Last December(2013) we took an 11 night cruise out of Singapore with Costa Cruises to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. We thought that because it was advertised in the UK as a Far East Cruise, that it would be aimed at the European traveller.
The cruise consisted of 3 mini cruises out of Singapore, up and down the Malaysian and Thai coast.
We boarded the ship (Costa Victoria) at Singapore cruise terminal, it was a little drawn out out but we eventually got aboard, along with the rest of the passengers, 80% of which I would say were Chinese. We found our cabin 80423, it was small, as was the shower, but reasonable.
When we went down for dinner we were shown to our table, 45, which we had booked in the "Fantasia" a-la-carte restaurant for our entire cruise, and met a nice couple from Sweden who were sharing our table. The food was ok, it was what I would describe as "good pub grub".
That evening we noticed that a lot of the passengers (Chinese) seened to be just wandering around the ship aimlessly, and those that had sat in the bar were just there taking up all the seats to listen to the "entertainment" ( again pub level ), without even buying so much as a Coke! Their dress code left a lot to be desired, in fact some looked like refugees from a war zone. This was because most of the passengers disembarked in Singapore each time we docked to be replaced by more of the same, all they appeared to be doing was going from Singapore to Malaysia and back to possibly buy cheap goods, as Brits used to do on cross channel ferries to go to France for cheap alcohol. It was a Chinese ferry, nothing more.
I also found these Chinese to be very rude people. It was almost impossible to get out of the lift if half a dozen Chinese wanted to be in, they would not wait!
On our third evening we went down for dinner to be told at the door....."sorry we are full, but you can go and eat in the buffet on deck 11 if you want". I would not have eaten in that buffet if it was the only eatery on the ship!
This happened on 3 evenings, each time I had to persuade the Maitre d' to find me a table, unfortunately it meant sharing a table for 8 with a badly dressed family of 6 Chinese.
On Dec 17th, our Anniversary, we had booked the "Il Magnifico" a-la-carte resaurant, which was $33 each extra. While we were looking at the menu a couple came in and asked for a table, and he was wearing tee shirt and shorts. I got the impression the Maitre d' was going to let him come in dressed like that so I asked him if he would ask the gentleman to go and change. After about 5 minutes discussion at the door the gentleman did eventually go and change. I womder if I had not said anything if he would have been allowed in? It did appear to be very casual and not what was implied in the advertising.
The excursions offered were expensive, and not really value for money, except for Koh Samui where we rode an elephant, and Malacca which was very nice.
But Phuket, oh dear, we dropped anchor offshore and transferred by ship's tender to a rickety floating jetty in the bay of Kalim Beach. What a filthy, dirty place that was. If I had booked a holiday to Phuket, and ended up in Kalim Beach I would have demanded a refund.
And to add insult to injury when we got our credit card statement as we left the ship we found we had been charged $121 each for "hotel services". This had never been mentioned to us by either Costa or the agent we booked with, Adore Cruises.co.uk.
We left the ship VERY disappointed with our cruise, but wiser.
NEVER again with Costa
Small but reasonable