Costa Mediterranea Cruise Review by paul.strange
- Sail Date: January 2018
- Destination: Middle East
- Cabin Type: Suite with Balcony
We booked the flight independently of the cruise. It was an Emirates flight from LHR to Dubai. It was an overnight flight that landed in Dubai at 6am. In hindsite, this was the wrong choice as embarkation didn't start until 8pm and it turned out to be a long day. Still the flight itself was very good and we were impressed with Emirates.
This is where it all went a bit wrong. Our embarkation ticket stated 8pm as the boarding time which seemed a tad on the late side compared to a normal cruise. A quick google suggested that if you turn up at around 3pm, they would let you on. However imagine the dismay when we (and many other people) turned up in the afternoon to be told that 8pm was the hard and fast time and so we had to wait for 5 hours in the cruise terminal. Turns out this was because Friday (the day we embarked) is a holiday in the UAE and therefore the immigration control officials were only available from 8pm, hence the time. Can't really blame Costa for this I guess, but it's something to note.
We had cabin 7290 which was classed as a suite 'S' Cabin. It was a very nice size and was quite a bit bigger than a standard balcony cabin, so we were very pleased.
Because we were in a suite, we were allowed to eat in the club restaurant (Club Medusa) free of charge for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. We didn't eat in the MDR, so can offer no opinion. We also tried the buffet for lunch a couple of times, but found the choice very limited. Club Medusa was very nice and the choice varied daily. The wine choice was also very good and you could try the wine to see if you liked it first. They try to sit you in the same area each day so you have the same waiters which helps build the relationship. It was also fairly quiet and you don't need to book ahead as suite guests. This was certainly one of the suite 'extras' that helped make the cruise that bit more special.
This is one area where both Italian cruise lines (MSC & Costa) fall short compared to American and British lines. The daily activities are very limited and evening shows are centred around song and dance and acrobat routines. I guess it's the language issues that are the cause. The good things of note were the live bands and the animation team.
We had lots of varied dress codes on our cruise. We had informal, Gala, Italian, Arabian and white nights, although many people adopted informal for the whole cruise. It was all good fun. The only gripe was that nowhere on the pre-cruise documents stated what was on offer, so you couldn't preplan what to pack.
A cruise around the UAE all pretty much stop at the same ports. The main ones on our cruise were Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Sir Bani Yas Island.
Having just been on the MSC Preziosa, the Costa Mediterranea looked and felt like an older ship in comparison. We experienced some very rough vibrations in our cabin whenever the stern thrusters were used and there was a constant vibration from the engines all over the ship when at sea. Nothing to bad to spoil the holiday, but not something I ever remember experiencing on any other ship.
As we were in a suite cabin, we were entitled to a number of 'extras'. They were :-
- Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner in the Club restaurant (see above)
- Complimentary Intenditore drinks package. This is the top level one and pretty much every drink is included (apart from super expensive). You also get drinks loaded in your minibar.
- Exclusive activities. We are invited to a couple of cocktail parties with the captain, but didn't attend due to the timings.
- Complementary room service etc. We had breakfast in our room a couple of times, but other than that, didn't really test the room service.
This was very smooth. We were free to leave the ship at any time up to 1pm and collect our luggage from the terminal. Perhaps this is something unique to the UAE cruises.
Port to Airport
Grabbed one of the many taxis from the terminal. Tooks roughly 20 minutes and cost 55 Dirhams (£11).
No one can argue that Costa are not good value for money (much like MSC) but of course that means that certain aspects of the cruise are 'budget restricted' like the food and entertainment. It is also very Italian orientated (not unsurprisingly). However as long as you accept these limitations, then you can certainly enjoy yourselves.
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