Just off the Costa Deliziosa 24 day transatlantic from Venice (Trieste) to Port Everglades.
Problems with embarkation: Arrived at the port from our Venice hotel via private water taxi. Ship was nowhere in sight! Was greeted by port ... Read More
Just off the Costa Deliziosa 24 day transatlantic from Venice (Trieste) to Port Everglades.
Problems with embarkation: Arrived at the port from our Venice hotel via private water taxi. Ship was nowhere in sight! Was greeted by port personnel and told that due to heavy fog, we would need to be bussed to Trieste to begin our cruise. Was told that passengers were emailed/texted by Costa advising of this change. From what we could surmise, some Europeans were notified, but not all passengers. (Un)Fair enough-but where are the porters to assist with luggage? Was advised by the port staff there were none, (also told all the staff at the port were port employees and not Costa employees). So we had to carry/drag all our luggage about 1/3 mile through gravel, mud and broken concrete parking lots to another port building where Costa had quickly set up and were loading people on buses for the trip to Trieste. Not a good start to this cruise, and unfortunately a harbinger of things to come.
Arrived at the Trieste ship port about 2 hours later. Went through the check in process. Advised that we needed to complete a separate, compulsory health questionnaire even though the Costa boarding pass had health questions included. Fine, we’ll need 2 in English. They didn’t have any in English. Was told we needed to complete them nonetheless to board ship. Fine, asked if there was someone who could translate a non-English form for us to complete and sign. Staff was finally found to do this and we proceeded to board the ship. Didn’t feel very welcoming.
Frankly, we thought that many parts of the ship were very attractive. Overdone in some parts, but on the whole very attractive public areas.
Proceeded to our Panorama Suite on the 7th floor. Nice, but certainly not extravagantly decorated like the rest of the ship. Actually kind of drab, as were the hallways leading up to it. The wrap-around deck was great, although the patio furniture had seen better days. Bathroom included little bottles of shampoo and conditioner, but no lotion. Really Costa, not even for suites? Costa room cards and other materials on the bed waiting for our arrival. One problem: On the backside of card was “Water Plan USA” and no mention of the Intenditore Drink Package which is now included with all suites. No problem, or so I thought, as I had read on Cruise Critic that Customer/Hospitality Service Desk would issue new cards with the correct information on them. Luggage arrived and we were unpacked before the Muster drill.
Attended Muster drill. During the drill, a couple of rows away an elderly gentleman collapsed, and was helped to stand again by guests around him. Staff was numb to requests for assistance and required many repeated requests to assist this poor fellow.
After Muster drill, went to Customer/Hospitality desk to straighten out drink package issue. This is where Costa really showed their true incompetence. We were told by the Guest Services Manager that they would need to get approval from Costa head office to approve our drink packages and reissue our cards. (Now this has been a perk of suites on this very ship since June 4, 2016). We were told that if we had booked this cruise too early that the drink package may not be included since the cruise prices had increased as a result of the new perk. We asked to see where this was in writing, and no one could show us. We had booked and paid for a PS, and this was definitely a perk for this suite. (The only exception was it was not included on World Cruises, which this was not). We immediately went and emailed our travel agent, who could not believe that Costa would try and do something like this. He contacted his Costa rep, who agreed it was indeed a benefit of our suite. The rep emailed Costa headquarters, who in turn emailed the ship. 3 days into the cruise, we were finally issued new cards with the drink package included. There was absolutely no reason for this, and not in line with Costa’s own description of treating suite guests as “most valued” passengers.
Now on to meals: As PS suite guests, we were to be able to have all three meals a day in the Club Deliziosa. After speaking to the Food and Beverage Director, we were advised that on this crossing, there were close to 400 guests assigned to this restaurant since along with suite guests, Diamond Pearl passengers were also extended this benefit. This perk was so overwhelmed with passengers, that it was a horrible and stressful experience. Since tables were not assigned, guests would line up an hour or more prior to seating times to ensure a spot in the restaurant. The Maître d’ Rudy had absolutely no control over the situation, and in fact held tables for certain guests, (including having drinks sent to tables before anyone was even sitting at them), all the while telling guests that all tables were first-come first-serve. Again, another fail by Costa-certainly does not make suite guests feel special having to line up for an hour to get a table at a supposedly “special” restaurant.
On the first morning of the cruise, upon awaking we found the room extremely chilly. Checked the heat setting which was set all the way to warm. Simultaneously discovered the bathroom had no hot water. Tried to call the butler, but, after waiting on hold for several minutes were told she would have to call us back. We explained the situation to the receptionist on the phone, then decided to leave the room to get coffee and warm up. Encountered the butler in the hallway, who was carrying a tray with hot water for us for our room. This was the first of many miscommunications between us, receptionist staff and Hospitality desk. Very, very frustrating when someone nods in agreement only to discover later they had no idea what you were saying.
The saga of the room temperature would arise again mid-cruise. We complained for 3 days and had repeated visits from the ship’s engineering staff to correct our ineffective air conditioning issues. The final solution: Our room was either hot or cold from this point onward. We needed to keep all the heavy curtains closed until at least 12:30 or 1:00 PM daily or the HVAC could not keep the room cool. Not the reason we booked a PS, to be kept in the dark for half a day for the entire cruise.
Back to the Butler as a perk for Suites: Ours advised us that she had 19 suites to look after! How can one person do quality service for that many rooms? Answer is they cannot! Sounds good on brochures, but in reality it’s all lip service with no substance. Once again Costa failed to deliver as promised.
Room attendants have 23-25 rooms to service twice daily. We’ve never been on a cruise where you see them working all day long, and then into the evening. Overworked is an understatement. It is actually very depressing to see them working so hard for so long day in and day out. Not an uplifting, holiday environment. Another fail for Costa.
The waiters in the Albatross restaurant have 35 passengers to serve, with no assistants like many other cruise lines have. This means overworked and exhausted wait staff. This is one of the reasons that only beer and wine are served with meals-staff have no time to get drinks. Lack of individual service, Costa once again fails to deliver.
Food was anywhere from average to poor. Many, many items sounded good on the menu but the execution failed miserably more times than not. Have never seen such an obscure list of ingredients on any menu. Pastas generally good, but after 24 days….. Costa fails again.
Daily service charge/tipping: Inquired at the Guest Services/Hospitality desk about the breakdown of our 10,00 Euros/day/per passenger hotel charge. (All cruise lines list this, X amount to room attendants, X amount to waiters, etc.). Surprisingly, was advised that this was a service charge and not a tip by the Costa staff. Really? If so, big, big fail for Costa.
Last, but certainly not least was debarkation. Began inquiring about this a week before we were to leave the ship. We had an early flight and wanted to know how the Priority debarking was to happen for the suite guests when we were told the meeting point was usually the Club Deliziosa. Alarm: approximately 400 guests (Suite and Diamond Pearl) are not going to fit into a 150 seat Club restaurant. What amazed us is that they weren’t sure how they would do this and would know only the day before. When reminded that this was not the first transatlantic cruise to the US after a European run with that many “Priority” guests, we were met with blank stares and assurances that they would know the day before debarkation. It was as if they had to approach each problem as if it were new and weren’t able to build on past experiences. Sadly, the last day was a fiasco, as expected. We had to carry off our own suitcases without staff assistance contrary to what was promised by the Senior Cruise Specialist, and the Guest Relations Manager in the days prior. Again, big fail for Costa.
This cruise was a big eye-opened for us! Costa has changed dramatically since the Carnival Corp takeover, and not for the better! This is not an Italian Cruise Line experience vs. an American Cruise Line experience difference that everyone warns about. Their cost-cutting measures have reduced this cruise line to the equivalent of Ryanair of the Seas! Customer service is non-existent. There is no access to any supervisory personnel. No one is willing or truly able to correct any real customer issues. There is no follow through by ship personnel to solve any passenger complaints. No direct phone numbers to any Specialty Restaurants or Spa. Butlers are unreachable, and when available-useless, (at least ours was). Overworked waiters and room attendants. Food beyond horrible. Pasta dishes were good, but after 24 days more than boring. Suite accommodations mediocre to say the least.
Sad, since we had cruised with Costa several years ago, and enjoyed that cruise immensely. Quite different now with Carnival at the helm. Big changes and not for the better.
The lack of pride and effort to provide a quality customer experience should relegate Costa below the radar of any serious cruiser. It certainly has for us. Read Less