Costa Victoria Cruise Review by jonathanljr
- Sail Date: December 2017
- Destination: Asia
My purpose for this post is not to complain, but more of making sure that the public do not get the same poor experience as I did.
I went with my family (as a group of 20) and here is a brief summary of what happened in the 4d3n cruise experience (Starting from the most pertinent problem to trivial ones)
Upon entering the cabin, my cousin and I checked for bedbugs but all seemed clear and the cabin looked decent.
When I returned to my cabin at 3am and after showering and lying down on the bed for a while, I started feeling itchy around my back and neck.
I got up to check in the mirror and saw clusters of bites and I guessed my worst fears came true. I immediately went to check my bed and noticed a couple of tiny bloodstains which were not there previously. Then I saw some live bedbugs under my blanket which I killed.
I did not want to wake my cousin to change the room immediately as it was already very late and we were going to wake up early the next day hence I waited it out.
The following morning, I saw an even larger bedbug below my pillow. (to be continued)
2. Response to situation
a. My cousin and I went to the information counter to inform them of the situation. The first response from the staff?
"You sure it's bed bugs? Did you see the actual insect?"
Instead of showing concern for the customer, their first response was to attempt to weasel out of the situation and divert the blame.
With some reluctance, they offered to conduct an investigation (to ascertain if I was lying) and asked me to check back the counter in an hours' time.
After 2 hours, they finally finished their "investigation" and the first option they offered was: To do a thorough cleaning of room and change of bedsheets, not a change of room. In cases of bedbugs, deep cleaning is required and is normally done by professionals that have the necessary tools and chemical to exterminate bedbugs but they said 2 hours of cleaning would get rid of the bugs.
Of course, we would not accept that and eventually got a change of room and before we moved into our new room, we had to go back up to the old cabin to retrieve our luggage.
When we got up, the room looks new and clean, with bed sheets changed as well (They probably noticed the bloodstains and some bedbugs) and there I saw 1 bedbug crawling by the side (As shown in the video attached).
** After our cruise, there is another batch of passengers and there is no time to conduct deep cleaning of the rooms. (I'd leave it to you to imagine what is going to happen)
b. I asked for some cream to apply on the bites to stop the itch and inflammation
- they said they do not have any cream
- If I go to the medical center I have to pay for it (despite me sustaining the bites onboard) [to be continued]
3. Medical Center
There was a SECOND incident of bedbugs in a separate room (of my uncle's), so I tried again on the following day and finally understanding the severity of the situation, they offered to bring me to the medical center on the ship's account.
- Went there, sat for 30 minutes while the Italian doctors/medic were conversing in Italian even though it is a straightforward case: Saw the picture of the bug, inspect the bite, and prescribe me the cream
- Amidst their conversation, my cousin and I figured from the English words they used "Complaint", "Ship's account", "Bedbugs", "report", and they finally gave me the cream and 2 of them talked amongst themselves, suggesting "Allergy"
- From our inference, the waiting time was for them to determine how to write their report so as to absolve the blame from the ship, probably by claiming that I had allergies rather than getting bedbug bites.
4. Facilities / Activities
Limited entertainment facilities:
- Spa (That was an indoor pool with cold seawater)
- Gym (Was decent)
- Sauna (Too small)
- Theatre (Which has almost no activities)
- Outdoor pool (1 baby pool, 4 jacuzzis, 1 normal pool of only 10m)
- Card Room (Looks decent but we did not use it)
- Casino (Outdated and combined withthe kid's arcade, which is extremely inappropriate)
- Kids' club (Acts as a childcare centre, which is actually not bad)
- Disco (That I have no idea what it's for)
- Basketball court (The only thing that is at the top deck)
- Seminars (Often conducted under different names but it's the same activity)
- Some dance classes
- Italian lesson (1 hour on the 3rd day?)
**The activities may not be bad, but there is limited engagement because the staff are simply not passionate enough and passengers can feel it.
**No free drinking water, not even water dispensers, everything has to be paid for (Even those in the suites only get 1 bottle a day)
***** After playing in the casino, I went to ask for some water.
- The staff said I can only get bottled water
- I asked if there was plain water
- She said "Do you want bottled water or tap water?"
- I asked, "Is the tap water drinkable?" (Knowing that ship's tap water is not potable)
- If the tap water is not drinkable, why would she even offer that?! If it's others who did not know, she would have given it to them.
- Hard to get smiles on the staff
- Staff works extremely slow (It takes us around 40 mins to be served in the restaurants) [Most likely due to lack of enthusiasm and culture created from top-down]
5. Feedback form
- Towards the end of the cruise, some of us had to attend the disembarking briefing, and they wanted us to fill up this feedback form
- Instead of asking for our sincere feedback and ways in which they could improve upon, they EXPLICITLY stated that for
Q1: How has your cruise experience been? [ We should fill in Excellent only] &
Q16: Would you recommend Costa Victoria to your friends and family? [ We should fill in 'Yes, definitely!']
- That night, they made 2 announcements to submit our feedback form and EMPHASIZED to fill in the 2 questions as suggested
- The following morning, at 0900 hrs and 0930 hrs, they made the same announcement re-emphasizing the need to fill in the 2 questions as such.
**A good cruise would never have to worry about customers' feedback. The fact that they constantly reminded us to answer the questions in a certain way made a lot of us sick to the stomach.
6. Food / Miscellaneous
I wish Gordon Ramsay was there -- it would have been 'Cruise Nightmares'. The food was so trashy that it was a slimming cruise for me.
- In one of the photos, is the crabs where the gills are not even removed (One of the dirtiest parts of the crab)
- Lobsters: For the first 3 days, we had the option to pay USD15 to purchase a lobster meal, but on the 3rd night, we were offered that option. It was not fresh to the extent that it tasted like mashed potato stuffed in lobster shells.
- Steak: Felt stale and had a gross aftertaste, something I never had before
- So-called fine dining experience: Is actually 'recycled' food from the buffet area.
- Virtually nothing was beyond edible, even those that we had to pay for (E.g. USD8.50 pizzas that used frozen dried shrimps that had a stale taste)
- However, the desserts are generally not bad.
This whole experience has been so bad (and you can see the aftermath of the bites I suffered, not just limited to the back). We paid about 400+USD for 4D3N but there were so many other costs, such as COMPULSORY tips, paid water, paid food, paid activities.
Until now, Royal Carribean still remains the best experience one can have (Having a dedicated crew that serves you during meal time, polite staff, fun activities and a myriad of onboard activities to do)
So, please, I implore anyone out there who is considering a cruise trip to not scrimp on 200USD and just go for Royal Carribean, not Costa Cruise.