not ready but we could go to the buffet lunch. We went to our cabin anyway thinking we could at least stow our hand luggage. To our surprise the cabin was ready - we picked up our Costa Cards in our cabin that you use to charge stuff on the ship and as an id card, and went up on deck and then went up on deck to have lunch. The cabin was exactly like pictured on line and was comparable to the cabins we had on our cruises in the last two years. It took a few hours for our luggage to arrive and I would advise anyone going on a cruise to pack a change of clothes in their hand luggage if you are going to arrive dressed too warmly - this way you can enjoy the deck activities and not worry about when your luggage arrives. The Magica is a very large ship with plenty of public spaces, deck room etc to accommodate a full ship without feeling over-crowded. We did not have to wait in any significant lines for anything on the cruise. The condition of the ship and its cleanliness where better than any ship we had ever been on. The ship sails smoothly and is very quiet - we heard no engine noise nor did we feel any vibration. We had a cabin with a window but no balcony - the balcony cabins were very nice. The ship is fairly easy to get around on with good elevator service. Like the other ships we have sailed on not all of the decks are open to walk thru so to get to some places you need to go up and around - it took me only a few hours to feel I knew my way around the ship. There were a fair amount of passengers in wheel chairs who did not seem to be having any problems getting around. There were also a fair amount of young children (stroller age or younger) and things seemed to be ok with them as well. The Costa line requires that you register your credit card after you board the ship. There are lines for this but as we learned there are multiple places to register so if the line was long in one place just go to another. In any event they give you a few days to register so you can just wait and avoid the initial rush. By the way the same thing prevails at the buffet - if a line looks long just go to another food station as they have multiple stations and in every case the line was never long at all of them at any time. The quality of the food was comparable to the NCL cruise and not as good as the Wind Surf. Highlights were the pasta and risotto dishes served at dinner or lunch. We ate all our breakfasts and lunches at the outdoor grills or the buffet and all of our dinners at the second seating. The breadth of the selection of food was not as good as on NCL or the Wind Surf. Particularly with respect to things like desserts, fresh fruit and soft drinks. In any event there is no chance of starvation on the cruise as food is served pretty much all day. Everything is freshly prepared with good ingredients. There was excellent smoked salmon at breakfast every day, and guys preparing eggs to order (using real eggs). Most of the lunch buffets also featured real prosciutto (Italian air cured ham), a personal favorite of mine. The grill did not offer any real selection of grilled items other than hot dogs and hamburgers. There was a buffet every evening at midnight - it was more than reasonable but no effort to be over the top. Alcoholic drinks on the ship were reasonably priced - there was a decent selection of wines at reasonable prices. Prior to boarding we purchased a package of 6 bottles of wine and 12 bottles of mineral water for a price equal to 5 bottles of wine with a 10% discount - this was a great value - all of the wines were fine. The selection/value of the wines on Magica was superior to either NCL and Wind Surf. The people on the ship were not a hard drinking group - I didnt see a single intoxicated person on the ship and unlike the NCL cruise we took there didnt seem to be too many passengers trying to consume untoward amounts of beer. Also unlike NCL the wait staff did not try to push drinks all day. The spa/fitness center on the ship was large and very impressive with a good selection of equipment. It was slightly nicer than the one on the NCL ship and much nicer than the one on the Wind Surf. The staff at the fitness center was ok but not as good as the staff on the NCL ship. The jogging - walking track on the ship was fairly small and because it is so high up on the ship was subject to a lot of wind - I think they could make the fourth deck into an alternative jogging deck. In a related issue there were not any energy foods available on the ship - as not all that many persons were into exercising I cant really fault the cruise line too much on this point. The Costa line is an Italian line and so lots of signs, messages, etc. are stated in English and Italian (and sometimes Spanish). At no time do you need to worry that something will not be in English. There was a fairly large contingent of persons whose primary language was not English - mostly Italian speakers - it seemed like a fair number of these people were Canadian. In any event we enjoyed having these people on the cruise which gave it more of an international flair. The port excursions on the cruise were comparable to those on the other cruises we have taken. The cruise activity staff were Italian, English and other nationalities - lots of energy and very friendly. The wait staff, and cabin crew were mostly from the Philippines and South America and were reasonably friendly - no one on the crew was every rude or otherwise discourteous. The ship had theme nites most evenings that were fun - this culminated with Toga Nite that was a lot of fun. The show entertainment was ok but not as good as NCL - the bands and musicians on the ship were better than NCL. The entertainment on the Wind Surf was so bad as to be non-existent. Disembarkation was even easier that embarkation - we were off the ship in minutes and at the airport in a few minutes. All in all we enjoyed the cruise and thought it was a good value - while not perfect there is not reason for any one to have a bad time - the biggest complaint was the lack of breadth of selection of the food - with a little effort the cruise line could easily improve in this category. Please feel free to email me at bikenutva@aol.com if you have any questions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
This cruise was set up as a pre Christmas weekend 3 day get away on Costa Cruise Lines Magica which my wife and I thought was ideal. We travel with our friend who happened to a travel agent and she got us a tremendous deal on a balcony. ... Read More
This cruise was set up as a pre Christmas weekend 3 day get away on Costa Cruise Lines Magica which my wife and I thought was ideal. We travel with our friend who happened to a travel agent and she got us a tremendous deal on a balcony. From the beginning there total confusion on the ship. During embarkation in Ft. Lauderdale we ask the lady at check in if she needed a credit card for my sail away card and she informed us that the procedure would be complete on board. Once on board the ship no knew what I was asking. We finally saw a line with one crew person working. We ask what the line was about and the lady reply sail away card credit card registration. There were no sign to inform the guest on what this line was about. There must have been about 20 people waiting in line and only person doing the registration. Our boarding ticket said that our sail away was at 4:30 pm we did not pulled out until 7:30 pm. We read the ship whats going on paper and it said that the muster drill would promptly begging at 4:30 we asked a couple of crew member and they had no idea what we were talking about. Finally around 5:30 we heard to prepare for the muster drill. Finally the ship sailed away at 7:30 pm. The next day we woke up in Freeport, Bahamas not the greatest port in the world. In our boarding ticket it said that we would depart on Sunday at 8:00 am then a crew member told that it was 8:00 pm then we asked the cruise director he told us it would leave at 11:00 am on Sunday. We finally departed at 12:00 pm on Sunday. We had second seating on this cruise WHAT A MISTAKE THAT WAS!! The second seating started at 8:45 pm we generally did not get out of the dining room after 11:30 pm. The food was not good many passengers complained. The buffet was something less to be desired the portion were small and not very attractive food. The food variety was small. The staff for the most part were very friendly courteous. The ship was beautiful the layout was great. My wife and I were very please to see so many NON Smoking area on this ship. The NON SMOKING were very well label which was great. If anyone ever decide to cruise on this ship please be warn confusion is the norm and the food is bad. This is our tenth cruise and we have cruise Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess and by far this was our worst cruise. I can truly say I will never cruise on Costa. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
I went on this ship in May with my husband and my 20 year old daughter. We liked the cruise very much especially the itinerary as we thought we saw a lot of ports in 7 days a lot more than on the Caribbean cruises we have been on. The ... Read More
I went on this ship in May with my husband and my 20 year old daughter. We liked the cruise very much especially the itinerary as we thought we saw a lot of ports in 7 days a lot more than on the Caribbean cruises we have been on. The food was ok not great typical I guess for a carnival ship which is what this ship essentially is I would not recommend it if you want a quiet journey there were more and more passengers as we went along. Also this ship is geared more to Europeans in the food area esp pasta pizza and gelato and the entertainment was too though we were some of the few who understood the shows as a lot of them were in English and the Italians and such did not understand them. We were seated with Americans in the dining room otherwise we had a little trouble communicating with some of the Europeans onboard as not all spoke English but they did have an English speaking guide for the Americans. We liked our trip to Carhtage that was very interesting and we saw a lot of history there. I am sure for the US this ship will have to change the food entertainment and also it will have to have English programs on the TV which it did not have plus they should have movies you don't have to pay for. The ship is very pretty the cabins were spacious and very nice the service was good. I would give it about a 75 out of 100 in cruises I have been on personally it was a good value for the money to see Europe. I prefer Princess and Holland America cruise lines myself but this wasn't a bad ship just not up to par with those lines. Best for families not really adult groups. Great gym enjoyed using it every day and the view was great from there of the front of the ship. Shops were pretty good kind of like what's on Carnival's US ships. Casino crowded but otherwise nice. Internet was available but not real fast as other ships. Dining room food better than buffet Italian specialties were best. Wine and water card was a good value. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
Costa Magica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.2
Enrichment 1.0 2.7
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.2
Rates 3.0 3.9

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