We are experienced cruisers - this was our 35th or so cruise. We have sailed on RCL, NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival and Costa through the years. We chose this ship due to the departure date and exotic itinerary - figured how bad could an Italian cruise be and it could be fun and lively. Well we were very wrong. This was the WORST cruise we have ever taken and our sentiments were echoed by our Norweigen and British tablemates who had cruised numerous times in the past as well. I will list Pros and Cons.
- Embarkation from Rome (Civitavecchia)
- Exotic Itinerary (5 of the ports we had never visited including 2 cities in Morocco)
- Large ship with attractive public rooms
- Cabin - interior on 8th deck (only available at time of booking) was kept clean with a fridge and had enough space for both of us
- Entertainment - Flamenco dancers, Cruise ship singers and dancers did a good job; White Night deck party was festive with DJ, dancers, confetti; lounge bands were lively, piano bar was busy nightly; casino was fairly busy; the ship had lots of music in various lounges in the evening and The Voice gameshow with 7 contestants which was entertaining.
- Embarkation fiasco - no idea we could not be dropped off w/rental car to embarkation entrance...no info provided...husband left son and I on port access road with big pieces of luggage - no bus or cab would stop to pick us up...port police intervened and forced a shuttle bus to stop and let us load our luggage under the bus (seems we should have loaded our luggage on shuttle bus in town of Civitavecchia - we had no info on this procedure.
- Only approx 20 Americans on board ship of approx 2800 passengers - 70% Italian extended families; 25% mostly French & German; 5% Brits, Americans, Spanish & other
- Msgs repeated in 5 languages all day long
- Food was HORRIBLE!! WORST of any cruise we ever have ever taken! Buffets very limited, no real selections, same cold cuts, cheeses, breads and salads daily, same buffet choices both sides...grill outside on decks was normal fare; eggs at breakfast were only possible at the formal breakfast and were set types of eggs pre-made; formal dinner was barely edible - the menu choices were bizarre fare and not tasty - minute steaks, thinly sliced chicken breasts with no sauce, pastas with odd sauces, appetizers no one enjoyed - night after night we all felt the same....what type of menu is this - this food is unsatisfactory - we complained to guest services - we were told the menu was supposed to have been changed; dining onboard was such a huge disappointment - we dreaded our days at sea! We later found out by a fellow American traveler that all the food onboard was PREVIOUSLY FROZEN!!! She said look at the snowflakes next to every item on the dinner menu - the key says previously frozen. We realized thats why the food was soooo bad!! There was no fresh produce and no dishes being cooked onboard!!! Never heard of this policy on a cruise ship. There were NO speciality restaurants either - I guess not if they are not cooking on board the ship!
- No late night buffets or special touches like a chocolate fountain or specialty food events.
- Air Conditioning barely worked in our cabin - technician came twice said it was a bad, weak system in this line of cabins and close to pool deck with hot air coming in.
- Pool deck extremely crowded - 3 pools and 1 slide; slide was always closed; no adult pools - all pools overrun with kids and teens - one day at sea - two of the 3 pools were closed - they claimed seas were too rough - early morning yes - a bit rough but by noon sea was very calm and pools never re-opened.
- Rear deck cabins felt a terrible vibration almost nightly when the ship was traveling at 20 knots - made it hard to sleep.
- The ship had a lot of movement daily - you could feel it pitching and rolling onboard - we never noticed this onboard any other ships we took and we cruised from Southhampton, England in a rainstorm in the North Sea.
- Disco and late night club could not be used by adults (well, it was open to all) however, the 12-16 year olds used it nightly as a teen club occupying it until 3am - most adults would feel uncomfortable dancing in the club with 12 year olds late at night - seemed odd yet, the bar was serving liquor to whoever ordered it. We brought this to the attention of Guest Services and they said this is normal on Costa.
- Crew had a private party directly above our cabin on the pool deck with a DJ - our whole cabin was shaking with the music and dancing - we complained 3 times to no avail and even went up to the party to speak to the officer - nothing was done and we were kept awake until 3 am! Other passengers went up to complain and were told sorry party is authorized.
- Crew did not seem very concerned about issues or complaints - they seemed indifferent to our concerns and we were not offered any form of compensation either for a bad Costa tour experience we had with some aggressive passengers towards our daughter or the crew party till 3 am above our cabin and the lack of air conditioning every night in our cabin and our 2nd cabin....we both had barely any A/C.
- We found out an American couple had chosen to opt-out of mandatory tipping - which was only possible for Americans who booked through American companies - we opted out also and tipped those deserving of tips.
All in all this was a difficult cruise experience for us - my kids were bored - 19 and 24 year olds - they always meet others passengers their age on ships - there was no one in their age range....only families with small children or older couples traveling alone. Our two cabins were extremely hot every single night although turned to lowest temps.
This was our 5th or 6th European cruise of over 11 nights and we NEVER experienced these negative issues or ever complained about the food on board. We will never sail with Costa Cruises again and would not recommend it for any Americans familiar with cruising. This was not up to American cruising standards. It seems to be a "no frills" operation, with many cost cutting measures in place. The most disappointing was the food and the fact that the dishes were all previously frozen. I had no idea cruise ships - which are known for their food would do this. Fortunately, some of the ports were very exotic and educational.
Decent sized - only cabins left when we booked wanting a higher deck and embarking in Rome - more choices departing from Savona. Cabin was kept clean and had a fridge. Cabin stewards spoke English and was efficient. Gave us xtra hangers and ice twice a day. We barely had any air conditioning in this cabin during the night - got extremely hot.
Did a tour on our own
We took a private tour
We took a tour on our own
We took a tour on our own
tour on our own