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65 Costa Magica Cruise Reviews

After reading several critiques of the Magica (particularly the food), our expectations were less than when we booked our cruise to the Baltic. I can honestly say, the Magica exceeded our expectations exceptionally. We departed Copenhagen ... Read More
After reading several critiques of the Magica (particularly the food), our expectations were less than when we booked our cruise to the Baltic. I can honestly say, the Magica exceeded our expectations exceptionally. We departed Copenhagen on Sunday, May 20 and returned on the 27th. The ports were Tallinn, Estonia which is a charming old city. The excursion to Old Town was exactly as it was represented in the pre-cruise information. Second port was St. Petersburg. Only one day was spent there and it could easily take 2 or 3 days to do this beautiful city justice. The only way a person can really see the highlights of this city is on a private excursion. The Hermitage was beautiful, but we really became tired of looking at paintings, but are sure others were pleased. Helsinki was a disappointment because the excursion we booked turned out to not be as advertised. Several people did the city on their own and I believe if we ever returned to this city, that would be our choice. Stockholm was probably the highlight for us. We took a canal cruise on our own in the morning and then a bus tour in the afternoon that went to Old Town and ended at an Ice Bar. Great and fun experience. Should be on everyone's list of things to do. Now about the food. It was outstanding. Previous reviews criticized the beef, the temperature and the service. We found no problem in any of these areas. The entire table of 8 people agreed. Everyone tipped the wait staff in addition to the daily amount that the ship charged. Our cabin steward was also outstanding, and every staff member on the ship was friendly and always greeted us with a smile. Because if information found on the Cruise Critic website, we purchased the X-1 card, which covers wine, beer and water during dining hours (lunch & dinner), but we found that the bar people treated us like second class citizens when they saw this noted on our room cards. They always had discussions among themselves as to which wine they were supposed to serve us and even what kind of glass to put it in. It is a good purchase, but has to be done prior to sailing. Just be aware of how you will be treated before you purchase it. The only complaint we would have would be the bedding. Since Costa is now owned by Carnival, we would have expected the same luxurious bedding and beds as on the Carnival fleet - but there is no comparison. The mattresses were 4 inch pads of foam rubber and the pillows very thin. The blanket was a thin sheet of felt like material. Costa could improve in this area greatly and hopefully will in the near future. We did not attend any of the entertainment, but feedback from our tablemates was that it was a waste of time. We enjoyed meeting our tablemates after dinner each night in one of the lounges for drinks and visiting. English speaking people were in the minority (200 out of 2700), but all staff members were able to communicate with us and the excursions accommodated us very well. All in all, we were extremely pleased with this cruise, the ship, the ports and staff members. Would be happy to answer any questions anyone might have if they are considering this trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
Costa Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Copenhagen on the Costa Magica from May 4, 2007 to May20, 2007 My wife and I booked the cruise because the price was unbelievable and we had never been to Copenhagen.  We immediately notified all of ... Read More
Costa Cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Copenhagen on the Costa Magica from May 4, 2007 to May20, 2007 My wife and I booked the cruise because the price was unbelievable and we had never been to Copenhagen.  We immediately notified all of our cruising buddies and had a party of six booked on the cruise in minutes. Since two of our cruising buddies lived near us in Tampa, Fl., I rented a minivan to drive us from Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale to board the ship. The drive took about four hours and the embarkation at 1:00 pm went flawlessly. Our cabin (9239) was ready and we unpacked our carry-on luggage before heading for the Bellagio restaurant that turned out to be just a few yards from the cabin. The food was plentiful and very good and there were enough serving lines that there was no waiting. After lunch, my wife and I took a tour of the ship. At 105,000 toms, she was the largest ship we had cruised on and one of the nicest. All the cabins were full and with a few children on board we had about 2770 passengers traveling with us. The fitness gym, complete with Jacuzzi, a small pool, sauna, and every piece of equipment you could think was just three decks up from our cabin. The spacious theater was six decks down and three swimming pools were just steps away on either side of the Bellagio dining room. We had early seating (6:00 pm) in the Smeralda restaurant that was on deck three at the aft end of the ship. It took a little walking to get to but we could use the exercise before and after dinner. The ship had just about everything one could want on a cruise. The only complaint we had was that there was no washer and dryer except the expensive ship laundry so we did a little washing in our bathroom that was really nothing new to us. The ship was spotless and almost identical to the Carnival Destiny and Carnival Liberty. It looked like it was going to be a wonderful cruise until the afternoon lifeboat drill. We turned out for the drill and then it hit us in the face like a chilling north wind off the North Atlantic; the drill instructions were given in five languages. While English was the language of choice for the largest group of passengers (over 1000 of the 2770 passengers), there was a significant number of Germans (about 800) and Italians and 28 other nationalities many of them speaking French and Spanish. Little did we realize how annoying this was going to be. If you are use to cruising on ships that cater to Americans, don't cruise Costa. It is definitely Italian. We sailed for Nassau at 9:30 pm. We found that there were a number of music venues and they were all very good and you could usually find a nice place for dancing after dinner. We preferred the Capri with the Night Out Band for dancing and the Spoleto Lounge for easy listening. However, beware of Paolo in the Capri lounge. When he takes over for the Night Out Band, people vacate the lounge and for good reason. He plays the piano and does a good job but when he opens his mouth to sing, it's time to leave. Costa needs to replace him. The next day we arrived at Nassau. Since everybody in our group had visited Nassau before, we just took the water Taxi to the Atlantis hotel. If we had known that the taxi was not leaving until they were full, we could have avoided 30 minutes in the heat by taking a smaller boat. After a few hours at Atlantis we headed back to the ship for a late lunch and a rest before dinner and a show. Formal dining on the Costa takes two hours and can become a little tedious. Our waiters were great and the headwaiter was more visible and friendly than on any cruise we had taken. The food was good but had a sameness about it that made it boring by the end of the cruise. The menu writer had obviously never seen the food that was actually being served or the chef had not read the description of the food on the menu. If you really got what was stated in the menu, it was pure luck. I had fruit cocktail for starter each evening and while the menu advertised the fruit salad as "exotic, tropical, Caribbean etc.," it was always just pieces of various melons. And the Italian idea of a sundae is not what Americans are acquainted with. Of course, there was pasta available every night. Overall, the people at our table rated the food as below average from their experiences on other cruise lines. After dinner we headed for the Urbino Theater to see Van Pressley Jr. from the legendary Platters. He sang all the old tunes and did it very well. It would have been nice if Costa could have afforded all of the Platters but Mr. Pressley a good performer and sang in English. If the following shows had been as good as the opening one the total entertainment experience would have been outstanding. However, such was not the case. In my opinion Costa took six good shows for a seven-day cruise and supplemented them with mediocre shows to cover the 16-day transatlantic cruise we were on. The two production shows, Magic Moments and Cinemagique were as good as any I have seen in over thirty cruises in the last seven years. The Myth trio in "Circus of the Seas" reminded me of a miniature version of the Cirque Du Soleil and done on a moving ship. John Ciotta, an Italian-American from New York put on an outstanding show. He sang a variety of songs in English and Italian and the crowd responded with a standing ovation. He did for an encore of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" and I am sure that Frank would say "well done". The "Grand Variety Show" with Allison Mc Areavey and Ian Fraser and the Costa Magica Dancers was good but not up to the standards they set on their two big production numbers. The other shows were weak. Price and McCoy and Vincenzo Silvestris were probably the best of the fill-in shows. Allison Mc Areavey, the lead female singer in the production shows was not strong enough to do her own full show. From what I saw, I think that Ian Frazer may have been a better choice for a full show. The bubble art show was a good children's show but there were few children on the ship. Maria Grazia was a so-so singer and her straw-like hair detracted from her singing. The Duo Badi should have stayed in the Piano Bar. The only good thing I can say about the "Fantasy Sorin Show" was that the lead in by the Magica singers and dancers was the best part of the show. Probably the best of the fill-in shows was the Costa Magica Crew Show that was promoted to prime time. For amateurs they were outstanding. There was no comedian on board and probably for good reason. Comedy in five languages would probably not translate well. The cruise director announced all the shows in five languages which got boring after awhile. On-board activities were plentiful and well attended. There seem to be something going on all the time. The most attended activity seem to be sun bathing and on the sunny days, it was hard to find an empty lounge. The only complaint I heard was that there were not enough bridge tables. It seemed that the eight tables could not handle the number of bridge players on board. This has not been the case on other cruises when tables usually outnumber the players. The fitness center was packed in the morning but seem to clear out by about 10:00 am. There were plenty of special events and were attended well. There was limbo, line dancing, ice sculpture, karaoke, hat making, and bocce ball for those so inclined. There was a nice casino but the gambling devices were in Euros and you lose three percent off the top because you must change your dollars into euros before you even try the machines. We chose not to gamble. The shops on board had the same problem. We found as we travel that prices seem to stay the same as the currency changes. What cost 10 dollars on some cruise lines cost 10 euros on Costa and 10 pound in England. The Art auction had the same problem. All the bidding was done in Euros so the prices paid for art carried a 35% premium over other art auctions we had attended. Needless to say we purchased no art on this cruise. Since we had visited all of the places that the cruise ship stopped except Copenhagen, the only shore excursion we purchased was in Copenhagen. However, our traveling companions did do the Normandy excursion from Le Havre and gave it high praise. It was unfortunate that the Magica could not dock as scheduled in Bermuda because of high winds but we did have a few hours ashore the next day. We landed in the Azores on a Sunday and the shops were closed. However they had a festival in Ponta Delgada and they had a four-mile bed of flowers that was very beautiful. The shops in Le Havre were also closed when we stopped there so we walked around the city for a few hours and enjoyed meeting some of the local residents. Several hundred passengers toured Paris from Le Havre and London from Dover and had nothing but good things to say about the excursions. We toured the white cliffs of Dover and aside from being blown by high winds, we enjoyed the tour. It was rumored that a couple of people were lost in Paris and missed the bus back to the ship. While I cannot confirm the rumor we did sight a police car rushing with lights flashing up to the ship about thirty minutes after our scheduled departure time. We departed shortly thereafter so the rumors might be true. The debarkation in Copenhagen was a disaster. We were asked to leave our cabins at 8:00 am although debarkation was scheduled to start at 9:00 am so it meant that 2770 people and their hand luggage were crowded into the public places for over an hour because debarkation never starts on time. Around 9:30 am debarkation started. We marched down the stairs to the warehouse where some people picked up their checked luggage and proceeded to the exit only to find that the busses were not yet there. There was a marathon being run in Copenhagen and because of street closures the busses were late. The warehouse was full of people milling around and as luck would have it, the busses for the people at the back of the pack arrived first. It was about an hour before our bus arrived and it cut our tour short by about an hour. However, since some free time for shopping was built into the tour, we did not miss any of the sights of Copenhagen. Our tour guide was great and we enjoyed the sights of Copenhagen. We even had time for lunch at McDonalds before rejoining the tour group for the ride to the airport. We had no problems getting on our British Airways flight to London to visit our English friends for a few days before flying home to Tampa. Some of the complaints I heard on board the Magica were really trivial. Several people complained about the lack of chocolate candy on their pillow each night. Costa only gives you pillow candy on "formal nights." The biggest complaint from Americans, other than the time wasted by giving announcements in five languages, was really a clash of cultures. While the English, Canadians, and Americans are willing to get into line at the buffet or before the doors open for the shows, the Germans and Italians seem to push their way into the buffet line at whatever point they find the food to their liking. They also seem to push past people exiting the theater to get seats while those in line wait patiently for people to exit the theater before looking for seats. All in all, the cruise was a great value for the money spent. However, my first cruise on Costa will probably be my last. Unless, however, they are going somewhere I want to go and the price is right! Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
Costa Magica Bermuda/Bahamas Cruise April 15th , 2007 - April 22nd, 2007 Background Information: My wife and I are in our early to mid thirties. Our first cruise together was on the Ocean Princess for our honeymoon in January of 2002. ... Read More
Costa Magica Bermuda/Bahamas Cruise April 15th , 2007 - April 22nd, 2007 Background Information: My wife and I are in our early to mid thirties. Our first cruise together was on the Ocean Princess for our honeymoon in January of 2002. After completing that cruise it is safe to say that we have become addicted to cruising. Since our honeymoon we have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sail on thirteen additional cruises. The majority of our cruises have been on Princess and Royal Caribbean, but we have always wanted to try Costa. Before I get into the details of our Costa cruise I feel I must explain what we enjoy so much about cruising. The best thing about cruising is that you are not at work. Not only are you not at work, but everything you need is right at your fingertips. There's no shopping, cooking, cleaning, cell phones, pagers or appointments, just pure relaxation. Another great perk to going on a cruise is meeting new people and developing friendships that may last a lifetime. These new people may not be just fellow passengers, but may be crew members on the ship. Overall, it is my opinion that there is no vacation experience like going on a cruise. Now that I have offered some background information on myself, I will begin to discuss this cruise. This is my first review that I have written and I hope it will be both enjoyed and informative. I must say before I start, prior to going on this cruise I read countless negative reviews about the Costa Magica which quite honestly made me apprehensive about going on this cruise. My wife and I made the decision that we would take this cruise with an open mind and not try to spend the week making comparisons to other cruise ships we have sailed on. All of the bad reviews of the Costa Magica is what has motivated me to submit my opinion. My wife and I live about twenty minutes from Port Everglades so it is a simple car ride to get to the port. We arrived at the port at approximately 11:45am. By 12:15pm we were at the Bellagio buffet eating lunch. Our quick embarkation procedure may have been quicker than others due to having a suite which comes with priority embarkation. Upon stepping on board the ship, you are escorted to the buffet and told that your cabin will be ready shortly. By 1:00pm we were in our cabin. Stateroom: We booked this cruise as a mini-suite guarantee and were lucky enough to be upgraded to a full suite........what a nice surprise. The cabin was amazing. The cabin had both wood flooring at the entrance and carpeting in the main areas. The bathroom was huge, a double sink, Jacuzzi tub and granite throughout. There was also a separate area which included a desk which my wife enjoyed for doing her hair and putting on her makeup. There was tons of storage space to include several drawers and closets that you could practically walk inside. Now for the perks of being in a suite: we had our own butler who would make any arrangements that we needed, everyday we received the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus in our cabin and had the option of dining in our cabin, a pillow menu with about six different pillows to choose from and fresh fruit and snacks delivered daily. Needless to say it is going to be tough sailing in a regular cabin again. The Ship: The ship is absolutely beautiful. I must say this ship is very different from the Princess and Royal Caribbean ships we are used to sailing on. The ship has lots of paintings and murals and is very colorful. I don't want to spend a lot of time discussing the details of the ship because I believe there are already plenty of sources to obtain that information from. Dining: This is where there seems to be a lot of negativity when it comes to this ship. The food is good, it is not great, but it is definitely not terrible as it has been described. The food is definitely not as good as Princess or Royal Caribbean, but like I said it is far from being bad. The only bad meal I had was the rib eye steak, it was terrible. Other than that all of the food in the dining room was delicious. My wife and I had second seating in the Smeralda dining room. I read in a review that this dining room is much nicer than the Portofino and I agree. We found the food in the buffet and at the grill to also be quite good. Service: This is an area that also received a lot of negativity in some reviews. We had top notch service from everybody we encountered. I don't think we walked past a single employee that didn't greet us with a hello and friendly smile. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent. In my opinion, the service on this ship is on par with Princess and RCCL. In particular, the 2nd Maitre D Francesco (who is a former Princess employee) went out of his way to have meals not even offered on the menu bought to our table. He was outstanding. Our cabin steward was excellent, our room was spotless all the time and the funny thing is we hardly ever saw her. Entertainment: Having the second seating was a little inconvenient in this department. The shows for the second seating were before dinner instead of after. The only nights that the shows were after the second seating was on the formal nights. The two shows we saw were excellent. The first was Circus on the Sea, it was outstanding. The second was a Broadway style show featuring the ships singers and dancers, this was also excellent. Max and his entire staff are excellent and seem like they never sleep. There was always some sort of fun activity to attend on this ship. The don't misses............Mediterranean Night, Mr. Pizza contest, the Midnight Buffet Magnifique(which includes a tour of the galley) and the absolute don't miss of the cruise.......TOGA NIGHT!!!!! Excursions: We did not take any of the ship's excursions. For those going to Bermuda I suggest getting off the ship and immediately buying a public transportation pass. This pass entitles you to unlimited use of the island's public buses and ferries. This is a great way to see the entire island at your own pace. The pass costs $12 per day for adults. Bermuda is extremely clean and all of the people you will encounter are very nice and more than willing to answer any questions you may have. Disembarkation: We were one of the last one's off the ship and that is the way we like it. We soaked up every last second of our cruise on the Magica until finally they made us get off. Once off the ship going through customs was a breeze and unfortunately we were home in no time. Summary: One thing I forgot was to mention the bad weather we had on this cruise. I must mention that some people's reviews of this cruise may be influenced by the fact we only had one day in Bermuda and this may cause some people to give this cruise an overall unjustified bad rating. It never ceases to amaze me that some people must think that the captain should be able to control the weather.........bottom line is, if the port is closed due to high wind and seas there is nothing that can be done about that. Overall this cruise was excellent and we can't wait to sail on Costa again........hopefully soon!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
This is the first review that I have ever written even though I have been on 48 cruises (Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean, etc.)in the past 24 years. My husband and I are both experienced cruisers and are in our late 50s but ... Read More
This is the first review that I have ever written even though I have been on 48 cruises (Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Royal Caribbean, etc.)in the past 24 years. My husband and I are both experienced cruisers and are in our late 50s but very young at heart. I felt compelled to write this review because of some of the negative things I have read about the Costa Magica at this web site prior to boarding the ship. First of all, let me say that this was one of the most enjoyable cruises that we have ever taken, probably the BEST! The ship was one of the most beautiful that we have ever been on and very clean, clean, clean! There was marble and granite everywhere. We booked an inside cabin on Deck 1 and it happened to be a great location for us. The cabin had plenty of room for all our clothing and even the bathroom had quite a roomy vanity top. It was not a huge cabin but it served our needs nicely without feeling cramped as we have on other newer ships. The activities were abundant and the staff was the most energetic group of young people that I have ever met. I never even had time to crack open a book or a magazine since we were so busy having fun. They did many of the same things done on other cruise lines but they also did more. I guess that's what CRUISING ITALIAN STYLE is all about. They had several theme nights (TROPICAL DECK PARTY, ITALIAN NIGHT, MEDITERRANEAN NIGHT, and do not miss the ROMAN TOGA NIGHT!) I took over 300 photos (also a rarity for me) but wanted to share our experience with friends and family. FOOD: We found the food on the buffet to be very good. There might have been more variety on some other lines but there was plenty to choose from. I loved that they always had salad and fruit and my husband loved the ice cream machines. The food in the main dining room was also very good. I ordered fish every evening and one was better than the other. The bread and rolls were the very best and every pasta dish that we ordered was excellent. ENTERTAINMENT: The two main production shows were very well done. Also, the singers they had on two of the nights were excellent and really got the audience to participate. They also had a very original act called THE MYTH TRIO from South Africa. . .not to be missed. But, I must say, some of the greatest entertainment was provided by the staff on the theme nights. It would take too long to go into detail here and you will just have to experience it. PORTS: SAN JUAN-We did not get off the ship here since we have been here many times before. ST. THOMAS-We did get off the ship and did some local shopping right at the dock. Always a great place to shop. LA ROMANA-We did take a van ($4.00 round trip each) into the town. The best bargain of the cruise was the Internet Cafe in La Romana -$1.00 for a half hour of access!! It seems to be a very poor island and they seemed desperate to sell their goods at an area called Central Park. GRAND TURK-This was our favorite stop on any cruise we have ever been on. We were the only ship in port and the shopping and a lovely beach were right there as soon as you got off the ship. There were tons of deck chairs and cabanas on the beach for the use of the cruise passengers. There was also a MARGARITAVILLE which had a huge pool and a DJ to entertain. I think everyone had a great time on GRAND TURK. DISEMBARKATION: It was a breeze getting off the ship. It went very smoothly for us. We would not hesitate to sail with COSTA again and can't wait to book our next cruise with them. You haven't cruised until you CRUISE ITALIAN STYLE! Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
I just got back from a wonderful vacation. Missing it already. We were on the Costa Magica 4/29/07 -5/04/07 We are a family daddy31, mommy30, a 7 year old girl and 5 year old boy. I got to admit that I was thinking that I made a huge ... Read More
I just got back from a wonderful vacation. Missing it already. We were on the Costa Magica 4/29/07 -5/04/07 We are a family daddy31, mommy30, a 7 year old girl and 5 year old boy. I got to admit that I was thinking that I made a huge mistake booking this cruise from some reviews I had read. But the peace comes form some of the other people and I would like to thank you all for that! You know who you are! I thought well I only paid $598.00 for the cruise so here it goes. I was so scared about the service. That I decided to take the tips off the first day and if it was really that bad and I would have to go get everything my self and clean our room. Then I would just take the tip money and get me a message when I got back home. Well, I put the tips back on the forth night before it got busy down stairs on the last day. Plus I tipped my room stewart and waiter more in cash. They were more then wonderful!!! I thought the ship was very pretty and super clean. They even gave us hand wipes every time we got back on the ship. They even did this when we got on in FL. The ship was sold out and we were thinking there would be people everywhere. I do not know where the people where. We never felt cramped at all. I would have to say that the only time that we know that it was a full ship was at the shows. The seats were full and we never got a front row seat. But we did not go to the shows no more then 30 minutes early so that is our own fault. We flew in a day early and started a day after. That was really nice to relax. We got a hotel that picked us up at the air port and had a free full breakfast (biscuits and gravy, eggs ,bacon, sausage, fruit, lots of stuff and juices and coffee and milk) There pool was nice and clean and the next day they took us to the ship. Besides that the hotel was a 2 star clean friendly and I liked that they had a huge garden of plants to talk photos with the kids (palm trees etc.) Not close to anything. But they had a restaurant not new and the one person waitress was slow. But when the food came it was hot and good and the prices were great. We got to the ship at 11:30 and got right through the line. The serves was fast and friendly and after we did the paper work we went around the corner and the "squok club" was there to greet the kids with smiles and a Squork program for the whole week Plus they gave them bobble headbands. We were off our bus and on the ship in 30 minutes. We went right to the buffet. It was good and do not miss the parmesan cheese sticks and ---- meat and the deli sandwiches which were not the deli meat but the meat slices right from a ham and turkey! I like tea and I thought there tea was good put lots of sugar in it and coffee with real cream. When we were done eating the guy that cleans the tables came right over and talked to our kids for like 5 minutes. We went to our room to see if the keys were there. There was a key in the door. It was not our shopping key just opened the door. We went in and the keys for each of us. At first we were like we are not giving our five year old a key. (But EVERY guest has to have a key to get off and on the ship every time. We had an inside room on deck 7 (7379) We had two beds put together and one of the buck beds was done. It was big for our two kids so they just slept together in the same bed. We just only had one buck down and never used the other. So do not know how crowded it would be if you had both bucks down in the room. Our room stewart (Norman) came in with a clip board and asked what we would like for him to do. We asked that he not put the other bunk down, get a mattress topper ( thank you Joe for the heads up) two extra pillows, take everything out of the small refrigerator, get this small table out and my 7 year old asked if he could make a towel animal for her because Costa does not do that. He told my daughter not tonight he was going to be very busy but the next night he would. He got our matter topper and pillows right away. He said they only have like 10 toppers for each floor. That night well we were at dinner he folded down our beds moved the table and put chocolate mints on our bed. The next two nights he made two baby swans and then a mommy swan for the kids. He also did the other things we asked the next day. He would talk to our kids every time he saw us. He would hind there stuffed animals behind the lamps and under the covers and picking out of different places. Then on the last night we asked him if we could get him to sign the kids book in his language and then ours. He said I can do better then that and wrote them a letter on his break. We love Norman! (Yes we tipped him extra!!!!) We went swimming in the pool the salt water was hard on the eyes at first but got use to it. Then we go ready for dinner. We had asked for a table for 4 since it was our 10 year anniversary and was scared of what we would get. It was a table for 8 It was wonderful they had two great kids and everyone had manners. (HI Peter and Linda, Michael and Nick) We had a window seat in the Smeralda dining room for dinner at 5:45 at seat 220 (if you have 3 numbers you are up stairs if you have 2 numbers you are down stairs that would have helped us on the first night) I and the kids always ordered the same thing. We had bay scallops au gratin wonderful, melon and mint soup good, they also have salads and Italian pasta! Fillet of tilapia. I am not a fish person and I thought it was good and not fish tasting. Dissertsouffle al cioccolato good and I always ordered a different ice cream they have the coolest ice creams!! Our waiter was wonderful he was fast, friendly, and great with the kids. There was TWO FORMAL NIGHTS!!!! The second night was one of the formal nights and we had ESCARGOTS it was really good. I wish the kids would have been there to try them but the squak club watched them for us. It was nice for the two of us. Huge shrimps, and I do not remember the desserts it is not on my menu. Third night we had fried calamarigood. Strawberry and banana soup (soups are like melted shake kind of we liked them) and I do not like melted ice cream but as close as I can get). steak and shrimps and they were good (remember I am from the beef state so if they are good they may be really great to you, after the reviews I just ordered a step more uncooked then I would have liked, and it came as I wanted it) chocolate mille feuilles with two mousses of fruit sauce. I also ordered the cheese and was not impressed with. The carnival ship has them bet big time but it is only a cheese dessert so we are moving on. The forth night was the most formal night The waiters danced and there was a ice cream dessert but that is the night you get the Alaskan king crab cooked in butter and eggplant with parmesan cheese. The last night the appetizer was great they had this mozzarella cheese (not like we get here, soft and oh yea) and sliced ripe tomatoes. mustard chicken with glaze and I was ready for some down home cooking. Out of the five nights I ate in the dinning room I would only tell you to stay away from one thing and that was the cold potato soup it was gross and the cheese was a joke it was sliced cheese (which was weird since they keep severing these fancy cheeses. But if that is the worst then it is not really that bad. We miss out waiter and he was so great my husband asked him for copies of the menus for me so I could scrapbook them. On the carnival that is what I have copies he got me the real deal on the last night (yes we tipped him for that also on top of) Sorry for all the food talk and on to the shows. The first night was Grand Variety show. I do not remember much. The second night as a magic show but I thought is was more like a Disney show with Aladdin and Pinocchio and other ones my kids thought it was a Disney one and loved it. The third one we were not impressed it as John Ciotta I think he just kept singing after 20 minutes we left the kids feel a sleep. The forth night was short dances of different movies there were only two things that were not good for kids and it said it on the screen before full monty so we turned the kids around but the rest were good. And the last night were people from the ship it was ok we did not stay for the whole thing because we had to pick the kids up. So do not know who won! Squok club The first night they are not open but you sign up ask questions and get to see the room. I liked that. The other days they are open from 9 to noon and then 3 to 11 p.m. and break for dinner except for the formal nights. We only took our kids three times the first time they thought it was only ok but would rather be with us (that was the first formal night and they had races and bingo) and then we took them on the day at sea to get a break in the morning from 10:30 until noon and they painted t- shirts (the same ones you can buy in the gift shop for $15.00 each yes a $30.00 savings) and they got play money every time they went. Then that night they had an action and my kids got both together a backpack, cd case, two wallets and two necklace things to put your room card on) I thought they were very nice gifts to remember Costa. They loved the last night! Plus on the last formal night they had this Italian night were they decorated masks and they got tattoos and they made paper flowers for the kids for free on deck 4 or 5. It was very nice for the kids. The luggage was the only thing I could really complain about when we left our room the first time we found pieces of our stuff that feel out in the hall way and the suit cases just thrown every where some stuff broken nothing big. We did not use them when we got off we carried our own luggage off the ship. One thing ladies you may want to pack your hair dryers theirs are dying. I did not mind because we were going in water everyday anyway. But you may want to know that. Breakfast well we really liked that we could order breakfast in bed. It was nice to just move slow in the morning. We liked the chocolate turnovers and sweet rolls and juice and the cappuccinos all free!! So we only ate breakfast in the buffet on the last day and it was good. We only ate lunch in the dinning room twice because we were at port the other times. It was very nice. The food was good and it was more quit and peaceful.Our first stop was Key West. We heard about a small aquarium. It was just perfect for us. It was only $30.00 they have a tank were you pick up and feel the animal. Our kids were there for 30 minutes and then we did the rest of it in 30 minutes and we had 30 minutes before the tour. They let us leave and come back so nice Then we came back the tour was great Joe took one of each animal out of the feel tank and talked about it and then showed us how a shark eats and let us all pet the shark and he was not pushy he took his time with each kids. He was great. Our second stop was Cozumel We did not want to stand in any line to get off the ship so we would wait a half an hour each day and never had a line. Cozumel was really nice. We got off and went cross the street and there was taxis’ waiting like Paradise Tom said. They were $13.00 to drive us to Paradise beach we loved paradise. It was clean and no one was forcing us to buy anything. We got chairs and we all four bought wrist bands to use the toys that were a huge thing for the kids. There was an ice berg only big kids can do it my 7 year old made it one time I was very proud of her. I only did it two times and there is a trampoline and the kayaks and did not have time to use the snorkel gear. We thought since it was free to go to the beach and so clean that the food would be expensive. It was not we got nachos with guac and sour cream and cheese and it was only $7.00 and our kids got fruit drinks that were good I tasted before giving them only $5.00 each. And I got a huge pine apple drink and hubby wanted something he heard about a lime and salt beer thing he said it was ok. Our tab was only $33.00 we ran out of time and they ask that you spend $10.00 each so we left the rest with the waiter. Only thing I did not like is the taxi back said I do not have change and I had a $20.00 Hubby forgot to pack ones (very important in Mexico) Well when I said I will go find change he said he had a $5.00 bill so I left paying him $15.00. I do not like sneaky people. He told us to the market place everything was expensive there. It got cheaper the closer you got by the boat. You would thing the other way around but I was wrong. We were running out of time with our small legged kids but they did have shirts 6 for $10.00 and blankets for $4.00 I got a bag for $5.00 at the market it was $25.00 and kept going down the closer I got to the ship. They even had 99 cent stuff key chain and necklace and maracas are the things we bought. Then we got back on the ship and went to eat at the buffet. Then we hit the water slide. It is only open like 2 hours a day so if you want to do it make sure to look in the “TODAY” for times each day. The last port as Grand Cayman. We had made plans to go with Moby dick string rays before leaving home. We had 30 minutes to shop enough time did not think that anything was cheap and I bought a Christmas ornament, sting ray carved out of a stone (was $12.00 when came back from tour was $5.00) and post card an paid $15.00.total. It was great even the kids feed the sting rays and my five year old kissed one. Then we went snorkeling I thought this would be a waste of time. But it was cool. I was so wrong. Moby Dick was only $130.00 our family. and they picked us up by the port drove us to the boat.. There were only 42 people and we all got enough time with the rays and snorkeling. When we got back on the ship the buffet was the only choose and the lines were very long. We were starving. We thought later we probley could have got free room service. We only had one day at sea and we thought that the pools, buffet and areas like that would be very crowded. So we stayed away and we had been in the water everyday so we were not sad. The kids did the kids club and we laid down and took any art class (painted pottery) and then went shopping and then picked the kids up for lunch in the dinning room and then we brought battery bubble blowers (one was broken so just took turns and then we did this game thing with the ship and then got ready for dinner (sheets are hard to put on when you are trying to be fast and they supplied leaf crowns nice touch) and then after dinner kids went to kids club and we went to the show because we did not realize that the spa closed so early so we could not use the hot tubs or steam rooms. We were sad about that and our time was up. Do not miss the midnight buffet on the special night it is something! I would do Costa again. We could have never had a land vacation like this for the price. Customs were really fast and very nice. I would be happy to answers any questions? Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
After reading some critical reviews of the Magica I boarded 4/8/07 with little expectation of a great week. From the time we arrived to the time we left the cruise exceeded our expectations. As a frequent cruiser I am not easily impressed ... Read More
After reading some critical reviews of the Magica I boarded 4/8/07 with little expectation of a great week. From the time we arrived to the time we left the cruise exceeded our expectations. As a frequent cruiser I am not easily impressed but this ship was impressive! The ambience is wonderful, Italian influences abound from the huge atrium entrance to the wonderfully appointed dining and meeting rooms. The food was wonderful, they know how to do pasta, I wish I had the recipes for all the great dishes we enjoyed. The ship visited Cozumel, Cayman Island, Jamaica and Grand Turk. We did not purchase any ship excursions but went off on our own. The Grand Turk stop was on a beach I believe Costa (Carnival) owns. The beach had wonderful white sands and plenty of lounge chairs and cabanas to enjoy plus a new shopping area with Little Switzerland, margaritaville, and other nice shops. The evenings entertainment was impressive, from laser shows, top notch entertainers, musical/dance reviews to toga nights we were never disappointed. No lame comedians, jugglers or magic acts. The staff was always attentive and helpful. Every day was packed with different opportunities ie: trivia games, tennis or bocci tournaments, arts and crafts, dance lessons, high tea, aerobics instruction, plus the usual bingo, horse racing, etc. The gym was awesome, plenty of machines and equipment and the place was immaculate. There were some children and young people on board but they were never a nuisance as there were plenty of programs for them too. We (there was four of us) all agreed it was one of the best vacations we ever took and plan on going back! Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
Just back today from our Magica cruise. Overall it was close to being perfect. This is the only cruise I have been on with only one day at sea. The rest of the time we were pulling into a port. Grand Cayman Island was my favorite and ... Read More
Just back today from our Magica cruise. Overall it was close to being perfect. This is the only cruise I have been on with only one day at sea. The rest of the time we were pulling into a port. Grand Cayman Island was my favorite and Cozumel was my least favorite. The Magica is a big and beautiful ship that had "kids sail free" for this cruise. So needless to say there were a lot of children on board. There were only three children that I saw misbehaving out of maybe 150. The food is good at the buffet and excellent at lunch in the formal dining room. I did not care for the food at dinner because it was served cold, tough beef, long wait time and rude waiter, Anna Marie. Even though our inside room was small it was clean and the cabin stewart, Esperanza is excellent at her job and works extremely hard with about 20 hours of labor per day. Our room was located on the same floor as the pools and buffet so there was little walking involved to get to where we wanted to go. Most of the crew was friendly and helpful. The shows were well done and the Roman Night with passengers wearing togas were fun. Getting on and off the ship was always easy. At Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island we had a tender take us to and from the ship. This was down with ease and went quickly. I would recommend the Magica to my friends at CruiseCritic.Com. I would recommend parking your vehicle at Park and Fly. The free shuttle service is excellent. Our car was in a secured lot with good lighting, a fence, security and a guard gate. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
My husband and I cruised on the Costa Magica in Feb. The ship is fairly new and kept real clean. The location of our room was unbelievable, it seemed we NEVER walked anywhere. We were right around the corner from the elevator and mid ship ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Costa Magica in Feb. The ship is fairly new and kept real clean. The location of our room was unbelievable, it seemed we NEVER walked anywhere. We were right around the corner from the elevator and mid ship so everything was right there. Upon arriving at the port to start the cruise we arrived about 11:30 and were about 50-75 people back but they opened the doors about 11:40 and everyone filed in thru security. That part was real smooth and absolutely no problem getting right to our room. We booked this cruise last minute and got late dining so we went right to the area designated for questions on dining and got our name on a list to be changed (which was granted). We enjoyed a nice lunch at the buffet and walked the ship getting used to the layout. Our bags arrived about 2 hours later (perfect) and I cannot tell you how friendly everyone was on the ship as far as crew goes. This was our 2nd Costa Cruise and had only cruised Princess before. The "flavor" of the ship and friendliness is above average. Our Waiter from India "Venky" was the best I have ever come in contact with. He was exceptional! His personality made it so you couldn't wait to go to dinner and not just for the food. The interaction between the waiters and entertainment staff and customers was very nice. The little extra activities like "Italian Night" and "Toga" night was alot of fun. Our room was just average we booked an inside cabin and had plenty of space to store everything....nice to have room under the beds to put suitcases. Only complaint in this area was the shower...for some reason the water leaked out of the shower everytime onto the bathroom floor so that was a constant mess. Food was real good only complaint was on some of the entrees the helpings were real small. But there was never any problem with getting enough to eat :). Entertainment was VERY good. The singers and dancers are very talented and very very entertaining. Our only complaint was not enough shows. there were 2 nights out of the 7 where they did not even have entertainment and that was a big disappointment as we looked forward to the shows. We did one shore excursion on the Dominican and it was so-so. It was to a private Island (boat ride over and a welcome drink for 48.00) It was just OK as there really wasn't anything there but some sand and beach chairs and some little shacks with locals selling knick knacks for an outstanding high price. Our children did not cruise with us but I noticed on a couple of different occasions the children doing different fun activities. On the fitness part of it my husband and I worked out most mornings and there were simply not enough treadmills. Also there were no TV's for the people riding bicycles just treadmills. The sauna and steam rooms were very nice. One thing that was offered on this cruise that was not offered anytime before is if we wanted to get off the ship early, we could keep our bags with us and leave the ship at 7:15 am as soon as the ship was cleared with customs. We opted for this as we wanted to get an earlier flight. It was fine until we got outside and were waiting for the taxi cabs and then it was like a riot as people were fighting over the cabs and it was very very disorganized. The police did not help matters as they were more confused then the rest. Overall it was a great experience and we would certainly cruise Costa again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
Western Caribbean Cruise on Costa Magica out of Fort Lauderdale, FL 2/11/07 - 2/18/07 Our first cruise! - won't be our last! Embarking: The ship began boarding at 1:30pm - we arrived at the port at 2:00 (as planned) it took awhile ... Read More
Western Caribbean Cruise on Costa Magica out of Fort Lauderdale, FL 2/11/07 - 2/18/07 Our first cruise! - won't be our last! Embarking: The ship began boarding at 1:30pm - we arrived at the port at 2:00 (as planned) it took awhile to get thru the front gates of the port - everyone in the vehicle had to show ID and the driver (a friend dropping up off) had to get a window pass. Once we were dropped off out front of Pier 21, it took less than ½ hour to get to our cabin. Everything inside the terminal was orderly and ran smooth. Once we got to the ticket agent, she asked to register a credit card and at first it wouldn't go thru - I didn't think to bring another one. It went thru on the 3rd try, so we were all set. She did say that they were experiencing difficulty with their credit card machines and that many would have to register on the ship. We went directly to our cabin to drop off our carry-on luggage; then hit the welcome buffet and used our x1 package (see below). Cabin: We had a category 9 cabin on the 8th deck, aft with a private veranda - great location! Just one flight up to the buffet restaurant and adult pool. Cabin was roomy enough for 2 adults, might be tight with others. Lots of storage space - all the luggage fit under the bed, enough closet space + some! Minimal drawer space but shelves in closets were more than enough. We probably spent more time in the cabin than the average cruiser - just hanging out relaxing on the balcony. Bathroom was smaller than average hotel but fine, shelves on mirror were great use of space and movable showerhead was great! Water pressure was awesome - toilet flushing scared the *%#* out of me the first time. There is actually a warning - "do not flush whilst sitting" on toilet! We ordered a mattress topper and extra pillows right away and asked that the mini-bar be cleaned out so we could use the refrigerator for our own drinks. We brought some soda, water, wine, and champagne. Our cabin steward was more than accommodating! Towels were changed 2-3 times per day, ice brought whenever we wanted it, champagne glasses brought in, etc - service was excellent! Brought a 6-outlet power strip - good thing - only 1 outlet in the entire cabin - at the desk area; one in the bathroom that is European and doesn't fit American plugs. Hair dryer is in desk drawer and plugged in, so you just open door and pull dryer out. Also brought a bungee cord to hold balcony door open - but when open, A/C shuts off and was too hot not to have A/C on, but was nice when docking and taking pictures, etc. Brought a plug-in air freshener too - but the room smelled fine - no smoke odor, there was an ashtray in the room. In-room safe is convenient but whatever cabin card you use to lock it is the only one that can open it - my husband locked it so when I went back to get my camera, I couldn't unlock it. Ship: Absolutely incredibly CLEAN!!! Everything was spotless and they were cleaning non-stop! Embarked onto deck 3, going ashore was from deck 0 - tip - when going ashore go to the front elevators and take to deck 0 - beat the crowd coming down the steps from deck 3. Deck 5 goes from front to back, and that's how they tell you to go so you go thru the casinos and by all the shops. Our deck 8 also went all the way thru, deck 9 goes from aft adult pool, thru the buffet restaurant to the main pool and water slide. Climate control on board was perfect - I usually need a sweater everywhere, but only need a light shawl at dinner and nothing in the theater - I asked my husband if he was warm and he said no, just comfortable. X1 Drink Package: Can only be ordered thru travel agent or Costa at least 14 days in advance - it's under "special services" as the X1 individual beverage package - comes out to $11.40 per person per day and includes soda, mineral water (natural and sparkling), red wine, white wine, and beer - all by the glass during lunch and dinner only. Must be paid for with a credit card at time of ordering. Your cabin card will say x1 on it. All staff that we dealt with knew X1 - wine & beer + sparkling water at dinner saved us a ton! Once, we had 2 sodas at the pool bar during lunchtime and were charged the full price of $5.75 ($2.50 per can + tip) - (yes, they gave us a glass of ice and a can of soda) - I checked our folio account on the TV each night and saw that we were charged for the soda and was going to say something, but forgot and when I checked the next night, it had been removed. We used the x1 at any pool side bar or restaurant from 11:30am - 2:30 (lunchtime) and again from 7:30pm til at least 10:00 many nights. Our seating was at 8:30, but we'd stop at the pool bar to get a drink before - no problem. At dinner, our waiters kept a bottle of each handy and just kept refilling! No problems in getting served, again and again! White wine was chardonnay - I'm sure not the best but was just fine. Can't use it in the lounges or the theater. Food: I thought the food was excellent. Breakfast buffet had everything you could ask for and more - great chocolate turnovers! We tried both the lunch buffet and seated lunch - both were excellent! Dinners were fantastic - out tablemates were outstanding! I thought the selections were great and I'm a pretty picky eater. Rolls were excellent, fresh and nice variety! Souffle dessert was the best! Desserts on the buffet were limited - but probably a good thing as I'm sure I gained more than a few pounds even with all the walking! Pizza was very good - had some just about every day. We had the late sitting 8:30pm-8:45 depending on the day and around 5:00 we were starving - only thing available was pizza and the grill (hotdogs, hamburgers, fries, etc.) at the main pool. Slim pickings from 5:30pm-7:30! Shopping: Richie, the onboard shopping consultant was great! Try to make his talk in the theater, but if you miss it, it's on the TV. He throws out free stuff and gives you a map of each port with their recommended stores. Plus talks about bargaining with the locals and the stores - duty allowances, etc. very informative and useful information. Also had a talk on diamonds and gemstones in the Capri Lounge with hand-out material that was very interesting. He was available for questions onboard and in the ports - great service!!! Warning - don't get caught up in the jewelry buying hype - it could be dangerous!! ? Ports: 1. Cozumel 7:00 am – 4:pm – we docked early and Mexico is an hour behind us so nothing opened until 10:00 our time. We took a cab ($15 for 2) to Playa Mia and they let us in early. The shops weren’t open yet, but we were able to great seats on the beach! Rather than book thru the ship, we opted for paying at the gate (in case the weather was bad, or weren’t feeling well) – I emailed them and got a quote of $42 tax included for the premium package that included buffet lunch, towels, snorkel gear, and all-u-can-drink of rum punch, margaritas, daiquiris, etc. But when we got the gate, they tried to charge us over $50 each then came down to $92 for both even tho I had the email with the quote of $42 that included tax. Food and drink were great! It was really windy so the water was really dirty – didn’t even go in the ocean, but did go in the pool. Tip – we brought along our own thermal tumblers with locking top ($9.99 at Kmart) and they filled them with whatever we wanted to drink! Went back to the ship, showered, dropped off our stuff and went shopping. Great shopping! Bought Tequila! Had no problem taking it back on the boat in our backpacks. 2. Grand Cayman 10:00am – 6:00pm – we tendered in using our life boats – pretty rocky ride but really cool! Took us about 20 minutes, we got down there early and walked right on a tender (again using the front elevators to deck 0), talked to others that took almost 2 hours! There was a back up docking at the small dock being used by about 8 cruise ships so those people got stuck bouncing around in a crowded lifeboat. We spent the day shopping and walking around town. Beware of the Hard Rock Café - we ordered 2 drink specials at $10.25 each (drinks were excellent) and it ended up costing us $32! The tip was included and when converted from Cayman Island dollars to US Dollars it was $32 – I didn’t realize the CI dollar was stronger than the US dollar – hmm. Glad we only had one drink and not a few with food – we’d be mortgaging the house! 3. Ocho Rios, Jamaica 8:00am – 4:00pm – purchased the Dunns River Falls and Relax at Dolphin Cove excursion thru the ship. Nice A/C bus ride to the falls then over to Dolphin Cove. At the falls there are lockers for $8 (with $3 returned when lock turned in) – USE THEM!! We saw so many hats, sunglasses, cameras, wallets, shoes, etc going down the falls. There were locals with waverunners at the bottom scooping up everything and taking off – so no chance of recovery unless someone catches it on the way down. Climbing the falls was pretty scary! I’m a semi-athletic person and there were a few terrifying moments where I thought I was going to fall. Tip – try to get here 1st thing in the morning – there were only about 5 buses when we arrived so we were able to climb without too much crowding. After we climbed, we went to our locker (we used the ones at the top of the falls not at the bottom) and got our camera, then went about ½ way down on the stairs to watch – what a cluster! It was absolutely packed and guides were grabbing people and pulling and pushing trying to get as many people up as fast as possible. Small kids were scared. Not a place for the elderly or inactive group, yet we saw plenty. Saw a few toddlers (??) and some huge backpacks that went completely under water. Too many people pushing and shoving for me. Dolphin Cove was nice – saw the dolphins, relaxed on the beach – not good for swimming, too rocky and shallow, but beautiful and relaxing. There’s a shopping plaza just outside the dock called Island Village that has security at all entrances and “locals” are not allowed to hassle the tourists, but you’ll see plenty of begging and hawking on the 5 minute walk to the ship. Bought Appleton Rum (6 bottles) and again, no problem taking them on board to our cabin – right in the cardboard carriers! 4. Grand Turk 12:30pm – 6:30– again, docked early so we were sitting on the beach with a drink by 12:30! In our opinion the nicest port – clean, beautiful, clear water, great beach – all right there at the pier. Carnival built the $40 million pier with surrounding shops and the Caribbean's largest Margaritaville and improved the infrastructure on the island. The beach and pool at Margaritaville are excellent and free! We were encouraged to use them! Again, we took our thermal tumblers and for $3 they filled them to the rim with Jamaican rum and coke! I got a free refill of diet coke for the walk back! The ship is close enough to go back for lunch – we decided to skip the $14 cheeseburger in paradise! Shopping was very handy! There was only 1 other ship in port and it had less than 500 passengers so it wasn’t too crowded. Disembarkation: Done by colored luggage tags and since we were having a friend pick us up, we were dead last. We were told to meet in the theater at 10:30am, so we slept in, had breakfast, back to the room to shower and finish packing. Got to the theater about 10:15 when they announced that everyone could disembark now (deck 3) so we walked right out. Took about ½ hour to get off the ship, pick up our luggage and go thru customs. Tip - I used stencils and sprayed designs on our black luggage with fabric paint – white for his and red for mine – great idea! Got plenty of compliments on it while everyone was pawing thru the black luggage! Other tips: I packed everything in 2 ½ gallon Hefty Zipslide plastic bags – easy to unpack and throw in a back pack – keeps everything neat and clean when the Jamaican officials pawed through everything on the way back to the ship too! They started searching every bag, then kinda gave up when it got really backed up with everyone trying to get to the ship on time. I took a travel steamer, but only used it once, don’t bother – everyone else is wrinkled too! All in all had a wonderful time – can’t wait to cruise Costa again! Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
We boarded ship early - 1 pm or so - and very smoothly and quickly. Early guests are efficiently shepherded by a cordial cadre of crewmembers to the Bellagio buffet. Our cabin was ready as promised by 3, and luggage had arrived. We were ... Read More
We boarded ship early - 1 pm or so - and very smoothly and quickly. Early guests are efficiently shepherded by a cordial cadre of crewmembers to the Bellagio buffet. Our cabin was ready as promised by 3, and luggage had arrived. We were soon greeted by our steward, Hector, who was most attentive throughout the week. We found the cabin to be uncommonly well-ordered, spacious, and comfortable, with three roomy closets, dresser, and room under-bed to store luggage. Even though guests are offered the option to re-use towels, etc., as an energy-saving measure, Hector replaced ours at least twice daily, and supplied the extra pillow requested promptly. The breakfast menu contained enough variety to please most anyone, ranging from hot and cold cereals, to egg dishes, to bagels and lox, with a good selection of pastries, yogurt, and such. Our dinner seating was early (5:30), the only other option being at 8:30. Since we usually ate lunch ashore or at the buffet, and often in mid-afternoon, we were occasionally not very hungry at that early hour (but I suppose everyone would choose 7 if it were an option!). The dining rooms are well-staffed with excellent waiters, who are not spread so thin as to be unavailable. Our wait-staff pair served 2 or 3 tables in addition to ours, and were unfailingly attentive. Generally speaking, the food was quite well-prepared. Others have commented on a weakness in the quality of the salads, and I would agree with that. We usually had the poultry or fish entrEe, so can't speak to the red-meat options, but two of our tablemates ordered the beef at every dinner, so it must have been palatable! In an attempt to go "light" at one dinner, we selected the vegetarian lasagna, which was pretty poor. (I have a recipe I'm thinking of sending!) We selected shore excursions in Cozumel (Tulum and Xel-Ha) and Ocho Rios (Dunn's River Falls and Cranbrook Flower Forest) and were very impressed with the tours and the quality of the tour guides. I've read earlier posts that indicated that the staff was hostile to Americans - and that is FAR from our experience. This is truly an international ship, including Italians, North Americans, Germans, and French. Signage also includes Spanish and Portuguese, and announcements made in various languages depending on the makeup of the guest list. It is true that the Europeans don't queue up like the Americans do, and that can be off-putting, but it "the way they are," and to not understand that is to make yourself unhappy. It is also true that there is more smoking allowed than Americans are accustomed to. There is no smoking in dining areas, and the ventilation systems in lounges/bars for the most part kept the smoke away from the nonsmokers. Some of the aft lounges can most easily be accessed through the casino, and it is a VERY smoky place. Nonsmoking gamblers need not apply. (We don't gamble, so mostly not an issue.) You learn to adapt and work around those spots, just as you would in an American restaurant that permits smoking in some areas. Debarkation was a BREEZE. We had arranged ahead of time for bus transport to the airport, and were in the second group to disembark. As is customary, our luggage was picked up overnight, and we found it promptly when we disembarked, whizzed through customs, and were at the airport in no time flat. An excellent cruise overall! Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
Background Info: I am 16 years old, and I cruised with my mother from February 25- March 4, 2007. This was our first time on Costa, but not our first cruise. It was my 7th, and her 8th. We have sailed on HAL Maasdam, Zuiderdam, & ... Read More
Background Info: I am 16 years old, and I cruised with my mother from February 25- March 4, 2007. This was our first time on Costa, but not our first cruise. It was my 7th, and her 8th. We have sailed on HAL Maasdam, Zuiderdam, & Noordam; CCL Victory & Triumph; and X Zenith. We live in upstate New York, and only booked this cruise 18 days in advance. Embarkation: We flew down to Fort Lauderdale on the day of the cruise. We were supposed to arrive by 11am, but due to flight complications, we didn't get to the cruise pier until about 3pm. (Good thing it didn't set sail until 7pm!) The luggage porters took our bags as soon as we stepped out of the taxi, and then we were off to go through security and check in. The line was surprisingly long, but moved quickly. We passed through security smoothly, and then waited some more to check in. From there, we got on the ship. We were onboard the ship within an hour, and were surprised at not receiving our cards or having our photos for them taken! Since we arrived so late, we were able to go straight to our cabins and get settled in. Not having to carry around our suitcases was great!! The Ship: The Magica was impeccable. Everything was clean, she looked brand new. The layout is a little wonky, but you will get used to it. It was annoying not being able to walk from bow to stern on every deck, and we would always forget that. We loved the art work that is all over the ship, especially the panels in the stateroom hallways, and the large pictures in the stairwells. The lightbulb holders in the buffet area were very unique (arms and hands holding the lights). Public Areas: There were 11 lounges and bars, and every night something exciting was happening. The Salento Grand Bar is the best, it is located right in the middle of deck 5, and is very open and has a nice dance floor. The Capri Lounge was great too, and the band that played in there was amazing. This is where karaoke took place. The Urbino theater is gorgeous...but make sure not to sit someplace where the poles would be blocking your view! The atrium is gorgeous...and the glass elevators are just too much fun (no matter how old you are!). The nightclub, Grado Disco, was tons of fun!! Popular music was played, and everyone was dancing and having a good time! Activities: It would have been impossible to attend every single activity that was planned. Every day, there were dance and exercise classes by the midship pool. Also, many games like hula hoop competition, sexy legs, kens vs barbies, old macdonalds farm game, ect happened near this pool. Multiple trivia and quiz gatherings, as well as volleyball, ping pong, and basketball games occurred daily. Even Italian lessons!! The activities staff was amazing, each one speaking at least 5 languages!! It is unbelievable how much energy they have, and we talked to some of them personally and they don't know how they do it! No matter how fun their jobs look, it is very socially demanding and hard; most of the time their smiles are false. Pools: There were 2 main pools...both on deck 9, located aft and midship. There was a smaller pool located up on deck 10, next to the end of the waterslide. Also, a kiddie pool was up near the childrens room. The pool area is the most active, and where everyone is on sea days, and the line for the waterslide often went down the stairs! Watch out for little kids (in the deck 10 pool)...they had discovered that the plastic cups were great for throwing water at people. There were several hot tubs, all of which were wonderfully hot and relaxing. Service: Wonderful. The crew was amazing and very friendly (would say hi to us whenever they saw us, and remembered our names). I don't know how other people could say bad things about them!! They all spoke English very well (as it is a requirement for them if they come into contact with passengers), and were extremely accommodating to all the needs of the passengers. Cabin: We were in cabin 7380, an inside on deck 7. It was the second one back from the aft elevators, and only 2 decks up to the buffet and 2 down to the casino and shops; no complaints at all about the location. There was plenty of storage space for all of our belongings. There were 4 drawers in a dresser, 2 nightstands, and 4 closets (one with shelves). The bathroom was spacious, and there were 4 shelves above the sink (perfect size & location for beauty products). The shower was good, had a retractable clothes line going across which was handy, and a shampoo dispenser (smelled quite nice, but we always bring our own). There was one problem with the shower. It would overflow everytime i used it. The drain was very slow, and the ledge around the base was not high enough to contain all the water! There is a drain behind the toilet too, and a path around the perimeter of the floor for water to follow, so maybe this was supposed to happen?? I doubt it though. So don't leave your clothes on the floor! Another oddity about the cabin: the handles on the drawers and closets were leather-like, and hard to get ahold of, resulting in the opening of them very difficult. We often left everything slightly open to avoid this issue. The lighting was great (fixtures were unique and modern), and there were plenty of mirrors everywhere. There was a minifridge, and a safe too. The artwork was cute, and the beds weren't that bad. Maybe because we were so tired when we retired to sleep? It doesn't matter. (We were happy to be on a cruise ship in the Caribbean and NOT in the -10 weather in NY.) The sheets and towels were a little rough for our liking, but that didn't ruin our cruise or anything. (The pool towels that are left in your room for shore excursions are wonderful!!) Food and Dining: Once again, I can not believe that people have complained about the food!!! It is delicious!!! We were disappointed at no sushi, but don't worry...they made up for it in their pasta dishes!! In the buffet, the food was great!! Always pizza, pasta, salad, a meat or 2 of some sort, fresh fruit, vegetables, all the regular cruise fare. The only area they lacked in was dessert. The selection was very limited, and always cold (pie is supposed to be warm!) The ice cream made up for it though, having self-serve machines located all around deck 9. There were specialty ice creams available at the bars, but we thought that it was ridiculous to pay for ice cream on a cruise so we never got any. The food in the buffet is just about the same as in the dining rooms. We went to dinner the first couple of nights, but each night the service got slower and slower!! Originally, we were assigned the early seating, but we were able to easily change that to the late seating (allows much more time to get ready after being onshore all day). On the second formal night, instead of lobster, there was king crab legs. Personally, I preferred this!! It was delicious!! Breakfast: offered in the dining room (Smeralda) from 7:30-9:30. We never went to this. A buffet was set up from 7:30-11am. The one by the back pool was always the least crowded, and had the same exact things as inside the Bellagio. There were pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, bagels, hash, and fresh fruit available. Lunch: offered in the dining room (Portofino) from 12-1:30pm. We also never went to this. The buffet was available from 12-2:30 in the Bellagio, and the grill was open from 11am-6pm. Dinner: There is 2 different seatings in each restaurant. Costa Smeralda: 5:45 & 8:30 Restaurant Portofino: 5:30 & 8:15 Also, a buffet is set up from 7:30-9:30 in the Bellagio, and a specialty restaurant from 6:30-9:30pm (never went to it). ONE OF OUR FAVORITES: from 9:30pm-1:30am, a pizzeria was set up in the Bellagio. We did not discover this until near the end of the cruise, and the pizza here is THE BEST. Each night there were about 5 different types of pizza offered, so Im sure you would be able to find something you liked. They would make you your own pizza, about a foot in diameter. Also, every night there was a midnight buffet, and the theme differed from night to night. Furthermore, there was tea time. One was in the Spoleto Lounge, Deck 5, from 3:45-4:45pm,where there was a WIDE variety of tea to choose from. The other was in the Bellagio and had mini sandwiches and desserts (4-5pm). Childrens Program: I participated in the teen program (13-18 years old), and it was wonderful!! The two teen directors, Marco and Sabryna, were fabulous!! There were a couple activities scheduled daily, and they were tons of fun! The prizes were great too. I saw the littler kids around the ship sometimes, participating in themed dinners and treasure hunts, and they all had a smile on their faces (and often face paint too!!). Entertainment: The one show I actually went to, Myth Trio in Circus of the Seas, was FANTASTIC. I actually went to both seatings. It was unbelievable!! All of the other shows were basically the same as on every cruise...a special singer one night, a Broadway-type show, a magician, ect... Theme Nights: Almost every night had its own theme. It was so much fun, this is part of the reason why Costa is amazing. Italian Night: Supposed to wear red, white, or green. There were several stations all around deck 5, such as rose making, mask making, face painting, and dance classes. Mediterranean Night: You were able to visit 4 different countries this night. France..and there was a Can Can show (hilarious!!!!), and Moulin Rouge-type singing. Greece...a fun dance..OMPA! Spain..dancing the Paso Doble. Egypt and Turkey....crazy belly dancing!! (also HILARIOUS). Also followed by a midnight buffet with food from each country in each section. DO NOT MISS THIS!! Roman (Toga) Night: This is one thing Costa is known for. Everyone is supposed to get dressed up in a toga (and accessories!) and spend the night in it! This is the Guest Talent Show and Crew Show night too, and happened on the last night of the cruise. Maybe only about 50% of the pax actually wore a toga, but the ones who didn't missed out on all the fun! Tropical Night: Tropical wear, with music by the calypso band and dancing by the pool! Dances such as the YMCA, and limbo. Tons of fun!! Ports of Call: all of the ports we had been to already, so we knew what we wanted to do. Cozumel: we went to Mr Sanchos for the day and just relaxed on the beach. It was $15 each way for a taxi. Then we went shopping around town, bought vanilla and liquor. Grand Cayman: We walked to 7 mile beach. It is gorgeous there. Did not like having to wait for tender tickets in the Urbino Theater, and the tender ride was long. Ocho Rios: We shopped and then went back to the ship. Grand Turk: Took a taxi ($5/person/each way) to Cockburn Town. Walked along the beach, which was gorgeous and secluded!! and shopped around town. We found out that there are NO TAXES (land, school, ect..)at all, but it will cost you $22 for a roll of aluminum foil. (still only $1 for a beer though!) Other Passengers: About 80% of the passengers were European. Being onboard this ship was like being in a foreign country. Most of the other pax were Italian and French. None of them were rude at all, they were all lovely to converse with (give that you can speak their language/interpret their English). A couple were pushy and cut in line, but hey, Americans do that too!!! Im sure you would find someone on any other cruise line who would cut infront of you (we found it on HAL!). Debarkation: There was the option of early self-debarkation. We opted not to do this, since you would have to carry all your own luggage offboard, and 2 woman pack a lot!! They hand out colored tags, depending on your cabin and status, and you get assigned a time to get off the ship. They don't even check if you leave in the right time (we got off earlier than assigned). There was one discretion with a passenger and his/her card, apparently they tried to get off without paying for their onboard purchases. That did hold up the line, but was resolved quickly. After we got off the ship, was had to go through customs. There were 2 different lines, one for US passengers and one for Foreign. They both moved at about the same rate. Overall, we had a wonderful experience and would cruise Costa again in a heartbeat!! We are trying to plan to go on the Fortuna this winter. (The Magica wont be sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. Too bad. This ship is amazing!) Feel free to email me if you have any questions, or would like to see photos, daily programs, menus, ect. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
I found the reviews at Cruise Critic to be very helpful. I also think Costa must be reading the reviews as well because everything prior reviewers complained about has been improved or outright fixed. First, the cabin. Our cabin was on ... Read More
I found the reviews at Cruise Critic to be very helpful. I also think Costa must be reading the reviews as well because everything prior reviewers complained about has been improved or outright fixed. First, the cabin. Our cabin was on the smoking side of the ship (odd cabin numbers, not even) and the prior occupant smoked up a storm, which I found disgusting. Upon boarding, the room spelled like smoke. Our cabin steward, Rocio, was very friendly and re-made the room with non-smoking linens and treated the air through the air-conditioning system to eliminate the smell. She also emptied our wet-bar, per our instructions, so we could fill it with items we brought with us. She did all of this before we even left port...and with a smile. She also brought us extra pillows and an extra blanket very quickly and with a smile. The entertainment was very good.....especially DO NOT MISS seeing "Myth Trio". They are 3 people who can do anything Cirque de Soliel does, but on a moving ship. They were terrific!!! Onto the food. Almost everything was exceptionally good and high quality. There is now free ice water at meals, so Americans need not buy bottled water if they just want iced, tap-water. All of the soups. salads and pasta courses where delicious and original. All week, there was only one pasta dish I was not crazy about. It involved pumpkin and raisins, so I know I was opting for something unusual. The salads have a little too much Iceberg Lettuce for my tastes. I like Romaine and Red Leaf lettuces....but perhaps I am just a spoiled Californian. Everything was VERY, VERY good. When you order meat dishes, ask they be cooked one degree more cooked than you would ask for at home. For example, I learned, and ordered Medium to receive medium Rare. Dishes that we had and thought were terrific were: Prime Rib, Roast Pork Loin, Mahi Mahi in a Pineapple salsa, Beef Tenderloin, Sauteed Shrimp and Scallops, Coconut Mouse in a Banana Sauce, Cherries Jubillee, Gelato, Ribeye Steak, Grand Mariner Souffle with Orange sauce, Crab Cake appetizer with corn and tomato salsa, Osso Bucco, Calimari Rings in Tomato Sauce. The only meal I had that was not excellent was the Rack of Lamb. It was tasty, but dry. However, it is hard to cook 3000 portions of Rack of Lamb and not have a portion or two come out dry. Every other cruise lines charge for espressos and cappuccinos. When ordered in the breakfast dining room or breakfast room service, these italian coffee drinks are free. They are not available at the buffet. So, for free, great Italian coffees in the morning, go to the dining room or have breakfast in bed. There are espresso shops on board that will sell you drinks during the day and night. Toga Night in the dining room was great fun. Italian food and environment were great fun. We have cruised on Carnival, Princess and Holland America. We think Costa has more quality and style that any of the others. We also think this was the happiest crew we have seen, and that was very pleasant. These folks seemed happy at work. Our waiters, Cecil Royce Da Silva and Costa Gregorio brought us everything we asked for with a big smile. The Italians have a saying called "Fare Festa." It is the art of making a festival for you, one person at a time...just for you. The crew of Costa Magica made "Fare Festa" for us over and over again during our 7 days and nights aboard. Yes, European travelers can be a little pushing in line. But the only "ugly travelers" we saw were Americans.....making scenes and demands in ways that put-down the crew. In the Italian tradition, everything will be done in good time, and not too long after the published time. Just relax, sit-back and be an Italian. If you are willing to look for "La Dolce Vita" (The Sweet Life), it is to be had on the Costa Magica. If you will be upset that the dining room opens 10 minutes late and don't appreciate loud, gracious welcomes from the crew, travel elsewhere. We loved Costa Magica and will travel with Costa again....soon. It was the best experience we've ever had on the open sea. Sara and David Keenan Ben Lomond, California Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
I first want to say that this cruise was booked spontaneously at the last minute by my wife and I. We booked it two weeks prior to departure and got a great deal for three of us, $808.00! Then we read the reviews from passengers whom had ... Read More
I first want to say that this cruise was booked spontaneously at the last minute by my wife and I. We booked it two weeks prior to departure and got a great deal for three of us, $808.00! Then we read the reviews from passengers whom had sailed back in December 2006, we started to be a little concerned about what they were saying about the crew and the service. We decided that we keep an open mind and remember the great deal we got, and say you get what you pay for. Well, I want to share our experience with you! Now, we are not first time cruisers, actually this was my 8 cruise and my wifes 10th. We have mainly sail on Princess and Royal Caribbean, but have also been on Carnival and Celebrity once each. We have been on difference size ships and in different size staterooms. So we have experienced a little of everything, except a balcony or a suite which next year we will have our first balcony. I've heard once you go balcony you never go back!! We left Washington, D.C at 8:00am and arrived in Ft. Lauderdale around 10:40am. We retrieved our luggage, caught a taxi ($20.00) and was in the line at the COSTA embarkation point within 1 hour. (HINT: We beat the buses from the airport.) Embarkation: The area COSTA has in Ft. Lauderdale was very generic looking compared to the fancy looking areas the other cruiselines have, but it was very organized and quick. We were checked in, first picture taken and in the buffet line with in 20 minutes! The first place they send you is to the buffet line for lunch and then you go to your room where your key is waiting for you in your room. Stateroom: Our stateroom was an inside stateroom for 3 people: one queen in the middle and the upper bunk. We were very pleased with it, it was very roomy and layed out nicely. We were very impressed with the closet space available but most of all with how roomy the bathroom and shower was. It was nice to know you could take a shower without the curtain wrapping around you body as you tried to maneuver in the shower. Again we've been on several cruiselines and we'd have to say this bathroom was the biggest for an inside stateroom. Common Areas of the ship: Again, we have been on other cruiselines before so there were some expectations that were not met. I felt that the ships common areas we very tight. The areas around the Atrium near the shops and the photo display area, were very tight areas especially after a show. The other areas like the buffet area in the mornings and at lunch were also tight. The way the ship was designed in these areas seems that there is alot of wasted space taken up by pillars and decorations that could be used for more tables and walking room. The internet cafe was just a small area with about 8 computers which sits right next to the Disco. My question is: where is the cafe part?? There were some areas on the ship that were very roomy and comfortable! The dining rooms were beautiful! Buffet Area: Again, this was one of the most confusing areas on the ship! Unfortunately there was no organization when it came to where the entrance was or where the exit was. There was a few times that the crew just watched people go in and out the wrong direction, or a few stood around talking! This was a tight spot on the ship, yes it was three levels but it made you feel claustrophobic the way they had the tables backed up to eachother. I think they call it INTIMATE, I call it crowded.(My pet peeve.) Food: This was one the thing we were concerned about, we had read the other reviews saying the food was bland. I totally disagree! We thought that all the food in both the buffet area and the dining room was fantastic! We totally enjoyed it! Bon Apetit! Entertainment: We were overall pleased. Sunday night: Victoris Horne - Good Monday night: Magica Moments - Good Tuesday night: Grand Variety Show - Good Wed. Night: John Ciotto - Very good Thursday Night: Circus on the Sea w/ the Mido Trio (South Africa) -Excellent Friday: CineMagicue: didn't go! Saturday: We are the World (Crew Show)- It was fantastic! We highly recommend you go to the shows especially the crew show! Crew: It is 90% Filipinos! My wife loved it, she is Filipino and it made her feel right at home. Our cabin stewart was Jerry from the Philippines, he was great. Our waiter was Ida from Indonesia, and our assistant waiter was from the Philippines and they both were wonderful! They made my 9yr.old son feel like a KING! Overall the crew was very pleasant, most of your officers and main crew members were Europeans. Activities: We didn't find the activities on board anything we would want to do. They catered to the older crowd on board. My wife and I are in our 40's, we would say that the average age of the passengers on board would be over 60. And cruise director?? Oh, you mean MAX. The only time you see him is on stage before the shows. We did see him once in the buffet, I think that was by mistake. He's in his late 40's, his staff is wonderful and energetic!!! We did enjoy Italian Night, its the most important night of the cruise! By the way, the last night is TOGA NIGHT!!! Children's Program: We were once again skeptical before going, since we had experienced other programs on a different cruiseline, but we were pleasantly surprised. Our son was excited about going everyday! He would keep asking when is it time to go back! He had so much fun and it made my cruise very relaxing knowing he wanted to be there!! He told me to tell you: THE SQUOCK CLUB WAS GREAT! Ports of Call: Cozumel: Was wonderful! We went shopping and ate lunch at an authentic Mexican restaurant for lunch, $31.00 for three! Grand Cayman: (Tendered) We caught a taxi to 7 mile beach, $8.00 round trip and $5.00 for a beach chair, $10.00 for an umbrella, but you can stay as along as you want! It was beautiful! Ocho Rio's: Caught a cab ($8.00 a person) to Dunns Rivers Falls. It was $15.00 per adult and $12.00 for my son. We had a guide take us up the 900 foot falls with a group of 20 others but it was wonderful! They will take your pictures for you and they help you the whole way! We gave them each a $5.00 tip, it was worth it! (Hint: The fee to get in is for the falls and the beach and its for all day! We took the cab that only gave us a 2hour window then we had to go back. We later found out you can catch a taxi outside the gate near the port by the shopping area for $2.00 a piece to Dunnsrivers Fall!) Grand Turks: Spent the day and the beach. Watch out for the coral! Wear good water shoes! Then we went to the pool in the area, it was nice! As you can tell we didn't do the excursions, we did it on our own. Just put a little thought into it before you go and you can save some money, especially if you love the beach! Disembarkment: I like to be the first off the ship, but since our flight home didn't leave until 2:00PM we were in the last group to leave. We were fortunate I guess, since there were so few US citizens on the ship our line through customs was very short. It took us no time to get our luggage and before we knew it we were on our way to the airport! Overall: We were very pleased with our cruise experience with the COSTA MAGICA. I want to say to those that said they had a bad experience, that I believe you mistaken the passengers for the crew. If anyone was rude on this cruise it was the European passengers. They have no respect for eachother or anyone else. If I was displeased with any thing on this cruise it was the way the Europeans treated the crew and the non-European passengers! Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
This was my first cruise. I booked with a private club, which organizes an annual singles "get away" cruise. Embarkation: I arrived on a free shuttle from the La Quinta Hotel in Hollywood, FL. I was relatively early and I was ... Read More
This was my first cruise. I booked with a private club, which organizes an annual singles "get away" cruise. Embarkation: I arrived on a free shuttle from the La Quinta Hotel in Hollywood, FL. I was relatively early and I was able to get onboard very quickly. It seemed like 20 minutes or so. They usher you straight to the buffet area since your rooms are not ready yet. Immediately, you can appreciate the decor of the ship: glass elevators, the atrium, etc. It was all a little bit stressful not knowing where I was able to go, but it was neat to be on the ship so early. Next time I will check more luggage with ship. By the time I wandered to my room, my checked luggage was waiting for me. Room: I had an inside cabin all to myself. I'm glad I got the recommendation to bring a power strip. You definitely need it. The room was quite nice and I was glad that I saved all that $$ on an inside room. My cabin steward, Nelson, constantly kept the room in great shape. Food: The buffet breakfast was adequate. It did get old after a while. Monday : scrambled eggs; Tuesday: scrambled eggs, etc. It wasn't quite as good as a decent hotel buffet. Self-serve lunch was below average. The burgers were bad, the buns for hot dogs and burgers were often stale and not completely thawed. Still, it was nice to be able to eat on your own schedule. The food for dinner in the main dining hall was generally fantastic. I loved the 6 course style. The service was excellent. I mostly ate the fish, but when I tried the steak it was great as well. Ports: Cozumel: Our group headed straight to Chankanaab National Park, which is a short cab ride from the docks. The park features a beautiful beach with food and drink service. There are some paths behind the beach with iguanas roaming around. We finished our cozumel trip with a visit to Carlos & Charlie's. A fun place for drinking and dancing. Grand Cayman: Yes, there is some tedious tendering to endure. I wonder if they can ever get this done right. Well, once you get there and to the beach it is worth it. Lots of sun. I couldn't believe it was February. Ocho Rios: We took buses straight to Dunn's River Falls. The walk up the falls was much more of an adventure than I imagined. All the pictures I had seen online seemed to be of the peaceful spots. You never see the pictures of people hanging on for dear life as their shoes are falling off and they lose their grip. An unforgettable experience indeed. We capped the day off with some much needed partying at Margaritaville. The place is great, but I wish they would have played reggae instead of Buffet. I recommend the "Hummingbird" drink Grand Turk: I was a bit tired, so I just lounged all day at Margaritaville at the cruise port. It was nice there, but the whole port does feel artificial. The pool and the beach are beautiful. Entertainment: The ship's 5th floor is really something else. They had many distinctive clubs, bars, and lounges. My favorite was the multi-tiered "Capri Lounge" with the circular booth seating. Each entertainer had their own unique charm. Some seemed professional, some seemed like amateurs. But the thing was, it was almost just as fun to make fun of the amateurish performers as it was to enjoy the professional style acts. I especially liked the rock band that featured a Gloria Estefan look-a-like and that eventually featured Max the cruise director on the penultimate evening. Disembarkation: A little bit disorganized, but all in all not bad. It is so much easier if you have a US passport. The line for internationals was quite long. Overall. I was with a group of 200 people which organized its own onboard activities as well as port excursions. Because of this, I was less reliant on the operators of the ship itself. This definitely contributed to my positive overall experience. I would recommend this ship to others, but for myself, I would probably choose another line, if only to try something different. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
Sailed the Costa Magica January 28, 2007 from Fort Lauderdale. This was our 6th cruise, all past were on Carnival. We received a post card for a special rate for this cruise and my husband and I decided that for the price we really ... Read More
Sailed the Costa Magica January 28, 2007 from Fort Lauderdale. This was our 6th cruise, all past were on Carnival. We received a post card for a special rate for this cruise and my husband and I decided that for the price we really couldn't loose, even if we hated it. After so many "bad" reviews we read, we were really surprised by our experience. We booked our parking from the Costa site, and paid less by booking and paying on line. Arrived at the Park N Fly parking lot, about a block from the port. Unloaded our car and a bus was to us in about 5 minutes. They loaded our luggage onto the bus and within a few minutes we were off to the port. Delivered right curb side to our embarkation site. This was a bonus and I would recommend anyone driving to the port them selves to utilize this service, it also saves about $25 compared to parking at the port. Embarkation was a breeze, we arrived around noon to the parking lot and by 12:40 we were on the ship. After a quick lunch at the buffet, we checked into our room for a much needed nap. Our room stewart greeted us in the hall by Mr/Mrs C (using our name) To our amazement, he remembered our name the rest of the cruise. He walked with us into our cabin to make sure all was working and satisfaction was to our liking. Our luggage arrived about 2 hours later, quicker than we've experienced in the past. We were able to shower and change for dinner. Our dining experience was mixed. My husband is Italian and even though he was raised in the States, he is use to authentic Italian cuisine. He loved every bit of the food. I liking "American" Italian cuisine, had to pick and choose to find food to my liking. There is a lot of fish and fish sauce used in the authentic recipes, and if you are not a fish lover like myself, you may not like the food. However, that is not the chefs faults. The pasta dishes that I did eat were all fantastico!! I never went hungry, and was always able to find something to my liking on the buffet or in the main dining room. In fact the dining room had a section of "always served" which included chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, baked potato, and cheese cake. So if there was nothing on the menu to your liking, you always had the good ole standby, which I did eat the spaghetti two different nights myself as my main entree. All the bread was to die for, many flavors and crusty outside and soft inside. Main dining staff was as typical as other lines. We had breakfast delivered to our cabin once, it was on time and just as ordered. Ports of call were typical of other cruises to the caribbean, with the exception of Grand Turk. Small island and if you don't snorkel there is not much to do here. However snorkeling was some of the best I've ever experienced in the Caribbean!! I would recommend the speed boat and snorkeling tour. Although a bit pricey at $100. per person, we felt is was worth it and especially at this port since there is not much else to do other than the beach which is situated at the end of the pier, or swimming in the pool in the center of Margarittaville. If you love to shop than Cozumel is the place to do it on this itinerary!!! I LOVE Cozumel, I love to shop, and the jewelry is great!! So is the booze!! Grand Cayman is pretty but pricey. We take a cab to seven mile beach here. The ride is 5 bucks a person, and beaches are public and free. Nice day to relax and catch some rays, (sun not sting). Ocho Rios, Jamaica what do you say about this place...Stay with a tour group, don't venture off alone here. Can be an unsafe place by yourself. We did a jeep island tour, which was nice. This is a beautiful Island and this was a nice way to see a lot of it safely. Some of the roadside vendors can be a bit pushy...but don't forget that 60% unemployment rate here, these people need to feed their families, or may want to send their kids to school. There is no public school system here and you must pay to send your kid to school. (to keep from having a bad experience of some of your ports of calls, I put yourself into the shoes of the people that live in these ports, and it helps me deal with the pushiness of them wanting you in their stores or to buy their goods.) The entertainment on the ship I felt was superior to others I've experienced in the past. All shows were top notch, with a slight European flare! The Cruise director, Max, was wonderful and professional. He spoke several languages, was very personable, and could even sing himself. We loved Toga night, and it made the hum drum passenger talent night fun. We usually don't go to talent night because it is usually just a mix of bad and often worse, karaoke. However with the "Romans" and gladiators, this talent night was actually one of the highlights. The passengers were a nice mix of Americans, Italians, Other Europeans, Canadians, and South Americans Everyone seems friendly and generally courteous to one another. the ship was beautiful, and you could tell decorated by the same Joe Farcus that does the decor on Carnival. Many people complain about getting around on ship, however I've been on several Carnival ships with the exact same lay out. You just have to remember to go up a level to get from one end of the ship to the other, because of the restaurants and galley taking up the center of the ship. Once you learn it, you can get around fine. All the public areas were clean and well maintained. Our cabin was large for a ship cabin (window). The only complaint was the bed and pillows. They are thin and hard. The mattress had springs popping a bit. I hope they do need to upgrade the beds. I think that was my only real complaint on this ship. Since they are owned by Carnival, I think they need to get those Carnival comfort beds. Back to Fort Lauderdale, and debarkation was a breeze. We received a letter in our cabin the night before, saying that as a VIP we were invited to a special meeting place for debarkation. We arrived at our meeting place at 8AM, with about 25-30 other VIP (we still aren't sure how we got this status, LOL). Once the ship was cleared, we were first off the ship with a private escort. Finding the luggage was a little more difficult. They put all the luggage in a huge warehouse separated by color tags. You have to go through all the color tags that are the same as you to find your luggage. Well, after about half an hour, I was still missing a bag. Luckily the porter who was helping us, found the "without tag" stack of luggage ares. Someone broke the handle off our suitcase and hence, the tag was missing. Once we got our bag, outside the terminal, we were greeted by the Park N Fly bus who again, loaded our luggage, and delivered us directly to our car. We will definitely be back to a Caribbean Cruise with Costa. Great Cruise, even greater price, definitely worth it. Overall rating of this cruise B+ Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
Talk about being nervous after reading Cruise Critic reviews! I organized this cruise for 135 people, and I didn't want to spend my vacation listening to complaints. I was very pleasantly surprised and relieved with the entire cruise ... Read More
Talk about being nervous after reading Cruise Critic reviews! I organized this cruise for 135 people, and I didn't want to spend my vacation listening to complaints. I was very pleasantly surprised and relieved with the entire cruise experience!! I have cruised with Celebrity, Princess, Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Viking and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my week with Costa. Embarkation was smooth. The people I traveled with insisted on getting to the port early, so it took about an hour to board. Had we waited until later, as was suggested, I'm sure the wait would have been shorter. The procedure was smooth and the help very efficient. Our cabin was great! Not at all noisy, very spacious, and plenty of storage, even with a third adult in our room. The bathroom was the best ever, on any ship!! The comments about the mattresses are true however. They ARE thin and hard. Our steward, Allan was terrific. Everyone in my group (135)was pleased with their cabin service. Some discovered that if you asked, you could get an extra mattress! The Magica is beautiful, spotless and very well maintained. There are so many interesting touches that are really cool. For example, I was very taken with the beautiful and elaborate puppets throughout the casino. They reminded me of window-shopping in Venice. They also made me wonder whether the slots or the person sitting in front of them were the puppets? The murals in the staircases were soft and beautiful and it was interesting to find the "surprises" each one held. The stateroom corridors were anything but bland, and the art added interest to a normally boring area of a ship. Most people, myself included, found the food to be fine. Yes, there could have been more variety at the buffet, but I always found more than enough that I enjoyed. Yes, there was always pizza on the buffet, but no one forced anyone to eat it everyday!! The service at the buffet was OK, but could have been better. I found the waiters to be more European than American, meaning they did not bother you every five minutes to clear away dishes etc. I would have liked them to be a bit more American, but I don't get bent out of shape about stuff like that!! Yes, the dishes were plastic - a bit odd but OK. The dining room service was excellent for lunch, a bit rushed/understaffed for dinner. Early seating was completely filled, as was the ship, so I'm sure that didn't help. The food itself was excellent. The pasta was always great; the salads OK (ever had salad in Italy?!?); the entrees, overall very good. As usual, if you don't care for what you ordered, just speak up! There were lots of seafood choices and always a midwest, meat and potato entree. The desserts were yummy! One person in our party ate cheesecake, from the "available anytime" menu EVERY NIGHT and was totally happy!! We did have a problem with seating the first night. It was a communication problem with the Ft Lauderdale office and the ship. The maitre'd and staff were more that gracious and helpful in getting things worked out for the next night. Being with a group I must add that all our group requests were handled professionally and to our complete satisfaction. Our meeting rooms were, properly equipped, refreshments were provided etc. We were even given a room to watch the Nat'l Championship game on a large screen. Our private cocktail party was a great success with drinks and snacks at every turn. I was very, very impressed with the level of participation in onboard activities. The staff is very energetic and successful in getting people involved. Whether silly poolside games, dance lessons etc., people were participating! In fact, participation was better than on any previous cruise I've experienced! Speaking of participation, I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it, but MOST people DID wear togas the last night! Maybe they thought the "no sheet, no eat" rule was for real, but for whatever reason, most showed up for dinner in togas! What a blast! So be prepared! Take a few large safety pins or some neat jewelry to dress yours up!! I heard really good comments about the shore excursions. One warning, if you are going to Casa de Campo, do NOT go to La Romana. The shuttle is perfectly fine and safe, but the town is not so hot. Instead, go to Altos de Chavon and/or the beach. The beach is gorgeous and there are vendors there, but they do not come out to the beach and bug you. If going to the beach, prearrange a taxi with the English speaking interpreter that you will see near the shuttle pavilion, and pay after you are picked up and returned to the ship. Our biggest disappointment was that we had to miss Grand Turk due to weather, but that was not Costa's fault. Disembarking the ship was smooth. We booked the Everglades excursion to kill time. It was enjoyable and saved us from a few extra hours at the horribly small, crowded Ft. Lauderdale airport. I completely enjoyed the cruise and would not hesitate to recommend it. I will definitely consider doing another group cruise with Costa. In fact, another cruise with Costa sounds really good right now. I can almost hear the poolside band playing........... Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
My boyfriend and I (20 and 21 years old), took what was my first cruise and his 3rd on the Costa Magica. Overall, the experience was wonderful! We booked through an online agency and got a great deal: $750 all together for an inside cabin, ... Read More
My boyfriend and I (20 and 21 years old), took what was my first cruise and his 3rd on the Costa Magica. Overall, the experience was wonderful! We booked through an online agency and got a great deal: $750 all together for an inside cabin, two people, including travel insurance! EMBARKATION We used the parking service that is linked on Costa's website, and were very happy with the deal we got. It was $54 for the week, as opposed to $12 a day at the port. They also offered shuttle service right to the terminal, so it saved us the walk from the port parking garage. We arrived at the terminal around noon. We left our luggage at the curb with the porters (Don't worry if you don't have your luggage tags yet, THEY HAVE THEM THERE!). It was a pain to stand in line, but what do you expect?! Sorry, but unless you're royalty you're going to stand in line like everyone else. It took about an hour and a half before we were on the boat, but it went off without a hitch and I was very satisfied. STATEROOM The first place we went was to our cabin. We had an inside on the first floor, front of the ship. It was a very spacious cabin with lots of storage space; I never felt closed in. The bed was simple, but I slept like a baby on it. Our cabin steward was great; we didn't really need him for anything, but he was always there to say hello! As for the "smell" that people have mentioned. I noticed it a little in the hallway, but none in our room. The noise? Only what you'd normally hear in a hotel. There was a kid staying in one of the rooms across from us who was time to time out in the hallways calling for his mom, but that is not the ship's fault. Noise was NOT an issue. DINING After checking out the room, we headed straight for the welcome buffet as we were starving. Just what we needed!! Steak and pasta galore! It was great! The roast beef was a little cold, but everything tasted great. We ate the buffet for breakfast every morning. Note: the eggs are processed, pasteurized, frozen eggs. Different than what most of us are used to, a little more bland. Again, this is not the fault of the ship. Its just how restaurants who have to serve such a large amount of people are having to do things now. However, the variety is good. We also had the buffet for lunch. Again, great selection. Often they had a cold pasta salad, greens, side dishes of mashed potatoes or veggies, and a variety of meats and hot pastas. Also pizza, which was AMAZING! Italian style with thin crust and chunky tomato sauce. Grill by the main pool always had hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken burgers, pasta salads, and GREAT french fries. All but one of the nights we ate in the main dining room. We dined in Portofino, second sitting. 3-4 selections for each dish of a 6 course meal, as well as 5 or 6 items which were available every night (our dinner companions had the cheesecake every night). Pastas were awesome!! Salads were okay, mostly just lettuce. Avoid the consomme soups unless you're into very light soups; by definition, consomme is a clarified soup broth. Seafood dishes were always on par (I loved the tuna steak and the clam chowder!). I was stuffed every night, and very satisfied! Don't be afraid to ask what something is!! I tried many new things and was pleasantly surprised. Only had the midnight buffet once, but I disagree with the comment about how it was only pastries and slice deli meat! When we returned from a late night in PR, we had ribs and BBQ chicken! Make sure to visit the grill and not just the pastry line! ACTIVITIES As the norm, there's always a published list of the days activities delivered to your cabin. I'd say as far as things to occupy you during the day, there wasn't too much. I enjoyed the trivia quizzes, but other than that we mostly just laid around (which I also enjoyed, don't get me wrong). Things quiet down from 11-2:30, and there's absolutely no activities planned, so be prepared for that. Just bring a book and enjoy one of the many pools, hot tubs, or bars! ENTERTAINMENT Nighttime entertainment was always enjoyable. One of the guys from the Platters preformed one night. There was also a ship singer on another. An AMAZING Cirque du Soleil-type magic/circus/dance act one of the other nights, which blew everyone away! Fun game-show type thing one of the nights with lots of audience participation, as well as an audience talent show the last night (make sure to watch your Today program for sign-ups!); both hilarious and fun! PORTS OF CALL First stop was San Juan, PR. We were afraid because we'd only be there from 5-12pm, so what could we do?! However, it ended up being one of our favorite ports. Go up to the fort and enjoy the views from the outside (you're not missing much inside if its anything like other forts I've visited). Then wander down throughout the city and shops. After we'd seen all we wanted to see, we stopped on Senor Frogs for a very fun filled night! Definitely a great stop for the younger cruisers!! Not as "touristy" as you'd expect, and free tequila shots were everywhere! haha Next was St. Thomas. We took the Ultimate Island Experience tour through the ship and really enjoyed it. Got to see all the sites, go swimming at one of the top ten beaches in the world, and still had time for shopping at the end of the day. After that we spent some time in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Definitely an experience. Our tablemates bought the resort pass through the boat and said it was beautiful. We, on the other hand, took the bus ($4 per person, round trip, right outside the boat) to the town. The poverty of the country is obvious and an eye opener. For a real-life learning experience I'd recommend taking about an hour and going to the town. The ship hires "guides" to show you the shops to go to after you get off the shuttle (they work for tips). Shopping there felt very oppressive and a bit scary; someone is always following you trying to get you to buy something. You can tell that they really depend on days like this. Try the Mamajuana, the local drink. Last port was Grand Turk. Definitely a place looking to bring in the cruise business. New terminal with a bunch of shops so new half of them don't have residents in them yet. We skipped Margaritaville all together; we have one here in Orlando and already know they're way too over-priced! Beach right off the ship isn't much to look at as far as swimming. I recommend doing an excursion; we did the Madison Point Clear kayak and it was WELL WORTH IT! At first we thought it was just the kayaking, but its really an island tour, the kayaking, and then guided snorkeling! All the guides were super helpful, really knowledgeable, and so nice! DO THIS EXCURSION!! DISEMBARKATION Starts early. Be prepared to leave your room before 8am. I was a little worried about getting our bill so late because the only time you had to fix it was from 5:30-7:30; I'm never up that early! But no problems with my bill, so we left the room at 8am. Buffet is open until 9am and is the normal breakfast fare. They give you colored luggage tags the night before that tell you what group you'll be in. Then they give you a time in the Today program. We had the last group, 10:15, but it went surprisingly quickly. We just laid in the deck chairs and dozed until our time came around. We were in our car (after the shuttle ride back to the parking lot that took us directly to our car) by 11. OVERALL I would definitely travel with Costa again. I heard many complaints that seemed like people just wanting to have their voices heard. The price was great and everything added up to a wonderful vacation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Costa Magica Travelogue Sunday, December 17, 2006 We got the car loaded up and drove without problem over to Port Everglades in good time. We had considered parking at the Park n Fly for about $7 a day but the Costa Magica was docked ... Read More
Costa Magica Travelogue Sunday, December 17, 2006 We got the car loaded up and drove without problem over to Port Everglades in good time. We had considered parking at the Park n Fly for about $7 a day but the Costa Magica was docked at Pier 21 which was immediately next to one of the port's parking garages. We decided it would be better to have the car handy and found a spot on the 4th floor for $12 a day. Our big suitcases that we bought in 1994 for our first cruise, and hadn't used since, had small vulnerable wheels on the bottom that allowed us to carefully trundle them along. But any cracks or inattention and they would quickly flop over. However they held a lot and worked well for the extra clothing required for cruising. We got them to the terminal where porters took them several inches from our hands to the Costa bins and we rewarded them with outrageous tips fearing the bags might end up on one of the other 5 cruise ships if we didn't tip. The intake process was mostly painless once we were rid of our heavy bags. We had passports and tickets out and quickly breezed through various checkpoints. We gave them a credit card for billing and got our Costa cards and were allowed to board the ship. Your Costa card became your room key and was required to disembark and embark on the ship at various ports of call. They were also used to charge things on the ship so keeping them safe was important. There was a brief line on the ramp going up to the side of the ship and once we entered the massive ship everyone was quickly and efficiently steered to the Bellagio buffet. We had a lunch of barely edible pizza and then went to find our cabin. Here is what I wrote on one of the message boards: Embarkation: We live in SoFla so we could pick our time to arrive at Port Everglades. We picked about 12:45 pm as our ETA and there was no crowd. The Costa lady behind the counter said we missed a big crowd and long lines when they first opened the doors. Our room was correctly described on the Internet as: Private Veranda Stateroom -- Private Veranda Staterooms 10 include two lower beds that convert into a queen-sized bed, a private veranda, private bathroom with shower, direct-dial telephone service, minibar, TV, safe, and a hairdryer. Approximately 210-sq.-ft. stateroom. We were very pleased. Someone said to us once you have a balcony (veranda stateroom), you will never go back to an inside cabin. They were right, unless price is really the only factor. We unpacked and fortunately the large suitcases fit nicely under the bed. In 1994 on the NCL Starward the crew took the bags to the hold for storage. It was nice to have the suitcases handy for storage and dirty laundry. After we did a walk around the ship to shoot some video, we decided to take a nap and that was when we discovered the pounding of the treadmills. At first we had no idea what it was. It sounded like some throbbing engine noise to me. It was like being inside of a bass drum. I stuck my head out the door and the lady housekeeper who cleaned our room came in and immediately said it was from the gym on the deck above. I couldn't tell if this was a common complaint about this room from her expression. From the Internet: Forward at the top of the ship, the 4,600-square-ft. Saturnia Spa offers a Turkish bath, sauna, treatment rooms and beauty salon. In the large workout room, with new Technogym equipment, you work out while overlooking the bow. They should add: while driving the passengers in the cabins below crazy. I was able to ignore it but it seemed to bother my wife who is a light sleeper. This brings me to my second complaint. What would be the fun of a travelogue if I didn't find something to complain about? It was the thin mattress. Many have complained about the beds. The mattress was basically a 3" piece of foam on a hard surface. Later I learned if you complain they would bring you some additional padding but we just accepted it as is. We went to dinner at 5:40 pm at one of the two split-level restaurants. We were assigned to the Costa Smeralda restaurant at the early sitting. We dined while still at the dock. Our table was in the very middle of the ship right at the stern by a large window giving us a wonderful view of the ocean. We had this great view as long as it was daytime. But after the sun goes down, and it is dark at sea, it is all black. This is one of three large fancy restaurants on the ship. There was another split-level restaurant in the middle of the ship called the Portofino which served the same menu. There was a 3rd fancy restaurant which was not free which we did not visit. From the Internet: High up on Deck 11, the quiet, elegant, 88-seat Vincenza Tavernetta Club offers cooked-to-order steaks and chops, personalized service, and a surcharge. We did look in the windows from the jogging track. It looked very nice but we balked at paying extra for food. It was bad enough they charged you for Coca Cola by the can. Let me make some overall food comments. The buffet: The hot breakfast buffet was good but not as good as Vegas of course. There were two or three custom omelet stations and the eggs, bacon and corned beef hash were good. There were tons of fattening sweets if you wanted them. For lunch the hamburgers were not that good IMHO and the pizza was well below what we get at home. But it was always there if you were hungry. The dining room: We usually ate in one of the two dining rooms. It was nice to have 7 pieces of flatware and crystal glasses and all the removes. We were assigned to the Costa Smeralda restaurant at the stern but discovered if we wanted to eat lunch at the mid-ship one, the Portofino Restaurant, we were cheerfully accepted. The food at the Smeralda was good considering they had to prepare 15,000 meals a day. I was determined not to gain weight so I tried to always leave half the meal on the plate and keep the breads to a minimum. I succeeded. Also it is a good chance to experiment on dishes you would never normally order and have to pay for. One morning I ordered both Eggs Benedict and Scottish Kippers. And I learned for free that I really hate Scottish Kippers. The point is, they will bring you whatever you want on the menu, you just have to ask. The three-story Urbino Theatre, at the bow, featuring a Murano glass chandelier, presented nightly live entertainment shows which we did not attend. Nothing against the hard working performers, it is just not our thing. We were usually tired and after a turn on deck, we were ready for bed. But passengers at our table often had favorable comments about the previous night's entertainers. And we did attend a welcome aboard seminar, a captain's cocktail party and a disembarkation seminar in the beautiful theater. We were sorry they didn't use it or some other part of the ship to show first run movies which we might have attended. But that would have lowered the profits from the pay-per-view movies on the cabin's TV. Monday, December 18, 2006 The treadmill pounding at 5:40 am woke us up. We called to politely complain and they promised to send security up but the pounding continued. I went up to politely complain in person but by then it was 6 am and gym was open. They promised not to let anyone in the gym before 6 am in the future. We ordered breakfast in our room and at 7 am it was delivered. That was the earliest option for breakfast in the room. From the Internet: Room service breakfast is what might be termed expanded continental -- a choice of rolls, croissants, Danish pastries, cereals, juice, yogurt, and coffee, tea or hot chocolate. We got the cereals, juice, coffee and hot chocolate and tried to avoid too many sweet carbs. It was good. We usually followed it up with eggs or an omelet later at the buffet. We were up on deck just as Key West was coming into view. We watched the docking with great interest. We had to dock at the restricted US Navy pier because of the other cruise ships docked at Mallory Square. I wondered if the USS Maine docked at this pier before going over to Havana to blow up and start the Spanish American War. Even though the Navy base looked barren and neglected, you were not allowed to walk into Key West on base property and they provided Conch Tour Train open trams and small buses. Since we did not sign up for an excursion there was no assembly time to worry about and we caught one of the first trams to leave. Historic Fort Zachary Taylor was in view from the ship and the tram offered to stop if anyone wanted to visit the fort which is open to the public. We have visited the fort before and were happy to view it from our balcony this trip. Briefly: Construction of the fort began in 1845. In 1850, the fort was named after U.S. President Zachary Taylor, who died in office earlier that year. Throughout the 1850s, construction on Fort Taylor was slow. Yellow fever, shortages of material and men, remoteness and hurricanes had slowed down progress. When the Civil War broke out the fort stayed in Union hands. This was an impressive deterrent to the Confederate navy. Proving to be a severe loss for the South, Fort Taylor remained in Union hands throughout the Civil War. By the time the three-story fort was finally finished in 1866 (21 years after it was begun), there were many impressive features included. Items such as sanitary facilities flushed by the tide and a desalination plant which produced drinking water from the sea were available as early as 1861. A total of 140 guns and a large supply of ammunition were on hand to secure the fort. The tram dropped us off at Duval and Front Street near the historic harbor area. Okay, here I digress and bring up ship complaint #3. The air conditioning. It was never cool enough in the cabin for me during the day and got too cold at night. Playing with the thermostat did not seem to make a difference. Sunday night I was freezing so my shopping goal was to buy a cheap sweatshirt in Key West. The first store we came to that sold sweatshirts was a motorcycle biker shop. Mixed in with all the black leather stuff and the faux World War 1 German Picklehaube motorcycle helmets, they had these bright orange sweatshirts that, I guess, weren't selling well to bikers, so they were half priced.  From there we walked up and down Duval street checking out the shops. We stopped in Sloppy Joe's bar and bought a Hemmingway T-shirt. We stopped into a CVS drug store for a few forgotten things and then rode the tram back to the ship. By now there was a long line of people waiting to go into the town. We heard later one woman fell off the tram on the dock and was immediately surrounded by the ship's hospital medical staff which I believe is located on deck 1 at the entrance door. We went to the service desk and politely complained about the treadmill just in case our phoned in complaint or our complaint at the spa was ignored. At all times all the crew and service personnel were very nice and I believe did their best to satisfy our complaints given the situation. In spite of the treadmills we took a nap and woke up just in time to take some video of us leaving the port passing by Fort Taylor. About then we had our mandatory life boat drill. On our first cruise in 1994 they had this drill while still tied to the dock so I was a little worried that this ship waited so long to hold their life boat drill. But that is the way it was. No harm, no foul. We dressed up for the Captain's cocktail party held in the three-story Urbino Theatre. I was concerned when a waiter coughed on the hors d'oeuvres he was passing around. We got up and danced with others on the large stage. It was fun. I regretted not getting a last minute pre-trip review lesson from our summer dancing teacher. Monday night was a formal night for dinner and all the men had on coats and ties but no tuxes. Here is the English subtitle translation of the menu which was in Italian and [x] indicates my selection: [x] Escargot á la Bourguignonne Beef carpaccio with black olive tapenade and shaved parmesan Caribbean Fresh Fruit Cocktail Cream of forest mushroom flavored with fresh tarragon [x] French onion soup Chilled gazpacho soup [x] Risotto royal with Alaska crab meat and Champagne Fettuccine alla Buzara tossed in tasty cretaceous sauce, shrimps, tomatoes and chives Grilled tuna steak with crushed black pepper corn served with garlic red mashed potatoes, carrots parisienne and broccoli [x] Atlantic shrimps sautEed with a delicate combination of tomato. Garlic., onions and peppers sauce, served with rice and broccoli Crispy roasted duckling complemented by the traditional orange sauce with berny potatoes Roast beef tenderloin served at your preference with truffle demi glace, castle roast potatoes and a bouquet of premium vegetables [x]Tossed spinach salad with bacon bits, chopped hard boiled eggs and croutons, choice of dressings Fresh sliced tomato and heart of lettuce with onion rings, choice of dressings Tuesday, December 19, 2006 After the 6 am treadmill pounding woke us up, we started out with a continental breakfast in the room at 7 am. We watched Cozumel come over the horizon and were happy to see we were able to dock at a pier and not have to anchor and use tenders. At least 4 other huge cruise ships were anchored nearby. We had signed up for the most expensive excursion to Tulum and Xel-Ha which would last all day and since Cozumel is an island, would require a boat trip to the mainland. It would leave no time to explore Cozumel nor do any souvenir shopping on the island. But we wanted to see Mexican Mayan ruins and this seemed like our best bet at the time. Candidly we had no idea what was at Xel-Ha, thinking it might be another Mayan ruin, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. We were required to meet at a certain place on the ship depending on the excursion and we were assigned a bus number. Ours was 10 and a guide carried a paddle we followed like lost sheep. Our group was led down the pier to a jetboat for a 45 minute ride over to the mainland. The ride was a little choppy and my wife was feeling a little seasick. Now and then it was a little rough going. We were locked up inside this large room (cabin) and the crew was passing out plastic bags. It would have not been a problem if we could have been up on deck watching the horizon. Once we docked at the ferry dock for the town of (I think) Playa del Carmen, we joined the masses from other cruise ships all going somewhere on the mainland. We followed paddle 10 and it turned out to be a long walk from the dock to the buses. My wife estimated it was half a mile, it seemed longer to me, and they kept us moving at a brisk pace. A lot of buses including ours were parked by the airport fence. Our bus was air conditioned, thank goodness. It was hot and humid, and this was winter. You do not want to be here in the summer. The bus was comfortable for our hour long ride and Enrique, our Mexican-Mayan guide, kept us well entertained with a Mayan history lesson. There was one stop at a solitary store for souvenirs and you could buy a soda pop or use the bathroom. The Mexican chair hammocks were about $60. We had our water bottles so we did not buy refreshments. Tulum was a disappointment for me. Once we arrived and worked our way past the souvenir vendors, there was a long walk from the bus to the monument. Our guide said they used to park the buses closer but the exhaust fumes were damaging the monument. They had had recent rains and the muddy road had many puddles. We followed our guide around the monument while he lectured. He was very proud of his Mayan ancestors and said he lived in Merida on days when there were no cruise ships. He was extremely happy the tourist industry provided good employment for him and other Mexicans and he loved his job. He was a good guide and took good care of his group. Once we entered the grounds of Tulum we were not able to actually go on or in the monuments. They were all roped off. And the two or three dozen tour buses in the parking lot should have warned me the public pathways would be very crowded with cruise ship tourists. Getting the pictures I wanted took a lot of patience. And IMHO the stone monuments were just not very impressive compared to the cost and effort we put into getting there. Xel-Ha was a short bus ride away and it turned out to be a seaside lagoon swimming resort. The lagoon part was perfect for snorkelers and you could rent equipment. The lagoon water was very clear and, when finished swimming, there were several restaurants and bars to enjoy. I tried to buy ice cream at a stand but they would only take Mexican money which I didn't have. The restaurants would take plastic and automatically convert pesos and many on our bus elected to order food. They also had several large natural pools for the Dolphin encounter which was another excursion you could buy. The whole place reminded me of Typhoon Lagoon at Walt Disney World only in a natural setting. Not having swimsuits, nor the desire to swim and snorkel, we spent our time watching the Dolphins and humans swimming together. This was not a Sea World Dolphin show for spectators like us but still it was interesting to watch the tourists in the water from benches along the bank. There were two Dolphins and each person got to have a Dolphin ride. That is, they would lay flat on the water on their tummies with their feet pointing down and the two Dolphins would push on the feet with their noses and sometimes get the swimmer airborne if the person was not too heavy. They had 3 fenced off sections with two or three Dolphins in each section and about 10 swimmers and 3-4 trainers to each section. Because our ship's departure at 5 pm was tight for our long excursion and it was a long bus ride back to the dock with a 45 minute boat ride to Cozumel, we were told there was no time for souvenir shopping at Playa del Carmen. Our bus parked almost at the same point from which we departed so it was another energetic forced Bataan death march back to the ferry dock where, like cattle to the slaughter, we had to form a line to wait for the jetboat to be loaded. Once on the jetboat we tried to sit closer to the stern to avoid seasickness which turned out not to be a problem. (Just kidding about Bataan and the cattle.) Once back at the pier at Cozumel we were surprised to see another cruise ship docked across the pier from the 106,000 ton Costa Magica. It was the smaller 48,000 ton Norwegian Dream. The pier was only about 100 feet wide so there was an interesting canyon effect on the pier. It was also fun to pretend to look down our snobby noses on the Norwegian Dream from our upper decks. Because we had nothing to eat on our excursion we were hungry and headed for the buffet for an early dinner, skipping the formal meal in the dining room. I got hamburgers at the buffet and am sorry to report they were far below Burger King or McDonald's quality. But they were edible. The TV in our cabin had many channels and since many passengers were from Europe, there were different language channels available. But most were in English. Two were shipboard channels repeating topics of interest or recorded live events in the theater. One channel gave our global position and sea condition information. Another channel alternated between the bow and stern TV cameras which you can see on the Internet webcam. One channel ran a popular G rated movie. And 4 channels were ordinary commercial TV stations, CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX, all from Denver, Colorado. So on Tuesday night we were able to watch the re-run of HouseMD. But the interesting thing was a blizzard was about to hit Denver from the south and once it hit all the channels went into blizzard coverage 24 hours a day. So deep in the Caribbean we got blizzard coverage in excruciating detail. I often pondered why Denver? They were pulling this off a satellite link. Why not pull in CNN, ESPN, WGN, WOR or MSNBC? Anyway continuous messages of what survival gear to keep in your trunk in case you get stranded in a snow drift on I-25 was something novel for someone from SoFla. I believe I can now attach tire chains blindfolded. A brief word on other excursions at Cozumel. Other passengers we met gave very high marks to the ATV excursion which sounded like a lot of fun. Also I got the feeling that the Costa website where I ordered our excursions did not list as many as were available to the passengers who booked their excursions at the onboard ship's excursion desk. Wednesday, December 20, 2006 This morning we decided to eat breakfast at Costa Smeralda restaurant at the stern. As I mentioned earlier, I decided to order the Eggs Benedict but I noticed they also had Scottish kippers on the menu. I had no idea what they were other than fish but being of Scottish descent, I felt now was the time to order them since it was free. So I ordered both and they brought me two breakfasts without batting an eye. I can honestly say that was the last time I will ever order Scottish kippers. They were awful and I only had one small bite. Our stop today was Belize City and unfortunately we had to anchor about a mile and a half off the coast of Belize and use tenders. Since the murder rate in Belize City is 6 times that of the USA, and the embassy had a dire warning for tourists (Residents, tourists and American Embassy personnel have been victims of armed youths on bicycles in what is considered the safer zones of Belize City), we signed up for the city tour thinking and hoping it would be the safest bet. Belize City is very poor and the city tour was depressing even in the wealthy side of the city. But the tour guide made it clear they were extremely grateful for the tourist dollars from the ships. Once back at the walled tourist compound where our tender docked, my wife was afraid to go out on the street to shop at the souvenir shops. We came close to having an argument over my safety beyond the green zone compound walls. My wife won the argument. Fortunately the compound had a modest shopping mall that satisfied all my T-shirt souvenir shopping needs and they took US dollars. Once the tender got us back to the boat other passengers enthusiastically praised the cave tubing adventure and the ziplining or rainforest adventure. Others raved about the Belize Mayan ruins (Altun Ha and Xunantunich) which were an hour outside the city. These tours apparently included a city tour as they passed through the city of 70,000. I don't remember seeing anything about a Belize Mayan ruins excursion on the Costa website and believe these were offered only on the ship. We ate dinner at our assigned table in the Costa Smeralda restaurant and it was Italian night. At the end of the dinner the waiters had everyone up dancing around the dining room and singing. It was great fun. As we were dancing we were waiving our napkins like lassos and I mentioned to my wife if we didn't catch the Norovirus now we never would. Up on the 2nd floor balcony some of the more athletic waiters did a choreographed performance to Italian music that was very well received. After a breath of nighttime sea air, checking for icebergs , we returned to our room to watch Denver dig itself out of the blizzard. We chose not to go to the Urbino Theater at 8:45 pm to watch our cruise director Max present Myth Trio in Circus of the Seas. We also missed at 11:15 pm in the same theater The Newlywed Not so Newlywed Games which were rebroadcast on the ship's TV channel for the rest of the cruise. I mention this merely as an example of the nightly live entertainment available. I saved Wednesday's 8 page Today newsletter that was slipped under our door each night to keep everyone advised as to the many things going on. It was impossible not to be delightfully entertained unless you just wanted to be alone. Thursday, December 21, 2006 Since we had to get up at 6 am, I went down to the buffet and got coffee for me and my wife. We had coffee on our balcony and watched the island of Roatan pass by on our side of the ship. We ate our corn flakes at 7 am and then went for a real breakfast at the buffet's omelet station. At the appropriate time we met for our tour leader in the ball room and received our bus numbers. We joined our group and followed our leader out onto the pier. After a short wait we were led to an air conditioned minibus. It was hot and humid and we were thankful for a good air conditioning system on the bus. From a Roatan website: Roatan offers many interesting things to do. There are plenty of scuba dive operators, and our beaches are great for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. Renting a car, motorcycle, or moped can provide you with the means to explore all the hidden places and see the island as it really is; since there is only one paved highway on the island, it isn't easy to get lost. Or you can hire a taxi at the dock to take you where you want to go. We weren't interested in any water sports so we signed up for a tour of the western end of the island. But it was obvious, Roatan's clear water and many beaches and reefs are a best bet for swimmers and scuba divers. On our tour we first stopped at the Butterfly Garden, a butterfly and parrot exhibit. Next time - bring mosquito repellant! Next we stopped for some free weak ice tea at a village called West End. This place looked poorer than poor parts of Belize City and the one narrow road wasn't paved because it hurt the bare feet of the residents. But while there we did see the kayak excursion go furiously paddling by. After way too much time hanging out there we were taken to the Botanical Gardens where a guide showed us a vanilla plant and cinnamon tree. I thought with just a little work our backyard in Florida could look just like this place. Once back at the only pier on Roatan I told my wife I was going to brave the local citizens and leave the safety of the fenced off police guarded pier and go shopping down the one road. My wife returned to our balcony to watch out for me. Unlike busy and hard looking Belize City, this town called Coxen Hole, is one road and all the souvenir shops are clustered around the pier so there was no apparent danger from the local residents. All the stores took US dollars. I bought a T-shirt, resisting the urge to invest in Honduras mahogany sculpture and woodcrafts. They had some nice stuff and our tourist dollars were important to the vendors. Thursday night we had lobster for dinner in the Costa Smeralda restaurant. It was broiled and while it was unofficially all you can eat, it was at best only good and only one person at our table asked for seconds. It could have used some Old Bay seasoning. Friday, December 22, 2006 This was a day at sea for us and we just kicked back and enjoyed the pools and deck chairs in different parts of the ship. We started as usual with breakfast in the room. Then my wife went up to the gym to use the treadmill while I went back to sleep. When I got up she was still gone so I went to the buffet and got an omelet and fried eggs. When I returned to the cabin my wife had come and gone. It was a big ship and surprisingly difficult to find someone if you get separated without a meeting point. I finally went back to the cabin and my wife showed up after getting tired of searching for me. We attended a lecture by Max in the big theater on the procedure for leaving the ship on Saturday morning. They ended the lecture with a lesson on how to tie on your toga. After that we got some sun and walked around and ended up taking a nap. We got up for dinner and I had steak. For desert I had both New York cheesecake and Tiramisu. Everyone else at our table was wearing a bed sheet tied as a toga. The ship provided extra bed sheets for the toga party to keep you from having to strip the beds. We have nothing against those who went to the toga party and I am sure they had fun, but dancing the night away in a bed sheet is just not for us. We went back to our room and packed since we had signed up for the special 7 am disembarking that was designed for local residents who parked in the parking garage. Saturday, December 23, 2006 We had to get up early for the 7 am disembarking and were annoyed to find we were not docked at pier 21, where we departed, but we were now at pier 29 which was about half a mile away from the parking garage. With all the post 9-11 port security, walking there on foot and bringing the car back for the luggage was impossible. But once through customs they had shuttle buses to get us and our luggage over to our parking garage. The Queen Mary 2 was docked in our spot at pier 21. I believe I counted 9 huge cruise ships in the harbor and they told us 46-50,000 people would be disembarking or embarking on that Saturday at Port Everglades. EPILOG That ends the travelogue. I want to add in spite of any complaints I voiced, we really had a wonderful time overall and someday hope to go again on another Caribbean cruise on the Costa Magica. I am not sure about how I would feel if 95% of the passengers didn't speak English as would be the case in the Med. But on this cruise, it is a huge ship and there was something for everyone. The ship was full with 3,140 passengers and yet you could always find a deck chair. I felt the service personnel were wonderful. We were always well treated. I was impressed at the way the ships officers maneuvered this massive ship through the tricky reefs off of Belize and in and out of ports using the bow and stern thrusters. If I sounded picky about the food. I think it is safe to say 90% of what we ate was delicious or at least pretty good considering the number of meals served. I complained about the air conditioning but it did cool the room a bit and keeping the door to the balcony closed during the day helped. I managed to fall asleep quickly on the thin mattress every night except one. The treadmill pounding wasn't constant. I think only heavy runners really achieved the bass drum effect and we just put up with it. Otherwise our cabin and balcony were wonderful. All the Costa employees were very nice and worked hard to make our cruise wonderful. And while there were a lot of children on board, I never felt they were seriously underfoot. Generally all the passengers we met were very nice and enjoyed the cruise. And lucky us, we had sunny days, relatively smooth seas, and no rain. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
first of all apologize for my english. This was my fourth cruise, my third in Costa Ships. And i have to say that it's wonderful. except the embarkation. All the rest was great (including debarkation). the ship is very very ... Read More
first of all apologize for my english. This was my fourth cruise, my third in Costa Ships. And i have to say that it's wonderful. except the embarkation. All the rest was great (including debarkation). the ship is very very beautiful and well maintained, the public rooms are very elegant and stunning at the same time. All the guys on board from the room attendant to waiters and entertainers, and officers was very nice and they made a great job to accomplish all the guest request. the cruise route include Cozumel, G. Cayman, Ocho Rios (Jamaica)and G. Turks. G. Cayman and G. Turks have a wonderful beaches. The Dining on board was very good, and have a wide variety of choices. The general ambience was incredibly multicultural there was Americans(about 65%) Europeans (most italians) and south americans. So this mix made the cruise very cosmopolite. And the Crew and Staff of animation speak at least two or three languages so everybody could understand what the recreators and crew say, this not happen in the only cruise i take with RCCL. I widely recommend this ship and this Line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
December 17-23, 2006 We flew to Ft. Lauderdale on Dec. 22 staying at the Hilton Garden Inn where we had two 2 room suites. The hotel had complimentary shuttle service from the airport and to Port Everglades cruise port. I would recommend ... Read More
December 17-23, 2006 We flew to Ft. Lauderdale on Dec. 22 staying at the Hilton Garden Inn where we had two 2 room suites. The hotel had complimentary shuttle service from the airport and to Port Everglades cruise port. I would recommend staying at this hotel if you are just wanting a nice place to stay the night before your cruise. It is within 10 minutes from the airport and the cruise port as well. It also offers complimentary shuttle to nearby shopping/restaurants. The embarkation was well organized. We arrived early along with a few hundred others, but we were whisked in and were on the ship in our cabins within 30 minutes of reaching the port. We had booked 3 inside cabins about a month before the cruise. This was the first time we had booked through the internet instead of using a travel agent, and we were very pleased with the service and promptness of receiving our cruise packet of information and tickets. We booked our airline tickets online ourselves. Upon reaching our cabins, our Costa cards were waiting on our beds. The cabins and bathrooms were not any different from past cruises inside cabins on Norwegian, Carnival, or Holland. The cabins are small as are the bathrooms, but I have yet to find a cabin I would call spacious on a ship. I'll just say I was not disappointed in our cabins. We had our luggage within 2 hours which gave us time to eat lunch and explore the ship before leaving port at 7 p.m. There were 6 of us and we were assigned a table for just us in the Portafino dining room early seating at 5:30 p.m. I would highly recommend this time, as the late seating was not until 8:30 p.m., and by the time those people were done with dinner it was between 10 and 10:30 p.m. For us, a six course meal that late at night was not something we would have enjoyed. After dinner we went to the second show in the theater. As for the entertainment....the singers and dancers were good, but we didn't think the theme of the shows were that good. Of course this is a matter of taste, because some people aboard thought it was some of the best entertainment they had ever seen on a ship. We kept going each night and did enjoy Thursday night and "toga/talent" night the best. Toga night was Friday night, and no one in our group wore togas to dinner. There were a lot of people who did though, so if you want to try your hand at making something to wear out of a sheet they provide for you, go for it! Three of us dressed in our togas after dinner and for the theater talent show. I believe there were 8 acts delivered by the cruisers (2 of them were excellent and the other 6 were entertaining). That's all I'm going to say about that. Max (the cruise director) and his staff are excellent and go out of their way to include and talk to everyone throughout the cruise. The ports of call were Key West which was only 5 hours, Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan Island in Honduras. We had been to all of these ports before (except for Key West). Two in our group had booked their own shore excursions prior to the cruise. They went cave tubing in Belize and horseback riding in Roatan. Cave tubing was something we had done before in Belize and had booked our own tour before the cruise. I would recommend booking the shore excursions yourself because #1 - they are less expensive and #2 - there are just a few people usually in your group rather than the huge numbers of people who go on the ship excursions. I know travel agents and the cruise lines tell you that they recommend booking through them, but from our experience we will always book our own. I would never recommend renting a moped/scooter anyplace. There are just way too many things that could go wrong (accident/injury to you/injury to someone else/hurting the scooter). These ports do not have the medical resources we are used to in the USA, nor do they recognize liability or collision insurance. These are the things that I am talking about when I say "use common sense" when booking an excursion. The food was about the same as other cruise lines. Some of it was good, some of it was excellent and some of it was not our favorite. The ship itself was nice and clean. The staff was efficient and friendly. There were plenty of elevators and hardly ever a wait. Deck 5 is the only deck that goes through to both ends, so figuring that out was a huge help in getting around. Disembarking was done by decks (color coded tags). That process took some time, but we did not ask to have early disembarking as we were staying another night in Ft. Lauderdale. We spent the last night before our morning flight at the Holiday Inn Express Convention Center. The taxi from the cruise port to the hotel cost $12. The hotel was clean, the rooms were ready by 10:30 a.m. when we arrived from the ship, and the hotel provided complimentary shuttle service to the airport the next morning. This hotel was about 10 minutes from the cruise port and the airport too. I know some of the reviews for this ship have been uncomplimentary, but we had no complaints and enjoyed getting away from a colder climate, spending time with family, and seeing other places even if we had been there before. We would not hesitate booking another cruise with Costa or the Magica. If there was anything I would say negative, it would be that they did not offer hand sanitizing stations except when getting back on the ship from ports (they handed out hand sanitizing cloths). As far as I know, there were not any outbreaks of any illnesses the six days we were on the ship, but I always feel that having hand sanitizers available at all times especially in the restaurant/buffet entrances/lines is a good idea. If you go on the Magica, I hope you have as much fun as we did! Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
I would have to say that our experience on this relatively new ship was certainly above average. Although the line to board was nearly an hour, the first impression once boarded was simply majestic: a modern ship with plush appointments ... Read More
I would have to say that our experience on this relatively new ship was certainly above average. Although the line to board was nearly an hour, the first impression once boarded was simply majestic: a modern ship with plush appointments wherever one stepped made up for the long lines. We had an oceanview room which was more than ample in terms of space and comfort. There was very little noise and our room stewart provided superb service. The itinerary was excellent and the shore excursion were informative and worth the price. We took two excursions........one in San Juan and the other in St. Thomas to the island of St. John. The service on this ship was excellent and it was evident that the entire crew was at your service for almost any request. This was especially true of the dining room staff. Unfortunately, the quality of the food in the dining room was only "fair." On the other hand, the buffets appeared to have better quality food on most days and of course, a greater variety. The ship has 13 decks and our cabin was on the second level. No cabin is far from an elevator and we did notice that the number of elevators was more than adequate to get you from one part of the ship to another and the wait was always brief (a great plus in my opinion). Evening entertainment was above average and we looked forward to the shows each evening. However, the activities planned during the day were not very exciting so plan on taking a book or two to read on one of several decks or at the pool (there are two main pools and one is sheltered). The ship also has a sauna and a steam room in addition to a library, large casino, massage room, gym, tennis court, and internet area. In summary, we had an excellent cruise experience and the value was exceptional. We would highly recommend this ship and itinerary (PR, DR, VI, Turks) to all. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
ARRIVAL We flew to Copenhagen a day early. We took a 15 minute train trip (there is a station right in the airport) to the central train station then had a two block walk to our hotel. The Hotel First Vesterbro (approximately $180 USD ... Read More
ARRIVAL We flew to Copenhagen a day early. We took a 15 minute train trip (there is a station right in the airport) to the central train station then had a two block walk to our hotel. The Hotel First Vesterbro (approximately $180 USD per night including all taxes and breakfast) is just down the street from Tivoli Gardens and the main shopping district. We spent the day walking around Copenhagen and the evening in the not-to-be-missed Tivoli Gardens. We looked around more on Sunday then caught a taxi to the port in the early afternoon. We arrived at the port at approximately 2pm. EMBARKATION We have never experienced such a quick embarkation. Although we arrived just 30 minutes past the posted embarkation start time, we literally dropped off our luggage in front of the terminal then walked on to the ship. We stopped briefly while someone checked our tickets and passports but there was no line. Once on the ship, we immediately went to our cabin to drop off our hand luggage then proceeded to a designated lounge to register our credit card. There was about a 15 minute wait to do this. THE SHIP We have been on over 25 cruises. This, by far, was the most stunning and elaborate ship we have ever been on. Many reviewers on this site comment that the ship is garish and overly decorated to the point of being tacky. I must disagree. It is classically European with marble, gold and rich colors everywhere. The main atrium area, several decks high, is a sight to behold. It took us a couple of days to get oriented to the ship. The multi-deck restaurants presented somewhat of a navigational barrier when moving from one end of the ship to the other but after figuring out that we needed to traverse the ship using deck 5 or higher, it was easy to get to destinations on lower decks. The casino deserves special mention. Costa commissioned a famous Italian puppet-making family to create 50+ medieval marionettes (each about 3.5 feet tall) to be displayed in glass columns throughout the Magica's casino. Take some time to absorb the stunning artistry on display here. OUR CABIN We had a category 10 balcony cabin (6459) on Deck 6. We chose this particular cabin because on the deck plans it appeared larger than the other balcony cabins, with a larger balcony. We were right! The cabin ran parallel to the hallway instead of perpendicular to it. As a result, it was quite wide and in addition to the glass door and large picture window standard in balcony cabins, it had a second large picture window. The balcony was easily twice the length of the balconies in other cabins--we noticed this later when we were off the ship as we could easily spot our cabin: the one with the really long balcony. There was plenty of storage room and the cabin was very nicely appointed, feeling like a spacious hotel room instead of a claustrophobic closet. Our cabin steward was professional and unobtrusive. THE FOOD We have been on previous Costa ships (the Classica and Romantica) and felt the food was adequate and somewhat institutional and tired looking. The Magica, however, had substantially better food. The breakfast and lunch buffets contained a nice variety of items and everything looked fresh and interesting. Nothing outstanding, but we were never hungry. We ate all dinners in the dining room with delightful dinner companions and were fortunate enough to have a window table. Since it stayed light quite late, we always had a beautiful view of the sea while dining. Nightly entrees always contained a fish, a beef dish, a lamb or veal dish (favorites with Europeans) and a vegetarian dish. Only once was there a chicken dish that I recall. The food was served hot, well presented, and usually delicious. The pasta courses were always fresh and interesting. Note that wine packages consisting of 5-7 bottles of wine + 10 large bottles of mineral or sparkling water was a great deal at approximately 115 Euros ($148 USD). Be sure to order this on your first night and you'll be given coupons to later exchange for the wine and water. We found this to be a great value. THE SERVICE We have always experienced excellent service on our prior Costa cruises but felt that the service was exceptionally good on the Magica. All service personnel we encountered were extremely professional and friendly and the service in the dining room notably so. You couldn't pass a Costa employee anywhere without a smile and a greeting. With so many nationalities on board, many even remembered after the initial encounter what our native language was. THE ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment isn't one of Costa's strong points but I wouldn't expect it to be considering how difficult it is to entertain so many different nationalities at once. The Broadway-style shows (of which there were two on this 7 night cruise) were good efforts with beautiful costumes, adequate sets and acceptable performances. While a bulk of the lyrics were in English, some others were performed in other languages and added a very international touch to the shows. Other shows were less interesting and certainly not the spectacles of other lines. Europeans are very social and I get the feeling that the shows aren't of much interest to them anyway. They would rather spend their times in lounges or the disco and those areas always seemed to be packed. Classical musicians performing in the smaller, more intimate venues were especially talented and entertaining. THE SPA We treated ourselves to many treatments including massages, facials, manicures and pedicures. While the treatments are expensive, they are wonderful. The spa staff was warm, friendly and professional and there is nothing like two hours of having your hands and feet worked on while dreamily gazing out a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows at the passing sea. The gym was large and extremely well-equipped but somewhat oddly designed. The ceiling is quite low so tall passengers ought to use caution when using the cardio machines--I banged my head several times and I'm of average height. The windows are severely angled inward and not very tall so when using cardio machines your only option is to look straight down onto the water--you can't look out toward the horizon at all. Be sure to take advantage of the sauna. While I can't speak for the women's sauna, the men's sauna was spacious and contained a large window that looked out to sea or to port. Very relaxing on sea days. THE PASSENGERS As always, we were just two of few Americans on this ship. Of the 3,000 passengers on this sailing, I would guess that 30% were Italians, 30% Spaniards, 15% Germans, 15% French and the rest a mix of Americans, Canadians and Brits. And this is exactly why we love sailing Costa so much. If you can get by the fact that many Europeans smoke (it's hard to avoid in the lounges), you will find that they are very friendly and fun-loving people, very warm and passionate. I would recommend to anyone sailing on Costa to take the time beforehand and learn basic phrases in Italian, Spanish, German, and French. When encountering someone in passing, they will often greet you in a language other than English. How much nicer it is to recognize what they are saying to you and be able to respond back to them instead of the alternative response we often see--a blank stare or feigned deafness. Know that people are saying Good Evening to you and not insulting you. I was always able to return greetings, ask people how they were and then apologize for not speaking their language. When there is no common language, it's amazing what you can convey through pantomime! THE PORTS For a ship carrying 3,000 people, getting on and off during port visits was always fast and effortless. We never waited in line for more than a couple of minutes. We made stops in Tallin (Estonia), St. Petersburg, Helsinki, and Stockholm. I won't go into detail on these ports except to say they were all beautiful--and fascinating. Our weather wasn't too cooperative so it was cool, windy and often raining but we thoroughly enjoyed every port we visited and ventured out alone in all of them except St. Petersburg. There, we took a wonderful nine hour tour to avoid having to get visas. We learned so much about the country and how far it has come since the fall of Communism 15 years ago. An exceptional and very educational itinerary with spring flowers in full bloom everywhere! DISEMBARKATION I have to admit that as usual, we didn't wait for our color luggage tag to be called--we just walked off the ship as soon as we saw people starting to leave. The ship docked in Copenhagen at 8am and we headed to the gangway at 9:15am. 15 minutes later, we had collected our luggage and were in a taxi on our way back to the same hotel we stayed in on the start of our journey. FINAL COMMENTS We love sailing on Costa and thoroughly enjoy the international experience it provides. We are sailing the Magica again this Thanksgiving in the Caribbean and are looking forward to spending another week on this beautiful ship. We returned home from our trip with suitcases full of freshly washed and folded clothes. Watch out for Costa's laundry special the second from last day of the cruise. All the laundry you can stuff in a large paper sack will be laundered, folded and returned to your cabin on the last day of the cruise for approximately $26 USD. We managed to cram in a week's worth of dirty clothes. Careful folding is the secret. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
After booking our CostaMagica trip I became concerned reading some of the derogatory member ratings. We had a wonderful time! The ship is beautiful and very well maintained. While the buffet (breakfast and lunch) was adequate, the dining ... Read More
After booking our CostaMagica trip I became concerned reading some of the derogatory member ratings. We had a wonderful time! The ship is beautiful and very well maintained. While the buffet (breakfast and lunch) was adequate, the dining room experience was very delightful. We have cruised several other lines and Costa Mediterranea. We found the food on Magica on par with our past experience: good variety (not all pasta as someone claimed), well prepared, beautifully presented and hot food was hot when served. The themed music and festivities at dinner made each evening an adventure. Our balcony cabin was large and comfortable and the staff was excellent. We were joined by a couple who had never cruised before and they said they'd do it again! The only criticism I have is the ship layout. It's impossible to get out on deck except on the upper levels (by the buffet and pool areas). Also, if you're eating in the Smerelda Restaurant (deck 3 aft) and want to go to the excursion desk (deck 3 forward) you have to go up to deck 5 which runs the length of the ship, then down again. Maybe I'm directionally challenged, but without being able to see the ocean (most of the windows in the common areas were covered by shades) I had a difficult time orienting myself front to back. Finally, the theater productions were amazing! Costumes, special effects and set designs worthy of a top Broadway production. We didn't have children with us, but since it was Easter break there were a lot of young folks onboard. They all seemed to be having a blast. I highly recommend the Magica for a "magic" vacation! Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
We, a family of four, were on "Easter" cruise (4/9 - 4/16) aboard Magica. This cruise had a modified western Caribbean route. We had an inside cabin on deck 7, with assigned table in Smeralda Restaurant (first seating). The ... Read More
We, a family of four, were on "Easter" cruise (4/9 - 4/16) aboard Magica. This cruise had a modified western Caribbean route. We had an inside cabin on deck 7, with assigned table in Smeralda Restaurant (first seating). The ship -- It is large and modern, decorated Italian style. After all, it is an Italian ship. Many signs and announcements were in Italian (followed by English and possibly other languages). It took longer to figure things out (since we don't know Italian), but didn't bother us much. There were many paintings and art works as you would expect, and they were quite European. Deck 3, 4 and 5 of the ship are public function decks. Due to a restaurant in the mid ship, going through from one end of the ship to the other can be a bit tricky. Deck five has the casino, and it also serves as a passage unless one wants to walk up and down stairs to avoid it. There are three pools and large area of sun deck, and of course, plenty chairs. I heard the pools use salt water. Service -- I'd call it "industrialized" service, and Costa may not be alone on that. One probably won't get the feeling of being treated like a royalty on the ship. It's more like the services on your local hotel or restaurant, although a bit more attentive. If the expectation is set like that, all should be fine. Most crew members spoke English, more or less. The waiters and cabin stewards were "international" like many other major lines, and many of them were hired from Asia. My cabin steward took care of 22 cabins. I figured if he spends just 30 mins in each, that would have taken 11 hours a day already. So here comes the aforementioned "industrialized" service. The job was still well done, but I won't expect too much details or extra attention. We still got one towel animal on one night, if any of you care, and mints or chocolates on the pillows on two nights (some cruise lines still give these every night). The steward fulfilled a few requests quite well, although one could tell that he was trying to do a million things at same time. Keep in mind, however, we stayed in a regular cabin. High-end suites may receive better in-cabin service. For us, the cabin service we received was good enough, on the par with other lines we've experienced. Restaurant service was similar. It's good enough to impress first-time cruisers (meaning better than most restaurants on land), but nothing specially good. Bar service was particularly slow in the restaurants. We sat near a service station, and the shuffling of dishes and utensils made loud noise which affected the mood sometimes. The dances and parades led by restaurant staff were very well done. Cabin -- We had an inside cabin, which is the smallest kind on the ship. It compares favorably with some other ships, however, and had enough storage for a week-long cruise. Bathroom was comfortable. The shower was enclosed by a thin curtain, but functional. No problem with water pressure or temperature. It's a quad cabin, so we had pulldown beds. The upper beds could fold up into the ceiling, which was a good feature. When they were down, the cavities on the ceiling gave extra height to the upper beds. A metal sheet, which was part of the ceiling when folded up, is on the side to hold the bed from the ceiling when the bed was down. There was probably one draw back of this design: when the one sleeping on the upper bed kicks the metal at night, the metal sheet was like a gong:-) Good thing my kids didn't kick that much... The cabin had a safe and a small hairdryer. The safe can only be operated by the first ship card locked it (the safe had no number pad, but a card slider). The hairdryer was stowed in a drawer and connected from there. Shampoo was provided in a dispenser. The cabin had a good size TV. Usually two movies every day, and most other channels were cruise channels. The lighting of the cabin was pretty good. The ship has large amount of verandah cabins, and if I remember correctly, most if not all ocean-veiw cabins are located at the lowest two levels. Food -- Although owned by Carnival, Magica is still an Italian ship. The food there definitely had an Italian twist. I personally think the food was excellent, and better than some other lines I've been on, giving that I like Italian food in general. If one doesn't like Italian, I can understand the complaints. There were plenty of prosciutto (raw ham) and various kinds of pasta, and as for entrees, choices of meat (beef, pork and once lamb), fish and sometimes poultry. As usual, vegetarian and low-carb choices were available. Overall, it was not that different from other mainstream cruise lines. Costa offered probably more courses in a meal, however: appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, entree and dessert. Even lunch menu was similar. To my taste, their fish cooking (not really cooking, I believe also due to the material they use) was not that good, even though almost every night a different kind of fish was used, but other dishes tasted mostly great. Pasta was generally simple, without complex or exotic ingredients, but the sauce always tasted good, and I was able to finish every plate of pasta I had. In short, one can see that chefs had a limited budget to work on(which is true on most cruise lines), but the cook was mostly great. Oh, there was one lobster night like some other lines, but I wasn't impressed with that half lobster even with a low expectation (other entrees were not that attractive to me either at that night). I ate enough other courses that night, so didn't care about the entree. BTW, desserts were uninspiring in general, but one probably would be too full to eat dessert anyway. We had one excellent birthday cake, however. We requested a birthday cake for my son's birthday, which well exceeded our expectation (both in taste and size). One thing interesting is about the pizza on this ship. They generally had two choices of pizza in the buffet line at each lunch, dinner or snack time, and one choice is always cheese (Margarita) pizza. There was no dedicated pizzeria. While the pizza was good (very thin crust, like one would find in northern Italy), I thought that was hardly a showcase of Italian pizza variety. There were a few mid-night buffets, and every midnight there was at least some snacks available in the deck 5 lounges. Midnight buffets might have prosciutto, salami, cheese plates, not just cakes and cookies (aka chocolate buffet). Note that two sitting times for dinner were pretty far apart: one restaurant was 5:30 and 8:15, and the other was 5:45 and 8:30. Kid's program -- There were 4 age groups: 3-6, 7-11, younger teen and older teen. I looked at the teen program list, and they were mostly evening activities. Pre-teen kids usually have programs from 9am to 12 noon, 3pm to 6pm and then 8:30pm to 11:30pm. Two formal nights, kids program provided kids group dinner. The program hours had a European twist too, as one can see, but seemed to work quite well. The kids club was open every day, whether in port or not. The cruise daily indicates that for those booked shore excursion and want to leave the kids on the ship, group sitting was available. I didn't try that and don't know the details. My daughter went to the 7-11 group a few times, and thought she liked other cruise lines' program better but it was not bad. Organizing -- Generally, activities were well run. Embarkation and disembarkation were smooth. We arrived about 12:30pm for embarkation, and not too many people were waiting. The check-in desk didn't seem to have good connection with Costa though. You probably already know that the credit card registration is done on the ship, not during check-in. The room key is not given at check-in either, it is on the lock of the room (yes, anyone walks in your room first gets to take your ship card on your bed:-). Pre-regist online on Costa web site doesn't seem to do anything. Paper forms were still needed. Tender process in a couple of ports were not well run, however. People were still waiting to get off the ship 2-3 hours after tender started. I saw many tender boats, also two tender boats can dock at the ship at same time, but most of the time the next boat was waiting for people to be loaded onto the previous tender. Not that people were particularly slow to get on the boats, just the process was badly organized. Well, you can also call this as "easy going" style if you happen to be in a good mood. Entertainment -- Typical cruise fair. The production shows were fairly well presented, usually 45 minutes each, repeated for two dinner sittings. A couple of shows were impressive, and above average in my opinion. There was also a guest talent show at the last night. Medical office -- We visited the medical office due to my son's fever. The doctor and the staff were mostly Italian, and communication to the doctor was translated by a nurse. The medication was Italian too, and probably not familiar to the US visitors. The nice thing, however, was that the price was also Italian (so to speak), and we paid just $18 for three medications. The office visit charge was also low, $40 or $50 per visit during day time. From the office experience, one could tell that the office cared more about the patients than profit. In any case, it's not fun to be sick on a ship. Other notes -- The muster drill was on the second day, a bit unusual. Fitness center is inside the spa at the very front, and has quite nice equipment. It is not very large for the size of the ship and therefore quite busy. The steam room and Sauna room have good size. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
My husband, teenage son and I were on the CostaMagica 5-day Western Caribbean sailing 4/16/06-4/21/06, and we had a MAGNIFICENT time! The ship is simply beautiful: hints of Italy everywhere, with a little "whimsy" thrown in (if ... Read More
My husband, teenage son and I were on the CostaMagica 5-day Western Caribbean sailing 4/16/06-4/21/06, and we had a MAGNIFICENT time! The ship is simply beautiful: hints of Italy everywhere, with a little "whimsy" thrown in (if you have an eye for detail, you'll find plenty here!). The Magica is kept impeccably clean: at any given time, we would often see workers cleaning the decks, polishing glass, etc. And the staff - I cannot say enough about them: they were wonderful! We were ALWAYS greeted with a smile and a "Good Morning, Afternoon," etc. as they would pass us in the corridors. They were some of the friendliest we've encountered through numerous ships and cruise lines. To address some of the specifics: Embarkation: We arrived at the pier around 2:00 and were on the ship by 3:20! Pretty good, considering the ship was at capacity (3000+ passengers)! My only "gripe" here - and this is minor! - was the Embarkation photo: Instead of having each party pose in front of a nice background (like most cruise lines do), they took our picture while we were standing in line to board, with a girl in a sailor suit holding a "Costa Magica" life preserver standing with us (and a crowd of people behind us) - kind of a tacky way to do it, I think (Sorry, Costa - but I know you can do better!). Once onboard, our cabins were ready, and off we were, to explore the ship - and the buffet! Dining: MAGNIFICO! The buffets were varied (although if I'd known they'd only have Greek Salad and other Greek specialties the first day only, I would've had more!), and there were ALWAYS plenty of options available to please everyone. We thought the pizza was fantastic: true Italian-style, thin-crust pie! Dinners in the Dining Room (we were in the Portofino Restaurant - lovely!) were fantastic! Again, plenty of options to choose from, with 6 courses (appetizer, soup, salad, pasta, entree, dessert), always freshly prepared and DELICIOUS (With thousands of passengers to feed, it still amazes me that they can deliver such a wide variety of fine meals, and so consistently! Kudos to the very hard-working, incredible chefs!). The Escargot, Vichyssoise (sp?), Calamari salad, and virtually ANY pasta dish were some of the best we've ever had: just as we remember while traveling in Europe. (Flavor is a totally objective thing, I realize, and everyone has a different palate; some might have a more "Americanized" taste. All I know is that our extremely picky 16 year old loved it ALL, even having "seconds" on a couple of occasions!). Service: OUTSTANDING! Our Room Stewardess, Paola, was a sweetheart. Our room was always tended to efficiently and our requests always met with prompt action - and a warm smile! A STANDING OVATION goes to our Waiter, Gilbert, and Busboy, Christopher...they were the BEST and we miss them (When they're not playing our Bulls, Gilbert, we'll be rooting for your Kings!). A warm "GRAZIE" goes to our Maitre d', for his "special delivery" of fresh prosciutto and parmesan to my Italian mother-in-law! And for my husband's birthday cake, too! Cabin: BEAUTIFUL! VERY spacious and stylish. Plenty of storage space...and the bathrooms were larger than on most cruise lines. And since we got adjoining cabins, it felt like a 2-room suite. We didn't miss having a window at all, since we weren't in the cabin all that much, anyway (and in spite of being over the Lounge, their musicians were usually finished by 1am or so, so it didn't bother us at all). Teen Program: All but non-existent, as far as my son was concerned...but that's not Costa's fault! My son didn't know anyone, so it was difficult for him to assimilate in such a short period of time; especially when just about all of the teens onboard were traveling with other teens. Next time, we're bringing a friend for him to hang out with! That being said, it was sure nice to be able to spend some quality time with him; we made some great family memories. After all, isn't that what it's all about?! Grazie, Costa! Entertainment: The "physical comedian" (mime-like performer: Rob Thomas?) (Very Good!), and the (Not-so)-Newlywed Game with Max, the Cruise Director (Not to be missed! One of the funniest we've seen!) were hilarious. Also, do NOT miss the "Mr. Pizza" contest...it was HYSTERICAL! "Tropical Night" was a blast - even my teenager joined in the conga line! And don't be shy and miss out on the fun: TOGA! We never laughed so hard, figuring out how to "wear" our togas! GO FOR IT! So much fun! We tried to catch the Talent Show the last night, but because there was only one showing, and we had late dining, we couldn't get seats. We couldn't see through the numerous people standing in the aisles, so we missed it...but we heard others say it was very good. I would just advise future cruisers get there earlier and save some seats. All in all, the Magica was a MAGICAL cruise! We highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great vacation at an excellent price! Costa is by far the best value (quality to quantity) for your travel dollar out there. We look forward to sailing on the Magica again in the future! Until then, ARRIVADERCI, and BUON VIAGGIO! Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
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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