This was the first time I went on a cruise. I went with my mother, who had previously been on two cruises with RCI.
We travelled to Stockholm by train, having spent the previous night in Gothenburg. We arrived at Stockholm Södra Station and took a taxi directly to Frihamnen, where Costa Magica was boarding.
Boarding went very smoothly, we had to wait for maybe 10-15 minutes before we could board the ship.
Costa Magica's décor is rather lavish, with thousands of works of art onboard. Depictions of women, in various states of (un)dress, is a theme onboard, which some more conservative passengers could possibly find slightly shocking. The age is beginning to show (she was launched in 2003), and the colour scheme could be called gaudy by some (I rather liked it).
The ship's slogan is "Cruising Italian Style", and the aim is to cater to European tastes. In practice, the great majority of the passengers were Italians, the rest seemed to be mostly Spanish, French and Russian. Consequently, most announcements are made in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Russian, which means that announcements tend to be rather long.
Due to the large number of nationalities among the guests, Costa Magica staff makes an effort to seat people who speak the same language together at dinner, which is a very good idea.
The quality of the food is OK, ranging from bland to tasty. Costa being an Italian cruise line, the food in the main dining rooms is heavily dominated by Italian cuisine. The buffet is more international, the food arguably tastier (!) than the main dining rooms, and we noticed as the week progressed that the number of guests declined in the dining room and increased at the buffet.
Due to the variety of languages among the guests, the entertainment tend to focus on song and dance shows. These were rather enjoyable, but an acrobatic show that was on offer one night was not to our taste.
We signed up for an organised excursion in St. Petersburg (if you join an excursion organised by the cruise line, you don't need to apply for a visa), while we explored Helsinki and Tallinn by ourselves. The all-day excursion in St. Petersburg was worth it, even though 2.5 hours at the Hermitage was a bit much.
Service onboard was good, the staff was friendly, and especially our cabin attendant Hugo deserves a mention.
I would not mind going on a Costa cruise again.
We had booked an inside cabin, and were pleasantly surprised when we saw it was an ouside one. The cabin was fairly large, and quite comfortable. The available TV channels were mostly Italian, the only option in English was BBC News.
Stockholm is a stunningly beautiful city.
We took a guided bus tour. We stopped at the Temppeliaukio Church, a church built into the rocks, and a major sight.
An all-day tour visiting the Peter and Paul Fortress, the Hermitage and a City Tour with lunch at a restaurant included. At 2.5 hours, the Hermitage part of the tour could have been half an hour shorter.View All 378 City Tour Reviews