My husband and I are seasoned cruises, however this was our first experience with Costa on the Costa Classica and it will definitely be our last. In comparison to other cruise lines this cruise did not measure up in terms of service, food or the ship. The only redeeming element of the cruise was we visited some fantastic destinations.
The ship: was really tired, out of date and definitely in need of refurbishment, our cabin like many others was in need of new decor and soft furnishings, however the size of the cabin was really good.
Ship TV: was an absolute joke and this is being kind, there were 7 films available to watch which initially sounds a lot, but the problem was 1 film per day played on a loop all day, the films in week 1 were then repeated in the same way throughout week 2. I have never experienced this on any other cruise.
The food: well again unlike any other cruise line we had during the first 2 days 3 dinning options available to us, the pre booked formal restaurant, the self service restaurant and a pizza place that was open from 9pm to 1am. However, after the first couple of days the self service option was closed on an evening leaving only the formal and pizza option available. The food in the formal dining room was appalling, every evening we had 5 courses consisting of a starter, soup, pasta, main, and sweet. Sounds good doesn't it? But it definitely wasn't, the food during week 1 was marginally better than week 2, but every soup we had tasted the same and really had no taste at all, pasta was hit and miss, and at times swimming in oil, this rendered it uneatable. The main courses were often either not cooked enough and therefore tough, or overcooked and dry, but the worse was being served overcooked frozen, deep fried food which was absolutely disgusting and unacceptable. By the time we left the main course we didn't wait around for sweet because it probably wasn't worth it, it took too long to serve our table and we couldn't be bothered anymore. I have never been served frozen food which has been deep fried and burnt to add insult to injury. We both lost weight during this cruise and certainly didn't over eat.
The food in self service during the day: breakfast wasn't worth getting up for, so we didn't bother most days, lunch: poor choice, practically no salad bar, in fact this consisted of lettuce 2 types, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, so you can see why this was a shock and why we considered it to be beyond poor. Thank god for the afternoon tea, which we don't normally have, but this was the best thing available on board. If we hadn't eaten this then we wouldn't have eaten much at all.
Service in the formal restaurant was really slow and often our dinner took 1.5 hrs to serve, during which time you were extremely lucky if you could get a drinks refill, therefore all our table started going to the bar before dinner and taking our drinks in with us to ensure we had a drink with our meal.
Although all of this was really bad we had a fab holiday because of the people we met on board, but we will never go with Costa again and we wouldn't recommend Costa to anyone.
out of date decor and soft furnishings, urgent need of refurbishment. No clothes line in cabin so rinsing bikinis and so on difficult to get dry. Water very hot for showering which was great.
Port 1 was Kuantan (Malaysia) - you were transferred 40 mins to a shopping mall for 3-4 hours, this was a waste of time port of call, and definately wasn't worth getting off ship for.
This port is a 2 hour transfer from Bangkok, we were not informed of this at the point of booking. There were 2 excursions available on board ship, option 1 day in Bangkok including Grand palace, reclining buda, evening show, overnight stay in hotel and then next day free to sight see, this option cost 289 euros per person (almost the cost of another holiday if paying for 2 people), option 2 was same as above but no overnight stay and no 2nd day, this option cost 219 euros per person. We decided to form our own group, hire a minibus and make our own way to Bangkok, we shared a minibus with 6 others, this cost 400 US dollars return, which shared between 4 couples was by far a cheapest option.
Grand palace, need to be dressed in long trousers and shirts with sleeves, or longish skirts and tops with short sleeves, be warned if you go in any other type of clothing, you have to que up and pay for the loan of appropriate clothes, money paid is fully refundable when you return clothes, but if your hubby is a bit of a buda and tall like mine and our friends then your in for a long wait as most of the trousers (like tracky bottoms) are small. Looking round grand palace can take as long as you have the stomach for culture, we spent 1.5 hours which was enough for us.
Reclining buda in walking distance of grand palace, but only takes 20-30 mins at most to look at.
Personally we thought Bangkok was dirty and appeared more so in comparison to the absolute cleanliness and lack of litter in Singapore.
Port 3 Ko Samui: I am sure this was a beautiful island but didn't get chance to discover its charms beyond the port as it absolutely chucked it down for hours.
Only got chance to go round Chinatown, but this was amazing, loads of tailors who are eager to make you suits, shirts, etc and some who will make ladies wear, all are made to measure and fairly cheap depending on material choice, all items ready either later in the day or the following week when you disembark, so you can pick stuff up before going to the airport. Tailors are also available throughout Thailand so many options available and Bangkok being a 2 day stay in port and Puckett also a 2 day stay in port are good options for getting clothes made and delivered to ship before sailing.
Singapore is fantastically clean, no litter anywhere not even in the central reservations of main roads, it is an offence to drop litter, chewing gum or cig ends so be warned, all are enforced regardless.
Raffles: if you want afternoon tea, you need to book it online before you sail, no chance of just getting in on the day you are in Singapore, there is a waiting list, and you need to be dressed appropriately, we couldn't get in as we were unaware of having to book beforehand, so we decided to have a Singapore Sling in the bar instead, wow it cost 26 Singapore dollars each, so this was by far the dearest drink we had throughout the cruise, and not worth the cost, I thought maybe you got the glass free, but this was not the case, so be warned Raffles is very pricey, but the hotel itself is beautiful, oh and watch out for the service charges they are everywhere.
Kuala Lumpur was 1.5 hr transfer from the ship, so after all the hectic travelling, we stayed on board to rest up, this was definitely not a relaxing holiday.
Port 6 was Puckett: 2 days in this port, and for a change right on the beach, so at last some relaxation, but wow come darkness the place comes alive and people appear like ants seemingly from nowhere, certainly wouldn't want to stay in this port location, but guess most holiday makers staying on the island do so a resorts in other locations and travel in for this swamp of nightlife.
Port 7. Langkawi Malaysia: short 30 min transfer to a shopping centre which is crap, but is close to a beach.
Port 8 Penang: 45 mins to a beach and no sun lounges so its towels on sand if you want to swim in the sea.
Port 9 Malacca Malaysia: complete waste of time going into this port, all that's there is another shopping centre.