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56 Costa Concordia Cruise Reviews

We took the Costa Concordia Western Mediterranean cruise over Christmas and boarded in Savona. Boarding in Savona was smooth and efficient - could not have been better. Luggage was in our room before we reached there. We took an ... Read More
We took the Costa Concordia Western Mediterranean cruise over Christmas and boarded in Savona. Boarding in Savona was smooth and efficient - could not have been better. Luggage was in our room before we reached there. We took an outside-view cabin. The room was spacious but untidy. The sheets were unclean, pillow had stains and the bathroom drains were blocked. We needed to make frantic calls and the first day went in getting the room habitable. We were disappointed as we did not have such an experience with Costa before. The food was reasonably good. We preferred the dine-in option at breakfast and lunch to the buffet option. The ship was so full that there was complete disorder on many days during breakfast and lunchtime buffet - many of our co-passengers were very unhappy. The evening entertainment was quite good. My daughter enjoyed many of the shows and the quality was enjoyable. In contrast, the kids club (SquokClub) was not as good. The staff were few for the number of children and with the different age groups and nationalities grouped together, it was not as engaging as we had experienced on prior Costa trips. The ports we stopped at included Marseilles, Barcelona, Mallorca, Palermo, Malta and Rome - we did not take any of the excursions and managed to tour the cities on our own without any difficulty. We took the spa at Samsara - very relaxing experience and enjoyed it thoroughly. The crew overall were very humble and polite - they made up for all the shortfall during the trip. In summary, an average experience - could have been much better though. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
The Concordia (Costa) is a nice enough ship. As on all lines, the staff was pleasant, the ports were charming and fun to experience. It was the moment to get away from the daily work hustle and bustle to be with the lady I have loved for ... Read More
The Concordia (Costa) is a nice enough ship. As on all lines, the staff was pleasant, the ports were charming and fun to experience. It was the moment to get away from the daily work hustle and bustle to be with the lady I have loved for 40 years. My absolute disappointment started with the on board internet system. Slow is normal for most cruise lines (obviously because of the profit margin), but this system went lower than bad. In the middle of emails or lengthy responses the internet would shut down. Half my emails did not go out. One continuous confrontation with a non breathing cheap system that wasted my time, prevented touring (missed tour) and enjoying why we went on the cruise. When explained to the front desk, they did not care. The solution, that we have done on every cruise, is an internet cafe at the port of call with skype. Our cabin balcony door had wind whistling that required towels to be put in it to be able to sleep. Never fixed. The toilet that refused to flush reminded me of an obstinate child. Though the different meals had a variety of good potential ingredients, the chef went out of his way to insure it was bland and very tasteless. Iceberg lettuce was the best they could do for a salad. We know from previous land trips to Italy that the Italians know great food preparation. The few days before and after the cruise on land was once again a culinary delight. Our suite had a conscientious "butler". Nice guy, but work load overwhelmed. The rooms were always clean by the lady assistant. Always an upside. Five of the seven days, he was unable to bring what we ordered for breakfast. They'd bring half saying we'd get the rest later. There were other minor and not pleasant issues. Costa, you treated me like the US Government. You used your force in refusing any sense of fair play. Now it's election time and I am voting not to spend any more time or money with you. More important my wife agrees. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Background This was my first cruise. I have friends who enjoy cruises and its something that I have wanted to do for a while. I had some annual leave I needed to use up before the end of the year, so was looking for a last minute ... Read More
Background This was my first cruise. I have friends who enjoy cruises and its something that I have wanted to do for a while. I had some annual leave I needed to use up before the end of the year, so was looking for a last minute holiday to book. I had a look on the Cruisecritic website looking a cheap last minute cruise and saw the Mediterranean Spirit cruise offered via IdealCruising; however googling around a bit I found the same cruise available on cruisedeals.co.uk for more than £100 cheaper. I suggested the idea to a friend of mine who was also looking for a cheap winter holiday and he was up for it, so I phoned CruiseDeals and spoke to their agent Lorraine who was very helpful and arranged the cruise for us. The total price was as advertised. This was £519 per person including flights. This was for an Oceanview stateroom. A real bargain, especially as the flights were with BA. The itinerary was a seven day circle of the Western Med on board the Costa Concordia, beginning and ending in Savona: Day 1: Savona Day 2: Barcelona Day 3: Palma de Mallorca Day 4: At Sea Day 5 Valletta Day 6: Palermo Day 7: Civitaveccia (for Rome) Day 8: Savona Travel To Port of Embarkation (Savona) Early flight from Heathrow on BA. The day before loads of flights had been cancelled due to fog and it was still foggy on the morning of departure. Luckily the plane took off as scheduled. We were met at Milan airport by a Costa representative who told us that we had to wait a bit for passengers from other flights. This was about for about 1.5 hours, so we grabbed some lunch. We then boarded a coach that took us to Savona. This journey was about 3 hours including a half hour stop. (Longer than our flight!) Arriving at Savona was fun as the town is dominated by all the huge Costa ships in port. The coach took us straight to the modern terminal building where we quickly ushered on board. No waiting about - very quick. It turned out we arrived 45 minutes before the ship was due to sail! We found our cabin and were amazed to find our luggage already there! In the cabin were our "costa cards", a welcome pamphlet and an excursion booklet. Excursions could be booked using the interactive TV. The costa cards are plastic cards with a bar code which is scanned every time you leave and re-board the ship. You can also register it with a Credit Card (or a cash deposit) and then use it to pay for drinks and services on board. Before we had barely caught our breath, it was time for the Ship Emergency drill - basically a case of finding your life jacket, working how to wear it and then following the signs to the life boats and be counted. Fairly straight forward and didn't take too long. Ship Info The Costa Concordia is a medium to large ship. Has a capacity of about 3500 passengers and 1000 crew. The ship's decor is generally quite OTT, and in some ways reminded me of a Las Vegas hotel on water, what with the casino, camp musical shows in the theatre, buffets and bars. But I love Vegas, so this was a good thing :-) The ship has 12 public decks, 3 pools and several hot tubs including 2 on deck next to a water slide! The 2 main pools both have sliding roofs, which as we were in November remained closed for most of the trip. They were opened on the last morning and this completely changed the feel of the pool areas. The number of passengers throughout the trip varied from day to day as people can embark/disembark at different ports on the trip. Mostly the ship felt about 75% full though on the last night it was probably only about 33% full and the ship felt pleasantly quiet. It never felt overly crowded at any time. Always plenty of room in buffet / theatre / Spa / On deck. Speaking of deck - there is plenty of deck space. Had the weather been warmer, I don't think finding a lounger would have been a problem. On the deck there is a jogging track and basketball court as well as the aforementioned water slide. Stateroom We had cabin 2443 a category E2 outside stateroom. This was bigger than expected with plenty of room and storage for 2 adults. A decent side window provided good views of each new port. The bath room was a decent size with a shower that had good water pressure and temperature and where the water stayed within the shower with going all over the bathroom. The beds were very comfortable. Perhaps slightly too much use of the colour peach for my liking! The cabin steward was very friendly and helpful and spoke excellent English. And he kept the cabin spotlessly clean for us. Dining Food was pretty good. Frighteningly, I put on 5lbs in one week! Generally we had breakfast bedside the the aft pool (Lido Mediterranea) as this was served till 11.30am. This consisted of a buffet with all the usual UK, US and Continental favourites - bacon, scramble eggs, waffles, pancakes, french toast, sausages, beans, tomatoes, a selection of pastries, breads, fruit and cereals, along with tea, coffee and juice. There was also an omelette bar where you could have omelettes cooked to order. If you ate in one of the main restaurants - the food was similar but here were more things you could have cooked to order. Lunch was another buffet - various things to choose from, including salmon pork chops, pizza and some good salads. Most days we ate lunch in whichever port were at. Also, it seemed that at whatever time of day more or less, there were pizza slices and salad available in the buffet. The pizza was good, but toppings were a bit unimaginative. There was also a late night pizzeria where pizzas were made to order, however I didn't get round to trying this. There was also an afternoon tea buffet, with a nice selection of cakes and sandwiches. On the sea day, there was a more formal afternoon tea in the Club Concordia restaurant, with some really good loose tea. Speaking of the Club Concordia restaurant - this was another restaurant which you could book and pay a €20 premium for top notch italian food. However we thought the main restaurant was pretty good so didn't think it was worth trying. For dinner, you are assigned a table in one of two large restaurants at either an early (6.45pm) or late (9.15pm) sitting. We opted for the late sitting and were seated a table of 10 in the Milano restaurant, conveniently close to the cabin. You choose which sitting you want at the start of the holiday. We were sat with a nice bunch and we all became friends during the week. Are group consisted of 3 brits, 3 americans, a couple from Dehli and a honeymooning couple from Japan. They obviously make an effort to match tables by language and approximate age. The food was generally very good. There was no issue with the food coming out cold, which I have seen mentioned by some reviewers. Every night there 5 courses (6 if you had cheese as well) : appetiser, soup course, pasta/risotto course, main course and desert. And plenty of bread rolls. The drinks cost extra. The house white was very drinkable and not too expensive. If you wanted more than one of each course, you could have it. One of our table had 3 deserts one evening. I'd rate the quality 7 out of 10. Considering the number of meals being served this is pretty good. (and given how much the holiday cost!) At midnight, snacks were served in the bars. And several evenings, there were extravagant buffets at midnight by the Lido Magica. Consisting of Cakes and Fruit mostly (delicious pineapple and watermelon.) Once night they had an ice carving race between 2 chefs, and the tables were adorned with animals made of carved fruit, which was a nice touch. Service Service throughout was mostly attentive and friendly, especially from the Filipino and Indian staff. Our cabin steward was very helpful and friendly and kept the cabin and bathroom spotless. We didn't get towel animals though, unlike some of our dinner friends. Our table waiter (we had the same guy each night) was also friendly and obliging. A service charge of €7 per person is added to your final bill. This is more than reasonable given the level of service we got. Entertainment The entertainment was mostly cheesy, but entertaining none-the-less. Each night was a show in the large theatre in the bow of the ship. The theatre was very well equipped, with excellent sound, lights and some of the best laser effects that I've seen. There were 3 shows of dance and singing. These were extremely cheesy, but the dancers were excellent. These were just about the only British crew on board it turned out! Most of the songs were in English, with the odd crowd-pleasing italian number thrown in. There was also a recital from a concert pianist, a ventriloquist and Magic Martin - a magician who specialised in the big vanishing women variety. Very entertaining. There was also the animation team - a bunch of guys who would dress up and wander the bars / disco trying to get people to dance! They also hosted a very entertaining karaoke one evening. There are a wide selection of bars, each with their own atmosphere and each with singers or musicians. Some of which were quite good. There was also a classical duo who played in the Vienna Ballroom in a complete contrast to the rest of the ship! The casino was fun - I won €30 on roulette overall! Drinks in the bars are quite cheap compared to London prices, especially the cocktails. There are also various drinks packages which would be good value if you drink more than I do. Activities I spent a large part of the Sea day in the spa, which was very nice. A huge hydrotherapy pool, several steam rooms of varying temperatures, a relaxation room, treatment rooms and a winter garden where you can lie on loungers looking out to sea, with a calming sound track and remain warm even though it was mid november! As a bonus they server you green tea! A day pass was €38. Slightly pricey but I got my money's worth. There is also a well equipped gym attached with saunas in the changing rooms. The gym/saunas are free to use without paying for a spa pass. Only negative is that robes weren't provided - only towels. On the deck, there is a jogging track, sports court and water slide. Each evening you receive a news letter called "Today" in your own language detailing activities for the following day and information about the Port. Port & Shore Excursions We didn't really go on any Costa excursions - just explored the cities on our own. The only exception to this was the Costa coach trip to Rome ( it turned out to be a good move that day as the trains from Civitaveccia were not running because of industrial action.) Once in Rome, we explored on foot. The coach dropped off/ picked up at the Vatican. Valletta and Palermo are easily explored on foot directly from the ship. A shuttle bus is provided to/from the port at Barcelona (and there are plenty of taxis,) and there is a regular bus service from the port at Palma to the town centre. A top tip is to head to the local tourist information office and ask the agent to mark on a map the top things to see if you only have a few hours. All the ports are interesting, but my favourites were Valletta and Palma. Rome and Barcelona are great too, but a day isn't enough to do them justice really. In fact Rome is a stunning city. Disembarkation Disembarkation was easy. The night before we get a copy of "Today" giving details of where to meet. You have to pack and leave your luggage outside the cabin by 1am. During the night it is magically whisked away by the luggage elves. Those taking the transfer to Milan didn't have to be ready to 10am, so this gave time for breakfast and a last stroll around the Concordia. At 10am we met in the Grand Berlino bar and were directed to the luggage pickup point and then onto a coach which took us to Milan. We had to wait a while on the coach for more dutch people just like the first day! They were actually on a different ship from us. The only negative was that we had 3 hours or so to hang around at Milan airport - probably one of the worlds most boring airports that looked like it hadn't changed since 1976. Summary To summarise, we had a fun week, saw some interesting places and enjoyed a lot of nice food for £519 each - including British Airways flights and a decent cabin with a window. In my opinion, an absolute bargain. We did book last minute and it was mid-November, but still very good value. That's cheaper than a weeks rent of a studio flat in central london! I've seen a lot of negative reviews on cruise-critic, which mostly seem to be from people who (imho) have unreasonable expectations (for the money) or who don't like the European, multi-lingual nature of Costa. Personally I think this added to the experience. You'd think these people would do a bit more research before booking. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Positive thing: the cabin area and layout was good.The old style shower curtain was a challenge. After one took a shower the bathroom was like a swimming pool.I felt sorry for the cabin attendants. The food was a disgrace. The self ... Read More
Positive thing: the cabin area and layout was good.The old style shower curtain was a challenge. After one took a shower the bathroom was like a swimming pool.I felt sorry for the cabin attendants. The food was a disgrace. The self service for breakfast and lunch was very limited in options and without any alternatives for a passenger who wants to do a balanced diet. As an example, no skim milk available and one had a choice of butter or ... butter. Toast only of white bread. The food was tasteless and presented in a way that reminded me of my days at the university canteen. Surprisingly enough the self service was not open for dinner (remark out of curiosity since that would not be a real option). The only reasonable service was the "tea service" at 4.00 pm. In what concerns the service in the dinning room I have never seen anything like that. The attitude of the waiter and assistant waiter was terrible (since the gratuities are standard they do not care about the passenger opinion). During the whole cruise never saw the Maitre D. No light options in the menu either for main courses or desert. The presentation and quality of the food was by far the worst we have experienced in all the cruises we have sailed (Royal Caribbean, Princess, Celebrity, Holland America and even Carnival). We were so disappointed that we went on the second night to the "Special Restaurant" where a fee of 25 Euros per person applies. What a disaster! Worst that in the main dining room of the other Cruise lines we sailed with. From the starter to the desert it was a gallery of bad cooking and terrible presentation. Unfortunately this proved not to be an alternative to other nights. So we returned to the main dining room where we enjoyed the company of our fellow passengers from Spain and Argentina (by the way our experienced cruise fellows from Argentina were on this cruise as a compensation for a very bad experience with Costa before and shared our opinion - Costa never again). Regarding entertainment there were some reasonable options across the ship for dancing and the disco had a good atmosphere. The shows in the theater were ridiculously bad and weak with the exception of the "Celebration" show with the dancers. There was no orchestra (!!!) so all the music was recorded. They had a magician and a circus performer that were pathetic and could not get any reaction from the audience and one night the total show was performed by members of the crew. I had never seen anything like that. The Cruise Director was totally ineffective and provided no drive or enthusiasm among the passengers. The Staff tried to generate some excitement throughout the ship and they were effective in that task. The fact that the ship takes passengers in all the ports results in having every day a long (in 6 different languages) safety and administrative announcements through the speaker system. It is a torture every afternoon. Fortunately and after a series of complains, the sound was eliminated from the cabins. When those announcements occurred one had to run to the balcony (no volume adjustment was available in the cabin). Last comment relates to the very limited ability for the staff to speak and understand English. With a few exceptions most of the staff throughout the ship and even some staff in the Reception had significant difficulties with the English language. In conclusion, if you are used to the normal standard of the "American" Companies stay away from Costa. They are not expensive in absolute terms but provide very little value for money. As I normally say, I had "two cruises in one" - the first and the last. Costa never again! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We just came back home last night after sailing last week on Costa Concordia. Our family was two kids age 15 and 10, my wife, my mom who flew all the way from Israel and of course my mother in law. We all had a great time together on the ... Read More
We just came back home last night after sailing last week on Costa Concordia. Our family was two kids age 15 and 10, my wife, my mom who flew all the way from Israel and of course my mother in law. We all had a great time together on the ship and visiting ports of Savona, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malta and Palermo. The first stop in Savona we went to Monaco. The trip to Monaco was purchased on the ship. We had a good ride on the big bus and perfect opportunity to see the place. The next day in Barcelona was a little short. We used a shuttle bus to get from the port to the city and spent that short time walking on the main street and then took the underground train ride to the Sagrada Church. I wish we could spend more time in Barcelona to explore this beautiful city. The third day we had a lot of fun on Palma de Mallorca. It is very beautiful place to visit. We bought a double Decker tickets and were able to stop and get on the bus during the day. It gave us so much opportunity to see the entire city and all the highlights. Trip to Malta and Palermo was also a very interesting experience. I would rank our ports of destinations and places that we visited 10 out of 10. Now more about the ship. The Concordia ship is huge. We had an inside cabin on the first floor. I could not see the end of the corridor. The room was great and clean. Jose, who was a cabin Stewart, took a great care of our room. The towels were always replaced, twice, three times a day. We had breakfast in the buffet and dinners in the Rome restaurant. The breakfast was fine as usual. The self serve brewed coffee in buffet area was awful. Nobody liked it. But there is always a choice to purchase a cup of coffee at the bar area. One thing that I wanted to say is that we had a great service for the Gluten free product. One of my child require gluten free menu and it was always cruise high priority to make sure we get the right food for my kid. There was always a Gluten free menu for the dinner and a couple of times we ordered a takeout gluten free lunch that was very well packed with sandwiches, vegetables, fruits and cookies. I never had a problem to bring a bottle of vine on the ship during our ports visits. Every time when we were visiting ports I was buying a bottle of local wines and we had that during our dinners in Roma restaurant. We never got charge any fees for drinking our wine during the entire time. We did not like the pictures service. It is much overpriced and there was not much price and package flexibility to purchase. The last time when we were on Holland America we had a package for 200 USD. It allowed us to get all the pictures that were taken during the cruise and we had a lot of them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
I've cruised on cheap and expensive ships and enjoyed them all .However, Concordia was to be the exception. Embarkation and disembarkation were quick and efficient - a breeze! The cabin, apart from its location near entertainment ... Read More
I've cruised on cheap and expensive ships and enjoyed them all .However, Concordia was to be the exception. Embarkation and disembarkation were quick and efficient - a breeze! The cabin, apart from its location near entertainment areas, was good and the cabin staff excellent. The colour scheme of the ship has to be seen to be believed - brash! The shows, especially the dancers, were good. The staff, apart from those selling you something, were not really happy with their lot. I found the food in the main restaurants good. However, it was poor in the buffet with little choice. The safety drill didn't appear until near the end of the cruise - amazing! Smoking is allowed in several public areas on one side of the rooms, but pervades whole areas, irrespective of health, safety, children etc. I will not return to Costa to experience this again. Finally, there was no chance of sleep until around 2.30 a.m.each night because of the booming noise coming from entertainment areas. Our concerns and complaints weren't taken seriously. Instead we were given ear-plugs - can you believe it!!! Other passengers also complained but got nowhere. It provides general value for money, but because of the lack of thought and care vis a vis smoking and excessive noise into the early mornings , I certainly can't recommend it and will not travel with this company again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
This was the second cruise I have been on with my family. I joined the cruise in Savona where Costa has its own dedicated terminal. The organisation was spot on with friendly and helpful crew throughout the ship. My daughter is disabled ... Read More
This was the second cruise I have been on with my family. I joined the cruise in Savona where Costa has its own dedicated terminal. The organisation was spot on with friendly and helpful crew throughout the ship. My daughter is disabled but I found virtually all areas of the ship easily accessible using the 20+ lifts located throughout the ship. The food was excellent, being mainly European dishes. The choice of dining options was good with either a la carte or buffet. Restaurant staff were superb, even cooking a special Filipino dish for my wife's birthday as well as providing a birthday cake. Entertainment was very good and varied, catering for all tastes. The cabin was very nice and comfortable (we were upgraded from an inside I1 to an ocean-view E2) and reasonably spacious. The cabin steward was very good. At all ports of call the organisation was superb considering the size of the ship and number of passengers embarking/disembarking. Choice of shore excursions was good although some excursions seemed very expensive. Drinks on board were expensive although discounted drinks packages could be purchased. The cosmopolitan passenger mix was nice with a large number of nationalities on board. Most announcements were in several European languages so I did not find language a problem at all. What I found a nice touch was that all crew members had name badges with their nationality and flag on them (the crew comprised of some 40 or 50 different nationalities). Overall the whole experience proved to be both relaxing, extremely enjoyable and also memorable. I will definitely be going on another Costa cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
In the Costa Cruises letter that came with our tickets from our booking agent, Cruise Club ,they stated that 'Costa's staff are ready to welcome you and anticipate your every wish'. This statement is far from reality. ... Read More
In the Costa Cruises letter that came with our tickets from our booking agent, Cruise Club ,they stated that 'Costa's staff are ready to welcome you and anticipate your every wish'. This statement is far from reality. What Costa do, to make it cheaper for them, is book you on the earliest and lastest flights of the day. Our Easyjet flight departed 06.25 on time and landed at Milan Malpensa, approximately 09.30. With the time to add on for baggage reclaim and transfer from terminal 2 to terminal 1. The time will now be about 10.15am. On our ticket it said that out pick up time from the airport would be 08.30, difficult as we wouldn't even have landed at this time! There were no Costa representatives at terminal 1 to greet us and to tell us where we should go. We saw several other passengers from the same plane joining the same ship so all decided to stay together and try to find out where we were supposed to go, as no help was provided! We waited until the 12o'clock and we all made our way to the coach pick up point across the road and there like a mirage at the airport stood two Costa lady representative. We thought our troubles would be over, but no. On giving our names to the first lady, who looked on her client list our names were not there. So we asked why not. She told us that we obviously hadn't booked a transfer and so would have to take a taxi at our expense! On closer inspection we discover that we have got a completely different pick up point from the rest of the passengers, we are being sent to a train station! Why? Is it not reasonable to assume that the passengers travelling on the same plane to the same destination with the same tour company would be travelling together. As we already explained we would have missed our pick up as it would have left before our plane landed. We explained this problem to the Costa reps but they were just not interested, and most unhelpful or sympathetic, saying it was not their problem and that we would have to get a taxi at our expense. You can now imagine the stress this was now causing, and we said that we were not going to pay the cost of a three-hour taxi journey and that this should be for Costa to pay. They said we should take it up with our booking agents, a little difficult when we are stranded at a bus station in Milan! We then spoke to the other Costa representative. She said we would have to wait until further clients arrived to see if there was any room on the bus, but if not we would have to go Savonna at our cost by taxi. In between times these clowns were taking the names of the clients and directing them to a coach. It was like a comedy, they were putting 60 people and their luggage on a 50 seater coach so they had to get off and reclaim their luggage before it departed. My 10 year old grand-daughter could have organised it better. The ten people turned off the first coach were now getting excited and irate as you would be by now after getting up early in the morning to start their holiday. It would appear that these two reps only clocked on at 11.30am when they should have been at the terminal greeting clients The new wave of passengers arrived and just by chance there were two seats left on the coach so very begrudgingly they allowed us on the bus. Not a good start to our holiday! It was a good holiday the ship was lovely only 5 years old and if you like Italiaen food and pizza that you can have it morning noon and night. The sun beds you could always find two together but seven days is all you can stand of noisey Italian and German clients and who also do not like waiting patiently for getting on coaches so you to put link arms and put your elbows out to stop them pushing in front of you. The announcements were always in five languages which you would accept on an Italian cruise ship. But our problems did not end there. On the Thursday we thought we had better check to see if the transportation travelling to Luton was going to be the same as the outward journey. The rep at the reception desk didn't know why we had experienced the problems we had but assured us she would get in touch with yourselves and arrange for us to travel back on the same coach as all the other passengers travelling to Luton. She asked us to give her 24 hours, which we did. Still no answer so we gave her another 24 hours. She then told us that it had all been sorted and that we were definitely travelling back on the same coach as the other passengers to Luton. We thought great there will be no more hassle, but on seeing the final Today programme with disembarkation details , guess what, the Brown luggage labels were going to be transferred to, you guessed it, Milan Central Train Station. Nothing had changed. We therefore made our way promptly to the Tour desk but no-one there, so we went to customer services whom assured us that although they did not have the paperwork it would be OK. Upon hearing this we were not going to rely on what they told us as they had already given us false information. We got up early on disembarkation day to try and find the lady who we spoke to at the Tour desk. To her credit she went away and found the paperwork to assure us we were going to the airport. What the Today paper should have said was that the brown luggage labels were going not only to the train station but also to the airport. But no, we are not booked on the same coach as the others although this is what we had been promised. So why we were treated differently to other customers. But guess what, our problems did not end there. At the allotted time of 12.00am we went to the meeting point for the brown luggage label passengers. With little help we found our bus only to find that we were the only English speaking customers, and the rep who gave out instructions before leaving us on the bus only spoke in Italian! If we were like many of the older clients on board can you imagine the stress, worry and strain this would have had on them. To be treated this way was totally unacceptable when you take into consideration the boasting the Costa people were making that they were the best and did everything they could for their passengers. We have travelled with other cruise lines and have never been treated in this unprofessional way. We started and finished our holiday in a very unpleasant, stressful way. What had been a good holiday was ruined by very bad organisation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our 2nd cruise this year - our first was with Princess in the Caribbean, with a balcony - and we wanted something not too expensive, which is exactly what we got. We originally booked an interior cabin, but having worked out ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise this year - our first was with Princess in the Caribbean, with a balcony - and we wanted something not too expensive, which is exactly what we got. We originally booked an interior cabin, but having worked out the actual size, decided to upgrade to an outside. We made a good choice, as having seen the size of the interior ones on board, I don't think we'd have been happy. Quite apart from the fact that they're really tiny, there's no natural light, so would have felt extremely claustrophobic. Many people do cruise very happily in interior cabins, but it's not for us - no matter how cheap. There have been several reviews saying that the food on the Costa ships is mainly frozen - even the salads. Well that's rubbish. Quite apart from the fact that lettuce (and there was a lot of lettuce) doesn't freeze, every salad we had was obviously fresh. However, almost every dish is marked as having one or more ingredient from frozen. This seemed particularly true of the seafood, which my husband said he was quite disappointed in. Overall, the food was of a reasonable/good standard, and in fact some (not all) of the main courses were very good - particularly the beef and the soups. One thing though - at breakfast, the toast is dreadful, and they really should take some lessons on poaching eggs - didn't have a decent one all week. The fresh fruit every morning was lovely, as were the pastries. We ate in the main dining room on early sitting. We did try the buffet - but to be honest, I don't go on a cruise to eat off plastic plates in a canteen, and have to say the food there wasn't really to our taste. Nothing wrong with it - in fact the pizzas were the best we've had on a cruise - but you don't get the lovely presentation with buffet food. We did try the Concordia restaurant (20 euros pp extra) on our first night, as we'd been mistakenly allocated 2nd sitting (maitre d' changed this for us from night 2 onwards), and it was very good. However, the vibration from the engines, although it didn't bother me, really annoyed my husband. We asked the staff if it's always like that and they said yes. Also seemed a bit odd that the Concordia restaurant was open to and above the buffet restaurant, so as we were eating our meal, we were serenaded by a crying baby from the buffet below. I've also seen several comments about the announcements being in 5 languages. Yes, it can get a bit annoying, but if you book an Italian ship, what can you expect. We cruised with MSC 2 years ago, and it was exactly the same. If you think about it, they could just do everything in Italian, so in some ways they're offering a better service than English speaking ships. One of the problems with 'budget' cruises, is that they have to make their money somewhere - and a lot is made up from the drinks and drinks packages. On Princess, we paid about $20 for an unlimited soda package (we don't drink much alcohol), but on the Concordia, it was 40 euros plus 15% service for just 20 cans. I got through 40 cans in the week, and my husband refused to pay on principal, so just drank iced table water. The excursions were OK - but again slightly more pricey than the Princess. The organisation was also a little hit-and-miss, but nothing went majorly wrong. On our trip, there were about 3,200 passengers, and it felt very crowded indeed at times - goodness only knows what it would have felt like with a full complement of 3,700. That said, we never struggled to find a sun bed, but it was a little difficult to find somewhere quiet to read sometimes. As far as the shows are concerned, they were very good, considering they had to appeal to a multitude of languages, and varied from a tribute singer to a magic show (which was surprisingly good). However, for us, there was too much time between eating and the shows - 1st dinner sitting was 7.00, but the first show wasn't until 9.45. 2nd sitting was 9.30, and the 2nd show was at 11.30. Would have been much better for us if the 1st show was at 9.00. The English speaking hostess (Angela, a Spanish girl) was fabulous, always trying so hard to please everyone, and very friendly indeed. Overall, for what we paid, we got an excellent cruise. But if you want Princess or HA standards, you won't get that on a Costa. With cruising, you definitely get what you pay for. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We made a 7 night western Mediterranean cruise with Costa Concordia starting from Civitavecchia visiting Savona, Barcelona, Mallorca, Malta, Palermo. We used the train to get to Civitavecchia from Rome; it was not easy to get to the ... Read More
We made a 7 night western Mediterranean cruise with Costa Concordia starting from Civitavecchia visiting Savona, Barcelona, Mallorca, Malta, Palermo. We used the train to get to Civitavecchia from Rome; it was not easy to get to the harbour from the train station; you have to walk at least 10-15 with your luggage's. This is nothing about Costa but you should know and organize yourself. Embarkation and disembarkation procedures were well organised and everything went well for us. We stayed in a balcony cabin on deck 7. We loved the cabin; it was large, well organized. The bed was large and very comfortable; the balcony and the bathroom were both large and useful. There was enough cupboard in the cabin. There was an old style TV where you would expect a LCD etc. The cabin was very clean and it was kept clean during the cruise. The staff responsible for our cabin was very good, polite and helpful. We used the room service many times; in some of them we had to wait too much and had to tell the same thing over and over again. Most of the staff did not look happy with what they are doing. We had a feeling that they were working too much. Our English speaking hostess was very good; we liked her. Food was not as good as we have expected. The quality was high but it was generally not delicious. Open buffet was not that good; dinners were better but as I said it was not so delicious. Esp pasta's were not good; we did not have a delicious pasta even once. In breakfast there were only two types of Italian cheese; no olives and no olive oil which is not expected from an Italian ship. You can purchase drink packages on the ship; which actually do not include that much of advantage. One hint about the water; you can ask for tap water at dinners which was free; do not pay for bottled water unless you prefer mineral water. Pools were very small;almost impossible to swim. There were many bars all around the ship; there was live music all night long; and many of them were empty most of the time. Only the great bar was full every night. The casino was very small. Shows we watched were OK; dancers were good; lady singer was very good. We only had one excursion in Savona to Portofino. It was very good although they combined Spanish and English groups. It was well organised; the guide was very very good, speaking two languages one after another all day long. There was a good variety of excursions; prices 35-70 euros per person. We did not need to use any of the excursion in the ports we have visited. Only in Savona we would recommend to use excursion without a doubt. Ports of call were good. An important point, in the programme it says Mallorca for both 3. and 4. days altough the ship only stays in Mallorca for 1 hour -from 00:00 to 01:00- on the 4. day. Do not think that you are going to stay there an overnight. An other important point for international travellers. The majority of the passangers were Italians and they were not so polite. They seemed unhappy to get in a queue for food or to meet you in the corridor or in the elevator looking into your face saying nothing; our "good morning"s "good afternoon"s were not answered unless there is someone else from another country. Anyway if you are looking for an international environment, Costa ships departing from an Italian port are -most probably- not the right ships to take. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
I almost didn't book this cruise due to the reviews I read here but decided to be open minded and give it a shot. I was extremely apprehensive while boarding the ship as I really didn't know what to expect. Let me preempt this ... Read More
I almost didn't book this cruise due to the reviews I read here but decided to be open minded and give it a shot. I was extremely apprehensive while boarding the ship as I really didn't know what to expect. Let me preempt this review by saying that I travel extensively, have done about 9 cruises and did this cruise after a 3 week stay in Europe as I thought it would be the cheapest way to get to see a lot of places that I otherwise would not have been able to do in one week. I was pleasantly surprised by the experience and not only would I highly recommend, I would do it again next year. Rooms: I was traveling with my cousin and we had a HUGE outside Samsara room on the 11th floor. I think the choice of room had a lot to do with our great experience. It was quiet at night, close to EVERYTHING and had floor to ceiling glass with amazing views. Enough said! Getting on/off the boat: We booked this cruise based on the amount of ports visited and really wanted to take advantage of every hour we were at port. I must say, embarkation and disembarkation was extremely organized and everything went smoothly. Each port was the same- we were off very quickly and never really had any long wait. This was a KEY factor in our trip as well. Food: this is the one place where the ship was REALLY lacking. However I must note that I have traveled on Celebrity, Princess and Royal and I have never really loved the food. Breakfast was easy- we had yogurt and fruit delivered to our room. Lunch was horrible. We are both vegetarian and though the salad selection was very poor. Everything had tons of mayo and sauce on it. And how hard is it to get veggie burgers for the grill? Dinner was better- had a decent amount of vegetarian options- but still wasn't great. We had the first seating at dinner and were very lucky to have a wonder group of people (three others) we were dining with. There was a solo American traveler and a Turkish couple. We all got along fantastically, shared our stories and wines nightly. Excursions: I think that what you do one you get to port can also make or break your trip. As a general rule, anything that the ship offers as an excursion, you can do yourself for a fraction of the cost. I have NEVER booked anything through the ship and never would. Extremely overpriced and you are stuck with a bunch of cruisers. Don't be afraid to make your own adventure. With a little research, you can create your own itinerary and visit at your own pace. We used Trip Advisor and its forums extensively before the trip and were able to figure out exactly what we wanted to see. Also remember that if you are traveling in the summer, these places get HOT. Do you really want to walk around a city when you could be lounging on an uber fabulous beach?? Shows/on board stuff: really can't comment because we didn't walk into a single bar, club or show. I will say that unlike American cruises I have been on, you can get out to the deck at 10 am and STILL find a prime spot to lay out. Overall: I must take a moment to comment on the reviews that refer to "rude Italians" and "rude Europeans and behaviors" on the boat. We were 2 of about 11 Americans on the ship (according to the American host on board) and at no point did we feel that people were being rude. Yes, there are many cultural differences between Europeans and Americans but one must recognize and know this before boarding. You are getting on an Italian ship! If you want everything to be "Americanized" that go to Disney Land. You take from the experience what you want and I decided to be happy and love my life because I was on vacation. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Before you read further into my review, it should be noted that I am not the typical cruiser:I am a 22 year old American college student. My father booked this cruise for my Spring Break, and we had no idea what to expect. This was suppose ... Read More
Before you read further into my review, it should be noted that I am not the typical cruiser:I am a 22 year old American college student. My father booked this cruise for my Spring Break, and we had no idea what to expect. This was suppose to be a nice family vacation, with a bit of partying on the side (for me at least :D).We fly into Zurich and long story short, numerous delays resulted in me losing my luggage. One thing you'll notice about Italy is the fact that their government is just completely inefficient and incompetent. I have been to developing countries, and the level of efficiency is just as bad. For any Western European or American this should be considered if you are traveling into Italy.Classic case in point: My luggage arrived in Zurich the day after I landed, but since we were headed to Milan, I told them to ship it to the Milanese hotel I was staying at. Days in Switzerland: 1Days in the Milan Airport: 14 daysSo I arrive in Savona luggage less. The check in process was actually quite efficient. Of course, we were among the last to board, so it may not be an accurate representation. The first thing you will notice about the ship, everything is spoken in at least four languages. This can get very annoying for some, as things are repeated constantly over the PA. Of course this is due to the overwhelming European presence on the cruise, which isn't bad until you start encountering the Italians and French.Now let me tell you something, I am a big extrovert and very friendly, yet these Italians and French are among the most rudest people I have met. They are extremely snobby when it comes to speaking in English and really just tick me off. I can't decide which countrymen are worse, all I know is that their attitudes have put me off from ever traveling in those two countries in the near future. Now the only cruise before I have been on was the Norwegian Sun, a nice little but antiquated ship in today's ship age. Compared to the sun, the ship was magnificent, but in a tacky way. It felt like I was in some cheap, wannabe Vegas styled ship.However, compared to the sun, this was 10 times better. The facilities were nice, although the pools were small. There were four indoor hot tubs and one outside one (which is the one I used all the time). The water slide was fun, I guess, nothing too special. The disco is miles ahead of the sun, and has a very good sound and lighting system. It is also fully enclosed, so you can see from atop what is going down in the disco.The restaurants were pretty normal. However, the food I must say was excellent. Perhaps I have not been on a superb cruise, but compared to the Sun, the Concordia's food was amazing. They had a lot of seafood (which I love) and all kinds of fish.In addition, since Europeans love cheese and pasta, you can order basically a 6 or 7 course meal for dinner.A typical meal for me would be: Appetizer - Soup - Salad - Pasta - Main Course - Cheese (yes a dish) - Dessert - Fruit. A very satisfying experience, considering I don't get to eat a 5+ course meal everyday. Regarding the frozen, just make sure you order the fresh stuff off the menu (without the asterisk). I've had some meals that were better then anything I've had in the last 2 years.One minor complaint regarding food: The guy selling drinks at the dinner table tries to trick you by asking for water, and bringing out bottled water (which is quite expensive), just make sure its tap water!Our waiter and clean staff was excellent. The room charge of 12 EUR a day was a reasonable rate to charge.The entertainment was amazing compared to the sun. The light and sound system in the theater was first class, and although the acts were short, they were definitely pushing for Quality over Quantity. The gymnastic performance especially was great. One minor note, a lot of the speaking stuff is not in English, since most of the cruise was Italian (Ugh). A big annoyance on this cruise is the ridiculous amount of Italian patriotism embedded in the cruise. EVERY show had Italian national song and other important cultural songs. At first it is fun to listen to, but gets very annoying when your eating dinner and the whole place stampedes as the Italians take their napkins and start waving it to Funiculi Funicula. Imagine if on the Caribbean you heard the national anthem every dinner. Yes, I get it, its an Italian cruise, however almost 1/2 the cruise isn't Italian, no need to shove this Italian culture down our throats.Regarding the nightlife, there was a grand total of three single women my age. There were a significant gathering of high schoolers going on a field trip for their cooking school (seriously). While they were friendly enough, none of them amazingly spoke English. Also some french youngsters, the only two countries who's youngsters don't know English. It was mission impossible, but I made the most of it. Lots of Russians too.Thank god the whole cruise wasn't Italian, French, or Russian, there were other Europeans and Americans and they seemed to help save the ship's environment from total disaster.Cruise customer service was alright. I told them about the luggage and how Milan Airport had found it and needed an address to ship it to. It took them two days for Costa to tell me that they couldn't find the luggage at Milan. This is odd, since I told them that an agent told me it was there, and basically the supervisor wasn't paying attention. I finally got my luggage in Malaga... after getting real nasty with him. It seems like yelling is the only way to get things done...The cruise needs to learn how to manage PR during troubled times. Our main engine broke, and thus the last stop in ROME (the highlight) was canceled. We were scheduled to disembark at 8 am in Malaga. At 8 AM precisely, a voice came over and said we were due to arrive a 1 pm due to technical problems. I have no clue why they wouldn't tell us a couple of hours before or during the night (when the engine broke) so I wouldn't have to get up so early for nothing.It was done very non-Chantilly like nothing in the world mattered, and when they cancelled Rome it was done the same way... needless to say lots of angry passengers.Eventually they gave us all 100 EUR credit per cabin or 300 EUR to another trip. Take the money the run.I will admit the ship experience was manageable and at the end I began to like all the songs, but really I couldn't complain cause this cruise was free for me. I would NOT however travel this ship again nor cannot recommend to any Americans. If your Italian and like the ultra-patriotism you will love this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
26th March till 6th AprilShould travel Savona, Barcelona, Casablanca, Tenerife, Madeira, Malaga, RomeAfter 7 hours driving by car to the port of Savona, we were unofficialy informed (by the other guest from Slovenia) that the ship had some ... Read More
26th March till 6th AprilShould travel Savona, Barcelona, Casablanca, Tenerife, Madeira, Malaga, RomeAfter 7 hours driving by car to the port of Savona, we were unofficialy informed (by the other guest from Slovenia) that the ship had some troubles with engine so it is possible that itinerary change.We nevertheless embarked. We should took of at 17.00 CET, but we didn't. After the dinner we received the letter from Costa, that due to problems with engine, the itinerary changed and we stayed 3 days in Savona(Marseille, Barcelona, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, Livorno) and we reserved that cruise because of Tenerife and Madeira :(((( The passengers didn't receive any informationa at all. In the letter Costa offered 300 € per cabin on board credit, 50 % discount on next cruise with Costa in 2011 or 2012 and 2nd day free of board excursion. We received the letter first night and after 4 days they let us know, that we could disembarked any time in Savona. We would do that if we know, because the first day we were very tired. And what is the worse. As previous reviewer writtened, they know about the engine problems 3 days before our cruise started and they didn't informed travel agencies. They didn't inform our agency untill we came back. Catastrophy!!!!The stuff ignored all the complains, they were not kind. In our cabin it was terrible noise during the night, every night untill 02.00 am. After 8 nights we discovered that the noise comes from restaurant cleanres, disaster. First we thought that neghbours are loud. We called the guest desk, were they said, that we should undrestand that the ship is 300 m long and they have to clean it. We understand that, but not in the middle of the night.The ship is children unfriendly. They must not use any ship services, except kids club and one swimming pool. We couldn't sleep, children couldn't play, the stuff was unfriendly, so we didn't want to pay the service charge 6 €/day. We filed the complain, they ignored it. We asked if the cleaning of restaurant can be done till midnight, they ignored us. Total Italian way.Now in the summer we wanted to use the discount they offered. The written comitement is now changed. Now they don't offer 50 % discount on future cruise, but 50 % discount on what we payed for the cruise, that never happened. The discount is not specified.All the passenegers were very disapointed, specially those, who traveled with Costa for the 4th or 5th time.The ship is decorated in such many colours, that the eyes hurt. All the stuff is from Middle America or India. For us, it was not nice.So everything on the ship was obligatory for guests and nothing for Costa. We heard that the passengers from Hungary filed the joined compalined of 35 people, and Costa ignored it too.Cruise had one good thing, the night shows were amasing.For us - Costa never again!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Just returned from an 11 day med cruise on the Concordia. I too was a little worried about the reviews, but I have to say I had a fantastic time.It is a beautiful,clean and friendly ship. here is a quick review, hope its helpful. ... Read More
Just returned from an 11 day med cruise on the Concordia. I too was a little worried about the reviews, but I have to say I had a fantastic time.It is a beautiful,clean and friendly ship. here is a quick review, hope its helpful. 1.embarkation/de-embarkation- Barcelona was fast & efficient. 2.cabins- I had an inside single cabin on deck 6, It was comfortable,perfect temperature,very quiet and kept spotlessly clean be my super cabin steward. 3.DINING. I had requested an early sitting, but when I embarked found my dining card said late sitting, not a problem,I looked in my daily programme to find the maitre de was on duty in the mdr to deal with requests, so went straight to see him, he kindly found me a seat on a table for 10 early sitting, with 4 couple from Canada and USA and another single lady from Finland, I couldn't have asked for better dinner companions. Breakfast.I used free room service, had a lovely cappuccino ,orange juice and cereal to wake me up most mornings. A couple of times I had a full breakfast up on deck 9. There were great omelette's or fried eggs to order,and a huge selection from bacon,sausage,tomatoes, waffles,pastries, croissants,fruit,cold meats,yoghurt's,cereals,juices coffee and tea.I never tried mdr for breakfast. Lunch. you could choose main dining room or deck 9,but I found same things available but much more choice on deck 9. there were many different stations you need to have a good look round, but always lots of salads, carved joint, chicken,fish and meat dishes, pasta,pizza,soup of the day, loved the sea food special days..shrimp,salmon,mussels, paella,lots of fruit and deserts and of course ice cream..one station was always dedicated to a theme..Mexican,Portuguese,German,seafood,Italian.. of course one station always had burgers,hot dogs fries etc. DINNER. loved the menus.. always big jugs of iced water waiting and a variety of bread, of course bottles of wines for those with x1 or other wine packages. the menu had choice of 3 starters, 2 soups,2 pastas, variety of salads, the maitre de made our table a special caesar salad on 3 occasions, because the Canadians said they loved it..and of course usually 5 main courses..included rack of lamb,fillet steak,duck a la orange,always a fresh fish and vegetarian option, you could order extra steamed veg,baked potato or french fries at any time, also you could order chicken breast or salmon if you didn't like any of the main courses. myself and everyone at our table enjoyed the food , found it well cooked and hot, quite a few times some of us ordered 2 main courses, especially the day king prawns were on the menu.Also the maitre de organised a lovely Indian curry for our table one night by request and 2 lovely chocolate cakes for a birthday and anniversary celebration. of course a selection of desserts and cheese and biscuits was always available.. I am afraid I sneaked off to the chocolate bar, I was addicted to the fresh strawberries and banana's from the chocolate fountain. Beverages. I chose and paid for the j2 package 2 weeks before my cruise,it cost 372 pounds for 11 days, it entitled me to any drinks from any bar up to a cost of 6.99.. which covered cocktails,speciality coffees, big choice of wine by the glass,soft drinks,cappuccinos,and spirits and liquors.Also all products from chocolate bar..cakes,chocolate fountain,etc. my cabin boy said not minibar..so I never bothered, just took cans of pop and bottles of water down with me at the end of the night.I have to say in the mdr on the first night the drinks waiter would only bring my house wine, so after that for dinner I would go to the wine bar and take any bottle I wanted to dinner, and the bar tender just billed it as if I had had 5 glasses.. I had mateus rose ,asti spumente and some lovely Italian & Spanish red and white wines.. STAFF ON BOARD. I found every member of staff to be courteous,friendly and helpful.Every time I got lost an Italian officer in uniform escorted me to where I wanted to be,all the Italian crew spoke English to me with a smile, I found out that English is the language that is spoken with all the service crew, and of course the service was great from all the bar tenders, waiters etc.I had conversations with most of the entertainers on the ship, Joan the singer in the londres lounge was a bubbly Scottish lady, Alex was a great singer pianist from south Africa who entertained us every night in the BUDAPEST bar..also special mention to Orlando and Eric the very entertaining barmen in the Budapest lounge , they made my holiday. most of the dancers and singers on board were British, they were very friendly. entertainment. I loved the shows in the theatre our dinner ran 6pm to 8pm, so went to Budapest before and after dinner for cocktails and then 9pm to the theatre for the show.. saw 3 fabulous full production dance shows, an acrobatic and lights show, 2 talent shows all were done in English.. then of course back to Budapest to dance the night away with Alex.. didn't rate the animation team much.. the 3 times I watched them, was a pool party..and twice in the berlino lounge.. I might just have been unlucky.. SAMARA SPA I used the Samara spa twice,I paid 25 euros for using the facilities for the day , it was a lovely relaxing day, and I also had 2 massages from Silvio, he was very good. EXCURSIONS. I took 2 Costa excursions, the first was from civitavecchia was in Rome.Vatican city and roman forum.it was a 10 hour trip,English speaking. it was very informative,well organized and good value for money.ROME WOW. from SAVONNA I took the high life of Monaco and Monte Carlo, it was booked as English speaking, but when we got on the coach we found it was to be done in Italian and English... it was very disappointing 2 hour of constant loud talking from the guide..in a language I couldn't understand. we were on a coach for 4 hours (there and back).I left the group as soon as possible my head was banging..and spent the time just enjoying strolling round Monaco and Monte Carlo on my own..if i had known before hand it was going to be multi language.I would have cancelled, and so would the other people I spoke to.. if you want to know anything else just ask....10/10 for my first Costa cruise.. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
The ship was clean and that's all the good stuff over with. Do not go on this type of cruise if you are British as we are simply told "this is an Italian ship and has different cultures..." this is regardless of the ... Read More
The ship was clean and that's all the good stuff over with. Do not go on this type of cruise if you are British as we are simply told "this is an Italian ship and has different cultures..." this is regardless of the problem. I always thought that Italian people loved good food, funny that... I would also think they liked to get to sleep before 2am (or at least get the choice) They gave us another cabin (after complaining several times and threatening to sleep in the corridor!!!)this was with 4 days to go. Entertainment is Butlins, 1972. People walk around the dining areas without anything on their feet; some even turn up in dressing gowns... nice! Whatever your problem is it makes no difference at all as you simply get told that you should have thought about this before booking an Italian cruise. If you still go ahead and book with Costa, you have been warned, good luck. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Smoking on the ship is allowed in many public areas, and in the cabins, these public areas are in the centre of the ship on the fifth deck, (with a open space all the way up to the tenth floor) on the starboard side of the ship, next to ... Read More
Smoking on the ship is allowed in many public areas, and in the cabins, these public areas are in the centre of the ship on the fifth deck, (with a open space all the way up to the tenth floor) on the starboard side of the ship, next to the pools, dining areas and the casino. Unfortunately, as one knows, smoke dissipates though out all areas and therefore all the corridors smell of stale tobacco smoke. Thankfully there is no smoking in the restaurants and on the starboard side the ship. The food quality is very poor, most, if not all, the food is frozen as is to be expected. (it is marked with an asterix on the menu which is very admirable). From the menu descriptions the food sounds wonderful, but honestly it is not. The food temperature is never above tepid, and more times than not, microwaved. Service in the restaurant at dinnertime is very good. The waiters remembered we liked lemon for our water and cheese at room temperature to start, and these were already placed on our table every evening. From the self service buffets, I would advise that people avoid the frozen salads, (yes, even the salads are frozen, and placed out for self service, still half frozen) another good one to avoid are the hairy pizzas. (i.e. pizza with human hair in it) Breakfast in the restaurant is basically a buffet even in the main dining room, you serve yourself, the waiter only pours your coffee. Saying that if you ask nicely, the waiter will bring you some things from the buffet so you do not have to get up yourself. You get placed on a table that suits the waiter. I prefer a table for two, but you are placed on a table of 8 to 10 people. Room service for breakfast, consists only of dry cereals, yoghurt, dried bread rolls, juice and coffee. Do not expect the room service delivery to come at the time you requested, it will always arrive early, up to an hour before especially on port days. The 'Club Concordia' restaurant has a surcharge of €20 per person, this is their premium restaurant, the food quality is better, although I would have honestly expected this quality of food to be the norm for the main dining rooms with this restaurant one or two notches above. There were a couple of faults in this restaurant. The waiter did not know the basics of how to set up a table and my cutlery was placed on the wrong side, i.e. the fork was on right hand side, not a huge deal at all, but remember, this is supposed to be the premium restaurant with a higher sense of service and quality. Another mistake was that the waiter poured water into my half filled glass of wine, which meant the wine had to be thrown away. No offer of a replacement was made. There are no quiet areas on the ship to sit and have a drink. In fact there are NO quiet areas anywhere on the ship, where you can just read or relax during the daytime, all the bars have loud, live music of some sort. You are also being constantly hassled by the staff offering you 'Bar service' due to being commission based. The library is open to take out books for only two hours a day, one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon. The rest of the time all of the books are all locked up. The entertainment is pretty poor; the theatre shows take place for the late sitting diners before dinner, at 19:15 while the early sitters show is at 21:15. After the late night dinner, there is not much to do but watch the interactive entertainment. There are a lot of 'interactive entertainment' people doing line dances, and then the male staff running around with fluorescent wigs dressed as, 'oh such funny women'. (Remember the days of Benny Hill?). Bingo of course is available in 7 languages. Internet packages are very reasonable, €23 for three hours, but they do add a €3 'connection charge' so the real cost is €26. You access this yourself anywhere on the ship and the connection is very good, fast and reliable. The drinks package on the ship is pretty good value. The cost for 6 bottles of wine and 7 bottles of water is €99, this included the 'service' charge of 15%. The average price for a bottle of wine from the wine list is around €21 PLUS the 15% service charge. The majority of wine sold on Costa is from €19 to €22 a bottle. At every opportunity there are the ship's photographers waiting to snap a picture of you, you could be walking down the stairs, there would be a photographer, walking up the stairs, there would be a photographer, eating dinner, one would appear, walking down the corridor, walking off the gangplank, be warned, they are everywhere! Perhaps we picked the wrong time of the year to go on a Costa cruise, (the end of January), but the boat had many children running around screaming and running up and down in the corridors, and we were perhaps unlucky to have the herd of elephants in the cabin above ours. I would not like to think about cruising during the school holidays and summer period. Would I cruise Costa again? IF you are able to get a great price like we did, then you have to accept that this cruise line is just above basic and you get what you pay for, but not everyone is able to get a special price, and then I do not believe you get value. I must end by saying overall the staff were fantastic, most working really hard, and most very helpful. The cabins very clean and comfortable, and it must be said for the ship, all very clean and well maintained. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
After booking a roundtrip cruise on the Costa Concordia out of Barcelona, Spain with stops in Casablanca, Morocco; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain; Funchal, Madeira, Portugal; Malaga, Spain; Civatavecchia (Rome), Italy; and ... Read More
After booking a roundtrip cruise on the Costa Concordia out of Barcelona, Spain with stops in Casablanca, Morocco; Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain; Funchal, Madeira, Portugal; Malaga, Spain; Civatavecchia (Rome), Italy; and Savona, Italy, we could find few positive reviews on this ship on TripAdvisor. So, we really had no idea what to expect. This was our first cruise on an Italian ship. Our cruise departed December 10th and returned December 22nd, 2010. I am writing this review to hopefully help others by setting the record straight regarding Costa Concordia. First of all, embarkation was extremely easy. Check-in was a breeze. Even though you cannot board the ship until 3:30 PM, there are shops, a restaurant where you can eat and plenty of seating. Tip: Do purchase as much bottled water as you can carry. It is extremely cheap compared to the price of water on board. In addition, there is a liquor store and we were allowed to carry our purchased liquor onboard without incident. No other port offered the water and liquor onsite as this one did so stock up.We received a friendly greeting as we came aboard and our pictures were taken for identification upon leaving and reboarding the ship. We were directed to our room where we found the cabin door open and our room keys and the daily program of activities called "Costa Today" on the bed. We had a balcony room for four which was well appointed and very comfortable. Our luggage arrived very quickly. I had a portable curling iron in my luggage and it arrived onboard without a problem.One negative re our cabin was that the only English news channel was from Britain so it was difficult to get any news from the US. Costa should have at least carried CNN for it's English speaking guest. They did provide a printed paper each day entitled "The International" that had world news information.We used the Kiosks that were located conveniently around the ship to register our credit cards for our onboard account. Couldn't have been any easier and no standing in long lines. In addition, you can get the balance on your account at any time throughout the cruise. We had asked to be assigned to early dinner but somehow our booking agent assigned us to late dinner. Early dinner is at 7:00 PM and late dinner is at 9:10 PM. We tried to change our reservation earlier in the day but the concierge was not available. We then just went to the dining room at 7:00 and with no problem at all, our late assignment was changed and we were seated for dinner immediately. We had an excellent English speaking wait staff the entire cruise. They even started making us pitchers of real iced tea! I might add that the dining rooms are difficult to locate because the kitchen is in the middle of the ship. For those of you who wish to purchase the wine package, you can do it at dinner through your wait staff and it will be charged to your account at that time. There is really no need to fret about these drink packages before hand as they can be so easily purchased onboard. In fact, purchasing a package on board was cheaper by about 20 Euros than through the website.Most of the staff was fluent in English. They even have one ship director assigned just for English speaking tourist. So the language barrier was no problem at all.The ship itself was very colorful and nicely decorated. They changed the lights in the ceiling of the atrium from green to red at night. We found the shows to be excellent on this cruise. You might wonder how they could put on a show for a multi-language and multi-culture ship. I'm going to say, no problem at all. Dancing is dancing, music is music and magic is magic. We were pleasantly surprised to find that half the songs were sung in English anyway and English was spoken often throughout the shows. One minor thing annoying to us was when the Cruise Director appeared at the end of the show and said goodbye in about seven languages (which when you think about it is quite something) then ending with ciao.The currency on this ship was in euros, which made everything onboard and shore excursions more expensive for Americans, but we knew this before we went. Once onboard, there were charges for most everything. Example, charges for the racecar simulator, the Cinema 4-D and for all food delivered via room service (except breakfast.) Keep in mind that alcoholic drinks are in euros, which makes them more expensive. Just be aware of the extra charges and spend accordingly.We had two young men in their early twenties with us who were disappointed that the Lisbona Disco did not have an age limit and was overrun by young teens each night. So basically, there was no place for young adults to hang out except bars. Had some great bartenders, however.We dreaded the smoking onboard but found it not to be as bad as we expected. There were smoke free bars such as the Grand Bar Berlino, Chocolate Bar Helsinki, the theater and the dining room. I understand they allow smoking in the rooms but we could not tell our room had been smoked in. We did have to walk through the casino to get from one side of the ship to another, which you could not avoid, and other smoking bars. However, I would not let the smoking issue be a deterrent to not cruising on this ship. The cruise line stopped at very interesting ports (which is why we booked this cruise with Costa) and offered a wide variety of excursions that we found a little pricey and somewhat crowded. We booked some shore excursions in advance through Costa and the rest privately. We booked private tours in Barcelona; Tenerife; Funchal, Portugal; and Rome. For those of you interested, I highly recommend Barcelona Day Tours in Barcelona http://www.barcelonadaytours.com/barcelona-city-tour.html; Carlos Miles in Tenerife carlos-miles@hotmail.com, who provided an excellent tour of the island; Daniel Madeira Taxis, Funchal, Tour of Western Island, www.danielmadeirataxis.com, an excellent tour and most reasonably priced at 140 euros for 4 and 160 euros for 6 for an 8-5 private tour; and Maurizio Nataloni, all day Tour of Rome info@touringinrome.com. You can share the cost of private tours with other passengers on your ship. There was never a problem bringing either food or alcohol back onto the ship after a tour. It went through x-ray and was not confiscated.Regarding the quality and quantity of food onboard the ship, we found the food in the Milano dining room good. However, we found the food in the Lido Mediterraneo only fair. The selection and quality of food stayed pretty much the same day-to-day and the deserts were few and of poor quality. The wait staff there appeared to be unhappy and seating was often difficult to find during sea days. In addition, as we had read, Europeans did push ahead of you in the line. After a day or so, we learned how to stand our ground in the lines. At lunchtime, they offered several buffets by the pool--a Beer Festival and a Seafood Festival, which were good but crowded. The hot chocolate at the Chocolate Bar Helsinki was to die for.So all in all, we found this cruise far better than we expected and we had an enjoyable time. Would I cruise on Costa again, maybe.However, if you are searching for a reasonably priced cruise that visits great ports, Costa is a good choice. Just know the facts before you book. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Hi there, I was assured by my local travel agent that because costa concordia have single cabins, they cater for people travelling on their own, this is so far from the truth. If you are travelling on your own, you will be treated as a ... Read More
Hi there, I was assured by my local travel agent that because costa concordia have single cabins, they cater for people travelling on their own, this is so far from the truth. If you are travelling on your own, you will be treated as a nuisance, put siting with couples, probably non-English speaking, not allowed to keep seats for others you meet along the way. I was constantly asked why did I not bring a friend and made feel that I was fairly stupid for travelling on my own, with costa, I found out that this was the truth. I spoke to the 'cruise director' who told me that he would meet me the next day and organise for others travelling on their own to meet (he told me that there was a French lady who was in the same situation), although he knew I was very upset he did not bother to meet me the next day, the customer service desk rang him, the phone was switched off, they refused to put a call out (I dont remember his name but he was half Italian and half English). I was quite upset as my holiday was being wasted and the English speaking rep, her name was Katie I believe refused to come and speak to me or be of any service. For the rest of the cruise the Director or the rep did not approach me. Surely the agent for Costa Cruises should not be encouraging people to travel on their own when they do not cater for people doing so. Fortunately, I met some lovely people after that whom I spent time with and they really made the cruise for me. They were all english speaking (none american by the way) and a lovely French lady who was travelling with her mother. We were really surprised by how rude the Italians were, they would knock past you in the corrider and not even say 'excuse me', I know that they even did this to elderly people, Costa Concordia is a really bad ambassador for Italians, it has really put me off going to visit Italy. There were so many obese young Italians on board, I have travelling quite a bit but never seen the like of it before, it really changed my mind about Italians but not in a positive way. The cabin girl was really lovely, her name was Theresa and she was a pet. It was very upsetting to hear had badly the staff were treated and paid and how hard they worked. Anyhow, I was very fortunate to meet lovely people on my trip so the second half of my holiday was very good but no thanks to Costa Concordia. Never again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We booked our cruise at the Cruise Show at Olympia direct through Costa Cruises. What attracted us most was the itinerary, going mostly to places we had not visited before. On paper, everything looked fine - but perhaps we should have read ... Read More
We booked our cruise at the Cruise Show at Olympia direct through Costa Cruises. What attracted us most was the itinerary, going mostly to places we had not visited before. On paper, everything looked fine - but perhaps we should have read some reviews first. We had some trepidation about getting to Savona, what with the Icelandic ash cloud and the BA cabin crew strikes, but in the event the flights were fine, as was the transfer from Genoa to Savona. The embarkation procedure was all a bit chaotic, with no clear instructions where to go or what to do, but with a bit of common sense we got through without undue delay. Once on the ship our cabin was easy to find. We booked the cheapest inside cabin and were pleasantly surprised at its size and how well appointed it was. No complaints there. We were soon greeted by our stewardess, who proved pleasant, helpful and efficient throughout. The ship is huge, and it takes a while to get used to the layout, and the fact that you frequently have to go up and down to progress along the public decks. Only on deck 5 can you walk from one end to the other without changing levels along the way. We embarked mid-afternoon, too late for lunch, so we headed for the poolside buffet on deck 9. We had a burger and salad, which was fine at that stage. In the evening we found our assigned seating in the restaurant and were met by very pleasant and helpful waiting staff. There was a reasonable choice of food and it was well presented and perfectly fine to eat. We were somewhat taken aback by the price charged for wine. 18 Euros plus 15% surcharge for a bottle of house wine seemed rather too much. But we were soon to learn that this over-pricing was common throughout the many bars on the ship. After dinner we went to see the show in the main theatre, and were really quite disappointed. This amounted to a one-man 40 minute cabaret act - not at all the sort of show we would expect on a ship of this size. Elsewhere on the ship there was dancing in the main ballroom area (though not quite Strictly Come Dancing), there was kids entertainment for adults on the lido deck and live music of one sort or another in each of the bars. This pattern of entertainment went on throughout the week, and remained somewhat of a disappointment. It says something when the best show of the week was that put on by the crew on our last night. Having been disparaging about the entertainment, perhaps we should balance it by saying that the predominantly Italian passengers seemed to rave about the shows and the multi-lingual announcers. Maybe the cultural differences are showing here. Having said it was the itinerary which attracted us to this cruise I will not attempt any critique of the ports of call - except to say that half a day is far too short a time to see even the essentials of Barcelona, and a full day in Marseilles is half a day too long. We did our own thing in each port, and at a fraction of the price of the Costa excursions. Coming back to the food on board, we tried breakfast both in the main restaurant and in the buffet restaurant. There was plenty of bread, cheese, cold meats and fruit, but anyone wanting a cooked breakfast was going to be disappointed by what was on offer. Lumpy scrambled egg, greasy bacon and mini sausages and hard boiled eggs were all that was on offer - not good at all. In the buffet restaurant there purported to be an egg station. You could get a fried egg as you wanted, but their omelettes bore little relationship to the real thing. The mixture they used was ready prepared and had every indication of having come out of a packet. Lunch in the buffet restaurant was a disaster. On an Italian ship you would expect to get decent pasta and pizzas, but the quality on offer here was abysmal - even Pizza Hut does better. There was not a great deal of variety in what else was on offer either. And as for desserts, you could have fresh fruit salad or pastries - and not even a decent ice cream. Dinner in the buffet (only tried once) was no better. Another problem in the buffet restaurant was the behaviour of many of the diners. There was little sense of order or queueing. Many just barged their way to the bit they wanted with no thought for those in line. To live in this melee you needed a sharp set of elbows! This sort of behaviour was also common elsewhere on the ship, for example at the customer service desk and the tours office, and we could not believe the pushing and shoving waiting to go into the Captain's cocktail party. Having said all this, we enjoyed our cruise. The ship itself, although huge, was comfortable and well appointed. One shortcoming was that although there was plenty of lounging space on deck, there was really nowhere in the open to sit and have a drink in the evening. We would have enjoyed it more if the daytime food had been better. One thing to bear in mind when booking one of these cruises is that this is essentially a bus route, with passengers embarking and disembarking at any port of call. This, allied to the fact that there is a new port of call each day, means that there is very limited shipboard activity during the day. It would seem that larger or family groups could get more out of the cruise than couples. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
This was our 11th cruise and 1st on Costa. We specifically picked Costa to cruise on for the cultural experience of cruising on a line where we knew we would be a minority. In contrast to many reviewers this did not turn out to be a ... Read More
This was our 11th cruise and 1st on Costa. We specifically picked Costa to cruise on for the cultural experience of cruising on a line where we knew we would be a minority. In contrast to many reviewers this did not turn out to be a negative aspect of the cruise for us.English was widely spoken by the staff, and being seated with other English speakers for dining was appreciated, and seeing entertainers try to cater to 5 different language groups at the same time was interesting. Cruise with an open mind, and this shouldn't be a reason to not cruise with Costa. Here's the thing-we enjoyed our cruise overall, especially the itinerary-6 ports, each unique and each accessible for "do it yourself" shore excursions, which we we prefer overall. But unfortunately there was no particular aspect of the Costa experience which would say "we have to cruise Costa again". Our balcony cabin was spacious and comfortable, except for the couch. Big deal though-who goes on a cruise to be impressed by the cabins. The food was below average overall. Although we have come to the general conclusion that the quality on each of the major lines we have been on (Princess, Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean) is fairly similar, almost every line has aspects of the food service that were above average. Not so on this cruise. The buffet restaurant was below average in selection and quality, and the main dining room was OK, but nothing remarkable.Strange indeed for an Italian cruise line. The pizza on our last Caribbean cruise was far superior to Costa's, which we found bizarre to say the least. We bought the X1 drinks package-unlimited house wine, mineral water and beer by the glass at mealtimes. We got our money's worth, because of their policy of allowing you to take your unfinished wine away from the table at dinner. However, you couldn't vary your selection (other than red, white or rose) so it got rather boring after a while. better perhaps to sail with a cruise line with a more liberal policy about bringing wine on board. The service was generally pretty good-the staff were friendly and helpful. But again, we have rarely had inferior service on a cruise line. We should give kudos to the front desk people though, who assisted us in dealing with an unfortunate incident involving a pickpocket in Barcelona. Entertainment was the standard cruise line mixed bag-some was worth seeing but there wasn't anything that in retrospect we would have been disappointed to have missed. We might cruise Costa again if the price and itinerary were exceptional, but given a similar itinerary and cost, I think we wouldn't rush back to Costa. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Background Information We were looking to Cruise on a relatively modest budget but didn't want bargain basement. Ship Info Modern and well laid out, Themes for the different public areas are distinctive and individual but flow ... Read More
Background Information We were looking to Cruise on a relatively modest budget but didn't want bargain basement. Ship Info Modern and well laid out, Themes for the different public areas are distinctive and individual but flow into each other well. Activities Would have liked to have seen more Dance classes and less Quizzes Service Attentive and Friendly, I saw none of the 'European distain' that has been described previously in fact just the opposite. Port & Shore Excursions Superb Intinery, the only excursion we used was the Coach transfer from the boat to the edge of the Port. The excursions did seem expensive. Travel To Port of Embarkation Airline - Easyjet. Not great but understandable given the price of the Fly and Cruise Cabin Brilliant. Plenty of space, clean and tidy. Dining From 6:30am - 1am You could eat! The Buffet area was less canteen than RCI and had a nice Art Deco feel. Plenty of food stations so you didn't have to fight for the right to eat. The MDRs were great for dinner with up to seven small and perfectly formed courses on offer giving you 'A little bit of what you fancy' in a very european way. If you want large portions and a blow out stick to the buffet. Breakfast and Lunch in the MDRs were also buffet but breakfast had limited service options like ommelettes. Entertainment Young and enthusiastic staff, sometimes introductions in five languages was galling, other times it was amusing, fun and added to the charm. Better than I was expecting Disembarkation Trouble Free and easy, unfortunately once we left the precious care of Costa Easyjet lost the pilot (yes, really) and we had to wait 5 hours for a crew to be despatched. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
I have been on several cruises in my life and this cruise line was THE WORST I HAVE EVER BEEN ON EVER! The embarkation was extremely chaotic and we had no idea what was going on because nobody spoke English. If you do speak english noone ... Read More
I have been on several cruises in my life and this cruise line was THE WORST I HAVE EVER BEEN ON EVER! The embarkation was extremely chaotic and we had no idea what was going on because nobody spoke English. If you do speak english noone wants to speak to you and will outrighly be rude to you, spit in your face, or ignore you. Our cabins were decent but our steward was not very friendly..even when we tipped him extra at the end of the trip. The food is horrible. Expect Europeans blowing smoke everywhere. My entire suitcase and clothing at the end of the trip reeked of smoke. They rarely cleaned the deck so I personally slipped 4 times and saw 20 people slip. There are inadequate warnings in place by the pool to indicate that the floor is slippery. If you are elderly, this is a walking death trap. Nobody ever lines up and expect people to push you out of the way or bite your hand off while trying to get food at the buffet. Serious....I know that everybody is hungry but people will literally push you out of the way to get a piece of salami. The workers seems completly worn out and I honestly feel bad for them because apparently the ship's tipping structure doesn't allow them to get much if at anything at all. Most are very nice and you can tell that they HATE their jobs. If you speak english expect almost all of your shore excusions to be cancelled. more than half of our excursions were cancelled because they didnt have enough english speakers. FRONT DESK (with a ship of over 3000 people), only have 3 people working at one time and when you get there, everybody refuses to help you. They are downright rude to you if you ask them anything. I think they have amnosity towards English speaking people because when I spoke to other Canadians and American on the cruise, they felt the same way. Here is what pushed me over the edge. Last day when we had to disembark, we didnt get our charge sheet till the morning. They overcharged us hundreds of dollars in those excusions that they cancelled. So we went to the very "helpful" ahem freaking CRAPPY front desk and they didnt want to help us. Then we went to the excusions desk and it was of course closed as it always is. we asked somebody where to get help because we had to get off the ship and she gave us a dirty look, ignored us, and said we had to wait at the excusions desk for the next 4 hours before it opens. Thanks for your help! We had to get off the ship in less than 1 hour. We finally had to flag down the cruise director "Stefania" to help is ater 2 hours of waiting. She wasn't rude and finally got someone to help us. The lady that came had the nerve to say, well good thing you came now because if you came for a refund in the next hour we can't give any of your money back. Isn't that stealing woman? If we didn't flag down the cruise director we wouldn't be able to get back our money that the ship intended to steal. Then she blamed it on us because we didnt check our charges the night before when they didnt even give us the charges till the morning of our disembarkation. When I got off the boat I was relieved to be away from the chaos. If you are paying for a relaxing trip in this tough economy, then pay for another cruise ship. DO NOT take this ship I warn you. Oh yah they didn't do any safety drills till the second last day of the cruise. It is not reassuring and if noone can help you with day to day matters and an emergency happens, expect chaos. DON'T TAKE THIS CRUISE! Positives: The ports visited were beautiful and the shore excusions that didn't get cancelled were wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Cruise : Costa Concordia, Western Mediterranean , Barcelona -> Barcelona, May 1- 8 2009. This is the first cruise for me and the second one for my boyfriend. Overall, the whole trip is wonderful. Barcelona We arrived in ... Read More
Cruise : Costa Concordia, Western Mediterranean , Barcelona -> Barcelona, May 1- 8 2009. This is the first cruise for me and the second one for my boyfriend. Overall, the whole trip is wonderful. Barcelona We arrived in Barcelona 2 days before the cruise. Stayed in HCC MONTBLANC right in the city center. The room is on the top floor with a city-view balcony, good size and facility. We took hop-on & hop-off bus to see the city. Also tried some delicious tapas. This is a modern city with lots of things to see & do.   EmbarkationWe took a taxi (20euro) from hotel to the port around 3pm. There was no long line and we checked into the cabin quickly. Cabin We booked the cheapest inside stateroom through internet agency (to be assigned) and got upgraded to ocean-view stateroom. It is big ( more than 20m2  ) with 2 windows and comfortable. Cabin steward cleaned room twice a day. Overall this is a good cabin though some nights there was noise around. Food The food at buffet was average. Not many choices / varieties.   About the main dining restaurant, the waiters and waitresses provided very good service though food was not great in general (better than buffet). Here is some food we liked: fruit & vegetable cold soup, seafood salad, orange duck, octopus, paella and ice cream at main restaurant.   Other facilities Went to some shows and they were enjoyable. My boyfriend tried the Formula One racing simulator and liked it. There is a library with books in various languages and I borrowed an interesting book. Internet cafe was extremely slow and expensive.   Movies in cinema are only in Italian according to front desk. Didn't use the pools (small) / spa / bars / casino / shops etc. Passenger There might be about 3000 passengers, many are Italians. Others including French, German, Spanish, English-speaking people.   Ports We went to some excursions organized by Costa ( Marseilles / Avignon, Naples / Pompeii, Tunis) and they were good. And we visited Savona, Palermo and Palma de Mallorca on our own and that was also great experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Here is info about our recent trip departing 1 May on the Costa Concordia, western Mediterranean leaving out of Barcelona, with my hubby, son (21) and daughter (20). All in all, the ship was wonderful, the service was excellent, and it was ... Read More
Here is info about our recent trip departing 1 May on the Costa Concordia, western Mediterranean leaving out of Barcelona, with my hubby, son (21) and daughter (20). All in all, the ship was wonderful, the service was excellent, and it was a really fun itinerary. Being an English-only speaker was not really a big deal in most situations. On the negative side, the regular restaurant/buffet food was not very good, and you need to be pretty self-sufficient (or take the cruiseline tours) in order to get the most out of the portsHOTELS IN BARCELONA BEFORE AND AFTER CRUISE The night before the cruise, we stayed at the Eurostars Gran Marina. It was a 20 Euro cab ride from the airport (two to three people in a cab if you have any kind of luggage, more than that and you need two cabs). On Priceline we paid $159 per night. What a great hotel!! All of the staff was incredibly helpful and nice. The rooms were very large and comfortable, there was (wired) internet access (although for 27 Euros per day!!). Amazing toiletries, nice robes. The rooms had the best showers ever including several horizontal jets on the walls—my kids wanted to take 10 showers the one night we were there. We had a great dinner in the hotel restaurant that night. The hotel is right on the water in a pretty plaza. The next morning, we walked ten minutes up to the foot of La Rambla and strolled down that amazing street. We found a sidewalk cafe there and had lunch. It was a Saturday, so people were everywhere, which was fun. After lunch we went back to the hotel, collected our luggage, and the hotel shuttle bus took us to the cruiseship for 25 euro for all four of us, it was a quick and easy ride. For a post-cruise hotel, we'd had a hard time finding any reasonable rate because of a Formula 1 race in town that weekend, so we had our travel agent book through Costa their standard post-cruise hotel for us, Hotel Tryp Apolo for $139 per night. Note that the hotel rooms slept only two people each. There is so much to do in Barcleona. We also went to Tablao de Cordobes, a flamenco dinner show that was really enjoyable.EMBARKATION This goes very smoothly, because passengers get on and off at each port, so there are not the crowds you see on ships where everyone gets on and off at the same place. I think about 1000 of the 3000 passengers got on/off in Barcelona. When we arrived for embarkation at 2:30 there were no lines, we quickly checked in at the desk, went right onto on the boat, and went to our rooms, where our key cards were waiting for us on our beds. There was a fruit basket for those in the suites (replenished every day) and on embarkation day there was also a plate of canapes (toast with salami, prosciutto, caviar) and a bottle of sparkling wine. On the gala nights there were two small chocolates as well. Before the cruise I had gone online and pre-ordered some things to be delivered to the cabin on the first day, but they never came. I didn't have a copy of my receipt with me, so I never went down to ask about itENGLISH SPEAKERS On our cruise of over 3000 people there were 10% English speakers. The biggest group of course were the Italians (35%), then the next largest group were French, then German. Of the English speakers many were British and Australian. It was not difficult to get around and get along on the ship as an English-speaker. In the restaurant we think they put the English speakers together in one section perhaps using their best English-speaking waiters. As suite occupants supposedly we were supposed to get a 'premier' table (which on other lines has meant 'waterview') but here we had no view and had a pretty bad table smack in the middle of the dining room—the tables were all close together, we had waiters crashing into our chairs constantly, and we were so close to the next table that my daughter couldn't pull her chair out or she hit the lady behind her. All announcements are done in multiple languages including English when relevant. This had a downside—for example the 'get ready for the fire drill' announcement that loudly blasted into our cabins lasted about half an hour. My kids in particular were annoyed by the quantity and length of the announcements, particularly the ones made in the morning (when they were trying to sleep). In fact my son said he would likely not want to go on Costa again because of this (he is 21 and likes to stay out late then sleep late on vacation). We picked this cruise over others primarily because it is a European ship, and my kids wanted a non-American experience. I personally am glad we did, even if it did make some things more difficult. We enjoyed getting to know different people, and also seeing cultural differences. For example many times we started to get annoyed when people didn't seem to have the same respect for 'personal space' that we do. Also people apparently don't have the same kind of 'line rules' that we do—e.g. people at the front of the bus or plane get off first, row by row. Here, we had people from the back mowing us down on buses, planes, elevators. People also cut ahead in lines all the time—at the buffet, at the line for the bus or taxi, to get into an elevator.... We told ourselves that this likely wasn't considered rude in many cultures as it is in ours. We also wondered what things we were doing that the Italians/others were likely considering rudeCABIN (SUITES) The suites were really nice, comfortable, and big enough. We had two—one for the kids and one for us. Each had two large closets with hangers, one 4-drawer dresser, and lots of storage space. The bed was two twins pulled together, very comfortable, and there was a pillow menu so that you could order your favorite. There is a small couch with storage drawers underneath, and a desk with a small minibar (with obscenely expensive drinks). There are bathrobes for use on the ship. The bathrooms are of a good size, with a separate 'changing room" (with a mirror and vanity) and then the bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub and two sinks. The cabin is replenished with ice and cold water a couple of times a day. The balconies were ok, two comfortable chairs. I'd recommend trying to get a port side cabin though—we were on the other side and overall didn't have as nice views throughout the cruiseBesides the cabin steward, the suites have a 'butler' which is basically a concierge to help with whatever you need. For example our butler arranged our tour tickets and dinner-club reservation. It is not the same however as the RCL concierge, who really has knowledge of the ports and can help you with figuring out what to do with your day. Our butler said she didn't know anything about any of the ports. She was otherwise incredibly helpful and attentive, as was our cabin steward The interactive part of our TV was broken so we couldn't order tours or watch pay movies. It took three days to get fixed, our butler kept asking for someone to come up but apparently they were busy or forgot or something. It worked two days then broke again and we didn't bother asking again Note that there is not the same 'tipping' scenario as on US ships. Instead of the self-tipping system where you fill your own 'envelopes' for your servers, on Costa (likely throughout Europe?) they automatically add a per-person service charge onto your bill of about 7 euro per day per person. INTERNET/WIRELESS DEVICES There is no wireless internet anywhere. Very odd for a newly built ship. A lot of the time our phones and blackberries didn't have service either, especially when we were at sea. There is an internet cafe where you can get fee-based internet through the Costa computers. First of all, it is one euro for every two minutes. Second, it is VERY slow. It usually took six to eight minutes (3-4 Euro) just to load my AOL mail, then a long time to read anything. I wonder if this is because most Europeans unlike Americans truly don't work during their vacations so there is not the demand for internet service on Costa...THE SHOWS, THE POOLS, ETC The shows were ok—my kids said they were 'lame'. The casino was not as small as I thought it would be, and my kids ended up winning a couple hundred each so they were happy. The pools were nice and the retractable roofs were a good feature. I didn't use the spa. There were a lot of bars but sometimes they got too smoky for us to tolerate. The disco didn't open until midnight. There were a couple of shops—typical cruise stuff. On TV there was BBC, that's about it. Also a few pay-for-view movies in English. The ship provides an 'international news" handout each day in English, which was nice THE FOOD The food in the main restaurants was not good. The sauces were thick and bland, the meats were tough and not seasoned. The soups were watery and tasteless. The desserts were not that great either. Here are some things we had that were pretty awful: From the "Always Available Every Night" Menu: Chicken Milanese (dried out), Grilled Veal (tough, bland), Braised beef (tough) Any kind of pasta with cream sauce: Pasta is mushy, cream sauce is like wallpaper paste. Broccoli soup Here are some things that were good: Lamb chop, beef filet, duck l'orange, and pasta with pesto (all on gala nights), Spaghetti with garlic/oil/chili as a pasta course one night; roast chicken and paella on the lunch buffetWe tried once to eat breakfast at the buffet and that was very, very bad. Even the pastries were not good.  The waffles made a noise on the plate when you dropped them they were so hard and cold.  I found grapes and apples on the buffet and an Italian lady nearly tackled me to ask me where I had found them. We had breakfast once in the main dining room and it was pretty much the same as the buffet except there were eggs-to-order. Our waiter that day didn't speak English and when I ordered two eggs I received two orders of two eggs each. Also, they seated you as you came in, so we ended up being seated with a French couple who spoke no English, and we spoke no French. We tried for a bit to communicate but it was rather uncomfortable, just a lot of smiling at each other. Because we had suites, we received one dinner each for free in the "Club Concordia" restaurant. That food was all excellent, and the service was amazing. We all had beef or veal, tender and tasty, not at all like that served in the main dining room. For dessert we had sherbet, which the waiter made at our table by mixing peach juice with liquid nitrogen creating a Harry Potter-like cauldron of smoke, and then voila, peach sherbet. Also keep in mind that there are lots of 'extra charge' items. For example on Gala Night they came around to our dinner tables offering after-dinner aperitifs. We went to take one from the tray, then we saw the sign saying they were 4.5 Euros eachWe ate lunch when possible in the ports There is a 'Chocolate Bar' which offers European-style hot chocolate, very thick and delicious. That Bar also a chocolate fountain which puts off quite an aroma every time you walk through that room on the way to the casinoDRINKS We don't drink much alcohol so we bought a boys and girls club card for sodas, which gave you 20 sodas for about $3 each. What a bargain. Just two sodas each at dinner cost us $24 for the four of us. Alcoholic drinks were about $10 each. We bought some bottles of Limoncello in the ports as souvenirs—the first time they didn't even say anything as we took it board ship, the second time they asked us how many days we had left before getting off and when we told them three, they let us take the liquor to our cabins with us. PORTS Costa does not provide the hand-holding about ports that other lines we've been on do. You are pretty much on your own particularly if you are English-speaking-only. I HIGHLY recommend that you do your homework before you leave, printing out maps, etc. I had printed out all the port guides from CruiseCritic.com before we left, and that saved us. Otherwise we would have had practically no information. There is an English-speaking host that can help, but he has 'office hours' one hour a day. We tried to find him at office hours twice but couldn't, he was probably attending to others or with late-arriving tour groups. Many of the ports we arrived in were not within close walking distance of anything. MARSEILLES The ship docks quite far from anything. In order to get to the "old port" you pre-buy a ticket from Costa for their bus which is 7 Euro round trip, leaving every 15 minutes back and forth. It is extremely convenient. At the old port there are lots of restaurants and shopping, and you can easily find your own tours there. There was a cute little trolley tour right where the Costa bus dropped us off. We didn't take any tours but rather sat in a sidewalk cafe and ate delicious mussels and profiteroles. We also found Galleries Lafayette (department store) about three blocks from where the bus dropped us, and since it was Saturday there were some local farmers markets as well as a craft market that we found as we were wandering aroundSAVONA - GENOA (GENOVA in Italian) There is really nothing much in Savona. I have no idea why the boat docks there rather than Genoa. A cab driver said it had something to do with a dispute between the city of Genoa and Carnival (owner of Costa). So most tours involved a one-hour trip to Genoa. We decided to try our own trip. We wanted to try a restaurant in Genoa we'd seen on CruiseCritic.com, Zeffirinos. It was the best part of the entire cruise. The French-speaking host helped us figure out how to get there (when we couldn't find the English one): We took a cab from the ship to the train station in Savona which cost 15 Euro flat fee. There, we found the train to Genova that stopped at Genova Plaza Principe (there are about 9 train stations in Genova so be careful). It cost 3.3 Euros each for a one-way train ticket, which you buy in the little store at the entrance of the station. It takes between 30-60 minutes depending on whether you get a local or express train. At the Genova Plaza Principe train station, we took a cab to Zeffirinos (at Via XX Settembre, 20) which cost 10 Euro. It is famous so all cab drivers know it. I have eaten in a lot of restaurants including many in Italy, but this was one of the very best meals I have ever had in my life. The owner invented a dish for Frank Sinatra (also served it to a couple of popes) which has been called "summer on a plate" on one of the other CruiseCritic.com reviews—vegetable-filled ravioli with a creamy pesto. It was so delicious I cant even describe it, but my son said that it did in fact taste like summer on a plate Anything with basil sauce there was amazing, and the homemade pasta was out of this world. We had an amazing dessert, the house special, I don't even know how to describe it, some sort of creamy stuff between pastry: At the end, they brought out some sort of grappa machine, which we of course had to partake of: Sr. Zeffirino came out several times to talk with us, he took photos with us, and he showed us the photos of him with the popes... There is apparently a branch of this restaurant in Las Vegas—if it is even half as good as this one in Genova it would still be outstandingAfter that we didn't want to try to catch a cab to the train to another cab to the ship. We were pretty sure that if we tried that, after everything we had eaten and drunk, we would get lost and miss the ship and end up in Italy forever. (Costa took our passports away from us on the first day as we got on the ship) So we just had a cab take us all the way back to Savona. The driver was hysterical, he was telling us in his half-English and our practically-no-Italian that he loves America because of Miami Vice and Baywatch, even though he thinks George Bush is an ***. The trip cost 100 euros but was worth it because we didn't know how hard it would be to find cabs at the train station back to the ship... Also trains are sometimes delayed... We rationalized that split amongst the four of us it wasn't that bad!NAPLES(NAPOLI) We did not go into the town of Naples. Instead we went on Costa's Pompeii-Sorrento tour. After disembarking, our tour group boarded a bus to the Naples train station, where we got on a very nice train that was just for this excursion. There were 30 of us on the tour and 100 seats on the train, so it was very comfortable. The ride was nice and we saw some of the coast. After arriving at Pompeii, we spent a lot of time at the ruins. In my family's view, too much time. Although there was a lot to see, we only saw part of it, but since the tour was both in French and English, so it pretty much took twice as long to see anything—a lot of standing around. Also, the devices used to hear the tourguide were not that great—many of them had their batteries run out during the tour and at that point there were no extras available. Pompeii was truly amazing though, and we were glad we went. After tramping around Pompeii, back on the 'private' train farther along to the town of Sorrento. This seemed to be a wonderful little town, but unfortunately there was not close to enough time here, about 40 minutes including time to walk back and forth to the train station. We trekked with the group down two streets to a shop where they gave us shots of Limoncello, then we had 15 minutes in which to both shop and make the 8-minute dash back to the train station. We really, really wished we had just gone to Sorrento on our own and spent the whole day there. There were lovely little shops and sidewalk cafes, little tour buses, etc. PALERMO We did not receive any map for this portthey told us they had run out. In looking out at the city from our balcony, it seemed that there was nothing interesting in view, just commercial buildings. So we went to the tour office and they told us they ran out of maps but to get one from the Tourist office in the city. So then here is how the rest of that conversation went: Me: I don't have a map so I don't know where the Tourist Office is? Costa Guy: I don't know either, somewhere by the Cathedral. Me: I don't have a map, so I don't know where the Cathedral is? Costa Guy: I don't really know either. So off we went anyway. After getting off the ship and crossing the street, there is a small circular information kiosk with a guy giving out maps. We asked him for directions to a particular restaurant that we had found on the internet, and he told us where to go. Unfortunately he gave us directions to the wrong place, on a very sketchy street. We had to turn around and start over. We finally found the restaurant, Trattoria Biondo, Via Carducci 15 which was actually only a few blocks from the port. Here is how you get to it: Go up the main street from the port, Via Enrico Amari. When you get to Via Della Liberta (by the huge Teatro Politicama Garibaldi) turn right. Go one more block to Via Carducci and turn left, it will be on your right hand side. We went there looking for pizza (it said "Pizzeria" on the internet site where we read about it) but alas no pizza. We did have an amazing meal though. Starting out with Parma ham/fresh mozzarella, then on to Gnocchi Sorrentino (red sauce), then followed by beef fillets in truffle sauce, then a great cheesecake and 7-layer chocolate thingy. Delicious! The hosts were awesome too, and when we left they gave us a gift of a really beautiful huge ceramic platter painted with the cathedral and with "Trattoria Biondo" and their address. That just made our whole trip to Sicily something we will never forget. If you go to Palermo, definitely go to Trattoria Biondo, it is easy to get to from the ship (maybe a 10 minute walk), and we didn't see many other restaurants as we were walking in the city... It is very easy to shop in port—along the Via Enrico Amari which is the road leading from the boat there is a great ceramics store, Tre Erre Ceramiche (at #49, about two blocks on the right hand side)... they will wrap your items beautifully with their logo-d giftwrap and ribbon, enclosing a brochure. There are also places along that street for buying limoncello, gelato and pastries (don't forget to try a cannoli here—there is a very nice pastry/gelato shop/winebar, Bristol on the lefthand side one block from the port at Via Enrico Amari #28... When you go in, go to the cash register first and tell them what you want, pay, get a ticket, then go over to the ice cream/pastry counter with your ticket), souvenirs, etc. Also a Polo store. If you want to do some girly shopping (Louis Vuitton, Zara, Frette) those shops are all along Via Della Liberty. But beware! The retail stores are generally closed between 1pm and 4pm, so plan accordinglyTUNIS Advice for this port: book a cruiseline tour rather than doing it on your own. If you decide to go it yourself, when you arrive at the port city of La Goullette, you will need to get a taxi, and the taxis insist on taking four people. People who did this on our trip reported they couldn't find a taxi for less than 20 Euro each, which included the return trip. The problem however is that the very pushy, aggressive taxi drivers then take you to their "favorite" shops. An Australian honeymooning couple who did this reported that the shopowner their taxi took them to exerted so much pressure that they felt personally unsafe, and they bought something only because they were really afraid at that point not to. The shopowner grabbed their arms and tried to take them to the bank machine when they reported they didn't have enough euros to buy all of the things that the shopowner had helpfully loaded into a 'thinking bag' for them as they walked through the shop. At another place, as they were walking along the Australian husband was offered 200 camels in exchange for his pretty bride. He wasn't quite sure whether this was serious, but he thought it might have been. Our family took the combined "Medina/Souks/Carthage" tour which was generally great. After getting off the bus in the Medina, we saw some of the government buildings, then walked through and saw some of the buildings in the souk. We then were taken by the tourguide to the obligatory "tour-recommended" shops—one was a cooperative and the other a rug store. The cooperative the guide took us to had prices three times higher than other places in the souk, and the rug place was a timeshare-like sales job disguised as an educational experience which was a waste of 20 minutes. I don't think anyone in our group bought a rug which seemed to upset the shopowner. After that we had 30 minutes free time in one of the main souks - it was not as bad as we had thought after reading blogs, much less pressure etc than for example Haiti or Jamaica. We bought a few things—some saffron, a pashmina scarf, some ceramic bowls... If you are looking for a very small inexpensive rug, for example to hang on the wall, we saw a Japanese couple bargain to get four 18 inch x 18 inch rugs, for 25 euro for all four. I'm sure they weren't great quality, but they were a nice souvenir. The Carthage part of the tour was good—a lot of getting in and out of the bus to look at different sites for short amounts of time, which was great with us. We saw aqueducts, a ruin of one of the largest baths in the world, a lovely garden, and the place where royal families sacrificed their firstborn sons to appease the gods in times of trouble. Note that there is a really amazing dutyfree store in the cruise terminal when you are coming back to the ship—with not just the typical dutyfree stuff but also the souvenir-type stuff that you saw in the souk. For example I had been so proud of myself for bargaining the price of a big jar of saffron down to 5 Euros in the souk, after I'd seen it earlier in the 'cooperative' tourguide store for 15 Euros. But then in the cruise terminal store that same jar was 4 Euro, no bargaining required...MALLORCA A lovely port! The ship had run out of maps for this port, and thank goodness we'd printed out port info from CruiseCritic.com for guidance because we wouldn't have known where to go. There were a lot of taxis at the port, but people just really seem to have a hard time in Europe with the concept of waiting your turn in line. After about 10 people cut in front of us in the cab line, we finally got a cab to the Cathedral (10 Euro) and then went for tapas at Taberna de La Bodega for lunch (open until 4pm and then reopening for dinner at 8pm). Then we went shopping on the main street, including El Corte Ingles (large department store) and Majorica (the simulated pearls for which Mallorca is famous). From that part of town it was about a 40-minute walk back to the ship, and about halfway back is a new Hard Rock Cafe. We couldn't stand it anymore, we were dying for a burger, so we stopped there for dinner. Yum. DISEMBARKATION We were kicked out of our cabin at 8am which was slightly annoying because we couldn't pick up our passports in order to disembark until 9:45am. I understand they have to clean up and turn around the ship by 1pm for the next crowd though, but I have never been made to wait elsewhere for that long on other ships, particularly when in a suite. We were assigned to the "VIP area" for disembarking rather than the larger theater, but this was so crowded there was not enough seating for everyone and it was very uncomfortable. The luggage pickup was easy, and it was easy to get a cab at the port Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Costa Concordia 03/05/09 Ship: This ship is in excellent ship. A+++. A clean, up to date, and mostly beautiful ship. You will find lots of room to roam, very comfortable cabins, plenty to eat and lots of entertainment. One ... Read More
Costa Concordia 03/05/09 Ship: This ship is in excellent ship. A+++. A clean, up to date, and mostly beautiful ship. You will find lots of room to roam, very comfortable cabins, plenty to eat and lots of entertainment. One large downside. There is NO wireless or wired internet in the cabins or in the public areas with the exception of the internet cafe. I ask how does a ship built in 2006 not have wireless internet or wired internet, what were they thinking?? Food: The food was very good in the main dining room. Lots of choices, great service and nice ambiance. Lido Deck food: Not so great, your average Carnival / Royal Caribbean fair. I suggest sticking to the main dining room for your meals. Room service, not many selections. They now charge a fee to deliver food to your cabin, be ware, this is just plain cheesy. Soda Card: very expensive for soda, however you're almost forced to have it because you only get water, some juices otherwise and they are not that good. Casino: Ouch, be careful, my luck was on vacation in this casino. Play small and leave when the cards turn, they don't come back. Entertainment: Wow, what a laser light show, don't miss it. Otherwise your average dancing shows. Ports: Great, Costa offers this Med cruise which touches Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, and Egypt. great ports! Value: About pat for what you expect, not great not bad. Don't listen to the people that complain about this company, it's the same as all the others. If you want luxury, you need to go upscale. Crew: very nice, because they have to be nice. With that said our room was cleaned well everyday and we always have what we needed. Languages: This is funny, they speak Italian, German, English, and Spanish, so during the entertainment and announcements, you get it in all the languages. the comic acts do they jokes four times, very funny and somewhat odd at the same time. Things to know if this is your first time doing an overseas cruise: You need to get Euros for your dollars, don't wait till you get to Italy to change currency, especially as the airport, do it in the states at a bank, you will get a better rate, remember it takes $1.25 to buy 1.00 Euro right now, which adds up. DO NOT fly Alitalia for any reason, this was the worst flight I have been on in some time. The airplane was dirty, my seat cover was ripped and I was sitting on foam the entire flight and it was generally very grimy. There is a huge lack of maintenance. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Costa Concordia Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 3.0 3.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.3
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 5.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.6
Enrichment 1.0 3.1
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.3

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