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31 Costa Deliziosa Cruise Reviews

I am a first time cruiser and chose the Costa Deliziosa "Jewels of the Emirates" cruise round Dubai as this is somewhere I had always wanted to visit and the cruise seemed to have everything I was after. Myself and my partner ... Read More
I am a first time cruiser and chose the Costa Deliziosa "Jewels of the Emirates" cruise round Dubai as this is somewhere I had always wanted to visit and the cruise seemed to have everything I was after. Myself and my partner chose to pay for the J2 package before we left out. We could take any drink we liked from the minibar excluding super alcoholics (not sure what they were actually - but we took cans of beer, bottles of Prosecco, water and soft drinks)and these were all included in the J2 package. It was nice to be able to raid the minibar as in hotels we always have to stay well away!!! It was great not having to think about how much each round was costing when we went out in the evening - as the drinks were all included (provided they were under 6.99 euros - but most things - glasses of wine, bottles of beer, pints of beer, cocktails - were under this price). We spent £450 for 2 people on this package and would have spent well over £600 if we had paid for each drink separately - so this was well worth it. We often stayed out until 12 - 1am and had a few drinks in the day - so if this sounds like you, I would recommend this drinks package. The ship was sparkling clean and the cabin stewards never seem to stop working. All the bar staff were polite and helpful and I did not come across one grumpy member of staff in the whole of my stay. We had a balcony cabin which was lovely. To be able to sit on the balcony and just watch the world going by was amazing. I thought the entertainment team were great - yes they try to get you up on the dance floor to play games etc., but that is their job and there are plenty of other bars to go to if this is not your thing. The swimming pools are a bit small however I have never seen a picture of a decent sized swimming pool on a cruise ship - so this did not surprise me one bit. The food in Restaurant Albatross was amazing. We missed the first couple of nights and ate in the buffet - but after eating in the restaurant once - we never went back to the buffet for dinner - the food was just gorgeous. Buffet however is fine for dinner and late night munchies!! Embarkation was quick and simple. We could embark any time from 3pm but visited Dubai in the afternoon so got to the ship around 5pm. We went through all the formalities and then just walked straight on - no queues!! Disembarkation was the same - we left our cabin at 6.40am, collected our passports and disembarked and were on our transfer coach by 7am. I honestly cannot fault one thing about this cruise. I would not choose to go back to Fujairah or Abu Dhabi which were two places on our itinerary - however this is nothing to do with the cruise itself - and would have no qualms about choosing Costa again. PS - Hi to Susan, Paul and Jack in Holland if you read this!!!!!!!!! Port 1 - Muscat (Oman) Rating - 5+ The first port we visited after setting sail was Muscat (Oman). The cruise ship provided a shuttle bus to the edge of the port and when we left that we walked the short distance to the nearby souk. This was amazing! Rows and rows of stalls/shops selling typical middle eastern souvenirs and the people are all so friendly! We spent a happy few hours wandering around until our feet started to hurt(!) - so then walked back to the shuttle. I would definitely recommend visiting here for presents and souvenirs!! Port 2 - Fujairah Rating - 1 Second port of call was Fujairah (UAE). Very disappointed with this. We paid 6 euros each for a shuttle to the LuLu Supermarket - which was basically a tiny shopping centre - the main focus being a shop a bit like Tesco!! We were not sure what to do here and got a lot of hassle from taxi drivers and people trying to sell you excursions to the forts, mosques etc. This is not really our thing so we declined. The kind shuttle bus driver agreed to drop us at the marina - but when we got there, there was nothing there either! We then got a taxi to a "beach" which was more like a building site and then the taxi driver refused to take us back to the LuLu so we had to flag ANOTHER taxi to take us back - he told us the price would be 10 dirham - only to change it to 10 euros when we got out!!! Beware of this - I have read this a couple of times from other people. Unless you have an excursion booked - or there is something you know you want to visit here - I would probably recommend just staying on the ship! Port 3 - Abu Dhabi Rating - 2 Third port of call was Abu Dhabi. Again we paid 6 euros each for the shuttle which took us along the main road along by the sea - this was a lovely journey with nice scenery. We were dropped at the Marina Mall - but were hoping there would be other little shops about. There weren't really any other places to go so we were a bit disappointed as we were hoping for little shops like the ones in Oman. If you enjoy your shopping centres though - I am sure you would like it. There are beaches around which would be great for sunbathing but unfortunately we had not taken towels and swimming stuff - so we went back to the ship. Port 4 - Bahrain Rating - 5 We nearly did not leave the ship to see Bahrain as the last couple of stops had been disappointing however we made ourselves get up and were really pleased we had!! We again paid 6 euros each for the bus - the journey was about 25 minutes though - so not too bad. The bus took us to Manama City which was amazing!! A bit more built up and modern than Oman - but the same kind of nik naks and market stalls! We were able to stock up on more presents and were really pleased that we visited. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
I'm not sure if I was on the same Costa Deliziosa as other reviewers here as we found it to be an excellent ship with excellent staff and excellent food. I traveled with my DW and DM. The cruise was Dubai to Savona, with stops at 8 ... Read More
I'm not sure if I was on the same Costa Deliziosa as other reviewers here as we found it to be an excellent ship with excellent staff and excellent food. I traveled with my DW and DM. The cruise was Dubai to Savona, with stops at 8 ports. Embarkation We flew out on the Saturday and had an overnight in a hotel near the airport. There was a Costa rep waiting for us as we came out of immigration at about 1.15am. Well, I say he was waiting for us - I'm not so sure. He definitely wasn't there when I walked on ahead to find him, he only appeared when the DW followed by some 20 seconds later......her shouts across arrivals of "he's here, where on earth are you going?" were most unfair I thought. The next day we were picked up at around 3pm and were transferred to the terminal where all formalities were completed very quickly and we were on board within 20 minutes or so. There were no queues and no long periods of sitting around as we have experienced before with other lines. We were told that cabins probably wouldn't be available until around 6.30 and this was the case, so we took the opportunity to grab a bite to eat in the buffet and to take a look around the ship. There were quite a few people hanging around waiting to disembark and I think it's great that Costa allow people to stay on the boat - there's nothing worse than being asked to leave the boat at 9am and being left at an airport for the next 12 hours. Not once did I give the little smile that says "oh dear, must you leave already, we've only just got here". Cabins The cabins were excellent, quite roomy with good storage space. There was a sofa-bed (as well as the real one of course), flat screen TV, mini-bar/fridge and a reasonable sized shower area in the fair sized bathroom. The balcony was one of the 'large' ones and was a great size, I just wish they had put a couple of recliners on there instead of the rigid chairs - that would have made all the difference. The downside to the rooms? The beds were on the hard side and the single pillow supplied was very flat and seemed to be of the cheap, firm foam variety, a couple of extra Euros spent here would have made the cabin that bit more comfortable. The Steward had no problem however in supplying a few extra pillows along with the extra chair for the balcony we requested. Food Breakfast always brought an excellent selection of pastries and breads, the omelettes were also very good. The bacon and sausage were very poor however; the bacon very fatty and undercooked and the sausage had a strange taste and consistency to which mere words would not do justice. We used both the MDR and buffet for breakfast and found the quality and choice the same in both, so we just went where was most convenient for what we had planned for the day ahead. Lunch time took us to the buffet. Here the food didn't have too much in terms of variety, but we felt the quality definitely made up for that, although we only ever used it for a lunch time snack - and to maximise the use of the X1 of course! A few people have mentioned the poor quality ice cream in the buffet, in fairness it was more of a water ice than ice cream, and if you bear that in mind it was quite nice - and certainly not as fattening as free ice cream. For the evening meal we chose late sitting knowing that was a bit too late for us, but the early sitting seemed too early especially bearing in mind the return time of some excursions. Once we had experienced the evening 'entertainment' (see below) we were convinced we made the best choice! We always found the food in the MDR to be hot, tasty and varied. There have been many accusations that the food was bland and the meat tough, but we found it quite the opposite. Pasta dishes were of course first class, but the beef, pork, chicken and everything else was always very appetizing. The desserts, although nothing outstanding, were fine - add a dash of ice cream to them and they got even better. Service and the friendliness of the staff were simply second to none. Entertainment OK - the critics have me here. The evening entertainment in the bars was basically piano music or silly fun and games. We were on late sitting so never went to any of the theatre shows as we prefer a G&T before dinner rather than 45 minutes of dancing and acrobats. We mustn't forget there is the difficulty in catering to several languages, and there were plenty of people enjoying what was put on so it must have appealed to some - just not to us. Fortunately we were on late sitting so after a few beers and a couple of bottles of wine (see X1 below) we didn't mind the entertainment too much, especially whilst sipping a cocktail or finishing a bottle of wine; if we'd been on early and had to put up with it all night that would probably been a different matter! X1 Simple - if you want some wine and beer with your food buy it, don't think about it just buy it. It could be used it the buffet and MDR, but be aware that the buffet was rarely open at night - the area turned into a pizzeria and they would not take the X1. So - buffet 12ish to 2.30ish and the MDR during main meal times. Whenever we turned up for the evening meal in the MDR there was a beer and a bottle of red waiting for me and a bottle of white that my mum and DW enjoyed. If we finished a bottle there was no problem having another, even when we were about to leave. On a number of occasions we had a bottle of red, a bottle of white then another white or a rose to take with us. In the buffet area not once did we have any issues with waiters not coming to us knowing we had an X1 as some have said. In fact the waiters everywhere were truly excellent, remembering your name and what you drank even if they had only served you once before. On more than one occasion a waiter in the buffet would come up and say "3 beers Mr Hansell?" without even having to beckon anyone across. No - I didn't tip an extra $/€, they were just great staff. Fantastic value. Ports I won't go into detail about each port as that information is easily available. I will just say that $US and Euros were freely accepted in each country, the port shop in Oman even had prices posted in £UK! If you want cheap - and boy do I mean cheap - booze the port shops at Fujairah were the place to go (bear in mind it may get put away safely for you by ship security). Our itinerary was changed slightly at the last moment. It was deemed too dangerous to go to Yemen, so we went to Jordan (Petra - wow, wow, wow - go there, whatever you need to sell to get there just do it) and Sharm was ruled out due to the accident a few weeks ago, so we went to Sokhna. Our tour to Cairo was moved from Alexandria to Sokhna and it made a big difference; it's a good 90 minutes quicker to get to Cairo from Sokhna than it is from Alexandria. So those last minute changes really suited us, but I imagine if you were really banking on a lazy day or a bit of snorkeling in Sharm your perspective may differ. One thing that did annoy me was that the guides on each excursion always seemed to have something to sell. Now I'm all for free enterprise, but it was at times to the detriment to the commentary. We managed to get right through Cairo to the pyramids without our guide getting on the microphone once - and it's a big city. What could have made it even better? A commentary going through the Suez canal really should have been given. The maps on the TV were often laughable in their lack of detail. More port information for those not going on an excursion. It always seemed overly warm in the buffet area, granted it was a hot and humid part of the world, but so is Panama and I don't remember the buffet area on that ship being quite as hot. Disembarkation This went pretty well, much the same as other lines. Meet in the theatre, file off in groups trying not to stand on other people's feet, search for your luggage and then try to find the right bus. A noticeboard with bus numbers/destinations on would have helped, even better would have been a 'look for bus number xx' note on your disembarking information. It was OK though moving 2000 people is never going to be straightforward Would I sail Costa again? No problem at all, and looking at how good some of their itineraries are I probably will do soon enough. Just wish they had ships with balconies doing the Far East. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Background This was our 4th Costa cruise out of about 30 in total but this time we took our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter for their first cruise. It was good to see some of the things we take for granted through the eyes of ... Read More
Background This was our 4th Costa cruise out of about 30 in total but this time we took our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter for their first cruise. It was good to see some of the things we take for granted through the eyes of first-timers and we were all very pleased with the holiday. The Deliziosa is a nice new ship, rather bright and gaudy in places. We knew what to expect from the food on Costa - excellent pasta and fish, variable quality meat and less than exciting desserts, and it did not disappoint. The buffet weas nothing special but our waiters in the main dining room were excellent, in fact the crew in general were very pleasant and friendly, despite the ongoing problem of multiple languages. Some menu items lose something in the translation (eg slow cooked rib-eye steak = prime rib). Costa may not be the most luxurious of cruise lines but we always admire their ability to cope with the multiple languages, and our family particularly liked the relaxed party atmosphere on board. Embarkation We had already spent a few days in Dubai before the cruise (very nice family apartment in the Dunes Hotel Barsha, near the Mall of the Emirates) and been to Ski Dubai, Aquaventure water park at Atlantis on the Palm, seen the Burj Khalifa and explored several shopping malls and souks. Having booked cruise-only and organised our own flights & hotel 2 of us took all the luggage to the ship by taxi on the first day. Our tickets showed embarkation from 8pm but we had heard from other CC members that we could board from 3pm and this was indeed the case. Arriving back at the port shortly after 3pm we expected a long queue but in fact must have beaten the crowds as we walked straight on board. Cabins were not supposed to be available until 6.30pm but our steward kindly allowed us to leave our hand luggage so that we could explore unencumbered. At 6.30pm we returned to find our Costa cards in the cabin, as usual. The family had the X1 drinks package and got drinks during the afternoon buffet by showing their booking form. As widely reported on CC drinks on Costa are very expensive and at about £10 per day this is an excellent package for anyone who likes a few glasses of wine/beer and was well worth it for them. The only glitch they reported was that some of the staff at the pool bar did not always know whether the buffet was open so whether or not they could get drinks there. So now to the ports of call. A few hours of research really paid off on this cruise, as the maps and information provided by Costa were fairly useless, I would definitely recommend printing out maps from the internet before leaving home if you do not intend to take excursions. Muscat, Oman Immigration cards were given out as we left the ship - the same for all nationalities (2 of our family have Maltese passports and had needed 3 visas each for the UAE, one for each entry, which had been rather a nuisance to organise and cost about 50 pounds per visa). All of the ports on this cruise are large commercial harbours and all provide a free bus to the port gates, but Muscat is the only place where there is anything of interest within walking distance of the drop-off point. It was a pleasant, if hot, walk along the seafront corniche to Muttrah Souk. There are nice gold sunshades by the sea every now and then and the entrance to the Souk is clearly marked on the large gateway (maybe half a mile at most from the drop-off point). There were plenty of taxis available at the port gates offering tours into Muscat itself but we enjoyed just wandering around the Souk for a few hours. The forts at the entrance to Muscat are clearly visible from the ship, as was the huge inscense burner on a nearby hilltop. This is the place to buy Frankincense and perfumes. Fujairah, UAE Having read earlier reviews we had low expectations of Fujairah but in fact quite enjoyed the day. We had considered hiring a car here (and if we visited again probably would as the driving was nowhere near as mad a Dubai and I found several companies that would deliver a car to the port) but this time took the 6 euro Costa shuttle to the Lu Lu hypermarket, quite a pleasant drive and we saw quite a lot of the city - it went along the seafront going and came back a different route via the fort. The hypermarket was large, some things were cheap (granddaughter bought a Blackberry and saved about 60 euros), my only feeling was that the shop should really have paid for the shuttle bus, as there was nothing else in the area. There were several taxi drivers offering 90 minute tours from the hypermarket car park but they only looked like visits to 4 forts, probably not very interesting. We did not see any taxis at the port gates. Abu Dhabi, UAE I had booked a 14 seater minibus over the internet from a company called Majestic Transport from 350 dirhams (about 70 pounds) and through our CC rollcall had made up to 11 people, and then found another 3 on board to join us, so excellent value at 25 dirhams each (about 5 pounds). The free port shuttle here did not drop off at the port gate, as expected, but took us to the Mina Centre, a small shopping mall a couple of miles away. The hop-on-hop-off bus (200 dirhams each) stops here as do some local city buses (I would be tempted to try them if we ever returned). As each shuttle bus arrived it was surrounded by a mob of taxi drivers - the only place on this cruise where we experienced any significant hassle. Unfortunately we were a bit early and our bus was 20 minutes late, finally arriving after a number of phone calls to the company to explain our location, each time assuring us that it was 'right there', while several taxi drivers with smaller vehicles tried to convince us that they were the one we were waiting for - all rather stressful and we were pleased when a bus arrived, the driver assured us he was from Majestic, I showed him the print-out of his boss' s email that we had to give him 350 dirhams at the end of the day and he confirmed that was right. We had absolutely super day, Ahmed, the driver, was most helpful and acted as a guide as well as a driver. First stop was the magnificent Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, a little like the Taj Mahal in shape, really lovely. Abayas were provided for the ladies. Men were allowed in provided they had long trousers - any with shorts were given a white robe. The mosque is about 30 minutes drive out of the city and closes at midday but we just made it and were so pleased that we did. Next Ahmed suggested a drive past the palaces of the Sheik's various wives and relations, which he pointed out, then a visit to the 7* Emirates Palace Hotel. Sadly they did not let us into the hotel as it is now restricted to groups of 5 or less, but we saw it from the outside. Then we drove a short distance to the Heritage Village, an open air museum of life before oil and a small craft market (all free admission) with a stunning white sand beach. From there we spent a couple of hours at the nearby Marina Mall for lunch and visited the tower for fantastic views of the city. It is really a restaurant but just follow the signs to 'Burj Marina' and ask to go up, it was no problem (and free). Last stop was a few minutes on the public beach on the way back to the ship - how we all wished we had brought our swimming costumes, it was so lovely and we could only paddle ! Sadly, the day ended on a slightly sour note when Ahmed told us his boss had 'made a mistake' about the price and it should have been 350 euros (he later tried dollars) not dirhams. I was really upset as I had shown him the printout before we got on the bus and he agreed it, and we had whipped round for a very nice tip for him as he had been so good. Of course we refused to pay any extra and he did not pursue the matter for very long - I suspect this is something they just try on with tourists, I have read about a similar ploy with taxi drivers, so for anyone else visiting please be careful and always get a quote in writing including the currency. We would have thoroughly recommended his firm to other CC members if it had not been for this. But Abu Dhabi was definitely our favourite port of the cruise. For anyone else visiting you would get a good view of the city (including the Emirates Palace and the beaches) by taking the shuttle bus to the Marina Mall - the heritage village is walkable distance from there too. Bahrain We went with low expectations again, as other reviews had said it was dirty, nothing there etc etc and even my cousin who lived there for 15 years was surprised that cruises call there now. She told us that, being a Friday, the souk would not be open in the morning, so we had a lie in and headed off about 11.30am. The only easy way to get into town is to take the 6 euro shuttle bus as it is a very long way (about half an hour in easy traffic). There is also a free shuttle to the port gate (several miles from the ship) and a few taxis were waiting there but sadly they are known for rip-offs and one couple we spoke to paid 26 euros and still did not get to where they wanted. We were pleasantly surprised to arrive in the centre of Manama just opposite the Bab-al-Bahrain gateway, to find thousands of little shops selling everything you could think of - and copies of every designer label under the sun (handbags about 20-25 euros, 'iphones' about 80-100 but not all features work). Some shops were indeed closed for the day, but about 75% were open in the afternoon, at least, so we had more than enough to keep us busy for a few hours. It was not as clean as Dubai or Abu Dhabi but we did not think it was particularly dirty, just a typical middle eastern souk. Dubai Disembarkation The process is a typical Costa easy-going muddle. No other cruise line lets arrivers mingle with leavers for a couple of days over changeover, but we had this in Hong Kong with Costa and again in Dubai and actually it works fine. There is no proper information, you just come and go from the ship as you please from when it docks on Saturday lunchtime until sometime on Sunday night/Monday morning and when you are ready to go - you just go ! Our family had to leave early on the Sunday morning, our own flight was not until the early hours of Monday morning, so we enjoyed a long walk along Dubai creek and around the gold souk, returned to the ship for a final swim, ate dinner (open seating but still the fixed times of 6.15/8.45pm) then got a taxi to the airport about 11pm. Shows Costa excell in language-free shows. We had 2 juggler/magician/acrobat acts - both excellent, just a shame they were on consecutive nights. Productions shows are not really my 'thing' but the 'Delicious' one was actually very good. The other one was something about shapes, we only saw the first 10 minutes, as that was the only night the show was after 2nd seating dinner and we were tired. The last night was one of the resident pianists, Pietro, doing a solo show and he was absolutely amazing - do not miss him ! Conclusion We loved the cruise - probably our best yet with Costa. It is a shame that so many English travellers are consistently disappointed with Costa, we have always enjoyed the difference, but then we love Italian food, don't drink so don't care about the prices, and I quite enjoy trying to understand the announcements in other languages - if things like that would ruin a cruise for you, please go with another line ! We would not mind repeating the itinerary one day as we focused on enjoying the ship and shopping on this trip and probably missed out on some sightseeing in this interesting area. As for the family, they say they love to cruise again and would be happy to do 2 weeks with Costa next time ! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Before we booked our cruise in mid-March there were no reviews available because it was a new ship and had not long been launched. By the time our cruise was due at the end of April there had been six reviews and to be honest if we had ... Read More
Before we booked our cruise in mid-March there were no reviews available because it was a new ship and had not long been launched. By the time our cruise was due at the end of April there had been six reviews and to be honest if we had read them before booking we would not have booked at all. Most of the reviews were so negative, however it turned out that you should not believe all you read and it seems some people are just hard to please and like to have a moan anyway! Embarkation was a breeze. We actually arrived at the cruise terminal in Dubai at about 09.30am and embarkation wasn't until 3.30pm but we were allowed to leave our luggage at the ship, after identifying it, and go and spend the day in Dubai shopping as we were told we could return anytime after 3.30pm. So we went straight to the gold souk and did some shopping before returning to the ship at approx. 6.00pm We were able to go straight to our cabin and have a snooze before getting ready to get something to eat and do a bit of exploring. Unfortunately my wife was poorly for most of the week during the cruise, as was I after the first few days, so we did not take advantage of the excursions. The excursions were not cheap though and I don't think there was anything we were really interested in seeing anyway onshore except for Dubai. We just wanted a quiet relaxing break and weren't intending to go on any of the excursions anyway. All the staff were very friendly and helpful contrary to some of the reviews. The only staff (or were they crew?) who did seem stand-offish or even rude by ignoring everyone were the ones walking about in all white uniforms. They walked about and just seemed to ignore everyone and gave me the impression they just wanted to b somewhere else. We also took out the J2 drinks package and would recommend it as it gives great value for money. The food was nice and there was a good selection to suit most tastes. I do think that perhaps it was the case that since the earlier reviews any 'teething problems' have been sorted out. I would recommend this cruise if you can stick the heat! The onboard entertainment was excellent and everyone was encouraged to get involved if they wanted to. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
To Cruise or not to cruise? We pondered long and hard before booking a cruise, as we had never considered one previously. Sure, aged 14 and with my mother, I had travelled from Southampton to New York and back in the early 1960s, but ... Read More
To Cruise or not to cruise? We pondered long and hard before booking a cruise, as we had never considered one previously. Sure, aged 14 and with my mother, I had travelled from Southampton to New York and back in the early 1960s, but Canberra was a working ship, not one built for cruising alone. No, we never really fancied cruising. However, a package appeared that included a couple of nights at the Palms Atlantis in Dubai, plus an opportunity to visit a number of countries of the Arabian Gulf, and finally, a chance to see whether cruising suited us. I don't think we would done any of these things individually, but as a package of experiences, they proved irresistible. The final thing that sealed it, was the ability to upgrade to Premium Economy on the Virgin Atlantic flights. We arrived home yesterday after 10 days away, and we found our Costa "Jewels of the Emirates" cruise a very successful one. Reading the forums, the issue of drinks packages seemed to be crucial, and that was certainly a concern as, trying to ring fence the costs on a trip like this is important. Someone posted that their bill at the end of their cruise cost more than the cruise cost itself and we didn't want that to happen to us. We had some concerns about sailing on a brand new cruise after it had only had a shake-down cruise single sailing from Savona. This was not a problem as the ship functioned perfectly. Someone said the air conditioning in the cabin was not efficient - while our cabin was warm on arrival as the previous passenger had liked it warm, we simply adjusted it lower and standard temperature was 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The previous occupant smoked and remains of the smell were there, but soon dispersed. We were surprised to see the amount of passengers who smoked as we never see - or choose to be near - smokers at home. As the package included more than simply the cruise, the other elements need to be mentioned as well, in passing. The flights Virgin Atlantic services were outstanding, in both directions. The hotel before the cruise The Palms Atlantis hotel at Jumeirah took us totally by surprise. We expected not to be impressed as Las Vegas style places are generally at the bottom of my personal list of places to stay. The reality was different however. Staff were numerous and absolutely dedicated to the guests at the hotel. We were concerned because the package was bed and breakfast and we knew that food and drink are expensive at the hotel. Breakfast as buffet and massive and little was ever needed at lunchtime. Dinner was again buffet but was sumptuous. The entry to the attached aquapark was included and that was a major bonus as the place is the best I have experienced anywhere in the world. Besides that, the massive aquarium inside the hotel itself is awesome. Our supplementary bill at the end of our stay was about £400. That may seem a lot for 2 nights, but it includes a supplement to extend our stay on the final day when we were due to go to the ship at 10.30, but not have a cabin until 8pm. We felt a day spent at the hotel would be better than mooching, homeless, around a ship, with no access to luggage. This proved to be a wise decision and the cost to extend at the hotel was only about £60. We did have to pay about £20 in local currency for a taxi to transfer to the hip - a journey that would normally have been free, paid for as part of the package. On arrival at the port, embarkation was immediate as there were no crowds there, and we went straight to our cabin at 6.30pm. The ship, Costa Deliziosa, is beautiful, and without exception in our experience, the staff were excellent. The thing that let the cruise down was the food, something that all on our dining table agreed upon. There was always something that was acceptable, but the 'celebrated' chef - who was paraded around from time to time - clearly knew little about cooking meats. Being an Italian ship, perhaps pasta was his forte. Perhaps also, the fantastic Atlantis food set the bar too high for a cruise ship. To save bother, we booked the inclusive J2 drinks package a couple of weeks before leaving the UK. This cost around £450 for the two of us. Others on our table took other packages, but were restricted in times they could use them. We probably would have spent around £370 on drinks on the trip, judging by our receipts, but I should say we are not heavy drinkers, or even very regular ones. Anyone wanting to drink late into the evening, or drink alcohol during the day continually, would definitely benefit from J2. It was good with J2 to be able to go to any bar at any time, and have pretty much what we wanted - champagne included, until we were eventually banned from that on the last two days, when we tried to make what we used reach what we had paid. Cocktails on the ship are dreadful for anyone who knows what a Mai Tai, Planter's Punch, and even a Pina Colada should taste like. For the majority of passengers it seemed that quantity, not quality was what counted. We found it good to have the really excellent cappuccino effectively on tap in the bars, through the J2 package. I should say that at mealtimes, water from a machine, tea, coffee are all available free. We liked, however, being able to raid our minibar frequently for anything bar 'super alcoholics' as part of the J2 package. Passengers on the ship were primarily from the UK or Germany, though there were also many Italians there and a sprinkling of French and Dutch. Unlike the Costa promotional videos, most were not beautiful 30-40 year olds, but in most cases, rotund older - sometimes very old - folks. I speak as a virgin pensioner myself! We found ourselves on a dinner table with two fantastic couples though, and most evenings we were in fits of laughter. The view from our table was through the picture portal at the stern of the ship and it was great. Waiters were excellent; shame about the food, except the wonderful pistaccio ice cream. There were two Gala evenings, one at Fujairah where many wore dinner jackets and evening dress; one at Dubai, where the whole range from casual to formal was represented. I wore my DJ on this cruise for the first time in 10 years and loved the opportunity. Wine on the drinks packages was at best, insipid. Entertainment was not to our taste and we were in bed by 10pm most evenings as we were on first sitting - definitely our preference. The best entertainment was given on the evening the crew gave their show. The ship was not noisy for us - we were aft on Deck 8, cabin 8346 - so when we were early abed, we were not awoken. We rose early at 6am normally as we do at home, and saw some magnificent sunrises. The balcony of the cabin was a decent size. The bathroom is small, but perfectly formed. Advice was to bring no electrical equipment as there is just one socket, but my hand luggage was full of wiring. I used my netbook extensively [£100 for the Wi-Fi bill in all], and the cameras all needed recharging, as well as the iPod and phones. Neither my iPhone nor my Nokia worked as phones on the entire trip, so the Internet connection on my netbook was an absolute must. The Wi-fi is relatively slow, so the paid for sessions don't get much done. I used the 3 hour pre-paid sessions mostly to upload pictures to Facebook, and email friends and associates. There was also the need to use curling tongs [not me!]. So I would discount the advice on electrical equipment - though I never left anything plugged in while away from the cabin as the wires got a mite hot. The ship never seemed crowded, except when restaurants or the theatre disgorged. The ships itinerary was excellent, and the trips we bought were good value and well organised. Day 1 Sunday, Dubai Day 2 Monday, sailed at 1pm Day 3 Tuesday, arrived at Muscat. Very hot indeed. We took the City Tour including the Grand Mosque, which is one of the most beautiful religious buildings I have ever seen. We sailed in the evening. Day 3 Wednesday, arrived at Fujairah. We spent the day aboard as there is little to see there that would appeal to us. We sailed in the evening. Day 4 Thursday, arrived in Abu Dhabi. We did the city tour and the place is really very impressive. We sailed in the evening. Day 5 Friday, arrived Bahrain where we took the shuttle bus to the Souq, spent an hour there, then returned to the ship. There is a lot to see in Bahrain, but in reality I'd have preferred to have hired a car to get around as it is quite spread out. We sailed in the evening. Day 6 Saturday, arrived back in Dubai at lunchtime, and spent the day on the ship. Day 7 Sunday, we left the ship at 7am to transfer to the airport to fly home. Verdict Was the trip worth it? Definitely yes, as a package that includes Palms Atlantis. It is best to have the hotel part of the package at the start, not after the cruise. The weather was perfect, and baking hot - hotter than normal for the season. As a photographer, I found the whole package a dream - so much to see and capture. The sea was an absolute millpond throughout. The Gulf was something I fell in love with, and the local people were really great. The ship was fantastic, though the food and entertainment let it down. Staff at the Atlantis were incredible, and those on the ship were not far behind, especially our steward Kimma who was brilliant. Would we do another cruise? Probably not, as we feel too constrained even on such a large ship. We might try another line, if the itinerary is very specifically of interest. I don't think we are cruisers - we don't eat, drink, sunbathe or carouse enough. Would we go back to the Palms Atlantis? We have the brochures in front of us, right now! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
We decided to book everything with Costa through our TA and through Costa website. This was good and bad. Good because of the flight/transfers because this way we had nothing to worry and because we got a deal that offered us the X1 ... Read More
We decided to book everything with Costa through our TA and through Costa website. This was good and bad. Good because of the flight/transfers because this way we had nothing to worry and because we got a deal that offered us the X1 drinks package (excellent for those who don't drink alchool like us). Bad because due to the Bahrein cancelation due to the unrest overthere the tour package we had booked suffered so many changes that we ended at tour desk more times than intended when booking tours online. Flights were with Lufthansa but because we had to go from Portugal to Dubai this was the schedule: 6AM OPO-FRA (2.5h) - 2PM FRA-DXB (5.5h). Getting to Dubai around 11.30PM we had another 60' to pass through passport control and then 45' of transfer (getting to bus and travel) to Port Rashid. With the checkin to Deliziosa going smoothly we ended up on cabin around 2AM but still waiting for our suitcases. Fortunately Costa had some snacks on the Cruise terminal while we were checking-in and the Pizza restaurant was open on-board. Got to a deserved bed rest around 4AM. After this we definitely deserved our vacations. The retirn flight was a little easier since DXB-FRA was around 2AM so we ended up sleep the entire return trip :). Deliziosa being just 1 year-old is a beautiful ship with excellent staff. Food was always available somewhere on-board and with good quality and variety. I think noone can say there are not enough eating options. The only really bad thing are the ice-creams (in an Italian ship we should expect Italian quality ice-creams and that doesn't happen). Entertainment activities are there for all tastes but as we would expect it's light entertainment. Quality light-entertainment. If you like that you will be very satisfied. If you don't you will be disappointed. We liked it but believe that some wouldn't. Others have called attention to drinking on-board. If you drink alchool you're doomed to a heavy bill. If not, and have the luck of getting offered like us the X1 package you're safe. Just buy Boys n Girls for those off main meal drink and you won't get a problem with drinking. On Deliziosa, Costa has some interesting, but priced, things. The F1 simulator, the Golf simulator with a tiny putting green on deck, the 4D cinema, the PS3 corner and the Samsara Spa. Though we didn't use any of them we think the Spa might be a good option and they were constantly publicizing sales for their products. The staff is really good. With 1 or 2 exceptions, besides being very gentle they're excellent workers that provide us and high-standard service. 5 star for all of them. Now, one last word for 2 things we didn't like on our cruise. 1st: due to the unrest in Bahrain, the stop there was cancelled 2 or 3 days before departure. Perfectly understandable. Less understandable is the way Costa re-arranged things. We were supposed to do: Dubai-Dubai-Muscat-Fujairah-Abu Dhabi-Bahrain-Dubai-Dubai. We would think they would either replace Bahrain with another port like Doha or do an overnight stay on the previous port (Abu Dhabi in this case). Well, they took an illogical potion of overnight in Muscat and thus postponing Fujairah and Abu Dhabi 1 day. The only reason I see is the eventually cheaper port stay in Muscat instead of on eof the other more logical options. 2nd: we booked a Dubai visit with Costa. We understand that usually, in these organised tours, the "guides" like to take us to some "friend-shops" for some percentual gain over sales. But when the shop we're taken is a Costa-Club member that Costa takes us without advertising it on their tour sale I think that's a new low-level for tour organisation. Luckily this only happened once and on the last day so we didn't even tried to bother with it. Oh... the general level of the tour guides was well below medium (at least the ones of got - 2 tours in Spanish and 1 in Italian). Everythong considered we ended loving our cruise and had great fun. Definitely recommended Deliziosa and this Middles East itinerary. DUBAI A must in every aspect. The contrast between new and old Dubai is breathtaking. Architectural highlights are everywhere. Burj Khalifa is just beatiful. Shopping heaven for those who search for it. Easily visited with cheap taxi (with taximeter always on) ABU DHABI The Great Mosque is a must visit. Ferrari World and YAS Marina Circuit are also there not to miss for the fans. And when the project 2030 is ready (first museums - Louvre - will open next year I think) it will be a top world destination for anyone with a little cultural interest FUJAIRAH Still can't understand why we stopped there. MUSCAT Very interesting. A very strict interpretation of Islam marks this country but it's capital is definetily worth visiting. The mountains from where this city grows are beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010

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Costa Deliziosa Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.0
Dining 3.0 3.0
Entertainment 3.0 3.3
Public Rooms 3.0 3.7
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.4
Family 3.0 3.4
Service 2.0 3.2
Value For Money 4.0 2.9

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