We booked this cruise last minute . Embarkation was a bit hit an miss as our flight had been delayed and as a consequence we got to the port 3 hours later than expected so we didn't get on board until 3.45pm. Once on board we went straight to our cabin , luggage already in the room and we where very happy with our I5 cabin . It had a huge queen sized double , two bedside cabinets , dressing table , mini bar and lots of wardrobe space . with a small table , chair and stool . The bathroom was fab , really big compared to our bathroom that we had in our aft balcony cabin on royal caribbean and much more modern .we where on deck 9 cabin 9243 . A great floor with the corridor leading us out past the lifts onto the main lido deck with the colombo buffet restaurant a 1 minute walk across the deck . There where not many cabins on our floor and at the other end of our corridor was a door that led out onto a huge balcony at the front of the ship OK it had no sunbeds but we found that it was very much like having our very own ...huge ..private balcony !! We where lucky to see 5 people a day venturing out onto it ! we just threw towels on the deck , got our pillows out of our room and had afternoon tea picnics there every day ! plus we could walk to and from the buffet with drinks etc without hiking up and down lifts .who needs to pay for a balcony then ? I loved the fact that your on board account was set up and ready to immediately use without any hassle . We just had to go to a machine within 48 hours of sailing swipe our debit cards and it was all linked up to our accounts . Dining arrangements where already done and dusted and Costa had put all English speaking people on our table which was a bonus as We cannot speak Italian of which Italians made up about 80% of cruisers , say 10 % Spanish and the rest Brits , Americans and Germans .
The Italian people where quite good fun , really getting into the spirit of things , partying round the pool , getting involved with games etc and the clientele aged from 1 to 100 , a great mix of cruisers however I found that at really busy times the buffet could become chaotic because no one gets in a Que and on sailing days it might be better to get room service during the day rather than braving the buffet but we very quickly learnt what times to avoid when going to eat at busy periods.also there didn't seem to be much thought on board from cruisers towards disabled or elderly people it was at times every man for himself .
I loved the ship . It was very flamboyantly decorated , small enough to get around easy and just big enough to get lost occasionally ! OK the announcements got a bit tedious in 6 languages but hey its all about safety of which the safety drill was completed 24 hours after sailing at approx 5pm on the harbour side at Bari .
9243 was a great inside cabin - big comfy bed , seemed spacious , bathroom was very big and in fact much better than our balcony room bathroom on Royal Caribean on a brilliant floor as the buffet and swimming pools and sunbathing decks where within 1 minutes walk if that ! would book the 9th / 10 floors again .the only time we ever needed the lift was to go up and down to our evening meal resteraunt and the information desk . was so relaxing just walking out into the fresh air ..on these decks you dont need a balcony !
We did not actually get off at Bari Port as i had a migraine but all our friends did and everyone loved Bari . They said it was a ten minute walk into the old town from the port and that Bari was a friendly , pretty , inexpensive and historical place . We where so frustrated at not having seen it , especially when everyone round the dinner table loved it so much .weather was lovely and after i recovered from my migraine we went and sunbathed up top and had a lovely peaceful afternoon .
This was a lovely little port , with a tiny but very picturesque town . It was friendly and very inexpensive compared to some of the other places we visited . It was very small and could be walked around within 10 minutes , there was a lovely little beach area for a swim and som great little shops . It was nice to sit and have a beer and people watch . we found a lovely little taverna off the main road at the back where local wine was only 2.50 a half litre ! I purchased a lovely dress for 20 euro's and the olive oil soap with lovely decorated charms on the packets where only 1 euro . we did not bothere with the excursions as it was only a half day and felt that we just wanted to experience the local town . the weather was fantastic !
WARNING ! WARNING ! CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS FOR THE LESS MOBILE . Santorini was my dream destination on the whole itinery but my experience and that of my fellow traveler's was horrendous ! when we arrived in the bay the views where just spectacular . breath taking and very , very beautiful . There where 4 cruise ships docked in at the same time . The Costa Fortuna , a Happy Cruises , a Celebrity and one of the Windstar ships . Those people not on an excursion package had to wait untill about 9.30am to 10 pm to get a tender of the boat . Excursion packages came first. On arrival in the tiny , tiny dock at the base of the Thira cliffs we where faced with 2 ways to get up and down the cliffs to get into Thira . A cable car that had 6 pods hgoing up and down for 4 euros each way and to walk . We decided on the cable car after hearing repeated screams coming from the donkey walkway above us but we waited over 30 minutes to get up . Once in Thira we realised that it was going to be very difficult getting back down again as the que for the cable car back down was 1000 people long . Thira on the cliff face is amazing , very beautiful with incredible views but once passed the winding streets Thira was a noisy , bustling , dirty town with more traffic than i have ever seen in my life on a greek island and i have been to lots ! the roads where packed and very slippery even tho the weather was very fine . the lava stone paving and cobble where polished and a waiting death trap for the elderly . We decided to get out of the crowds and go into a little irish bar Murphys ! NEVER , EVER AGAIN the bar woman who was very , very rude tryed to charge us 24 euros for 3 beers . my partner was furious and refused to pay we believe they have one menu for tourists and one for locals . so please check the prices before you purchase !! On leaving the town after a very stressfull trip we found that the cable car now had about 1500 people in the que so we where forced to walk down to the port for the tender . I am 46 and my partner 39 he fell 3 times it wa so slippery , covered in donkey muck and VERY , VERY DANGEROUS . Anyone who rents a donkey to go up and down is not only foolish but cruel and very , very stupid . It is so dangerous that you are taking not only your life in your hands but those of the people trying to walk up and down . It was one of the scariest and most hair raising experiences of my life . At one stage we had to jump on a wall to escape from an nenraged , cruelly whipped donkey that bolted , caused a stampede and in fact knocked an elderly german man flying and practically bulldozed a spanish family out of its way . the donkey men had little or no control over their animals and every single person i spoke too at dinner that night had a very similiar experience . people got back on board covered in cuts and grazes .I will go to santorini again but by plane and not boat . there where some cruise guests who missed their ships because they where unable to get back down the hill .All ov this is 90 degree heat ! Please be very carefull .
I love Rhodes and have been there many times before but never by boat . The walk into the old town takes 5 minutes from the port and its an amazing place with lovely squares , tavernas , roman ruins as its very historical. there are lots of lovely beach's nearby , there are lots of museums and Artisan shops , i think shopping is very good with leather work etc being very reasonable . we went back to a taverna we knew where the beers where only 2 euro for a 50 cl glass ! costume jewellry is a bargain , i got a lovely ring for 3 euro that last year was on sale for 6 ! prices seemed to have gone down since 2010 but be very carefull ? always check your menus and ask for prices and beer sizes because some and i mean only a small proportion of bar/taverna owners are cheating tourists . friends of ours had a meze and 2 beers for which the taverna owner tryed to charge them 90 euros ! this meal shud have cost maximum 50 euro when they questioned the bill he said there was a 10 euro charge each to sit on the top terrace , the fish in the meze was red snapper and was 200 euro a kilo ? very sad when other tavernas get a bad name because of one cheating owner ! Also some tavernas offer beers in small medium and big and grande ...a grand beer is 9 euros as its about 2 litres !!! if you get the oppurtunity to do a tour of lindos do it but not in august and july as it is far too hot ! and it isnt pleasant . Rhodes town is great and personally i would leave the excursions behind and wander round yourself .. its lovely .
I thought Dubrovnik was stunning , it was my favourite port of the cruise then venice and rhodes , just a shame Costa only did a half day . Even though this was a tender we had no problems getting on and off the ship , much easier than Santorini which was a nightmare ! When i say stunning , i mean stunning . The town was just incredible and personally i got an amazing cappucino for less than £1 sterling i get much inferior coffee's back home for £2.50 sterling ! i would have loved more time there but again my friend who lives in croatia said Dubrovnik is not a pleasant experience in the height of summer due to excessive heat and up to 15,000 cruise visitors a day ! the prices also go up during these time periods he said it gets mighty crowded in them streets but for me june , sept and october are the best months to go .I want to go back and holiday along the coastline . cant wait to go back .
sailing in and out of venice was an amazing experience , the port itself was easily accessible from the airport , we paid 42 euro for a taxi between 4 , that 10.50 each 1 way our friends paid 3 euro for the local bus and then free shuttle from piazza roma . Venice was breath taking in its beauty and in its history but we found it very expensive . we stayed on the lido de venezia which was so lovely , just 4 minutes from st marks square by vaperreto 12 euro for a day ticket and we got the aguiluna line boat back to marco polo airport from the lido for 15 euro which took an hour and was more like a tour of the lagoon ...i think its best to get a guided tour of venice as its so easy to get lost and much better to stay on the lido as its so cheap 15 euro for 3 course tourist menu , 5 euro for half litre of wine and the hotels are 50 % cheaper than venice itself . you also have the beach and can bike round very easily .