First time cruiser's vegetarian cruise: Costa Fortuna Cruise Review by tappyperry

Costa Fortuna 4
Member Since 2009
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First time cruiser's vegetarian cruise

Sail Date: March 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We were booked for the Taste of Health, Holistic Holiday at Sea which is a vegan/sugar free group. My husband and I are vegetarians and thought that being with this group would be a great experience. Here we were wrong. The food with this group was not what we had expected and there we were sadly disappointed. (they served miso soup for breakfast, seriously)

Once we realized that we could order from the regular menu we were quite happy with the food. The service was great. The waiters work very hard to ensure that you are happy and are ready to entertain you. Italian night was great fun in the dining room with the staff performing during dessert. Toga night was a blast. My husband had a costume toga and I used a bedsheet which was left for us in the room with an instruction sheet.

Our cabin was comfortable and always neat and clean. Our cabin steward, "Gusti" was very nice and polite. All of the crew that we encountered were polite and ready with a smile. No More towel animals, but Gusti made us welcome with chocolates one night, cookies another night, etc.

We had read some reviews that said the ship was not easy to get around and we didn't find that it was difficult at all. Ship maps were all over the place, including right outside our room door. Just pick where you need to go and go straight to that elevator bank from your cabin deck. The only decks that you can't go all the way through are 3 & 4. Just go up or down a deck and walk straight through. When in doubt, check the map.

Going to port was always pretty simple as we didn't go during the rush. One tip is to go to the Rex Theater where they sell bottle water to take ashore for $2.00. We also grabbed some fruit from the buffet to take ashore so we wouldn't have to spend money for food. (We saw some clever ladies making sandwiches from the breads, cheeses and deli slices from the buffet before wrapping them in napkins and shoving them into their bags. Great idea, next cruise I go on I will have an insulated lunch bag packed with me for situations just like this. why pay for food ashore when you've paid for food already onboard ship)

The only complaint I had about this entire cruise was being an American on a ship full of Europeans. The announcements were in 5 languages, Italian and English were usually first. It seemed as if Europeans have no concept of personal space so expect people to bump into you or just shove their way through the buffet without the slightest "excuse me". While some of the Europeans were delightful, most of them were rude, pushy and selfish.

(I had this wonderful woman from Ohio, see me in distress over the rudeness and she just made life better with her kindness...thank you. You brought a smile to my face every time I saw you and I can't thank you enough)

On the days at sea, get up early and find a chair in the sun. If you wait until 10am to go looking for a chair, you'll be out of luck as people go up to the sun deck and save chairs for the rest of the family. We found tons of chairs that just had a spread towel and not one person near it, but if you try to sit down, you'll get yelled at in italian by the people holding the chairs. This was frustrating and made us VERY thankful to have our private balcony to enjoy the sun and surf and relax.

Just a note about the balcony doors. Our balcony door didn't seem to close securely unless you slammed it and locked it. Sometimes this made the wind whistle through the door, which can hinder sleeping. (I wear earplugs anyway, so I wasn't bothered in the least) Overall, having the balcony was worth a little whistle every now and then.

Overall we had a great time. The ports were wonderful and we had a lovely anniversary cruise. Less

Published 03/23/09

Cabin review: 8A6222

Great sized room, lots of closet space, always clean, great view off the balcony. The balcony door didn't stay fully closed all the time which led to a whistle noise.

Port and Shore Excursions

Cozumel was wonderful. Our balcony on the Port side had a perfect view of all the action in port. We watched some excursions leaving in big speedboats and listened to the music at Senor Frogs.

After breakfast we went ashore and grabbed a cab to bring us downtown to do some shopping. The cab cost us $7- for two people each way, which seemed reasonable. Lots to do and see in town as it's pretty much built for tourists. Pretty sculptures and fountains on the oceanfront, horse drawn carriages on the streets. Of course being Mexico, you have people trying to get you into their shops all over the place. We stuck to the stores that were recommended by the cruise ship and passed by the ones with people out front trying to lure you in.

We probably spent 3 hours in port and got hungry so we grabbed lunch on the ship and went back to our balcony to enjoy the weather, the music and the sights.

Read 5490 Cozumel Reviews

Embarkation was smooth and easy. We tried to use the automatic check in, but my husband's passport was different from the booking name. So we had to see customer service, which went quite smoothly. We had our photo taken and boarded the ship.

We went straight to our cabin and found our key cards waiting for us. The cabin was bigger than I expected and was quite comfortable. We had a deck 6 balcony stateroom, port side and the views from the balcony were well worth the extra expense.

Debarkation was pretty simple. We chose the early debarkation where you take your own bags because we wanted to get another beach day in before going home to cold weather. Customs was easy enough and agents were very helpful in telling you how to get a cab or car rental pick-up.

Grand Cayman is a tender boat port so we decided to wait and let all of the excursion people and others who were in a rush head out first. After waiting only an hour we were able to head straight to the exit with the tenders and hop right aboard with no waiting.

Georgetown was much smaller than we imagined. My impression is that it's a great place to go and drink lots of rum. Even the Tortuga factory is here. After walking around for about 2-3 hours we had decided we'd seen all we needed to see and headed back to the ship.

Getting back to ship was no problem and we were able to take some nice pictures of the ship on the way back.

Our first port of call was Key West. We arrived in Key West around 10am but were told that due to high winds from an overnight storm it was not safe to dock. We were well informed and kept up to date with announcements and around an hour later we were told we'd be docking in Key West by noon. Hooray! Key west had a walk off dock, but required a tram/train to bring us to the main area of town. The dock is located on a Naval Pier and you aren't allowed to walk back and forth. The tram is constantly running back and forth from the drop off point and was very entertaining as the driver's usually pointed out interesting points along the way. Duval Street seems to be the main strip of activity in Key West. We walked along browsing in MANY shops, some with parrots sitting in the windows. Eventually we got hungry and rather than waste time going back to the ship, we decided to skip lunch and have a BIG slice of authentic Key Lime was delicious! To get to the Southernmost point you walk all the way to the End of Duval Street and take a right. Once there, you can wait in a short line to have your picture taken. We asked another couple to take our picture if they would take ours and we got some great shots. Overall our visit to Key West was a great one. I'd like to visit again.
Read 1392 Key West Reviews

This was by far my favorite port visited on this trip. The port itself is new and there are only 3-4 shops with more to come. We docked on the port side of the ship and you could just walk off and on at will.

We booked an excursion that met at 10:45 so we had a chance to relax on the balcony and watch what was going on in port. This was fun to watch. People dressed in "traditional" garb were dancing and drumming and jumping at the chance to take pictures with people coming off the ship. As soon as the picture was taken a tip jar was shoved in your face and shaken until you got the hint.

Our excursion was the Pirates, Birds, and Monkeys of the Caribbean tour. We got on a small tour bus that brought us to Gumbalimba Park. During the ride, our tour guide gave us information about the Bay Islands of Honduras. Our bus driver knew just the right places to stop for great pictures of West Bay beach (sit on the right side of the bus) I've got shots that could be framed.

After arriving at Gumbalimba Park we were brought to a covered main patio area with lots of tables and chairs. When we got there we were told to leave our bags, purses, jackets, and anything else we were carrying at a specified table. Of course we we're all thinking like Americans and thought they were crazy, BUT, the monkeys will try to take anything you are carrying and you do NOT want to fight with a we had to leave our bags. There were people in and out of the area and it had attendants, so we just stuffed our wallets with anything of value and complied. Cameras are Okay though and you'll want to bring it. ***If you take this excursion it's best to leave everything but your cruise tickets, passport and some spending cash back at your cabin. In a tote bag you can bring a few towels and some snacks. They do have a grill by the pool, but I have no idea what they serve. You'll need towels if you want to swim in the pool or ocean after the tour.***

First they start with the Pirate portion. You are brought into a cave with a pirate statue and told a story about a pirate (I have no idea if it was true or not...I was there for the Birds and the Monkeys) If you are going for pirate history and lore, you'll be disappointed.

Next to the birds. We walked through some pretty landscapes and our guide(still the same guide from the bus) pointed out local plants and trees and flowers, which was very interesting. Lots of trees I'd never seen before including a tree that provides the darts for blowguns. After walking a while we came upon a scarlet macaw parrots sitting in the tree above us. This is where the guide explained how they have large aviaries but they let the birds roam free during the daytime and they come back at night to eat. We were allowed to hold a green macaw and take pictures which was fun.

As short walk from there and we were in the monkey zone. Our guide introduced us to one of the monkeys and put him in our arms to hold him. I couldn't believe I was actually holding a spider monkey named Chester. Then we were free to walk around the monkey area for about 20 minutes more. We had monkeys everywhere and I held a lot of them. At one point I was squatting down to try to attract a monkey and two Capuchin monkeys were involved a chase and used me as a springboard to get up a tree! I've never had so much fun. Take pictures fast, those monkeys are FAST!

I would visit this island again and take this same excursion, we had a blast! The birds and monkeys were VERY well cared for and SO friendly. The park is beautiful.

Roatan was WELL worth the entire trip. We have memories to last a lifetime.

Read 2446 Roatan Reviews
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