Big is not always better: Costa Favolosa Cruise Review by wsmoz

Costa Favolosa 3
Member Since 2011

Overall Member Rating

Big is not always better

Sail Date: October 2011
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Venice
We chose Costa Favalosa because it was new and big but also because it visited ports we were very keen to see. It was a complete contrast to our most recent cruise - along the rivers from Amsterdam to Budapest with 100 other passengers. Favalosa holds almost 4,000 passengers and over 1,000 crew. It was close to full on our trip. The ports were all excellent, especially the two Turkish ports of Izmir and Istanbul. Having cruised a number of times before with different companies, we are cruise lovers. We really enjoyed our time on the Costa Favalosa but there were too many down sides to say it lived up to expectations. On the plus side the crew were welcoming and friendly. The embarkation was handled extremely well but disembarkation could be improved a little, particularly communication to passengers about progress. The cabin was generally excellent. The Formula One simulator is a lot of fun and really not too expensive (18 euros for a 15 minute spin). Unfortunately that is about where More the positives end.

As the ship was in a port every day except one, there were limited on board activities. It is an Italian ship and Italian passengers are in the majority so most of the quizzes etc were in Italian. More effort needs to be made to cater for other languages in such activities. They do have a dedicated English staff member who does hold sessions for English speakers (and the same for some other languages I understand) but it was hard to feel inclusive because of the language issue. We found other passengers, particularly Italians, to be rude and pushy. Getting into and out of lifts was a nightmare with them bustling in and out or refusing to move to allow access or egress. In the meal buffet bars you had to be careful or you were left behind or knocked about. One small issue with the cabins is they have a ridiculous loop of rope for door handles, not big enough to fit a finger through and too small to grab properly, particularly for people with arthritic hands, so you wonder what testing was done on them before the build. Most doors or drawers are hard to open so it is a significant issue, commented on also by many other passengers.

The decor of the ship is good rather than great considering the amount that must have been spent on it. Yes it is flashy but I have seen better. It takes a full week to get to know the layout of the ship and unfortunately it is then time to get off. Particularly irksome is the difficulty of moving along decks 3 and 4 where the dining rooms are located. They block off large areas and you find yourself having to go up and down stairs all the time to get around them.

The on board shops are probably too high end for the demographics of the passengers and do not provide much variety at all, not sure why they bother. They advertise a section for those items you may have forgotten such as cosmetics, toiletries etc but it has a poor range. The Costa souvenir shop also has a poor range. The prices for things such as photos and drinks is bordering on rip off value - 15 euros for one a convenien ce photo, 3.50 euros for a small can of coke WITH lunch. Nothing other than water is provided free as cold drinks at lunch. We felt by the end of the cruise that Costa's attitude was to get as much money out of the passengers as they could while trapped onboard.

The food quality, quantity and variety was particularly disappointing. Of all the cruises we have been on it was by far the worst in all aspects. We expected (hoped) there would be classic Italian cuisine but apart from a really nice pizza late one night, the rest was a disappointing mix of all sorts of cuisine, mostly non Italian and just average quality. The food at the buffets was very ordinary, particularly breakfast and desserts for lunch. Bacon was cooked to within an inch of its life every single day, there was no variety from one day to the next for breakfast or lunch and lunch desserts were usually dry cake with no cream.

Night meals were at least in a good restaurant, white linen and waiter service but the quality was just good rather than excellent that it should be (and has been on other cruises). It was disappointing that on the two gala nights, where dress up was suggested, at least half the passengers made no effort whatsoever. For most other ships we have been on the standards have been conveyed to passengers as an expectation and most complied. I'm not talking about dinner suit and tie for everyone but a higher standard than the shorts, t-shirts and sandals many had on. Also there was a lack of any theme nights, again a highlight of other cruises. This contributed greatly to the feeling of a lack of variety in the food.

The entertainment was disappointing, both the quality and the theatre. The shows were somewhat disjointed -â€" a Chinese dragon suddenly appeared in a show that had no Chinese theme whatsoever. The best show we saw was that put on by cruise staff at the end of the cruise, very talented crew I must say. For a brand new theatre it has too many blind spots. The first three or four rows upstairs have a rail directly in front of your viewing field at about eye height. They seem to serve no safety purpose (higher rows don't have them) and simply block your view. Too many passengers are allowed to save far too many seats so if you arrive later than about half an hour before curtain time, don't bother. They have a movie theatre on board but it only shows 4D movies at a cost (and for about ten minutes each with a very limited range) and other movies are pay on demand in your cabin -â€" not conducive to a good night out at the movies and very disappointing. On previous cruises the cruise entertainment staff were very proactive in mingling with and engaging passengers. We saw NONE of this with Costa entertainment staff and the Cruise Director wandered the ship hardly talking to anyone apart from a cursory hello as some walked by.

The demographics were different to what we expected. I thought there would a clear majority of older passengers but there were a significant number of young families. This cruise had a large number of school age children on it. Apparently there was a deal that they traveled for free. They were all seated with their parents for meals and no separate dining option was available. Although some were a bit unruly at times, running unsupervised in public areas, it was not a huge deal. Less

Published 11/12/11
Helpful? Thank wsmoz

Cabin review: B27375

Very good balcony cabins. Spacious with a roomy balcony. Very good bathroom with excellent shower. Only downside is the silly loop door and drawer handles they have - not big enough to fit a finger through, too small to grab particularly for passengers with arthritic hands. Most doors and drawers were tight so this is a huge issue.

Port and Shore Excursions

Easy walk from the ship to the old town. Very pleasant city, had an old castle and cathederal. Both looked great but unfortunately are no better or worse than dozens of others in other cities. Bari just had a nice feel to it and we enjoyed strolling around it.
Read 141 Bari Reviews

I have clearly seen too many great Old Towns because Dubrovnik, whilst very good, was again not a blow me away city. We spent about four hours there, all in the old town. They have done an excellent job of restoring it after the Balkans war and it was really nice to wander around. A nice mix of cafes and shops and easy to walk all around it in a couple of hours. Food and souvenirs were more expensive here than any of our other stops but not outrageously so

A great city and a great stop. We had a pre booked 9 hour bus tour that went to all the expected sites and allowed about one hour free time in the Great Bazaar. To be honest the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, while outstanding historical sites, didn't blow us away. To some extent the Blue Mosque was a letdown because of the sheer number of tourists there (I do recognise we were two who added to the crush). The Great Bazaar was amazing but unfortunately one hour to wander lets you see about 5% of it. There is a lot of repetition in the market stalls but we did not feel under pressure to buy. The market holders seemed to take a gentle barter and let them leave approach if the barter went too low. Part of the bus tour, as I understand it is with all bus tours, was to visit a carpet demonstration (with of course options to buy) but again no real hard sell. Loved Istanbul
Read 403 Istanbul Reviews

A real surprise packet given we knew nothing about Izmir before the cruise. A city of 3 million, it is very clean and surprisingly cosmopolitin. We caught a hop on hop off bus from the port for 10 euros - but get in early, they only go every half hour and first tickets sell fast meaning you could have to wait for 30 or even 60 minutes to get a bus. They strictly count the tickets sold and change the departure time on the "next departure" board once an earlier bus sells out so no-one can buy late then push in. It does a very interesting loop of the city. They have a bazaar, much smaller than Istanbul but still well worth a walk around. While waiting at the hop on hop off bus stop to go back to the ship a taxi pulled up and offered to take us back to the port for 5 euros. We had cut it a bit fine, the traffic was building up and no sign of a bus coming so we took him up on his offer and he got us there very quickly and for the agreed price.
Read 184 Izmir Reviews

Set off point for Olympia, home of the ancient olympics. We chose to stay around the village. It was surprisingly touristy, one main street only and full of souvenir shops on both sides of it (including fake high end brands - bags, T Shirts etc). It was however a very pleasant stroll and there is a great cafe strip along the waters edge - ideal for a ouzo or Greek dip

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