We chose this cruise because we happened to be going from Singapore to Rome. The price was outstanding, so despite the generally poor reviews, we tried Costa.
Shazaam!...now we’re big Costa fans! The ship is good, but the crew is amazing. Costa (or at least the Fortuna) clearly has the secret sauce recipe for keeping its crew (apparently) happy and very highly effective.
Here’s some specifics: I’m an early riser, so I see the crew going at it when the guests are generally not watching. Every morning at 0430, they were energetically cleaning some new corner of the ship that I never even thought of...ceilings, corners where no one ever goes, the disco ball, under imovable chairs... And it really looked like a whistle-while-you-work operation, not a begrudging surface wipe-down so they could get back to standing around. This crew was always working hard and behaving upbeat.
It’s all members of the crew, to. Waiters, cleaners, pool attendants, front desk personel, chefs...It’s systematic on Fortuna.
On most days, they washed our cabin windows...on the OUTSIDE! In my limited cruising experience on other lines, I’ve never seen that done before.
Service (all areas) was highly professional and FAIR. Perhaps it’s the Costa compulsory pre-paid tips model, but the crew is not at all pandering or obsequious (like all other cruise lines). They know their operating orders, and they do them. Full stop. Everyone gets the same professional treatment, so sometimes no means no, but at least it’s the same answer for everyone.
Embarking and debarking was smooth in every port. Now the ports were generally awful (remote, barren, industrial, totally uninteresting), but at least they were managed well by the crew. The ports you can research beforehand, so you know what you are buying. Arrival and departure was in exact agreement with the published schedule.
The food is over-the-top excellent! Stick with the Italian fare, and you’re in for quite a treat. Each day was the food of a different region of Italy, explained on the menu. My wife and I do not eat pasta, so what, you may ask, did we so happily eat? All the awesome non-pasta Italian dishes, which is most of them! We’re not exactly Italian foodies, so we did not know what to expect. The reviews had us concerned it was going to be all pasta, all the time. But nothing could have been further from the truth. Every lunch and dinner was a truly wonderful experience. Fortuna 100% changed (for the better) our opinion and appreciation of Italian food.
As an Italian cruise line, you’ll be travelling with lots of Italians, living their Italian way. What a happy atmosphere! All the great older Italian couples kissing, dancing, holding hands, cheering, speaking loudly with every part of their body...come get your Italy on! Having experienced various US and Asia cruisers before, these Italians were a very fresh breath of air.
On the down-side, there wasn’t a good promenade deck. The track is always too windy, too sunny, or too full. The outer “promenade” on deck three is small and usually full of smokers (half crew). The hot tubs were awful...not nearly hot enough, yet always full. We tried them once, showered 5 times with soap and scrubbie, and never stuck our toe in again. There was no TV movie schedule, not even if you beg the hospitality desk. Most surprisingly, their espresso was highly disappointing. We tried it several times, expecting good Italian slap-in-face robustness, but instead got more of a poke-in-the-eye. The gym is also rather disappointing. It looks like a converted dance club. It’s odd shape and design makes most ofthe floor space unusable. That’s ok, we used Rex Theater for our yoga and cross-training, and that usually worked fine (at carefully chosen times).
So ten cheers for Costa Fortuna, the fantastic crew, and it’s proud representation of (almost) all things Italy. We can’t wait for more Costa cruises!
Spacious, sunny, well-maintained. Some of the furnishings are showing their age, though.