Costa Diadema Cruise Review by C0l0nel
- Sail Date: December 2015
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Classic Inside
We have now done about 15 cruises and this is the second time we have been on the Diadema at this time of the year. The motivation is that in the last week of November and first 2 weeks of December this line and nearly all others in have bargains to be had. As a pre- Christmas break this is excellent value at around £300 for the week. This time we were accompanied by mother-in-law at 91 years old. A little frail and a touch of Alzheimer's but still game for her first cruise. She had always maintained that she couldn't swim so would not go on a ship where you couldn't see land at all times. I think my pointing out that if we did sink, no matter how close land was, she still couldn't swim anyway so the distance from shore didn't matter, may have persuaded her to try it. Or maybe she just wanted to be with her son-in-law.
The ship itself is very nice, clean, well maintained and modern. The facilities are excellent and the crew are outstandingly friendly and helpful. Moving around the ship was easy and even with 4300 people onboard it didn't feel crowded except for the usual peak time crowds in the buffet.
The entertainment all round is excellent. The headline shows were varied and really well done and we never failed to find a decent seat but we did always go to the theatre at least 10 minutes before the start. The music around the ship was very good and even the cabin entertainment was OK, with 10 English language channels. OK they were mainly news and 1 kids channel but this is still better than most. For overseas readers of this review there were plenty of channels in all the main languages as well. Well done for the effort Costa. Mother absolutely loved the shows, dancing and music. Almost as much as the Asti Spumante.
The inside cabins are a good size, better than most, and are well serviced. There was ample storage for a week the lighting is good allowing individual reading without having to have the main lights on (take note Brittania). I really do not like shower curtains though and the water pressure in the shower could have been higher for me. But it was acceptable. Only soap was provided but other items were available on request.
The main dining rooms are very attractive and the service is very friendly and fast except for one occasion. The gala menu was new and presented for the first time on this cruise. Supposedly it was devised by and Italian 7* Michelin rated chef. I didn't work this night with an hour delay before most passengers got their first course and frankly the food was nothing special. Frankly the executive chef is better and knows what can be produced on his ship for 4000+ souls in a short period of time rather than a restaurant based chef. I appreciate the experiment and sincerely hope they have now got it right. The food itself on gala night was not as good as the regular menus.
We never had a problem finding something that mother would not only eat but also enjoy. Often the food presented was very similar to UK food but with a fancy Italian name. OK there were items on the menu that were very Italian in orientation and we tried as many as possible. Most were superb but of course a very few were not to our usual taste.
The buffet on the upper decks always had a very good range of dishes of many national orientations and everything we tried (not much admittedly as we tended to use the main dining rooms) was excellent.
The services desk and land tours worked very well and always seemed to be more than adequately staffed with knowledgeable and helpful staff. The ship leant us a wheelchair for the duration for use both on and off the ship. The land based staff seemed to have the idea they were only available for use onboard. Any thank you very much for this, it made getting mother around and onshore sightseeing much easier and frankly less disruptive to other passengers.
We all took the drinks package for around £20 pppd. This allowed unlimited beer, spirits, cocktails, bubbly, wine by the glass, and also gave water in the dining rooms if you wanted it, which is a pay for item normally, and included all taxes and gratuities. If you drink a total of 4 drinks per day as well as water with meals it becomes value. Less and pay for it as you go.
We were allocated cabin not close together as requested but separated by 4 decks. This is despite 3 phone calls to Costa Customer services and 2 e-mails to ensure that due to the age and health of mother we wanted to be as close as possible. The customer services staff were lovely and understanding and reassured us that the request was on the system. Unfortunately whoever did the cabin allocations either didn't bother to read the information or ignored it. This upset mother quite badly and took a couple of days with lots of reassurance and phone calls between our cabins to comfort her. Eventually she was quite happy but it really was not necessary for us to go through this.
Unfortunately as disembarkation is by decks this also gave us problems here as we only found out the disembarkation times on the morning we were getting off. I know if we had thought about it we could have resolved it but by the time we got back from the evenings entertainment we forgot to look. The disembarkation times and baggage labels were only delivered late after we had gone out. Also, as we had requested a specific disembarkation time it is not unreasonable for all members of the party to be allocated the same time. Disembarkation itself was fine though with a man to push mother and retrieve their wheelchair. No problems
Perhaps if the authorities had not closed the M1 for an hour on the way down to Gatwick causing us to miss our plane and subsequent transfers causing us to rush around to purchase more tickets etc, then mother would not have been so upset. Hey Ho!!
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