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4 Rome (Civitavecchia) Costa Magica Cruise Reviews

We are experienced cruisers - this was our 35th or so cruise. We have sailed on RCL, NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival and Costa through the years. We chose this ship due to the departure date and exotic itinerary - figured how bad ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers - this was our 35th or so cruise. We have sailed on RCL, NCL, Princess, Celebrity, Carnival and Costa through the years. We chose this ship due to the departure date and exotic itinerary - figured how bad could an Italian cruise be and it could be fun and lively. Well we were very wrong. This was the WORST cruise we have ever taken and our sentiments were echoed by our Norweigen and British tablemates who had cruised numerous times in the past as well. I will list Pros and Cons. PRO - Embarkation from Rome (Civitavecchia) - Exotic Itinerary (5 of the ports we had never visited including 2 cities in Morocco) - Large ship with attractive public rooms - Cabin - interior on 8th deck (only available at time of booking) was kept clean with a fridge and had enough space for both of us - Entertainment - Flamenco dancers, Cruise ship singers and dancers did a good job; White Night deck party was festive with DJ, dancers, confetti; lounge bands were lively, piano bar was busy nightly; casino was fairly busy; the ship had lots of music in various lounges in the evening and The Voice gameshow with 7 contestants which was entertaining. CONS - Embarkation fiasco - no idea we could not be dropped off w/rental car to embarkation entrance...no info provided...husband left son and I on port access road with big pieces of luggage - no bus or cab would stop to pick us up...port police intervened and forced a shuttle bus to stop and let us load our luggage under the bus (seems we should have loaded our luggage on shuttle bus in town of Civitavecchia - we had no info on this procedure. - Only approx 20 Americans on board ship of approx 2800 passengers - 70% Italian extended families; 25% mostly French & German; 5% Brits, Americans, Spanish & other - Msgs repeated in 5 languages all day long - Food was HORRIBLE!! WORST of any cruise we ever have ever taken! Buffets very limited, no real selections, same cold cuts, cheeses, breads and salads daily, same buffet choices both sides...grill outside on decks was normal fare; eggs at breakfast were only possible at the formal breakfast and were set types of eggs pre-made; formal dinner was barely edible - the menu choices were bizarre fare and not tasty - minute steaks, thinly sliced chicken breasts with no sauce, pastas with odd sauces, appetizers no one enjoyed - night after night we all felt the same....what type of menu is this - this food is unsatisfactory - we complained to guest services - we were told the menu was supposed to have been changed; dining onboard was such a huge disappointment - we dreaded our days at sea! We later found out by a fellow American traveler that all the food onboard was PREVIOUSLY FROZEN!!! She said look at the snowflakes next to every item on the dinner menu - the key says previously frozen. We realized thats why the food was soooo bad!! There was no fresh produce and no dishes being cooked onboard!!! Never heard of this policy on a cruise ship. There were NO speciality restaurants either - I guess not if they are not cooking on board the ship! - No late night buffets or special touches like a chocolate fountain or specialty food events. - Air Conditioning barely worked in our cabin - technician came twice said it was a bad, weak system in this line of cabins and close to pool deck with hot air coming in. - Pool deck extremely crowded - 3 pools and 1 slide; slide was always closed; no adult pools - all pools overrun with kids and teens - one day at sea - two of the 3 pools were closed - they claimed seas were too rough - early morning yes - a bit rough but by noon sea was very calm and pools never re-opened. - Rear deck cabins felt a terrible vibration almost nightly when the ship was traveling at 20 knots - made it hard to sleep. - The ship had a lot of movement daily - you could feel it pitching and rolling onboard - we never noticed this onboard any other ships we took and we cruised from Southhampton, England in a rainstorm in the North Sea. - Disco and late night club could not be used by adults (well, it was open to all) however, the 12-16 year olds used it nightly as a teen club occupying it until 3am - most adults would feel uncomfortable dancing in the club with 12 year olds late at night - seemed odd yet, the bar was serving liquor to whoever ordered it. We brought this to the attention of Guest Services and they said this is normal on Costa. - Crew had a private party directly above our cabin on the pool deck with a DJ - our whole cabin was shaking with the music and dancing - we complained 3 times to no avail and even went up to the party to speak to the officer - nothing was done and we were kept awake until 3 am! Other passengers went up to complain and were told sorry party is authorized. - Crew did not seem very concerned about issues or complaints - they seemed indifferent to our concerns and we were not offered any form of compensation either for a bad Costa tour experience we had with some aggressive passengers towards our daughter or the crew party till 3 am above our cabin and the lack of air conditioning every night in our cabin and our 2nd cabin....we both had barely any A/C. - We found out an American couple had chosen to opt-out of mandatory tipping - which was only possible for Americans who booked through American companies - we opted out also and tipped those deserving of tips. All in all this was a difficult cruise experience for us - my kids were bored - 19 and 24 year olds - they always meet others passengers their age on ships - there was no one in their age range....only families with small children or older couples traveling alone. Our two cabins were extremely hot every single night although turned to lowest temps. This was our 5th or 6th European cruise of over 11 nights and we NEVER experienced these negative issues or ever complained about the food on board. We will never sail with Costa Cruises again and would not recommend it for any Americans familiar with cruising. This was not up to American cruising standards. It seems to be a "no frills" operation, with many cost cutting measures in place. The most disappointing was the food and the fact that the dishes were all previously frozen. I had no idea cruise ships - which are known for their food would do this. Fortunately, some of the ports were very exotic and educational. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Let me start off by saying I had expected this to be a totally different experience than any of my previous 13 cruises. However, I never expected it to be the worst cruise I've ever been on. It was my first cruise out of a European ... Read More
Let me start off by saying I had expected this to be a totally different experience than any of my previous 13 cruises. However, I never expected it to be the worst cruise I've ever been on. It was my first cruise out of a European port. I realize it left out of Italy, but I really thought it would be more amenable to the different nationalities on the cruise. They were not! I DO NOT recommend this cruise to Americans unless they are fluent in Italian. The cruise line made very little effort to speak anything but Italian. It was near impossible to participate on any of the on board activities. The entertainment staff did say a lot of things, ie., Bingo and other games, in English but it was so fast and so mixed in with 5 other languages they rattled off, you could not follow at all. All the ship announcements were in Italian. It seemed that there were only a few announcements that they ever said in English. I was truly terrified that if there were an emergency on this ship, I would never have known what to do. This brings me to the Safety Issues. There was no safety drill upon embarkation at Civitavecchia. This cruise is a circle cruise; meaning people are embarking and disembarking at every port. They do consider Savona the first port, which was the last day for us. That is when they did a life boat drill. Guess it was our tough luck if anything happened the 6nights before that. This is an EXTREMELY budget cruise. It is advertised in Italy dirt cheap with kids sailing free. You truly get what you pay for. The Italians on this cruise were extremely rude. They do not believe in lines or waiting their turn. They were pushy and arrogant. The lack of communication was a huge problem. They also smoke like crazy and smoke anywhere they like. This ship has more smoking areas than non smoking areas. If this is a problem for you, be aware! If you are not used to horrible food and and plastic cups, do not take this cruise. You can see Costa has cut back everywhere they possible can. The only thing you could get 24/7 was coffee and water. They shut the ice cream machines all hours except buffet hours. You had to go to dinner every night in the dinning room. There was not a dinner buffet option. For this reason, people were dressed anywhere from formal to grunge in the dinning room. I'm a 100% Italian American. I am used to good Italian food. There was NONE to be found on this cruise. The pasta dishes at dinner were the only thing that was near what I would call authentic Italian food. The buffet food was hardly edible. Dried out pizza, tasteless burgers and fries. How you can ruin french fries is beyond me. The cabins are good size like all Carnival products. The Entertainment on the first night was okay. The second night, okay, after that it was downhill right to the bottom at horrible. There were three nights where the highlight of the show was juggling. Each night they repeatedly dropped what they were juggling....pretty poor performance. You can tell the cruise lines was spending NO money on entertainment. They were also spending NO MONEY on Air Conditioning. It was almost was an unhealthy hot through out the entire ship. The dinning rooms was unbearable. I left every night as quickly as I could because of the heat. The poor staff was always sweating as were many of the guests. I think it was a health hazard, but I'm sure the cruise lines just looks at it as saving money. The cruise lines provided very little direction when trying to find your tour buses and exit the ship. They never announced you were in port and could start disembarking or what deck to disembark from. It was always a guess if it were deck 3 or 0. The only saving grace at all on this cruise were the staff. The dinning room and other working crew all spoke English and were always willing to help you out. The were great. All in All I wish I had not gone on this cruise. I will gladly pay double or triple on my next cruise to get a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Overall: Thumbs down, our first unsatisfactory cruise in many years. We like Costa because it is the least expensive way to see Europe, Asia, and Africa in a week to ten days. Costa's galaxy of itineraries feature a new country ... Read More
Overall: Thumbs down, our first unsatisfactory cruise in many years. We like Costa because it is the least expensive way to see Europe, Asia, and Africa in a week to ten days. Costa's galaxy of itineraries feature a new country virtually every morning, with exotic destinations like Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. As soon as Israel gets a little safer, we are sure Costa will be the first to regularly schedule port calls. The Magica is Costa's newest ship and one of their largest. With beautiful styling everywhere, from the public rooms to the hallways, the ship is jammed with art without being garish. You'll be playing hide and seek with the Esmerelda main dining room (sometimes even following the signs won't help you find it) and the ship's small public passageways create traffic jams of pushy passengers. We did not want to believe the legions of cruise reviewers who criticized the Magica's food. It just can't be that bad, we thought. Wrong. The Magica's food was the worst we've ever had at sea. Bland, tasteless dishes and truly awful coffee. Because of it, we won't be taking a planned trip on the Magica in the spring. Poor food quality, however, doesn't stop hordes people from mobbing Deck 9's buffets, taking every single seat. It's shoulder to shoulder, so plan on escaping to Deck 10 to find open seating. Service, on the other hand, is quite good -- in five languages. Costa has mastered serving the Euro market. Sure, some of the evening shows are super lame, but then again it's pretty hard to find entertainment to simultaneously satisfy English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish tastes. Strangely, shows featuring opera, mime, and fashion generally knock the socks off of any comedian, singers, or dancers. Small Changes -- While shore excursions have been bookable through cabin TV for some time, now you can book excursions and even entire cruises through special kiosks on Deck 3. -- Room service now costs 2 Euro except for the conventional continental breakfast. There are now a variety of breakfast pay-options, from a few Euro on up to 59 Euro for the true breakfast gourmet. Given other food, though, I'd be skeptical of getting your money's worth. -- The waterslide is an open tube and limited to children. This is good news, because closed tubes can cause injuries to adults (I was hurt on one of Carnival's ships in a closed tube, as have others). Embarkation Civitavecchia is the port for Rome, about an hour outside the city. Its embarkation area consists of a few large tents. Departing from our usual taxi strategy, we used Costa's transfers from the Rome Airport. Transfers are $60 roundtrip per person, A taxi costs $200 roundtrip at a minimum. Be sure to check with Costa as to availability of transfers. At Rome's international Airport, there may be only one scheduled Costa bus a day. Ports Savona in Italy is a typical mid-sized Italian town but unremarkable. A large market at the Piazza del Populo, a few castles, a few large churches. Barcelona is a grand European city with much to see in a mere six hours in port. Palma in Majorca is home to the jetsetting Eurochic (plus Michael Douglas). The Caves of Drach in outlying Porto Christo are lovely but not worth four hours of bus riding to see. Take the Valldemosa tour instead. In Tunis, try the trip to Carthage if you are into history. You will be surprised how modern the country is. In Malta, the jeep trip is long but covers all the fabulous scenery around the island and views of neighboring Gozo. Palermo, much like Savona. Good Deals -- Buy 13 liters of mineral or sparkling water for 23 Euro, much cheaper than sodas and better for you. The 44 Euro soda card is a value too if you just gotta have Cokes or Diet Cokes. This card also gets virgin drinks, shakes, specialty coffee drinks, and fruit drinks. The Magica moves to the Americas the last few days of November, so catching the last Med run gives you cool weather and a lack of tourists in the ports. Sales are 75% off on Med-branded clothing before they relocate to Florida or Brazil for the winter. -- To increase bar revenue, Costa used to take shore bought alcohol and hold it until the end of the voyage. Similarly, they take and hold alcohol purchased onboard. Costa is testing a new and much more common sense policy on the Magica -- buy all you want ashore or on board and bring it directly to your cabin. Costa has realized that old policy annoyed passengers and cost too much for screening, holding, and moving all that booze multiple times. Not So Good Deals -- The spa is expensive and offered very few discounts during the week. No wireless internet anywhere on board, and no free wireless in port. The Internet cafe is still quite high at 30 Euros per hour and runs at barely 56K over satellite. Pay wireless is available only in Malta, but it's high speed and cheap. The casino has no conventional poker tables. I guess the world's Texas Hold'em craze evidently has not reached the Italians. -- There are unusually long lines to get on the ship in port. Costa cut back on security and there is often just one guy to process hundreds of returning passengers. This route is not a good choice for the first time cruiser, who should do Costa's 7-day Venice to Istanbul run or an 11-day trip featuring Athens, Cairo, Turkey, and a few spectacular Greek islands. For the Magica, we suggest that Costa drops the ports of Palermo and Savona in favor of Monaco, Nice, Cadaques, or Sete. Hello to Jan and Bob, and shop 'til you drop Celia and Jimmy! To see all our reviews, see www.georgesmart.com/travel. Happy cruising, George and Eleanor Durham, North Carolina Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
Much to my disappointment I chose this cruise with Costa because it was the only cruise that fit into our date shortly after our wedding day. I had never sailed with this company before and boy I wished I had known and not have traveled ... Read More
Much to my disappointment I chose this cruise with Costa because it was the only cruise that fit into our date shortly after our wedding day. I had never sailed with this company before and boy I wished I had known and not have traveled sight unseen or rather palate.I think that I am a seasoned traveler with enough travels to Europe that have lead me to explore over 20 different countries. I have been able to see this with a combination of land travel and cruise travel which include being on over 20 different cruises. These ships include Royal Caribbean, Princess, Oceania, Orient, and NCL. For the good: Costa Magica the ship was in very good condition and the staff was very nice and helpful. Our room which was a suite had lovely appointments, a great balcony, and a jet tub! They didn't skimp on any of the details. Embarkation was interesting in a good way. People boarded each day at every port, and the same as for leaving, this I had never experienced. This made the process of boarding wonderful, no lines or hassles! No one complaining that the cruise had to end.Now what you are wanting to read....the food was just terrible! My husband and I tried to make each meal work. We sampled different things, and everything was overcooked! To the point where one couldn't eat it. The soup was watered down. I mean really bland and thin. I was so disappointed and embarrased as this was my husband's first cruise and my 23rd!!! I was always raving about food on the ships. So, what did we do? There wasn't any room service like I was accustomed to on the other ships. I think there was a limited breakfast menu. We ate at the pizza shop each night. I will have to tell you that the pizza and the salads were very very good! But, don't you think that is sad to be on your honeymoon, after paying $6,000.00 to be eating pizza each night? The pizza area was very romantic, and we made the best of it. The ice-cream was in the same area and that wasn't even working right. My husband ate it anyway because we were so hungry!One day we went to Malta. My husband and I ate lunch there. The island's fish, don't recall the name, is heavenly! For that night's dinner, the dining staff said that there was a change in the menu and that they were serving Mahi-Mahi. Hmmm....where did they get that?  Well, it was the same fish that is from Malta. It wasn't cooked well at all, overdone!  Mahi-Mahi and the Maltese fish are entirely different. Interesting........So to sum it up, I would not recommend this ship if you are hungry or if you want pizza each night after trying the dinning room's meal.My saving grace is that we stayed in Rome for 4 nights after the 7 day cruise and we dined with the locals and enjoyed ourselves on the local fare.( can you imagine, we even had pizza for lunch one day!) We weren't asking for much, just some edible food.Great ship for the decor and staff, don't expect any good food.The exception is if I guess you happen to take this ship and it's in a different location. I have read that the food is very good. Our travel agent highly recommended this ship, but she was on a Carribean cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2005
Costa Magica Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.0 3.1
Entertainment 4.0 3.2
Public Rooms 4.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.7
Family 4.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.2
Enrichment 1.0 2.7
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.2
Rates 3.0 3.9

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