We travelled on a cruise for the first time so we did not know what to expect. I would like to give advise to people who are in the same situation. We booked the Baltic cruise through Tallin, Helsinki and St Petersburg.
I was nervous about the fact that I have never been on a cruise and I might get seasick. Luckily, we had great weather and the sea was calm. We were told that this is mostly the case on this route. You might feel the vibrations of the motor from time to time and on the bow (front) you feel the waves more than at the stern (rear).
We booked a cabin with a balcony which is totally worth the price difference to see the beautiful Stockholm archipelago in the morning when you sail out and sunbathe away from the crowded pools if you enjoy your peace and quiet.
We booked the non-alcoholic drink package but soon realized that for 2 persons 40 drinks were too much. Since you are out on most days and water is available all along the cruise. We kept drinking sugary mocktails, which were delicious but surely not very healthy.
Also, the prices of the regular cocktails and drinks are not too high, with a bottle of wine starting at 20 Euros during dinner and a mojito costs 7,50 Euros. In summary, I would not get a drink package at all, unless you like to get drunk and party every night.
The food quality at the buffet is reasonable but it gets pretty full, so the option for a quiet dinner on your table is great, although the selection is limited and you need to dress up a little.
Be aware of the dress codes: There is a forrmal dinner, a white night and a Gala dinner and although not everyone in the cruise follows, it is nice to fit in during seated dinners.
In my experience, staff were extremely friendly and the service was great (we ordered breakfast in the cabin on the departure day and had it on the balcony as we cruised out of Stockholm) We had the impression that most staff look happy, which gives you a good feeling. We did experience a couple of angry guests on the other hand, shouting at the customer service staff.
If you do not like criowds or screaming children, there are many ways of avoiding them. The ship is so big, you can alsways find a quiet spot on one of the decks.
There are many first-timer traps that are easy to fall into: The photographs, the souvenirs, the overpriced tours, the drinks and the spa. If you are sailing in nice weather, you don't need the spa. It is tiny, dark and the sauna and steam bath are separate for men and women, so if you are a couple you cannot share the experience. There are six jacuzzis and three swimming pools, two without loud music, you can enjoy without extra payments. The spa does not have a pool, only two indoor jacuzzies and a tiny relaxing area indoors.
In Tallin and Helsinki do not book tours nor use the hop on hop off buses, you can take public transportation to the center of the cities which are easy to walk along if you are used to touring on your own.In St Petersburg we took the Costa tour, it offers some advantages, such as the fact that they wait for you if you are a bit late to come back,which might happen since the traffik is so unpredictable. You also feel very safe in the bus and during the tour. You might choose to take a tour on your own, bit it is necessary to have a visa from the Russian authorities to disembark without a booked tour.
In all, Costa Magica was a pleasant experience and we would like to travel again on a different route some other time.
Spacious cabin with plain facilities (Bring your own soap and shampoo) and a wonderful small private balcony with two chairs and a side table. Modest minibar with reasonable prices. Good quality bed. Plenty of storage, a varied selection of TV channels and efficient cleaning service.
The tour was well organized and very complete. The guide was a bit judgemental giving comments such as "Tourists buy expensive tours and they don't even know where they are going" but she was well informed and tried her best to make the tour a great experience. This was a two-day tour wich offers a great impression of the city by bus and boat as well as visits to two impressive palaces in the outskirts: Catherine Palace and Peterhof palace. The restaurants we stopped at were clean, nice and had good Russian food. One tip: Vegetarian food is not common in Russia. One suggestion: Bring some rubles for shopping and tips.View All undefined undefined Reviews