I had in the past considered an Easter cruise but was always late with the booking so when I saw a good offer on Costa web site, I decided to book. I continue to sail with Costa mainly because tends to have nice offers for solo cruisers ... Read More
I had in the past considered an Easter cruise but was always late with the booking so when I saw a good offer on Costa web site, I decided to book. I continue to sail with Costa mainly because tends to have nice offers for solo cruisers and because the nice privileges of being a Costa Club member used to be tempting.
Travelled to Savona by Genoa airport this time (my traditional route is via Milano Linate and then the train), as I found a surprisingly good fare (Genua has a small airport - smaller planes, limited routes - so fares tend to be high) and noticed that the airport is not far from a train station.
I tried to walk from the airport to the station but it was not so easy to find my way as I expected. On reaching the station I found out that there is a local bus which links the station to the airport (tickets can be purchased at the train station or at the tourist information desk at the airport)
Reached Savona on a Good Friday so not much was open and decided to walk from the station to the airport which is not that far (and almost a straight line). In 25 minutes, walking with luggage, I was at the NH Darsena Savona where I have stayed before, located in the renovated part of the port, which is almost like a marina now, and steps away from the cruise terminal.
Costa has its own terminal in Savona which is nice, comfortable, and decorated with nice pics of the time it was Linea C. It is also quite an efficient terminal and embarkation tend to be smooth, even if there were two other Costa ships in port that day.
The cruise had an easy itinerary too: Savona – Barcelona – Palma (Mallorca) – Marseille – Savona
The Costa Favolosa is one on a series of large ships built after the ‘Carnivalisation’ of the Italian company and therefore, externally, it is not too different to the large Carnival ships. Its interiors were created by Joe Farcus (and it is not always easy to say if they are pleasing or not until one is on board). It was launched in 2011 and built at Marghera (‘continental’ Venice)
The ship has 12 passenger decks, named after existing places or palaces which would link with the ‘fable’ theme of the ship (more on the name than on display), like Hermitage, Tivoli, Escorial, etc.
My cabin, on deck 7, described as an Interior Single Classic, had actually a double bed. There was not space for a table and chair as in previous single cabins I had on Costa but the wardrobe was large enough and there were a lot of storage space and options. Bathroom was the standard with shower and plastic curtain. Nice shower though and easy to control temperature. I had a problem with noise in the air ducts but it was looked at by a technician and improved although it was not solved entirely. As a gesture I was given a nice box of sweets with an apology letter, which was a nice touch.
Decks 1, 2, 6, 7 and 8 are almost exclusively dedicated to cabins. On deck 3 there is an Atrium, with a piazza kind of feeling, where there are also the reception and the excursions desk. It also has access to the lower level of the Teatro Hortensia (a large theatre occupying three decks) and to the MDRs Duca di Borgogna (center) and Duca di Orleans (aft), both occupying two decks. The theatre has good and modern equipment and the facility to present ice skating shows. The restaurants like most of the ship was decorated on subdued, wooddy tones as well as beige, black and red. The décor, considering it was created by Farcus, is incredibly classy and not so ‘a punch on your senses’. Deck 3 also has some open deck space which is a bit more sheltered than the one on the top decks.
Deck 4 contains the top levels of the MDRs as well as the middle level of the theatre but also the photo shop, a tasteful meeting room called Fabergé, a beautiful chapel (similar to the ones on the other Costa ships but in more pastel colours) and the discotheque.
One deck above one finds the top level of the theater, the shops, a nice, spacious library with beautiful sea views, a smokers room/bar called Montespan, the Grand Bar Palatino (one of the central areas for entertainment, which has an exquisite central ceiling composed of light blue glass shells and also has some colourful, vibrant sculptures in glass cases and the ships model), a cafeteria where one could get excellent hot chocolate and ice creams, the 4 D cinema, the casino, a piano bar called Camelot (where most of the colour used was red but the piano is white… one of the rare feelings of clashing colours on the ship), a ‘ballroom’ (actually not such a large room but also not much used) called Pompadour (in interesting tones of green, brown and interesting chair design) and perhaps my favourite space on board: the Molière lounge with simple, almost minimalistic, but well-designed chairs, and all in quite subdued colours, apart from the round blue ‘shields’ around the room. This was the place for the private events as well as some of the themed parties.
The main swimming pool is on the center of deck 9 with a two-deck lido. Deck 9 is also where the lower level of the buffet as well as another swimming pool (aft with more open deck space) are to be found.
One deck above is where the Squok Club (a separate area for small children) is located as well as the upper level of the buffet (a quieter, more pleasant area which in the evenings offer a pizza as well as a burger restaurant (extra tariff).
The well-equipped gym, the spa thermal area as well as the Club Favolosa (the top extra tariff restaurant on board almost exclusively for suite passengers) are on deck 11.
On deck 12 there is the formula one car experience, the top level of the spa, an Acqua Park for small children, jogging tracks and a area for basketball, etc.
The other passengers were a mix of nationalities but the larger groups were French and Italian, with their not so well behaved children in tow (I now know to avoid Easter cruises in future). The passenger profile was not much different from the average mass market cruise these days, but, as a short cruise, during school holidays, it was not so impressive in behaviour and social manners, a price to pay to get a good offer on a single occupancy cabin sometimes.
The food was quite ok, some interesting Italian regional menus but the portions are becoming smaller and smaller… the Samsara restaurant was worth the extra tariff for its creativity on menu and flavours as well as for the quieter environment (despite been next door to the larger Duca di Borgogna MDR). Food on the buffet was varied but it is often crowded and not a nice experience. Waiters no longer serve you drinks at the table and one must go to some points near the food stations to get drinks. More casual, probably logistically easy for the staff but not ideal when one is part of a large group, etc
The weather was sunny for most of the cruise and the ship sailed smoothly for almost all the cruise (a bit more rolling when crossing the Gulf of Lions but glass smooth around Mallorca)
Service was excellent in the cabin, which was kept spotless, restaurants (although more staff is needed… the poor waiter was taking care of five tables practically alone, so delays did occur), a bit slow on the bars but still ok, and the usual hit and miss at the buffet and open deck areas. Staff was mostly friendly but there was a feeling in the air that this is not a happy ship.
Disembarkation was ok, on time and fairly smooth apart from the fact that Costa no longer arranges for a shuttle from the terminal to the train station (which was quite popular in the past) and there is not much information to be had once one leaves the ship. Luckily, I knew my way back to the station walking.
The Costa Club ‘privileges’ are not so many now and there seems to be efforts to cut costs on them, but still better than in the competitor’s cruises. The ship was nice and well-kept but nothing particularly special. The itinerary was good and simple but again with nothing special. Costa needs to improve the product. There were no hosts talks on embarkation day, although they seem to have a fixed desk point on the ship, nothing really special on the gala night menu, that noisy, tedious white night, and the thermal area at the spa is in need of repairs and refitting.
All in all, an average cruise, enjoyable if one knows where to go and when, but nothing remarkable. A pity as the ship is nice. Read Less