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This is a huge ship, accommodating something like 2800 passengers, and it came as a surprise just before we started to find out that this formerly Italian line had been purchased by Carnival. The cruise itself was mostly a big disappointment, and the biggest disappointment -- universally as far as I could tell from other American passengers -- was the food. Drab, tasteless, and certainly not the quality of Italian food that you can find at the simplest Trattoria in Italy or even decent Italian restaurants in the States! The "buffet" offered as an alternative to the formal dining rooms for breakfast, lunch and dinner was mostly "disgusting" -- offering, for example, breakfast of powdered scrambled eggs, dry pancakes and waffles, and lots of cold cuts. "Gross!" as the kids say. The only really good meal we had aboard was at the extra-pay "private" restaurant, where the service and the food reminded me of what cruises used to be. With the $20/each fee, wine and tip, it ran $100. The cruise was clearly aimed at middle class Italian and European families (kids travel free) and offered little that was upscale or sophisticated. The service onboard was good, and the price was probably fair. The diversions onboard, mostly slot machine gambling or sunning, were sort of empty. The entertainment, except for one night, was painfully amateurish. Finally -- and I guess this is widely true of all cruise lines -- the cruise has its hands out for extra money every time you turn around. You pay for excursions, which are mostly poorly organized affairs that "dump" you into hard-sell shopping opportunities in awful places like Tunis. You pay for drinks, of course, even bar prices for every Coke you imbibe. The cruise itself is a constant barrage of shopping opportunities with a great deal of junk jewelry ($10 watches, for example) and other junk. Remember that Europeans smoke like chimneys, everywhere including elevators! Children are unruly and all parents don't pay enough attention to controlling their kids, inflicting them on others! And, finally, as has been widely stated -- Europeans do not know how to stand in line! They push and shove their way in to buffet lines and everywhere else. After being surprised, even shocked, the Americans I saw simply started standing their ground and refusing to allow this kind of line crashing. One irony is that it is an international group of passengers. All announcements are made in 5 languages! But, you don't get the benefit of the internationality, as they seat you with people like you. That does allow easier conversation, but it would be much more fun if there are a greater opportunity to mix as even if the English weren't perfect, most Europeans speak some to quite a bit of English. One thing to be very careful of planning better than we did is ground transportation to and from the ship. You can buy transfers from the cruise line at a reasonable price ($30 each way) if you are going to and from the airport. But, if you go to Rome ahead of time, you will find yourself stuck paying huge fees to limo services -- I figure we spent around $500 just for ground transportation between Rome and the port Civitavecchia! There are cheaper ways to do it, including the train, but you'd better be able to lug your own suitcases from the train platform without any help, elevators or escalators. We did love the stops in Spain, both Barcelona and Majorca, and in Palermo and Malta. Most of these we explored on our own. Many people remarked that they found the excursions were overpriced and not well run. In conclusion, I suppose I am a grouch and the cruise probably was a lot of fun for most of the 2800 passengers onboard this HUGE ship, but it has cured me of the desire to ever again do this kind of cruise.

CostaMagica - Western Mediterranean

Costa Magica Cruise Review by Jim Russell

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Trip Details
This is a huge ship, accommodating something like 2800 passengers, and it came as a surprise just before we started to find out that this formerly Italian line had been purchased by Carnival.
The cruise itself was mostly a big disappointment, and the biggest disappointment -- universally as far as I could tell from other American passengers -- was the food. Drab, tasteless, and certainly not the quality of Italian food that you can find at the simplest Trattoria in Italy or even decent Italian restaurants in the States! The "buffet" offered as an alternative to the formal dining rooms for breakfast, lunch and dinner was mostly "disgusting" -- offering, for example, breakfast of powdered scrambled eggs, dry pancakes and waffles, and lots of cold cuts. "Gross!" as the kids say. The only really good meal we had aboard was at the extra-pay "private" restaurant, where the service and the food reminded me of what cruises used to be. With the $20/each fee, wine and tip, it ran $100.
The cruise was clearly aimed at middle class Italian and European families (kids travel free) and offered little that was upscale or sophisticated. The service onboard was good, and the price was probably fair. The diversions onboard, mostly slot machine gambling or sunning, were sort of empty. The entertainment, except for one night, was painfully amateurish.
Finally -- and I guess this is widely true of all cruise lines -- the cruise has its hands out for extra money every time you turn around. You pay for excursions, which are mostly poorly organized affairs that "dump" you into hard-sell shopping opportunities in awful places like Tunis. You pay for drinks, of course, even bar prices for every Coke you imbibe. The cruise itself is a constant barrage of shopping opportunities with a great deal of junk jewelry ($10 watches, for example) and other junk.
Remember that Europeans smoke like chimneys, everywhere including elevators! Children are unruly and all parents don't pay enough attention to controlling their kids, inflicting them on others! And, finally, as has been widely stated -- Europeans do not know how to stand in line! They push and shove their way in to buffet lines and everywhere else. After being surprised, even shocked, the Americans I saw simply started standing their ground and refusing to allow this kind of line crashing.
One irony is that it is an international group of passengers. All announcements are made in 5 languages! But, you don't get the benefit of the internationality, as they seat you with people like you. That does allow easier conversation, but it would be much more fun if there are a greater opportunity to mix as even if the English weren't perfect, most Europeans speak some to quite a bit of English.
One thing to be very careful of planning better than we did is ground transportation to and from the ship. You can buy transfers from the cruise line at a reasonable price ($30 each way) if you are going to and from the airport. But, if you go to Rome ahead of time, you will find yourself stuck paying huge fees to limo services -- I figure we spent around $500 just for ground transportation between Rome and the port Civitavecchia! There are cheaper ways to do it, including the train, but you'd better be able to lug your own suitcases from the train platform without any help, elevators or escalators.
We did love the stops in Spain, both Barcelona and Majorca, and in Palermo and Malta. Most of these we explored on our own. Many people remarked that they found the excursions were overpriced and not well run.
In conclusion, I suppose I am a grouch and the cruise probably was a lot of fun for most of the 2800 passengers onboard this HUGE ship, but it has cured me of the desire to ever again do this kind of cruise.
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