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Taking a cruise on the Victoria is like going back into the early days of cruising, with the exception that the food was for my wife and myself was inedible for the most part. Although the ship underwent renovation in 2018, I found it difficult to see where the improvements were. The ship is dated and worn and stains and wear are evident everywhere I read the previous reviews and I knew enough to lower my expectations, but obviously I didn't lower them enough. The itinerary is excellent and was the primary factor in booking this cruise. Two waiters, Omesha Kilpaldy in the dining room and Kenneth in the specialty pizzeria were outstanding. Other crew members were fine for the most part, but there were a number of instances where crew members were just rude. The majority of guests were French speaking, many of them from the islands, taking advantage of a cruise that leaves close to home. Often we were placed with people who did not speak English for lunch and breakfast. I used the best French I could muster, but in some cases people just didn't want to converse with someone who had poor French language skills. Things you should know: 1. Speaking French would be a real asset, as well as abandoning expectations you would normally have on a mainstream North American cruise line. 2. The water on the ship is not potable. There are four water stations in the buffet area where you can get water for free. There are lineups and the water pressure is so bad that it often takes a minute to fill a glass . Some machines did not work consistently. We had a USA water plan which entitled us to one glass of water each for lunch and dinner. Beyond that you pay 2 euros. You should know that if you go to the specialty restaurant or pizzeria (pay for items) your water plan does not count and you must buy water for 2 euros. 3. The specialty restaurant will offer the advantage of a quiet space to eat, but according to German English speaking acquaintances the restaurant is not worth the price since the menu is largely the same thing you get in the dining rooms. Looking for a North American pizza experience choose the Margherita which is the only pizza which has a tomato sauce base. Other pizza are oil based rather than tomato sauce based, but to be fair they were edible is not tasty. We went to the pizzeria four times, since the food in the dining room was as described earlier. Cost for a pizza and 1 dessert to share was 8 euros, but if you sign up for Costa Club you get a 50% discount. 4. The toilets would often fail to flush in the morning hours. You would press the button and nothing would happen. Then five to ten minutes later it would flush. Some times this led to embarrassment, even for spouses that have been married for over 40 years. The air conditioning system was excellent, but the set up is such that the person closest to the duct gets constant cold air blowing on them. 5. If you don't like crowds, avoid the buffet. Early in the cruise we sat at the larger table for four, an East Indian lady proceeded to take her dirty dishes from her table and place them on the portion of the table which was not occupied, which bring us to the point that, table clearing in the buffet is not as great as on some ships. Needless to say this was an upsetting experience. 6. Be very careful In Madagascar. According to Mauritius friends two ladies were kidnapped and held for ransom in Tamatave. A ransom was paid and the women apparently were returned to the ship. Leaving the port gate in Madagascar is placing yourself among hundreds of people, all wanting to provide transportation. Be prepared to negotiate a price that is considerably less than the asking price. Ships tours are very expensive, but in Madacasgar, I would probably choose the tours since the people are poor and there is a risk to safety. In Nosey Be once we fought our way past the throngs of tour and taxi drivers, we found a wonderful Christian man who took us on a great tour for a very reasonable price (less than one fifth of the ship price). We had to travel a kilometre from the port to find him in a local park. Antisarana (Diego Suarez) was a less pleasant experience with a tuk tuk driver who stopped the vehicle a kilometre from the ship and wanted to renegotiate the price. We were going to tip him 25% anyways. We told him we would walk from there, but if he wanted the tip he would have to take us to the ship. To be fair the police are corrupt and they extorted money from him at two stops. I offered to pay but he wouldn't tell me how much they extorted. 7. For those who like to travel on your own using public transport system, the best place is the Seychelles. Although it is challenging at first, once you know the system and purchase a schedule (main bus terminal) it is quite easy to tour the island at minimal cost. The beaches are beautiful. Anse Goulette and Anse Royal are excellent. Anse Royal is by far the easiest to get to with 5 buses on the route... Buses generally come every 15 to 20 minutes. Would I go on Costa again, not a "snowball's chance in hell", but it was the only game in town and despite the numerous frustrations, it was an interesting trip. Fortunately we did meet some wonderful people on board, Mauritians and Ukrainians. That and the two waiters I mentioned were the best things about the ship.

Believe what you read most of the time....

Costa Victoria Cruise Review by kertyz

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2018
  • Destination: Africa
  • Cabin Type: Balcony Classic
Taking a cruise on the Victoria is like going back into the early days of cruising, with the exception that the food was for my wife and myself was inedible for the most part. Although the ship underwent renovation in 2018, I found it difficult to see where the improvements were. The ship is dated and worn and stains and wear are evident everywhere I read the previous reviews and I knew enough to lower my expectations, but obviously I didn't lower them enough.

The itinerary is excellent and was the primary factor in booking this cruise. Two waiters, Omesha Kilpaldy in the dining room and Kenneth in the specialty pizzeria were outstanding. Other crew members were fine for the most part, but there were a number of instances where crew members were just rude. The majority of guests were French speaking, many of them from the islands, taking advantage of a cruise that leaves close to home. Often we were placed with people who did not speak English for lunch and breakfast. I used the best French I could muster, but in some cases people just didn't want to converse with someone who had poor French language skills.

Things you should know:

1. Speaking French would be a real asset, as well as abandoning expectations you would normally have on a mainstream North American cruise line.

2. The water on the ship is not potable. There are four water stations in the buffet area where you can get water for free. There are lineups and the water pressure is so bad that it often takes a minute to fill a glass . Some machines did not work consistently. We had a USA water plan which entitled us to one glass of water each for lunch and dinner. Beyond that you pay 2 euros. You should know that if you go to the specialty restaurant or pizzeria (pay for items) your water plan does not count and you must buy water for 2 euros.

3. The specialty restaurant will offer the advantage of a quiet space to eat, but according to German English speaking acquaintances the restaurant is not worth the price since the menu is largely the same thing you get in the dining rooms. Looking for a North American

pizza experience choose the Margherita which is the only pizza which has a tomato sauce base. Other pizza are oil based rather than tomato sauce based, but to be fair they were edible is not tasty. We went to the pizzeria four times, since the food in the dining room was as described earlier. Cost for a pizza and 1 dessert to share was 8 euros, but if you sign up for Costa Club you get a 50% discount.

4. The toilets would often fail to flush in the morning hours. You would press the button and nothing would happen. Then five to ten minutes later it would flush. Some times this led to embarrassment, even for spouses that have been married for over 40 years. The air conditioning system was excellent, but the set up is such that the person closest to the duct gets constant cold air blowing on them.

5. If you don't like crowds, avoid the buffet. Early in the cruise we sat at the larger table for four, an East Indian lady proceeded to take her dirty dishes from her table and place them on the portion of the table which was not occupied, which bring us to the point that, table clearing in the buffet is not as great as on some ships. Needless to say this was an upsetting experience.

6. Be very careful In Madagascar. According to Mauritius friends two ladies were kidnapped and held for ransom in Tamatave. A ransom was paid and the women apparently were returned to the ship. Leaving the port gate in Madagascar is placing yourself among hundreds of people, all wanting to provide transportation. Be prepared to negotiate a price that is considerably less than the asking price. Ships tours are very expensive, but in Madacasgar, I would probably choose the tours since the people are poor and there is a risk to safety. In Nosey Be once we fought our way past the throngs of tour and taxi drivers, we found a wonderful Christian man who took us on a great tour for a very reasonable price (less than one fifth of the ship price). We had to travel a kilometre from the port to find him in a local park. Antisarana (Diego Suarez) was a less pleasant experience with a tuk tuk driver who stopped the vehicle a kilometre from the ship and wanted to renegotiate the price. We were going to tip him 25% anyways. We told him we would walk from there, but if he wanted the tip he would have to take us to the ship. To be fair the police are corrupt and they extorted money from him at two stops. I offered to pay but he wouldn't tell me how much they extorted.

7. For those who like to travel on your own using public transport system, the best place is the Seychelles. Although it is challenging at first, once you know the system and purchase a schedule (main bus terminal) it is quite easy to tour the island at minimal cost. The beaches are beautiful. Anse Goulette and Anse Royal are excellent. Anse Royal is by far the easiest to get to with 5 buses on the route... Buses generally come every 15 to 20 minutes.

Would I go on Costa again, not a "snowball's chance in hell", but it was the only game in town and despite the numerous frustrations, it was an interesting trip. Fortunately we did meet some wonderful people on board, Mauritians and Ukrainians. That and the two waiters I mentioned were the best things about the ship.
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Cabin Review

Balcony Classic
Cabin BC 90445
Great air conditioning, but again one person got a huge draft while sleeping. Good cabin service. We requested service two a day, one for cleaning and a second for beach and room towel replacement in the evening. You get a choice. I wouldn't recommend choosing once a day service, in spite of Costa's push for less service due to "environmental concerns"!
Tosca Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins