Cruise from Santos (Brazil) to Venice (Italy) in 23 days (including flights from Europe) on board the COSTA FORTUNA, a large ship of 102,000 tons with a capacity of 3,200 passengers launched in 2003. On this trip, we were about 2,300 passengers on board. We are a French Canadian couple and traveled with our close friends, a couple living in Paris.
Because of the world media attention regarding the circumstances of the tragic wreck that befell the COSTA CONCORDIA and then of another COSTA liner in the Indian Ocean that ended up being towed to the Seychelles Islands, some friends were actually concerned that the writer and his spouse were going to spend over three weeks on board the COSTA FORTUNA. There were many e-mails with humorous advise, the most common being to follow the captain as he was sure to get out of the ship safely...! This was no joke for some people; on the first day at the lifeboat drill while talking to another passenger, this reviewer was told that a couple of his friends had cancelled their cruise and were quite willing to loose half of its cost.
There were no such fears on our part. Before leaving however, our friends teased us with a great deal of joking about: 1) navigating near the coast, 2) if our captain was a happy-go-lucky playboy like his (former) colleague, 3) to be sure to follow the captain in an emergency as he would be safe, and so on. One thing for sure, the regrettable incidents noted above were (and remained) on people's minds. COSTA thus has an enormous challenge to restore its image as a credible cruise company.
Our cabins was quite nicely appointed; the decoration is very relaxed and thoughtfully set up. We had a balcony and certainly recommend it.The air-conditioning was not at all aggressive and "out of control", which was a great bonus. All in all, a very comfortable comfortable and well-appointed cabin.
Very nice place, third visit, but personal security is a concern so don't walk in isolated places, never have a camera or computer visible. Beautiful view on entry and leaving of harbor.
Also saw Ilheus (not much there), Salvador de Bahia (very nice), and Fortaleza (quite nice also) but the visits could have been better had it not been for COSTAs tours as noted in review above.
Suberb place - harbour magnificent - Valletta is really worth the visit for its architecture - many places to shop, eat, etc. Worth staying a week (we once did).
Santa Cruz de Tenerife on the Canaries is really a neat and lovely stop too - take a taxi (cheaper and better than tours) to see various spots.
Malaga is, well, Malaga. Nice shops.
Old town nice and old fort quite impressive. However, take a taxi to visit Empress Elizabeth of Austria (the famed "Sissi") 1880s vacation neo-classical mansion. Really worth it.
Beautiful place. Very nice to walk and enjoy the architecture. Remarkably good naval if small museum.
Venice is, well, Venice - on a class of its own. An awful crowd of us tourists but quite worth it all the same. Besides the usual vaunted art museums, the naval fans will not want to miss the large naval museum near the arsenal.