Costa Magica Cruise Review by billnbarb
- Sail Date: March 2006
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
We arrived at Pier 25 about 11:30 am. There were approximately 1000 people ahead of us. A Costa representative announced that we would start boarding about 12 and asked that guests with children come to the front of the line to board first. That was a nice jester, however, no similar announcement was made for the elderly in line. They stood outside in the heat for over an hour while guests with children in strollers were boarded immediately.
Once, we boarded we were ushered into a theater. This was to register your credit card and to wait for your cabin to be ready. While we were sitting in the theater we noticed a strange smell. It smelled like garbage. We just figured that we had arrived while they were offloading the garbage. An announcement was made that the buffet on the 9th floor was ready and we could proceed to the 9th floor and that our rooms would be ready after lunch. While waiting for the elevator we noticed the smell again but figured that it would disappear. After the buffet, (I am using the term loosely - I do not consider what they had to offer a buffet), we went to our cabin. The hallway leading to our cabin smelled really bad. We called Customer Service and also asked our cabin steward what the smell was and they said they would check on it. A statement that we would hear for the next two days. After our luggage arrived, we decided to head upstairs for some fresh air and to get familiar with the ship's layout. We found out that the only way to get from one end of the ship to the other is to use the 5th or 9th floors. When we returned to our cabin, the smell had become unbearable. Once again we went of customer service and they told us they were aware of the problem and were checking on it. We asked to be moved but they told us the ship was fully booked and no cabins were available. We headed back down and changed for dinner - this was not a pleasant experience considering the smell. I was almost afraid to eat the food. As you have read in other reviews the food is terrible. It was not edible and nothing was hot and that included the buffet. Everything served was either tepid or cold. I never saw a chef or a worker checking the temperatures on the buffet line. Something that is mandatory for all buffet lines. The only item served hot was the made-to-order omelets on the 9th floor.
I am still trying to figure out how an Italian ship can not prepare an Italian meal. Every day was a different food adventure. One night the shrimp were bad, the next the steak and it just kept happening. Our waiter and assistant waiter were excellent but could never get the same course served at the same time. I would have my soup and my husband would have his entree. This went on every night. Our table of four always had different courses on the table at the same time and nothing was every hot. I am still trying to figure out why they wanted my dessert order at the beginning of the meal. A few times, I was afraid that I would get my dessert before the entree.
After dinner, we went to the casino for a few minutes (anything to stay out of the room) and realized that children were playing the slot machines. This was a daily event. The staff did make announcements that children were not allowed to play the machines but no one stopped them.
When we finally decided to go back to our room, we figures that the smell would be gone. We were wrong - it was getting worse not better - another call to Customer Services and also asked our Cabin Steward again what was wrong. They both said that they were aware of the problem and the staff was working on it.
Monday morning was a repeat of Sunday. We had the terrible smell and were told the same thing time and time again. I asked them to be honest and tell us what was wrong and when they would be able to fix the problem but we got a stock answer "we are aware of the problem, Madam". I did have one employee tell me that they also had the problem on their floor and that they had to deal with it. I just said yes, but you are not paying for the trip we are. We tried to stay out of the room as much as possible. However, during the course of the day, you would be surprised at how many times you return to the room. The smell lingered all day Monday. Monday afternoon, I found six workers on our floor and they appeared to be fixing something. I asked if they were fixing the problem causing the smell and they told me no and that the smell was not caused by anything that was broken but was garbage. Early Monday night they sprayed a deodorant in the hallway to try to mask the odor. This just made it worse. The odor came back twice as bad.
Tuesday morning did not bring any relief from the smell. The smell was so bad I decided to try the button on the phone labeled environment. I thought it was the ship's environment but it was EPA. I explained the problem and they told me to try to find out what was causing the smell and to call back. All we could hope for was a little reprieve in Puerto Rico. Could not wait for the ship to dock. By the time we arrived in PR the smell was so bad we wee gagging in the hallway. We had to use out hallway to get to the lower deck for disembarking. Not a pleasant experience. When we got off the ship we spoke with Max (Entertainment Director) - asked him to walk down the hallway and see if he could find out what was causing the smell. He said he would and would get back to us - he did not get back to us. While in PR we noticed garbage containers being unloaded. Upon returning to the ship, the smell was gone. I guess the workers were right - the smell was garbage and once it was removed no more smell. However, it did reappear on Saturday night. By Sunday morning, you could smell it in the hallways again. A great start for another ship of guests.
Puerto Rico - Arrived after 5 - dark and rainy - not a good night for walking - would like to have arrived earlier in the day. Would love to have been able to take a daylight tour.
St. Thomas - Beautiful - a great day - the island is wonderful. Beaches were great. Would go back.
Catalina Island - This is Costa's island. It was very pretty but having about 2,000 beach lounges lined up 6 inches apart and having to fight to get to the water leaves a lot to be desired. I thought I was back in Miami in the 70's. Did not have the beach buffet. It looked like a cattle line.
La Romana, Dominican Republic - Again another port arrival at dusk. Not a place I wanted to be wandering around at night. Hired a taxi that took us to several primitive shopping areas. It was too dark for sightseeing.
Nassau - Loved it. The straw market was fun and we took the ferry to the Atlantis Resort. The charge was $6 roundtrip or $3 one way. Atlantis is beautiful. Enjoyed spending a few hours at the resort. Will go back again.
A few comments, Costa is probably the most disorganized ship I have every sailed. It does not take much to make a few announcements regarding activities (the few they have) and to make the daily newsletter a little more informative. The only midnight buffet that I wanted to attend was the gala buffet. Customer service told me it was Saturday night. When I asked on Saturday where it was being held, I was told it was held the night on Friday night.
By now you realize that I did not have a great time on this cruise. I will tell you that the ship is beautiful. The personnel were great (waiters, cabin steward, etc.) but having to live with a terrible smell, bad food and terrible port is not the way I want to spend my time or money.
Costa has potential - the staff is great and the ship is pretty. The few things they did at night in the dinning room like Italian night and Tropical night were great. Everyone in the dinning room enjoyed watching and participating in the shows. Now if they can improve the food, get their act together as getting off at ports and add a few more events like the theme nights, it could become a much better cruise.
P.S. Don't forget get this is a no frill's ship. Bring everything that you need.
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