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12 Costa neoRiviera Cruise Reviews

We have chosen this cruise like most people because of the itinerary. 11 NIGHTS WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN - an amazing itinerary.We sailed on 11 July from Savona. Reading reviews I knew the cruise line is not perfect and did not expect ... Read More
We have chosen this cruise like most people because of the itinerary. 11 NIGHTS WESTERN MEDITERRANEAN - an amazing itinerary.We sailed on 11 July from Savona. Reading reviews I knew the cruise line is not perfect and did not expect much, but what we have experienced was so much worth! Starting from the drill - which took at least an hour or more. English speaking people were wondering around the decks asking where to go. Eventually we were put on one of the outside areas under the sun (no seating and no sun protection) where we had to stay for at least 30 mins prior the briefing which we cant hear due to noise. By that time older people were not able to stand longer and some were shouting at the staff who were saying that it was not their problem - go and talk to the management. That was a big waring flag of what would follow. - No good service (except our stuart) - Poor quality towels and bed sheets, poor quality of linen at the restaurant . - Food of low quality and variety - what was not eaten on breakfast was used for lunch and then for dinner. - I had twice food poisoning from the dinners' dishes - Horrible service during dinners, when we had to wait for one hour to be served. - Only 2 properly trained and knowledgeable staff at the excursion desk, the rest could not do the job and were asking them to book or change tours and it took really long time to rebook excursions which were cancelled. I can continue, but really don't want to as it makes me so upset. The reason of all that - poor management on this ship. I would never step again on any of the Costa ships or recommend this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Costa NeoRiviera review – sailing date 20 January 2018 The itinerary: My Fly, land cruise was marketed as “Mauritius Stay and Jewels of the Indian Ocean Cruise”; Costa cruise documents listed it as “Heaven by the Sea”. ... Read More
Costa NeoRiviera review – sailing date 20 January 2018 The itinerary: My Fly, land cruise was marketed as “Mauritius Stay and Jewels of the Indian Ocean Cruise”; Costa cruise documents listed it as “Heaven by the Sea”. Boarding was scheduled to be in Mauritius, followed by Seychelles, Madagascar and Reunion Island, returning to Mauritius. However due to Cyclone Berguitta, the ship was not able to dock in Mauritius, and Costa Cruises had to move passengers from Mauritius to Seychelles and vice versa. Whilst this was a major logistics enterprise, Costa could have kept passengers informed and handled it a lot better than they did. I boarded the ship on Saturday 20th January at 11.49pm in Seychelles (thereby missing the complete first day there) and was told that I would be charged the full “service fee” of €10 for the remaining 11 minutes of that day. Really? I thought that was a bit rough! Passenger demographics: On this cruise, the ship catered mainly for French, German and Italian passengers, with a few Spanish and very few English-speaking ones. Visas: late on the evening of January 24th, with our daily program, we received a note regarding Madagascar visas. We were advised that we needed to contact Reception by midnight that day regarding the visas and that a temporary visa would be issued on board for €13. When I had contacted Costa, some months prior to sailing, regarding this, I was told that it was every passenger’s own responsibility to get their own visas – mine cost $A80. I was not impressed. Costa Club: Belonging was worthwhile. I joined on line before boarding. I received 50% discount on extra price menu items and also 50% off the “Dinner under the Stars” menu at the restaurant on deck 6. Bottles of wine received a 25% discount, and there were other smaller discounts available on ship’s services and shop items. Cabin 9196 Premium 0ceanview: Not a great deal of room if configured as a double/queen, but ample usable centre space when turned into a twin bed cabin. This also resulted in good access to the window shelf for extra storage. I was travelling solo – it would be a little tight for two. But set up as a twin, the bed lamps are back-to-front as the metal backing faces the nearest bed and the lamp and switch faces the bed opposite! Also, the bedside cabinets open from the middle, back towards each bed, and have no handles. Drawers would be a much better option. Bed and pillows, firm but comfortable, linen very good quality and changed every three days. The desk was good with two Europe/Asia 220w power points as well as two American 110w points; good lighting and large mirror. There is a capsule coffee machine, with cups – bring your own capsules. This can also be used for hot water for tea – but gives just over half a mug – do it twice! Hot water is available from Room Service between 7am and 10pm otherwise phone Reception. There are two triangular cupboards – one on each side of the desk – the hairdryer is stored here. The wardrobe had 14 bulky hangers – that unhook from centre fixture – so annoying and old fashioned! Thin wire hangers were available on request. There were only two shelves – a big gap between, and three drawers – 1½ each? Bathroom: Towels are large and soft – excellent quality and the hand towel was a good size – there is no washer supplied. Towels will be changed when damp – even when hung up – unless cabin steward is instructed otherwise. Liquid soap/shampoo in shower and excellent soap on washbasin. Some toiletries are available on request. Water is hot, adequate pressure. Better than usual quality toilet paper for a ship’s vacuum flush toilet. Safe: this is large and very easy to use, but it is positioned at the front of the cupboard above the minibar (opposite side to the desk), thus completely limiting any other access to this space. Lifts: The forward lift will travel from deck 5 to deck 12 – midship lift will only go deck 5 to deck 9 – with no access to deck 7. Note: You cannot even walk from one end of deck 7 to the other. The aft lift goes from deck 5 (which is not really used as it is at the rear of the dining room) to deck 11 – buffet. Food: available in buffet and dining room also a “pay for” restaurant. Hygiene: there were hand sanitizers at the entrance to all food areas, but these were mainly ignored by the majority of passengers. However, I was not aware of any cases of Noro-virus on board, though what became known as the “Costa cough” was prevalent throughout the ship. Buffet: open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Tea and coffee are only available breakfast and afternoon tea. Situated at the rear of deck 11 with an open-air section. Flies can be a big problem after some ports. Costa denies access to FREE, filtered drinking water, except when the buffet is open. All other times one must pay for bottled water. Breakfast: a mix of cereals, yoghurt, fruit, cold cuts (cheese is sliced processed cheese), hot foods – with a separate egg station, and a good variety of bread, pastries and cakes. Lunch: Cold cuts, prepared salads and salad vegetables, cheese (block), fruit, hot foods, breads, a daily roast, about half a dozen desserts, (often mousses) and a pasta station. A hamburger/grill station is outside near the pool – this also serves a late breakfast and late lunch. There is no FREE pizza on board this Italian ship served in the buffet, grill or restaurant! There is a charge of between €7.00 and €8.50. Dinner: I always ate this in the dining room, never in the buffet, so cannot comment. Dining room – breakfast: Similar “serve yourself” fare to buffet (but no flies) with a choice of various “themed” breakfasts – English, American, Mexican, Spanish, German and omelettes to order. Lunch: I didn’t have lunch in the dining room. Dining room is closed on “port days”. Dinner: set time sittings – early at 6.30 – late at 8.45. Menu changed every day. One could go right through all the courses if wanted – appetiser, salad, pasta, mains, dessert, cheese. Be aware that what the menu states may not be quite what you receive! Often lost in translation! Main meal sizes vary greatly - sometimes we received entrée size and at other times a large meal. At nearly all times, green vegetables were lacking. We always ordered two dishes of vegetables for our table of five. The menu also contains “extra price” items. One night I ordered the lobster, which was absolutely superb. The flesh was firm and pearly white – it had been caught locally in Mauritius. As a member of the “Costa Club” I received a 50% discount on the price. Beverages: wine and water could be purchased anywhere on board and taken into either the buffet or dining room – or the bottles could be held over from meal to meal. Lounge areas: there are many to choose from, though some of the chair upholstery could do with a good cleaning. Bar: opening hours and musician times are listed in the daily program. Reception: open 24 hours – knowledgeable and efficient, however there are no “queue” guidelines – this needs to be addressed to cope efficiently with busy times. Shore excursion office: Often very limited opening times – usually closed on port days. Again, this area needs “queueing guidelines” as there was often “push and shove” and “get out of my way” chaos! Make sure you really know what you are purchasing because many tours list “see” when they should state either “view” or “visit” – there is a great deal of difference! Full day excursions were much better value than so called half day ones. Be aware that the buffet will not be open if you are back after 2.30pm – only the grill area. Crew: The lower levels of the crew – cabin stewards and food staff, friendly, but not so the officers – hardly an acknowledgement or a smile given out during the whole cruise. Internet: Three packages available 250mb for €25.00; 500mb for €39.00 and 3GB for €99.00 – all come with a €3.00 “connection fee”, which I thought was a bit rough. It was excellent paying by usage rather than by time as most cruise companies do. I found the internet reasonably fast and efficient – even though sometimes I had to go through 5 steps to log in! And I was in a fairly isolated area of the Indian Ocean. Entertainment: The Cruise Director was a “way out” dresser and he was enthusiastic, but spoke so quickly that it was really hard to know what language he was speaking. I enjoy trivia and quizzes, but some of the entertainment crew had such heavy accents that made the quiz questions impossible to understand. The couple of evening “guest” shows that I saw were quite good – I did not see a “production” show. Library: Open for short periods – seemed to have a good collection of books – but not many in English, as the ship does not really cater for English speaking passengers. There is also a small “swap” section under a window – again no English reading. Pool: there is a small pool, a slightly smaller rectangular spa pool and two hot tubs. Pool chairs are available on decks 11 and 12 and sometimes on deck 6 where there is shade as it is undercover. Casino; Gym; Spa: cannot comment as I did not use these services. Smoking: There is a smoking area on deck 11 (pool deck) and I think there was also one in one of the lounges. Children: children’s activities seem to be well catered for. In summary: I have done over 40 cruises and feel that I can objectively judge this cruise. Costa is just a 3-star cruise line, good in some ways, not good in others. There were many inconsistences and things that certainly could have been managed better. Would I cruise with Costa again, most likely not, except if the itinerary and destinations were exceptional – as this one was. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itenerary. Unfortunately we spent the first day at Istanbul airport; we can only assume it was easier than changing our flight when Costa changed the departure port. On arrival, the reception staff was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itenerary. Unfortunately we spent the first day at Istanbul airport; we can only assume it was easier than changing our flight when Costa changed the departure port. On arrival, the reception staff was less than helpful and this continued for the duration of the cruise. The service in the restaurant was appalling. The waiter actually apologised in advance for the anticipated slowness of service as he seated us on the third night! We assumed it was a problem in the kitchen or getting food from the kitchen as it wasn't the waiters. Bar staff provided good service. Drinks package OK as coffee, soft drinks and water carried a charge. Cabin and communal areas were clean. Excursions were expensive and shame on Costa for providing no information on ports of call. Basic information could have been provided but staff couldn't/wouldn't even say how far town was from the port. The reception staff gave a poor impression of Costa on each occasion we needed them to answer a query. Too little time in ports despite the whole sales slant of NeoRiviera. Would have loved a whole day in Dubrovnik. Book a taxi - 50 Euro for a trip up to the viewpoint. The ports of call were well worth a visit and not disappointing in any way. Some passengers were exceptionally rude and pushed anyone and everyone who blocked their path. The siting of the coffee machine was ridiculous; it was on the main, rather narrow route into the restaurant. This caused chaos at breakfast time. The theatre was somewhere I would not want to be in an emergency. No side aisles for exit and tables along each row which were difficult to pass... Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
If I were to sum up the performance of my first Costa Cruise Experience in one word it would be "LAZY". Background: I am a retired Hotel Manager, having managed 3,4 & 5 Star Hotels in seven countries. This is my 5th ... Read More
If I were to sum up the performance of my first Costa Cruise Experience in one word it would be "LAZY". Background: I am a retired Hotel Manager, having managed 3,4 & 5 Star Hotels in seven countries. This is my 5th cruise. I am 61 years of age, therefore not young nor old. My wife and I chose this cruise because of the ports of call that we had never previously visited. It also was not very expensive. We did not have great expectations of Costa, just average. Cruise Date: January 11th in Dubai. Booked inclusive drinks package. Review: Stateroom: 8209. Perfectly acceptable. Very good beds, excellent shower. A/C OK. Housekeeping very good until check out. Food: Breakfast Buffet OK. Juice and Coffee just 3* Tried the Restaurant one day it was awful, didn't retry. Eggs Benedict inedible, hard eggs and disgusting hollandaise sauce. Lunch: Lunch Buffet, our favourite meal with Costa, lots of variety and nearly always something that appealed to us. Bravo. Dinner: Generally disappointing. Food not very hot. Certainly plentiful but not very tasty. Our waiter, Ferdinand, was very good. Wines very varied, some good some undrinkable. Suggestion: WHY WHY WHY do Costa charge extra for Pizza? We would have had a Pizza for dinner on multiple occasions during our cruise. It would provide more profit for Costa and more satisfaction for your customers. The Lazy aspect of your food service concerns the absence of Themed Evenings which would cost very little but have great impact. Bars: Although we were on "inclusive package" we only consumed one beer with lunch and the waited for cocktail before dinner. Costa clearly have some bar members who should not be employed and are not happy in their work! Mostly boys but some girls too! They are not managed or motivated.Non inclusive guests pay for water when Buffet Restaurant not open! Once again no financial cost involved in putting this right. Entertainment/ Animation: Very poor in nearly every respect. WHY WHY WHY do Costa insist on having noise by the pool directed by this team almost ALL of the day. On this ship this is not a big area so it is difficult to escape the incessant noise. I completely understand the morning exercises and maybe a half hour game but MOVE the animation for most of the day to an area where it is not disturbing their guests who are trying to relax in the sun! The music in the Saint Paul de Vence in the evening, provided by a band was mostly very old fashioned Oompa Loompa variety or seemed to be played for the benefit of the staff, who insisted on playing infantile games with a few willing customers. Just like in the day, why not let their guests enjoy their surroundings without inflicting silly games on them. The shows are for that purpose. I did speak to one of the team about this as the dance floor was full of happy people dancing to very good music from the band until they changed it. Then the dance floor was empty and people went to bed! Madness.....and again no cost to put it right! Until the second half of the trip, there was no information on the places of interest that we were soon to visit. We then had a talk by Allesandra before we went to Muscat. She was outstanding and the best Ambassador for Costa that we encountered. WHY WHY WHY had nobody done anything like this before. Incredibly there was a "Meet your fellow English Speaking guests" 3 days before the end. Clever ? On our last day on board we were asked to vacate our room at 5.30 in the morning! When I mentioned lazy at the beginning of this appraisal, this is a perfect example. Apparently 5 per cent of guests do depart on this particular day (a day later than the vast majority). Why not leave them alone until 8am. There is plenty of work for the housekeeping staff to do without giving its valued customers a very poor final impression of Costa. I complained and was told that I could stay until 7.30, but my Cabin Steward entered my room at 6.05 and Reception/Housekeeping rang at 6.50 and 7.05 Overall, wife and I had a pleasant 3 weeks BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH BETTER WITH RELATIVELY LITTLE MORE EFFORT Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was our first cruise with Costa and whilst we enjoyed our holiday overall we thought the Costa NeoRiviera was poor in comparison with other cruise companies who we have travelled with. Arrived at Dubai Cruise Terminal at 8am and ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Costa and whilst we enjoyed our holiday overall we thought the Costa NeoRiviera was poor in comparison with other cruise companies who we have travelled with. Arrived at Dubai Cruise Terminal at 8am and was not allowed to embark until 7pm - yet passengers who were embarking for the same cruise itinerary when we disembarked were allowed to do this at 9.30am!!! Black tea served form 1pm, no snacks and certainly no consideration for passengers stuck in the terminal - absolutely disgusting!!!! The service in the restaurant and bars, with a few exceptions, was very good and congratulations and thanks to the staff concerned. I could not write a review on the Costa's web site as it says I had ran out of time, yet the email stated we had until 14th Feb to write one - i tried on the 14th Feb!!! Very very Italian, very noisy by the pool caused by the entertainment staff, poor shows, limited talks of forthcoming ports, meet the english passengers/friends 3 days before the end of the cruise, was told there would be 6 formal nights - packed clothes accordingly and only 2 formal nights in 3 weeks. Generally poor!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We are not seasoned cruisers having only been on four cruises - the first three with P&O and the last with Costa. The price we paid for our inside cabin was very reasonable - however it was discounted still further by Iglu cruise ... Read More
We are not seasoned cruisers having only been on four cruises - the first three with P&O and the last with Costa. The price we paid for our inside cabin was very reasonable - however it was discounted still further by Iglu cruise because we booked an outside cabin but were allocated an inside. Iglu cruise said this was an error but I strongly suspect that they sell you anything to get your booking and then work out what they can and cannot provide. Not an acceptable business practice in my view - but that is an issue with Iglu Cruise and not (possibly) with Costa. The bad points first. Costas organisational ability in relation to our transfer from Nice Airport to Savona Port was absolutely woeful. No one was there to meet us from our on time flight at 0905 am from Gatwick. After about half an hour of waiting around I noticed a man sticking up "Costa meeting point" signs just outside the terminal building. I spoke with him and he said that I must have spoken with his colleague who was there to meet us as we arrived. I told him that there was no one there to meet us - as all our fellow Costa customers can vouch for. He simply refused to believe me - saying that was not possible and laughing nervously - basically implying that I was making it up. After a further half an hour a coach turned up and a woman from Costa who had just arrived said to us "what can I do - I have four hundred people and just one coach" With the best will in the world - it's not our problem. Costa would have (should have) known well in advance how many transfer customers were arriving at Nice Airport that morning. If they lack the ability to organise enough coaches to cater for that then they really shouldn't be in business. We were lucky - we were at the front of the queue and managed to get on the first coach. However, there was no Costa rep provided on the transfer coach - just our driver Giovanni who spoke no English. He was a good driver but on arrival at Savona port for our embarkation we were greeted by a Costa rep who spoke for five minutes or so in Italian. She apparently had no idea we were all British and so was wasting her time - she just assumed we were Italian. We were then given vague directions about entering the terminal building to board our ship. Now as we could see from the coach where Giovanni had parked, there were two terminal buildings. A smaller one on our left right next to where our ship was docked and a much larger terminal building to our right where another Costa ship (Costa Favolosa) was docked. We all not unnaturally made the assumption that the terminal building to our left next to our ship was the one we wanted. We went there and were turned away by a Security Guard who gave us further unclear instructions about where we needed to go. We thought perhaps there was an entrance on another side of the building that we should be using. We found no other entrance so returned to the same Security Guard and were finally given proper directions and instructions. We had to enter the large terminal building on the opposite side of the dock from where our Ship was docked and we would then make our way to our ship across an upper level walkway that linked the two terminal buildings. Sorry Costa - but how on earth were we supposed to work that out by ourselves without either clear instructions or a member of staff to guide us there - neither of which were provided. Couple that with our pathetic/non existent meet and greet at Nice Airport and I confess I was not in the best of moods and my opinion of Costa Cruises was at a very low level. You only get one chance to make a first impression and Costa - you failed on a biblical scale. After we embarked and got to our cabin - still seething from our dreadful transfer - the first thing we noticed was that it absolutely stank of cigarette smoke. I don't know how it found it's way in there - there are smoke detectors in the cabins. Possibly from the previous occupants smoking in the ensuite which cannot have smoke detectors because the steam from the shower would activate them. Or possibly through the A/C system. I called Guest Services (Reception) and they said they would pass on a request to housekeeping to refresh the room. I asked how long that would take because it was so overpowering. I was just told that it had been passed to housekeeping. That answer was supposed to satisfy me - they had done their job in passing it on - so what more did I expect?!! Anyway, the smell did reduce after a few hours. Another bad point relates to the all inclusive drinks package we purchased at a cost of 28.75 euros per person for the duration of our cruise. Now having spent that amount of money, I don't expect to have to spend extra to buy water. With Costas all-inclusive package you do if you want a bottle to take to bed. You can only have water by the glass. What use is that when you want to drink water in the night. They even had the cheek to leave a bottle of water out of the mini-bar (all mini-bar drinks are extra) with a little tag around it. We made the assumption that because it was left outside the mini-bar it was complimentary. WRONG - we were charged 2.95 euros for it. On closer inspection of the tag around it it said "Dear Guest - we are sure you will appreciate the provision of this bottle of water in your cabin. Please note that should you open it your room account will be charged 2.95 euros" True hospitality!! OK now I've got that off my chest - all that remains is the positive. Firstly the staff. Secondly the staff Thirdly the staff All the front of house staff were exceptional. Happy, relaxed and customer focused. Now our previous cruising experiences have all been with P&O. Their staff are drawn from the same Countries - mainly India, Philippines and Indonesia but with Costa they just seem so much happier and that is reflected in the wonderful service they provide. I'm not saying service is poor on P&O but it is just so much better with Costa. The food. Really good quality cuisine - but for my British palate, P&O definitely has the edge and has more variety of cuisines Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We recently went on our first and last Costa Cruise, everything was good, until the evening before disembarking, they had added 15% to a prepaid drinks package, we bought the 20 beers and 20 soft drinks packages on board as we were told we ... Read More
We recently went on our first and last Costa Cruise, everything was good, until the evening before disembarking, they had added 15% to a prepaid drinks package, we bought the 20 beers and 20 soft drinks packages on board as we were told we couldn't buy it before boarding the ship but there wouldn't be any added costs because it was a package. Then we were told we would have to get off the ship at 8a.m on Friday morning for our transfer to Nice from Savona, our transfer was arranged for 10.30 a.m through Costa and the Cruise Company we booked with. There were at least 100 passengers this happened to, most of them booking through the same company as ourselves, amongst the passengers were disabled people, myself and my husband included. it seemed to be the British passengers this was happening to, or at the very least, people flying into the UK. This earlier transfer meant that many of us would have a 12 hour wait at Nice Airport. The Captain put it a short appearance and then disappeared, the Reception staff didn't really want to know what was going on, and weren't very helpful anyway, then when some passengers started to get really angry, they offered them an extra hour before they caught their transfer but would have to wait on the quayside. We found it all totally unacceptable as this had been known to the staff onboard at least two days earlier but passengers had not been informed. I can't understand why people with an evening flight were put off the ship first and others with an earlier afternoon flight were allowed to stay onboard longer, this, to me seems ridiculous, also, one of the ports we should have stopped at, Tunis had understandably been cancelled so they took us to Sicily which was closed because of a Bank Holiday, when questioned about this we were told "You can go on one of our trips which is will cost you €50-€69." This was not ideal, I don't know why we were taken somewhere where there was very little to do, it all seemed to be about making extra money. I have told all my friends about this, many of whom cruise a couple of times a year and none of them will sail with Costa. The staff and food were lovely though, this was the only good thing. We cruise a couple of times a year, but will definitely not cruise with Costa again Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Booked the cruise through Cruise Nation as it was advertised at a bargain price with a very low single supplement. First time with Costa, but I have sailed 4 times with MSC so I knew what to expect - particularly after reading Cruise ... Read More
Booked the cruise through Cruise Nation as it was advertised at a bargain price with a very low single supplement. First time with Costa, but I have sailed 4 times with MSC so I knew what to expect - particularly after reading Cruise CRitic reviews. And bonus - I got a free upgrade to an outside cabin. We sailed from Savona although the nearest airport is Nice in France. The transfer was very smooth on a superb French/Italian autoroute with over 50 tunnels on the way. The cruise is a bit of a hop on-hop off with arrivals and departures at Monaco, Barcelona, Malta, Salerno and Livorno so a changing passenger contingent, but the ship was never more than 60% full - and a number of them were travel agents on a special deal to push Costa to their clients. And it is just as well that it wasn't full as the buffet area was the smallest I have seen on any ship although the choice was such that there was always something to choose from, some of which was rather good. Tea time , however, if you were Jewish (I am not), your choice of little rolls was severely limited. I ate lunch, breakfast and tea in the buffet and dinner in the restaurant. Freedom dining but they do not facilitate sharing. Luckily, some other single Brits took pity and we formed a table for 6. The dining room staff were pretty good, although some in the buffet had perfected the art of appearing busy without actually seeming to do anything tangible. And passengers first is a concept some have yet to acquire. The food in general was good but by no means the best I have had on a cruise and I was quite happy till day 8 when, in the loo and washing my hands, I heard the cubicle flush and a chef, complete with uniform and hat, emerged and did a quick exit without washing his hands. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he had better hand washing facilities in the kitchen. But in general, hygiene enforcement was non-existent with no member of staff asking passengers to use the hand disinfectant. Entertainment was passable, with the resident performers working hard. Only 2 singers who did have some difficulty with some genres of music. The animation team were everywhere and were very popular. Evening music was great - if you liked Latin, ballroom, line/sequence dancing etc and it did annoy me when the band played some decent disco style music, the animation team and their followers took over the floor with some mechanised follow-my-leader dances that involved stepping forward, to the side, turning through 90 degrees ad infinitum. Half a dozen variations of that, with clapping and jumping in some, then 10 minutes dancing for the rest of us before the duo came on and played salsa, cha-cha, mambo, samba rumba, waltz etc. How to clear the floor!!!!! The ports were a mixed bag. Livorno & Salerno are not attractive, but a combination of bus and train gets you out of Livorno and to Pisa for less that 10 euros, so please don't book the ship tour. And certainly not in Monaco either. And that brings me finally to the grand fiasco on the last day. We all had transfer pick up times to Nice. Mine was 10.30 for a 16.50 flight. Others' transfers and flights stretched to 22.00. So what did Costa do? Without telling us until we got the "Today" event sheet after 7.00 p.m. when some people were obviously at dinner, they arranged for all the Nice coaches to come early and we had to disembark from 8.15 a.m. There was a near riot on the penultimate evening with literally dozens of angry Brits demanding that they revert to the original arrangements. However, at 22.00 at sea and the coach company in Nice not open till 8.00 the next morning, by which time their buses would be at Savona, we were stuffed. This fiasco was a variation on other poor organisation events I encountered on MSC and a couple of event clashes on Costa so I really have very little faith in Italian organisation. To sum up - if I had paid the brochure price, I would be very disappointed, but if you decide to eat in a Harvester, don't expect Brasserie Blanc or Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I am a 55-year-old American professor of literature who has been working in Dubai for eight-and-a-half years. My wife is a 47-year-old high-school math teacher from the Philippines. The local schools are closed for three weeks during the ... Read More
I am a 55-year-old American professor of literature who has been working in Dubai for eight-and-a-half years. My wife is a 47-year-old high-school math teacher from the Philippines. The local schools are closed for three weeks during the holidays and we wanted to get away for awhile. We travelled extensively last summer by plane and will do so again next June: the time-saving convenience of taking a cruise from Dubai appealed to us. We live in the UAE and had no interest in the destinations: we would be cruising only to enjoy the ship. My wife found an advertisement for this cruise last fall in the local newspaper, the Gulf News, and suggested we give it a try. I was apprehensive about cruising with Costa because of the mixed reviews I had read on this site. On the other hand, my needs were very limited: I simply wanted to get away from my villa for a few days on a luxury cruise ship, be able to use the Jacuzzi when I wanted, have a few exotic rum drinks, enjoy decent food whenever I was hungry, and read a few novels on my Kindle on our balcony. For the most part, my list of needs were met. This was my eighth cruise and my wife’s second. Our last cruise together was two years ago on NCL’s Pride of America: that earlier cruise served as my wife’s only yardstick. Embarkation The ticket indicated an embarkation time of 8:00 pm. This is when passengers may enter their cabins: guests may board the vessel as early as 3:00 pm. I decided to drive to the terminal rather than take a taxi as we live only 15 minutes from the Port. We arrived at Port Rashid at around 5:30 pm to an empty terminal. I was initially convinced that I was parked in a restricted zone because there were virtually no other cars in sight. I finally spotted a grounds attendant and verified with him that I was parked legally before leaving the car. Terminal parking is free. We entered the terminal station and immediately spotted the Costa check-in desk. We were the only passengers in sight, which was a bit eerie. I mentioned to the customer service representative that we were residents of the UAE and she replied “That makes it a lot easier.” We were waived straight through the moment she examined our residency permits. Costa collects passports upon check-in as a way of assuring all passengers pay their final bill before disembarking. At least this is what we were told by customer service. They said they would return the passports to us when we disembarked for tours. We had no plans to leave the ship until the end of the cruise anyway. The ship was relatively empty when we arrived (800 passengers) and remained so until early the next day. About one-third of the guests arrived between 1:00 to 3:00 am the following morning. When I entered the Vernazza Buffet at a quarter-to-three, I couldn’t believe how crowded and active it was. Food was served until four in the morning I was told. Disembarkation was just as smooth one week later. Passengers must vacate their cabins by 3:00 pm and may remain onboard until 6:00 pm. We walked off by ourselves at 2:30 in the afternoon and were back home a few minutes later. Fellow Passengers In another review of a different Costa ship, the author commented that “This is an Italian Cruise Line for Italians.” I agree with that conclusion. There were 1200 passengers with exactly seven native English-speaking guests: three British couples and me, the sole American. My wife was the only Filipino national according to the predominantly Indonesian and Filipino wait staff. The vast majority of passengers were Italian, followed by Germans and a spattering of other central Europeans: French, Belgians, and Dutch. Throughout the week we spotted one Indian family but not one Arabic-speaking passenger: that makes sense given the ship serves pork and alcohol (most Arabic-speaking countries are Islamic). Cultural composition is important to consider because it informs you about the kind of onboard experience you can expect in terms of entertainment, cuisine, social milieu and interaction. Westerners who prefer speaking with only their travel companions might find the language barrier to be a relief: others like me—who view meeting new people as an advantage of cruising—will perceive it as isolating. Europeans apparently enjoy song and dance productions (in Italian): I don’t care for musicals even when they are performed in English. The Italian corporate office couldn’t hire an American stand-up comedian? The line is owned by Carnival after all. We never bothered to attend the shows after the first night. My wife and I both commented on how unusually fit the Italian passengers were on this cruise. I am guessing that no more than 15 percent of the guests were overweight: this is in stark contrast to cruises from American-based departure ports where more than 30 percent of the passengers are overweight or obese. There were often queues for the use of the treadmills and stationary bikes on this cruise. Finally, European palates and appetites are different from those of Westerners. A lot more on this below when I discuss the ship’s food and beverage offerings. Cabin and Ship We had a aft balcony classic (BC) cabin on deck nine, cabin 9227. The cabin is very well designed and spacious, barring the bathroom. The shower curtain does not provide an adequate seal and I don’t see how anyone with a BMI over 27 (more than slightly overweight) could fit in that tight semi-circled corner (we are both height to weight proportionate). Nevertheless, we enjoyed spending time in that cabin. The mattresses were the most comfortable I have ever experienced on a cruise ship and, combined with the rhythm of the ship, I slept better on this cruise than I have at home in months. I am also guessing that the four to six glasses of Planter’s Punch I consumed everyday may have helped to relax me as well. Still, the bed was fantastic. The 22-inch flat screen HDTV provided a clear picture and offered two English language stations: BBC and Fox Movies. The mini-fridge is adequate for storing drinks that have been carried down from the bars and for midnight snacks that have been requisitioned earlier from the Buffet. The public areas of this ship are beautiful and inviting. I particularly enjoyed having coffee at the Café ‘Eze, a venue that easily rivals Starbucks in the scope and taste of concoctions offered (just don’t ask for a simple cup of American coffee). There are two adult pools with accompanying Jacuzzis. As the ship was nearly filled to capacity, they were heavily used on sea days and even when the ship was docked. We had to wait until 6:30 to 7:00 pm (dinner time) to soak in the hot tub. Food and Beverage I need to preface this section with the admonishment that I consider cruise ship food reviews to be virtually worthless. Think about it for a moment. I write “The crème brûlée was to die for!” What does that tell you? Unless you are able to spend a few days living with me, observing my food preferences and idiosyncrasies where you can acquire a reliable sense of how my taste buds compare with yours, it tells you absolutely nothing. (This is not an open invitation. My brother-in-law is currently staying in our only guest room.) Food reviews are just far too subjective to have any reliable and valid meaning at all unless one is a professional food critic and knows how to describe and explain dishes in measureable terms. In addition to the considerable variability there is in food tastes within families and other homogeneous groups, there are even greater significant differences in food preferences across countries, regions, and even social classes. I never knew what Spam was until I married my Filipino wife and I had never heard of grits or chicken-fried steak until I moved from New York City to Atlanta, Georgia (and I never did acquire a taste for either of them). Greg Straub, Cruise Critic contributor, in his review of Costa neoRomantica’s dining venues (which he rates as three out of five), writes “As for quality, think ‘Olive Garden,’ and you won't be disappointed.” This comparison does not apply to the neoRiviera: maybe there were a total of three or four items that came close to Olive Garden quality. There were two meals where I couldn’t find anything that I thought was appetizing. I filled up on salad and fruit instead of eating a complete lunch or dinner. Much to my amazement, the pasta dishes were among their greatest misses. On Thursday night, my wife went to the carving station and walked away with a one-inch slice of roast beef. It looked good so I asked her for a bite. After chewing it three to four times, I had to discriminately spit it into my napkin: it was that tough and foul-tasting. My wife then cut a piece for herself and ended up spitting hers out as well. There were a few food items I thought were very good to excellent. All imported cheeses were of the highest quality as were the Milano salami and prosciutto. The grilled lamb chops were large, juicy, and cooked to a perfect medium. The baked jumbo shrimp were tender and the sautéed mussels were succulent. On three separate occasions they served a German bockwurst that was reminiscent of a New York Nathan’s hotdog and it brought tears of joy to my eyes. The chopped meat used for their hamburgers was an excellent quality, an 80/20 mixture of ground chuck and fat: the hamburger was juicy and tasty and reminded me of a Fuddruckers hamburger. Unfortunately, for a fare of slightly more than 4,000 dollars for a seven-night cruise, I expected more than good hot dogs and hamburgers. The truth is that Europeans and Asians simply do not eat or think of beef in the same way Western people do. For them, an average-tasting, one-eighth-inch slice of what we would call a minute steak is what they consider to be a good steak dinner. I tasted one of these thin, overcooked minute steaks and thought the taste was okay but not worth wasting calories on. In all fairness and in the interest of full disclosure, my Filipino wife thought the overall quality of the food was “excellent.” She compared the quality of the food on this Costa cruise to that of the food served on the Pride of America (POA). Her only complaint was that there wasn’t as much choice on Costa as there was on her first cruise with POA. I also need to add that during the week I informally surveyed a Belgian fireman and a Russian copyeditor (who were able to communicate in English) about how they felt about the food. The fireman commented that he thought the steak had an “excellent flavor” and the Russian girl told me that the food was “very good.” Meanwhile, the night before disembarkation, I drove my wife to the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Jumeirah Beach (Dubai) so we could have Churrasco (Brazilian barbecue) at the Foqueira Restaurant. There they serve black Angus beef, real beef. I literally had to leave the ship before the end of the cruise to enjoy a good meal. Friday night, while I was waiting at the poolside bar for my drink, chatting with the bar tender, a distinguished-looking gentleman about my age interrupted to comment that he overheard I was speaking English. He asked if I was an American, I replied that I was, and immediately recognized his dialect as British. We were both thrilled to have found another native English speaker in the midst of little Naples. During the course of our brief discussion, he told me that he had been on this same cruise with Costa, precisely one year ago, and felt that the product has declined considerably in value since then. I specifically asked him what he thought about the overall quality of the food: he told me that he was “very disappointed.” He did qualify that comment by adding he thought the food had been much better on the previous cruise. When asked if he planned on sailing with Costa again, he answered that he would not. We then discussed how Royal Caribbean International will be sailing the Splendour of the Seas out of Dubai next winter and how this might be a much better value. Finally, the drink package is a great value even if you don’t drink alcohol. You will need the neoCollection drink package at 28.75 EU per day just to enjoy a decent cup of coffee: the free coffee served in the Vernazza Buffet and main dining room is swill. Summary As we pulled away from the terminal, my wife commented that I looked more rested and relaxed than I have in months. From that perspective, I definitely received what I came for. Service was the best I have ever experienced on any cruise. The Filipino and Indonesian stewards, bar tenders, and waiters were exemplary. I congratulate Costa for their quality of staff training. Food tastes are entirely subjective. Do not book a cruise with Costa if your idea of good cruise food is a juicy half-inch thick cut of Angus porterhouse or ribeye or a sweet Maine lobster tail. These are not served on Costa cruise line. At least on this cruise, there were no midnight buffets although I had read that Costa still offers them. It’s safe to conclude that if you enjoy decent all-you-can-eat cafeteria style buffets, you will find something on this cruise to eat that you like. I think Costa should offer more inclusive dining options after 9:00 pm. Hungry passengers on the neoRiviera, during the late evening and early morning hours, are limited to a pizza and salad combo snack at the pizza station for an additional 5 EU per person (available from 9:00 pm to midnight) or ordering a pre-frozen sandwich or salad from the room service menu at a surcharge of 2 EU per person. I probably will not book another cruise with Costa not because of the food but because of the language barrier: I do like socializing with other passengers and that was not possible on this cruise. My advice is that Westerners should only consider this cruise if the fare is significantly discounted and they are living in the UAE or a neighboring country and can drive to Port Rashid. I would not pay to fly to Dubai from the United States or England for the neoRiviera unless I was able to spend an additional week or two in this emirate.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
I have thought long and hard about this cruise which I have to start of by saying cost £1000 per person with return flights from London with B.A.[who were great by the way] and included 3 nights accommodation in Dubai -[Winchester grand ... Read More
I have thought long and hard about this cruise which I have to start of by saying cost £1000 per person with return flights from London with B.A.[who were great by the way] and included 3 nights accommodation in Dubai -[Winchester grand apartments again great] all included-therefore a great deal and well worth the price however my comments are to be on the cruise its self-first and foremost the staff were fantastic on the ship in all areas the food was to an acceptable standard although just below al carte standard with the last 3 days of this 20 night cruise a joke and no more than canteen food! we chose to go all inclusive for the 20 nights at nearly 28 euro per person per night a great deal which included all brand name spirits ,although only one named beer which escapes me at the moment although acceptable -the wine in the al carte dining was changed daily and was to the required standard HOWEVER EVERYWHERE ELSE-the house wine red/white was of a poor standard there is only one choice of al carte dining and the casual dining what u would expect the entertainment- the MAIN SHOW IN THE THEATRE- was very POOR and out of twenty nights I would say at least 10 were awful- with either a movie of an opera ,A comedian speaking only in Italian or just nothing at all-AJOKE ONE MAY SAY! that's how it was there other acts in the various bars were good however too repetitive as they were the same acts-in other words not enough variety of acts Ports of call- as this was a middle east cruise s lot of the ports there is absolutely nothing in a number of the places visited- yes nothing- in order visited my opinion Civitavecchia -port of rome -walk off ship to train station get train to rome buy as station when in rome book the big red bus not the caio roma as we did as they are too in frequent reggio Calabria - described as one of the nicest walkways in Italy- in fact its a dive nothing there -just a wee walk along the promenade- nothing worth talking about crete and the port heraklion - a nice stop off you can walk into the port and the little shops/café -very nice Jordan -aqaba -for perta or the wadii rum -cheaper to do yourself but beware the taxi drivers will rip you off -agree a price and write it down and don't agree to deviate from the agreed route or they try to bump up the the agreed price- nothing else worth seeing salalah-dont get off nothing there khasab-oman don't get off waste of time oman- muscat- nice wee market very traditional market ,take the price they give u and half it ,good for wee walk around and a bit of banter -nothing else there the jewel in the crown-DUBAI -I had visited about 20 years ago and I enjoyed then however it is even better now and not only for the rich-don't book any trips- get a taxi to the old gold /spice soul/Dubai mall ,the food is great ,the place is clean and safe lots to see and do ,check out tripadvisor before you go in summary of port info there is little or non given by costa so do your homework summary of cruise its self -we have now been on 6 different cruises and would say Costa was by far the least cruise experience we have had and always had the feeling the company was penny pinching too much Italian oriented themes and spoken and not enough of the world language English the parent company is carnival cruise line in florida and I cant help thinking if one of the big boys were on board- they would say JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR CRUISE STANDARD HOWEVER ECONO CRUISE MIGHT JUST BE THE CORRECT TERM however as with everything you have to weigh up cost v quality-and the final verdict for us was a great deal though for the cruise-BELOW STANDARD! Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Neo Rivera , A nice old ship, nothing flash mind you and in need of a tidy up in some areas, like the bathroom in our cabin 9039 floor area showing signs of age, still it was as I said nice but like any cruise you can always pick ... Read More
Neo Rivera , A nice old ship, nothing flash mind you and in need of a tidy up in some areas, like the bathroom in our cabin 9039 floor area showing signs of age, still it was as I said nice but like any cruise you can always pick something, so lets have a look at the good points: Great meals , everything was well cooked and presented and not too repetitious. Nice staff, friendly and keen to help, although at times a hint of abruptness Good selection of ports Good arrival and departure times Good embarkation and disembarking procedures . Not so good: Expensive Cruise compared to others I have been on. I had an outside Premium cabin and I am still trying to work out the benefit of spending the extra money on this level of cabin, there was nothing to suggest I received anything more than the people in the standard outside cabin, and we certainly weren't told of anything. I would not waist my money on the EP category cabin. Difficult to get drinking water, could only find one dispenser and that was in the dining room and that closed when meal time finished. No water jug in Cabin Lack of decent information on visiting port, ie how to get into the city, distance etc.A map of the area around the port would have been helpful. Lack of English TV stations Pushy with alcohol / coffee purchases Expensive shore excursions Pathetic entertainment , amateurish an repetitive , best was the presentation by the staff. Would I cruise with Costa again, not sure about that , it may be better on one of their bigger ships but I an not going to spend money to find out Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We have just returned from the Dubai to Cape town cruise on Costa neoRiviera. On the plus side, the itinerary was wonderful. We visited some incredible places. The beds were the most comfortable we have had on a cruise ship, the staff ... Read More
We have just returned from the Dubai to Cape town cruise on Costa neoRiviera. On the plus side, the itinerary was wonderful. We visited some incredible places. The beds were the most comfortable we have had on a cruise ship, the staff were always smiling, polite and helpful. The ship although basic was clean. There were plenty of towels and lotions including after sun which was welcome. When we booked the holiday with Iglu we were under the impression that gratuities were compulsory but flexible. In actual fact there are no gratuities only a compulsory service charge of €8 pp/day, the first half of which was taken from our bank account half way through the cruise. On the Costa web site a 5% discount was available for tour reservations before 31 January. Because I have walking difficulties we decided to reserve the easy trips, as we thought they would be the popular ones and spent €1,500. Had we known that the ship would be less than half full, we wouldn’t have bothered. When we arrived on the ship the tours were the same price as we paid. When we enquired at the Tour Desk we were told that this package was not available on neo Riviera!! As we had to put the code for the ship, our booking number and name when reserving these tours we feel we were mis-sold these trips. When we asked to see the Tour Manager she suggested we put in a Formal Remark Form which would be stamped and sent to the Head Office in Genoa. We would get a reply very quickly – certainly before the end of the cruise. To date we have not even had an acknowledgement, so we will be pursuing this. We have been on many cruises and have never known the self service restaurant to close during the day. There was nowhere to get water tea or coffee while the restaurant was closed unless you bought them at the bar or had the drinks package which although advertised on the internet before the cruise at €19 increased to €28 once on ship. The restaurant closed for the day at 21.30 which meant that after the show in the theatre there was nowhere to go for refreshment before bed. We only used the Cetara Restaurant once but were not impressed with the menu. The self service restaurant had lots of salad and fresh fruit, an omelette station at breakfast time and a grill bar on deck at lunch time, together with a pizzeria. These were the only really hot food. The cooked food in the self service restaurant was at best passable and was only warm and very rarely were there any hot plates. Because there were multi-national guests, all announcements were made in several different languages which at times was quite tedious. There was also piped music everywhere except cabins, including the library. Even the port talks were conducted with piped music in the background. Overall the cruise was not as cheap as we were led to believe as the Service charge was over £500 for the five weeks and everything on board was very expensive – drinks, photographs etc. However the itinerary was superb.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Costa neoRiviera Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 3.7
Dining 3.0 3.4
Entertainment 3.0 3.0
Public Rooms 3.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.5
Family 3.0 3.5
Shore Excursion 3.0 2.7
Enrichment 2.0 2.6
Service 3.0 3.7
Value For Money 3.0 3.2
Rates 4.0 N/A

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